Thursday, August 17, 2017

ROBBLOG #631



Day Two is at an end. At last.

We are in Thunder Bay at a KOA. Such a nice lot we have. There's:
A patio.
A Firepit.
A two-person swing- wood no less.
A table with 4 chairs and an umbrella.

When we drove folks were probably saying- "Here comes those rich "fags" from Orillia!"
I think it was the most expensive lot.
Worth every penny.

The Sign Says it All
Back up a few hours now and envision an Ontario Provincial Park in Pancake Bay just west of
Sault Ste. Marie
We started our day at 0730. That was sleeping in!!
It was cool in Priscilla.
I flipped on the furnace and nothing happened.
I checked the hot water and nothing!! I had turned it on- I thought, before bed last night.
It didn't work.
I was miffed.
Totally pissed really. Four letter words spewed forth like a woman scorned!
Tom told me to take a pill...well, it was something like that but a little spicier, so off I trotted in my little black flip flops, cradling a towel under one arm and my showering essentials- including my Jennifer Aniston face scrub in the other.
I had slipped on my Ray Bans so no one would recognize me or attempt to talk to me or throw a cheery "Good Morning!" in my direction.
Bah-Morningbug!!

I showered and realized I had left my hair brush back in Priscilla.
Damn. Double Damn. So, I flipped and flopped back as quickly as I could at oh-seven thirty-something and grabbed by brush.
So far, I hate this fucking day.

We took our time to pack things away and left Pancake Bay at 10ish.
10 hours later after a couple of breaks we arrived where we are now in Tunderin' Bay.
The drive was gorgeous.
Scenery spectacular.

A Bridge at Nipegon around 6pm
Words are hard to come by to describe the vistas but let me try- tree, tree, tree, lake,
construction, tree, rock, lake, tree, rock, rock and rock is the best I can do.
Let the photos tell the story.

In mid afternoon after a few texts and e-mails, I tried one last switch in Priscilla. This Motorhome if full of switches and they all serve a purpose. I flicked it while Tom went into an A&W at White River. By the time he came back we had hot water.
Thanks the Lord, I mean if there was such an entity to thank but this time it was pure luck and I just happened to pick the right switch.


Tom the Captain filling Priscilla to the brim with H2O
We arrived in this KOA at 8ish. It's actually in Shuniah- like in Twain.
I fed the kids. Tom hooked up H2O and power and Bless his little ole heart, he even got the shite pipe hooked to the sewer on our expensive, show-stopping lot.
I thought-"If my husband can play around with a shite pipe, I could cook him supper and I did.
It was Veggie Lasagna.
The oven even worked and I had to figure out how to light the pilot.
This RV thing is starting to click.

With the lasagna cooking away, we took the girls for a half hour spin through the park.
It was good.

It is getting late folks and the Captain says I have to be on duty- I'm the "In-charge" Priscilla Attendent. My duty day starts at 0900. We have an 8 hour drive to another KOA just west of Winnipeg and I will be sharing driving duties unlike today when Tom did the whole trip.

Wish us luck and if I get WiFi or tether this laptop to my Samsung, I will tell more tomorrow.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ROBBLOG #630




Well Kids, Day one is behind us!!!
We drove for 10 hours including lunch and gas and puppy pee stops.


However, the day began with a major Priscilla problem. We discovered we had no power on her right side and our fridge and freezer was not working. We tried a new fuse but no luck.
We were desperate, so we drove to Heidi's for service.
We arrived at Heidi's gate at 7ish and realized they didn't open till 8am. So, we waited.
To make a long story shorter it was a "short" in the bathroom ceiling light.

We got on the road at 930 with me in the driver's seat. I drove 4 hours to the other side of Sudbury.
A caution if you go up that way. Our friend Karen told us to top up when we saw a gas station. This is true. So true.
Once past Sudbury one travels a long, long way to gas up and the road is the worst.

Hwy 17 you suck- BIGTIME!!!
Our cats hated that part of today's drive. They were pretty calm by the end of the day though.

There is a ton of construction when traffic only goes one way at a time.
Hwy 17, you'll be great when you are done but today- you sucked!!


We had lunch at 2ish- I forget where. Then Hubbie took over the driving. The scenery is spectacular at times and view of Lake Superior was superb.
I will try to add a photo or two.

Eventually, we ended up in Sault Ste Marie- with me driving again, at a Wal*Mart of course!
Tom picked up a few items while I stayed with the "kids" in Priscilla.
We gassed up at a nearby Esso that conveniently had a Tim's next door and we were off again.

I took a little snooze at one point when Tom was driving and was jolted from a sound sleep when Tom swerved this way and that on a curve that was spitting distance from Lac Superior. Well, the fridge door flew open and chili sauce, water and half the fridge flew across the kitchen floor.
I screamed like a "girl".
Yuck!!
He pulled to the side of the road and we started cleanup. |I was a little pissed at his "swerve" but I got over it about 20 km down the road...
He did pick a pretty spot for the cleanup operation. Late afternoon sun glistened on Superior waters as we mopped the mess.
Breathtaking.
The lake not the mess.

Just after the Fridge emptied itself!!
Once past The Soo we had 76 kms to go to get to Pancake Bay where we would stay the night in our lovely- yet increasingly, costly Priscilla and that is where I am writing this blog. An Ontario park where we had only a quick opportunity to plug in our power before darkness fell...and
boy did it fall.
It's darker than a turkey's arse at fly time outside Priscilla!
Can't see the nose on top of one's moustache!!

Entrance to Pancake Bay Provincial Park
Tom let the girls- Missy and Koko, out for their last pee- after a supper of cold chicken and potato salad. I gave him the "Bear Horn" when he went outside. The one I had bought a month ago.
One never knows here in bear country.
What is left of the chicken we consumed is neatly stuffed in Priscilla's fridge instead of being thrown outside the RV's door.


So, it has been a long day but we managed it.
Good for us!

Time now for beddy bye.
I am beat.

If I can't get photos transferred over, it'll have to be tomorrow when I am fully awake.
Thanks for all your wonderful- yet sometimes teary, goodbyes.
Our heartiest, funniest, best goodbye came from our friend and neighbour Louise.
She came across the road from her house yesterday and says to me-
"So, the day if finally here!"
She started to cry. suddenly she stopped and added-
"Well, Fuck You!! ~pause~ "Yes, Fuck. You!!"
It was so unexpected and so funny and really- from the heart.

Each and every tear was appreciated by Tom and |I. We will miss you all dearly but we soldier on to our new home on Vancouver Island.


Good Night Irene...and the rest of you too!

P.S. Two pics loaded. I stayed up way past my bedtime just for you!






Sunday, August 13, 2017

ROBBLOG #629


I'm feeling a little less stressed this morning as you can see from the photo.

Up and at 'em at 703am.
That's right. There is a 7:03 in the morning just like at nighttime.
I mean who knew?

I have ironed.
I put more shirts and reading material (4 more books from the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series) into Priscilla.
I shrink-wrapped my "Lion" fountain.
Then, I put a new "umbrella" top on the bird feeder in the north yard and filled the feeder to the brim. I was concerned about the bird food, since the "Mama Dove" is up in the nest again on the front verandah. If it's the same Dove, this would be family number three this summer!
Gawd, she and the Mister must love kids!!

So, my  Samsung says "1 Day until Departure".
Yikes!!
Tom and I signed papers in Duncan B.C. for this "new build" house way back in February and now the reality is sinking in. Although we don't take possession until the end of September, we start our trek westward now to avoid adverse weather (READ: SNOW) in the Rockies in September. It could happen.

Our early departure means we spend 6 weeks in a lovely RV Park called "Country Maples" just south of Chemainus off Trans Canada 1. Chemainus is about 20 minutes or so north of our new home in Duncan.

A Garden in Duncan BC
Now then, to brush aside the fears of 365 days of rain on the Island that you may harbour, I want to make it clear that it does not rain 365 days straight. In fact the Island is working on a record of more than 52 days without rain. There are no active wildfires on the island. Those are in the interior of the province. We will, however, have to be aware of their location as we travel from Calgary to Lake Louise, through four National Parks to Sicamous- just east of Kamloops. After our overnight in Sicamous we head straight down the Coquihalla Highway (TV's Highway Thru Hell) to Hope and then West to Tswwassen, picking up our van along the way in Delta from Hansen's Rail Yard.

Our Duncan (Cowichan Valley) weather is one with a mild, Mediterranean Climate with four varieties of palm trees, huge Yuccas, Monkey Trees, large Rhododenrons, Arbutus Trees and more. We will also be cutting our lawn year round.
We can walk, bicycle, hike (yuck!) and golf (yuck again!) year round.
We can watch the dolphins, sea lions, eagles and whales frolic in the Pacific. If we were surfers we could surf year-round at Tofino on the Island's west coast. We have a mountain that is visible from our front door- Mount Prevost, with Mount Sicker just a bit further north. Victoria is less than an hour away south and Nanaimo- home of the famous bars, is about a half hour to our north.

Me on the Island in February- yes February in Canada!
Check it our on a map or perform a simple google search. Duncan is www.duncan.ca
That will get your started.

Okay. Enough blogging. I have stuff to do. It seems like this packing thing is never-ending.
I can hardly wait to get on the road when all I have to do is look forward to the future with my loving Husband Tom and our kids- the mini-schnauzers Missy and Koko, as well as the Boys- our orange tabbies Dickens and Doyle.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 11, 2017

ROBBLOG #628


No, that photo is not me.
That's Bette Davis as Baby Jane in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane"- The Movie.
However, this photo is pretty much how I am looking and feeling these days!

Tempus Fugit.
My Smartphone says 3 days till blast off.
By "Blast Off", I don't mean this is a grave warning that Kim Jung Jock Strap is prepping one of his rockets. It just tells me we have 3 more sleeps till we leave this popsicle stand and head for the Island.

Things are at a fever pitch.
It was an adventure taking the Swissshmobile to Hansen's rail facility Wednesday. This place on Nashene Road near Markham Road is amazing. High security fences and a security post to pass through when you arrive at the gate. Thank goodness the security people had our names in their computer. A half hour later we left the vehicle after talking to the friendly, helpful Hansen staff and headed downtown to The Village for lunch. Our friends Val and Bev came with us in Val's car as our ride home. We drove about 20 minutes from the rail facility when Tom discovers we have left our sweatshirts in the back of the van.
So, back we go to Hansen's. We are now on a first name basis with the security guard!!!

Lunch??
Lunch at the Church Mouse pub in the Gay Village was fun. We laughed and chatted with staff and had decadent desserts after a hearty lunch. The whole day was a much-needed stress reliever and we even found time on the way home to stop by Tanger Outlet mall to buy new Samsonite Suitcases. Of course there was a Fossil store there with out of this world prices on watches, so I bought myself one. I mean who could pass up that kind of savings and one must always pay one's self after paying for an RV from Heidi's!!!
See above blogs if you don't get the joke!!

Our Junkman came Friday morning and took a truck load of junk away for the cool sum of $260 bucks. I am now printing this stuff in the basement.
Dollars not junk.
Only kidding...

Friends came by in late morning to take a plant or a gargoyle in Darlene's case. Geraldine picked up some garden ornaments. Shane took home a bottle of Absolut Vodka- what else does one give a "girlfriend" as a parting gift? I ask you...
Our Friend Julie from a village near Niece in France popped in to say hello and tour Priscilla. I hear Niece is "nice"!
An old joke but I just had to do it.

Sorry Dame Edna, we gave lillies not gladdies
Then, we were off to Colleen's for a final hair trim. Aunt Shirley and Jim came along after our cut. Shirley to get her weekly blow and dry from Colleen and Jim...well, Jim is follicle free so he just chatted.
After Shirley was a looking rather gorgeous, Colleen surprized us with coffee and chocolate cake made from a Casino Rama recipe. Her Hubbie Basil joined us. The cake I had last year at my 65th birthday celebration was replicated by Colleen.. It was grand and Colleen receives top marks for all the chocolate contents.
Mmmmm.

Afterwards, we made a final trip to the bank where we said goodbye to Julie Emery and Stephanie- among others, who gave us a Bon Voyage basket of goodies.
Yum and Mmmm.
We emptied our safety deposit box after signing a bunch of papers and headed home.
Another busy day was almost done.

Finally, Swisssh and Starlite my online radio stations are "off air" as we say in the biz. I was set to pack up the studio Saturday anyway and with a little help from the evening's thunderstorm that flashed our lights and power, I decided to leave the stations off air a few hours early. Both will return from The Cowichan in early October.

Insert a huge ~sigh~ and a tear or two...

 


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

ROBBLOG #627


OMG!!
The Smartphone says 5 DAYS!!!

How  is that possible?
Time flies when you're packing.

Just a short update today. Priscilla is back from the shop. The wonderful Folks at Midas Orillia- Eduardo in particular, have her road-worth and safe. That's all we ask. Just get us to the Island.
After a further $2000 and change-add that to last week's $3000, you'll compute that's a heart-stopping, RRSP draining $5000 and so much!!
Yikes!
I know but it had to be done. We have to be safe on our cross-country trek and Priscilla is the main player in this journey. She has new tires, brakes, brake line, shocks and a bunch of other stuff that I can't explain. Fie on Heidi's for selling us on the 2003 Ford F450 with a safety check with up to 6 deficiencies. They will receive a letter pf disappointment and admonishment. I am composing it in my mind.



IN OTHER NEWS

Our Montana van- also a 2003, goes to Hansen's Forwarding in Toronto- Scarborough actually, to be sent by rail to Delta BC. We expect the "Swissshmobile's" arrival to coincide with our arrival in Tswwassen/Delta on August 21st.
Fingers are crossed.

So, Dear Readers, that's the up to the minute news.
Look at me, I sound like Charles Dickens- "Dear Readers" indeed.

A full day of appointments and stuff tomorrow and then the A-1 Junk Guys are still scheduled for Friday.
Whew!
Five Days?????

Lator Gator

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ROBBLOG #626


We all know there's a right and wrong way to put toilet paper on a toilet paper hanger.
Right?

Over the past few weeks I have been wondering if there's a right or wrong way to place bubble wrap against the glass of a framed print. There are no instructions on the bubble wrap box we received from Uline. That's the company where we ordered all our boxes and packing materials from.
It was an excellent choice!

So, Bubble Wrap. We have used tons and tons as well as another magnificent packing tool- tape.
Lots and lots of tape. Also in the top 3 packing items I would have to lean heavily towards suggesting plain newsprint if you have a move in your future. This stuff is pure gold when it comes to wrapping practically anything. Again, Uline supplied us with lovely big boxes in huge sheets. Easy to handle. Fast to wrap. And Clean.
Sorry for starting a short sentence with "and". My grammar teachers would cringe. As an aside, I also cringe when someone place a comma before the word "and".
And suggest the comma. It's not needed. I asked a teacher that again a few years ago. Sorry I strated yet another sentence with "and".

6 DAYS LEFT!


That's the advice my mobile gave me when I fired her up this morning.
6 days.
Cripes! This is getting real.

There's till a bunch to do.
The Junk Guys A1- Junk Removal come Friday morning to take anything we are not.
Our van goes to Hansen's in Toronto tomorrow where it will be shipped west on rail come Friday. We will meet up with her on August 21st in Delta BC.
Outdoor stuff from the garage- like Knomes and a cement rabbit, need to be packed.
There are couple of boxes that will go to the curb for "Free" dispersal or perhaps to Value Village.

In other news, Folks have been dropping in to say goodbye.
Hasn't been too tough yet on the "tears scale" of one to infinity until my cousin sent a lovely e-mail thanking us for the lilies she picked up yesterday. It has been the best "tah tah for now" yet.
We have stopped the dinners and goodbye brunches. Too much to handle and time-consuming too when there is work to be done at home.

We are keeping an eye on the forest fire situation. Many friends are asking what we will do.
If we can't keep to our northern route through Lake Louise, Kamloops then to Hope via the Coquihalla and finally Tswwassen, we will go through The Hat and travel along Highway 3.
It's much, much longer but it will depend on fire, smoke and if towns are being evacuated.

So Kids, that's it for now. I have a list as long as Hugh Jackman's legs to get through today, so I had better get started.


Oh, one final note on saying goodbye.
Hugs are good.
Shoulder pats and hand shakes are as well.
"Take care" is simple.
"See you soon" is fine.
"We'll probably be out to the Island" is hopeful.
BUT
"God Bless You" is not.
Tom and I are Humanists- a nice way to say atheist.
Saying GBY to us can be compared to calling a Homosexual "Gay"-which is fine but "faggot" is not.
That example may be a bit over the top but you get my gist. Now, hand me a martini and carry on!

So please, no blessing from any "Gawd" because he doesn't exist and never has except in the occasional blog I write. Check out Blog #620 as an example. There are other Blogs too. Just go back a bit. Sorry Gals that I mentioned "Gawd" in the "male" context.

Unless God is helping with the driving, please think of another endearing term when saying "'See You in the Funny Papers".

Now, before this Blog takes another twist, I have to go and do stuff with 6 days to Go!!





Friday, August 4, 2017

ROBBLOG #625


I looked at my phone this morning. It says "10 Days left".
Yikes!

10 days before we say "so long" to Orillia and Ontario and move all the way west to Duncan BC in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.
Why?
If you haven't read my ROBBLOG before, I'll tell you straight up- it's the weather. Unforgiving winters here in Ontario and a mild, Mediterranean Climate- with Palm Trees and Yuccas, out there!
Plus, both Tom and I are older- and retired!!

An Island Garden
So, our move is close.
We have boxes piled high all over the house.
We have been getting Priscilla ready. That's our RV.
However, Priscilla is being a bit difficult and has cost us $3000 this week- so far.
Then, yesterday we drove her to a garage in Barrie to get a wheel alignment and we bust a break line as we pull into the garage!
Between two garages, we have been told that Heidi's- where we purchased her from back in March, should not have passed the vehicle on a safety on up to 6 specific items.
No, we have not been in touch with Heidi's.

Priscilla
Priscilla is a 2003 Dutchmen RV and I can tell you right now that Heidi's probably doesn't give a damn. We had her back to their service centre within 30 days after we purchased her and told them to look at everything and fix or replace anything that needed replacing.
Guess they didn't understand what we meant.

Their word. Our word. 2 mechanic's word. Heidi's RV word.
I don't have the time or desire to start a fight. Right now we want Priscilla to be safe and fixed so we can drive her to our new home without difficulty.
What a mess!

So, packing continues here at Pine Tree House. I will probably fill another 10 boxes today. Gawd, we have so much stuff and this after 3 garage sales, purging over the past two years and a bunch of junk put to the curb a week ago. I even have another huge box of stuff we no longer want ready to go out to the curb tomorrow.

People have said that moving is one of the most stressful things you can ever undertake. It was stressful 25 years ago when we moved from Mississauga to Orillia and it is again in this move from Orillia to The Island- three time zones west!

Stay tuned. I am sure there's more to come!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

ROBBLOG #624


Time is fleeting!

Now as we get closer to the end of July we get closer to our departure date of Mid-August.
That's when we kick the tires, fire up Priscilla and start our monstrous 5,000 km journey through western Canada to our new home in The Cowichan on Vancouver Island.

We are excited to say the least but a little emotional too. We have been saying tah-tah for now to friends and neighbours. We have had dinner invites, coffee clutches and long days with old friends.
Last week we spent a day at our friend Sue's Muskoka Cottage on Clear Lake. Seven former Wardair employees laughed and reminisced with us. It was a wonderful day. Some of these "kids" I first met and trained back in 1986.
Cripes!
These are friendships that have endured and even though we don't see each other on a  regular basis, when we are together the years melt away.
Good times.

Friends for Life
Meanwhile at Pine Tree House the packing is moving along. Boxes are stacked on top of one another in two rooms. The garage is full of boxes. Some packed and others sitting empty waiting for odds and sods from various rooms. On August 1st we start packing larger items like our prints and pictures. We have special boxes and packing material to accomplish that job. Our home will look very empty when the walls are bare.

We made the decision to send our van west with Hansen's. We drop it off in Toronto at their Terminal in early August and it will arrive in Delta BC on August 21st. That should be the exact day we arrive in the Delta/Tswwassen area from our last cross country night in an RV Park in Sicamous- just east of Kamloops.

Priscilla at the Ready
 
Island Garden
If the van delivery- by Rail, is delayed a day or two, we'll sit it out in Priscilla for a couple of days. The final leg of our journey takes us from the ferry dock at Tswwassen to either Swartz Bay- near Sidney, or up island to Nanaimo. We haven't quite decided. An hour drive from Sidney or a 2 1/2 hour Ferry ride to Nanaimo. Our first destination is an RV Park called Country Maples just south of Chemainus where we'll set up house until our new home is ready on September 29th. Including the week from Orillia to The Island, we'll spend 7 weeks in Priscilla- our 30 foot RV.
It will be an experience to be sure.

In the meantime we are here in Orillia, Ontario passing time, packing and doing "things" for the last time. We know it will be tough to leave but it's the beginning of a new era. One we are looking forward to with great excitement.


Friday, July 7, 2017

ROBBLOG #623


5 1/2 weeks!

Nope. Not the name of a new movie coming out this Christmas. 5 1/2 weeks is the amount of time my Hubbie Tom and I have left before we blow this Ontario "popsicle stand".
Now, I mean that with all the love in my Ontario heart and winter a fond memory.

Just 5 weeks and a few measly days until we depart in Priscilla- our RV, for a warmer Palm Tree type Mediterranean Climate namely Vancouver Island and specifically the Cowichan Valley.
No -30c temps. No snow. No Patrick Brown and no regrets.

Our new home will be ready for occupancy at the end of September- we hope. There's been a delay of 60 days from the original possession date of July 29th. That move-in date would have been on my 66th Birthday- a present of sorts, however red tape and a plethora of "builder" excuses has necessitated a move-in occupancy at the end of September.

Vegetation on the Island
We've just come back from The Island where we picked interior finishes for our new build, rented a Canada Post box, talked to Mr. Roger's west coast employees about our mobile phones and found a nice RV park south of Chemainus where we will live with our two puppies and two felines for 6 weeks! It's not "real" camping such as our friend and soon to be "Islander" Karen is experiencing. She's travelling the country right now, heading west with only her wits, her Yellow Lab Hailey and a tent which- according to her, has an ensuite bath.
Nice try Karen!
Meanwhile we go "glamping" in an RV with a three piece bath, queen bed, central air, gas furnace and fully equipped kitchen. Trust me, to a Gay man that is still roughing it! A suite such as we had in Sidney's Best Western Hotel earlier this week is my kind of camping but I digress...

Maple Bay is 10 minutes from our house. That's Salt Spring Island in the distance.
The moving boys come August 14th and load up all our personal effects. The following day we slip away. I say slip away because we intend to depart Orillia, Ontario with little or no fanfare. Perhaps under the cover of darkness. Perhaps earlier than we are saying or later. I just want it to be Tom and I waving a fond goodbye to Pine Tree House our much-loved c.1882 Victorian house and our home for the past 25 years.

Lawrd knows that is going to be difficult enough and I'll be weeping all the way to Sault Ste. Marie our first overnight stop on our westward trek.

I will be blogging along the way. Forgive me if I don't bet back to this blog until then. There is lots to do. Lots to think about and to be truthful my stomach is already in knots. I know things will calm down- eventually- but with a move three time zones away, I believe Tom and I are handling it quite well...

Until the sobbing starts.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ROBBLOG #622




Here I am again folks!

I should first say it's been almost a month since I last blogged but I have an excuse.
I have been busy.
I can hear you saying|:
"Hey we all have busy lives Rob. You're retired! All you have to do is write a few hundred words now and then. More now than "then"- if you don't mind"

Okay! Okay! I understand but I am still stating my case.
What with our westward move and all- see last blog, it's been a little hectic around Pine Tree House.
We were granted lot registration from North Cowichan a few weeks back and since then a building permit.
As of a few day ago we have a hole in the ground and our garage pad has been poured. We have been told that we might see walls up by the end of his current week in June
Pardon me while I do a "Happy Dance"
~insert Happy Dance music here~

I also have some news not as positive. We also heard a couple of weeks back that our new build has been delayed 60 days, so our move in date in now the end of September. After a day of mourning and shock, we got our act together and realized that "it is what it is" and moved on. We had hoped to be delayed only 30 days but the builder took the full 60. On the plus side we want a good build not a shabby build and we know we'll get that with this Island builder. Since getting a firm move-in date, we've booked our mover. We've enquired about services in the Cowichan and have started packing- even though our new departure date is mid-August. We'll also be travelling westward in Priscilla- our RV, actually living within her for about 6 weeks until our new home is ready for us. That will be an experience! 2 Adults. 2 mini-schnauzers and 2 orange cats in a 30 foot RV!!
I will blog about that.

Pine Tree House our C1882 Home in Orillia Ontario
As for blogging, a friend has suggested we start a Facebook page to keep friends and family up to date along our westward route. Besides writing it would also allow us to post photos of our experience right up to and including move in day. The "Husband" and I and giving it some thought although this blog would work just as well. Stayed tuned.

So, with two months left before out Ontario departure we have a bunch of work to do around this house including all the packing. The grass still needs cutting. Gardens need weeding and inside we still have to run a dust mop over the floors now and then. Friends are already lining up dates to have a goodbye dinner. One has taken place already. Another friend who is away for the summer has already said his goodbyes. We know for sure we'll be seeing him and his wife on the Island as soon as we get settled. If my cousin's health continues to improve, we might see her staying with us for January. We have our fingers crossed.

So Kids, that's it for now. I promise to update you again when the new build moves along and in the meantime maybe Blanche and Baby Jane or even "God" will pop by for a visit.

Hope springs eternal.




Friday, May 19, 2017

ROBBLOG #621


It's OFFICIAL!!

My Hubbie Tom and I are official landowners in Beautiful British Columbia. The title to our land should arrive today via e-mail.
So, what does this mean?
Quite simply it means that we own property here in Ontario as well as in British Columbia- on Vancouver Island to be precise.

Now, to be clear, in a couple of months we will hand over our Orillia, Ontario land to new owners who bought our c.1882 Victorian Home a couple of months back. At that time we will just own land in BC. All part of our move to "the Island" this summer. If you haven't read previous blogs, then let me bring you up to speed. We have sold our home here in Ontario to get away from cold winters and snow.
Why?
I have reached official "Seniorhood" and Tom will receive his in a couple of years. This is our retirement plan.

Our move to the Island is to the Cowichan Valley in the southern part of the Island. Google "Cowichan Valley" or "Duncan BC". The City is Duncan and is located on the Trans Canada One- 45 minutes north of Victoria over the Malahat and about a half hour south of Nanaimo. We are 10 minutes to Salt Spring Island to the east and have a splendid view of Mount Prevost to the north. We'll have mild winters with the chance of a few flakes of the white stuff. That's nothing to worry about. There's less rain in the Cowichan than in Victoria which in turn has less rain than Toronto- and Miami Beach! There's year round biking and walking. Golf- if I was interested in golfing, can be played all year and since we have a lawn, Island lawns are also cut year round.
Oh, and Palm Trees. four varieties as a matter of fact with the most popular being "trachycarpus fortune". The date palm. Rhododendrons grown huge as do Yuccas and Ornamental grasses. Trees such as the Arbutus with reddish colour trunks and "the monkey tree" (see below) are green year round Such fun!
If one has an RV or a travel trailer, parks are open year round. It will be quite the lifestyle change.

Monkey Tree in Sidney BC
Now that we hold "title", we expect a hole to be dug for our new home within the next week. We have been told that the basement is dug and walls go up in about 10 days. This building a new home- and a custom-built model, is stressful. Last time we did that was 30 years ago when we bought a new home from plans. That house took a year to gain occupancy. We expect our Island Home to be move-in ready in August.

Victoria BC in Mid-February
For now, we wait patiently enjoying our current property for a while longer. We are clearing out closets, our garage and a large garden shed. Two garage sales have not made us rich but we did clear a bunch of stuff. That's a good feeling.

When we start our westward trek this summer in Priscilla- our 30 foot RV, I hope to write this blog daily. Sort of a Canada 150 project.

Such fun!

Friday, May 5, 2017

ROBLOG #620



For the Merry Month of May it's just another Conversation/Talk with The “Big Guy” upstairs.
Me: So your High Holiness, howzit now?

HIM: Just fine Rob and I love that reference to Letterkenny. I really love that show!

Me: Me too!

HIM: Yes, I love a good laugh as well as the next believer. So Rob, let me say- good for you for kicking that caffeine habit.

Me: Wait! What? Thanks...You know about that?
HIM: Rob, Rob, Rob. I know all and see all and cause most things on earth to happen- except for Trump being the leader of the "Americans" and the re-making of Margaret Attwood’s novel "The Handmaid’s Tale". Not my doing!

Me: Oh…yes. But…
HIM: Now those are both scary scenarios but as for your over the top intake of caffeine- not so bad in the long run but still-good for you.
Me: Ummm. Okay…

HIM:So how are you my friend. I mean I know how you are but for the sake of this conversation- how the hell are you?
Me: Fine. Just fine. How’s your son?

HIM: Oh, like most young men, he's over the top and obnoxious and still into this "prostrate yourself before me and worship me thing". That is so 1st Century.
Me: and your wife?
HIM: Mary or Mable?

Me: What now? ~pause~ Oh gee, both I guess.
HIM: Mary is pretty busy as usual with the Mother of God thing for the Catholics. Kind of a misnomer as she wasn’t my Mother. I mean I impregnated her from afar for Christ’s sake!

Me:  A little heavy on the cursing God wouldn't you say?

HIM: What cursing? I mean I got her pregnant for Christ’s sake. You know, for the sake of my son, so he could take a trip to earth and do a walk-about for a few years and that’s where it ends. Those last three years we not my doing by the way. It was all on his shoulders. Kids, eh? They try to be cool and have the glory of being the "Leader of the Pack" by getting a bunch of people to follow them. Did you know my Son was the original Twitter star?
Me: No. I did not.

HIM: Think about it.
~thinking~

Me: Cripes! 'Follow"!!
HIM: Rob. Language!

Me: Sorry. I mean Holy Smoke! And Mabel?
HIM: Mabel? Oh Mable. Yes, she’s good. She keeps a low profile. She’s on another planet right now. A week away with the girls- Mary Magdalene and Ruth.

Me: Oh...

HIM: Now Robbie, I want to put this on the agenda today. A lot of people were mean to you in 2016. Did some stuff behind your back- right?

Me: Well, yes in a manner of speaking.
HIM: Come now. I saw you. I heard you.

Me: You did?
HIM: Of course. I heard all your thoughts. Look Rob, you know I’m the Big Cheese right? The Trinity.
Know all. See all. Hear all- except the stuff your friend Geraldine knows before Me.

Me: She really has a network doesn’t she?
HIM: I suppose she does…

Me: but again how did...

HIM: I saw it all. You were disappointed. You needed that success but you seem to think you failed. I am telling you, you did not. You were a huge success. Just ask anyone who was there. They will tell you. What you did with what little you had was so amazing! Don’t worry Robbie-Boy. You are better than all of them. Move ahead and do your own thing. 2017 will be- and is, a banner year for you.
Me: Oh good.

HIM: So, how’s your move coming?

Me: You know about that God? Wow!
HIM: I am omnipresent my friend and who do you think put the idea to "go west" into your head to begin with- Priscilla Queen of the Desert? That Island is paradise on earth and I visit it often…in disguise of course.

Me: You do? You spend time on the Island?
HIM: Sure. Mount Sicker and Mount Prevost for sure. What a view of the ocean that I made.  I know it’ll be a good thing. You will LOVE it there. I do.

Me: Can’t argue with you there.
HIM: Rob, you can’t argue with me anywhere. I am the top. I answer to no one.

Me: Gee, I wish I could meet you face to face but alas I guess it’s impossible to meet with you in person.
HIM: I am sorry. It is. There are those that tried- like Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder and we know what happened to them.
Me: They went blind?

HIM: What? For Goodness sake- No! I turned them down. It would be fun to sit across from you and have a Latte. I wish we could. Sorry again. I truly am sorry.

Me: Just not possible- ever?
HIM: Remember what Charles Dickens wrote in an Xmas Carol? The Ghost of Christmas Present says- "Know me better Man! You've never seen the likes of me before!" Well if you did see me face to face…you’d melt.

Me: Yikes!!
 
 
HIM: But I am working on a way. It’s a pet project. Rome wasn’t built in day you know. Maybe one day you can hold a press conference and I’ll be the surprize guest and materialize right next to you. That’d be something…eh?

Me: It would Knock a lot of folks on their ass to be certain.
HIM: Look Rob. I’ll think about that real hard and maybe sooner than you think my project will be ready to go and I’ll appear before the media with you by my side.

Me: Wouldn’t you prefer the Pope. I mean he is your rep on Earth?
HIM: Well Rob, who the fuck told him that? I never did. Did you?

Me: ~grimace~ Of course not.
HIM: All poppycock and trappings and pomp and circumstance. Poop and a lot of false circumstance I say. Look I am here to look over you all, not mess with you all. I can’t really help you. You all have to help yourself.

Me: Oh.
HIM: But take Santa Claus for instance. Now there is a fellah that can help! I mean he travels the globe in one night. Fiddlesticks me…even I can’t do that Rob.
~grimace again~
I am sorry for the cussing there but sometimes I just get so darn riled up. At times I even create huge waves on the oceans just to dilute my anger. Why on Caprion last month I made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

Me: Caprion? 40 days and nights. Hasn’t that been done before?

HIM: Only in a fairy tale Rob.
Me: Oh right.

HIM: Rob, you don’t know the planet Caprion do you.
Me: No.

Him: Ah, but you will…and soon
Me: Good to know.
Him: Oh Heavens, look at the time. I got to fly.
Me: You mean "run" Sir- don't you?
HIM: No Rob, I mean fly. Why on earth would I have made "ME" if I couldn't fly?
Me: You made you?
HIM: You'd never begin to understand my Lad. See you! ~swoosh~
Me: See you next time Oh Holy One!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

ROBBLOG #619


Oh My Gawd!
There is a life after CAFFEINE!
Sad but true.

I love my caffeine.
Morning Coffee- a whole pot is good.
Evening Tea- another pot.
Then, driving by any of the 1,000 Tim Hortons in Orillia during the day- another cup.

Alas, my dear readers the time has come. I've rolled the stone away and walked out of my caffeine tomb to go cold turkey. (Wow! an amalgamation of Thanksgiving and Easter in one complete sentence!)
Why on earth?
Well number one reason is I have been peeing up a storm since late January.
Increased urination is the medical term.
I have been on three drugs. None of them helped.
One gave me dry mouth and made me nauseous.
Another caused me to pee even more and made me feel like I was in a cloud.

So, a few weeks back I chatted to my Cousin Jim who told me his Doctor had suggested he remove coffee from his daily routine too.
Carol, his wife, added: "Rob, he pees 24 times a day!!"
Ummm, thanks Carol.
 In fact that morning at breakfast he enjoyed his first "real" coffee in a month. I told him what I had gone through.



Then, a week later I dropped caffeine.
I bought caffeine free Tim's in a bag and a box of K cups.
I purchased a decaffeinated Tetley tea- which isn't too bad.
I'm still working on the coffee. In fact every restaurant I have been in the past week or so I have made it a point to ask for the brand name of the decaf they serve. I like Mother Parkers but their online site says they only sell to restaurants and hotels.
Shite.

So, in the meantime I enjoy 3 cups of non-coffee in the morning. I have cut down on the amount of non-coffee liquid I imbibe.

Flying without a parachute, I thought I'd get a huge headache from withdrawal but that didn't happen.
I tell myself I am drinking the real thing and my brain might be buying a bit of that horseshit story but honestly? The "umph" is missing in the morning.

All in all this is just another feature of growing older and being in one's 66th year!
Yes, it sucks.
I may look "fabulous" on the outside (double chins aside) but inside I am breaking down.
It's inevitable.
I mean if I was Jane Fonda I'd have my neck done for sure but I would still be on decaf.
It's my life now from here on in.

Don 't cry for me Argentina.
Things they are a-changing.

Friday, March 24, 2017

ROBBLOG #618

So...How're yuh now?

March so far has been busy and very stressful.
Selling, buying, getting our ducks in a row.
No one ever said it was going to be easy moving three time zones away onto an Island!

As I have written before in this blog space, my husband Tom and I are pulling up roots and planting them down again in the Cowitchan Valley on Vancouver Island. This will all happen in mid-summer. Maybe a tad earlier. It all depends when our new house is ready.

We are both excited at the prospect of living in a "Maritime, Mediterranean Climate" with warmer winters. Cowitchan means "warm land". It also means Palm Trees, Yuccas and Monkey Trees.
Most importantly- no snow!
Well, very little at the least. If there is a dusting it disappears in a few hours or sooner. One could just stay inside, pull the blinds and ignore it, although, this year was a strange year for "Islanders". We were told it was the most snow on Vancouver Island in 60-70 years. It didn't stay long but it wasn't easy to get around. Some places have only one snowplow -and it's shared with another community! Other spots like Salt Spring Island- so I am told, have no plow. It's an Island thing! Neither are they prepared for it and at the least, able to drive in it. The only folks on the roads are transplanted Ontarians who are used to carrying on as normal through the white stuff.

I am looking ahead to gardening- West Coast Style. I plan on having three Trachycarpus fortunei. That's Palm Trees for us easterners. Actually, there are four varieties growing there. All hardy and they seem to handle occasional cold weather quite well. We might refer to them as date palms in Ontario and usually they stay indoors except for a summer on the patio. I have been checking out nurseries and a 6 foot palm could cost me up to $450. I love palms- always have.


I hope to also add some Yuccas. There are three Yucca Filamentosa's at our front steps and they have been there for 25 years. So, if they perform well here in Ontario, they'll be just fine on the Island. Rhododendrons grow like trees and I plan on putting in a few. Tom is digging up some of his Daylilies come summer and will transplant them to The Cowitchan. Our Tropical Brugmansia which grows dozens of yellow, flute-shaped flowers during the summer, will also find a new home in the Valley. Not sure if they can stay in the ground over "winter" but if not, we have plenty of storage in our full basement. Both of us are looking forward to a new kind of year-round gardening.
By the way, lawns grown all year long so it will be strange cutting the grass in January/February.

Our new home that we intend to call "Palm Villa" is a custom design with 2500 square feet of living space and a garage and a 1/4. We'll only have one vehicle in Duncan, so we can get by without having a 2 car garage. A storage/mechanical room in the basement affords lots of extra storage. We are on a corner property like our Pine Tree House here in Orillia, only in Duncan, the street runs down the south side of the house and not the north like we have now.

Here in Orillia, Ontario it's just a waiting game now. Waiting for the basement to be dug in Duncan and eventually the walls and roof. One has to really keep on top of things when you are building a house more than half a country away and we are learning something every day.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

ROBBLOG #617


Who the Hell picks those best movie nominations at the Oscars??

Although I am not that thrilled with Oscar's picks for movies, this year I made a point to watch every film- at least those I could finish. So, here's a quick rundown of those I watched before and after the Academy Awards and a couple that should have been nominated....and yes, I know the Oscars were last Sunday! It's taken me a few extra nights to see all the films- thanks to Stremio and Popcorn time.

La La Land
A couple of nice dancing scenes and some terrific jazz but I don't see what all the hype was about.
A good film but others were better. At the very east I hope this movie encourages other musicals to be made like in the "good old days".

Hacksaw Ridge
Tough to watch. Gritty. Blood. Body Parts. I thought it being an AMERICAN war movie it would take best film. If you can stomach all of the above, it's worth watching for Andrew Garfield. An American born actor who was brought up in the UK.

Allied
Another WWII film about Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) who meets a French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard ) in 1942 Africa. This film should have had some nominations. Far superior to the slow moving, unmemorable Manchester by The Sea.

Manchester By the Sea.
It took me two tries to get through this piece of drivel. That was Casey Affleck's acting ability?
Yikes! I only finished the film the night after the Oscars because I wanted to see why he won the Best Aator category. I still don't know why he won with Denzel Washington in the pack of nominees, which leads me to-

Fences
A great film version of the stage play. You can always tell a movie version of a Broadway play because it looks like and sounds like a stage play. It is worth watching and no wonder Viola Davis won an Oscar. It should have been Best Actress- not supporting. Oh and to all those naysayers who have told me over the years that one cannot direct a show and be a part of the cast, I still say "poppycock"!! Denzel directed and starred in this movie. He is not very likeable but there are strong performances from Mr. Washington as well as the entire cast- Russell Hornsby and Jovan Adepo too.

Hidden Figures
This probably should have won best picture and all three leading ladies their own Oscar but there are only so many to go around. Good on NASA for this true story. You saw one of the "real" characters on stage during the Oscars. It would have been tough to choose between this movie and Moonlight- but they did.



Moonlight
A coming of age, "Hey- I think I'm Gay Movie" with the lead character played by three actors over the course of 20 years or so. Fine performances. A gritty story and deserving of the Best Movie win. I still can't believe this film achieved those kind of accolades from that kind of academy.

Come Hell or High Water
Is still haven't finished this good old boy, Texas sheriff piece of ~ahem~ crap. It just wears on you and is one good reason never to visit Texas again. I was in Texas for 3 1/2 weeks a few years ago and let me just say that Texas has some wonderful vistas but get away from the cities and it's a different word. Being Gay there is not such a good idea either. Oh, you know that everyone carries a gun in Texas- right?

Lion
What a great motion picture...if you can make it through the first 45 minutes. It took two tries for me what with the subtitles in the first part of the film but Dev Patel had me in tears by the end. Nicole Kidman is in this film too- as if that matters. Doesn't she always plays Nicole Kidman whereas Meryl Streep never plays Meryl Streep?

Moana (not Nominated for best movie)
A Disney animated film. It has great colour and clarity in high def and Dwayne Johnson's song "You're Welcome" is cute but after a while I lost interest and did the dinner dishes.

Arrival
The Canadian Movie that anyone who lives in Quebec would never refer to as a "Canadian Movie" but as a Quebecois Film. It stars mostly Americans of course and has some nice bits about Aliens. Worth seeing and dreaming about, however, I would prefer my Aliens to look more like Dwayne Johnson in a speedo. ~grin~

And finally....

Passengers (not nominated for best movie)
500 passengers and crew in hibernation for 120 years heading for a new planet. Three wake up 90 years before landing. Uh-Oh...
Some neat stuff- especially the bionic bartender. There should have been a category for "Best Ass" cheeks. Christ Pratt would have won "ass" down.








Sunday, February 26, 2017

ROBBLOG #616


March.
Time marches on.
The months march by us.
People are marching.
We're on the move.

All of those things and more.
We have bought a new-build house in Duncan BC.
That's on Vancouver Island. 45 minutes from Victoria. About 30 minutes from Nanaimo and across from Salt Spring Island on Vancouver Island.
That's all in the past two weeks and the big news- our home (I talked about that in the previous RobBlog) has sold.
First viewers.
4 hours later after the first showing we were presented with an offer.
Real Estate is nuts here in Orillia Ontario. The house sold so fast our heads are spinning. We just have a buyer inspection of the house and property and then it's a done deal. So, baring the inspector finding termites, asbestos, dry rot or some other fun stuff, the official sold stamp goes on the property.

I don't think it has sunk in yet.
We're moving.
West.
To Vancouver Island.
The closest one can get to paradise in Canada.
Mediterranean climate. Palms. Yuccas. Huge Rhodos. Arbutus Trees. Monkey Trees and no snow.
Well, hardly any. This year has not been the norm. Islanders have not seen the amount of snow they had two weeks ago- the day before we landed from Toronto, in 60-70 years! Usually, if there are a few flakes on the ground it disappears in a few hours.

The Island is wonderful. Besides the green grass and the copious plant life, the views of mountains and ocean are nothing short of spectacular. The Malahat that goes through the mountains just south of Duncan is amazing. You can feel your ears pop as you drive up!


Duncan BC is about the size of Orillia. A nice city with lots of downtown shops and culture.
Our house has a view of Mount Prevost and we are 10 minutes from the Ocean and Salt Spring Island. If we want something busier, Nanaimo is about a half hour away and the beautiful ocean-side city- and provincial capital, of Victoria is less than an hour. We strolled through the Empress Hotel and the grounds of the Provincial Parliament Buildings next door. There are palm trees in the harbour and a cherry tree was just coming out of bud- in Mid-February!

This move will be the biggest either my Husband or I have made- not counting Tom's trip from Germany to Canada in the first place.
It will be the biggest move we have ever made together.



Yes, it feels daunting and scary but we have no regrets.
Goodbyes will be difficult as we'll be closing the door to Pine Tree House for the last time.
We'll suck it up and look to the future.
It's all good.

Now we'll be 5 hours from one of our favourite places on earth- Honolulu. Australia looms closer but London and Paris will be a longer flight.
That was all considered as part of our decision to go but ultimately if we don't do it now- at this age, we'd probably just stay put.

So- Go West young men...and we are!




Saturday, February 4, 2017

ROBBLOG #615


2017.
It will be a year of change and renewal for my Husband Tom and I.

We have decided to do the pioneer thing and head west from our cozy century home here in Orillia, Ontario CANADA.!
Yessir...all the way to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA. As far west as one can get in this great land of ours.
Why move? Well, we are both retired and starting our "Seniorhood" and we would like to get away from the winters.

Living in a Mediterranean climate- such as one finds in the Cowichan Valley, will be a dream come true- and yes, there are Palm Trees and Mountains and an Ocean and tidal flats and spring bulbs and trees budding in late January.
A friend last week exclaimed: Palm trees in CANADA???
Yes, I assured her and showed photos.

I have been watching and learning about Vancouver Island for a couple of years. E-mailing, talking to folks and "Google Earthing". In fact I could drive from Victoria International Airport to our new home in the Cowichan Valley- without a map.

Before you say to me- but Rob, all that rain and cloud, check for yourself. The area where we hope to live has some rain. As an example- Victoria- BC's Capitol, has less rain than Toronto and Miami and the Cowichan Valley has 1/3 less rain than Victoria. I have been watching webcams for over two years now and I see a lot of sun.

There has been some snowfall this year and cold, leaving many residents of the Island gobsmacked- but that is unusual to be sure.

We have a huge list of what to do next but first and foremost is selling Pine Tree House. This has been a terrific home for Tom and I for almost 25 years.



Pine Tree House was built c.1882
We have papers and pictures from all those years ago and a history of the house from then until present day.
We have a triple car paved drive.
A double car garage with insulated workshop and storage loft.
A seven level deck from garage to back door to side yard. A pond.
A 10x10 garden shed that emulates Pine Tree House.
There are gardens on three sides of the house with a lot of approximately 100 x 95.
A verandah wraps itself around two sides of our historic home.

Inside two and one half baths including a master ensuite.
Three bedrooms and a laundry room/utility bath right at the back door. The washer and dryer are LG and front load. There's a utility sink with a French flavour.
We have 2 gas fireplaces. One in the parlour and one in the family room.
A Dining Room off the kitchen with built in oven. Stovetop and dishwasher. Double sink.
An upright refrigerator/freezer that has an ice cube maker- the best invention ever- and a reverse osmosis water dispenser
Hardwood floors downstairs. Carpeted stairs and landing.
One bedroom is laminate. One carpeted. The master has original pine flooring.
Upgraded Windows are shuttered or covered with two year old blinds- one with a remote.
The cellar- although not very tall- this is 1882 don't forget, is home to the high efficiency gas furnace, breaker panel, sump pump- again this is a c.1882 vintage home and central vac container.

The home lends itself to antiques and a quieter lifestyle. I love spending summers on the verandah overlooking Matchedash Street, North to the east and our gardens to the south.
This is what I will miss most about the "old girl". The back of the house sees western sun.

Have I left anything out?
Probably.
Swisssh Radio and Starlite Radio will make the journey as will this blog and of course our family of pets- two mini-schnauzers and two orange cats- both brothers.

Our Price tag?
Quite Reasonable....for a desirable Orillia, north ward location and heritage home.

Any takers?