Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Probably not surprisingly, Bonnie's passing has shaken a lot of my life loose. For one thing, it implies an end, for the time being, I hope, of major expenditures on feline health. Ally is three, I think, and Seth is four or five, so it ought to be a while yet before I'm back in this position for the same reason.

A couple of other things, tangential to Bonnie's death, happened yesterday. Larry was good enough to answer the call when he got off shift at noon, and was over here just after the vet left with her body. He apologized for not being here for her passing, but I knew that wasn't realistic in any case. It was touching that he arrived so quickly.

I didn't want to sit around where Bonnie had just died, so we went out to the Queen Vic. The beer flowed. He listened while I talked about Bonnie and what had just happened. It must have been strange for him; he'd seen her less than 24 hours earlier and had borne witness to her confusion in trying to drink water. And there we were, so soon after, and I was telling him about how she'd passed. Well, it was strange for me too.

Eventually our conversation turned to his job prospects. He's grown very disenchanted with his workplace, where he's been for 13 years, and is actively seeking a new situation. He has hopes of a place that will pay him far better, out in Mississauga at Mississauga Road and the 407, not far at all from where I used to live. He expressed, in no uncertain terms, the clear points of his disaffection with the place he's working now. All the while it was occurring to me that I want to get out of this condo, and I began thinking. Why not both? If he gets the job, he wants to become a homeowner. But as I can attest, you don't get much for one income in the GTA, and the kind of place I have is not what he has in mind... but it's all he's going to get. So I threw it out there: what about going in on a place together... a place that's really two places? A place with one of those basement apartments with a separate entrance? That would give him what he wants... decent space that's his own, a lawn, a non-condo situation... and meets my needs as well. No more elevators, no more condo fees and rules, and something like the same space. The chance to have a dog again, in a situation where it make sense to have one. Naturally, he said he couldn't commit, since he doesn't even have the job yet. He was fair; said he wouldn't say yes and wouldn't say no... but I do remember he seemed impressed by the idea when I ran it past him.

I'm kind of unhappy with things too. When I started working for the company I'm with now three years ago, we were independent. Then we were scooped up by a huge multinational. They do take care of their people, but I went from working with people I could turn around and talk to, to sitting in a giant complex, surrounded by people I don't know and barely speak to, and everyone I work with in a different city. I just spent the last three weeks or so working out on my enclosed balcony, spending time with Bonnie and keeping an eye on her. And after she died, it hit me... what am I living in North York for? For years, it was because I had to be close to the office I had to drive into. But for two years now, that hasn't been the case. I don't really want to work from home... I'd rather work in a group of people I know and see everyday. But if it's all the same, sitting here or sitting in an office, then why stay here? I sent an email off to my former manager, the one I came into the company with, who works from home. She said that given I'm not working in situ with anyone in the office, she couldn't see how my working from home permanently would be a problem. Which pretty much frees me up to move wherever I want...

I would like to move west. To be in the middle of the array of people I care about instead of at one far edge. To be out of this place with little in it but sad, bitter, lonely memories. To be out of an apartment situation and back on the ground. I think I can manage it on my own but if Larry gets the job and he's persuaded by my suggestion, it could be done with style.

Just after Bonnie died, my friend Dig sent an email about my financial situation to his wife, CCing me. She was a financial adviser at the bank with which I do business, and between them they suggested talking to the bank about assuming my mortgage and rolling my line of credit, loaded down with the cost of trying to keep three innocent little cats alive over a year and a half, into the mortgage. When I pay for Bonnie's euthanasia and her ashes and paw print, it will be back over $13,000. Last October I tried getting serious about it. I cancelled my retirement savings plan contributions and started laying on $500 a pay. It was going well... I was about to cross the $10,000 threshold when Bonnie's health issues raised their head again recently. A thousand dollars a month that could be freed up to pay into retirement, to pay down the mortgage quicker... could it be possible?

I begged off this morning, with my managers' kind indulgence, and spoke to a financial adviser at my bank. She made what was a very good offer. A whole point off the mortgage interest rate, locked in for five years, payment of the legal fees. All I had to do was provide her with a ballpark of the maximum units like mine are selling for (considerably more than I paid two years ago, as it turns out) and find out what the penalty for early discharge of the mortgage was. She figured two or three thousand dollars.

So, I sent an email to my real estate agent from a couple of years ago, asking what's the best a place like mine can fetch, and then called the bank way out west that holds my mortgage. The penalty? $7400. Ouch. But oddly enough, that's just slightly less than I'll save in interest rates over five years anyway.

I got back in touch with the financial adviser and so, working with those figures, it looks like I will be able to get about $161K, applied to a balance of $144.4K, and the $13K on the line of credit... that leave something like $4,000 outstanding in the line of credit. That would mean if I keep my shoulder to the wheel for just four more months, that line of credit that's been preying on my mind since Twinkle died will finally be off my back. Yes, I'll have less equity in this place when I go to sell it, but all that money will be freed up soon to start planning for retirement and even pay more than I have to on the mortgage. So I'm going in to make the application on Thursday.

Meanwhile, my real estate agent phoned me up and we talked for fifteen minutes. He said he'd actually been planning to call me anyway, to keep in touch... a good business move. I mentioned that I was keen to get out of here, and why, and that I'd like to look a little west of here. He's going to call me Monday to set up a time we can meet over coffee and just talk about what it all means, the possibilities and realities of it.

A lot's now going on again, suddenly. It doesn't mean for sure I'll be out of here, or that it'll happen soon... but it does mean the wheels are in motion, and when I remember how quickly things came together when I was out to buy this place, I know it's entirely possible that I could be blogging in a different home this time next year.

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