Wednesday, April 1, 2020

ROBBLOG #828- Home Sweet Home- or not?


Okay. Now hold on! Don't start the rumour mill churning just yet.

Yesterday, The Mister and I went for a drive up island.
We had a purpose in mind.
I was clutching two small sheets of paper on which were written a half dozen addresses.
No, we weren't going visiting in this time of pandemic.

We had a purposeful reason to drive up island and take two sheets of addressed paper with us.
I have been looking at real estate during these "troubled times".
Why?
Well, for one thing we have an AHole of a neighbour we'd like to get away from but more importantly we like to have an ocean view.

When we first moved to the island almost three years ago, many folks asked us if we had an ocean view. No, but I'd excitedly add- "We have a mountain view!"
They didn't seem to care.
Ocean trumps mountain I guess.

Anyhoo, I had written down six addresses of homes currently on the market.
I looked at photos of interiors while online.
I knew what we wanted. These six were passable and in some ways, close to what we had now.
I also looked at front and back yards.
We wanted more space, at least more than 10 feet from a neighbour- which we have now, plus a proper street distance from neighbours opposite.

We didn't want gravel and stones. Here on the island people who don't want to cut grass or install an underground watering system opt for rocks.
Massive amounts of rock and gravel of varying sizes.
Nothing detracts from the street appeal of a home more than grey stones.
A lawn of green grass- real or artificial, sets off a home's curb appeal. The house looks
better. Friendlier.
I guess that's the Ontarian in me.Think green.
Many British Columbians choose cold, oppressive stone.


So we saw three homes in Chemainus, three in Ladysmith- one was actually Saltair but close enough to Ladysmith.
Prices varied.
Now, back in Ontario if a house and property were not cared for- a dump in other words, the price reflected that fact.
Here on the Island a Bette Davis "dump" can be upwards of 500 to 600 thousand. Sometimes what looks promising in an online photo collage looks dreadful and messy when you pull up streetside.
One feels like marching up to the front door and saying- "Really? I mean really?- $500,000 for this?

We did see a couple of homes that looked promising- one with an ocean and a mountain view where yesterday there was snow on the peaks. Our favourite was truly beautiful.
It sat up high on a rocky outcrop.
Massive ocean views.
Three balconies- lanais, to take in the view.
Double Car garage.
A nice interior with enough bedrooms and baths.
It would be considered the very top end of our budget- if we had one.
The whole neighbourhood was well-cared for. Clean streets with centre boulevards and a couple of minutes drive to shops in Ladysmith.

Driving up island gave us something to think about.

I look back on our very first trip to the Island three years ago and remember not knowing our way around. We perhaps made a hasty choice on a location for our home.
Now, I love the fact we built a custom home with all the features we asked for.
Our gardens have exploded the past almost three years and that is lovely.
Weather in the Cowichan is better than anywhere else in Canada and that's a fact!
We also don't have a lot of breathing space- that's also a fact.
Living near six tribes is also a fact.

I hear you asking- Knowing this area of the Island better now would we have made a different choice?
I think so.
The Ocean View is the best and two of the houses we viewed yesterday ticked that box more than once.

So what now?
I have no fucking idea...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

ROBBLOG #827- What would Joan Do?


Show of hands please...

How many readers wanna curl up on the couch and sleep these trying times away?
Uh-Huh.
Thought so...

You know, this Toyota Corolla virus doesn't have to keep us in our homes or stop us from enjoying life.

Here on Vancouver Island the Mister and I are doing our usual walk with Koko- our mini-schnauzer, every day. If we happen upon folks- and we usually do, we step to one side and ensure two metres distance. Many times the approaching walker does the same, so we may wind up with four metres- or more, distance.

On the Island or Islands there are about 47 cases so far. A fairly small number for more than a million residents. I heard this morning that many people are returning from their winter homes to take up residence a month or two early. Of course self-isolation is the order of the day because Island Health resources are stretched. On smaller Islands like Saltspring and Denman there is even less opportunity to have hospital care. So, the Islanders have asked visitors to stay home.
Even on Vancouver Island's West Coast, the communities of Ucluelet and Tofino are asking visitors and surfers alike to stay away.
So they should.

If Joan Crawford starred in The Walking Dead this
would be her taking down a rotten Zombie.
Besides refraining from going out for coffee or fish and chips, our lives are pretty much the same in retirement or self-isolation here in the Cowichan. We go out to shop as necessary and pick up foodstuffs we need- if they are on the shelves. There's still many times when the shelves are empty.
Oh and we wipe or spray our hands once back in our vehicle and still we wash our hands thoroughly as soon as get home.

There are positive things I can do- like writing this Blog or while being self isolated, I've had a a chance to catch up on TV series.

I've re-watched all seasons of "Call the Midwife"- even the new season that just aired in the UK.
The past few days I've done the same with "The Walking Dead".
I had stopped watching so I needed to catch up on season eight and nine and watch the first 10 episodes of the current season ten.

Things are pretty much the same in Zombie Yankeedom.
Killing, maiming, arguing. Loving America- still...

No one seems to get along.
There are hordes of "bad people" who want to control the "good people". That's been the running story line for all of the seasons. Watching on my computer screen I can fast forward through the crap. I would say I watch an episode in ten to fifteen minutes and I hardly miss a beat. Actually, one can watch the last few minutes of an episode and the first few minutes of the following episode and pretty much get the story line.

If only Joan Crawford were here. She'd show those rotting Zombie herds a thing or two.
"Don't F*** with me Fellas!!"- she'd say as she pointed her pistol in their general direction.

There are not that many new scenarios and none that include or allude to Joan Crawford but you have to hand it to the writers who have been churning out seasons like there's no tomorrow- and there isn't much of a tomorrow, in The Walking Dead.

My last blog alluded to the fact that living in Zombiedom is much like living through this virus except we don't go around stabbing "the affected" in the head, slashing them with a shovel or beating them with a baseball bat entwined with barbed wire. No, here in 2020 we simply step aside and wish the "possibly" infected a good day and good health.

Good grief-
Aren't we swell?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

ROBBLOG #826- Zombies Are People Too

So howz it goin', eh?

What a strange world we live in with this Toyota Corolla Virus.
I've been calling it that.
Toyota Corolla.
Well, you have to laugh- don't you?

The Mister was telling me the other day that the Spanish Flu killed 50 million folks around the world back in its day. So, looking at stats, we are doing much better. Of course in the time of the Spanish Flu, medically, things were different.
Doctors offices were not as clean.
Hospitals were basic. I am sure stainless steel and IV drips were non-existent.
Our numbers- although skyrocketing in some countries, are certainly better than in that world-wide epidemic remembering that there were no jet airlines moving people around in a few hours from one end of the earth to the other.

If we could just find a pill.
A cure- and fast.
Even in this time of fast, fast, fast, a medication to fight covid-19 is a few months off.
How did this strange virus get a foothold and what will attack us when this virus settles down?
It's certainly an uneven playing field.
We seem to be slow on the uptake.
Slow on keeping the virus in check. Slow to stay home.
Did it really start in that Chinese market where they hung the carcasses of all manner of beasts to feed the millions? I am no scientist or doctor so I don't know how these things get a foothold.

I do know that there are days I wish we were fighting the "Zombie Apocalypse" and not the Toyota Corolla Apocalypse.
You see, with a Zombie, you know where you stand.
They want to eat your brain or flesh.
They want to have a cocktail of your blood- similar to a vampire only a vampire has more class.
Zombies want you dead.
We want to live- like Jane Froman.
That's it.
A Zombie doesn't expect you to self-isolate for weeks on end.


No, if a Zombie were standing there in front of you, you'd know where you stood.
The Zombie is the Walking Dead.
You are the "walking" alive.
So, a quick shot to the head with your Grandad's old hunting rifle.
A snow shovel smashed into its brain.
A neighbour's chain saw- borrowed last fall to trim the oak in your backyard, roaring through its neck severing the head from the rest of the body.
So simple.
Show a Zombie it's demise and poof!
You are done.
Zombie dies- again. Let us not forget that a Zombie has already died once. When you smash its brain with a shiny, new Home Hardware shovel or a rock from your Hydrangea garden, you are really doing it a favour sending it to "The Jesus".

No repercussions.
Neighbours yell across the street-" Hey Buddy, good shot to that Zombie's head!"
You smile in gratitude.

With the dead Zombie lying there on your well-manicured front lawn all you have to do is wait for
Zombie Recycling and your problem is looked after.
Although Zombies are portrayed as terrifying, flesh eating monsters- and they are, at least one knows where one stands.
With this Toyota Corolla pandemic the future is uncertain.
Oh, sure some folks you'd like to bash in the head and bring them to their senses but we are human after all.
Loving beings.
It's just that some humans have the word "asshole" printed in indelible ink across their forehead.
You'd have to get up close with a slice of lemon and wipe it across their brow once or twice to see the letters.

Again, when you see a Zombie stumbling towards you, you know it's a Zombie and you understand what you have to do.
With the Toyota Corolla...well, you get the drill.
All we can do is physically distance ourselves. No shovel required.

I'm sure you all have an out of touch, nicotine-addicted neighbour still inviting boyfriends over- one at a time of course, for a quick snog and an after sex smoke.
Don't you?
No? Really?
Well, aren't you lucky!

Meanwhile, has anyone checked that the dead are staying dead these days?
No?
Hmmmmm.......

Thursday, March 19, 2020

ROBBLOG #825- Divisions


Living in a world divided.

We're seeing borders closed. International flights cancelled. Restaurants and bars closed.
Different reactions to covid-19 depending on where you live.

I think even across CANADA there are divisions.
The Federal Government and our Prime Minister saying one thing.
Provincial governments another.
That Ford Fellah another.
Egads!
States of emergency have been declared not only by Provincial Governments like here in BC but also major cities- like Vancouver.

Here on Vancouver Island- in the Cowichan especially, I am not seeing or hearing of mass hysteria of any kind.
Well, there's the Toilet Paper caper but really that seems to be in most places and really WTF?

BC Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry says although there are new cases daily the chance of getting sick in most BC communities is relatively low. I take it that goes for Vancouver Island too. Most people- if infected, get a light does of flu-like symptoms. Many who have died have heart or respiratory symptoms before C-19 took hold.

We're still living normally for the most part.
We shop when we have to.
We've had Chiropractor appointments cancelled.
Some stores have reduced hours yet still be had lunch out yesterday with a friend while we waited for our mini-Schnauzer to be groomed. The restaurant practiced safety. Tables were separated and staff cleaned diligently. Washrooms were spotless as was our table. I held my coffee cup as the server refilled by mug. We didn't hug our friend but elbow kissed. We washed out hands and used wipes. We walked through a neighbourhood enjoying the warm sunshine.
Many people were out walking but we all kept what we considered to be a safe distance.


None of us were sneezing, coughing or showed signs of health distress. We are all of the age that once an "island" winter sets in we wash our hands whenever we're out- including pushing a shopping cart. That part has not changed. Keeping fingers away from eyes and mouths has always been a part of "wintertime" practice during our new life on the island as it was in "Old Home" back in Ontario.

I have noticed a distinct difference when chatting to eastern folks. Maybe a few more hyper-tones in their voices compared to here.
Maybe it's the weather.

We are well into spring with forsythia, cherry blossoms, camelia and more all happily in bloom.
Our skies are brilliant blue with few clouds.
We even had to water our garden the past few days because of lack of rain.
We are out walking or biking as we have been all "winter".
That might be the difference.
We might just be healthier here on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

This Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon- so they tell us.
I can see plot lines from old movies becoming reality when viruses and such erase much of our planet- if earthquakes or the bomb doesn't get us first.
If a virus ten times more contagious that covid-19 hits in the future, then it's time to say "buh-by" like the friendly flight attendant at the door to a returning aircraft.

Maybe on the positive side, Doctors, Scientists and Government leaders- not all, will get a better handle on how to deal with a virus such as this in the future.
Maybe soon it'll be a piece of cake especially if we all stock up on toilet paper well in advance.
TP has no expiry date.

We can only hope things will get better.

Friday, March 13, 2020

ROBBLOG #824- Time Waits For No Man


I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the letters G and P stickered on the trunk of the car in front.

It took a minute before I realized- oh!- Gramma and Grandpa. It took another short minute to see the word printed beneath each letter.
Duh...
Family stuff. Cute though.

Those stickers got me thinking about friends and family.
Earlier in the day I was asked about a two "Ontario" friends we have lost contact with since living here on Vancouver Island. Retirement and distance was the reason we had sort of dropped out of touch. Not a surprize. There are more friends and some family members- like cousins, we have lost touch with over the past two and one half years.
It happens I guess.

We knew that would result from a cross-country move and it has.
I looked down at my dash and saw the time was almost  seven pm.
Another reason.
Time zones.
We live three times zones west of where we had lived the past 25 years.
It tales its toll.
Seven in the evening means there are people in Ontario I can't call right now because it's late and even more so our friends in Somerset U.K. who are snoozing away at this hour being eight hours ahead of us here in British Columbia.
So far, we haven't quite got used to it.
By the time I get my act together in the morning and have a couple of cups of much needed brew it's already approaching early afternoon in "olde home". I have to get cracking if I have calls to make- video or otherwise.


Talking of family, I just heard from my sister who has been wintering in the states along the Atlantic coast. Over the past few months there have been times when we are warmer here on the Island. I
can't remember if they saw snowflakes this season but that area can, of course. My Sister had texted to say my brother-in-law and her were heading home to Ontario a few days earlier than planned.
The reason?
Covid-19.

Things are getting stupid stateside and there is always the possibility of difficulty crossing the border or quarantine once one does. I certainly wouldn't want to be on that side of the 49th. The Mister and I have cancelled any thought of going to Hawaii for our 35th Anniversary next month. I am sure we could get there but again, coming back to a possible quarantine puts a damper on the whole thing.

Flight loads are lighter than usual. Even a trip to Australia was considered. The Mister- being a former airline employee, allows us the opportunity to fly standby- if there are seats of course.
Flights loads are "open" as we say in the airline biz. It would be easy as pie to fly to Frankfurt, Paris, London- even Sydney but because of the fear of catching this corona virus and some consideration, we are playing it safe and we have decided to stay in place.

As of this writing there are no covid-19 cases on the island. There are many on the BC Mainland but not here. I had suggested in a previous Blog to close Island airports and stop the Ferries. That won't happen unless things get totally gloomy but it would protect those of us living here.
Even the stodgy, old, right-wing Conservatives in Ontario are closing public schools for an additional two weeks after March Break. I am surprised that guy in charge of kid's education in that province- I forget his name, even thought that would be a good idea. He seems quite removed- like his boss Mr. Ford, to having student's best interests at heart.

So something else to think about  if you are an Easterner pondering hitching up the ox cart and plodding west- time difference. Of course there are high real estate prices and relatively low availability of homes to rent or buy but that depressing news should be saved for another day...

Monday, March 9, 2020

ROBBLOG #823- What next?


What Next?

Zombies roaming our streets?
Is there the chance that this corona virus will morph into our worst fears?
A true-to-life version of "The Walking Dead".
Okay, maybe that's not our worst fear.
Maybe our worst fear is Peter McKay becoming Prime Minister but it's up there in the top ten.

We've all seen the movies or TV shows- haven't we?
People have to hide in a high rise with a bobby-trapped front lobby.
Others build a metal fence around a suburban subdivision and live fairly normally slipping out to grocery shop in an abandoned No Frills.
Where the hell does their hydro come from and where do they get water and sewage treatment.
TV shows never elaborate.
I worry about these things.
There are even those who choose to cruise the landscape in an old Buick travelling the countryside in a warped version of a summer vacation. At least entry to Canada's Wonderland would be free.

I think if there were to be a Zombie infestation, I'f like to live through it on a tropical, South Pacific Island- like Oahu.
How bad can living with Zombies be there?
Surf. Sunbath. Shoot a Zombie in the head. Wack a Zombie with a baseball bat keeping in mind that these Zombies were once real people.
There would have to be some remorse.
Anyway, all in a day's fun and survival on Waikiki.
Don't forget your sunblock and flip flops.


Actually, I feel I am becoming quite complacent with this virus.
I am tired of seeing it in headlines every day.
Cripes, Italy is corralling millions of people and offering jail terms and heavy fines if Italians try to leave the containment zone.
Now, that's a horror movie right there.
Citizens crawling across fields and under barbed-wire fences to reach their loved ones in another part of the country. Maybe they'e out of pizza dough and it's a flight of mercy.
Meatballs may be sparse or pantries may be holding the final couple of bags of Catelli spiral macaroni.
Egads!
All the while those in command- hairy, old Italian men, are holding all the cards and possibly all the meatballs.

So far I have yet to hear of one case of Number 19 here on Vancouver Island. If Italy is shuttering citizens from freedom of travel maybe it's time we close the island off from the rest of the country and the world.
Just stop the ferries and close the airports.
Done.
Simple.
Oh, there are a couple of people I'd like to ship off our paradise on the last boat.
(Please refer to the previous RobBlog for further information)
Other than that, I think we'd be okay.
We'd wait out the virus.
Wait for the all-clear, when life would return to normal and one again politicians in this country can waste their time calling one another names and natives can return to their normal state of shutting a country down with blockades while at the same time seeking sympathy and retribution.

You know, maybe we're Fucked already...

Sunday, March 8, 2020

ROBBLOG #822- Nuts to You




I don’t know what’s up these days.

With me?
Possibly.
Is it the Coronavirus, the Covid -19 disease?
Nope.
Am I worried about Covid-20 or 21.
No.
For now, I'm still breathing, not coughing, nor am I lining up at Costco at an ungodly hour to buy toilet paper. TP will not save you from Zombies and if this virus is any example of the tons of Zombie movies we've had shoved in our faces over the years, Toilet Paper is NOT going to save us.

I would be upset of course if I had a trip planned to Italy with Corona virus on the loose.
Holy Cow!
I'll bet the Pope is praying to his non-existent Gawd overtime these days.
So far he's in the clear. I'll bet they have him sealed in a plastic garbage bag for safety!
The Italians surrounding the Vatican are shutting down half their country to save Italians and maybe that might be a good idea. 
The Pope's prayers don't seem to be having any effect on ridding us of the infection.
Is this just the latest in bad jokes from the almighty?
I can imagine the sermons in born-again churches these days.
Wait?
Is that the hooves of the four horsemen I hear or Peter McKay's lips flapping in the Canadian breeze speaking his truth- namely right-wing rhetoric.

To be frank, we have to corral this doomsday disease before all we cough and wheeze our way into the next dimension.
There's just not enough room in Heaven if we all were to shuffle from this mortal state together. Cripes, the house prices in Heaven- and Hell (that's probably Vancouver) would skyrocket!

To be truthful, these days- viruses aside, I'm feeling a little anxious.
I'm not wishing for spring like I once did back in Ontario at this March time of year. Here on the Island it never gets cold or wintry enough to make one throw themselves to their knees at bedtime praying for an end to the season called winter. That's because here on Vancouver Island crocuses have already bloomed and daffodils are still blooming. Even the cherry blossoms are out on many trees.

One thing I can tell you, these days is I'd like to be a bit further away from my fellow person.
Again, not because of the fear of a viral flu or dying. No, I am tired of living so close to some neighbours. You see, Island land is precious and developers shove houses close beside, behind, in front of and almost on top of other houses.
One sneezes and one's neighbour says "Bless You"!



Have you ever noticed when one lives close, one begins to notice that "nutters" inhabit our planet? Oh, not the kind we see on the telly or online in the news, these are simple, everyday, neighbourhood "nutters" who just live on our streets.

You may find yourself using endearing words such as asshole, the jerk across the street, the rednecks next door or similar terms.You know, people who park on their front lawns, turn their music up loud, collect garbage, hide in garages to watch the neighbourhood or keep recycle bins handy- right at their front door so we all have to look at them.

We had "nutters" back in Ontario and we have a couple here- "Island Nutters" and yes the "nutter" in question would know of whom I speak. I think most "nutters"...
Look I'm tired of  typing quotations lets just call them NU's...
Most NU's know they have a few screws loose. They just don't quite fit in with the rest of us yet they insist on living close to us.

They like to make living near them a chore and there's no known cure.
They rub on our nerves and we can do little in return to make them disappear.
Even Gawd has no time for NU's and I hear if you ask in prayer for an NU to meet some magical fate you'll end up being the one denied entry into Heaven- at least I imagine that's what Oral Roberts would have said as he asked listeners to lay their hands across the top of their old, black Western Electric with the softly-lit dial.
Christ, who names their kid "Oral" anyway?

If you try to talk to an NU they refuse to make eye contact but rather spin on their shaky heels and slink away into their dark, dank cavern of existence- usually sucking on a fag while shouting incomprehensible English words and phrases.
It's a challenge to live nearby.

Is there a cure for an NU's you ask?
Only one I can think...
A For Sale sign on one's lawn. 
Yours- not the NU's.

Somewhere there must be a neighbourhood with nice people free of NU's.
Maybe an Island out in the Pacific.
I thought we had found one...