Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Much Ado about the Economy

Crossing the Cornwall Bridge and returning through Canadian customs 2 hours later.

Well, I've been tooting around Italy lately, a town in the Alps here,  a town on the coast, there, then maybe a Medieval city or two. Siena is real nice, although I got lost in that maze of narrow streets. Luckily, I could just air-lift myself out :)

And then I took a break and went way down to Australia, where I've noticed that Melbourne has the most spectacular contemporary style homes, my favorite style, and few and far between here in Canada.

Ah, the virtual vacation.  Inexpensive and not at all tiring on the old feet. I also took a look at Sao Paolo, not a place I would likely every go. The parts I found were very poor. 

Bored with faking it,  I got in the car with my husband and drove an hour to Cornwall, Ontario and we spent exactly two hours in New York,  Messina New York that is; about half an hour at the Mohawk Casino, which is on the American side, where I lost 40 dollars in two minutes (what a waste! but my retribution for the ugly past) and then on to beautiful downtown Messina, where I bought some cheapish cheese at a grocery store there. 

Quick trip to New York. (That sounds better than it is.) Easy in, easy out. I only wish Messina were a pretty city. It doesn't have to be the Big Apple. But, it isn't. My husband says next year when that new highway bypassing Montreal is finished we'll be able to buzz to Burlington  in an hour. Burlington Vermont is, indeed, a pretty place.

At our return, after just two measly hours, I expected  the border guard would be suspicious of such a short trip, but he wasn't. We had bought 12.00 worth of cheese and some eggs  and offered to show him the receipt. He didn't even look at our passports. I thought this strange, but apparently, Canadians don't need passports to get back into the US, just to get into the US.

Just to say, gasoline cost 3.65 a gallon in Messina today, which after much difficulty, as our baby math skills have atrophied over the years, we figured out that is the equivalent of about 1.00 a liter. Gas is about 1.20 a liter near our home, so with the 5 cent exchange that isn't much of a saving at all.

It really irks me. Gasoline has gone down a bit in price these past two weeks, from, say, 1.30 a liter to 1.20 a liter. Whoopee! We save a dollar each time we fill up, except that the Canadian stock exchange has tanked, as Canada's economy is so oil-based, and that means we lost THOUSANDS of our hard-earned retirement savings. Poof gone!  Some of the same money I decided to put away this year, instead of applying it to a fun fantasy weekend in New York City. Why bother, I wonder. 

As it happens, the Conservative Government is running attack ads in Quebec, this week,  claiming the NDP  and their leader Thomas Mulcair have dangerous economic ideas. (A powerful ad, but very short on the specifics to back up their claim. But the Cons aren't aiming for the intellect, they are aiming for the gut, the fear centers.)

 But gee, who needs to listen to Thomas Mulcair?  It doesn't take a genius in math (and I am not one as I mentioned) to figure out that Canada's oil-based economy isn't helping out the ordinary folks like me. The high cost of gas means everything costs more, especially food. 

 I don't think my husband and I will ever be able to retire. And just a few years ago our investment person  said we were 'right on track.' Now we're 5 years older and our savings are in the same place they were back then before that dastardly downturn. 

I had better get used to my virtual vacations using Google Earth!

OK. This is a bit of a rant. I've been to Sao Paulo and I've 'driven' through the endless slums of that huge city, that apparently is a thriving metropolis, but I only could find the slums.  So, it could be worse. And some of those towns in Italy are pretty sketchy too (except for the sun and mountains and olives and wine.)

Now, if only I could become a famous writer. (Margaret Atwood lately claimed she knows at least 5 writers in Canada who make enough to live on.) School Marms and Suffragettes was just today listed by the National Archives of Canada. "Thank you, Ms. Nixon," they said "for your important contribution to the safekeeping of Canada's heritage." 

But, I bet they say that to everyone.

The second story in my School Marms and Suffragettes 'digital trilogy', Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, is about Edith Nicholson and how she lost her great love in the Rossmore Hotel Fire in Cornwall in 1910. A true story... except I turn it into a murder mystery involving drug smuggling.