August 1st – Wait for it….

So it’s not August yet, but I am confident that this tempest in a teacup will prevail through the weekend… I received a call this morning from our agent to tell me that the people who had bought the house now are “not interested”. Legally, of course, they don’t have a leg to stand on but all things considered this may be a blessing for us. Apparently the plan is to send them a sign back telling them that we will agree to sign a mutual release, thereby voiding the contract, if and only if we accept another offer. This is palatable to us since it means we can entertain the other 3 offers that were pending at the deadline and it also means that we can relax a little now that the August 31st deadline is off our backs.
That being said, part of me wants to stick it to this guy out of spite and make him fulfill his contract.
We shall see if a cooler head prevails, and we shall keep living like obsessive compulsives and searching like venerable bloodhounds.

August 20th, 2004

So, in the end, we continued on our quest of finding the ideal abode. Well, not even ideal, but something that would at least fulfill our desire for a little more space and some different neighbours. Since it is now deep into August, things are getting a bit blurry, but I recall seeing a place up in Aurora that was particularly nice. Around the same time, we endured two more open houses and plenty of showings. I would estimate that upwards of a hundred people were through our house at some point or another. Then it came, another offer, this time somewhat less palatable but easy to work with. There was a house inspection clause which was fine since I had patched up the leak from the hot tub and closed the hole in the garage roof. We signed the deal back and forth and eventually agreed on a price within 1% of asking which made everyone happy. This only left two outstanding issues, the house inspection which was going to be fine and our buying a house which, at the time, did not look good. The market was slowing, at a time when we thought it would be swelling, and the few houses that were left were unappealing to say the least. However, we found ourselves late one evening on a small street in Aurora (to my absolute ignorance only 6k from the Newmarket City sign) looking at an end unit townhome with a double garage and a view from the back over a nice little pond with a nesting crane. Not only that, but as we hung around in the front yard waiting for another average Canadian family to finish their tour I found a 4 leaf clover. That had to be a good sign! The place itself was almost perfect… we agreed that one of the main walls had to come down, but otherwise it was just what we had hoped for. Since it had only been on the market 2 days we thought we had better get our offer in right away.

That was the best thing we could have done. Apparently the Realtor had to turn down 3 other offers in the following 2 days in order to deal with ours, and of course, that kind of interest only makes you more determined. However, the vendors were in Nova Scotia and were not going to be able to commit to a sale until they had an opportunity of doing a home inspection on the property they were trying to purchase. This was going to happen August 23rd and the deal was therefore set to close (home inspections for everyone not withstanding) August 26th.

So here we sit, precariously on the edge of homelessness, a sold house behind us and a tentative deal ahead of us. Hopefully in 3 days we will have the transition in place, the closing dates aligned and the sh!tstorm of work that goes into actually moving two lives from one space to another can start.

August 23, 2004

But life goes on, as it tends to do, and we ventured out to the CNE this weekend against our better judgment and despite our ruminations that last year we had decided it was absolute crap and that we would never return. $23 for parking later and we were being ushered across the road by grumpy the policeman and though the Disney wannabe ticket kiosks. Tantalized by the TV commercials and the oversized posters touting the fabulous Superdogs we decided maybe this year would be different. First on the list, out of necessity, was the food building. I had been to the gym and had not yet had a chance to eat, so needless to say I was a joy to be around until I got a peameal bacon sandwich inside me. Once fed, we wandered through the wasteland that is the CNE grounds, and even though it was early (10am) the place was already teeming with the dregs of Toronto’s worst dressed. We headed over to the sport building and played a little basketball, some soccer and even hung out with a very bored gymnastics event hostess whose look of “kill me now” was frighteningly evident. We decided that the replacement of spent energy would be left to a bag of mini donuts, even though apparently they have banned icing sugar for being too messy. The rest of the three hours were no more eventful, a large bag of candy floss was the hands down winner for highlight of the day. We visited the cows and chickens, delighted at the brown eggs coming from brown chickens, and agreed wholeheartedly with the TV show that recently named the Turkey as one of the worlds ugliest animals. From the farm and fun exhibit we went to the Superdogs, expecting nothing short of talking animals and were suitable disappointed by average talent animals being handled by below average handlers. Thankfully this was close to the gates and we bolted for the doors, declining the offer of a hand stamp in our rush for freedom.

Next year, remind me not to go to the CNE, regardless of how tempting the commercials look.

The Olympics

This years Olympics have been pretty good judging by past standards, not many scandals, a few shocking upsets and a decent share of dominant performances. It was not until the Still Rings in the Men’s Gymnastics that we saw a lack of judgment and an obvious playing to the home crowd. The Greek gymnast on rings received the highest mark of the meet despite an obvious hop on his landing and at least 2 leg separations on his handstands. Marian Dragulescu who was immediately after the Greek obviously outshined him, stuck his landing and in my opinion gave one of the performances of the games. But the Greek won. A shameless display of hometown toadying that left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. However, to that point, the gymnastics had been the highlight of the Games. With Carly Patterson’s and Paul Hamm’s victories in the all-around (not because they were Americans, but rather because they came back from near disaster to claim victory) the gymnastic events once again shone as one of the last bastions of personal determination mixed with team spirit. The Canadian winning gold on the floor exercise was spectacular, a mammoth surprise and a touching story, and after all, that is really what the Olympics should be about. Today is a continuation of the apparatus finals for both men and women and we shall be watching closely as they perform.

Simon the Gymnastics Coach?

This is the perfect way for me to get some ideas for the floor and beam routines that I shall be required to contribute to in my role as Coach In Training this year. Yes, once again I am to fill the role of Rookie as I embark on what will no doubt be a very entertaining and rewarding sideline as a gymnastics coach. This, as with most things, depends entirely on scheduling and the gym needing people, but even as a volunteer I think it would be great fun. I have coached people a lot in the past, both as a personal trainer, as a soccer coach and as a lifestyle consultant (don’t eat that, drink more water, get more sleep). This however may be the most challenging to date being as it is that I have never actually been a gymnast. I think this will translate into my developing my own skills as we go in order to fully understand the challenges that face the athletes. I have many years of weight training, soccer playing and rugby in my past, but very little that is going to prepare me for this.

This might hurt.

I admit, I can’t do a handstand for anything more than a brief second. I have done very few somersaults (front tucks now) off diving boards and have never in my life had the guts to try a back handspring or a back tuck even though at one point I tried to teach myself. However, I can do chin-ups and dips despite my current disappointing strength to weight ratio. I have been at the gym 2 weeks and my weight has gone up which is to be expected but no less discouraging. My body is once again changing, shirts again feel like they have shape, not that they are hanging on exceedingly fat hangers. However, for my own health my weight is falling, and I believe that this new endeavour will only serve to encourage my ongoing fitness. It has been a long time since I have had a ‘season’ to look forward to and I am quite excited to get started.