Saturday, September 27, 2008

Catching up on something else significant

I'm on vacation this week, because Little Bro Dan and Pretty Christine are in town visiting. I decided to take some reserve time, so that I don't have to always say "Aww, I can't go, I have to work." As luck would have it, the time has also come in handy for doing home-purchase stuff, too.

So Dano and I went out yesterday and bought our outfits for the wedding. It's a Jamaica beach wedding, so we got nice khaki-coloured Dockers. Dan got a white shirt, and I got a light blue one. It's subject to Bride Approval, to make sure it goes well with the Maid of Honour's turquoise dress.

Thursday night, both families went out for supper to celebrate Christine's new job. The Pretty One has finally landed a job in her field, after working retail and clerical for the two years that she has lived with Dan in Timmins. She has a BA in psychology, and starts as a counsellor with a family counselling centre on October 7th.

Tomorrow night, we're gathering for a big meal at The Pretty One's family's home in Rockland.

My Dano is such a fine young guy. He knew that I was searching for Wii Fit. Thursday afternoon, he called to make sure I was still looking, and said he would "set me up with it." That night, he gave it to me. It turns out he was in WalMart, saw Wii Fit and bought two -- one for The Pretty One and one for Big Brother Bob. He wouldn't hear of letting me pay for it.

Anyway, that's what else has been going on in my life lately. How've you been?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The worst part is over

The offer has been accepted, all conditions met or removed, and we move on to the closing. The money-sucking lawyers have five weeks to do what little they have to do, and I take possession of my first home on October 31. So now, I have to get off my duff and start packing.

Oh, wait: I take back the "worst part" bit. Packing and moving are collectively the worst part. Hopefully, this will be the last of that nonsense for 14 or 15 years.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

To Greg, on his 50th birthday

This is my buddy Greg. Today would have been his 50th birthday. He was killed in a car accident when he was 22.

Greg and I became friends when we were 13 and in Grade 8. We became part of a group of seven guys who were absolute best of friends in our teen years. Our parents called us the Dead End Gang. The other five guys and I remain very close to this day. We might not always communicate often enough or get together often enough, but when we do, it's like we had left off yesterday. We know that the other guys are always there for us, at least in spirit.

It's the same thing with Greg, even though he's been dead longer than he was alive. I'm not sure I believe in an afterlife and communication between this life and that one, but Greg has provided evidence that could be used to convince me. For months after his death, I would wake up at night, at precisely the time we were told he had died on the highway between Timmins and Iroquois Falls. Greg frequently shows up in my dreams, acknowledging that he's dead, but popping in anyways. And this morning, at precisely 4:44, something startled me awake. Four is the hockey sweater number that Greg always wore.

I was a young newspaper reporter when Greg died. My column that week was a tribute to Greg and our friendship. I wrote that friends might die, but true friendship like ours never does. I believe that to this day. I also miss Greg to this day.

Happy Birthday, Buddy. I'm always here for you, and know that you're here for me, if only in spirit.

Friday, September 19, 2008


There was a wee bit of back-and-forth, and I ended up offering $100 more than the listing price, but I got it!

Moving Day is Halloween Day!

Can I please have two "woot"s?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The offer is in

I should know by noon tomorrow whether it has been accepted.
I looked at several today, and this one just felt SO right in every way, I decided to put in an offer right away.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The house hunt is on

I'm 50 and have never owned my own home. It's for a number of reasons, among them the fact that until the past few years, I didn't make enough money, and wasn't sure where I would settle (even though I lived in Timmins for almost 14 years, but low-income years).

I am ready for home ownership, and the switch to putting a huge chunk of my monthly income into paying the freight on my OWN place, instead of someone else's. The timing is good, too, because with the stock market the way it is, home ownership is the only really safe investment that you can count on to give you a decent eventual return on your money. My mutual funds are in the tank.

So I've been pre-approved for a mortgage and have consulted my cousin, the realtor. Tomorrow morning, we go on six showings.

Wish me luck. I'll update as I can.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A nice story about a fine young man

I work with a young guy who actually just turned 25 yesterday. I knew he was a good kid with a kind heart, but something he told me about last week convinces me of that.

Brent has legally changed his last name to his mother's maiden name. His dad abandoned Brent when he was just a little guy, and has not been a part of his life since, so he and his brother were raised by their mom. His grandmother has been a big influence in his life, too.

Brent says he's been thinking of this name change for a long time, and that his father's last name has no real meaning or significance to him. So he did it, and presented his new birth certificate to his grandmother as a gift for her 84th birthday. His mom and her aunt were there, too.

Brent says his grandmother has never been much of an outwardly emotional person, but the smile she displayed at her birthday gift spoke volumes. And then later, when no one else was around, she turned to him and said "Your grandfather would be very proud of what you've done." Brent didn't know his grandfather, either -- he died either before Brent was born, or when he was very young (I can't remember which, although he did tell me). Brent says that he knows that his grandmother was also telling him in her own way, how proud she is, too, and how much the gesture means to her.

I am so impressed with this young man. That is a big thing to do. Your name is such a part of you and your identity, and to change it for any reason is huge.

Brent often calls me Papa Bob, saying I'm kind of like a surrogate dad to him. That's quite alright to me. And being a very outwardly emotional person, I couldn't help but hug him, to show him how proud I am of the gesture that honours his grandmother.