Saturday, June 21, 2014

We are Grandparents!

We are the pround Grandparents of a baby boy "Callen David" born on June 14th Flag Day.

We are now back in New York at our summer place enjoying working and playing while getting our list of projects and supplies ready for Kasidah this fall.


Friday, June 13, 2014

My how time Flies

My How Time Flies

Well it seems like just yesterday I moved to JFK JR High School in Southington CT.      A lot has happened in this short time,.. a lot! Soon I am to have the honor of being called “Grampa” It happens every day, to nearly every family that is blessed, all across this world.

I’m sure by the time you read this it will be know the outcome of this.

Back up a few steps and when last we posted here we had just arrived in NY for the summer of 2014. We had a few good days to open the camper, AKA, our summer home and get ready for a busy summer. The work van had a few issues that developed over the winter but I was able to take care of them myself. We started off our short summer season with a note from the Commissioner of Jurors for me to be a Grand Juror, the note said please set aside 6 weeks of your time for this. Yeah Right!!, that is more than a ¼ of the time that I would work to earn any money for us. Now I have never applied for unemployment, food stamps, (but could) or anything from the system, all I want to do is work at something I’m very good at, pay my fair share of taxes and move on. I explained this to the Commissioner and they did allow me to postpone until September. That is when 6 weeks of my summer here is measured differently. It reminds me of a wise Native American, (wait, I was born here, can’t I be called that too? Nope) that said, referring to the introduction of Day light saving, “Only a Government Agency would think that if he cut one foot off the end of a blanket and sewed it onto the other end, he would have a longer blanket,…”

Our first job of the year was planned at the end of last year, and involved the remolding of a bathroom. Arline and I worked about 2 weeks on this. We tore out an old tub, and sink, put new subflooring down, new tub and shower enclosure, new toilet, new vanity and sink with marble top, plumbing, sheetrock work and painting. It really did turn out nice and our friends love it.

From there we started with real work of just electrical; we did a couple of small camp projects and have more to go.

Memorial Day was the earliest it can be this year and we went to Amy and Jeremy’s, Arline had her bags packed planning to stay a while, and for me to return to NY working till the baby comes. While there Amy found out from the Air Force that she did qualify for VESP (Voluntary Early Separation Program). Think I got that right. It’s very complicated but the easy way of telling this is that she now is going to fly for the Air Reserve unit out of Dover and going back to the big C-5. It will be a lot easier for a mom and dad. I think she’ll be able to fly more on her terms, when she and Jeremy can rotate around baby care stuff.   

I returned to NY and Jae Bee Electric working on several things when a customer called and asked how far I would travel for a couple of days of work. He had a camp in the Adirondacks that the local electrician just couldn’t get to for awhile. It was a small camp that needed to be roughed in and a service installed, he wanted me to go and just kick it in the ass as he and everybody knows I do with any project or work I’m involved in. I drove the 3 hours to Speculator on Lake Pleasant and worked 3 days, he set me up in a camp of a friends, right on the lake for a couple of nights. It’s a very small town and by the time I left everybody knew where I was working, and who I was. I knew the lady at dinner worked at the hardware store, the 2 guys at the pizza lunch counter were a father son team that had on the side of their van; carpenter, plumber, mason, electrical, nuisance animal control and tour guide. (You needed a van to put all that on, it wouldn’t fit on a pick-up truck door). One night at dinner at the lodge/bar a handful of locals saw my van and found out where I was working that evening was a great conversation of all things. The small shop had a sign that said “Beer Bait and Diesel” what else do you need. The last day working at the camp I only had half a day to finish what I wanted, but the contractor friend asked if I could look at the 2nd camp where I was staying, it had no water to it and worked off the camp I was staying in. I put on my plumbers hat and crawled under the camp, found the garden hose that supplied the camp, turned the valve to on, and that’s when I saw all the leaks. What a jury rigged contraption I saw. After a trip to the hardware store, a bag of parts I crawled underneath again and put it together, not right but better.





A few more projects came in while Arline, Blue, Amy and Jeremy were waiting and playing tennis. Two projects that came in are marine related. I have some electrical work at a marina and some dock work. This is a marina we meet on our way to NY with Kasidah in ’06, Kim at Ess-Kay Yards runs and works her family owned marina and has been a friend ever since. She has also helped us with Westerbeke motor parts while we were in the Bahamas. Her prices always beat shops in FL. I also have a sail boat that has an electrical problem. He knows my trouble shooting work and hasn’t been able to get anybody to even look at his boat. I’ll have to wait till after the grandchild shows up to travel to the Brockport-Waterport area.




Arline and I are back together in MD waiting for this event of a grandchild. The 3 weeks without Arline went by fast but slow if that’s possible. I got a fair amount done but spent a lot of time looking for my keys, or the note I just made. Often I would find myself just moving things around while looking for something different and then losing that too. Maybe Arline will find it when she gets back to the summer home. I hate the laundromat by myself and hate cooking alone,…..along with all the other things I had to do alone.

I realize just how much Arline and I share in common every day.

As I’m writing this Amy thinks her water broke and will go to the hospital to find out. If it did break this is it, if it didn’t it will be soon as she is almost a week over do. At this time as our family gets ready to celebrating a new life and learning how to live with the newness that’s coming, a friend of ours just lost his wife too early in life. Their family will be gathering and remembering a wonderful lady and learning to live with the change and loss. Our heart and prays go out to them.

It seems like it was just yesterday that Ro,Terry,Sue

and Donna walked me home to Kasidah that first night and weekend at the marina with Kasidah and the campfire where we meet Cameron and Rosemary.

My How Time Flies.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Back in New York for the summer.

Kasidah is resting well in Florida after a Fantastic winter not in the cold; she never gave us a bit of trouble that we could handle or had been expecting, and did even better than we could have wished for. Several times a month, while at ORYC at a low tide she would stand on her keel for hours at a time, not a mark on her keel was there when hauled. The trip we took in her and the miles we put on her may have only been outdone by the miles and hours we spent in our dinghy. We loved every moment on our dinghy. Perhaps the most memorable moment on the dinghy was one day we both where out snorkeling and left Blue in the dinghy as normal, under a shaded area we made for her up front. It was a little rolly and the set anchor was making the bow bounce up and down ever so gently. As we looked back at the dinghy after a while we took a
great photo of it setting there, then we look again to make sure all is good and we see Blue up on the seat, looking for us. Then we see that she’s sick, so QUICK back to the dinghy and to get the hook up to settle the action. She was fine and we still had a great day on the dinghy. It was the set of her ears while up on the seat that was captured that is there forever.

We checked out of Indiantown without much issue, Arline made covers to go over the wooden cap-rails around the boat, hoping that they would keep the sun from weathering it too much and maybe keep a little of the rain from getting to some leak that may never be found. We had a visitor while there, my Aunt Cyndy from Maine. She was wintering about 1 ½ hours from us and had always watched Facebook. We did a short lunch, showed her and Paul our summer home, Kasidah and had some good laughs while catching up on a lot of family happenings.






Heading north for Amy’s was pretty fast, we left Kasidah at 1pm on a Monday right after haul out with 95 degrees and by 7pm we where in the 60’s with high wind warnings and lots of rain. The following day arriving at Amy’s it was 50’s.









Amy’s baby shower was on Saturday, with family driving in. My Mom and Dad came with my Sister Kathy and her Kim. Our Jill and Ed came, and even friends from Tully, Dianne and Ann came. We helped with all that we could to make it easy for them. Arline and I did another visit to Washington as it was the Cherry Blossom time. If you’ve never been to see them or even Washington I highly recommend it. We hit it just past peek time but it was still beautiful.

We stopped in CT to visit more with mom and dad. Jill wanted us to look over some electrical at a new place she is moving into,….So I have a weekend of work at her place in a month or so.

We arrived at our summer home on a great and warm day to take the cover off. What we found was a very clean camper, no mice, nothing but straighten up and move in. I even got the bike out and ran it up the drive and back. There are no other full timers here yet, and very few overnighters on their way north. So we really do have the whole place to ourselves.

Jae Bee is off to a good start, with people who have actually waited 6 months for our return, one customer called while we where still in the Bahamas and waited 2 months for us to replace a switch in a bathroom upstairs. We have a small bathroom to redo, a service change, and several other small service things to do. It’s been too cold here, or we got here too early (yeah too early) and I see that the summer’s forecast is colder and wetter than normal, (so why am I doing this). I can’t make too much money, as we’ll just end up giving it to the Federal Government, so just as they ask, I’ll shoot for that zero-sum, even thou it is a fallacy that our leaders believe in. Good read here on it,..

As we wait out the cold weather, we are ready for tennis this summer at a park within 2 miles of us. We’ve put new outdoor carpeting on our deck; we have a small screened room for those few buggy nights and not sure where or how that will work. But it was cheap.

Some time next month 2 or 3 weeks before Amy’s due date Arline and Blue are going down to help and make sure somebody is with her at the time just in case. I’ll go down near the time, before or after to get Arline and giving them the time to figure it out and recover.

We have so many things on our mind right now and so many options for the fall. We know we are blessed to be where we are, and grateful for all that we done, and man have we learned a lot. (Like, get it in writing!!!) We’d love to tell them all but we don’t know them all. If you know us, then you know we will always be doing something exciting, what we are capable of doing, our dedication to something when we do it and standards are best stated by an un-know author who said,
                “I refuse to lower my standards,…So up yours,…”





       

               

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Leaving ORYC for the States

Last beach day for blue till next season
 Time on Kasidah is coming to an end this season. After a 3 day run from Grand Bahama we are sitting pretty at Indiantown  Marina almost ready to haul out on Monday.

Last party with our ORYC family
We left Ocean Reef Yacht Club (ORYC) on Saturday the 22nd on a rising tide about 10 am, Sunday was going to be the day for crossing the Gulfstream with very calm winds and seas, but we couldn’t leave and get out the channel in Grand Bahama to make it into West Palm before dark. So we left with 6 other boats a day early and headed to a spot near West End where ANOTHER unfinished canal system exists.
Last decision on which way around

Last canal to explore
Last perfect anchorage till next season
 The winds was to be from the East at 20-30 knts and the seas were to be about 4 to 7 ft, but we were all fine with that because for the most part it would be behind us for only a short while, then as we turned a little north the island would shelter the seas and a good beam reach for the last 3 hour ride up to the anchorage. The wind and the tide were coming into the channel so it wasn’t too difficult getting out and only a little confused till we got out past the reef and headed west with the wind behind us. The short trip to Freeport was fast as we where all watching each other come out the channel rising and falling in the swells and turning to the west. Approaching Freeport we could see all the tankers and container ships, some at anchor, some at the fuel dock stations and some adrift waiting their turn to get into port. All of our group made it past them all except the last two,….yeap we were one of them. We watched a pilot boat come out to one of the container ships headed in and leave dropping off his harbor pilot. We were both pretty close and I’d been watching him on my instruments and it was telling me he had no speed and I would pass in front of him,…Until the Harbor Pilot must have told him to “Go for it!” Well NOW I have a collision alarm as he’s now moving and in front of us, it was an easy decision to go around to the stern, the boat in front of us didn’t have AIS so I think he may have had to change his shorts. Once past Freeport our little turn to the north was followed by a change in the wind to the SW, so again the wind was RIGHT behind us. The waves had grown quite large and boats where disappearing as they fell into the swells. There were times when we settled into the swells and the swell in front of us was well over 10 ft. It was some of the biggest we’d been in and Kasidah was fine, I had the main up hoping for the beam reach that never came and I wasn’t going to take it down in these waves, yet…
Last great sail till next season

So it was tied off quite well and a little tricky for the next 2 hours into the secret anchorage. Once inside the well marked channel we found lots of water, 12-15 ft, there were also another six boats in there we set our anchor, dropped the dinghy and went for a ride to explore the anchorage. It was huge deep and a lot of somebody’s money was spent drudging, leveling all the spoils to raise the land by five ft or so, roads, electric and I assume sewer lines, street lights, and they’ve just stopped.  Had we not been happy with the anchorage we had planned to go into West End and Old Bahama Bay Marina for the night. This would cost about $100 but would be easy to walk Blue without having to lower the dingy, meaning a quick exit in the morning too. We later found out that the marina was Filled with boats for the crossing, and the spill over’s were anchored just around the corner on the bank. There the wind was ripping through the night and several boats dragged and one even lost an anchor some how. So at least we made the right choice for the night.
Last crossing of the season

Last swim along with our ocean friends 
We left the following morning for Florida with most of the other boats, the winds had died down as predicted and shifted, there were all sorts of predictions as to the wind direction, the consent was LIGHT, and it sure was. All day it was light West which was on the nose, of course. We heard it might shift through the day to the NW and even SW so all you could do was head to Florida. It was so light some of the boats took down all sails and motored the whole way. We started with the main and head sail, then the cutter and main, then just the main. Nothing got us above 6 knts, and we hadn’t hit the Gulfstream yet. I tried making as much south as I could in anticipation of the push north, but it slowed us down even more. So we sailed and motored to our best speed which would bring us a little north of the Palm Beach inlet, while hoping for an afternoon or evening wind shift to the north then we could switch to a starboard tack and sail fast to the south once out of the Gulf Stream. All day long I believe there was always another boat crossing to the west and within site. Several freighters and tankers were also part of the day but they were going north or south for the most part and with AIS there was never anything more than a 2 degree course change needed to give us miles of clearance. At one point we had a pod of Dolphins swimming in front of Kasidah, it was so calm both Arline and I rushed up on deck to watch and video them swimming off our bow, normally that is a big NO NO for us, we never go up without hooking in with a vest to the jack lines. The wind died even more the closer we got to Florida and a shift never really came. It was the longest, and for me the most frustration, crossing we ever had. We (I) couldn’t do anything to make some south happen with out our speed dropping to below 4, and even closer to 3. So we ended up maybe 3 or 5 miles north of the inlet. I thought the gulfstream was quite close to the coast judging from my instruments. My compass heading and boat was pointed at 270 but my COG was 300 and my Bearing to the inlet was climbing down past 270 till we got out of the stream and it was 250.

Last trip up the ICW till next season
We did make the inlet just at dark, 8:30 and had 3 or 5 miles to go to get to the anchorage in North Lake Worth. We had good tracks to follow from previous trips and there wasn’t much traffic. The anchor was set, dinghy dropped and Blue walked by 9:30 and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, quick shower in the cockpit, small glass of rum and I was out for the night.

Mondays move to Stuart and Sunset Bay Anchorage started early with a way for blue, put the dinghy up on the davits and motor away. Glad it was a Monday because there was little traffic. No incidents’ with bridges, just a nice motor. Once on our mooring ball we saw all the others fill up fast as there was a big blow coming through for several days in a row. The marina was filled with people from all the years here, one set of boaters were leaving in a few days and needed to get their car to Indiantown, easily volunteering to do this, we fetched our car while dropping theirs off.

We made Indiantown after a week at Stuart we are pulling Kasidah apart, our haul out date is Monday the 7th, 10:00am.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

We now belong to "TORP"

I love "I heart radio", I listen to WSYR out of Syracuse when I can stream it on the line here. I listen to the talk shows when they're on, the commercials from places we knew for 25 years, but I love listening to the local news and weather. It adds a certain sense that's hard to describe, it's not that I want to be there, (sorry), It's not like I can't read about the wonderful narcissistic politicians and how the area is really only doing well because of them, (sorry again), It's not that I can't find the weather in NY and how bad that SE or NW breeze is blowing imagining the crap being blown around and the damage it's doing, or how deep it is getting in the old driveway. I think it's the person tone from the voices I hear and their injection of emotions from these events of news or weather, over life in that area to which we invested so much of our life's.



Again I can read and see how much snow anywhere, but when I hear it's closed at exit 15 in Lafayette, or exit 14 in Tully do to an accident, now I get the picture, or the traffic in downtown Syracuse is 10 minutes at Adams street, Fulton is closed, and so on. Then I worry and imagine about my friends sitting on their ford tractor pushing the crap out of the way just so the misses can get to work. I've heard the news and felt for my friends trying to get to the airport, the Dojo, or a job site to sample a well or any other aspect of work.

                                                              And then I have a beer.

                                                           




  
New roof Trust being installed on one
of the bath houses
Guess they aren't worried about snow load
Right Brian,...




For Mark, Scott and all my other warehouses
in NY,  see you soon.






We looked at the calender and realize it's time to call the taxi for a ride home,.....well to take Kasidah home. We have a haul out date of April,l 7th, so we'll look for a crossing window weather around the 27th of March, ONLY A WEEK AWAY. It looks like between 7 or 12 boats will be looking for the same window of weather and going together. We have plans to visit with family and friends in the Stuart area and there is always work to do on Kasidah. Food and other stores had been shopped and planned very well this year, looking back as always, we've made a few changes to the supplies we need next time out here.

Last week we went with two other couples by bike to do a couple of things in Freeport, there was fishing, supplies, a few groceries, Rum, and we were stopping for lunch at the little place Arline and I have enjoyed at the straw market. We've talked about how clean it was, how cold and reasonable the beer was. 

I have to take you back a few months ago; remember that most people here at the time share arrive and leave on Saturday. It's usually slow on the marina side as we watch the new people come in we carry on with pool, tennis, hot tub, and boat chores. I remember one group of newbies walking about with their Complementary welcome Bahama Mama drink and still in their travel cloths, (because the rooms not ready) viewing the grounds and taking it all in. I wasn't there, but I knew who it was. They met up with the rest of their group at the 2nd pool and talked of all they took in on their walk about. "Did you see the swim up bar, at the big pool. How about the hot tub filled with TORP?" "Yeah saw that!" So we had to find out what TORP is or was. As it turns out, it's an acronym, as is DINK (Duel Income No Kind),  DINKWAD (Duel Income No Kids With A Dog),....Ready for it,  TORP (Tanned Old Retired People) LOL,... Yeah the hot tub was fill with cruisers,....

Back to the bike ride/parade of TORP on bikes. It really does go well. I was worried that we'd get bunched up, separated, lost, or hit by traffic. We did stop at a couple of hardware stores, and then the package store. I found My Gay Rum here is only $13 for a liter, Golsing Rum from Bermuda $15 and Arline's wine wasn't that bad either. We get a discount if we mention we are from the Resort. Like they couldn't tell. At the food store with the 3 bottles in my front basket I stayed outside to put air in my front tire, it seemed a little,...something. Once we saddled up and started to roll I saw I had an issue with the front wheel bearing, too much play. I took it apart and found out there was not race for the bearings to ride on. I put it back together and put the rum in the back to take the weight of the front of course. but the wheel was so wobbly that I had to take the front brakes off so it would turn free, albeit I still looked like a DOB, drunk on a bike. It was a short ride to lunch and only one traffic circle or roundabout. As we pull in Arline and I saw that it was closed for the day. That's kind of our luck, "3rd Time" that's another story in the edit mode, how the  first and second time somewhere is good and then better, but the 3rd time there with friends family or what ever, it's a disaster, closed, burned, or worse. So one of the other TORP had a place in mind and as my wheel was real bad now it was on the way home and near a bike shop. They have one of those here? It was maybe 2 mile to lunch every once in a while the bearings would line up right or something and the bike was good, then I would hit a bump or turn a little and it was back to being a DOB. Lunch was at an old McDonald's which closed (we hadn't been there before) and turn into a local bar diner. Really good food, cold beer and prices right, there was even WiFi so you could get on the line. Dick pointed the way to the bike shop we found Mac and a young man there. The young man looked at the bike and saw the front hub wobbling as it shouldn't and said he'd have to take it apart to see if the inside hub was ok,..I helped him pull the tire off and he stopped me saying I'd get dirty, I pointed to my shirt and shorts and said it's already been a bad day and handed him the tire. Well we found the race had screwed it's way into the middle of the hub and destroyed the hub. The boss came out looked at it and said that a new hub is needed. 
New hub, with Quick Remove Lever




I'm thinking,.. great push the bike home, 4 miles because there's no putting this back together to nurse it home, 2 weeks from the states for a hub, yeah dah yeah dah yeah dah. 10 seconds later he shows me a new hub and said $40. Yeah but how much to put it on I ask? $40 + 40, Great, twice what I paid for the bike. BUT no it was $40 for the new hub with labor on the bike, and I only had $35. I'll come back and give you the rest when I pick the bike up tomorrow. We'll finish it today sir, Well I'll come back tomorrow and give you the rest, "I don't know who you are man!" he said, "Well" I said "I don't know who you are either" and laughed making lite of the whole thing. So I go out to the bike grab the bottle of Mt Gay and show it to him telling him I'd give him the $35 and leave the bottle of rum which is wroth $20 and then come back and give him the $5 and get my rum back. His laughed said he doesn't drink and I could bring the money back but take that dam rum out of here. 

The young man (I'm sorry I didn't get his name),with in 30 minutes, tore every spoke off the wheel (Do you know how many are on there) and then added them to the new hub, put it all back together and straightened it. We had a great time laughing and talking about the boat, living in NY, the owner had been there twice and that was enough. Several people came to his little shop which was a shed on an extension cord while we where there for other parts or to pay on a repair. We made it back to the boat I grabbed some money and hi-tailed it back to him and a tip for the young man, as he said they were there till 5 or 5:30 that day. I got there at 4:15 and they were gone, AGH!!! I made it back the next day and I think he was really shocked to see that I came back to give him the $5. The young man was so polite always calling me sir, yeahs sir. He said let me look and made sure it''s right and still good. Of course no issues. 

Never would I have guessed there would be a hub in a little shack for my bike or even somebody that know how to do this. We've been told by people waiting on tables and working at a restaurant here to go somewhere else to eat because they couldn't get to us for a while, cashiers in the store that couldn't and or wouldn't sell us something because they didn't see a price on it, and they didn't know if it was onion rings or large calamari, (really) so they couldn't even find out the price. There was a day that a new drink was paraded out at the pool for free as they are trying new ones out. Raymond said the red one was really good, the following day he went in asked for the red one again. "Sorry I wasn't here and done know anythin bout dah new red drink". So I was really happy to find a real tradesman on the island here, a real owner that trusted with out knowing. We have had been to a few restaurants with good service, one little local girl served like 24 TOPR in the side room. She wouldn't let anyone else in to help, she knew how to serve and wait on us, getting just about everything as right as right could be, and she got good tips.

Emily reminded me of Amy and has our
thanks for her commitment and service to
our country. You'd all be proud of her. 
Arline and Emily with her mom and Dad.














This weeks' Time Share people included a family from NH with their daughter and a friend of hers (She left on an earlier flight before we got her in a picture). Gerry, and his wife sat and talked a couple of days with us, he rented the small boat here and we went by dinghy to show them where to snorkel on a reef. Emily was a Jr in College and in the Air Force ROTC program to become a nurse. America you have another strong woman out there to be proud of, we wish her luck and owe her our thanks.
Gerry and Family following us out to a snorkel spot.
So as our time winds down here we are very tickled we chose to come here this year, we have it on our plans for the future too.   

Check out this video Arline made while we snorkeled on a reef just East of Bell Channel, we went by Dinghy to this area. There were hundreds and hundred of fish. You have to really look as you think you're looking at some coral but it's a huge wall of fish. 
                               
                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFF-IXKxm5I

Upper right hand corner is the anchor line to the dinghy