Monday, September 21, 2009

Shoreline Cleanup...What Went Right...and What Didn't

So Saturday afternoon was the day slated for our part in the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up. It was a pretty nice day despite a few clouds. We had our gloves, our garbage bags. We had our team of cleaner-uppers.

But sometimes things don't work out exactly as planned.

Our team was scattered to the winds: one friend on the team had emergency gall bladder surgery, others in the emergency room with him, another friend was hours away with a car that wouldn't was one of those days where cleaning the beach falls way down the priority list!

But Jeff and I decided that we had already planned to do this thing---and the beach wouldn't clean itself after all..

Among the eighty pieces of garbage we removed from Gartley Beach:

* a shotgun shell casing
* a moldering piece of carpet
* umpteen beer cans
* miscellaneous pieces of metal and plastic
*tangles of twine and disintegrating rope
* a smashed pair of eyeglasses
* a piece of green house plastic
"You're taking a picture of me picking up garbage?" Jeff asked quizzically. Well, yes, I am.

Halfway down the beach we saw a lone figure pulling litter from among the rocks. It was Mike, Kim's brother! Hurray, somebody else had come for the clean-up! He couldn't believe all the garbage we'd found! He had himself acquired quite a large shopping bag's worth of styrofoam and disposable coffee cups.

It's funny--when we arrived we really wondered if the beach had any garbage on it at all. To the casual eye, the beach stretched pebbly and clean and was littered with nothing more than oyster shells.

I am remembering all the pristine-looking shorelines we boated by on our whale-watching trip last weekend, hoping that they were as clean and untouched as they looked, and knowing that probably just wasn't so.

So anyway, we were halfway through the part of the beach that Kim had signed us up for, when the heavens opened up and our warm and pleasant afternoon turned into a pounding downpour. We got wet so fast we might as well have rolled a little in the tide-pools. Water dripping down our collars, we decided that finishing the other half (from the access road down to the Trent river) was a job for another day.

There's probably (sadly) lots of garbage waiting for us still. So if anyone wants to join me on a sunnier afternoon....? I'd like to finish the job. Oh yes, and then go have dessert at the Kingfisher like we'd planned!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Whale Watching Anniversary

Seventeen years married was celebrated this past Saturday by taking a whale-watching tour out of Campbell River. What a beautiful day out on the water!

This was a little video I took near the end of the afternoon as we encountered a playful group of Pacific white-sided dolphins for the third time that day. There must have been at least forty of them, puffing and whistling and playing all around us, jumping and feeding and sliding under our boat to look up at us through the water with bright eyes that looked both intelligent and mischievous.

Seven years ago, for our tenth anniversary, Jeff and I rented a kayak near April Point Lodge on Quadra Island,and had the thrilling experience of an orca whale rocketing through the water past our little boat, its giant fin and broad shiny back glistening in the sun. I have no pictures of that, but that moment in time has been replayed over and over in my head.

Whales are just magical. When I see them in nature, I feel some tug on my heart that is hard to explain.

On Saturday, when the tail of a humpback whale broke the surface of the water before its deep dive, that moment will also be part of me forever. Nobody snapped a picture because sometimes all you can do is stare in wonder, caught in a moment, and then it is gone.I think a memory like this is one of the best anniversary presents ever.

Monday, September 07, 2009

My Birthday Present Bathroom Renovation

A short while ago, I dug my fingernails under a tiny corner of some extraordinarily ugly rose-covered wall-paper and pulled a long ragged shred of it from the wall.

There. I'd done it. I'd officially committed to renovating the Very Ugly Hidden Room that was our downstairs bathroom.

These are the after pictures. These are not fancy renovations--just some nice updates so I don't have to scream and lunge in front of house guests when they go to open the door. Fresh paint, new mirror and vanity, new light, new baseboard heater, new towel bar, new tiles.
It was a birthday present (from Jeff, because he did a lot of the work) but also to myself. It was one of those things pushed very far down the List of Things to Do that in an Ideal World Would Have Been done Long Ago.

Below is what it looked like before---pink plastic towel bar, afore-mentioned wallpaper, fake-wood vanity, bad lino, rusted radiator, unframed mirror, wicker kleenex box painted pink and covering hole in the wall. It was bad.
It's been like that for the six years we've lived here though, hidden away off the rec room, unused and unloved.

Here's the thing though. At the beginning of July, three things happened to make a change.
One A vow. I opened the door one day to take something out of the shower stall (used as storage space) and thought: "I am DOING something about this room. Soon!"

Two A phone call. A friend called me to tell me about free interior design advice being offered on a new local website. They were looking for "Ugly Rooms". My friend said she thought of my downstairs rec room and, you know, that awful bathroom I had. My friends..always thinkin' of me. :)

Three A Visitor. A friend who hadn't visited in a long while opened the door, and made a face, "Hey, I didn't know you had another bathroom...GAWD, it's UGLY!"

Three times is the charm! Fine, fine, it's ugly! Let the renos begin!

Below are pictures of the floor, before and after...

Anyway, it's not like an ugly basement bathroom defined my house. But it sure feels nice now that I can leave the door open.

All the clutter stored there has been disposed of too.