2020 Life Logs, Day 260: Ping Pong Table Arrival

2020 Life Logs, Day 260: Ping Pong Table Arrival
Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 73, Low 60 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This morning the Goldstones drove to Yarmouth to play mini-golf at what has been the Goldpebbles favorite course in the past. Saturday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so going to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf today was the perfect end of summer family activity. Heather and Jed are going to be deeply immersed in house projects this weekend in preparation of the beginning of the school year on Monday. So, they carved out a couple of hours today to have this end-of-summer fun with the Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. And while they were out, they got a text saying the ping pong table had arrived. They were expecting that on Monday, so the boys were very excited to get home and start putting that together. When the Goldstones moved to Grasmere in April, I gave each of the boys a $100 to buy something special for their new home. It has taken a few months for them to make the decision, but the ping pong table for the basement finally won out. Our afternoon was ‘ping pong’ centered. We are expecting rain tonight and into tomorrow, so I have a feeling it will be another inside, ping pong day. I am going to cut this log short as I find myself falling asleep when I try to write. I think I need to get to bed earlier than my usual ‘after midnight’!

2020 Life Logs, Day 259: The Warriors and Wine Group Friends

2020 Life Logs, Day 259: The Warriors and Wine Group Friends
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Very Windy; High 70, Low 62 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

It was another great day with the Goldpebbles even though our original plan didn’t work out. I went early to pick them up and take them to Chapaquoit Beach. From there we were going to walk along the shore to Black Beach, a private beach that can only be reached by living on Black Beach Road, or by getting there by boat or by walking as the road leading in is private. We knew the high temp today was going to be about 70 degrees F and the sun was shining. But we were not prepared for the strong winds that were blowing when we got to Chappy Beach. Jonah and Ollie had on their dive suits, but even with that protection, the wind put a chill into the air that none of us really wanted to confront. So we changed plans and headed to my house.
The boys launched a kayak and Sam paddled out towing the Rubber Dockie. Jonah and Ollie followed on their boogie boards. They reached the Rubber Dockie, but the wind was blowing so hard that the edges of the mat were being blown up out of the water acting like a sail. They persisted for a bit, but much sooner than usual, they headed back to the dock. We had our picnic lunch down by the dock, with the boys rotating turns at heading to the cottage to take showers. Once everyone had a shower and lunch, we headed on to the next activity which was building body armor out of recycled materials.
Using the insulation that lines my weekly deliveries of organic fruits and veggies from Misfits, along with a lot of duct tape and clear packing tape, all three boys crafted their armor. They ended up having only a few minutes to battle in the backyard, but they enjoyed those few minutes. Sam had a friend arriving at his house at 3:30 pm, so we had to stop the battle and head home. Once I dropped the boys off, I then headed to a monthly meeting of my Newcomers Wine Group.

This month’s Wine Group meeting was at Kim Caverly’s in West Falmouth. We met on her deck, using social distancing. There are four couples plus Kim and I in the group, so ten of us all together. I love getting together with this interesting, eclectic, and fun-loving group of people. This month’s theme was simply to pick a bottle of wine that was in our wine collection to bring as a mystery wine. White wine drinkers brought bottles of red wine and red wine drinkers brought white wines. It was an interesting conglomeration of wines that were enjoyed by all. It was a great evening, giving each of us a time to talk about how we are doing during these Covid times. Kim was a most gracious host and sent each of us home with a wine bottle filled with battery-operated twinkle lights. And she turned us on to individually packaged snacks from Trader Joe’s that are the perfect snack to serve during Covid times. Thank you, Kim.

2020 Life Logs, Day 258: Another Mini-Golf Course Afternoon

2020 Life Logs, Day 258: Another Mini-Golf Course Afternoon
Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Weather: Partly Sunny, Cool; High 64, Low 50 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

The first official day of fall is next Tuesday, September 22, but there was a definite chill in the air that made it feel like fall. Yesterday was coolish as well, but as Sam said today, “It was cool yesterday and it made me feel like fall is here. But I chose to ignore it, thinking it might go away. Today is even cooler and I can no longer ignore it. It feels official. Fall is here.” Well said, Sam. I didn’t bet the boys home until after six o’clock and the sun was already setting. It was a beautiful orange sun due to hazy conditions, but that made it feel even more like fall.
Sam grabbed my phone and got some photos of the orange sun. It only looks pinkish in the photos, but it was definitely orange . . . looked like a pumpkin in the sky. I got home after 7 pm and I was out walking Shadow in the dark with a polar fleece jacket on. I know I need to get used to it, but I’m banking on warmer weather returning and having summer-like conditions for another month. I know that probably won’t happen, but I’m allowed to hope.

Yesterday afternoon the Goldpebbles and I went to the closest mini-golf course to home, the Cataumet Light Mini Golf. We went there because we love to ride in the water bumper cars. Unfortunately, the bumper cars were closed for the season. Despite that, as I reported last night, we had a great time playing miniature golf with very few other people on the course.
Our plan was to play on a different course today and the boys chose the Sandwich Mini Golf based on the 4.5 rating. There you can play 18 holes or 36, so we chose 36 and the boys loved the course. At first we didn’t notice the biblical quotes on each tee, but after about 16 holes they became very apparent. Not a problem, just different, but what the boys did love was the stream that runs through the first half of the course. If you don’t hit your ball just right, it goes into the stream and you have to retrieve it with a special long pole retriever. The Goldstones loved this. All of us got our turn at making a hole in one and we enjoyed watching the trash train go right by the edge of the course. Yes, all the trash on the Cape has to be sent off Cape to be processed, so we have a dedicated trash train. The new owners call it the Energy Train, but Cape Codders will always refer to it as the trash train. On the way home we had hoped to stop by Sweet Caroline’s Ice Cream, a favorite on Cape Cod, to see how their ice cream stacks up against our local favorite, Smitty’s. Again, we struck out as Sweet Caroline’s is closed for the season. It was almost dinner time, but I caved and we stopped by Smitty’s to get frappes as a pre-dinner ‘snack’. Heather and Jed, please forgive me. The Goldpebbles and I are enjoying our last week of summer to the fullest and ice cream just has to be part of that!

2020 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday, Justin

2020 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday, Justin
Date: Monday, September 14, 2020
Weather: Mix of Sun and Clouds; High 75, Low 52 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Happy birthday to Mark’s brother Steve. Happy birthday to my ‘second’ son, Kevin Russell. And happy birthday to Justin. I didn’t get to talk to him for long today as he and the kids were in the truck heading into town to get ice cream when I called. But going to get ice cream led me to believe that he was having a great day! When I think back to the day Justin was born, it brings back such wonderful memories.
He was born at home in the tiny little town of Jenkins, Minnesota where we had a small 10-acre farm. I was in the barn lifting a 50-pound bag of feed when I went into labor and twelve hours later, Justin was born. He was an easy baby as he slept for the first six months. And when he was awake, I had Heather, his second mother, to take care of him. After six months, when he did wake up, he was a happy little one . . . always smiling. One of my favorite pictures of him is one I took on his Day One. We were out in the field, Justin in Mark’s arms with Heather at his side. And I do think Justin was sleeping. Happy Birthday, Justin!

As the Goldpebbles stated last night, this is their last week of freedom. School starts next Monday, so we are trying to cram in all the things we didn’t do this summer into this one week. Today was mini-golf day. Most of the tourists are gone now, so it is much safer to go out and about to do things like this. We also worked on getting the basement set up as an activity center once school starts. The ping pong table doesn’t arrive until the first day of school, but today we got the Legos moved to new Lego Central in the basement and we got the music ‘room’ set up. Today we went to the closest mini-golf course, but tomorrow we might venture further and go to another. We ended our day at the skatepark. It is always more crowded late in the day, so maybe tomorrow we will go there first and then go play mini-golf.

This morning I got on my phone to send a Happy Birthday text to Justin. But his contact information was not in my new phone. So I went to my computer and got his number. Then I wanted to send a birthday message to Kevin, but I found that neither he nor Claire were in the computer contacts. I found an old email address for Kevin’s mother and this evening I sent her an email. Shortly, I received a message back with Kevin’s contact info and then I got a text and an email from him. But almost none of my current friends are among the few contacts that are in my new phone or in my computer contact list. And I have lost all of my prior texts, so I can’t find you that way. If you are a good friend, please send me a text so I will have your phone number. And if you have time, include your email and mailing address. It would be much appreciated. Rebuilding my contacts from scratch is quite a project.

2020 Life Logs, Day 256: Day of Rest

2020 Life Logs, Day 256: Day of Rest
Date: Sunday, September 13, 2020
Weather: Sunny AM, Partly Sunny PM; High 70, Low 64 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This was a laid-back Sunday, a day of rest as it should be. The Goldstones were going to the beach in the afternoon, so I took advantage of their absence and went over to do my laundry. I took Shadow with me and then brought him home and returned for dinner on the deck. We had a special sushi dinner in honor of Granddad.

This is the last week before school, whatever that is going to look like, begins next Monday. The boys have a list of things they really want to do before summer’s end, so we will spend our week and next weekend doing those things. Heather and Jed are planning to spend next weekend installing the wood flooring in Jonah and Ollie’s bedroom. Our favorite contractor is coming on Wednesday and Thursday to do the walls, and then Heather and Jed do the floor on the weekend. Hopefully by sometime in the first week of school, they will be moved into their new bedroom . . . finally. Since moving to the new house in April, they have been sleeping in the bonus room over the garage and they love it. But it needs to become the main office/school space for this year. They hate to give it us, but I know they will enjoy having their own bedroom. So the push is on this week to get things ready for the new school year, a year like none other!

2020 Life Logs, Day 255: New Phone, New Provider, Lots to Learn

2020 Life Logs, Day 255: New Phone, New Provider, Lots to Learn
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2020
Weather: Beautiful Day, Still on the Cool Side; High 69, Low 53 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

As of this afternoon I am in possession of my 4th phone in four years. I’m not bragging, just stating that my track record with phones is not good. I’m not sure when I made the switch from an old flip phone to a smart phone, but I do know I resisted for at least a couple of years after we returned from our sailing adventure. I do know that shortly after Mark died, I started having trouble with my phone and I switched to using his phone. It was a painful transition and the sales people at AT&T tried to tell me that his phone was old and probably wouldn’t last more than a year. I didn’t listen, but they were right. When it died, I then bought a brand new Samsung Galaxy. Again, the transition to a the new phone was painful, but I thought it was worth it because I was convinced it would last for a few years. Then I dropped it this summer and cracked the screen. I spent over $250 to have a new screen installed and then last week that new screen just went black. The phone was still working great, but if you can’t see the screen, that doesn’t do much good. Heather and Sam turned me on to the Google Pixle 3a as it has a fantastic camera. I have been taking more and more of my photos with my phone, so I decided to buy a renewed Google Pixle as they did. It was delivered this afternoon. Now I just have to figure out how to get it set up. I also switched my provider from AT&T to T-Mobile as I could be added to the Goldstone account and it would cost less each month. It arrived this afternoon while I was at the Goldstones, but we couldn’t get it set up as they had no electricity and thus, no internet. Jed was working on rerouting some electrical wiring in Ollie and Jonah’s bedroom and he was still working on it when I left after 5 pm. Plus, Heather couldn’t get my account switched over as I had left the folder at home with my AT&T account information. Once I got home, I called her on the borrowed phone and gave her my account info so she could get the service started with my same phone number. That worked. I can receive calls, messages, and email, but getting everything up and running as I want it will continue tomorrow, as will the process of working on basement organization. We made some progress today, but since we didn’t have lights in the basement because the electricity was turned off, moving things around wasn’t easy. The push is to get things set up for the start of school. The way things were set up in the spring were not ideal, so we are trying to make some improvements to accommodate at-home work spaces for Heather and Jed and at-home school spaces for Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. We know what didn’t work in the spring, but we are just not sure what will work. It will be a work in progress.