Monthly Archives: March 2013

March Highlights, April Intentions

Blink and you’ll miss it, right? That was March. It seems to have passed in a blur. Here’s the scoop this month:

March Highlights

In like a lion... Source: Sergey Yeliseev on Flickr

In like a lion… Source: Sergey Yeliseev on Flickr

  • I bought myself a 2012 Mazda 3 hatchback, a car I’ve been dreaming about for five years. And knocked that one off my bucket list. I did the whole purchase alone… yup, this means the whole haggling game with the salesmen. It was intimidating.
  • Attended a good friend’s southern-themed bachelorette party and participated in a hella fun scavenger hunt, chauffeured by limousine.
  • Enjoyed the baby shower for one of my oldest friend who’s about to have her first baby any minute now. And by oldest, I mean the girl I’ve been friends with the longest, not the actual oldest age of any of my friends. Geez, wouldn’t out a new mama like that!!
  • Discovered a new favourite music group: Of Monsters and Men. They’re a great indie folk/pop band from Iceland, you should give them a listen!
  • Spent two weeks packing and kept the stress & panic about it to a minimum.
  • Said farewell to my roommate and began solo living for the first time in a few years.
  • Got the keys to my new place!

How did I do on my March intentions?

...and out like a lamb. Source: A Roger Davies on Flickr

…and out like a lamb. Source: A Roger Davies on Flickr

  • Get movers booked. -Success!
  • Green smoothie habit. -Turns out that it’s far more important to execute Mission: Eat What’s Already In Your House than it is to start a green smoothie habit during the month that you’re moving. Not one green smoothie was consumed. Not even a Happy Planet one. FAIL!
  • Yoga 2-3 times a week, although I will let myself off the hook for this one in the last week of March because I think packing will rule my life at that point. -I averaged 1.5 classes/week. Not terrible considering the amount of time spent on packing.
  • DO NOT ACTIVELY LOOK AT CARS FOR SALE. -Whoa, HUGE FAIL! Totally bought a new car!
  • Have my friend Niki over for dinner. -Seriously, what was I thinking? Entertain guests in the middle of frantic car shopping which fell in the middle of moving month? HAHAHAHAHAA. Ha. No.
  • Enjoy this month’s bachelorette and baby shower festivities, celebrate my friends with frugal gifts and an open heart, and get excited to meet the new little baby that’s coming in the next month! -Yup! And friend baby #1 has made her debut into the world. Still on Babywatch High Alert for baby #2.
  • Move into my new place! -Success!

April Intentions:

  • Hiking season has begun. I’m shooting for one short weeknight hike and one longer weekend hike per week.
  • Yoga 1 time per week
  • Sign up for ballet flow yoga with my friend Ashley
  • Unpack and get the new place feeling like home.
  • Take Magdalena for a real spin! I’ve been too busy to do so yet. (I have named the new car Magdalena)
  • Do a lil’ shopping for this lil’ vacation I have coming up in May
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R.I.P. Echo the Rustbucket

I bought my first car at age 22.  I had accepted a summer job waitressing at a golf course on the coast, which was a 45 minute drive away from home and not on any transit routes… and I had no way of getting to work. So OBVIOUSLY, I had to buy a car in order to get to my place of employment, where I would undoubtedly earn far less than the cost of the car. Financial planning at its best, folks. If only it ended there.

I arbitrarily set myself a budget for the car purchase – hilarious, as I had zero savings and very little earning capacity – and went car shopping. I found my Echo at a rental car company’s used car sales lot, where they sold off their rental cars that were no longer part of the fleet. Echo was 2 years old, in really good shape, and the cheapest car for sale there – $4000 over my budget. I test drove her. My dad tried to talk some sense into me, but geez, Dad, don’t try to confuse me with facts. “But she’s so CUTE!!!!” I brought her home a few days later, along with a poorly researched car loan with a horrible interest rate that I was stuck with for the next five years and could barely afford.

Then I proceeded to quit my job. I… can’t even talk about it.

I’ve kept my Echo for the last eleven years. We had a happy partnership for the first several, and I felt determined to keep her for a long time after the unwise car loan was finally paid off, to make it “worthwhile”. I’ve had to pay very little into car maintenance over the years. We’ve driven across Canada in each direction… all the way from Vancouver to Montreal and back, spending one school year in Ontario in between the trips. (That winter in Ontario, with all the salt on the roads, is responsible for Echo’s affectionate nickname, Rustbucket). I slept in my car a couple of nights along the way to save money, I’ve been camping with Echo, we’ve had dance parties at top volume while driving up to Whistler. I know her.

About five years ago, I started thinking of Rustbucket (who had well & truly earned her nickname by that point) as more embarrassing than fun. I began dreaming of replacing her with a Mazda 3 hatchback… but then I got laid off. I went travelling, where I spent all my savings, and came home to an economic crash and a tanked job market. I got hired finally after a year of unemployment, only to be laid off again 9 months later. Followed by a rather difficult foray into self-employment that yet again wiped out all my savings. Mine was a tough road to walk between 2008-2011, friends. Upgrading my car was the least of my concerns.

But finally, finally, things have been a bit easier over the last year and a half. That’s when I created a savings plan toward the goal of buying a Mazda 3 hatchback, and was planning on making the purchase next year. But in the end, Echo made the decision for me. She’s spent a lot of time at the mechanic and nobody knows what the problem is, but she became virtually undriveable in the last month. I could spend a bunch of money to diagnose and correct the problem and keep her running for a few more months, but what’s the point?

Last weekend was it. I went car shopping and pulled the plug on Echo once and for all.

Meet her successor, Magdalena. The car of my dreams for the last five years.

My metallic blue 2012 Mazda 3 hatchback… FINALLY!

My metallic blue 2012 Mazda 3 hatchback… FINALLY!

My Heart On a Roller Coaster

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Vancouver – sunny with clear blue skies, and the first day this year that felt warm enough to go without a jacket. My roommate and I decided to take her dog for a walk at the local off-leash dog park.

While we were there, we passed these two guys about my age walking their dogs. They smiled at us. One of them in particular really caught my attention. This was an unusual occurrence… it wasn’t just that I thought he was cute, though I certainly thought so. There was something more than that. There was an immediate jolt of energy that stayed with me after he walked away.

We saw them again walking back in the other direction. We’d caught up to them. They said hi to us and we said hi back. All four of us were all smiles but I was still particularly drawn to the taller baldie with the Mr. Happy tshirt. I started gushing to my roommate about how I wanted to talk to him as soon as we walked away.

As we were finishing the walk and loading the dog back into the car, they came over and chatted with us. I commented on how cute his dog was. He responded to me, “he’s well-trained to only approach cute women!” We both laughed. Then they headed off to their car and we drove off in our separate directions.

I immediately regretted not saying more, wishing we had a way to contact each other. This is not something that happens to me, EVER. I didn’t want a guy with whom I had seemingly electric chemistry (and a mutual love of dogs and weekend hikes!) to walk on by. So I did something I considered bold and very out of character: I posted a note to him on Craigslist Missed Connections. I didn’t expect to hear from him, but it was all I could think of other than going back at the same time the following week and hoping to see him again.

The craziest thing happened: he saw my message and he wrote to me! I’d written the message for “Mr. Happy” and he included a photo of his tshirt to prove it was really him. He’d been thinking about me all day too, and also wished he’d left with a phone number. He randomly decided to check Missed Connections before going to bed and was thrilled to find my message there.

My heart literally soared with excitement. I had managed to text my sister and my roommate in the 3-minute space between reading his first message and the second one that followed, which read, “I’m hoping you were the one in the driver’s seat because I can’t get that smile out of my head!”

I was in the passenger seat.

February Highlights & March Intentions

Well hey look at that, another month has gone by in a flash. It’s true what they say about time going faster as you get older! This month has been quite emotionally challenging for me but there’s some pretty big, good changes coming soon. Let’s check in on what I did:

Source: Snoopy.com

Source: Snoopy.com

February Highlights

  • Survived RRSP season and helped my clients save more. It was one of the most successful RRSP seasons our firm has ever had.
  • Celebrated 33 years of life. My lovely sister treated me to dessert at a new restaurant a few days ahead of my real birthday, since she would be on a cruise for the actual anniversary of my great debut into the world! On my birthday, I went to Nook for an incredible Italian dinner with my family. We had the burrata appetizer, probably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten in my life. I was gifted some lovely things. I especially loved a new scarf from my roommate and handbag from my mum.
  • Hiked with friends. My ankle survived.
  • Attended my office’s awards gala. My best friend there came runner-up in one awards category – I was so proud of her!
  • Had a wonderful catch-up brunch with friends I see far too infrequently, but with whom we’re always able to pick up where we left off. One of them is now the mother of a 1-year old baby boy now, and another is set to welcome her first baby in just a few weeks. It was quite the babyfest!
  • Realized that my car is going through a pretty slow & painful death and I’m going to have to replace it much sooner than anticipated. But I’m avoiding car-shopping at the moment because one stressful thing at a time is plenty, and….
  • I’m moving to a new place at the end of March. No more roommates. I have mixed feelings about it; I love my roommate, but do miss having my space to myself. I love my current home and the amazing landlords, but I’m super excited about the new place and the new friendly landlords! It’s a 2-bedroom with a dishwasher (NECESSITY. You guys don’t even want to KNOW how lazy I am about washing dishes by hand. I would look like a hoarder of dirty dishes) and in-suite laundry and it’s really nice! I will post photos once the move is complete. I’m also very, very stressed about the actual process of moving to a new home.
  • I also bailed on a lot of social stuff due to the aforementioned stress. I’m not really proud of this.

How did I do on my February intentions?

  • Host an Oscars viewing party – well this is embarassing, but I actually did arrange one, and I cancelled it the morning of the event, spurring much concern among my friends. I had a mini meltdown about my new apartment because I had put down a damage deposit but hadn’t signed a lease yet, and hadn’t been able to get hold of my new landlords for several days. I had convinced myself that they were going to run off with the money and I wasn’t going to get the apartment after all, because CRAZY JERKBRAIN. It turns out they’re just pretty casual people who don’t check their email very often!
  • Book my flight to Vegas in May – Yup, done!
  • Declutter my bedroom – do a big sweep of my stuff and cull anything that needs to be donated, sold or put in the trash. Get it out of the house. – Done!
  • Replace my black cardigan and buy some new lingerie. – Done!
  • Get into a green smoothie habit – Uhhhhh, nope.
  • Do yoga 2-3 times a week. – Giant fail. I think I went 3 or 4 times total in the month of February.

March Intentions:

  • Get movers booked.
  • Green smoothie habit.
  • Yoga 2-3 times a week, although I will let myself off the hook for this one in the last week of March because I think packing will rule my life at that point.
  • DO NOT ACTIVELY LOOK AT CARS FOR SALE. (Unless my car *actually* dies this month, in which case I’ll have no choice. A disturbingly plausible scenario). Putting out feelers by telling people what you’re looking for is ok.
  • Have my friend Niki over for dinner
  • Enjoy this month’s bachelorette and baby shower festivities, celebrate my friends with frugal gifts and an open heart, and get excited to meet the new little baby that’s coming in the next month!
  • Move into my new place!

Peace out y’all, and happy March! In like a lion and out like a lamb, I certainly hope.