Off The Wall(s)

Well, we’re moving again:  Out of our current rental (our term expires Friday) and into our friends’ place to housesit for a couple of weeks while they’re on vacation.  We’re really hoping our place will be ready by the time they return.  (Not that they’ll kick us out when they get back, but we’d really like to be in our own house!)

So… yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the mostly-empty-but-still-disorganized rental, trying to come up with a blog post in fifteen minutes or less while the phone rang frequently with house-related questions.  My mind was in red alert mode:  “AWOOGA-AWOOGA!  NEXT CRISIS INCOMING AT TWO O’CLOCK!  DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY CRITICALLY LOW!  TOTAL SYSTEM FAILURE IN THREE… TWO…

I took a deep breath or ten and thought, “It’s okay, I’ll just quickly write something off the wall…”

That’s when my overstressed brain got nitpicky:  “No, idiot, you meant ‘off the cuff’; as in ‘informal, without preparation’, not ‘off the wall’; as in ‘eccentric, unexpected, unconventional’!  How do you expect to write an intelligible blog post if you can’t even form a coherent thought?”

It was an excellent question; and one with a very simple answer:  I can’t.

So I’m going with ‘off the cuff’ and ‘bouncing off the walls’, as in ‘nervous, confused, hyper’.  That, I can do.

Here are a few events from this week’s jumble:

  • One of my favourite aunts died this week at age 82, of complications from diabetes and heart disease.  Even though distance prevented me from seeing her as often as I would have liked, her passing still leaves a hole in my life.
  • The herring spawned in the strait outside our rental a few weeks ago and we’ve been enjoying all the action from front-row seats:  the water turned milky jade-green (yes, the entire ocean – that’s a LOT of herring milt); scores of fishing boats rushed back and forth; thousands of seagulls swooped in; followed by thousands of ducks; followed by hundreds of seals and sea lions frolicking and barking only a few yards offshore.  What a show!
  • It’s almost spring:  After the longest, coldest, snowiest winter on record (which must have been scheduled just for us newcomers), the snow is gone, the grass is green, and the rhododendrons and cherry trees are beginning to bloom.  And I saw this cute little guy on one of my walks:

He was moving very slowly – it’s still pretty chilly for salamanders.

  • Our housesitting gig comes with a friendly roommate:  Blue the cat.  After only one day he hasn’t quite forgiven us for not being ‘his people’, but it seems his affection can be bought with a can of Fancy Feast.

Blue the cat is a little blue without his ‘people’. (Actually he’s a LOT Blue – he weighs 22 pounds.)

  • Apparently my brand new 2017 Ford Escape had a leak from the factory-installed roof rack, so the body panels and spare tire liner have been marinating in stagnant water for the past six months.  The whole thing smells like stinky socks when I turn on the heat, but I’m on my third trip to the dealer and it should be fixed soon.
  • Work is proceeding on our house:  We now have electricity, a working septic system, half a heating system, and most of a water supply.  The walls of the garage/workshop/addition are all framed and the roof trusses are arriving today.  It’s happening!  It’s really happening!  🙂

Aaaaand that’s the wrap-up for this week, folks.  What’s new with you?

35 thoughts on “Off The Wall(s)

  1. Sorry to hear about your aunt, Diane. All my aunts are long gone and I do miss them. Two of my dad’s cousins on his father’s side are in their mid-high 90s and when they go it will be not only missing them but the end of an era.
    Good that your house is progressing and the weather is finally Vancouver Island like. The herring run is worth the price of the admission, isn’t it?
    Your cat looks like my Bonya, only three times the size. You will get great cuddles from him once he knows you are good for a can of cat food.


    • Yes, Blue has apparently decided that we’ll do until his “real” humans come back. We’ve been getting lots of purrs and cuddles – seems to be a black-and-white cat trait. I used to have a couple of elderly tuxedo cats, and they were very affectionate, too.

      You’re right about “the end of an era”. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of aunts and an uncle left, but they’re in their 90s, too. It’s a strange thing to contemplate that in the not-too-distant future, all the people I regarded as “the adults” will be gone. God help us all; now I’m supposed to be one of “the adults”.


  2. The photography is excellent as always. Getting a good shot of Blue would be challenging, yet the reflection on the floor is so perfectly placed to help distinguish Blue’s unique markings and physique. I can’t decide if he’s doing Phantom of the Opera or overly long teen rebel girrl bangs. 22 lbs! My! Shorthair cats hide it well. My current loaner cat looks hopelessly huge at 13 or so- he’s got a lot of Main Coon in him. He’s got the softest hair I’ve ever felt. He doesn’t do graceful. He’s more a “Clear the decks, I’m coming through” kind of a beast. He doesn’t care what else is on horizontal surfaces, if they fall to the floor, they didn’t belong up there anyhow. The little stuff? He pulls it down first- who wants to sit or walk on bits of jewelry or other little dew dads?
    It sure is nice to have the temporary pleasure of a nice cat for a while. When my niece gets a cat friendly place it’ll be fine to miss him a bit too.

    Not much worse smelling than a car with water damage. My sympathies on the auto issues. It really saps the joy of a new car to have so many problems when you need your attention split between moving and supervising your new construction.

    I’m glad you still have enough left of your attention to see the salamander and enjoy the flowers.

    You have reminded me to call my last living aunt. Condolences to you on your loss.


    • Thanks for your condolences, el Tea. Blue is an elderly and dignified gentleman, so he doesn’t get up on tables or dressers and he doesn’t bother plants. But he’s very cuddly and purry, so we’ve been enjoying our time with him. The photo doesn’t do his size justice – the plank flooring under him is actually 6″ wide, not the standard 3-1/2″ – 4″. It’s all about scale… 😉


  3. Completely off topic: tonight as I was listening to CBC’s As It Happens program, they were talking about. Chocolate Bunnies and the psychological meaning derived from what part of the anatomy comprises the first bite. Since this is high season for bunnies; living, chocolate, or plush (fuzzy). I had to think of you and all who have forever been altered in our attitude toward fuzzy bunnies. Happy Spring, everyone!


      • You are in the vast majority for sure. Bunnies have enough ear to spare us a healthy bite.

        When faced with a chocolate Santa do most folks behead him first too?

        Without intending to offend any believers who can’t laugh at the ridiculous side of Chocolate Bunnies and Santas on the highest holy days of Christianity, I offer this next connecting thought: If you haven’t heard Tom Waits’ song, Chocolate Jesus, check it out, it is another guilty pleasure I think you and a majority of your readers might appreciate. He doesn’t mention in what order a person might enjoy that blessing.


        • I’ve always enjoyed Tom Waits, but I hadn’t heard that one before. I found a live performance of Chocolate Jesus on YouTube – funny how he reminded me of Cab Calloway singing Minnie the Moocher in the Blues Brothers movie. Classics all… 😉


  4. The death of a favorite relative – even one separated by distance and time – is always hard. At such times, I invoke the old saying that “God gave us memories to have roses in December.” [FTD, of course, ruined this saying by giving us roses anytime.]

    As to your Ford Escape, nothing says new car like the smell of stinky socks.


    • Thank you for the thought about memories, C-a-L. And your comment about the car odour is true indeed. Every time the heating system came on I smelled stinky socks, to the point where I actually pulled off my boots and sniffed my feet just in case that’s where the smell was coming from (it wasn’t, fortunately). But I think Ford owes me for mental anguish. 😉


  5. Sending condolences for your Aunt…it’s so hard when that special person passes no matter how often or little you got to see them. I hope things settle down soon so you can enjoy the new house and the gardens. I can just imagine the peacefulness that will surround your home.


    • Thank you for your kind words. Even now, with workmen swarming all over and the sounds of power tools filling the air, going out to our place just makes me draw a long slow breath and relax. I can hardly wait to move in!


  6. I’ll go down the ‘off the wall’ path with you. Mike and I were in Key West, FL last week and I swear by all that’s holy, Diane, your doppelgänger was there. It was all I could do not to run up to her and say “Oh my God, it is so cool to meet you in person finally, and here of all places” except a) I knew it wasn’t REALLY you and b) that would be just toooo fangirl and I wasn’t gonna do that. I might be weird, but to swipe a line from “Firefly”, morbid and creepifying I’m not!


    • LOL! Weird is good; and it would have been totally cool to meet you in person! Too bad it wasn’t really me – a little vacation in Key West sounds pretty nice right about now. I’ve only been there once, several decades ago, but I remember it as a beautiful place. Warm water, sandy beaches… ahhhh…


  7. I’m glad you’re finally getting some of the weather you paid for 🙂 Honestly, could it have been a worse winter for you? Hope everything continues to go ahead well with the new place. I like the amenity (Blue) at your house-sitting gig … And I’m sorry about your aunt. Some people we just feel close to; it’s not a matter of how often we see them. There is just a connection.


    • That’s true; and thank you for your condolences. It has been a very stressful winter, but I still firmly believe it’ll be worth the struggle. It’s funny how cherry blossoms and hyacinths and daffodils and primroses seem to make everything better! 😉

      Blue is a sweetie. He had only met us once before we moved in, but already this morning I got a big purr and cuddle. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a feline companion, so we’re enjoying him!


  8. Firstly, my sympathies for the loss of your aunt, Diane.
    I love Blue. He looks like he’s about to do something in that photo. So cute. As is the salamander. And here’s hoping your next move after this one is to your new home. My car has a leak from somewhere that only floods the centre of the driver’s side, no signs of where the water comes from… and the windscreen wipers only work when dry. Sometimes. I have an off the wall car, it seems.


    • Thank you for the good wishes, Tom. It sounds as though your car was made on a Monday the same as mine. It’s too bad your leak didn’t occur on the passenger side instead – that would make for much more comfortable driving! And hmmm, windshield wipers that only work when dry. What’s wrong with this picture…? Hope you get the mystery solved soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tom, take your car to a place that does windshields. You may have a bad gasket or channel seal in your windshield, especially if you’ve never had a new windshield put in. I had this happen with my first car many years ago on the passenger side. And it should be done sooner rather than later since the diver’s side has a lot of electronics, typically.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Nelson. My step-mom has a 2015 that has been great, too. I just seem to be having bad luck with mine – it’s already been into the shop to have its computer control module replaced and its rear brake rotors machined… and it’s only got 5000 kilometres on it. I guess it was built on a Monday. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m like a kid in a candy store at the greenhouses, but I’m trying to restrain myself. I don’t want to plant something I’d have to carefully nurture if I was in Calgary, only to have it take over the entire yard here. We’ve already joined the Rhododendron Society, and can hardly wait to start planting! Right now we’re still dodging heavy equipment on the yard, so we’re holding off just a bit longer. Rainier and Lapins cherries, Ambrosia and Honeycrisp apples, a Red Haven peach, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and asparagus are all awaiting a safe patch of garden. Soon! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

            • My mouth is watering at the thought of having my own cherry trees! I spend far too much on cherries in the grocery store when they’re in season – I completely pig out on them.

              We’ll probably be able to feed the entire town once all our trees are in full production, so one more person munching away in the back yard shouldn’t be a problem. Meetcha at the gate in a few years… 😉


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