It’s been a fast summer here in Virginia. Between my new job, boating, working around the house and other summertime stuff, There’s been very little time or energy for me to write. So consider this a catch-up posting for the last two months.
On the Fourth of July we went to Pohick Bay regional park towing “Sea Dreams,” to meet up with friends there. Pohick Bay is much closer to Washington, D.C. than Leesylvania State Park where I normally launch my boat, in a bay off the Potomac River, and we hoped to be able to watch fireworks from the water. Unfortunately, the marina really sucked; the parking area was small and cramped, the launch ramps poorly laid out, and there was a four foot tide in the bay which was into the low tide cycle, putting “Sea Dreams” in the mud while tied to the pier. About five o’clock it started to rain so we pulled “Sea Dreams” out of the water and headed for home. It rained off and on the rest of the night, definitely putting a damper on local firework displays.
Winnie’s fourth anniversary of “Coming to America” was July 15th.
The big news in July was my birthday on the 26th. About the only thing about birthdays I find exciting now-a-days is the fact I actually have another one. It was a quiet day. Winnie treated me to brunch, then went to work leaving me home to fend for myself the rest of the day.
I did get the boat out at least once every weekend, fishing and exploring the local Potomac. Winnie enjoys using our self-propelled walk-behind lawnmower, so she did most of the yard work in July. She also worked on building up her vegetable gardens, growing squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some her favorite vegetable “hon kung.” This is a rather tasty green that Winnie uses in soups, or boils and serves cold with a seasoning of cooking oil, soy sauce, and spices. She lost some plants to the local deer that wander into our backyard, and finally agreed to buy some fencing wire and fence off her plots.
We took on a small home improvement project in August. After successfully rebuilding the basement bath last year, Winnie decided it was time to remodel our upstairs bath, the one we normally use. In truth, it had a plastic sink that was already cracked when we moved in. Previous owners had put dark oak waist-high paneling in the bath, making the space look much smaller than it already was. The vent pipe ran inside the wall directly behind the sink, so the medicine cabinet was mounted on the wall hanging over the sink. The light was one of the horrible “Flood Lighting” fixtures I really don’t like.
Once we (Winnie) had decided the time had come to remodel, we went around looking for the perfect new sink. We found it at Lowes, a sink and cabinet combo that looked ideal for the space. Of course, we needed a new lighting fixture and Winnie again found just what she wanted at Lowes. We made the rounds, and finally located the perfect bath mirror at Ikea.
We ripped out the original sink and cabinet fixture and put in the new one, then replaced the lighting fixture. We replaced the old medicine cabinet with the mirror which gave more space over the sink. After a few days, we realized we really needed the storage space provided by the old medicine cabinet.
The new fixtures looked nice, but made the rest of the wood paneled bath look bad. After a few days discussion, we decided to keep going and replace the wood paneling with tile. We also found a nice bathroom medicine cabinet that we could mount on the wall over the toilet.
We already had tile around the bathtub, and were lucky enough to find tile that nearly matched. We removed the toilet and sink (that I had just put in), ripped out all the paneling and fixed holes in the wall that had been covered over by paneling. Then Winnie took over.
Winnie really enjoys tile work. She put in tile four feet up the wall, all around the bath, and did a really nice job of it. Once she was finished I replaced the fixtures, caulked everything up, put in the new cabinet and repainted the non-tiled wall areas with a nice shade of light blue. The actual tile work only took about one week, during which time we used the basement bath – walking up and down two flights of stairs every morning before my coffee was a bit of a challenge.
Our friends finally got their boat running well, so on the last weekend in August we had a two boat rally. We launched from Leesylvania State Park and motored over to an anchorage on the Maryland side of the river. Our friends had the bigger boat so they anchored, we tied up alongside, and spent the day fishing and hanging out on the water.
Also starting in August I was reassigned to a project over in Washington, D.C. proper. I hooked up with several other people for car-pooling, which has turned out really well. The work itself is really interesting, putting me back working directly for the Navy, actually dealing with the same ships I dealt with when I was working at the shipyard in Mississippi. But it has taken a lot of my energy getting used to my new assignment and new commuting patterns.
ESL classes started up again this month, and now I’m back teaching the “upper intermediate” level. I also have a teaching partner, and Winnie is one of my students. It’ll be interesting…
The summer officially ended with our three-day Labor day weekend. Today we’re caught up in the tail-end of Tropical Storm Hanna, watching it rain constantly since last night. At least we’re now living on a hill.
We did learn, talking with one of our former neighbors back in Mississippi, that our former house was back on the market. Seems the people who bought our house last year were one of the many people wo got themselves into a home loan they couldn’t afford and went into foreclosure. I found the listing for it on the Internet; it was a bittersweet feeling seeing the interior shots of our house again, empty
So that was the summer of 2008 here at the Charest residence, Virginia edition. More to follow…