Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Magic Number

You know you move around alot when someone hears you're planning to stay somewhere for 7 months, and they say "WOW! Thats a long time!"

Norman and I have been living in Kelowna for almost 4 months. And I have discovered: the magic amount of time for living in a certain area is 3 months.

In the first month, you're just getting your bearings. Figuring out where the essentials are. What the best eateries are. Where to go see movies where the popcorn is fresh and not stale. (In case you don't know, popcorn is MY FAVORITE. And movies are EVEN MORE MY FAVORITE.) That sometimes, the chickens escape from their coop down the road and come chill in the orchard where you like to do yoga in the morning. 

Here's a photo from the top of a magical hike!

In the second month, you get to discover the extra little surprises - that every morning, there's a wind just after sunrise that makes all the fall colors shimmer like something out of a fairy tale. Or that there's a COOL little board game place where the owner can't organize to save his life, but he knows everything there is to know about all the thosuands of games in his shop. That there is a candy shop that carries every flavor of nerds.

In the third month, you get to benefit from your knowledge. Spend every day enjoying the magical little parks you've found, traipsing through the shortcuts you're sure no one else has figured out, and visiting your favorite breakfast place and chatting with the owner.

Then comes month four. The shininess of the place has worn off, replaced with a fatigue that has less to do with sleep, and more to do with needing a change. You're sick of that stupid wind. And the candy shop is always out of blue and orange nerds. The movie theater is too crowded sometimes. You're sick of the parks you've visited a thousand times, and don't have the energy to find any more. 

I go on a walk with Jewels and Lana every morning, and I walk by these homes of people who have lived there for long enough for their homes to have stone signs out front, proclaiming the name of the family that lives there. And I wonder what it's like to "put down roots". I picture these families as giant, sturdy, twisted oaks - strong, and deeply rooted to the ground. I wasn't built for "putting down roots".

I'm a tumbleweed. This is me:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Paralyzed with Indecision

All over the internet, and all over pinterest, you have these blogs. Pictures. Taglines.

"She travels the world and DOESN'T work! Learn how!"

"How to quit your job and become location independent."

"How to get out of the 9-5 grind."

Here's one, for reference:

And you click, and invariably, someone tells this story about how, 1 year ago, or 5 years ago, or 6 months ago, they quit their job. And then, they in detail describe to you how they now, after that period of radio darkness, have wonderful, life-affirming streams of passive income.

But no one ever, EVER posts about the dark, dark time in between. The time of potatoes, and pasta, and regretting purchasing those movie tickets. The time where a million things fall through, and you have all these harebrained ideas, and none come to fruition. That period? Everyone ignores that. No one wants you to see the anxiety, and the panic, and the questioning.

Because it's not pretty.

It's not a nice tagline.

And you know what? I decided that, even if I'm the only one who ever reads this, I'm going to chronicle that. The last week at the job you hate, where you can barely drag yourself out of bed. The COMPLETE lack of motivation, and total burnout from years of slaving away for employers who don't care if you're actually happy. 

So. Here I go.

This is my last week at work. And It is 12:25 PM right now. And I am still in bed. I did actually do a little work, but now I'm back in bed.

No makeup.

Lank hair. 

Just waiting for this week to expire. So I can get out of this place. 

And I'm completely paralyzed with indecision. What should I invest in? How can I get the most cashflow out of my capital? How does closing work on a house? Should I keep the internet when we move back to our condo for 2 weeks? If not, how will I overthink everything and search for investment properties that I will never call on?

Eventually, it gives me acid reflux. So here I am, in bed. In the past 2 days I have eaten wonderbread and a caramel apple. 

There is something inherently terrifying about an uncertain future.

Maybe, in 6 months, I'll look back on this and smile - how silly. Kind of how I look back on my apprehension at selling our house, and realize it was totally unfounded. But today?

Today is a day for Cream of Wheat and bed. And books.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How not to be a jerk: Lessons from a caretaker

I feel like, in my current job, I see the worst sides of people on a daily basis.

The side that decides that you don't feel comfortable having the caretaker into your suite to fix something because "What if you steal something??" (An actual question by a tenant.)

The part that decides that, in a communal living environment like a condo, lifting the lid to the dumpster is just too much work.

The part that decides that the caretaker maybe doesn't work as hard as you, so just leaving a box of unsorted recycling is fine, right?

The part that leaves your junkmail in the lobby.

Or touches the glass on the entry door.

Or allows your kids dirty hands to muck up the stainless steel on the elevator.

Or leaves an old vacuum/barbeque/mattress by the trash.

Those parts.

And I just have a few thoughts. Because we do all share this planet, after all.

1) Try not to make someone else's job harder. Decide you don't want those beans at the supermarket? Put them away - not next to the oreos, but where they belong.

2) Treat people as if they are having a bad day. Because odds are, they are. If you're too gentle, and someone takes advantage of you? LAY THE SMACK DOWN. But once you're mean to someone, that's it - its almost impossible to go back. So start with nice. If that doesn't get the job done, then break out the big guns.

3) If it belongs to you, it is your responsibility. End of story. This applies to literally everything. Your old mattress? Dispose of it properly. Your dog, and it bites someone? Take responsibility. Your junk mail? Throw it away. Your greasy hands on the glass/mirror/display? Wipe it off.

4) Don't let people bully you into saying yes. If it's NOT your responsibility, then tell them to piss off. NOT your mattress? Not your problem! Someone else's dog biting someone? Mind your own business. See someone doing something annoying or wrong? Leave them alone! If it's not physically harming anyone, mind your own business. Don't let people tell you that their dog peeing in the corridor is your job to clean. BECAUSE IT ISN'T

5) Last, and final piece, of advice is this: Don't be a douche. Pick up after yourself, follow through, and be honest. 9 times out of 10 people would prefer you say no than do a poor job or never finish.

And let's make this craziness a little easier on each other!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Basic life skills - or the lack thereof

I am a caretaker.

I caretake buildings.

"But Leah!" you say, aghast. "Didn't you get a fancy college degree?"

Yes. Yes I did. However, I have CHOSEN to work with my hands, problem solving and learning daily, rather than compete in the rat race. I probably earn less than you, but guess what? I don't have to interact with people all day, I get to be alone and do my thing. No one tells me when to do what. And, best of all, when my work is finished for the day, I go home.

Something that will never cease to amaze me is the general population's total lack of know-how or life skills. How did we, a first world society capable of AMAZING inventions, come up with the idea that knowing how things work is beneath us?

Here's a few examples:

1) Knowing how to do basic handyman adjustments. Change a lock, fix your squeaky door, adjust your sink lever, change out pipes. Do you know how many times I've gone in to someone's apartment, and the fix they waited for was LITERALLY for me to tighten a screw?

2) Basic plumbing maintenance. If all you know about plumbing is how to plunge your toilet, then you will overpay people do to EASY fixes for the rest of your life. Cleaning out your bathtup drain - easy. Slow draining sink? SUPER EASY. It really isn't rocket surgery.

3) How to do your taxes, and what everything means. How is it possible that something that LITERALLY EVERY PERSON IN THE COUNTRY OR OUT OF IT HAS TO DO has fallen through the cracks? What are capital gains? What are deductions? What can I deduct from my taxes? I feel like people would UNDERSTAND why they have to pay taxes better, as well as better allocate their money to causes they care about, if they understood, even on the most basic level, tax laws.

4) What to look for in a rental, how to do a move-in inspection, and how not to get scammed by a landlord. And what your rights are as a tenant! This one is huge. So many people have gotten scammed by a shady landlord. I was sitting next to someone on the ferry, as they explained that, even though the carpets were filthy when they moved it, the landlord made them steam them. GUESS WHAT? If you had taken pictures when you moved it, you could prove it.

5) Basic car maintenance. We do driver's ed, and driver's training, but no one seems to think we should be learning how to take care of the machine that is responsible for making explosions less than 5 feet from our faces to make us fly down the road at alarming speeds. How to parallel park? IMPERATIVE! Maintenance of explosion producing, speed machine directly in front of our faces? Who cares!

6) Budgeting. How to track expenses, and set a limit for things. Also, how credit works - and why it's important. I feel like half the people I know have either NO CREDIT or BAD CREDIT. Because no one taught us that a) we should have credit history, and b) bad credit can RUIN YOUR LIFE.

I'm in no way suggesting that I know all of these things. I'm merely stating that our view of what is "worth" our attention seems skewed. I can sove for x till the cows come home - but in my real life, daily existence, what is that really worth?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

We're selling our house!

Can you believe that?

So, for your viewing pleasure, I have chosen to share with you, dear readers, our professionally staged and photographed home. Enjoy!
Look how nice it is!!!

Front view of our building

Corner view

Another corner view

Front entrance

Living room!

Dining room!

Living room again!


Kitchen with stainless steel appliances, updated faucet, and laminate floors

Den with plush carpet

Kitchen bar area! Perfect for entertaining

Bedroom - looks out on private, fenced in yard

Walk in closet with built in shelving

Exterior area

Our giant patio! Lots of memories here. :-)

Dining nook

In suite washer dryer

Convex bathtub makes showering THE BEST

Tons of counter space, and a big, bright mirror!

This is what it actually looks like to dine outside. We did, every. Single. Day.

Cute little yard! It means your view won't change as the city does. :-)

Tennis Court

Pool and outdoor barbeque area

Basketball/racketball court

Community center

Community center

Community center

Exercise room

Community center exterior

What do you think? Here is our blurb:

Beautiful, private, updated ground floor condo with HUGE, fenced, North-facing patio! Private entry, interior - facing unit - no road noise, very quiet and peaceful. Includes updated laminate floors, stainless steel fridge, updated sink/faucet, and an electric fireplace. Features walk-in closet, in suite washer/dryer, and a seperate den/office. Private, secure, underground parking and bike locker are included. There are NO RENTAL RESTRICTIONS, which makes this a great investment property! 

Included in Maintenance fee is a membership to the Canoe Club- Tennis courst, exercise room, media room, yog room, two guest suites, playground, sauna and hot tub/pool. These units are in high demand for both purchase and rental!

For additional photos visit: https://www.cotala.com/tours/?tourid=20225

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dear World: SCREW YOU TOO. Sincerely, Leah


I got a giant mole removed from my thigh yesterday. It was a super short, totally non-traumatic procedure. My doctor, this beautiful blonde from South Africa, when she found out I was from California, actually stopped excising and said, deadpan:

"Why on EARTH would you live here if you could live in California?"

I got a few stitches, got bandaged up, and came home. No biggie, right?

WRONG. Enter The World.

In case were wondering, here is the super official, totally legit definition of The World, according to authorities:

The World: A douchebag entity that send problems, illnesses, inconveniences, traffic, paperwork, car repairs, and other negative experiences when you can least handle it.

So. Today? I was going to take it easy. Do some paperwork. Schedule some stuff.


Today, of all days, there were 2 seperate water leaks in the same building. There were notices to post. There were door handles that broke off, with people stuck inside their apartment. There were clogged sinks, and smudgy windows, and spilled slurpees.

There were tenants doing unauthorized moves, commandeering the elevator, forcing little old me to take the stairs. With brand new, burning, stinging stitches in my thigh.

There were Canadian banks refusing to serve me over the phone, because I'm "multicultural" (as my ignorant Canadian phone representative informed me) and have to visit a branch to get anything done.

There was a staging company sitting outside my house, waiting for credit card authorization, to go in and set up. While I was trying to get this bank to help me.

Now, it's 4:36 PM. I'm in my pajamas. And I'm NOT GETTING UP AGAIN, except for food and toilet. Because my tiny, no-big-deal, itty bitty little wound? It's bleeding again.

So, I send out this message to that douchebag entity: The World. SCREW YOU TOO.



Monday, August 29, 2016

On Compliments

When I was a missionary in Armenia, I would constantly compliment people I met.

"I LOVE your hat!"

"What a pretty scarf!"

"Your eyes are so pretty!"

To be fair, since I was just learning Armenian, it was probably more like:

"Your hat much pretty me!"

"Scarf very nice!"

"Eyes very pretty you!"

But the sentiment still probably came across.

I feel like, sometimes, we hold back praise because we're afraid of someone reacting poorly or strangely.

I even remember dating a guy who told me it was weird to give compliments to strangers, and that "I'd grow out of it".

Guess what?

I haven't.

I STILL think that, even if someone thinks I'm weird, or hitting on them, or unbalanced, I'm going to tell them that I think their pants are cute. Or that their hair color flatters their skin. Or that their earings are just to die for!

Why do I persist, you may ask?

Because that tiny, itsy, bitsy, teeny act of just speaking your mind  can change the course of a person's day.

Because it is almost no effort at all - you thought it, so say it!

And because, although this sounds selfish, if someone thought something nice about me, I wish they'd tell me.

Too many times, we look at ourselves and see only what should change. We don't notice how our eyes light up when we laugh, or that that salmon colored scarf makes us look SO BEAUTIFUL (I'm looking at you, Lauren!). Too many times, we just see the same old face, the same old hands, the same old flaws. And we miss the little things that make each one of us so lovely.

So here's a challenge for you: get out of your comfort zone, and speak your mind! Even if you're not comfortable telling a perfect stranger that her eyes are a gorgeous color, tell a friend. Or a family member. Tell them the little things you love about them. Tell them they look SO GOOD in those boots. Or those jeans make their butt look nice.*

Because, in the end, people like feeling appreciated.

And, at least in the case of strangers, who cares if they think you're weird? You'll probably never see them again.

*I would not recommend telling a perfect stranger that their butt looks nice. Side story: one time, when I was 18, a girl at church had 2 buns on the side of her head, almost Princess Leia style. She and I were acquaintances, and without thinking of the double meaning in the statement, I asked her if I could poke her buns.

It took me a few minutes to realize why she had moved seats to get away from me. :-)