This and That, Summer 2010

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This And That

This And That

Here it is already September, the long hot n’ Dry summer almost passed.  Although I enjoy warm weather, these past two months were almost too much of a good thing.  And in the category of “here we go again,” we have a hurricane watch just days after the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The more things change…

This has been a short summer for me as I’ve been so busy with work-related travel.  I spent most of May and June out in Portland, Oregon, then made two more week-long trips out to Oakland, California; one in July and the second in August.  This traveling really broke up my summer plans.

In addition to my travel, the tenants we had in our rental property finally moved out August 22, so Winnie and I had the dubious pleasure of spending the last week of August cleaning up other people’s messes and fixing all the things they broke.  Things we were fixing had just been made new before those tenants moved in one year earlier.  The only good thing was that we did get those tenants out before they did more damages and caused more of a mess.  We did get new tenants right away though, and Winnie and I are very hopeful this new family will keep the house nice and be around for several years.

Between traveling and fixing our rental property, we took on a small earth-moving project.  Our backyard is mostly a downhill slope ending at the tree line of public land.  A couple of weeks ago Winnie decided she really wanted to level out the back edge of the yard for more gardening area.  This meant obtaining mass quantities of fill soil.  I thought I could delay the inevitable by promising to look into how we could get soil “as soon as possible.”  I was wrong.

One morning that Winnie had a weekday off, she called me at work and very excited.  She breathlessly explained that there were some workers a few blocks over digging (Verizon crew installing their FIOS cables) and they had a lot of soil to get rid of.  She had just made a deal with the foreman to have the crews dump their excess soil at our house instead of hauling it away somewhere else.  I was very excited about this.

Over the next several days the work crews did in fact use our house for a dumping ground for their excess soil.  In fact, within a week we had “Mt Winnie” in our side yard with complimentary tire ruts across our front lawn.  I finally asked the crews to stop delivering, as we had as much soil as we could haul to the bottom of our yard.  Winnie, to her credit, spent all her free time terracing our yard.  In fact, she even had us invest in a wheelbarrow for the project.  I helped as I could after work, and in just two days we had moved a mountain.  I think we have enough soil, but I worry.  The work crews are now on our street creating more masses of free soil…

Winnie has had good luck with her garden this summer.  We’ve been eating fresh tomatoes, different types of squash, oriental beans, cucumber, and other assorted vegetables for the past several weeks.  With the bounty of free soil we received I expect she’ll be rebuilding her garden and expanding it for next year.

Sea Dragon At Occoquan Regional Park

Sea Dragon At Occoquan Regional Park

Beside the kayak Winnie bought me for my birthday, I also received a second present.  Quite to my surprise Winnie assisted me in purchasing a new motorboat, a Bayliner 175br (17-1/2 foot bow rider) with a 135HP Mercruiser stern drive.

I had taken my birthday off, and Winnie and I spent the morning at the local park. On the way home, she casually suggested we go over to a local boat shop “just to look.”  We did, and on the lot was this nice looking Bayliner.  We looked at it, and both of us immediately liked it.  Then Winnie surprised me by asking “Do you want it?”  She wasn’t joking, and after thinking a bit said “yes.”

The boat sales office was closed that day, so the next morning Winnie showed up just as the shop opened and announced to the salespeople that she wanted to buy a boat.  She spent an hour negotiating, and got us a really good deal.  Two days later, we took delivery of a brand new motor boat.

I’ve only managed to put about 11 hours on the engine so far over several boat outings, but plan on getting the 20 hours I need to get the break-in servicing done before I need to winterize the boat.  After some discussion, Winnie and I decided to name our new boat “Sea Dragon.”  It’s a good name for a new boat…  Now I need to work on doing more sailing as well as power boating and kayaking.

I’ve been getting out in my kayak once each week and I’m really enjoying that experience.  As much as I enjoy motoring up and down the Potomac, being out in a kayak just paddling along is a pleasant experience.  I’ve started checking out the regional parks and beginning to get hooked into good places for kayaking.

So between traveling and boating and moving mountains and cleaning up after other people, this has been a fast summer.  Labor Day is fast approaching, and another season coming up.

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