Canadian Dream: Free at 45 | A blog about early retirement and happiness

Web Name: Canadian Dream: Free at 45 | A blog about early retirement and happiness






Happiness, Spending

Vacation Plan B


Well that sucked. Our kids’ passports didn’t arrive in time so we did not go to Disney World as per our initial vacation plan. But rather than bitch and complain about the issue we decided to just embrace the situation and still take the week off and go with vacation plan B.

So we took a week off from work as per our initial plan and then just did a series of three mini trips. The first trip was just to a hotel here in town for one night. Why? Because the hotel had a water park with two water slides and a nice hot tub (it even had a small pool but we didn’t use that at all). So after a LOT of water sliding and having a meal out we had a decent sleep and did a bit more water sliding in the morning and then heading home for the night.

Then our next mini trip was to my parents cabin where we spent most of the afternoon on the beach on Last Mountain lake. It was great to get a nice visit in with my parents and my sons were invited to spend the night at their uncle’s cabin and hang out with their cousin (same community) so that worked out nice for everyone.

Our final little trip was then to Moose Jaw which is only a 45 minute drive away (honestly it is a longer driver to the lake). There was stayed the Temple Garden hotel and had a nice soak in their mineral pool. And we also visited a local museum and took one of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw tours.

Overall the cost of these little trips ended up being fairly affordable. We only used half a tank of gas in total, hotels were a bit over $300 and then some meals out and fees. We likely spent around $700 in total but still managed to have a nice break which was sorely needed after the stress of having to sudden move our entire Disney trip to early Sept (trust me I wanted to go later in the year but that was the only time that worked in the fall).

On that front we have taken the somewhat unusual step of contracting my local MP’s office for some assistance on our sons’ passports based on a suggestion from a friend. Why? Because I can’t get a bloody update from Passport Canada (either by phone or online) on what is going on with their passport applications and I know from taking to their references that they have NOT been contacted yet. So in short its been over nine weeks and I have zero sign of any work being done on their files and I’m worried that we won’t have passports for Sept. So I signed the release for my MP’s office to try and get things moving along this week and hopefully I’ll at least have some news by mid-August.

And to address the some what obvious questions: no I can’t just cross the border by land and flight out of the US. I can do that with my younger son but my oldest NEEDS a passport to cross (trust me I researched that option). And yes it is possible to apply for an emergency passport within the last two business days but getting the documents isn’t guaranteed and if I’m within two days of my trip we can’t make changes to some of our plans. So I risk losing most of our current spending on travel costs if I try that option.

In short, I’m stuck in the Passport Canada vortex of crap (like thousands of others) and now I’m at the point where I don’t have the vacation time at work to move the trip a third time. Hence my desperate attempt to have my MP’s office get involved.

PS: Sorry for the lack of posts last month as you can tell I’ve been busy with other things. I got the data for my net worth post at the end of June but I just haven’t finished writing up the summary yet. Hopefully that will be done shortly here.




In some regards I suck at doing some things half ass. I can’t do just an okay job on some things in life. I’m okay to have a somewhat green lawn but when it comes to other things like my D&D game maps they resemble works of art.

So when an opportunity came up at my workplace to get a promotion I decided to try for it despite the fact it was sort of an awful time to do it. I was already REALLY busy with several other things in life but when I did apply and put my heart into getting that job. So with my one day off one week I did my little pre-interview assessment but of course six pages of content to reply to a paragraph situation wasn’t enough so I spend another six hours during Father’s Day and basically doubled it with even more details and photos and screen shots to make my case that I should get an interview.

Then I put in another five hours or so of reviewing interview questions and preparing for just about any combination they could throw at me because I just decided that I wanted that job damn it. And I have to say I sort of nailed it. I predicted all but one question in the interview. And the one I didn’t predict I just switched out another story I had prepared for a different question. Then the day afterwards I got the news that I got the job and I start my new position this week (and in somewhat of an ironic twist I actually didn’t feel excited about the job offer, I think I would have been more disappointed if I didn’t get the job).

So why on earth would I do that much effort for a job I really don’t need in the first place and the job in question is like 90% identical to my current one? I like the potential of the new job, the fact it is a pay band higher than my current job was just icing on the cake. What I like about this new job is I would be given some space to be creative.

Pardon? Creative!?! Yes, the job is a Customer Service Associate which is a nice 13% raise in pay (or $22.35/hour) but more importantly they can be involved in some programming at the library. So I might be the guy that introduces a program that is being run by an external presenter or I might even create some passive programs in the branch for customers to interact with like our scavenger hunts for kids or get involved with providing more one on one technical support to our customers. In short, I get to expand my knowledge base a bit and get involved with some new challenges that involve being creative.

Does this mean I have a second career at this point? To be honest, not likely. I doubt I would go any further up the job classification system since I don’t want to work full time and many of the higher class jobs are full time or involve things I don’t care about. And yes I do enjoy the irony of the fact that I’ve been working at the library for all of three years now and this is my third position with them. I suppose it isn’t entirely a surprise since I was massively over qualified for my first job at the library but what was surprising to me is that I did care enough to bother going for this job. It’s not like I need the raise or anything.

In the end, I didn’t plan on climbing a different ladder when I started at the library. I did it because the jobs happened to be at my branch. I wasn’t interested in moving around the system to get promoted faster so I ignored everything else and only every applied for the same location. But what is interesting this time around is the motivation: I don’t care so much about the raise but rather the work. And that is why I got promoted.

So what do you look for in a job beyond the money? What matters most to you?


The Crash?


My brother recently asked me how I was handling the crash in the markets and I told him the truth: I’m ignoring it.

Yep, I’ve tuned out of all the ‘we are all going broke’, and ‘the world is ending so sell it all’ crap and generally ignored most of the business news. I’m aware I’ll see the impact shortly when I do my quarterly net worth in about 10 days time but for now I’m clueless on its exact impact. Honestly, I’m just busy with other stuff (for example cleaning my bathroom is actually more pressing to me) so ignoring it isn’t too hard.

In the mean time, my job is paying for the regular bills so I’m not worried about the investments as I don’t actually need the investment income at the moment. Even if I did we do keep some cash in reserve for this exact reason, but even that fund has been dropping lately. We have finished our last installment payment for our Disney trip this summer but given the high inflation excess cash isn’t something to worry about reducing. I’m not sure if going on a bucket list trip is a great idea in a market crash or not but I’m doing it anyways. I’m more worried about getting my boys new passports in time and getting through the Toronto airport to make our flights this summer.

Well I did finally got off my ass today and invested the excess cash in the TFSA and RSP accounts. So is buying almost $38K of investments I suppose is actually doing something but I was supposed to take care of that months ago. Apparently procrastination finally paid off since it was a nice stock sale on many of the companies we already owned. I know that sounds like a lot but based on last quarters investment net worth it is likely less than 5% of total investments.

I guess I’ve just developed a healthy detachment to my investments. I look at them every few months but other than that I really spend like 95% of my time not paying attention to them. They need the occasional rebalance or investing the dividends but generally they look after themselves with little input from me most of the time.

So how you handling the crash in the markets? Doing an investing or just sitting on your hands doing nothing?

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I am not god. I am a mere mortal as such my reality is defined by my own views. So your reality might not resemble mine because of your views. As such all opinions, ideas and investments on this blog might not work for you as they did for me. Be a big person and do your own research and make up your own mind before trying something. The opinions expressed are my own. You might need to contact a local professional for advice.



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