Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thank goodness for fans

It's hot tonight, really hot. We had a formidable storm around 7 p.m., with hail and a heavy downpour. Somehow, it didn't clear all the mugginess that's been accumulating all day. The heat makes me sleepy, I'm think I'm gonna head to bed early for a change.

I'm thinking about a lot of things lately. Coordinating two moves (stuff from Vancouver coming back to Montreal and stuff in Montreal moving to the new place), changing my address all over the place, but also I've been wondering how come I haven't been spending much time with friends. We're all pretty busy, that's understandable, but I think there's more to it than packed schedules. I cannot speak for my friends, but I do know that I've been feeling rather tired these days. I think work has a lot to do with it.

I haven't been terribly happy with work, I'm realising that maybe consulting is not really my cup of tea. There are things I work on that really interest me, but the entire context under which the work is undertaken does not appeal to me. Consulting is a lot of politics and really more a sales job than I thought it would be. Fortunately, at my level, we do not have sales targets, but as I look at the career path that awaits me if I do well and one day get promoted, and it's all about selling. I'm not a sales person. My brother is a natural at sales, but I'm not. Well, I can get people interested in something, and I have managed to raise quite a bit of money for breast cancer over the past few years, but it's just not the same.

I'm thinking that I might start looking around at what else is available. It's the summer now, not a good time to look for work, but come September, kids will go back to school and business will return to normal.

I'm a bit sadden that I feel this way about my new job, but at the same time, when your heart is not there, it's really hard to get through the day. And right now, I'm working on a really stressful project while trying to wrap up two others, so it doesn't help. I end up working nights, evenings and weekends.

Maybe I'll even take a break in September. With a bit of money coming in from the sale of the condo, I might be able to manage a few weeks off. Since Christmas, I have only taken a week off to visit Vancouver and half of that week was spent taking care of unfinished renos and other errands to get the condo on the market.

Now, quick shower before going to bed and I'm sleeping with the fan on tonight. So happy my apartment has a ceiling fan in the bedroom, woot!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Finally summer?

Happy Sunday and happy father's day everyone. Hope you are enjoying a day of rest with your loved ones.

Last night, I had dinner at my brother's with Brendan, Annie (who was visiting for a few days) and Philippe. It was really nice to sit outside, enjoy appies and white wine, and catch up with siblings. We talked about work, living arrangements (both sales are final, only waiting for the visit to the notary in late July) as Annie is renting the top floor of the duplex and wanted to know what the place was like. After dinner, we walked over to my brother's neighours place to watch the fireworks. Now that is an activity that makes it feel like it's finally summer. I love watching fireworks. We couldn't see all of them, our view was blocked by a building, but enough to make it magic and enjoyable.

According to the weather forecast, we are heading towards some really nice and warm days. Could it be that the summer is finally here? The Montreal Jazz Festival is only a few weeks away, I can't wait to go listen to a few free outdoors show. Moving back to Montreal means that I get to enjoy all this summer activity. So far, I can't say that I have spent much time outside, work is keeping me really busy and the weather wasn't always cooperating. Hopefully the tide is turning.

I will probably have to work Wednesday, even though it's Saint-Jean-Baptiste. I have a deadline at the end of the month and there is still a lot of work to complete until then. What I am hoping is that I can take July 1-3 off instead (I also worked Victoria Day, so that would be two days I can get in lieu of) and make it an extra long weekend at the chalet. Work on the second chalet has begun, and I can't wait to get into work boots, grab a hammer and built stuff. My father is building a green chalet next to our existing chalet. This second chalet will be completely off the grid (like the first one) but will also use a "puit canadien" (geothermal system) to help cool / warm the place, and solar panels for electricity, obviously. I'm excited to be able to help build this place. It will be a nice change of pace from the long days spent in front of the computer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Barely enough energy to come up with a post

Here it is anyways. You've been warned.

I am so happy tomorrow is Friday (and Brendan's birthday). My life since last Thursday has been a roller coaster of events and I can wait to get off the ride. Fortunately, it all happened so quickly that I didn't have time to think about it and get too discouraged.

First things first. Last Thursday, I checked my Hotmail in the morning and saw that I had received the link for a new listing. My agent, also the brother of my good friend James, set me up with an account in his version of MLS, the same system that agents use. I receive the new listings at the same time he gets them. I get to look through them and if something interests me, I just let him know. I really like the concept. Well, that morning, there was a nice duplex in NDG and I immediately e-mailed my agent to ask him to set up an appointment.

We got an appointment for 6, the same evening that three lines of the metro were shut down because of a bomb scare at Berri station. The orange line was still running, but very, very slowly and at Bonaventure station, which is where I get on from work, the metro going West was on the opposite side of the tracks from where it normally is. Add confusion about the situation and voilà, massive delays to be had. Fortunately, I was only 15 minutes late.

The visit itself did not last very long, I knew right from the beginning that I really liked the place. Standing in the front of the building, I asked my agent to make an offer. Brendan and I hung out in NDG and had dinner at La Louisiane (Cajun cooking, the etouffee sauce was NOT my favourite) and met Alex at his office on Monkland to sign the contract. We offered $10,000 less than asking price, a reasonable offer but also an amount close enough to show that we were serious. Now we simply had to wait for the reply from the seller.

When I arrived home, I had a message on my cell phone (no service in the metro, I had missed the call). It was my realtor in Vancouver letting me know that I had an offer on the condo. What an amazing coincidence!! The offer was $10,000 less than asking price (I sense a pattern here) and we countered at $5,000 less than asking. Not only was I waiting for the seller of the duplex in NDG to get back to me, now I was also waiting to hear back from the buyer in Vancouver.

Friday was when everything happened. My offer was countered at $5,000 less than asking, and my counteroffer in Vancouver was accepted. Same day. Obviously, pending the usual conditions, but you have to admit that the timing was perfect.

This week was about going through the motions to get both contracts finalized and closed. Alex recommended a wonderful inspector for the duplex. He did an amazing job, spent over two hours inspecting everything and really taking the time to explain everything to me. We even climbed on the roof, inspected every corner of the basement and got a crash course on electrical boxes and oil furnaces. Now I'm waiting for his final report, which should show up in my Inbox any time now. The condo in Vancouver was inspected this morning, and I am hoping to hear back from my realtor soon. Today was also the day I sent all the paperwork to my bank so they could clear all the mortgage details.

By June 8 or 9, everything should be finalized. Fingers crossed.

The duplex is really nice, it has two 5 1/2 apartments, the ground floor kitchen and bathroom were recently renovated, new windows were installed about 8 or 9 years ago, the place has a very large backyard (well, by Montreal standards) and according to the inspector, it's in a good shape. It's located below Sherbrooke, only a few minutes walk from Vendôme metro and steps from a large park, Esposito, Rocky Mountain fruit & veggies and lots of little restaurants and shops.

While all this real estate business was going on, I was also preparing for my PMP exam on Wednesday. I had been studying for the exam on and off for about two months and was not entirely sure I was ready. Well, I did pass the exam and can now add this credential to my resume. I'm happy it's over and that now, I have my evenings and weekends back.

Only a few more days, and then I can stop worrying about real estate and start worrying about moving ;)