Sep 22, 2020

Found a treasure and a few GRRRs

We spent a good part of the weekend moving things around and finding things as well as winter things. More on that in my next post.

Ta dah!  I found this unopened package of napkins hiding up in a top cupboard. My treasure.

Made in the USA so why are they not in stock anywhere?

The following was posted in the business section to the online news I read.

I read something similar in a US newsfeed.  Yesterday I asked Colin to stop at Costco on his way home to pick up a package of toilet paper. There was none to be found and just a few packages of Sponge Towels left. There also were no Kleenex to be found but there were two packages of a Kirkland brand of tissues. So he picked up two packages of paper towels and one of the tissues. I then went online to check the Costco site. I was able to fill my cart with toilet paper, the Bounty brand paper towels and a package of Ultra Soft Kleenex that I prefer. When I went to check out suddenly in big red letters it read that there were delays and  that they could not deliver to my address at this time. Strangely as just the day prior I ordered two items from Costco. Yesterday I received a delivery notice of October 2nd. It was delivered today 😯  Very strange.

So midday today, Colin had 90 minutes between jobs and decided to checkout Costco again. Looking for Kirkland toilet paper, the shelves were empty. On his way to customer service he discovered pallets of the Kirkland toilet paper in a section between freezers of frozen foods.  Colin said he could feel and see a sense of panic from the other shoppers. It was not pleasant. On our way back here from Mexico mid March we kept reading about stores with empty shelves due to hoarding. Did this one online news article create a new panic?

In other news our bank did a major upgrade to their system from 6PM Friday to 9PM yesterday. They did a great job of telling you what you needed to do to protect and change prior to Friday. I did a good job of following all the directives for both our personal and business accounts. So today when I went to log in with my previously obtained new temporary  code ( as recommend by the  bank), it failed me on both accounts. Today was the first full banking day and I really needed to do some important things online. I held for 90 minutes before I was able to speak to someone. Then she guided me through the sign in with yet another code and various passwords over and over and over again. It did not work. We tried a new virtual member account number and three different passwords that were generated and nothing worked.  She then told me that it was my computer that was broken.  No way 😈 I have been through this so many times. I told her that she could not get off the phone until this was sorted out. Long story short, after my insisting she contact her tech team, we eventually got it sorted out. I thanked her for sticking with me and she thanked me for teaching her something new – things she did not know about this new program.

Meanwhile an e-transfer that I was expecting did not come through and the guy says that the funds have not come back into his account and won’t resend the monies 😯 Why oh why does life have to be so complex? So after 2 hours and 45 minutes I was exhausted and rather tearful.  Three hours of my day ( and what was to be my walking time ) were wasted.

I really could have used this chair earlier. Thanks for sharing these two Nancy.

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Sep 17, 2020

A bit of this and that

Since my last post the smoke has remained but lifts somewhat at times.  Early mornings have not been so bad.  Today was the best in that we were able to go for a walk before Colin left for his photo shot late afternoon. I can’t remember the last time I walked, first because of my buckling knee and then because of the smoke.  I need to get back into a routine pronto. It did feel good to get out there.

We did not have mail delivery either Monday nor Tuesday because of the smoke.

I surprised Colin last Sunday by making him a zucchini loaf. We both thought it was perfect. Not too much cinnamon and there was also a bit of nutmeg and ginger. It felt strange to be baking something. We never bake for ourselves as we usually don’t eat sweets. But Colin started making banana loaf  when we got back in March and it has become his thing. It seemed to take me forever to put the loaf together but it all turned out well in the end.  Somehow all of the kitchen counters were full.  I did manage to get all the dishes washed before he got back 😉

Saw this in the park the other day. Nice colour.

His Monday photo shoot was cancelled because of the smoke. Hopefully sometime in the end few weeks perfect conditions will return. So with Colin staying home to photoshop all of the photos I was free to take off in the car.  If Colin spends 10 hours doing the photography then the editing and photo shop take at least the same amount of time. He can take 10 to 14 photos that he needs to put together in layers in order to get the one final perfect shot. That is how he controls lighting, balancing the inside with the outside views. Quite complicated. Then there are details like adding paintings to walls or putting flames in a fireplace and putting a picture on the TV screen.  Hours and hours of work.

Tuesday I had a bone density test for the first time in four years I think. I am shrinking. I remember being 5’4″ but now I am only 5’2″! That explains why I can no longer reach up to shut one set of our bedroom windows.  I did a wee grocery shop at Save on Foods and then headed over to Walmart to pick up a few items. It was the first time that I did shopped there since last fall before we heard south to Mexico. They have done a huge remodel and it looks so different and of course I had to do a lot of walking to find things. While there I stopped in at the computer/cell phone department and they were able to fix a glitch on my iPhone. I was glad to get home again. This was my first big drive into Kelowna since we have been home. Since we got back we have done everything together and Colin has done all the driving. I did do a small local drive here in Lake Country just be make sure I was good to go. I never drive in Mexico so it has been along time not being behind the wheel.

The was our harvest on Tuesday. Four cucumbers and more coming. This afternoon I picked the same amount of beans and tomatoes. We have so many tomatoes and our freezer is almost full. We had a slow start to our garden because of all the rain in the spring but is certainly is paying off now.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I had a massage ( Colin cancelled his to stay and do more work on the computer ). From there I made stops at Robinson Lighting to pick up special order bulbs, a quick stop at Walmart to return something, a big shop at Costco ( we haven’t been for three weeks or more ) and finally to pick up books here at the local library. I had been gone over five hours and was tired but felt good about all the diving I had done.

We have had an RV tech here trying to sort out a problem with our hydraulic pump.  Neither the jacks nor the slides are working. We had no problems other than a small leak which this RV tech looked at and did some adjustments. That is when things stopped working. He has since put in a new solenoid which made no difference.  Colin has since been in contact with our RV tech in Mazatlan.  Eric had three suggestions to try before spending money on a new motor or a new pump. So we wait for this RV tech to be free to come back and try the suggestions 😯

I am constantly seeing bare shelves here and there in all the stores I shop at.  The one thing I have been looking for since we got home is napkins. No one has any except Superstore and they are so thin that they are useless.  I looked online earlier and it seems that most napkins are out of stock.

This is what I have been purchasing for years. I finally picked up some more expensive and fancier napkins at Costco. I hope I have some of the others in the RV.

There was a flyer in our mail yesterday from the same store that I had purchased my winter coats at. They are offering 25% off everything in the store for the next three days. Because I can return my purchases for a full refund, I intend to do so tomorrow and then repurchase the same items at 25% off. That puts $84.00 back in my pocket. Perfect 😎

Our government is lagging in announcing an update about the Canada/US border closure which expires on September 21st.  I have heard rumours that it will be closed for another month but I had also heard that a higher up government official leaked that it will be closed until after the US Thanksgiving, perhaps November 27th. So many snowbirds are waiting for the announcement as it will affect their winter plans. All we can do is wait and see.  Hopefully tomorrow we will know the que pasa of it all.

I bet this is really happening in schools.

Who swims with a mask on?

Smoke gets in your eyes. Best sunset shot in the past few weeks.

 

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Sep 13, 2020

Strange happenings & many changes

Google is controlling my computer.  It won’t let me make blog comments to other bloggers.  It is also is putting your comments into my junk file. These things have happened a few times over the past two years but they always rectify themselves – eventually 🙄  Even my mail inbox is giving me grief today. I had to quit the program and restart it in order to get my emails. Sometimes I think life was better and less stressful in the olden days, even if you had to make your own soap, bread, etc and watch out for the Indians.

A view of downtown Kelowna this morning.

We awoke this past Wednesday to much less smoke from the US fires and were fortunate until now.  This morning, Sunday, we woke up to the smell of smoke. It slowly crept in overnight. I heard and saw a fire truck with its siren going towards Kelowna at 10:30PM.  Then again at 2:30AM and yet again at 5:30AM. At 2:30 I could smell smoke and it reminded me of the morning of the big fire here. I got up and closed all the windows except the four in the bedroom. Colin was sleeping soundly and I didn’t want to disturb him as he had a big job today in Salmon Arm.  Yes another home to photograph. There was some smoke there but he didn’t think it was quite as bad as here. Turns out he was wrong.

The view from my back yard. Total white out.  It has been this way all day and still is at 7:20PM ( and now 9PM, it takes a long time to write a post ).

At noon toady they did an update on the air quality and said that it was “very high risk”. 10 is the highest on the official chart and we were at 11+.

Very few were out unless it was to walk their dog. The smoke in the air was thick. I did have to go water the garden mid afternoon and for the first time I wore the KN95 mask that I had purchased for Colin’s birthday back in July. It was amazing, I only got the odd whiff of smoke. The mask actually adhered to my face so there were no leaks and my glasses did not fog up.  However at times I felt I was hyperventilating. It will do in dire conditions like today with the smoke but not to go grocery shopping with.  I will stick with my clear face mask for that.

Fall is in the air. As you know we visited with our friends on Wednesday and Thursday Colin did a 13 hour photo shoot.

We each had a massage booked for Friday and I had a physio appointment while Colin had his massage.  Good use of time as we only have one car on the road at the moment.  I don’t believe that I mentioned that my knee has been buckling on me since September 1st. I would walk just a few steps and then could not move and was in danger of falling.  So I stopped walking and stopped doing my knee exercises.  I couldn’t walk alone when Colin was working. About the 8th I could walk a bit and the buckling subsided. Knee buckling is a sign of a meniscus problem and I was very fearful that something had happened to my operated knee. The physio lady restored my confidence and proved to me that it had nothing to do with my January surgery back in Mazatlan. She said that possibly my knee cap had caught on ‘something’. She gave me a daily exercise to do to prove to myself that my quads were perfect, gave me an ultrasound treatment and taped my knee cap so that it was higher. I do have fluid on the knee and some inflammation but have had that since the surgery. Now I can resume my walking ( once the smoke clears ) and exercises.

This is the building that both the physio and massage are in. The tree from the photo above is the tall tree in the middle. Usually I read while Colin has his treatment and he plays his silent guitar while I have my massage. We never ever waste time.

Next we did a few errands. Printer ink was first on the list. Best Buy is where we get it and as we turned in I remembered that Marks was in the same mall. So we parked and Colin did the ink which has increased by $12.15 since last fall. Isn’t that a lot? Meanwhile I went to Marks which a few people have told me is a good place to buy a winter coat. The store had just got its first winter coat shipment. I have been worried about finding the right coat. So I was very happy with what I saw.  Colin came to find me as I was trying one on.

This is going to be my heavy duty coat. It is good to -25C/-13F windchill. It comes down to my knees, has storm cuffs and the hood comes off. The faux fur even comes off the hood if I want. Very good quality.  Of course I love the colour, rose.

And this is my second coat. Yes I got another one. I love the colour teal and just showed this to to Colin because of the colour. He asked me to try it on and it is really nice and comfy and light.  It is rated for -15C/5F windchill and because it is lighter it will be perfect for walks on a not freezing cold day.

As Colin said, the cost of both is only one tank of diesel for the RV, if we were heading south. Now I need to find some boots. But I am relieved to have winter coats and I have 100 days to return them for a full refund – that is December 20th. I should know what I am doing by then. Next we stopped in at the Kelowna Real Canadian Superstore for a few grocery items. First I was shocked that there was no sign of any sanitizer whatsoever.  We were wearing our masks as usual but then I recalled that this chain had made mask wearing mandatory, effective August 29th. There was no one to enforce that and many were not wearing masks inside the store. Then we found that many many of the shelves were empty. We decided that we will have to return to shopping at their Vernon store, ten miles further away (one way). You can be rest assured that I will be contacting the Kelowna store about what we discovered. Perhaps even the media.

Back home we quickly unloaded and headed over to water the garden. This Mountain Ash is over full with berries.  That usually means a cold winter.

Someone has a lovely sunflower display in their garden.. You can see that the trees in behind are already losing their leaves.

Another garden has two of these gigantic sunflowers. The birds are feasting on the seeds.

Saturday we did some seal – canning as we call it. Three meals of fresh green beans, two packages of zucchini for a stir fry or a pot of soup as well as some tomatoes.  We have so many so why not freeze them and use them in chili or soup over the winter.  We were only able to seal one of the packages of tomatoes. I know that you are supposed to put the entire tomato in the bag and freeze it, but we are getting very short on freezer space, so I cut these tomatoes in half to save space by being able to stack them. At least once it gets cooler we will be able to store the beets and carrots outside. I really would like to freeze more Swiss chard but time will tell.

Colin just called and he is on his way home. He left at 6:45AM and will be back here about 10:00PM ( 15 hours ).  He takes breakfast, lunch and dinner with him when he does these big shoots and eats on the run. He never takes a break mostly due to the amount of photography required and needing perfect conditions.  Because of the extreme smoke his 13 hour shoot for tomorrow has been delayed. For all the hours he spends on site taking photos he spend the same amount of time on his computer doing photoshop for each home. That means that tomorrow he will be working, but at home. Usually he does this for four months but because of Covid he only has had eight homes to photograph with two more waiting for perfect conditions, blue sky and no smoke.

Yes, lots of changes in our lives. Normally I would be shopping for medical travel insurance and special Jeep and RV insurance for Mexico.  As well as things that I buy that I can’t get in Mexico food wise and even things that I can buy but are cheaper here. Instead I am buying winter coats and looking for boots. I realized today that I need to get a special carpet for when we come in with wet or snowy boots.  The other night we were sitting in our recliners reading and both wanted the lamp closer to us. I checked yesterday and the tri light is only 30/70/100 which is wonderful for ambiance but we need much stronger for reading. We have many minor changes to make as the days get closer to winter. Colin has to find out if the M & S  ( mud and snow ) tires on the Jeep are good enough, he also has 4 wheel drive and a setting for driving in the snow so do we really need to get snow tires?  We don’t think so but good to check. Also trying to sort out a few other things to make the house warmer inside.

 

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Sep 10, 2020

Que pasa

We have been slowly getting over the shock of the fire. I don’t get out much but in the past few days I have seen the RCMP ( local police ) at the fire scene. The more I look at the building, the more I believe that the fire started upstairs at the restaurant. Now Chef Rob whose restaurant it is was, is thinking of possibly rebuilding. Both the park and he have insurance but first the cause of the fire needs to be determined.

Tuesday morning we awoke to very heavy smoke. We had to keep the windows closed all day. We could not even see the mountains and at times we could not see the end of the lake nor the trees that you see here. There are currently  two different alerts re air quality which had deteriorated due to an unusual type of inversion. Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist, who says a strong inversion actually shifted winds 180 degrees, bringing thick smoke from fires burning in Washington and Oregon states into the Okanagan.  

The smoke is being seen all the way down to Mexico. You can read the news article by clicking here.

You can imagine our surprise when out of the smoke a hot air balloon dropped down. This is the first time we have seen this one.

As you can see by the first photo and the ruffle of the lake, it was windy. At this point the balloon was moving rather rapidly. Almost too fast to be descending.

That bit of white just below on the right the balloon is a truck on the highway. There is a very narrow space to land. Moving that fast, it must have been a rough landing. This is the end of our lake to the west, the direction that I take my sunset photos from.

Touch down! You can see by the white truck in behind that there was not much space between the lake, trees and the highway. They were fortunate because of the wind.

Someone has been eating our tomatoes. I suspect a rat rather than a mouse based on the size of the bite. The first tomato we found was half eaten. And I found a third tomato today about a third eaten.

I just Googled rats, mice and tomatoes. They both eat tomatoes as well as chipmunks and voles. I mentioned it to the park and they are going to bring in some traps. This is what was deters these critters.  But are those instant potatoes cooked or just how they come out of the box?

Effective Home Remedies to Get Rid of Rats
  1. Mothballs.
  2. Ammonia.
  3. Peppermint Oil.
  4. Owl’s Feather.
  5. Pepper Flakes.
  6. Onions and Garlic.
  7. A mixture of Plaster of Paris with Cocoa Powder.
  8. Instant Potatoes.

We have been enjoying highs of 86F this week and our garden is growing. All of my newly planted seeds are up as well. We have to check twice per day to make sure that nothing is drying out. This was our garden harvest on Tuesday afternoon. The chives are from the tops of my seed onions. Yesterday, Wednesday, we picked two large cucumbers and a zucchini.

A unique way to walk a dog. I think they were both enjoying it.

Longtime friends Jannose and Colin, from Edmonton, stopped by for a quick visit while enroute to see family in Oliver. As we visited we figured out that we have known each other for between 40 – 45 years. Their oldest son turns 40 this year and I was there when he was born, so for sure over 40 years. We spent so much time visiting that this is the only photo I got.  The plan was for happy hour followed by a take out dinner.  I guess happy hour filled us up. No matter, as our original plan had been dinner from the Italian Restaurant which was destroyed Monday morning. It is always a pleasure to spend time with them. Fortunately the smoke unexpectedly cleared and was not a problem for our outdoor visit.

Usually they stay here in the park at one of the rental condos but because of Covid there is a new rule that it is now a minimum three night stay. Likely having to do with the extent of the amount of cleaning that needs to be done between guests.

Colin worked today, 7:30 AM departure and he just now got back at 9:30PM. A normal day for him. So I had to water the garden on my own tonight and had no choice but to pick beans and tomatoes. That is when I found the third rat eaten tomato. I decided to pick the large ones that you see because I would rather ripen it on my sunny window sill than lose a tomato to a critter. The small tomatoes and the few beans on the left come from our patio plants, the rest all from the garden. Looks like I will have to start freezing tomatoes to use in soups, stews and chilies over the winter.

Meanwhile currently sitting on my kitchen window sills.

 

Just the other day an article on how to dine in a restaurant along with the proper protocol of how to wear, store and use your mask popped into my inbox. I leaned some new things.  You can read that article by clicking here.

Hopefully this will give you smile.

 

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Sep 07, 2020

Smoke and sirens woke us at 4:45AM this morning

We had no idea what was going on or even if the fire was in our park. While Colin took the golf cart to check it out I began making piles of necessities to evacuate with. It was warm last night and we slept with all the windows wide open. The smoke was blowing directly into our home and I could not stop coughing. Fortunately we have a box full of insurance documents, house plans and photos, legal documents and a multitude on things we feel is a top priority already packed and ready to go. We even had a list of things to do such as shut off the propane to the house and the power to the house. Today I added putting the safe deposit box key on the list of things to pack.  Hmmm, actually we have list of last minute things to pack, I just recalled that. In the panic neither of us remembered that. I better find out where it is. Colin came back and confirmed that the fire was in fact within our park ( my heart sank ) and was serious but we were not required to evacuate. Some neighbours were out on the street, not sure what to do. I called my good friend “I” down the street and told her to get ready just in case.

Colin took his camera with him and this is what he saw. The sirens went on for a long time. Apparently they called in all units from Vernon to West Kelowna. We are over 500 homes in this park and it could have been disaster. In the end we ended up with nine large fire trucks, the others were called off once the command vehicle assessed the situation.  Five trucks were in the parking lot you see and another four were on the street behind.  All pouring water on the fire from high up. Yes that is an RV and truck in the foreground. It took awhile to find the owner to move it out of the way.

The Italian Kitchen Restaurant was engulfed in flame – that is where we had our anniversary dinner back in July and where we often dine when friends come to visit. Sadly the folks who run the restaurant have decided to pack it in.

I took this from an online photo taken by someone here in the park.

As daybreak approached it was easier to see how much of the building was involved.

This is taken from the street behind.

Colin came back and gave me his photos which I sent to Castanet, our main online news source. They were not yet open so I sent a selection of photos and an email. You can read about that by clicking here. They did not use our photos, I guess someone had sent in a cell phone photo while onsite but they used my words and name.  Throughout the morning a few updates were made and at 11:45AM a video was added to that same link. You can see the flames in that two minute video and also an interview of the owner of our park.  My blurb is at the bottom of the story as well as a description of which fire vehicles were here. It was not long before the adjoining business, the Country Store was engulfed in flames as well. As an aside, I felt comforted when a few friends, one who is in Victoria and used to live here, emailed me as they read about the fire online. The entrance to the park is north of our home and we are south of the property border right on the lake. It is a large park with 64 acres. This had the potential to be a great disaster. The location of the building where the fire was is right at the entrance to the park and the homes are separated by a large parking lot. That is what saved us.  We all knew that our homes would not be here had the fire spread. The firefighters did a wonderful job and no one was hurt. The fire as mentioned in the online news article has been deemed suspicious. More on that as details become available.

I took this from our home looking towards the fire.

As it got lighter I felt compelled to see what was happening so Colin and I went back in the golf cart. By now I was more or less dressed and had brushed my teeth – most important 🙂

The wind had picked up. We had a forecast for winds of 20 to 40 with gusts to 60 km/h. This flag shows how the wind came up suddenly. Between the flag and the tree to the left is the same fire ladder in the photo above, it was covered in smoke within seconds.

Needless to say the main entrance was closed and anyone driving in or out needed to use the backup entrance by the dog park ( inside the fenced area ). I can’t remember the time here, perhaps between 6:30 and 7:00AM. The flames are now shooting out of the Country Store. The man walking towards us is the security guard who was on duty and called the fire in.  He was rather shaken and obviously exhausted. He did tell us that he heard a loud explosion which led him to investigate and discover the fire.

As we returned home, we heard fire truck sirens on the highway heading towards the airport. Some of our fire trucks had left our park to attend to yet another large fire. Turns out that it was a legal marijuana grow-op that caught fire and because of the increased winds it became a larger problem.  That also was dealt with. They say that by 8AM, our park fire was under control but still burning. What a long 3 hours and 15 minutes. Our local and Kelowna fire fighters certainly worked hard today. Yet a third fire was started close to Kekuli Bay ( just south of Vernon ) this afternoon and is still burning and is estimated to be 25 hectares. This one was started by a truck that had caught fire and was towing a trailer & stopped at the side of the road which ignited the fire. Quite the day for fires in our area.

Colin had a job today ( a new and unexpected one ), he was very tired from getting up so early and took a nap before he left. Traffic was still being directed to the backup entrance by the dog park.  I decided to take a walk along the back path between the tall cedar hedge and the storage lot to see the fire damage. By now I had discovered that many had slept though the entire fire and others even at 10AM had no idea that there had even been a fire, never mind such a devastating fire. Others were now making plans what to do if this happened again. Folks were gathered in small groups all over the park. Now that the winds had picked up the smell of smoke was even stronger. Up until about 3PM our house still was smoky and then the smell slowly dissipated. The clothes that we wore hung outside all day and still smell a bit.

I was surprised to see so much water in the storage yard. Then it struck me, of course, all the water from the fire trucks.

Our RV is at the far side of the storage lot and did not have much water near it. This fire has affected many areas that are yet to be determined. One is our garbage bin and compactor.  The electricity to run the compactor came from the building that was burning.

The first thing I saw at the end of the path I was walking on. The building is destroyed.

I was amazed that the shelves in the Country Store are still standing. It looks like the fire tore through the upper floor, however I know that there must be a good deal of water damage on the main floor.

Checking inch by inch for hot spots.

This is a day that we won’t be forgetting for a long while, if ever.  Will 2020 ever end 😯

 

 

 

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