Thanks to all you generous folks, you know who you are, we have raised $1980!  Today is our last day to raise funds for the school!  It does take a village to raise a child...and in our case, 5 children!  So, it takes a Metropolis to raise ours!  We're grateful for your generosity!

Click here to sponsor us!
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Results of Last Year's Half Marathon 

Last year, I ran my first half marathon.  Relatively speaking, I was pretty slow, but I finished and didn't walk!  My goal for last year was to run a sub 2-hr half marathon, but I clocked in at 2:22 in the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon.  It was a challenging year for me last year as work had, and continues to, take over a good chunk of my time.  Including the drive, I'm easily clocking 12  to 13 hours a day.  Not complaining, but just putting some context (or making up an excuse) around this narrative...but this is not what we're talking about today.

Exercise and Me
What I want to talk about is the reason for me to run.  I have never been a runner.  The last organized race before the half marathon that I participated in was when I ran a 2 km cross country race in Grade 5!  I wouldn't say I wasn't an active person, however.  As a kid, I rode my bike everywhere, 365 days a year.  I had mastered the art of jumping off a bike and landing safely when I slipped on black ice.  It wasn't that I loved riding bicycles, but rather, it was out of necessity.  I had a paper route and as part of that job, I had to go to my customers to collect the paper money.  Riding a bike was way better than walking.

Growing up, I had trained in Karate for about 10 years, and so, was in relatively good shape.  Then university happened and things just kind of went downhill there.  I never really got fat, but was just not in great shape.  Two years ago, I attended a conference in San Francisco with Meredith, one of my staff, and on our last day there, we had a morning to sight see before our flight back.  She suggested that we rent a bike to see the Golden Gate Bridge and other parts of the city.  I wasn't thrilled about the idea especially when SF is a very hilly city.  It turned out to be a very difficult bike ride because it was either very hilly or very windy by the sea.  Meredith did just fine, but I was dying trying to catch up to her.

My Father-in-Law Johnson
When I first started dating Renee, I learned that her father, Johnson, runs the half marathon each year.  At that time, he was in his 50s and I was so impressed.  Eventually, his knee (like mine) would complain and he gave it up for less impactful activity.  I've never told him this, but a big part of what made me want to run a half marathon was seeing him do it year after year!  Great job, Dad!

So Why Did I Start Running?
As a lot of you were so generous in past years, you know that at least part of the reason for me to run is to raise funds for my kids' school.  I figured that to get you to part with your money, I had to give you a pretty good reason to do it.  Subjecting myself to unnecessary pain would probably not be a bad idea.  The year before last, I shaved my head to achieve that goal.  This coming Saturday, June 9, we will be doing a 5 km walk with the school while praying 5 x 5 decades of rosary.  I don't know, but I think the latter might actually be more difficult for the kids (and perhaps adults)!  I will also be doing a half marathon this fall, aiming to do it under 2 hours as I mentioned above.

There is, however, a deeper reason to my running.  It has to do with conditioning myself mentally.  For what?  I don't quite know.  I do know that pretty much half my life is now in the past, and while I've accomplished some things in life (marrying a wonderful woman and having 5 beautiful kids), I feel a calling to do more.  It's that primordial human desire to achieve more.

Over the years, I've come to understand better how to discern God's calling.  There are literally an infinite number of ways that one can live out one's life, but there are only a few, or maybe just one way that God is calling you to live.  How does God do that?  I don't think it comes from a booming voice from heaven, nor through visions like those experienced by St. Teresa of Avila.  Rather, it often comes as a deep and recurring desire and feeling that one has.  I was originally going to spend some time talking about my experience discerning the will of God, but that turned out to be a rather long-winded post. I will leave that for my next post!  What I want to say is that there is a deep desire within myself to make a greater impact to those around me.

I also recall one of my favourite verses from the Parable of the Talents: "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy" (Matthew 25:23).  In the same way, running for me is the "small matter".  There's nothing complicated about running, if you put in the time and effort to train, you will get faster and run farther.  It is as simple as that.  While simple, it is not easy.  However, if I cannot achieve even a simple task as setting aside time to train for a half marathon, how will I be able to achieve greater things?

So running is the beginning.  If I can't make a simple physical sacrifice, how can I make greater sacrifices for my family?  If I can't bear physical discomfort, how can I  be prepared for greater trials?  Therefore, conquering the 21.1 km is the first milestone of the second half of my life journey.  Hope you can be part of it!

Thank You for Your Generosity!
And so, I'd like to thank those who have helped in the past for your generosity.  You are "stor(ing) treasures in heaven!" (Matthew 6:20).  I humbly ask for your help again!

Perhaps you have other reasons to contribute to our campaign...Perhaps you're also a parent and you know the lengths you would go to make your kids' lives better.  Well, that's me doing that right now! :)

And perhaps you've enjoyed reading my blog posts.  My more popular posts have gotten upwards of 700 pageviews!  I'm grateful for your readership!

Our Family Thanks You from the Bottom of Our Hearts!

Wait!  The Government is Matching Your Donation!
Ok, so no, they're not matching your donations, but you can think of it this way: when you donate, say, $100.  You will get a tax receipt.  When tax time comes around, that tax receipt can get you close to 40% of your donation in tax credits.  So, in effect, when you donate $100, it's like donating $60, with the government "matching" it with $40 of their money!  Free money, who doesn't want that!!

So, please help us walk 5 km with 5 kids, saying 5 decades of rosary 5 times!  Our fundraising goal is $3000. 

Click here to sponsor us!  

Again, thank you so much for your generosity!  God bless!
Goodbye, Prius!

It's been a good run! As you may have remembered, my 2006 Prius recently crossed the 1/3rd millionth kilometre. I decided that I will let another lucky guy enjoy its great fuel economy and awesome reliability.  The real reason for selling it was that I felt the car was about to require some major repair. For example, the engine has been burning oil and the ride has become very harsh. If anything broke, I wasn't going to sink anymore money into it. If it were to break down, it'd probably go directly to the junkyard, and I'd get maybe $500 if not less for it. So, I thought I'd try my luck selling it and see if I can get a decent sum for it, especially since it has a newish (2.5 year) hybrid battery.

So, last month, I finally cleaned the car after something like 5 years!  See the pics below. I thought I did a fairly decent job! Finally, after some hours of negotiation with a potential buyer, I was able to strike a deal for $1900. Initially, I was hoping for $2000,but after the deal was done, I reflected on it and realized that I got a pretty darn good deal.... $1900 for a 12-year old car with 345K km on it!

I know there are some who are still skeptical about the economics of hybrids, nevermind EVs. So, here, I will compare the total cost of ownership between my 2006 Prius and a hypothetical 2006 Matrix, bought in 2010 and sold in 2018.

The calculations as as below and are fairly straightforward.  Let me explain a few things.

  1. When I bought the car back in 2010, Ontario had a PST rebate for hybrid cars and at that time, when you bought a used car through a private sale, you only had to pay the PST, and not the GST.  With my purchase, I got the 8% PST back in the form of a rebate.
  2. Maintenance, repair, and parts costs racked up to $9780, with almost half of it being a rebuild of the hybrid battery at $1130 and then a replacement of the battery at $3400.  In hindsight, I should have just replaced the battery the first time it failed...could have saved $1130.
  3. I assumed the maintenance and repair costs of the Matrix to be the same as my Prius minus the hybrid battery repairs.
  4. As you can see, gas savings for my kind of driving came in at around $7900 over the 8 years I had the car.  This is no small feat!  I saved the environment 15130 kg of carbon dioxide in the process.  Fuel savings, $7900...clear conscience, priceless! :)

In the end, the total savings weren't astronomical.  I saved around $2323.  If I had not had the battery rebuilt, the savings would have been $3453.  That would have been a 7% savings in the total cost of ownership.  Not great, but still better than $0 savings!  And again, helping the environment is a definite benefit, that has not been factored into this purely monetary analysis.

I'm sure if the comparison was done against a Yaris, the Prius would probably have been more expensive to own/operate, but that would not be an apples-to-oranges comparison.

TCO Comparison
Compare Total Cost of Ownership Between Prius and Matrix
Distance driven (km)253000
Years owned8
Average gas price per L$1.20
2006 Prius2006 Matrix
Purchase Price$14,650.00$12,000.00
Taxes (PST)0$960.00
Insurance cost per year12001200
Fuel economy (L/100 km)5.58.1
Selling Price$1,900$1,250
Total Maintenance/Repair/Parts$9,780.00$5,250.00
Car Cost$12,750.00$11,710.00
Insurance Cost$9,600.00$9,600.00
Gas Cost$16,698.00$24,591.60
Maintenance/Repair/Parts Cost$9,780.00$5,250.00
Total Cost of Ownership$48,828.00$51,151.60

Goodbye, Prius...Welcome CT!

You might be wondering what I'm driving she is!  2012 Lexus CT200h.  It's pretty much a Prius with a Lexus flavour.  Bought it for $11700 +'s definitely not a new car with 145K km on it, but it's in decent condition.  After owning it for a few weeks, it's really growing on me.  The interior is 5 times better than the Prius, and it's just a cooler car.  Only down side is it's a smaller car, but since it's my commuter, I'm usually not subjecting anyone to the smaller interior.  It's still a very comfortable car, just not as roomy and practical as the Prius.

The previous owner was a it still has some smoke smell.  Airing it under the sun for a few hours has definitely helped, but the smell still lingers.  Any suggestions?

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