the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Archive for the month “June, 2014”

A kick in the ball: How am I?

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Our family has been dealing with a health issue for the last few months. We are coming to the end of my husband’s treatment and, thankfully, he’s doing great. We’ve remained very private throughout all of this, however, in the interest that our story may help someone, provide some comfort or just spread the word about testicular cancer, I want to share what we’ve been going through and how we’ve been dealing with it. These are journal entries I have been keeping along the way…so, keep in mind, they are not in real time.


May 7th, 2014

People keep asking me how I am.  It’s a weird thing for me to think about, because it is Dave going through the treatment.  One of my best girlfriends (who went through chemo herself) told me that she thinks this will all actually be harder on me (emotionally) than it will be on Dave.  She explained that it may be stressful and frustrating because he can only tell me how he feels from day to day…I have no real way of knowing how things are physically affecting him.

So far, I’m okay.  I was more stressed out and upset before chemo started.  The worrying and waiting, wondering how we were going to manage the kids and finances and our day to day life was overwhelming.  Now that we’re finished round 1, I’m feeling like we can do this.  We’re a third of the way there.

Some days are really hard.  During the first week, Dave would need to come home and rest for most of the afternoon after treatment.  When I’m off work, it isn’t too difficult.  I can manage the house and kids…I get the dinner, bathe them and get them to bed….then I’d fold the laundry and, if he’s surfaced, Dave and I melt into the couch at the end of the day.  On the days that I work, my parents have been a tremendous help.  They pick the kids up from school, take them overnight on the weekend…stay in the evenings to help me around the house.  I feel so blessed to have the support system that I do.

We’re going to get through this…that is what keeps me sane.  When I start to lose it about the state of the house, the piles of dirty clothes or the renovation to our home that we’ve had to put on hold…I remind myself that this is temporary.  We are the lucky ones, where a cure is almost 100% guaranteed.  No pity parties here, people.

I’m good.

Next: Hair today, gone tomorrow


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Dear Christy Clark: where are you?? #bced

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I don’t know about you, but as another month comes to an end (what would have been our children’s last month in school) I have grown beyond frustrated with what is happening in B.C.’s education “system”.  System isn’t even the right word…for that to be correct, there would have to be some kind of order and consistency.  Ha!  Far from it.  I urge all parents to GET ANGRY about this.  Nothing will change if you don’t.  Whether you agree with the BCTF or the BC Government…or neither…it will not be until we as citizens put pressure on our elected officials (Remember?? they work for us!!) – nothing, absolutely effing nada will change.  Make your voice heard.  Write to your MLA and the Premier NOW!  Time’s a wastin’.  For serious.

Dear Premier Clark,
I am a mother, taxpaying citizen and born and bred British Columbian.  I am writing to express my anger and frustration with the BC Teacher’s strike.
It is my opinion that both sides in this dispute are playing a very dangerous political game.  Caught in the middle are B.C.’s families…the very families whom you and your government pledged to put first.
I urge you to fight for our families and our children…and to stop fighting with teachers.  I would like to see this dispute put to mediation as soon as possible and for a resolution to be reached before the start of the school year this September.
I have two young children.  My daughter will be entering grade 3 and my son will be starting Kindergarten.  I was originally considering sending my children to Catholic school.  However, my husband and I decided that we wanted to give our local, public school a chance.  I now feel like we may have made a mistake.  I am losing faith in both your government and our education system…I feel like neither have the interests of B.C.’s students and families at heart.  It is becoming clear that the objective of your elected government is profits over people…I’m sorry, but that is not what I voted for.
You have lost my support, Ms. Clark.  Where have you been during this entire debacle?  A mess, which in fact, can be traced all the way back to when you were Minister of Education.  Your silence on this issue is very telling…and is also beyond cowardly.
Please do the right thing and bring this issue to mediation.  Stop appealing the two rulings of the Supreme Court and settle with BC’s teachers.  Find a way to fix this and get our kids back to school in September – and ensure they can stay there, without disruption.
You made a huge mistake when you said you were about putting “Families First”…nothing I have seen (particularly in this situation) could be farther from the truth.
Sincerely,
Melissa Carr

Absurd Vancouver Property (June 27th, 2014)

A house around the corner from me just sold for $1.7 million!!!  It wasn’t a corner lot.  It wasn’t a 50 foot lot.  It was  a lovely, renovated home (stunning actually), but I would never have imagined that it would sell for that amount.

Recently, I read an article, which confirmed that in certain pockets of East Vancouver homes are fetching well over a million dollars.  I remember standing outside our current house (almost 6 years ago) and telling my real estate agent that I thought this (Main Street) would be the next million dollar neighbourhood.  I’m not sure I even believed myself.

So…here we are, sitting on a property that keeps going up in value with no real end in sight.  Each time there’s a sale like the one I mentioned above, my husband and I consider our options (and at the rate things are going, this happens quite frequently).  Last week, I told you about our discussions around moving to Squamish.  This week, however, I’m thinking of the opposite end of the 604.  Sunny Tswwassen.

For $1.7 million just north of the border, this is what your money will buy you:

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tswwassen2tswwassen3tswwassen4tswwassen5tswwassen7This 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom house is situated on a 10215 sq.ft. south lot backing onto a park.  It’s a short walk to the ocean, a stone’s throw from beautiful Point Roberts and Boundary Bay.  Tswwassen is a definite lifestyle choice.  Commuting could be difficult as you have to contend with the ridiculousness of the George Massey Tunnel…but, if I could afford it I think I’d rather spend $1.7 million on this rather than this:

1.6 million vancouver

Would you rather have a mansion in the suburbs or a tear down cottage in the city??

 

 

 

 

 

 

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Shaunna Prentis

62519_10152556366365363_314578712_nShaunna decided to start her blog to share her daily Mis-Adventures in Mommyhood when she had her first son hoping that it would help someone else along the way or at the very least bring a smile to their face.   Now she’s a single parent with two amazing little boys who teach her new things about herself and the world around her every day.  As a woman who has always enjoyed the arts, good food, good wine and great company Shaunna is now rediscovering how to keep that elusive balance that every mother needs.

 


 

 

What characteristics define the Vancouver Housewife?

There are so many different aspects to a “Vancouver Housewife” As a single parent I would have to say the characteristics that would define any single mom would be hardworking, someone who enjoys life, outdoorsy , creative ,easygoing and loves their coffee and tea.

Are you a good representation of a Vancouver Housewife? Why?

I would have to say absolutely! I am hardworking but also know how to take it easy and have fun. I love my life , children and starbucks 😉

Do you feel that living in Vancouver in some way defines who you are? Please explain.

Yes of course. I was born and raised in Vancouver and I love it. I have to say that sometimes I wish i was more outdoorsy but all in all I am a vancouverite through and through.

Have you ever had cosmetic surgery, Botox, Restalyne injections, etc.? If so, please provide details. If you haven’t had any of the above procedures performed, would you consider it?

No I havent. But to be quite honest I would never say no to it. Bring on the tummy tuck!

Other than your children (if applicable), what is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?

I am so very proud that I am have somehow managed a buisness , working full time a blog all the while being a single parent. Its been a struggle at times but I am floored by how much i have accomplished.

Has the desire for affluence/power/money been a motivator in the choices you’ve made for your life?

Honestly yes and no. Of course more money has been a motivator , Vancouver can be expensive and I want my children to have the best life possible. As for affluence and power its not a priority.

Tell us about your stuff. What do you like to buy, collect, etc.?

I am a purse snob. I love purses.

Do you have “staff” in your home? (E.g. nanny, driver, chef, etc.) No but if i could I would. That would make things that much easier .

Do you belong to any clubs, teams, groups or social organizations?

No I keep myself.  I’m fairly busy and, sadly, don’t have time

Finish this sentence: “My life’s motto is ….”

Life life to the fullest. Be true to who you are and have fun!

Why I felt ashamed at my son’s kindergarten orientation

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My son is starting Kindergarten in September.  Earlier this month we attended a “Welcome to Kindergarten” event at our local school.  All the children who will potentially be in class with my little boy were in attendance (there will be two kindergarten classes).  As all the children excitedly took their places, the parents looked on from the back of the room.  This wasn’t my first time doing this, as my daughter will be in grade three next year.  However, there was something different for me this time around.  I noticed that, in my mind, I was trying to assess the size and composition of the incoming kindergarten class…and I felt ashamed of myself for doing it.

After all we hear about the state of public education in B.C., there is one thing that I think is not being addressed: how impressions around class size and, in particular, composition affects how parents and children feel about their school and classmates.  As I observed the orientation, I could find myself trying to count how many children might possibly be ESL or developmentally challenged.  What could the composition of my child’s class potentially look like?

What an awful way to look around a room of excited, innocent children.  Our struggling public education system has done this to us.  Just as lack of funding and support is not fair to the children who need extra/added assistance in the classroom, it is also unfair to “typical” learners who are not getting the one-on-one attention that every child needs, craves, and thrives with.  I am ashamed to admit that I was essentially “profiling” a group of five and six year olds.  After everything I have heard in the media, from teachers and from other parents, I have become so frustrated and even paranoid about how much my children’s educational experience will be affected by the lack of adequate funding for our system.

I wish it wasn’t like this.  I wish I could attend my son’s kindergarten orientation and see a wonderfully diverse group of students and know that each of them would be given the very best start possible.  I wish each child who speaks English as a second language would have resources available to help them learn the primary language spoken in their country.  I wish every developmentally challenged child who has the capacity to learn within an integrated system had the proper supports to allow them to do this.  I wish gifted children were able to be challenged in the classroom by their teachers…not once in a while…but every, single day.  Finally, I wish “typical” learners could have the attention they, too, need and deserve.

What is in place right now is simply not enough…and it makes it difficult for me to even get excited about my kid starting school.  That, in itself, is a real shame.

Have you, too become more acutely aware of your child’s class size and composition in light of the recent events in BC Education?  What are your impressions?

A kick in the ball: week 1

Our family has been dealing with a health issue for the last few months. We are coming to the end of my husband’s treatment and, thankfully, he’s doing great. We’ve remained very private throughout all of this, however, in the interest that our story may help someone, provide some comfort or just spread the word about testicular cancer, I want to share what we’ve been going through and how we’ve been dealing with it. These are journal entries I have been keeping along the way…so, keep in mind, they are not in real time.


April 27, 2014

After the weeks of waiting…Dave’s chemotherapy treatments began on Tuesday.  It’s weird to say, but I think one of the biggest stresses was waiting for it to begin.  For me, it was like standing on the edge of a freezing cold lake, knowing you have no choice but to jump in and swim.  You really, really don’t want to do it…but you HAVE to.  And, once you’re in, the stress of anticipation is gone, the fear of the unknown dissipates…you get used to the water once you’re in. I accompanied Dave to his first treatment.  We were ready.  Armed with a bags of books and food and electronics, these four hours were going to fly by.  It must have been obvious that this was our first day.  Everyone else who came into the centre that day had very little with them.  Maybe a book, maybe some headphones.  We had luggage.  It was comical. We checked in and went to sit in the waiting area.  After about 20 minutes we were shown to room 630, where Dave’s treatment would be administered.  There were four awful green armchairs in the room.  A lady, already hooked up to her cocktail, sat in one.  The other three were empty.  Dave chose the one closest to the washroom…a wise choice, except that it was a bum chair and he’d have issues with it all day. His nurse sat down across from him and went over the treatment.  She discussed all the potential side effects…again.  At this stage we’re tired of hearing about what may or may not happen as a result of the medications.  We just want to do this.  She went over the anti-nausea medication and steroids that Dave has to take.  After that, she went off to prepare his IV. I hate needles.  But, for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes away when that first one poked through Dave’s vein.  This is it, I thought.  No turning back.  I blinked away tears and smiled at him.  He is so brave.  Honestly, I would be scared shitless if I were in that seat.  Dave closed his eyes and breathed deeply.  We held hands and he relaxed back into the chair.  After a few minutes, he asked if I’d mind if he put on his headphones to listen to some music…go nuts, I said.  As far as I was concerned, he could do whatever he liked.

Chemo…like a BOSS!

Chemo…like a BOSS!

I got out my laptop and did some work.  We chatted on and off through the few hours we were there.  What I realized is that, all in all, chemo is pretty boring.  Dave had 4 more treatments in a row this week.  I asked him if he wanted someone to sit with him each day.  He said no.  Not unless someone wanted to come visit. The following day, my Dad dropped Dave to his treatment as I was in work.  We texted back and forth through the day…when I was finished work, I went down to meet him and drive him home.  My office is literally a five minute walk from the BC Cancer Agency, so on Thursday, I was able to go and sit with him during my lunch. Friday was a gong show.  Asher had a dentist appointment to get two fillings.  When he woke up I had to give him two sedatives with his breakfast.  After I dropped Cait to school and got myself ready, I had to get my two boys to their appointments.  At this stage, Asher was pretty out of it.  He was floppy and upset because he said his stomach was hurting.  Dave was feeling pretty weak, so he was waiting in the car as I juggled Asher, my bag, and locking the door.  Normally, I’d be frustrated and yelling at Dave to help me.  But, this time, I couldn’t.  I had to figure out how to do this on my own. I dropped Dave to treatment and then drove the few blocks to the dentist’s office.  Luckily, Asher was able to walk a bit then…and we made it to the appointment in one piece.  He was so brave, like his dad.  He got his fillings and then I took him for lunch.  He wanted a cheeseburger, so we grabbed a bite nearby and then I asked him if he wanted to go see Daddy…he’s getting his special medicine at a building close by, I explained.  He wanted to go, so off we went.

My boys…both of them make me so proud.

My boys…both of them make me so proud.

All in all, thusfar, the side effects have been minimal.  He’s tired and each day that he’s come home from treatment, he’s been diligent about resting, usually taking a nap for most of the afternoon.  His appetite is good and he’s been eating regularly and really healthily.  Mostly, he doesn’t complain.  Just a bit of nausea, which he’s been able to manage with acupressure, and some heartburn (something I can really relate to from pregnancy).  He’s a champ. On Friday night my parents took the kids overnight.  We decided to take advantage and go out.  We shared a burger at one of our favourite local spots and went to see a movie.  It was a really nice night.  We were both so relaxed…we’ve gotten used to the water, for now.

Next: How am I?

City of Vancouver to #TalkTankers with youth

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As discussions about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline proposal continue, the City of Vancouver and SFU Centre for Dialogue are inviting the public, with a focus on youth aged 30 and under, to participate in an open forum on June 24, 2014 to discuss their views on the pipeline expansion proposal.

Talk Tankers is an “open space” event that will provide Vancouver residents the opportunity to learn more about the pipeline and exchange information and ideas around the proposed expansion with each other.

The City has official intervener status to participate in the National Energy Board hearings on Kinder Morgan’s proposed oil pipeline expansion. The questions and considerations raised in this event will help inform the City’s process, ensuring that all voices are heard.

People are also encouraged to join the conversation online at #TalkTankers or fill out an online survey

Talk Tankers Open Forum
Date and time: June 24, 2014 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3

Attendees are encouraged to register online

Plan to debankify this summer with PC Financial

Why shouldn't summer be THIS carefree?

Why shouldn’t summer be THIS carefree?

I’m pretty sure this is the most scheduled summer we have ever had as a family. After the stress of the last few months, I wanted to ensure I had a game plan! An organized schedule keeps me relaxed and calm…I am happy knowing what’s coming up next.

That’s not to say that our summer is going to be dull! We have some exciting stuff on our calendar. We’ve got a few road trips, a week at a cottage with friends and at the end of it all we’re heading to Portugal for almost 3 weeks with my parents! Bottom line, I can’t wait for summer to begin.

Most Canadians are like me. They like to plan and know what they can expect…especially when it comes to their finances. A recent survey for PC Financial showed that Canadians’ 2 biggest concerns when it comes to dealing with their banks are time and money – and they say the big banks aren’t delivering. Further, 79% of Canadians say ‘good banking’ is a bank that saves them money BUT only 35% of Canadians say their bank actually delivers. Almost half of Canadians (49%) say ‘good banking’ is about simplifying their lives…so that they can spend their time enjoying it, rather than worrying about money.

I’m excited to share with you that PC Financial is encouraging Canadians to “debankify”:

  • For a limited time, earn 2.5% interest on new deposits and up to $150 worth of PC points
  • Save up to $200 a year compared with the big banks, with PC Financial no fee daily banking – money you can spend on whatever you’d rather be doing
  • Earn everyday rewards with PC points, redeemable at Loblaw banner stores for free groceries and merchandise (over $1 billion in rewards redeemed to date)

PC points are amazing! I usually use them for fun things like clothes for my kids at Joe Fresh, summer toys for the back yard, or yummy treats for camping!   There’s nothing quite like being rewarded for good planning…I can definitely get on board with that!


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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of President’s Choice Financial®. The opinions on this blog are my own.

 

Absurd Vancouver Property (July 19, 2014)

Finding a “liveable” house in Vancouver for under $1 million is beginning to get harder and harder.  With the average price of a westside detached home soaring to over $2 million and the average eastside price hovering around $900K, it’s no wonder so many people are making the decision to move right out of the city.

This is something my husband and I often consider.  Our home has (insanely) doubled in value since we purchased it in 2008 (when it was affordable for us).  We fantasize about cashing in…but where would we go??  Well, we’ve been thinking a little outside of the box lately and, in the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing a few of the areas we’ve been considering.

Squamish

Squamish is located on the Sea to Sky Highway, mid-way between the two host venues of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games: Vancouver, the largest city in the province of British Columbia, and Whistler, a four-season mountain resort consistently ranked the number one ski resort in North America. – squamish.ca

About an hour drive from Vancouver, Squamish is slowly becoming a popular bedroom community and alternative to living in the city.  The average price for a house in Squamish is $475K…so finding something that is relatively new, move in ready and modern for a healthy budget is relatively easy.

Here’s one that we are quite taken with:

The price? $629K.  Note, it is a strata-titled property…however, there are many, many freehold properties in the area that are within a $6-800K price range and are AH-Mazing!!  The downside is that Squamish may be a little too far for a lot of commuters.  However, it is becoming a very popular community with families.  There are great schools, amazing outdoor activities and up and coming restaurants.  I feel like it’s a matter of time before there is a rapid-transit system into downtown Vancouver from Squamish.  Definitely a place to watch.

For $6-700K in Vancouver what do you get?

Knight street

This great little bunker…er…bungalow on busy Knight Street.  It looks like that electricity might fall right down on the house, doesn’t it??

Vancouver…are you f*%king kidding me??!!

 

Kim Kardashian’s leaning in

Kim Kardashian and sister Kourtney leave apartment building with baby North in the stroller, NYC

Do you think Kimmy read Sheryl Sandberg’s recent bestseller, Lean In, where the author controversially claims that women are the only ones standing in their own way of “having it all”?  A recent photo (above) featured on Time.com would seem to say so.  Kardashian is pictured strutting in “business attire”, with perfectly coiffed hair, flawless make up, sexed up to the max while pushing baby North in a stroller.  I imagine the intention of this photo (please Lord, say it isn’t another spread for Vogue!) is to exclaim, “I have it all…I can be it all.”

Yet…I’m horrified by it.  Why do we need to be or do everything?  There’s an old saying…”it’s easier to do a many things poorly than a few things well.”  And, don’t even get me started on the power blazer with the boobs out.  Perhaps she’s thinking the breast feeding advocates will love this…personally, I threw up in my mouth a little.

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