Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rolling out the Red Carpet

I love the addage, "Treat your friends like family, and your family like friends".  We try to do that and feel incredibly lucky that we get lots of visitors in Idaho - and now in Parksville.

We arrived back on the island on September 13th, and three days later Roger returned to Alberta to facilitate the liquidation of drilling equipment for a company he worked for years ago.  I created a blog to help get the word out, so hopefully things will go well.  Since Roger left, I've been playing tour guide.

Our first visitors were Terry and Carol who were married in June.  We had a great time discovering some new places, including the Nanaimo Bar Trail in ---- where else? Nanaimo, just 20 minutes south of us.  A map provides visitors places to find all Nanaimo Bar themed treats, including martinis and pedicures!

While passing the Port Theatre down by the harbour, Terry noticed that a theatrical musical group, Queen - A Kinda Magic was playing so he quickly bought tickets for us and we had a fabulous time at the concert.  
Freddy Mercury may have passed on long ago, but his energetic spirit was alive and well with this group.
We took a day and went to Tofino.  I've never seen Tofino with the sun shining, but there is something so eerily beautiful when it is shrouded with clouds and the surfers are covered head to toe in wetsuits as they catch waves that get better with bigger storms.
Nothing could dampen our spirits 
The stunning Wickininish Inn can barely be seen in the background
And of course, a trip to Tofino would not be complete without
eating at my favorite food truck - Tacofino.
The day after Terry and Carol left, my brother, Russ and his wife, Margaret arrived.  The next day we drove up to Campbell River to visit friends they had made while golfing in Palm Desert.  Then, in a great stroke of luck, I mentioned I had a girlfriend from high school who I heard was living in Campbell River and by any chance did they know her?  They did, and 10 minutes later, IvyRae Davies, who I hadn't seen in 17 years, dropped everything to come to the house, and we spent five hours talking non-stop.  It was if we had seen each other last week, and we look forward to getting together again.

Russ inherited the golf genes from our parents, and so I arranged a golf game for him with our good friend, Paul Ikert.  The boys enjoyed their day golfing and Margaret and I went to Cathedral Grove for a walk, then to Coombs to wander through the fabulous market.  Later, Paul's wife, Jodi joined all of us for dinner at our place.

Margaret and I loved walking on the beaches as well as the rainforest at Cathedral Grove 
The plan was for Russ to golf with his friend Gareth Beverley, but unfortunately Gareth ended up back in Calgary on business.  With no other games on the island, Russ left a couple of days early and left Margaret and I to tour some more.

We had a wonderful day with Gareth's wife, Laurie, where we started off at the Beverley's beautiful home in Arbutus Ridge, then had lunch in Mill Bay, and ended our visit with a glass of wine at Cowichan Bay.  
Laurie, Margaret and me at Mill Bay
I've had some bad reactions from spider bites so try to avoid them at all costs, but Margaret and I were captivated by this huge spider web stretched from our front deck to a tree.  

The day Margaret left, I drove to Bothell, Washington to Brad, Anette and Magnus' home.  The next day, we met Roger at the Seattle airport and we all flew to Kansas for a surprise masquerade party that Colin threw for Karen.
Magnus all set for the party.
Any mention of going to parties now illicits an excited "Surprise"! shout from him.

There's Roger hugging Karen as she made her way through the crowd
We had such a wonderful time.  Karen's sister, Linda and her husband, Dallas came, as well as Karen's Aunt Peggy and Uncle Bob.  We spent the next two days like we used to years ago when we all lived in Calgary and the belly laughs made up for the miles that separate us now.
Cooper (second from right) had some of his band friends come to provide the entertainment.
The next day, we headed to a nearby college where Cooper's marching band was competing.  For someone like me who isn't at all coordinated, I was amazed and impressed by the members who marched in formation and managed to play at the same time.

When we got back to Seattle, Roger continued on to Calgary.  The next day, I packed Magnus up and we headed to the island.  Anette has done an amazing job of painting most of the house since they moved in a few months ago, but the main floor was left to do, and without a toddler underfoot, she knew the job would go much faster.

The next week was the stuff I've dreamed of.

Through the U.S./Canada border and onto the ferry we went and each stage of the trip went great.
Magnus loved the ferry and checking out all the other ships

Beachcoming was loads of fun
Playing soccer on the back deck.  Magnus' favorite way to play was for the two of us to hold hands and chase the ball.
We laughed hysterically and I definitely got a work out.
We had fun baking and doing crafts.
There wasn't Pinterest 30 years ago but it is sure giving me lots of good ideas now!
Magnus plays well on his own, and happily plays with his train set.
We sang, we laughed, and made great memories.  Each night I went to bed thinking, "Well, that day went really well....hope it keeps up that way!"  Magnus was happy to Skype with Anette and Brad, but there was no signs of homesickness and he was good as gold.  

Anette arrived on Saturday, and Magnus was really happy to see her and Obi.  We spent the next three days having fun showing her around.

Magnus walking Obi on the boardwalk
A beautiful walk through Cathedral Grove
Magnus loved swimming in the indoor pool in our complex.  
Thanksgiving Day was spent visiting Anette's friends, Eric and Nolan Helander who were at her parent's home at Union Bay.  They are a beautiful family and we had a wonderful time.  We were then treated to a delicious turkey dinner at Jodi and Paul's home.

Although it was disappointing that Roger or Brad weren't there, I felt very thankful being surrounded by family and friends, in a city we now call home.

It was a busy month and the cottage is pretty quiet now.  We hope to continue getting visitors so we can keep discovering new places and show off some of our favorite spots.

In the meantime, the teapot that Roger gave me last Christmas as a symbol of having a home again is being well used.

"The smile on my face doesn't mean my life is perfect.  It's just that I'm thankful for what I have."


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