Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Saturday, 27 June 2015
Thursday, 25 June 2015
The fact that medicine is one of the most well-remunerated 'normal' careers (I'm excluding 'movie star' and 'professional athlete' level careers here) is... a perk. The fact that it will provide a comfortable standard of living for my family is what has made it possible to go back to school. I would not have pursued my dream if it didn't have anything in it for my family. After all of our sacrifice, my family gets a stable future and I get my dream career. Positives all around.
So now that I have an acceptance in hand, and a somewhat ridiculous income potential (relative to my norm...), I need to take steps to protect the future that has now solidified. Even though this isn't all about money for me, financial considerations absolutely must be taken into account so I can build as stable and secure a future as possible for my family because it's now possible. Even if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I want them to be better off than they would have been if I'd been hit by a bus eight weeks ago. Not that either situation is ideal, mind.
That means life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term planning. I've had some nebulous medium and long term plans, but they were dependent on whether I got in or not. Now that I'm in, it's Plan A all around. The only variables are what specialty I'll pursue and whether I'll apply for the province's sponsorship (which would effectively reduce my debt by $110lk.)
So the other day I met - via phone - with a financial advisor from MD Financial. She managed to point me in the right direction on a number of topics I need to research more and she was fairly positive about the roughed out plans I already had in place which made me feel less like a complete newbie. Next step is meeting with the OMA rep about insurance policies since all signs point to them being much cheaper for my needs.
While I haven't ever had much in the way of resources, I have tried to be somewhat educated on financial matters so that I'd know how to make my money work for me should I ever actually have any. That day isn't too long off now, so my casual reading is coming in handy and I don't feel too terribly overwhelmed. There will be a lot of important decisions to make in the next few years so I will need to find someone to advise me over the course of my career. MD Financial will do for now, until I find someone I will want to build a longer term business relationship with anyway, and I'm keeping in mind that they aren't entirely unbiased.
By virtue of me being the only person who has been there consistently for the last (nearly) two years my job has been to do any part of anyone's job if needed, plus my tasks. I'm cross-trained. Not that I mind; it was very fun and I enjoyed the challenge and I've had great people to work with. But the new student may end up a little overwhelmed for a while, I expect.
I'm leaving my replacement with a large procedures manual. Some things are step-by-step, some things are described more generally because I expect the reader to gather information from other sources too. It's not rocket science, but it does require some thinking and seeking out resources on one's own.
Now that my last day is nigh, I'm looking back a bit nostalgically at the last couple of years. While work has been stressful by times, I have really enjoyed my job. It's been a source of a lot of growth and some very interesting opportunities to be exposed to things I never would have expected. I have learned a lot at this job.
My boss is really quite fantastic, even if her management style rubs some people the wrong way occasionally. I honestly really like her, and I respect that she doesn't let other peoples' opinions get in the way of her priorities. We've had our moments, as any manager and employee will, but overall we've had a fantastic working relationship and I'm really going to miss her. I plan to keep in touch especially as she seems to know absolutely everyone and she's already offered to put me in touch with people who might be able to help me with electives.
My coworkers are just lovely people and I am going to miss working with them.
Tomorrow is going to be my last day working as something other than a doctor. My next paid job will be as a resident physician. That is a heady thought.
Over my working life, I've done everything from manufacturing and food service to tech support and personal care assistant. And those days are done. The barely-minimum-wage days are behind me. Meeting with my financial advisor today and discussing quite frankly what my income will likely be in a few years just left me a little gobsmacked.
Tomorrow is the last day of my old life, and the launching point of a new, grand adventure.
Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Monday, 22 June 2015
Sunday, 21 June 2015
The house is currently tidier than it has been in quite a while since we just did a dump run to get rid of the crap that had accumulated in our basement. It is the natural tendency of basements to attract and keep household detritus.
I'll be scheduling some on-site estimates by movers for later this week since I want to have a clear idea in mind of what we'll spend. I'm just not comfortable enough driving that far by myself so we're not going to go with a rental truck.
Plus, I want it to be an adventure, a special family road trip and that is best done in one vehicle. We'll be stopping to see some old friends along the way as well as see some sights. We decided against doing a big family trip, so we're going to make the move itself into a vacation. We'll be boarding the dog for a few nights then flying her to meet us. The cats and birds are coming in the vehicle with us. We have a cargo bag for the roof for our luggage, so everything's accounted for.
I have two more days of work (tomorrow and Tuesday) and then I get to just focus on preparing for the move. And relaxing. More relaxing than anything else. The bulk of the move pre-cleaning/organizing is done now so all I really need to do is pick away at the packing as time goes on.
I am so, so looking forward to relaxing for a few weeks. Bikingm, swimming, days at the beach by myself reading. Oh yeah, this is going to be awesome.
Now it's time to take my husband out to pick up his father's day gift (something we agreed to ahead of time) and then go out for supper.
Friday, 19 June 2015
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Saturday, 13 June 2015
- Sign in 2ed year. $10,000 signing bonus
- $40,000 each of 3rd and 4th year
- $10,000 each year of residency
Total: $110,000 sponsorship.
Comes with a 5 year ROS. Location of service decided by the Department of Health and Wellness.
- Sign in 3rd year. $20,000 signing bonus
- $40,000 in 4th year
- $10,000 each year of residency
Total: $80,000 sponsorship
Comes with a 4 year ROS. Location of service decided by the Department of Health and Wellness.
They have no information on how it would be treated for students in a 3 year program. I imagine I would either only have the second option open (and they would just let me do that a year early) or they would divide my program up into four 8 month blocks and consider each of those a year for the purposes of the agreement.
Because I have the LOC, I am not in a position where I must try to bring in funds during my training.
However.... if by next year I'm still leaning very heavily towards family and we are sure we want to come home then it would not be a bad idea to consider getting paid for what I'm already planning to do anyway. We're strongly considering going back to Ottawa for a few years or possibly overseas after residency, so that might change.
It would mean I'd graduate with only around $100k in debt vs the $180-$210k I currently have projected (that's LOC plus my provincial loans, which stay interest free throughout repayment and I can defer during residency so there's no point rolling them onto the LOC as I will with my CSL.) I already know of programs which will forgive significant portions of that, so I'm certainly not overly worried about paying it off, but it'd be nice.
As well, next year I will be able to apply for OSAP instead of my current provincial student assistance program because of a lovely little loophole - my husband will have been working and residing in Ontario for 12 months. Because so much of the Ontario assistance converts to a grant, and because being OSAP-eligible opens me up to a whooole lot more bursaries at the school, I will be doing that next year as a debt-reducing strategy.
I'm working on my long term financial projections and I've requested a meeting with a planner at MD Financial. One thing I need to get sorted out *now* is my life and disability insurance. Given my rather drastically increased future earning potential, I need to ensure that if something happens to me, my family will be left comfortable, not thrown right back to the barely-making-it that has been our norm for many years.
Lots of thinking to do. I have spreadsheets galore going on, and I've immersed myself in learning more about life insurance. I've usually ensured I'm covered through work-related plans (either my own or my husband's) but I want a standalone policy now.
Lots to do, lots to learn. And it's all just barely starting.
Friday, 12 June 2015
Thursday, 11 June 2015
No work tomorrow, though. I have the day off as I have oral surgery. I also am out two mornings next week because I'm going to get the first step of my TB test done.
Our public health resources are somewhat limited and they only have so many appointments. Because of all the nursing students needing theirs, the office in town is booked until August so I have to go to a town about 45 minutes away to get it done and then to get it read two days later. Step 2 will be right at the start of July.
Fortunately, it turns out the public health unit in North Bay had my vaccination records up to age 15 (which is cool because I left there when I was 9. Yay EHR!) which is saving me a lot of hassle.
Bit by bit, my paperwork is all coming together. Everything is falling into place. As hard as it still is to believe that I actually got into medical school, it's gradually becoming more real.
Today, I was standing by my boss' desk taking a note on a small pad. A colleague came in and she told me "Just now, seeing you standing there, I could just envision you writing a prescription while talking to a patient."
Lots of people who have been cheering me on are celebrating with me. I'm called 'doc' at least a couple times a day. But that comment meant a great deal to me because it's hard for me to really accept that the dream is becoming reality. To be told that someone else can see me in that role just made my day.
Unrelated to the rest of my post, I'm reading The Secret Language of Doctors. I like a lot of what Dr Goldman produces, though not everything. I was already familiar with a lot of the medical slang in the book, but the anecdotes and analyses are interesting. It's an enjoyable read, anyway. Next up is House of God which I have somehow managed to not read yet, even though I've known about it since I was little.
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
One of the things that makes me most sad about the move to Hamilton, besides leaving our friends and the Island we love, is that my dog loses a lot of her freedom. My pup is a country dog. Since she was a puppy, she's been able to run and play in the fields and the woods that surround our home. She plays frisbee in our huge yard and ball down the field. We take her to the beach and she brings her frisbee and trots along beside us then drops it at the feet of anyone who will play with her.
She isn't used to fences, to being confined. She has never once been in a fenced yard. She has walked on a leash less than five times in her life. To make things easier once we get there, I've started training her with a head collar and she is, as always, learning quickly but it's clear she does not like being leashed.
She's losing her easy freedom and endless open spaces for at least a third of what remains of her life.
I'm sad for her. My kids are losing these things too, but there is a park across the street from our new place where they can go and run and be free like they are here, it'll just be less wild. But dogs aren't allowed off leash except at the dog parks. I don't know if they're allowed at the beach but I dearly hope so.
I hope she'll adapt easily. I'll certainly be getting out of the house and walking her more to make up for the lack of running time. It'll be good for both of us, I think. She can be my walking buddy. It'll be nice to have sidewalks. Looking at the bright side, I suppose.
Monday, 8 June 2015
My husband and I are not highly social people. We're not anti-social, but we are essentially introverts. That we've made the friends we have is something of a surprise to both of us. Our friends have been very important supports to us throughout the last few years and I think it's important to thank them for having been part of all of this with us, which I why I really want to have this party.
So we're going to have a big ol' kitchen party before we leave. We'll feed and beer (to beer is a verb, ask any Maritimer) our friends and enjoy a night in fantastic company before we leave.
Unfortunately, with Mac's schedule, we won't get to come home much over the next three years and by the time we get home, a lot of our friends will have dispersed. We won't come back to the same people. It's a bit bittersweet to think about. It's the nature of the Island that the young leave to find opportunity elsewhere, but it changes things.
Sunday, 7 June 2015
The yard is smaller than our current one, which will be hard for our dog to get used to since she can't just go running in the nearby park. We'll have to take her to a dog park. Here, it's pretty common for people to just bring their dogs to the nearest green space and let them off-leash to run and play, but apparently there are leash laws in Hamilton. Our dog is a country dog; she has almost never had to wear a leash. The only time she's on any sort of lead is when we put her out unsupervised which is only for a few minutes at a time.
Once I finish work in a couple weeks, part of my move prep is going to teach her to walk on a leash. She does not have good leash manners because we've never needed to teach her, but she's a bright dog and should be able to pick it up pretty quickly.
I have a list of things to do as soon as I stop work. The serious move preparation doesn't start until then. I'll be getting a number of moving estimates before I pick a company. We're probably going to go with a mover instead of renting a truck because I just don't feel safe driving for that long on my own. I can do a 4-5 hour drive easily, but 17 hours (plus breaks) is a bit much for me. Even split up over two days, we're talking 10-ish hours on the road (including breaks) each day which is a lot to ask of the kids. It's easier for them to do it in one go.
It's been seven and a half years since we made the move home, but my husband is the only one who drove. Our son and I flew. It doesn't feel right to fly this time. I want the kids to get to see the land change as we go, to appreciate how lovely this country is. It's harder to do from the air.
The detailed things are starting to come together. Making a move of this magnitude takes a lot of work and preparation, but we'll get there. At least now we know exactly where 'there' is.
Friday, 5 June 2015
Made my day.
We may have found another property, but we're waiting to hear back. I'm going to keep working with the realtor until we have a lease in hand, though.
I went to see my doctor to start my paperwork. I called and made the appointment as soon as I was acceopted, but it can take a while to get in. My vaccine records are spread all over the country and my little booklet was lost years ago (my parents say they gave it to me, I am certain they did not) so I have to do a bunch of serology and may have to re-do a few series. Doesn't bother me. I certainly have no problem making sure I am doing everything possible to protect myself and patients.
I was particularly happy to read on the front of the form that they do not allow philosophical exemptions from the vaccination requirements.
My doctor was really lovely to talk to today. She's leaving at the end of the month (she's been a long-term locum) which works out, I suppose. She's really a great family doctor, even if it does take a while to get in. She listens, she explains, and she doesn't talk down to or talk at me.
I have nine days of work left since I have surgery next Friday. I don't know yet if I'll actually be dropping to part time after that - it's up to my boss. At the moment, I'm counting down the days because I am REALLY anxious to get back to the pool. I haven't had time to swim lately and I'm feeling it, particularly since I have to spend most of the day sitting down which I do not like.
Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Landlord won't rent to us because of our pets.
A landlord can't forbid pets in Ontario. Right in the residential tenancies act it says that 'no pets' clauses in leases are void. I do not have to disclose that we have pets. I could sign a lease that states pets are prohibited and tell the landlord immediately afterward that we have animals and they would not be allowed to terminate the agreement based on that. But because we are responsible pet owners and up front about our animals, we're turned away.
It is frustrating to, essentially, be punished for honesty, Friends suggested we lie - but we won't. I'd rather not start a potentially 3 year business arrangement with dishonesty. I know many landlords have been burned by irresponsible tenants with pets, but this is what they should use references for - to make sure we actually are responsible.
I'll be in contact with one of my commenters (hi!) who said she has a realtor recommendation for me. We're getting into crunch time for finding a place. We need to rent a place ASAP so that we have an address because that will determine what schools our kids go to.
It's important to start transition planning for special needs services as far ahead of time as possible. While school registration there isn't until the last week of August (which is absurd, but them's the rules) I've been in contact with someone at the board who will help us get started on navigating services for my son.
I'm a tad frustrated at the moment, because the property was lovely and I was really hoping we'd get it. It fit almost all of our criteria and so I'm a bit sad.
Just have to keep looking.
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Tomorrow, a fantastically kind classmate is checking out a property for us. If it's still available and checks out okay, we'll probably take it. That will get a bunch of other things rolling. Getting my son's services set up is a big priority and we can't do that until we have an address and know what school he's going to attend. I've been in contact with the school board there already and the lady I spoke with there is fantastic so I'm glad to have some stuff getting sorted.
I've decided to work a bit longer than originally intended, but only part time and only for another 3-4 weeks. There are some things I want to see through before I leave, and doing so part time allows me to get a good start on the move stuff and get some relaxation time as well. I do not do well with idleness so dropping to just two days a week is an ideal option. Also, it's really hard to give up earning money before I absolutely have to, even though I know that the bit more money I'll earn isn't that much in the grand scheme of things.
It's enough extra that it pays for Steven the Surface, anyway and that makes it slightly less terrified to use my new