Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A portmanteau blog today

Seems there's lots to talk about now that I've unearthed the old photos. I've dug down to the bottom of the box. I was mainly looking for family photos at first, and set a bunch of others aside for the moment. I've finished the first pass through, where the negatives match, or mostly match the photos.  If I see one photo I want, I'll typically do them all. What's left is negatives with no photos, or negatives that don't match the photos, or ones where I have to decide if it's worth digitizing. I'm not sure what my criteria will be there.

While for many photos we don't know the exact date, not even to the nearest year for sure, there's a series coming that I not only know the exact date, but the time of day as well. Just over 13,900 days ago, if you want a hint. I just hadn't known I had negatives for it.

These two are even older than that, back to when we first moved into the house in the fall of 1984, because that's when the house next door was built. We had barely moved in, and being poor as church mice we had hardly anything to put in the house. So far I haven't seen any photos from the townhouse we lived in just down the street. I'm pretty sure we had the camera then. 

A brief real estate digression. We bought the property and built the house for $94,000 all up. We put down $10K which was essentially nearly every bit of cash we had. We were terrified. That mortgage seemed like all the money in the world, and the interest rate of about 13% didn't help. But between our two annual incomes we were making a large fraction of that mortgage. We scraped by at first, by the skin of our teeth.

In fact that's one of the reasons Linda didn't change her name. I wasn't hung up about it, and by changing her name her bank would have merged our bank accounts and worse, closed out her independent credit card. We were close enough to the line that we could easily foresee circumstances where we might need to take advantage of both credit limits.

Gradually the interest rates dropped and we got raises. We changed to a weekly mortgage, and put a bit extra on every year, sort of split between RSP and mortgage. At first the amount going against the principle was essentially nothing, but our equity gradually grew. We ended up paying it off in 13 years, I think. You have no idea how freeing it is to own your own home, free and clear.

Buying the house was foundational to our current lives. It gave us emotional and financial stability. Every now and then I wonder what it would be like to live in some of the places I see. A swanky condo in a nice part of town. Some of the homes in the rich parts of town. A funky loft downtown. We've seen a few places where if we didn't already have a house, we might have bought, but haven't seen anything so nice as to drive us to sell this house.

But I now feel sorry for people looking to buy their first home. Prices are stratospherically stupid, requiring what I think of a really high annual salary to carry the mortgage. Interest rates are going up. Anybody that doesn't already have a home with lots of equity, or a winning lotto ticket, or very generous parents, is taking on a mountain of debt, a  whole mountain range of debt.

When we  bought the house the intent was to live here until we couldn't anymore. We didn't know if our kids would eventually drag us out because we couldn't cope, or we'd dwindle along until something happened that made it clear to us we needed to move into assisted living. Even so, we're prepared to pay for that assistance to come to us. Now people buy houses as an investment, a place to live a little while, then flip it for a bigger place. A huge part of our economy is mortgage dept, and household debt. Eventually it's going to end badly for a lot of people.

Even if I say so myself, this is one of the best of both of us. For the life of me I don't know who took the photo. It was not a timed shot I set up and rushed to be in frame. The cat might be Thorin, it's hard to tell. Same colour as Nefertitti, just a bit smaller.

What looks odd now is there are no trees visible, other than the sapling to my immediate right, which isn't there anymore. Now there are lots of trees that would be visible from here, and a couple are the height of a 3 or 4 story building.

Oh heck. Why not give you a current photo for comparison? This is today, a few minutes ago as I write this. Taken with an infinitely better camera and lens, at a somewhat wider focal length. I wanted to include the big tree in our neighbour's front yard. I'm amazed it's still alive after the several attempts to kill it. He wanted grass under that tree, not pine needles.

Only two couples have lived in that house. The couple that built it moved out shortly after, and a couple from Hong Kong moved it. I suspect we're going to get new neighbours soon. The Mr passed away about a year ago. Two years ago? The Mrs had a fall and is in care now. Nobody really expects her to come back. Their son is living there some of the time, but he has a home of his own not far away. I'm expecting a for sale sign any time.

AMA. Ask Me Anything. This is often something I do about this time of year though I'm a bit later than usual. I've had some great questions from my readers in previous versions, and I'm hoping for the same this year. Sometimes I find it hard to write about something, yet a question will set me off. I could give you a link to previous versions, but I'm feeling lazy. They're easy enough to find in my blog archive off to the right. 

So feel free to AMA by leaving it in the comments, or sending me an email to keith at nucleus dot com, or texting me if you know my number. Anything at all. 

Facebook has been annoying me more than usual lately, and I'm thinking it's time I took a vacation from it. Is no Facebook February a thing? While the number of items is still somewhat weighted towards friends, the ads take up much more space, and the reels or clips or whatever the video thingies are called take up more yet. However I'm pretty sure I'm not seeing all that my friends post, and sometimes it doesn't show me something that was there earlier, which is annoying AF. Lots of times I like to think before I comment, or want to come back to a post for some other reason.

Today there's some stupid popup about cross app messaging that I'm not interested in, but it won't go away. So if you rely on Facebook to remind you to come visit my blog, or you don't want to dig through your bookmarks folder, feel free to send me your email and ask to be added to my Blog Notification list. Then you get first notice of blog updates on either platform, and often there are some extra little tidbits. Feel free to send the request along with the AMA suggestion. 

Of the Day



Film (new) I've skipped a bunch of winter scenes. We're going through a cold snap right now, and I'm getting quite enough snow and ice without looking at more of it in photos.

Film (old)
The back yard under the first bit of construction, with Sebastian returning from his rounds. 

1 comment:

  1. Love the history and the log panorama is appealing. Cheers


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