Title of picture

Winter sunrise, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

This week at the Lakehouse

Yup, things are a happening!

Saturday, May 26th

Quite a blustery cold day. No sitting outside today. We had a locksmith guy come by to quote on rekeying the locks as I had mentioned earlier ... not one door opened with the same key as the front door. As it turns out we will be replacing all of the door hardware as what is there is pretty cheap and will not stand the test of time.


Of course the weather today was much better than the rest of the past weekend. Notably the lake was much busier with boats, kayaks etc. Everyone enjoying the warm sunshine instead of the cold grey skys yesterday. Sunday was "Fish and Chips" special at Jake's Pub so Ray treated me to lunch. We both did "our thing" for the rest of the day, putting things away, cleaning etc. We certainly hit the sheets pretty tired at the end of our day.


We headed to Duncan to get some specific shopping done. Ray mostly stayed in the car as I powered shopped at various stores. We were back home by noon as he had a guy from Prices' Alarm coming at 1pm to quote on a system. We had the gardeners here moving plants and rocks to help widen the entrance of the driveway for our motorhome which is coming tomorrow from Kristi's in Nanaimo. On Saturday, the gardener's had already cut down the trees next to the driveway ... all of the spruce and pine that would continue to be too bushy and grow wide which would scratch the motorhome. We are redesigning these side gardens with small flowering shrubs that will stay compact. Will, one of our new gardeners, has a friend with a small excavator near our house, so he was hired to move a few huge rocks that could not be moved with brute force. Nice to know the right people. lol Cindy and Will (also do work for our strata and several of the other houses on our street) will dig out the bushes near the rock and replant them in the community garden area of our subdivision before planting other shrubs for us. The irrigation lines will all have to be repositioned and we have a line on someone through our new General Contractor, Mike.

I spent the rest of the day planting  a few tomato plants in my raised garden after Ray assembled if for me and laundry, cooking etc. you know, the stuff you have to do living in a house. :) After dinner I was tired and sore so it was "Tub Time" in my clawfoot tub.

Of course when you have a German Shepherd, you are never truly alone! lol :) Freya stays close enough to watch .... but far enough away to run if I try to make her come and have a bath!


Off to Nanaimo first thing for an appointment with our Financial Advisor, Costco, lunch at Nori's (our favorite Sushi restaurant) and then we will be bringing the motorhome back to Lake Cowichan. Another busy day. When we arrived back home at 4 pm. with Ray pretty sore.  At least the motor-home fits through the gate and into the driveway. Yeah, one problem solved.

This is the before picture taken last February.

 The after picture.
See how much driveway we reclaimed on this side.


The original building contractor Mike, came by. He did a ton of finishing work to the house that was completed this past January 2017 to December 2017 so the house could be put up for sale. As Louise's husband had died ... everything stopped and nothing had been completed in the finishing end, ie floors, counters, bathrooms, heating etc. Basically we have a brand new house. That he was interested in fitting us into his incredibly busy schedule is awesome. He will have his crew tackle the sundeck as soon as he can as it is unsafe with a few of the posts rotten at the base. Mike knows all of the subs that worked on the house and he employs them on his other three builds going on this summer. Most of the inside work won't get done until late fall or until January.... looks like travelling south may be out of the question this winter. Nothing will be fast with coming to the table so late in the year with everyone's summer already booked for months. The best part though, is that he will act as general so Ray and I only will have to deal with him instead of up to 15 separate contractors. :) So we will be patient. lol The rest of the morning I spent filling up planter pots to enhance the empty spaces with the trees cut out of the front gardens. Ray went into Duncan for his appointment with the Bank.

The cherry tree was removed as it really encroached over the driveway with it's branches.

A lot less "foilage" to contend with. We plan to replant with some flowering bushes that will be kept low.

Our front porch patio. The place to retreat to for sunshine when it is too windy on the lake side of the house. Hopefully with this area blocked by the motorhome, the deer in the area will not eat my tomatoes!
This afternoon the wind calmed down so I had myself a campfire to burn up all of the driftwood pulled from the gardens and on the beach. What a mess. It sure looked much better once it was all burnt up. We've installed an old woodstove the owners had left outside in the firepit area. Apparently Don and Louise packed this old stove around for 25 years. Definitely not certified so cannot be used inside the house. Garrett had repainted it with stove paint and it looks fabulous. Once all the large pieces of wood are all burnt up we will clean out this firepit, throw some more gravel down and start using the wood stove. Another busy day with the Shaw Cable guy here to finish wiring for TV in the basement this afternoon.

Burn up the junk and then we will clean up the area and begin using the wood stove.
I also managed to get our solar lights installed into the gardens. Costco has some beauties this year at a very reasonable price.


Today, our realtor from Nanaimo came to the house and then took us out for a thank you breakfast. He also wanted to see the house with our stuff moved in.

Not much to choose from here in Lake Cowichan for breakfast restaurants, but we ended up at the Country Grocer and had a great breakfast that was also reasonably priced. With full bellies we headed back to our house to give Bryn the tour. In the afternoon we had Madman McKay's in to bring us a new receiver as ours was way too old (over twelve years) for the new technology. He hooked up our existing speakers as the quality of them is ageless. Ray bought well 12 years ago. :) Now we have great sound in our house again. With the timber frame design the acoustics are amazing.

Tomorrow the kids come for the weekend. Yeah.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Settling in to the Lake House

Need a lot of days like this! (Garrett and Freya)
The past five days have been quite busy settling in, making lists of things that need attention, arranging appointments for contractors, etc. Everyone that knows my Ray, knows he wants things done like yesterday, he hates the clutter and wants things "tidied up" right away and then onto the next project. Unfortunately, physically he cannot do this anymore, so now he has 15 odd contractors to call. (His job as he can do this reclining in his chair. lol)

Ray and I knew going in buying this house, it required some repair work as there were a bunch of things that still needed to be finished. We made up a budget and will have to prioritize what needs to be done versus what we want to be done. :) The previous owner's husband did most of the work himself as this was his dream.  In his early sixties, and the daunting task of finishing the house, he probably felt overwhelmed and did little work for the last two years before he passed away unexpectedly. The work was halted until Louise had contractors in this past Christmas.They finished the tile work, put in the kitchen and new railings on the stairs from the deck, to name a few. (She lived for 8 years with plywood cupboards and counters with a few appliances freestanding in place and a curtain for a bathroom door.) She only had the furnace put in a year and a half ago. Previously she only had a couple of space heaters to stay warm over the winter. The heat pump was put in last spring, a year ago, as well. The house virtually was not very livable until a year and a half ago, so everything is really new.

We knew the dock needed some work and redecking but on closer inspection we realized the whole thing needs replacing. All of the styrofoam floatation system has been virtually disintegrating. The neighbours have commented they saw pieces of it floating by in the winter. It was originally decked with fir, not cedar (way too costly), and of course that equals rotting deck boards. The local dock guy came yesterday, so the quote will be forthcoming for a new dock to be built. As they are incredibly busy and we are "late to the party" to get on the list, it will be in place at the end of summer.

The back deck has some rot in the deckboards which we knew, but we did not know that one of the posts attached to the house is completely rotten at the base. Ray heard from the neighbour last night, that last winter, water came inside on the floor of the dining room and the floor had to be fixed inside. This is right by the rotten post.... hmmmm probably connected. It appears that the deck has been flashed to the house incorrectly, so a new deck seems to be in order as well. We are trying to wrap our heads around a vinyl deck, which waterproofs up the wall and keeps the underneath of the deck dry. This will be great for Ray's therapy pool, aka hot tub, or another wood deck that would require some maintenance. We are definitely leaning to the waterproofing and no maintenance, even though it won't be as pretty as hardwood tiles we were considering. Good thing the inside is beautiful and I have decided to live with the current kitchen and not have it redone.  I worried about not having any upper cabinets in the kitchen.  We'll get a hutch in the dining room to handle my overflow of dishes, i.e. my china. instead.  The upper cabinet height in the kitchen would've have meant a stepladder for me anyways to reach the shelves. lol

The locksmith is arriving today (Saturday) to re-key the locks and put on some new door handles as a bunch of them are pretty flimsy. There are 9 locking doors in this house and they all require a different key!!! I can envision getting into the garage and the door not reopening and not being able to get into the house as the key on my keychain is for the front door only! :) Once he was here and we realized how cheap and non-matching all of the door hardware was  ... we have opted to replace all of them including interior doors so they will all match and the locking ones will only need one key to open all. Most of the interior doors have dummy handles and just snap shut. The problem is that the dogs, ours and our kids, know to just push with their noses and everything opens up for them. Doesn't matter if you are standing there naked or not! (Almost happened to me. lol) Damn dogs. They also woke the whole household up last weekend by pushing the doors open so all four could get together at 3 am in the morning. This is to be rectified as well.

Ray had a concrete guy here yesterday to check out the scope of work to be done. The driveway currently is gravel. We also want a concrete sidewalk down the side of the house as well as a concrete pad under the sundeck for the hot tub. This also won't get done until the end of summer as we are late getting on that list too.

Garage door guy also here yesterday and we will only be able to install an electric opener in one of the bays.  The other contains a whole bunch of HVAC ducting and plumbing in front of where the control would have to be mounted. Of course this happened because Louise did not know anything about the build of the house and did not realize the ducting would hamper this when it was installed last spring. So, instead of mega bucks moving ductwork, we've opted for a chain pull system that will be easy for Ray to use, as this garage bay will be used mostly for storage.

Our neighbours next door own the cabinet company that installed the new kitchen this past Christmas. They built and installed our beautiful solid maple cupboards inside and out with soft close. Fabulous. Anyways, they came over for a drink last night (Friday) and checked out the work we want to be done. Other than a small 4' closet in the master the owner had installed in December, there are absolutely no other closets in this house.  So our neighbour, Roy, is putting some ideas on how to fix this problem. He will be building a closet for the master bedroom and a large one in the entryway for coats.  Currently there are old, scratched up antique tables with sinks mounted on top in three bathrooms ... not my cup of tea at all. lol.  So Roy will also install cabinets matching the kitchen cupboards in all, including dual sinks in the master.

So it will be an expensive summer ... this does not even include transom lights in the master, landscapers as Ray is incapable, concrete, finishing the basement which may have to be postponed until next year as it is a "want not a need", etc.

Before Roy and June came over Friday night, we'd invited our other neighbour Pat, over for dinner. Her husband flew to Edmonton for a family matter, so she was on her own and needed some "adult time". She's been friends with Louise, the previous owner, for 25 years so knows a lot about the neighbourhood, contractors etc. and most importantly who not to get.  I cooked a chicken on the rotisserie on the BBQ that I've not seen for 6 years ... it turned out beautiful. A nice evening on our deck with drinks for our first get together at our new lake house was a success. :) Roy and June are also a fountain of information and as a cabinet maker he has lots of contacts in the building industry and knows the subs from building his house.  Boy did we luck out. Ray and I will be very happy here for many years to come in our little community of neighbours.

Cheers!  Hi Pat

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Moving In

Wednesday, May 16th

The movers arrived at Kristi's house at 8:30 am to pick up our bedroom suite and then we all made the trek down to Lake Cowichan to unload. (Ray in our car and me in my rental car.) Although they had estimated to pick up everything in one try, after packing up the house in Surrey there was some doubt if all the rest of the stuff would fit in the truck hence they decided to make 2 trips.

Once unloaded in Lake Cowichan, we left Ray with Freya at the house and I drove 3 of the movers up to Ray's brother's place in Errington, up island, while the moving truck followed with the other two helpers. It was like driving Garrett and his buddies years ago to Mactush. One of them was sleeping in the back seat as soon as I started off and the other two guys painted his nails with a sharpie while that one guy slept. Had to also stop along the side of the road for a "pit stop" to find some trees for them. Ha Ha. These guys were in their 40's .... I guess boys never grow up. lol

The shed with all of our outdoor stuff was quickly loaded up and then it was back to Nanaimo to Kristi's Office storage room to pick up the rest of our stuff.

Kristi's storage locker
We made it back to Lake Cowichan by 6 pm. The movers only had time to set up the three beds and then they were off to catch the ferry with pizza and a beer in hand. Ray bought the pizza for them in appreciation for the work that they had done. At least all of the boxes/furniture were in, mostly in the correct rooms. Ferguson Moving was great. Nice people to work with and overall quite reasonable for the scope of the work they had to do.

Ray and I kept a couple of pieces of pizza for ourselves and that was dinner. We were both exhausted. A lot of driving for me today so I did not get much unpacked as I would have liked.


Ray and I were up bright and early at 5:30 am ... damn dog. We hit the ground running both days, spending most of our time unpacking boxes so I could set up the kitchen, Ray sitting and unravelings the mega wrapping and me placing. What a chore ... had stuff from Dad's house and our house from 6 years ago plus stuff I had taken out of our motorhome to amalgamate into motorhome and House. Lots of stuff went directly into the trash pile. :) First thing though we had to return my rental car into Duncan and be back for the Shaw Cable guy to hook us up at 9:30 am. Just made it. We also had a furniture delivery from LazyBoy this morning.

With all of the "bad backs" in this family ... I did not want to give up my chair. lol (Picture taken Monday morning)


Kristi arrived late Friday afternoon with her two dogs in tow to help us unpack. Ray and I took her out for dinner to the local pub, a few minutes away. She did haul into the garage all of the broken down cardboard boxes as it was supposed to rain overnight. Other than that no putting her to work tonight ... we are far too tired. After dinner we chatted for awhile and were all in bed by 8:30 pm. Kristi had been not feeling well on Thursday so she was pretty tired too.


We were all up early again and after coffee and a strudel it was time to work. Kristi moved all of the boxes we had sorted and repacked to be stored, downstairs for us.

Garrett arrived about 10:30 am to help with his dog, Kira in tow. Now we have 4 dogs running around the house. The house seems to handle us all pretty good. lol I continued to unpack, do laundry and direct where to move furniture to. Ray had the kids move stuff out of the garage down into the basement and from the basement move up into the garage all left over wood building products so everything is in the same spot. Garrett and Kristi also moved the old woodstove out of the basement to the firepit area in the yard. Louise had left a bunch of lawn furniture so we culled out what we will keep but most also was carried upstairs to the garbage pile. Ray and I had our new dining room table delivered at noon. It looks fabulous and will definitely be well used by family.

Solid maple butcher block table.

Around 12:30 it was time to go out for lunch .... again at the local pub. Sure is convenient. Very reasonable and great food, not to mention great beer. The day was mostly cloudy with a few rainshowers.

Jason arrived at around 3 pm with tools. We were not thinking when we loaded up our motorhome with everything. It stayed in Nanaimo with all of Ray's tools while we needed them for assembly in Lake Cowichan. :)

Big thanks to Jason for bringing the tools and helping set up our patio furniture and TV set up.

Garrett spent an hour putting together my new yard cart that will enable me to take things from the garage down to the basement easilty. Another day gone in a blink. We ordered Chinese Food for Dinner. There is a place again, a few minutes away, so Jason went with Ray to pick up our order.

After dinner, Jason received a phone call that one of his fishing buddies passed away today, in Nanaimo. He ended up heading back to Nanaimo to keep Neil's wife company as she did not have any family close. Hopefully he can come back tomorrow.

Garrett and Kristi dealt with walking all 4 dogs so Ray did not have to. Ray and I were in bed at 8:30 pm. Kristi stayed up with Garrett a little while longer and then also headed to bed. Garrett stayed up until 11 pm but neglected to turn out the lights which kept Kristi awake as her room was very bright. A learning curve for all of us living here. lol


We were up early again ... damn dogs, mostly mine creating havoc with the other three. lol

Anyways, once we were all up and had coffee, Kristi walked her dogs and then headed back to Nanaimo for the day as she has a course at Nanaimo General Hospital. Garrett, Ray and I started in on more stuff that needed to be done. Meanwhile, Ray was directing Garrett ... move this here, throw that in the garbage pile etc. I went into town and bought the last propane tank from Home Hardware to get our barbeque operational so I could cook on it easily. Also, they had light bulbs etc. and clips for shelving. Don't know if Jason will be back or not. The dogs are having a blast swimming in the lake and laying in the sunshine on the back lawn. By noon the sun broke through the clouds, a beautiful afternoon.

Jason arrived around 3 pm with a box of Tim Horton donuts in hand. Thanks Jason. Ray and I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sunshine on the lawn with the dogs. Garrett opted to go swimming .... Brrrrrr.



And there he goes!
Once it started to cool down we all went inside. Jason went for a nap as he had a bad headache while Garrett, Ray and I ate left overs for dinner. Jason was not hungry as he had a huge subway sandwich at about 3:30 pm. Kristi arrived at about 6:30 and had eaten too, so an easy dinner for me to prepare. lol

The bunch of us spent a nice evening together watching some TV with great conversation. It was lovely to spend so much time with our kids.

Monday, May 21st

It was Garrett's dog that got us up this morning. I could hear her upstairs trying to wake Garrett but when that did not work, she made her way downstairs to get us up. I brought her into our room and told her to lay down. She lasted half an hour more until 6 am when she bugged me again, so out the door she went. Yup she had to go.

Made waffles and bacon for breakfast. Jason headed out about 8:30 and Kristi followed about an hour later. A quieter day with just Garrett and us.

A great weekend getting lots accomplished thanks to the kids helping out. Future visits will be more fun for them to enjoy the lake instead of being put to so much work. :)

Preparation for the big move to Lake Cowichan

Wednesday, May 9th, our moving adventure begins.

We got the coach back from the repair shop by 10 am. We had the front end damage from the tow two years ago repaired, as well as the locks replaced and painted from the break in. Both Ray and I spent the rest of the day loading it up for the move to the island tomorrow. Fortunately the rain held off until dinner time, so we did not get everything wet. A long, hard day, especially for Ray, he could barely walk by the end of it, but we got it done. This for me included house stuff as every dish was washed and put away, vacuuming in case of house showings etc. Ray had to take out all the garbage ready for pick up on Friday. We collapsed in bed at 8 pm.

Thursday, May 10th

Up and attem by 5 am to load the car and get ready to leave by 6:15. I did not sleep very well as I was worried the theives would come back so I kept waking up every couple of hours and checking outside. Ray parked the car right up close to the passenger side so you could not open the basement doors but the other side although locked, was still exposed. I packed the car with our clothes etc. and did a final sweep through the house and we were off. I'd made a reservation for Ray for overheight just in case, but I was able to get on no problem. We met up at the cafeteria for breakfast. A beautiful sail across to Nanaimo, sunny and flat calm. There were a few showers and the other side.

Once we arrived at Kristi and Jason's, it took a few tries to settle the motorhome into her resting spot for the next week or so until we bring it down to the new house. Jason and Kristi recently bought a 21 foot trailer that we needed to negotiate around so in the end Jason hooked up and moved it out of the way so we had a clear shot at backing in and then he moved his trailer back in. Kristi was in surgery today so we won't see her until later tonight. It showered a few times throughout the day but otherwise fairly warm. Ray and I went out for lunch and ran a few errands. Nice to be back on the island. Tomorrow is the appointment with the lawyer to sign the papers for possession next Tuesday. I think it will be early to bed for me tonight. lol

Friday, May 11th

Kristi was on call today at the hospital but was able to stay home in the morning as she only had phone calls and no urgent cases. It was nice to spend some time with her. before our appointment at the bank. The appointment did not take very long, mostly handing over the moola and signing a couple of documents. We were back home by noon. Our dog and Kristi's two, all went to doggy daycare today. Freya will be nice and tired for tomorrow. :)

When Jason came back later in the afternoon, it was time to get the new batteries installed. Jason was a great help in doing the lifting so I did not have to. While Ray was trying to hook up the cables he realized he was missing some jumpers ... more had been taken by the thieves than we thought. With Jason's help, off to the battery place for a diagram of how they should look and some extra parts. After 2 hours the job was done and I fired up the generator to get the charge happening. The other 6 batteries had not been charging for the past month unbeknowst to us and were down to 11.8 so hopefully not wrecked. Only time will tell.

Saturday, May 12th

Another beautiful day ... only 3 more sleeps and Ray will pick up the keys to the new house, although we won't be moving in until Wednesday. Today Ray will blow off the junk on the MH roof from debris left from the winter at Dad's. and clean off the solar panels for charging. We can actually see the roof from the kids sundeck. First time I have been able to have a really good look at it as I don't climb up the ladder. lol Anyways other than dirty solar panels and a bit of trapped debris under the dish ... it does not look too bad. The batteries seem to be all fully charged according to the display panel. With all of the sunshine it did not take too long for the solar panels to charge them up. Spent most of the day enjoying the sunshine, a glorious day. Kristi actually had the day off.

Sunday, May 13th, Happy Mother's Day

Kristi is back on call starting at 8am this morning. We are all going out for Brunch for Mother's Day as Jason's Mom and Dad (Nadine and Dale) and Grandmother (Joyce) are coming up from Victoria. Even though Kristi was on call, she managed to come for lunch as well. A lovely visit. We'd not seen Jason's parents since the kids wedding, nearly 8 years ago. They stayed for several hours before leaving back to Victoria. It certainly was a warm day at over 26C. We are all not used to hot weather yet so the fans were on and blinds all closed trying to keep the house cool for sleeping. :) Not complaining though after our wet and gloomy spring.

Kristi, Grandma Joyce and Nadine

Jason and Ray

Dale and Kristi

Monday, May 14th

It's getting closer !!!! I did not sleep very well with all of the "packing" thoughts running through my head. I have to pick up the rental car this morning and get back to Vancouver in preparation for the movers tomorrow. Two more days!!!!! Ray will probably go out and take some pictures today, a hobby he has not had much time for of late. We are so thankful that Kristi and Jason have their basement suite that they welcome us to use. It sure has made life much easier for us having a place to stay when we come to the island.

Not too busy yet.
My rental car, Hyndai Accent.

Once in Surrey, I got a bunch of stuff ready for the packers tomorrow. A solitary dinner at Browns Social House.  Did not eat very much though ... it was over 30C and way too hot to be hungry.

Ray and Kristi went out to the new Beach Fires Grill Restaurant in Nanaimo for dinner. They both said that it was amazing and excellent food. A little pricey but fabulous. I will have to go there. :)

Ray took a walk in the Nanaimo Harbour in the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 15th - Take Possession of the Lake House

I was up bright and early at 4:30 am and started some laundry ... cleaning the bed sheets so they would be clean at the other end. lol Still pretty warm in the house. I will be glad when this part is over. Unfortunately the house still is not sold so I will have to go through this again at a later date. At least there will not be too much to deal with at that time as most of the furniture left will be for other people. Received an email this morning from the previous owner of the lake house, thanking us for buying her home. Louise said we were meant to live there and hope we enjoy the lake. How nice. A great way to start my day.

Looked out into the backyard this morning. There is a rabbit that thinks he lives here now that Freya is not here to chase it. :)

The packing started at 9:30 am  and continued to about 5:30 pm. I ended up having our realtor, Ryan, locking up after they had finished as I had to leave at 4:45 to make my ferry to the island. Exhausted.