Personal update: changing directions

workundertime

So this is the entry where I lay out all the ridiculous stuff that has happened this fall. As you know, we were merrily swimming along saving for our goals to buy the house we live in and to buyback 3.5 years of my pension. We had started to work on a new video project together and life was pretty good overall.

Home

Of course, “the best laid plans of mice and men go awry” as Burns pointedly stated all those years ago. At the beginning of September the owner of our house decided to renege on our agreement and – probably thinking they could get more for the home – hired an assessor to look at the house. So partially because we don’t want to live in the chaos of someone else’s whims and partially out of anger, we started looking at houses. It was then that we discovered that we could get much nicer homes in our price range that were turnkey, unlike this house that requires about 100k of work.

In the end, after weeks of looking, we found a home that ticked off almost all the “want” boxes for us: turnkey bungalow, in our price range, backing on city park (with a small community centre with activities for the kids), a finished basement with an office for Mr. Tucker, a wood burning fireplace, hardwood floors, a modern kitchen with a gas stove, and the pièce de resistance – a completely landscaped backyard with a fire pit, a gas BBQ, and (my dream house goal) a pool. The only con: it’s in a different neighbourhood than the one we currently live in, which is sad for me because I have a fairly established life here. Still, we can’t have everything we want and our new home will be right next to the new lightrail project so it will soon be easier to get to work.

Unfortunately, this little piece of heaven comes at the price of a small mortgage and we will have to scrounge up some new furniture as most of the stuff we currently use came with the house we live in (and we moved from 510 square feet, so we didn’t – and still don’t – have a lot). Luckily, our mortgage is only 1/3 of the cost of the home and we estimate we can pay it off within three years.

In the end, right after we decided to buy our house, the owner of our current house came back and told us that they had received the assessment. The verdict? $17000 over what we were willing to pay. Interestingly enough, about the same amount we have put into this house (new plumbing, new doors, a complete HVAC system with HWT and AC, new garage door, full backyard landscaping). I think they were expecting a lot more and so it looks like they will end up moving back into this house and we will get the keys to our new home on December 8th.

TL;DR: we bought a house, never make deals with flaky relatives.

Health

My orthopedic surgeon broke up with me last week, which is typically a good thing. After a full ankle reconstruction it’s good to have a much stronger base now. I will miss the doctor though, he was truly a great doctor and great human being. If you need a dude who specializes in orthopedic trauma of the foot and ankle, hit me up: I know a guy.

Unfortunately, I had to call my neurosurgeon and I have an appointment to discuss the increased tingling and pain in my arms. I hope I am just under a lot of stress but I had a fall in the summer where I hit my head and I wonder if that is causing the issue. The day after I made the appointment I fell again on my way to work and I lacked the strength to push myself up to standing.

So I continue to work on it, do physio, and hope for the best. I know intellectually that the best case may be the ability to stop further progression and I may never walk properly again. I am trying to make peace with that but I still want to push physio as much as possible and see what I can get back. With the broken ankle I haven’t been able to do as much as I want, so I hope going forward that will change.

Oh, and I got a new GP who is great and who is following me for a bunch of issues.

TL;DR: I don’t watch medical dramas because I am my own medical drama.

Work

Things at work are decent and I recently got a new director and deputy director who are both amazing. I have learned so much from them and they truly are incredible leaders. Still, the work means long hours and high-level issues and I find a highly politicized environment exhausting. It’s much better than it has been though now that our team is larger.

Still, I need to move towards a permanent position, which became apparent when I was trying to get a mortgage. I continue to try and work on my French and I apply for as many competitions as I can. Since our new house is a bit further out from the core, I am also specifically looking for jobs closer to home.

TL;DR: I like my work team; I am working towards getting something permanent.

Finances

I met my goal of buying back my pension! So as of today I now have 5 ½ years of pensionable service paid up. When I calculated it, it is equivalent to having $500 a month (in today’s dollars) from age 60 on, and is transferable to Mr. Tucker should I pass away. So the $18300 was well worth it should either of us live 5 years after age 60 (let’s hope!).

We also met our goal to save for the house but as you know, things have changed. I have made peace with not being 100% debt free and have a plan to pay our small mortgage off quickly, so that works.

When we went to go for our mortgage we discovered that due to Mr. Tucker’s job at a US company, they couldn’t include his salary in our calculation. What this means is that the entire mortgage is resting on my salary & they had to stress test me for the condo I jointly own as well (if the other owner should die, they need to make sure I can pay the bills). Thank goodness for having no debt and lots of savings! Otherwise we would have never been able to make this all work.

Even after all that, we continue to mostly live off of my salary and save Mr. Tucker’s to mitigate his tax burden and to pay off our mortgage. We may have to dip into his salary occasionally as we figure out how things are going to go over the next six months or so but overall we are still doing well. We have also taken the opportunity to do up our wills and organize all our legal and financial holdings.

The issue of the condo will also need to be worked out in the new year. I am not sure if I will rent it or sell it but until we move and the holiday season is over I don’t want to make any decisions.

TL;DR: having our finances pretty much in order has helped us weather the awful events over the past 3 months.

Conclusion:

When everything fell apart this fall, Mr. Tucker was my rock. He took care of me when I was unable to take care of myself, he took care of the kids, and he was a steadfast partner while we navigated the stress of my relative’s change of heart. One of the reasons we bought where we did is because Mr. Tucker fell madly in love with this house and it would be a wonderful spot for him (as he works from home) and the kids (who can now walk to school). Commute-wise, it isn’t great for me until the lightrail comes in a few years from now but I have planned my commute and it adds only 10 more minutes a day. Considering I also periodically work from home, it is still manageable.

This holiday season will be incredibly busy between the move, job applications, light renos in our new place (mainly paint and refinishing the hardwood in two rooms), and the fact that we are hosting both a Solstice celebration with our friends and our family’s Christmas dinner. I am not going to lie – it will be a lot. I just keep looking forward to our new home and hopefully by January we will be settled in, our finances and legal stuff will be in order, and I will know more about where my job is heading. I took a week off at Christmas to spend with the kids & get our house in order and I am generally positive despite the fact our life is a whirlwind of appointments, meetings, and chaos.


(shamelessly stolen from DR)

Winter Solstice has typically been an evening of rebirth for my friends and I and while we have had a hiatus for the past few years, it will be nice all of us will be getting together. Friends from as far as England and California will be joining us (and Buffalo! And Windsor! And Montreal! And Toronto! And Philadelphia!) and I feel like this year I really need my chosen family more than ever.

Hopefully over the next little while I will be able to update here more often with more relevant stuff other than these personal life updates. I have a lot to say about how expensive it is to be disabled and how expensive moving is, for example. So thanks for tuning in to this personal update and I hope to soon return you to your regularly scheduled programming…