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Spooky October expenses

Spooky October expenses

Happy Halloween/Samhain! It is my favourite holiday of the year and while we haven’t done as much this month as we typically do, I am still thrilled that we got to decorate & carve pumpkins and that the kids will be going trick-or-treating tonight in the neighbourhood. The Youngest has friends coming for dinner and I completely regret telling everyone that we would order pizza. I looked at our expenses in October yesterday and BIG YIKES: what a nightmare!

We spent 3x what I wanted to spend last month – most of it going towards the condo costs/renovation…and we haven’t even purchased the appliances yet! I am so angry and demoralized about the entire thing and every time we go to push forward on the final touches, something happens. When Mr. Tucker had a free weekend, someone was parking in our parking spot. Now that we are in the process of buying the appliances, one of the elevators in the building is down so we can’t book an elevator to get the appliances upstairs. It feels like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

I hope this is one of the things that feels hilarious in retrospect but right now I am not feeling it at ALL.

The only silver lining right now is that Mr. Tucker’s bonus was twice as much as we had anticipated, which is a relief. It means we can set aside even more money for investing and to pay off our winter trip this year.

(HAH, I just realized that I have Thanksgiving on their twice, well, just add them and that it close.)

That condo percentage is killing me! I am pretty shocked at our restaurant and alcohol consumption expenses as well. But knowledge is power and hopefully soon we can get it all done and on the market so that we can work on other projects around the house that need to get done.

Since it is bound to be a late night, I am going to try and see if I can sneak a nap in before the kids get home. They will all be hyper and excited to get out the door for trick-or-treating so I want to make sure I am well rested before the onslaught of children.

A jot a day: Monday, Rocktober 16th, 2023

A jot a day: Monday, Rocktober 16th, 2023

I have long neglected writing on any sort of cohesive schedule so I thought I would jot dot down my thoughts on every weekday this week. While I don’t typically edit my blog posts aside from grammar and spelling, these may be even worse. The point is to just get some day-in-the-life thoughts out there.

Things I read this morning
• The October update from The New Escapeologist.
Why you should invest in yourself by Tawcan.
Invest in the index, not individual stocks.
• Every Monday Wealthsimple sends out a newsletter called TL;DR which is a fun little round-up of financial news from last week. It is truly a fun read to wake up to on Monday morning.

Books I am currently reading
• Non-Fiction: The Art of the Good Life: 52 surprising shortcuts to happiness, wealth, and success by Rolf Dobelli.
• Fiction: VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

I suspect that I will be reading these books for the rest of the week at least. As usual, my library pile continues to explode upwards.

The weekend

The painting in the condo was finally completely to our satisfaction. Last week the painter said he was done and it was horrible: no baseboards or ledges done, paint drips down the wall, doors not painted. Again, another nightmare to add to the pile of the nightmare condo project. So Mr. Tucker followed up and he redid it. Apparently it looks passable so now we move onto buying appliances and finishing some of the fixes for the laminate floors. I feel like we may never get this condo on the market! Maybe come October 25th the Bank of Canada will raise the rates again and it will be even worse. I am crossing my fingers for it staying right where it is.

Friday night Mr. Tucker took the Eldest and 4 of her friends out to a local farm to do their haunted hayride & haunted houses. They then all came here for a sleepover and Mr. Tucker made them all homemade crepes with local maple syrup for breakfast. Typically, the Eldest doesn’t want a birthday party so we have decided to pay for her and her friends to do this in October. We are, afterall, SUPER into Halloween around these parts so it makes more sense to just do this in the fall than to have something in the spring that she feels lackluster about. Unfortunately, the Youngest also had a last-minute costume party because it meant Mr. Tucker and I couldn’t make an appearance at our friend’s last-of-the-year backyard hangout. October is always busy and even though I have planned less official outings it’s still pure chaos some weekends.

We buy all of our chickens for the year from a local farmer in the area. Typically, Mr. Tucker goes day-of to get them whole/fresh and then he processes them himself. One evening of work means we have meals for the entire year. It also means that we end up with a pile of bones that we freeze so that we can make chicken stock when we get to it. A glut of celery and carrots in our CSA combined with the crisp fall weather meant that yesterday we ended up making a huge batch of chicken stock. Just in time for soup season!

The kids managed to harvest the rest of the garden yesterday – mostly tomatoes and peppers – and then tore it all out. I had such high hopes for our garden this year! It was also an amazing year for tomatoes which we couldn’t take advantage of because I have been convalescing since June 25th. I guess there is always next year but we had such good intentions of caring for our gardens properly. Another year, another learning experience. But I am glad we cleared it out early so it is one less thing we have to do in preparation for the winter. We did set up a little grow centre for herbs in the winter (*cough* in 2021) so maybe we will do that this winter.

At the cottage last weekend I really enjoyed doing art, reading and writing by candlelight. Mr. Tucker mentioned how much he loved beeswax candles and he especially found them comforting around the darker months of the year. Well, yesterday I discovered a local business called The Wax Studio that makes these beautiful and seasonal beeswax candles & so we spent some of our pocket money on a couple.

When the pandemic hit our kids were 10 and 12 and in their prime trick-or-treating years. It made me sad that they couldn’t do the more traditional neighbourhood jaunt so instead we created a new ritual: 13 days of Halloween movies. We chose 13 movies to watch in the days leading up to Halloween and we bought them each some typical Halloween candy to enjoy while we were watching them. I also posted their reviews to each movie online with a picture of the movie poster and friends and family told me that they really enjoyed the reviews and that they looked forward to them. So even though they’ve gone trick-or-treating since then, it’s a ritual we have continued – with less candy. So Saturday I chose the 13 movies for 2023 and we started watching them. We used to do the 13 days leading up & including Halloween but now with our schedules it makes more sense to just get through 13 in the month. We try and do a mix of classic, retro and modern as well as scary, campy and funny.

For our first movie this year, we started with a new & campy movie: Renfield

Here are the reviews:

The Youngest: 9/10. I loved it. But the whole thing with the dead dad was kind of cliché and I don’t like when they kill the parents off.

The Eldest: 8/10. It was a good movie but I found it to be rushed. Some parts didn’t make a ton of sense at some points, but overall it was good.

Mr. Tucker: 7/10 cause I’m lame and thought the dad thing was cliché too. Cool action and imaginative kills. Nick cage looking like current Marilyn Manson was fun.

As for me? I did enjoy the gore and creativity. I also like new takes on old stories if they are done well and I found this modern take on Renfield charming. I like a nice, low stakes watch with good pacing and so this worked for me. Generally, I am not a movie person so I am easy to please.


My plan is to journal and read today and maybe watch something. I am still supposed to be convalescing but yesterday I felt better than I have in a long time. My walking has improved exponentially and I am mostly back down to one sidearm crutch again.

The only real chore I have is to do a meal plan for the week. I find it’s easier to plan in advance by the things that need to be eaten from our CSA box. It also stops food waste by eating things before they start to go bad. Writing it down on the whiteboard – and writing down the movie we are watching that night – stops the constant cacophony of “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” & “WHAT MOVIE ARE WE WATCHING?” questions every night. It’s purely for my own sanity.

Have a great Monday!

This is Halloween, this is Halloween

This is Halloween, this is Halloween

I love everything about Halloween. I love the history of Samhain (being pagan-adjacent as I am), I love marking the passing of the seasons, I love the aesthetic (being goth-adjacent as I am), I love the music, the scary tales, I love the costumes and I love Trick-or-Treating – one of the last vestiges of collective neighbourly behaviour. I love that you can enjoy it on so many levels – regardless of your race or religion – and lean into it as much or as little as you’d like to.

We lean in. HARD.

From the first pumpkin spice latte I consume in September to the end of All Souls Day on November 1st, I revel in the creepy, spooky, scary passing of summer into the beginning of winter. October is always full of activities fueled by apple cider and a good dose of the macabre.

Since in Canada Thanksgiving is the second weekend in October, we have been doing short road trips since the pandemic. In 2020 we quarantined and rented a cottage with friends in order to enjoy the last light of summer near a lake. We had lovely bonfires outside, a wood stove inside, and while Mr. Tucker made a Thanksgiving meal, we all played games inside the largest cottage. It was one of those weekends that just comes together perfectly. There were walks in the autumn leaves, I read a book by the lake and the kids just ran around being kids. The pandemic was in full swing at that point and it was good to just pretend that things were normal, even for a few days.

2020 was also the year that we started our 13 Days of Halloween Movies ritual, which we’ve continued until this day. During the month of October we watch 13 Halloween movies – new and old – and the kids give mini reviews which I share on a private Instagram that only has friends I know. My friends have told me that they get a kick out of what the kids say and my hope is that the kids can look back and have a laugh at how they felt about the various movies at the time. We couldn’t Trick-or-Treat in 2020 so instead we bought the kids each a box of candy started new rituals.

In 2021 with vaccines in our arms but still cautious, we ended up buying seasons passes to Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto. We bought them with the friends we traveled to the cottage with the year before because they were good for 1.5 years. That year we went to the Halloween Haunt for a couple of days where we bought the kids Fast Lane passes and set them free to do what they wanted (masked, of course). So again, for a few short hours they could just be kids again. Back at home, we had them over for dinner on the Monday where we ate, drank, and played games again. It was a great weekend.

2021 was also the year we took the kids to a local orchard who does a series of haunted houses and a haunted wagon ride. It was a bit of a hike outside the city and I was unsure if they would enjoy it but they LOVED IT. I was incredibly impressed by the set-up that had everything from the terrifying (jump scares in the houses) to the thematic but unscary (a Ghostbusters-themed car) so really everyone could enjoy it. We still did our 13 Days of Halloween Movies and went to a local pumpkin patch so that we could pick-and-choose our own pumpkins to carve so that was a fun thing we could bring back again. They also did end up Trick-or-Treating last year which gave them back a little bit of normalcy.

Of course now in 2022 we have almost gotten back to normal but we’ve kept all the little rituals: we went to the Halloween Haunt for Thanksgiving weekend, we did another farm with haunted houses and a spooky wagon ride, we went on a Haunted Walk tour with friends downtown, we carved pumpkins, and we finished our last movie from our 13 Days of Halloween movies last night. Sadly, our friends couldn’t make Thanksgiving dinner because they came down with covid but we had a nice meal at home, just us.

Tonight the kids will go Trick-or-Treating as far as their legs will carry them and as long as people’s pumpkins are out. A neighbour always does this amazing haunted house a few streets over so they won’t want to miss that. Then they will crash after their sugar highs and then groggily get up for school tomorrow.

As for me, I stupidly (smartly?) booked a dentist appointment for tomorrow morning. Other than that, All Saints and All Souls Day are always reflective days for me as I wind down from the chaos of the fall season and transition into the winter one. I generally plan a quiet day of writing, reading, and large cups of tea drunk in front of a fire. This is because I am now looking forward to another favourite time of year: Winter Solstice.