Work has continued on the house. Larry has been amazing at organizing everyone, sometimes two or more trades in one day.
The kitchen cabinets arrived and Kalven went about installing them. He found a few glitches, a few pieces missing and a few extra pieces. We discussed this with Kitchen Craft and Kalven kept track of the hours he put in fixing things and we have submitted that bill for reimbursement. He's done a beautiful job. On November 21 he installed the counter top in the laundry and the rest of the knobs and pulls.
It appears that most things will be done by the end of November - move-in date is November 29. We will be in before final inspection because it is not possible to have the concrete driveway in as it has not stopped raining.
And now for something completely different!!
We had planned a cruise a long time ago, thinking that we would be in the house by then. Oh well, couldn't change it so we went. It was a 7 day cruise with one night in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 4 and 3 nights at the end of the cruise. Our flight times were quite a challenge. We left Sechelt on the 12:20 ferry on November 4. This gave us time to update our passport information for our NEXUS passes. There was a lot of lightning in the distance on the way to Mexico City - our first stop. We had been told when we checked in that our luggage would go all the way to San Juan. Then we found out that we had to pick up our luggage in Mexico City. To top it off we had to go to a different terminal for the next leg of our flight. We got our bag and dropped it at the conveyor for connecting flights, not expecting to see our luggage again. We only had 1 1/2 hours until our next flight. We found an information kiosk where she told us in broken English that we needed to find the Red Bus to Terminal 2. We eventually found that. A nice young man who was going to Toronto (and had less time than we did) asked about the Bus. It finally arrived. Then we found out we had to pay - no pesos - and they wouldn't take US dollars. A lovely young lady who was leaving the bus paid our way for us! We found our way to Copa Airlines and made the flight.
The next stop was Panama City, arriving about 6 am, where we had a six hour layover. It worked out ok as we went to the first class lounge as we were flying first class with Larry's VISA Aeroplan points. While we were waiting it rained so hard it was like a waterfall coming down the side of the building and there was a short delay. This was also a Copa flight. Maureen kept an eye on the luggage being loaded and saw ours make it on! The flights were all fairly uneventful and the food was good (first class is the way to go).
We were staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites. They have Happy Hour every evening except Sunday's and it also included breakfast every day. The room was great and right beside the ice machine and elevator. We had a decent night's sleep and met up with Barry and Ann Marie (from Lake Cowichan) and Bob and Judy (we know them from Swan Lake). We arranged a couple of tours for when we returned after the cruise. We were also part of a larger group of TravelOnly agents led by Pat and Mary who also organized the Bob Family Travel, the larger group of over 200 people. They worked very hard throughout the trip and organized a lot of things. We had lanyards to wear identifying us as part of the group.
We set sail at 8:30 pm. It was very hot and humid and this continued the whole trip. Larry had rented a scooter and it was in our room when we arrived. We arrived in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands the morning of November 6. We went on a brief tour of St Croix with the Bob Family group and spent the afternoon at the beach of the Carambola Resort. We had a great BBQ burger lunch. We still had some time to kill so stopped in at the Resort bar. Shanika was working - very hard - and was happy to serve us. Ann Marie even stopped her from throwing out a cocktail made by mistake! She was so cute - every so often she would look up at us, smile and say "Everything OK?". We then headed back to the ship. St. Croix is the largest of the islands in the US Virgin Islands at 84 square miles. We had the early seating in the dining room. Our wait staff were great. Agosthino was from India and was the Head Waiter. Bertta was his assistant. Anna was our Sommelier.
November 7 was our only sea day. Larry spent it in training with the other travel agents. Maureen went to the Top Chef Challenge and wandered around the ship. The entire group (agents and Bob Family) had a reservation for dinner at the Tuscan Grille. It was amazing. We were also given a private room for Barry and Ann Marie's anniversary.
November 8 we arrived in Fort de France, Martinique. Larry and Maureen went on a walkabout with Larry's scooter. We found some WiFi and some interesting shops. We walked as far as the fort but couldn't go in because it isn't accessible. The sidewalks are barely accessible!
November 9 was Dominica. Pat had organized a tour and beach visit at each port. We liked the sound of the one planned for here. They were going to a resort where you could spend time in the gardens, in the pool or at the beach. We thought great - take our suits and spend time at the pool. Not! After the city tour, we were dropped at Mero Beach. $5 each for a chair and $2 for shade to go with it. It rained while we were there. We had lunch but it wasn't great. Supposed to be a fish burger but more like a tuna bun (with bones in it). Larry had a hard time walking in the sand. This certainly was not a very good day and affected how we looked at the tours from that point on that Pat had arranged.
November 10 was Basseterre, St Kitts. This was a lovely place to walk around. There were supposed to be a lot of wild monkeys here but unless you ventured beyond the beautiful town square, there were only tame ones to have your picture taken with for a fee. After our walkabout we stopped a MaPau Casino - not for the casino but for the covered patio. We had some local beers that were only $1.00 each and then went back to the ship. This was our second formal night and there was lobster on the menu and Larry wore his tuxedo shirt which was areal hit with the waiters.
November 11 we docked in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Here we thought we would go on the Skyride but we found when we got off the ship that we were at a different dock - 3.5 miles from the Skyride - too far to walk/scoot. We purchased a 2 hour city tour for $25, left the scooter behind and enjoyed a tour around the city. More narrow roads and sharp turns.
The cruise was wonderful and the food and service was excellent. Now on to explore San Juan. Our first tour was to be at 7:30 the morning of the 13th. They had assured us that a vehicle would come that could take the scooter. It was not to be. So the tour was cancelled and since the accessible van was in for repairs it would not be available the next day either. Bob and Judy got a taxi driver to tour them to the places they wanted to see. We rented a 7 passenger van that the scooter could fit in. Larry and Maureen dropped Barry and Ann Marie in Old San Juan and went for a drive. As usual we ended up in some sketchy areas but it worked out okay. We picked up Barry and Ann Marie and retraced our steps to a nice beach area where the locals frequent. Ann Marie had had a recommendation for a restaurant within walking distance of the hotel so we went there for dinner. Alhambique had a reputation for their fish tacos. There was a bit of a wait but it was worth it.
The 14th we did the Castillo San Cristobal then Barry and Ann Marie walked to the next Castillo where we picked them up. We went to Senor Frog's for lunch then on to the Bacardi Rum Distillery. We had a good tour and attended a mixology class where we were able to make and drink three classic cocktails - Mojito, Daiquiri and a Cuba Libre (rum and coke). That was a lot of fun and we didn't get back to the hotel until about 5:00. No one was hungry and they had to get up early in the morning for their flight. Our flight didn't leave until 6:00pm. We had the six hour layover in Mexico City this time but arriving at midnight we had to wait until 3:30am for the ticket agents to show up and then we went to the First Class Lounge until our flight. We requested a wheelchair and he was there waiting for us. He wheeled Larry to the baggage claim and right to the taxi stand where we paid $7 US to get to Terminal 1. No problems! Flights were great again and so was the food.
The electrician arrived on November 23 to complete his work. When we went down to the house, much to our surprise they were working on forming the driveway and sidewalks. They will pour next week - after we've moved! Looking forward to this final week in the rental.