2020 Life Logs, Day 254: September 11th

2020 Life Logs, Day 254: September 11th
Date: Friday, September 11, 2020
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Cool North Wind; High 72, Low 54 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Since the events of September 11, 2001, this day has become a time of reflection for all Americans. Then on September 11, 2016, the day we lost Mark, this date became my most unfavorite day of the year. But I do try to stay positive and honor his life on this day by thinking of the wonderful, happy times we had together. On this particular September 11th, however, staying positive was particularly difficult because of all of the other things going on around us. Our inability as a country to deal effectively with the coronavirus seems to become more evident every day. All of the issues associated with the presidential election, any one of which is enough to give anyone sleepless nights. Then we have the wildfires in California and Oregon. Jed’s brother Toby and his significant other Stephanie were going to stop by here to visit this weekend on their way home to Portland, Oregon. But Toby talked to Jed early today to say that they have decided to extend their stay in Maine until the fires in Oregon are under control. Scary news seems to be around every corner.

I arrived at Heather and Jed’s around noon to find that the boys were determined to spend the day lazing about the house. Jonah was interested in helping me with the basement organization and we did work on that. Sam and Ollie also pitched in a bit, but there is more to do tomorrow.

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19 Clark’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii)

06 Closer Look at Male Slingjaw Wrasse (Epibulus insidiator)

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23 Octopus cyanea Climbing Up

27 Octopus cyanea Going, Going

00 Octopus Trying Hard to Look Like Surroundings

At the end of the day, I headed home to spend time with Shadow and to look back on my years with Mark. The first year after Mark’s death, we all went out to dinner at the Flying Bridge on Falmouth Harbor to celebrate Mark’s life. The next year I was in Philadelphia with Kevin and Claire and we went out to dinner in Philly’s historic district. Last year Heather was in Boston, but on the next evening on her way home she met us all at the Chart Room at Kingman Marina for a celebration of life dinner. I have not been out to dinner since March and don’t plan to go out until this pandemic is over, so instead of going out tonight, I came home and started researching what Mark and I had done on September 11 in past years. When I got back to 2010, I found the memory I wanted to relive in honor of Mark’s life for this anniversary. We were in Madagascar on September 11, 2010, and we had one of the most spectacular snorkeling adventures of our entire trip around the world. We were snorkeling in the Nosy (island) Tanikely Marine Reserve. The corals, the sponges, and the fish were spectacular—purple sponges, a school of Silver Monos, Clark’s anemonefish, Slingshaw and various bird wrasses, a young black and white snapper. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll just share our very favorite of the day which was watching an octopus. He was curled up at the base of a coral, hard to see as he was camouflaged. When he sensed us, however, he instantly turned maroon and went down through a hole. When he came out the other side, he had turned white to blend in the white sand. Amazing to watch. That’s my happy memory with Mark on this day in 2010. Beautiful memories.

2020 Life Logs, Day 253: Busy Rainy Day

2020 Life Logs, Day 253: Busy Rainy Day
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2020
Weather: Overcast with Rain; High 75, Low 65 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This rainy day was a busy one. Shadow and I were up and out of here early as he had an appointment with the groomer who is located up by the Bourne Bridge . . . about 20 minutes from here. Last night Shadow ate a raw potato that fell on the floor and went unnoticed by me until I found it half eaten. I was afraid it was going to cause him tummy problems, but it didn’t seem to affect him in any negative way. So, I dropped him off at 9 am and headed across the bridge another ten minutes north to Wareham where there is an LL Bean Outlet, an Old Navy store, and a T-Mobile store. Justin’s birthday is on Monday. I usually send him money, but after talking to him this past weekend, he expressed a desire for new pants. Not easy to find here in Falmouth, but I did find some on my morning foray. And the people at the T-Mobile store were very helpful. I currently use AT&T, but Heather and Jed want to add me to their T-Mobile account as it will be cheaper for me. I checked with the local T-Mobile folks yesterday evening and they were completely unhelpful. The people in Wareham were much more informative, so after checking that out, I then I headed to the Goldstones. The boys were immersed into various projects when I arrived, so I left to go pick up my phone at the Cell Fone Fixer—or not–as he wasn’t able to fix this problem. When I got back, Heather had a few minutes between work calls and we discussed phone options. In the end, it was cheaper for me to order an unlocked phone that can be connected to their account when it arrives. But that will not be for a few more days. So, Heather experimented by trying to put my SIM card in her old phone. After a bit of fiddling about, she got it to work and I now have a phone to use until my new one arrives. Hurray!

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the basement of 43 Grasmere with Jonah. When the Goldstones moved into their new home, I gave the boys $300 as a housewarming gift. They have been debating how to best spend that $300 since April. This week they decided on a ping pong table for the basement. It arrives next week, so we need to spend some time organizing things in the basement to make room for the new addition. Jonah and I made great progress this afternoon, but more needs to be done. We will continue our project tomorrow if it is another rainy day.

2020 Life Logs, Day 252: No Phone

2020 Life Logs, Day 252: No Phone
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Weather: Overcast; High 76, Low 67 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

It was a great day other than the fact that I found out that I have to buy a new phone. I honestly don’t remember if I bought my current phone last year or the year before, but whichever, I certainly didn’t expect to be replacing it this quickly. Earlier in the summer, I dropped it and had the screen replaced. That cost more than $250 and I should never have done it. I should have bought a new phone. I love hindsight. But yesterday the screen went blank and today the Cell Fone Fixer took a look and said the screen was dead. The phone is fine, but if you can’t see the screen, it does me no good. So hopefully either tomorrow or Friday I will get a new phone. In the meantime, I can’t believe how much I miss my phone. No way to call anyone, no texts, no phone camera, no easy check on the weather, no Googling facts while out and about. Ugh!

My afternoon with the Goldpebbles was so much fun. All three boys went to the skatepark today and all three had a great time. One of Jonah’s best friends, Noah, was there, and that was especially fun for him. After and hour and a half there, we left and went to Walmart. I needed Sam to go in with me to check out new phones. He has a Google Pixel and did a lot of research before choosing that one. So, I wanted him to help me look. After I got my short mini-course in phone choices from Sam, we went to the Subway in Walmart and bought sandwiches for lunch.
Then we headed to my house to spend the rest of the afternoon in the water. The Rubber Dockie was definitely a great purchase. The boys had a great time trying to throw one another off the mat. As I watched, it looked a little like water wrestling with lots of squeals and laughter. Today they took a heavy chain that I put in a net bag out with them to anchor the kayak. It worked great to keep the kayak anchored, but the rope was too short and caused the kayak to capsize easily. So, when they returned, Ollie pulled Sam in a kayak full of water, Sam paddled, and Jonah helped pull the Rubber Dockie behind the kayak, kicking as hard as he could. They looked like a well-oiled machine moving through the water. So much fun.

2020 Life Logs, Day 251: Book Club and Fun with the Goldpebbles

2020 Life Logs, Day 251: Book Club and Fun with the Goldpebbles
Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Weather: Sunny; High 77, Low 62 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

My Newcomers Book Club has been meeting monthly on Zoom, but today four of us gathered in person in one member’s backyard with two joining us on Zoom. These days we spend more than half of our meeting time just catching up on how each of us is faring during these coronavirus days. For years I have said that I didn’t want to join a book club because I didn’t want to have to read something chosen by someone else. But now that I am doing it, I like being stretched to read things that I would never choose on my own. This last month’s book was a true story of the most successful bootlegger in American History plus a murder, an introduction to the Assistant Attorney General at the time who happened to be a woman, and an eye-opening account of how the Justice Department helped cover up things that would make them look bad. Great material, but I found the book to be laborious—yet still interesting enough to finish. I’ve already started next month’s book and am finding it to be one of those books that you just don’t want to put down. It is not a book that I would have chosen, but I’m loving it.

So, it was up this morning to walk the dog, go to the Book Club meeting, and then to the Goldstones to spend the afternoon and early evening with the Goldpebbles. The boys were having so much fun playing in the water on the Rubber Dockie, that I didn’t get them home until 7 pm. When I first went to pick them up, we ate lunch and Ollie, Jonah, and I went to the skatepark. The shoes Sam likes to wear when using his skateboard were still wet from a trip into the water in Maine, so he stayed home and read. Jonah and Ollie loved getting back to using their trick scooters, but both said they felt ‘rusty’ in the skill area. It was sunny and hot, but as they persisted, they skills learned over the summer returned. Our time was cut short because one of the wheels on Ollie’s scooter was wobbly and needed tightened, but we didn’t have the right tool with us. So, we went home to pick up Sam and go to my house for kayak and Rubber Dockie fun in the water. I bought the Rubber Dockie for the boys just in time to have it sent to Maine for their use there. I heard all about the fun they had with it last night, so today I wanted a demonstration. The Rubber Dockie is a 6-foot by 12-foot closed-cell foam float that is rigid enough to allow the boys to sit, stand, and run on it to then jump into the water. Today Sam stayed in the dinghy and pulled Ollie and Jonah out on the float. They had a great time running and diving into the water. It was still a bit curled from being tightly rolled up for the trip from Maine to here, but tonight it is lying flat with the help of a little weight in the hopes that the curl will go away before our next foray out into the Eel River.

I was on the dock taking photos of the boys when all of a sudden the screen on my phone went black. I thought maybe it was low battery power, but that was not it. Unfortunately, I can’t share my photos from this afternoon as I can’t get them off my phone. My tomorrow morning will be spent having the phone checked out. I just spent a small fortune getting a new screen for the phone, so I’m hoping I don’t need a new phone. In the meantime, I have no way to make phone calls or read text messages. I feel totally isolated. I can receive email on my computer, so if you want to contact me, send an email for now. Hopefully, I’ll get this sorted out by tomorrow noon when I pick up the boys for another afternoon of fun.

2020 Life Logs, Day 250: Welcome Home, Goldstones

2020 Life Logs, Day 250: Welcome Home, Goldstones
Date: Monday, September 7, 2020
Weather: Sunny; High 75, Low 63 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

The Goldstones returned from their family vacation in Maine this evening. The boys were so excited to tell me of all of their adventures and I was so glad to see them. I bought pulled pork at Wicked N’ Wood, an outdoor barbecue take-out, made fresh buns, coleslaw, and mac and cheese and took it over so they wouldn’t have to cook on their first night home. Earlier in the day I went over to clean the guinea pig cages and make sure everything was ready for their arrival. It’s great to have them home.

Normally, school would be starting just after Labor Day. But not this year. I know I don’t have to remind you that everything is different this year in these Covid times. School here starts on September 21, so the boys have two more weeks of summer freedom. I’ll be continuing Camp Oma during the next two weeks, but there will be a break of a couple of days when Jed’s brother Tobi and his significant other, Stephanie, come to visit at the beginning of next week. I’m still not clear exactly what ‘school’ is going to look like for the boys as plans are evolving. The one thing that I think we have all had to learn during the past few months is to not depend on plans as things change so quickly. I know I have had to become much more flexible. Probably not a bad thing.

2020 Life Logs, Day 249: Happy Anniversary to Heather and Jed

2020 Life Logs, Day 249: Happy Anniversary to Heather and Jed
Date: Sunday, September 6, 2020
Weather: Sunny; High 78, Low 62 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Today was a beautiful day, much like the day that Heather and Jed got married 17 years ago on Saturday, September 6, 2003. The wedding destination was in Boothbay, Maine, at Spruce Point Resort. Jed’s family has a summer home in Boothbay and the oceanside Spruce Point Resort was the perfect place for their wedding. They are in Boothbay today, so I hope they got to drive out to Spruce Point in honor of their wedding day. Happy 17th to Heather and Jed.

I completed canning the tomatoes today and spent time talking to Justin and family in Puerto Rico and to Lynne Kirwin in New Zealand. Heather and family return tomorrow and I am anxious to see them. And let this gorgeous weather continue forever. It has truly been absolutely beautiful.