Sixes and sevens

The Wikipedia definition of “sixes and sevens” contains the words “confusion, disarray, hazard, risk.” All of these apply. I have not posted on this blog for over a month, the longest quiet period since I started writing here just over 6 years ago, and it’s because my life lately has been at sixes and sevens.  I just can’t sort out my thoughts to write anything coherent.

This is the time of year that the island enjoys “drydock”. Our little ferry toots off to Seattle to get inspected, repaired, repainted and generally spruced up. While she’s gone we have a passenger ferry to the mainland but no car ferry

The passenger ferry arriving

. That means finding a parking place at Gooseberry Point on the Indian Reservation so that we have transportation to town and it means schlepping a lot of purchases and other stuff across the water on our backs and shoulders. Smart people go away for the three week drydock period. This year the parking was particularly perilous because the main parking area that we used in past years was off limits to most of us. The county decided not to pay the Indians the yearly rental of $16,000. The Indians then rented it to another group which charges only $1 per day to use it (which sounds good) only you have to rent the parking place for six months. Not worth it for 3 weeks.

We were in a flurry to get my son, Ben, off to Georgia before drydock began. He was caught by the economic downturn, lost his job as a chef and is now changing careers. He is back in school getting his bachelor’s degree and has been out here with us going to the local community college. He wanted to go back to Georgia to be close to his children. We gave him a truck and the little camper we had, but I discovered when we opened it up that it was full of mold from the condensation of winter. So I spent a lot of time combating mold with only partial success. He just made his departure before drydock. I worried about him on his trip all the way to Georgia.

Jerry and I planned to spend drydock at our Condo, since we had to be back and forth to San Juan Island for our legal dispute anyhow. But we found that both of us were homesick for the island after a few days, and I needed to go over to water the garden since there has been no rain for more than a month. We had 3 cars on the mainland: the truck so we could bring an old washer and dryer from Jerry’s house on San Juan and put it in the condo; an old Saturn sedan to leave on the reservation for getting around town, and an old Ford van that my lawyer daughter borrowed because her car broke down.

The Saturn began leaking transmission fluid early in Drydock. Jerry can fix it, but it has to be on the island near his shop to be worked on. That left us with the cumbersome, hulking truck to drive around town. To retrieve the van we would have to go to Whidbey island and drive separate cars back. That’s a 2 hour drive each way. In fact we had to go to Whidbey because depositions about the law suit were arranged at my daughter’s law office. We thought of bringing back the van then.

There were 2 days of depositions. The first day Jerry was on call, but was never needed. He and I roamed Coupville, a little seaside town that is almost unbearably cute, full of souvenir shops and eateries for tourists.

A bed and breakfast in Coupville

Coupville garden

Many churches in Coupville

Overheard tourist in Coupville, "Is that a lake?"

At the end of the day we were too tired and nervous to drive separate cars back to Bellingham.

Jerry resting on Coupville's main street

The next day Jerry was wanted for testimony. I was alone for the morning while he was answering questions, worried that he was being brow beaten by the opposing lawyer. But at lunch he was cheerful and seemed confident. My daughter kept me company for the afternoon, introduced me to her friends and took me to see a favorite judge in chambers. The judge was a pleasant middle-aged lady, immaculately groomed with a desk so tidy that it looked as if nothing ever moved on it. I was grateful for my daughter’s help, but nevertheless at the end of the day I felt emotionally flattened and Jerry and I wanted to drive home together, so again we left the van.

The next law suit related events took place on San Juan Island. We have spent a lot of time crossing water during the past month. At first I took a lot of nautical pictures, but they began to look repetitive after a while.

Recreation for the 1%

Transportation for the rest of us

We made a trip to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island to see our lawyer in preparation for an upcoming hearing, our first court appearance. We took the hulking truck in order to move the washer and dryer, but discovered that we had forgotten to bring the keys to the house they were in. We were tired. We took the truck back to the reservation, parked it next to the disabled Saturn and slunk back to our island.

Next was the actual hearing:another trip to San Juan Island. It was to last 2 days and I had bought 2 new outfits to wear in court and 2 new pairs of shoes. This was essential because I had left my few good clothes in Alaska last fall when we rushed back to Washington to collect Jerry’s brother from the hospital. We had hotel rooms in Friday Harbor, booked for us and for our 2 witnesses from Eastern Washington, each room for 3 days. I was scared to death of the court, the judge, the opposing lawyer, everything connected with the whole thing. Our lawyer took us to see the court room. It looked empty, quiet and normal. It had a dress code posted on the door. The only requirements were to turn off cell phones and not carry a gun. That seemed a lenient code, but Jerry was urged to wear a coat and tie.

The morning of the hearing arrived. We assembled in the courtroom, Jerry and I, our witnesses, and lawyer, and the opposition with witness and lawyer. The clerk looked at her watch: “All rise,” she said. The judge entered. He was lean and distinguished looking with a close cropped salt and pepper beard. “Please be seated,” he said. He explained the purpose of the hearing and said that first some motions would be considered. There followed about a half an hour of lawyer arguments. At the end the whole thing was postponed for three weeks. This meant that I would have to change the tickets that Jerry and I had to go to England.

Later that day we did manage to get the washer and dryer into the truck with the help of our witnesses friends. Then the four of us caught the state ferry and then the passenger ferry and ended the day with a meal on our island at the reopened Beach Store Cafe. It is now run by the Willows, the high end restaurant on Lummi. The food was good. I was glad to be home. Our friends spent the night at our place and set out for Eastern Washington the next day.

For the next 2 days and between legal crises and car troubles I have been preoccupied with vegetables: a surfeit of cucumbers and green beans, tomatoes that languished green and often split or rotted, too many zucchini at first and then the plants began to wilt, ants farming aphids on the artichokes. I tried making pickles from the green beans and cucumbers but with only partial success. The dilly beans were not too bad, but I processed them a bit too long (afraid of too short) and Jerry doesn’t like dill. I made refrigerator pickles from the cucumbers and they are quite nice but would be better if they were real pickling cucumbers. I planted some peas and cauliflower to harvest when we get home from England at the end of October.

Next we had a visit from Jerry’s son Pat who is looking for a new job in the Seattle area. He lives in Texas now. Today we are expecting a 4 day visit from my oldest son and his wife. That’s 3 sets of visitors this month.

As I started to write all this last night Jerry was under the house fixing a plumbing leak. He finally emerged, covered with cobwebs and fiberglass from fallen insulation, soaking wet and muddy. He said rats had bitten into the plastic hot water pipe. They do that because it’s warm and they like the warmth. I piled his awful clothes into the washer and he proceeded to the shower. His nice pocket watch that I gave him for Christmas 2 years ago got washed. Alas.

So these are the confusions, the disarray, the hazard and risk that have kept me from my web friends for the past month. On Tuesday Jerry and I depart for an adventure with my British daughter on her boat from Oxford to London. I’ll be sure to post about that. Lots of love to all.

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15 Responses to Sixes and sevens

  1. wisewebwoman says:

    I am breathless reading this Anne, and I thought I was overwhelmed. Not by a long shot. I do hope the legal hassles ends in your favour and that you can look forward to England in peace and quiet.

    Chin up and all that, you will make it through. Sane.

    XO
    WWW

  2. Tessa says:

    I’m so sorry that life’s ugly side keeps coming along and disrupting your & Jerry’s idyllic island existence. I hope everything gets back to normal, after you come back from England. And I really hope you both enjoy your time on Pangolin as much as I and my current husband did!

  3. Tabor says:

    Such a busy and stressful time. I hope it all ends soon and you can return to travel plans and enjoying the island as it gets ready for winter. You seem strong and you are very brave, this will hold you well.

  4. Marja-Leena says:

    What a time you two have been having! Good thing you are going to England and having a ride on the canals in your daughter’s boat – I look forward to hearing about that. Hopefully things will feel easier on your return.

    Your Coupeville photos brought back memories of a lovely trip we took to Whidbey Island many years ago, and if I recall correctly we stayed in that town.

    Have a wonderful trip, both of you!

  5. Oh my goodness. Sixes and sevens doesn’t begin to cover what you and Jerry have been going through. Twelves and fourteens?

    I hope you have a wonderful, restorative holiday in England.

  6. Anne, So much here that demands your attention every moment. Literally, getting far away from it all sounds like just what you need. Enjoy your time on the water.

  7. Hope you have a wonderful trip. Love to you all and safe travels.

  8. Mage Bailey says:

    Oh, My, Oh my….Endlessness, and you long for peace and quiet. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us all about it. I so hope the law suit, which seemed to start so long ago, get’s out of the way and in your favor. Please let us know what’s happening before you go to England. Hugs too.

  9. Friko says:

    I see what you mean about the month from hell. Not a month to forget easily.
    I hope all the hassle was worth it in the end and that your struggle will bear fruit.

    See you soon?

  10. Hattie says:

    Wow. Have a good trip. You sure do need some R & R. How about a resort spa? But hard working as you are, guess that wouldn’t suit you and Jerry. Hope to see you next summer sometime.
    Aloha,
    Marianna

  11. pauline says:

    My goodness! Just when you think life can’t throw you any more curve balls! It’s interesting, isn’t it, to find that even though you’ve reached an age when you think you can relax and simply enjoy life, it leaps up in your lap and demands that you take it for a walk. Have a wonderful time in England. I’ll look forward to coming here to read about it -

  12. Freda says:

    What a month – you must be exhausted. I hope things calm down and that you enjoy your trip to England. Every Blessing

  13. Betty says:

    Welcome back to blogland Anne. As always it is so nice to read you.
    take care,
    Betty

  14. I’m glad you posted! I hope all the legal wrangling turns out in your favor. Enjoy your trip! I hope it is relaxing and fun – you and Jerry deserve it.

  15. Dick says:

    Wow, that’s to-ing and fro-ing with a vengeance, Anne! One thing that comes across again and again when you describe your movements from place to place is the vastly increased sense of scale arising from travel in the States. How parochial in comparison will seem your 4 mph putter from Oxford to London! But beautiful and, hopefully, tranquil too. Keep me posted as to your movements. If there’s any chance I can be where you are at some point – maybe when you fetch up in London – it would be great to meet up.

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