The trip on the ferry should have been restful, and in a way it was. I didn’t take any pictures because the weather was bad and I have taken pictures of that route many times. We had fun talking to Tony the bartender. He looked a little older, a little grayer, but still in good shape. We had fun talking to our friends (Gwen’s parents). Rod is a born Alaskan with relatives all over the state. Jerry went to the University of Alaska with 2 of his cousins. He and Jerry can talk old time Alaska talk. Donna and I talk about books, getting old and our ailments. I read and I rested. But there was a fly in the ointment: car deck call.
Our poodles had to stay on the car deck in a cage. The car deck is damp and noisy. It is closed while the vessel is underway except for 15 minute “calls” every six hours if there are no ports of call for an extended period. I worry about the dogs on the car deck a lot, and I repeatedly checked the time until the next one. Sometimes car deck calls are in the middle of the night. Anyone who has a dog on board hurries down to the car deck armed with leash and paper towels. Dogs of every variety are escorted by their owners around cars, trucks, containers and campers and urged to do their business. Fluffy wants to fight all other dogs, regardless of size. On this trip there were more dogs than I have ever seen. It looked like a dog show.
We arrived in Bellingham on Friday morning. Cathy and Russ met us at the ferry. Getting all our stuff and dogs off was a piece of cake, but, of course, I had spent time fretting about how it would be accomplished. Then we went out to breakfast in cute, historic Fairhaven where the ferry docks and where Russ and Cathy live in a cute, comfortable condo.
We got home on the island to a mountain of mail. Mixed with the mail was an unexplained $200 cash, which I guessed was left by Tammy (who minds our place while we are away) from renting our apartment. Outside potted plants (mostly dead from lack of water) and porch furniture were all over the place, left by the house painters. They had propped up the heavy glass table top to our outdoor table on the deck railing. In the garden I still had beets and carrots; the lettuce I planted before I left was up and growing.
We have been home for just over 2 weeks. To me it seems as if we never left; Alaska is so far behind for me. Not so much for Jerry. On the internet he checks every day the temperature in Fairbanks. Just to make sure this statement was accurate I asked him; what is the temperature in Fairbanks. I think it’s about 10, he said, I’ll check. When did you last check, I asked. Last night he answered. He gives me the latest important news from Alaska. In the election Parnell (incumbent governor) is in trouble. He ignored many reports of sexual misconduct in the National Guard. The courts have forced him to release a lot of documents about his involvement in what appears to be a coverup. For the Senate, in the polls Begich (D) is neck and neck with Sulliven (R). Jerry says Sullivan looks like a carpet bagger. And he had to tell me that in Glacier Bay National Park it’s porcupine mating season.
I thought we should move the glass table top. It looked risky where it was. But we were tired on Friday and it had been there for a long time. We decided to go to bed and deal with it in the morning. In the middle of the night we were awakened by a loud bang. We got up to investigate. Jerry said maybe a tree fell on the house. I turned on the deck lights. There it was, the glass table top, shattered on the deck floor into long sharp dangerous shafts. It was not tempered glass.
The next day, Saturday and again on Sunday I went to town for a 2 day portrait painting workshop at Lorna’s. I started a painting of two ladies with hats from a photo taken about 3 years ago at the Civic Club tea party. I’m still working on it — there’s something wrong and I have to paint over part of it. Our friend Ria came over while I was at the workshop to pick up a check that Gwen had sent from Juneau (along with some salmon caviar). The check was for a vase that Ria (a fine potter) had made for Gwen. Jerry knew nothing about this. He gave Ria my $200. So I called Ria and said come over for wine and give me back my $200 and I’ll give you your check. We had a pleasant evening with Ria.
The rain, which had started about a week before we got back was coming down steadily, with only occasional breaks that allowed Jerry to mow the tall, wet grass. He spent a lot of time trying to track down a short circuit in the electric line that goes to his shop. He had no lights in the shop. The cable is buried, so he spent a good part of 3 days digging.
I made phone calls to doctors, dentists and the dog groomer for appointments. I caught up with email and Facebook. I called my daughters in England and on Whidbey Island. Slowly I unpacked. Fluffy kept getting in my suitcase and going to sleep. I think he likes to sleep on things that smell like me. It’s nice to be loved, but it’s a long time since he’s been to the groomer and pretty soon the things in my suitcase began to smell like Fluffy. The painters came over and cleaned up the broken glass, pressure washed the deck and moved some of the deck furniture back.
On Tuesday we had to get on our little island ferry, the Whatcom Chief, to go to Bellingham for groceries, hardware and an estimate on the cost of a new glass table top. On Wednesday I went to painting class at Lorna’s. On Thursday evening there was Mah Jongg at Diane’s.
Since coming home we have both had our teeth cleaned at the dentist, been told we need new crowns, been to the doctor for med checks, I have finally had my meeting with a rheumatologist. She turned out to be a tall and beautiful young woman, but clearly not interested in the aches and pains of an old lady. We have been to wine tasting twice. We have had visitors for wine and savory tid bits 3 times. And I decided I should paint a portrait of our friend Lee, who died while we were in Alaska. There was a memorial for him on November 1st at the Grange.
The portrait of Lee went well, it pleased his wife, Tootie and it made her cry too. The memorial was well done, the crowd overflowed the Grange. I have lived on this island for almost 15 years now. So many of my friends, many younger than I, have died.
Sometimes people ask me: What do you do on Lummi Island, as if it must be a place where nothing happens. What do we do? Since I’ve been home I’ve hardly had time to think.