Needing A Plan
After years of fundraising for children in the Dominican Republic, a Dominican born Canadian friend talked me into visiting the DR to see the five schools we had built. We took a month and rented a car and toured all the nooks and crannies of the DR. I fell in love with the country and after a few return trips I moved with the intention of retiring in a sub tropical location. Paradise! Eventually my wife and I purchased a hilltop villa and planned an extended stay. The plan included selling our Calgary house and using the proceeds to build a smaller one level house in Nova Scotia. A decision had been made. Shortly following Freedom 55 career departure, I set up a 4X8 sheet on top of two Ikea horses. I had a large map of Nova Scotia laid out and began a study of the province in detail. The First thing I did was to research the hospital facilities and mark them on the map with little red sticky circles I found at Staples. Not a lot of circles but I had a comforting layout of where medical assistance could be found across Nova Scotia. I then filled in each circle with the number of beds each facility had. After discovering the provincial hospital board was either closing some smaller hospitals or reducing emergency hours in places like Digby, I took the position that this trend could continue and reduced my selection to only a few hospitals. Each one had a penciled circle showing a one hour driving radius of each hospital. I was feeling smug that I had easily and responsibly reduced my “area to search for suitable housing” to a much smaller area. I liked this method. I then eliminated some that were a bit far from everything, such as Yarmouth and Economy and northern Cape Breton. Now that I was committed to winters in the Caribbean I needed to be close to the international airport. JetBlue was initiating regular flight to the new international airport in the DR. Perfect. The flights also luckily avoided touch downs on American soil that also required border security checks. I had nothing to hide but the attitude of so many of the customs officers was a nice to avoid if possible. All this left and area much smaller than what I had started with. I talked to my sister who lives in Halifax and eliminated a few more areas due to lots of seasonal bugs or more snow or other such obvious (only to the locals) reasons to choose somewhere else to settle. I settled on the south shore and Blomidon areas for reasons I can discuss elsewhere. If you choose a nice spot in say Canning or Margarete’s Bay, the best choices are not so many and quite pricey if a view is added in. We added in an acreage, slightly more remote from health care, but with an incredible view to build on and an affordable price. Now that some responsible choices were made from a Calgary basement location, it was time to pay my sister a visit and actually tour around these retirement locations.
After a local tour, I quickly decided it would be much better to use some local construction trades and build a perfect residence from scratch. I planned to build a large garage and begin to store material I will find at sale prices and make this project quite affordable. I talked to a family of carpenters that also had a lot of heavy equipment suitable for clearing and foundation work and I also talked to a small manufacturer of post and beam woodworking. It was starting to come together. I visited some map stores and a community development office. I learned that it was not allowed to build a garage prior to completing the house. This practically eliminated my potential to save expenses with an on site storage idea. I had brought my first utility trailer load of goods across Canada and now rented a garage to store my “stuff”. I even included some Alberta rocks so I could set up roots in a new garden while not forgetting the past.
Needing A Plan