May 13, 2018

A first even for Air Canada

Taken at 5:45 AM PST. You can see from the last post how much the lake has risen.

Adios dear house, see you in four weeks.

Check in went well at the airport and we were assured that our bags would travel with us on each flight.  First time either of us has taken an early morning flight without horrendous line ups.  We just sat and relaxed until the flight was called.  As we were boarding I was pulled aside.  Gulp 😯

The spelling of my surname on the ticket did not match the spelling of my name on my passport!  You can’t  travel if they do not match.  We booked these tickets last July.

What I haven’t mentioned before now is that this trip is in honor of my turning 65 in a few weeks and of Colin semi retiring.  So I decided last year that we should celebrate in style and have a grand vacation in Europe and to travel business class 😀  We had a lot of points with Aeroplan and I decided to splurge.  So here we were about to board our first flight and I was stopped in my tracks.

The Air Canada agent at the gate ( many years ago I used to work for Air Canada ) caught the misspelling of Jewall.  We had to wait while he checked everyone else through onto the plane.  He made a call to someone and they decided to let me board and said that it would be worked on as we traveled and to check in in Calgary.

How can I have missed this?  Most importantly how can the check in agent have not noticed?  Had she, we would have had a lot less stress.  Instead at 6AM she kept mentioning how tired she was.  I am not saying it is her fault but we were the only ones checking in versus the gate agent who was checking matching names for a full plane.

Kelowna to Calgary was a short one hour flight on a prop job, a DH4.

The plane turned towards the mountains across from our home. It did not appear to be too much snow up there. But we don’t really know if this is the exact area melting and draining into our lake.

The Rockies never disappoint.

Once in Calgary we headed to the Maple Leaf Lounge ( business class lounge ) where we checked in and I asked about my ticket.  There was a note on my file saying that there was nothing they could do and it should be okay as it was just one letter off.  So we went and found a place to sit.  It was freezing cold in there.  Former Prime Minister of Canada, from 2006 to 2015,  Joe Harper was just sitting around the corner from us.

We hadn’t been sitting more than ten minutes when the check in agent came over to tell me that she thought I should call Aeroplan and gave me a direct number.  She later told me that she had checked the rest of our itinerary and thought that we would definitely have trouble getting out of Toronto.  Colin and I had just been discussing the very same thing.  Very long story short, I called and that person said that I should never even have been allowed to check in and there was nothing she could do.  Well I explained that I was in Calgary and that we needed to figure out a solution.  She was most negative.  In the end I walked her over on my cell phone to the Maple Leaf Lounge check in agent and they went back and forth as well.

Almost a full hour later this wonderful Air Canada agent got me a new ticket with my proper name.  That of course brought its own set of problems, the first being that my checked luggage was now attached to a cancelled ticket 🙁  She made several calls and wrote a lot of numbers down, made more calls and read some of the numbers out and then told me that the luggage should be traveling with us.  It was me who then noticed that on the new tickets I have been reassigned different seat numbers that were not next to Colin 😥   Turns out the my original seat was showing as blocked off.  We both came to the conclusion that I now possibly was sitting in two seats.  Something I will have to deal with in Toronto.

The second leg of the flight to Toronto was when the business part of the trip kicked in.  We were on a 767-300 and each seat was a mini pod that actually does lie totally flat.  It was a short 3 hour and 45 minute trip.  For once I was the person sitting in business class as everyone passed by my on the way to their economy seats.

The menu for our trip.

The seat is very complicated but ever so comfy. There is of course a leg rest that comes up.  You can move the section behind your neck and head, forward or back, of course you can recline to the perfect position and then there is the lumbar support which really works well.

I found it cool on the flight so I cuddled under my duvet ( semi reclined ) complete with feathers.  Here I am with my noise cancelling headset provided for the flight watching the movie Three Billboards.  Somehow photos of the meal and delicious New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc never got taken.  Oh as well as the homemade chocolate chip cookie and ice creme 🙂  Colin was sitting to my left.

Can you see the other plane also coming in for a landing in Toronto?

Very busy airport.

Despite being on planes all day I have 6000 plus steps on my Fitbit.

So we have been in the international Maple Lounge now for two hours and I have had a few glasses of a US Pinot Grigio which I will try at home.  Colin had a lovely Swiss chard and strawberry salad (  I had a bite ) but I just can’t eat right now, still full from lunch.

I can’t say that I will do such an extensive post each day.  I missed all my lounge time in Calgary and spent two hours this one to write this post.

We are totally enjoying traveling in business class.  How can I ever go back to the back of the plane?

I may not put so much time into editing my photos over the next bit of time.  We will just have to see how it goes.  It is difficult to try and post and also have fun.

Wait until you read about the next leg of our trip.

 

 

 

 

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May 12, 2018

Quite the day

Certainly not how we planned our final day to play out.

The lake at 7AM. The rise is a bit slower now ( it was faster because of all the rain we had for over 24 hours a few days ago) but we still have to wait for the snow pack to melt which will start in the next few days with extraordinary highs for May.

We are about 7 inches away from the lake covering our patio and yard.  The slabs at the bottom of the photo with the crack is our patio level.

Colin went around and measured most of the electrical posts in our immediate area. The lowest is 7 inches off the ground.  I guess last year we were just under that.  However if the lake rises higher the electricity will be shut off for the entire street.  That means that we will loose everything we have in our small freezer that we keep in the shed as well as what is in the house freezer.  It amounts to between $350.00 – $400.00 dollars.  As we don’t eat meat we tend to collect special vegan items and we would hate to lose those.

So late in the afternoon we transported our freezer as well as our frozen items in the coolers above.  A friend took it all in and even cleared out a large shelf in his freezer for us.  Mucho gracias W.  I only wish that I had thought to transport all the cheese that we have in the upper fridge.  Oh well.  Other than the various cheeses the only thing we will loose will be condiments should the power go out.

We also had to weed our garden before we left. Lots of things growing.

Including weeds. The grasses are also pushing through again.  Perhaps we should have put down landscape cloth once the garden was dug out and before we added the top soil.  Next year I guess.

It took both of us working 1.5 hours to clear the weeds.  Everything is coming up except the peas.  We only have 6 or 7 peas poking through.  Perhaps I should have not have soaked the pea seeds first?  All along the right of our plot are flowers seeds coming up.  I can’t even imagine what we will see when we return mid June.

We took a quick ride in the golf cart before heading home. Just beyond the dock you see the bird island which is already partially submerged in the lake.

Near the golf course owners were staring to make sand bags.  A back breaking task.  It would do us no good to sand bag as the people on both sides of us won’t so the water will  just come around from the side into our property.

The stream coming through the golf course has widened and is fast moving. This stream comes from the snow pack melt and flows directly into our lake.

So many dead trees left from last year’s flood. You can see that the lake is slowly creeping up onto the golf course.

This was taken at 4PM. Still rising.  We think we have done all that we could have.  Perhaps moving the contents of the freezer was over the top but at least we don’t have to worry about anything once we leave our home in the morning.

Crazy times we live in.  We are showered, 97% packed ( just the last minute morning things to add ) and my toes are painted.  The final bottle of wine is open and dinner is moments away.

Just wanted to share an app I found yesterday called Zello Walkie Talkie and it is free.  You can call anyone anywhere in the world and talk at no charge as long as you both have the app.  The only requirement is that you have WiFi.  The conversation is often clearer than a cell phone.

 

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May 11, 2018

Flood and trip preparations

These are the only babies we have seen this spring. They do addle the eggs around here when a nest is found.

The lake continues to rise.  This was taken yesterday and many of those rocks are already covered. This is in front of your place Karen!

So the third step shown in my last post is now well covered and rising up ( 6 – 10 inches in between steps ).  Only the 4th and 5th left to go and and then another 5 inches to be level with the patio and lawn.

Taken last evening.

Taken this morning.

Colin decided that he was not happy with leaving certain plastic containers under the house.  So he went through them all and brought the most important ones into the house.

Lots of sunshine out there today and more to come.  We have yet to see the worst of the snow melt.  I read today that they are calling it a once in 200 year event.  Last year they called it a once in 100 year event.  Don’t even want to think about next year.

Looks like we are living in a hoarders house 🙂

We did get some packing done which was important.  We are checking our luggage right through to our final destination.  We have four different flights and just did not want to cart it with us and it is costing us nothing to check it so why not.  So I am traveling with a small purse and personal item and Colin is traveling with a small camera bag and a personal item.

It was a full day but stress free as we got done what needed to be done.  Time now for an earlier dinner than normal for us as we want to get to bed a bit earlier.  Any little bit that we can do to help alleviate jet lag is a bonus.

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May 10, 2018

Looks like we are going to be flooded again

Over the past few days the lake has been up 8″ over a 24 hour period and then 11″ over 24 hours and now we are rising very quickly.  Yesterday we had massive rain and it created havoc everywhere.  They say that that amount of rain may take a few days to show a rise in water levels.  There are problems everywhere here in the Okanagan.  Creeks overflowing and road washouts, etc.

It rained all of Tuesday night and most of yesterday, Wednesday.  The only good news is that we have not had to water our very saturated garden.

The intensity of rain varied.  It was cool enough for us to relight our pilot light on the fireplace.  My grass really is looking that green.

Between showers, my wacky neighbor got up on his RV roof in his underwear to apply tons of caulking. Guess his old RV was leaking.  I was sitting at my desk and stood up to stretch and looked and and saw this….OMG, what next.  This is the dude that was cleaning his driveway last summer with gasoline and a wire brush in the middle of fire season!!  The only reason his RV is allowed in his yard is because the Park storage lot which was ruined by ground water from the flooding last spring is still under construction.  If your lot was large enough for your RV you were allowed to store it there.  Ours of course has to be stored elsewhere.

This was taken this morning and this, our third step is now well under water at 7:30PM.  The water is rising and is close to our fourth step.  We have a total of five steps.

We have spent the entire day preparing for flooding.  Colin has brought things into the house from underneath.  Everything in the shed is raised and we have secured the yard and patio as best we can.  Have a read below.  This is an email I sent to the person looking after our house once we leave.

It was a busy day and nothing to do with getting ready for our trip.  Not very clear to read but we emptied our outdoor freezer ( in the shed ) as the electrical plug will be underwater, moved things into the house from the crawl space as needed, etc.

We are somewhat concerned as our first stop in Italy has a forecast of rain all five days 🙁   A high of 59F is not fun.  Creative packing is now required as I had not planned for rain nor cool weather.  Not much trip preparedness today due to working the imminent flood situation.  We contacted the manager of the park and he basically said that their priority was to protect the recreation center and the condos.  The rest of us were on our own as they did not have the man power.  We did not expect help but mostly wanted to let them know how quickly the lake was rising and that we were leaving for Europe.  Colin did caulk our sewer so that the lake water ( once it reaches that level ) would not allow the water to enter the sewer system thus alleviating too much water entering our sewage treatment plant.

The manager told us that the input flow into our lake from the higher mountain creeks was greater than the output flow at the North end of the lake would allow which is why the lake is rising so quickly.  Late this afternoon ‘someone’ was bringing in some heavy equipment ( finally) to clear the outlet so the water could flow out.

Meanwhile the park has closed down the rec center which suggests to me that it is already being compromised.  They have also brought in several truck loads of sand today.  Time to start filling sand bags 😯

A serene reflective sunset last evening.

 

 

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May 09, 2018

Rain, rain, go away

Most readers will recall that last May ( the 7th ) we were evacuated due to flooding.  This is the creek that runs down to our lake.  You can see where the fence ends on top of the creek, past the fence is how the creek bed looked prior to the flood.  A concrete water way had been constructed many many years back but the flow of the water plus the release of water from the dam created a disaster last May.  The concrete creek channel was broken up by the force of the water released and the lake rose, our golf course was destroyed and many of us were evacuated for over two weeks.

The Indian Band whose land we live on, the local government and the Federal government came together and after several months a plan was formed to repair the damage.  It cost millions and it appears to us that they basically widened the stream and apparently put some sort of liner along the bottom.

However we still have several pumps here in the park that have been running constantly since last summer continually draining the ground water.  One of the condos is near our garden plot and I find the noise irritating for even a short period of time.  I can’t imagine living there and listening to that constant irritating noise.  I would go crazy.  The RV storage lot here at the RV park from which we had to get a tow truck to pull us out of last June remains under construction due to the ground water damage.   Fortunately at the moment, our RV is not far from here but up on a wee bluff so it is safe.

Supposedly we will not be affected by flooding this spring.  However the snow pack is way beyond normal as in new records.  This is the first time since 2003 that we have seen so much snow on the surrounding hills as we call them.  The snow has been melting and the creeks and streams have been rising. As of yesterday there was still a 200 % snow pack waiting to melt.  If it gets too hot fast and the snow melts quickly that is bad concerning flooding.  Add rain into that mix and is spells disaster.

Meanwhile a new neighbor to Lake Lane, the name of the street we live on, decided to get his out of control cedar hedge tamed.

This fellow worked very hard.  Some of those branches were very thick.

He did a great job but it took him from 8:30AM to 6PM to get the job done.  I’m sure that the Class A owner will be happy to have more light coming into his RV.  Eventually the brown area will fill in with new green growth.

I bought one of these ‘Travel On Bag Bungee’ gizmos a few weeks ago.  I think it will be the perfect thing to keep my personal item bag fastened to my piece of luggage especially when we are walking several blocks to our accommodations and when traveling via train.  Once we are underway I will be sure to post a photo of my set up and my experiences.

Good news, most of our garden has germinated.  You are looking at kale and Swiss chard.  Along the top are some flower seeds that I have planted.  To the bottom left and bottom middle are weeds that we appear to be growing.  We have also found someone who will water our garden while away, for a fee of course.  Those brown bits are leaf seed coverings from the overhead trees.  Really sticky and messy.

Speaking of watering, we had a forecast of excessive rain last night and today.  The rains did come overnight and today.  Many creeks are overflowing their banks.  We have started to measure the rise of our lake every few hours.  We will let you know how serious the situation is tomorrow and if or what we are going to do to deal with it.

In the news this morning…..

 

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