Fun with insurance

I continue to work on our move this morning. Last night’s discovery: Geico (which does not provide homeowners’ insurance but acts as an agent) can’t provide homeowners’ insurance because of the age of our house. So begins a fun tour of insurers’ pages.

First discovery: no online quotes at Met Life. Not even a master number to call—instead an “agent finder.” Second: there are some scary looking sites out there. Example: Looks reasonably official, but with a URL like that and no explanation of who owns the site, it’s a little sketchy looking. And yet it’s the number one hit on Google for “homeowners insurance.” recommends Amica, who have a really slow loading page…and who crashed my browser when I tried to print our quote. Boy howdy, is this fun.

Lazy Friday in Seattle

I spent the morning signing papers and looking in Sears at appliances. I hadn’t realized you could spend $2000 on a fridge!!! Fortunately the one in the house looks like it’ll hang in for a while.

I then went on to visit the Experience Music Project. In a freaky multicolored Frank Gehry building beside the Space Needle, the EMP is responsible for a lot of the funding of KEXP and is a huge museum of rock and roll. Cool points: including Sleater-Kinney and other more recent artists alongside Hendrix. Uncool points: didn’t really want to see Britney’s “Slave” costume.

Killing time in an internet cafe. My flight doesn’t take off until 7 but I’m probably going to head back to the airport anyway. I’m too tired to think of doing anything else.

Day 2, Househunting

All in all, I think Day 2 of our househunting extravaganza went pretty well. I won’t go into details about part of the day for fear of jinxing; let’s just say I’m hopeful that we’re pretty close to a key point in the process. I can say that we found some very… interesting properties, including one gorgeous remodeled 1950s era custom house with a great roof deck view, that was unfortunately surrounded by dumps; and a 1960s era house that appeared to still be inhabited by its original owners and had the red shag carpet and the bathroom decorated in early New Orleans bordello to prove it.

Maybe some different news tomorrow.

Long day’s househunting into the night

Finished our first day of househunting. We drove up to the top of Somerset Hill to get the lay of the land. The view, I think, started to get Lisa excited. We moved on to the back end of Lake Sammamish, the “plateau,” and started looking. We made our way around the top of the lake toward Redmond, moved to Kirkland (the area around Market Street), then across Lake Washington to Magnolia.

Our desired houses started to evolve into a dichotomy as we moved forward. When we were in the suburbs, we were looking at larger houses with lots of foliage and decent separation from our neighbors. As we moved closer to the city, we did a sharp about face and focused on smaller, older houses with lots of character. Now our challenge is finding a smaller, older house with lots of character and potential upside that we can live in. Both our top finds today had bedroom situations that weren’t ideal. Tomorrow is another day. Looking forward to getting back to Etta’s after the househunting and getting some really excellent salmon.

Heading to Seattle

I will be blogging irregularly over the next four days. We’re flying out this afternoon to Seattle to look for a house. Now that my start date is less than six weeks away—wow, time has flown—it’s time to bite the bullet and step up to find a house. We’re pretty excited; we’ve been renting for the last four and a half years of marriage and for longer before that, so the prospect of getting equity is pretty attractive. If anyone can recommend a really nice house in Queen Anne or Magnolia, we’d be most appreciative…

Quick updates

Too long a day yesterday to do any blogging. I’m catching up a bit now.

Sitting in Sea-Tac, using a paid wireless connection. It’s amazing how quickly that comes to seem acceptable. I used one in Starbucks earlier.

Word of advice–if you are in Seattle, on the way to the airport, and have a choice between paying for access at Starbucks or at the airport, use the airport access instead. It’s 6.95 for a full day, as compared to $2.95 plus 20 cents a minute…

Not a lot going on. Just getting some work done. Trying not to think about the little insanity that happened in the air over Chicago a few days ago. Or about congressmen finding out that security rules apply to them too.

Or people pulling the comic strip Boondocks because the cartoonist is calling the Reagan-Bush Republicans for supporting Bin Laden during the Afganistan conflict with the Soviet Union in the 80s, and then claiming it’s because “it’s more appropriately discussed in news and opinion pages” than in comic strips.

The long goodbye

Well, I’m experiencing a little more of the Pacific Northwest than I had planned. It’s about 10 am Pacific time and I’m sitting in SeaTac blogging this over the airport’s wireless network (after a summer of blogging over dialup, I love blogging with a fat pipe!). It’s a classic good news, bad news scenario. The good news is that SeaTac has wireless broadband everywhere now, with a one time connection charge of only $6.95. The bad news is that it’s economically feasible for me to pay that charge, since I’ll be here another three hours. Yep, more travel blues.

I had a pretty late night last night at the Owl ‘n Thistle. It’s a nice little club that my fellow interns and I had gone to the first Friday night we were all in town. With the company and deep conversations about our futures, it was 2 am before I got into bed.

Then the unthinkable: my alarm clock failed to go off. I rolled over, realizing it was light out (a problem since I had set the alarm for 5:15 am), and saw my clock. 7:24. My flight was supposed to leave at 8:10 am; I was at least a half hour drive from the airport; and I had a little last minute packing, garbage disposal, etc. to do. Not only that, but I had to drive downtown to drop off the keys to my apartment on my way out of town. I wasn’t going to make the flight.

I called Lisa to let her know I was coming in later than I had planned and that I’d have more details in a bit. Then I loaded up the car, dropped off my keys and got on the interstate. When I finally got to the United counter (after having to wait ten minutes to return my rental car), I told the guy behind the counter that I had missed my flight and needed his help. He replied, “Oh, the 8:10 through Chicago? That was cancelled. But you do need my help: we booked you on an 8:50 on TWA, but you’re not going to make that.”

Eventually, we got it sorted, and now I’m waiting for a 12:50 pm flight on American. But the news isn’t all bad. It’s a direct flight that will only get me in about three hours later than planned; the only seat they had was an exit row window (my favorite!!!); and I’ve got broadband. You know, this travel thing really isn’t so bad.

One last thing: a tip of the hat to Doc Searls, who pointed out that blogging over a fat pipe is hard to beat. Of course, he was naked at the time… [Note from the editor: Please see my clarification of this comment.]

Famous last words

Couldn’t let my Seattle experience go out on yesterday’s note. So here are a few more quick notes on leaving Seattle.

Things I’ll Miss

  • Coffee from former Fotomats: There’s a little place next to the gas station on the way to I-5 called “Coffee Boy.” Sadly I can’t find a web page for it, but if you’ve ever been near Seattle you’ve seen places like this. All the Fotomats in Seattle became drive-up (or walk-up) coffee stands. Double Americano for $2.00–beats the heck out of Starbucks or the company cafeteria.
  • Microbrews: I like Harpoon, but the other micros in New England, while nice, just don’t have the same variety. It will be nice to get back to John Harvard’s, though…
  • Puget Sound: I can’t possibly say enough.
  • The weather: No humidity and weather that on the hottest day in July topped out at 89 degrees.
  • KEXP: Thank God they’re on the Web. But radio in Boston just isn’t the same, no matter how much fun WMBR can be. Especially fun to be listening to some of the stuff in the list below and then get a mindwrench from “Shake the Shack” or “Swingin’ Doors.”

Things I Grooved To

… or, for the grammar elite, “things to which I grooved”:

Mint Royale Show Me
Shudder to Think with Jeff Buckley I Want Someone Badly
Ursula 1000 Direct Drive [The Ready Made All That Jazz Remix]
Radiohead Dollars and Cents
Beastie Boys Root Down
The Blue Nile Peace at Last
Jeff Buckley So Real
Built to Spill Strange
Nikka Costa Like a Feather
Gastr Del Sol Work from Smoke
Kristin Hersh Ruby
Basement Jaxx Get Me Off
Wiseguys Start the Commotion
Snowpatrol Ask Me How I Am
Folk Implosion Free to Go
Robyn Hitchcock Viva SeaTac
Afro Celt Sound System Colossus

Shouts Out

The other interns–especially Todd, Jay, Mike L., Catherine, Arvind (and Kim!!), Nancy, Danny, E.J., and other people I’ve forgotten (and I’ll add as I think of)…

My coworkers–Clark, Michelle, Mary Ann, Allison, Kate, David, Christine, Mike, Eileen, Erica, and Tom–thanks for all the fun and the cheese.

Shel for being there.

And Lisa for being really patient this summer. Hang in there, honey, I’m comin’ home!


I’ve been in radio silence for a few days, as my wife is back in town. She’s kept me busy. Sunday was a wind-down day; we went to the market and just kind of wandered around downtown most of the day.

We were coming down from Saturday, which was an exhausting high. On Saturday before 7 a.m., we were on the top observation deck of the Victoria Clipper III outside Pier 69 in Seattle, and freezing. After a week of 85-90 degree days (what passes for sweltering in Seattle), the 50 degree weather was a shock. We were on our way to the San Juan Islands. One three hour trip over rough seas and a lot of vomit (not ours, thank goodness) later, we were pulling into Friday Harbor, the main harbor on San Juan Island.

The San Juan Islands litter the inland sea between Washington State and Canada like spilled jewels. The islands were discovered by the Spanish and contested by the Americans and the British for a long time. The rivalry over San Juan Island culminated in the infamous “Pig War” in which the only thing to die was a pig that was caught rooting up an American settler’s potatoes. Today the islands are a three hour boat ride from Seattle and a lovely place to go for a day trip.

We were actually jumping off from San Juan Island on our way to watch some whales. Orcas, to be precise. The inland sea between the San Juans and the Canadian mainland is home to some “resident pods” of the whales, and on Saturday we found them. It took us an hour and a half from Friday Harbor, into Canadian waters, but finally we found ourselves in the middle of what our captain calmly told us were three pods of orcas, numbering about 78 in all. The first glimpse we got was a fin in the distance, but then we started to see them, coming up out of the water, closer and closer. At one point we saw a pair surface and slip beneath the surface of the water heading straight under our boat. A mother and her calves swam about 300 yards from our bow, surfacing and diving in a group. We watched for what seemed like hours, and then it was time to turn around and return to port.

It’s hard to write about seeing whales without resorting to clichés. It was good of them to let us hang out with them. I only wish that they could get as much joy from seeing us as we did from seeing them.

Popcorn, Peanuts, Cracker Jack, and BEER

Many thanks to my employers for the summer for getting me tickets to a Mariners game last night. While the team lost (one of only 32 times this summer, out of 115 games), it was still an amazing game — probably more so because we were on the first deck rather than up in the nosebleed seats.

Safeco Field, despite the name (who started this whole corporate naming trend, anyway? It’s pretty hideous. Candlestick Park is so much more evocative than 3 Com Park, even if the stadium is in bad shape), is a really great space. Only about three blocks from the water, there’s a great view out over the harbor from the outside and good local color provided by the trains that come by once or twice a game.

The only criticism I have is the beer. I like Alaskan Amber, but it’s the only drinkable draft that I could find in the ballpark (though Red Hook was available in bottles, part of the magic of the ballpark experience for me is draft beer outside). And it cost $6 a cup. Not only that, but they were serving Coors Light in 16-oz. cups, while you could only get 12 of Alaskan. I remember Camden Yards fondly: They had microbrew stands that carried a wide variety of regional beers at much more reasonable prices. Then again, they didn’t have the Number One Team in Baseball.

Tasty Medicine

Why do I obsess on the beer issue? It could have something to do with the fact that I don’t normally follow baseball. But the real reason is that it’s good for you! German and Czech medical research shows that beer lowers the risk of coronary heart disease by raising the levels of folate and vitamin B12 in the blood. While I don’t doubt that the German and Czech researchers had a subconscious stake in the results (what, you thought they’d recommend grappa?), I’m still going to be quoting this study for a long time.


This is day three of my WOMAD USA coverage. For days one and two, please see my new music index.

I was pretty worn out Sunday morning, and I had some things to do before heading over to WOMAD — update my resume and a conference call with my collaborators in e-MIT. It was after six before I headed over. I listened to a little bit of an act on the Windmill Stage and some Imbizo. Then I grabbed some food and started working my way into the crowd.

For the last day of the festival the weather finally cooperated. It had been gray and windy Friday night (wind whipped up dramatically during the Blind Boys of Alabama set), gray and rainy all day Saturday, so it was a relief to seen the sun today.

I found a spot behind a camera stand that hadn’t been there Friday or Saturday. The camera was a big HD (High Definition) rig. There was a crowd camera on a long arm on the other side of the stage as well. I was next to a forty something mom in full festival regalia with her teenage daughter and their friends, all having generally a good time and grousing about the people who were pushing past to fill up the area in front of the stage.

After a bit of a wait, Peter came on stage, bald as an egg except the little graywhite tuft of beard on his chin. At the beginning of the set it was just Peter and Tony on stage. Without a lot of fanfare, Peter acknowledged the crowd, stood at the keyboard, and started playing some really familiar chords. “Here Comes the Flood.” The crowd was silent for the first time all day.

Now the rest of the band came on stage. Surprisingly, also bald were David Rhodes and the drummer. It used to be Tony Levin stood out in the band for having no hair. Must have been a sympathy thing when Peter decided to take the plunge. James McNally from Afro-Celt Sound System was providing additional keyboards, but this set was decidedly a low-tech affair, with David playing an amped acoustic, Tony alternating between bass and Stick, the drummer, one back-up vocalist (about whom more later) and Peter on a simple keyboard. Peter said, “Continuing on with the moisture theme,” and the drummer launched into the opening hi-hat riff from “Red Rain.” The crowd went nuts. I had to fight to keep from singing along like a madman.

If I keep going on a song by song update, this’ll go on for pages. The set was selected by having people write in to the official PG website to request their favorites. These included “Digging in the Dirt,” “Family Snapshot,” “Come talk to Me,” “Mercy Street,” “Solsbury Hill,” and “Signal to Noise.”

When introducing “Come talk to Me,” Peter said, “This next song was written about my youngest daughter. I promised I wouldn’t say this, because it’s her first public appearance, but that’s her standing on the end.” I thought she had a fine, pure voice that held beautifully on the high notes. The mix was a little too muddy to be able to tell much more.

“Signal to Noise” was introduced as having been written with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, “who I miss greatly.” Filling in on the vocals was Iarla Ó’Lionárd, who turns out to be a vocalist with the Afro Celt Sound System. [Signal to Noise is a track from Peter’s as yet unreleased new album, called “Up.” So I guess this was kind of a world premiere?]

Everyone was on stage for the end, including Imbizo and percussionists from Afro Celt Sound System, for “In Your Eyes.” Afterwards, Peter surprised the presenter by coming back on stage with Tony Levin while he was whipping the crowd up. He introduced the encore by saying it was about his father, with whom he had had about forty rough years. He said the two of them experienced a powerful healing time at a yoga retreat, and the song had been written about it. He then performed “Father – Son” from the OVO album (I always thought the song didn’t really fit in with the rest of the album).

Afterwards Afro Celt Sound System came on and rocked everybody’s block. My back is still sore from dancing so hard. Don’t pass up an opportunity to see them.


This continues my writeup of WOMAD USA.

Yesterday I went late, having first stopped in at a company picnic that was a bust (gray and rainy, lots of kid’s activities but few for adults, cold food). I got there in time for Kathryn Tickell’s performance, and it’s a damn good thing as it was the second best thing (after the Blind Boys of Alabama) about the festival so far.

Kathryn is a master of the Northumbrian pipes, which are (as her introducer said a bit clumsily) “less scary” than traditional Scottish pipes. They’re smaller and quieter, and are fed by a bellows rather than by the performer’s breath. She is also a master fiddler and treated us to alternating sets on both instruments. She’s been playing with rock musicians, including Sting and Peter Gabriel, as well as doing her own music. I can’t really describe her performance musically without feeling a bit New Age (the whole “talking about music is like dancing about architecture” problem), so I tried to write down some things she said about the tunes instead:

I was commissioned to write about Otterburn, a battle that happened six hundred years ago between the English and the Scottish. In Northumbria everyone is a little of both, so I didn’t know which side I was supposed to be on. I didn’t know whether to make it a slow sad song or a happy little victory jig, so I compromised. After six hundred years it seemed the right time.

I wrote this reel for my brother – he’s fifteen and a great fiddler, but at present he’s more interested in beer.

I play these songs [fiddle tunes] in the village pub with my uncles. They have the same haircut, the same clothes, the same red accordions… Being farmers or shepherds they don’t get into town much to buy clothes, that’s not important to them. But they do get the Farmers Weekly, and you can buy everything from there. So they all have the same Farmers Weekly checked shirt… If there’s a wedding or funeral you see them all wearing the Farmers Weekly suit. There are only four choices after all.

This song [I wish I had written down the name. Sting had Kathryn play the beginning of it for his song “Island of Souls” on The Soul Cages] – do you know what’s happening to coal mining and shipbuilding in Northumbria? It’s all shutting down. The coal pit shut down. With the closing went 60% of the town’s jobs, and really the heart of the town. My grandfather worked in another pit but knew about this one. He said the mine tunnels extend for miles under the ocean. I asked how they would close it off, and he said the entrances to the tunnels would be sealed off and the sea would slowly seep in. So I wrote this song picturing the sea slowly seeping in from the top and bottom of the coal tunnels, reclaiming its own.

The rest of the day? Well, the Neville Brothers started off strong and went directly to hell as soon as Aaron Neville took the lead vocals. His version of “What’s Going On” only showed how inferior his vocal technique was to Marvin Gaye’s and started me wondering why I had paid a lot of money to hear the band do covers. Then he started in on “Don’t Know Much,” his crapulent song that was made famous when Linda Ronstadt did the duet with him. Between his singing both parts, the unbelievably low-rent keyboard accompaniment, and his air guitar during the solo, my respect for him went straight down the tubes. I stuck around to hear the group do a little more New Orleans style stuff, but split soon thereafter.

There was supposed to have been a performance by Iarla Ó Lionáird, an Irish solo vocalist, but there was an unscheduled switch and an awful bazouki band was on that stage. I watched DJ Peretz (aka Perry Farrell) playing records for a while. If I had been in more of a dancing mood it would have been a lot of fun, but I was pooped and went home instead.

Dancing about Architecture

Just got back from the first night of WOMAD USA, the world music and dance festival founded by Peter Gabriel. The USA festival is held in Marymoor Park in Redmond.

I arrived about 5:30, straightened out my ticket (why does Ticketmaster only ship to your billing address? If Amazon figured it out, shouldn’t they?), and entered the festival grounds. The first act I wanted to see was at 7:00, so I wandered around to get the lay of the land. I heard the first few minutes of Baka Beyond’s show, but came to the same conclusion I had reached after a couple of months of listening to their debut album “Heart of the Forest”: they’re world pop too watered down to be really engaging. I moved on to Savina Yannatou. She had a fantastic voice, but unfortunately her more meditative material couldn’t be heard well over the sound of Baka Beyond coming over from the next stage. I grabbed dinner and headed over to the main stage.

The stage crew took forty-five minutes longer than they should have to get all the mikes set up for the first act, but finally Isaac Hayes took the stage. He played a set that dipped pretty heavily back into “Shaft,” “Hot Buttered Soul,” and some of his other early works. Both “Walk On By” and “Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic” were fantastic. Because of the late start, I decided to leave before the set was over. As I was walking back to the other stage, I heard him start into his classic hit from South Park: “Chocolate Salty Balls”! How wonderful for all the little children (and their parents) in attendance! Fun song, though.

All those thoughts were put out of my mind by the next act, though. The Blind Boys of Alabama are a gospel act that have been around for over sixty years. The three members who were there from the original group came out, led by a sighted guest vocalist and the band (two guitars, bass and drums). They started with “Run On for a Long Time,” which I was familiar with both from Moby’s remixed version and from the version by Bill Landford and the Landfordaires. I looked around and the crowd were on their feet singing and looking happy. As the group proceeded through “Do Lord,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” and “Way Down in the Hole,” people got more and more energetic. Clarence Fountain interjected a few commentary points along the way (“We’re not trying to save you, we’re just going to give you a good time. I’m having a great time. Compare how old I am to how old you are and see if you think I’m having a good time.”)

Then they got serious. Their version of “Amazing Grace” (to the tune of House of the Rising Sun) got people swaying and a few witnesses from the crowd. Then with “Look Where He Brought Me From” and “Soldier (in the Army of the Lord),” one of the other vocalists gradually worked his way into the crowd for about twenty-five minutes, shouting and generally getting into the atmosphere of a revival. At the end, they left the stage, then the core members plus bass and drums returned for a quick run through “Jesus Loves Me.” As the organizer said after they left the stage the second time, what a way to start a WOMAD.

By that time, I was pretty drained and only stuck around for a few tunes by Youssou N’Dour, including “Shaking the Tree” and a few songs I recognized from his early nineties releases. Then the rain came up and I went home. Two more days of this!

More or Less Back to Normal

Eudora Welty has died at age 92…

Things are just about back to normal here. Starting early this Friday, I got a bunch of hits (2000 pageviews and counting, up from a normal baseline of 30-40 for a really good article) to the site from MacInTouch and Scripting News readers, looking at my article on SOAP and XML-RPC in Mac OS X 10.1. I think that I scared most of them off from returning with Friday’s piece, though.

For the record, this site isn’t about the Mac, or travelling, or Seattle. It’s more about me and what I’m going through. So you can expect to see me ramble on about a number of topics at any given time. I do recognize, however, that people reading the site may want a little more structure than that. So I’ve added some links in the Navigation area that pull together stories on topics about which I tend to write more frequently. If you’re interested in this site just for one of those topics, you can now bookmark the topic page of your choice. If you don’t mind reading all my chaos, by all means come back to the home page.

Seattle Update

This Saturday I got really sore. I probably should have learned my lesson after last weekend’s exercise in pain management. I was back in Lake Union again on Saturday, this time kayaking with the other MBA interns at my company. We went a little further in the kayaks than I did before in the rowboat. If you look at this map (provided by the Moss Bay Rowing and Kayaking Center, who rented us the canoes), we started at the point marked with the cross and paddled around to a point near the Museum of History and Industry, then back. It was an overcast day, so I was spared the utter blistering sunburn I should have had after three hours on the open water without sunscreen. But I did really pull something in my right arm, so that even today I’m finding it hard to lift anything heavy, move my fingers, or apply a lot of pressure with my hand.

Sunday was a little more painless: I attended Bite of Seattle with a few friends. I was a little apprehensive, but it turned out to be a much better event than similar ones I’ve attended in Washington, DC and other places. The food was much better (although I still got a little sick on something I ate) and the crowds were less crazy. I did get sunburned on Sunday, but not too badly.

All Wet, or Sleepless in Seattle

My wife was visiting for much of the last week. We were determined to get the best experience out of my time in Seattle that we could. Saturday we decided that we would branch out from microbrews, Pike Place Market, and salmon and check out some of the other pleasures that the area has to offer. We decided to start with the water.

Seattle is surrounded by water. To the west is Elliott Bay, which opens into Puget Sound. To the east is Lake Washington. And around the periphery are dozens of smaller lakes. One in particular, Lake Union, divides Seattle proper from its northern suburbs, Ballard, Fremont, and Wallingham, as well as the University of Washington (known locally as U-dub). Lake Union has a couple of things to recommend it: houseboats (it’s the supposed site of Tom Hanks’ home in Sleepless in Seattle), seaplanes, and the Wooden Boat Center.

The Wooden Boat Center restores and maintains a fleet of wooden vessels ranging from rowboats to two-master sailboats. You can take sailing lessons, or rent sailboats or rowboats. It’s pretty cool — Lake Union is a small enough body of water that it’s not too intimidating to be out there on a boat, even if you haven’t rowed in a few years.

Or so I thought. We rented a 15-foot wide-bottomed boat, got in, and cast away from the dock. As I pulled the oars, I immediately made two discoveries:

  1. The oars had much smaller blades than those I had used before.
  2. It really had been a long, long time since I had used the muscles needed for rowing. In fact, I used to use a rowing machine when I visited the gym regularly, which was last in … 1998.

Clearly, my body was not going to enjoy this.

The small blades of the oars (also wooden) contributed to the funniest problem of the day: the boat had a tendency to go in circles. This was because the oars had a tendency to rotate around their central axes in my hands, so after one good stroke with the blades in the proper position, the blades would suddenly be 90 degrees out of whack and start scooping the water into the boat and over both of us. This was more a problem on my right side for some reason, and so I found myself continually pulling the boat to port.

Lisa suggested we try to move the oarlocks back one bench to see if I could pull them better from that position, so we pulled the boat up to another dock and tried to move the oarlocks. That didn’t seem to work, so she volunteered to pull for a while. We shoved off and she promptly set the boat going in circles. After we straightened that out, she still was pulling to starboard. This was bad, because that was sending us right at a row of yachts in a private slip.

Visions of us crashing a well-loved 40 year old rowboat into a $500,000 yacht dancing in my head, I helped her wrestle the oars and we finally came to rest in a vacant mooring between two yachts. Cursing mightily, we switched places and I managed to pull the boat back out onto the open water–no mean feat, because if I pulled it too far to one side or another the oar would scrape the yacht on that side.

We finally got it out in the open water and decided to head back. Lisa directed me and I kept the boat going more or less in a straight line by lining up her head with a seaplane hangar on the other shore of the lake. I told her, “Don’t move your head, dear, because we’ll end up totally lost…”

Last night my aching triceps and mild sunburn kept me awake all night long, telling me I was a moron. It was still fun though. Lisa’s on a red-eye back to Maine where she’s managing a project. She hopes to come back in August, at which point she wants to go kayaking. Please say a prayer for me and send a bottle of Advil.