One great thing about being a Realtor is you find yourself in various parts of the City, with small pockets of time open for shopping. Yesterday I had a 20 minute window of opportunity, so I rushed into a store, quickly found 2 appropriate gifts, and was heading for the nearest cashier when I saw it – a green tiled stone engraved with the words CAVE CANEM.

I was drawn to the tile, musing how it may be the first purchase for my new home, a property purchased as an investment that is rapidly gaining emotional value as a ‘home’ in my heart. My first acquisition for the house, perhaps adorning the entrance to my office, or on a bookshelf? Announcing my private space. My CAVE.

But rationale thinking set in, I was on a Christmas shopping excursion – not a personal gift selecting day. I walked away, but was drawn back, picking up the tile I traced the engraved lettering .. CAVE CANEM … what does Canem mean, I wondered? Probably another word for House. Perhaps this is a perfect gift for my Nephew, or a male friend? An excerpt from Men are from Mars/Women from Venus entered my thoughts, men need a Cave. I should buy it, I want it, and I will resolve where it should go later. Impulsive decision made, I completed my trek to the checkout.

Next stop, the Health Sciences Centre to drop off charitable gifts. I park beside one of the City of Winnipeg’s new Parking Ticket dispensers – YES! rock star parking!! I climb up the snow bank, purchase my time, climb back over the snow bank to place the required ticket on the right hand dash, bruising my leg as I attempt to open the passenger door against a wall of grated street ice (OK you have to live here to understand our winters!!) while silently cursing the City Councillors who selected this archaic means of parking fee disbursement.

Returning to my car 20 minutes later – I find an empty spot, and a sign above the ticket dispenser stating “NO STOPPING” It is freezing outside, as I realize I have left my winter gear in my car, and the fact that I had overlooked the 10 ft. high sign mounted above the ticket dispenser stating NO STOPPING. Why the City workers would place a ticket dispenser in a NO STOPPING zone confuses me, but again, you have to live in Winnipeg to understand their logic. It is an obvious attempt for funding, I realize, as I alert a fellow parker that she too is about to be illegally parked, much to her surprise as well. Naturally the prosperous Winnipeg towing company Dr. Hook has a truck strategically parked 20 feet away on a side street watching and waiting. Merry Christmas!

So, I begin the 20 minute walk through core area streets to the car rescue compound, freezing, and thinking CAVE CANEM – I hope my car is secured, it has my gifts and my tile in it!! MY TILE!! I miss it already.

I arrive home much later and allot colder than originally planned, open my bags and marvel at the tile – who will I gift it to? First what does it mean? I google CAVE CANEM.


WHAT!!?? I laugh!!!  Ok,lesson learned. Never buy a Latin sign if you do not know the meaning. I share the experience with my sister who suggests I keep the bill and return it before the Boxing Day rush begins. Yes, I sadly agree, yet, I hesitate. BEWARE THE DOG. CAVE CANEM. Throughout the evening visions of a snapping, vicious Stephen King dog enter my mind, along with calming, inspirational and motivational images of wisdom gained – BEWARE OF THE DOG.

As a recently licenced Realtor I have encountered months of intense roller coaster emotions. Elation, betrayal, learning, stress, anticipation, dismay all within any 5 minute period! I have been moved at the kindness and support offered from fellow Realtors, and shocked at the business ethics of others. I have never worked so hard in my life, for such little gain. I have smiled, listened, researched, discussed, created, taught, and sold – or not sold. Some stuff has stuck, allot has been ‘mini university lessons’ chalked up to experience. It has been a traumatic time, many sleepless nights have followed intense days of negotiations. Throughout it all I have remained open, trusting, caring, kind. Perhaps naive and innocent. This morning I awoke from a 4 AM dream, and my first thought – CAVE CANEM. I wanted to photograph the tile.

But who is the Dog?

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