Saturday, December 16, 2017

Season's Greetings

Wishing everyone a safe and happy festive season!

...from the internet

from the internet

See you in 2018.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Government's Competition: Fair or Not?


Your local government spends your tax dollars to buy a building and then rents it for an event or function.  You and other business people in your community are zoned commercial. government using your money to compete with private enterprise? 
Sure they are!

Local government has competed with private enterprise in their own community.

But you're the taxpayer whose taxes helped the government buy the property that competes with you.
And they'll continue to compete with your business.

And then they'll want to renovate the building.
So you the taxpayer will contribute towards that too...

The following from Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick, Community News, Dec./17:

"Council would also like to get community feedback in a process to look at a replacement plan for the Coldstream Women's Institute Hall.  Council has budgeted money to carry out a planning process for a future hall to replace the existing hall next to the Cenotaph Park.  We would like to engage the public in the process in 2018 to create a plan for the community to use when it comes time to replace the existing hall which has had a long and well-used life...."

And in that same Christmas letter to residents, local government promotes their rental facility too:

There's also the offer of general liability insurance through government's "municipal user policy"...sheesh, how does private enterprise get in on group (municipal) rates?

The City of Vernon also competes with private enterprise within its boundaries.
They own the old Lakers Clubhouse and rent it out to functions and events.

"Deck their halls..." Kia would've sung the popular festive tune.

Perhaps the W.I. hall isn't the only thing in need of replacement.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Some are definitely worth least on the blog.

The first is one of my favourites...from Sundial Lighting in Vernon:

Me too!

This in the U.K. after Canada's Trudeau (T2) paid Omar Khadr 10.5 million bucks.

Well...why NOT?

This during the Spring 2017 flood event...that saw three weeks of rain.

Alternative to expensive groceries...a sign in the U.S.
This just after T2 won the election in Canada...

Is this indicative of high dropout rates in some areas of the U.S.A ?

a fav of mine from March/April 2017...our non-spring.  Brrrrr!
GVW customer?  Nah...

This "secret society" never seems to get good press...they work without fanfare.
lots of tears...from lots of people.
Appeared to coincide with Albertans moving here after the NDP won there!

And this one may be THE winner:

The most popular sign, according to the email Inbox.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Enough Snow for L'il Man

Our grandson is now 3-1/2 years old and I'm reminded of a comment from my Mother when he was born: 

"A grandchild is God's second chance to enjoy a child."

My Mother was right.

L'il man getting familiar with gliding on snow in our yard...

As Christmas approaches, simple pleasures become a tradition with the next generation: an Advent calendar that helps count down the too-numerous days of December until Santa arrives, sleepovers in one of our bedrooms now that he has outgrown his home's crib, special breakfasts that include pancakes and peaches, a little stepstool that allows him to place ornaments on the bottom half of the Christmas tree.

Our daughter enrolled l'il man in Silver Star's excellent ski program.  Here he is at his first lesson:

The little people are in Silver Star's "Rippers" program.  L'il man is in foreground.

And the skiff of snow we have is perfect!  Temperatures aren't too cold for this grandparent to enjoy the outdoors with l'il man.  Unlike that freak snowstorm we experienced in early November:

Way too much snow and cold in early November.  One night saw -16C.
That was quite the storm...heavy wet snow that brought down tree branches...and bent my laundry umbrella!

And l'il man was adamant about decorating his own home...albeit in November!  Here he is with his idea:

L'il man talked his Mother into decorating their November.

I'm delighted that my Mother--his great Grandmother--is still able to enjoy him.  Here he is visiting her at Coldstream Meadows, her assisted living care facility:

Fourteen days until Santa's eternity for l'il man...a flash for a senior!

"Each day is important as we age," Kia would've said.

Yes it is.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Coldstream's Revival?

...At least the sleepy community of Coldstream appears to no longer be stuck in reverse since the loss of 300 jobs with the 2008 closure of Consumers Glass by parent company Owens Illinois.

about time the blue arrow began to turn upwards...

So nine years later, the announcement by Coldstream Ranch Owner Keith Balcaen that Quebec's Vegpro is investing $60 million into a vegetable processing plant on the North side of Highway 6 has long-time Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick smacking his lips.

Garlick's lip balm equates to a windfall for the community's tax coffers.

The Vegpro value-added farming operation won't recover the lost property taxes since Consumers Glass closed, but 200 new jobs (reportedly paying a minimum $15.00 per hour) will be welcome indeed in a community where young people have been forced to leave and look for work elsewhere.
That's not all.

Another uptick to the property tax and jobs base is from the shuttered Consumers Glass site with Restoration Lands' production of magnesium-oxide boards, expected to commence soon as their certification is now in place.  One hundred jobs are expected to be added at the Lavington site.

"Good that Highway 6 was widened a few years ago," Kia would've said.

Good point.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Busier than a Hoot Owl on a Starry Night

Oh man...busier than I thought I'd be since September 30th when the course closed.

It started early October when we decided the ceilings had to be redone.
Why?  Well, it became recently apparent that the wrong painting contractor was hired during renovations--some seven years ago.

Either the wrong paint was used, or primer had initially not been applied to some areas, but patches of ceiling paint were hanging--triangle-shaped, like a pizza slice--from numerous corners of the ceiling!  There was no way to fix only the corners.

So...when I left for my Wenatchee trip in October, I was happy to believe that the work would be completed when I returned.  Not a second contractor had to be hired by the first contractor; one who was "more experienced in fixing the screw-up", as the first contractor bluntly stated.

Returning from my trip, I found the room much as it was when I left.
The work was completed over the next four days:  stripping, scraping and resealing, re-primering and then repainting.  The gentleman who completed the work actually put in a 15-hour day on his last day--a Friday--by saying he wouldn't leave until he was done so that we wouldn't have to put up with the mess over a full weekend.  What a sweetie.  And, yes, we were grateful.

Lots of restaurant meals...couldn't get to the microwave, or stove, or even make a pot of coffee in the morning!

Imagine living like this for nearly a week...

Next was the replacement of the last of the old windows.  Three living room windows and one den window were installed by Centra Windows, the company who did such a wonderful job replacing our original windows during the first renovation.

Great company, owned by its employees, who did a fine job.

Then it was time to finally remove the last of the main floor the family room...and install plank flooring.  I love how practical this flooring is...vacuuming takes all of eight minutes.  It looks and smells so clean!

The plank flooring is finally finished in the family room.

So here we are and it's December 8th...the grandson is asking if he can help decorate the house (..."where's the Christmas tree, because Santa is coming soon?").

The ceilings turned out beautiful!
The new windows are beautiful!
The new flooring is beautiful and clean!

"Glad you left the carpet in the family room as long as you did," Kia would've said.

Next job...drag the Christmas decorations out of the basement.
So the grandson can help.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2-1/2 month Blog Hiatus ends with Windstorm

2017 has been a busy year.
My last post was on July, that's almost three months ago.

My Mom has now been at Coldstream Meadows for six months, and appears to be settling in comfortably with the assisted living routine.  She's luckily getting "the hang of it", although the early-Dementia diagnosis is likely accurate.  Mom isn't enthused "about the Canadian food", and has shed pounds...pounds that were unnecessary anyway.  I visit her twice a week and look after her personal shopping needs.  She seems to have forgotten that her house has been sold since the possession date mid-July, and occasionally asks for a mop or a ladder!

Since the golf course closed September 30th, I've again had a super-nice trip to my favourite shopping destination--Wenatchee, Washington state--during this Fall's mild October weather.  It was wonderful to point the truck South and just go!

This interesting man from Vancouver and his ride allowed a photo during a U.S. fuel-up.

The grandson is approaching 3-1/2 years old and now has a closet full of new clothes to fit his growing frame.  While the Canadian to U.S. exchange rate can be a challenge for our beleaguered loonie, I find the selection of children's clothing so much better in Washington state.  Add to that the U.S. fuel price of $2.89 a gallon--easily half what we Canadians pay for fuel; there's no sticker shock while fueling up--it remains worthwhile to shop down south.  Plus there's my "need" for a brief "escape".

This trip I noticed hotels were a tad pricier than other years, but maybe that was because of Canadians heading south the Thanksgiving weekend, having left for the U.S. on Thursday October 5th.  While the U.S. Thanksgiving isn't until November, our Thanksgiving was Monday, October 9th (by which time I was back) and we all enjoyed a wonderful turkey and ham dinner at our daughter's home.  She fed 24 people (including 6 toddlers) that evening!  Wow!  Sometimes I joke that she must be adopted as I wouldn't have been able to get through cooking for such a crowd as that at my home.  She just laughs it off.

Ah...the trip.  It was certainly worthwhile, and I managed to spend some "donut" time with golf pro Ed Paine in his retail golf shop, Golfer's Edge, in Wenatchee.  He has become a good friend over the years, advising me in golf-business matters when needed.  We generally meet twice a year...March and October if I'm lucky enough to go south twice.

Golfer's Edge golf shop owned by Ed Paine, golf professional, on Mission in Wenatchee, WA
Oh yes.
Back to the shopping for grandson.

Gettin' things organized in the hotel...

...and new boots
Some work on the house interior's ceilings had been planned.  Or at least I thought it was planned for completion by the time I arrived home.  Nope...a contractor's delay meant I was back home when this work was performed...aaaargh!  Messy!

Ceilings needed redoing after a contractor--7 years ago during the last renovations--screwed up by using the wrong paint, which was coming off 'in sheets'!
Husband and employee, Ian, had put the clubhouse and patio furniture to bed by the time I returned from the U.S., as well as having brought in all the benches and tee-box paraphernalia.  Men's nite manager, Denny Wallace had come out and winterized the big barbeque as well as removed the tee-box signs for his annual reapplication of marine (waterproof) stain.  And the new gazebo canopy is now safely stored (and nicely folded--thank you, Denny!) inside the clubhouse.

Backyard Pools and Spas were hired (spur of the moment...a good decision) to perform the winterizing work on our 16 x 32 inground swimming pool.  Twice-yearly (start-up and shut-down) work had previously done by another company.  We frankly had grown tired of the other company postponing our winter pool shutdown time and again.  Turns out the new company is a hell of a lot cheaper too!  And they listened to every request!

So now...finally to the windstorm.
I had driven a friend to a Kelowna medical appointment at noon on Tuesday, October 17th.  The day started out clear and sunny, but windy.  As we approached the new highway section just north of Lake Country--above Gatzke's orchard where the speed limit increases to 100 kph--a VERY strong gust of wind almost blew the Toyota truck into the right lane from the middle lane!  Wow.  Gripping the steering wheel more tightly, the wind blew and blew the rest of the way south, including while we attended her medical appointment.  Frequent heavy showers accompanied the racing clouds overhead.

Arriving safely back in Vernon, roads everywhere were littered with tree and ditch-debris. A child's plastic swimming pool was impaled on a fence post.  Plastic garbage cans, now without lids, sought new owners!

The golf course suffered wind consequences too.

The 55-foot poles on which the safety net is suspended at #8 tee-box and fairway took a wind-hit at the middle pole.  This is the second time that fastener has let go of the aircraft cable on which the net hangs.  One can only imagine the weight of that net, especially when wet with rain, on the eyebolt drilled through the top of the pole. 

Sean of Advanced Powerline was phoned, and they'll be here as soon as the second problem (next photo) is removed...because that's their big truck's only exit route after reattaching the net!  Seems to me the last time this occurred the invoice was $600.  Oh well.

The neighbour on the west's 50-foot fir tree gave out halfway up in the storm. 

Fortunately, the golf course was already closed and no-one was on #8 green when it crashed down.
The fallen branch was a lot larger than this photo appears to show...

Anyway, I've been "unwinding" from my six-months-with-no-days-off duties.
It's frankly very relaxing to be able to go into town and not have to race back to the course.

But I still haven't finished inside the house.  Pictures need to be re-hung and not all the furniture is back into the room(s).  

I'll soon be ready to look after the grandson again.
He is so very mature--for a 3 year old--that I'm amazed at his willingness to help set the table; indeed to watch "the machine" as we cook his favourite (grilled cheese sandwiches).

I'll close with a photo of grandson doing a great job vacuuming Mom's house to prepare it for sale this summer.

My daughter is clever to "train-em young"...

Here's hoping the nice Fall weather holds for at least a few more weeks.

"I would've licked the floor clean," Kia would've said.

September 23, 2017 was hard on regular golfers--and husband and myself--as that was the one year anniversary of Kia's passing.

Run with the clouds and Rest in peace, dear Kia. 
I still miss her.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tale of Two Cities?

Okay, Coldstream is a municipality and not a city.
But it's right smack dab adjacent to the City of Vernon.
And that is the problem.

I give Coldstream credit for their recent effort in notifying the homeowner whose property abuts Howe and Mackie Drives.  Tall ugly--and ready to bloom, and spread throughout the valley on westerly winds--thistles lined the homeowner's fence.  Coldstream's Keri-Ann Austin not only immediately replied to my email reporting the thistles, but copied their Roads Supervisor, Mike Pethick.

One thistle...the beginning of thousands and thousands whose seeds spread on the winds.

City of Vernon?
Nope, not so much....turns out from their website, that they don't eradicate noxious weeds "for cosmetic reasons".

Interesting, though, that the City of Vernon is quick to have their residents comply, even asking residents to water boulevards...with that very expensive GVW water!

"Obligations of City residents 

City of Vernon Good Neighbour Bylaw # 4980, requires property owners and residents to maintain the boulevard(s) and lane adjacent to their property. The City does not provide this service and does not include any funds in the budget for such work. Most of this work involves landscape cutting, trimming, and watering of grass on the boulevards and lanes. The City encourages property owners and residents to maintain the boulevards for the beautification of our city and the enjoyment of all."

Excerpt from City of Vernon Weed Control page on their website.

While some folks may agree spraying noxious weeds for "cosmetic reasons" isn't a good idea, some weeds are so insidious that they shouldn't be in the same category.
Frankly, I think it's a cop-out by the City of Vernon.
Because the City of Vernon Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980 doesn't take into account its adjacent community.  I mean Coldstream's residents, who work hard to keep properties and acreages presentable and free of noxious weeds.

So let's see what happened in Coldstream on Howe/Mackie Drive...this photo shows the neighbour obviously responded to Coldstream's request to not only spray the thistles, but REMOVE them and bag the seeds into the garbage:

thistles were not only sprayed, but their stems/seeds were bagged.  Thank you, Coldstream and Homeowner!
In Vernon?
Not so much, as the saying goes.

Look at these photos of the steep bank above Highway 6 (photo taken from Sarsons Road, just east of Middleton Way, looking north and northeast toward the condos west of Hillview Golf Course).  

Thousands and thousands of noxious thistles ready to blow a new population of thistles east...directly into Coldstream!

Maybe someone should tell the City of Vernon that their new and very expensive signage that welcomes visitors (from the east on Highway 6) needs some work already!

How much did these signs cost?  Already lost the letter "r".  Shoddy! 
The above photo of "Ve non" was taken from Sarsons Road, looking northwest to the new welcome sign on Highway 6 at the edge of Hillview Golf Course.

"Good neighbour is a misnomer," Kia would've said, suggesting Vernon's bylaw should be called entirely something else.

Thanks, City of Vernon, for not giving a damn about the Coldstream valley.

And don't count on RDNO to care either, even though they have weed ID on their website.
Despite the regional district having an email address (at the bottom here) on their website for "weed control", no emails to them ever receive a reply!  So they might as well cancel that website page, despite it looking good!

Let's end the doublespeak!