Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Summer is here?

It's the end of March and it feels like summer.  As Easter weekend approaches we are looking forward to highs in the mid 20's, definitely not the norm but the heat will be welcome.  Yes, our winter has been very mild but hey, it's still winter and winter bites the biggie.  To celebrate, we've got our hot tub up and running and have bought a brand new beer fridge for the back deck.  The real initiation of our backyard retreat will be this weekend with the visit of my brother Marty and family.

I'm sad to report that we have not been away on a holiday since January when we cruised down to Annapolis to buy a delicious sailboat.  Our life since then has been overcome by administration, tax returns, property maintenance, tenant wars and paperwork of all varieties.  We have been working hard to get as much of this stuff out of the way before our boat arrives so that we can devote as much time as possible this summer to sailing.  We have also decided to liquidate two of our investment properties.  We've done as much as we can do with these buildings - the units have all been renovated, tenants are great, the rents are high and the buildings are safe.  From here on it's just a management game and we've decided we can better invest that money in other areas and save ourselves a lot of time and stress in the process.  We are trying to sell the buildings privately, at least to begin with, but will list them if that doesn't work out.  There has been a substantial amount of interest so far so with luck we will find the right buyer who is willing to pay the right price.  They will be a great investment for somebody as all the hard work has already been done...and my back still hurts from it.

We are looking forward to some downtime this summer.  With our jobs, properties and projects we're probably putting in 60 hour weeks and we've realized that is too much.  When we work that much the kids suffer, our relationship suffers and everybody is basically cranky all the time.  We always struggle to find the balance between work and play, but it's been tougher lately.  The problem is completely our own fault, we tend to take on too much, and once we take something on we like to do it well (sometimes too well...) so the length of time it takes to do tasks is always more than expected.  We are hoping that having the sailboat will give us a good excuse to spend more time on "non work activities".

Magnus and Stella have been diligently attending swimming lessons and have turned into quite the little fishies, perfectly timed for the upcoming sailing season!  We plan on spending a lot of time in the waters of Lake Erie and while we're not actually in the water, you can be sure we'll be hovering over the water with a fishing rod.  My personal goal is to consume 100 kilos of fresh pickerel and perch this summer.

What else can I report?  Ana and I have been working on a master plan for our http://www.lifeisgrand.org/ and http://www.grandventures.ca/ websites and are planning a major overhaul.  We will start chipping away at that this summer, but expect to see more of a focus on marketing digital products, similar to the book I just wrote on importing sailboats.  We see a great future in ebooks so would like to explore the possibilities.  We are also going to return lifeisgrand to a purely travel website....with a likely focus on sailing as we expect many of our future travel adventures will be on a sailboat.

That's it for now..