Monthly Archives: July 2006

The Heat is On

Back in the days when I had a boat and a life, this heat wave would have been so awesome, but when you’re busting your buns on a reno, it ain’t no fun at all! Temps in the mid thirties and even hotter in the house are just brutal to work in. We are glistening with sweat and covered in dirt – not a pretty site.

Ain’t camping fun?

Now I remember why I don’t “camp”. We were going up to Ashton Creek for Lorenzo’s Cafe’s 10th anniversary Music Fest, and wanted to camp Friday and Saturday nights. I needed to get up there early Friday night to reserve good “first-come, first-served” camping sites for the ski club. After twelve hours in the sun at the festival I also thought driving home was the last thing I wanted to do. So there was the plan. Crystal was getting off early so we could get up to the campground as early as possible.

The plan started Thursday with running around getting the things I didn’t have as an seasoned camper. One find was what I thought was going to be very cool – an inverter to run power equipment. It was on sale at CTC at half-price. What a deal! I do like my coffee in the morning, so I was debating over whether to spend the bucks on a coffee machine just for camping. Now I could run my radio, charge my cell anything that needed power. Way cool!

I was up at 5:30 Friday to start packing everything. Man, you need a whole lot of stuff to camp! So much to remember. The truck was full. I planned to food shop last thing on the way to get Crystal, and had what I thought was plenty of time. Little did I know the whole world would be at Extra Foods when I shopped. I have never seen it so busy. Every cash was open – a rarity at Extra Foods, and there were lineups at every till, so now I was running late, but I thought I would still make it on time to get Crystal. Not a chance. The thousand or so people sitting parked on Highway 97 had other ideas for me. I just crawled for miles towards the dreaded bridge. I finally got to Crystal’s after three, so we started off late.

We had to make a stop on the way in Vernon because I still hadn’t managed to find a table, and I knew there weren’t any at the campground. We did manage to pick up a nifty little fold-up table that turned out to be one of the only things that worked.

Weeks ago I had spoken with the guy running the camping and had arranged to give him a list of who all was camping from the ski club, and I had collected from everyone at the previous week meeting to make sure they showed or were at least paid for. After we arrived and picked a nice spot on the river, the other guy running the campground decided the list thing was no good and he wanted everyone to pay as they came in. Duh! So the arguments started. Eventually he came around and allowed me to pay for each person as they showed up, but it was a lot of running around, when I was trying to set-up camp. The worst was a guy with an RV, for whom I had confirmed the camp had power and water, but when we got there, the power line had fried weeks ago, and the only water was for the whole campground. I finally managed to find him a spot at another campground, but he went the wrong way and ended up back in Enderby. He came back to ask for a refund of his camping money and ticket money, as he was giving up and going home. Guys who don’t get “turn right” should not be allowed to drive an RV.

My original plan had been to get there, get camp set-up, relax and have a drink, and start supper. With working my face off with the reno, all I wanted was some relaxing down time. And after going flat out for two days, I needed a break.

The first disaster was the tent. I had bought it a month or so ago, on sale at CTC for half price. When we opened it up it turned out to have been used, and was covered with what looked like tree sap. Not a pleasant surprise. I had also bought a stove with a grill burner, which I thought was so neat to do steaks, bacon and so on. After Brian got it set up and a burner going, Crystal started the potatoes, and I was going to do the steak of the grill. No such luck. The damn grill wouldn’t light no way, no how, and the instructions, like all those written in Chinese, made no sense. So we had to set the potatoes aside and fry the steak in the pan on the only burner we had. Very frustrating. With all the running around for the club, and the camping confusion, and the equipment failures I was NOT having a good time. Then everyone left to go to Lorenzo’s, so we were on our own. I lit a fire just to try to get rid of the mosquitoes, certainly not for the heat, and it worked a bit. My frustration level was pretty high after two days of this, then Crystal didn’t like the noise from people partying, and asked me if anyone was going home tomorrow? That was kind of the “last straw” for me, so I suggested she find a “guy” at the Festival to take her home. What I should have said, even with the frustration, was “someone”, NOT “guy”, ’cause that upset her and she went to bed. So I was left sipping my beer, all alone, sitting in the dark, pissed off, and couldn’t even go to bed because I had to watch the fire I just lit. When I finally managed to crawl into the truck, the mosquitoes never quit buzzing me, so I hardly slept. Not a great first night.

I was hoping beyond hope that even with the mosquitoes I would at least manage to doze on and off for a bit, but no luck. I was wide awake at 6:00 as usual, but at least I would look forward to my coffee. I had got the coffee maker all ready the night before and just not turned the inverter on. When I flipped it on, the coffee maker immediately went off. New day. More frustration. My neighbor came over and first offered the coffee he had ready, which was great, then informed me my wonderful inverter was only 300 watts and my coffee make needed more than that, but he had 1000 watt unit we could hook to my battery. Great, I thought! The coffee maker was too much even for his invertor, so there would be no pot of coffee ready for everyone. In frustration I packed the coffee maker up in the box, forgetting that it was full of fresh, unbrewed coffee, which promptly spilled all over the box. Breakfast went a little better, as I managed to get the griddle lit and made the bacon. And the swim in the river was awesome. It was already getting hot and that cool water felt great!

Except for the sound system going out for several hours, the festival was what we expected. Great music, late but great. The Salmon Armenians, who I built the website for, were good, except Lody didn’t mention the ski club, as I had asked, but they did mention the site. I also got to talk to Sabrina Weeks, their lead singer and she liked the site. A bright spot. Although it was purdy damned hot we did manage to get a few grass dances in. We even had our picture taken by one of the local newspapers. Dancing in the dark with stones and sticks is quite the experience. We did go down to the actual dance floor once but it was very hot. I danced Crystal into the misters unexpectedly, which the crowd enjoyed.

We had broken camp before going to the festival, to be ready to leave as soon as it was over, which of course was very late. I didn’t get home until after two, pretty exhausted, only to discover that the last flush of the toilet before I left had not gone anywhere and the toilet was backed up yet again. I just had it snaked last week. And, yes, I just HAD to go, so welcome home. Then I remembered I had paid for two nights camping, and didn’t get a refund, and I left my new mister at the festival.

Today has barely started and it’s already not great. Going to be really hot and I have a backed up toilet to add to the heat in the house. I’ve called the emergency number early this morning, but no call yet. Luckily the campground has washrooms, or I wouild really be in trouble. I was at least looking forward to getting out and doing something with Crystal, but she has old friends coming in from Calgary “sometime today”, so even that’s a bust.

Hope you are having a much better weekend.

Just another day in Paradise

Well, today started like every other day, almost. Doin my mornin biz, then flushed, and my only toilet overflowed! What a great start to my day. Just about the only thing that worked and it quit on me. Couldn’t believe it when I phoned Mr. Rooter and they asked if I as was a “member”, which would apparently get me service today. As a non-member they could come out Friday at the earliest. I asked if she didn’t follow that my only toilet was out, and asked what I do until Friday? No response. After several calls to other plumbers – all of which were “too busy” to help, I called Wieners and the fellow said “we’ll be right out”. That’s what I wanted to hear. At least some people have a clue about what customer service still is.

Moved all of the older appliances out to the front and put a big “FREE” sign on. Hopefully they’ll get taken away and save me the grief. Got my new stove, well new used stove, and dishwasher. I now have three lovely Whirlpool appliances in my kitchen. When we went to take out the old stove we discovered what has to be the very dumbest renovation thing I have ever seen. Mike Holmes would have a fit at this one. In their infinite wisdom they decided to switch the stove with the counter cupboard, which is fine, except that when we pulled out the stove to unplug it, the cord ran into the cupboard unit beside it. No problem, I thought, there must be a cut-out in the back of the cupboard with the drawers to unplug it. We pulled the drawers out, but, guess what? No plug. The lame-brained idiots had installed the cupboard over the plug!!! How stupid can you get? I guess they figured the stove would last a very long time, eh?

Got my fancy new, sturdy, front steps built. I can now use my front door – finally. Just need to add some railings and some trim.

Worked ’til 9:00 and I’m bushed. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Reno – July 6th

Now that I have my internet back up I’m going to try to record my trials and tribs on the reno a little better. Yesterday the plumbers were scheduled to be here at 7:00, so naturally they showed up at 9:00. The plan was for them to put the bathroom in the suite back together, but this got sidetracked big time. While they went to get the materials they needed Chris and I were to rip off the board and get the room ready. I asked Chris to pull up the loose vinyl and when he did all the back was wet and covered with the dreaded black mold. As usual, one thing led to another and we ended up cutting out the floor to get rid of all the mold. Needless to say no new fixtures were going in today.

Scotty planned to cut off the existing water lines so we could remove all the existing plumbing, so he asked where the shut-off was. Thus began the massive search for my main shutoff valve. They were crawling all under the trailer trying to trace the water line. Assuming it was outside near the main electrical feed I started weed-wacking and cutting limbs to remove the overgrown trees. When we cleared out all the crap we discovered the shut-off valve, which they shut-off and went back to the original plan to cap the lines. Chris and I were still clearing out all the crap and I noticed the water was trickling out, which should not have been happening with the main shut-off. It turned out that the idiot had run an irrigation line off the main BEFORE the shut-off valve, and it was leaking. Duh! I called Laura, the park manager and she said she had to give twenty-four hour’s notice to shut the park water off, so that was out of the question. We had no choice but to break off the irrigation line and try to cap it. The second they broke the line we had a gusher. Watching Scotty’s helper, Tyler, try to cap a blasting water line was funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Then it turned out he had the wrong size fitting, so he had to try to stem the flow while Scotty hunted for the right fitting, which he finally did. Quite the adventure!

Now that we have the moldy floor out we have to let it dry, then cut new flooring for when they come back. The interesting sidebar to the bathroom saga is that there was just a little crack in the original tub. The rest of the bathroom wasn’t too bad, and I considered fixing the crack, if only because this was to be my bathroom during the rest of the renos, and I’m trying to live in the suite, so I didn’t really want to start destroying anything in this area. That one little crack turned out to be a blessing because leaving this mold would have been tragic. I was very concerned about the musty smell when you came in, but I thought it was just because the unit was old and had all the wet ceiling and insulation, but this bathroom turned out to be the cause of most of the smell. It already smells much better in here now that the black death is gone.

Stay tuned.

The big move

First,I have not had internet for over a week. Second, I have just moved. Third, I have taken on the renovation of my life. Not a whole lot of spare time for sure.

I had no sooner moved to my new place after selling Mum’s place than our friendly neighborhood by-law officer showed up at my door and asked me if I had just moved in. When I replied, “yes”, he promptly told me I was moving out again. When asked why the blanky blanky he told me I was in a single family neighborhood and the suite was illegal, so I was out of there. My landlady was so miffed she sold the place, closing at the end of June. I had to be out by the end of May, but I was working my buns off on a renovation and had no time to look for a place. In desperation I called the by-law boy and begged to let me stay until the end of June, which he agreed to.

Still in a bit of panic I started looking and found a sort of alright place in Kelowna for the 15th and gave her a deposit. It wasn’t great, but passable. I said I would come back Monday with the balance. On Monday I was on my way to the bank to get the money, when for some unknown reason I checked my email. There was one from my Real Estate agent that they wanted me to look at, mostly because it had an assumable mortgage – unheard of for manufactured homes. Well, after a whole lot of negotiation I ended up taking over the mortgage, and life as I knew it changed forever. The listing said “it’s as rough as they come” and that turned out to be an understatement, but it had huge potential – great corner lot, steps from the beach, four bedrooms, European kitchen, but it was sort of in an abandoned state of disrepair. Roof has been leaking for God knows how long. Three-foot high weeds where a lawn should be. A lot of goofy, badly done renos attempted, but most of it was clean-up, which I knew I could do. It was listed at $47k, but I ended up taking over the mortgage of $28k, so there’s some room to make money.

Been a lot of very long, HOT, frustrating days tearing out all the bad. I have an open-air bathroom (no walls), wires hanging everywhere, no ceiling or insulation (great in this cooking hot weather) and a gazillion things to do everywhere. Friends who’ve seen it are kind enough to not tell me I’m nuts and they nod and agree I’ll fix it up to be “just great”. Hopefully we’re all right. Today I was scraping off the old torch-on patching on the roof and got some big tarps to cover it up “just in case it rained”. Talk about good timing. We had a torrential storm tonight with some of the heaviest rain I’ve seen here. I would have had a new indoor swimming pool without the tarps. Phew!

Not much else to report. Obviously been consumed with working on the place. Crystal also has allergies and the pollen is driving her nuts, so we can’t do much outside. Managed a bike ride, roller-blade and we went to the Canada Day celebrations, which nearly killed her. I’m organizing a camping trip to a Blues Music Festival in Ashton Creek on July 22nd, which should be fun. Crystal and I are hoping to spend some time in Vancouver soon, so we can bike and blade Stanley Park and go to Granville Island Market. Wouldn’t want to live in Van, but nice to visit. I am also hopelessly behind on building a website for one of my fav groups – The Salmon Armenians, but the guy that hired me is very understanding. I’m supposed to have it ready for their website launch gig in Ashton Creek. Won’t be going to Merritt this year, with day pass prices of $90. Yikes. Last time I went for a day it was $45.

Going to post reno pics as I go, to see all the changes.

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