Memorial Day weekend is the start of the crazy rush of a summer. In the past it has always felt sort of like getting on a water slide over Memorial Day weekend and everything is a rushed blur until you get dumped out the other side at Labor Day. This summer is setting up to be the same. Ben graduates High school in a few weeks. On the same day, Izzy has her last day of school and Susanna’s preschool class has graduation. Susanna’s parents are also scheduled to arrive in Preston that morning for a week visit.
A few days after Susanna’s parents depart, Izzy and I are starting our 10-ish day road trip to Missouri. It is a long road trip, but I’m letting her have an old phone for the trip. Part of the agreement is that she journal her trip, which she will do on her blog. After Missouri she has a two weeks of summer camp and then she and Susanna head to Sweden for 4 weeks. I’ll hang out here and hopefully get some sailing and camping in with the boys.
This weekend was a good start. Will and I did some work on his loft and picked up some much needed storage for his stuff. Our big house plans was to clean up the back yard and put the pool up; just in time for the 80+ degree sunny day today. Will has been collecting more animals, and caught a marbled salamander in our basement this morning; he is working on a habitat for it. I think eventually he will need to add small critter storage in the basement, but he’s not quite there yet.
We finished off the weekend with a nice lunch at a friends house.
Of course, every finished project leads to a new one. The swimming pool is galvanized steel and is showing some rust spots. Probably due to our acidic well water. I’ll have to find some way to protect the pool later this summer. Maybe vinylester gelcoat will stick to the steel.
And of course there is the long list of unfinished projects. the next project this afternoon is to get some more work on Will’s sailboat – assuming I have the energy to get working in the later afternoon heat.
I do realize that I’m a lot better at starting projects than finishing them. I have a 26′ sailboat that I am refurbishing, and it may wind up being just a project to work on and never a boat in the water. With that in mind, and the summer coming quickly, I decided that I needed something to get on the water. So, two weeks ago, I picked up a 7′ dinghy. It was small enough to fit in the back of the mini-van.
The boat was pretty ugly, but looked like it would float. I washed it and sanded and smoothed the bottom. I had a third of a can of gelcoat left from last summer that I used to paint the bottom (or most of the bottom). The big sailboat came with a larger dinghy that I’m just waiting to throw in the trash next time we get a dumpster, but it did have two sets of oars. I sanded the wooden oars and reinforced the blades with some fiberglass and epoxy. I topped it with a few coats of marine varnish. Not the nicest oars, but functional. They might be a touch too long for the boat, but the price was right.
This weekend Will and I decided to take Izzy and his dog, Hoagie, down to the Thames river and test out the boat. Izzy decided that she preferred swimming, and Hoagie preferred the shore, though he started having fun chasing splashes from Izzy swimming. We will make a swimmer of him one of these days. The only problem is he liked to drink the water, and I’m pretty sure it is brackish where we put in (not that I was going to taste it).
The boat is really small, but it floats. Rowing was a pain, there isn’t much room to stretch your legs out when you are rowing and you have the tendency to hit your knees with the oars. Maybe shorter oars would help. Or maybe a trolling motor would make it more fun to explore (though I’d probably have to register it if I put a trolling motor on it). Maybe I’ll paint the sides later this summer if we have any gelcoat left from Will’s boat.
Next time I’ll try freshwater if we are bringing Hoagie. At least then he can drink the water. I canoe might be an even better bet for getting on the water, but enough boats (for now).
A few weeks ago, Will pulled out his sailboat to try to get it ready for the summer. We had pulled off all the deck fittings last summer to paint the top of the boat, but never got back to putting the fittings back on. His boat is a 16′ lifting keel O’Day Wildfire from the late 1960s. A lot of the hardware isn’t original, and the parts that are show their age.
One of the pieces that were in rough shape were the thru-deck bushings. New ones cost $10-$15 each, so why not play around with the 3d printer and try printing them. Commercial bushings have metal linings, so the printed ones may not last as long. But I had spare resin, so there was no real cost to making the parts. Anyway, we could always replace them with commercial bushings in the future if needed. I spent a few nights designing the part on Fusion 360 and made some test pieces. It would probably have been easier if I had a set of calipers to measure the original, but trial and error works as well. The final design seems to fit the boat and I am in the process of printing four – though I think I could probably fit a few more on the print space. The parts take about an hour to print on our cheap printer.
For the final weekend of spring break, Susanna and I decided to take Izzy to New York City. Izzy and Susanna had Swedish school on that Sunday in New Rochelle, so would have to make the drive no matter what. We made reservations at a Residence Inn in Secaucus, NJ. The hotel is an easy detour from I-95, though the trip down 95 (at least through Connecticut) is pretty terrible. There is free parking and it is a short bus ride into the city.
We left home right after breakfast and made it to our hotel by 11AM. It was too early to check in, but they let us park there and pointed us to the bus terminal. Susanna had picked Ellen’s Stardust Diner for lunch and we walked the few blocks from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the restaurant and Susanna waited in line while Izzy and I explored around the block. We enjoyed lunch (the food wasn’t great, but the singing was lots of fun).
After lunch we walked to Central Park and found a playground for Izzy which was only a little fun since playgrounds are more fund with friends to play with.
After Central Park we headed back towards the bus terminal with a coffee stop in the Swedish Church on 48th Street (Svenska kyrkan i New York) and then back to the hotel. I think Izzy was more excited about swimming at the hotel than almost anything else on the trip.
Sunday morning started with breakfast than a swim until it was time to check out. I picked a few places to visit before Susanna and Izzy had to be in New Rochelle. The first stop was the Weehawken Dueling Grounds; that is the site where the Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel took place. We were there long enough for a few photographs with the NYC skyline as a backdrop and a little history that Izzy is a bit young to care about.
After the dueling grounds we drove to Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. I dove in circles a few times, but eventually found a place to park. We wandered through the park and up the hill to a playground (another playground). There Izzy met two girls that were also carrying around dolls to play with. Susanna walked a bit past the park and found sushi to bring back for lunch. After lunch we wandered back through the park and then headed to New Rochelle where I dropped them off at Swedish School which left me three hours to kill in New Rochelle.
In New Rochelle, I found a nearby park, Five Islands Park, to walk around for a while. After the park, I headed to the New Rochelle library to upload and edit pictures until it was time to pick up Susanna and Izzy and start the drive back home. Overall a successful weekend vacation!