Friday, February 29, 2008

My Friend's Financial Career and other Rambling Thoughts

One of Stephen Leacock's best known stories is My Financial Career. It's about one ordinary man's encounter with the mysteries and hazards of banking. After my experiences of the last few days, I appreciate the story even more than I did when I first heard it on CBC radio.

I am acting on behalf of a sick friend and I have all the documentation the government says is sufficient. Nevertheless, almost every one of the big five banks wanted one of their own Power of Attorney forms signed and witnessed. Fortuately, I was able to prevail, thanks to my ability to conceal anxiety and present a stern school marm face. My passport has now been in more banks than countries. Also, I have so much paper that I will have to acquire another file box or three.

Now I understand why my friend had so many uncashed cheques in his apartment. It's a wonder he didn't keep them in a sock, like Leacock's protagonist did. My friend did the next best thing though, he put his money in accounts that earn almost no interest.

I've considered writing an article about how each bank has responded, complete with ratings, but I doubt any newspaper would want to publish it, because I would have to use a nom de plume. In any event, I have no time to write it because the next fearsome task looms.

Usually, I read for a while before I go to sleep but lately I've been conking out after three pages instead of twenty or thirty pages. I'm part way through Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay and for me, one of the best things about the book is all the references to CBC radio - the old announcers and the programs I listened to when I was young. I need to finish the book before it is due back at the library because a neighbour took it out on her card and lent it to me after she read it. I might stay up late tonight and finish the book, since my weekend dance card is filled and next week I return to Toronto. But, before I do, maybe I'll buy more socks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Joyful News

Let me get right to the good stuff.

My friend, Lori Hahnel, is currently making final minor revisions to her novel, Take Me Disappearing. It has been accepted by Oberon (subject to her revisions meeting their approval as I've no doubt they will) and it will be published this fall. That's right, amazingly enough, they will publish it this year. Usually literary novels take longer than that to go to press but not this time.

I am thrilled for her and plan to celebrate her success with a fine single malt scotch whenever I can make to to the LCBO. Heck! maybe I'll even go this afternoon, because if I don't get busy and celebrate, when will I have time?

But that story is for another blog.

This one is all about Lori.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sandwich, anyone?

Recently, a friend's blog gave her thoughts on being a member of the sandwich generation. Normally this saying refers to adult children who care for their aging parents and for their own children at the same time. There are different kinds of sandwiches though and I'm the middle part of one now and I will be for some time to come.

I don't have aging parents to care for - heck, I'm the aging parent, but I do have an older friend with no family and he needs all kinds of help. Meanwhile, my adult child could use some help too. The Viking doesn't require my help, he but enjoys our time together as much as I do, and now there's less time for us.

In addition to dealing with several banks and trying to sort out a financial muddle (I'd call it something else but I'm being polite here.); I am gathering information on retirement living options, looking for an acountant, and tomorrow, my bum will no doubt be warming a seat at Service Canada for hours since I must sort out a pension snafu.

This weekend, I'll be making my grandsons mind me or offering them bribes, whichever one I'm in the mood for, while their parents take a break. And next week I'll be in Toronto for four days.

The Viking said, you have an interesting life. Isn't - may you have an interesting life - a curse according to some eastern philosophy?

I'd like to settle down and put the final touches to a short story that's almost ready to go out. I'd like to, but instead I have to recheck and then add up columns of numbers and see if I can get the same result three times in a row. Not so simple when you're me and have a tendency to reverse digits.

It must be time for coffee, with a pickle on the side.