Fantasy Football

*CFL, Fantasy Football.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it yet, but a few years ago I started a CFL Fantasy Football League. At first, it was my buddy Steve and I, and gradually it grew to upwards of 17 players. 16, this year. I’d have to take a look at the trophy I picked up but I’m pretty sure we’ve done five seasons, six including this one, not counting last year (which never came to be).

Now most people have heard of Fantasy Football, made popular by our southern neighbors, and the National Football League (NFL). But this is the Canadian variant, which is quite-a-bit different. Notwithstanding the actual game itself (longer field, wider field, three downs, safeties, rouges, etc.) the big differences in fantasy is 1) picking new players each week, with all players available to choose from and 2) there’s no built-in “head-to-head” feature, just cumulative points for the entire season.

So that’s what we play for is whoever gets the most amount of points. This year, the season is 16 weeks long, and currently I’m just approaching 1300 points. As I write this, the third game of the week is underway, with two more to go tomorrow. All my players have already started or are currently playing, with just one more playing tomorrow. I’m in second place, behind my dad, who’s about to crack 1300. The calculations are quite tricky, but right now I’m pretty sure he’ll hold onto the lead, but as he texted me earlier today, it’s not over until the final whistle.

For those not familiar – every week you pick a QB, at least two running backs, two receivers, a flex (either a running back or receiver) and a defense. Each player costs a certain number, with better players usually more expensive, and there’s a salary cap ($40,000) which limits you from picking all the best players.

It’s been an up-and-down season. What I do is run an ‘optimizer’, which takes projections provided by TSN and automatically calculates the optimal lineup which gives the highest projected points within that salary cap. Usually ranging between 80-100 points, and then I massage it a bit from there. It only takes about 5 minutes, which is much easier than scouring over a million articles a resources to try to pick players from the hip. And it’s treated me well – I got time with the family, friends, building a church, vacation, anniversary trips, camping, etc. and it actually landed me in first coming into this week by a narrow margin (a touchdown).

I had to give myself a little grace, and surrender it, as I’m pretty competitive and it would be easy to get lost in the weeds trying to outsmart the optimizer. Honestly some of the most fun is the weekly chats or texts with my dad, and other friends in the league, and running the league (aka being the “commissioner”).

I figured out a way to bring-in a head-to-head component, where I match up different people every week and play them against eachother. Whoever gets more point in that week gets a h2h win, 2 points, and then we see who wins that in addition to the total points. This year it was neat – we had a dad win the h2h, with his son coming in second place, which is currently where we stand in the total points (my dad getting first, and me – his son – coming in second).

There’s a bit of a narrative every week and every season. The Top 3 in total points gets their name on the trophy, which was my goal for this year. That’s part of the “accept the 80%” idea, instead of trying to get 100% in everything. And getting the name on the trophy this year looks like almost a sure thing, as sure as anything is in this game. I’ve managed that every year since the league began -> second the first year, first, tied for first (with my dad), second (behind my dad), first and hopefully second this year.

But honestly, it’s a bit more than that. I discovered a few  years ago that it’s important to find something to bring you together with family, and friends. Otherwise it’s easy to start ‘drifting’ apart. Some people are really good about being intentional and calling people every week, not me. So something like this is a good excuse to stay in touch. So talking my dad into trying it was a great move, and gave us a reason to text or call, and that inevitably led to us seeing how everything else was going – how’s work? How’s the baby? How’s mom? How’s Amber?

I tried brewing beer / craft beer with my brother, mild success there. You might recall a post I did on marathon running with my buddy Eric, who I text quite often, and who I went to the soccer game with in Edmonton (among 18 other people) just a couple days ago. For my wife and I – not that it would be easy to drift apart – it’s restoring the Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite, or a host of other things.

Here’s to another year! Time to go get another plaque made up 😀

From 2018 when my dad took home the trophy

Phoenix, Part 2

My last blog post got interrupted, but I wanted to write down all the things that happened on this crazy ‘babymoon’.

It all started last Tuesday when we were flying out. Originally, we were leaving Wednesday, but switched it to Tuesday because the flight loads looked better. But Tuesday turned into a crazy busy day. My parents drove down to pick up my baby boy, and the wife and I prepared to departed (packing, etc.). We gave our neighbor Sue the tour so she could check on the place, and headed to the airport. We got there just in time!

We land in Phoenix and can’t get ahold of our Turo guy, so we Uber to the hotel where he was going to drop off our Tesla Model X. Then we learn he has bailed, refunding our deposit but not our friends, who rented a Corvette from him. So we spent the night at this hotel in the middle of nowhere, and enjoyed a great steak at Outback Steakhouse.

The net morning we got some time at the pool and a nice breakfast, and Uber’d to our new Turo and picked up our Tesla Model Y. Great car! We got to the airport and picked up our friends, checked into our AirBnB, and hit the road to the basketball game. Phoenix Suns beat the Trailblazers.

First live sporting event of three in a week. Stay tuned.

The next day we have a fantastic breakfast at Snooze, and then pick up our other friends, come home and there’s a burn mark on the porcelain countertop. Apparently they don’t build countertops to withstand heat. Where else are you supposed to put a hair straightener? We take our friends to pick up their ride, another Tesla, this one a Model Y. Great car!

That night we get a tour of the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory, by a fantastic gentlemen by the name of Glaud. A private tour, just him and the six of us, by donation only. Then we get a great meal at Culinary Dropout.

The next morning is a pool day, and eventually we make it Gilbert again for some Italian at Oreganos. It’s our anniversary day and we spend it cruising around in the Model Y, supercharging it, and replacing the key I managed to snap in half. It was just nice to get out, the two of us, and reflect on the last ten years and what’s next. After the Italian we hit a hilarious comedy show in Chandler, with some ice cream and coffee right before.

Saturday is another relaxing day, with some pool time, and COVID tests. And a nice sunset drive and some pictures from the top of South Mountain (see pic below). Sunday we watch church together and then hit the Cardinals game. Not the most exciting game, to be honest, with Murray (QB) and Hopkins (WR) were out. But I got to see Streveler play, who Bree and I have seen play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Sporting event #2.

This turned into an all-night event, as we jump in with our friends in the Model S, sending the other friends home in the Model Y. We need to find a charging station and the ladies plan on hitting a Ross. Well, a couple wrong turns later and we run dangerously low on power, but we do manage to find a charging station in a parking lot. It’s slow, but works. We drop the ladies off and drive to the parking lot, only to discover we left the key to the car with the ladies. Unable to star the car, we found a random lady who (correctly) wasn’t willing to give us a ride to our wives, but did (bless her heart) go and get the key for us. Then we made $50 US in the casino. Win!

The next morning we checkout and hit the pool, charge the car, return the car, Uber to the airport with an hour to spare and head home. A delay, another delay, another delay, and we don’t quite get to see our boy before my parents put him down at our house. But we woke up the next day and got some family time together, before I headed up to Edmonton to watch Canada beat Mexico in the World Cup Qualifier (we are now #1 in the standings). Sporting event #3.

Now, back to real life. The vacation was good, but it’s good to be home.

From left to right: Anthony, Bree, me (Tyler), Ryan and his wife Sam. Photo credit Candice, Anthony’s wife.

Phoenix, Part 1

This time I’m in Phoenix, coming back home tomorrow. Another vacation, this one being our actual anniversary (a couple days ago). We have two other couples with us, which I mentioned in a previous post. So it’s been a great time down here.

This time, it’s almost like the two vacations are too close together. I like to do something every three months or so, and this one is really just a month-and-a-half apart from our Cancun Trip. Almost by necessity, given the first of the ladies on the trip is due in just over a month, with my wife due a month after that and the final lady on the trip in March. It’s called a “babymoon”, boomers. An excuse for a trip, like a honeymoon, but instead of after a wedding, it’s before the baby (or in our case, the babies) show up. We deserve it, hahaha.

I do miss my little boy and I can’t wait to be united again on Tuesday. I love that he gets time with his grandparents (my parents), and his aunty (my sister). I think it’s good for him, and good for my parents and sister too. That proximity is key. Elijah, my boy, got it when he went to Bree’s parents when we went down to Cancun, and now he’s getting it again on my side. It’s a great opportunity for the experience the previous generation has to impart on the newest generation, and vice-versa.

This trip has been well-rounded and hasn’t been without a couple complications – it’s almost like we had to re-learn how to vacation again. The world has been shut down for the past year-and-a-half, so as it starts to re-open we need to get back into the rhythm of it.

But in the meantime, breakfast!

Conditions are Waived!

This morning we officially removed conditions on the house we are buying.

In my blog post from May 20th, I talked about buying a house. The title of that blog post was ‘motion’, and I talked about the importance of creating it. At the time, we were looking at either the house we were renting or the house right next door. I detailed it two months later in another blog post, this one titled “Pros and Cons’.

We decided to go with the fix-er-upper’, the one we’ve been renting.

We love it. We’ve been living here now for nine months, and it’s been great. There is something satisfying in the having a park right next door, and also satisfying in restoring and fixing the house. Simple things like under-the-cupboard lighting, locks, staining the fence, etc. It’s got character. I suppose the same could be said for a person -> healing, getting stronger, bringing out lost potential.

And we scored 20% down, avoiding CMHC fees, and an interest rate of 1.89%. Right away, we save about $350 a month from what we’ve been paying in rent. Beauty. I think most of that and more will get swallowed up in renovations, but that’s ok. I consider that a bit of a ‘forced savings’ account, if done correctly, meaning we’ll see it on the selling side, if we ever do. We also have a large margin there, as you might have read from previous posts, in that I was approved with just my salary (not including my wife’s) for approximately $100,000 more than what we paid for this place.

That said – I’m going back to the jet! If you haven’t learned, I’m a pilot, and I think everyone knows COVID was pretty hard on the aviation sector. So I got bumped out of my jet position onto a prop position, and now as things start to recover (hopefully?) they’ve reaclled me back. And I’m back in a part-time position, otherwise known as a reduced-block pilot position. So that means instead of upwards of 16 days a month of work, I’ll be capped at 8, and I’ll get about 2/3rds the pay.

Yes, yet another pros-and-cons list.

But in this instance, living in a margin has helped! We’ll likely see how the first couple paycheques shake out and see how much of that margin has evaporated.

At least it was there to begin with! And now I can enjoy some time with Baby 1 and Baby 2.

The view from the ‘new’ place

Unplug

Ironically, as I write this, my laptop is unplugged on a flight from Saskatoon to Calgary. This topic came to my mind as I prepare to travel to Cancun tomorrow morning with my wife. My Pastor said it well – I need to unplug and just reset myself. I’m feeling the COVID fatigue, after 18 months of discipline, social distancing, masks and perhaps the over-riding tension of debates, complexities and navigating how to pass through a rather strange and abnormal time.

And now I’m in Cancun, Mexico. I didn’t have a chance to finish this blog post on above-mentioned from flight, but the next morning we arrived at our resort.

It’s been an amazing trip. The resort has been great, with just 20% occupancy we’ve virtually had the entire place to ourselves. Probably the highlight of the trip was yesterday morning, when my wife and I made it to the beach with our snorkel gear. We’ve snorkeled in Fiji, Thailand, Hawaii, Costa Rica and now in Mexico. Now, in terms of fish and coral, probably the edge would have to go to Hawaii, maybe Thailand, and Fiji closely followed. Costa Rica was underwhelming.

But the cool part with yesterday was how my wife led the charge and went in fearless, and how we took turns doing that and laying on the beach. There was a sweet moment when we were holding hands that I touched her ring finger, pointing out to her that the wedding ring was missing (I know she wasn’t waring it because she’s pregnant). She brought my hand to her necklace, which has the ring on it.

All-in-all, it’s been a good trip and I’ve successfully unplugged. Fantasy Football, even blogging (mind you, I’ve never really been ‘plugged in’ to blogging), church stuff, work for sure. There’s been little bouts of things that have come up – submitting mandatory vaccinations, making sure the small group was available, updating the spreadsheet from last week, using my optimizer (solver) to choose my roster this week, but I’ve been engaged and focused on our time here.

We head back tomorrow!

My first marathon

My first marathon.

I just finished my first full marathon on Sunday. 42.2km, for anyone who didn’t know. It was an experience.

I’ve done two half marathons, about 5 years apart, with the latest being last year. This full is likely the most I’ve trained for a run in my life, with my running club hitting it three times a week fairly consistently earlier this year but fading going into summer time.

I needed to train more, but I knew that going in. I anticipated a high physical demand, but it was even higher than I planned. My buddy Eric told me the marathon starts at 30km, and he was right. It is amazing the ‘capacity increase’, as there was a day when a 10km run was intimidating. Then, a half (21.2km) was intimidating. I breezed by that point in 2hr15min, a personal best (“pb” in millennial speak). Now, a marathon is slightly less intimidating.

So the physical side was one part, the mental part another. I had to will my way through that one, which I actually trained for too. I deliberately put myself into some uncomfortable situations – aka waking up at 5AM when I didn’t want to, getting behind in Pickleball and having to mentally get back into it (aka hit another gear), bike to church when it would’ve been easier to drive, bike to work when it would’ve been easier to drive, etc. I call it making my overly-comfortable life less comfortable.

The one part that threw me right off though was the unexpected emotional component. On at least three or four occasions, I got choked up. It depended mostly on the song I was listening to, or what I was dealing with at that moment, or sometimes talking to my buddy. I think my body as in such a state of shock that it just came out, and I had to fight through that. It felt good to be alive.

And hills. Lots of hills.

I started the race and ended it with my buddy which was the highlight.

What’s next?

Heal my blisters, and then focus in on the swimming and biking to prep for some sprint, Olympic and hopefully a Half Ironman next year.

Me and my buddy crossing the finish line, photo compliments of his wife, Casey

5AC is BAC

K. I know that’s another use of a terrible acronym by a millennial. Or another shortened word (see ‘bae’ instead of ‘babe’ in my about section). But I woke up this morning at 450AM, hit the snooze button, and then rose at 455AM. I walked to the living room hearing the reassuring sound of the coffee maker, my Cuisinart Burr Mill, perculating away, pre-programmed the night before. I texted my accountability partner Good Morning, less to say hi and more to check if he was still ‘in’. And a quick devotion later, and a cup of coffee, I was on my Peugeot bicycle over to Anytime fitness.

It was a good workout.

8 exercises: overhead dumbbell press, dumbbell curl, front and lateral dumbbell raise, rope push down, pull up, flat barbell bench press and incline machine press. 5 minute bike there, and 5 minutes back. And to round out the 5AM club (which I joined about six months ago, in my second-ever blog post), here I am blogging.

I know it’s suppose to be 20/20/20 (minutes of each: writing, working out and reading). The ratios may be off but I’m checking off each box.

Speaking of, my HabitShare is back. In fact, I’ve made a new habit on the app which is just me going into the app to update all the other habits. I know I know, that’s the stereotypical millennial in me getting yet another participation award.

Now I’m set for the day. It’s such a keystone habit, it’s nice to have this peace and quiet first thing.

And it’s going to be a good day. Earlier I mentioned I’m inheriting a 1961 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite, and today we are going to retrieve it. That was in a post about a trailer and the work I needed to do on it, and speaking of which I have a bit more to do before we take it out on Friday for it’s sixth camping session of the year. It’s currently sitting on a couple jack stands in my driveway.

And tonight, First Wednesday at Church.

Don’t forget – I’m on pat leave, so I’ll be sure to carve out some time for the boy. But I’ll let him sleep in first 😀

Image courtesy of CookStore. This is the coffee maker I reference above

Pat Leave

As I write this, my soon-to-be one-year-old is chirping away beside me at the kitchen table. He’s munching on some Puffs. Peach flavour, to be exact. While I sip on some tea. Earl Grey, to be exact.

Quite side-note. Every notice how sometimes ‘grey’ is spelled ‘gray’. Apparently, ‘grey’ is more common in British English and ‘gray’ more common in American. Hence why I call Earl Grey Earl Grey, and not Early Gray. I’m a “Twinings” guy, and I’ve even been to the original store location in London.  And yes, it does weird me out that Twinings doesn’t have two Ns. But I digress…

What do I want to do on Pat Leave?

I decided to take my 4 weeks here in September, after having a long run of rather good schedules during this COVID time. The flying is starting to pick up, and so is my schedule, so it seemed a good time to take it. And besides, Elijah is walking now and borderline talking, so it’s a fun time.

Swimming lessons. Looks like they have some available every Monday, and that’s what I plan to book off (after my Pat Leave is over). Booked!

Walks. We’ve done a couple already, but I want to enjoy this borderline fall weather and the backyard we have.

Camping. Heading to Banff on Friday, for my marathon.

Coffee dates. Sort of like we’re doing right now, except I have tea and he has a water bottle. And I have my laptop in-front of me.

Wrestling. Changing diapers. Bedtime routine. Just all the things the ‘primary caregiver’ is supposed to do, but my wife’s been doing that while I’ve been flying around the country at work.

Looking forward to making some memories.

Pros and Cons

We have a split in the road ahead.

To the left, a $370,000 fix-er-up. To the right, a $470,000 finished home. Which way to go?

Time to make a list.

We’ve done this before. My wife and I sold a townhouse and moved into Calgary and we had to decide between a two bedroom condo in Inglewood and a one condo bedroom in Mission. So we went for breakfast and we made a list from top to bottom, highlighting all the pros and the cons. See picture below for the finale.

Pros and Cons

So let’s take that template, and apply it to the situation ahead.

House A. $370,000. This let’s us put 20% down, or $74000. With a 25-year amortization, at 2.05%, this brings the monthly payments to $1414. That has semi-monthly payments of $630.02, and property tax at $154.17 (approximately half a percent of the property value, per annum).  

House B. $470,000. Harder now to put 20% down, so we would just do 10%, or $44000. I know that doesn’t add up – 10% of 470,000 is $47000, but I’ll explain that in a moment. With a 25-year amortization, at 2.05%, this brings the monthly payments to $1921. That has semi-monthly mortgage payments of $868.99, and property tax at $183.33 (same as above). Now remember, with less 20% down, there is a built-in mortgage insurance of $12,276. Gross!

Now why not the full $470,000. The owner is looking for more than the appraised value, which, arguably, did come in a bit low. $30,000 more. So we would have to foot the difference, hence explaining why we can only pay 10% down. So on top of the $44000, we would have to add another $30000, which brings us to the same up-front cash drain of $74000 as the $340000.

Now House B we earn equity at $12,648 a year versus House A which is slightly slower at just under $10k. That $2500+ difference is significant, amounting to $200 a month, bridging the otherwise $500 gap between the monthly cost of $1921 for House B and $1414 for House A. Bringing us to the $300 dilemma.

Now let’s stop talking money for a quick moment. House B is a ‘finished home’, meaning very little – if any – work would need to be done. Maybe a bigger hot water tank. House A, on the other hand, has some serious renos that could be done. Some that really need to be done. Talking to my wife, to live here for 5+ years, they need to be done. So let’s get it done.

Bare bones would be new kitchen flooring, likely carpet in the rest of the house, a kitchen, some pod lighting, and making windows bigger in the basement (so they are egress and the growing family can escape). Some nice-to-haves would be a heated garage (for the incoming Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite reno), a deck in the back yard, some landscaping in the front yard, some work in the basement.

All-in-all, somewhere in the range of $20-30k.

How do we pay for it? Well, we can cash flow it and do it over time, but that means living in chaos with babies. We can add 10% to the mortgage upfront for renos, if we can complete them within 6 months. So going to $400k for House A (an extra $30,000) with the 20% down brings the monthly payments to $1516, so now narrowing the $300 dilemma to just $200.

Now before we regress back to numbers, let’s talk some other fundamentals.

House A, the cheaper one, has a nice garage setup. Oversized two-door, with a decent size working area beside it, allowing me to fit the growing fleet of vehicles -> my motorbike, the Austin project, the kid-hauler (Dodge Caravan), and then in the driveway my Tent Trailer and trusty commuter car (Ford Focus). House B, the expensive one, lacks in this area, somewhat. It has a single garage at the end of a long driveway, which would fit the Caravan and Motorbike (the garage would). The Healey project can go in the attached shop behind the Caravan, the Focus would have to go in the driveway (causing some awkward shuffling) or on the street. There’s a spot for the tent trailer in-behind the house.

As for the houses themselves, aside from the aesthetics. House A – the cheap one – has an open concept when you come in, is a bungalow with three bedrooms up), with a separate entrance for the basement (with two bedrooms, living area, and laundry room). House B – the expensive one – is a front-back 4-level split. Not as open when you walk-in, and there’s an entrance in the back yard that comes into the 3rd level. Nice storage space in the form of a crawl space underneath.

The value is there for the expensive one despite the low appraisal value, with the owner being into it for $515000. He went over-the-top on the reno’s, as a forever home, with hardy-board siding, rubber shingles, heated shop, heated floors in the bathrooms, etc. The one we are in – btw, we are renting House A – is almost the complete opposite, with our landlord delaying installing siding, etc.

So ultimately the $300 dileman is this -> should I just pay up for the finished place and save myself the money / time of renovating the current place, or should I just go enjoy the new place and pay the extra money per month? For perspective, I can work one day of overtime and make over $600, so one day of overtime a month would cover the difference.

Oh, the view. The cheaper house has a nice backyard, south-facing into a fantastic park. The more expensive house has a nice front-yard, west-facing, but with no neighbor to the south-west (the closest one is us), giving you a view (through some trees) into the same park.  

Some other creative ideas – buy a rental property and use the income from that to pay the rent on one of the above properties. Keep renting. We could go buy somewhere else where we could find the happy-medium -> something priced in-between, closer to appraisal value, with just a couple projects here-and-there. But where we are is situated in the perfect spot -> between two good friends, both of whom have / are expecting babies, friends from church, some Pastors, and my brother and sister-in-law (also with my nephew and niece). We are on a cul-de-sac, backing into a park.

Oh, and we currently pay $1850 in rent (plus utilities). So we won’t be out much more month-to-month than we currently are.

Good news -> either way, we will be blessed. I have no doubt of that. So now we just have to pick the way.

Photo courtesy of Pastor Shiflett

Righting the Ship

The act of reversing a capsized vessel is called righting.

This title came to mind when I opened this document and started typing because it came on the heels of ‘catching up’ in my HabitShare app. I’ve lost some discipline in that app, and the habits that I track in there. Overall I’m sitting around 69%, with this habit in particular down around 16%. In fact, I didn’t blog at all in June except for this entry. And ironically, my last blog post I talked about creating motion.

So I wouldn’t see I’m capsized, or upside-down, but getting into that motion is key. You sort of get ‘addicted to winning’. I’ve been watching the series Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix, and you see that theme coming up over-and-over. It’s certainly the epicenter of all sports, the underdog mentality, finding that winning formula.

Patience.

That’s really what it comes down to is time. Red Bull won a series of World Series in Formula 1 but then was ousted by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, who won something like six titles. But looking at the standings now, it’s Red Bull that’s back on top. Locking and preserving such success is a hard feat in such a competitive sport.

My friend refers to it as “the game within the game”. We play pickle-ball – which I know will make some of you laugh coming off the heals of a Formula 1 analogy – but it’s true when you get down by 3 or 4 points in a race to 11 points to get yourself back in and win is a true mental game. A physical component, but you have to believe if you work a process you can win.

Long serve, long return. Push the net, get it over the net, go for the back hand. Don’t get cute.

In some areas I’m feeling a bit stuck, in other areas I’m seeing some good motion. Just got the tires put on the motorbike (not sure why I led with that), things are really picking up in my career, finances are cruising (at least the investments, the budget discipline is a work in progress), some good traction on the church side, we are getting the family thing figured out. Just looking at the order I listed those is interesting.

The stuck areas -> relationships, house purchase. To list a couple.

Most of it is out of my control but what I can focus on is what I can control. Like blogging!

This is my current desktop background. Sometimes I change my background and the theme on my phone just to ‘shake it up’. Photo courtesy of WallpaperFlare