fragile infras

So Block Island was in a mess. Verizon DSL internet wasn't working nor were cell phones. Service is always marginal, but this was just plain not happening. Credit cards couldn't be processed, people couldn't work, tenants were calling me wondering if I'd changed my password. A mess. You can hear about that here.
  It was a desert island. No communication except by boat. We were reminded of the island's dependence on a very few monopolies.
  Douglas went on a riff. I believed him at first.
 If Interstate wasn't running the ferry service, we would be, um, dead in the water. There would be no mail and nothing in the grocery store. And speaking of the only grocery store on the island, run by Mary Jane, we are dependent on that too.


proof positive

 This goes to prove that everything looks beautiful in certain light. Even a mess.
       The reason everything on that side of the room is a mess is because I painted the floor on the other side of the room.  So, yeah.


wait, wait!

Why is it that no one says, "But you couldn't possibly be a grandmother!" Oh well. Meanwhile doing a double take when I see the pic above. Yes, that is my granddaughter. There are few around who remember me when, but those who do are stomguzzled. (Gobsmacked) (Stunned) Glasses and all.


the gray goose

 A hint of pink remains, but the Goose is now mostly gray. The color looks different on every side in every light, so it's hard to figure what to do with the trim—what little there is of it. Thinking green. Lime or avacado. Pink makes the gray look blue.
   And in news of yet more exotic places, Ali Chiu has taken her show and her family on the road in Europe and is writing a great travelblog.


before or after?


I'm pretty sure I like it better with the trailer, but I'll see what develops. Don't see much use for a pergola except for decoration.



The crew erects what turns out to be a pergola rather than a pavilion.

Proof negative
 They began erecting woodhenge across the street from me yesterday, where Bear's house was. Meanwhile, I worried about the drift of paint chips in my yard, figuring that some of the paint was so old it must be lead or casein, a milk-based paint once used. I planned to rake up and dispose of the chips and bury the dust. Then my lead-testing kit was delivered. You dip the swabs in vinegar, whereupon they turn yellow, and then rub them on the surfaces you are testing. If they turn red or purple, lead is present. If not, you're damn lucky!
After working on the pergola, Jacob and Austin came over here.


meanwhile in bi

This not Block Island. It's pouring in Block Island. This is Missouri.
This is Camilla in Block Island. Those are not her crutches, but her cousin William's. He did in his foot tripping over a volleyball anchor on the beach.

It was quite the family party when Camilla's uncle (and my stepson) Adam, 49, arrived on the island from California with his daughters.

Camilla's other uncle, Simon, 15, was already on the island, pining for mainland wifi.
A happy Claudia's Surf City tenant and his sunrise catch off of Scotch Beach. That fish looks bigger than the girl. Oddly, John is from Missouri, and he and I switch places during the summer. We've never met. I think he must be from the East Coast originally. This would make about the perfect Missouri Tinder photo if he was single and the fish was fresh water.


visiting fireman

Enviro journalist Denise came visiting from Kansas City, and we engaged in some parallel play on our computers over breakfast. She made $30 for her work, while I paid $20 for mine. How the mighty have fallen!


moon child

Virginia does not like this picture, but it is my favorite, because of her exuberance.
Hesitantly, Virginia asked me if I could help her put something in the paper about the birth of her daughter, 50 years ago today.
  Hell yeah! If it weren't for Virginia and her husband Randy, I wouldn't be here now. They salvaged as much as they could of the Goose after the flood and helped me rebuild.  So could I do her a favor? How about a thousand favors?
   So I wrote this:

Most people who are old enough remember where they were when man first set foot on the moon. But Virginia of Thomasville has a special reason to remember that day: She was giving birth to her daughter Annamaria. Virginia’s husband Randy was in the waiting room as she labored. “I didn’t really want to come in, because Neil Armstrong was getting out of the spaceship,” he jokes. An estimated 530 million people were also glued to the TV. But the eagle had landed in the delivery room too, and Anna was born. They called her their Moon Baby. Anna grew up and went to college and married and had Luke and Randi. She worked at MODOT for 17 years before leaving to join her husband, Randy (there are a lot of them here), at White Church Equipment in Pomona. Today, she turns 50. They celebrate with Moon Pies. Happy birthday, Moon Baby! 

Where were you? I was at a cafe on the square in Dwight, Il, with my friend Laura. It was her hometown. It was also Diana Oughton's hometown, and the following March, Diana would blow herself up in a Greenwich Village apartment while building a bomb for the Weather Underground. Needless to say, the Dwight folk knew each other. I had mixed feelings about the moon landing. It was a time when protesters thought the US was devoting too much money to the military industrial complex (Vietnam) and the moon race, and not enough to ending discrimination against blacks and women. And yet I was a science fiction buff whose first thought was, "We've only just now gotten to the moon?
   A month later, I was at Woodstock.
   The year of 1969 was a vintage year, for Virginia and Anna and me. 
I'm so excited! It's been forever since I was in print on paper! And Page 1!


sisters in law

Auntie Barb and Mom
At barely 17, my mother married, my father left Paris Island and his bride for the war (Okinawa, WWII), and my mother went to live with his mother and younger sister in Alabama. My cousin Glenn sent me this picture of her mother and mine, saying how remarkably similar we look to our mothers in old age. That's a little convoluted. Anyway, the mysteries of genealogy have always escaped me, and all I can think of is that I am blood related to both of these women, and Glenn only to one of them and yet to me.


one step forward

Jacob with bleach bottle
 It looks like it snowed in my yard. Also on my new deck and car (not pictured). None of us had any idea the paint would peel off so much and blast so far.
   Now the yard needs to be powerwashed.


jailhouse rock

Powerwashing and bleaching
 I guess we can all agree that almost anything would be better than this. The front is (mostly) pink, but the rest of it looks like this. Yeah. So it will be painted, and I was going to go for pink again until I found out that the Goose was once the hoosegow. Yes, in the late 1800s it was a jail, according to a 96-year-old lady who stopped to chat with me. Her grandfather kept records of all that went on in Thomasville, and this building was erected in 1889. The windows were cut out later, when it became a filling station, a cafe with an apartment upstairs and, "the old post office," as one local calls it. But jailhouse. Let's rock with that. I now think gray. I'm ready to perk it up with violent trim. I'll take votes on that.

After powerwashing

The grays. Going with the less blue one, bottom.


sprucing the goose, part 12 million

See how dark that untreated wood is? Well, after just ten years in place, it also had big holes and spongy places. So we decided to switch it out. Sadly it was under construction while Erin was here, so she didn't get much use of it. We bought just enough wood, and now it's perfect. I have yet to style it (awaiting painting of the front), but with the workers I have, that will happen soon!


goose duck duck

 There were a few odd ducks at Blue Spring on Saturday. Well, there were a lot of them.


on deck

 So the deck kind of needed replacing. Like, there were big holes in the boards, which were only installed ten years ago. But anyway, off with the old, on with the new (treated) wood. The remaining old wood has been ripped off, and the new wood is sitting in a pile underneath. Erin and I bought the wood, and then drove two blocks to the float outfit. By the time we got there the 12-foot boards were almost coming out of the five-foot truck bed. Yikes! But then we floated down the Eleven Point River in kayaks for a couple of hours, seeing no humans, but an otter and herons and minnows—without either of us dumping, though I came close. The river was about a foot high and still a bit murky, but where the springs fed it it was clear aqua and cold. When we got back to the truck, Erin rearranged and restrapped the boards, and we drove home at 40 mph


the guest room is ready

"My sister is going to divorce me if I don't visit Thomasville," my sister said. I have had very few of my near and dear here since I bought the Goose ten years ago. My brother, Chris, has been here and helped me build it out. My daughter and family have been here. A couple friends driving through have stopped. Granted, you get half of my bedroom—and now with sleeping quarters downstairs! But this is the summer of guests. Starting today, when my sister arrives—if her plane ever gets off the ground.


about the weather

 Sailors and farmers and islanders and people who live in flood zones always keep a weather eye out. Oh, also mountain climbers. So being many of these, forgive me if I pay too much attention to the weather. But it's so violent and dramatic here! And spotty. I can have a deluge and two miles away—nada. So the day before yesterday a really ominous shark of a cloud swam over T'ville. But no rain. Then yesterday there was a sudden and torrential downpour. It hit Dianne's farm too; her day's haying was undone. So today she posted a meme, "If you every feel like you have control over your life, just start a farm."


setting fourth

Isaac and Camilla at the Fourth of July parade in Block Island

The de rigeur watermelon in Eames chair photo

Guests arrive for hot dogs, hamburgers, ketchup, corn, watermelon etc.

People from all over, including Randy, arrive to hear Dawson Hollow, a band categorized as indie-folk, who were surprisingly good,  and watch fireworks.


no pot to piss in

This is Randy. He's my go-to guy when I'm in desperate straits. As I was when I could hear that the kitchen sink, the bathtub and the toilet were all gurgling when water went down any drain—they are all connected. Randy always reminds me that he's a Hatfield, so I don't want to get on his bad side. He came over and we experimented. We finally ascertained that the septic tank was full. Why, I don't know, unless the field was damaged in the flood. This was Friday.
So I called in Bobby of King John to come on over with the honey wagon and pump out the septic tank. He couldn't come until Tuesday. No showers, no dishes, not much flushing for four days. But the pumpout didn't help.
So then I called in Bill, a contractor who has been doing a lot of work in Thomasville since the flood. He had the temerity to buy a piece of Bill Dugan's land Right Next to the River, even after seeing up close and personal what the river did to us. He wants to write a book seeing himself through the eyes of his dogs. He also wanted to know if I was a liberal. "Of course, I said. I'm from New York!" "DeBlasio," he spat. I said, "Us New Yorkers don't like DeBlasio mush more than Trump. Familiarity breeds contempt." And we left it there, because I knew from Dugan that he was a Trumpster. He diagnosed my problem as being in the pipe leading to the septic tank.

Bill brought in one of his guys, Jeffrey, to try to blow out the line with a blast of water. Jeffrey asked me if I knew who owned the trailer across the street. I told him it was Bear (not that he's set foot in it, as far as I can tell), and then Jeffrey blurrted out his life story. He's 55 and has been living in his car for the last three weeks. He broke up with his wife of 30 some years (he was her second husband when she married him at 18). He paid big money to put her through rehab a decade ago. She's been clean since, but lately she's been catting around and sending money to Nigeria, which he suspects is a scam. Anyway, the water could not blast out the blockage. The next step was a rotor rooter. Or digging up the line.
Michael, another of Bill's guys, was fortuitously coming out to Thomasville and could rent a rotor rooter. He and Jeffrey rooted around and—came up with roots! Surprise! A nearby tree had grown into the line. It seems like they had found the root of the problem. And my problems were gone like water down the drain. For now!
I have detected a certain amount of boredom with my homeowner's problems on the part of my dear readers. I can't imagine why. Let's just leave it that I'll be back to entertainments and scenery soon, but not quite yet.