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Sunrise at Tombstone, AZ

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Lake House is ours!


Spent the last 2 days over on Vancouver Island overnighting at Kristi and Jason's. The main purpose was to take off the conditions on our contract for the house at Lake Cowichan. The house is ours ... or will be after we take possession on May 15th. Yahoo. So excited. The lot is small which is what we wanted, so only a little postage stamp lawn to mow. Being bare land strata, the road maintenance is taken care of, plowed when it snows etc.

After signing documents at the lawyers, and our realtor's on Monday, both Ray and I were ecstatic. We managed to celebrate with Kristi for dinner at the White Spot. She was on call and in between "baby delivery" at the hospital so that was the closest place she could go to for a quick bite to eat. That night, after dinner, she delivered 5 babies. Wow. Jason was otherwise occupied and so was unable to join us. We also spent the day purchasing a dining room table and a couch. All of our previous furniture was sold or the kids now own it. :) lol

Tuesday, we headed down to Duncan and spoke with a Design/Construction firm as there are a few things that need to be done to "finish" the house. The back deck is not handling the weather very well and needs to be upgraded with better decking. The driveway is gravel and needs something more permanent etc.  The house also needs storage solutions. Very few closets, and the ones they have are poorly designed. As well, the basement is currently unfinished.

After our meeting we took Louise, the current owner, out for lunch. What a delightful visit. She is leaving a bunch of stuff for us and let me wander around the house at my leisure, picturing where I was going to put my things. The next 6 weeks are going to be hard to wait but we still need to sell Dad's house too. We have another showing scheduled for Saturday morning ... fingers crossed.

Wednesday, back home by 10:30 am. Another whirlwind trip to the island completed. This makes 5 times since the beginning of January.  The next time we go it is to move there and sign the completion papers May 11th.

Cannot wait to move in.

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 ....