And The Tide Will Rise

March
4
2014

 

We learned something new about the tides when we moved to our place in Maryland this past October.  And we learned it the hard way.  It’s called the King Tide phenomenon.  It’s the highest of high tides, and occurs when the gravitational forces of the sun, the moon and the Earth’s rotation align perfectly.

This is how it started out when John and Gene went fishing the morning of October 3, 2014.

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And a little while later:

Little Choptank 2014 K Oct, Nov and other pics 062

The tide kept creeping up all day, Gene wasn’t even sure where the road was when he left that evening.

But here’s where we went wrong, the next day we wanted to run a few chores.  We had a Mazda Tribute, a high enough vehicle we thought, so a little water wouldn’t be a problem.  But this is what it looked like the next day:

Little Choptank 2014 K Oct, Nov and other pics 084

Little Choptank 2014 K Oct, Nov and other pics 086

We went out anyway, and found that even the main road was full of water:

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When we returned home we realized that our driveway had gotten considerably worse, but we decided to plow through.

 

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And so, here is where the Mazda died.

Little Choptank 2014 K Oct, Nov and other pics 080

Our expensive lesson was that not only was the engine flooded, it was beyond repair.  It would have cost more to fix than the car was worth, and needless to say, when the King Tide comes around again, we’ll be staying home!

Today’s update:  We just got our house plans back from the draftsman!  We are very excited and will finally be starting our journey to build our dream home!  We’ll have plenty of info on it in the near future, stay tuned!

 

What’s Going On

July
9
2014

 

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written in a month or so. And by “month or so” I mean since May. Our move is getting closer, and we are getting busier.  But here’s a run-down of what we’ve been doing.

We took a little vacation in May, and went to one of our favorite places, Montauk.  It was our anniversary….35 years!!…so amidst all our other work, we decided to take the time to celebrate.  It was wonderful!  It was right before Memorial Day, so the crowds hadn’t arrived yet, everything was open for the season, and best of all, the prices hadn’t gone sky-high yet!

Here's the view from our room

Here’s the view from our room

We stayed right in town at the Royal Atlantic, and truthfully, I’ve never seen Montauk so empty!

The view to the left

The view to the left

The fishing was a little off due to the long winter we all had, but the weather was just great, cool in the mornings and nights, and hot during the day.  Just what we wanted.

View to the right

View to the right

Here is a view of the place from the beach…..

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk,  Long Island

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk, Long Island

 

We saw the world’s biggest flip-flop in town:

Montauk Anniversary Trip 049

Here’s the famous Montauk Lighthouse:

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk Lighthouse

We also walked around the outside of the Lighthouse on the water side, the large boulders placed there for that purpose are really amazing!  That was some good planning there!

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

And here’s a familiar sight when you gaze out to sea:

Fishing boat

Fishing boat

And if you were more adventurous:

Shark Cage Diving

Shark Cage Diving

We weren’t.  We spent our time fishing from the safety of the beach and drinking margaritas.  We also ate out every night.  There’s a Chinese Restaurant in Montauk called Wok and Roll.  If you bring them the fish you caught that day, they’ll cook it for you.  They offer about 10 different ways they’ll prepare it, the place is very popular.  We didn’t have our own “catch” to bring them, but the dinner was delicious anyway.

Earlier in May, I was busy helping our tenant move out.  We have a little condo in town where my mom lived for six years before she passed away.  Our tenant was pretty good, we had a few bumps along the way,  but she’s on state aid,  she doesn’t drive and she needed some help getting around to look at new apartments.  The state also cut her rent allowance, and finding something acceptable was a little difficult.  So, I’d take her around to look at apartments, and finally when we finally found one, we had to go back and forth for her to look inside the apartment, pick up paperwork, drop off her state papers, sign the paperwork, get back the paperwork for the state to look at, and pick up the keys.  Could these things have been done in fewer trips??  I would have thought so.  But no.  All different trips to the apartment, which is not that close by,  and we had to make “appointments,” we couldn’t just pop in for them to hand her the keys.  Anyway, when she finally moved,  we had to clean up the apartment to put it on the market.  It’s a cute little place, it’s the first floor unit at the end on the right side…. and there aren’t that many condo places in this town, so hopefully it’ll sell soon.

Condo

Condo

My mom had wall to wall carpeting,  so we actually never saw what floor was there.  We were happily surprised to find a wood floor, which we had refinished!  It’s looks really nice!

Bedroom

Bedroom

Our tenant was a smoker, so the kitchen cabinets were kind of messy.  They cleaned up pretty well, I think:

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our realtor was very happy with the before and after, so she’s optimistic it won’t be on the market too long.

Also, in May and June, we made trips to Maryland, bringing down some “stuff.”  Stuff you don’t want to pack up and take the chance it’ll get broken.  But of course while we’re there, we get to enjoy the place!  Our daughter Chrissy even came to visit during one of our trips there, and that was a treat!   We all went fishing, and Chris wound up catching this stingray, which we later learned is one that they are trying to get rid of!  It eats the crabs and oysters that are the livelihood of the watermen down in the Chesapeake and it’s tributaries.  We didn’t know it at the time… we let him go.

Chrissy caught this ray

Chrissy caught this ray

We fished a couple of times.  One calm day we spent out in the Chesapeake.  We caught a few fish, some were small and we threw them back, but we had a few keepers.  There was some interesting boat traffic:

The tanker and the fishing boat - sounds like a children's book

The tanker and the fishing boat – sounds like a children’s book

 

John found a terrapin in our driveway, so he brought him down by the beach to show me.  He sat there for a minute all tucked in his shell, and then ran as fast as he could to the water.  It was hysterical! I didn’t think a turtle could move that quickly!

Turtle

Turtle

Run....run for your life!

Run….run for your life!

Safe at last

Safe at last

We enjoyed our sunsets:

Little Choptank Sunset

Little Choptank Sunset

Afterglow

Afterglow

sunset

And we enjoyed our dinner:

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer's market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer’s market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

And of course, we’re also packing up and getting our house worked on.  We just had the garage painted and epoxy put on the floor.  It looks terrific, I wish we’d done it years ago!  And…my cousin finally sold her house, so they’ll also be moving down in a month or so.  Such excitement!  Such a new adventure for the four of us! We can hardly wait!

choptank sunset

Weekend in Maryland

November
20
2013

We went to our place in Maryland for a long weekend and it was just glorious.  We visited with one neighbor for coffee, and we went out to dinner with another.  It poured two nights, but well after we went to bed, it made me think of the song Camelot, where it doesn’t rain till after sundown.  Two mornings were very foggy (it’s supposed to disappear by 8) but it was very interesting looking and it cleared enough for us to go fishing on Sunday.

But first, our winter sunset.  It’s over the trees this time of year instead of over the water, but still beautiful.

We arrived at sunset

We arrived at sunset

We woke up to a thick fog where you couldn’t tell the sky from the water.  As it cleared a bit, we found we had some visitors.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 025

Who then made themselves right at home.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 026

It stayed foggy most of the day, but we didn’t mind relaxing and reading and putzing.  (That’s John, he likes to putz.  Or he is a putz, one or the other, I forget.)  We also had a nice visit from our neighbor, Judy, who came over for coffee.

Sunday, we were determined to go fishing.  The weather was supposed to be warm and sunny, and we were a bit surprised when it was also kind of foggy.  We had to wait for the tide anyway, and as it got a little later, the fog started to clear.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 034

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 033

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 035

This is across the water from our place.  It looks like a painting with the fog.  It’s such a cute little building, and we always wonder who lives there.

As we headed out to the Chesapeake, the fog was still hanging onto the water.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 040

We hardly saw this guy till he got a little closer.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 039

But then it cleared, and we went out to find some stripers!  Or as people in Maryland refer to them, rockfish.   This is the big prize, since they have to be a certain size in order to keep, plus some of us who aren’t that crazy about eating fish (me) will eat striped bass.

These we caught out in Montauk one year, one of our FAVORITE places to go on vacation.

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Our little family of fisherpersons:

Copy (2) of Montauk Vacation July 22-29, 06 148

And this one John and our friend Bill caught last summer, right out in the Chesapeake.

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And this one John caught last December! He was fishing with our electrician, Rick, in the Chesapeake.

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So, anyway, we’re no strangers to catching them.  And did we catch any you may ask?  Um…. no.  We didn’t.  We caught two crab buoys.  Which we certainly didn’t intend to catch.  And we caught a giant net that must have broken off a commercial fishing boat, it was so big!  We could hardly lift it, so we didn’t bring it into the boat, but I wish I took a picture.  You know what I could’ve said then….   nothing but net.

We did see a pretty sailboat though.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 fixed 043

And we caught the sunset as we were flying home to get in before it got too dark.  It was such a nice weekend, we really can’t wait till we move down there.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 048

 

 

 

The Gator

October
9
2013

 

Guess what this is:

Little Choptank 2012 May 2-7 004

Believe it or not, it’s a Polaris 4×4 ATV.  Want to see it what it’s supposed to look like?

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Yep, it’s unbelievable but true.  We brought one of our ATV’s to a dealership in Maryland to be serviced and a few days later we got a call.  The area in the back of the building had a fire, and our vehicle, along with three others was totally destroyed!  Here are some of the others:

Little Choptank 2012 May 2-7 002

Ours is in the middle.  Nice, huh?  They never really figured it out, although they think someone threw a “molotov” cocktail, but they don’t know who or why.   Well, the truth is, these vehicles are more suited to the place we had in Pennsylvania.  There was more acreage, more hills and trails, and we used them mostly for riding and fun.

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Here’s John’s mom on it, she was 86!  Don’t worry, he was doing the driving.

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At first we thought we would just replace the ATV with another ATV.  The kids do enjoy riding them, even though in Maryland there isn’t as much land as there was in PA, and it’s pretty flat.  Very flat.  Still fun, but not the same.  And we do still have the one.  So we decided to go out looking and see what’s new in the ATV market.  And then we saw the “Gator.”

Little Choptank 2012 J August 12-19 051

Here’s the traditional color from John Deere:

Little Choptank 2012 J August 12-19 056

It was like we were made for each other!  Now that we’re old more mature, we loved the back for carrying things around, and we loved that it was a four-seater, so we could haul our friends and family around too!

Little Choptank 2013 A Jan 5-7 001

It’s so useful! And comfortable!  We ride it down to the beach in the morning to have our coffee and muffins. John packs it up with all our fishing gear and coolers when we’re going out on the boat.  It’s very convenient.

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And it has the other vehicle to keep it company.

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Jackson took this picture of John and I, inspecting the trees and fence:

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I know, it’s crazy, but we love our Gator.

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Back to Reality

September
18
2013

 

It was not easy coming back to “reality”. We spent a little more than a month in Maryland, the site of our future home. It was the first time ever in our 32 years of married life that John took off so much time in a row. We love it there, we truly do, but we wondered, will we get bored? It is in some ways a quieter life. There are less stores, and as of now, no internet to speak of. Will we regret that we picked this place to retire to? We both grew up in New York, John in Brooklyn, me in Queens, and just moving early in our married life to Long Island was a big adjustment. How will it be moving to a more remote area? Well, suffice it to say, we didn’t want to come back.

It is quieter in some respects, but much more active. A lot of our time is spent outside down there. We cook and eat outside more, we kayak, we fish, we ride our “Gator” up to the mailbox. We take our coffee down to the beach in the morning to look for the herons and plan our day. Some days we plan a trip to the dump! Yep, then it’s Dump Day! Even that’s an experience. We have so much to explore since the area is new to us. So if the weather is rainy or cold and windy, we’ll take a drive and explore a new town. We found a restaurant in a cute waterfront town with a little gift shop, and bought a pretty piece by a local artist to hang over our bed.

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 444

I don’t think we were bored for one single minute!  And even though I was (and still am)  recuperating from knee surgery, we still managed to do a lot and keep ourselves occupied.  We kind of figured – but now we know for sure, that we have absolutely no regrets about moving there.  Actually, we can hardly wait!

But first, back to reality.  And the reality is, John is very busy with work.  And the house up here needs updating, sprucing up, and cleaning out.  It needs work  that today’s young “marrieds” and lots of bloggers are finding fun, but which to me are just a chore.  Cleaning out 22 years of living in one house, yikes!  Like George Carlin once joked, our stuff has stuff!  And when we first move to Maryland, we’ll be living in the little Crab Shack – most likely for a year – while we interview builders and get the house built.  As a result, so many things will need to be stored, but… not everything.  So packing up now has to be divided into what will come to the Crab Shack, what I might need sometime, but I don’t have room for IN the crab shack so has to be stored close by, and what can wait till the house is built.  And then there’s also the “kid’s” stuff.  And by kids I mean two grownups who have left a lot of their treasured belongings here at the house.  Some they can take now, some they also don’t have room for yet, so that has to be stored in Maryland. But it means waiting till they can go through all that stuff.  I ought to buy stock in plastic bins at the rate we’re buying them!

This and That 2013 079

But at the end of all this clean up and clean out…. ah….   paradise.  At least to us.

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 095

“What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You”

August
14
2013

Book Review

 

I was surprised to learn that you can expect to make 1500 decisions when you are building a new home.  Scary!  Especially when you don’t really like making decisions anyway! The author tells us, “Your choices are infinite when you start, so design is more a process of de-selecting than selecting.” The author, Amy Johnston, guides us through this process.  She says owners will be entering a culture that is much less straight forward than it appears, and everyone in that culture knows more than we do. And added to that are all the new relationships, deadlines, quality standards and more money than we’ve spent on probably anything else, and it becomes a huge undertaking that most people don’t know how to prepare for, and few have wanted to tell us. Until now.

If you are planning on building a house, (and by building I mean hiring contractors and builders to do the actual work) or even if you are just thinking about building your dream home, this book is a must to have on hand.  Ms Johnston says, “This book is not about how to swing a hammer, or even how to be your own general contractor.  It is about how to be a savvy consumer of design and construction services and a competent participant in your own project.” And she does not disappoint.

Her advice covers how to start a project, including picking the people on your team, from bankers to surveyors. It also talks about the project plan, how to keep good notes and information, and how to distinguish between needs and wants.  She also suggests (and this really is great advice) be true to yourself and the way you really live, accept your own lifestyle.  For instance, if you spend the evenings watching TV (like we do), don’t make the fireplace the focal point in the room the TV is in.  And I don’t know about you, but I can’t really understand the TV over the fireplace design element.  I would think your neck would hurt by the end of the evening, plus it seems to “take away” from both items!

My well used book

My well used book

Ms. Johnston suggests not to ignore the tried and true.  Yes, newer and sometimes even more efficient designs, materials, supplies and equipment come on the market every day, some are great, but some will be off the market in a few years.  You don’t want to try to replace a broken part or find someone to fix it then, which is especially true in heating and air conditioning.

She discusses and helps with how to work together as a couple and make more balanced choices, how to provide more details so the project runs smoother and how to work well with a contractor and/or architect.  Also, what gets you the most bang for your buck, and cost estimating and budgets.  She talks about contract structures (I spoke about that in a previous post), putting the contract out to bid, insurance, rules for change orders (there are 4 kinds), permits and the way to monitor your project.  Her advice is invaluable and will save you both time and money.  And hopefully, you (and I) will be a more educated homeowner, and wind up with a project that runs much more smoothly than it would have.

Enjoy the sunset.

 

Sunset on the Little Choptank River

Sunset on the Little Choptank River

Looking Out My Back Door

August 7, 2013

We are spending August in Maryland, at our future (semi) retirement property.  We’re very comfy, with our garage, our dock and our “Crab Shack”, but what we don’t really have is great internet. Or even good internet.  It’s a problem down here because there isn’t enough people (a/k/a customers) to warrant internet providers installing anything like we’re used to (Fios)  – or anything at all, really.  So, it’s on our list of things to research this month because as much as we would love to have good service now, we’ll absolutely need it once we move here.  (Probably spring of next year.)  John’s job depends on it, plus really,  how could we live without it at this point!

So, all this to say, I plan on posting probably once a week until after Labor Day, and hopefully on Wednesday.  I hope you’ll visit each week, and if you have some ideas about getting good – and by good I mean fast – internet service, please let me know!  This is serious, people!

Here are some pictures of what I see from my back door….

Sunset, first day of vacation

Sunset, first day of vacation

Little Choptank 2013 H August 2 to Sept 006

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Light's fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

Light’s fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

 

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Sundown.  Or sun's down.  Sounds more grammatically correct.

Sundown. Or sun’s down. Sounds more grammatically correct.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

 

 

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

 

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

 

Aren't they cute!  If they grow, we'll plant  more.

Aren’t they cute! If they grow, we’ll plant more.

Okay, that’s it for now.  It took me two days to be able to get this post up!  So put on your thinking caps, we need some good internet ideas for rural areas.  We’re using either my Ipad hotspot, or John’s phone’s hotspot, but the service is spotty.  We could use the MiFi from Verizon, but the service would be the same as the Verizon hotspot we’re using now, I assume.  So if anyone has a Hughes Satellite, I’d be interested to hear if that’s a good option.  Thanks!

Our Kayak Trip

June
26
2013

One of the (many) benefits when we finally move to our place in Maryland will be that we can take advantage of the calm weather to take the kayak out.  It is frequently windy, and even if there is a slight breeze, it makes it harder to paddle.  And for a couple of our visits over the past few months, it was not only windy, but rainy as well.  Except last time.  It was a beautiful, calm day and we took advantage of it.

Little Choptank 2013 F June 6 to 10 034wtmk

Little Choptank 2013 F June 6 to 10 021wtmk

This is just across the little cove.  The storms have knocked down a lot of the trees.

Little Choptank 2013 F June 6 to 10 029wtmk

This is way over on the other side of the river, look how calm it is!  Isn’t that little house cute?  I’d love to see the inside!

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Damage from all the storms just wear away the land. I wonder how long till that little piece is gone all together.

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There are a lot of osprey in the area, they build their nests on the channel markers, or in the trees, or on stands that people put up just for them!  This one belongs to our neighbor.

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Kids love collecting these snails.  There are oysters around also.  And of course, crabs.  But this day, only the snails posed for a picture.

Little Choptank 2013 F June 6 to 10 037wtmk

And on our way back in, we got such a treat!  The white heron came into the cove to search for some food.  If you get too close, they fly away, so we were on the other side of the cove taking this picture.

We’re thinking this is what our retirement is all about.  What a beautiful morning!

What a time it was!

June
13
2013

 

 
We had big excitement a couple weeks ago.  Our “baby” (Christine) graduated from George Washington University Law School.  Yep, a lawyer in the family. It was an awesome weekend, with the school graduation on the National Mall in D.C., and Kerry Washington as the commencement speaker.  It started off a little rainy, but we didn’t let that dampen our excitement.  Or our enthusiasm.

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Chrissy GW Law Graduation Jackson's Camera 007wtmk

 

The Law School part of it was inside, and by the time we came out, the day turned sunny and hot!

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Chris has worked so hard these past three years.  She did such a great job (ranked #26!)  and we’re so very proud of her! ( Great job, honey, we love you!)  There were eight of us enjoying the weekend,  Irene and Gene (she’s my cousin, and they are our best friends - and they are also building and moving to MD near us), Betty and Bill, our best friends and Chris’s godparents, Jackson, our son, John and I, and of course, Chris.   We partied and went out to eat over the weekend (multiple times), had a lot of laughs, a few drinks (well maybe multiple drinks) and all in all… had a wonderful time.

Then, that Monday after our exciting weekend, John and I celebrated our 34th anniversary! ( I love you sweetie, thanks for being such a great partner!)

Little Choptank 2013 May 20-22 027wtmk

Since Jackson was with us for the graduation, we talked him into joining us in Maryland for a couple of days to celebrate. (We love you also, hon.  There’s plenty of love to go around in this family.)

Little Choptank 2013 May 20-22 013wtmkHere he is, enjoying the 4-wheeler.

The three of us went fishing……

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and although we didn’t catch any fish that day, we were so lucky, because we got to see dolphins!!!  Enjoy the video!

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