I Forgot

29 July 2014 Categories: Gerry's Corner

      When I was 6 or 7 years old, schools use to have vaccination day. On those days parents could bring the younger kids from home to get their shots. Here we are in a long line up waiting for our turn to see one of two nurses. I was in line with my Mother and my little brother who was 2 ½ years younger than I was and not in school yet. When it came to my turn, the nurse asked me what my name was so she could make sure she had the right recording chart. As this was happening, my kid brother who was behind me starts pulling at my Mother’s dress. He finally got her attention and she leans down to listen to what he wanted. He says: “What is my name?” True story! We still tease him about that day.

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26 July 2014 Categories: Gerry's Corner

      I have leased motor vehicles for more than 25 years. Today leasing a vehicle is far more popular but there are some that still feel ownership is preferred. In my early days of starting my own business, I was like many struggling families and owned used or pre-owned vehicles. Some were 10-15 years old. I kept them for maybe 3-4 years and then bought another used vehicle. I had 2 problems that kept haunting me. First, there was the look of the old car when I would go to clients. I felt I was poor and begging for money. Not a good image for a budding Consultant. The second problem was the lack of reliability. I was faced with frequent breakdowns consequently missing or cancelling important meetings. The constant repairs and the price gouging of garages was more than I could afford at the time. Bear in mind I was also trying to provide for a family of 5. It seemed like every 2-3 months I needed new tires or a radiator or a muffler or a starter etc. etc. I seemed to be faced with a constant money drain. There was another embarrassing issue. I was never mechanically inclined. This was one of my Father’s disappointments in his eldest son. At an early age I was drawn to business and office work. I did try to have nice muscle cars from the time I received my driver’s license but I could never fix them. I relied on my kid brother and friends to keep my cars going.

     Many years ago a friend told me that you need a decent car for image purposes being a Consultant. Even though I had some embarrassing moments with my vehicles, my sense of practicality told me I needed a newer vehicle than I was used to and I needed it to be reliable with minimum unforeseen expenses. So I leased my 1st car. It was a demo and yes I now had a monthly payment but I hoped I would have fewer breakdowns and less expensive repairs. I never looked back after that day. I have always had at least one leased vehicle and at times two. I have leased cars, numerous family vans and numerous pickups which I am now addicted to. Recently my wife to be had a 12 year old vehicle which was starting to spend more time at the garage than on the road, so I persuaded her to lease a new car. She did not have to buy or finance a vehicle and it would be cheaper. Being that I take care of my vehicles and mainly use them for highway driving and usually have low mileage, leasing companies in the last 5 years have been calling me to get me out of my 4 year lease after 2 years and put me in a new vehicle without penalties and at a lower price than the previous lease. That is because of low interest rates and vehicle prices coming down. Bottom line is I have another new pickup on order and will be getting out of a 4 year lease after 2 years at a monthly payment of less than what I was paying 4 years ago on 2 previous pickups. Kind of a no brainer! My gains other than financial are, I have a new vehicle with reliability, road side assistance and virtually no expenses except minor maintenance till my next new vehicle. Makes sense to me.

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Computer Programming

22 July 2014 Categories: Gerry's Corner

      Is it just me? I have what is considered old Technology which I am comfortable with. I still do all my work on a Desktop Computer hence I have a large screen and a mouse. A few nights ago I was watching TV and something I was watching involved a picture of a computer screen and cursor pointing to various menu items. As you would expect, the cursor is flying and being clicked on various menu items. As this is happening I found my right hand moving as if I was operating the mouse on TV. Was that an instinctive reaction? It did make me reflect on how programmed we are physically by our computers. In case anyone is wondering, I was not under the influence of any medication.

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Attitude=Success 2

21 July 2014 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is a follow up blog on a subject I posted in November 2013. With continued hard work and personal efforts, this person has now achieved the prestigious recognition of being top salesperson for May and June 2014. Her one year work anniversary is this Month. If we equate this to a Sports analogy, she was hired as a rookie and is now receiving the MVP award. She has not only surfaced as number one amongst her peers whom some have 20 years of experience but she is listed in the top 3rd of a pool of 1700 salespeople in Canada.

She is surely a performer to be reckoned with. Way to go girl!

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Ontario Renovate Program

20 July 2014 Categories: Gerry's Corner

There are a number of Government Grant Programs in place. Unfortunately most people never hear about them because they are minimally advertised once in place. The biggest push in recent years has been to assist people in financial need to make their homes more energy efficient and now there is financial assistance to make some home improvements. Granted most programs are for seniors, disabled or financially strapped individuals but there are some loop holes where we can all benefit.

     Two years ago I did see an ad announcing a small fund that was available to homeowners in my Municipality. I checked the qualifications to apply and I did qualify. I requested the long application, completed it and did submit it by the unreasonable timeline. The program was under Ontario Renovates. I did get approved and had an inspector come to the house. I had applied for assistance in converting my wood burning stove to a central force air propane furnace. The inspector was walking to the house and I went outside to greet him. His first words to me before “Hi how are you?” was “How old is your house?” then “How old is your windows?” He then says “You don’t need a furnace instead you need new windows. I said to him “New windows won’t keep me warm in the winter but a furnace will” He says “But you will lose most of your heat with those windows” I replied “I won’t lose any heat if I don’t have a furnace” Long story short this was the start of a long argumentative journey. The good news is with A LOT of patience I did get my furnace and windows a year after my application.

      These programs are good and they are there to help but it is a long tedious process. If you ever consider a Government funded Program, do be prepared to do a lot of work, a lot of convincing, take a long term approach and be prepared to have to spend some of your own money. There are parts to the program such as HST that is not part of the grant. You have to pay that portion. Nothing is totally free, if you don’t pay out of pocket, you will pay with frustration.

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Summer Help

19 July 2014 Categories: Gerry's Corner

I posted this blog in June 2010 and re-read it recently. It is well worth a re- posting. Not much has changed in the last 4 years. Enjoy the read.

Have you noticed that it is next to impossible to find kids to help with summer work around the house. I have tried for the last 3 years. It is unbelievable what the kids expect and there are so few of them that want to do outside work. They refuse to work at a fast food place for minimum wage yet want to do minimum work. If you do find someone they are slow, can’t think for themselves and you have to watch them and tell them in detail what to do. What would they do if they lived in the U.S. where there is no minimum wage law? I know times have changed but as a kid I would jump at an opportunity to do work for a neighbor and make a few bucks. I had to work on the farm for my Dad for free or as he would say ” You have to earn your keep or who do you think is feeding you? ”

Here are some of my experiences in recent years while either trying to find some help or with the kids that I did hire but did not last long.

1) Yes sir, I can rake leaves, wash cars, trim trees, wash windows. I charge $ 20.00 an hour and $ 25.00 an hour if there are black flies.

2) Yes I can cut lawn. What kind of a riding lawn mower do you have? I don’t, I have a push mower with no motor. No thank you sir?

3) Start time 9:00 am. Arrival 12:00 noon. Sorry I am late my mother slept in and did not wake me up.

4) Start time 9:00 am. Arrival 1:00 pm. Sorry I am late my brother had a bonfire last night and invited me to the party. I only got 4 hours of sleep.

5) Can I work with my head phone?

6) Could I have something to eat and drink I did not bring anything.

7) After 4 hours of work. I did not realize you wanted me to work all day.

8)  At lunch time. Can you pay me tonight for my work? How much will it be anyway?

9) I can operate all sorts of equipment and power tools. Can you use a rake, shovel, push mower, clippers, hammer, etc.? Reply: Are they powered?

10) Would you take this hand saw and cut those tree branches? Don’t you have a chainsaw?

11) Please wash all my outside windows. Here is a bucket, water and rags. Don’t you have a power washer?

12) How often are my breaks? I have to check my text messages.

13) Do I have to work this Saturday?

14) I can’t work any night after school because I hang out with my friends.

15) Don’t tell my mom I am working for you. If she finds out she’ll want me to do the same work at home and she won’t pay me.

16) Can I bring my girlfriend? Will she be helping you because I only need one person? No she will just sit and watch me.

17) Will you pick me up? My car is broken. What about your bike? I have not ridden my bike in years even my motorized bike is broken. Oh, you will get them fixed with this money. No, I want a new cell phone.

18) Pick and move these rocks. Don’t you have a tractor to do this?

19) Paint this porch, here is a paint brush and a can of paint. Why don’t you buy the spray cans?

20) I can’t accept your job because my cell phone does not work at your place.

There are many more reasons and examples but I am getting frustrated just writing about these incidents. Bottom line, I am no longer looking for help unless is shows up at my door step. Instead I have accepted the fact that kids do not want to work so I will take my time and do it myself. If the work gets done great if it does not get done that is OK as well.

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