The day before yesterday Hill and I took a little trip up to Halifax with Greg and Colin (AK, uncle Cooolin’), and stopped by Lee Valley where I picked up some very classy whetstones.

Yesterday morning, I made my cooking knife VERY sharp

Last night, while cooking dinner for Heidi and Rose out on middle island, I lost a good part of my finger to the bloody thing (after extolling the virtues of a sharp knife..  mainly that they are sooo much safer than the dull variety.  jack ass.)

Rose left the room with her head in her hands.

Dinner was delicious.

Misadventures in Nova Scotia (a short story for timmy c.)

The night before last I threw one of the oarlocks in the ocean.

When I get home from picking mussels, I put them in a bucket that I punched a bunch of holes in, which I then hang over the side of the dock so that they’re suspended in nice cold seawater..  this gives them a chance to clean themselves out, and keeps them nice and cold in the very same water they came from.  I generally pick more than is necessary for one meal and let them just coast there until I need them.  When we arrived this year, we looked high and low for the lid to my fancy custom bucket, but to no avail.  Gone.  This is where all the trouble started.

Without a lid, tossing the thing over the side of the dock would be a mistake, I thought.  Fine when you first put it in, but in this part of Nova Scotia we have up to 6 feet of tidal change..  Since you pick mussels at dead low tide, it follows that the first bunch of hours after you pick them..  the time when they’re hanging out in the bucket, the tide is rising.  And how.  Had to figure out a way for the bucket to rise with the tide so that the mussels wouldn’t end up back in the drink.  Hmm.  So, I hung the bucket off the oarlock over the side of the boat.  Brilliant.  Except that the oarlock didn’t have a little retention string on it to keep it from coming out.  So when I pulled the bucket up a few hours later, the oarlock came out and over the side of the boat.  Party foul.  It was pretty high tide when this happened, and there was no way to see to the bottom to fish the thing out.  Oh well.  Deal with it at low tide tomorrow, I thought.

But to tell the story properly, I probably need to back up a little more!  On our way to the island a few days ago, we stopped in chester basin to pick up the motor for our boat from the place where it spends the winter.  “It’s not ready.  No one called.”  I had never called BEFORE.  I guess someone else must have, divining our need for the thing, and doing us a solid without our even knowing it.  “Fine.  When will it be ready?”  “Tomorrow lunch”  Fine then.

So.  Yesterday morning, we woke up on the island with a motor boat with no motor and one oarlock.  Low tide had passed us by during the night and wasn’t going to roll around again until mid afternoon.  But!  we had places to be.  The first order of business was to help Greg and Collin put in a floating dock over at the Lewis’ place.  Then we would head back up to chester basin for the motor, do our food shopping for the first week on the way back, and hopefully arrive at the wharf in time to ferry the eastlink boys over to the island to put in broadband (still can’t quite believe it!!).

There was nothing to do for it but paddle the bloody thing across the gut like a gondola.  So that’s what we did.  The two of us standing up in the boat, me up on the bow like putney and Hill in the stern, paddling across the gut like a couple of idiots..  no life jackets, no motor, no oarlocks, no sense.  The boat has a slow leak AND it had been raining all night, so it had about 200lbs of water in it, and was handling like a barge.  Greg and Collin were waiting for us on the wharf, cracking up and taking pictures..  “that’s just how us yankees do it, boys!”

We got the floating dock in the water, and took off for chester.  Motor was ready to go, and we high tailed it back.  Got groceries and some new oarlocks, just in case.  Back to the warf.  I hefted the motor down the ladder (lowish tide now) and got it on the boat.  Connected the gas and started it up.  I left hill ferrying stuff from the car down to the warf, and took off on a quick spin around the bay to empty the water out of the boat.  There’s a plug at the back of most little motor boats, and due to some amazing trick of physics if you pull the thing out and go like hell, all the water in the boat just gets sucked out the back.  The big trick is remembering to put the plug back in BEFORE you stop going like hell.  If you don’t, the boat will fill up in a hurry.  Glug glug.  Happily, I remembered this and when the motor sputtered to a stop out in the middle of the bay I dove into foot deep water in the back of the boat, found the hole, and plugged it up.  “Fuck.”

I tried to restart the motor.  Pull chord wouldn’t even budge.  “Oh COME ON!”  Opened the thing up to take a look.  Then remembered that I know NOTHING about motors, and realized that looking at it probably wasn’t going to help.  It was also right about then that I noticed how hard the wind was blowing and how quickly I was drifting AWAY from where I wanted to be.  “Oh ha ha..  very funny,” I thought, and jumped up on the bow again with one of the oars and started paddling.

Let’s fast forward twenty minutes or so, and not dwell too much on some of the swear words I developed while paddling the barge back into the wind to get back to land.  (me.. in nova scotia..  taking it easy.  Right.  $#%@  !#@%  %$%#!!)

We’ll resume with me, at the dock on the island bailing the boat with a bucket (“grumble grumble, “fuckin’ half-assed operation..”), so that it would be a little lighter for the paddle back across the gut to pick up Hill and the groceries.

Paddle paddle.  Hill.  Groceries.  Paddle paddle..  unload Hill.  Groceries.

Finally, having found the missing oarlock and fished it out, I went inside to eat the first meal of the day.  Avocado and chedder on cheese bread.  I lay down on the day bed.   Opened up my book and held it in front of me while I dozed off.  Phone rang.  “Baby, it’s eastlink.  They’ll be at the warf in ten minutes.”

This malarchy went on for pretty much the rest of the afternoon, and involved multiple trips back and forth ferrying a couple of rather large eastlink boys, but that seems as good a place as any to end the story.  All is well that ends well, and by the end of the day we had high speed internet and a really yummy dinner.

new orleans

We found some hail while we were down in NO.  Big concord grape sized bits of it hammering down.  Beautiful..  Glad though that we had just made it home when it really opened up!

The first leg of our trip went well. In North Cakilakee, Hill’s grandparents had their 60 wedding anniversary (!!), and managed to gather the whole family for the event, including the New England contingent (me). It feels as though I was there pretty recently, but it had actually been almost 2 years. The time warp of cancer treatment. I think it sucks so bad, that your brain just erases that entire period of time and compresses it. Merciful memory.

Down in NO, we ate. And dodged hail. Got to visit my little sister who is renting a super beautiful shit hole of a house in Bywater. Her BF, Octo-papi (ak Octavio.. a prince among men), and I made a couple types of ceviche and some steak tacos. The bath tub in the back was my grill. Po Boys to fine dining at the place that employs the two of them (domenica), we sort of did it all. One of the best stops was actually on our way to the airport.. a place called Cochon Butcher.  They make all sorts of great sausage and cured meat..  good pickles as well.  GREAT sandwiches.  Thanks, mouse, octo-papi, leah, hope, jeremiah.

Now back in NYC, to do a couple of loads of laundry.  This morning I’ll go pick up a rental car, and we’ll take off for NS.  It’s a bit of a haul to get up there, but by tuesday evening we will have arrived, gotten the boat in the water, the motor on the boat, the house opened up, and we’ll be sitting on the dock eating mussels (likely in the pouring rain, but it won’t matter a bit).

I’m feeling pretty well.  My big toes still haven’t healed up from the erbitux.  I have pretty persistent sciatica on the left side.  And I’ve developed a strange new sort of neuropathy in the hands and feet.  Swollen (can’t get my wedding band off..  right after surgery it was FALLING off on its own!), and tingly.  Hmm.  Hope that goes away.  All told, though, I’m better by the day.  Energy is coming back.  I’m back to my incredibly burly 145 lbs (kidding aside, I think all that lifting of heavy machines jump-started my return to some strength.  My level of fitness, on the other hand..   I still get winded climbing the stairs to the bedroom).  Pain, of the particular sort that came with the chemo, is gone.  One quick flash of it while I was in NO, after a long day of travel, but other than that, nothing.  I am off all meds.  Nice not to have to take any pills at all. Two weeks of real rest in NS will do wonders, I think.

Off to get the car.

Big love.

gettin’ out of dodge.

Hill and I are hitting the road tomorrow, in some spanky new glasses.  North Carolina, then New Orleans, then back to NYC for a day and on to Nova Scotia.  A well needed vacation for both of us.  It’s been a real hustle getting ready to go over the last few days, but it’ll be well worth it.  Not sure how much I’ll be writing or flickring while I’m gone, but I’ll catch you all up when I get back.

The back half of this last week it really started to catch up with me.  I’ve been working pretty hard, and my body isn’t really quite up to it yet.  Feeling a little old and broken down, but surprising myself by how much I’m able to do.  It’s a little strange..  Moving heavy stuff is no problem, but anything that requires a little fitness is hopeless.  My legs are tired when I get to the top of the stairs.  Oh well.  Some salt air, and mussels will cure all ills!

Thank you all for staying tuned.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying twice..  Recovering from those bloody treatments is no picnic.  My last time around, the year of remission was a pretty depressing year.  I was listless..  working, but not at a good consistent pace.. distracted, etc.  You go from really actively DOING something about the cancer, to trying to pick up the pieces and to hoping it doesn’t come back.  This time around it’s actually hoping it doesn’t come back AGAIN.  Anyway.  Your support is a real help.  Thanks.

See you in some weeks.

Big love.