Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Wet Coast Setback

The Wet Coast Setback

Hi All (feel free to click on any picture for a larger view)

We have almost posted several (very different) news updates this week, but it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. Things seem to be settling into the following story.

We’re in the Comox Valley (greater Comox), which we are getting to know and liking quite a lot. On the ferry from Vancouver Cori had stroke of genius (not to mention cyber-space good luck) and began to look for the possibility of joining a Passover seder. She found first Ruth Simkin in Victoria who has written a lesbian-feminist haggadah “Like an orange on a seder plate”. Ruth responded immediately saying that she knew women who would be using it in Comox and that she would put us in touch with them. By the time we were off the ferry Karin had emailed inviting us to her gathering. So we spent the first night of Passover with 11 new (to us) women who welcomed us with such warmth and ease, engaged in the very thoughtful and interactive haggadah, and fed us royally. It felt like meeting sisters, new ones who included a dog walker & web designer, an arborist, acupuncturist, francophone women’s program director & sailor, a mother of five, a retired IT specialist, baker & not-retired activist, a couple of retired nursing profs just back from kayaking in Belize (one who teaches courses about opera at the elder college), a tragar therapist... Karin & her partner Agate have stayed in touch since, just gently supporting us, and we've spent some lovely time with them. Most notably, Karin sent an email in the midst of a disappointing day saying “Hot cinnamon buns, our place, 3:00” which could not have been timed more perfectly.

The house story is mixed. We found a house that handled all our needs, including a water-view. It was across the street from a rock beach, a 4/5 bedroom place with room for a studio, an inside lift, proper bedroom & den space for all 3 of us, and a guest room, in a price range that workers very nicely. So we spent several days getting excited, “moving in”, thinking about the location, floor plans, etc. But the home inspection showed that there were very high moisture readings under the exterior stucco walls that raised very big red flags, although there was no sign of moisture on the inside of the house. We’ve spent the last several days talking with renovators, stucco contractors and “building envelope specialists”, all of whom have told us the same thing: we will likely need to rip off the existing wall, build an internal ‘rain barrier’ and then replace the siding. But they have all been very clear that they can’t make any predictions about what might be under that - there might be nothing or there could be damaged windows, studs, sheeting, floor joists, etc. A pretty invasive inspection could give us/them some idea. Some have said “walk away right now”; others have said “don’t panic, it doesn’t sound like there is deeper damage”. So we haven’t completely walked away, but have extended the period we have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and are hoping that the owners will do the more invasive inspection that will handle a bunch of our questions and that they

will re-negotiate a price that takes the results into account. At the same time, we are looking at other places and hoping that the perfect one will show up on the market in the next month. The inventory of homes is small, so we need everyone to keep their fingers crossed for us.

April 9th, We celebrated Cori's birthday with a traditional Scottish horseshoe ring which was/is a tradition in the de Wolff family from grandmother de Wolff days. Alice went to the garden where we are staying in Comox, and collected a few flowers and herbs and made an amazing pouched egg breakfast with candied salmon on the side - a first nations specialty of the island here.

We’ve had more time to explore the Valley, and are really enjoying it. I had not really understood why, what I’ve always thought of as a coast, would be called a valley but the mountains are spectacular right now with heavy snow on their peaks and they define the ‘valley’ more clearly than in summer. Mt Washington & the peaks in Strathcona Prov Park cradle the fresh green fields of the small farms to the north/west of town and there is always a hint of the coastal mountains across the Straight to the east.

We’ve found farmers & fishers who sell local eggs, lamb & beef, PRAWNS,

salmon, etc. not to mention the farm markets that have just opened. We are appreciating the short distances and light traffic – it takes 30 minutes to get from anywhere to anywhere else, although in a year we may find these times daunting, as people do who’ve been here for a while (“It’s going to take me 20 minutes to get home so I have to leave early”).

The deer on the golf course in these pictures are on the MOST urban of the courses in the area, in downtown Comox.

We’ve been out to find out about night life and music a bit. The first was one of those magic moments when we found someone we had not idea would be there. A band was playing at a local pub, and we were stunned almost immediately by the guitar player, who turned out to be Hawaiian, now BC musician Anela Kahiamoe (here using his cell phone as a slide). He was o

ne of the best musicians we have ever run into in a small venue. Last night we went to a local theatre production of “Curtains”, which was fun.

Minutes before the "long" road back in from the beach to the theatre (about a 7 minutes drive or so...) And we saw a mom and her child go into the ocean yesterday -

yikes... we had on a fleece jacket and turtle necks - but they were boldly going where... perhaps only a few others have gone before...It was about 13 degrees or so - lovely in the sun, but... and we mean BUT!!!! C'mon people.... Really now!

We found people doing kite sailing in the harbour here in a very protected little bay that gets great winds...

It was fascinating to watch these men and women soar with their kites...– it's a pretty perfect place because kiters are

protected from any big waves on the open water, but they can take real advantage of the wind. And do

they move!

We stayed at Judith’s Tiamat on Hornby Island over the Easter weekend. It turned out to be the weekend of the biggest storm of the season. The house is on Tribune Bay and the big south-east winds came ripping up the coast and right into our front yard.

We were very safe and warm, with a front row seat, so it was glorious even when the power was off (for a day & a half).

We hung out with Judith & Vicky, I read and Cori worked on harmonies for a Jerry Brodey song, went to the artists’ market which everyone decided to have regardless, and then to the Island Easter egg hunt which was a hoot.

Yesterday Cori & I sat on the beach just east of Comox, looking at the clear as glass water and the infinite shades of blue in the water/islands/mountains/sky. A flock of several hundred shore birds, likely sandpipers, put on the most amazing show for us. They were like a school of fish.

They’d all take off at once, wings almost in unison, hundreds of black dots tight together in an elongated wave, or in an oval, then suddenly they’d shift directions so the white of their wings caught the sun so they shimmed over the water, for several seconds all would soar, wings still, then flap to change direction, then at the end of whatever this exercise was for them, they’d suddenly land to become almost invisible in the rocks on the shore. Stunning. The Snowbirds (airplanes) are at the military base here practicing every day and we thought they’d be daunted by this performance. It's not easy to see the birds in this little video but at least you'll get a chance to see what we saw - sort of. -

Quicktime will play this. I am not sure what other movie programs as this but give it a whirl.

While sitting on the beach we saw a seagul swim to shore with it's butt way up in the air. Clearly it was hauling something pretty heavy in its bill. Well... it was a star fish that it proceeded to puncture and start feating on the internals of this purple star fish... Just like that! Cori went to see what it was that seagul had brough to shore and this is what was l eft after the pickings.

Alice found this beautiful little sand dollar - absolutely perfect.

More later. Hope all is well with you!

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