Life After Windbird, Day 114: Christmas Parade and ‘Interesting’ Concert

Life After Windbird, Day 114: Christmas Parade and ‘Interesting’ Concert
Date: Sunday, December 4, 2016
Weather: Sunny, Windy, and Cold; High Temp 41, Low 27 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The weather for the annual Falmouth Christmas Parade was windy and cold, but it was sunny. So that saved the day. I drove downtown a bit early to secure curbside seating for Heather, Ollie, and myself. Since Jed, Sam, and Jonah were marching in the parade with the Boy Scouts, there would just be the three of us to watch. I sat there basking in the sun with my winter coat and hood on to protect me from the wind while reading my book. It actually felt quite cozy. And when Heather and Ollie arrived, we settled in to get ready for the parade.07-heather-and-ollie Unfortunately, the people just to the left of us decided to stand out in the street obstructing our view. This is the first time I have encountered this at a Falmouth Christmas Parade. Usually people are extremely aware that they should not stand out in the street, but not this year. And when Heather said something to the woman standing in the street directly in front of her, the woman basically scoffed at her. Despite that incident, we enjoyed the parade. We were cheering as Sam, Jonah, and Jed walked by02-here-come-the-boy-scouts03-joey-pulling-the-wagon-sam-in-elf-hat-behind and we always love the pipe bands.05-brian-boru-pipe-band Santa drove past at the end of the parade and that made for a great afternoon.06-santa After the parade, I invited the Goldstones over for an impromptu lunch and to help decorate my tree. It was the first time I have seen my Christmas ornaments since they were put in storage in 2003 and it was fun to see which ornaments the boys chose to put on the tree. Some of my ornaments are for a much larger tree and the boys did a nice job of sorting those out. I now have a fully lighted and decorated Christmas tree.08-christmas-tree-2016

Shortly after 3 pm, we all dispersed. I was headed to a 3:30 concert at a local church with Jane Woodin and Heather, Jed, and boys were headed home. Jane called me just after I arrived downtown for the parade to invite me to the concert. I assumed it was a Christmas concert and thought that sounded like fun. So I said I would meet her at the church. It started shortly after we arrived and it was not what I was expecting. It was a super religious version of a Christmas concert. As I sat there, I wondered if Jane invited me because she thought I needed to give up my sinful ways. But as soon as the not so beautiful singing ended, Jane said, “Let’s get out of here.” When we got outside, she apologized saying that the concert was certainly not what she expected and I gave a big sigh of relief knowing that my friend was not trying to save me! We then headed to Jane’s house to have a glass of wine to wash away the memories of a not so great concert.

When I got home, I had a Skype video call with Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco. I asked Ziggy and Coco what they wanted for Christmas and got the stock reply from Ziggy—Legos. But Coco gave us a bit of a surprise by saying she wants a castle and her own iPhone. I remind you that Coco is only four years-old, but she has BIG ideas. Justin and Jo will be moving into their new home beginning on December 28, so this Christmas will be a bit of a transition time for them. I would love to fly down to see them for Christmas, but I think it is best that I wait until February or March once they are settled in the new home. Mark and I, plus Heather and family, were with them for Thanksgiving last year and Mark and I spent Christmas in Puerto Rico in 2014. But I haven’t had a Christmas with Heather, Jed, and boys since Sam’s first Christmas in 2007. Justin and Jo and Mark and I joined the Goldstones in Maine that year—the last time we have been together as a family for Christmas. One of the only regrets I have about the years that we were gone sailing around the world is that it meant we no longer had a home to carry on the family holiday traditions. It is a bit like being a man without a country. And once we returned, we found our adult children had fallen into traditions of their own. Heather, Jed, and boys go to Maine every Christmas. And Justin and Jo are always at home, but home has moved from New Mexico to Culebra in Puerto Rico to the west coast of Puerto Rico. In the last five years, Mark and I spent two Christmases with my sister and brother-in-law, two with Justin and Jo, and one visiting with friends in New Hampshire. So this year I will enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Heather, Jed, and boys before they head to Maine the day after Christmas. I’m not sure what I will do during the week between Christmas and New Year. Maybe I can take that week to write about the memories of that very special man that I am missing so much.

Life After Windbird, Day 39: Stormy Weather

Life After Windbird, Day 39: Stormy Weather
Date: Monday, September 19, 2016
Weather: Rain, Rain, Rain; High 76 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio #8, Falmouth, MA

We finally got some much needed rain today, but it came down so quickly and in torrents that much of it washed away. But that is better than no rain at all, which is what we have had this summer. Justin had to work today, I had an early morning chiropractor appointment, and Jo started walking with the kids to catch the bus to Woods Hole. When I returned from the chiropractor, it was beginning to rain really hard and I saw Jo, Ziggy, and Coco walking down the sidewalk. I stopped to pick them up and drove them to Woods Hole where they hung out for the rest of the morning. I came home for a short time to get ready for my meeting with friend Olivia who will leading Mark’s memorial on Thursday. I called to secure the Islander, the boat we will be going out on, tried to reach a caterer with no success, and then headed to the hospital for an annual mammogram. When that was done, I called Jo and found that she was still in Woods Hole. I had showed her the wrong place to catch the bus back to town, so they were waiting for the next one. I had time, so I drove down to pick them up and bring them home before meeting with Olivia. I wasn’t really prepared, so we’ll continue working on this over the next two days. But Olivia was so very helpful in getting me focused on what needs to happen. Tonight Justin, Jo, and kids went to see Pete’s Dragon. Ziggy came home and was soon ready for bed, but Miss Coco Belle is still running around in her very special impish little way. What a little character that one is!

What I didn’t get done today was pinning down a caterer for the ‘after’ party at Heather’s on Thursday late afternoon. I tried to reach them with no luck. If that continues tomorrow, I’ll just have to order things from the deli at the market across the harbor. It won’t be super fancy, but it will do. Tomorrow I also drive to Boston to pick up Mary Ellen, Lee, and Steve—Mark’s sister, brother-in-law, and brother. It will be wonderful to have Mark’s family here to complete the plans for Thursday.

Day 254, Year 9: Staying Cool on a Hot Day

Day 254, Year 9: Staying Cool on a Hot Day
Date: Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Weather: Sunny and Windy, High in the Upper 80’s
Location: Quissett Harbor, Falmouth, Massachusetts

The weather report tells us it was 87 degrees F here today. But we spent a great deal of today in the water and in the shade, so I guess we just didn’t notice. Mark has a couple of annual doctor appointments today (ophthalmologist and cardiologist) which complicated things a bit, but with Jed’s help, we worked things out. Mark’s first appointment was at 9 am in Sandwich which is about 35 minutes north of here. Heather had to go to Boston today, so Jed kept the boys until Mark and I returned from Sandwich. We met Jed at the Woods Hole Library where the boys were attending a folk music/puppet show. After the show, Jed went to work and we headed to the beach in Quissett to enjoy lunch in the shade along with a little water play. Mark’s next appointment was at the Falmouth Hospital at 1 pm, so the boys and I drove him there and then went to a nearby playground to wait for him. The drive to the playground gave Ollie a chance to go to sleep, so he slept while the big boys played on the equipment. Then it was back to the hospital to pick up Granddad. We decided to go to the freshwater pond in town rather than to the beach to play for the rest of the afternoon. We did a little extra driving around to give Ollie a chance to sleep and then we all enjoyed the pond at Goodwill Park. We staked out a shady place at the water’s edge and Sam and Jonah started excavating a huge hole and building walls of sand around it. Once they had a little pond within their walls of sand, Ollie put one of the body boards in it and practiced jumping off it into the water. We had a great time digging in the sand and floating about the pond until late afternoon and never even noticed that it was hot. So it was the perfect way to spend a steamy afternoon.

We are now on weather watch. With Tropical Storm Arthur (soon to be Hurricane Arthur) headed our way, all sorts of 4th of July activities are being changed. Boston has moved its fireworks and Boston Pops concert to tomorrow night (July 3rd) instead of having them on the 4th. And Falmouth has postponed their fireworks until Sunday night. Whenever, we will enjoy them.

140702 Day 254 Cape Cod, USA–Woods Hole Puppet Show and Goodwill Park

Day 235, Year 9: Tiny Steps Backward Today

Day 235, Year 9: Tiny Steps Backward Today
Date: Friday, June 13, 2014
Weather: Rain All Day and Evening—Heavy in the AM
Location: At “Porat’s by the Bay” in Greenland, NH

You move forward and then take some tiny steps backward. That was the case today. Mark is still not able to eat much of anything and today he didn’t feel like he could drink much. And by early evening he had a temperature of 101.3. He immediately took a couple of Extra Strength Tylenol and called the resident on duty at Mass General. He asked all of the standard questions and he told us to just hold tight. He would check with the surgeon on call and get back to us if we needed to head to Boston. But for the time being, the orders were to keep drinking water, rest, and call back if the temp went up even higher. It did. So we called back. He asked many of the same questions and also asked if we took the temp while Mark was in bed under the covers. That is exactly what we had done, so he asked Mark to get out of bed and then take the temp again. It went from 101.8 in bed to 101.1 out of bed. So once again the orders were to drink as much as possible, keep taking the Tylenol every 6 hours, and to call if at any point the temperature rises even higher. I’m hoping this is Friday the 13th pulling a bad joke on us and that tomorrow morning it will be gone. In the meantime, I’ll get Mark up every hour and a half during the night to check his temp.

Day 228, Year 9: Superman

Day 228, Year 9: Superman
Date: Friday, June 6, 2014
Weather: Mostly Sunny and Warm
Location: At Home with Sue and John Reed, Cambridge, MA

Mark’s ability to recover from surgery is nothing short of amazing. Today I dubbed him Superman. By the time I got to the hospital this morning, he had been out walking with a nurse and was sitting up in a chair. He continued to walk throughout the day and is feeling good. They let him start drinking liquids today, but when his surgeons came in to see him this afternoon, they reversed that order as they felt he was starting to bloat a little. We hope he will be able to resume drinking liquids tomorrow, but we shall see. Both his original surgeon, Dr. Sylla, and his new surgeon, Dr. Ferrone, came in to visit and they both think he is doing great. Let’s just hope things continue this way.

I left in the afternoon and drove to Concord, New Hampshire, for Linda Stuart’s retirement party. It was the first time I have seen many of the teachers in attendance since I retired in 2005. I recognized most everyone, but there were a few people who had changed so much I just couldn’t associate a name with the face. It was great fun to see everyone, especially a beaming Linda. It was 8 pm by the time I got back to the hospital and my niece Candi and her husband Char were there visiting with Mark. They agree with me that he is doing great. I’d love to write more about Linda’s party, but I keep falling asleep. So the photos from the party will have to tell the story.

140606 Day 228 Cape Cod, USA–Linda Stuart's Retirement Party

Day 198, Year 9: Questions Four Year Olds Ask

Day 198, Year 9: Questions Four Year Olds Ask
Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Weather: Beautiful Day, Temp in the 60’s F
Location: At Home with the Goldstones in East Falmouth, Massachusetts

Today was a typical work a day. Mark worked from 10 to 6 at West Marine and then had an hour and a half monthly meeting. Loooooong day for him. Heather doesn’t normally work on Wednesdays, but since she stayed home with Ollie so we could go to Boston yesterday, she worked half a day today. And while Mark and Heather worked, Jonah and Ollie and I had fun in the backyard. When Heather came home, Ollie was napping and she took Jonah food shopping with her. When they returned, Jonah presented me with a red rose and told me it was to go back to Windbird with me. I then told him how in Thailand, when you launch a boat, you decorate it with flowers, sort of like christening a new boat. So I said the rose would be Windbird’s christening flower. Jonah looked at me and asked, “Who’s Chris?” That was definitely the highlight of my day!

Our friends Geoff and Chris who are crewing aboard Lady M as she crosses the Atlantic wrote an update today. They made it to the Azores and filled the almost empty fuel tanks with 70,000 litres of fuel. That’s about 18,500 gallons. Sure am glad I didn’t have to pay that fuel bill. Here’s the update from Chris after I wrote to her yesterday telling her about Windbird’s 24-hour turn around.

“Windbird’s work period is quite the opposite to what we have experienced over the past 6 weeks and the problems continue to plague this gorgeous sports yacht. We arrived in the Azores about 7pm on Tuesday evening by the fumes in her fuel tanks. She had guzzled over 70,000 litres of fuel and we crawled in at a relatively slow speed for her of 13 knots. The fuel pipe was waiting on the dock and they pumped 75,000 litres in around an hour and a half and after taking on hundreds of bags of groceries, we were on our way in perfectly calm conditions doing 24 knots. Just after I started my watch at 2am a hydraulic hose in the starboard steering blew and sprayed oil all over the place including Geoff who was on watch at the time. Between him and the Chief Engineer they managed to fix the problem with another hose from the SCUBA compressor. It took a few hours but eventually we were underway again and at the moment we are flying along at 24 knots in the most gorgeous conditions for a motor yacht you could want and burning over a 1,000 litres of fuel per hour!!

We are heading non-stop to Malaga in Spain now instead of stopping in Gibraltar. It’s just been a continuous chasing of unrealistic arrival times to try and keep the boss happy. Stupid really as everyone is feeling so stressed and now working around the clock to have her ready for the owners to step onto the moment we arrive in port.”