2020 – 2021 Snowbird Year Wrap Up

We are settled in at Bear Creek Provincial Park and are very happy to be back at the park and living in Maxx again!  I remember asking Laura of Chapter 3 Travels if they had any trouble moving back to their motorhome (Barney) after spending a couple of months in a sticks and bricks house in Austin Texas, and she assured me it wasn’t a problem and they were happy to get back to Barney.  I did worry that it might be hard to go back to Maxx after five and a half months of living in a 1400 square foot, two bedroom, two bathroom condo … but it wasn’t, in fact I haven’t even given the condo a second thought.  Of course that may change the first time hubby is in the washroom and I desperately need to use it, yup I could miss that second bathroom 😀

The sunrise on my first morning walk at the park.

While we didn’t head south this winter, I still considered our condo adventure a Snowbird year and felt I should do a wrap up … so over the past six months:

  • We spent time in zero states and zero provinces other than British Columbia.
  • We may have driven 275 km but I would be surprised and that is down significantly from last year when we covered 6,196 mi (9,972 km) which was also less than previous years.  Our first winter away still showed the most distance when we travelled 14,093 mi (22,663 km) from Kelowna, B.C. to Key West, Florida.
  • We spent $58.00 on fuel … yes that’s not a typo $58.00 and we still had a full tank when we left the condo!  That compares to $1,681 in 2019/2020, $2,152 in 2018/2019, $2,719 2017/2018; $2,150 in 2016/2017; $1,526 in 2015/2016; $2,350 in 2014/2015; and $5,041 in 2013/2014.
  • On our one fill we paid $3.549 a gallon for diesel; up from $3.047 a gallon in 2019/2020, $3.252 a gallon in 2018/2019, $2.598 in 2017/2018, $2.514 in 2016/2017, $2.096 in 2015/2016, $3.128 2014/2015, but it was still less than the $3.813 we paid our first year 2013/2014. 
  • Even with paying for our site in Yuma (we had to pay to keep the site even though we weren’t there 😦 ) and paying rent, we still spent much less this year than our other seven years.  Although if it hadn’t been for COVID and our all-winter lock-down we probably would have spent a lot more since we were within walking distance to many great restaurants and many more craft breweries!
My poinsettia the day we moved out … still looking as good as the day I brought it home at the beginning of December. I gave it to my cousin as a thank-you for storing Maxx for the winter

We moved into the park just in time for the very busy Easter weekend but once Tuesday hit things have settled down and we are enjoying some rest and relaxation after a busy two weeks.

When I wrote last year’s wrap up I ended it with this line “The COVID-19 virus sure brought a crazy end to a wonderful winter.  We hope all of you and your families stay healthy, do your part to self isolate, and that this pandemic is over soon!”  Who knew a year later we would still be in the thick of COVID and still locked down and unable to see our families and friends, all though just recently we are able to have a bubble of ten that we can see outside while social distanced and masked.  Now the highlight of our day is watching the government website praying that our year of birth will appear and we can book our appointments for our first vaccine!

I’m not hopeful that we will be able to go south this winter either but I am praying that we can at least get vaccinated and be able to see our son’s, hug our grandchildren, visit with our daughter inside and without masks, see my sister and see hubby’s mom and siblings.

Another picture of my first sunrise at the park.

My prayers are with all of you that you, your family and love ones are, and stay, safe and healthy.

Until next time …

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly … of Condo Living

We are starting to pack up and get ready to move back to Maxx on Wednesday and yes we are both very excited.  This winter was a good opportunity to try out condo living to see if a condo is something we want to purchase in the future … so how did it go?

Well, we didn’t have to shovel snow, so that is definitely a good thing!  We actually could not have picked a better year to spend the winter in Kelowna; the snowfall was far less than normal, the temperatures were higher than normal, and the valley cloud was almost non-existent so we had a mostly bright sunny winter 😀

But back to condo living … let’s start with the bad … Hmm haven’t found anything really bad … well I guess you could say we see the occasional homeless person around the downtown area but I honestly think that is something you need to expect if you are living in a downtown area.  When I was working, I would meet with homeless people and it would surprise you the number that are working full time but don’t have the money for a damage deposit to rent an apartment 😦

The ugly … well when we first moved in it was the inordinate amount of time it took to get hot water to any tap in the unit!  When we sat down for breakfast I would turn on the kitchen tap to full hot water and when we were done breakfast it might … if we were lucky … be getting slightly warm!

Just as ugly … when I went to have a shower in the master bath I would turn the shower on full hot water, get changed, talk to hubby, watch the end of a TV show if it was at night, check the local online news if it was in the morning, go back to the shower wait for the water to get hot … yup after all of that it was still barely warm … once it was boiling hot I would spend another ten minutes getting it to a reasonable (settling on the cold side) temperature 😦

Now to be fair to condo’s we had stayed at a wonderful friend’s condo for a few Christmas’s, when we came home and she was away, and never had any problem getting hot water … so why was this condo so different?  And more importantly was this something we needed to check when, and if, we decided to purchase a condo in the future?

Well after a week of complaining, and watching me turn water on long before I needed to, hubby went into investigator mode and discovered that this unit had low flow water restrictors in all of the taps.  I get why this is a benefit when you are paying for water, but seriously there has to be a compromise between saving money and enjoying life … and faster, easier, warmer water, is enjoying life for me!  Now if you are totally into the environment … and I get that within reason … then waiting more than half an hour for hot water may be your thing … I’m into protecting the environment and my quality of life so I’m willing to compromise in-between.

After hubby had done his work, the shower was a little better but still not great.  Finally around Christmas time he took the facet apart and decided it needed a replacement cartridge.  We ordered one, he put it in and wow it worked perfectly … life was so much more enjoyable 🙂  The landlords were so happy to hear it was fixed they asked hubby to fix the shower in the main washroom which was doing the same thing.  After this experience I might be tempted to do a hot water check on a condo if I am considering a purchase in the future.

The other downfall we found was the fire alarm/sprinkler inspections that required us to be present, all day, twice during the 5.5 months.  We also had to move our truck out of the parkade three times, once so that they could clean the parkade, and twice so that they could work on plumbing in parkade … which of course, because we live downtown, meant paying for parking.  We are not sure how people who work full time deal with those situations and we are not sure how we would deal with those situations if we were south for the winter.  Yes, we could ask someone to come and sit all day waiting for an inspection but I think we would quickly loose friends doing that!

I love the colourful reflection of the boats in the water

So onto the good … We had a nice deck and did get to use it several times in the fall, but I think the access to outdoor space would be something for us to factor in.  Living in the condo this year during the winter months and COVID worked out okay but we both have the feeling that as soon as the warmer months arrive, we would be craving more outdoor space than the a small deck.  Yes, we are very close to the beach and lots of park area but that is not the same as having my own flower and vegetable garden and space to entertain more than four people outside.

We do know that we absolutely love living downtown!  The access to walking paths, being able to walk to the grocery store, walk to church on Sunday, and we were also close enough to walk to my sister’s place.  From downtown it would also be an easy bike ride to our daughter’s place as well as several other friends.  Of course none of that happened this year because of the COVID lockdown 😦

Our truck hardly ever went out because we could walk everywhere we needed to go, in fact we filled up the tank once this winter and still have more than half a tank left.

So, for our first winter at home since 2012 it was a good place to live but we don’t think condo living is for us.  Although to be fair, as a good friend pointed out, it might be different if we had been able to entertain and have friends/family over for visits.  And that may be true, I had a really hard time this winter being home and so close to everyone but not able to see anyone and maybe that soured my experience.

I guess we will just tuck this information away for the future when we decide to settle down and for now look forward to our move back to Maxx on Wednesday 🙂

Until next time …

Top Ten Pictures of 2020

I just realized I have never posted my top ten pictures for last year, so here they are.

We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2020.

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links.

Top Ten Pictures of 2019

Top Ten Pictures of 2018

Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures of 2015

Top Ten Pictures of 2014

Top Ten Pictures of 2013

Now off to 2020 …

1 – Evening view of San Diego from our cruise ship the night we left for our two week Panama Canal Cruise. Picture taken 1 February 2020.

2 – Parrot at cruise ship terminal in Cartagena, Columbia.  Picture taken 11 February 2020.

3 – Dandelion gone to seed, taken on a hike near Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna BC.  Picture taken 23 June 2020.

4 – We had so much fun watching the Finch at our bird feeders last summer.  Picture taken 13 July 2020.

5 – I see some amazing sunrises at Bear Creek Provincial Park but this one was a doosie!  Picture taken 24 August 2020.

6 – And two months later the sunrises were just as pretty.  I can just picture myself sitting on the bench with a cup of coffee enjoying the quiet beauty of nature.  Picture taken 10 October 2020.

7 – Sunrise at the Cenotaph, Kelowna City Park four days before Remembrance Day.  Picture taken 7 November 2020.

8 – Kelowna Skyline taken from City Park during my morning walk.  Picture taken 23 December 2020.

The Kelowna Spirit Bear guarding the washrooms below.

9 – The Spirit Bear in downtown Kelowna, B.C.  Picture taken 30 December 2020.

10 – Another Kelowna skyline photo taken from City Park.  Picture taken 30 December 2020.

Wow this year all but two of my top ten pictures where from Kelowna which just goes to show we live in a beautiful place!  Also different this year is the number of snow pictures which of course we don’t normally have because we are south for the winter … I’m not complaining, I love snowy days 🙂

Some browsers will not show the Poll below. If you do not see a poll that means your browser does not support this type of script. If that happens you can either switch to another browser or leave us a comment and we will add your vote manually. We appreciate all your votes as it help us narrow down which pictures we will eventually mount and hang in our new home … one day in the future.

Until next time

It’s Looking Like Christmas Again!

Are you expecting pictures of my poinsettia again?  Or are you thinking that it is snowing like crazy?  Well in both cases you would be wrong 🙂  Yes my poinsettia still looks like it did the day I brought it home at the beginning of December and no it isn’t snowing, we have a gorgeous sunny day with bright blue sky and no a hint of snow in site, except high on the hills across the lake.

So why does it look like Christmas again?  Did you guess?  If you said they are filming a Christmas movie again then you would be right.

A few weeks ago, we received a notice saying they were filming just down the road from us, and over the last two weeks I have seen the dressing rooms and catering units parked in Prospera Place.  Today I noticed on Castanet, our on-line news source, that they were filming Falling For Christmas at a house on Ethel Street, several blocks away from us, but nothing about filming in front of our building.

So imagine our surprise when we looked out the window this morning around 9:00 a.m. to find the sidewalk covered in snow … and nothing had fallen out of the sky!

The snow was trucked in from Big White, a well know Kelowna ski resort.  Apparently, they only had to bring in one dump truck for our building, but I heard they had to bring in several for the house shot they were doing on Ethel Street.

We had to go downstairs and get a close up view.

Along with the snow along the sidewalk they were also decorating the front of our building and it did look very festive.

As often happens when I have my camera at events like this I was told I could not take pictures, for some reason they think I must be media.  This was right in front of the entrance to our condo so I told the lady that was fine I would go up to my condo and take pictures from there … yup nothing she could say to that!

Below is a picture of two of the extra’s waiting for their entrance … oops I think the guy spotted me taking his picture!

And then the filming began.  The star, at least I think that is who she is, is the girl in the white coat.  The girl at the bottom of the picture in the coat, scarf and holding a coffee is an extra.

Que the other extra’s …

A lot of equipment …

Take two, or it may have been take three or four …

We had a great view of all the equipment from the window of our condo …

A pretty impressive camera!  The man in the mask beside the camera man walks behind him so that the camera man doesn’t run into anything.

A close up of the main actor …

And it’s a wrap.

It took less than four hours from the start of set-up to an empty street, but it was a fun four hours for us 😀

Until next time …

Beautiful Sunsets

It has been nice this winter to see sunsets for a change.  During the summer I have seen some amazing sunrises but we never see the sunset because we are facing the wrong way.  Here in the condo I see the sunrise when I’m out for my walk but there hasn’t been any spectacular ones, but there have been some spectacular sunsets viewed out our front window.

So without a lot of words here are pictures of a sunset shortly after we moved in on October 27, 2020.

And here are pictures of a sunset taken four months later on February 28th, 2021 … what a difference in colours!

It’s interesting how the sky seems to lighten before it’s final display of colour. These pictures where taken one after another over a span of five minutes.

Until next time …

A Visit To The Old Neighbourhood

Remember the photo I showed you of the old Woolworths/Bargain Store demolition?

I took the above picture on January 23 so I was really surprised to read last Wednesday, in our local on line news site, that demolition on the building had started on February 22nd.  Seriously their office is only a few blocks away from demolition site, they should really get out more!  Anyway, demolition is really coming along and it doesn’t look like it will be long before there is no sign of the old store anymore.

It really is nice to see the sun rising and setting much earlier and later.  Now when I go for my morning walk it is starting to get light out and I have seen a few pretty sunrises … nothing like down south or at Bear Creek Provincial Park in the summer … but still pretty.

We woke up to beautiful sunny skies today so we decided to take a drive out to Bear Creek Provincial Park and check out the park and our site to make sure everything was okay.

Yup the city can still be seen across the lake 🙂

The weather was warm and sunny and it was the perfect day for a walk in our old neighbourhood 🙂

This is the only place in the park that has any snow.

We will be back in the park in less than five weeks and we are really looking forward to it.

Our site looks empty without us.

Until next time …

A Reminder of Christmas

While I am having trouble coming up with interesting things to write about in my blog, I find it even more difficult to come up with a catchy title!  Really Ho Hum seems the best but I have used that a few times, but honestly that is the best way to describe life right now 🙂

I wanted to show you how beautiful my poinsettia still is.  I purchased this at Costco the first week of December and the pictures below were taken two days ago.  At this rate I think it is going to move out with us and I have no idea where I’m going to put it in Maxx because it is such a big plant, but I don’t have the heart to throw it out!

It was a looking like Christmas with the poinsettia and fresh snow falling.

We have enjoyed several Zoom visits this past week.  Sunday night with our son and daughter-in-law in Calgary; Monday night with hubby’s cousins in Moreno Valley, California; Tuesday was our weekly friends happy hour, this used to be a morning coffee group but with COVID happy hour seemed more appropriate 🙂 ; Wednesday morning was our weekly Fed-Ex coffee group; and Wednesday evening we enjoyed a fun happy hour, three hours long, with Colin and Contessa of 5C’s Que Pasa.  We may not be allowed to see family and friends in person but we are still managing to find ways to keep in touch.

We had a pretty sunset while on Zoom with Colin and Contessa.

And I will leave you with a picture of a fun maze we saw in a front yard our way home from church today.  Someone spends a lot of time manicuring these hedges.

Until next time …

Wow, Something New!

A blog two days in a row!  We actually had some excitement today, but I will start at the beginning of the day and work up to it 😀

We had snow during our walk to communion this morning, it was lite dry fluffy snow.

We try to take different streets each Sunday so that we can see different houses.

After communion we walked over to Safeway to pick up a few groceries and then wandered home.  It was -8C with no wind so it was a nice walk in the snow, but shortly after we arrived home the snow stopped.

The snow was starting to stick.  It’s nice having a grocery store so close to our condo.

We had an early lunch because we had a walking date with our daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons.  Our Public Health Officer has said we can walk with others outside our immediate family but we cannot use it as an excuse to stop, gather, and visit.

We were waiting for our daughter to text that they were downstairs when the fire alarm went off.  We had just had our monthly fire alarm test and I wasn’t cooking anything, plus the alarms were also going on outside our unit, so we figured it was the real thing.  We gathered up our laptops, my camera and purse, donned our coats, hats, mittens, and boots and headed outside.  Good thing this didn’t happen a few days ago when it was -23C with a wind chill on top!

Hubby and another resident directed traffic around the fire truck while I visited with our daughter and family who arrived just after the fire truck. I’m using the excuse that we weren’t gathering, we were waiting to be allowed back inside … and we all had our masks on … I know it’s an excuse but I’m going with it.

It took about an hour before we were finally able to go back in the building.  The fire department wasn’t sure what had caused the alarms to go off but they were confident there was no fire and it was safe for residents to return.  Hubby returned the bag of stuff we had taken with us to our unit and then we headed out on our walk with our daughter and family.

One of the restaurants at the Delta Grand Hotel has four domes that people can reserve for dinner. You are the only ones in the dome and we thought about trying it out one night but we weren’t really impressed with the menu.

We had a great time, all of us masked, walking and catching up with our grandson’s lives.  We had gone on a walk with our daughter and son-in-law a few weeks ago but this was the first time we had seen our grandson’s since they dropped off some baking before Christmas and they stood out in the hall for a short visit.  I even snagged some hugs which I know I wasn’t supposed to do so don’t tell anyone 🙂

Some neat ice formations around the rocks in the lake.

When we returned to our condo the door was propped open between the elevator lobby and hallway on our floor.  There was a sign on the door stating that it should be left open because the lobby was getting too warm and that is what set off the fire alarms.  Hopefully they can turn down the heat because I really don’t want the alarms to go off in the middle of the night!

The boys were having fun breaking up the ice, it was hard to get them back to walking 🙂

I’m glad the fire alarms turned out be nothing serious but I do appreciate them giving me something to write about 🙂

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!

Until next time …

More Ho Hum

Still nothing happening in life so nothing new to say, I just wanted to let you all know we are still around, still holed up in our condo, still not seeing anybody, still not going anywhere … yup you get the drill 🙂

I haven’t even been able to drum up enough interest to take pictures when I’m out on my walk but I do have some old ones from a snowy day a few weeks ago.

Coming out of the side entrance of our condo.

The last week has been brutally cold so my morning walks have not happened … when they warn that frostbite will happen in a minute with our temperatures and wind chill it seemed the smart idea to stay inside.  We have been able to get out later in the day but it’s still very cold and the wind is brutal when it whips around the concrete buildings.

Kelowna Library

It is supposed to warm up to -6C tomorrow so we plan on watching mass on YouTube and then walking up to church for communion in the parking lot.  That has been our Sunday’s of late since churches have been closed down.

So that about sums up our life with no real end in sight 😦  Our public health officer says we may see some restrictions lifted around the end of the month but those don’t include being allowed to gather with family and friends.

Kelowna Law Courts

Hopefully Canada starts getting their vaccine shipments and life can soon return to a somewhat normal routine.

Until next time …

Ho Hum

And that is pretty much all I have to say … nothing exciting to write about … just another two weeks of living the life of COVID shutdown.

We had a nice sunset on January 13th

We did go out twice in the last two weeks, once to take the truck in for servicing and once to go out to my cousin’s place to move Maxx to a new location.  That’s it, other than our daily walks which included a few trips to the grocery store.

I think the reflection of the lights looked like a heart in the water.
Harvesting the weeds along the beach during the early morning hours.
The skating rink finally opened, but to reduced hours and numbers.

So I guess I could tell you about the truck, it was idling a little low and hubby was unable to fix that himself as it needs to be hooked up to the proper software.  That meant it had to go into a shop for servicing and that is a first for hubby, he always does his own repairs other than ones covered under warranty.  I figured for sure we would end up with a huge bill because in my mind that’s what happens when vehicles go into the shop but I was very surprised, the total bill was $137.00!  Despite trying very hard the shop could find nothing wrong with the truck and they even commented on how well hubby looked after it 🙂  They did take out all the programming and then put it in again but didn’t think they needed to.  We could tell as soon as we left the shop that the idle was perfect now so it must have been some little glitch and redoing the programming fixed it.

This may be interesting to people who have lived in Kelowna for a long time. They are finally tearing down the old Woolworth’s building to build new condos. I bought our daughter’s dress for her first school Christmas concert at Woolworth’s during a coffee break from work many years ago … just a memory that ran through my head when I took these pictures 🙂

Our other adventure was to drive out to Peachland so that we could move Maxx to a new location.  When we dropped him off at my cousin’s last October the ground was soft and we ended up getting stuck in a soft spot where they had recently dug up a huge rock.  Last Thursday the weather finally got cold enough to freeze the ground and allow us to move Maxx to a better spot where we will have no problem getting him out in the spring … even if the ground is not frozen 😀

And the move was none too soon as you can see in this picture my cousin sent me, it started snowing last night and will probably continue for a while now.

And that’s it for the excitement in our life.  British Columbia is still on a lockdown for another two weeks but hopefully things will improve and we will be able to visit with our family in February.

Until next time …