Saturday 14 April 2018

Spending for the future

Boy, I'm good at spending money.  Or perhaps I find it easy to spend money.  Is there a difference?  I think decide.

I've been having issues with the sink in the main bathroom.  It has developed a leak and needs to be replaced.  Initially I thought I'd just replace the sink in both bathrooms (main and ensuite), but after a nearly fruitless search for replacements, grey sinks 20 1/2 inches by 17 inches, at a reasonable price I decided to bite the bullet and have the vanities refaced to match the kitchen.  The newer sinks are smaller so I would have to replace the countertops anyway. 

The kitchen renovation work was done in 2013 when our employment contract was settled and I had received my pay out. I used a third of the pay out for ther renovations, saved the other two thirds in my RSP (retirement savings plan).  The remaining cost of renovations I financed through Home Depot, with no interest for 18 months.  Home Depot is currently running the same promotion and our latest contract was just recently settled. My theory is, why use my own money when I can use someone else's.

It also makes sense to have the work completed by the same company using the same/similar products.  In fact, the guys are here doing the measurements while I type this. (They arrived just after I started this post.)  They'll also replace a couple of doors in the kitchen I damaged.  The material that covers the doors is laminate, which is basically plastic....which doesn't mix well with the steam from a boiling I learned the hard way. 

Unfortunately there is a fair amount of work that needs to be done, pre and post.  I have to remove the tile back splash in both bathrooms, something I've never done and which I know can cause damage to the drywall if done improperly.  To do so, I also need to remove the mirrors which are very large.  I suspect my younger brother is going to get a call for help!  The installer will reface the cabinets, replace the doors and hinges, build the counter top, cut the sink hole (according the template I provide) and finish the countertop laminate.  Once their work is done there will be some painting necessary but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  We've lived here for 7 years, so the bathrooms could use a refresh.

What have I got myself into?  It all seems a bit overwhelming when I think about it, but taken in increments I know I'll get through it. They told me today, they'll schedule the work in late May, early June so that gives me some time to do some research on tile removal (and get it done), as well as purchase new sinks and paint.  I had purchased the door handles when I did the kitchen so that is one small purchase I won't have to make.  Oh, and I have to find a plumber to unhook the plumbing before the work is started and install the sinks and do the hook up when complete.

While I suppose I could have purchased new vanities and had the old ones replaced for a similar cost, however doing the refacing will match the kitchen. I think that will help when the time comes to sell the house in a year or so.  Yes, I'm definitely still planning a move to Vancouver Island when I retire.  

The timing has been pushed back by about a year, with the arrival of Eli, and the circumstances of my daughter's life....currently not working and would be homeless if not for me.  While my son C still lives here as well, he's been saving for a place of his own but won't purchase until he knows where he'll be working.  He did have an interview (for his current job) yesterday.  I know that sounds odd, but it has to do with applicant pools that expire after a certain period of time.  I'm sure he aced it so will be back in the pool for another extended period of time.  With any luck, the incumbents who are currently working in other areas in term positions will be permanently appointed soon - then he can be pulled from the pool permanently as well.  

Anyway, back to me. :)  That isn't all the spending I've done this week.  Yes, I have a cruise booked in January 2019 but one is never enough.  Just before I went on my cruise in February, I found another Norwegian cruise that looked interesting and so I was keeping an eye on it for a price drop.  Well, this week NCL offered certain cruises with Canada at par and this was one of them.  That's at a 30% reduction in price!  

I called my friend K, as the cruise sails from New Orleans and both she and J have wanted to do one from there for some time.  However, neither had been keen on sailing on NCL because of the "freestyle dining".  On other cruise lines, you have an option of traditional dining, which is a set time - usually 6 or 8 p.m. at the same table with the same guests and wait staff throughout the cruise.  With freestyle dining, you either make a reservation or show up at the various dining rooms and wait for an available table.  The guests can ask to share a table, but that works only if someone else is there who wishes to share a table as well.  This doesn't appeal to the two of them.

My fellow cruiser, Sandra gave me the name of the cruise consultant at NCL she's used several times, so we gave Melanie a call to discuss.  We determined that if I booked a solo cabin, J and K can join me and other solos, but if we booked a mini-suite for the three of us, I wouldn't be able to join the solos.  Done deal, I'm booked in a solo and they have a balcony cabin about 30 feet away on the same deck.  It's a win-win, as we'll be able to meet other folks through the solos, plus we'll have space to ourselves as well.  

We're also staying in New Orleans for a few extra days after the cruise.  We all want to wander the French Quarter by day...I don't think we'll do so at night, I want to visit the Cafe du Monde for the beignets, and K wants to visit a couple of the old plantations.  There is also the old St. Louis cemetery and the French market and shopping much more.  I booked my flights today and a hotel for pre-cruise using Expedia and got a decent price, better than had I booked the airfare through Air Canada and the hotel separately.  

I still need to book our post cruise hotel; K just called and we've decided on the general area we want to be in.  They are leaving it up to me because they're packing for their next cruise - a TransPacific from Tokyo to Vancouver - they fly to Tokyo on Tuesday morning.  They also have a Baltic cruise booked for September.  Oh, and after the cruise with me, they are flying to Fort Lauderdale for two back to back cruises.  J's comment to me when we were talking about the New Orleans cruise and I mentioned how long they will be away (Dec 5-Jan 12), it will be winter here in Saskatchewan and it won't be cold in the Caribbean.  Boy, retirement life sounds good to me.

So, yes I'm spending money.  However, I believe it will be money well-spent, both in the return on investment in my home and in the memories to be made.  Plus, I've run the calculator on my back pay and will have a nice sum to tuck away in my retirement savings plan....for future spending.  It's been a long wait for a new contract, but looking at it from my perspective today, it's been worth it.

I'll close this post with a recent photo of Eli.  Here he is "fishing" for cats in the sun room.  He has as much fun as Sheldon does with this game.


  1. I've discovered that with home renos, small or big, one thing always leads to another. You seem to have things well in hand, though! I've heard mixed reviews about going through Home Depot for installation, so maybe it depends on the sub-contractor. And perhaps also the personality of the client! (Someone in our complex had quite the ordeal for a few months with our local Home Depot, trying to get her countertop installed, but I also suspect she can be uh, challenging to deal with.) Anyway, good luck with it all!

    So you have TWO cruises coming up? Did I read that correctly? Awesome! BTW, given that my paternal grandparents were Latvian, a Baltic cruise would be pretty interesting, IMO. (Yes, I realize that's not the cruise you're on.)

    As for little Eli, who is growing like a weed (and always so happy!), he looks like an excellent kitty fisher! :-)

  2. I have to say I had my entire kitchen top to bottom ripped out and new one installed...counters, cabinets, floor, you name it ...put in (except appliances of fridge and stove) by Home Depot 7 years ago and I am highly satisfied. AND I had the most whoooo Hoooo wheeeee Cajun electrician in he world doing the electrical work. HUBBA HUBBA! Ding dong DING! Oh and are so cute I can hardly stand it. You are adorable!!!

  3. Eli, I am so glad the kitties are bitin' today for ya. You found a good fishin' place.

  4. Having owned - and then sold - a house, I can say the one thing I don't miss about it is the maintenance involved. It can be an expensive proposition, and one that just seems to go on. As Kim wrote, one thing leads to another. Eventually, I think, most houses are replaced in their entirety, just bit by bit.


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