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Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Dad's house is officially on the market!

March 21st ... Happy Spring.

Well after much todo, these past two weeks, Dad's title on the house has been transferred to me so I can finally put it on the market.

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The house was listed on Monday and we had our first showing today. We are counting on this being a great sign of the future and hopefully this does not take too long. Both Ray and I are more than ready to move out of here. The traffic in the metro Vancouver area is unbelievable. Most of you that know Ray, already know he is kind of an impatient person so back in this traffic does not work so well even if it is me driving. lol :) We tend to go out after 9:30 am in the morning and come home around 2 pm to miss most of it.

With the house we purchased on Lake Cowichan, the paperwork seems to be going ahead so our conditions come off March 31st. Then we will get really, really excited although we have a wait until May 15 to take possession. Probably a good idea as a lot of the furniture to fill that house is in my Dad's and I cannot take it until his house sells. :)

Anyways not much else to report.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Westminster Quay

Today was beautifully sunny, although frosty first thing.  Once it warmed up, Ray and I decided to take a drive into New Westminster and walk the boardwalk at Westminster Quay on the Fraser River. A brief outing only, as Ray's back has been quite troublesome for the past week. We had lunch at the Paddlewheeler Pub on the outside patio. It was a balmy 12C in the sunshine. A great way to spend a few hours outside soaking up the sunshine.

World's Tallest Tin Soldier

We managed to get a great spot for lunch right on the boardwalk.

I've been quite busy with estate stuff and finally have the Probated Will so Dad's house will go on the market for sale next week. Hopefully this will not take too long. 

In preparation for spring and summer, we bought our first purchase of patio furniture ... La Z Boy outdoor recliners from Canadian Tire.  This will ensure Ray's comfort (not to mention mine too) while sitting out under our gazebo on the sundeck.

Things are moving along with our lake house purchase. The occupancy permit problem has been solved so I think we are good to go. Other than that .... nothing more to report. :)

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Update on buying a Lake House

Wow, where to begin. There have been lots of ups and downs over the past 2 weeks. After thinking about the Horne Lake Timberframe cabin for several days we finally gave our heads a shake. Too many stairs for us to negotiate as we get older and older we are gonna get! Also we would've had to spend more money than we wanted to. Need money for cruising. lol

So, we decided to downsize our ideas and purchase a condo downtown Nanaimo. It would be close to Kristi and Jason and would be easy to leave for our winter adventures in the USA. However, we hit a snag after we submitted an offer that was accepted.  One of the conditions was we get an exemption for Freya ... the strata council declined. The owners of the apartment were very upset and tried to have this changed through another meeting but when all was said and done ... can you imagine Ray meeting up with the one naysayer, who happens to be the President of the Strata, probably several times a week in the one and only elevator! Not a good situation. The condo had a fabulous view over Nanaimo Harbour though.

I kept looking at other options for us, but all of the condo's have dog policies listing small dogs or none. There were some nice houses with views but usually with lots of stairs as well. I happened upon a lakehouse listing on Lake Cowichan and while researching this Ray found a second listing for sale by owner. The day we found the listing, she had decided not to list by herself anymore and took the listing down two days later. That is how close we came to missing this opportunity. Our realtor tried to contact her ... he was unable to make contact. I happened to notice her contact info on the FSBO website and sent her a note. She replied and called us. Yeah. Ray and I love timberframe homes. They remind us of the cozy feel we had living in our log house in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Two days later we were on the ferry over to Nanaimo and then down to Cowichan Lake with our son-in-law Jason to check out the house as he is a ticketed carpenter. A beautiful timberframe house, with city water, sewer , hydro and 3 minutes drive to the local pub, not to mention right on the lake with your own dock. Fabulous. Unfortunately the weather was raining when we toured the house so the pictures are not the best, but the house was still filled with light on a gloomy day.

Ray and I had decided that if we did not buy something that was a "destination" we would not see much of our kids with their busy lives for the next 20 years. I know they will come and see us here! You apparently can catch fish right off the dock, or drive 3 minutes away, next to the pub and get launched into the Cowichan River to go tubing. The owner used to flyfish right off the dock and catch trout. Great for Ray. The motorhome will fit into the driveway and they have even put in a connection to the sewer for an RV already.

Front view of the house.

View of the house from the dock. There is only a postage size piece of lawn for me to mow. Very little yard maintenance needed.

View from the dock in the summer.

It has 3 master bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, 2 on upper floor and this one on the main floor.

The loft with the other two bedrooms.

A lovely timberframe gazebo on the sundeck. Great for me as I do not like to sit in the hot sun.

The basement is totally unfinished although they have had all the wood sprayed with an anti-mildew chemical in case the lake ever floods the home. Unlikely, but the husband who unfortunately died 18 months ago, was an engineer and built the house to withstand anything.  He has pre-plumbed for infloor hot water heating, the components/controller is there already purchased, it just needs to be hooked up. The chimney was installed in preparation for a woodstove. This would add another 1450 feet on top of the 2400 sq ft we already have finished on the top two floors. We plan to finish this area as Kristi and Jason's space as well as Garrett and Kat's when they come to visit. Who wants to hang out with the "old folks" all the time. Of course if I am cooking they will be upstairs! lol

 The electric forced air furnace is suspended, I imagine in case the basement floods. As I said built by an engineer.

The owner recently installed the heat pump and yard irrigation system last summer. This house is located in a gated, 9 lot bare land strata development, with only 1 empty lot to be sold still. You own the property and house but just pay for maintenance for keeping up the road, the security gate and landscape across the road. No problem having a dog. There is a gate across the road from the driveway that leads to a park and campground so lots of space to walk Freya. Here is a view of the park's beach next door that you can access off-season (no dogs in the summer of course).

With the death of the owner's husband, there were still quite a few things not finished as this had been an 8 year project so far at the time of his death. The kitchen cupboards did not get put in until last winter, she spent 8 years with just the appliances!

Ray and I negotiated a price with the owner and it was accepted ... the old fashioned way with a handshake until paperwork could be filled out. After talking with her in depth, we realized that one of the "subject to" clauses was a big one. She had yet to get her occupancy permit and only had the temporary one that was issued back in 2008. The owner had tried for the last year to get one from the Lake Cowichan District Office to no avail. The original person who approved the temporary occupancy no longer works there, the new person won't sign for one as he did not issue the original one. There is a "small town politics" situation going on here me thinks! She is at her wits end and very upset. After a lengthly conversation, the owner agreed to get our realtor involved and pay commision so he could sort out this as the "Remax Team" have a "bigger fist" to handle such problems and was more than Ray and I could deal with. Without the occupancy permit we cannot buy the house. Unacceptable! She told us her husband would be pleased that we are buying his dream house as we appreciate all the work that was put into it.

So we wait patiently (NOT!) for this to get sorted out. As it stands we do not take possession of this house until May 15th and conditions do not have to come off until March 31st or so. That gives everyone more time to get this sorted out. The owner is going out of country for the month of April so this will all have to be worked out by the end of March.

Meanwhile, I finally have the "Grant of Probate" so I will be putting Dad's house up for sale at the end of the month. I want the trees to green up, plant some flowers in the pots in the front and generally make it look welcoming. Sunny days would certainly help. My realtor said the best months for selling are April and May anyways and I am in no hurry to leave until we can move into the lakehouse anyways.

After this 2 day adventure, Ray is pretty sore and is having a bunch of downtime in bed with me waiting on him ... lunch honey!

So stay tuned ....

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Trip to Vancouver Island

Not much happening here at Dad's house, just waiting for the will to be probated so we can move forward. Earliest projected date for that to happen is the end of the month. With that in mind, we decided to go over to Vancouver Island for a few days, visit with the kids, see some properties and have dinner with our long-time friends Gary and Janice Glover.

Thursday morning we left on the 10:15 ferry. Once we arrived in Nanaimo after checking in with Jason, we dropped Freya off and headed to our favorite sushi place (Nori's) for lunch. Jason had stuff to do and Kristi was in a meeting after work.  By the time she came home and all together, we only had an hour or so to catch up before bed.

Friday we all had a very busy day ... Kat was coming over from Squamish to meet up with Kristi for the 5 day "Girl Adventure". They were supposed to meet up with us down in Arizona, like last year, but the plans changed when we came home due to Dad's condition and eventual death. The girls are headed to Mount Washington for snowshoeing.

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Walked the beach in Union Bay in the afternoon
Ray and I headed off to view properties, first up being some recreational properties at Horne Lake. Kristi and Kat met us there as well as Jason. If we buy this kind of property, it is for the whole family as the kids would have to handle any maintenance as it would be theirs as part of their inheritance in the future. We are planning differently than my Dad did, by setting up a family trust in advance. Originally we were going to buy a condo, but with having Freya, that posed many problems and we still want to travel down south for a least a few more years. A recreational property sounded like the better idea for this time in our lives and would put us back into the housing market. We also checked out a patio home and another condo in downtown Nanaimo.

Here is a picture of our "dream home" on the lake.

homes for sale

This place was awesome but as I do not have any $$$ yet we will have to wait a few weeks to put in an offer. Both Ray and I are quite anxious that someone else snaps it up ... but as it is rather pricey we have to believe it will all work out if it is meant to be. We love the timber frame constuction cabins, especially with Ray being in the forest industry most of his working life.

#407-3676 Horne Lake Caves Road QUALICUM BEACH

Saturday we hung around the house most of the day as Jason headed off to Victoria to see his parents and we babysat our grand puppies, Zeus and Athena. Saturday night we took Gary and Janice out to the Longwood Inn for dinner. A great visit was had. Of course we forgot to take pictures. This is a picture of them with their son, Kyle from Dad's Celebration of Life.  Gary got his haircut since then and doesn't look like Steve Bannon anymore lol.

Sunday morning we woke to 8" of fresh snow. Yikes. After checking the DriveBC cams we realized Nanaimo got most of the snow in the area... not Surrey.  So, we packed up and made the 10:15 ferry back. Jason had come home at midnight Saturday night as he knew snow was coming and did not want to be stuck in Victoria.

View out my bedroom window at Kristi's.

The dogs love the snow though!

Freya at 6:30 am

Kristi's dog Athena
Need to find the car!

A pretty packed few days and we are happy to be back at home in our own bed.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

A visit with long-time friends.

This week has been fairly quiet, waiting for the time to pass so Ray and I can move forward with putting the house on the market. I had some knee issues (arthritis) so stayed pretty close to home while Ray went a couple of times to the local pool to use their hot tub. Other than a few outings for groceries and lunch on Friday at White Rock, we stayed home. Fortunately after taking a bunch of anti-inflamatories for the week the knees are much better. :)

Saturday we had made arrangements to meet up with our long-time friends, John and Joane Mahon, who live in West Vancouver. They are facing the same decisions we are, contemplating selling their large home and downsizing into a condo. John has had a tough year with his health and no longer can look after their yard and gardens even though that is his passion.

After a visit at their house it was off to lunch at the Village Taphouse in West Vancouver located in the Park Royal Mall. A lovely pub with great food, ten minutes from their house. We had our first passengers in our new car with Joane and I trying out the back seat. Very comfortable.

Lunch with John and Joane Mahon
It was great catching up with them as we've not seen each other for probably at least a year. After lunch we made our way back to their house, visited a bit more and then Ray and I headed back home to Surrey. The traffic on Saturday is much better than trying to visit them during the week.

Hard to believe another week has gone by again. On the upside the sun finally came out late Friday afternoon and Saturday dawned to be a glorious sunny day. It certainly uplifted spirits.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Rain, Rain, Rain! January 28th to February 1st

Sunday, I had 2 of Betty's kids here who live back east, to pick out some stuff they wanted to take and collect all of Betty's personal artwork off the walls. Quite an emotional event for me .... Felt really intrusive as they wanted a bunch of my Dad's stuff (from my mother's time) and I kept having to say no. Fortunately they will not be back until the house is sold and emptied to pick up an organ and antique hutch that was written in the will and the barrel of things that were Betty's. A hard day for me.

Monday, Ray took me out for lunch at an old pub in Port Moody, The Frog and Nightgown. We have not been to this place for a number of years. They are a well-known British Pub that serves "Toad in the Hole", a giant yorkshire filled with roast beef or steak and mushrooms. We opted for a lighter meal before going to visit my Aunt Norma in advance of her birthday.

Look how "dapper" he looks. :)

Aunt Norma and Uncle Ken Christmas 2017  Love those guys lots. 
With the visit from Betty's kids over, this past week has been busy with junking out cupboards and filling up a bagster bag in preparation for bagster.com to pick it up. Wednesday the rain held off for most of the day so it was the time to get  the first load out ... the rest will have to wait until the house is sold which probably won't be until end of April at the earliest. Some junk collectors came buy and asked permission to go through the bag. They had already picked up the stuff Ray had left by the road, a file cabinet etc. Ray said yes, as long as they put it all back in the bag the way it was. It turned out they took a bunch of stuff and are coming back for some larger items that we could not fit into the bag. Yeah. More stuff gone that I do not have to pay for to remove or figure out who would take it as a donatation. They even took Dad's old mattress set. A great time-saver. Ray was able to put the last of the smaller items of junk from the greenhouse into the bag as there was more room. :) I think we have gone through every cupboard now and have only kept things I need to still use or things I will give to Larny when we empty out the house.

The house is starting to feel "more like our home" with removing reminders of Betty and Dad. Getting rid of all the clutter and old nick nacks, putting in our things, clothes and kitchenware etc. and having our new bed is awesome. Glad we are in a "bricks and sticks" at this time of the year here in the Lower Mainland only because of the horrible wet weather. Being in a motorhome with this dampness day after day would be a challenge with the dog. Fortunately we do not have any flooding issues here as they are having in other parts of Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Ray's brother's place has been flooded under the house twice over the past few weeks as French Creek has swollen so big, it has changed course. In Lantzville a whole chunk of road has collapsed and fortunately a lady who fell into the hole with her car was rescued successfully.

Hard to believe she made it out alive! (from Google)

A massive hole on Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek. Photo courtesy Oliver Watson.
Other washouts on Vancouver Island (from Google)

I am still busy with "estate stuff" and paperwork. If all goes well, Dad's Will should be probated by March 1st and then I can put the house up for sale. Finger's crossed as both Ray and I are already pretty tired of this weather, especially when our friends are having 26 C and sunshine in Arizona.

We finally got our new car back this week with the towing hitchplate installed. Love our new ride it is taking me a bit to get used to all of the new "gizmos". lol

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Celebration of Life for Dad, January 26th, 2018

View from the deck of the venue taken from google. The hall is right on the water in Crescent Beach. Dad loved the ocean.

Well, the day that I had been preparing for the last month finally arrived, Dad's Celebration of Life event. Garrett and Kat arrived from Squamish Thursday night and Kristi and Jason arrived at 1 pm from the island on Friday, a couple of hours before the service. (Kristi came off a 24 hour call shift at 8am)

With the help of Scott and Trish, Kerri and her husband Steve,  (Betty's kids) and Garrett, Kat, Jason and Kristi, we had the hall set up in no time with the tables and chairs. Of course my "mini-me" Larny, (Dad's caregiver) and her husband were there to help as well. Once we were all set up and the caterer's had carried in all of the food, the guests began arriving at 2:30. As all of us had hoped, the rain that we had been having for days stopped, the clouds thinned and we even received some sunshine for the couple of hours of the event before the rains began again.

I was happy to see all who attended, about 45 of us. Quite a few people from Dad's work life from Weiser Locks, old neighbours and family. Dad would have been very happy to see all who came. Lots of memories shared.

My eulogy was well received. The slide show I worked on for the past 2 weeks went off perfectly. Thanks to Steve for running all of the sound equipment and projector he provided  and my son Garrett running the computer end. Everyone told me that I honoured my Dad very well. My cousin Gord gave a speech about the history of my Dad's working life as Gord started his sales career at Weiser Locks with the help of my Dad years ago. Steve told me that the 15 minute slideshow told him more about my Dad than the 22 years he had known him. :) Even my Dad's brother and wife said they learnt things about my Dad they did not know.

My Dad's best friend, Geoff Eves children, who I grew up with as they lived next door to me.  Pam, Phillip and Diane.

My Dad's youngest brother, Duncan's youngest daughter Wendy with Kristi and Jason.

Geoff's kids with our old neighbours, Vern and Helga Hoing.

Vicki Baty ... I used to babysit her years ago. 

Our best friends came from Nanaimo to support us, Janice and Gary Glover with their son Kyle.

Giving the Eulogy

My cousin Gord, giving Dad's Weiser Lock History.

Joe Woodhouse, Vice President of Weiser Division, (Residential) when my Dad was the Vice President of the Norlock (Commercial) Division

My Dad's brother, Ken and his family with  Wendy and Kerri looking on,

My son Garrett on the left, talking to his cousin Jackson.

My cousin Gord talking to my Dad's old secretary, Donna and another work buddy.

After we left the venue, my family and Betty's came back to the house where we all gathered to share more memories of my Dad. What a lovely evening. My Dad would have loved sitting here watching his family talk about him. lol We had 5 large dogs running around as well. Good thing everyone loved them. It was a very tiring  and emotional day but I was pleased that it all turned out well.

(Right to Left) Jackson's girlfriend Amber, Jason, Kristi, Jackson and Trish. In the back Steve, Kerri and Scott.

Ken, Norma and Garrett oh and Zeus

Kat, my cousin Pam and her daughter Kendra

My cousin Gord and his wife Suzanna, Ken, Garrett and Norma

My cousin Wendy snapping photos of my Dad's photo album to show her sisiters and mother back in San Francisco.
 Everyone left about 9 pm and the kids and us stayed up to about 11:30 before heading to bed. We were all still really wired.  The next morning up at 7 and the girls made us waffles and bacon for breakfast.

Garrett giving the instructions to his sister on how to make the original "Kyle" family waffles.

Saturday night, Kristi and Jason took Ray and I out to dinner downtown Vancouver to Lupos. This is an Italian Restaurant, Kristi and Ray's mum used to frequent during her university days. A lovely dinner, thanks guys.