Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Marie and I will be joining Phil, Fernanda, and Amy in Mexico for Christmas this year. They leave on the 20th and we fly down to meet them in Mexico City on the 23rd. I will be updating whenever possible with pictures and stories of our adventures as we enjoy two weeks away from the cold white north. While we are gone friends will keep an eye on our place so we need not worry - keeping the road cleared of snow, checking our solar panels, etc. Hopefully we all have a safe, happy and memorable holiday - my wish to all of you as well! gws

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our Retirement Home Party Twenty-Nine (Master Bathroom Part 1)

One of the most challenging jobs so far in the finishing of the interior of the house has been the construction of the shower enclosure in the master bathroom. Before beginning we first had to change the location of the drain hole - here my trusty reciprocating saw was a great help - and then plumb it into the main drain line. We had to be careful here as the PEX piping for the radiant flooring surrounds this wood insert. After that we strengthened the walls where the Durock cement board would go, then built a 2x4 curb 5 inches high around the two sides where the glass and door will eventually sit. At the same time we finished connecting the hot and cold water pipes through the wall to the main water supply at the right height for the taps. Next within the framed enclosure we used a combination of products from Mark E Industries of Florida that they claim to be 'goof proof'! These tools - their pre-pitch, kirb-perfectquick-pitch and string-a-level systems - we bought to help us simplify some of the most difficult and time consuming tasks in building a shower. And simplification we needed! From the following photos it looked easy but believe me it wasn't! Two weeks later after much frustration, bad language and stomping off outside to cool off we are now ready for tiling. Happy December to all!  gws

new hole for drain in 2x6 

36 x 60 inch curb

laying out pre-pitch sticks

mixing cement for pre-pitch

vinyl liner over new sloped cement and curb

Marie installing pex for water lines

putting up Durock cement boards and niches for bottles

quick pitch ready for cement

quick pitch and curb cemented

and this is where I am at the moment....

Monday, November 18, 2013

Snow? What snow?

This past Wednesday, the 13th,  we woke up to over sixteen inches of snow (yes that's a 1 and a 6 as in she was only 16, la la la ) after our trusty weatherman had predicted a few centimetres...All that fluffy white stuff was rather pretty, if not especially welcome this time of year, and as you can see by the photos it hung to the trees like grim death to remind us of what was surely coming. Well after a day of warm rain we woke this morning, five days later to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains and green grass sparkling in the dew. Even the snow on some of the higher mountains had gone... Ah well, like they say about snow around here:  it's something like sex - you never know how many inches you're going to get and how long it will last...happy snowshoeing! gws

7am Wednesday 13th November

3 days later, melting fast
 and there it was...gone!
2pm Monday 18th November

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Beautiful Grandchildren


Amy, Joshua and our little angel Patrick : a life so brief...a child so had the power to touch us all.  gws

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Goodbye Old Friend!...1981 Dodge Ram Camper

When we were living in Ottawa, Marie and I crossed over the river into Quyon, Quebec, the summer of 2001 and bought a used 20 year old 1981 Dodge Ram camper. It originally came from British Columbia, where it had been built, and the present owner had used it very little. We found it sitting in the shade of a few trees slowly turning green with moss and, after brushing away an accumulation of leaves and cobwebs, took it for a short drive. The rest, as they say, is history. We took ownership and brought it back to Ottawa where we spent the rest of the summer tearing out the old shag carpeting, drooping roof liner and generally giving it an update. We replaced a few minor mechanical parts, the toilet, alternator, the batteries (more than a few times!) and water pump over the years, usually on the road where they would fail, bought new tires and bit by bit the we freshened the old girl up and she looked like new. Yet always there was the chance of something falling off and breaking due to the age of the van but all in all we found it pretty reliable. So much so that we never hesitated to drive it down to Florida on a few occasions to visit Mom and Dad, Lyn, Don and Dee, down to Boston a few times to visit with Marie's family, out east to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick one year, up through the Gaspé one summer to see Marie's uncle, and a few weekends to the Maine coast these past few years to enjoy lobster and the fresh sea air. But back in 2007 we took our longest trip with the camper - across Canada, into the prairies and the States to Vancouver Island to see my friend Bruce, returning through Utah to spend a few days with sister Carolyn and Michael. As always Muffy our toy poodle accompanied us on our trips and she proved to be an excellent traveler. This past year though we found we were not using it much, the house construction taking up most of our time and, as the van passed her 32nd birthday, we found age was starting to take its toll on many things - rubber gaskets were drying up, propane leaks were developing, holes were starting in the muffler, the grey water tank needed replacing, the windows were leaking and electrical shorts caused probably by overwintering mice were becoming an annoyance. The old engine and transmission though still ran like new and probably will run forever but we were not ready to sink any more money into it. So last month, after advertising on Kijiji and getting interest only from people too far to drop in, we put a for sale sign up in the window and parked it on the side of the road. A few people looked at it and this past week a local couple decided it was for them and put down a deposit. After doing the appropriate paperwork and shaking hands a few days later they happily drove it away. We now have an empty spot in our drive (and hearts) but will always have fond memories of the old girl and its faithful years of service. gws

ferry, Lake Champlain, NY

Phil and Marie

North Carolina


Coldbrook, Nova Scotia


New Brunswick

Ormond Beach, Florida

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

a hot shower after a long day on the road

Lac Mégantic

Muffy in her favourite spot

winter storage on the mountain

Saskatchewan rainbow

Lake Okanagan, BC

Oregon desert

Marie, Mike and Carolyn, Ogden, Utah

me enjoying Maine lobster and beer

me and Mom, Florida

fall on our mountain

Christina, somewhere in NY state

goodbye old friend! October 2013