The Meltdown

This is one of those vulnerable articles. It’s hoped that as I share about my/our weaknesses you too will be encouraged to own and accept your weaknesses, defeating any perfectionistic stride that tends to disrupt and even destroy relationships.Meltdown: think nuclear plant meltdown where the nuclear core is severely overheated and catastrophic damage results.We have a five-year-old, and very recently something happened that often happens at his age-and-stage. He had a meltdown. The process normally goes like this. Creative idea, build something, doesn’t work, frustration sets in, destroy the creation in anger. Not all the time, just occasionally. Dealing with pre-school children all the time, and having had another three children who are now adults, there’s nothing alarming in it. Besides, our five-year-old has witnessed us having meltdowns – and I can speak only for myself here.


There are all sorts of meltdowns, not just the angry ones, but also the teary ones, the anxious ones, the prideful ones, and the panicky ones.I want to share with you the kind of meltdown I’m capable of; this would happen occasionally in 2016 when I was thrust into an occupational world that I did not want any part of, but had to engage in just to support my family.I was very blessed to be offered work – two separate part-time positions – through friends, one of whom was my ex-wife, when pastoral ministry work went belly-up.Meltdowns occurred because of both jobs, but the case in point here centred around my job working with my ex-wife. These meltdowns never had anything to do with her – we, her and her husband and I, had a very good working relationship, always trying to outdo one another in what we gave.But it was the nature of the work that had me positioned like a fish out of water. I was packing chilled meals for home delivery, and so regularly my mind was doing backflips, that at times, my head was saying, ‘I cannot do this… it’s too hard… my brain is wired to work with people, one person at a time, not five or more tasks held in the mind at any one time, with noise, with pressure, with interruptions. (I need to say that since I burned out in 2005 my brain has some kind of permanent disability in managing many tasks simultaneously.) I was always fine when I got out on the road to do the deliveries, other than the times I had meltdowns. And this happened on a half dozen occasions.Here is the nature of that kind of meltdown. I would call my wife and say, panicked and in tears, ‘Darling, I cannot do this anymore… it’s too hard… my mind can’t keep up… I’m useless.’ After 10-minutes of hearing me out she would usually help me accept that I could get through the delivery run. I was usually fine after this. The inner meltdown in the presence of others manifested in an outward meltdown when it was safe with my wife.


There was nothing wrong with the delivery driving job, and in fact it taught me important skills, helped me master a new degree of patience, gave me empathy for those in that kind of work, and it showed me what I’m not good at. And it showed me how, all through my life, I’ve had the capacity for this kind of depressed meltdown that comes straight out of my wounded child state.We all have meltdowns, even those who seem to have perfect lives, and especially those who look like they’ve got their lives under control.I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had a meltdown. So, what do we do with this?We stop feeling ashamed of them whilst we do all we can to limit the kind of damage meltdown can bring.

Will Smart Home Automation Change the Modern Living Forever?

Smart home automation is earning swift recognition among consumers around the world. In today’s day and age, a lot of emphasis is being given to the technologies that make the daily lives comfortable, fast, and easy. Automation is one of such booming technologies witnessing advancements in terms of innovation and applications at a supersonic pace. Home automation or smart home technology involves mechanization of thermostats, security, temperature controls, and home appliances. Introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized smart home automation for the better. It offers automatic control of electronic and electric devices in homes. Users access these devices through wireless communication. Home appliance manufacturers from around the world are keen on inventing more effective and affordable devices to impel the sales and ensure customer satisfaction. As a result, the global demand for smart home automation is flooded with groundbreaking home systems.

High Points of Smart Home Automation Technology

Smartphones can be connected to practically anything and everything that is technology-enabled. Be it banking, entertainment, or home settings. The home technology is evolving at a rapid pace. The technology is promising, convenient, and rapidly evolving. The modern world is reaching the tipping point as far as utilization of technology in homes, workplaces, and other spheres of daily human lives are concerned. Artificial intelligence (AI) is another such technology finding its way in daily human lives. Availability of a myriad of automated devices and high-tech concepts at the consumer technology and trade shows like the Consumer Electric Show (CES) only point out the advancement in automation technology. Along with enhancements, smart technology and smart home technology in particular is anticipated to become easily accessible. This could be one of the biggest high points for the consumers across the globe. Along with mechanized home features and security devices, consumers will witness the advent of technologies like lookout cameras for pets and automated shopping. Take a look at some of the imminent trends in home automation:

Cameras for Pets
Closed-circuit television or CCTV has been the original security essential as far as home automation is concerned. With the combination of security cameras and smart home automation, they have become all the more indispensable and sophisticated. Along with the standard usage for security purposes, the cameras installed in households can help pet owners monitor the activities of their pets. These cameras have motion sensors with the ability to self-activate when the pets move. These devices can also soothe pets that are nervous and are prone to damaging furniture and other home articles. For instance, the recently launched Petcube Play Interactive camera, a Wi-Fi enabled indoor pet camera that allows pet owners to check in on their pets through smartphones and other smart devices. It also allows interaction with the help of two-way audio and high definition video camera. The sound alerts added to the cameras notify users in case of major events.

Wireless Kitchen
Futuristic, is the buzzword for smart home automation. Manufacturers of modern home appliances and technologies are keen on adopting technologies that can provide customer satisfaction and convenience. For example, URBANEER recently developed the first commercially available wireless kitchen in partnership with the Wireless Power Consortium or WPC. It has automatic kitchen products designed using advanced technology for the utmost customer comfort and optimal use of home space. These customizable products are considered to be ideal for modern homes. After the launch of the game changing furniture line with built-in chargers by Ikea, many other companies have ventured into wireless charging furniture. This type of furniture transmits electricity with the help of electromagnetic fields through a base and a receiver. From lamps to side tables to stand-alone charging pads, companies like Ikea are revolutionizing the industry for home automation. Another company, Curvilux recently launched its nightstand product with attached wireless charging pad.

Breathing Sleep Robot
Enhancing sleep technology is a part of the smart home automation revolution taking place across the world. Companies are launching advanced devices that use technology and data to manage health, sleep, exercise, and other activities of the users. Apart from the fitness trackers, smart beds, and pillows, manufacturers are introducing other ground-breaking products. For example, the Sensorwake 2 Olfactory Alarm Clock. This clock wakes up the users with a pleasant smell of their choice. It uses soft melodies, dynamic light, and a scent that instantly puts the user in good mood. Another pioneering discovery made in the field of home automation is the sleep robot. To put this into perspective, Somnox recently introduced the world’s first ever sleep robot that improves sleep by stimulating breathing. It can also help reduce stress and unwanted thoughts. The sounds like heartbeat and guided meditation can help the users fall asleep faster.

Multi-room Music
Although multi-room music has been around for a few years, the technology is witnessing rapid advancements in terms of innovative applications and devices. The manufacturers in the smart home automation industry are keen on launching high-tech products that can play different kinds of music in different rooms of the house based on the mood of the users. All the multi-room products of today including smart speakers, AV receivers, network streamers, wireless speakers, and stereo amplifiers run using either wireless technology or by creating their own mesh network. Most of these music systems work on the Wi-Fi network of the users’ homes. DTS Play-Fi, AirPlay 2, Sonos One, Amazon Echo, Amazon Alexa, and Google Chromecast Audio, and Bose Soundtouch 10 are some of the examples of multi-room music systems available with customizable user experience. Almost all of these systems have their dedicated smartphone app that allows easy access and trouble-free control of the multiroom.

Overview of the Smart Home Automation Market
The global market for smart home automation is anticipated to witness impressive growth in the forthcoming years. Remote control living and high demand for automation will remain the major baits for the users opting for the advanced products available in the market. Rising disposable income and awareness regarding the innovations taking place in the world of technology can create major business opportunities for the top market players like Honeywell International Inc.; Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.; Legrand SA; Schneider Electric; and others. High demand for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, smart kitchen, smart security, and energy management can propel the demand for the global market in near future.

Rising penetration of internet of things is one of the major factors responsible for the innovations taking place in smart home automation technology. Arrival of smart thermostat technologies such as Z-Wave, C-Bus, ZigBee, KNX, EnOcean, and others has simplified the adoption and implementation of wireless technology. This technology plays a crucial role in the insanely increasing popularity of home automation. Major companies in the market are keen in investing heavily in research and development along with business collaborations. Growing demand for home entertainment, security, and energy management can be considered as a vital sign of growth for this industry.

In conclusion, a myriad of brand new products are expected to be launched in the market for smart home automation in the next few years. Most of these products will heavily rely on Internet of things, artificial intelligence, and smart sensor technology. The best thing about automated smart home products is the way they allow the users to have total control of the way they prefer for the product to function. Easy accessibility of cutting-edge technology and pioneering products is also anticipated to set the precedence for the companies operating in this market.

5 Ways Refinancing Your Home Loan Can Help You

We take a look at 5 ways refinancing your home loan could help you:

1. Your lender’s rate is no longer competitive

We’ll start with the popular one first. One of the main reasons people choose to refinance their loan is to get a lower interest rate, and put more money back into their pockets instead of paying the banks.

When done correctly, refinancing your home loan could save you thousands over the life of your loan, and free up cash now.

2. You could switch between variable & fixed rates

Another popular reason to refinance your home loan is to switch between a variable rate and a fixed rate. With a fixed rate, some want peace of mind. That is, knowing exactly how much their monthly repayments will be without the possibility of it changing for a set period is worth a slight increase in rate.

Conversely, you may decide you’d like to take advantage of a lower variable rate as you can accept the risk that rates may rise in future.

3. You could be eligible for a home loan with better features

There are some great home loan features around at the moment, and refinancing could offer you the opportunity to take advantage or more flexible features. Some money saving features to look for are:

Flexible repayments: You might want to switch to a home loan that allows you to make lump repayments without fees or open up an offset account to reduce your interest.

Redraw: Allows you to withdraw extra payments if you need cash. Look for a loan offering free redraws.

There are also some pretty cool boutique features, like getting a repayment holiday (a break from repayments), or the loan portability which allows you to take your home loan with you when you move without much hassle.

4. You could consolidate your debt

Many of us have multiple debts like car or credit card along with our home loan. Often our car and credit card loans have pretty high interest rates, meaning more out of your pocket.

Refinancing could give you the opportunity to merge your debts and potentially reduce the overall interest you’re paying, streamlining all of higher interest debts into one lower interest debt and reducing your monthly repayments.

The interest rate on a home loan is usually significantly lower than the other types of credit. Helping you to save on interest charges and pay debt off sooner.

5. You could release some equity in your current property

You may be thinking about joining the thousands of Australians that have invested in property, renovating your home or traipsing around Europe on that trip of a lifetime. With your current home usually being your most valuable asset, it only makes sense to release as much of the value in your home as possible.

Home equity is the difference between your home’s current value and the balance of your mortgage. For example, if your home is worth $600,000 and you have a mortgage of $200,000 remaining, your home equity is $400,000. That’s money that can be used to build wealth.

Not so long ago, the only way home owners could access their home equity was to sell up and upgrade to another property. These days, home loans are flexible and it’s possible to get access to the equity in your home without having to sell up. Reviewing your home loan can help you see exactly how much equity is available to you, and refinancing can help you access the equity to use for other things.

What should I consider before refinancing?

Cost of refinancing

While refinancing has some amazing benefits, there are costs associated with refinancing your home loan – costs that may outweigh the potential benefits. Following are two of the main costs associated with refinancing:

Exit Fees

Exit fees may apply when you pay out a loan early, usually in the first three to five years of your term. It could be a percentage of the remaining loan balance or it may be a set charge. Check your loan contract for more details. Although exit fees have been banned on new loans taken out after 1 July 2011, they could still apply to loans taken out before this date.

Borrowing costs

When you refinance, your new lender may charge a range of upfront fees. However not all lenders charge these fees and some may be negotiable.

Case Study

Let’s have a look at a refinancing example using some numbers to better understand the benefits and costs.

The situation:

Sue has a $300,000 loan repayable over 25 years. Her current rate is 6.4% and her monthly repayments are $2,006.

If Sue can refinance to a loan with a rate of 5.9% a rate reduction of 0.50%, she can lower her repayments to $1,914, a saving of $92 each month.

The solution:

Looking at the cost side of things, we’ll assume Sue will pay $1,000 to refinance her loan. In this case it would take about 11 months ($1,000 divided by $92) for Sue to claw back the costs through the savings she makes.

The outcome:

That’s not a bad time frame. If it was to take several years to recover her costs, refinancing may not be worthwhile.

Should you refinance?

We’ve gone through the potential benefits of refinancing, the costs associated and a short example. That’s a lot to take in. When it comes time to make a decision about refinancing your home loan, the best suggestion is to sit down with a mortgage broker you trust to help you go through your options.

Get Affordable Home Insurance in Calgary

There are many reasons to get home insurance in Calgary. First of all, you want to make sure your house, cottage, or tenancy is covered for damage, theft, and flooding. Secondly, you want to know if you are overpaying for home insurance, and if you are, you want to know if you have access to a more affordable insurer. We can help you connect with a live insurance broker who will give you the information you need to insure your house in Calgary. You can also request a quote from at least 10 Canadian home insurers, so you can compare rates.

Typical Home Insurance Premiums
Home protection prices are different for rented and owned properties. Tenants insurance for rented homes covers the basic contents of a house and some liability (you may need a separate policy for fine art, wine collections, furs, and other expensive, atypical items). Tenants insurance is often cheaper than homeowners insurance.

Homeowners insurance covers the building and its exterior, as well as risks connected to theft, fire, earthquake, etc. Since the value of the building is much higher than the contents of a rented unit, homeowners insurance premiums are significantly higher than are the premiums for tenants insurance.

In order to have a broader picture of home insurance rates in Canada, here are statistics of the average home rates in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and Canada. These statistics are provided by InsurEye.

In Alberta, monthly house insurance rates are typically $84 for homeowners and $49 for renters.

In Ontario, monthly home insurance rates are typically $78 for homeowners and $42 for renters.

In British Columbia, monthly home protection rates are typically $85 for homeowners and $47 for renters.

Across Canada, monthly home insurance rates are typically $77 for homeowners and $41 for renters.

Examples of Calgary Home Insurance Quotes
Home insurance quotes in Calgary depend on the size of a building, its location, and possible risks (like flooding). The following examples of house insurance quotes will help you better understand how much home insurance can potentially cost you:

· For a 2,800 square foot, two-storey house in Calgary, in the neighbourhood of Altadore near River Park, expect approximately $98 monthly ($1,176 a year).

· For an 850 square foot, two-bedroom condominium on the 12th floor in downtown Calgary, next to Central Memorial Park, the insurance costs are approximately $23 a month ($276 a year).

· For a one-storey house in Calgary, in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, located close to 4th St NW and the Trans-Canada Highway, the insurance is approximately $62 monthly ($744 a year).

Flooding Coverage for Homes in Calgary
Since Calgary often sees flooding, every homeowner should be prepared for the possibility of this risk and should understand the main aspects of home protection and flooding. One thing you should keep in mind is that home protection in the flood-endangered areas of the city is more expensive because of the much higher risk.

There are four main types of flooding. It is important to remember that your home insurance policy treats each of them differently:

1. Overland flooding occurs as a consequence of water (rain or melting snow) entering your house from the outdoors. Standard insurance in Calgary does not cover expenses from overland flooding. However, some companies do provide coverage for this type of flooding at an additional cost.

2. Roof leakage can be covered or not covered, depending on the factors that caused it. If the roof was in poor condition from the beginning, your insurance provider will not cover the damage. Your home insurance will most likely cover damage from a natural cause, like hail.

3. Your insurer will cover plumbing issues, only if you comply with the rules in your policy, such as having somebody visit your home while you are not there for extended periods of time (for example, while you are on vacation).

4. Sewer backup happens when wastewater is driven back into your house. Traditional home protection does not cover this type of flooding. However, you can always purchase this type of coverage as an addition to your home insurance policy.

The Difference Between Condo and Tenants Insurance in Calgary
Owners of condos can purchase homeowners insurance for their condo. The condominium corporation purchases commercial condo insurance. The difference between these two policies is in what part of the condo they cover. The homeowners insurance covers the contents of the condominium. The coverage also includes protection for upgrades, locker contents, third party liability, theft, additional living expenses, and sometimes special insurance assessments.

The commercial condominium corporation’s insurance covers the building’s exterior (envelope), together with its infrastructure and common areas.

Condo renters in Calgary need tenants insurance to cover the contents of their condos. This type of protection is usually mandatory and is part of the rental contract. In addition to the coverage of contents against theft, fire, and other hazards, the insurance also extends to third party liability and additional living expenses. Living expenses are for the cases when the condo is unlivable (due to earthquake, flood, fire, etc.), so the renter is forced to live in a hotel or rental unit until the condo repairs are complete.

10 Ways to Save on Home Insurance in Calgary
Here are a few ways to save on your home coverage. For more savings, get an insurance quote and contact an insurance expert.

1. Professional membership. Members of unions or professional organizations can get a discount on their home insurance. Insurance companies, like Meloche Monnex Insurance, also provide their members with insurance policies.

2. Hydrant or fire station. If your home is close to one of these things, you can ask for a discount from your insurance provider.

3. Discounts for students. Some insurance providers give discounts for students. As for dependent students who live alone, their parent’s home insurance may cover the insurance on their apartment at no additional charge. For example, Desjardins Insurance provides this discount.

4. Discounts for graduates. TD Insurance is an example of an insurer that offers discounts for graduates from post-secondary institutions like McGill University or the University of Toronto.

5. Quit smoking. Many insurance companies increase home protection premiums for smokers due to the potential fire risk.

6. Change your policy. Those with tenant insurance should rethink the size of their coverage – perhaps some things that do not have much value do not need additional coverage.

7. Security of your home. Does your home have additional security, like a doorman or security guard? This might get you a discount from your insurance provider.

8. Direct insurer. Also called a captive agent, a direct insurer represents one company and can offer their products for a cheaper price when compared to insurance agents or brokers.

9. Consumer reviews. Other home insurance consumers often share their experiences of purchasing insurance and making claims. Thanks to these insights, you will be able to avoid unexpected costs and overpayment.

10. Compare prices. You can get home insurance quote in Calgary for a cheaper price thanks to the price comparison tools that show you the rates of the same services provided by different insurance companies.