Hodge: Making connections at backyard BBQs

I wonder if Cliff and Daphne are going to have a summer barbecue soon? I may need an electrician or plumber soon.


Regular Hodge Podge readers may recall that Cliff and Daphne are our delightful neighbours up the street.

Tez and I enjoyed a rousing New Year’s Eve at the neighbourly Newfie’s house and in the process met a bundle of other fun folks.

During the evening, I jokingly mentioned the need to find a good roofer or tree cutter. By the end of the evening I had hired a tree cutter (Paul of Dangerous Tree Removal), and had a lead on a roofer named Mike.

The party discussion actually began with my priority need being a repaired roof.

Our insurance company demanded a new roof in order to renew our house insurance.

However, knowing my luck I could envision replacing the roof only to have a tree fall through it.

So with the promise of a good deal, I hired Paul.

I watched in awe as Paul defied gravity and laughed at danger as he made sawdust of three willow trees and a giant fir. Wise choice.

Paul not only did a great job but also for a very reasonable price.

And watching Mike Peirce and his assistant tear off the old roof and put on a new one was akin to watching poetry in motion.

My knees hurt just watching those guys work like whirling dervishes for the better part of three days, replacing both my house roof and shed roof.

Until one has actually helped put on a roof or watched with close concern through the eyes of a house owner, there is little comprehension of the intricacies of good roofing.

With the eyes of a hunting hawk, Mike first summarized the task at hand analyzing the square footage of materials needed including around the flashings and chimneys, then ordered and organize the entire project.

When the job was done and the clutter cleared, Tez and I were thrilled with the end result.

During discussion, I learned Mike is a Vancouver Island boy, which I should have guessed since Island folk tend to stick together no matter the landmass that might separate the them.

As Mike and I shared many moments yapping about the joys of Vancouver Island, I got the distinct feeling that someday he will head back that way.

Great for Mike perhaps, but it would be a loss for Kelowna.

So while the strong neighbourhoods program is a great idea for bringing neighbours together, I must admit that a good old neighbourhood party on New Year’s has the same ability.

Now I’m looking for a plumber and electrician.

So time perhaps for a barbecue at Cliff and Daphne’s?


With the arrival of spring, a number of wonderful rituals return, which is a sneaky segue that the Stanley Cup playoffs have begun.

Today’s column is written before opening night is finished, so once again I can expect to embarrass myself with my predictions.

But I suggest diehard hockey fans clip out these predictions and tape them onto the fridge so they can laugh at me as my predicted teams fall by the wayside.

I’m told that for some, apparently, this is more fun than watching the games.

In the Eastern Conference, Dallas Stars will beat Minnesota Wild in six games, St. Louis Blues will edge Chicago Blackhawks in the full seven games, Washington Capitals will defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in five games, and Pittsburgh Penguins will show the New York Rangers the door in six games.

The Western Conference will be just as hotly contested. The Anaheim Ducks will defeat Nashville Predators in six games, Los Angeles Kings defeat San Jose Sharks in six, Detroit Red Wings will edge Tampa Bay in seven, and the New York Islanders will lose to Florida Panthers in five.

For the second round, St. Louis will slip past Dallas in seven, Washington will defeat Pittsburgh in six, while in the west Anaheim will beat L.A. in seven and Detroit will take out Florida in seven.

Semi-finals will see St. Louis surprise everyone and edge out Anaheim in seven while Washington will pound Detroit in four.

In the Stanley Cup final, Washington will edge St. Louis in six games leaving the Blues still looking for a Stanley Cup after 49 years.

So post my predictions  on your fridge and have a good chuckle, or not, for the next five weeks.

Enjoy the NHL playoffs.

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