Construction Ahead!

Construction sign

As of June 2019, I made the decision to move to northern Alberta and closer to family. There was very little to hold me any longer in Victoria or the Island.  It was time for a fresh beginning although it would be taking me away from a province I do love and away from the ocean.  Bitter sweet.

The past few months have been busy with never being at a loss for something to do and I needed that.  Purchased a very nice three-bedroom home with an unfinished lower level – perfect.  I was able to obtain the original proposed house plans from the city and began to connect with contractors.

This city although being five hundred miles north of Edmonton is no different than Victoria in pricing for trades.  My word for it – insane!  Victoria may have the well-off people from the mainland with money to spend but Grande Prairie has the oil and the money that goes with it. Well not so much for the average person.

After obtaining quotes that ranged from $30,000 to $50,000, I decided to be my own contractor.  It is certainly a learning process and one that I relish.  It is not rocket science; it is a step by step process with the most important key being good trades people.  Eventually I was able to connect with one good trade which on recommendation led me to the next and then the next.  Step by step.

Prior to deciding to renovate I had been busy with outside sprucing up.

First project was to work on the back-flower garden which was unbelievably horrid!  Two owners ago had two large dogs that I can only guess used the flower bed for their business.  The next owner kept putting bark mulch on it and my guess is to decrease the smell.  What I ended up with was about three feet of smelly bark mulch.  Bagged it all up and off to the dump.

Next – the entire yard is enclosed by a six-foot fence that had the lower fence boards completely set into the ground which ultimately means those boards will rot.  It took me a while but I dug a trench and exposed the lower boards, what a job and hard work but it is now done and there are boards that do need replacing.   After that sanded and painted as those dogs had chewed and clawed the fence, terrible mess.

Trees were next and with the amazing help of my friend we planted three trees to increase privacy, fingers crossed that they make it through the winter.

The upper and lower decks were next. They were bare wood.  Scrubbed them with a special solution to remove the built up grim over the years then applied two coats of paint, looks great.

To add additional privacy due to a neighbour that lives behind me, I installed privacy paneling around the lower deck, it also looks great.

Installed a pull screen door for the back door, painted the garage door with my friend helping me, painted the inside of the garage and the front entrance and garage doors. Replaced the bottom rubber on the garage door and gaskets between the panels of the door – again with the help of my friend.

Planted flowers and scrubs; replaced outside lights with LED ones.


So that is it for outside work this year.  It is now October with much colder weather soon to be here.  Brrrr…………not sure how I will fare as I had lived in Victoria for 23 years and quite use to cold rain for what we call the winter months and then flowers coming up by the middle of February.  Still need to get that snow shovel.

As my wonderful mother use to say:  you are not sugar or salt, you will not melt. 😊

When You Are Sixty-Three

216.jpgPaul McCartney wrote the lyrics for “When I’m 64” when he was 16 years old.  From what I have read it was based on his father turning 64.  He said he wrote the song in fun.

Well I cannot imagine him writing the song in any other fashion but for fun!  Who at sixteen years of age, twenty-six, thirty-six or even forty-six has any concept of what that age means?

When I was fifty-six, I did think about how I was getting closer to my sixties, but it was still a LONG WAY OFF!



At the age of sixty, I realized that this decade would have to be the one of real change.  If I were to enter the decade of my seventies (which is a LONG WAY OFF!) I would have to be in better shape physically.

So, the change did begin at age sixty.  I was thirty pounds overweight, my balance certainly seemed to be lacking and I was stuck, not satisfied with where I was and who I was.  I took the plunge and went on a dating site (a reputable one, which does mean throw caution to the wind).

I met a man that was extraordinarily different in every way imaginable to me who brought incredible vitality and excitement into my life, a person who mentored and taught me all things that I had only read about and dreamed of doing.

For years I would say to myself “in my next life I will do this or go there”, meaning I would be with a partner who enjoyed the outdoors, enjoyed camping (in a tent), liked travelling and at the drop of a hat would be willing to go just about anywhere.

My next life did come true and for the next three plus years my life changed dramatically.

Who would guess, that I would:

  • travel by motorcycle to Mexico/southern and coastal USA
  • become a certified open water scuba diver and dry suit diver
  • learn to ride a motorcycle (did not really enjoy this)
  • sky dived in tandem
  • learn to kayak (absolutely love)
  • learn about sailing and sail around Vancouver Island, southern Alaska, Queen Charlotte Islands, west coast of USA and down to Mexico
  • learn about navigation, weather and flying in a small plane (not as the pilot) and fly to for the June solstice at Tuktoyaktuk and then across Canada to southern Ontario, camp in a tent under the wing (bucket list is to fly to and be in Oshkosh, guess that will wait for the next life)
  • learn to really ride a bicycle, regain my balance and ride an average of 20 to 30 km in a day
  • swim in the ocean with Whale Sharks (they are vegetarian!)
  • swim with dolphin’s
  • learn to ski properly and be able to ski the blue runs
  • ride the rugged logging roads on Vancouver Island
  • learn to hike or rather bushwhack up hills and small mountains
  • learn how to forage for berries, learn about animal tracks, marine life

Yes, it has been quite the adventure where I was pushed and challenged many times to an extreme but to be honest, I wanted to be out of the “normal” and “comfortable” zone.  It is exactly what I wanted, needed and still desire.

So, I bow to my former partner who was an exacting teacher, but a great mentor and I thank him for bringing me into my sixties.

We were like fire together, most times a warm glow but then we would become a firestorm.

This time the firestorm was all consuming.






There are many lines that we come across in our lives:

ones that we throw,

cross out,


ones that we follow,

ones that we speak,

step over

and then there is the line that is crossed.

It may seem that stepping over a line is the same as a line that is crossed, not so.

We may choose to step over that line thinking that no one is watching or believing it is such a tiny line that it is inconsequential, no harm no foul.

When a line has been crossed there is clear knowledge of what has been done but I must insert here – that person must also have a conscience.


Definition of the word conscience:  the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action

Definition of the word line:  a group of words spoken together, a straight mark


That is how my year of 2018 ended.

A person whose “group of words” were spoken without an “inner sense of what is right or wrong”.

He finally crossed a line that I could no longer tolerate, a “straight mark” that cut deep enough for me to leave, leave it all.