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Lake Cowichan by Gordon Bay Provincial Park

Friday, 14 September 2018

Uncle Ken and Aunt Norma come to visit.

Week two of the deck reno. The guys were here at 7 am again and the rain was teaming down. The forecast for this week is somewhat soggy. I set up a lunch area in the basement for them so they could get out of the rain for their break.

Monday morning I was out the door at 9 am heading for Nanaimo. I will meet my cousin Gord, at a shopping mall close to the ferry, where we will transfer my aunt and uncles luggage to my car. That way they don't have to carry it all by foot off the ferry. Gord is here on the island on a business trip and will pick them up on Thursday to take them back to Coquitlam. Perfect solution so they don't have to drive themselves.

Well the day turned out much longer than anticipated. There was a crash on the Ironworker's Memorial Bridge in North Vancouver, so that it was closed to traffic for awhile, so Gord re-routed through downtown Vancouver and over the Lions Gate Bridge. That detour cost them 2 hours, so they missed the 11 am ferry. Next one was at 1:15 so I did not end up meeting them until 3:15. I ended up doing a bunch of shopping and eating lunch at our favorite Sushi restaurant while waiting. lol Once I transferred them and their luggage to the car, Gord went north and I went south. We arrived at home about 4:15 pm.

Fortunately I had made a turkey lasagna in advance so supper was easy.

Ray, Norma and Ken
Tuesday, after breakfast, Ray stayed home and I took Ken and Norma to Cowichan Bay for a little walk around. Unfortunately the Maritime Museum was closed which was my destination for Uncle Ken. I bet though, he has more things in his basement than the museum has! lol

We did a quick walk around and then decided to go eat at the Pioneer Inn. Unfortunately, when we arrived their sign said they were still closed due to a fire a month earlier. Oh well, there is always the WhiteSpot in Duncan ... which is what we did. While there, the rain pelted down so much that it bounced up 2 feet in the air! Needless to say we took our time with our lunch. lol

As usual ... they had the toasted shrimp sandwichs.
 Back home, everyone relaxed while I put our Beef Bourgingnon together. Gord was coming back and spending the night.

I must have fed them well as they all became comatose after dinner. lol

Wednesday morning, I ran a short order cook station ... ha ha... Made Gord eggs on toast before he left to continue his sales calls and waited until Ken and Norma got up at around 8:30 am to make waffles. Norma says she is having the best sleep in that bed and wants to take it home with her. lol

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Once everyone was fed, I took Norma and Ken for a tour around the town and down North Shore Road and up to Youbou. When we got back we picked up Ray and went for lunch at Jakes at the Lake. Ray had stayed home to keep an eye on the work being done at home, especially as his back has been pretty sore.

While we were at Jake's for lunch, Ray received a call from our dock builder. The dock has been launched and do we want to see it! Yeah.... So after we all finished we headed out to the yard a few miles down the road to see the finished product. They still have to stain it, assemble our gazebo on it and put in the dock cleats. It should be floated down the lake a few kilometers next week. Can't wait!

Apparently this is one of the larger docks they have built in recent history.
Back home we relaxed, including Freya!

After dinner it was early to bed for all of us at 9 pm again.

Thursday morning, Ken and Norma had a great sleep and did not leave their bedroom until 9am. I made the old Scottish Breakfast of porridge. Once everyone was ready to go (at 11 am) it was off to Maple Bay. Ray came with us this time. We walked around the Maple Bay Marina. Ray and I had been there many years ago on my Dad's boat.

This is the Ranger Tug that we contemplated buying before we settled on travelling in the motorhome.

A fabulous pic of Ken and Norma

They had lots of little boats filled with greenery around the marina.

Norma loved these boots filled with flowers.
 Very quaint buildings.

Next up was lunch at a Scottish Pub on the water called the Lions Rampart Scottish Pub a short ways down the bay. Thanks for lunch Norma. (lunch pic was taken on Norma's Ipad so I don't have it. lol)

View from the pub
Back home by 2 to meet Gordie who was picking up his parents. After a short visit everyone was sent on their way at 3:30 pm. Whew... what a week. Sometime today the back of my left knee/calf was bitten by something. Probably a spider. Wow did it hurt even after taking Advil and Benadryl. Hardly slept all night with the pain. Could not walk or bend it very well. Fortunately it subsided more and more on Friday as the day progressed. This is the second spider bite I have received this summer ... even though we sprayed for them.

This week the 2 man crew worked at finishing the drainage and hooking up the downspouts and
they pulled out the door downstairs, concreted the pony wall in preparation to put in a window. Boy was that door frame rotten. Good thing it is still warm outside!

Unfortunately, Thursday night at 11pm our alarm kept beeping and beeping. It turns out that the door they removed had a wireless sensor in it (I knew that but forgot) and it was letting me know that the signal was "lost". I had to call the alarm company for instructions on how to disarm it and then call them  again Friday morning so the tech department could take that zone off the list. The dog was going crazy with the beeping trying to climb up on my lamp ... she hates alarms of any kind as the beeping started up again at 11am Friday morn

So another busy week. The guys prepped the  driveway for the concrete. A machine is coming in on Monday to work the grade so the driveway will be more level side to side, which will help with leveling the motorhome. It will be fabulous to have concrete to stop all the gravel coming into the house.

Two concrete stairs to be made and the rest of the path will be gravel down to the back yard. Another drain put in at the bottom as the water seems to pool there, so not too great for our neighbour.
We noticed on Thursday that our grass seed finally sprouted. Ray was concerned that with all the rain,  the seed would just rot. Fortunately not the case. The weather is perfect for starting a new lawn. This next week is supposed to be quite sunny so should help getting it going to grow fast.

Friday it was fairly mild with a few clouds.  As the sun was out for half the day, I tried to start up the irrigation as the seed was drying out. Oh no! , Mount Vesuvius! The guys had punched through the irrigation line, even though I reminded them a bunch of times when they were digging close to it. They will have to repair it on Monday as the sun is supposed to be out for most of the week and we need the grass to grow. Ray managed to spray a little water on the seed with our hose to tide it over today until the rain begins again.

Looking forward to a quiet weekend.

Friday, 7 September 2018

The deck reno has begun! Week One

Tuesday, September 4th, the 3 man crew arrived early at 8 am to start demo on our sundeck. As promised, they cleared our deck of all the furniture, moving it into the basement. (I provided blueberry muffins for their coffee as promised for the help! lol)

There goes the last piece of furniture.

I double locked all of the patio doors and they gave me caution tape to put up. Mostly for visitors.

Roger, the site foreman, got one guy organized to spend his time digging out our perimeter drains as we are getting a "California drain" installed out the basement door that will be tied in with the existing perimeter drains. At the same time Bernie will be hooking up the existing downspouts from the eaves to the perimeter drains as well. Currently they just dump water straight onto the ground.

The other guy, Darren, spent the day taking apart the railings and started on the decking. We tried to save the decking for another project, barn doors for the basement, but they were so tough to get off and rotten that the idea of saving them was scraped. Unfortunately, the timber structure underneath isn't in very good shape either. Ray and I suspect that the whole thing will have to be rebuilt, not just the decking. The biggest problem is my gazebo. I want to keep it, but it is huge and heavy so they will try to work around it and support it from underneath as they go. It probably will have to be shortened a little to cut the water damage off the bottom of the timbers. We shall see. As Darren was taking the deck apart he notticed the previous owner used the wrong screws ... they all rusted and would not let you unscrew them ... the boards had to be ripped off. The supporting timbers have been cut into quite deeply so structually not very good. Not good news.

Yup, that post is really rotten.

More rot.

 Wednesday, they were here at 7am!

More ripping off boards on the deck to investigate the extent of the rot .... not good news, the whole thing needs to be replaced. The deck wasn't even laterally supported as the ledger wasn't tied to the house. My gazebo is going to be a pain for them while restructuring the deck underneath it, but I am not giving it up! I think the plan will be to restructure one half of the deck from the ground up, move the gazebo over to the other side some how and then build the other side and then move it back. I think it ways north of 4000 lbs. We shall see what they come with. Yikes, all I can see is $$$$$$ floating up into the sky! No kidding they were contemplating a helicopter!!!

The other guy, Bernie was jackhammering the small concrete ramp up o the garage. Both sides have cracks by the posts that need to be redone ... what a lot of noise, noise, noise! Our timberframe house responds like a tuning fork! This is in preparation for the concrete driveway being poured at the end of the month.

Some good news, we have approved the plans for the diningroom built-in, the hallway built-in and the new master ensuite vanity. Sounds like these will be built PDQ so the push is on to pick out sinks, faucets, drawer pulls etc. These will be made to mimic our beautiful kitchen cabinetry which is solid maple.

Ray was out this morning trying out his GPS with the fishing motor. Not having much luck getting it set though. A beautiful morning on the lake, no wind and the water brilliant green and clear.

At the end of the day this is what we were left with.... definitely rotten.

So the decision has been made to rebuild it conventionally with treated lumber and scrap the large fir timbers that would be a fortune to replace.

Thursday, they were back at jack hammering at 7 am. Thankfully the neighbours on both sides of us were away this morning. lol

They continued to dissasemble the current deck and put extra supports under the gazebo from the ground to help with the redo.

Ray seeded the little bit of lawn in the back as it is supposed to rain on and off for the next week which makes good lawn growing weather.

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Yup ... rotten. This was holding up the stairs!

The rest of the day they spent cementing in the drains in front of the garage in preparation for the concrete on the driveway.

Friday morning we woke up to a heavy rain shower at 5:10 am for about 10 minutes and then quit. That should set up the newly seeded lawn. You need to keep the seed moist, the instructions say .... I think that the rain forecast for the next week should take care of that nicely. lol

The guys were back at 7 am and started to cut out the timbers ... 

Unfortunately this wood was stained so we cannot use it as firewood.

Look at all the rotten wood! It turns out that there was only 3 bolts holding this whole structure to the house. What was he thinking!

Two-thirds of the deck gone. Bernie worked on tying in all of the downspouts to the perimeter drains, still more to do next week on that project as they ran out of fittings. Repairing around the gazebo is still up in the air for a decision as to how they are going to manage it. 

Well that is all that happened this week. My Aunt Norma and Uncle Ken are coming for a visit on Monday for a few days. They are excited to see our new home for the first time. They have always come to see us whether it was in the Queen Charlottes, Port Alberni or Nanaimo. 

Monday, 3 September 2018

Labour Day Weekend with Garrett, Kat and Kira

Saturday morning we were expecting the kids to arrive around 9:30 am. Unfortunately they already had a one sailing wait out of Horseshoe Bay to get here. Probably because there was 2 sailing cancellations yesterday between Tsawassen and Victoria and the overflow came north. I guess we shall see them shortly before noon. This means Ray and I have a lazy Saturday morning. lol
Waiting for the ferry.

The kids arrived finally at about 11:30 am. After checking out the changes in the house since they were last here, it was time to have a sandwich and sit outside enjoying the day. After lunch we sat on the dock for an hour or so but a big cloud popped out and covered the sun. Too cool to stay down there so back up to the sundeck for the rest of the afternoon. What a change in the weather from 2 weeks ago. I don't think anyone will be swimming this weekend. lol

On Garrett and Kat's recent road trip for their holidays to Jasper and Banff they brought us back a spike with a train on it that goes perfectly with our "CNR Railway" theme.

Thanks guys.

Kat's birthday was last week so I cooked her a birthday feast. Seafood Newburg was her choice and Ray and I got her a birthday cake. They all ate it up so it must have been good.

Kat's first bite.

Happy Birthday Kat.

After dinner Ray taught them how to play Backgammon. Garrett played it with us years ago but did not remember. Kristi managed to call to tell us how they were doing camping and fishing in the Yukon. Great that Kat and Garrett were here to talk to her too. While talking with us here was a big hail storm where she was. The weather is freezing overnight. They are happy to have a trailer with heat. lol

Everyone went to bed fairly early as the kids had been up since 4:30 this morning.

Sunday morning we woke up to a spectacular day. Sunny and fairly warm at about 22C. After Eggs Benedict for breakfast we all spent the day on the dock. The kids swam, went for a kayak ride, all by 11 am. After that we took a boat ride to show Garrett and Kat some of the lake. We were back by 12:30 pm before the wind came up. lol A very busy morning!

And she is off!

At the moment we only have one kayak so Garrett is using Ray's pontoon boat. We gave Kristi the other kayak to use on her Yukon trip. The pontoon boat moves well in the water rowing anyways.

Kat does this thing for all of her birthday's ... putting up her fingers for her age. Now 38 years old. Apparently she has a special picture for most of her birthdays since she was a little girl.

After they had a paddle for awhile they were back swimming. Not warm enough of this kid but they did not seem to mind. lol

 Garrett contemplating climbing up the piling but the wrungs were quite loose so decided against it!

 "Thirty-eight" again.

After paddling and swimming we went for the boat ride. We toured down this arm of the lake and beached the boat to have a quick look at an area we have seen quite a few houseboats moor for weekends. There is a camping site above the water line and an out house apparently.

 The boat looks like it is all on the rocks because the water is so clear, but actually the boat is still floating.

Back in the boat and we travelled over to the Gordan Bay Provincial Park. There's this little island we'd noticed before to check out. This is one of the reasons we bought an aluminum boat, so we could beach it.

An absolutely beautiful little spot. We will definitely keep this in mind for a picnic sometime. We headed back to the dock as the wind had started to come up and before it gets too bumpy for Ray's back. His air-ride seat thankfully works out well for him so he can actually spend time in the boat.

Back home we all had our chosen left-overs heated up for lunch and then it was time for more "dock-time". Garrett and Kat had a little rest ....

Until Freya decided Uncle Garrett was on her mat!

A fabulous day. I made Garrett's favorite for dinner, Barbequed Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding. Kat did the washing up. Thanks a bunch. There was not much left after dinner. lol After dinner Garrett and Kat showed us pictures from their holiday. Lots of excellent shots of the Rocky Mountains. Ray and I went to bed at 9pm to watch a little TV and the kids retired upstairs to watch TV in the loft. Ray's back was pretty sore after such a busy day unfortunately, but he would not have missed spending time with the kids.

Monday morning everyone was up early and the kids were out the door by 6:30 am. They texted me that they managed to get on the 7:45 sailing to Horseshoe Bay with no wait, paid their money and drove straight on the ferry. Awesome. Another fabulous weekend.