The trip up to Kelowna is fun and uneventful. Shonah drives all the way, despite my offer to relieve her at any time. When we get to my friend Donna's house, we unload my stuff and the girls keep going.
Donna shows me to my room. It's empty of any furniture except for a small table. Apparently, her daughter just moved out of the room today to take up her newly married brother's recently vacated room downstairs. Donna's husband appears, hauling a mattress to put on a wooden pallet on the floor. Voila! I have a bed.
I dump my bags in the room and then go back downstairs to have a cup of tea and get caught up with Donna. She is tells me that they are happy I am back in B.C. and really glad to have me stay with them until the end of the summer. She is excited about my interview on Tuesday with Disney Online Studios (as Club Penguin is now called) and tells me that they receive hundreds of resumes for every job posting so it's amazing that I have made it to the interview stage.
I head off to bed tired and with a huge headache, it seems I am not over the concussion yet, but happy to be with good friends again. Malcolm has made up my bed for me while I was downstairs and I sink into it gratefully. It doesn't take long for me to drop off.
The next morning, Donna gives me a handful of coat hangers so I can start to put away my clothes but it isn't going to be anywhere near enough so she suggests that I drop her at work and take the van for anything I need to do. Once I drop her off, I drive to WalMart and buy a package of 30 regular, as well as four skirt, hangers. I am sick of spending my precious dollars on hangers!! Especially when I have a big box full of them in storage but I need them and so there isn't much I can do about it. I also stop at Home Sense for a pillow as the one I had last night is too thin and I woke up with a headache and a sore neck. When I get home I discover that I am about 20 coat-hangars short. I should have bought two 30 packs. Later in the week I go back and get another.
When Donna comes home she tells me that their family has plans to go to Birch Bay for the weekend. They are using a condo on the water that a friend of theirs owns. One of their daughters can't go because her passport hasn't arrived in time so she asks me if I want to join them. I say that I don't want to intrude on family time away together but she insists that she wants me to come. So I agree to go. It seems funny to finally be back in Canada and now I am gong back to the states in a few days.
Donna's dad is in his 80's and lives in a suite attached to the house. A cleaning woman comes once a week to clean his place, and it is paid for by the government. Donna pays her extra and she cleans the rest of the house as well. Apparently the woman just quit to pursue other work and Donna wants to know if I would want to take the job over while I am here to make some money. If not , she is going to hire someone else but wanted to see if I was interested first. I say, sure, I will do it. I plan to do it on Thursday but when the day arrives, my head is still killing me and I can barely get off the couch all day.
Tuesday I go for my interview with Disney. I am interviewed by the head of HR and the head of Research and Development and they have a lot of questions for me. I am there for two hours and it goes very well. The next day, the head of HR tells my daughter (who works there) that she 'loved' me and would hire me tomorrow if it was up to her. That gives me a lot of hope. I won't hear for a while though, as this is a new position for a new team and the start date has not been finalized yet.
I get a call from the insurance adjuster for the mall. They want to make me an offer. The guy says he wants to meet with me to take a statement as to what happened but when I tell him I am going to be in the Okanagan for the summer, he asks me to write it all down and email it. I go to my blog, cut and paste my account of it from there, edit it so it doesn't sound so much like a blog, and send it to my son to see what he thinks. He tells me that, other than it sounding more like a novel, it's fine. So I send it off wondering how much money they will offer me.
Just after I got up here, a friend sent me an invitation to a cocktail party being held by the Okanagan Film Commission for crew up here to meet some producers who plan to shoot a movie in the fall in and around Kelowna. I go to the meeting and it turns out that the producer is a woman I have worked for in the past and got along really well with. She tells me that she is thrilled that I am up here and would be able to work on the show as it is a first time director and he will need a strong script supervisor. The job is mine if I want it. I tell her i would love to do it if I am not working for Disney by then. She tells me to let her know as soon as I know either way. I promise that I will. I also spend a bit of time talking to the head of the Film Commission and find out that there is only one script supervisor in the Okanagan and that there is a lot of work headed this way come the next year. He tells me to send him my resume and that he will pass it along to the producers of a TV series starting up in the fall.
Friday morning we leave early to get down to Birch Bay. I have the back seat of the minivan all to myself and I brought my pillow so I lay down and sleep part of the way. My head is still not right and I find I am tired a lot during the day. The miles go by quickly and before I know it, we are in Abbotsford. I notice that we drive right past the exit to the Sumas crossing, the one Donna said they wanted to use and I assume that, while I slept, they decided to use a different crossing. We pass the exit for the Aldergrove crossing about fifteen minutes later and soon see a sign saying the next three exits are for Langley.
"Why are we in Langley?" Donna asks, "Did we miss our exit?" I tell her that, if they wanted Sumas, we passed it half an hour ago. She isn't happy but I tell her that if they take the first Langley exit, we can cross at the 176th Street crossing. So for the next 20 minutes I give them directions as to how to get there. I direct Malcolm all the way down to zero avenue so that we can bypass any lineup on 176th and when we get there, there is a huge line-up and we enter it very close to the border without a problem.
I haven't been to Birch Bay in over 20 years and when we get there, nothing much has changed. There are no stores except for a small corner grocery. This place has such potential but it seems the residents would rather it stay the way it's always been. Our condo is lovely and looks out over the water. There is a loft bedroom upstairs that Malcolm and Donna will use, and another bedroom on the main floor with two twin beds and a huge deck outside the sliding glass doors. This is where Bethany and I will stay.
We stop long enough to drop our bags off and put the bit of food we brought into the fridge and then Donna is chomping at the bit to go shopping. She has talked of nothing but Ross since we got going and she can't wait to get there. We pile back in the car and drive another half an hour down the freeway into Bellingham where there is a Ross across the street from Bellis Fair Mall. We spend the next two hours combing through all the racks and shelves and in the change rooms trying on armfuls of clothing. I buy two tops, a long black dress, and a black purse. Donna buys about a dozen tops, some pants, and 4 or 5 pairs of shoes for herself; a couple of dresses and matching shoes for her daughter -in-law and the daughter that couldn't come; and 4 or 5 shirts and 3 pairs of shoes for Malcolm. Her cart is piled high.
We then head over to the mall where, apparently, Macy's has an incredible sale on. She finds a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans marked down from $175 for $12. She also buys another pile of shirts and who knows what else. I find one sweater top I like but I don't buy it. I can't afford to be shopping like this. The next day, Donna goes back and gets some more bargains and gets the top for me. She won't let me pay her for it.
We grab dinner at the food court in the mall and then stop at a grocery store on the way back to pick up some food for the rest of the weekend. The store also has a clothing section and I find a rack full of lots of different styles of flip flops for $6.99. They are buy one get one free so I find two pair in my size and toss them into the cart. If I had more money to spare, I would get some for my daughters as well but I just don't. Besides, I don't know what they would like, their tastes have changed a lot since they lived at home.
We get back to the condo, watch a movie - Martian Child, it's very good, and then head to bed. The next morning, after breakfast, Donna and Malcolm go back to the mall and I stay back with Bethany. I am all shopped out and I want to enjoy the gorgeous sunshine. Once we are dressed, Bethany and I go for a walk on the beach. We are out there for about 10 minutes and we are both freezing cold. It's a sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky, but the wind off of the water is has a bite to it and it's too cold for what we are wearing. We go back to the condo for something warmer to wear but, once we are inside, neither of us feel like being in the cold wind. The deck off of our bedroom is sheltered from the wind so I decide to change into my bathing suit and read in the warm sunshine. Bethany goes up to the loft and watches TV all day.
Malcolm and Donna were only supposed to be gone for a couple of hours, but it is dinner time before they return. We make dinner together and then sit in the sunshine on the deck until it is too cold to sit out there once the sun goes down.
We were supposed to stay until Monday morning, but at breakfast on Sunday Donna tells me that we are going home today. Her brother has hip surgery tomorrow and they couldn't find anyone to drive him to the hospital so they will need to be back to do it. I spend the day on the deck in the sunshine again while everyone else is up in the loft watching TV. By 4 o'clock we are all packed up and in the car ready to drive back home. I enjoyed relaxing on the deck in the sunshine and reading my book. It was nice to be by the water even if it was too chilly to be on the beach. It felt great to be able to sit out in the warm sunshine without sweating and needing to jump in the pool every 5 minutes. Not that I minded the heat and the pool in Florida AT ALL.... I love the heat, but it's just a different heat here, less intense and a lot less humidity, and it's nice.
Monday I get stuck into cleaning the house and doing the laundry for her dad. It's a big house and it hasn't been cleaned in a while and so it takes me all day. I have a pounding headache and am exhausted by the time I am done.
There is a huge in-ground pool in the backyard and I am dying to go swimming in it, but it's in dire need of cleaning. Apparently, a young friend of the family offered to upkeep it in exchange for use of it to teach a diving class. He hasn't kept up his end of the deal. I offer to vacuum it but when I go outside to do it, the vacuum doesn't seem to be sucking anything up so I give up after half an hour. A few days later, Malcolm cleans it all up ready for a pool party for Bethany's birthday. It looks great but when I go dip my toe in, it's freezing cold. I check the thermometer and it's 70 deg. WAY too cold to swim in. It's hot out and the pool looks so inviting so it is torture. I eventually do go in, a few days later when it has crawled it's way up to 74 deg. It's really hot out and so use my pop-up floaty thing to float around the pool and stay cool.
Friday morning, two of Donna's friends come over. They meet regularly, just like my Mom's group in Langley, and they have been praying for me while I was gone. I know both of the women from when I lived in Kelowna for three years in the early 90's so it's good to see them again. They ask me lots of questions about my trip and about my interview with Disney. The company is a huge deal up here and everyone knows someone who is working there. The three guys who started it go to local churches, one of which is Donna's church so many of the kids who have worked in the CR department since it's inception as Club Penguin are youth from the church.
I beg to be excused before they are done as I am meeting a good friend from the film business for lunch. We worked together on jPod and have stayed in touch since the show ended. Her husband is in the film business as well but the two of them sold their home in Vancouver and bought property in Oliver and have built and recently opened their own bed and breakfast and named it High Chaparral. She is coming to Kelowna to stock up on provisions at Costco and called to see if we could get together. I am to wait for her at the Mac's store just around the corner from where I am staying. Unfortunately, I told her to make a right where she should have made a left and so it takes a while, and a phone call to me, to find me. When I climb into her SUV, it is great to see her again. She is looking happy and well rested. We head up the road to a Japanese restaurant and spend a very nice hour or so talking about film, my trip, her B&B, and having a few good laughs. She really wants me to come down to Oliver to see the cabin they built for the B&B and I will as soon as I have a vehicle to make the trip.
On the weekend, Bethany has her birthday party but no one uses the pool as the water is just way too cold. The girls spend most of the time downstairs in her room.
I spend a lot of time tidying up and keeping the kitchen cleaned up. Donna has a crazy schedule due to the pastor of her church taking a sabbatical and she has picked up a lot of the work load. The kitchen tends to accumulate a lot of clutter as soon as my back is turned.
The weather has turned cool here, with big heavy clouds covering up all the blue sky. If the sun pokes out, it's a warm sun, but mostly the sun is behind a canopy of thick grey clouds and it's breezy and cool. Where is the gorgeous Okanagan summer Kelowna is famous for? I hope it comes back.