Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 29, 2006 - From the Corporate Headquarters of Grand Ventures Inc. (aka...the Borges Basement)

It's been a fun ride so far.  We've got another four weeks to go until we get our new house and best of all, we're taking off to Florida next week for a little holiday!  We have a cool beach house rented near Fort Myers and my old buddy Mike Schaaf will be joining us there for a couple days.

I've been quite busy getting a new company up and running.  It's called Grand Ventures Inc. and the main component of it is a real estate investment company.  Which means, I look for properties which I can buy below market price then either fix and sell or buy and hold for monthly cash flow and future gains.  You're thinking, "oh yeah, just like those Flip this House tv shows".  Well, not quite.  Unfortunately those shows just concentrate on the renovation and resale parts.  That's that easy stuff...the hard part is finding the great deals on properties in the first place.  If you can't get a great deal on the property then there's no way you can make any money flipping it.  Anyway, have a look at and let me know what you think.

Stella has been growing rapidly and is now getting quite pudgy, just like her big brother Magnus was.  He, on the other hand, is getting long and lean, probably due to his non-stop galloping around the house knocking things over.  They are both sleeping very well, which means we have been sleeping very well.  It helps that we don't need to be up at 5:30 every morning getting ready for work.  I wonder how long we can make this last?

We had a weekend trip to New York recently which was fantastic!  We met my friend Ian and his girlfriend there.  Him and I went to the Real Estate Wealth convention over the two days and the ladies (including Stella...Magnus was left at home with his grandparents for this trip..) went shopping all day long and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We heard some amazing speakers at the conference and came away with plenty of new ideas - quite timely considering the business I'm in now.  I didn't get to see too much of the city so we'll have to plan another trip there sometime soon to explore it properly.

Next up will be the annual Christmas letter...


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 25, 2006 - Mission Control is now the Borges basement...

We've gone and done it.  Yep, Cowtown is now just a fantastic memory and we're living in Ontario without jobs or a house.  It seems to be the way we do things, as soon as we're happily settled with friends and a great comfortable routine, we drop it all and head somewhere new.  Maybe we're flaky, maybe we're just always looking for something new, at least we're never bored!

I'm into a whole new routine now.  Since we have Ana's mom taking care of our kids all day long and Ana sleeping until 3 in the afternoon, and no internet connection, it's given me a lot of new found free time.  When we first arrived I just played with the cat Tico for most of the day.  After a couple weeks of that I was finally able to beat him in a race from the couch to the furnace room and back, but I usually had to sideswipe him into the bathroom door to knock him off balance.  When the shine wore off that activity, I went down to Value Village and picked up some exercise videos.  Now in the morning, after Ana's mom cooks me pancakes and bacon, I do the Richard Simmon's "Sweatin' to the Oldies" (volumes 1 and 2) for a while to get a good glisten going.  I've picked up some cool moves off him too, it's amazing how relevant his dancing is even today.  Napoleon Dynamite has nothing on me now.  After that I usually skateboard down to the Taco Bell around lunch and have a couple bean burritos then come back home for a nap.  After that, I pump it up once again, but the afternoon shift is the "Tae Bo" video with that bald guy.  I get to feeling like a real bad ass after a few minutes of that so I normally end up kicking the cat around the basement practicing my new moves, poor Tico.  By that time Ana is up and at 'em so we'll either go out for dinner and a movie or sometimes we'll stay home and spar in the basement so she can get her exercise, and at the same time give Tico a break from the shit kicking I deliver to him in the afternoon.  So I guess you could say it's been a refreshing change from our hectic lifestyle in Calgary.  I think our kids are doing pretty good, but I'm not really sure.  I've tried showing Ana's mom how to use our digital camera so she can document their growth and development then report back to us on their progress, but she hasn't really got the hang of it yet so I'll keep training her.  Ana's dad and I recently made 72 gallons of wine from fresh California and Canadian grapes so that's been saving me a bundle on booze.  Because I like to stay sauced pretty much all day long, I'm able to drink the cheap wine instead of wasting money on beer and hard liquor.  Since I've finally got the internet working, I'll probably take those savings and invest them in some online poker - I'm sure I can make a bundle.

That's our update for now.  If anything interesting happens, we'll let you know.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

September 17, 2006 - The Best Kind of Sunday..... the one where you don't have to go to work tomorrow morning!

Here I sit looking at my two beautiful children sleeping on the living room couches.  Ana has gone shopping, the house is quiet and I have a perfect moment to tap out a quick journal entry.  More than ever before, our website is living up to its name - Life Is Grand!  We are a bit more than a week away from our move to Ontario and most of the packing is done so we actually looking forward to some free time this week.  The last three weeks have been consumed by Stella's birth and our trip to Saskatchewan with Ana's folks to work on our new cabin.  As usual, there ended up being a lot more work than we expected but happily the interior and exterior of the cabin is now 99% complete with just some landscaping remaining for next spring.

Stella has been a wonderful baby thus far, great sleeper, huge eater and body functions working at full capacity.  I believe Magnus is through the denial stage and has now actually been paying some attention to his new sister.  He's fond of jamming the soother in her mouth whether she wants it or not as well as feeding her and even giving her little kisses throughout the day.  It was a great help having the in-laws here to help out with our new arrival, and was especially good for Magnus as he loves being around his grandparents.

That's about it for now.  Thanks to everybody who've sent us "congratulations" emails recently.  We haven't replied to any of them yet but will get to that soon.  I'll be posting new pictures on Stella's page frequently so please check back often.


Friday, August 4, 2006

August 4, 2006 - Friday Off

It seems nearly impossible that my most recent posting was back in March, though I suppose that's an indication of how busy this year has been for us.  What's been keeping us so occupied?  Mainly, the process of buying, moving and repairing a large house in Saskatchewan.  In addition to that, we've also decided to move to Ontario which has triggered a fair bit of administration.  To be frank, it would seem that our website has not been a priority as of late, but I believe this will be changing very soon.  Our "new life" in Ontario is giving us a chance to make some big changes in our lives, with our new focus being primarily on our expanding family (new baby due in two weeks!) and secondly on building up business and investment ventures for ourselves that will eventually provide a steady source of income.  There's a series of books that have been extremely inspirational to us - they are called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki.  The main focus of these books are illustrating how rich people and poor people behave differently with their employment, finances, investments, and expenditures.  If you have never read Rich Dad, Poor Dad I would wholeheartedly recommend it.  We have been applying the concepts in these books to our own situation and I can see that we are basically moving in the right direction.  I've also been very lucky to spend so much time with my uncle Gerry here in Calgary, who is an investment and tax wizard.  I've learned more from him about investments in a couple years than most people can hope to learn in a lifetime.  I'm really going to miss that.  But not as much as all the beers we drink together!

Okay, enough about finance, let's talk recreation!  Both Ana and my last days of work are August 18th, perhaps sooner if the baby arrives ahead of schedule.  Ana's folks will be arriving on Aug 25 and shortly after that we'll be heading off to Saskatchewan to show off our new baby and spend some time at the cabin at Fishing Lake.  We are planning to put on a roof extension in September to create an outdoor living space complete with brick patio, barbeque and likely some sort of refrigeration device for keeping the brewskis cold.  We are contracting out most of that work but have made sure to keep lots of smaller interior jobs for John, the window and door master, to do when he's there.  We spend two weeks out there in July and worked our butts off so this time we're planning on spending a lot less time working and a lot more taking it easy and actually enjoying the fruits of our labours. 

Stay tuned for more news.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

March 25, 2006 - The SpillMaster

I was inspired by a recent email I received from my friend Johnny in New Zealand, who has a three year old as well as a brand new baby girl.  It was a "Three Strikes" email - in other words, three episodes of naughtiness involving their son which made for a challenging day.  As fate would have it, we had a "Multi Strike" day of our own yesterday.  Read on....

Friday began as usual, both Magnus and I awakened by the jet engine scream of Ana's hairdryer, which for me wins the award for the most horrible sound in the world.  We saw Mommy off to work in the normal fashion - me distracting Magnus with the toilet brush while Ana slipped out unnoticed, thereby avoiding a round of "don't leave Mommy!" tears.  After a bit of frolicking around in the living room, we moved into the kitchen for my favourite part of the day - breakfast.  I strapped Magnito into his high chair then made him a piece of toast with peanut butter, added some grapes to the side of the plate, then took a big chance and poured him half a glass of orange juice.  I presented this to his Majesty on the highchair platter and returned to the toaster to create one of my "Marmite Delights" and make coffee.  Upon my return, after first feeling a grape squish under my barefoot, I discovered that my delinquent son had scattered his grapes all over the floor, then poured half the orange juice on top of himself and the other half on top of the toast, creating some sort of peanut butter porridge concoction.  Strike One.

After the cleanup, we went downstairs for our morning workout.  I managed a weakly round of biceps and triceps; enough to keep my arms from turning into spaghetti, but hardly enough to keep me in good shape.  Magnus started initially with ten reps of turning the power button on the stereo on and off, then followed that up with three solid sets of throwing dominoes around the room.  He then did a focused round of emptying items out of the storage closet, including light bulbs, fishing rods and bottles of jam, and finished that one off with attempting to stick the pokey end of an umbrella through the gyprock.  Becoming tired of the workout, he finished up with an actual set of chin-ups, with daddy providing some assistance from below.   We then returned up stairs, where I turned on Dora the Explorer for him so I could get some work done.  The television predictably edged child into an uninspired, zombie-like state, allowing me an hour of actual quiet to do some nasty old work stuff.  During that time I went into a bit of a work induced trance myself and was snapped out of this by the sound of Magnus rifling through the refrigerator.  I raced out to find him feverishly trying to knaw through a plastic bag of pepperoni sticks.  "Oh, maybe he's hungry?" I thought, so I transported him, a pepperoni stick, and his sippie cup full of water onto the couch where he immediately and remarkably fell asleep.  I returned to my work induced trance then later, at the sound of his stirrings, found that he was holding his sippie cup in such a way that it had entirely leaked out all over him and all over the leather couch.  Strike Two (but mainly my fault!).

Soon after he awoke, my mom called.  Magnus was busy running around the house pulling the registers out of the floor while I talked with mom and enjoyed my nice big hot mug of chicory coffee.  Distracted by Magnus balancing precariously on the edge of the Ikea chair, pulling the DVD out of the player, I put my cup of coffee on the coffee table and went  to rescue the kid and the player.  As soon as I put him on the ground, he raced over to my coffee, picked it up, and dumped it on the carpet.  "Mom, I have to go," I said, then went to search out some absorbent cloths as Magnus looked on smiling.  Strike Three.

The best part of Friday Man-day is the field trip, which can range from a visit to the post office and record store, to an extended journey to a kid's play place, or sometimes just a walk along the river.  This day, we walked/strolled over to the Blackfoot Diner - a circa 1950's old fashioned, greasy spoon restaurant, that must be seen to be believed.  There, we met a few of the WestJet folks for lunch and admittedly, the child's behavior was exemplary - he sat there calmly dipping his chips in gravy, sharing my clubhouse sandwich, making eyes at the girls, and salting and peppering everybody's food for them.  All was well until, at the end of the meal, he unexpectedly lunged across the table and spilled the pot of coffee cream all over the table, seats and people.  Strike Four.

Back at home, the afternoon progressed rather smoothly, allowing me to do a bit of work, and him to redeem himself.  But I was to soon learn that he was not redeeming at all; he was scheming....

Mommy arrived home around 5:00 to be greeted by her smiling, happy little boy, which must be the best part of any parent's day.  Soon after that, our friend Ian and his little boy Jakob arrived with a nice bottle of wine to join us for supper.  The boys had a lovely time running around, playing with toys, while we chatted in the living room.  Before long, we heard a giant crash from the kitchen and raced out to find Magnus sitting on top of the table and the bottle wine exploded all over the floor, wasting all that sweet, precious vino.  Strike Five.

After a lengthy cleanup, we were finally able to make supper, which was a simple pasta with meat sauce.  We sat down, dished up the food, including a nice little plate for Magnus, as this was his first experience with spaghetti, and started to eat.  It wasn't long before Magnus heaped a meaty, drippy load of sauce on his fork and flung it at Ana, splattering her and the nice white chair seat with staining red sauce.  Strike Six.

The last strike of the night came shortly after dinner, as we were enjoying a nice cup of chai tea in the living room.  A momentary lapse of attention allowed Magnus the opportunity to zip over to the table, grab Ana's chai, and dump it all over himself, the couch, and the floor, yet somehow managed to avoid burning himself.  Strike Seven.

Surprisingly, as one gets used to living with a toddler, these events seem quite normal.  It was only at the end of the day when we started actually counting the number of "incidents" that we realized this may have been a record setting day.  All I can say is thank god for tile floors, cheap carpets and a good sense of humour!

Friday, February 10, 2006

February 10, 2006 - Man's day at home with Magnus

Time to break the news - there is another little Olson on the way!  And the due date, as predicted by our first ultra sound yesterday, is August 20, which also happens to be Magnus' birthday, potentially making them exactly 2 years apart.  We are overjoyed at the prospect of another ankle biter, though now it will be two against two instead of two against one.  We're slowly losing the advantage, and like my friend Laurey says, you can't operate a secure facility with more prisoners than wardens.

Ana hasn't started showing yet but she does say her jeans are getting a little tighter at the waist.  She has been getting a lot of morning sickness and hasn't been feeling too well, but hopefully that stage will pass soon.

Everything else is going very well thus far in 2006.  We are planning on moving a house onto our lot at Fishing Lake this spring and using it as a vacation rental so if you are reading this and looking for a great and inexpensive place to spend a week this summer, check lifeisgrand frequently as we'll soon have pictures and rates available.

Just a short one for now, more soon.