Sold! Onto the Next One…

No – not my car LOL – our house! Adulting at its finest…

As with all things on lifewithjson, I’m totally stoked to say that we’ve officially sold our house and now it’s story time. That’s mainly why I’ve been MIA these last few weeks – lots of prepping and getting things cleaned and moved and set up for showings – it’s been a lot more work than I would’ve imagined. A lot of my gear is packed away – including my personal computer, so I haven’t been able to do any editing or take any photos… Hopefully I’ll be back up and running again soon.

This is a huge change for us because this was our first home that we built from scratch and where a lot of our other life-firsts have happened… I proposed to Diana in front of the lot here before they even started digging. Both Aria and Rin grew up in this house and we’ve really just learned a lot of adulting skills here – from landscaping and building a Pergola in the back with friends, house maintenance and everything in between. I don’t particularly get too attached to things so I’m not too sad about it but I know Diana has started getting the feels now that we’re starting to pack up and make our way out of here. Our plan when we built the house was to stay here for 5 years and move on. It’s been 6 years and while we’re a year overdue from our original plans, I’m glad we’ve finally bit the bullet. While we weren’t in any particular rush, I’m hoping we move onto better things. We’ve had our fair share of some really awkward and unfortunate situations with some amigos in the last little while and while most have been really great, sometimes one is all you need to finally say “f*** it, we’re outta here”, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. My dream is to have neighbours that are seniors that just wake up early and have a nice quiet coffee, go to bed early, and say hi when we happen to encounter each other and have no idea what coal rolling is because they drive a Corolla. In case you missed the message: please be a courteous neighbour.

I wanted to give a shout out to our Realtor and friend – Albert Mah. I really think he just deserves a little praise in all of this because it obviously wouldn’t have happened and I don’t think we would’ve got things done this quick without him. Albert has been a longtime “social media” friend in the sense that, we knew each other over Instagram and Facebook but we never really met until this whole situation. We exchanged words and likes but that was about the extent of our interaction together – like most of us in today’s world – so for all intents and purposes, I don’t (or didn’t) know Albert as a Realtor or him as a person – but I’m all for supporting friends if it means asking them to help us out with personal affairs if they pass my litmus test LOL!

If you know me personally or have been following me here for a while, you’ll know that I’m a pretty anal, OCD, impatient and particular person. It’s basically a bad combination of characteristics because it just means that I want everything to be done perfectly and immediately LOL – so sometimes dealing with situations that involve me having to rely on other people to juggle multiple tasks leaves me super anxious. That’s just me… So you can imagine that stepping into this frontier of selling our house (which we’ve never been through before) was super foggy to me (us) and I had a million questions.

That’s where Albert comes in. Two things… 1) Albert proved to me very quickly and early on in the process that he also had a million answers. Checked off my first box. And 2) Albert was also surprisingly an anal, OCD, impatient and particular person. Checked off my second box – and at this point, none of my other boxes needed to be checked because I knew that if he was anything like me, then this was going to go well – and as per the title of my post – you know it did.

Diana and I had been at this crossroad (of selling our house) a few times now over the last few years but we just never went through with it. We were always 49% ready and that 1% that we needed was never there and no one inspired the confidence in us to get it. Even after simply messaging Albert, we were still at 49%. He came pretty quickly after we chatted to check out the house, ask about upgrades, took a careful look around and then we sat down and he presented his findings and homework. I trust that all Realtors do this, but if they don’t – they should. Careful findings about other homes around us, days on market, average price, a calculation of where ours stands… Blah blah blah. At the end of it all, we agreed on a selling price and signed some papers and he was off. We were still at 49%. It wasn’t real yet.

In a few short days, he brought us up to speed on the process – get the house ready, take pictures of the home, do some showings, get an offer, sell the house (in a nutshell). Easy enough right? Not really. Not for Jason. Two kids also comes with a fair amount of abuse in the home – little dents, fingerprints on the paint, things that need to be patched up… So over the course of a weekend, I spent most of my time patching walls, sanding, repainting them, fixing things and making the house look like it was brand new again. I started going down a rabbit hole of things to do because I’d find something to fix, but then I’d find something else near it. You know how you probably have a little corner somewhere in your house you forgot about? Think about it – there’s probably dust/dirt there – I went into every one of those corners and cleaned them and while it doesn’t sound like a whole lot – corners add up. By the end of it all – the house literally looked brand new. Like we had no kids at all and we moved in yesterday. We’ve now gone from 49% to 100%… Things are getting real.

Picture day. We got the house back into show home condition – I left for a few hours while the photographer and Albert took pics. Probably nothing crazy worth noting but it’s the little things that gain brownie points in my books. When the photographer was done, Albert messaged me to head on back – he was just cleaning up and putting things back. When I arrived, he was rearranging our laundry room back to the way it was based on a picture he took before he moved everything. I mean, I wouldn’t have remembered the bleach went in front of the glass cleaner, but he made sure he was covering all the bases… Refer back to “OCD”. Everything was put back in the exact same spot as it had never left – again, not a big deal – but every little thing counts. Details matter.

Listing day. The listing goes up, he sends us a link and a 3D tour of it all – looks great. I had no doubts that it wouldn’t. All that was left was to wait – like fishing – you cast your line and you just hope something bites sooner rather than later. Long story short – we had showings pretty much everyday – in total we got through 4 before we had an offer from 2 of them the same day. Albert was pretty conscious about the timing of showings because he knew the girls had a specific bed time – but we made it work. The night of the last showing, Albert called me at 10:30PM and said two offers are in and are due in 30 minutes. After a million questions from me, we agreed on a bunch of things and everything was put in place and we were done before midnight. Wait what? This guy is still working? My bed time was like an hour ago but you do what needs to be done…

In 6 days, the house had an offer and we firmed up in 15 days. Bank appraisal, home inspection, conditions, waiving – all of this – so foreign but made so plainly clear by Albert. Considering houses around us have been up for 40 to 260 days, I would say 6 days is quite the achievement. That really brings us to the end of it all… It was maybe 3 weeks in total but it felt like an eternity going through the motions of cleaning the house every showing and making vacuum lines in the carpet every damn time and storing everything in boxes and tucking them away and taking them out again at night. It’s a tiring and repetitive process.

Through all of it, Albert was there for us for literally every second of it. Whenever I messaged him, I received a reply within 30 seconds or less – no matter the time of day. When I asked if he had an update on anything only because I was being impatient – he would call and get an update. If he said he’d let me know in an hour, he would message me in 59 minutes. If I asked the same question a hundred times, he answered it a hundred times with no hesitation. I’ll tell you this much – at first, the thought of using a Realtor to sell your house might seem expensive because their commission is not a secret – you know how much they’re going to be getting from the sale of the house and it’s a tough pill to swallow because you know that money could be used for so many other things. Albert literally shouldered every single thing of this transaction and went through so many hoops and hurdles that I couldn’t even mention here without making it more of a novel than it already is that I don’t even care how much money he takes. In fact, I wish we could afford to give more because it’s a stressful f***ing thing to take on. I work my 7.5 hours a day and I turn off. He’s on 24/7. It’s their job, I know – but certain people are better at a job than others and I think Albert is truly a needle in a haystack. So, in the same sense that we got every corner of this house cleaned and ready to sell, he covered every corner of his job to follow it through.

It may just be a pairing of two very anal, OCD, impatient and particular people – and I think that made it as smooth as it could’ve been – but even if you aren’t like me, as long as you have Albert in your corner, you’ll at least have one person ensuring all the bases are covered and supporting you. He’s not there to take your money (although he is), he really feels like he’s on your team and I think that’s important in such a big transaction. He didn’t pay me to say all this – we technically paid him – but because we can’t afford to give him more than he’s taking, this is all that I have left to give. If you need a Realtor in the future – I’m not begging you, I’m telling you – get Albert on your team. You won’t regret it… Or else I’ll shut this blog down forever (and I know it won’t happen :))

Thanks for reading the wall of words! Onto the next one!

Rooftop Shenanigans?

I guess every photoshoot that I’m not actually doing is just a shenanigan now cause I don’t know what else to call it lol. Yesterday, David had a few of us come out to do a quick photoshoot downtown. He’s been wanting to do some urban/downtown rollers for a while now and he got his chance! I met up with Steve in his GTR to get our cars washed and we rolled out to the top of the parkade downtown. I’ve never actually driven all the way up to this one before since I’ve never had the need to but it ended up being a really nice spot.

There was a bunch of things going on yesterday afternoon – between Steve getting some shots of his GTR before he sells it, some model pictures, a BRZ and FRS duo shoot, and rollers – we were all just following David’s lead. It’s a weird thing to not be the one coordinating the shoot since that’s what I’m used to.

Being the bystander at a photoshoot is a new thing to me… Like, where do I stand? Am I in the way? Should I talk to the photographer or do I shut up? Is it creepy to watch while the model is posing on the cars? I dunno – me and Steve just ended up talking cars anyway and looking away while awkwardly trying to get out of the way LOL. Personally, while I’m shooting – I enjoy talking about the persons car and what they’ve done to it and what their plans are. It might not look like it, but I’m listening and it helps me add a little flair to the write up that I usually do, or if you talk about a certain aspect of the car a lot, it hints to me that it’s something you probably enjoy and like a lot, so I’ll take pics of it. For me – while shooting – the silence is likely as awkward as it is for you standing there watching me LOL!

Anyway, most of the shots below are just behind the scenes shots and random things I took while we were there. I can’t not bring my camera to a photoshoot and take some pics, even if it’s not my photoshoot…

Since these weren’t really serious photos for me, I ended up getting a chance to try out my new polarizer and played around with some different colour gradings to give a different effect. I typically like to stick to a very natural feel with a very minimal post-processing look but sometimes playing around with sliders to give a different look makes it a bit more interesting. I typically tend to favour the warmer and yellow/orange hues over cool tones like the above, but I tried something a little different today…

Which one is the photographer?! Just kidding – Steve just grabbing some shots on the sidelines while David does his thing.

I was able to snap a quick pic of the GTR as well – one for the books I suppose. I never did get a chance to shoot his GTR while he owned it.

A view from the top of the parkade. A nice overcast day with some sun peeking through here and there – perfect weather for pics.

And then me in my creeper mode… David shooting Lexi with my FRS and Jason Tang’s BRZ.

Focus switch…

Me just snapping randoms of my car while Jason T’s car gets all the attention.

Here is where I started getting a little crazy with the colour grading and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m 50/50 on it because I think it gives a cool feel but I think it’s just “not me” that I can’t fully hop on board yet. Lexi was looking off to the left at David while I shot this and it ended up looking pretty good. What do you guys think? Too much? Looks OK?

Another random shot I took just cause David was off doing something else. Sometimes random shots work and sometimes they don’t… Here is when it doesn’t but I edited it anyway.

Another shot of David doing his thing. I’m really looking forward to seeing these pictures as I’ve never been to a shoot with a model with cars while someone else was doing the shooting. Yesterday was completely new and strange to me because it was so out of my element but interesting to watch. Like I said in my previous posts with Mike and Ricky – it’s crazy to see how different shots can be of the same subject once all is said and done.

Another random that I creeped on to take.

And one last one of David taking shots with Lexi.

And finally – something I’m OK at – a shot of Jason’s BRZ and my FRS together with more blue/cool colour grading. Hopefully when David is done I can share some on here for you guys!

Sunset Shenanigans – Part 2

Went out for a second time at sunset with Mike and this time Ricky joined to also get some shots for his video clip. We had some great lighting that night and it turned out super awesome. Of course, with Mike and Ricky running around with their cameras, I felt left out so I took some snapshots. I didn’t do any video because I have no idea what I’d be doing with it anyway LOL. I’ll just leave that to the pros…

We headed back to the same spot to finish up some clips and then went out to another spot to do some rollers. At the end of this, I’ll post some shots that Mike was able to get of the car as well.

Awesome lighting that evening…

The guys doing their thing

Sun flares are great

Behind the scenes…

Ricky getting his video shots

As the sun was setting, the sky was full of clouds and gave us a super awesome backdrop.

Mike getting some shots…

That’s it for my shots… I’ll move onto Mike’s still shots.

We were discussing the shots a few days ago and I mentioned how crazy it is that our shots are so drastically different even though we shot the same subject in the same spot. That’s part of the craft, I suppose – but all you need is someone to look at a picture differently and think it needs something drastically different than you thought it needed. For myself, I was editing the pictures and thought “meh, that’s as good as it gets” and then Mike sent his shots and suddenly I was like “I guess more could’ve been done”.

That’s the best thing about shooting with others with the same approach to photography. They have a completely different perspective.

Rear roller

That stance. I love how the car sits.

Menacing

One of my favourite rollers he captured that night. Shows those yellow brembos perfectly

And the infamous “look back at it” shot. This was completely unplanned but I liked this a lot. I always saw these types of shots but I would always think it was staged… Guess now I know I bought the right car, right?

#HoangersInEurope

My dudes!!!! I’m still alive – this must have been the longest MIA I’ve ever had from the blog. The last month has been spent trying to get ready for our Euro trip that we just came back from earlier this week. I haven’t had much time to do anything else – getting ready for vacation seems to need an additional vacation prior…

Anyway – thought I’d spruce this up a bit with a quick recap of the trip. The reason for the trip was actually to go to Dublin, Ireland for Diana’s best friend’s wedding. In all honesty, Dublin probably was never on our list of places to go but it was an awesome experience for sure. Add a baby to the mix and you have an overflowing handful of joy and anxiety. LOL

Since we were going to fly all the way there, we might as well make a trip of it. We spent the first 4 days in London and the last 6 days in Dublin. In hindsight, we probably should’ve switched it around as there’s a little more to do in London than there was in Dublin. Either way – a great trip altogether. On to the pics! (Sorry – only iPhone pics).

The Airbnb flat where we stayed. Pretty nice area except for the 4 flights of stairs we had to trek up and down each day… Painful with a stroller and baby LOL

About 5 minutes away was a nice park to get to the tram/Subway. The weather was awesome the whole time we were there with temperatures above 20C most of the time.

A small little cafe on the corner of some hidden street that we decided to have lunch at. Nice little hole in the wall that can be easily missed.

Inside they made fresh sandwiches with fresh cut deli meats and cheese to order. Super packed but worth it!

Little did I know that Secret Service MI6 was actually a real place until I saw it on Google maps and then we almost walked right passed it. Crazy!

Aria was off to the side sleeping cause she was pooped from the plane ride here. So just Diana and I in front of some old place. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the landmarks – I’m not entirely interested in them – if I see it once, it’s good enough for me LOL

Big Ben. Although, as you can see it’s been blocked off due to the recent attack and I had to squeeze through a bunch of people to get a pic through the fence.

These guys just sit here all day on their horse and don’t smile. People take pics with them and stuff but man, I can’t imagine doing this everyday lol.

The London Eye. Not only was the line crazy to get on this thing but there’s no way in hell I was about to get on that. I hate heights – even looking at this picture makes my palms sweaty lol. I’ve got a good look of London right on the ground here, thank you very much.

Funny story to this picture – a piece of information for tourists – the subway doors don’t have sensors to say “oops, I closed on you, I better open up again”. No. Instead, it’s more like “you’re an idiot for trying to hop into the subway while the doors are closing, I’m just going to clamp down on your ass”.

We were just getting down the stairs to hop onto the next train and we decided to run for it – I got Aria and the stroller in, I was in-between the doors as it was shutting and it just had no mercy for me. I managed to shove myself through while the doors closed behind me, also leaving Diana on the platform stranded on her own. The funny thing is we both waved goodbye at each other while all the other riders were gasping wondering what to do. After a few seconds, the doors re-opened – probably cause they saw Diana helplessly standing there – and she hopped on. The picture above is the aftermath of the doors closing on me. You can see the mark on my shoulder and the bruise on my forearm. BRUTAL, LONDON.

We had dinner in SOHO at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. Thought it’d be good but I’ll take a pass next time. 4/10. The beer was the only thing that was good – Aria agrees – but that’s cause Jamie didn’t make it. ZING.

Buckingham Palace. We decided to check out the change of guards that happen daily. We showed up 45 minutes early…

And basically got back of the line seating. Worst. Couldn’t see anything. You can see the gate kind of in the middle left of the picture. Behind those gates is where the change happens. As you can see from where we are – we saw butt f***-all.

However, we did get a picture in front of the fancy gates. So yay.

A selfie in front of our flat. Aria learned a new skill on this trip – every time we open the camera, she gives a smile. Neato.

As per recommendation of Brad – we went to Boxpark to take a look as well. It’s basically a bunch of shipping containers put together and stacked to make little shops that sell nick nacks and things. Cool spot. Up on the top, there’s a bubbletea shop that sells drinks with alcohol. Not great tasting, but you can’t go wrong with alcohol and bubbletea…

Skipping all the way to Dublin now – not as much to see here but Pubs and distilleries. One of the first places we went was the Guinness storehouse for the 7-floor tour. It was just myself, Aria and Mike that day. The girls were out for the Hen party (AKA bachelorette party) that day so we were the gay couple with a light-skinned baby. Typically when Diana is around, people are like “oh yeah, those are the parents. The girl looks like the mom”. Mike and I are more on the tanned side so that day, I’m sure 100% of the people thought we adopted Aria…

The good news though is that everywhere we went that day, we got pushed to the front of the line with Aria. “Oh you have a baby, please – right up the front”. “Gentlemen, please don’t stand in line – make your way to the front and we’ll let you in shortly”. I’m not complaining and I’m not sure if it was because we were the “gay couple” or because we had a kid but that shit is awesome.

Hops – part of the self-guided tour in the Guinness factory.

A view from the 3 floor of some of their tanks.

Here we saw how they put together the barrells… Blah blah blah. Where’s the beer?!

Finally – on the 7th floor, we get our cup of fresh Guinness beer. I’m not a fan of Guinness to begin with but this stuff compared to the stuff in a can back home is amazing.

Here’s the 5th floor where the tasting room is. They give you a small glass of it and show you how to properly drink the beer to taste all of the flavours that go into it. As you can see in this pic – we were first in line. Behind me – something I don’t have a picture of – is a bunch of slightly angry and judgy people irked at the fact that we budged them all. Again, either be gay or have a kid. I don’t know which it was so try to have both criteria to move to the front of the lines.

Back on the 6th floor is the brasserie and bar – eats and drinks. In the bar, they serve special iterations of Guinness beer that they don’t sell or make anywhere else. One of them was a black currant draft which was a little sweeter but good nonetheless.

Over the next few days, we spent a lot of time in different pubs. Pubs are essentially restaurants in Dublin – you can bring your kid in there and no one blinks an eye at you. As you can see, Aria is starting to enjoy the beer and pub-hopping.

And to add to that, they also make a lot of their food with Guinness beer. If you don’t drink beer, you’re bound to have some sort of meal with beer in it. This is Guinness beef stew. Pretty good!

The wedding day! A paparazzi shot I took of the girls standing outside one of the buildings while the photographer was taking pics of them. I think this shot is probably the best shot of the day including shots from the photographer. Just saying.

Aria was the flower girl for the wedding. She can’t walk yet, so I had to carry her down the aisle. So that naturally meant that I’m also part of the wedding even though the bride, groom, and Diana all didn’t think so. I’m just saying that if I walked down the aisle, I was a part of it. Aria was a hit.

Family selfie!

And we got a hold of Jen and Iain finally after they’ve been tied up with other people all night. Congrats again!

Over the next few days we found some cool spots just by wandering around. This was at bread and bone and I ordered “monster kimchi fries” for $15 euros. Before it even came out I said to myself – for $15 euros, this better be good. And it was – probably one of the better meals I had during the whole vacation. Piles of pulled pork and steak with an egg on top and garlic mayo to top. Delish.

Also found a cookie place to try out. Voted “Dublin’s best cookie” so of course we had to check. Well, if that was Dublin’s best cookie then they obviously haven’t tasted Diana’s.

I should change that to say Diana Cookie.

The Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub where we had dinner one night. Not the best place for food but a good experience for sure.

On one of our off days, Diana wanted to take me to this little tea place that’s perched on the inside of some building you never would’ve even guessed was a place. The whole time she was raving about how this sandwich was so amazing and the whole time I was sulking about how we’ve come all this way to have a damn sandwich.

Turns out that sandwich was fucking amazing and I would do it again. Moral of the story – don’t underestimate a damn sandwich.

Diana and Aria in front of one of the old churches and to the right of them is a display of a homeless man sleeping under a blanket.

Most days, Aria was tuckered out. She was a trooper though as we literally moved her from this rigid schedule of wake, play, eat, nap at certain times to just turning her world upside down. She was up when she shouldn’t have been, she was jet-lagged for days, yet whenever she was up – she was smiling and happy to be out and about. I personally wouldn’t ever travel that far with an infant again – there’s just a lot of anxiety and stress that goes with it – some parents probably deal with it better than others. Diana and I just felt bad when she was just so tired but stayed up to continue having fun with the rest of us. Aria has a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so that didn’ t help much lol. Overall a good experience for sure, but I think we’ll wait till the kid is older or we leave her behind with the parents to save her the stress and tiredness…

And if you know us – you know that we had to have one of our last meals at Nando’s – that’s where this pic was taken and it was damn delicious. Everywhere we went in London and Dublin there was a Nando’s – it was a sign. In Calgary, there’s literally 2 locations. One which is so out of our way that it pretty much doesn’t exist and another which is half out of our way but still far enough to make you say “fuck it, I’ll have McDonald’s” LOL.

Until next time – I’m going to go back and try to catch up on sleep and get rid of this jet-lag.