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Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
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is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 07.19.15

RICK BLUE

Montreal's Empty Nesters: The Big Question

MONTREAL | Here, empty nesters find themselves asking the inevitable question: Do we stay in the West Island or move?

I moved to the West Island about 22 years ago. I came here, like so many of us do, because it is a nice place to raise kids. There is space, backyards, parks, schools, sports activities and many other parents all doing our parenting thing together.

But, eventually, the kids grow up and move out. They have to. The alternative is too scary to contemplate.

So there is no more 5 a.m. rising to make a 7 a.m. hockey practice in St-Polycarpe. No more afternoons spent in the hot sun or in the cold rain sitting on hard aluminum at a local soccer field.

And we can now have a real dinner at home every night. No more grabbing a hot dog or burger before driving across the city through rush hour to play a AA baseball game in St-Laurent or LaSalle, or, horror upon horrors, across the Mercier Bridge in Chateauguay.

It's not that I regret any of these activities, don't get me wrong; that is what being a parent is all about. And I am sure one day in the distant future my kids will thank me. But I must say that I do like having the free time now and I never have any problem filling it.

The empty nest is a situation in which many of my friends here in the West Island find themselves. But there is another aspect of it that is a little more complex. It is when you eventually look at your significant other and ask the question: Do we stay here?

The house is too big for just the two of you, the argument goes; look at the taxes, the extra rooms to clean, the heating and the electricity!

On the plus side, after over 20 years of paying a mortgage, you might finally own the house you live in. That is a very positive thing. It is possibly the only investment you have that is actually worth as much -- if not more -- than you paid for it.

And the work you have had done on it, maintenance and improvements, like a new kitchen or bathroom, are finally the way you like it; a new doorway out to a new deck in the backyard; a new basement that can be used for more than just a storage space.

You suffered through the many weeks of the construction chaos of each one. And now, it's done. Do you know what that's worth?

You know your neighbours and you may even like them. And you may have even adapted to the problems that are inherent to living out here, like the punishing commute to and from the city.

We are like hermit crabs contemplating the size of our shell. But, unlike a hermit crab that has grown too big for its current shell, we empty nesters are in the situation of growing too small for ours. And another difference is that the hermit crab has no choice; it has to find a bigger one. But we actually do have a choice.

It has to do with economics, comfort and happiness. All these things have to be considered, and they are all interrelated. There is a lot to be said for staying in the family home.

It has grown on you, go ahead, admit it.

And then there is the shock of finding out what we could get for the same value in the city. That's the deal-breaker for me.

To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue in the West Island Gazette
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