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There's Got To Be A Harder Way
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Twice the citizen, 85% the soldier's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, February 9th, 2013
6:27 pm
Five Year Plans And So On
Well, I've reconciled myself to the moving thing, and while I'm not totally happy about it, over a dinner date with my wife, we've sort of come up with a way to make it more palatable.

This summer, when I went on leave from Afghanistan, we met up in Frankfurt-am-Main and traveled to Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and Vienna before she went back to Canada and I carried on to Jordan and back to Afghanistan.

I had already become rather enamoured with Europe in general from a previous trip there, on business, where I spent time in Munich and Regensburg. And I rather smugly sent her an email asking why exactly we didn't live in Europe. The discussion got more interesting at the end of our trip when we realized there's no particularly good answer, at least in the long term, to that question.

When I got back to Afghanistan I started doing some preliminary research, and it's not a particularly hard thing to do to move since I'm a British citizen, giving me the right to take up residence anywhere in the EU. Joy's not, but from what I can tell, as long as she accompanies me it's not a problem. We know from looking into a sojourn in Ireland that we'd simply have to register her at the local Garda station and she'd be legally considered a resident of Ireland - far simpler than immigration to Canada! It looks like it's similarly trouble free elsewhere, I think.

So, what we're looking at is a five year (ish) plan to actually become expatriates. Where, exactly, we haven't settled on. Berlin and Munich lend themselves well to the idea in terms of being places full of expats, also Brussels because with NATO's HQ being there I could quite possibly land a job there. Why five years? Well, that provides the time to actually prepare - to start getting money put away, to wrap up things here, hopefully be able to dispose of our condo here, and that kind of thing, and to make the connections necessary to find work there. It'll include most likely a long vacation (1-2 months) to spend time in the main contender cities and see if it's still what we want to do.

But it's giving me something to plan around, something to look forward to, and that makes the mundane nature of life in general a bit less so...
Sunday, January 27th, 2013
2:23 pm
Into 2013
Well, I think I'm going to wind up putting this journal back into use, because I need somewhere to write about stuff that I don't need to connect to other places. Not that I hide all that much or anything, but this has always been more of me telling my stories than opining much on things or ranting and raving or whatever. And yet, for all the social media outlets I use, they're not really connected. Unless I invite people to connect them. I wonder how easily someone cold put all the puzzle pieces together on me...

In the style of Rene Artois (of Allo Allo fame), as you will remember, I got home from Afghanistan at the end of October to a lot of uncertainty and what was basically a lot of discomfort. I actually was worried I was slipping into some sort of rut of depression actually. I spent every moment that the weather was good on my motorcycle. That actually was a sort of catalyst for my realizing something was wrong. When finally I put it away, I was pretty much miserable. I could barely motivate myself to do anything, actually, and I was frustrated with the work situation. I went back to doing what I was doing before my tour, sort of anyhow, but I just didn't have the motivation for it. I didn't want to be there, I couldn't get going at anything. I realized that wasn't going to work.

So I panicked, but in ways I can never explain but am always grateful for, things seem to mostly have worked out.

When we moved to Nova Scotia in January 2010, it was sort of an experiment. We came hoping we could make a go of it, that we'd find good jobs, make lots of friends, and build a life there. While we have certainly made great friends the career picture hasn't totally panned out and for where I want to go for the future it isn't likely to, so I realized I had to start looking more broadly for work, and I started warming up old contacts in Ontario. It seemed the natural course. We still own a condo there, we have lots of friends there, and while I will miss a lot about Halifax, well, there's plenty of reason to move on.

At the end of December I traveled to Ontario for a week and met as many people as I could, and returned with a job offer, remarkably close to where I worked before actually. I have some other leads I'm still chasing, but this one seems like it could work out and I'm going to go and give it a try.

For January, faced with a 100% commission job and no leads, I decided to quit my job and I took an army callout which has kept me in the Ottawa area, living in a hotel, and doing a job I'm totally not qualified for but which I'm learning quickly. It is sort of interesting stuff, I'm LOCON (which means, I think, "lower control" for a huge joint military exercise - the training audience is the very highest level of the Canadian military, planning and executing a massive operation in a fictitious country with a very complicated series of political, social, economic, and security problems. What we're doing is playing one of the units deployed, getting tasks from the higher command, planning and executing them, and injecting things into their process (chucking spanners into the works, really). It's interesting stuff, though sometimes tedious between network problems, waiting for things to happen, and so on. And it's run in a SECRET environment so I can't take any electronics in to amuse myself. I've been doing lots of crosswords and learning to play sudoku instead, when I'm not doing actual work, which comes in fit and starts.

So, I go back to Halifax this week, and spend a couple of weeks there getting ready to move, and then I take off. We move back into the condo March 1, after giving our tenants the nicest, friendliest boot we could (and hoping they leave the place in good nick), and life goes on. I'll be back to NS in April to get my motorcycle, and hopefully, within about six months I'll start making good money in this new job, all the while keeping my eye out for new things. Joy has to make the drive from NS to Ontario herself with the cats (because I have to be in Ontario for training) but I think she'll be alright, it's not that rough and she need not rush). We're splurging on proper movers, too, which should help. It's worth the money in my view.

So, here's to 2013 being a better year than 2012. Though it'll mostly be hard, it was pretty good year. And, on with the show.
Saturday, December 1st, 2012
12:20 pm
Reopening The Book To Carry On The Story
I think I actually might start using this journal again - just for stuff I don't want to put out anywhere else. I have so many social media type accounts of various types all covering different stuff. This one has always been more of a personal nature I guess, and it's interesting that it has carried a story so long. That, incidentally, reminds me that I should export it lest it suddenly disappear.

I'm home from Afghanistan. After eight months, some incredible experiences, and getting some really interesting perspectives of the world, on life, on my life and where it should head, I'm home. I've been back a bit over a month, and adjusting is not easy at all, to be honest. It's been in some ways the absolute worst experience of my life, actually. You wouldn't expect that at all, would you? You'd expect getting back to home, to friends, to family, to everything you left behind would be simple. You'd be wrong, though.

Eight months living in what amounted to a sort of a comfortable prison, surrounded by a group of people with a tremendous common bond of military service all trying to make the most of their time was actually incredible. Getting established into routines there, adjusted to a lifestyle, even if it was at times rough, made the whole thing quite comfortable and having that come undone when you return is not easy.

It actually is what differentiates reserve soldiers from regular soldiers, I think. Or at least, it has the potential to. Over there, we were all equals. The differences between the two groups were merely in identities and cap badges, but other than for occasional comedic sparring, they're irrelevant. But getting off the plane back in Canada is where it changes. The Regular Force soldier goes home, and has his two months of leave (or more, as it turns out for many of us), and then goes back to work, or on to his next posting, or whatever. For a lot of reservists, all you go back to is uncertainty. Yes, we get the same leave, so I'm collecting pay for a couple of months, but in that time period I have to sort out a lot of things, not least of which is a job. See, while I went on a leave of absence from my employer, and had a position to come back to, a lot has changed in a year. With them, and with me. I have some different ideas about what I want to do with myself, and the position held for me to return to is not really what I want to do anymore. And it's not a salaried job, it's something that requires a sense of passion, of commitment. And I don't have that anymore. It's just not there. It's gone.

I figured that out before I even left Afghanistan and started looking for other positions more to my liking, and I thought I had managed to find one, but found out not long ago that I'd blown the final interview (which is sort of a normal thing for me) and didn't get the job. And my other main plan has fallen through based on something of a ridiculous technicality. Cue a rather significant spiraling that at least I'm smart enough to recognize and not try to remedy in stupid ways like I used to be prone to. I'm just feeling a terrible sense of inertia, being stuck essentially in a job that I don't really want to do, and the old chestnut of "at least someone is paying you while you look for something else" doesn't really apply, because not only is this a terribly slow time of year, I can't even start doing any business.

It's not really much fun, to be honest.
Saturday, May 5th, 2012
3:07 pm
Been Quite A While, Hasn't It?
I've hardly posted anything here in the last couple of years, and I mostly blame Twitter which I find more fulfilling in terms of interaction, but the one drag of it is that you can't really go back over time to see what was going on - to see where you've come from to get where you are now. I still love pulling random dates up on this LJ to read about the way I saw life at various points over time. It's kind of amazing, in a way. There are people whose life stories as captured by LJs and other blogs have fascinated me. It's amazing to think that I started this back in October 2001 as an undergrad, sitting at a messy desk in Peterborough, Ontario, and today, I'm sitting a messy desk in Kabul, Afghanistan.

I've used writing as a form or introspection and therapy for a lot longer than that - since I was about 15 and I started carrying around little pocket notebooks in which I'd scribble down all sorts of things - stream of consciousness musings on life, and that sort of thing. I still do to a large extent, I guess I like the idea what I can just toss out ideas and see them become clearer - and sometimes, people read them and like them even.

I've even been able to see how my points of view about the world have changed over time, which is fascinating.

As I sit here now, alone in the office after a good hour long workout, I'm working to that end again. My tour here ends in a bit less than six months, and at that point I will face a fairly significant set of decisions to make - about where to go next, essentially. I'm on a leave of absence from my "day job" at the moment, but nothing in the world makes me quite as unhappy as the idea of returning to it. Within a big company there's lots of opportunities, but not all of them are clear at the moment, and many of the options will require me to move again - back to Ontario most likely, back to the place I found myself most miserable by the end of my time there.

Before I left, I applied to transfer from the Reserve Force to the Regular Force as well - it would be a decent go, to be honest, I'd go across as a Captain making a pretty good salary, able to buy back my pension so that I could retire at a reasonably young age, and ideally in a trade I'd find intellectually stimulating and offering the prospect of more education, something I desperately want but can't figure out how to afford.

That also brings the prospect of more tours, which is good. In fact, I'd love to work as a contractor over here, but realistically, that's not a possibility because the reality of being separated from my lovely wife becomes clear fairly quickly, and neither of us are especially fond of it, but it does come with the path I chose.

I can't help but feel sometimes like I made the wrong decisions, but there's no real point in complaining about them - I made them long ago and can't change them - mine is now only to try to find a new route - but again, there's a trick to that insofar as I have no idea where I'm going or why I want to go there. I feel like I'm asking the same questions Paul Gaugin did in his painting Valedictory (though to different ends!) - What are we, where did we come from, where are we going? I have no idea, and when things get slow and dull here questions like that become more of interest.
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
8:57 pm
More Silence...
Wow, I can't believe I haven't updated this in so long - I've been reading friends pages, but I've found myself far more consumed with Twitter than this, I guess the interaction is what keeps me interested.

Life's generally pretty good. I'm starting workup training to go to Afghanistan this winter, and unlike the last time - which you'll be aware of if you've been watching this journal a long time - it's actually all straightened out to go.

I'm thinking after 10 years it's time to wind this one up in some fashion, but I don't really know... Thoughts?
Saturday, June 11th, 2011
9:39 pm
Getting settled at last!
We've got furniture now, and while one of our rooms is just a mess of all the crap we need to deal with and haven't got to, but that's okay. It's nice to be close to work, able to come back home for lunch, and so on.

This month, I'm doing something I never would have considered a few years ago - not only have I gotten myself totally addicted to hot yoga and decided to try a 30 day practice challenge, but I've also started June off with a totally vegan, gluten-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free cleanse diet for 21 days before reintegrating some of those things. How it came about is a bit of a story, but it seemed like both a good challenge and a good health idea, and 11 days in I feel pretty excellent. Learning to cook vegan is actually leading me to wonder how much meat etc I'll actually add back in - I think I'd like to try to reduce the amount I eat, given how great I feel. I miss coffee too, that I'm sure I'll be back to that, though I've discovered I'm not as dependent on it I thought.

I did miss beer today though, the first sunny day we've had on a Saturday in a while, and as we sat on a patio downtown for lunch, I really could have gone for a nice lager. Lunch was a lentil burger on a spelt pita - and it was awesome - I'd eat it any time, vegan-of-convenience or not. That's what has been really fascinating, not only have a developed an appreciation of how difficult being a celiac sufferer much be having to eliminate gluten from your diet, but I've also developed an appreciation of what and how I eat, and when you really pay attention to labels, it can be a little shocking.

It's been interesting, for sure.
Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
10:33 pm
Lives In Boxes
As long as I've been keeping this journal, my life has undergone a lot of change - uprooting, thinking I was settled, realizing I wasn't, wondering what would ever happen. Every time I've moved home - at least until the semi-move to my current lodgings, it's been a chaotic, poorly planned hustle, largely dependent on the grace of others who skillfully made up for my failure to plan or prepare or be remotely organized to deal with the process.

As a result, over time, I've accumulated tremendous volumes of "stuff" - remnants of all of those past places in my life, and as I'm unpacking here in a place I think will likely be home for quite a long time - or at least until such time as a move which involves professional packers and movers - I'm forced, finally, to try to thin out this collection of things amassed.

I'm not talking hoarder grade piles of stuff, but a fair quantity of things packed hastily into totes and boxes. I'm finding things that should have been tossed a long time ago, but also things that I'm not sure what to make of, things that will likely just get repacked and shoved into closets.

Why do we accumulate so much stuff with sentimental - but not real - value? And how do we work to rid ourselves of it?

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Saturday, May 7th, 2011
10:17 am
I've been quiet lately, but hopefully less so now
So, we've accomplished moving into Halifax - settling into a very nice new apartment much larger than the old condo. We mused about building a house, but for the time being it seemed to be a lot more hassle than we needed to put up with and so I'll happily take being in the same neighbourhood as I work in with a nice space.

I've actually been pondering what to do with this LJ account - I think maybe I should wrap it up given that it's been 10 years and lately I've been using Twitter a lot more - I think I'll probably archive it in some way but I'm still wondering.
Sunday, April 24th, 2011
10:40 am
Moving next weekend. I suspect I'll have a little more time to devote to this then.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Sunday, January 30th, 2011
9:15 pm
It's So Much Easier Updating From A Real Computer
I have the LJ iPhone app, but nothing in the world seems more annoying than typing out a post from there. I've been spending far more time writing 140 character polemics on Twitter anyhow than I have on LJ, but I've had this for nine years - NINE YEARS - and figure I shouldn't just outright stop. It's been a crazy year having come to Nova Scotia, but things are starting to gel reasonably well. The condo in Oshawa is rented to great tenants that I don't think are going anywhere any time soon, which is great. I'm not able to even think about selling it for now, but at least I'm generating some income from it (and a tax-deductible rental loss as well, which is helping cut down how much I have to pay The Man every year. Fair enough I'd prefer a profit, but for the time being I'll take what I can get.

The year had highs and lows for me, getting used to the whole idea of working on commission, but I did finish off making more money with my main job than I ever did before, and that's always a good thing. It wasn't the best year I've ever had because I brought in less from the military than usual, but that's okay as well, I'm better off overall, and despite some anxiety from time to time about what's coming in to get paid on, I think things are going well.

May 1st we're going to be back to having our own place. Sharing a house with my parents for the summer wasn't awful, but it's going to be nice to be closer to Halifax. Rather than the big aspirations we had about building a house we've settled on the idea of getting an apartment reasonably close to to work, probably in Clayton Park West, which is sort of a "suburb" of Halifax proper - it's off the peninsula, but has everything - and it's about 15-20 minutes to downtown anyhow. At the end of April, the lease is up on the Rabbit we have, and we've got no need of replacing it if we move that close to work - we only got a second car because of conflicting work schedules, and that turned out to be an expensive mistake in the long run anyhow... Between that being gone, the savings on fuel from cutting our commute down dramatically, the savings on car insurance (though it is, for all intents and purposes, free in Nova Scotia), and the end of a special assessment on the condo back in Ontario, we're going to have most of the rent covered anyhow... and 10-12 hours of our life recovered by not having that awful drive.

So I'll be back to Ontario in the next few weeks to plan out moving all our stuff out of storage there out to NS, and trying to coordinate it all - we'll have the luxury of being able to overlap our time, not being forced into moving basically, which helps with planning. It is, though, a drag to have to basically replace all our furniture we sold before we moved.

I have, in the last year, developed a new addiction, one that being closer to the city will help. Back in August, Joy decided she wanted to try hot yoga and wanted me to come. We found out that a local studio, Moksha Yoga Halifax, offered a "karma class" which was a PWYC class with the proceeds to charity. What better way to try something new out? I was hooked, instantly. I can't really explain why, but not only is it a pretty good workout, it's a stress outlet, a relaxation thing, it's just amazing. Being closer to town, and buying, as I plan to, an unlimited pass for a year should see me spending a lot more time there, and that's got to be good for me.
Friday, November 12th, 2010
8:32 pm
Well, we're back to having the house to ourselves, which is nice, and we finally took a vacation - a few days in Boston, which was excellent. It's only a day's drive (albeit a long day's drive) away, and it was somewhere that we've never been (except for a layover at Logan Joy had a few years ago on her way to see me, but that really doesn't count). We got a really nice suite just outside the city and figured out how to get around pretty quick, Boston's great for being very walkable and having excellent public transit, which is good, because you'd have to be an idiot to drive there.

Work's busy, mostly, it has its moments anyhow, I've got some good stuff happening, and things are coming along. The army has also been working me mostly like a rented mule, but that's part of the love/hate relationship it gives us. It's deinitely not the same as my old unit, and I can't decide if I like it generally or not - for the most part I do but it has moments where I start to think that I'd like to just pack it in... but the reality is that every time I get to that point something revives my spirits. I was just out in Gagetown in some of the shittiest weather I've ever worked in, leading a severely undermanned platoon, but we had a blast, and put in probably the best deliberate attack I've ever lead. That was enough to keep me interested.

If things keep humming away as they are we should soon be able to get on with a normal life, I think, which is good because I'm sick of the long drive to the city every day, and the not having our own place thing too...
Monday, October 18th, 2010
8:30 pm
I'm still alive. Just quiet lately.
I apparently have been quiet on here because I seem to find twitter much more satisfying. However I do keep up on reading everyone I follow, so I'm pretty up to date on you all.

I've been busy, too. The Army is busy, the training year is well underway and I've gone back to being a platoon commander which is interesting if a little unfamiliar. I don't mind it though, better than some boring staff job anyhow. The thing is I have a lot of very inexperienced troops and a lot of very unfit troops, neither are good things. I discovered this during live fire jungle lanes this weekend. My staff and I were less than impressed by the lack of basic soldier skills.

And of course we are moving on from individual & pairs lanes to group and section live fire rather than working on those basic skills. But that's the plan, and I'll go with it.

Work is going pretty well, too. It's been steady and I'm starting to build on momentum and so on, I'm generally happy with how things are going, and I think next year will be really good, allowing us to get on with our lives rather than the rut of being stuck trying to get things moving here.

So that's the basics for me for now, and I will try to be a little better about it. Cheers!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
9:03 pm
Again Another Silent Period
Well, I've been on vacation and come back - and it was a nice trip - would like to go and spend more time in Vermont, because I have to say, staying in a suite on the top floor of the Hilton Burlington for $112/night is pretty sweet, and it's a pretty nice town. In fact, all of Vermont really is nice, and Canada probably should think about annexing it.

I was warned that August was a pretty dead month in our business, but I didn't really realize just how bad it might be - I'm at the point where I'm facing probably the smallest paycheque I've ever had (at least since I worked at Loblaws when I was a kid), and worse, it seems like I haven't seen much coming in, either. I'm suddenly understanding what slow means, and the worst part of it is that I have a pretty big deal that because of technicalities that I'm not getting paid for - or rather - I have to fight to get paid for. We'll see.

I've developed for myself a new addiction - to hot yoga - I think because it's good healthwise, but it's also an amazing stress outlet. I wish I'd tried it sooner, and anyone who hasn't but is considering it really needs to - because I have to say, there's nothing quite like it... and stress is key to deal with given the nonsense I've just put up with, including the the wonderful discovery of a common fault in 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI cars - an engineering fault that costs about $3000 to fix. I got lucky and had it done for cash by a guy at his house in Lower Sackville for $2100, most of which I had to borrow from my father...

Overall things are going good though and the value of moving is becoming clearer, at least for my better half - she's making a very good name for herself here, it seems, and there's hope that in the next little while she'll move ahead substantially career-wise, and into the field she wants a little more. That, to me, is a very good thing. That's what I've been hoping for.

Now we just have to get a place to live...
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
10:06 pm
Vacation!
Although it was only nine days or so, just back from a great little vacation, a 3800 km roadtrip through four provinces and four states. It was interesting being in Toronto as a tourist, and discovered something rather cool while there. It's called CityPass, and for $60 + tax you get tickets to the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario Science Centre, Casa Loma, and the Toronto Zoo. We got 4 of 5, missing Casa Loma, and it was more than worth the expense.

I did enjoy driving back through New England. Vermont was in particular very nice, I spent some time there skiing when I was younger but hadn't really paid much attention driving through there a couple of times in the summer. In fact, I'd like to go back and spend more time there, it was really beautiful, and Burlington in particular was really nice, especially when you are staying at the Hilton for next to nothing.

The other really neat thing we did was drive the Mount Washington Auto Road. We've all seen the tacky stickers but now I understand why there is a bit of pride in making the trip - it's quite an adventure to drive a windy eight mile narrow road with an average 12% grade and no guardrails. Sadly the peak was shrouded in clouds, but that was a surreal experience in its own right.

Now that I'm back to work, it feels like forever I've been gone, and this week will be rather interesting given that I have my license suspended for a week because of a speeding ticket back in January. Loads of fun.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Monday, July 26th, 2010
9:52 pm
Wow, I'm hardly ever posting this.
Really, between Twitter and the Wordpress blog I've used to go with it I hardly ever post anything on LJ anymore. I think it's because I interact with so many more people through Twitter, but that doesn't mean I don't pay attention here, for those who don't know one from the other. I joined Twitter out of curiosity and to see about microblogging what was supposed to be my big adventure in Afghanistan, but that obviously hasn't turned out to be the trajectory of my life, but nevertheless I find it being more useful given the rather busy life I've found myself in.

We've been here now for seven months, and other than the fact that I hate not having our own place and all, it's going okay. Business is picking up, we're starting to be able to put money away, and while we're still a ways from being able to start to build our house, I think I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Besides, in a couple more months, the "landlords" will be gone back south and we'll be able to relax a little. It'll work out alright. We're going to be out of here in the spring one way or another, but ultimately, hopefully, into a new custom-built house. Nothing extravagant, a modest but well-appointed place. Working on what we want in designs and talking to some builders already - I think we'll wind up going with a pretty modern and high-tech energy efficient place - investigating a lot of the new technologies available to put to work.

If work keeps the pace that I'm settling into now, I think I'll be quite alright, I'm starting to see the prospect of being able to make a lot more money that I did before, I'm definitely much happier with the management folks here, and I don't hate work with the passion I did before we moved, when not moving seemed pretty much impossible.

Of course, I'd be a lot happier with everything if some simple things worked out, like the cat(s) not pissing on carpets, not digging up carpet, and that sort of thing - but I can't really complain.

What really sucks is still not being able to sell our condo - worse - that we have virtually no prospect of being able to do so any time soon. Fortunately we seem to have decent tenants, and that's a good thing.

Anyhow, if you're a "loyal reader", and you use Twitter, I'm @warriorbanker. I chose the name to fit the whole "leaving the bank job to go fight in Afghanistan" plan I had to microblog, and now I can't think of anything better to name it, I guess. The related blog is http://warriorbanker.wordpress.com - and I can't change that name, so I haven't changed Twitter, not that I have any ideas for what to change it to anyhow, and following something called the "general internet dickwad theory", I seem to prefer a manner of anonymity for when I choose to lash out a bit at people - or more likely ideas - that I disagree strongly with. I thought about another account that's more transparent as a sort of a biz development tool, but turns out that I can't do that anyhow, so I won't bother.

So that's what's been on lately, nothing too exciting. Next week we're heading back to Ontario for a week, and coming back slowly through New England, including a stop at the Ben & Jerry's factory, among other things. Rather conveniently, I got a couple of hotel nights from credit card points, keeping the budget for the trip more reasonable, since we're not going to do much extravagant... can't draw away from focusing on the house, after all!
Sunday, July 4th, 2010
8:53 pm
Apparently, Nova Scotia has run out of rain, for a while at least.
Summer has finally arrived in Nova Scotia! Things are going generally well, business is going nicely, starting to pick up to the point that our ideas of being able to actually pay down stuff and save up a down payment for a house are looking less remote, and that's awesome. I've been seeing some great opportunities and the momentum is growing.

Life is generally good. Had a bit of a Canada Day tragedy, someone I knew from my old Regiment in Ontario was here in Nova Scotia on course and was killed in a head-on collision on her way into Halifax to meet her significant other. We had planned a BBQ before she headed home but it never panned out, too bad indeed.

I'm neglecting this journal severely, though I know that at least some of you also know how to find me on Twitter, and I seem to find that easier to use because I don't have to dream up some big thing to write about - and when I do, I usually punch it on to Wordpress for whatever reason... I guess I wanted to keep this a little more personal, and the Wordpress account I have less so, but that's sort of getting grey too...
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
9:15 pm
This sharing a house thing is - well - interesting. And getting old fast. I'm really hoping things are going to pick up quickly, the income will start to flow in, and we can cobble together enough to start building the house as soon as the ground thaws next year (although that might not even be necessary, where we're looking it's more a matter of blasting than digging, that can probably be done just as easily during the winter.

Beyond that though, things are good here - work is picking up, I'm generally more confident about it, I think it's going to turn out well, and that's the key to getting the house and all that done. The tenants' first rent cheque didn't bounce, either, so we're good there. I wasn't worried, my realtor really liked them, thought they would be great, so I am happy.

The trick of it all is just getting momentum going, right now I feel like I've got it, so the world's kind of my oyster. As long as I keep that up I should be just fine...
Sunday, May 9th, 2010
11:25 am
Sorry for all the silence...
I realize I don't keep up on posting much but I do read often. I think the instant gratification of Twitter has somewhat hindered things - that and I've just been altogether too busy to write much lately.

In the end I didn't take the new job, I decided to stay put and push ahead with what's on now. In reality that was probably the best course and I think I did it in such a way as not to burn bridges for the future. I am now, as a result, no longer a salaryman. Fortunately other than an awkward transition period for May (including a large sale that didn't close in time to get in to payroll in time to get paid) I have lined up enough business to keep things running at least for the next few months and there's been some good referrals coming in. So I'm feeling a little more confident overall.

I hope it picks up quick though because this cohabitation thing has a very, very limited lifespan. It's just not long term sustainable. However I can see that if things keep picking up like they are now that we will probably be in a position to move on before long. All we have to do is endure until the winter when the elders go back to Arizona.

We'll endure one more winter of a shite commute and if the stars align right as soon as the ground thaws we should be able to start building once we pick out a piece of land. That will be excellent.

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Saturday, May 1st, 2010
9:40 pm
I've been quiet - but busy with all that life stuff and not really putting out much info... I'm in Toronto until Monday.
Sunday, April 4th, 2010
5:26 pm
Such a nice day - starting Month Four living here.
This is my last month with a salary at work, actually, it's not even the whole month, it lasts another four weeks, then I'm on commission. I'm a bit nervous about that, but I think it'll be alright. I'll have the first rent cheque any day now to put some of away, I have some referrals that will pay out on that last cheque to make it bigger as well. The trick I've discovered is that there's something of a glitch. The way our payroll system works, it's damned near impossible to actually get anything in the first pay cycle on commission. So even though I actually did a really great deal that will close just in time, I won't actually see the proceeds until the end of May. It's a drag, but it's one I'll endure since I think I'm going to do well in this job. Of course, because I hedge my bets well, I have a second meeting with a competitor. It's not one with nearly as strong a brand - but it offers the advantage of a combination of salary and commission - so there's something always coming - it's only a base of $40,000 per year - non-negotiable, everyone in the role across the country gets the same amount - but basically the guy who manages them in Nova Scotia told me that if you're not making over $100M you're going to get sacked for not doing enough. That's really what I'd expect to make either way, I'd hope. Otherwise I've come to the wrong place.

I've actually started thinking longer term again too - for years, I've really regretted not having pursued the idea of going to law school, and then when I got stuck into having a job and paying off loans and that sort of thing, I never really considered it again. Then I learned that it's actually possible to attend law school part time - it's rare, but Dalhousie has about 10 part time students in their faculty of law right now. The advantage of the job I'm in now is that if I can get a good pipeline of business built, I can quite possibly manage to make enough free time to commit to the program. It's possible, so I'm going to look into it - I have the grades, I have the ability to justify my desire to go (was working on some of those ideas today while I washed my car), and I think I can make the time part work - we'll see. It would be of value to my current profession if nothing else, I know that the Bank takes on articling law students to work with the Trust business, with our legal department, and so on - and it relates well to financial planning anyhow.

Things are going to get interesting here as soon as tomorrow night. My parents planned to try to get to Maine today, and if they make it, they'll be home tomorrow most likely - depending of course on what part of Maine they get to anyhow. I'm not sure how this cohabiting thing is going to be - it may suffice to help us get a place sooner if they decide they don't want us here too long - but we'll see. We'll need a lot of weekend trips, I think - but that's not a real problem here, there's much of this province I have to explore still - haven't been to Digby, Yarmouth or any of the South Shore beyond Lunenburg before. Haven't done the Marine Drive beyond the turnoff for Antigonish, and that was a long time ago, and I'd like to go back to Cape Breton some more, the weekend we spent there a couple of years ago was only just a start after being there so much as a kid...
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