Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fire Photo Essay

A certain irony in title of library book...Perfect World.
Scrabble Board and Football Jersey
What could this be?
... The diary of Tom Marvelo Riddle after the fire.
Jellybeans from Diagon Alley. Will we make a 
trip back there to buy some more?

Monday, September 29, 2014

I lost my first tooth

Sunday 5:34pm

Voicemail message at the Lake.

Hi Grandma,
and Grandpa,
and David,
and Bonnie.

Guess what?

My tooth fell out.

I will call you later.

And tell you about it.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Duncan's fire report

... this room needs to be completely redone ...
I was riding my bicycle home from school. I was five minutes late because my teacher made us stay after school for five minutes.  The teacher was trying to talk, but everyone was putting stuff in their backpack and shuffling papers. She couldn’t be heard. She said, “You waste my time, I waste yours. I am not letting you go until I finish talking.”

So, I was riding on my bike when I saw black billowing smoke on my block. I figured it was someone else's house. But about six houses from my house, I realized it was my house. I saw Firetrucks and a bunch of people standing around looking at my house.

I thought, “Well, this has never happened before.”

I was the first person in my family to arrive home. 
I didn’t really know what to think of the situation. 
I didn’t think I could do too much. 
I didn’t talk to the Firemen. 
I didn’t think they needed my input.

So I waited on the lawn across from my house. I talked to our neighbours. I talked to our other neighbours. They said what happened up until the time I got there.

My mom arrived about 5 minutes later. 
She said, “What happened here?” 

“Oh, fire" I said
... doorjamb and roof ...
wall used to be baby blue

Grandma Arta asked if there were police there. I would answer “no and yes”. There were no police cars there but there were people from the fire investigating department because it was considered a suspicious fire.

Eventually I found out that what happened. 

A candle was accidentally left lit. The wax dripped down. Alex’s jersey, which is made up of one of the most flammable materials on earth, went up in flames.

Later, some kid I know from school walked by. 

He said, “Is that your house?” 
Ripping down the walls in Alex's room after the fire.
You can still see some of the walls.

I replied, “yeah”. 

He said, “Oh.” 

He asked, “How did it start.” 

I said, “Candle.” 

He said, “Oh.”

There wasn’t much for me to do so I went to my friend Felix’s house. He ended up not being there. Later he came home and his mom went to see my mom at my house. Felix and I watched youtube, we played a really fun board game, then we went to pick up my friend Peter. Eventually I went to the hotel to be with my family.

Clean up is under way.
I have been back to our house. The fire only was in one room, Alex’s room. The entire room is black. Not any colour anywhere. Alex's room is right beside mine, but mine is untouched.

All the rooms upstairs are damaged by smoke: my room, the guest bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, the dining room, and the red room (family room) where we have our computers, bookshelves, and the piano.

So, here I am in the hotel room. 

I am somewhat bored because I have no computer. 

The good thing about being here is there are pretty good restaurants nearby including one that serves a Nutella crepe. 

We should be home in about two weeks time.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Zoe's Summer Photographs

Zoe was busy taking photos of the 'LaRue 50th Anniversary Party'. Fun for all!

Three happy sisters!

When one has a bottle, anyone can have a bottle!

Beautiful Zoe!

A different view of the Fabulous Fourteen!

Looking through the trees in front of the Wood's hill.

And a good time was had by all at the 50th Anniversary Party. Thank you LaRue!

Zoe's 2014 photos at Shuswap

Zoe walked around the property taking pictures of the Pilling flowers.

A little dew or rain makes things fresh.

Who is hiding behind the plum tree?

Every summer must have a study of slugs.

And make sure the caterpillar has water to drink along with a leaf to eat.

Zoe, you take marvellous photos!

Shades of green and shadows!

Zoe's Summer in Photos

Zoe takes a fabulous photo. Here is Zoe's summer in photos.

And here are the "Fabulous Fourteen!"

From the tall to the small.

Any pose goes.

Just one of our Fabulous evenings this summer came when the Moiya and David's grandchildren made an impromptu evening visit over to Glen and Janet's hill between our houses. I could have watched those kids play much longer. Up and down the hill on any vehicle they could find.

Moiya, Cheri, Dave and others watched from the deck while the children ran. We loved watching their parents try to get them home to bed. Those kids can outrun their parents. We cheered them on. Fabulous Fun!

Friday, September 26, 2014


backyard ... bicycle ... chained to snow laden fence

Miranda and I were trying to coordinate talking a walk together.

Together would mean, a real walk alone, one where the heart beat goes up -- not one where we are with the kids and get to stop and look at all of the interesting things that pop up for them.  That is a good walk.  Just not a good aerobic walk.

To make this get-away happen, Miranda arranged with Richard that he would watch the kids while he was getting ready to go to work in the morning and we could go out and walk.
... not a black and white picture ... my evidence?  the blue frame ...

Watching sleeping kids isn't that hard.

He agreed and Miranda and I began to walk.

We were walking the morning of the snow store where the trees began to loose branches.

Just about every poplar tree fell victim to the heavy weight of the snow on its leaves, thus the branches, and sometimes the whole tree toppling over.
In retrospect, the weather people tell us that this mi every 10 to 12 years.

The snow is too heavy and the leaves haven't fallen from the trees.

So the weight of the snow brings the branches down.
... so far, I am not too old to try making a footprint in the snow ..

What has never happened to me is that I haven't been out walking when this was happening.

The first snap was a surprise.

So was the second.

But by the time Miranda and I had reached West Campus Park and were on our return home, we were saying to each other, "We are hearing the cracking of branches about every thirty seconds."

"Have you ever experienced this before?"

... snow as seen through the summer screen on the window ...
"Not me."

"Nor I."

An event to remember and it seemed as though we were the only persons in the world who were experiencing those moments.

In actual fact ... probably every Calgarian who was out between 6 and 7 am that morning.


Just an Unattended Candle

From Rebecca:

We are in a 2 bedroom suite at the Parkside Hotel, here for 3 nights. With any luck, we will be back in our house 4 days. Alex’s room will require a major rework.

Alex went home at lunch for his spare, and lit a candle on a bedside table.

After school he didn't go in the house gut played with Kiwi in the yard for a few minutes and then went on bike to see his friends.

Duncan checking out the size of his dad's wallet
Dieder and Diane next door said they are tending a psychotic cat for someone.

 It was going crazy.

 Why was what Diane wondered.

 She looked out the window and then could hear the smoke alarm at my house.

 She saw black smoke from Alex’s window. Diedre ran to house and called for anyone in there to come out.

At the same time Diane called 911 and before she was off the phone with them, she could hear fire engines already. They are 1 1/2 min away from my house.

I arrived at 3:10. pm, An ambulance was ahead of me. It turned down the same streets I was turning down. Turned again my way. Then again my way.

When I arrive the 3 trucks had fire hoses in the house and 10 firefighters. There were neighbours on street.

Duncan with his bike helmet still on is standing there and his is bike is on the road. The police make me drive off into neighbour's driveway. More fire trucks are coming. But they have the fire already on. Fast call, fast response. Alex is nowhere. Kiwi is in the back yard. The firemen have gas masks on.

Rebecca at a calm moment during Roots and Blues
I am interviewed.

 I can’t think, about what did go on. T

hey are telling me, where is my son, get him here. W

hen they arrived, the house was open.

 They suspect arsonist.

I say no, I think it is an accident by one of my kids who might leave the door open. You can investigate other possibilities but I don’t think it is random person.

The firemen need to talk to Alex. I have left messages to him. The gas people have come. CTV people are there. Then I see Alex and a friend walking up hill with bike. The firemen want to talk to Alex. They say is this him.

Alex says, oh no. I know what happened. I had a candle on my desk and I didn’t blow it out before I left it out.

But I have already said, no my son doesn’t use candles.

The firemen reconstruct the position of everything. Beside table, etc. They were going to call in big scale investigators, but they ut might not need to. Their theory is that something was on bedside table, then to the covers on bed. Then to cork board.

Then we go back in with Alex to see what had happened.

There was a football jersey beside his bed. The candle burned down. There was no glass under it. The last bit of wax … would have just left a mark on wood. But the wax got onto football jersey which would have gone up whoooff, which was good for papers on cork board, which ignited the corkboard, then wood around cork board.

So, hopefully it is not through the drywall into roof. No structural damage, hopefully. The room is now black from smoke.

The floor is water. The bed is scorched and tossed. The firemen try to make sure no one is under the mattress. The are looking if someone had been killed and then house lit.

Water damage, they said, it is not so bad. But all of the house will have chemical smoke in the air. They have to clean it up. They only let us get stuff, but don’t say here, they said.

They walked me in to get insurance file.

They gave me a claim number. They called restoration people in 15 minutes. In half hour they were there.

I went to my bedroom. I thought yay, but soon I saw water damage coming through to my bedroom.

There have been fans all night. Air scrubber. Catching smoke. Most of house? TV room, mantel, if you lift anything up, a fine line of powder settle on everything. A big clean up.

Firemarshall estimated $20,000 work of damage for his stats gathering.

They wll have to rip down drywall. His jersey, number 74 has been formally retired. He won’t be wearing that to the game tomorrow.

I can’t find hotel we are to go to.

I think. It is only stuff. We have insurance. No one is hurt.

Steve during a thoughtful moment at Roots and Blues
Steve had rental car. He has 2 days in Campell River. He was getting the rental car while the fire was going on. He has gone now to Campbell Diver. He had fhb job of finding a hotel with a kitchen for 2 or 3 days that would take a dog.

Downtown is a difficult place to live. The hotel is one block behind the Empress, called The Parkside. Now I have to find someplace for Kiwi and us. She is going to the film class with me tomorrow. I have a new method of taking care of people: underwear and socks -- the essentials. We are fine. I have shirts. Buy what we need and keep receipts. I am trying to be efficient. Coordination is hard. I had to learn how to take the dog out to pee and how to get a coffee and a burger. Whoops. Can’t let the dog in there and I am bawled out. Go back outside. Sorry, we love dogs here. But pets can’t come inside.

They are right. I am wrong. If I stayed outside the waitress would have come out to help me. In an ordinary world, I could have figured this out all myself. Simple in an ordinary world but the world is not ordinary to me right now.

That is where I am at.

I had just been to the lawyer trying to find out how to get a nanny. I need a house that is monitored. The nanny who was going to come, she doesn’t have the right documentation for the visa people. Which means, structurally, the people I could check references on, they are probably already here illegally. A mess. How to find a nanny.

I will just put dog in car.

I will pick up Duncan after tutoring.

We will do Alex's football at 7:30.

Email is the way to get me.

Feel free to blog up the fire, Arta. When you have a fire, there are no secrets.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bates - Malaga after 10 days at sea

Our first and only port after 10 days at sea was Malaga, Spain. We just walked and walked the streets until we found ourselves in a Spanish market where we were the only English speakers.
 Right in the middle of the market was a kiosk where one could buy a drink and eat fried shrimp and other tapas. No chairs at all.
Olives, olives everywhere! I encouraged Greg to buy some but he did not. However, the almonds we bought were superb! Why did we only buy one little plastic container of them.

Narrow streets going everywhere. Neighbors can almost hold hands across the walkways.

Even the pigeons enjoy the walkways.

And then we just happened along some Roman ruins which are slowly being uncovered.

We liked Malaga.

Bates - Oasis of the Seas

 We took our 12 day trip on the Oasis of the Seas from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona. It has the capacity for up 6200 guests but our voyage had 5000 guests. The ship is huge. Greg took this picture of the climbing wall from the fifth floor beside diving show swimming pool.
Now this is Central Park which is located on the eight floor of the ship. Our balcony was on the 10th floor, just overlooking Central Park.
 Royal Caribbean supports Dreamworks so here we have the Penquins but sometimes one can visit and have their picture taken with Shrek and his pals.

At least once a cruise we just have to order room service. Cheesecake is always a hit.

Central Park from our balcony.

One can ride the merry-go-round anytime. It is located outside on the Boardwalk.