Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kinda Routine Around Here

We seem to be plagued with endless days of intermittent sun between rains.....!!!  Lots of rains - little sun!  It is always a judgement call whether to start or even try to complete outdoor projects.

Late last week, I started washing the exterior of our house. The vinyl siding and eaves need a good wash, every couple of years, and it seemed that now was a good time to get that done.  I use a bucket with warm soapy water, a good brush and a hose to spray off the suds and dirt.  It seems that every time I filled the bucket and hauled out the hose, it would start to rain.  Oh well!  I just worked in the rain.  I had about one quarter of the house left to wash and that was accomplished this morning (also in the rain). One more home improvement project completed!  Yeah!

We also pressure washed our driveway and sidewalks so the spring work jobs list is getting done.
Photo taken from the Stihl Web site...Same gas powered tool though....!
Jeanette spent several hours working in the garden.   Being the green thumb in our household, she sure keeps things looking nice.  I fired up the Stihl combi hedge trimmer and once the cedar hedge was trimmed,  Jeanette busied herself with gathering several bags of cedar hedge clippings for curb side recycling.

Our pond project has been on hold while we patiently wait for some good weather before I install some pre-made forms, pour cement and finally raise the pond above grade.  It is looking like Friday, Saturday and Sunday will finally deliver the much needed dry weather to work on that.  I am sure looking forward to completing that task.

The pond could look like this once completed
A new pond liner will then be placed over the existing one and, once done,  I'll make it all look pretty with rock and flagstone.  With the pond raised above grade,  we're hoping it will end the constant silting that called for frequent pond cleaning.

A couple of weeks back, I had my annual visit with our doctor. We chatted about my state of health and she took my blood pressure.  She mentioned that I was one of the very few patients who doesn't suffer from 'white coat syndrome'.  Some patients feel anxiety, while in a doctor's office, and their blood pressure reflects that.  My blood pressure was perfect!  Weight was good.  Heart rate was good.

As part of the regular routine though, she put together a list of tests that she wanted me to have done at a local lab. I  fasted for 12 hours then headed to the lab this past Tuesday.
Three vials of blood were taken....
I did not need a cat scan but other routine tests were taken and that was that.

The hole in my arm was covered with a bandage and I was good to go.  I`ll wait for the results but, in a few days, I can go on line (with a special password) and check the results for myself.

And that is the kind of routine stuff that has been happening around here.

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekend Visitors and A Birthday

Ours was truly a family oriented weekend.  Deni and Courtney were flying in from Edmonton, cousin Darcie was visiting from Vancouver Island, on her drive to visit family in the BC Interior and Alberta, and we had Easton for a sleepover.
Friday evening @ Abbotsford Airport to collect Courtney and Deni who flew in from Edmonton, Alberta.
Courtney and Deni were in for the weekend to attend one of his high school friend's wedding reception.  They spent Friday evening and part of Saturday with us before driving off to visit with Courtney's family and, later, attending the reception in White Rock.
Unloading luggage at our home.
Our daughter, Ginette, was celebrating her birthday and Jeanette got busy baking a funky cake to emulate a muffin.  It turned out quite well.
Ginette's custom made birthday cake.
Saturday morning breakfast
Trevor was busy with training stuff and was not able to join us on Saturday morning for breakfast but when Ginette and Easton arrived, we got busy with eating and celebrating.
The birthday girl, sitting in our sun-room
The sun room heated nicely so we moved in there after breakfast to light the birthday cake and to have Ginette open presents.
Easton loved the icing on this cake.
When our celebrations were over with, we got caught up on everyone's lives and activities before Ginette left Easton with Jeanette and I and then drove Courtney and Deni to Courtney's family home in Cloverdale.
A parting photo with Easton
Another parting photo to include Jeanette...
Easton is so familiar with us and our home that when his parents leave him here, it is of little concern.  He knows where his toys are and he busies himself with play.  He was here for an overnight.  Ginette and Trevor were invited to a large family gathering and would not get back home till quite late.  We're happy to have Easton for a sleepover.....anytime!
Playing with these awesome wooden toys that our kids played with when they were his age.
Jeanette kept most of the best kiddie toys when our kids outgrew them.  They are now finding their way out of storage and back in the hands of the next generation.  Great fun!
Between rains, Jeanette had Easton out in his stroller and walking around our area.  Grazing cows drew his attention.  He loves to watch everything and the newness of it all is a magnet for his curiosity.
Darcie arrives from Vancouver Island, late Saturday afternoon.
Jeanette's cousin Darcie called us at 2:30 pm stating that she would make the 3:00 pm ferry from Victoria to the mainland and would be at our home by late afternoon.  We held off dinner till she arrived.  Darcie was also celebrating a birthday so we re-lit the muffin cake and had her blow out the candles.  A little celebratory shot of Tequila was raised for the occasion.
Easton looks on as he learns about these birthday traditions.
Easton played for a bit more before we settled him down for the night.  He was quickly asleep.  
Jeanette and I treasure the time spent with our little grandson.  It is such a treat whenever he comes over.
Darcie, Jeanette and I then sat in the family room and chatted till we called it a night.  Easton slept all night.  We picked him up when we heard him playing in his bed at 6:30 Sunday morning.  He kept busy playing in the kitchen before Darcie was up.  With a nice  breakfast had, Darcie said her bye byes and drove off to visit her father in the BC West Kootenay city of Nelson.

Easton hung out with us till about 1:00 pm when his mom dropped in to gather him and his stuff and head back for their home.

Courtney and Deni texted at 10:00 pm, last night, when their flight landed back in Edmonton.

And that is the extent of our fun filled weekend.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Healing and Golfing

In the previous blog I mentioned how it had been several years back when I last was plagued with a head cold.  I'm hoping I can avoid another for several more years.  That was no picnic!  I am not a patient patient, if you get the drift!  LOL

I'm back to about 80%...and that is good enough to get back outdoors. Can't wait!!!!  My energy level is returning and the 'feeling good' part is a blessing!

This return to better health is great because today is set aside for golf. Our group is meeting at our home this morning and we'll drive east to the Sandpiper Golf and Country Club. We play this course once or twice every year.  With great golf deals available, this course was our choice for the weekly round.
Sandpiper Golf and Country Club, Harrison Mills, BC
My back yard pond rehabilitation project has sat idle for one week since I drained, cleaned and prepped it for raising it above grade.  Well.....the relentless rains, this week, undid all of my work.  While I was rehabilitating from the head cold, the pond filled up with muddy water. With a forecast for sun from Sunday on, I will once again pump out the water and begin forming the retaining wall and reinforcing with re-bar before I mix and pour cement.  More on that project when I am back working on it in earnest.

Using his little John Deere for stability, Easton spends more and more time figuring out how to walk on his own.
Although he has taken his first few steps without any stabilizing aids,  Easton spends a fair bit of time practicing.  He'll surprise us all soon as he gains comfort on two legs.
Ginette and Easton dropped by yesterday to pick up Jeanette. They headed off for a nice hike in one of the many local woodland parks near here.  It was a dry day for a walk.  Before long, Easton was sound asleep.
Jeanette and Ginette sat on a park bench and let Easton sleep.  The flowing creek underneath provided some soothing sound.
Our 5th wheel has been at the Fraserway RV facility in Abbotsford, BC, since our return from our winter journey.  It is there to have some wiring and body work repaired as a result of the early January tire blowout on the I-5 in southern California. 

I dropped by there yesterday. A review has been concluded on the work required (under the insurance claim) but little has been done.  Insurance companies do work at a slow pace sometimes.  It's not a pressing issue for us but it brings into question the need for better communication between the repair facility and the insurance company.  I'll apply some gentle pressure on this next week.

The only other accomplishment, while recovering from the cold, was to edit the photos and complete  the article I was asked write for the CBC 20 Year Association.  It will be published this early June. The article's focus is on our RVing experiences.

Although I left the CBC- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - some 20 years or so ago, I am a 20 Year Association member and still keep in contact with some former work colleagues.

Our son Deni and his wife Courtney are flying in this evening.  They are here for a weekend visit and to attend one of Deni's high school friend's wedding. They will overnight at our home tonight and with Courtney's family tomorrow night before jetting back to Edmonton this Sunday night.

That's my report.  Nothing more to add.

Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Under The Weather

In more ways than one!  I'm not certain if working on the back yard pond - and getting wet- was the cause but our west coast area and I have been under the weather since the last blog post.
It has been raining - more on than off - these past few days.  There is little let-up in the days ahead.  The forecast is for more rain.

I, on the other hand, have been plagued with a debilitating head cold. It has been several years since the last one.  This one is a doozie!

I felt a scratchy throat on Sunday morning.  Although still feeling fine, Jeanette and I chose to skirt the clouds and head off on the motorcycle for Fort Langley and a favourite little breakfast place we enjoy.
Heading out
In Fort Langley
Nice signage
Quiet morning
Back at home, my throat was getting more scratchy and uncomfortable.  Friends, Lorne and Mariette, were coming over for Sunday dinner so while Jeanette busied with food preparation, I edited some photos for an article I was asked to write for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) 20 Year Association.

Dinner was great but I had little appetite.  Our friends were a great distraction for the increasingly sick feelings I was experiencing.

Monday morning proved what I believed was inevitable.  I had a cold....and a doozie it is.  It is a head cold.  The left side of my face ached and it felt like my teeth would fall out.  Ouch!!!

Sinus cold medicine did help but sleep was not to be.  Like all colds, this one had to run its course. 
Others I know seem to sleep off colds but in my case, sleep is hard to find.  I am lucky to have slept six hours these past two nights combined.  It is exhausting!  Although resting comfortably, sleep continues to elude me.  I don't know why!  I am taking nighttime (drowsy) cold medicine but it is not effective in assisting with sleep.

My symptoms show signs of improving though and I feel that I may be able to get out and about to run some errands today.  We'll see!

So that is about all there is to report!  Far from exciting, it is my reality.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Golf, Riding and Back Breaking Work...

The title pretty well describes the few days since our return from  Palm Springs.
NHL Vancouver Canucks new Summer Logo
With the Vancouver Canucks players now on the golf course (Toronto Maple Leafs too), the Ottawa Senators is the last Canadian team in the playoffs.  We'll hope for a good round...but.....hmmmmm.....not certain that team will get past this next one.

So....speaking of golf, I was out there with the sticks last Wednesday, trying to lower my handicap.  Not having played these past couple of weeks had me struggling a bit out there.  

Rain was in the forecast but the weather prognosticators got it all wrong.  It was a beautiful and sunny, warm day.

Easton came by for a Tuesday visit and immediately tried out his little John Deere scooter.
He was keen to help his Nana retrieve the mail so out they went for a walk
When we purchased our present home, it was clear to me that the custom built pond in the back yard would be problematic.  Silting and fouling is an issue.  It was built below grade.  Why?  Seems silly to imagine any fair thinking person would conceive of such a thing.  The pond is at the  lowest end of the back yard.  All rain, dirt and sand runs down there and the pond became the collection place. Not good!
Using the pressure washer to clean off the scum and the Shop Vac to empty the water from the pond... A couple of little green frogs were not thrilled with losing their home....temporarily we hope.
I knew I would have to empty it, clean it out, remove the liner edge and raise the entire pond at least a few inches above grade.  That is what I was doing for the better part of today.  Bull work best describes the hours playing in water and mud.
The initial installer had shoveled buckets and buckets of river rock at the bottom of the rubber liner.  It took me a couple of hours to empty all of that.
I cleared all the rocks and then scraped the liner and kept pressure washing and using the Shop Vac to remove the mud collected at the bottom. Once clean, I managed to get it dirty again when lifting and removing the liner edge.  But....I know how to clean it and that will happen once I am satisfied with the lift and height.
What a job!!!
Rain was in the forecast and by 2:00 pm today, it started in earnest.  I put my tools away and headed for the shower.  The rain was welcome relief....certainly for my aching back!
Easton came by to inspect the work.  He kept saying "HI" as I was working.  He did come out to have a look and instantly wanted to jump into my arms.....!  I was seriously coated in mud but that mattered not to him.
Once the rain stops (today, tomorrow, the next day....) I will resume my pond project.  With the renovated pond above grade, we should no longer have a silting problem that leads to algae growth and muddy waters.  That's the theory....!  

Ginette, Easton and Jeanette headed out to the local park for an afternoon walk.  Easton is so attracted to mechanical things and his mom had to get him close to this mower.

Easton and his mom gave the Electra Glide their seal of approval....
.....then headed back for his toys in the house.

Son in law Trevor is a licensed motorcyclist and we rode over to their home one evening to let them go for a ride.  They did just that. 
Trevor is checking out all the features....

.....returning from their test ride
 I know Trevor loved riding the Harley.  He was beaming!

The long weekend is almost upon us but the better part of our time will be spent on back yard projects - including the pond lift.

Not a lot more to report on.  Thanks for dropping by.