Moving Up in the World (Good Job Little Brother)

Bill walking our dogs Buffy and Candy in 1982
Bill walking our dogs Buffy and Candy in 1982 (Webster Groves, MO)

My brother, Bill, just switched jobs. It made the Kansas City, MO news:

“Polsinelli PC poached 10 lawyers from Husch Blackwell LLP this month, all in offices outside Kansas City.

A group of four Husch attorneys in Washington who specialize in government contracts started at Polsinelli on Monday. They include shareholders Daniel Donohue and Steven Weber and senior partners Claude Goddard and Walter Wilson.

That follows the addition of a four-lawyer corporate group in Chattanooga, Tenn., where Polsinelli has opened a new office, and three environmental litigators in St. Louis…

The St. Louis lawyers who moved to Polsinelli are shareholders William Curtis and Michael Wetmore and associate Marissa Curran…”

– Quoted from the Kansas City Business Journal (Paul Koepp, June 17, 2013)

It sounds like he made a good move. I’m sure it is a lot of work switching jobs. We all wish him good luck.

Congratulations Bill!

On the water again (a Father’s Day sail)

The view from my anchorage - don't mind the mess of the mainsail.
The view from my anchorage – don’t mind the mess of the mainsail.

We had a slow start to the day. Susanna didn’t get home from work last night until nearly midnight. I don’t sleep well until she is home.

So, we didn’t get the early start that we had planned, but sometimes it is important to sleep in.

I did some chores around the house in the morning, but by early afternoon I was ready to head back onto the water. This would be my first solo sail with the boat (and only the third time I’ve taken her out).

The wind was good. I was able to make about 3.5 knots with just the main up, and a little over 5 at times with both sails up. However, it is much easier to solo with just the main.  I also decided to anchor for a bit, just upriver from the bridges. It was a chance for a snack and to try out the anchor. The anchor held – and brought up with it a bunch of mud that I had to clean off back at the marina.

Today’s sail:

Distance: 8.2 NM
Total time: 3H 20M
Average Speed: 2.5 kts
Max Speed: 6.2 kts

Lesson’s learned: I need a bit more practice backing out of the marina. However, my landing was nearly perfect. At least better than the group of 4 guys that came sailing into the marina with both sails up. They didn’t take the sails down until way late, and bounced their boat off the dock. I couldn’t laugh too much – I wasn’t any more graceful departing.

I’ll have to work on getting the jib down single-handed. I wound up dunking it into the river. At least I didn’t dunk myself into the river.

The boat sails very well with just the main up – it is very well balanced.

It is a long drive down the river from the submarine base marina. Especially when you have to tack your way upwind.

In the water for the summer

"Carpe Diem" enjoying her summer home.
Our O’Day 22, “Carpe Diem,” enjoying her summer home.

Today I finally put the boat in the water for the summer. I reserved a slip at the submarine base for two months starting today.

The plan was to put the boat in the water right after work. However, there was a social at the officer’s club with free beer. So that took priority over putting the boat in the water.  But only for a bit.

I had parked the Jeep at the base marina and walked (and hitched a ride) to the social. I left the bar with Mark Matkovich (in his “much-better-at-towing-than-my-jeep” truck) and we headed home to pick up the boat and drove it down to the boat launch. It was much quicker this time than the previous launch. We had the boat in the water and the mast up in about 10 minutes after getting to the launch. It helps having two adults to do the launching and setup.

We took short trip up the river to the marina; spending a bit over an hour mostly motoring in the river. We did get the sail up for a little bit. Mark’s wife, Jessica, and baby, Michael, joined us for the trip. We even got to enjoy pizza with Susanna at her work after the sail.

So here is the trip for today. The GPS track seems a bit screwy. We didn’t change altitude that much.  Maybe the old iPhone can’t keep up with the navigation software.

Start Time: Jun 14, 2013, 6:24 PM
End Time: Jun 14, 2013, 7:38 PM

Active track info:

Distance: 4.2 NM
Total time: 1H 13M
Average Speed: 3.4 kts
Max Speed: 7.1 kts

[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/1371260541-11418.gpx”]

Sunday morning trains

Will working on his train setup
Will working on his train setup

Susanna and the boys pulled out a couple of boxes of my old O-gauge train set when they were cleaning up the loft yesterday.

Bill and I found the core of the train set when we were kids. Webster Groves used to have bulky waste pick up days once or twice a year (for all I know, they still do). As kids, we used to walk around the neighborhood the night before the pick-up and see if there was anything good being thrown out. Kind of a pre-craigslist.

One year, Bill and I found a full, working, Lionel train set. I eventually bought out Bill’s half of the set. Over the years, I have periodically added to the set.

This morning, Will and Ben decided to empty the boxes out and set up the trains. The only working engine barely runs these days, and some of the old cars are broken. But it was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.

The boys are now outside playing with the boy from next door. Will’s diorama is still intact. Susanna is sitting next to me on the couch, interrupting me as I try to write. I’m a guy; I can’t multitask at all. I guess it is payback for all the times I interrupt her when she is trying to play the piano. The dogs are outside, though I’m sure it won’t be too long before Tropical Storm Tucker wanders through Will’s town and flattens the trees and topples the train. Though hopefully the buildings stay dry – that would be a mess that I would rather not clean up.

Will's train diorama
The train after passing through Williamville

Sailboat – getting ready for the summer

The final life line installed on the O'day 22.  Now ready for the summer.
The final life line installed on the O’day 22. Now ready for the summer.

The forecast called for rain all day yesterday. But, if the weather people could predict the future, they would probably work in the stock market. And be rich.

The rain had stopped by the morning. The stream in the back of the yard was pushing over its banks and running over the stone bridge in the back yard. By the afternoon the yard had dried enough to do some chores.

It takes two people to attach the deck hardware on the sailboat. One topside keeping the bolts from turning, and one below with a wrench. Normally it is a chore to find an assistant.  Apparently tightening bolts isn’t the most exciting family activity. But yesterday I had a captive audience.  Will had gotten in trouble for hitting his brother yesterday – he was either stuck in his room or helping with chores. And apparently the most exciting chore available was to work on the boat. I’m not sure why he didn’t find cleaning the refrigerator exciting.

It took us no time to install the two stanchions and the one missing eye bolt. Now the boat is ready for the summer. Or, as ready as I plan on getting her this spring. Of course, she needs the bottom painted, new bulkheads made, a better paint job… the projects are endless. Just not for this summer.

The hope is to launch her next Friday or Saturday and leave her at the marina on the navy base until August.

Another Crazy Night at the Curtis House (Also called, “Sleepover”)

The rain is tapping on the roof and gutters.
Ben is hiding in his room playing on his computer.
I have shut the door on my bedroom to keep the noise down.
Susanna is out of the house, keeping her sanity at work
Targa is hiding on the sun porch.
Tucker… Well Tucker is an idiot. I’m not sure where he is, probably in the middle of the insanity.

What is the ruckus down the hall? It must be Will’s sleepover party. He has two of his friends over (Tyler and Shane). The remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea help keep the chaos inside for the evening. But not to worry, the fun started outside in the pouring rain in the afternoon. Will and friends were soaked. Ben wisely stayed inside with me. Again, Targa stayed on the sun porch and Tucker, well let’s just say Tucker was as wet as any of the boys.

By now dinner has had a chance to settle. Everyone (except the sleepover group) has calmed down. Even Tucker is sleeping on the bed. Hanging with the fourth graders is just too much for a little beagle. The house is suddenly surprisingly calm. Which means that they probably went outside (or getting into trouble). Time to go check on them.

Shane, Will and Tyler at a moment of calm
Shane, Will and Tyler at a moment of calm


This morning found a bat on the roof of the Volvo. The morning’s first problem: What to do with the body. I could leave it for Susanna and take the Jeep into work. That would make tonight a little more strained at home than needed. I could leave it on the roof of the car. It would then either be left alongside the road somewhere or I would get to enjoy the look on the security guard when I drove through the gate. While potentially amusing, that didn’t seem the best plan.

The humane thing seemed to be to toss the carcass in the field next door, and allow the bat to return to dust in peace. Or relative peace as food for the small scavengers that reside in the tall grass. So, off to the workshop for gloves.

The only problem. She wasn’t actually a dead bat. Maybe almost-dead, but certainly breathing. The second problem for the morning: What to do with an almost-dead bat on the roof of the car. Again, some of the choices were clearly better than others (and I’m sure Susanna would agree that leaving her on the roof of the car was neither a smart nor nice choice).

So I slowly backed the car out of the garage; hoping that she would fly off on her own. But the nearly dead don’t fly well. At least they don’t during daylight if they are bats. So I slowly nudged her off her perch with a broom. I pushed her over the precipice, and she glided down to the driveway. Gloves back on. I gently picked her up and tossed her over the wall, where she fluttered to safety under the big thorn-bush.

Let’s hope that she was just disoriented from the sudden thunderstorm last night. Other bat carried concerns have frightening names like rabies. At least the dogs can’t get her on the other side of the wall.

Cool June Evenings

“Yesterday was as glorious a day as any of us in New England has any right to expect: nearly fifty, partly sunny, an eight-knot breeze, and the waters of Fishers Island Sound a soft, rippled carpet of blue” – From “Moon Wind at Large, Sailing Hither and Yon by Matthew Goldman aka Constant Waterman (Breakaway Books, Halcotssvile, New York, 2012)

I was going to take some time this evening to write about my weekend. Instead, I decided to open the doors and windows and let the cool New England breeze push the heat out of the house, take a seat outside with a glass of wine and read a bit. I am halfway through Matthew Goldman’s book; the book is a wonderful collection of local sailing stories. If you are down to reading this blog, then clearly you are out of anything half-interesting or even coherent to read – go take a peak at “Moon Wind at Large.”

Making progress on the house

The house almost painted.
The house almost painted.

The wedding is only a month away. With the reception being hosted at our house, the ever shortening timeline to have everything ready has been causing lots of stress. The biggest outstanding project is getting the house painted. Or at least enough painted for the reception.

Yesterday morning we decided to both work on painting. Until yesterday, Susanna had been doing the vast majority of painting. I got out the spray gun, and we painted most of the walls. Of course, this still leaves a lot of trim and detail work around the windows to do. But those projects are more easily worked on before or after work in small chunks. The house feels (at least to us) much closer, and the painting doesn’t seem so stressful today. The only real remaining challenge is to find a 32-foot ladder (or taller) to borrow so we can paint the trim on the peaks.

We picked the house colors over a two years ago. I wrote about the color choice in April 2011. The colors are Concord Buff for the walls , with Rookwood Dark Green for the trim and Rookwood dark brown for accents. I picked these from the Sherwin-Williams historic Victorian Exterior color palate.  I am very happy with how the house is turning out. And I am very thankful that Susanna has the time (and desire, and skill) to do the vast majority of the painting.

After we get done with the house, it will be time to get the barns to match. But not until after the wedding. And after the summer. I think we are going to take off from doing major projects this summer.

The porch color scheme (Sherwin-William's Concord Buff, Rookwood Dark Green, and Rookwood Brown). The painting scheme was planned by Susanna.
The porch color scheme (Sherwin-William’s Concord Buff, Rookwood Dark Green, and Rookwood Brown). The painting scheme was planned by Susanna. Now we need a new storm door to match.