Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Newest Favorite Cup!

I have a new favorite cup! A few weeks ago I had a terrible accident when my favorite cup fell onto the concrete patio and shattered into a million pieces! It was a terrible day as there were no more cups that I really liked. The broken one was from The Dancing Eagle Casino just west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It was a free gift from the casino and it was white and had an image of the Dancing Eagle on it. It was a perfect cup! Since it broke I have been searching for a new cup, finally settling on a well worn cup from the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas. It was a poor replacement as most of the finish had been worn away by repeated cycles in the dish washer.

After a lot of study and research I settled on obtaining a replacement favorite mug from Tim Horton's doughnut chain. Thinking this would be simple, I asked at the downtown Tim Horton's when we were in there with Paula the other day. To my great surprise, they refused to sell me a mug even though they had dozens, maybe even hundreds of them in plain sight. No negotiating, just, "They're not for sale"!

Well, I have to admit I started planning how I could get one without them noticing the loss. I am not saying "stealing" one because I would have left a substantial tip that would more than cover the cost of the mug. As soon as I mentioned this to Norma she would not hear of it. She called it stealing.

Today she headed out in the car to the Tim Horton's on the other end of town for a box of doughnuts and on her way out the door I told her to ask if she could buy a cup. Well this time it worked! They would not sell her one of the "regular" size cups but brought out a brand new "medium" size mug from the back which they sold her for $11. Quite a price and it is slightly bigger than what feels comfortable in my hand but it i says it is made in England. This is still a work in progress but this mug will do until a better one comes along.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Painting The Rock

There was a guy with a ladder down on the beach today and when I went to investigate I saw him painting a new Orca Whale on the rock. Now this kind of graffiti I can handle! Every time Norma sees our mayor downtown she asks him to please sand blast the rock clean. Maybe this piece of art will start a new trend!

While I was there I decided to get a better shot of our Summer Olympics Man. He was built from driftwood by our friend Steve who Norma gets her fish from. Steve has climbed the rock every time canada won gold to add a medal to our man.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back To Normal

Our friend from Arizona has left for sunnier climes! I drove her down to Victoria to catch the boat to Seattle and the last we heard was that her flight to Phoenix had been diverted to Las Vegas because of weather. I hope she got home and did not get swallowed up by a slot machine on the way!

We were enjoying the peace and quiet until this morning at about 4:00 AM when I was awakened by loud voices nearby. I laid there in the dark trying to decide if it were kids at a beach party and if I should call 911 as they were quite loud and I heard what I thought was a chain saw. I finally got up to look as the sun came up and there were flashing lights and a flag person in the street. I dressed and walked down thinking there might be a broken water line or an accident and discovered a city crew wrapping up after a job. I asked them what they were doing and he pointed proudly to a freshly painted crosswalk. "All freshly painted for you", he said. "At 5 in the morning!", said I. "If we do it in the daytime, drivers complain and if we do it at night, you sleepers complain. This is the City's attempt at a compromise", he answered.

So now I am wide awake. I may as well do a Blog.

Friday, August 19, 2016


We are having fun with our visitor from Mesa! Paula was our neighbour in Mesa for the last two years and decided to come visit us on our home turf! It is her first time in Canada! She flew from Phoenix to Seattle and then rode The Clipper walk on ferry over to Victoria. I drove down to pick her up on Wednesday and we spent the night at Brooks and LindaLee's. The next morning we headed out, stopped for breakfast at The Pioneer House on the Malahat and drove up to Campbell River.

The weather has been just perfect from our point of view but Paula's Phoenix, AZ blood feels just a little cool in our low to mid 80's weather!

Like I say, we are having fun and Norma is keeping us all fed. Paula has tried out the walkway on the ocean and today we took a tour of the town. The week will fly by quickly!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Address Sign

We have had a couple of complaints by delivery people that our house is hard to find. It is at the end of a long driveway and the address is on the house, not on the road. Norma picked up some four inch high numbers and we found a piece of cedar board, painted it and screwed the numbers on.

At the end of the driveway we have a large piece of driftwood that has been there for several years and was previously used to display the address but the ocean weather hits that area pretty hard and nothing ever survived down there. I used some long screws to attach the new board so now no one has any excuse for missing the house. We will see how it survives the weather.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Man On The Rock

This is the huge glacial remnant rock on the beach in front of our house. Yesterday I noticed what I thought was a person standing on top which is not all that unusual. People climb it all the time. It is not hard to get up but is quite difficult to get down and a misstep means a fall to the rocks below, always resulting in a great deal of pain and sometimes in a broken leg.

Anyway, I noticed the figure still there later in the day and a closer inspection revealed a figure made out of driftwood! Someone had gone to a great deal of effort to make this figure which, because of the flags and hat, I believe it a tribute to Canada's Olympic athletes.

It was still there this morning so I took the camera down to photograph it!

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Bit More Painting Done

I have now completed about 1/4 of the house. I got half of the front done today working behind Norma's rosebushes which I held out of the way with a stick as I avoided (unsuccessfully) the thorns. I only painted a little over half way up the walls as the paint nearer the top is fine for now. It gets partly shaded from the sun and rain by the overhang and does not get rubbed on or have things leaned on it up there. Once the paint is dry you will not be able to tell the difference between the new and the old paint.

I used to hate painting until I learned to buy the best paint available. It goes on much easier and covers better, even with only one coat, which is what it got today. I think I earned a day off tomorrow. And maybe a big order of take out fish & chips from Dave's tonight.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Croft The Painter

I was looking for something to do this morning but didn't want to ask Norma because she would think up something I didn't want to do. My eyes settled on a section of siding under the south kitchen window that was scratched up quite badly. Only the bottom four aluminum "boards" are damaged, the ones higher than that are fine, they are too high to lean anything against. I already had the paint, brush and roller out from when I painted the new siding at the back.

The sun was on it and it was way too hot so I washed it down and waited until the sun moved behind a tree. It didn't take long although the roller did not have long enough pile on it so I had to work to paint the many small dents.

In the end it looked really good which got me thinking I could do the bottom four boards on the front of the house. I will have to pull Norma's rose bushes away from the house but that won't be too difficult.

I will look for a longer pile roller in my painting supplies bin. And if the weather cooperates, who knows...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nothing To See Here Folks

Just Keep Moving.

Pretty quiet around the homestead these days. Norma and Kelly (our winter house sitter) have been busy in the garden. Kelly wants to learn about Norma's plants so she can take care of them in the spring and Norma loves having someone young to climb the bank out back and plant.

I have been staying out of the way doing "stuff". I re-hung the door on Norma's large garden shed as the door was starting to sag a little. I took all the screws out of the hinges and then drove a wedge under the edge of the door, raising it up an inch or so to level it before driving in larger screws. Should be good now.

I hook up the motorhome's satellite dish with a 50 foot bundle of four coax cables taped together (two DVR receivers each requiring two cables). I seldom need all 50 feet of cable so I bought 100 feet of RG6, cut it into four 25 foot pieces, crimped new ends on them and bundled them together. So now I have a much easier to handle 25 foot cable as well as the old 50 foot one. So in the very rare occasion when I need extra length (I can only think of one time I did) I can connect the two together to give me 75 feet.

While I was playing in the motorhome I disconnected it from the power pedestal and ran the generator for 90 minutes with the air conditioner running on high to provide a load. This is supposed to be done once a month to exercise the generator and keep everything ready to go when it is needed. It started easily and took the load with no problem. Being able to store the motorhome in the yard is a huge benefit. It is "almost" out of sight of the house.

I decided to leave it unplugged for a few days to test the solar system. I will run the TV for a few hours on the inverter and check voltages. Our friends Kevin and Ruth just did a series of four Blog posts on 12 volt and solar systems that is very informative if anyone needs a refresher. Here is the first, the rest follow it on their Blog.

Here is a very handy chart from Kevin's article that shows the voltave of your battery (ies) as it relates to the charge percentage of your battery. Never let your batteries get below 50% charge (12.1 volts) and they will give you maximum service and life.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hip Report

As most of you probably guessed, I don't have a broken (dislocated or even injured) hip.
I went to the doctor today, told him my sad tale and what I thought it felt like (dislocated hip). He suppressed his smile and told me that in his experience, if I had a broken or dislocated hip I would be laying on the ground screaming for an ambulance.
He poked, prodded, twisted and bent the area and announced I had bursitis! I am officially OLD! I asked him what I could do and he said he would prescribe an anti-inflammatory. I told him I did not want to take a chance of ruining it for my travel medical insurance so he said to take twice the recommended dose of over the counter 220 mg Aleve for ten days and that should take care of it. So, I am good as gold and ready to go!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Siding Project

Our house has horizontal aluminum siding. At least most of it has. When it came time for the final addition the aluminum siding, at least the 12 inch exposure variety, was no longer available so they did the next best thing. They ripped 1/2 inch plywood into 13 inch strips and used that in it's place. Over the years the section at the back weathered badly and was in desperate need of replacement.

Our son builds decks and fences for a living and is a good estimator so when we looked at the job a few weeks ago we figured it was a three or four hour job.  Last week they both had a couple of days off and came up for a visit for Norma's birthday. I started making plans to do the siding, not knowing he was planing a social visit and was bringing the motorcycle and not his work truck with all his tools and supplies. When I found out I figured, "Oh well, what the heck, I have tools".

"The Plan" was to cut Hardie Board, a cement product, into 13 inch strips and replace the old plywood. This product weighs about 100 pounds per sheet and required a special $50 Skill Saw blade to cut. We needed four sheets and had to arrange to have a friend with a truck pick them up since we had no truck.

The removal of the old siding went well. The old plywood boards were mostly pretty rotten and broke up into outdoor fireplace size easily. The old tar paper was shot so I ran downtown for a new roll while Brooks finished the prep work. We were way behind schedule but were getting there.

Cutting the boards was a nightmare. Brooks' respirator was in his truck so he was making do with one of the cheap mouth and nose covering things he got at the lumber store. The dust is very fine, caustic and was not doing his asthma any good at all. Working in cement dust was one of the things that drove him out of his job in the Tar Sands, he simply couldn't breathe up there. It was also covering Norma's outdoor furniture and cushions which evidently we should have reminded her to bring into the house. You can see how well this job was going, and it was not getting any better.

Brooks did not have his nail gun so we had to pre-drill and screw each board up. He did not have his tool pouch and had to go find each tool, tape measure or pencil every time he needed it. He was not a happy camper and was beginning to think he may have chosen the wrong parents.

Well, after about ten hours we had everything up and quit for the day. They had to leave in the morning but all that was left was the caulking, painting and cleanup which I could handle.

Speaking of me, I tweaked my hip loading the heavy boards into the pickup. I have been having trouble with my right hip for a few years and it has been getting steadily worse. It almost feels like it is slipping into and out of joint, like perhaps the joint is wearing out. This plagued me throughout the job and I was having trouble doing my share of the work. I have an appointment with my doctor on Friday to have it looked at.

Anyway, the job is done and my son has not disowned me. He went beyond the call of duty and we are thankful to him. We couldn't have asked for a better son.

The "three or four hour job" ended up taking two full days plus a half day for me to caulk and paint. Norma spent another couple of hours getting the dust off her furniture. But, the job is done! And just in time. The Hardie Board cannot get wet before it is painted and it rained all night and we have a severe thunderstorm going on right now! Finished just in time!

This juvenile eagle spent most of one day watching us from a nearby tree. He was very curious what his neighbors were up to and was quick to give a disapproving squawk whenever we made too much noise with the skill saw or drill. He had a "Bird's Eye View".