Million Dollar Reality on my Television

reality

Have you ever watched the real estate show Million Dollar Listing LA? I had seen it a few times a number of years ago and randomly came across it this week. It’s all about brokering big deals and displaying big drama in Los Angeles, California. If it wasn’t reality TV then I would be sure that someone with great creative skills and writing abilities was scripting these people. But oh, they are for real. This show is in full juxtaposition to the other reality happening right now in Los Angeles: wildfires.

As I randomly surfed the TV channels last night I came across both a new episode of Million Dollar Listing LA as well as live news coverage of the wildfires that are ravaging parts of Los Angeles. It occurred to me that the same homes, which may have sold recently for $5 million or $16 million, which were built for the uber rich with no expense spared, may be up in flames right now.

I know that the whole city of LA is not under threat to burn down, but parts of well-known exclusive neighbourhoods, such as Bel-air and Ventura, have gone up in flames. I read an article on CNN last night that explained how a number of factors, including low humidity and high winds, have all come together to contribute to this very dangerous situation.

A fire doesn’t care if a home is in an exclusive neighbourhood or a tenement. It rages on and destroys everything in its path, which is what is happening all over LA right now. But I just keep thinking back to Million Dollar Listing last night, and I know that some of the homes featured on that show over its 10-year run are probably a pile of ashes right now.

Southern California is a beautiful place, and I enjoyed a trip there about 15 years ago. For the most part, the climate is temperate and the landscape is beautiful, which is in part why the area has attracted millions of people over the last 150 years. It is the land of brilliance and creativity and yet also frivolity and foolishness. What is considered serious and important on the reality show Million Dollar Listing LA makes me want to laugh out loud. Then again, these featured brokers could never have known when the current season was being filmed that their beloved city was about to be hit with the worst wildfires in the region’s history.

The wildfires across LA are unfortunately a reality, and they are no laughing matter. They are to be taken quite seriously. I hope the hard-working firefighters get the blazes under control soon, and that the city can come to together to clean up and rebuild. I don’t doubt it that the people of Los Angeles are resilient. I hope that they stay safe, and I am sending them my best wishes.

There’s Doping at the Olympics. Really?

doping

Were you as shocked as I was yesterday when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) publicly admitted that there’s a doping problem in Russia? Didn’t you always think, like I did, that the Olympics are where clean and honest sport comes together in a show of strength and fair play? Now I know the truth: there’s doping at the Olympics. Really?

My apologies for my rather sarcastic comments above. Honestly, I am not surprised at all by yesterday’s announcement from the IOC that Russia has been banned from the 2018 winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It’s not because a few Russian athletes were found guilty of doping. Doping is a state-run industry in Russia, and after years of investigation the hammer has finally come down.

I have been reading stories about just how deep doping is entrenched in Russian sport. There is some sick desire to always win. Young athletes must be living in a culture where they are forced to break the rules and destroy their bodies just to be number one. It saddens me to know that there are probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of talented young Russian athletes whose dreams have just been crushed.

Do 16-year-old skaters and 21-year-old skiers deserve to be thrown out of the Olympics before they even have a chance to compete? Did these athletes scheme and plan behind the scenes so they can stand on the podium in February? I doubt it. Unfortunately, they are part of a very broken system that demands cheating in order to win.

And the IOC made it clear this must stop. Doping is unacceptable, ever. It’s terrible that hundreds of young, hard-working, talented Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete at the Olympics in a few months. They are caught in what may seem like an unfair system. But the IOC had no choice. The Russian Olympic Committee didn’t just break the rules for years, it laughed at them and stomped on them.

I am intrigued by the IOC’s attempt to reach out to individual athletes from Russia, to separate individuals from their country that sponsors doping. I see this as a message to these young athletes, in particular those who have managed to stay out of the doping controversy (dare I say, are verifiably clean?) that they are welcome at the 2018 Winter Olympics. If these individuals qualify to compete (based on criteria outlined by the IOC), they are welcome, but not as Russians.

These athletes won’t see a Russian flag and they won’t hear the Russian anthem. They will participate as athletes who do not represent any country. But if they agree to these rules and compete using only their abilities and relying on hard work, then I believe they will be warmly accepted by the Olympic community.

IOC President Thomas Bach said it well yesterday, when he noted that the long-time Russian doping represented an “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games.” So, I hope that integrity returns to the Olympics. This is just a start.

Inappropriate Behaviour is Never Appropriate

I have carefully followed and monitored the news coverage and analysis over the last two months of men, who for the most part were in positions of power, and used that power over women. I have read a lot and thought about this often. I have kept my thoughts to myself and taken it all in. But I will say it loud and clear today: inappropriate behaviour is never appropriate.

There is one thing I want to make clear before I write more. I have never personally been the victim of inappropriate behaviour, harassment or sexual assault. I have worked with many men over my 15 year plus career, and all of them, from the CEO of the company to my boss to my colleagues, have always treated me with respect at all times.

My first job in media, at a sports radio station, where I was surrounded by men, I was never exposed to any inappropriate behaviour. I worked closely with some big names in sports, and quite honestly, my experience was very positive. And that’s the way it’s been for me as I moved into television and then into communications.

But I think my story is unique. I think I am lucky that I have worked for and alongside some good men, who always treated me appropriately. Other women have not been so lucky. And that makes me angry.

It is unacceptable for a man, especially one who is in a position of power, to behave in an inappropriate manner around a woman. Harassing a woman is awful, and assaulting her is revolting.

Women have put up with this for thousands of years, all over the world. Men, who for the most part are bigger and stronger than women, have wielded power over them and abused them. It is important to note that not all women through history have been the victim of inappropriate behaviour, but they have been in the minority. And until now women’s cries for help went unheard.

Coming forward and speaking out against harassment or assault takes tremendous courage. I applaud every woman who has filed a complaint or who has faced the man head on who may have behaved inappropriately towards her. Women in ancient times to the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution to the 21st century have tried to speak out. And now everyone is listening. Loud and clear. Finally.

But I also think that we need to be careful. I believe that there aren’t just a few good men around but there are many great men. Most men know what is appropriate and what is not and they know how to treat women respectfully. They are equally revolted by sexual harassment and assault. They just know what’s right.

It is never too late to speak out. Women are learning that now. There is strength in one voice or many. I hope this is just the beginning of a new world we are living in where men treat women with respect and women can speak out when they don’t.

Bandwagon Grey Cup Fan

grey cup

I love sports and have a particular interest in baseball. I do enjoy watching other professional sports, especially with my son, such as hockey, basketball and soccer. But I will admit that I don’t know much about football. Whether it is the CFL or NFL, with their different rules and nuances, I just don’t get it. I don’t watch football games. But I do watch the championship game each year. I guess that makes me a bandwagon Grey Cup fan.

Over the years, numerous people have tried their best to explain football to me. In particular, I want to give credit to the amazing group of people I worked with at Rogers Sportsnet almost 15 years ago. They tried their best to explain downs to me. I learned about fumbles, touchdowns, field goals and so much more. I will admit that I did not internalize much of it. Maybe I just didn’t understand football.

But you don’t have to know anything about football or even be a big fan of the game to enjoy the Grey Cup, the annual Canadian Football League championship game. Watching a bunch of grown men run back and forth on a frozen field, in minus ten temperatures and snow falling sideways, is entertaining. I don’t think I have ever actually watched a Grey Cup game in its entirety. I always watch the team introductions, coin toss and national anthem. Usually I  watch the first half on and off, and I do enjoy the half-time show. But my attention usually drops off after that. The game just keeps going, and the clock keeps stopping.

This year my interest was piqued a bit more than usual as I joined the bandwagon in Toronto and cheered on the mighty Argonauts. I’m not always a homer (Go Canes Go!), but for the most part I support Toronto teams. And how could you not love the underdog Argos?

Yes, I only watched the first half. It was a busy Sunday night in our house and there was no way I could continue to watch the whole game. I wasn’t in the group of people who gave up on the Argos early on and walked away. I believed in them and their abilities but just didn’t have a chance to watch. But I’m glad they won the Grey Cup!

From what I saw of the game, my favourite part, which was so Canadian, was the singing of our national anthem. It was so creative. You just have to watch it.

Another great part, you have to figure, was when the Argos kicked the field goal and won the game 27-24. They were behind the whole time and came through in the final minutes to win it all. Thanks to the internet I learned about the new Grey Cup champions via an alert while I put the baby to bed.

So the CFL season is over. The NFL season is in full swing, and I really have no idea who’s been winning and who has been tanking. But like the Grey Cup, I will turn on my TV and watch the Superbowl on February 4th. Or at least I will watch some of it. And I will cheer on the winning team. That’s what a good bandwagon football fan should do.

#GivingTuesday

#givingtuesday

The 2017 Holiday season has arrived. Halloween is over and the kids consumed more sugar in one night than they do in a typical month. Our American friends ate their turkey with all the fixings on Thursday and Thanksgiving has passed.  Black Friday triggered the official start of the season of buying, consuming and capitalism at its best. Cyber Monday, yesterday, brought out the best in technology and yes, more buying and consuming. Which brings us to today, Giving Tuesday, or more commonly spelled, #GivingTuesday.

We all own too much, we buy too much and we always feel we just need too much. From the ten-pound diaper bag full of supplies for the baby to the children’s playroom overflowing with toys to my own closet stuffed with clothing I barely wear, we have too much. We consume too much.

For me, #GivingTuesday is a breath of fresh air. After days of over-consumption (food and shopping!), I welcome a day to give. Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation, this annual international day of giving has raised and moved hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the age of technology, this movement gained momentum almost overnight. And yes, like so many other things, it has its own hashtag. The internet and social media has given #GivingTuesday a tremendous platform to just do good. And I love that.

Okay, I will admit that my email inbox was overwhelmed this morning by requests from many organizations asking me to give them a donation. They are all worthy causes, and I do want to support them. I also got a ton of emails from the same retailers who bombarded me with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to now join them in giving back today.

Charitable organizations and businesses are asking me to “celebrate” with them, to use this as an “opportunity” to give and to be “part of something big.” They are all correct, that in the craziness of the Holiday season we should take a moment to pause, to stop buying and just give.

Giving does not necessarily mean handing over money. It could also mean that you can give of yourself and your time. My life is busy, and as I have written recently, often overwhelming. All those emails and social media posts are reminding me to slow down and maybe think of someone else who is more overwhelmed than I am. It reminds me that no matter how much I am balancing in my life and all the stresses I am facing, I can still help someone else.

I am not able today to give money or time to every charity that solicits a donation from me. But I will definitely give to some of them and through this blog I hope I can pay it forward and encourage all of you, my loyal readers, to participate in #GivingTuesday today. Make a donation to a charity that is close to your heart. Volunteer your time. Help a friend. Be kind to a stranger. That’s what today is all about. Let’s do something good. We will all be better off.

Maternity Leave is not all that it’s Cracked up to be

maternity leave

I have three wonderful children who are the loves of my life. Like many women, I dreamed of being a mother for many years and consider myself lucky every day that I was blessed with such an incredible family. My third child, Nessa, my little miracle, did not come so easily, and I am thankful every day for her being in my life. I chose to take maternity leave with each of my three children, which I feel is a privilege given to Canadian women. However, while many people see maternity leave as a great benefit, it can also have damaging consequences to a woman’s job and career aspirations.

I also firmly believe that the new expanded parental leave, announced yesterday by the Federal government, will potentially cause further damage to a woman’s career.

Under the current system, a person (or couple) can take a leave from work for a total of 12 months following the birth of a baby (or start that leave up to 8 weeks before the child is born). During that period, a new parent (or parents) qualify to receive up to 50 weeks of employment insurance from the Government of Canada. I believe that comes out to up to $543 per week. Some employers top up pay for some or all of that time as well. Under the expanded leave, a total of 18 months can be taken off, but the financial benefits are not increased (just spread out thinner over a longer period of time).

I want to put the financial benefits of maternity leave aside. What I want to focus on is the job one “leaves” and what happens the next day after a woman has left the workplace to focus on her new baby. This has happened to me three times.

Each time I had a new baby I chose to go on maternity leave from a full-time job. I was at one place of employment when my first two children were born and another organization when my third child was born. As a communications professional, I worked in fast-paced demanding jobs with a lot on my plate. And I loved it. I knew that with the massive workload I had that someone else had to either take over my job or a group of people had to fill in for me while I was away. Life went on and work had to be done whether I was there or not. That’s the case for all women who go on maternity leave.

So, what happens when a woman is away from the office for just a few weeks, a few months, 12 months or now as many as 18 months? As I said, life goes on at work, people fill in and the organization creates a new normal. When my son was born in 2007, I was away for 8 months. When my daughter was born in 2010 I was away for 11 months. And the organization where I was employed went on and my colleagues worked hard and filled in for me.

After my first maternity leave I returned to my same job and went on with my day-to-day responsibilities. In fact, a few months later I even got a promotion. I worked hard and did my best to balance the demands of my job with the needs of my baby. I assumed the same thing would happen in 2011 when I returned to the same job after my second maternity leave.

But I was wrong. The organization where I worked was planning massive changes and a rebranding while I was away, and those changes were implemented weeks after I returned. I was told my job was eliminated.

I had just come off 11 months of maternity leave and had received almost 50 weeks of employment insurance benefits. I did not qualify to receive any more and thought that in Canada there was a system in place to protect young mothers who chose to take a leave from work to care for their young children. Our jobs, we were told, were protected, so that we could go away for a year and return to work. I understood that my exact job did not have to be given back to me but that a job equal to mine had to at least be available to me. It was, for a few weeks, then it was gone. Why? Because if an organization, for or not-for-profit, does a massive reorganization, it is not required to retain women on maternity leave. It is allowed to eliminate those jobs.

I was lucky that I quickly secured another job in 2011, one I loved very much. I received a number of promotions over the next few years, and by 2016, when Nessa was born, I managed a team of people and oversaw many files and projects at the company. While I did not make a final decision on how long I would be away from my job, I knew I wanted to take at least 4-5 months of maternity leave to spend time with my new baby.

When the baby was not quite 3 months old I was informed that my job had been eliminated. This time there was no company reorganization that I knew of. Various people had filled in for me, there was a new normal and they didn’t need me anymore. It didn’t matter that I was respected by my colleagues and made contributions to the organization over the previous five years. Out of sight, out of mind. So what if the Government of Canada had a maternity leave program? My employer didn’t care. My job was gone.

According to some research I found from Statistics Canada, which looked at the increasing maternity leave benefits from 1971 onwards, I read that “one aim of the 2000 amendment was to enable working parents to care for their infant longer and still allow them secure re-entry into employment” It added that “after the extension of parental benefits, all provinces and territories revised their labour codes to give full job protection of 52 weeks or more to employees taking paid or unpaid maternity or parental leave.”

Financial benefits aside, maternity leave was created, in-part, so that women could feel confident that they could walk away from a job to care for a baby knowing their job was secure and protected. But that is not the case. And the longer a woman is away from her job, potentially up to 18 months with the new expanded leave, the less security and protection she has.

If the Government of Canada is going to expand its parental leave program then it also needs to put in place strict rules that protect those parents’ jobs when they choose to take a leave to care for young children. As long as employers can eliminate a job during or soon after a maternity leave then it is not a true benefit. Canadian women need to know their careers can grow and their jobs are secure when they become new mothers and attempt the very difficult task of a balance between work and home. Until that happens, there is no such thing as a true maternity leave.

Keep your Head up and no more Distracted Walking

distracted driving

Are you going to be a zombie for Halloween this year? Or are you a zombie every day and maybe you will make a change on October 31 and wake up. If you live in Honolulu, Hawaii, you may consider going as a giant ticket or a traveling smart phone this year because zombies are not welcome in this city anymore. We have all heard of distracted driving, but have you ever heard of distracted walking?

It was all over the news yesterday. Honolulu is the first city to formally pass a distracted walking law, also known as the “Zombie law.” The city wants people to wake up and pay attention when they cross the street. A person can be ticketed and fined if a police officer deems that individual to be distracted while walking,

Let’s be real. What does distracted walking really mean? It refers to people who are more engrossed in whatever it is on their smart phone than what is on the road ahead of them. As I wrote about earlier this week, we all share the roads, and we all need to respect the others around us.

It is easy to picture the distracted walker. The person could be male or female, 25 years old or 65 years old. The smart phone is held tightly in one or both hands. The body is slightly slumped forward with both eyes fixed on the screen. Sometimes the fingers are typing away some inane message to a friend or colleague. The person is totally unaware of the busy street – or world – around him or her.

This person bumps into other people on the sidewalk, crosses the intersection when the light is about to turn red and does not check to make sure a car is not coming. Whatever is on the screen of the phone is clearly more important than staying safe as he or she cross the road.

I will admit that once in a while I become a zombie when I walk down the sidewalk. I try to avoid this behaviour unless I need to contact someone urgently, but yes, sometimes I am guilty. Admit it – you are guilty too. We are becoming a society of zombies. You don’t need to waste money dropping $15 at a movie theatre anymore to see the latest zombie flick. Just head downtown and watch the zombies cross the street.

But do we need laws that actually ban people from checking their smart phones while they cross the street? I would say no. As we embrace technology and change our lives each day to include it, we must adjust our behaviour and be responsible. It’s great that I can text my family who live in New Zealand while I am in downtown Toronto. I love that I can check the score in the baseball game no matter where I’m walking. And it thrills my mother that she can call her three children no matter where we are.

But I can send that text when I sit down at the local coffee shop. While I am a big sports fan, I don’t have to know the score in the game while I’m walking along the sidewalk. I can speak to my mother on the phone later. What I – or anyone around me is doing on the smart phone really is not urgent. Whatever it is I or those around me are doing really can wait.

Let’s face it, distracted walking is dangerous. It’s dangerous to the distracted person and to everyone – the pedestrians, drivers and cyclists – on the street as well. It even seems to be dangerous to “motionless objects such as street signs, doors or walls,” according to a warning in the United States from the National Safety Council (I have never walked into a street sign, door or wall while using my smart phone. Have you?!).

Be smart when you use your smart phone. When you are walking to your car, running for the bus or crossing the street to get a coffee, drop your phone in your purse or pocket for a few minutes. Don’t be accused of distracted walking, especially if you live in (or are visiting) Honolulu.

I Planned to Salsa on St. Clair but Ate Italian Instead

salsa

Today I am writing another installment of “Being a Tourist in my own City.” Summer in the city, especially on the weekend, can often be warm, muggy and oppressive. It’s easy to laze around the house or pull up a chair in the backyard and do a lot of nothing. Instead of that, this weekend we decided to take advantage of an annual event in our neighbourhood, and on Saturday night, with only one child at home (the baby), we stepped outside and walked over to Salsa on St. Clair.

I remember stopping by this event a few years ago, as it wound down on a Sunday night. We had only checked out the perimeter and I recall that it was busy. This year, at 7:00 pm on a beautiful Saturday evening, we decided to try it again. I had checked out the event’s website and expected to find loud lively music, some dancing on the closed off street and a mix of Latin American and South American food.

We found all of that, and I also found dense crowds and long lines. I should have known better. After weeks (or was it months?) of rain in Toronto and so many washed out weekends, people were desperate to get outside and party on such a gorgeous evening. As we approached the Eastern edge of the event, I could hear the music, I could see the crowd and I could smell the sumptuous food.

No doubt the event delivered on its promises – there were blocks of music and dancing and a huge variety of food for sale. But it was impossible to move, never mind dance, and I did not have the patience to wait in snaking lines just for a taste of a tomatillo, plantain or churros. I don’t doubt the food was delicious, and the music was so vibrant that I could feel myself wanting to dance, but I (or my husband or my parents who joined us) did not have the patience nor the stamina to stay, so we kept walking.

It was slow moving, but we crossed the Salsa, from one end to the other and passed people of all ages enjoying the event. There were families with babies and young children, teenagers and 20-somethings out for a night on the town and even an older crowd enjoying the scene. We just kept on walking.

salsa
I just had to include a photo of this place on our walk as it’s an interesting establishment, with interesting signs.
salsa
Have they made themselves clear?

If you keep walking along St. Clair West in Toronto you arrive in one of the many “Little Italy” neighbourhoods of our great city. With our stomachs rumbling we checked out a few places and eventually decided upon a modest but sweet looking place that had a quiet patio and space to accommodate us and the stroller.  Big Slice Restaurant came through with a tasty meal and friendly service. On our walk home, as a bonus, we stopped a for a treat at Punto Gelato, where everyone (including the baby, of course), enjoyed a couple of scoops of this Italian treat. I highly recommend the Caramelo flavour by the way!

salsa
Nessa gave the food at Big Slice a thumbs up (or rather her whole hand)
salsa
Outside Punto Gelato. Yum.

To get home we chose to dive back into the Salsa again to see how it looked at night.  The music was lively and there was some great dancing. The crowd had thinned somewhat, though I didn’t see too many young families or the older crowd from a couple hours before. We definitely brought the average age up while we walked through!

I am fortunate that I live in a city that has such a vibrant mix of cultures that are celebrated throughout the year. Whether it is a street festival or a parade, and whether the event is small and quiet or crowded and lively, I love them all. My family and I participate in our own special way, and I look forward to the next time I can be a tourist in my own city.

Who Elects our Leaders

who elects our leaders

 

When I created Kinetic Motions I decided to focus on various topics, including sports, travel, family and general musings. I thought I would avoid more hot-button topics like politics. I am not politically active, I don’t support a particular political party and I consider myself someone who has an open mind. Countries like Canada, United States, Britain and France are all democracies (though they are different kinds of democracies, such as a Republic or Constitutional Monarchy) and all have held federal elections in the last couple of years. I read a lot of news, watch a lot of coverage on TV and listen to many debates on the radio and today I ask myself, who elects our leaders?

The quick answer is simple – we, the people, do. That’s common sense as at the end of the day, the citizens who are the age of majority directly or indirectly decide who elects our leaders.

But, in reality it’s not that simple. Shaking hands at community events, knocking on doors, dropping leaflets in mailboxes and even personalized phone calls will not get you elected in 2017 (or 2015 or 2016). Maybe that was never enough to get you elected. While I think that mass media has always played a role in influencing political campaigns, never before over the last few years, have I seen media – traditional, online and social – play such a huge role to determine who elects our leaders.

In a democracy, it’s not just important it is imperative that we are educated about politics, that we vote and that we question our government’s actions. But have media become obsessed with doing that? For the last few years I can’t turn on the news on TV, check my Twitter feed or log on to a news website without finding headlines about the American political leadership in particular but also about scandals or battles between politicians in other countries around the world.

Without any statistics to back me up, I would say that a majority of journalists, bloggers and political analysts spoke out strongly, forcefully and often against one candidate in particular in the American Presidential election in 2016. Words such as liar, arrogant, buffoon or egotistical are some that I remember hearing and reading in their bid to discredit this individual. But could it be that their obsession with this candidate, their derogatory attitude and comments pushed a large number of disenchanted voters in the opposite direction and that these said journalists, bloggers and political analysts may actually have helped this individual win the election?

Could the same be true in other democracies? Has the obsession with certain candidates, whether they are liked or despised by media, influenced the outcome of the election in an obvious way? And does that obsession continue even after an individual is elected? In the case of the American elections I would say yes. Let’s continue to hold our political candidates and elected leaders accountable, but let’s also be responsible about how we do that – so that we, the people, can make a fair, educated and reasonable choice.

Inundated with Requests to Sell or Renovate my Home

sell or renovate

 

It’s been headline news across Canada for years that real estate prices are soaring in a number of markets, most notably Vancouver and Toronto. Everything from fixer-upper tiny bungalows to remodeled three-story mansions have seen their values increase exponentially. Salaries have not increased at the same rate as real estate in cities like Toronto, where I live, which poses a frustrating challenge to both first-time buyers and people looking to move up to the next size home. With prices so out of control, real estate agents and professionals in the building and renovating industry have seen nice profits and are aggressively going after more and more business. It leaves home owners like me inundated with requests to sell or renovate my home.

I do want to state publicly that I am not looking to sell my home nor do I want to renovate it. Responsible home ownership requires regular maintenance and light renovation, but right now I’m happy with my home just the way it is. But that does not stop the daily onslaught of flyers, postcards, letters and even knocks on my door asking me if I have an interest to sell or renovate my home.

Yesterday my mailbox was stuffed with junk mail, including seven oversized postcards from local real estate agents. The cards boasted about everything from news that a charming home sold in my neighbourhood, that a “magnificent family home” was just listed or that they have the most spectacular home available for me to purchase. I particularly enjoyed the small print that asked me, “Thinking of selling? Now is the time, as the Toronto housing market remains strong,” or “NOW could be the time to list your home for sale.”

I also received a stack of pamphlets, flyers and cards full of home renovation ads. Do I have a wet basement? How about a leaky roof? Has my air conditioner seen better days? How about my tired looking backyard? It goes on and on, page after page.

Maybe I am just cranky because I really do not want to sell or renovate my home and have had enough of dumping a seemingly endless pile of junk mail into my oversized recycling bin. Everyone is trying to make a living and when the real estate market is hot there are more people in my city getting a real estate license or becoming a roofer, landscape designer or general contractor.

Now that the Government of Ontario has brought in housing reforms, will the market calm down? Just from my own observations, I see that homes in my neighbourhood that were snapped up in days are now sitting on the market much longer. But is that because the market has cooled or are there other factors such as an asking price that’s too high or a challenging location such as one or two houses in from a major street?

I do see many homes for sale in my neighbourhood right now and even more homes undergoing various levels of renovation. I know that my area is clearly ripe for the picking for real estate agents and renovation professionals. But I love my home, I love its location and I love it just the way it is. So, maybe calm down just a bit about asking me to sell or renovate my home. Thanks.