Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sometimes a picture says it all.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

We received the greenlight to get our vehicles inspected to complete the import pro-cess. We chose to go to the Canadian Tire in Langford . I must admit I was nervous. The service writer said they fail new vehicles all the time. Mine is 10 years old and she has felt her age at times. Diane’s truck passed with flying colors and we swapped out my truck for hers. While we waited for my truck to be cleared, we decided to go to a winemaking store and get started on our cellar. Our friends Heather and Darren suggested a store that they use and we found Penny, the store representative, to be delightful. After we told her about Heather’s recommendation she went out of her way to help us. Diane does things in a big way. We started 4 batches of wine on our first visit. 120 bottles. At the soonest, they will be ready by Christmas. At the latest, 3 years. We will certainly try to hold 1 bottle of each batch for 3 years. To be honest, there isn’t a wine alive that has made it past 12 months in our house. Even the wine we made from the fruit on our trees when we lived in Vegas was lucky to have reached maturation. (As we were getting ready to add the yeast to the crushed grapes, Canadian Tire called Diane on her cell. Basically, since the trucks were so ‘clean’ they passed easily. Whewww! I was a little worried.)Our next date at the wine store will be May 12th, when we bottle. But I’m sure Diane will come up with a few more batches to start by then. She has her eye on a Cabernet. Doing the math, with the whole process involved, each bottle will cost us $7.10. There is not a bottle of Cab Franc, Zin, Amorone or Merlot to be had in B.C. for $7.10. So, it seems to be the way to go. These are high end wine kits, not the kind you find at Thrifty Foods or Fairway Market . With real crushed grapes :)

We are waiting for the insurance adjuster to come this afternoon and assess the damage our things sustained in the move. I don’t foresee a problem with the before and after digital pictures.
Tomorrow we go to the insurance company to register our vehicles. Not the DMV. Things are different here. We cannot get our drivers licenses until our green (PR) cards arrive. They can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to arrive.

We bought fresh halibut fillets at the Save On Foods and cooked some last night for dinner. OMG it was wonderful. The bad thing about living here is the food is spectacular. The meats are very lean. It’s like when you go camping and everything tastes fantastic. That can be a very bad thing when you have Cheezies and Langford Petals Shortbreads. Tonight, schnitzel and spaetzle.

BTW I’ve been told, B.C. stands for Bring Cash.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Scout surveying her castle.

A view of our back yard beyond the fence and grass.

Diane cooking in her new kitchen while our friend Heather looks on.

Our friend Darren enjoys a warm Race Rocks (long story - I will never live down)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tomorrow, we have been in Canada as landed permanent residents for 2 weeks.

Last Friday Diane, myself and the driver of our moving van met in Victoria to pass through Customs. Our driver was really nervous. A) there was nowhere to park an 80’ moving van and B) they had just waived him through at the border in Blaine, neglecting to seal the truck. He also failed to mention to us that he had several run-ins in the past with a Customs official at this office. When we got there we had a small crate of any and all paperwork that might ever be asked for. It just so happened that an Immigrations officer was covering the desk for the Customs office. He was helping an elderly man who was there to pay duty on a stamp collection that had been sent to him. The Immigrations officer looked at me and asked ‘We don’t pay PST on post, do we?” I shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t think so, GST only, I think.” Now, I’ve been in the country a week. I’ve been to the post to buy stamps once. They were standard postage stamps, not a stamp collection. I’m guessing, here, really what the fuck do I know.
And so on the little old man goes. We step up to the counter.
“We are here to present our list of ‘goods to follow’. Our driver is circling the block because he cannot find parking”, says Diane.
Immigration man looks at the extensive documentation listing our goods and glances at the crate with our personal files, “Right, well it seems you’ve got all the paperwork in order. Are you bringing in anything that you shouldn’t be bringing in?”
“No,” simultaneously we reply.
Stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp.
“Okay then, there you go.”

Yes, it was that easy. Our driver swears that if we had not had every conceivable paper that could possibly be requested it would have been much different. So all I can give as advice is, to make it go smoothly, more than cover your ass. Have every document that they could possibly ask for.

The movers delivered our stuff the next day. They had to shuttle our goods from Millstream Road to our house, in a smaller van. After a week, we are about 90% unpacked. I have to say, nothing I packed was broken or damaged. The antiques that we had ‘professionally’ (I use the word loosely) crated were damaged. We purchased 100% insurance value replacement with the moving company so I’m not going to stress about it. It will all be fixed. All is repairable. The home office is at least partially put together, I can sit at the desk and type this instead of on the floor in the corner.

I love it here. I love the weather. Usually sunny in the morning and misty rain by late afternoon. My lungs and skin feel alive. I have lost weight. I call it the “Leaving Las Vegas Diet”. I have gained joi de vive. I found myself appreciating the beauty of rain drops on an arbutus leaf while I listened to the stream run by the house. It smells good here. Pine and moss and patchouli.

I will start the job search in a couple of weeks. Diane is still working for her U.S. employer. We are having friends over this weekend for St. Patty’s and I will post pictures on flicker.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We finally got our cable connected!

We arrived in beautiful Victoria last Friday afternoon. The trip took us longer than expected because of the weather. On the first day, we were driving in white-out conditions through Utah. We could not see the road. Diane followed a tractor trailer, driving in its wheel marks and I followed on her back end. Behind me were three other vehicles all doing the same. It put us behind our time schedule so we ended up staying in Twin Falls instead of Boise.

By the next afternoon, we were in Washington. Diane called for road conditions of the mountain passes before we headed through Washington instead of going the coast route. All roads were reported clear, so we went for it. When we got half way up the mountain going toward Snoqualmie Pass, Amber alert style signs were lit that said the pass was closed until 5:30pm. It was 3:30 pm. The snow drifts were 5 feet high on the side of the roads and there was nowhere to turn around. Soon we were at a stand still perched on the mountainside. For 3 ½ hours we sat in our vehicles not moving. As darkness b
egan to settle in the snow that was falling down got heavier. Luckily the cars were bumper to bumper so it did not pile up on the road. It seems a 60 car accident had occurred on the summit (see picture). At about 7:45 they managed to turn us around. We headed down the mountain looking for lodging. There was none to be had in the first 2 little towns we came across. Finally 60 miles later, we found a place that would take us and our 5 dogs. If we hadn’t ran into the blizzard the day before we very well could have been one of the 60 cars in the pile up. You have to be thankful for the little things.

The next day we drove down to Portland and then up the coast to Bellingham, Washington. We got into our motel at about 5:30 pm. This was the earliest we had made it to our sleep destination. It felt great. Diane went out and got us dinner. All we had eaten since the trip began was a Big Mac on Tuesday and a McGriddle on Wednesday. We had been on the road about 14 hours a day.

Friday morning we reached the border. Customs was so unbelievably easy. They loved my Excel lists. They did not want to see anything in the trucks. They even asked Diane to go out to the trucks and write down the manufacturer date of each vehicle. They did not care about the dogs, rabies certificates or alcohol. They called Diane my “other half” and “spouse”. They were pleasant, helpful and extremely impressed with how much we had in order as far as paperwork. It seems that they saw the effort that went into it and were completely satisfied. I don't know what it would have been like if we were not so well documented. We meet the moving van tomorrow at Customs downtown; let’s hope it goes as smoothly.

When we pulled into our driveway, our friends had decorated our house with all things Canadian. Flags, steamers, signs, etc. When we opened the garage door this is what greeted us.

Pretty cool welcome.

We have our Social Insurance Numbers, temporary insurance and we will be getting our drivers licenses and vehicle registrations as soon as our green cards come in then mail.

Beautiful British Columbia, it is.

This was taken this morning out our bedroom window. More to follow.