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Big Changes At The Estate

Another View

The Entry View

 

Well after enjoying our little cabin aka “Givens Grove” for four years, it is time to move on! We have sold our little getaway in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We had many great times there and created wonderful memories with our friends who live up there and for the ones that made a visit. Our retirement plans have morphed into something different and it just wasn’t going to happen there. One of the reasons is being reliant on a ferry schedule that in some times of the year, isn’t too forgiving. I am sure if we had planted ourselves there full time we would have made the adjustment. Another reason….Island politics and attitudes……..didn’t mesh with ours, simple as that! Fun times and no regrets and now our search for our retirement location begins! Stay tuned!

My Acting Debut

Well here it is, my first time ever on a stage, and performing a monologue to boot. A little back story first. Awhile back in late 2013, the San Juan Islands (where we have our cabin) experienced a phone and internet outage caused by a severed cable that lasted for ten days. You can read about here! My good friend, Kevin Hillstrom, a budding playwright wrote a play about the outage and poked a little fun at it. He asked me if I would star in it. I said sure although I have never acted before. It was to be performed during the Playwrights “On the Fringe” at the San Juan Community Theater. He went out on a limb with the theater director because I couldn’t come up for the rehearsals, she never met me until the day before the first show, had no idea how it would work, was worried because I was going to go off script and ad lib some of the lines, and the other actors were thinking Kevin was get some preferential treatment. But he managed to persuade her and emailed me the script and let me know where I could just ad lib and ramble within it. So after looking it over for a while, and putting my thespian hat on, here is the result below,  no real rehearsal and no real experience. I think we did a fine job. Thanks to Kevin for writing a great and funny script and Julie Laidlaw for allowing us to “wing it”.

Vacation 2013 Part II

Part two of our main vacation was not as fun, full of hard work, but very rewarding! After our big camping trip to Oregon and California, we cleaned up the trailer and then shot up to the Island cabin on San Juan Island to get the rest of the flooring done! We had to clear out all of the rooms of furniture before the installers showed up, that was the extent of our work. They installed and then we put the place back together! It turned out fantastic!! We couldn’t have picked a better color and type for the cabin. It also smells much better in there now that the old dank musty carpet is now out. Now we will turn to the bathroom flooring and the “Man Cave” out by the garage! Slowly we are turning our ugly duckling into a swan!

Island House Remodel Continues

Slowly but surely the Island house is transforming from a neglected residential shell to a comfy cared for home. A portion of the nasty, smelly, possibly original carpeting has been changed to a beautiful wood laminate flooring. Debbie and I did part of the labor by pulling up the old carpet and prepping the subfloor for the new flooring. It was a laborious and nasty job, but we saved money and felt it was worth despite the very hard work involved! While we did that, we decided to pull up the old linoleum in the kitchen. If it was easy, we would lay vinyl tile down, if not, hire someone! It turned out to come right up! Now came the task of measuring, cutting, and laying down self adhesive tile squares that neither of us had ever done. It turned out awesome for us first timers!!! Next up, comes carpeting the rest of the house in July. We are hiring that project out, but are going to be up there moving furniture and staging rooms while it is being done! One of these days, we can go up to relax and enjoying ourselves, but Debbie is currently cracking the whip! Also, we’d like to give big thanks and a shout out to Bob Nelson and his company San Juan Construction and Handyman for doing a great job on the flooring!!

Kitchen Floor Before

Kitchen Floor Before

Kitchen Floor After

Kitchen Floor After

The Old Nasty Carpet

The Old Nasty Carpet

Entry Area Before

Entry Area Before

Living Room/Hallway Before

Living Room/Hallway Before

Ripping Up Begins

Ripping Up Begins

Hallway Subfloor

Hallway Subfloor

The Last Bit Under Couch

The Last Bit Under Couch

Destroying Tile Entry

Destroying Tile Entry

Carpeting Gone!

Carpeting Gone!

Hallway After

Hallway After

Kitchen/Hallway Transition

Kitchen/Hallway Transition

Entry Area After

Entry Area After

Living Room/Hallway After

Living Room/Hallway After

Coming Together Nicely

Coming Together Nicely

Living Room After

Living Room After

San Juan Cabin Work In Progress

We have been working and a working on our little get away in the woods. Below are some before and after pictures of our handiwork so far!

Living Room Before

Living Room Before

Living Room Later

Living Room Latest

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Bathroom Before

Bath After

Bath Before

Bath After

Laundry Room Before

Laundry Room After

Laundry Room Before

Laundry Room After

Guest Bedroom Before

Guest Bedroom After

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom Later

Master Bedroom Latest

Main Bath Before

Main Bath After

Loft Before

Loft After

It’s Ours

Our beautiful cabin nestled in the woods of San Juan Island is now ours! We closed and got possession on March 16th and both are ecstatic! Buying this house was actually a complete surprise and totally unexpected. During New Year’s we were up on the island visiting our friends the Hillstom’s. We have known them for years having been fellow Packer Fans. They had lived out here in Snoqualmie Ridge near us before moving to San Juan Island where they had a second home and some waterfront on which they built their current and permanent home.

As we have mentioned in the past each time we go on vacation, we think about where we would like to retire. We have always liked Friday Harbor and San Juan Island and the only real disadvantage to living there is that the only way on or off is by ferry. You have to do off island shopping very carefully but it is no big deal! Anyway, we were visiting our friends and just happened to look around at some properties for sale and “stumbled” on this house that had been for sale for a while. We contacted a local agent whom we had met before and had him come open it up. It was adorable, although a bit dated. Deb and I silently glanced at each other realizing this was a deal the could not be passed up. We went home talked things over and made an offer. After some back and forth with the seller, an agreement was reached and that’s were we have been the last two months, home purchasing paperwork!

Now that it is ours, the fun stuff begins! Debbie has been shopping for furnishings and looking at ideas on how to decorate. It will be a slow process of updating or “cabin in the woods” and that is okay. We won’t be living there fulltime, so there is no hurry. The house has good bones and is in really great shape. Just needs some TLC and modernization. We bought some items from the seller’s estate sale so we will have some beds and some furnishings to begin with. We will be also bringing things from the house that we can do without. It will be a lot of work but a definite fun project. We will try and remember to do before and after pictures as things progress. Debbie is in seventh heaven right now. As soon as some sprucing is done, guests are expected, so come see us!

WELCOME TO OUR CABIN IN THE WOODS!

Winter Has Arrived

Finally we are looking at a wintry wonderland for the first time this season. It would have been nice if this had happened at Christmas and up until just now, we have had a very uneventful winter this year! La Nina didn’t sock us into multiple snow storms like last year and I am kind of glad because I am driving articulated buses now and they are horrible in ice and snow. This wintry weather is supposed to last the next four days and I am not looking forward to going to work tomorrow!

Our Holidays were nice. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and our friends Larry & Lynette hosted Christmas. So it was a family affair on both occasions. For New Year’s we headed up to our long time friends the Hillstroms in their brand new home on San Juan Island. They have a beautiful waterfront home overlooking the sound. We have always loved the San Juan’s and Friday Harbor and have thought about maybe retiring there among the other places that we consider. Well we have taken the first step into making that possibility a reality. We were walking about and found a wonderful smaller home we are calling “the cabin” for sale. We contacted a realtor we know there and had him come open it up and show us. We decided it was a deal we couldn’t pass up and made an offer a few days later after we returned home. After some offer counter offer volley, we came to an agreement with the seller and are now moving through the financing process. Until we have the keys in our hot hands, I hold off on providing the details until later but we are very excited!! I am also working on possibly what will start out as a side career that I am hoping flourishes into something I can do full-time! Again, I’ll hold off on the details until I get a better idea on how it is going to work out but I think 2012 is going to be a great year…..(knocking on wood)!

Another Vacation on the Boat

Well we just finished our second annual boating vacation (I presume it will be an annual event), and we had a great time. We went further from home in her than we have ever gone before. During most of the Spring we performed annual maintenance, changing oil and filters in both engines and the generator, checking fuel filters, belts, hoses, repaired a raw water impeller, checking the diesel furnace, replacing all the zincs, and even installed a new electric fresh water toilet. Work was also done to our dinghy. Due to the fact we have no davits and can’t hoist it up onto our larger boat, it sits in the water tied up to the rear of the big boat. It sat in the water through the winter until we finally found a trailer to haul it out on. By then the barnacles had created a crusty coating on the whole bottom. Nothing we could do on our own would bring it back to near new, so we had to take it to a boat detailer and had it scraped and bottom painted with anti fouling paint and it wasn’t cheap. Now we were ready for anything.

Our first stop of our cruising adventure was at Snug Harbor Resort on the west side of San Juan Island. It is a very quaint kind of rustic setting and very beautiful. Our good friends Larry & Lynette met us there on their boat. For some reason, even after all my docking experience thus so far, I looked like a rookie boater when I attempted to dock the boat! I had to end the first attempt and turn her around and I backed her in on the second. It was ugly and an embarrassment for me and even Debbie was appalled at the misadventure! I never repeated the travesty again! We settled in for some cocktails and then cruised our dinghys over to Roche Harbor for dinner. Another couple, the Hillstrom’s, met us there and we had a very enjoyable dinner together. They once lived near us in Snoqualmie and now live on San Juan Island enjoying the good life the island has to offer.

We then headed for our next destination which took us into Canada! We have never taken the boat to Canada before and it was an interesting venture going through customs. Larry & Lynette also went up with us. We were in Bedwell Harbor at the Poets Cove Resort and it was a beautiful place. We had to check in at the customs dock before we could get to our assigned slip. Only one person from each boat could go up to the customs office to check in and Debbie did that while I stayed with the boat. It was very windy there and many other boats were pulling in to check in also. Twice I had to catch the lines on boats pulling in next to Larry’s boat as the wind was shoving them right at it! Once we had cleared customs, then it was time to pull out and go to our slips! This was another docking adventure as I had to pull in right next to another boat and the wind was carrying me toward it as I came in. I had to try twice and it took six people on the dock and Larry on the guys boat to get me in without banging into him. I guess I did a pretty good job considering a boat tried seven times before me to get into the same slip and finally gave up. It was a white knuckle experience! We spent two nights there and had a great time. Larry & Lynette went home the morning of the second day and we were on own from there.

Next stop took us to the Ganges Harbor and the town of Ganges. It is the largest town in the Gulf Islands and was a fun place and a little crowded in the harbor when you come in. Not only do have the contingent of boaters going in and out, but multitudes of crab pots everywhere and sea planes landing and taking off all around you. As we pulled into the marina, Debbie heard someone calling her name from another boat. Just so happens, Debbie had worked with her in the past. Small world huh! Ganges is located on Salt Spring Island and we discovered a golf course near by, hmmmmmmmm……..imagine that! Although the weather turned gray and wet, we got on our bikes which we had brought along, and rode up to Salt Springs Country Club and played nine holes of golf. I always enjoy playing golf courses in different out of the way places. It was a pretty good course. Being that Ganges was an actual town unlike Poets Cove, we could shop and eat out and get stuff we needed for the boat and even managed to do a load of laundry. I think Debbie liked it the most!

Off we went to Sidney BC and got a slip in the Port of Sidney Marina. Now this was a nice marina! It was huge and much newer than the previous marinas. They had a nice shop, and laundry where you could watch TV or surf the net while you washed your clothes, and even showed movies at certain times. As a marina, this was my favorite. Sidney itself, seemed like any other town you’d find here in the States, but it was still nice. We didn’t have allot of time to do much here, dinner in a nice restaurant, took a night dinghy ride into the channel, a little shopping, etc. Then we headed back to the US.

Back to San Juan Island we went, this time heading into Friday Harbor. We have been to Friday Harbor before, but never in our own boat. It is a nice place and would be a great area to move to down the road. Tori again met us and we had a great visit. I listen to quite a few podcasts and one of them is called the Gastrocast hosted by Chef Neal Foley (the Podchef) He lives on Shaw Island which is right next to Friday Harbor. I had always wanted to visit the Podchef so I figured this would be a good time. I had contacted him ahead of time and we set up a meet on his farm. We took the dinghy over, including Tori to Shaw Island. He lives right by the water and has a dock we tied up to.  The Podchef and his family really live a different life than most. He raises most of the food they eat which includes vegetables, pigs, chickens, rabbits, milking cow, etc. He is also a trained chef and has worked in restaurants and privately and does catering today, blogs, does his podcast, and works the farm! He has a great family, a wife and four beautiful daughters (two sets of twins)! I find it funny that all that hard work he has to do and has no other male to help out, but I’m sure the girls do what they can. We toured his farm and he treated us to a wonderful lunch prepared from foods he raised on the farm. We had a great time and it was awesome to finally get to meet him!

After the visit we dinghy’d around to the north part of San Juan Island where Tori showed us their waterfront lot where they will build their future home. It is lovely and they will have great views. Hopefully they will have a mooring bouy that we could tie our boat up to. Next we did a drive around the island and visited Bert, their Corgi, and had dinner. It was a nice visit, but it was too bad Kevin was out of town and couldn’t be there. Our final leg of our trip took us back to Seattle for one last night before going back to our home dock in Tacoma. We went through beautiful Deception Pass where the tidal currents can get real strong and nasty. We went against a 6.6 knot current, but handled it just fine! The only hitch in our trip came just as we were about a half hour from Seattle when we looked back to check the dinghy and it was gone!!! The tow line had snapped! Using our binoculars, we located it about half a mile back just bobbing in the waves. We had to scramble back and get it somehow tied up to the boat because we were in the shipping lanes and two cargo ships were bearing down on us! They do not stop! We did manage to finally secure the dinghy so we could tow it to Seattle after many bumps, bangs, against the boat and Debbie’s arms (bruises to prove it). In Seattle we pulled into Bell Harbor Marina where Larry & Lynette were waiting. Just by chance, some friends that live near us in Snoqualmie, the Sheehans, were in Seattle so they came down also. We had a great time and went for dinner. Larry, Paul, and I had many Jaeger shots. I laughed so hard my sides ached. The next morning we went home and ended our cruising vacation. It was fun, exciting, adventurous, and full of happy times with my girl! You can find pictures and videos on the links to the right! Until next time!!

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