Thursday, August 20, 2009

Buying a Home

I am sorry I was away for a spot of vacation...more on that later!

On Aug 08, 2009 I stood just outside the white doors of 6561 (above) while Anita my realtor & wife ( certainly not in that order) opened the lock box- I felt it in my guts that this was the house we would end up buying.We had not even entered but i just knew it. In a few minutes after entering I told Anita something I have never told her before--"Lets put in an offer"

We bought 6561 last week. Well it was not as simple as that -- Anita spent considerable time preparing the offer and doing indepth research on what price we should offer.Besides that there were the visits a couple physical and numerous virtual. We took the kids too and all of us were unanimous. We signed up .

Buying a house here is an experience that is unique to this part of the world. Its almost a "game" between the realtors while they go back & forth between the seller and the buyer trying to arrive at a middle ground( price) that is acceptable to all. The owner is perched cooly in his house while the buyer is sitting in a car in the driveway. Every time the price is adjusted there is a flurry of signatures and talk of "not nickel and diming" though every one is trying to squeeze every last $ they can out of this deal. Once they were able to reach a concensus it was only then that the buyer ( me) was called inside. There was much handshaking and congratulations and laughter another bigger and final round of signatures and lots of legal mumbo jumbo between the realtors. In the cachophony of noise and guaffs I wondered if i had settled for the right price and I am sure the seller must have had similar thoughts. He even shared his apprehensions of telling his daughters that the house that they had lived in for much of their childhood had been sold. That was indeed a tough one. Our job was not as tough-- we are to move in to this awesome home :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Confused Recession

1. The Bank of Canada has officially declared that the recession is over.
2. Malls are choker block full with shoppers.
3. Restaurants patio's are overflowing not because of the summer but because the indoors are jam packed
4. Real estate market is HOT HOT HOT. Every offer is getting into a multiple offer situation leading to a sale price exceeding the listed price.
5. Mortgage rates are at rock bottom
6. Workopolis is full of opportunities

1. Layoffs continue across North America
2. The company lunches and team building events are all self funded and NOT company financed.
3. Obama says that there is still ground to cover before the economy is back on track..
4.There is caution in investing

What do you make of this? Are we in recession? Should we be saving our $$'s for a ranier day than the present or should it be business as usual?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DONOT Say "Cheeeeeeeese"...

I went to renew my driving licence today. A simple Ontario driving licence. This required the agent at the counter to take a picture of me. I was very surprised when I was told NOT to smile. At first I thought that she was joking but ironically this was not a laughing matter. She was dead serious that my mug shot had to be WITHOUT a smile. I hated waiting for the flash to go off without a warning, blinding me in the process. In anticipation of the flash and being told not to smile, made me scowl , so i guess the agent got what she wanted -- A no smile pic. Anyways I got it over with (I am very sensitive about my eyes)

Later as I was walking out of the office I thought to myself-- why is it that the agent insisted for a pic without a smile. The conclusion I reached ( I could not verify this from the agent as she said that these were her instructions-- Period.) This I thought had everything to do with what the law enforcing agencies wanted. Possibly a smile changes our faces and as we go about our business everyday, burdened with all our stresses and deadlines we generally do not smile. So the law authorities wanted a pic that closely resembles our everyday appearance ( a non smiling face)

What does that tell you ?-- we as a society or more correctly as a species have forgotten to smile. Somewhere, something has "moved our Cheeeese"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Really Inspirational

Really Inspirational

I came across this on youtube.
Really inspirationalseeing the spirit of the little boy displayed on the video.
Next time you see an obstacle-- just roll up your sleeves and get to work. Help will come....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fake Alien Invasion

Fake Alien Invasion

This really takes the cake in innovative teaching methods. The kids being terrified is where i think they went over. On the other hand the type of video games and movies that we have these days I doubt any of the kids were actually traumatised. I would have loved to have grown up in this sort of a learning environment. For quite some time we have spoken of education and entertainment convergence. This is surely a great example. I know some of you may not agree & you may be right....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Pot of Gold @ Niagara Falls

We did not actually find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but we spent a great evening together with Pankaj and Shalini at Niagara, sans kids. Shalini was gushing that it was the fist time they were able to get away alone as Neel and Niki were safely ensconced in a camp and they were on their own... did I mention how she jumped at all cell phone rings expecting it to be a call from Niki...

Anyways I must mention a gem from Pankaj. As we alighted from the shuttle that ferried us from the remote parking( its cheaper to park there) to the main visitors centre opposite the falls, Shalini and Anita headed for guess what.. the cafeteria!!!! Pankaj rightly said -- we seemed to be seasoned locals to whom the grandeur of the falls had little value. Nevertheless when we had got over the realization we all did find the falls spectacular and breathtaking.

While we walked around we saw that the "grass on the other side to be greener"-- that( below) is the view of the US side of the falls from Canada. The number of US vistors to the Canadian side proves the the point.

Another "first" on the trip was Anita and "one of us" decided to take a ride on the "pile driver" It was a ride in which you are taken approx 200ft into the air and then "dropped" giving you a free fall feeling. Eventually only Anita took the ride ( me being too chicken to accomany her having done my bit of stepping off the 10m board at the NDA pool)and besides some one had to stay back to take pictures-- right!!. You can see her in the midst of the ride here

I clicked some very beautiful pics from the side of the rainbow bridge

Later that evening Pankaj & Shalini walked across the Rainbow bridge to the US side and drove back to Pittsbugrh. We spent some more time walking the falls before we took the QEW back which was not surprisingly chocked all the way back home.