In Ask Sherry

Ask Sherry: Where I go into detail about my home & talk about healthcare in Canada

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DKFg6SD0Kmb_0U5yb4OTNfkvfmsf5dWxJJbZTzUtH7M/edit

You can ask any question using the form here.

How often do you eat a full meal for dinner? Whenever you write about dinner it always just sounds like snacks or appetizers – bread, wings, cheese, etc.

So.. that’s the thing. That IS a full meal for us.

I was thinking about this the other day….

See when we buy cheese and bread, it isn’t a “snack” for us, it is an actual meal of a baguette we share, and slices of cheese on there for instance.

It is more than enough for a meal, and I suspect that is the reason why we don’t really put on weight — we aren’t overeating, thinking “oh that’s not a full meal”, when it is.

Another example is chicken wings.

We cook about 6 between the three of us, we put a LITTLE meat or fish on slices of bread with tomatoes, basil and other vegetables on the side, and that is a meal.

The meat is not the star, the rest of it is.

We aren’t just chowing down on buckets of chicken wings and saying: oh THAT is a meal… for us, a few wings each, is enough.

Or a whole omelette made out of 3 eggs and lots of veggies each, is enough as a “meal”… with bread of course.

For actual full course meals where you’d have a “proper” pasta, meat on top (or not at all), and vegetables.

Sherry, thank you so much for your answers in the “Ask Sherry” section. They are very helpful. I also always appreciate your honesty; I find honesty the most interesting and helpful. So thank you.

You’re very welcome!

Last week I asked a question about home organization (keeping/discarding the original boxes of items) and I’m glad to hear you don’t like clutter either.

[See last week’s answer here about discarding original boxes of items]

Well.

I don’t enjoy clutter that’s for sure but some things I own (furniture, empty boxes, useful but useless things I can just buy again if I need it), but I can’t seem to cut down on other items without some serious work (e.g. anything style related like clothes, shoes, and so on).

Other questions I have about the home subject if you don’t mind:

I’d never mind! 🙂

-Do you keep the usage manuals of items (camera, washing machine, etc.)? If so, where?

No.

We find the online version of the manual (everything is PDF now) and save that with the scanned receipt, and note the day we bought it (store too). Everything is online now.

-How do you organize garbage? How many garbage containers do you have and how large are they? I already saw a recycle bin for glass in “Sherry’s Home“.

[All of my Sherry’s Home Posts are here]

In the kitchen we have 2 large garbage bins — one for waste, the other for recycling. I’d love one for organic waste (composting) but our area doesn’t do that yet 🙁 They are 42.5 L large each.

We have another large garbage bin (same size) for glass only, which is hiding in the laundry room to put glass to recycle out of Little Bun’s reach. We have to bring glass down specially to another area, as it cannot be shoved down the garbage chute as it’s a danger.

Then each bathroom has one garbage can.

In total:

  • 3 large garbage cans — 1 garbage, 1 recycling, 1 glass recycling
  • 2 small garbage cans (about 15L)

-How does your master bedroom look like? What do you have in there?

A large king sized futon I share with Little Bun, and a twin sized one my partner sleeps on.

All put together it is a HUGE “bed” on the floor.

Then we have a tiny little wooden hallway table that we put a lamp on (Little Bun likes to turn it on and off for us which saves us from having to get up to do it LOL, no Bedroom Light Clappers for us), and 2 small boxes with Little Bun books (his library) that he keeps trying to cram full with MORE books that are stored in his bedroom (another 4 boxes full of secondhand books my mother brought up).

That’s it. No other side tables, no TV, no art (yet)… and no other furniture. It is very open and free.

-Where do you work at home? For example, where do you write your blog posts or read your books?

In the living room, where Little Bun is sitting. We have tons of tables across the back, and that’s where we “work”…

My partner has his side with the two screens and I’m on the other end.

I blog near the window.

For reading, I lie down on the futon on my side or sit up on the futon and read. I suspect I’d quite enjoy an armchair but can’t really bring myself to buy one as I’m not entirely see it would get that much use aside from reading…

Do you mind if a family member is in the same room when you work/write or read, or do you prefer to be alone in a room while you are doing that?

Is that family member a tiny little person? If so, then I do mind sometimes because he is always chattering and making noise, but if he is quiet then no.

In all seriousness, no. I only really mind if Little Bun starts reading my emails and notes out loud (yes this is ABSOLUTELY HAPPENING), and then I DO mind. :-p

I always prefer to be alone, but if they’re there that is okay too. They aren’t much of a bother unless the little one wants to sit on my lap and hassle me for things.

-Where do you relax? If I’m not mistaken, you don’t keep a sofa, or do you? So do you relax on a chair/armchair, a futon, or where?

Just lying on a bed on the floor is relaxing.

I don’t own a sofa, armchair or anything, so the futon lying on my back is the only place I can relax (either in Little Bun or my room). I sometimes lie down in his room with the laptop on the side and watch videos there.

Or I lie down on the futon to nap while Little Bun plays around me.

Keep up the great work! I appreciate it.

Keep up the great work! I appreciate it.

You’re welcome!

Baby Bun seems lovely from your accounts.

They’re lovely until they’re NOT. 🙂

How old is he now? And when did he start napping only once a day?

He is 3 and a half!

And when did he start napping only once a day?

Let me think … I think he dropped his nap around the time he turned 18 months. Just a little before daycare started for the first time.

Right now he is 3.5 and he is about to drop his nap in the next 6 months. I can see it coming.


What do you think is a good age gap between siblings?

2-3 years. About 1.5 – 2 years to be more exact. You’re tired from the toddler enough to add on a newborn without much of a change and still changing diapers so there is no change there, you just keep continuing.

If you get into the stage I’m at now, potty trained, sleeping decently (not waking every 2-3 hours), it will be a ROUGH drop back into newborn hell.

The key is to keep yourself in a sleep deprived state and USED to this nonsense of diapers, feedings and so on, so just adding one or more won’t be an issue.

Then as they get older, they will be closer in age and hopefully play together and help each other.

More than 5 years and they become more of a father or mother figure to their siblings.

How is the medical system in Canada? I mean: is the medical staff’s level of competence and performance usually satisfying? (for instance, in dentistry or when giving birth)

Dentistry is a hit and miss. It is not covered in Canada so… that comes out of pocket. The more you pay, the better the service generally is but I’ve also had good dentists for cheaper, just maybe their offices are not slick with high tech TVs and so on.

The difference in medical performance in Quebec versus Ontario is serious with Ontario being far better. I’m not the only one who has seen this difference and even those who have ONLY had Quebec healthcare have complained about the lack of knowledge, and service without ever having experienced any other province.

I wonder if it is the language barrier that people don’t move to Quebec and so the pool of workers is limited to French-speakers who are bilingual but… man, I have had more bad doctors than good here in Quebec. I have not given birth here so cannot speak to that, but when I did it in Ontario I was very happy once I made a fuss and switched obstetricians to get one I liked.

My surgery was professional, the nurses and doctors were great. I was also in a major city (Toronto) where there is a lot of people and therefor perhaps a better pool of candidates to pick from? Who knows.

In Ontario, I’ve generally been happy with the doctors. I cannot say I’ve ever had a bad doctor except for that obstetrician I got saddled with (maybe that’s why she was so free to be able to take me!), and also, I have not had any serious issues like cancer to really check them on major things.

In Quebec even with Little Bun, I’ve only met maybe one or two doctors and nurses I have liked. The rest have been disappointing to the point of dangerous — ordering an X-Ray scan on a BABY just because he is coughing so much and has started daycare recently? As a new mother I didn’t know better that this is normal, but THEY SHOULD HAVE. It is like they have zero experience. Even older doctors have had to look up things in medical reference books in front of me for things like asthma or eczema (super common).

My doctor now is good. She is young (my age?) but I like her and her approach. I have yet to find one for Little Bun I like so I’ve just taken him to local clinics for his necessary vaccinations and otherwise, avoid clinics and doctors. If need be, I can always make an appointment at a walk-in. I’ve talked to other parents here and we have all had the same experiences and concerns about the quality of healthcare professionals here, which is very disconcerting and troubling.

What are the things you prioritize and don’t mind spending money on? And what are the things you don’t prioritize and don’t like to spend money on, or prefer to spend as little as necessary?

Easy!

Food – I am The Hungry Caterpillar

Little Bun* – Daycare, some educational items like making my own flash cards for him, or buying language / math apps, books

Clothing – Obviously, although I try for secondhand designer

Skincare – obviously as I buy Paula’s Choice and purchased $700 of IPL treatments!!

Makeup – Cheap stuff is great for things like mascara but not foundation but I’m not collecting things here, at least not anymore. I have one of each — 1 blush, 1 eyeliner, etc and once it runs out then I replace it.

Travel* – The actual trip itself to go for 3 weeks or whatever, but we are not that we are flying first class or staying in 5-star hotels or eating out daily

Technology – we have laptops, 2 sound systems… but the small yet powerful items cost $$$$$$$ … let’s just say we could open our own Apple Store between us

*for some things .. see note below for what I don’t prioritize

(I’m such a hedonist.)

And what are the things you don’t prioritize and don’t like to spend money on, or prefer to spend as little as necessary?

Little Bun – clothes (he grows like a weed and for now, clothes are a luxury until he is older and stops growing), fun toys that don’t teach anything but are FUN

Car – not really my thing, cars…. but I’m starting to worry about safety with Little Bun inside so I may have to revisit this

Home – we could have taken a mortgage and gotten a huge place but stuck to something that was just enough at 1200 square feet and yet what we bought is still a nice place

Furniture – we barely have any… at last count we have 3 folding chairs, 2 little chairs and a little table for Little Bun, 2 chairs for the counter (one for Little Bun as a high chair and I have my own Stokke), 3 futons (1 king sized, 2 twin sized), 3 tables used as an office area (but we eat at the counter), and 2 small tables for the bedrooms.

No couch, armchairs, footstools, coffee table, side tables, large lamps….we only have desk lamps.

Decoration – As we have limited space, we are thinking HARD about what goes on the walls. So far only one painting has gone up. No knickknacks, flowers, trinkets, or anything used for just looking at it.

Telephone – my partner and I share one cellphone … we just tell each other when we have messages; if he has a mistress I will KNOW… (LOL)

TV — don’t have one, don’t subscribe to channels, don’t really watch anything unless I want to and on my own time

Magazines/Books — the physical ones, I mean. I just borrow or buy e-books if I cannot borrow it.

Things I can do myself – I have a real problem with dry cleaning (I feel like I can do this so I very rarely dry clean anything), laundry, services like a cleaning woman

Taxis – Would love to cab but cannot pay the price. I take the bus.

Travel – Not first class, no airport lounges, no cabs even in foreign countries (we srsly take the bus), no 5-star hotels unless it is a DEAL.

http://bit.ly/2nJ9YsP

In general… I only spend on what I think is important for enjoying life, learning, looking and feeling good… that’s it.

Then the rest like: “Will a first class ticket at $700 more each way on trips change my life? No? Then no.” …are just sub-choices I make within the bigger choice. I’m not going to be happier after traveling on a first class trip, because I’m already happy I’m on vacation seeing family and I just pocket the savings on doing so, so I can go back next year and every year thereafter.

In contrast, will $700 IPL laser treatments for my face change my life? Maybe. I’ll feel like I can take less time to do my makeup, maybe wear less or no makeup at all to help my skin stay clear, I would feel more confident, and have nicer skin, and therefore feel better…. so yeah. Let’s give it a shot. $700.

Balance…. same $700 spent, different outcomes, the second perhaps lasting longer than a 7 hour trip and definitely making me feel better especially if it works!

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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