I recently sold my condo in Vancouver and moved to Courtenay BC. I although I had stayed in Courtenay for a few weeks last year, I did not realize how noisey and busy it had become compared to paradise. (Hornby Island) Ironically, Vancouver became considerably quieter with Covid-19. Traffic was down by about 80%. Everything was closed except grocery stores.
False Creek Seawall
My new 4th floor condo in Courtenay overlooks a busy street and faces west, letting the hot evening sun stream into my floor-to-ceiling windows. Not something the home inspector picked up on when she viewed the unit. I investigated some home cooling options and started with ceiling fans which have helped. Then Safe and Sound came to install window film. Visually it looks good, a bit like looking through sun glasses. They used 3 different kinds of film, depending on the sun exposure.
Even with the film it is still too hot without the AC on at the peak of the heat of the day. The temperature on the balcony sometimes hit 40C. The portable AC was a very good investment. I also bought a tilting patio umbrella. It took a while to ship the order as I guess they were sold out. I tracked the temperature on an excel speadsheet (see below) and the inside temperature has been able to be kept around 25C or less while the outside temperature goes up to 40C late in the afternoon. So here are stategies in the order of how much I think it helps:
portable air conditioner $500
window film $2500
tilting patio umbrella $200
opening windows on the north side of the building during the day,
ceiling fans x 2 $500
Some of the heat is a result of the heat rising from the other floors in the building. Really the whole building should have air conditioning. Ok I think this project is done!
When I decided to stay on Hornby for the winter I had no idea what challenges were ahead of me.
I was having lunch with another blogger a few weeks ago telling her my Hornby story. She said “ you should write a book, you have such an interesting story and you tell it so well. I wish I had such an interesting life” and I said to her.. “ I wish I had you stable life. I don’t want all this moving around”. She told me about a mommy blogger who wrote a book. I am not aspiring to write a book so in the meantime I will update my retirement blog. Mommy bloggers are a bird of another feather.
It’s been a rough winter with about five 24 hour power failures since November due to wind storms and f trees falling on power lines. BC Hydro has been pretty diligent in sending over crews on the first ferry in the morning and fixing things by the evening. I had two nights in the dark, one with a friend who kept me company and one on the sofa in front of the wood stove. Fortunately by the time the first power failure had occurred I had mastered the wood stove and was able to keep a fire going and make cowboy coffee in the morning. That is thanks to Hornby friends who gave me several demos on how to build a fire and instructions on cowboy coffee… “boil water on the wood stove and add some coffee”. It was pretty good. Morning without coffee is not a pleasant experience. Shortly after my landlady left for Mexico for 2 months, the basement flooded, and despite the attempts of her son to adjust the sump pump ( what ever that is) it remained flooded for most of the next two months. My landlady had promised someone would come by to put some Plexiglas over the sky lights but that did not happen until she came back 2 months later when she had someone install the Plexiglass, fix the sump pumb, reinstall the propane tank I had incorrectly connected and fix the leak in the dryer hose. Turns out the propane stove was not working and still isn’t fixed as of Feb 28 and one of my space heaters was loaned to a neighbour while I was away. And over all this time the Satellite TV was down because the wind storms changed the positioning of the satellite. I had already developed a bad cold and decided to rent a condo of a friend in Courteny while he was travelling around the world. Then I discovered I had pneumonia but the clinic on Hornby had given me antibiotics so all I had to do was lie low in Courtenay and fight the side effects of the antibiotics. While I was lying low on a massage table in Courtney my massage therapist had a similar story about her new house outside of Qualicum Beach. The week before when the snow had hit she could not get her 100 ft driveway plowed. Her neighbour came to her aid. And she was without power for 5 days!!! This was her first year on Vancouver Island and she said she has had a pretty steep learning curve.
Two of my Toronto families on Hornby were hit but the snowmageddon without snow tires or four wheel drive and also had to rely on the kindness of friends. It’s been a rough winter all the way around on Vancouver Island. Next year I think it will be Mexico for me.
I had another pioneer experience while teaching my 7 year old student online in Shanghai. The lesson was on Wild Horses in the US and I followed that up with a lesson about Annie Oakley. I felt the material was quite foreign to her but it made me think about my pioneer experience on Hornby Island. I was pretty naïve about what to expect but my friends have come to my aid as needed. I will go back next week and hope the snow and the power failures are over for this year. This wasn’t my retirement plan but my friends keep telling me they are enjoying hearing about my adventures even if I am not enjoying experiencing them. Apparently while I was away there was a septic tank blockage due to toilet paper and now I have to my bag toilet paper and take it to the dump. I guess this is material for my next comedy routine.
My new favourite place is the The Second Page used book store in Courtenay. This is a rare Main Coon Cat who seems interested in Quincy Jones. He reminds me of a Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland.