My Blog

Updates, continued….

Back from our sailing instruction weekend at the shore with the New Jersey Sailing School.  We were sailing both days.  Our instructor, Keith, was helpful, patient and knowledgable.  Although we made all sorts of mistakes, he was nothing but good-natured and helpful.  We learned the difference between a tack and a gybe, and how to safely perform both.  We tied clove hitches and bowlines (I remember that stuff from Boy Scouts!).  We didn’t have too much wind on Saturday, but it was good for learning.  The conditions on Sunday were perfect.  All in all, a worthwhile learning experience.  At the end of the day on Sunday, we took an exam that covered some information from a textbook as well as the practical stuff that we covered on the boat.  100 questions – multiple choice.

Monica passed that as well as another exam for a New Jersey State boat operator’s license (offered as part of the course).  Awesome job for someone completely new to sailing.  I’m so proud of her!  We’ll likely go back there in the spring to take the Basic Coastal Cruising course.  The folks that we met at the school were friendly and the Pearson 26 (in the picture above) seemed just the right size for learning.

Our hardwood floor (is it really a floor yet?) is waiting for us to pick it up at the store – it’s been a week, as promised.  I’m not quite ready to put it down yet – it’s supposed to sit in the room for a few days before installation, anyway.  There’s a bit of a soft spot in the floor (at the bottom of the stairs) that I will need to either replace or reinforce to prevent squeaks in that area.

It’s a maple floor, a cinnamon color.  I picked it up today (in the Focus!).

I will phone the shop today about my Explorer’s transmission ( I did – it should be done today).

However, it seems that it won’t be that necessary for a while.  Yesterday, we went to the Delaware DMV so Monica could take her written driving test (she’s been studying).  They will not issue her a license (or even allow her to take her written test) because her US visa is only good for 90 days.  They’re correct – there’s nothing that we have that shows that she’s allowed here after about the 6th of October.  I telephoned the DHS yesterday, and they suggested that we use her Employment Authorization Document at Motor Vehicles, because it will have a one-year expiration date.  The catch is that it can take 90 days to get that document (we applied two weeks ago, so we’re down to 75 days now).

All in the name of national security, I suppose…….

Kate has gone back to work in Washington and my son is learning that there’s a reason that working for a small town pays better than washing dishes – the work is much more difficult and tiring.

My oldest daughter is enjoying her recent career change to momhood.  She’s started a blog.  I check it almost daily.  It’s a good way to keep up with the new family.  Her daughter (my first grandchild) is cute as a button.

Yesterday, I found myself standing once again in a field in Dover, staring at a calibrated smokestack.  Every six months I have to take a test to maintain my proficiency as an official smokestack reader.  I like to look for good in everything, so I can say that the one-hour motorcycle ride to Dover was delightful – the weather in the morning was perfect for a ride, and the ride home was nice as well.  The test itself is not something that I enjoy at all.  You are asked to determine the opacity (in percent) of a smokestack during a series of calibrated runs.  Each test has 50 runs.  So far, no problem.  One’s score, measured against the soulless machine’s calibrated instruments cannot vary more than 7.5% for the test as a whole.  However any single reading cannot be more than 15% off.  If it is, the rest of the test really doesn’t matter, because you will have to take it again.  They start at about 8:30 am and test all day.  Any single reading can potentially disqualify your test and cause you hang around for the two hours that it will take to do another test cycle.  Yup, no pressure at all.  The real kicker is that I have to do this ON MY OWN TIME.    Anyway, I’m through with that for another six months….

Politics – things are looking better….

I don’t watch TV.  I realize that I might miss some important stuff, but I miss a lot of idiocy as well.  Popular TV leans toward the latter more than the former.  I just read the VP nominee’s speech from the GOP’s convention last night, and it looks like we have a race again.  Wish that I had seen that…  We have a real person running for this office, and the other side is running scared.  Cool.  Monica, who does watch some TV, is incensed about the media coverage of Governor Palin and her family.  It’s over-the-top, of course, with their unjustified accusations and innuendo.  If the news people have cheesed off a Brasileira with no knowledge of US politics, it’s obvious that they’re having the same affect on women everywhere.  Can you say backlash??

There’s now some hope for halting (or at least slowing down) our country’s headlong slide into socialism after all.  Why some people wish to pursue making the government more powerful is beyond me.  Government is here to serve the people, not the other way around.  The promise of free stuff is a false way of getting approval for government growth.

Last evening we found ourselves with nothing to do, so we drove the half-hour to Philly and spent the evening at a sidewalk table outside a bar on Market Street in Old CIty.  It’s a shame that it got dark, because there was so much to see in that area, but last night,  Monica was wearing shoes built more for style than exploring, and they had Warsteiner’s on draft. Yum….






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