Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for October 2011


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Browsing through iPhoto I found pictures of our Toronto house. They were pictures of its last day.

Originally it was a cottage on farmland that existed in that part of North Toronto. Over the years the house was transformed into a story and a half, many times renovated by its many owners. The basement leaked, as did the roof that flared out like a bell at the eaves collecting snow which turned into an ice dam during the cold of winter.

There were many problems with the Toronto house. But, we lived through them spending large amounts of money rectifying as many as we could. In the end we let the Toronto house go to developers. To live in it through our retirement years would required an infusion of cash that we weren’t prepared to spend. I don’t know why I bought that house. I never should have.

The Toronto house was a focal point. It was the only home our youngest daughter knew for 28 years. My son spent hours in the dark, damp basement honing the craft he now practices. To my two older daughters the Toronto house became a revolving refuge until they asserted their independence. In later years family and friends flowed through like waves reaching for the shore. Looking at the pictures brought back so many memories.

Memories, I find are stronger than any structure. Old age is perhaps the only force that memories can’t defend against. Age can dim them such that they are only sporadically recalled. Memories do last, however, because they are passed on building on a foundation that doesn’t crumble – that can’t be destroyed by a machine.

The Toronto house doesn’t exist anymore. Memories of it do, though.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 25, 2011 at 5:14 PM


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One of the promises of retirement was the luxury of time.

I had lived a professional life of long days and working-weekends filled with projects dictated by deadline after deadline. The allure of time, free of constraints, was one of the key reasons I left the world of advertising. In my retired world, no one would be asking “when can we see the work.” I would be the time keeper. I would do things on my own clock, on my own terms, in my own way.

One of the first was reading Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, all three, two-inch thick volumes. Six and a half years later I have plowed my way through Volume One and only half of Volume Two. I got bogged down by his complex two page sentences and rambling chapter long paragraphs. Because I had so much time on my hands, it was easy to put the book aside until another day. No doubt I’ll finish it in another six years. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I made that decision without fear of consequence. There were no outside mandatories hovering over my head. This does not mean that I walk away from all my home grown obligations. I simply gauge the need and act accordingly. One can think of it as Discretionary Time.

Discretionary Time is budgeted according to need and desire. The ratio between needing to mow the lawn and the desire to do so depends on the heat of the day and your energy level. The balance between cleaning out the garage and the desire to sit in the shade depends on whether you want to read more of Proust and how cold the beer is. You get the idea.

Discretionary Time allows you to spend your days wisely without waste. It is an economic model, a simple algorithm, a sophisticated process that helps you regain your sanity while letting you get away with things you never thought you could.

Everyone should ultimately invest in Discretionary Time. It pays great dividends.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM