Off to Vernon

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September 15th 2013
Published: September 18th 2013
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Dianne and Big RedDianne and Big RedDianne and Big Red

Most expensive Mother's Day present yet.
Off to Vernon

Well, we are off to our third Canadian City in three years. The end of June saw us packing our bags and saying goodbye to Kamloops. The year went incredibly quickly and was full of great memories. I never thought I would like living in Kamloops because of the heat but it was a pretty good experience. Of course, it is a bit of out of the frying pan into the fire…. we’re moving to Vernon, a notorious hot spot.

Big Red

On the Mother’s Day weekend, Dianne and I decided to walk to McArthur Park in Kamloops for a picnic. The 6.5 km walk winds along both sides of the Thompson River and ends up at the big athletic park I wrote about in an earlier blog. When we got there we couldn’t figure out why there seemed to be so many people and vehicles in the parking lot. It turned out there was a huge truck and RV sale going on.

We had been toying with the idea of a truck and trailer combo for our “camping” when we retire (no camping or retirement jokes please). We looked at a few trailers

This stuff has gone from China to Pender to Williams Lake to Kamloops and now to Vernon. Where next? If you don't remember its origins, click [b][url=]here[/b].
but after several conversations decided we should select a truck first. We looked at a bunch but only one really tweaked our fancy. We went for our picnic and had a great heart-to-heart discussion about the whole thing.

We went back the next day only to find another couple we had chatted with the day before were already making an offer on it. Snooze, you lose. But as we were walking away, three of the salesmen whispered to us that we should stay close as they didn’t think the other couple would be able to handle the financing. We had another event to go to but that night the salesman told me the deal was off and I should come back Monday morning. I did, and before we knew it, we were the proud owners of Big Red! I did actually test drive it but Dianne was busy at school.

Big Red’s first road trip

We were scheduled to go to Nelson to visit Marion, a friend we had met in China. What better way to break in a new vehicle than a 5-6 hour drive through the mountains to the hinterlands of BC?

Before we
The boys' Mother's Day trickThe boys' Mother's Day trickThe boys' Mother's Day trick

Full marks to Russ for thinking up this ploy to cover for not sending his mother flowers.
left, I had the foresight to stop at the dealership to get a lesson on how to use the power seats. The trip started out well and we cruised along. We couldn’t leave until after school so, even though the days were getting longer, the time and dark rain clouds were making driving tricky for me. When the skies opened up and the monsoon rains hit, it was time to switch drivers. The road at this point was full of twists and turns with very narrow shoulders. We managed to find a pull-out and switched drivers. So Dianne’s baptism under fire was to drive a vehicle she had never driven, in a blinding rain storm, at night. Who says we don’t know how to have fun.

Both Dianne and Big Red proved up to the occasion and we had a great weekend.

Flower Power

It all started when Dianne didn’t get flowers from her sons for Mother’s Day, but the school secretary did. Dianne made up a fake card, took a picture of the card with the secretary’s flowers and sent an email to the boys with the picture. The text said “I love the flowers you
Big Red on the moveBig Red on the moveBig Red on the move

Big Red was a big help when it came to our fourth move in three years.
sent me!!!! Love Mum”. Talk about sarcasm.

Steve’s reply; “Amazed it took you so long to show your appreciation 😊”.

But Russell had a brilliant idea. Just before Father’s Day, he asked me to buy some flowers and have the card say something like “To Dad from Stephen and Russell.” I even had the cashier at the store write the card so it wouldn’t give me away. I put the flowers on the table and when we came into the apartment after our walk home from school, Dianne was very excited to see flowers. Until she read the card. “Went ballistic” doesn’t quite describe her reaction and she immediately sat down at her computer to rip off a snarky email to the boys. It was all I could do to a) stop laughing b) get her to not write the email. She did find it very amusing once she recovered.

She did pay Russell the ultimate compliment (in my opinion): “You sure got me with that one.”

What kind of family do I have?

Summer on Pender

Pender in July was great. There was only a hint of rain and basically sunny skies and
We thought the floors were butterWe thought the floors were butterWe thought the floors were butter

but it turned out they were parquet. If you get that "joke" you [b]are[/b] old.
warm temperatures. We managed to make a start looking at the boxes that have been shunted around since we left for China in 2008. Sixteen boxes of books. We packed 6 for donation to a thrift shop, 1 of Reader’s Digest Condensed Book went to the Free Store at the recycling centre (most came from there at one time or another) and most of the rest went to the book case in the upstairs bedroom which will double as my office. Several boxes of Chinese and Italian language and travel books will end up in the downstairs bedroom if we ever retire and bring home some bookcases.

The highlight of the month was (of course) the annual week with the 6 grandchildren (no parents). Fantastic weather allowed almost everything to be done outside. Meals were generally inside due to wasps but the new deck made life so easy, The kids were great (as usual) with the only unusual thing being the sleeping arrangements (see pictures).

Jamie (5) got the award for saying the funniest thing this year: At breakfast one day we were discussing why we liked the cereals we did. I said I ate muffets because my
Need more boatsNeed more boatsNeed more boats

Two kayaks and 6 grandchildren just doesn't compute.
dad, Great Grandpa Wilson, ate shredded wheat and this was just like it. "I guess I am turning into my Dad", I said. Jamie laughed and said he was turning into his dad because he (Jamie) told funny stories. I laughed and said if he (Jamie) told funny stories he definitely wasn't turning into his dad. Jamie got that typical Jamie look with the sad face and hunched shoulders and said "That's not funny". When everybody laughed, so did he with an equally typical Jamie grin and said "Yes, that was funny, even to me."

But that evening he topped that. We were sitting around the supper table discussing how old we would be on our next birthday. Jada would be 4, Kyle would be 5, Jamie would be 6 etc... When I said "I'm 67, how old will I be on my next birthday?" Jamie responded “Dead!". Everyone else laughed ,-)

August Long Weekend

It was a Maple Leaf Reunion weekend. Sarah Goulet and Peter Radford were among the newcomers the year we went to China. They got married this weekend which gave us a chance to meet up with many Maple Leafers who are now
Lunch timeLunch timeLunch time

Luckily we had great weather for the annual grandchildren's week. Lots of lunches on the beach.
back in Canada. We also managed lunch with Les and Lesley (principal our third year and his wife, my Writing Centre partner) and dinner with Erin Seong and Angi Schreiner, two other alumni from our first year. Lots of catching up and reminiscing about great times in China.

The Move

We are very happy to have Big Red to help with the move. Our 5’x8’ U-Haul trailer was packed fairly full and we still managed to fill the back of the truck. Where did all this stuff come from? When we moved to Williams Lake we only had a 4x8 trailer and the back of the Forester. It is amazing how “stuff” accumulates. The pile of stuff on Pender that we were taking to back Vernon almost filled the truck again. Luckily, a lot of stuff will be donated when we finally move back to Pender.

We’re in Vernon!

After a great week in Alberta visiting Dianne’s parents and other family, we arrived back at our new apartment and are now settled in. Dianne has spent a few weeks at the school and has started to find her work rhythm again. I finally bought a new
Theatre timeTheatre timeTheatre time

The kids wrote, costumed and performed a play for a full house all on their own. We aren't sure if it was supposed to be a comedy but it was pretty funny.
computer and am trying to figure out Windows 8 while juggling Dianne’s job list for me.

What’s next? The list of lakes and wineries to visit …. To be continued.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


What's wrong with this picture?What's wrong with this picture?
What's wrong with this picture?

We have three lovely queen sized beds on Pender. But Grandma and Grandpa had to sleep on foam mattresses on the floor.
A crafty bunchA crafty bunch
A crafty bunch

Arts and crafts are a big part of the week. Lots of room on the new deck.

The kids love to hunt for crabs on the beach. Many a bucket load are collected (and released) each year.
Sundown on the U.S.Sundown on the U.S.
Sundown on the U.S.

There was supposed to be a great moon view one night so we went down to the beach. We didn't see the moon but the view east to the U.S. was interesting.
Sundown on Salt Spring IslandSundown on Salt Spring Island
Sundown on Salt Spring Island

The view to the west another night was spectacular. We wished we had been out kayaking.
More sundown beautyMore sundown beauty
More sundown beauty

As we were walking home from the sundown show we caught this view over the Thieves' Bay marina.
Not all play timeNot all play time
Not all play time

We had a tree come down in the winter. I had help, so why not remove the tree. It was quite a struggle on the steep slope.
Mum and DadMum and Dad
Mum and Dad

We were lucky to be visiting Dianne's parents when they were having a special luncheon. Lots of fun. We hope we look this good when we get to 95.
Sarah and Peter's weddingSarah and Peter's wedding
Sarah and Peter's wedding

The two Peters were ESL teachers working for Dianne. He was tall Peter or Young Peter. Hmmmmm
Erin and AngiErin and Angi
Erin and Angi

Erin used to refer to us as Mama and Papa which confused many of the Chinese students. But then they often thought she was Chinese instead of Korean.

28th September 2013
Mum and Dad

Wonderful photo
So nice to see you and your parents. I'm thinking you will look at least as good when you are 95. Wonder where you will be Principal then!

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