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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Time flies when we’re having fun!

I said I would blog from time to time once we arrived back from our 5 months on the Island, and I’ve been missing doing the daily blog! I think some other people have missed it too. As I was lying in bed this morning with 100 things rolling through my brain I thought about maybe doing a one week update since we’ve been home from our very quick trip across Canada. So here week home and we’ve been very, very busy!

When we arrived home last Thursday we didn’t realize that we would still feel like we were in motion for a few more days. What a strange feeling to be walking around and feeling like we were still moving! It’s weird because I mentioned it to Richard that I had this feeling of being in motion and he was experiencing the same thing, but he hadn’t told me. I would liken the motion feeling to being on a ship for a long time, and when you get off the ship, you are still swaying in rhythm, with the rolling of the sea!

Newman and Jerry are both safely ensconced at the front of our home. Both are in need of a wash, but that can wait for a sunny day!

The wood in the picture, under the tree, was from the shoreline cleanup that our neighbour Mike did for us. He had to take a load of brush to the dump and this was the leftover stuff that wouldn’t fit in his SUV. Mike is coming soon to cleanup the gardens at the front of the house, so we can re-think them with his help. Since Mike teaches horticulture at Niagara College and can help us with a re-design, he is a very handy guy to have as a neighbour! We met with Mike to review the shoreline restoration and Mike will be renting a ‘skid steer’ and bringing it on the beach, to shore up our boulders, as well as add cement and rocks to the bottom of the pool, on the shoreline. It looks like any chance of a garden on the south side of the pool is gone, but we’re happy the shoreline will be fixed to ward off Mother Nature, if she tries to bash us with another storm! And on the good news front on Lake Erie: as of April 2nd, 2021, Lake Erie’s water level is forecasted to be 572.87 feet. This is 13 inches less than the record high water level set in 2020 and 49 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1926. Over the next month, Lake Erie is expected to rise by 5 inches. We are very happy to have a rocky shoreline again this year, as opposed to the high water levels we have had for the past 2 years, which is very daunting when we see a storm coming!

Mike, Richard and me have agreed that we will no longer have a garden on the lake side of the pool. Mike plans on mixing up 24 bags of cement and adding the smaller rocks from the shoreline into it and shoring up the pool by the cement posts. Then the large rocks will be positioned by the pool deck so if there is another tsunami on Lake Erie, we won’t lose any more gardens.

The Lake is very low this year. We haven’t seen the rocks in the Lake for a few years, and we haven’t had this much beach area in a very long time either.

Mike will position these rocks so they look more unified with the skid steer. He will grab a few more large rocks that are buried in the beach to shore up this side of the backyard.

Mike is going to fix the step that have come detached at the bottom of our steps, so we have a level step down to the beach area.

There is still some sand to rake out of the grass and the flower bed, but we will get to it in time.

Where do we start with what we’ve been up to in the past week?!!

We were pretty worn out from the ‘non retired’ people pace (as Richard’s brother Norm called us out on), that we endured to get home from British Columbia in ONLY 4 days of driving! What a crazy experience to drive home in 4 days, when it took us 3 weeks to get to Vancouver Island last November. I think there is a happy medium between 3 weeks and 4 days and hopefully we can find it on other RV trips that we do in the future!

We did get home though in time to watch The Masters on TV! That was a bonus for us, since we never thought we would be home in time to watch even one round of The Masters and we were able to watch 3 rounds from the comfort of our family room!

It was nice to see Hideki Matsuyama win the Masters and be the first Japanese male to win a major! Way to go Hideki!

We had wanted to golf on Friday morning after we arrived home on Thursday evening at 8:15pm, but that was a bit too ambitious so we cancelled our tee time and played on Saturday instead. Bridgewater Country Club is certainly in great condition and for April we were even getting ‘roll’ on the fairways! We peeked our heads into the clubhouse to see what the renovations looked like that are still ongoing, and what an amazing transformation of the dining room and bar area! When Covid protocols allow us, we can’t wait to have a meal and bring friends to the club to experience the welcoming surroundings of the newly renovated space. The transformation has been amazing to see!

Grill room and bar looking out to the 18th green. I love the new wooden beams in the ceiling with the new light fixtures. The renovation reminds me of something Joanna Gaines would do on the HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper’! I understand that the new tables for the Grill room are ‘river tables’ with live edge wood! I think that once the club is allowed to open safely for business, the place will be packed!

Fireplace off the bar with stand up wine bar tables. The 9th green is in the background. The new flooring looks so much better than the old green carpet that had been on the floor forever!

New resin bar top, with a newly tiled kick plate and new tile in the background. I think it looks stunning with the lighting on the bar. A nice place to ‘belly up‘ to!

Both Richard and I played very well at Bridgewater since we had played all winter on the Island. It was nice to come back to our own course, which we know so well, and not feel like we had to knock off the ‘winter rust’ from our game! It was also nice to see some familiar faces from a socially distanced perspective. We did golf with our friend Bob which was nice, and saw and waved to some people on the course and after our round. We’ve had our cast of characters from the Island that we saw all winter like St. Stephen and his wife Karen, and Jim, from Fernie and his wife Danielle, Ken and Curtis from Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club, Paul- my strength trainer, Abbie - our osteopath and Christy - my hair dresser, but its different when we come home to see people who we’ve known for a long time - who we can instantly catch up with.

I decided immediately my first task was to tackle our closets and throw stuff out. With having worked in the corporate world of banking for 37.5 years, you can imagine how many business suits and dresses I’ve accumulated over the years. Since March 13th, 2020 when I started working from home, I’ve not had to get dressed up to be on ‘Teams’ or ‘Skype’ calls, so these corporate clothes have to go! While I’m at it though, I decided to also clean house on my golf clothes, as well as Richard’s closet. I’m 16 bags of clothes and 3 days into the clean up, and I’m no where near being finished! It’s amazing how much stuff we have that we don’t need!

15 bags when I took this photo, but I added another bag today. And I still have to go through my entire work wardrobe and Richard’s clothes too! Plus we still have clothes hanging in Newman! I think we had way too many clothes!

Its amazing when you’re away from home for 5 months how many things stop working! We came home to the following things that were not working: the kitchen tap, the surround sound system in the family room, the family room fireplace wouldn’t light, two family room pot lights would not turn on, our BBQ wouldn’t light, and the fence rope was broken on the deck.

Richard has been tackling each of the broken items one by one, but the kitchen tap is the most frustrating one that he had to wait on a part before he could fix it.

Richard trying to fix the kitchen tap. We have a Delta ‘touch tap’ and the Delta help desk told Richard the solenoid was broken, so we waited and finally the part showed up yesterday, only for Richard to find out they had sent the wrong part! We’ve been doing dishes in the laundry room sink, and we feel like we are renovating the kitchen all over again, without any water in the kitchen! Let’s hope that Delta ships us the right part today, so Richard can fix the tap and we can have water again in the kitchen sink!

The Traeger BBQ stopped working because the wooden pellets got wet over the winter. Richard had to clean out the hopper for the pellets, but we didn’t have any new ones on hand. I’ve ordered 4 bags of pellets from Costco, which are supposed to arrive today, but in the meantime, no stores are open to get some to BBQ, so Richard did a curb side pickup from our very convenient Ace hardware on Dominion Road yesterday. Its amazing how ingenious we become, since the stores aren’t open for shopping. I have had Amazon beating a path to our door since we arrived home, because we are in our 3rd or 4th (I have lost count) lockdown in Ontario! And today it was IKEA who called to say they had 22 boxes for us and they would be arriving in 12 minutes!

IKEA delivery.

22 boxes from IKEA to put together. I know I ordered cabinets for the laundry room and an armoire as well as a bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet for the Brock Room. This will keep Richard busy for awhile I think! And that wooden piece behind the boxes was supposed to be my refinishing project last summer, before I broke my femur. The wooden piece is to go in our hallway, once I get around to refinishing it!

Besides fixing all of the broken things in the house, Richard has been very busy hanging pictures and installing new light fixtures. We have more things that we bought on the Island to bring in from Newman still, but since Rome wasn’t built in a day, we’ll get to them in the next little while.

New sunroom light fixture. We never did find one on the Island, but I did find a good coastal lighting store where I ordered the light fixture online.

Richard’s office and his new light fixture

Living room/formerly the pool table room new light fixture.

Drummond Room new light fixture.

As you can see there has been a whirlwind of activity going on in the past week! Today we are taking it a bit easy as we are both feeling the side effects of our vaccine shots we received yesterday.

Yesterday we drove 20 minutes to the town of Port Colbourne, to get the first of our Pfizer vaccines. If you read last week’s blog, I was lucky enough to sign us up for our shots as soon as the website opened to age 60+ in Niagara Region last Tuesday, while we were BOONDOCKING in Kenora, Ontario.. I went first for my shot, and Richard was 15 minutes after me. Its a small world, as I saw one of the gals I golf with from Port Colbourne golf club being vaccinated right in front of me! We both have sore arms and feel a bit lethargic today. Nothing that we didn’t expect, but we’re trying to take it easier today and act like normal ‘retired’ people, instead of renovation junkies on HGTV who renovate a home in an hour!

I had to wait until 11:54 and Richard ’til 12:14pm after we had our shots. They did a great job in Port Colbourne explaining what was happening at every step of the vaccination process. We can’t wait to go back for our next shots on August 4th in Port Colbourne! 14 days later we’re having people over in the back yard hopefully if they’ve been vaccinated too!

Richard hung up our Chrome Island water colour by artist Carla Flegel from Vancouver Island. I liked Carla’s artwork and her frames so much I bought another piece yesterday on Etsy. I like the unique frames on her artwork, so I asked her who made her frames. She has a local person make the frames for her art. I have another unframed original picture I purchased from a local Fort Erie artist last year that I wanted to frame in a similar manner. Carla is going to select a frame for the picture (I sent her a photo) and she will ship it to me along with the new painting I bought yesterday. I have to say that the folks on the Island are so friendly and helpful!

Everywhere I look in this house there is still stuff to be done, but besides working on our Reno’s and cleanup, we have been going for daily walks or I’ve been doing my workouts at home.

You don’t scare me buddy! Peace Bridge in the background. Its been so long since we have been to Buffalo!

Mather Park Arch. A symbol of the peace between Canada and the U.S., after the war of 1812.

The Swallows have arrived at the bird feeders along the shoreline of Lake Erie.

A close up of the Peace Bridge.

The devastating storm last November not only wrecked our shoreline, but entire sections of the boardwalk down our street on Lakeshore Road. The Niagara Parks Commission owns this land and if you look closely have replacement pieces of the wall in the background, that they will install to fix the retaining wall.

More storm damage on Lake Erie. Mother Nature is very brutal!

The old retaining wall meets a barrier to prevent people from falling into the Lake. I’m looking over at Buffalo, longingly!

So while we are locked down, we are not without a lot of projects to keep us busy and the days are certainly flying by quickly! We are very glad we came home when we did last week, as the weather in the Prairies was snowy again this week, and it looks like Thunder Bay is expecting snow again next week! We caught a very small window to get across the country without hitting bad weather, which we are very thankful for.

While the view is not Fanny Bay’s fishing boats, with the mountains in the background and Chrome Island, Denman Island and Deep Bay in the distance, I think its still kind of nice...and its home!

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