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...

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

ROBBLOG #821-Pound. Thump. Pound.


There are things I'd like to say right here in this RobBlog- but I won't

This RobBlog I write is not an editorial or essay or rant, this BLOG is simply some personal thoughts- laid down, in the same manner as I might vocally relay them to someone sitting opposite me in a coffee shop.
As I get older I do have to reel in my vocal distaste for much of the crap happening in our
neighbourhood, country, world and planet.
Planet. Smanet! Dammit Janet!
There are boundaries, however.
Like...

I probably shouldn't mention the Indian chap- First Nations not Punjabi, who stood centre of the street talking on a mobile phone, while I was making a right-hand turn on a very small ramp.
Oh, he saw me.
He saw me.
I saw it as a small blockade without the rail tracks, flags, covered faces and tires smoldering away.
Maybe those larger blockades give the unemployed, the street beggars and those with absolutely nothing to do or nothing on their minds an opportunity to...um...well, to do something.
Is there free food and drinks or is the opportunity to wear a mask in public outside of October 31st just too much of a good thing to pass?

Someone suggested to me that the government pay them all off and be done with it.
Blockades are not the best way to have people support you when those very folks you look to for support are being laid off or denied goods because of the blockade.
It's a circle. A vicious gawd damn circle!


I don't know what Justin- Our Prime Minister, is about these days either.
I mean, I like the beard.
It's cute. Handsome even.
Is he gonna shave it off if the barricades all come down or if winter finally ends?
He sure seemed to take his time on this barricade deal much to the opposition's delight!
Of course with a minority government one can't do anything right- except maybe ignore Andrew Scheer.
Did someone forget to tell Scheer he's just a fill-in now.
He's not a real leader, so shut up?

Actually Peter McKay should heed those words.
I kinda liked him at one point.
Notice the word "kinda" and "liked".
I thought he was different but he isn't.
I mean for me saying I kinda like a Conservative is saying a lot but his words these past couple of weeks are cautionary.
He just jumped in the same mud puddle as the rest of those Tory leaders who have the audacity to use the words "my Canada". They mean the Canada that we all would still be stuck in back in the darker ages- if it weren't for other leaders. Cripes, I kept the lights off the entire decade that Harper was in power. I hid in the cellar. I wore white-face when I went out in public.
White face?
The same colour Kiss and the Joker wear.
It's not racist!
I would have gladly moved to England or New Zealand or France or some other country where I didn't speak the language and would have no fucking idea what was happening.
Now, that's bliss!

It's the "End of Days" I tell you.
Now, I'm sure you're used to that coming from a right-wing, evangelical God-Fearing preacher but look at the signs?
Corona-virus.
Blockades.
Pier 1 closing. The final two Zellers Stores.
Will and Grace almost finished their comeback.
Peter Mansbridge still missing from The National. ( Who are those strange new people?)
Woman doing things men used to do.
Men doing things women always did.
Mr. Cheese Face.
Mr. Ford. Mr. Scheer and anyone else of that ilk. There are too many here in Canada to mention.
Quite frankly, I am waiting for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to come thundering down my street any day now.
The Hound of Hell lives!!
Actually, she does.
I have her address!

I feel I should be on a pulpit in front of a congregation, pounding my fists in direct relation to the words I speak.

You'll have to imagine you heard the thump-thump-thump.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

ROBBLOG #820- Pooh Pooh Undies


People are funny, eh?

Like today.
I gave the cashier lady at Winners my Pet Value card instead of my TJ Max Card.
She took it from me readily.
I saw her give the card a look and then attempt a useless swipe.
 She looked at me and said- "I think this is the wrong card."
I looked.
"Of course it is!"- I laughed. "Just put me in the home!"

While this was going on the Mister was looking at bags of Lindor Chocolate next to the cash register.
He picks up a bag and says to the already flustered gal-
"You need to dust. There's dog hair and dust all over the bottom of this bag."
She apologized for the dust and hair.
I knew what she was thinking- "Dog Hair Sir? Really?"
I smiled weakly and said- "Don't ya love it when someone comments on your housekeeping? I get it all the time at home."
She half-smiled this time looking at her watch wondering if it was time to leave this place of customer service behind and those customers that commented on dust and hair.

Funny, eh?

Prior to visiting Winners- one of my favourite stores and believe me there's not many to choose from in North Cowichan, we had gone into Pet Smart. I was looking for D-Stress, the liquid wonder-drug that we've been giving to our feline "Dickens" over the past year to calm him down.
It works.
It's all natural and it's 17 bucks for a small eye-dropper bottle.

No, it doesn't go in his eyes, it's goes on top of his food.

Anyhoo, the gal at the Pet Smart register tried to get me to register for their customer "card" even though she says there's no card. Just a phone number.
"No thanks",  I told her. "I have enough cards."
"But it's not a card. It's a phone number"- she wanted to make sure I understood that fact. "Well,"- she continued. "If you buy here all the time it does offer you cash-back savings.
"Nope. Not interested but kudos for you for trying." I smiled.
"I don't get anything for getting you to sign up you know."
She was getting defensive.
"I have to ask and anyway you might win cash rewards and it's just a phone number after all."
This gal wasn't giving up.
"Well, I commend you for your efforts but no thanks. You are very good at your job however..."
I thought I'd say something positive. You know, end on an upswing. She placed the receipt into the bag I had brought, along with the D-Stress and a chew bone the Mister picked up for Koko.
Now, if they gave me 5 cents back every time I brought in my own bag, I'd sign up for that!

White Pooh, Pooh Undies
We headed for the van after a quick go round at JYSK.
I needed a shoe rack for my closet.
I got one on sale for 22 bucks.
Nice. The next rainy day, I plan to organize the closet and make room for all my shoes.
Just call me "Amelda".
The Mister picked up a rug for the floor area in front of the kitchen sink.
I suggested turquoise blue.
He wanted a "blah" grey.
The rugs were made of memory foam.
Very posh and soft.
I still suggested the turquoise. The colour would pop along with the "Aloha" sign we bought from a craft vendor in Waikiki a couple of years ago. The sign was above the cupboards near the sink.
In the end the grey stayed on the pile and the turquoise came home.
It looks fab.

Then, he asked a floor girl where the wooden hangers were. She showed him and he picked up two packs.
Finally we are at the cash and the gal says- "There's no return on the hangers."
Something about hangers being a personal item.

JYSK are very concerned about personal items. I thought a worse scenario might be stepping on the turquoise rug in bare feet or having the cat puke on it and then returning it, rather than a hanger that's just had a shirt on it.This was just something I had rummaging around in my heard while the Mister paid for our purchases.
I mean it's not like we would attempt to return the hangers after we had hung our dirty "pooh, pooh undies" on them.
Really.
As I said- it a JYSK thing.

As we headed home I needed to stop at 49th Parallel for milk. The "49th"- as we locals call it, is a grocery store.
I nipped in, got a three litre carton of milk and a pack of three, freshly-baked Apple Fritters.
At the cash there was a Mom and daughter in front of me. I took notice because the Mom's hair looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks.
Yuck. Gag.
She had a couple of cokes on the counter and a small black box of something.
The cashier asked is she wanted a bag.
"No, but I need cigarettes- but I don't know what kind."

It figures they never know what kind!!
WTF?

Are you a real smoker or are you a "pansy" smoker. Be a woman and step up and tell the lady what you smoke.
Jesus Harold Christ!
This has happened to me many times at the 49th and always when there are lots of folks lined up at the cash. The clerk pulled open the drawer where the cancer-sticks were hidden. Mommy leaned over and chose something.

Good.
We are almost done, then it's my turn.
Now, all of a sudden the Madam decides she does want a bag. She grabbed the black box and shoved it into the bag with the cancer-sticks like she was all of a sudden hiding her purchase from the world. During all this, I had kept myself amused by reading the labels on the Planter's Peanut cans in front of me.
Salted. Non-Salted. Chocolate-covered.
Still, I was aware of what was going on.
I can do two things at once after all!

My eyes drifted from the peanut cans to the monitor screen in front of me. There, in letters three inches high, it said:
KOTEX Tampons and a price.
I don't remember the price.
I don't need to remember the price for obvious reasons. If it had of been Depends for Men, I might have been interested.
You know, just for my personal information down the road.
Way down- I hope!

Anyway, that's the mystery of the small, black box solved.
"Mummy greasy hair" was trying to protect her offspring from being embarrassed- I suppose, meanwhile it was there for all to see in big, black, block letters.

I smiled.
I thought it amusing.
Perhaps she should have bought a bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo and left the ciggies in the cashier's drawer.

People are funny, eh?

Monday, February 10, 2020

ROBBLOG #819- What?


Did I miss something?

I don't watch the Oscars like I once did. I skipped last year and caught the year before.
However the Mister and I did sit down yesterday afternoon to watch.
I say afternoon because here on the Left Coast the pre-Oscar show starts at 330 in the afternoon and the show itself at 5. The whole thing is done out here shortly after 8 pm.
It seems strange not having to stay up late with work the next day.
In fact we watched "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and still finished before midnight.
Oh, Quentin Tarantino did not disappoint. The blood and gore flowed before the curtain fell.

This year we managed to watch a few of the nominees.
Judy, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and others
But....
Did I miss something?

I heard about Parasite.
We tried watching it a few days ago.
It was in Korean.
After the awards yesterday, we tried again.
Nope.
Still Korean and
still we had no idea what they were saying.
I tried turning up the volume on the TV but we still couldn't understand.
That's an old airline trick.
If someone doesn't speak English and are asking you a question just raise your voice and
magically English gets translated to the confused traveller.

Okay.
This doesn't work. It's just something that we've seen folks do in a foreign country. Speak much louder and all language barriers melt away.
They do not- as I said.

So Parasite.
What happened there?
Why does America have the Oscar statuette shoved up the Korean butt?
I only heard about the film a week or so ago. Apparently it is part comedy. Part drama. Part horror.
I can't for the life of me understand why the white men of the Academy voted for this one. Was there an all-expenses paid trip to South Korea up for grabs?
I think four statuettes in total.
Why?
Maybe if I ever see the film, I'll get it. Usually, American is only for all things American and this includes English- well, American English.
Zee? Not Zed?
What?

I should think this might have been the year a Mexican film could have won- if one had of been nominated. If memory serves, I seem to remember a movie about cavemen and cavewomen winning Best Picture decades ago and not one word of English- American or otherwise, was spoken.
Just grunts.

A strange group these Old Oscar boys. I say "old boys" because I believe more than 60% are men and something like 87% of those are White Boys. Old White Boys.

Noticed how the Oscars made up for lack of "Black Actors" being nominated by having black folks as presenters, singers and dancers. I know what they were trying to do but really?

So, just why did those old, white boys vote Korean?
Did their wives ask then to?
Was it political? Well, yes I guess it was. Anti-Presidential? Who knows.
Perhaps but I am not that enshrined in American politics to get it.
I do know not one Canadian- man or woman to be fair, won an Oscar Statuette. Of course all the Canadian "films" were documentary shorts.
Weren't they?

No, the Oscars tried to be all things to all people but failed.
They did have a Queer representation with Elton and a couple of quick camera shots of his Canadian other half David Furnish to appease us Canuks.

I don't know for sure but I suspect that if a show of hands were asked for at the ceremony as to who saw "Parasite", the outcome would probably suggest that about ten percent or less of the audience actually saw the film.
Unfortunately, a percentage of the ten percent were in the bathroom- having a pee!

Monday, February 3, 2020

ROBBLOG #818- Smell ya Later


I have a lot of things that keep me busy during retirement.

Take for instance yesterday morning.
I spent a delightful two hours trying to find the source of  a smell coming from our Whirlpool refrigerator.

On the best of days I am not happy with the Whirlpool Appliances that are in our new kitchen. The bright star in the lineup of fridge, wall oven, microwave and cook top is the dishwasher.
It performs well.
It's quiet and does a good job. When not in use it sits there and doesn't bother anyone.
I am not going into great detail at this juncture concerning the appliances and why I haven't especially warmed to them. No, today's focus is telling you about the smell emanating from the refrigerator whenever the door is opened.
This is no fault of Whirlpool but still, I would never, ever purchase a Whirlpool appliance again.
(Let it go Rob...let it go)

Meanwhile, back at the fridge...
At first I thought some milk had spilled. I took out the carton of Island Farms 3% milk and wiped it down with a blue J Cloth. I wiped the glass shelf clean where the carton sat and I felt pretty confident I had found the cause of the odour.
It was like sour milk.

I closed the door.
A few minutes later I opened the fridge to pour a bit of milk in my coffee cup.
Ugh!
The smell was still there.
I poured the milk in the cup and added some hot coffee all the while holding my breath.

"Damn, it must be the milk carton"- I thought.
I was fairly certain.
I poured the remaining milk from the carton into a glass milk bottle I had in the cupboard. You see a few months back I had tried a particular brand of local milk that is sold on the Island in glass jars. I didn't like the milk but I thought the glass milk bottle was worth holding on to. If I poured the carton's contents into the glass bottle maybe my odour problem would vanish.

I was wrong.
A few minutes later the odour was there when I opened the door.
"Oh for Pete's Sake!"
Sorry about the rough language.

I washed down the glass shelves and the side walls of the refrigerator with Bon Ami cleanser.
Nope.
I could still smell it.
I tried a lemon cleanser.
A few minutes later the odour remained.

I emptied the fridge piling everything on the centre island.
I wiped off jars and containers.
I took out shelves and wiped until I thought the glass would break.
I even swore softly beneath my breath.
"Darn. Cripes. Holy smoke."
It was a good thing a young child was not in the immediate vicinity!


I smelled everything.
Time passed...
I became tired of sniffing and smelling.
Gawd, how does a hound dog do it?

I was about to give up and order a new fridge when I picked up a tuna can that had a purple, plastic lid snapped tightly closed on the tin's top- at least I thought it was snapped tight.
I inspected the tin.
Ah-Hah!!
The lid wasn't clicked closed on one side.
Could this can be the culprit?
I had picked the can up early on but I was sure the top was snapped on  tight. I didn't give it a sniff at the time. I should have because it wasn't on tight. As I drew the tin to my nose I could smell the fish inside.
Yeech!

I hate fish and things from the ocean on the best of days. Sure, I'll eat some deep-fried halibut with a side of fries, however, that's as far as I'll go. I only have the tuna to appease the cat.
So, there it was. A small can and a big smell.
Ewwww.

I threw the can out.
I thought I'd try Dickens- our orange tabby, on flaked chicken. I remember I had bought some the last time I topped up his tuna-in-water inventory. I thought chicken in a can would smell better- to me at least.
Dickens however, turned his feline nose up at the chicken.
Finicky ******* felines.

So that's how one spends one's retirement.
I still have a finicky feline but I also have the cleanest, freshest smelling refrigerator on the entire block!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

ROBBLOG #817- Painting What the Future Holds


The Mister says I am not allowed to paint.

Walls, I mean.
Ever again. So he says.
Apparently- like an 6 year old's colouring book, I've painted outside the lines once or twice in the past.
Phooey.

We have two guest bedrooms I want re-painted.
Currently they are "Bar Harbour Beige". That's not warm enough for these rooms. I am thinking more burgundy with a touch of rust or red. I haven't sorted through paint chips at Benjamin Moore yet so I really don't know. I only know that Bar Harbour Blah is not the right choice we originally made.

Anyhoo, we have asked for estimates from area painters.
The first one came back at $995.
What??
The second was over that at $1275.
WTF?
This is just two rooms. No woodwork.
No trim.
No repair.
Just paint.
Cripes.

I got so pissed off I didn't even call the third painter.
I've decided to leave it be. Maybe down the road I'll change my mind but for now being a Senior living on a fixed income, it's just too much to fork out.
Even if the Mister told me to go ahead and paint, I'd probably say "no". I don't even like painting but I've done it in the past to save some money.

I could keep looking and hope I'll run into someone with a price that would make me smile. Now, I understand that a cheap price may mean a terrible, cheap job.
If I wanted a shoddy paint job- I could take care of that myself if one were to believe "him".


Speaking of taking care, I think the end of days are at hand.

I haven't seen the four horsemen of the apocalypse come riding down our street yet but with the Island weather forecast calling for yet another "Atmospheric River" bringing up to 50 mm of rain to our valley and with the World Heath Organization declaring a world-wide emergency what with the Coronavirus spreading further and further around the world, it might be time to repent.
Jesus Christ.
How do these viruses get started in a country the size of China? The city of origin is home to eleven million people. They are fast-tracking a new hospital just to take care of people with this deadly virus.
You have to wonder what's up.

You know, Jesus could be upset with the millions of heathens living in China. I am sure that's why he's made it rain so much here on the Island in the past month or two. There's just not enough of us attending church these days and the bills are adding up.

As far as the rain goes, I've been checking online for blueprints to start building an arc but I figured if the Mister won't let me paint, he's certainly not going to let me build a boat that is almost certain to sink to the bottom of the Pacific.

Then again, if the end of the world is at hand, who cares what colour my guest bedrooms are anyway.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

ROBBLOG #816 Pot Pies, Princes and Plants


We are alone again, naturally.

Here on the island we get a lot of guests. We just had three separate guests all at separate times visiting and taking in the Island hospitality- and ours. Now for the next while we are on our own.
Back to meal planning instead of going out for brunch or dinner. Back to catching up on TV series we placed on hold while guests are here at Palm Villa. Back to taking long walks.
That we need.

Going out to dine once or twice a day for an extended period wreaks havoc on my "girlish figure" as well as the senior pocketbook. It's great news for local eating establishments though. It also allows us to try something new. This past week we drove to the Malahat Summit- at 1200 feet, to eat at the Malahat Chalet just a short distance down the Victoria side of the mountain. The view- as you can see below, is stupendous.
Look at the Rainbow!
The food was scrumptious.
I had a chicken pot pie that was so good I would have been happy just eating the pastry enclosing the chicken bits. Desert was a chocolate cake that was about six layers tall.
I couldn't finish it.
The Mister did.


Our friend Lisa who was here most recently didn't get to see a lot of breath-taking Island views- except for the Malahat Chalet. The rain this past while has been nonstop- not to mention the snow last week. Read about that in the previous ROBBLOG.

It looks like we have some sunny weather ahead- mild and spring-like, compared to most other parts of this glorious country of ours. We've seen snowdrops out along the path and there's a hellebore out in our north garden. Rhody's are in full bud and the heather is all aglow in colours of purple, pink and white. The cows are out in the green fields as the picture at the bottom of this Blog shows.

I remember our first year on the Island the Mister cut the grass around the 10th of February.
Not sure what February will bring this year what with the crazy weather and not just here on the Island.

January Hellebore
There's been heat and fires in Australia.
Seventy plus centimetres of snow in Newfoundland.
Freezing rain in Ontario.
Two weeks of below minus 30 temperatures in Edmonton. Okay, maybe that's not so unusual.
Then, our Island saw so much snow in two days a week ago.
The most since the early 80's I heard.
Global Warming?
You betcha.
What else?

It doesn't always have to make the weather hotter- although it is judging by the melting polar ice cap.
Global warming is changing weather in many places. Here on the Island we suffered from forest fire smoke in July of 2018. We had to stay inside for a few days. Australians know what that's about.
That and leaving everything behind to escape the heat and flames.
We have an extended drought every summer. No matter how much rain falls now, our river beds will be dry come late July and once again we'll have watering restrictions.
Not so nice.

On the nice side, we may have a Duke and Duchess living in the neighbourhood.
Okay not exactly next door but not too far away either- in Saanich.
I mean they'd be more than welcome to live in our neighbourhood and bring up Archie with a ton of "Uncles and Aunties"at their disposal to watch him.
They could save a ton of money by sending their bodyguards back to England if they did move into this neighbourhood.

I know Island folks would let them have their space if this is where they wanted to settle- besides Frogmore Cottage at Windsor. Something for them to consider if they have Vancouver or Toronto on their minds.

I think it would be fun running into them in an Island park.

"Good Morning Harry. Is that how I should address you. Harry? Duke?"- I'd ask.

"Sure. Absolutely."- he'd say in his "royal" English accent, "And how should I address you...

"Oh, "Your Grace" would be just dandy!" I'd reply, offering an outstretched hand and a huge smile.

Now, there are three guests that would keep the neighbours talking.
Well, it could happen one day....

Cowichan Cows Grazing on a green pasture
Jan 23, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

ROBBLOG #815- I Need Therapy!


I need therapy.

Apparently, I do.
Oh, not because I'm losing it.
No, I still have an ounce or two of my faculties left.
It's because I need therapy as in a "therapy light".
It's simply all the rage here on this Island My Dears.

A therapy light alleviates the loss of daily sunshine. One still needs to take a daily Vitamin D but adding the use of a LED Therapy Lamp to one's daily routine is supposed to be just what the sun doctor ordered.

The Mister and I have been using ours for a few days since the nice man at the door delivered the
Light Therapy package from Amazon.ca.
Is it working?
It must be since I haven't wanted to strangle the Mister in several days. This lamp emits some of the same stuff that the sun does. It fools your eyes and even friends much in the same way that Ray Ban Sunglasses hide huge bags under one's eyes only in this case the eyes think they see sunlight and one's spirit is lifted.

It doesn't removed winter's gaunt, vampirish look. You know,
that white, pasty, overtired look but at least you feel good about being white and pasty!
It's not a sunlamp.
There's no tanning involved.
I use mine a few times a day when I sit at the computer.
Like right now.
I'm so happy I could s***.
Especially when I look out the window and see white.

Yup.
It has snowed in the Cowichan.
We were supposed to see perhaps, maybe a bit of white stuff.
Probably. Maybe. Not sure- as I tracked three weather sites, to see if the Cowichan was going to see appreciable snowfall. All sites were different but it comes to pass that we have some snow.
One site predicted 0.05 cm on the ground.
What the F*** is 0.05 cm?
You'll be happy to know that I believe it to be more like 5 cms.

Nobody's outside.
No cars are on the streets.
Nothing.
It's like a white Armageddon since Islanders don't know how to live with snow let alone drive in the stuff. I mean it's not too much. I saw more ice and snow when I defrosted our upright freezer back in the fall. I'll bet if anyone is out on the roads it's a former Ontarian and even they stay locked up behind closed doors knowing full well an occasional Islander will pretend to be an Easterner and still drive.

I'll bet school buses will be cancelled.
Schools will be closed.
Transit is either affected by cancellations or running behind.
Ferries to Horseshoe Bay and Tsawassen will be cancelled.
Shelves in grocery stores will be empty of bread, milk and bottled water.
It's like a war zone on the Island when it snows.


Now, I hate this cold, wet Island stuff. It is different from Ontario Snow.
It has a different flavour.
Our Island snow is wetter, heavier and has a fruitier piquant than Orillia snow.
It tends to melt fast and yet with all three weather sites predicting bone-chilling, record-breaking snow for Vancouver Island we may be in for a few days of a whiter landscape than usual.

I have knocked snow off my palms twice already and I don't think my cordyline's will manage with the heavy snow and cold temps.
This is a gigantic pain in the ass and I speak for all Islanders- unless you are 8 years old and own a sled or toboggan.
Most kids in the lower half of the Island do not. Santa doesn't bring Island kids in the southern part winter snow stuff like a sled.
It's a dream for kids here.

We have snow shovels but we all have to dig them out from under piles of junk meant for a summer garage sale or a trip to the nearest dump or recycle site.

The snow is pretty on the BC fir trees but fir trees crack and fall from the heavy snow on their limbs and then, the power starts to go out.
The Hubbie and I are getting a Generac installed this year not just for power outages caused by snow but earthquakes and wind as well.
All part of living on this beautiful, green Island.

One thing I gd know, a couple of days after this snow melts and the cold retreats, we Islanders have bad short term memories and will go back to telling Winnipegers and other Easterners that it never snows on the Island.
It's a bare-faced lie but one we all stand behind and continue to lie about.

It's the Island way.

Monday, January 6, 2020

ROBBLOG #814- Finding Place


What a world we live in.

What a time.
What a place.
Here we are in 2020 and things don't look better than the past decade.
Things are worse.
Politics stink.
Social media is a problem.
Changes are afoot.
We're all trying to find "place" and hold on.

Climate change is a major concern. I can't believe those people- many Canadians, who don't see it or feel it. We have new weather terms for storms here on the left coast. How about "Atmospheric Winter"?
WTF?
I've heard that twice this "winter" season on the Island. If long range forecasts hold true we might see many centimetres of snow and unusual cold here in the Cowichan beginning next week.
Crazy.
Two years ago camelias were in bloom and we were cutting grass in early February!

War is always on the lips of many people across the world. In America, that little old country that sits east of us here on Vancouver Island, west and east to many residents of Southwestern Ontario and due south to many other Canadians, is always ready to go to war with the Middle East, North Korea and others. Citizens are being stopped and held for unusual lengths of time at immigration check points. Witness what happened at BC border points this past while.
It never changes.

I asked my sister who is spending the winter as usual, in the U.S. if her and my brother-in-law are prepared in case something comes of this current conflict the Americans- their big cheese in particular, have with Iran. She said they are keeping a close watch and will head north if something happens.
They are a fourteen hour drive from the Canadian border.
The idea is to be able to drive north- before the border closes.
Who knows?

Other family and friends are south as well and I wonder how they go about every day with the
"revenge plots" that Iran rumours to be considering inflicting. The world could be a changed place this year and decade.

I think about change.
I miss being back in old home. There are times I get all morose and sobby-eyed- if indeed sobby is a a word.
I begin wondering if :

a) we should have stayed there in Ontario
b) we should have moved to Florida for our winter warmth
or
c) we should move back to ice and snow

Then, the after Christmas let-down combined with my family being so far away seems to weigh me down in this post Holiday time. I mean, I hate January to begin with and February- who needs it?
It was bad enough living through the hell of freezing cold temperatures and foot after foot of snow back in Orillia, Ontario but this "river" of rain and overcast skies has held on throughout December giving us only a half dozen chances to be outdoors in the sun.


Now things are green here. Temps are about 7, 8 or 9 degrees most days- at least until that arctic forecast scheduled for next week comes along. One can walk about in a sweater and rain jacket- or shorts on the few sunny days we've had. Bicycles are still on the streets and joggers abound- one today was even bare-chested. Golf and RV resorts are open and the ocean's tides are still a remarkable event to witness at places like Cherry Point Beach.

The feeling of being unsettled or not having roots that go back more than three years is troubling at times. We've met lots of new people on the island and have formed many close friendships in a relatively short period of time. However, we still like to visit and have dinner with our former Orillia or Ontario friends who live here. We seem to hold a special bond with them that just feels right. That being said we have several very special, very close ties- family-like ties, with a half dozen folks who inhabit a special part of our Island Life. How could I give that up?
Change is good.
Or not...

I tell myself the distance from which we came from in Ontario- three time zones away, is not a small feat. It took guts and gumption.
We managed it.
It hasn't been easy, I can tell you that.
I feel hollow at times, without purpose and of course the way old father time skips merrily along faster and faster every day, doesn't help one little bit.

Will the world get through these times?
Will I?

Really, I don't know.
The next chapter is still to be written.