Victoria Housing Search . . .

I have contracted with Rachel at Rivers Relocation in Victoria, BC, to conduct my housing search.  She will show me the results of her professional efforts on Monday/Tuesday 4 & 5 June.  She will be looking in the city and immediate suburbs of Victoria, BC.  So what is she looking for on my behalf?

First, the monthly rentals must be in the range of one-quarter to one-third of my net-take-home pay from my two U.S. sourced pensions.  The one-third ceiling should include the customary utilities to operate the site.  Naturally, I learned this principle for limitations on housing cost from David Ramsey and his Financial Peace University.  The one-quarter of take-home-pay being his platinum standard principle for all housing, rented or owned.

Rachel knows that, second, I am open to various types of accommodations including an apartment, a condominium, a stand-alone house, a duplex, or a basement apartment of a house.  Third, I am looking for 1,100 to 1,500 square feet of living space with a non-negotiable floor of 800 square feet.  Over my life I have owned and lived in homes ranging from 1,500 to 3,200 square feet of living space.  I would not thrive in a bachelor apartment, often only 450 square feet in the Victoria market.

Third, I am looking for two bedrooms and one bath, but would of course stand for more of each so long as I am within budget.  I need the second bedroom for my home office which will include my executive desk, bookshelves, filing cabinet, desktop computer, monitor, rolling office chair, and such like.  My preference for any accommodation excludes climbing stairs.  I have been kind to my knees, but old-age arthritis has set in and made doing stairs a pain, literally.

Fourth, most housing situations do include a cook-top, sink, and refrigerator in a kitchen.  I consider these essential as I do like to heat stuff up on a cook-top or a microwave at home, rather than eat out all the time.  Some places include a dishwasher, but I can live without one as washing dishes by hand for one person is no big deal.  Some places include an en-suite washer and dryer, which would be nice.  But many include access to a coin-operated washer/dryer in a common area which would do me fine as well.  I would rather not be forced to make a trek to a local laundromat every week or two, but could do that if I had to and the place was magnificent apart from that consideration.

Fifth, I am indifferent to such considerations as type of flooring as I am good with carpet, hardwood, laminate, or even linoleum tile.  Neutral paint colours on the walls would do fine.  Eggshell would be great as lighter colours make places appear larger.  Lots of incoming daylight through windows, sliding glass doors, and the like will always be a plus (saves on electricity) and dispels the aura of living in a cavern.

Sixth, parking for my car off the street would be really preferable.  Oh, I could park on the street, but I really would rather not have to do so.  Some green-space around the house, also known as a yard or garden would be a plus as well.  After all, I plan to live out my retirement years in this place or one like it should I move down to a different one.

So I shall look at what Rachel turns up that first week of June and will make quick sketches of the floor plans.  I will also have in hand my handy-dandy tape measure to nail down the dimensions of the various rooms.  Will I need to acquire a Queen or a King size bed?  I do not know yet.  Could go either way depending on the lease I finally sign.  So there you go, the parameters Rachel works with in her search on my behalf.  Till next time, cheerio.





Said I was a Poet . . .

Expatriate Dreams

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.  –Walt Disney

Sixty-six long years living just miles away

from Highway 80 transformed early on

to Interstate 20 running along Dallas’s

southside toward Abilene, on past Midland.


Good money earned in professional salaries:

accounting—both public and private,

English Instruction in higher education,

secondary high school teaching as well.


Triple digit days of heat May to September

rain scant most all months of each year

cloudy, misty overcast days occasional treats

but, oh so occasional, mostly just Texas heat.


No complaints really as Midland proved to be

excellent for raising two sons to adulthood

with good schools, many parks, activities

of all stripes attractive to men-in-training.


Serving three years an elected trustee

for the Midland Independent School District

Board of Education as District 6 representative

proved a true joy as the last century closed.


Yet now, yes now, final retirement from

professional service looms just weeks away—

and now, yes now, comes time to plan an

Escape from all things West Texas, yes now!


Wither escape?  Not Brazil as two trips recall

their heat, nor anywhere within these United

States as our culture has become oppressive—

national politics in particular deeply dark.


Decades after civil rights marches, Dr. King’s

“I have a Dream” speech, one would have

expected much more progress in racial

harmony, yet we move backwards it seems.


Twice Paris, France, delighted with short visits,

once in Northern Ireland, multiple sojourns

in England, in Scotland, even ten weeks there

one summer, intriguing, almost the destination.


Canada now.  A decade back Nova Scotia would

be the target, now, based on four visits to Eastern

Canada, but no, two Alaskan cruises out of Seattle

determine the choice, oh! those two excursions.


Twice the Alaskan cruise ship on returning to

Seattle made one final day-excursion stop, in

Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island

the provincial capital, home of Butchart Gardens.


So the dream began and we are always told

Follow Your Dreams, so serious planning finds

itself well underway.  A housing specialist seeks

there your next home meeting your expectations.


A Victoria moving company stands ready for

the word to begin to move all your stuff

from Midland to Victoria, British Columbia,

and you, you wait until June to sign a lease.


Summer 2018 you will escape all things Texas.

Sign the lease the first week in June, then

give that word to the Victoria moving company.

Come July Expatriate Dreams turn to Reality.


© April 2018—G. Randall Willis

Featured image:  Big Bend National Park, Texas, Chisos-Mountains-Prickly-Pear-Sunset © 

Calm Before the Housing Visit. . .

One week of April remains.  All calm as I await the arrival of the first week of June.  For on 3 June I fly to Victoria and on that Monday Rachel of Rivers Relocation fetches me at the Helm’s Inn to show me the various housing possibilities she has surfaced in her hunt on my behalf.  Hopefully, by mid-week I will have signed a lease agreement to rent housing in Victoria for the coming year.  Also, that week I plan to set in place all the various utilities for the housing and open checking and savings accounts at a local credit union.

The jury is still out on whether my chiropractor, Dr. David Doll, makes the trip with me to serve as a second opinion for my housing choices.  He must find another chiropractor to cover his practice for the week, which I surely hope he does as in the fifteen years since he opened his practice here in Midland, he has never taken a week-long vacation anywhere.  Just the occasional long weekend.  Me?  All through my professional career I have always taken all my paid vacation time, which is why I have traveled the globe.

I have abandoned checking the internet daily for housing opportunities in Victoria as recently one of the “landlords” appeared to be enticing me into a scam situation.  His command of the English language left much to be desired.  He couldn’t disclose the square footage of the property when asked on three occasions.  His rental application, Rachel said, was one she had seen before in a scam context.  He could not provide anyone locally to actually allow Rachel and me to see the inside of the property on June 4 or 5.  And the property, three bedrooms and two baths, seemed quite under-valued compared to the local market rental rates.  After that experience, I decided to just let the professional, Rachel, provide her service—find me housing possibilities that meet my budget and preferences.

Flight arrangements are made.  Hotel accommodations are in place.  $25 CAD should cover the airport shuttle ride to the hotel.  Likely midweek, that first week of June in Victoria, I will rent a car for the balance of the week.  My visa card applications are in with the folk in Nova Scotia and Southern California being processed (presumably).  I have even boxed up all my stuff awaiting the move.  Time now to just go bonkers with the wait, wait, wait for June to arrive.

So, in the meantime, enjoy the photo above of Victoria in daylight on a sunny day.  I do wonder how many of the 365 days each year are such in Victoria?  For now, Cheerio till next time.


Butchart Gardens Victoria BC

On at least one of our two visits to Victoria when cruising the Alaskan Inside Passageway, Mary Nell Baird and I explored the city’s stellar attraction Butchart Gardens as pictured above.  Once relocated and living in the city, I will feel compelled to take all my visitors to see the gardens as they are gorgeous, peaceful, and inspiring. One purpose of this blog site on the web seeks to entice visitors.  Plan a vacation and come my way.  There is much to see and do in Victoria and on all of Vancouver Island.  Once here, I will have time to explore the city and island and find those unique spots that must not be missed that most tourists never know exist.

Looking back through the Canada file folder within my yahoo email account, it appears that my serious plans to leave Midland for Victoria took off in early February.  For that is the month I prepared and sent a one-inch thick application to the Canadian Immigration Officials in Sydney, Nova Scotia, for a Right of Permanent Residence in Canada Visa Card.  They can take a year to process such applications, and no, I have yet to hear from them.  I have also sent to the Canadian Visa office in southern California a much thinner application for a Temporary Resident in Canada Visa good for a year or longer.  I have heard from them regarding more paperwork they need.  I have sent it their way.

In March I arranged with a local Victoria relocation firm for them to conduct a search  on my behalf for housing in the city in accord with my budget and preferences.  I will fly to Victoria the first week of June and they will show me what they have found.  I have also arranged with a local British Columbia moving firm to be ready to move my stuff from Midland to Victoria come sometime in mid- to late- June.  I anticipate my lease move-in date will likely be 1 July 2018 (I am practicing writing dates British style).

So matters are moving along for the relocation.  Now what you need to do ,Reader, is start thinking about planning your summer vacation in 2019 to come see Victoria and Vancouver Island.  By then I should know all the secret spots most tourist never see that are not to be missed.

The Siren Lure of Victoria’s Weather . . .

Triple digit days of heat here in West Texas come as early as May and persist even into September.  Checking into the prevailing historical weather patterns for Victoria, British Columbia, I learned that a typical high summer day temperature would average in the mid-seventies Fahrenheit.  The record high for Victoria was 86 degrees Fahrenheit as I recall.  Wow.  No triple digit heat days.

Then there are the winters.  An average of 12 days of snowfall and in the winter of 2015 there was no snow.  Some 30 to 33 days of temperatures below freezing in the typical winter.  Low temperatures usually in the forties through much of the winter (I always speak in Fahrenheit).

So, forties in the dead of winter with seventies in the high summer.  Must be fifties and sixties for the spring and fall seasons.  Then there are about 150 days of precipitation in the course of a year leaving 200 days precipitation-free.  Now, I do not for a moment think those to be 200 days of sunshine.  This is the Pacific Northwest of the North American continent after all.  But, after a lifetime in Texas, I have had more than my share of sunshiny days.  I can deal with 300 plus days a year of overcast cloudy days.

All in all, the Victoria, British Columbia weather patterns sound like near-Heaven to this lifetime Texas resident.  As one of those people who never really needed a sweater or jacket until temperatures dropped into the forties, I think I shall do just fine.

Naturally, there are other reasons for targeting Victoria for my relocation this summer for my retirement years.  Let’s save them for another day.  My next task is to learn how to upload photographs here.  Photos would be helpful when exploring those other reasons for targeting Victoria.  Cheerio till next time.



Cheerio! I am your host . . .

Welcome Reader to this the first blog entry.  I am your host, Gary Randall Willis, a published poet and writer.  Eventually, I am sure, a published book will result from my blog posts here. My inspiration and model you wonder?  The quite successful science fiction writer, John Scalzi, who has provided us his blog site Whatever for longer than most of us can remember.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, USA, in the fifties and sixties of the century now past I have lived within a few miles of Interstate 20 (and its predecessor Highway 80) my entire life: first in Dallas, then Abilene, Texas, where I earned my BSED and my MBA degree from Abilene Christian University in the seventies, and presently in Midland, Texas, since 1982.  I shan’t be here in Midland too many more months.

I retire on 3 June after my 45 years in the professional workforce.  Seven of them I spent at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, CPAs (now KPMG), twenty-one of them as the chief financial officer of a Midland based private corporation, one of them teaching English full-time at Abilene Christian University, and the other sixteen years teaching English, Chemistry, and/or Mathematics in public schools in Dallas, Abilene, Midland, and Odessa, Texas.  My MA in English earned 2004 at The University of Texas of the Permian Basin was quite helpful.

As I suffer reverse-seasonal-affective disorder, wherein I find myself truly charged-up and ready to conquer the world every rare Texas morning I am greeted with grey, overcast skies with a cool mist in the air, I am likely certifiably insane having lived in Texas all these sixty-six years.  But, hey, the professional salaries were here and the money was good.

For the past several months I have been plotting my escape from Texas for my retirement years.  In my life I have traveled extensively having seen Paris, France, twice, Brazil twice, Hawaii, Alaska, most of the lower forty-eight continental United States, Mexico once, Nova Scotia twice, eastern Canada four times, cruised out of New York City and Galveston, Texas half-a-dozen times to ports of call in Canada and the Caribbean, Northern Ireland once, England four times, and Scotland five times.  The trips to Alaska were cruises out of Seattle, Washington, and both of them stopped for day-excursions in Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island.  I plot my escape to Victoria, British Columbia.

You can expect over the course of time, should you become a regular follower of this blog, to learn all about why I shall become an Expatriate Texan living in Victoria, my current preparations and process for the relocation, and what I discover and learn as I live in Victoria, retired, blogging here, and continuing to write poetry and prose, seeking publication of my creative efforts.  But I shall not try your patience today.   Until the next blog, cheerio! (I learned that common salutation in 1974 in Great Britain when living for ten weeks with an Edinburgh Scottish family).