2022 Life Logs, Day 107: We Made It!

2022 Life Logs, Day 107: We Made It!
Date: Sunday, April 17, 2022
Weather: Sunny & Windy in Boston, Hot in PR; Cold in Boston, Warm in Puerto Rico
Location: At Home in an Airbnb in Rincon, Puerto Rico

Despite Heather’s bout with Covid and a delayed flight, we made it to Puerto Rico on this Easter Sunday. The timing of Heather’s Covid made the lead up to the trip a little nerve wracking, but miraculously she tested negative yesterday. We flew on Frontier Airlines which was also a little nerve wracking this morning. Just as we got on the road, Heather got an email saying the flight was delayed by two hours. We decided to keep going as the Frontier website continued to say the flight was on time. Then she got another email saying the flight was delayed by only an hour and twenty minutes. When we reached the airport, we parked the van in front of the terminal, left the kids in the van, and Heather, Jed, and I went in to check the luggage and check on the actual flight time. When we told the attendant we planned to leave the airport and come back later for the flight, she warned us that the time might change again. It could be earlier. It seemed no one really knew what time we would depart. We left anyway and took a walk on the East Boston side of the Harborwalk along the water. We parked on the street by a park with soccer fields and a playground and an on ramp to the Harborwalk. The boys wished they had brought a soccer ball but had to be content watching others play. We were literally blown away in East Boston as the wind was so strong and cold. So we quickly returned to the airport to park in the long term parking garage and take the shuttle bus to Terminal E. There was only one restaurant open, so we ate an early lunch and then boarded the flight that was delayed a little more than two hours. Watching the Goldpebbles listening to music with their variety of ear buds and headphones while waiting was quite the picture.

The weather in Puerto Rico was a bit different from the sunny, but chilly Easter morning in Boston. It was hot and sultry, the kind of weather I love. We picked up our bags and our rental van and headed to Rincon. It is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Juan to Rincon which seemed like forever after a four-and-a-half-hour plane ride. But it was all worth it when we got to Finca Maravilla and were greeted by Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco. There is nothing so wonderful than having the whole family together. The Easter bunny had left goodies for us and Justin brought the bunnies inside to give us a big Easter welcome. Then it was on to the Airbnb for a midnight swim in the pool. Wonderful beginning to our PR vacation.

2022 Life Logs, Day 51: Back to Editing, Editing

2022 Life Logs, Day 51: Back to Editing, Editing
Date: Sunday, February 20, 2022
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Cold, Windy; High 34, Low 20 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

In yesterday’s log, I totally forgot to mention that just as I finished getting my seed starting shelves in place, the feeling of spring vanished. I looked out the window and it was snowing. I took Shadow out for our second half mile walk of the day and by the time we got home, there was a covering of snow on the ground. The snow flurries had turned into a snow squall while we were walking, and it continued until we had about a half of an inch of snow. So much for thoughts of spring! The high today was 34, but with the wind it felt more like 20. Chilly.

I spent my day editing and tonight I am watching the Olympics Closing Ceremony. Who couldn’t love the winter jackets of the Italians and the face that Nathan Chen is using a real camera to take photos of the ceremony instead of his phone camera. I have enjoyed watching all of the events, too many favorites to list. I must admit, however, that my favorite winter Olympic sport throughout my lifetime, figure skating, has changed. My grandsons have had a little influence over my new favorite, snowboarding. And then here have been the commercials. I had never heard of a Toyota Tundra before these Olympics and I loved the Toyota “Start Your Impossible” ads. Then there was the VISA ad with hordes of people coming down a slope in every sort of manner with the words, “When more of us play, more of us win.” And the Salesforce ad with Matthew McConaughey saying, “It’s not time to escape. It’s time to engage.” Whether you agree with the tone of that ad, I think we can all agree on those words. Now it’s time to get ready for the Paralympic Games starting in two weeks.

I’ll close with the words of the IOC head Thomas Bach addressing the athletes at the closing ceremonies: “We were deeply touched how you were wishing and cheering for your competitors to achieve their best as well. You not only respected each other. You supported each other. You embraced each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict. You overcame these divisions demonstrating that in this Olympic community we are all equal—regardless of what we look like, where we come from, or what we believe in. This unifying power of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us—you give peace a chance. May the political leaders around the world be inspired by your example of solidarity and peace.”

2022 Life Logs, Day 38: Tires

2022 Life Logs, Day 38: Tires
Date: Monday, February 7, 2022
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Intermittent Rain; High Temp 45, Low Temp 38 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Yep. Its warming up and that means rain for a couple of days. Then it looks like a string of warmer days until Valentine’s Day when the daytime high will be below freezing. I guess we’ll have to get our warmth on that special day by thinking of all the people we love. But, then, who cares about the weather? Obviously, I do.

Yesterday I managed to totally do in the tire that picked up a nail last week. Yesterday when I turned into the parking area for the local barbeque place, Wicked and Wood, I turned too soon and hit the curb rather hard. I didn’t think anything about it until I was almost home and realized the car was definitely listing to the right front. By the time I got into my driveway to check the problem, my front passenger side tire was once again totally flat. I figured the jolt of going over the curb must have jogged loose the fix for last week’s flat. I found out this morning, however, that the tire actually had a cut in the sidewall. A new one has been ordered and will be here Wednesday or Thursday. For some reason, I bought tire insurance when I bought the four new tires in September. I had never done that before, but I sure am glad I did. The new tire will only cost me $18. Good deal.

I spent most of my morning at Sullivan Tire waiting for a diagnosis on the tire and my afternoon walking with Shadow, finishing my fourth jigsaw puzzle of 2022, and enjoying an impromptu afternoon visit by friend Christina Brodie. Christina has been my first reader and technical editor for the Voyage of Windbird, but I had not let her know that I was writing again. Her husband Warren had a cross country skiing fall early in January and has been in a full leg cast since. Plus, they had pipes freeze in a room over their garage that resulted in water damage on the three floors of their house a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t think she needed to be bothered with editing. But when she found out I was writing again, she was anxious to read once again. Warren has another month of immobility except when with a physical therapist and repairs on the house can’t begin quite yet. So, she has time. I so appreciate her invaluable input and am so glad to have her back on board.

My fourth Dowdle puzzle of 2022 was The Statue of Liberty. The puzzles I have been working on are fairly easy, 500-piece puzzles. They are not as challenging as the 1,000 piece puzzles my daughter Heather works on, but they are fun to work and I learn new things with each puzzle. I have done two focused on Italy, Cinque Terre and Florence, one focused on Norway’s Olstinden Peak, and now one focused on a historical rendition of the Statue of Liberty as seen from Battery Park. The puzzle information sheet informed me that Lady Liberty weighs 225 tons or 450,000 pounds and wears a shoe size 879. Liberty Island was originally named Bedloe’s Island and Frederic-Auguste Bartoldi was the artist who designed her. He is included in the scene, as well as other important New Yorkers like William Maxwell Evarts, chairman for the American Committee for the statue, and Joseph Pulitzer, the newspaper magnet who raised crucial funds for the pedestal’s construction. Today I started on another Dowdle that I bought at Costco when I was there last. It is a scene from Prague. I really enjoy taking breaks from my writing to work on the puzzles for a bit.

On Monday afternoons, I take Ollie and Jonah to their music lessons and then drop Ollie off at his Cub Scout meeting place. Tomorrow is a school Early Release Day, so I will pick Ollie up at 12:30. Jonah and Sam get out of school earlier, so Ollie and I will stop to pick them up at home and then come to my house for an afternoon of Olympic Games watching. Tomorrow morning I have a one-on-one computer tutoring session at the Senior Center and then an online book club meeting before picking up the boys. Looks like it will be another day when I don’t get any writing done. Hopefully Wednesday.

2022 Life Logs, Day 29: Raging Blizzard

2022 Life Logs, Day 29: Raging Blizzard
Date: Saturday, January 29, 2022
Weather: Winds 20-50, Snow 1-2 feet; High Temp 33, Low Temp 10 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Shadow and I got up at 8 am to a very white, windy world. I went out for a romp in the snow with him first thing but couldn’t stay outside for more than 15 minutes. We walked down to the dock and was surprised at how high the tide was. The lower dock was higher than the upper dock. Shadow, he who loves snow, evidently doesn’t love the wind blowing the snow sideways as he wanted back inside as well. Once inside, I turned on the weather channel to see what was happening elsewhere. But not for long. At 8:45 am the power went out just for a few seconds at about the same time the wind really started powering up. The wind kept howling all morning and the snow kept falling and blowing sideways. I didn’t realize how loud the wind was until 1:30 pm when it seemed to instantly calm down while I was eating lunch. One minute the wind was howling, the next it was almost eerily quiet. It was probably still blowing 25 to 35, but that was better than 40 something!

I got power back, lost it again, got it back, and finally lost it for good. It is still off, so I am sitting in the dark except for the light of a little battery-powered lantern. I have been using my propane-powered Mr. Heater all day and it was able to keep the whole cottage temp at 68 F where I normally have the thermostat set. But during the afternoon, I was fully immersed in writing when the heater ran out of fuel and shut off. By the time I noticed, the inside temp had dropped to 64 and it is still there. I will leave the heater on until I go to bed. Then it goes off until morning. I will be warm enough for the night, but it could be quite cold by morning. It is getting down to 11 or 12 degrees F tonight and is forecast to be in the low 20’s tomorrow. Sure hope the power comes back on sooner rather than later.

So I don’t have heat or lights, but both should return when the power is restored. Others are having more serious challenges. Heather and Jed have power coming to the house, but the fluctuations in power yesterday damaged something in the ciricuit board and the electricity in the house is spotty—in some rooms but not others. The mother board in their furnace was also blown out. They are using space heaters in some rooms which keeps them barely warm but not freezing. They were able to get an electrician to come tonight to check things and the furnace folks are coming tomorrow. If parts are available, hopefully they will be back up and running by tomorrow night. But if parts have to be ordered, who knows? As I said to Heather, that is a real pain, but frozen pipes would be worse. I just got an update from them telling me they actually got an electrician to come tonight. At least they have lights and so far, no frozen pipes. Friends Bruce and Jane Wooden are also being challenged to the max with no electricity and a heating system they are trying to keep going with their gasoline generator. The Woodins, the Goldstones, and myself join the masses of others that are struggling to stay warm.

I wanted warm soup for lunch today, but assumed that since I had no power, I couldn’t use my gas stove. For some reason, I thought that the electronically controlled pilot lights couldn’t be lit with a match. That is true for the oven, but when I was talking to Justin this afternoon he told me that a match would do the trick on the stove top burners. He was right, but I had already used a little butane stove Mark and I bought in Thailand to heat the soup for lunch. I have thought about throwing that away many times but was not sure how to get rid of the whole bag of butane cannisters. So, it stayed tucked away in the basement, along with too many other things. I was reminded today of what a good little one-burner stove it is. Glad I didn’t throw that one away!

Shadow and I had two romps in the snow this afternoon, but the last one, just before dark, ended on a scary note. We walked out to the street which has been plowed so the snow was not very deep. But back in the yards, mine and Shirley’s, I measured anywhere from one foot to two feet of snow, not to mention the much deeper drifts in places. Shadow frolicked and seemed to be having fun in the deep snow, but my gloves were wet and my fingers were freezing. We headed back to the house. He was right beside me, I thought, then all of a sudden he was just gone. I called and called and he didn’t come. I went in to get dry gloves and then went back out to start the hunt. It was then that I saw his little black head hiding behind a bush. He had found a place with very little snow and I guess he had decided that was where he was going to stay. He willingly followed me inside, but by this time it was dark and he obviously doesn’t like that either. I turned on a little battery-powered lantern, but that didn’t help. He just stood beside me and wouldn’t move. It took a while, but I finally got him to lay on his favorite blanket on the sofa. I hope the deep snow and darkness have not permanently traumatized him!

I won’t be able to send this log tonight since I don’t have power or internet. I will send tomorrow and include some photos I took today. I love the photo of my living room window and want to share that. Since mid-morning, I have not been able to see out of it nor the front storm door that is all glass. They are plastered with snow and ice. I feel like I am looking at the world from inside a snow globe that someone just shook really hard. And by this evening, the entire front of the cottage is totally plastered with snow. It is going to take a while to dig out of this one. It is beautiful, but I will be glad if this is the last big snow for Cape Cod this winter. This one is going to stay with us for a few days as it is not going to warm up enough to melt anything until later next week. That will give everyone plenty of time to enjoy the snow. Then I’ll start to think spring. I know that is premature, but I can dream.

2022 Life Logs, Day 14: Nasty Weather, Productive Day

2022 Life Logs, Day 14: Nasty Weather, Productive Day
Date: Friday, January 14, 2022
Weather: Rainy All Day, High Winds PM; High Temp 43, Low Temp 10 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The vacation is over. The nasty weather today pushed me back to ‘normal’. For two years now, I have been trying to get the photos on my computer in order. I don’t know what happened this morning, but I started in on the task and will finish tomorrow if I have another day like today. That will make me a very happy person and will allow me to begin writing again. I am very much looking forward to that. It was January 28th last year when I started writing, with a nudge from my son, and I didn’t stop until summer. We shall see how this winter and spring go.

Last night I watched the Netflix movie, Don’t Look Up. My son Justin sent me a text a couple of weeks ago telling me I must watch it. Now I am saying to you, if you haven’t seen it, you must. Ten years ago, I would have thought the plot line absurd, but in today’s world, not so much. It tells it like it is, absurd as that may be. Was it meant to be a comedy or a tragedy? Probably a little of both. Is it a good satire? That, I am sure, depends on your set of beliefs going into the movie. I would say the central question brought forth is whether or not you believe we should listen to scientists or not. There is star-studded cast and the acting is great. It is a little long and a little dark. But people, whatever they think of it, can’t stop talking about it. Greed, politics, misinformation. You get the idea. Here’s part of a review I found online: “Don’t Look Up is . . . about a planet-killing comet headed to Earth and humanity’s reaction to the impending doom. The comet is a metaphor for climate change, and the characters all play their part from the scientists screaming into the void to the tech billionaire who wants to mine it for minerals using unproven technology.”

It is quite windy out and has rained all day. Shadow and I went for our daily walk, but I can’t say it was fun. We were both soaked when we got home. And believe me, there is nothing as ‘sweet’ smelling as cuddling up to a wet dog! This wind is bringing us cold weather for tomorrow. It is forecast to be windy with a high of 20 F and a low of 9 degrees F. Cold, but better than tomorrow’s forecast in Bethel, Maine, where Heather and family are headed tonight for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. It is forecast to be -9 F there tonight with a high tomorrow of 4 degrees F with 15 mph winds. Yikes! Wind chill. At least there will be sunshine. As Heather said, they will go to the slopes for a couple of hours in the morning and see how it goes. They can return to their rental home for lunch and warmth and then head back if they dare. Sunday looks great, however. Sunny, a high of 21 and almost no wind. So, if tomorrow is a bust, they can make up for it on Sunday. This weekend trip is Sam’s 15th birthday present and his second Covid dominated birthday. His good friend Robert and Robert’s family were supposed to go with them, but in the flurry of Covid testing they all went through for the trip, Robert turned out to be positive. He is asymptomatic, thankfully, but that family will not be going. One of Sam’s other good friends, Sebastian, is still going. I am sure Sam is bummed that Robert and his older brother won’t be with them, but I know that Sam, Sebastian, Jonah, and Ollie, along with Heather and Jed, will have a great time. Heather sent a photo of her five guys when they stopped at Five Guys for dinner on the way up tonight. I texted back that they looked like the Five Bandits with their masks on. She texted back that at least she didn’t have to fight with them to get them to smile for the photo. Okay, one positive for Covid?

2021 Life Logs, Day 303: Quiet Day at Home

2021 Life Logs, Day 303: Quiet Day at Home
Date: Saturday, October 30, 2021
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Rain Early and Late; High Temp 62, Low Temp 57 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

There was just enough rain this morning to change plans for the day. Ollie’s early morning soccer game was cancelled, and it was too wet to do yard work. I thought I was going to spend my day playing ‘pick up sticks’ in my yard, but instead, computer issues took priority. It was a quiet day at home being frustrated by my computer. I am dealing with the aftermath of a change in the way all of my photos and other files are stored in a cloud. Until this past week it was done by something called Back Up and Sync, but Google is no longer supporting that and thousands of files need to be move to Google Drive. It sounds easy but is not. Heather spent a lot of time last week trying to figure it out, but neither of us is sure we are doing it right. So ‘just in case’, I went to Staples this afternoon to buy a new 1 terabyte external hard drive to back things up on ‘earth’ in case the ‘cloud’ fails. I have backed things up on hard drives for years, but all of mine were full and photos from the last couple of years needed to be backed up. I will continue with the computer issues tomorrow.

My summer neighbor Andrew contacted me mid-day asking me to go to his house and do a few things. They have decided to rent the house for short-term stays through a vacation rental company, and they had just found out that the first renters were arriving this afternoon. There were just a few personal things he wanted me to do before the vacation rental company came in to do the pre-rental cleaning. While there I realized that their backyard and patio needed a leaf clean-up before the renters arrived and yard work is not done by the vacation rental folks. Sam and Ollie do Andrew’s yard work and were planning to do the storm clean-up over the next couple of weeks, but the unexpected advent of renters changed that. The boys weren’t available, so I used my leaf blower to blow the leaves into the yard from the patio. I then picked up as many of the larger twigs and branches blown off the trees during the storm as I could in a short period of time. It looked presentable.

It is raining out again tonight, but I am truly hoping for sunshine tomorrow. We have seen the sun peek through the clouds a few times yesterday and today, but basically it has been overcast and rainy, punctuated by an extreme storm, since Monday. Enough!