Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

If you want to rent a cottage in the area...

...regardless of whether it is ours, or someone elses place, here are some links that you might find useful:

If you are looking for a cottage to rent in the Eastern Ontario area, you can visit this link:

The advertisement for our cottage on the website can be found by visiting this link:

Barry's Bay Cottage Resort is located on the far side of the lake, adjacent to the highway. They have a number of newly refurbished cottages for rent:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Death and Taxes

Well nothing about death here actually, but over the last few months, off and on, I have been compiling absolutely all of our expenes for the Field House, the cottage, both automobiles, and more onto Microsoft Excel files. It makes doing personal income taxes so much easier! I also found a 'snipping tool' that lets you take a jpeg image of any part of your computer screen... How cool is that?

The astute reader will notice that our municipal taxes have doubled in seven years. I imagine the 60% increase in 2006 had a lot to do with that! Just another reason why buying a waterfront cottage of your very own is not the smartest thing you can do with your money. It is far more economical to rent someone else's for the time you want to use it!

There are only two compelling reasons to own a waterfront cottage: First, you have oodles of money to burn, and really want a cottage, whether you use it or not! Second (as is our case), you already happen to own the cottage, make substantial use of it, and are willing to rent it out to people smart enough not to buy their own to help cover the costs!

In 2003 the municipal taxes on the cottage were less than 50% of the taxes on our house in Tavistock. In 2010 the cottage taxes were nearly 85% of our house taxes! Such is the effect of rapid increases in value of waterfront real estate.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Joys of Online Banking

Last year I noticed that my online banking website (we use BMO) began offering email money transfers provided by Interac (Interac E-Mail Money Transfer). I figured this was a simple way to accept payment for the cottage, as the transaction was secure for both parties, and the only requirements were an email account and access to online banking.

A couple of guests used this service to pay for their stay at the cottage, and all worked fine until the third guest sent a payment in early July, and I received this message after trying do deposit the payment in our account:

EMT Receive Error

We cannot process your request at this time. Please contact us at 800 363 9992 to discuss and provide the following code number.


I didn't think it would be a big issue, and called the next day to sort it out. Well, after about a dozen phone calls, including relatively abysmal service (failure to call back when promised, failure to properly determine what the problem was, etc.) on the part of BMO, as well as Interac/Certapay, it turns out that the 'sender' of the payment had used the service for the very first time, triggering an automatic call from his bank for security and verification purposes. The problem was, his bank phoned, did not reach anyone, and simply left a message.

For some reason,the call was not returned, yet the senders bank did absolutely nothing to follow up to determine whether the payment was legitimate or not! Instead, they simply made the determination that the payment was suspect, and then froze both the senders and recipients (mine) access to the email money transfer system, without informing either party, of course.

Recently a different returning guest sent along a deposit, just as he had (succesfully!) done last year. On opening the email, and attemptiong to deposit it in our account, the fateful message was again displayed:

EMT Receive Error

We cannot process your request at this time. Please contact us at 1 800 363 9992 to discuss and provide the following code number.


This time around, Jimena from the BMO actually determined the issue (the suspension of my access to the service was still in place), resolved it with Instabank/Certapay that day, called me the next morning to tell me what happened, and then after a very brief bit of negotiation, credited our account with three months worth of account fees ($41.85). Thankfully this time around the employee at BMO was deadly efficient, pleasant to deal with, and got the problem resolved in a timely fashion - leaving me hope that when Instabank screws up the next time, it will be corrected within a day!