Five years ago today, I got the keys to my condo. And since five years was the length of my mortgage term, it meant I recently had to renegotiate my mortgage. Last year at this time, I was concerned because mortgage interest rates were higher than what I’ve been paying and I figured I’d end up with a higher rate when I renegotiated this year. As it turns out, mortgage interest rates dropped and I managed to get myself the same interest I’ve been paying for the past five years, which makes me happy because (a) it’s a low interest rate and (b) I have a spreadsheet where I track my mortgage payments, including “prepayments” (i.e., lump sums I pay in order to pay off my mortgage quicker), to calculate how much I’ve saved in interest rates by doing so1 and the spreadsheet doesn’t have an easy way to change the interest rate mid-way through the mortgage, so I’d have had to have figure out some spreadsheet kung fu to have made the spreadsheet calculations continue to work and now I don’t have to. I probably should be happier about (a), but honestly (b) makes me quite delighted.
Also, for the record, I have officially paid off 71% of my original principal (up from 53% last year). Which means I own 78% of my condo – based on the price I paid when I bought it. If I use the most recent assessed value, I own 88% of my condo. My new principal is less than 1/3 of my original principle. Math is fun!
If I make no more lump sums, I will be done with my mortgage in July 2024, making it 10 years to pay off the mortgage (rather than the 25 years that was my original amortization). The earliest I could pay it off without any penalty (i.e., if I paid the maximum allowable lump sums per year as early as possible in each mortgage year), I could be done by Jan 11, 2021 (i.e., 1.5 years from now – and on my birthday, no less!). Given the low interest rate, that doesn’t make the best financial sense (i.e., I could make more by investing any extra money I have than the interest rate I’m currently paying on the mortgage). But it’s still fun to do the math!
Mortgage image was posted on Flickr with a Creative Commons license requiring a link to Got Credit.
Coin image was posted on Flickr with a Creative Commons license
And also some scenarios to compare having bought the condo compared to if I’d continued to rent instead. [↩]
OK, so it’s not technically summer until Friday, but you’d never know it from the weather we’ve been having. It’s sunny and warm and the sun is up until nearly 9:30 pm.
Things I’m excited about for the summer, in no particular order:
The New West Grand Prix – watching professional cyclists ride around and around and around and around my home is actually a lot more exciting than one might expect. Plus my gym will have beer and snacks
playing tennis – Scott and I bought some tennis rackets that were on super duper sale at a sports store that was closing down, right before I sprained my MCL. And while the MCL healing has been going slower than I would like, it’s definitely getting better. So much so that I’ve been able to play hockey with a knee brace – so I think I’ll give tennis with a knee brace a try too!
the New West Farmers market – while the Farmers Market in New West runs all year, the winter market is uptown on Saturdays and somehow I never manage to get all the way uptown! But the summer market is at City Hall, which is just a short walk (up a very steep hill) from me on Thursday afternoons/evenings. I haven’t gotten out there for the first few weeks, but I’m planning to go soon.
canning/jamming more stuff – my friend Patricia has some pear trees near here that have those most amazing tasting pears EVER. I can’t wait until they are ready because I’m going to pick some and can them!
tackling stuff from my 2019 goals list– I am VERY behind on my goals for this year (I blame teaching too much in the January semester), but now that that is behind me (along with all my work travel for May), I can actually do some of that stuff
hiking – every summer I say I’m going to do more hiking. Hope springs eternal!
I also have a bunch of vacay that I need to book, but I don’t really want to go away when it’s so nice out and there’s so many fun things going on. Perhaps I’ll take some days off to do stuff around here (especially if a certain friend of mine comes to visit and wants to jump out of a plane with me, as we may or may not have previously discussed).
And maybe I’ll look at the fall for a trip somewhere…
Another Beer Company opened up in New West this week. Like, that’s the name of the company. You see, we had one beer company in New West before this – the amazing Steel & Oak – and now we have another beer company.
This company has been in the works for quite some time, as beer companies have to do, what with all the finding of a workable location, doing renos, getting permits and so forth. Not too long ago, I joined the ABC Original Patrons, where you give them $250 and you get a $250 gift card, a hoodie, invites to exclusive patron parties, and glory.
Of course, the soft opening for patrons happened when I was out of town, so I went in today to check out the place and pick up my swag. It’s quite a small brewery – see the little black machine in the picture below:
That’s the device they use to hand can their beers. Seriously, they can their beer BY HAND. Right now you can only get tasters at the brewery, as they are waiting for their lounge license to come through, and then you’ll be able to go there and have a pint. But not a growler fill, as apparently they don’t make enough beer to do growlers.
Another cool thing about this brewery is how you get there. It’s located in the Braid industrial area of New West, which is where there is industrial space for such things as breweries. It’s a bit tricky to access and if you don’t want to drive there, up until recently you’d have to risk your life running across a very busy road where people drive very fast in order to get to that area.
But now Translink has opened up what was formerly a fire exit at the Sapperton Skytrain Station to be a regular exit, so you can take stairs down from the the Skytrain platform to the Braid industrial area. And even if you haven’t ridden the Skytrain and are just walking there, you can tap into the station and then tap out of the station at the bottom of the stairs and you won’t get charged.
When I went there today, this sign was on the door at the bottom of the stairway:
But I just pushed the door open and it was totally fine. And today would have been my dad’s 74th birthday, so I am yet again honouring his memory by ignoring a sign and going through a door that says “do not go through this door.” Wish my dad was here for me to tell him this story.
Anyhoo, I made it to the brewery, safe and sound, picked up my swag, enjoyed a couple of tasters (my favourite was the Belgian saison), ran into a couple of people that I know (because New West), and all-in-all, it was a lovely Sunday afternoon.
So nearly half the year is gone. WTF? I really feel like it was January about 5 minutes ago and now it’s June! And, as I tend to do when I haven’t blogged in a while, I’m going for a bulleted list!
May was cray-cray. In addition to my week in Prince George for work, I was away another week in May – first at the Canadian Evaluation Society conference in Halifax and then I stopped in Ottawa for a few days to visit Sarah and Dave.
The highlight of the conference for me was that the team that I coached for the student case competition won! They worked really hard and produced a kick ass evaluation proposal presentation – I was beaming with pride for the whole conference!
It’s a funny thing to be a coach of a winning team. They did all the work and I kept getting congratulated! Not only at the conference, but I got congratulated by someone on the plane on my flight from Halifax to Ottawa and again by someone at the baggage carousel in the Ottawa airport.
I decided to do a stopover in Ottawa since I was flying all the way across the country, I figured I should make it worth my while. I hadn’t seen Sarah and Dave in eleventy billion years… or possibly two years which is (a) much longer than I usually go without seeing them and (b) far too long. I’m glad I was able to spend a few days just hanging out, catching up, and chilling with them. I may have also gotten them and their kids addicted to Pokemon Go. And they introduced me to Pokemon battles with trading cards (which is so much more challenging than PoGo) and to the TV show, so now I feel much more well versed in Pokemon.
Speaking of their kids, omg, their kids are adorable. And sweet. And very funny! Their youngest, Susannah, when asked if she preferred to calling me Aunt Beth or Dr. Snow, said she preferred Aunt Beth because “what is she, a doctor for cold people?” At first we thought she meant a doctor just for people who had a cold… and then we clued in that she was being much more clever!
Since I’ve been back, I’ve had a flurry of work to do – it took me a good week to clear through the back log of emails, but I ended Friday by checking off a lot more things from my to do list than I thought I would, so that made me a happy camper.
Making me less of a happy camper is that I’m *still* rehabbing my knee. I was expecting it to be a couple of weeks to heal and it’s been nearly two months! I’ve had it worked on by various health care professionals and my trainer at the gym gave me a knee-friendly training program (basically stuff to work on strength and stability in my leg, plus some stuff to make my biceps look awesome. Not that that will help my knee, but it gave me something where I could push myself without risking my knee and who doesn’t want to have awesome biceps, amirite?). The chiro tested my knee out today and I could see that it was actually improved – more stable and also I don’t have discomfort on the part of the MCL below the knee like I used to -only a bit of discomfort on the part of the MCL that is above the knee. So that made me feel better because I was thinking that the healing had plateaued, but now I think it’s just that it’s been getting better so gradually that it’s hard to tell from day-to-day.
My knee has been better enough to play hockey, as long as I wear a knee brace. I played two weeks ago (and scored a goal, I might add!), then was away for a week, and then played again this past week. So that makes me happy. And as an added surprise, someone who I played in the Longest Game with just joined my summer team, so that’s fun!
So pretty much catches you up with what’s new with me. And now that I’m back from my various travels, I guess I should figure out what I’m doing with my summer!
OK, so apparently my trip to PG was entirely food focused, but in my defence the day time was filled up with work and I had work I had to do in the evenings too, so pretty much my only non-work time was dinner!
Also, as I mentioned previously, the people were super friendly, which made the trip pretty great.
And now I’m four days into my seven days at home before I jet off to Halifax for a conference for four days and then I get a few days of vacay in Ottawa to hang out with Sarah and Dave who I haven’t seen in far too long! Now I just need to make it through three more workdays where I need to accomplished about 27 days worth of work… including writing the presentation I have to give at the conference! Wish me luck!
So I’m up in Prince George this week for work. My team needed to do data collection here and in Victoria, so we split up with half the team coming north and the other half crossing the Narrow Sea Georgia Strait to Essos Victoria. I’ve been to Victoria before – and I’m sure I’ll go again – so I jumped at the chance to come to PG, as I’ve never been here before and don’t imagine I’ll choose it as a vacation spot anytime soon. And I do like going to places I’ve never been before.
I have to say it’s quite pretty here and the people are unbelievably friendly. The people we are working with here are hosting a pub night at a local brewery for us on Wednesday and are making us lunch on Thursday. They’ve been so considerate and accommodating and friendly to us. And so has pretty much everyone else we’ve met. It’s very chill.
It’s also quite spread out here – it’s about a 20 minute walk from our hotel to the site we are working at and another 15 past that to get to where all the good restaurants are. (We went to the Copper Pig for BBQ for dinner – the food was amazing!). I’ve seen bus stops around, but I’ve yet to see a bus. Definitely a place that one would need to have a car (which we don’t).
Sadly, the forest fire season has started early – there wasn’t much precipitation over the winter – and they’ve already had to evacuate areas due to fire and it’s May! That doesn’t bode well for the summer – and we thought last summer’s forest fires were bad. 🙁
Some fun facts about PG:
while I tend to think of PG as in the “north”, when you look on a map you can see that it’s not even half way to the top of the province
population: 79,000 (just a bit bigger than New West’s 71,000)
One goal that I’m only a little bit behind on, however, is my goal to read 20 books this year. I’ve read 6 – or 30% of my goal. Here’s a rundown of 5 of them – the 6th one deserves its own blog posting, so that will come later.
As mentioned last year, I’m listening to the podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno, in which a man is reading terribly written erotic novels that his father wrote, completely skewering it with a couple of his friends. But since he reads an entire book each season, I think it’s only fair that I get to count them as books I’ve read, much like I would an audiobook. I’ve finished off two more seasons of the podcast, which means I’ve read:
Cath recommended this one and since I absolutely loved Good Omens, which is also by Neil Gaiman, I figured I’d give it try. There are a bunch of characters who are various types of gods that have been brought to America from other countries over the centuries as people immigrated, bringing their conceptions of gods with them. There are figures from indigenous, Norse, Slavic, Ghanaian, Egyptian, and various other mythologies. But gods need to be worshipped to have strength and since not many people think about these old gods anymore, they are not faring that well. And then there are the new gods – the things people worship today, like the media and technology. I won’t get into the plot, but suffice it to say that I quite enjoyed it and I think I’ll watch the TV series version.
(Trigger warning: this section mentions a suicide attempt and trauma). I remember seeing an interview with Clint Malarchuk when this book came out. He is best known for being the NHL goalie who has his necked sliced by a skate in a game and nearly bled to death live on television. He ended up with PTSD from the experience and he also deals with OCD and alcoholism. In the book he talks about growing up, his hockey career, and dealing with his mental health issues (like how he challenged the obsessiveness that comes with OCD into his training as a goalie and his experiences in rehab). He also talks about his suicide attempt, where he put a gun to his chin and pulled the trigger in front of his wife saying “Look what you made me do!”). On the one hand, I think it’s really good that people are talking more about mental health, especially in an industry like professional hockey where men are expected to be “tough” and talking about mental health is seen as “weak”. On the other hand, parts of this book were difficult to read – Malarchuk was verbally and psychologically abusive to his wives1 and I found reading about the way he would gaslight his wife brought up stuff from my past that was somewhat triggering for me. I also found that in the next hockey game I played after reading about the skate blade incident, I was very aware of my neck2.
This book was recommended by Dr. Dan and it was a phenomenal read. It was very different than anything I’ve read before. Parts of it are memoir of growing up in Nunavut, parts are fiction and mythology, and parts are poetry. She moves among these in such a way that I wasn’t always sure what I was reading and then she’d take your breath away with a description of violence she experienced, or a scene of surreal beauty. It’s really hard to describe – you must read it for yourself!
So there are 5 of the 6 books that I’ve read this year. I’ll have to find some time to sit down and write a full blog posting about the 6th book that I’ve read, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. As a teaser, I’ll say that (a) you should read this book for yourself because there is no way I can do it justice, and (b) a major takeaway from this book is that not only do we have to do more than learn how to talk about race, we need to take action to support social justice for all people, if we really care about justice.
Also as a teaser, here are some of the other books that I’m currently reading (which I’ve just realized as I wrote out this list are all textbooks!):
In the book, he only refers to his current wife, Joan, by her name – the others are just “my first wife,” “my second wife”, and “my third wife”… at least, I think he had four wives – it was a little while ago now that I read the book, so maybe it was just three. It’s possible that he doesn’t include the names of his other wives out of respect for their privacy, but when reading it I felt like it came across as if they didn’t matter. [↩]
I always wear a neck guard when I play, in large part from having seen videos like the one of Malarchuk with blood spraying from his neck. But also because I’ve taken a few sticks and pucks to the throat and those hurt even with a neck guard on – I can’t imagine how bad they’d be without! [↩]
You know that thing where you get up to go to another room to get something, and then when you get there, you forgot why you went there? Psychologists call it the “doorway effect” (as in you forget stuff when you walk through a doorway). It’s totally a known thing that happens with human memory (this BBC article explain why).
I have the modern day equivalent of that: I call it the browser tab effect. I’ll be working on something in say, a Word document or a spreadsheet and I’ll think “I need to look up X”. So I flip to another application – often my internet browser, to look up X and then… what was I looking for? Often this compounded by the fact that when I flip over to my Internet browser, I see the last tab I was on and it reminds of the incomplete task I had related to that tab because I went off to some other application on my computer to do some other thing.
It also doesn’t help that my browser usually looks something like this: