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Sunrise on our house, Lake Cowichan, BC

Friday, 31 August 2018

Dad's House is finally sold and money is in the bank!

Originally we planned for our sundeck to be ripped off on Monday. Unfortunately, David's crew is still finishing up a couple of other projects this week so the new start date is after the long-weekend, Tuesday, September 4th. With Garrett and Kat arriving on Saturday for a weekend visits, it's probably for the best.

Wednesday, the sale of Dad's house is finally complete and with cheque in hand, it was off to Duncan to deposit it into the estate account. What a relief that this part of his estate is finally dealt with. No more worrying that the house would be broken into or damaged by all of the thieves canvassing his neighbourhood.

Goodbye House! 

Thursday we had our final design meeting for the work being done on the house this fall. We need a cost estimate so we know how much we can get done in the basement with all of the other items that are a "must" versus a "want". lol After our two hour meeting with David Coulson of David Coulson Design Group, and our wallets a little lighter, we had our "heads stuffed" with costs and plans. How exciting.

"David Coulson, owner of David Coulson Design Ltd., is enjoying his 25th year in the design and construction business. With a staff of 20 employees, David is guiding our company on some of the most outstanding West Coast contemporary homes and renovations, heritage restorations and unique commercial renovations. David is passionate about green building practices making each project healthy and efficient."

David Coulson

We have been talking with David and Donna, one of his designers, since last March when we first purchased this house. They've given us great advice and have excellent ideas on how to fix the "warts" in this house! lol

The timeline, as it stands now, is the deck it going to be ripped off next Tuesday, and the concrete poured under the deck and driveway at the end of September. Ray will be able to get his hot tub finally. At this time they will address the lack of snow guards on our tin roof, downspouts properly put into the perimeter drains and take care of the bat issue by sealing up all of the siding joints and cracks. After that they will begin on the inside projects. So, I think they will be all done before Christmas. What a feeling to get things finally rolling after waiting 3 months for the big stuff to begin.

Once back home we had another meeting with Southshore Cabinetry who happens to be our next door neighbour. He built the cabinets in our kitchen last year. He took the measurements for our hall closet built in, the dining room hutch built in and the new vanity for our master ensuite. Hopefully the plan is for installion beginning of October.

Spoke to our dock guy last week and they have started the build of the new dock last Thursday so it should arrive in the next couple of weeks, as well.

Friday, it was off to Duncan to pick up the motorhome. The new computer board was installed for the jacks, the new solenoid for the power transfer from the house batteries to the cranking batteries (for emergency starts) and we found that the trickle charger for the cranking batteries was not working either, hence the dead batteries. Fortunately this was all covered under our extended warranty so other than paying our deductable, we were good to go. Ray dropped the motorhome off at Duncan RV Storage and I picked him up in the car. We need the motorhome out of the driveway for the next couple of months with all of the outside work being done. Later in the afternoon, Cliff from McKay's Electronics came to exchange our stereo receiver for the new one promised back in June and install our rear speakers (also ordered last June) for surround sound. These were the latest models from Yamaha and their shipment from Japan was delayed). At the same time our gardener arrived to mow the lawn and do some hedge pruning. A very busy day.

Tomorrow Garrett, Kat and their dog Kira come for the weekend. Yeah! Hopefully the weather holds.



Sunday, 26 August 2018

A Week of Cousins.

Monday, August 20th

Ray and I hit the ground running this morning. We were out the door at 7 am delivering the motorhome to Revy RV in Duncan to have the new computer board put in to operate our hydraulic jacks. (Under warranty luckily). Finally.... I will be able to open up the slides to put the "motorhome to rights" after moving it over here last March.  Had to be back home by 8:30 am as we had Exchange Energy coming to install my new hood fan for my stove in the kitchen. (Same company that installed my ductless heat pumps upstairs, outstanding work.)

The motorhome is also having the cranking battery charging system looked at. Our new batteries put in a month ago were totally discharged and we had to put the trickle charger on them to be able to fire up the beast. We were going to take the motorhome in on Friday but it was deader than a doornail! Something is not right. I think it has something to the factory installed trickle charger that hooks into our inverter system.... we shall see if I was right. We had known that the switch to transfer power from the house batteries to the cranking batteries didn't work.  This occurred when having the  solar installed five years ago.  We didn't bother getting it fixed as we lived in the unit and were constantly moving and charging the batteries. Now .... need this addressed too as we are not residing in it permanently ... just the winters hopefully. :)

After repairs are made, we'll move the coach into storage at Duncan Storage for a month or so.  We need it out of the way for the concrete work on the driveway which is starting in the next few weeks. Ray and I are having a meeting with the designer tomorrow morning as the work begins next Monday.  They will start by tearing off our sundeck to get rid of any rot and redeck it. Need to firm up plans for concrete, sundeck and painting and repairing the hardy plank siding. We hope to set up a timeline when the other inside projects will begin. The timeline will give us a better idea of when things are going to be done and maybe we can take a mini-holiday somewhere in the fall.

The guys arrived by 8:30 am to install the hood fan for the stove and I spent the morning doing all the laundry for the upstairs bedrooms and preparing the rooms for our next guests, Ray's cousins from Lynnwood, Nicki and her husband Mike arrive Friday morning for the weekend. We have not seen them since a year ago March on our way back home from the USA.

I moved a few wheelbarrows of dirt into the garden area Ray wanted, as Will was in hospital and we needed it out of the way for concrete by next week. After that Ray and I spent a couple hours down at the beach keeping cool. Even though the skies are smokey it is still 30C and muggy.

Old fan and stove that did not work.

Old fan unit out.

The guys were awesome making themselves a platform so they were not putting weight on my stove and had drop sheets everywhere to catch all the dirt. They really clean up after themselves as well Awesome service.

New hood fan installed with my new stove.
Tuesday, Ray's cousin Brian and his wife, Sandy, came for a visit. After Ray reached out to them last week and his sister Judy met them, they wanted to come down and see our house. I wanted a chance to see them as well as I had to stay home last Thursday and missed the meet and greet.

Sandy has several dietary intolerances, gluten-free, dairy-free and caffeine-free which includes chocolate. So .... I made a coconut cream pie with coconut macaroons for the topping, using gluten free shortbread cookies crumbed for the bottom. Amazingly I was able to get the cookies from our little Country Grocer here in Lake Cowichan. The dessert turned out beautifully. Here's one for you Dianne! (I used crumbled coconut macaroons that I baked as I did not have any more coconut milk to make the topping.)


https://bakingamoment.com/coconut-cream-pie-gluten-and-dairy-free/

Dinner was Thai noodle salad with Thai chicken satay and peanut sauce. Dinner was gobbled up, so I guess it worked out. lol

After dinner we all took Freya for her last walk, showing Brian and Sandy the park next door.

The gate to the park across from our driveway. Ray, Sandy and Brian.


Back at home we sat on the deck for an hour before it was time for them to drive home. A lovely visit.

Brian telling a story, lol Look at the smoky sky behind them. Hopefully this blows away tomorrow.
With Ray's other cousin arriving Friday morning from Lynwood Washington for the weekend, I spent Wednesday and Thursday preparing for their visit, menu planning etc. Unfortunately the forecast for Saturday and Sunday is clouds and showers, which the forests desperately need. Oh well we will be all yabbering anyways.

Wednesday I spent the day puttering around, cooking etc. It was so smokey outside that it was hard to breathe. Tomorrow the smoke should start to clear out. Heard from Kristi and Jason. They made good time and are now in Hazelton for the night. They passed through the fires at Fraser Lake and Burns Lake. They said their throats became sore and you could only see 100 feet in front of you with the smoke so thick. Glad they are on the other side for their month long holiday to the Yukon.

Today I also signed the final documents for the sale of Dad's house so everything is a go. Yeah! Next week, August 29th that saga will all be over.

Thursday the electricians were back to install our new light fixture over our lazyboys in the livingroom. We are finding it quite dark sitting there in the evening as the days are getting shorter.


I made Indian Fry Bread for Ray and served up Navajo tacos for dinner. I made the beans and rice so I could also serve it for lunch for Ray's cousins. "Two birds with one stone"!




Friday, Exchange Energy came back to make sure the heat pumps were okay and drop off a couple of filters for our furnace. Nicki and Mike, Ray's cousins arrived around 11 am. Great to see them!

First up once they were settled into their room was a boat ride on the lake before the projected rains came.


Ray telling stories again! Picture from Nicki.
Once we were back and while I was cooking dinner, (barbequed ribs and baked beans) Nicki went out to play with Freya.


Thanks for the flowers Nicki and Mike.
We had a lovely evening and then we all went to bed early. Mike and Nicki had to get up at 4 am in Lynwood WA to drive up to border and make the ferry over to Nanaimo. A long day for them.

Saturday morning after breakfast of Eggs Benedict we set off to the Duncan Farmer's Market.


We even caught up with Deke da Freak aka Robert again. Nicki even bought me a set of their earrings.


They had live music, jazz this time.
On the way back to the car we stopped by the totems.



Back to the car for the short drive down to Cowichan Bay for a stroll and to have lunch at the Belgium crepe restaurant.



These houseboats were the inspiration for the print we bought last week.

Beer from the local Red Arrow Brewery

Notice the herb garden behind Nicki (a pallet) ... something to remember.


Ray's leg was giving out hence his cane.

And then we have the two boys goofing around.

Am I really getting that bald??? Ray




A lovely few hours spent with great people. Back at home we just kind of vegged out inside as it was sprinkling rain and quite cool outside. Needless to say, Freya was not impressed.

Snacks were cheese, pate and crackers Mike picked out and I served up Barbecued Chicken on the rotisserie and finished off with a dessert of cherry pie purchased at the Farmer's Market. A glorious sunset, more great conversation and then bed by 9:45 pm.

The clouds cleared a bit before sunset.
Up early for coffee and Ray giving Mike a couple of fly fishing lessons off our dock and then they were out the door to catch their ferry back to Tsawassen. Thanks for coming to visit Nicki and Mike. It was a blast.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Martin and Suzanne Blyte come to visit.

Thursday, August 16th continued.

So while Ray and Judy were visiting, today the installation of our ductless heat pumps in the two upstairs bedrooms began. So again, people running around the house. This will be a two day process. Meanwhile it was changing bed time to prepare for our next weekend guests.

By Friday at 3:30 the heat pumps were up and running. Beautiful. So nice to be able to get the heat out of those rooms.



And voila ... heat pump installed.
Also on the HVAC guys list was to close off the duct in the foyer as they were useless. These holes will be drywalled over when we have the construction crew in here later this fall. (They sent the tallest crew member up the 24' ladder).


Saturday morning was pretty clear of smoke but it started to move in more in the afternoon. Here is the view of the lake from the dock this morning. Never get tired of the view.


Our friends Martin and Suzanne arrived about 1 pm and we all went out for lunch at Jakes at the Lake. Thanks for lunch guys. Once we were back it was time for some lake time. Too hot on the dock so we retired to our beach again. Both Martin and Suzanne went for a little paddle in the kayak. Ray and Martin worked together at Sproat Lake and Log Supply and met over 19 years ago. He often came to our campsite at Macktush for the weekend to go fishing with Ray. Camping was not Suzanne's thing but she did come to our parties at the house. :)

Drinking Ray's famous Margaritas




You can see how hazy the sky is.

And Suzanne is off!
Ray asked Martin if they'd eaten "Pork Belly" the last time he was here, which they hadn't, so of course that's on the menu tonight. Turned out beautifully. Love that InstantPot. We left the beach around 4pm so I could start dinner so we retired to the deck.

Martin did not like the last side view picture I took of him a month ago so now he "suck's it in or covers it up. lol


Dinner was ready with the help of Suzanne around 6 pm.

Suzanne helping me.

Smile Martin


Can't you see I'm eating!

After dinner we served dessert outside on the sundeck. Still pretty warm out.



After a few more hours on the deck, Ray and I retired, Martin too, but we set up Suzanne in the loft with the TV up there. A lovely day.

Sunday morning, Ray and I were up followed shortly by Martin by 6:30 am. Suzanne stumbled down around 8am. After I served up a breakfast of bacon and french toast it was time to go for a boat ride. It was much smokier this morning and continued all day getting thicker.

These two have spent many an hour doing just this! Chasing fish.


After I fed everyone pulled pork sandwiches for lunch it was time for them to head back home to French Creek. A fabulous visit. See you again soon hopefully.