First update & other excitement

May 3rd: Talked to our builder Blaine today.  They’ve begun the basement!  Yahoo!

May 6th: Our dear friend Debra Wolinsky’s 60th birthday today!  We’re headed for Vancouver to celebrate on 2 evenings – the 1st for out-of-towners & family for dinner at Debra’s place – the 2nd at a lovely restaurant!  We walked in Stanley Park both days since our hotel was right downtown (& near Debra’s place & the restaurant).

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We found a Mute Swan (native to parts of Europe & Asia – introduced into NA) on a nest.  We saw her re-arrange her eggs (which are very large & pale blue).  A Mute Swan is much larger than our more common Tundra Swan (22 lbs VS 14 lbs; measurement from tip of bill to tail: 60″ VS 42″; wingspan: 75″ VS 66″).

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The 1st shot is with my iPhone, but when we walked the 2nd day, Bill brought his camera.  A much better quality shot.

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Bill didn’t have his bird photo equipment, but here’s a Spotted Towhee we spotted (ha ha).

The rhododendrons were in bloom, probably nearing the end, but were fabulous!  Some other beautiful flowers as well including yellow flag iris.

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On night 2 of the party:

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Here’s Debra (looks about 30!) in her fancy dress with the flower lace overlay – wow!

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There were 26 people there & here we are on the right at one of the tables at Yew Restaurant.  Debra is 4th from Bill on the right.  It was loads of fun & excellent food!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

May 7:  Once again, our dear cousins have been keeping us abreast of the happenings on our home lot!  Thanks Penny & Wilf!

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Here is the latest report with photos of the start of the basement walls.  They are made of a double layer of styrofoam, well braced with metal rods then to be filled with cement for stability – and obviously well insulated already!

May 10:  The day from Hell!  We spent about 4 hours at IKEA, picking up all the items we need for the house.  It took us 3 carts each (= 6 carts) of stuff which we had to go to each aisle & put on the c are.  Some of the items were so large or heavy as to need help.  Bill can’t really do this any more due to his heart issues, so we had to chase someone down to help us (though they were pleasant about it).  We had the truck & trailer parked right out front of the doors, but once there, needed help loading everything into the trailer.  We had to go through the till each time & pay for our loads, then go back for more.  Three trips to get everything from the self-serve shelves.  Then there were 2 more carts of stuffed from the warehouse, which they got for us & set the carts out into the open area.  We then had to wheel them outside & wit for help to load.  Hence the reason for being there over 4 hours!  We were exhausted by the end of this.  We had planned to also pick up our bedroom suite plus dining table & chairs.  After getting the latter into the trailer, we felt the bedroom would likely not fit into the trailer.  So we headed back to Okotoks to store the truck & trailer for the nightl.  We hadn’t even had lunch, so went into the town for dinner in order to miss rush-hour in Calgary.  This is why we’re fleeing to Maple Creek!

May 11:  Off to MC to drop off our load.  It was a cool day, but dry.  When we got there, we found out Blaine, Jay & Kelly had already picked up our washer & treadmill from the Sears outlet & put them in the storage container!  What great guys! Where else would you be able to find a store which would give your appliances to a stranger (well, they do know him)!  We were extremely grateful!  In no time flat they’d unloaded that huge trailer load with all the very heavy items.  Probably less than half an hour!

We met with Blaine back at the site to discuss a few details & we’re thrilled to see the progress.  They’d built the basement up to the window levels!  They’d had lots of moisture (both rain & snow), so couldn’t book the cement truck until it dried out.  The ground is so soft, it would’ve sunk & probably gotten stuck.

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I was thrilled to see my lilacs in bloom!  The top photo shows the hedge in front of our truck (with its door open).  I took the close-up with my phone.  They smelled gorgeous!

We were pretty tired when we got home & have decided to take a week break before we take the next load over.

May 13:  Lucky Friday the 13th!  We had girls night out while Leslie Usher visited (cousins Steven & Fran Usher’s middle child)!

She was here for a wedding, so Robyn, Jane, Mom & I treated her for dinner.   She is quite an amazing young women – beautiful & smart.  What a great treat to hear about her tree-planting experience in Scotland & the amazing adventures life brings her.  She’s headed for Prince George, BC for another season of tree planting in Canada – then back to Scotland for 1 more season there.  Holy Mackerel – an amazing outdoor-loving woman.

May 16:  What promised to be a great outing to Stars on Ice (we’re such huge figure skating fans) turned out pretty badly.  We were accosted by the security people when we came in about Bill’s “big” camera.  We had been through all this a few years ago with the Saddledome staff & Stars on Ice, so explained that it was approved.  Then during the 1st half of the show, Bill was taken out & told he must surrender his camera or leave.  We both left feeling very upset & missing most of the show.  Here are a few of the photos he took.

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Scott Moir out-staring Patrick Chan.

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The only one we got of the gorgeous Tessa Virtue – next to her Scott Moir then Eric Radford.

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Jeffrey Buttle

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Elvis Stoiko

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The incomparable Patrick Chan

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The beautiful dance pair which should have won the world championship this year, Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (the handsomest male skater I know).

So we got a few nice shots, but were extremely disappointed to miss the rest of the show.

May 18:  Our faithful cousins have once again kept us up-to-date on what’s happening in MC!

They are pouring the cement into the basement walls!  There’s the pumper truck – left, from the front of the house – right, from the back alley!

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