So while I’ve actually posted a few stories this month, there was still a lot happening. On the last day of the last month of winter, here’s everything else that’s been happening in the Charest household, Virginia edition.
Consider yourself warned if you decide to click through and read more…
The Real Lee Stood Up
We put out a call for the “Real Lee” to please revel themselves. Well, a few days after posting this person did. As my sister and I thought after receiving the first e-mail, this person was in fact my sister’s long-ago very best friend Carole from Long Island. We all lost touch with each other after moving upstate New York and going our separate ways after high school.
It seems Carole had been trying to locate us for several years. She actually located us by finding this website and then my “classmates.com” page. I feel good knowing that this website is actually being found through Google searches… It also felt really good to hear from Carole again. Even though she was my sister’s best friend, the three of us all hung out together on a regular basis. Carole’s e-mails included reminiscing of events I had long since forgotten about from our days on ‘The Island.’ I made sure Melinda had Carole’s contact info, and really hope we’ll all have a chance to meet up again one day.
Spring Has Sprung
My favorite-not season of winter is officially over, but it’s still not warm! Seriously, for having grown up north of here where the four seasons were more distinct than here, winter is really taking a lot of getting used to again. I keep reminding myself that after 33 years of living in tropical and sub-tropical climates, cold weather will take getting used to. However, Winnie, for living in the sub-tropical south-eastern China her whole life until coming to the US, seems to handle winters far better than I am. But then again, she seems to be unperturbed by a lot of things that come along her direction.
I am noticing the many lovely dogwoods in this area are beginning to bloom. Some flowers by our front door are showing their colors, and the pink flowering tree by our driveway is showing signs of life. Up in Washington the cherry blossom festival has officially started and we might actually get up there this year to play tourist.
Rebuilding Sea Dreams
My boat has needed some serious attention for several years now, and this past summer’s boating convinced me it was time. “Sea Dreams” is a vintage 1975 boat with 1989 motor, and although she’s overall in pretty good shape the years have taken their toll. I’ve known for several years that the deck, plywood with a fiberglass topping, was rotting out and needed replacing. This is a common problem with most boats that use wood-core fiberglass construction. When I tore out the deck I discovered, not unsurprisingly, that the stringers were also rotten out. Of course, in the process of tearing out the deck I had to remove a lot of “interference,” which means the perfect opportunity to repair and refurbish some other items…
So, along with the deck and stringers I’m currently in the process of replacing all the wiring, all interior wood trim, re-designing storage, getting new upholstery, and doing a lot of patching and paint touchups. I can’t do any fiberglass work outside until the temps are at least in the low 70’s at some point during the day, even with a small heater inside the covered boat keeping it warm. While I’m waiting for the outside temps to come up, I’m starting to do some of the smaller projects inside the house and collect parts and materials. With any luck, I’ll be able to get the new deck laid down by end of April and have the boat ready for the water by June.
Daydreaming about this project, planning it out and acquiring the parts and materials have kept me occupied this long winter. I’m really looking forward to an active summer of boating on the Potomac River and nearby lakes.
First Week of Work
I survived my first week on the new job and starting in on the second week. Having bounced around the workplaces a bit lately I’m almost getting used to being the new kid on a job. This company has a very different culture than anything I’ve experienced in my post-navy life. Very structured, encouraging personal self-development and education, and actively shaping their company traditions. I’ve started to look at furthering my own education again and gain some formal credentials. Even at my age, going back to school can’t hurt too much. I’m also hoping that my going to classes will motivate Winnie to take classes of her own.
Along with my own thoughts on going back to school, I’ve gotten back into a teaching role again. I’ve gotten involved with a local Catholic Church program “Hogar Hispanic” English Second Language (ESL) program. This program runs mostly on volunteers, with a bit of grant money to cover books and some paid organizers. I’m teaching one two-hour class per week, which has already become quite the challenge. I’ve quickly learned that teaching ESL is entirely different that the type of technical training I’ve done in the past.
It does feel good to be up in front of a class again. I’m also doing something positive for this community, another good feeling. I don’t know how long this ESL project lasts for me as I can only do this if I do not have to spend three+ hours a day commuting. I’ll just take it as it comes…
That’s all for March. As always, I appreciate the many readers of this humble website who stop by and spend their time reading what I have to write.
Prince William County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Breaking Bad : A close and not-pleasant encounter with a member of our local volunteer fires and rescue organization.
A Well-earned Reward : After months of sometimes painful work, I get my boat “Sea Dreams” back on the water. The work was well-worth the effort.
Back To School : Wherein an old dog gets to learn new tricks. I’ve started grad school, working towards a degree in Instructional Design.