Tuesday, June 29, 2010

House Renos

Rani is back working part time at a couple of pharmacies in Duncan and I am renovating our vintage 1972 house. A couple of weeks into the renovation my brother Mike, and his wife Wallapak, daughter Claire, and mother in law showed up and spent the weekend here. Everyone camped out on borrowed air mattresses - great fun!

Our new to us house on Carmel Drive in Duncan.

Sample of the decor - lilac fixtures in the bathroom

Louis XIV towel hanger

Multi-level beige carpet in living room

The kitchen needed a bit of cleaning. I used a kg of TSP, 3 tablespoons per bucket at a time to clean the walls and ceilings. It took 4 days of scrubbing to get rid of years of deep fat frying and smoking residues!

Painting the ceiling made the 'white' even whiter.

Kitchen paint finished. Carpet is being removed.

The vinyl roll flooring looks like slate but is easier to install and warmer on the feet. This will go in the kitchen/dining area. We will install real hardwood (on the left of the picture) in the living room and hall.

Our friends Del and Ann dropped by and lent us some portable scaffolding (very useful for painting) as well as a folding table. We will be in camping mode until we get the kitchen flooring installed and then plan to move in some furniture while I put in the hardwood floor.

My brother Mike and family visited. This is the first time I have seen Claire, who was born in Thailand last August.

Our wash basin is just the right size for Claire.

We have finally finished the bedrooms - new paint, light fixtures, and carpet. Here I am scraping off the underlay, which in the bedroom has decomposed and stuck like glue to the plywood underlay. Not designed to last 40 years apparently (although the better underlay under the living room carpet appears solid!) Note that my smile is fake.

Bedroom painted and floor painted. Ready for carpet install.

Completed master bedroom with elegant borrowed inflatable mattress. Will paint the gold ceiling fixture white.  (Our neighbors gave us 2 fixtures that they rescued from the recyclers).

I am currently removing the fairly recent carpet from the kitchen dining area and will level the old tiles before putting in the roll flooring.

We are re-using the carpet on our deck and entranceway. While it is not outdoor carpet, these areas are protected to some extent. Better than the green astro turf look anyway...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nova Scotia and Driving Across Canada

As promised, here are a few pics from our visit to Nova Scotia and our cross Canada drive. Rani had met most of my friends in Nova Scotia on her last 2 visits. This time it was my turn to meet her many friends in Ontario and beyond.

We visited with my parents near Bridgewater and even got a brief sail in one day. Dad's boat is the yellow one in the background. I helped Dad put in the wharf and launch the boat.

Dad is expanding the vegetable garden this year.

Mum is working in the 1/3 acre vineyard - certainly the neatest vineyard we saw in our travels.

Patricia and Lucy Traves show us what they have planned for the garden this year. Mike picked us up at the airport after we rolled into Dartmouth after our 1.5 day flight from Phoenix (Thankyou, Thankyou!).

We also visited with Fraser and Jean Howell. The maple trees were productive this year and they gave us a jar of syrup from their own sugar shack to take home with us.

And with Curtis McIntyre - my old buddy from Unisys.

Next, we drove through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, stopping to visit friends along the way before entering Maine. We stopped in the seaside towns of Camden and Rockport, where I got my fill of wooden boats and introduced Rani to this part of the world.

We also stopped at L.L. Bean to buy a new fleece for Rani and to drool over all the lovely camping and outdoors gear and clothing.

The camping part of this trip was not ideal. Heavy rain the first night showed us that my little 2 man tent is far from waterproof and we woke up floating on our thermarest mattresses. The next day, we did get a hike in and dried out in a hotel in New Hampshire.

We left the motel with all our gear dry and restowed and headed for Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Presidential range at about 6200 feet. Pictured here are a group of snow boarders headed for the cabins at the base of a bowl where there is still spring skiing.

Near the peak, the trail is marked by cairns and the flora is alpine.

It was very windy on the top of Mount Washington - nearly 60 mph and cold.

Rani makes sure the hut does not blow away.

From New Hampshire we drove through Vermont and up to Montreal, where we visited my friend Bruce McNab, with whom I played trumpet at McGill University 25 years ago. We headed to a cottage in the Laurentians where Bruce kept me out of trouble scrubbing algae off rocks and painting the boat house.

Dinner at the cottage with Olga, little Catherine, and Bruce.

" You missed a spot!" Bruce puts his MBA to good use.

Next we drove into Ontario where we stayed with Roxy and Patrick and their daughter Natasha at their lovely home in Unionville just outside of Toronto.

We visited Niagara Falls on our (somewhat convoluted) way to Hamilton, Sarnia, and Windsor.

The Maid of the Mist gives perspective to the falls.

There was a lovely display of hydrangeas at the botanical gardens at Niagara Falls.

We had little time to stop along the way, but managed to fit in a short hike or two, in this case around some wetlands along Lake Erie.

In London, we visited with Neeta and Nikita, friends from when Rani lived in Windsor in the 90's

In Sarnia we visited with Karen, another pharmacy friend.

And in Windsor we visited several friends, including Joy, Terry, and Terry's daughter Sarah. Rani lived in Windsor for several years, so on some days we visited up to 20 people!

In Windsor, we stayed with Rani's old friend Raj, whose wife, Kash was away on a course unfortunately.

After we left Ontario, it was back to camping. We drove through Detroit and across the US on the I-80n and I-90, enjoying less expensive gas, good highways, and great scenery. I finally waterproofed the floor of our little tent after another wet night.

Rani inspects the comfortable interior of a pioneer covered wagon in Wyoming.

We visited Angelita, another Ontario friend, in Sheridan,Wyoming.

Then a few more nights camping and we were back in BC! Note the triple tarp approach - one over the tent, one under, and one inside. Of course it did not rain that hard after we did all this, but at least we were bone dry!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in BC

Well, we have made it back to BC from Nova Scotia after a few days in the eastern states, a whirlwind tour visiting Rani's friends in Ontario, and then a quick drive across the mid and north western states, camping along the way. Some rain in Maine, which did not fall mainly on the plain, but ended up in our tent making Rani a bit unhappy. There were a few dry days of camping, thankfully, and we enjoyed some side-trips for sightseeing and hiking trails. More details and pics to follow.