First Four Days Report–Willis’s Tired

Above is another picture of the new pre-owned car.

My flight landed Saturday, 30 June, at the Victoria International Airport which is in Sidney a half hour drive north of Victoria.  Rented a car and headed south to locate the Eagle’s Rest Bed and Breakfast where I stayed for three nights.  Excellent breakfasts and conversation with my hostess.  Ran by the ground suite to pick up a key from my landlord and lady in the event they might be at church the next morning when Telus was scheduled to show up to install my wireless internet and cable television services.  The ground suite was immaculate and quite empty of the prior tenants.  I must remember how clean and in order the place was for when the day comes I move on to another residence (or have to leave Canada), I must leave it the same way.

The Telus technician showed up promptly on time at 11:00 am Sunday and took three and one half hours to get everything done.  The Sunday was a national holiday, Canada Day, so he was being paid a premium by Telus to service my residence.  Just before he left, he gave me his business card and told me to call him directly if anything goes wrong the next thirty days.  No service provider in Texas ever did such a thing.  Five Star Service for sure.

After he left I drove to Ashley Home Furnishings (I think we have one in Midland, Texas) to shop for a bed.  I purchased a queen size powered electronic bed frame, mattress, mattress cover, a media chest for one of my two televisions, and a matching dresser.  All for about $2,400 USD.  Not bad.  Delivery was arranged for Tuesday, 3 July.  At the suggestion of the Ashley saleslady I went next to Winners Homestore where I purchased queen sized fitted sheet, flat sheet, two pillows, pillow cases, comforter, and matching pillow shams.  I then stowed the purchases at the ground suite.

Then it was fish and chips at the Mile Six Restaurant and Pub on the Island Highway.  Excellent.  Best such I have had in many, many years.  Then I headed to the Bed & Breakfast and called it a Sunday.

The national holiday was observed on the Monday meaning government offices were closed but most everything else was open for business.  First up was shopping for cleaning supplies at Quality Foods.  I had a full basket of just that kind of stuff included a broom and mop.  After stowing all of the supplies at the ground suite I headed to Walmart.  Microwave oven, toaster oven, mixer, food chopper, utility utensils, hand-held dust buster and such like filled my basket.  With all that load squirreled away in the residence, I returned to Quality Foods for food.  On this foray I took it easy and was quite judicious making it a point not to go overboard.  I recalled that I had three boxes coming on the moving van with canned goods.  With all that put away at the ground suite it was time for supper.  I tried out Jasmine’s Family Restaurant down the road from Six Mile Pub on the same highway.  Fish and chips again only onion rings instead of French fries.  Not near as good as the prior night, but for desert the strawberry shortcake was a grand slam hit.

Then it was time to crash at the bed and breakfast and call it a Monday.  I do make it a point to telephone Mary Nell Baird with my report for the day.  We talk from 25 to 45 minutes each evening.  Likely we will keep up the daily conversations until my residence is put fully in order with all my stuff and new purchases in place.

Tuesday, 3 July, was a stellar day.  First up was being present for the delivery of the bedroom suite purchased on Sunday.  At one point I went to my local credit union to trade my US cash dollars out for Canadian dollars. While there I applied for a Canadian VISA credit card to go with the debit card I already had in hand.  I was approved with a beginner credit line since I have no credit history in Canada just yet.

I returned to the Glen Oak Ford dealership to see if they had come through on the assignment I left them with that first week of June.  Find me a pre-owned Lincoln Town Car or Lincoln MKZ to purchase.  Sadly, none could be found as Lincolns are not common in this part of the world.  Taking all the afternoon and some of the evening I did ultimately drive off their lot in my freshly purchased set of wheels.  They even turned my rental car in to National for me.  From the prior post, you can see that I purchased a 2009 Chrysler 300 four door sedan with only 35,000 miles on it.  It was a great deal.

I also purchased a comprehensive four-year warranty on all the mechanics.  If, say, an alternator needs replacement, I pay $150 deductible and am done.  My sister and brother-in-law are big on the warranty thing, so I took the plunge.  I also paid for a year of my insurance at a great price as a senior driver with no Canadian driving history (to drive up my premium).  One million Canadian dollars liability as well as comprehensive and collision coverage in the policy.  I am all set.  Still need a name for the car, people.

The dealership had to fetch the cars from another dealership mid-day (I was looking a two possibilities), so I headed over to a furniture store named The Brick to look for some living room furniture.  For $500 USD including delivery I purchased on clearance a three-person sofa and a two-person love seat in mocha brown.  Definitely pre-owned showing some wear, but what a bargain.

After supper at the McDonald’s drive through I called it a Tuesday and set my alarm for early, early Wednesday morning.

At 8:30 am Monday I met my Quality Move Management, Inc. driver, Mike, in downtown Victoria at the Customs Office.  There was some dicey moments in the conversation with the customs officer.  While my application for a Right of Permanent Residence in Canada Card is being processed, I am now here on a six-month tourist visa.  The officer said most tourists show up with a couple of luggage bags and a carryon, not a moving van full of personal effects and furniture.  I had all my paperwork with me and was able to show the officer that I was financially secure and could afford moving all my stuff out of country should things go sideways with the Immigration folk and my application requiring me to leave Canada.  So he approved my stuff being unloaded at the residence by Mike and his helper.

From 9:45 am until noon, Mike and his assistant unloaded the van and by noon all my effects and furniture were in the residence.  They left and I left for lunch of some Greek ribs, broccoli, and garlic-cheese bread at Joe’s Original Restaurant and Bar.  From 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm I unpacked boxes and put things away.  Then I had had enough.  Off to Quality Foods for some more tea for the residence fridge and some spring rolls from the deli for supper.  I am typing this as I make the spring rolls disappear.

My agenda for Thursday, 5 July, consists of being here all day to receive the delivery of the sofa and love seat and to unpack boxes and put things away.  I am saving unboxing the books for next to last.  I will unbox the wall hanging last as they have to be hung up on the walls.  No books or wall hangings will be addressed tomorrow.

Oh, the one big delivery glitch?  My five foot long, five foot high, wooden bookcase fell apart and the moving company, at present, has mislaid one of the six support posts.  My landlord and I have conferred and together we can put the bookcase back together, making a new support post if the lost one stays lost. The minor glitch consists of three broken crystal glasses, one West Point Academy wine goblet, and a china salad bowl.  Could find a few more as I unpack the rest of the boxes.  I am not losing sleep over the broken glass and china items.

Well, time to post this report, call Mary Nell for the nightly chat, and catch some sleep.  I haven’t opened the television boxes yet, so I will not be tempted to watch anything tonight.  In case you missed it, I slept here for the first time last night, Tuesday.  Oh, Happy Independence Day.  Can’t say I miss the fireworks.

Till next time, cheerio.

PS  Too tired to proofread the above report.  Sorry for any errors.  Retired English teachers are sensitive on the subject of good grammar and spelling.







Needs a Name

I am open to suggestions for a name for my new set of wheels purchased today at Glen Oaks Ford in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. About 35,000 miles on this single-owner Chrysler 300 four door sedan.  Suggestions?

Been on the ground here now for some 80 hours or so and will sleep in a bed in my leased residence for the first time tonight.  I was at a Bed and Breakfast the first three nights as there was no bed here to sleep on.

I would go on and on about the last three days, but it is a pain to type on my keyboard sitting on the floor.  My desk is on the moving van which might be unloaded tomorrow.

So in the comments make name suggestions or send me an email.


Fare the well, Texas, Off North Now…

Eleven hours till my United Airlines flight lifts off Texas pavement to wing me on upward north to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  Eleven.

Time now to shut down this computer and pack it securely in the hard case bag I will check through to Canada.  Type your way, reader, on the other side when Telus hooks up my internet service to this computer.

Been a good life here, Texas.  I will be back to visit on occasion.  I do have thirty-nine and thirty-five year old sons living in the Dallas area.  Mary Nell in Midland can count on my visiting any time I return to check in on Preston and Alan.

Cheerio.  For a spell.


Fully Committed & Counting Down to Departure…

And now I am fully committed to the relocation from Midland, Texas, to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  Quality Move Management Inc.’s Allied moving van just rolled away with all of my personal possessions, furniture, and the like after a 150 minute load-the-van-session this Wednesday morning.

Had I second thoughts, I could have mailed the July rent check with an accompanying 30-days move-out notice letter to my Victoria lessors.  And then cancelled the moving van load up session.  Oh I have had those second thoughts, third thoughts, and more throughout this process.  The answer inside my head was always—Do This!  Take the risk.

After all, nothing is forever.  After a half-year, year, two-years, or more I can always bite the bullet and return to the United States.  Not likely to happen.

Tomorrow starts the ten-day countdown of my time here in Texas.  Come July I will be in Canada for better or worse.  Mary Nell is already speaking of coming for a visit with her grand-daughters in tow.  Sister Lee Ann and her husband Skip will be in Vancouver next year for a CPA Conference and plan to spend some time visiting.  Claudia & David Southern, forever-friends since Abilene Christian University days plan a visit in the fall of this year.

So reader, plan your visit.  Cruise out of Seattle, Washington, up the Alaskan inside passageway a week or two and they delay your flight home several days and I will show you the sights of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

Next immediate task?  Vacuum the now empty carpets and then clean them with the Rug Doctor machine before Mary Nell returns from her week-long visit to her brother Robert over in Mills County.  Dust the walls, baseboards, too.

So cheerio for now.



Victoria Visit & Loose Ends

Enjoy the photograph of Mary Nell and me dining at a restaurant when on vacation.

In three days the moving van shows up here at my Midland, Texas, address to load all my stuff up for the move.  The delivery date window is July 2 to 9 in Victoria, BC, Canada.  All is packed in some 50 boxes, duly labeled with their contents and destination, and then there are my few furniture items duly tagged with the destination address.  I ordered a suitably sized luggage hard-case which arrives here on July 21 in which I will pack this desktop computer, monitor, keyboard, speakers, and my CPAP.  One June 30 I will check the bag through to Victoria and hope all within survives the trip in working order.

While in Victoria the first week in June I acquired a Telus LG smartphone with unlimited calling in both Canada and the United States.  Also Telus will provide my internet and television cable service at the Victoria address.  They show up Sunday, July 1, at the residence to install the internet and cable television services, hence my need for the computer to be on hand that first day.  Televisions?  Well, they will arrive with the moving van after that day, but hopefully the cable can be protruding from the wall in the living area and master bedroom making a return visit unnecessary.  I can plug a cable into the back of a television.

Also that week in Victoria I opened both checking and savings accounts at a local credit union and acquired a debit card.  I had taken cash with me for that purpose.  They are mailing my check order to the local residence address (so I can write my monthly rent checks).  Surprisingly, to me at least, they did not do temporary checks.  Said that they stopped doing that two years back.  My how physical checks have dropped in popularity.

This past week I attempted to wire a small amount from the credit union in Midland to my new credit union in Canada.  The wire did go through the next day, so on Friday I wired the rest of my savings account on up to Canada, save for a small balance.  Presumably the funds will show up in Canada tomorrow, Monday.  On Friday, June 29, I will make one last visit to the Midland credit union (as that is payday) and cash out the account, leaving a residual balance, to have travel cash in hand.  My two U.S. sourced pensions will continue to be wired to my Midland credit union account going forward.  I left a template with the credit union, meaning I need only telephone them once a month to have that month’s pension monies wired up to Canada.

Made a visit to my local eye clinic for the first time in three years.  Naturally a new prescription resulted meaning new lenses for my existing frames were needed for my glasses and sunglasses.  Without any vision insurance, the visit set me back fully $1,082, but hey, my vision insurance premiums, had I paid them the last three years, would have run $1,200 so I came out a winner on that one.

And it rained here last night!  Yes, it rained in Midland.  We’ve only had about an inch since New Year’s Day and fully eight-tenths of an inch showed up in our rain gage.  Yes!  We sorely needed that rain and more may fall over the next few days due to hurricane Bud, now a tropical disturbance, moving over our part of the world.

Yesterday, my son, Alan Blake Willis, 35 years young, and his Boston, MA, tax accountant girlfriend, Karen, treated me to a Father’s Day eve lunch at Clear Springs Restaurant.  I was meeting Karen for the first time face-to-face.  My gift for the occasion?  Three paperback novels in a series set in London, England, involving mystery and magic.  Now I have reading for my flight up to Victoria, as all my other books (some 800 of them) are now packed.  Alan works for J. P. Morgan Chase Bank in Dallas, he with the MBA (UT Austin), Law Degree (SMU Dallas), and BA in Philosophy (Excelsior U in New York State).  Alan plans to relocate to Boston by the end of the year.  Guess why?

That means my visits to the States in the future must include both Texas and Massachusetts.  I wonder if any single airline flies to/from Victoria to both states so I can make a triangular journey on those future forays to the States.

Likely Monday-Wednesday, June 25-27, I will make a quick trip to Austin, Texas, for a visit with former college roommate and forever friend John Williams.  He published last year a thick coffee-table quality hardcover book recounting the entire history of The Lower Colorado River Authority where he endured his professional career.  He now finds himself engaged in writing a similar history of Broadcasting in the State of Texas and already has the publisher and publication date lined up.  His Abilene Christian University degree was in journalism and he is finding this current history an exciting project with lots of input and support from radio and television veteran broadcasters around the state.  Trivia fact:  John and my forever friend from university days, Bryan Cooper Renner, are both never-marrieds, just like my two sons.  How does one do that?  Live all those decades and never marry?

So, almost all the loose ends to tie up here in Texas before the move are done. Remaining to do are the loading of the moving van, one last dental visit, final Sunday at New Life Church, the visit to John in Austin, the last visit to the local credit union, and the drive to the airport.  Oh, and one must not forget—treat Mary Nell Baird to dinner at a white-table-cloth restaurant.  Must do that.

Cheerio, for now.


Mission Accomplished Victoria Ground Suite Found for 1 July Occupancy

On Tuesday, 5 June, I paid a deposit and signed a lease for a two-bedroom, one bath, ground-floor suite in a private home in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, for occupancy on 1 July 2018.   Mission Accomplished!

The above  floor plan image differs from my actual leased suite in that (1) the entry is between the master bedroom and the walk-in closet creating a hallway the length of the suite from the entry into the common living area of kitchen, dining, and living;  (2) there is no walk-in closet; and (3) the bathroom is between the two bedrooms.   I never could find an exact image among the hundreds on the world wide web and my attempt to draw one using a floor plan software program proved me an abject failure as a draftsman, or more likely just too impatient to learn the program.

I will not give here now or ever the details of the identity of my landlords, a retired couple living on the floors above me, or the street address of the home, this being a public blog.  I need to know you personally to divulge such private information.   The home does reside in one of the many municipalities that make up the greater city of Victoria, BC.

Rachel of Rivers Relocation showed myself and Mary Nell Baird, who made the trip with me, three separate properties, all of which that met my preferences in the main.  With Mary Nell’s advice and counsel I ultimately signed for the first one we viewed.  More on that one later.  Before our arrival Rachel had lined up six places to show us, but three of them were leased over the weekend.

The third one was a two-bedroom, one bath, condominium apartment on the ground level with a patio offering a laundry, an enclosed pool, tennis courts, and a club house.  Utilities were included save for internet, cable television, and phone.  All for $1,500 CAD monthly with immediate occupancy, as the condo was already vacant.

The second one was a two-bedroom, one bath basement suite in a private home with laundry and 1,010 square feet of living area available on 15 June for $1,500 CAD monthly excluding all utilities.   The landlady and her husband had just purchased the property and planned to live on the upper floors above the basement suite in one to two years, whenever their transfer requests came through at their present place of employment far, far away.  In the meantime, other tenants were to live above me had I chosen this property.  Then there was the lack of curb appeal for this property in its neighborhood.  I easily excluded this one from consideration due to cost, curb appeal, and the lessors living in another city.  Mary Nell heartedly agreed, not here.

The first property mentioned above, the one I leased, appeared to have close to a full 1,000 square feet of living space.  Not bad for $1,450 CAD monthly including utilities, save for internet, cable television, and phone.  As for the interior, essentially the long hallway ran down the right side from the front entryway door  into the kitchen, living, dining area.  One door on the right of the hallway led into a shared laundry room with the lessors, also the door under which my lessors would shove my mail onto the floor of my hallway.  Packages would be left on top of the washing machine.  Immediately to the left as you enter the hallway the door opens into the master-bedroom with closet space, the next door on the left accessed the bathroom with sink, toilet, bathtub, and shower head.  The final door on the left opened into the second bedroom which I will outfit as a home office.

As the hallway ends in the the larger living area, directly on the right wall and to the front are the kitchen cabinets, sink, cooktop, and refrigerator.  To the left you encounter the large living area, square in shape, and ahead of you and to the left exists the dining area giving the larger room an L-shape (not reflected in the above image).  Being the ground floor, there are large windows letting in the sunlight in the two bedrooms, living room, and around the dining area; also there are smaller windows in the bathroom and kitchen.  No windows exist along the right side of the hallway, just the door to the laundry room.

Being a private home there are front, side, and back yards lush and green with colorful flowers and even trees.  I should note that the entry door is actually on the left side of the home as you face it from the street.  Once I acquire a car I will park it along the curb on the street, saving the driveway for my lessors.  Only downside?  None of the three properties permitted pets.  My lessors advised me that they have weekly visiting grandchildren who are allergic to cats.  I asked.  So, no Maine Coon kitten or cat for me.  Oh, well, sacrifices must be made.  Oh, and the curb appeal of this first property was outstanding in its neighborhood.

So, condo or private home ground suite?  First or third property viewed?  Either one would have done me quite well.  And the condo even had pool, clubhouse, and tennis courts available for use.  One would think the condo a better choice.  Apart from being a condo among many condos, the surrounding area was quite attractive with water nearby.  Had I been a decade or two younger, the condo would be the thing.  But, mid-way through one’s seventh decade, living in an “apartment” again seems such a downer.  Been there.  Done that.  In Dallas.  In Abilene.  Living  again in an apartment down a hallway with a three-digit number prominent on my front door to distinguish it from the other doors on the same hallway?  No thanks.  At the end of the day I just could not bring myself to sign a lease to live again within an apartment, nice as it was.  Mary Nell concurred.

So, my primary goal for the first week in June was to find and sign for a place to live in Victoria.  And I did.  I got that goal met.  I did other things too that Victoria week and I will tell you about them in later posts, as this one has run overlong for your reading patience, I am sure.  Cheerio till next time.

Final Instructions (a celebratory poem)



Report to Chaparral Center half past

two pm promptly in seat eighty—

for ninety minutes keep order

guests to stay behind the rails.


Then line them all up nicely

alphabetically in hallways

aka overheated tunnels for

Graduate Candidates enrobed

in mortar boards, long gowns

awaiting the grand processional.


Keep them in order, so very calm—

Then line yourself up five minutes to

four with your faculty colleagues.


Music starts, processional proceeds

March primly, slowly in and stand

Stand in front of seat eighty.


Stand and stand and stand and

Stand as five-hundred-eighty-two

Seniors march in processional only

to stand themselves alphabetically

in front of their seats on twenty-one

rows, and there you continue standing—


For first an Invocation, then National

Anthem, before the welcome command

to finally be seated.  You do have

advance leave to sit when your knees

complain—though best not to do that

as the National Anthem is played.


Now sit quietly endure the ceremony

Ninety minutes until the recessional

Then stand and march primly out

keep walking, hang cap and gown

on the rack behind the curtain and

keep walking right out the large door.


Into the open of the massive parking

lot to trek to the car parked far away

ensuring a quick drive off away, away

from Chaparral Center for the last time.


You are now done with final instructions—

you are now fully, completely retired—

forty-five professional service years

concluded, two monthly pensions launched.


Congratulations!  Not for graduating as

you did that on four separate occasions;

No, congratulations for moving right on

to full retirement—enjoy the new days.