How We Spent our Pre-Christmas

I know many of you won’t believe it, but Sylvia is the one who wanted to try these out!


A Year of Renos

Christmas 2018

Actually, it all started in 2017 when we decided to purchase a Park Model. All you blog friends already know that story.

Just before last Christmas we decided to move into our Park Model, even though the addition of an Arizona room had not been built yet, due to numerous delays. Then finally in February 2018 the construction began! Yeah!!!!, but alas that meant we were now going to be surrounded by construction noise and mess. Not Sylvia’s favourite place to be…clean freak that she is, ha! Ha! The construction slowly….yes very slowly progressed through the rest of our stay for that winter.


Home we go. Get unpacked and then start a kitchen renovation in our beautiful home in West Kelowna. You may ask…are we crazy!?!? We had already ordered our countertops and cabinets before we even left for Arizona in November 2017, so all should be a piece of cake, right? Well, for the most part it was alright. But what it did mean is once again Sylvia is coping with construction mess. I was in charge of deconstructing the kitchen, as Sylvia followed closely behind, with vacuum and cleaning products in hand.


The cabinets came in the middle of May as planned, then the countertops were shortly to follow. That’s where there was a little blip. We thought the counters would be measured and placed in about 7 to 10 days…not so. Even though we ordered the countertops for a week after the cabinets were installed, it came to our understanding, that first you need the guy to come out and measure, then he puts in the work order, then the fabricators schedule you into their over scheduled calendar, and then the sales person schedules when they can deliver and install. All total, about a month to five weeks! In the mean time we were coping with a partial old counter for our day to day food prep. At least we had that and the old kitchen sink!


Then we painted the kitchen. You can’t have new cabinets and countertops with old painted walls, can you? So Sylvia and I donned our painting clothes and got ‘er done. Thank goodness we both work well together. Of course Sylvia was constantly cleaning as we went, trying to keep the ciaos to a minimum. (Have I mentioned that I am a messy worker??) All said, the kitchen reno turned out just the way we planned, and the work and mess were well worth it.

Then comes summer, with a stream of wonderful family and friends coming for a visit in the lovely Okanagan, and a kitchen that made it a breeze to entertain.IMG_5599

We also were very involved with organizing a Super Seniors Pickleball Tournament with the executive of our West Kelowna Pickleball Club. The tournament was held in August and proved to be a success, which made all the long hours of prep worth while. Winning a Medal was quite a treat too.


Then as fall was fast approaching, we started making our plans to go south for the winter. A little different planning was required as this year we were not using our now sold 5th Wheel. So, the challenge was packing in bins to be stacked in the bed of our truck. How much stuff can we actually take?! Do we really need all that?! After packing, and re-packing, and re-packing we got it all in! Everything! Not one thing that we thought we needed had to be left behind! Yeah!!

As we arrived at our Park Model, our contractor and his wife were frantically trying to get all their tools and stuff out of our house. Was it finished? Well, almost…but not really. So here we are in reno mess again.

First things first! Clean all the dishes, and cupboards, and counters of construction dust so we can use the kitchen. Yes, and I mean every piece, and every square inch. Next get the bedroom cleared (it was used as a storage room) and set up the bed. Thank goodness all the bedding was sealed in a huge container! Next get the bathroom cleaned…no other explanation needed. It was a big whirl wind just to get the place to a point of using it.

Once we were a little more settled, the painting started, and fixing, and touching up. It has been an on-going project since we got here.


Sylvia’s favourtite feature of our new place is the Washer and Dryer. No more Combat Laundry at the park Laundromat!

Finished home

We’ve managed to get in several hikes since we arrived in Gold Canyon, the Softball team continued it’s winning ways and we won our division, but have not played much Pickleball yet. That will change in the New Year we hope.



Note the Catchy name for our team. Nobody ever came up with a decent name, so the coach (Mike M) decided to call us the Mondays!

Now as Christmas is coming, we can finally say that most everything is done…can you honestly ever say everything is done when you own a home? We are settling into a routine and beginning to enjoy our friends and activities.

We have to admit, this past year has had its challenges, and sometimes we felt tired and overwhelmed, but through it all we also felt blessed, and thankful, and loved. Isn’t that what life is all about? No matter what challenges life brings from year to year, there are always beautiful, and wonderful things as well.

We are so thankful for a God that loves us, a Saviour that gives us life, and a Spirit that gives us strength to live each day to the fullest.

We are also thankful for family and friends that we can share our lives with, and support, and encourage, and love.

So this Christmas we want you to know that we share our hearts and lives with you. You are very special to us, and we want to wish you love, and joy, and peace this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Rod and Sylvia

Praying Hands Loop

Check out my activity on AllTrails.–5?p=-1

For whatever reason, these pictures got posted in Reverse Order,

Just a bit Cloudy today, and cooler, but great weather for Hiking.

Praying Hands from the ‘Far’ side.

Almost at the Top.

The Brittle Bush don’t seem to know it is still winter. We usually don’t see these flowers until February or March.

There were 38 of us in the group today.

For those of you in the Park following Sylvia’s Tootsie Troubles, the new stiffer boots she bought didn’t help any. On to plan C.

Butcher Jones

Check out my activity on AllTrails.–85

Today’s 5 mike hike along Saguaro Lake. Or as some seemed to refer to it, Cigar-O Lake. Lunch at the Marina after the hike was a blast too.

Time For an Update.

So, we’ve been planted in Arizona for almost 3 weeks, and we are finally getting out and enjoying the activities available to us down here. Our first 15 days were spent cleaning up, finishing up and filling up the addition we have had contracted for our Park Model.

The Cleaning up portion was a major project, as the construction dust and debris from the addition managed to get into everything we had left inside the Park Model and we had to clean literally everything….twice.

The Finishing up has involved adding a linen closet into our new bath, and putting a final coat of paint on the Doors and Casings in the addition. This is actually work that we contracted to have done, but I have determined that we are likely better at painting than our Contractor, and so decided to finish it off ourselves.

The Filling up portion has included several trips to Ikea, Home Depot, Lowes Building Supply, the Mesa Market and several different furniture stores searching for the perfect pieces. Or at least ones that fit the various spaces we have found we need filled…

I have been holding off posting any pictures of the project until it was finished, but I have relented as the only thing now left to finish is the Railing on our new deck, and there is no certainty when that will actually be done. The inside was virtually complete with the exception of the previously mentioned cleaning and painting before we arrived….barely As we were unloading our truck our contractor was pulling his tools and materials out of the house as we were packing our stuff in.

This is the AZ room addition that we designed as our living area. The Coat Stand, TV and the end tables were brought from home, but with the exception of the Painting that Jim and Cheryl gave us and the Dark sofa that came with the place, the rest of the pieces were either picked up or purchased in the last 2 weeks.


The Archways were once the window and  entrance door of the Park Model.

The new Bathroom and especially the Laundry Room are quite nice. (Sylvia has said several times ‘Have I mentioned that I REALLY like my Washer and Dryer?’)


The closet on the left is actually a Pantry that we picked up from Home Depot and stained and finished ourselves. It just fit into the space (well, actually it didn’t fit all that well, and the scraped wall that I left behind when I placed it became part of the Finishing portion of the past few weeks).

What used to be the Living Room in the Park Model is now our Dining Room and Computer Station. The Dining table has leaves that fold out to seat 8, but works pretty well for us as it sits here.


The Deck only was finished on Monday, and everyone who has been on it is impressed with the it’s workmanship and size. Once we get the railing installed we might have to hold a small dance party. Right now, the 40 inch drop to the concrete might be a bit of a detriment to enjoying ourselves. We really like the view!


So here’s the view showing the addition. The storage room in front of the truck is really handy, and holds a second refrigerator which will liely be useful once we figure out why it shuts itself off every 36 hours or so. To the right of the truck there is a fairly large gravel area that is big enough to park a second vehicle if we decide to bring a car down here. If not it could always be a firepit or patio area, or even just stay a large gravelled area if Sylvia gets her way.


And that’s it!


Since we started getting back into the swing of things here in Canyon Vistas we are starting to Hike and play  a little Pickleball and Softball. The Softball team has won 3 and lost only 1 so far, and Pickleball is going well considering we haven’t played for almost 2 months.

Last week, our first Hike was to Hackberry Springs. It wasn’t too long, but just enough to get us back in the swing of things. Unlike last year, when they didn’t get any measurable rain here for about 140 days, the desert is a lot greener. There was obviously lots of rain during the Monsoon season this year. It should hopefully result in a lot of flowers next February, at least we are hoping so.


Today, the weather was a bit sunnier with the Blue Skies we have come to expect. The hike today was pretty easy compared to some we’ve taken in the past, but that’s just fine this early in the season. We ended up walking towards Red Mountain all the way out to our turn around point, so most of the pics I took were of this view.


I warned you that we were looking at the same mountain all the way. The Saguaro are particularly plump this year, again reflecting the amount of rain received over the monsoon season.


Now we hope to get back on our regular routines here, but there are going to be lots of little and big jobs to finish around the PM over the winter. The next big one is getting a secondary Hot Water Tank installed to feed the addition, so  we can hopefully have a shower and wash clothes at the same time. The existing Hot Water tank is certainly larger than what we had in the RV, but less than half the size of those found in any home we’ve ever owned. We’ll keep you posted.

We Are Off

Like the proverbial Turd of Hertles we drove out of our driveway on our Annual Winter jaunt to Gold Canyon Arizona.

As we are apparently moving in to our yet to be Completed Park Model addition we brought quite a bit of furniture and Patio gear that we wouldn’t normally have along, to the point that I was contemplating renting a U-haul trailer to bring more ‘stuff’ along.

In the end, a trailer was not required, but no one ever will accuse us of packing ‘light’.

And that last pic was taken before I squeezed Sylvia’s suitcases into the back seat. I can’t count the number of times I packed and the repacked everything, but I am thinking I should take up Jigsaw Puzzles as the skills would translate well.

We are taking off in a fairly heavy Rainstorm, but sunnier and warmer days are ahead. Can’t wait!