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Sunrise at Tombstone, AZ

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.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Shopping .... Jan 15th - 23th

Replacement flowers for the ones Dianne sent before Christmas.
Well .... back in Vancouver after coming back from the island, it was time to make Dad's house more comfortable for Ray. We have to stay here until the house is sold and that looks lilke about 6 months before all the paperwork is done and a sale can go through. Hopefully sooner but we are prepared for it to take some time.

Dad's mattresses are old and uncomfortable so we made the decision to purchase an electric split king bed that we had planned on now, instead of waiting to get it when we buy a condo or house later this year. This also included ordering a new head and foot board to match our existing bedroom suite  currently in storage. Expensive, but necessary so that Ray is comfortable when he needs to lay down for a couple of hours each day. This will enable him to rest his back and still be able to watch TV without impacting his neck. His degenerative disc disease has now moved into his neck vertibrae.

Next on the list was new lazyboy chairs for him and I. Dad's old chairs are also uncomfortable for his back and the one I sit in is way too big and forces my neck forward. and I am now suffering daily with a stiff neck.  We ordered 2 chairs that match the new couch and chair that Dad bought only last year, for our future residence. The wait for them will be about 8 weeks, same as the headboard but at least we will have the bed as of Saturday. I am having to move to the spare room's bed in the middle of the night as I get way too sore sleeping in Dad's bed.
(Saturday .... sleep ... mmmmmmmm. The new bed is fabulous, Ray slept great and I actually slept through the whole night for the first time since I got here mid-December.) We also had Shaw Cable come and hookup the cable jack in the bedroom so Ray can watch TV from this position.

Yup a very, very happy camper!
The final "large" purchase is a new 2017 Ford Edge Sport. Our current Edge has pretty much been run into the ground and is now blowing "blue smoke". Originally it was a rental and had 35,000 miles on it when we bought it 5 years ago. I did not want to put any more money into it as the electronics are starting to fail ... backup camera, door ajar signal etc.the air conditioning only works under 25C or 77F. With all these problems, we'd planned on getting a new car when we got back in the Spring.  So it seemed a good time to buy last years model while there are good discounts to be had. They actually gave us $8000 for a trade-in! I was expecting $3000. We were supposed to take delivery on Monday, Jan 22nd after they swap out the towing airbrake system and hitch from our car. They called us Saturday, unfortunately we needed to order a new tow bar system to fit the car.  The car has shutters in the front to control air intake and the new system accommodates this, so another $1600. Necessary though, or we don't take this car. (We got another silver Edge as Ray's research indicates silver shows the least amount of dirt! lol)

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This is what the car will look like before the front hitch is put on.

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Rear View

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Interior and yes we have a large moon roof with heated and cooled seats!
The rest of the time we spend mucking out cupboards of junk to make room for all of the stuff I had stashed in the motorhome. Emptying out our house on wheels that we have lived in for the past 5 years was quite something. I really do have a ton of storage in the rig. I am paying my Dad's caregiver, Larny, to detail the inside since we are completely emptying it and winterizing it for the first time. Every nook and cranny is being cleaned of all "desert dust"and oiled. Once that is done, I will close it up for the winter with just a little heat on inside. It will be nice to start fresh again after the house is sold.  Larny couldn't believe the amount of stuff in the cupboards.

I've spent many hours scanning pictures that I found in the house and from our albums which we brought back from the island. I am making a slide presentation of my Dad for his Celebration of Life on Friday, Jan 26th. Still cannot believe he is gone ... lots of tears this week while making this presentation and writing his eulogy.

Ray took me out to lunch to help cheer me up. Sushi yumm. Flaming Unagi Roll and it was on fire when they put it on the table and a Lobster Roll. New place called Kami Sushi fairly close by. A definite do again.

More things have needed attention ... the ensuite toilet is not flushing and the plumber will be here this week to replace it before all the company comes on Friday. Today, Tuesday, the shower pole fell down off the wall as the spring is shot... Ray will pick up a new one tomorrow. This is on top of the new hot water tank we needed to be replace in the first part of January.  Ray even had to to replace the two toilet paper dispensers, which had been torn from the wall. Yikes ... hopefully this is the end of repairs before the house can be sold!

The weather has been very rainy.  At least being in South Surrey we have had less of the wet stuff than North Vancouver.  Grey days seem to be the theme including a huge windstorm that caused a power outage at our house from 8:20 am to 5pm Sunday. Fortunately Dad's family room is really bright with lots of big windows and two large skylights so at least it is not so dreary, even when raining. So that's the wrap up for the last two weeks.

Monday, 15 January 2018

A Visit to Nanaimo

Ray arrived on Sunday afternoon, very tired but happy to be reunited with Freya and I. He took it easy for a few days to recover and then we left for the island on Thursday morning to stay at Kristi and Jason's. Jason had all of our stuff moved from our storage locker into Kristi's storage locker at her office with some of it taken to their house to sort out. He even set up our bed for us in the spare room downstairs in the basement suite. We've not slept on this bed for almost 6 years. Thanks a bunch Jason.  Once back home I sorted through the boxes that Jason had delivered to the house. Most of it would go back into storage but managed to find my sheets for our bed.

Kristi was working today and Jason was running errands when we arrived, so after dropping off Freya with Kristi's dogs, Ray and I went out to lunch at our favorite sushi place, Nori's by Costco. Yumm.

After full tummies, Ray and I did a little bit of clothes shopping for him, checking out some January Sales.

As Kristi had meetings all evening as well, Ray and I took Jason out to the Beefeaters for dinner. It was just okay ... nothing to write home about! We all had the prime rib ... very small portions.

Friday morning was "doggy daycare day". Kristi and I elected to drop all three dogs off early instead of waiting for them to be picked up at 9:30. The people she uses are fantastic and the dogs really love going as they get a long hike every day. They are certainly tired when they come back. Freya actually calms down and sleeps.

Freya and Zeus
This morning we'd arranged to look at a few "properties" to get a feel of what Nanaimo prices were currently and what they had to offer. We cannot purchase anything over here until Dad's house is sold, whenever that will be, but we wanted to get a "feel" for this area. Ray and I still want to continue taking the motorhome to the states for the winters.  We just want to get back into the real estate market now so our purchase increases whether we live in it for summers or rent it out for a couple of years. After our morning adventures we took Kristi to Pirates Chips for lunch, downtown Nanaimo. We had been there before but Kristi had not. Very eclectic place and great fish and chips. Next Kristi came with us for a few errands ... more clothes for Ray. lol

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Blurry camera shot, it's not your eyes.
Saturday, Kristi had a course at the hospital and then she had another course to re-certify in rock climbing later in the afternoon. While she was gone, it was time to sort out the storage locker at Kristi's office. Ray and I needed to go through the stuff and pitch out items that we no longer need after 6 years of living in a motorhome. We still had a lot of camping stuff from our days at Macktush and old dishes etc. The best part was I had kept my dress clothes and winter coats and it was nice to get them back for our "city living" days for the next several months. It was quite the job and Jason did the majority of it for us. Wow what a son-in-law. He also took a utility trailer load of stuff to the dump for us after we had sorted through the stuff.  Jason was pretty sore after all of this and ended up having to have a lay down as did Ray.

A bunch of stuff gone and more room for furniture that we will take from Dad's once the house is sold.

Once Kristi got back home we took them for dinner at the Wheatsheaf Pub in Cedar which is close by their house.

Definitely a devil look for Jason, especially the "lit horns" lol
Back at home, a little TV and then it was early to bed again. We just cannot seem to stay awake after 9:30 pm.

Sunday, our last day here, Kristi headed out for her 10 am golf lesson and Jason headed out for his fly fishing clinic at the Englishman River. Ray considered going but sitting or standing at a riverbank for a couple of hours is too hard so opted out even though he was invited. A lazy morning for us waiting for Kristi to get back home.

Once Kristi was back, we had a little bite to eat and then all of us piled into her SUV to take the dogs for a walk, although the primary purpose was to check out a piece of land in Yellow Point. It was too foggy to see the view but a nice outing never the less.

Back home Kristi made us a roast beef dinner using her InstantPot that I got her for Christmas. Yumm. Thanks Kristi and Jason for putting up with the "old folks" for a few days. We had a great time and your basement suite set up for us is awesome. It is lovely to have our own bed back.

Monday morning found us on the 7:45 am ferry back to the mainland and back to the house by 10:30. Hard to believe that this is "home" for us for the next several months. Does not feel right yet.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Appointments, documents and more ... Where's Ray Now?

January 2nd found me at Dad's lawyers, and making other phone calls for arrangements etc. Larny and I are slowly working our way through the mountains of paper and cupboards full of junk and getting rid of Dad's old clothes for donation.

Ray left Quartszite after the rig received it's annual wash and wax. He is stayed at the Fantasy Springs Casino for a couple of nights in Indio, and then started his journey north. He is making good time with getting up early, sleeping for a few hours at rest areas and then driving a little more and then stopping for the night. To say he is anxious to get home to me and help out is an understatement. His back is quite sore but he is not setting up the motorhome everyday just squeezing onto the bed without putting out the slides. Eating at fast food joints helps with his timing as well and no dishes! Can't wait for him to get home. Estimated arrival is Sunday afternoon. Of course forecast is for rain so the rig will be all dirty again but no snow or cold temps are in the forecast so it is good he is coming home now.

I have spent the time junking out more drawers, giving Larny extra dishes, pots and pans and cutlery to help her set up on her own with her husband Mark ... she tells me he has one fork and one plate at present. I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The rest will have to wait until the house is sold.

Saturday, I attended my Godfather, Geoff Eves Funeral here in Surrey. From the time I can remember, every Boxing Day we would always as a family go to Uncle Geoff's for a visit around noon. With Ray and I living out of town for most of our married lives, we still managed to see Geoff at least once a year. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. It was nice catching up with his 3 children, Pam, Phillip and Diane, who I have not seen since they were teenagers and now only a few years younger than myself. For some reason , most years they were never at Uncle Geoff's when we came to visit, either they had already been or they were coming later in the afternoon. I also reconnected with old neighbours from my childhood.

Geoff called Dad weekly and stopped in at least every 2-3 weeks on his way to his daughter Diane's for the past 10 years. Geoff's last visit with Dad was at the end of November. They must have had a good chin wag. Geoff, being Geoff, sent Larny out to run her errands and stayed to keep Dad company until she could get back. A week later Geoff himself ended up in hospital and died December 14th totally unexpectedly. When I told Dad that Geoff had passed away while he was still in Emergency, I think that helped Dad with his decision to "pull his own plug". But what I found out  at Geoff's service, was really astounding,  Geoff's ashes were interred on December 23rd around 11 am. Dad died at 10:30 am. that same morning. Both of Geoff's daughter's and I, believe that their Dad called to mine and now they are off sailing as they both loved the water. Geoff had been very concerned with Dad's declining health and shared his concerns with his children.

Uncle Geoff is now at peace with the love of his life, Aunt Valerie, who died many years ago and he never found another love as he missed her terribly. It was a lovely service showing how many lives he touched. He had a wonderful family of children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren who attended.

Inside the above pamphlet was a poem that really spoke to me, especially with my dad's passing.

Life Well Lived

A life well lived is a precious gift,
Of hope and strength and grace.
From someone who has made our world
A brighter, better place.

Its filled with moments, sweet and sad
With smiles and sometimes tears,
With friendships formed and good times shared.
And Laughter through the years.

A Life well lived is a legacy.
Of joy and pride and pleasure.
A living, lasting memory
Our grateful hearts will treasure.

It gave me strength to carry on for what I have to do to arrange for my Dad's service later this month. Ray will be home tomorrow afternoon. Cannot wait to have someone to hug me and share my grief and concerns. It has been a very long 2 weeks.

Monday, 1 January 2018

What's been happening with the Kyles?

Boxing day found Larny, Ray and I driving to Coquitlam to my aunt and uncles for a lunch visit. Especially to help them eat their turkey leftovers! lol A lovely but sad visit as I not only lost my Dad, my Uncle Ken lost his brother and is the last one out of 3 boys still alive.

Steve, Kerri's husband, picked up Ray at 5:15 am and drove him to the airport for his flight back to Phoenix. The weather was crappy with freezing roads and drizzel or snow flurries. I was not too sure driving my rental car in that kind of weather and Steve has snow tires and a SUV. Thanks a bunch Steve. I spent the day on the phone with necessary phone calls regarding my Dad's estate. The rest of the week was kind of a blur with appointments and phone calls.

Ray made it back to Queen Valley Resort in good time and had a very happy puppy to great him. Malcom made Ray Thai Curry Prawns for dinner. Freya had a great time with Malcolm over the holidays.

Freya with her buddy Sage

Freya on a hike with Malcolm

I celebrated New Year's Eve, with Larny, Garrett and Kat. The kids decided to drive back from their holidays in Kamloops today, where they stayed with Kat's family. I bought a lot of snacks to heat up in the oven so we all had a good time. The girls kept the food coming.

Kat and Garrett

 Pardon the fuzzy pictures with my phone .... my photographer is not with me!

Larny and Kat
Garrett and Kat with her family, painted a tribute to my dad and mom on a canvas over Christmas. It is fabulous.

The story behind this painting.... from Garrett

but with a sailboat instead of the rowboat and a more intense colours.

Unfortunately I messed the painting up and was about to throw my hands up at it until Bill encouraged me to keep trying and then I came up with a fairly cool background image.

I had mentioned to Bill that I wanted to have a sailboat under full sail sailing toward a lighthouse, symbolizing grandpa's final voyage with the homage to lighthouse park given that we sailed past it all the time.

From there Bill suggested the water/streamers spilling forth from what was to be the lighthouse and I insisted on them being bright colours.

At that point I was just going to call it a day until I thought hey, let's get each member of the Lee family to add their own personal touch to the painting.

Instead of a lighthouse Kat suggested the angel (given that she knows I like  them (Deb) and knowing the story of grandma) and she did the research and came up with the image of the angel and painted it along with Bill's help.

The whales aren't really symbolic of anything (intentionally at least), it just seems to be a surreal painting type thing because it's so ridiculous to have a whale in space.

The yellow submarine thing is a throwback to listening to the oldies like the Beatles while growing up while also fitting in with the "underwater" theme.

I insisted on the scuba diver given the space/water theme and our past voyages under the sea.

I painted the background, most of the yellow submarine and the streamers that come forth from the angel.

Ana painted the stars, Kat painted the angel and Bill painted the spiral galaxy, the shooting star, the fish, the sailboat, the scuba diver and the whales.

The sailboat is painted with the same red and blue stripe that gramps' sailboat had and I even wrote "Stasha" on the bow of it though it is hard to make out.

I insisted on the sailboat having a spinnaker because we never did get a chance to use it in all our time sailing.  The design of the spinnaker is that of the scottish flag in homage to gramps scottish heritage and the figures on the boat are grandpa and grandma.

The idea being that it is their final voyage together to heaven.

Oh and there is a smudge in the bottom left which was Ana's fingerprint and I (in true Noel Watten style) turned it into a "man in the moon".

Thank you so much Garrett and Kat. I absolutely live this painting.

Garrett kept Kira amused by flying a small drone which she chases in the house.

See the red lite up thing top right corner.

She is mesmorized by it.
Mark, Larny's husband, left about 7 pm as he had to work early in the morning at the chicken farm where he lives. The rest of us decided to have our New Year's watching the New York Celebration so at 9 pm we dutifully had our champagne.

Happy New Year!!!
New Year's Day after breakfast, Garrett and Kat headed home to Squamish and Larny and I took down Christmas. I also emptied out my Dad's file cabinet and went "treasure hunting". Managed to find some missing silver dollars that Kerri had looked for when her mother died 18 months ago, as well as some old bill currency that her mother stashed. Also in the cabinet was some silver dollars that belonged to my deceased brother as his name was written on the coin jackets. Wow who knew! There also was some Haida Jewellry that belonged to my mother that was tucked away in the bottom. So that job turned out to be very worthwhile. 

Around 3:30, Kerri showed up to go through the Christmas stuff and pick out the things that meant the most to her ... this stuff was mostly Betty's things she collected over the years. She thought she was only going to take a few things and brought only one small box ..... I had her go through the china cabinet, kitchen cupboards and any other nook and cranny that had "Mason" stuff that was of value and/or memories and take it home with her. She left with the back of her SUV full! Ha Ha Ha ... gotta love when I plan to get rid of some stuff comes together!

Tomorrow I hit the ground running, first an appointment at the lawyers and then make the phone calls I have been waiting to do.

In the meantime, Ray here reporting from Quartzsite.  A little time off to relax before starting the long trip home.

While flying out of Vancouver International, I shot this Thunderbird near our departure gate.

My campsite for New Years Eve and a Full Wolf Moon, also my lone companion for the festivities.

Full Wolf Moon

 For some reason Freya didn't want to howl at the moon with me.