Sunday, September 07, 2008

Still in Port Maitland, still operating to the sounds of occasional hammer blows from the next room.

Most of the renovation of the bathrooms is complete, just the final bits - painting the baseboards and nailing them in place, a couple more towel racks and built-in shelves to complete - and it's done. The bathrooms are pure luxury, everything works, everything's clean, the floors are level, the walls are straight, the lights are bright, the floor is warm, and everything is new and pretty.

It was an education watching it all come together. We got to know Scott, the carpenter/plumber/electrician/etc., and his helper Mike, equally talented fella, quite well during the process. They would arrive every morning at 6:45 AM. Brutal. They would immediately start hammering or whacking or drilling or humming ("if I was a carpenter...") on the other side of the wall, two feet from my sleeping head. I spent over two months living the schedule from hell. Also, we had to use the outhouse after they arrived. Did I mention that? We made a million trips to town for gidgwats and snerds and pipes. I know more about hardware than I want to know.

Great guys, great workers, and the house now has two great bathrooms. I use them at will, and never before 6:45 am. Scott is going to come after Christmas and start the kitchen renovations. Apparently, when there's nobody in the house, he'll start at 5 am. Go Scott.

The rest of the summer has gone by in a bit of a blur. As you can see from the photos below, mostly we passed time at table, around the bonfire, at the cribbage board, at the beach, at Frenchy's, playing "washers" (a less strenuous and highly competitive version of horshoes) and visiting with friends and family from near and far. Randy has been working on installing a shower at his mother's in Digby (now that he has bathroom reno experience under his belt, he's in demand), and the work has helped to offset the effects of spending so much time at the dinner table.

My 97-year-old grandmother is still enjoying visits from her family, though she can't see very much and can hear even less. Dad is continuing to bask in the warm glow of his career-best 29-point cribbage hand, and we celebrated with a spaghetti dinner hosted by Abbie and Ross right at the location where he counted the big two-nine - Ross's garage. Tshirts, custom designed by David Batistella, were distributed and Dad accepted all kudos with aplomb. I can still skunk him big-time, and do. And my nephew Will's cribbage game is so improved that he pretty much squashed us all like bugs at one time or another during his stay. Following in the family way. I have to say that I won the mini crib tournament, partly because everyone else was distracted by the lobster dinner.

There's been lots of lobster consumed this summer, and lots of people to visit with. Anna and Tom visited, Dad's friends Clare and Maryanne from Toronto, Marianne and Diana, my cousin Cathy and Gary from Michigan, Laurie (the Homeowner!) and David and Hadley and Will swelled the ranks and along with Anna they were the only brave ones to swim (wetsuits), and there was lots of local family and neighbours and friends to eat and drink and play with. And the season isn't over yet, really.

The leftover wind and rain from tropical storm Hannah passed over this morning, and it's clearing already. We've been watching the parade of tropical storms march off the coast of Africa and turn into hurricanes, and it seems that part of our attention is always with the boat in Antigua. So far, so good, though if the storms go elsewhere, we know that there's other islands bearing the brunt and it's never good.

We're here for another month, heading to Toronto on October 21. We'll spend a couple of days there, and fly to Antigua on the 25th. I've started packing already, partly because I need to get a grip on how much stuff is going back with us, and how much it will bloody cost us to haul this gear on a plane.

What's next? Unless something unforeseen comes up, we're planning to enter Antigua Classic Regatta in April 09. Before then, we have to find an appropriate place to celebrate my 50th birthday in November. Maybe wallowing in hot springs in Dominica? Maybe fabulous French food in Les Saintes? Somehow I don't feel too bad about this big birthday.

(thanks to Gary Andrejak for some of the photos)

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