28 October 2007

There Are Angels and Good Pirates Among Us...I Found THE STUD, Got a New (Pot) Rack, Welcome Home Justin & Get Well Soon, Katie!!!!

Updated 10:15 PM, EST, 28 October 2007...

On 19 August, I had an over due final lunch at Bluewater with what I not so affectionately refer to as a "bad pirate". Yesterday, I had lunch at the same restaurant, with someone I had corresponded with and would never have known unless I'd met that "bad pirate". Lunch with a "good pirate" is a wonderful thing and unquestionably the better choice. [Photo: Susie & Bobbi at Bluewater, Wrightville Beach, NC.]

Bobbi had visited my blog back in the summer and she'd sent me a note in my blog guest book. Her expression of good wishes was genuine at the time. She didn't quite understand how everything had come to pass in such a short span of time, something many others found difficult to digest as well, but she's a dreamer, a gifted artist, a sailor and she still maintains faith in miracles, so she accepted the rapidity of the relationship as perhaps being just that and, like so many others, she just hoped for the best.

There were miracles in progress - I survived several storms, not the least of which was T. S. Barry in the Abacos. Eventually, in the immortal words of Sting, "I was brought to my senses", but even in the madness and tumult of those almost four months, I collected a lot of precious gifts. I met one of them yesterday and she was just as I imagined - maybe even better.

Bobbi was right at home with my animals, immediately welcomed by my parents and I think we talked nonstop for hours. She arrived at 11:00 and left after six but only due to the fact that she had a long drive back to Raleigh, not because we ran out of things to talk about. If she'd stuck around, I'm sure we'd still be chatting!

It was uncanny how much we had in common and the many points our lives had intersected, even to the point of having met some of the same people. The similarities were astounding and if our visit yesterday would have had a soundtrack, it would have probably been the theme from "The Twilight Zone".

We sat outside at Bluewater and smiled as sailboats paraded forth following the opening of the drawbridge. We talked of sailing, books on sailing, and I listened in rapt attention as she described her own sailboat and her recent sailing adventures. I shared with her what I had come to love most about sailing - close-hauled. The quietness broken only by the sounds of slicing through the sea. We talked of the mystical nature, of how when one is sailing offshore, life changes and is distilled into only that which is happening at that moment on the water. We both agreed that whatever chaos is swirling onshore, the moment the anchor is weighed and the sails are unfurled, the detritus that can confound and annoy us on ordinary days, recedes right along with the sight of land as one heads for the open water. Sailing is, to me at least, better than an "E" ticket and so many things that she shared about her sailing experiences were instantly familiar and recognizable to me and I know she understood my feelings and affection for all that is sailing. [Photo: Susie & Bobbi, Wilmington, NC.]

Bobbi fixed me with a look as we drank our second cup of coffee and then in a most serious tone said, "You do know it's an addiction, right? And you do know that you are afflicted. It's probably terminal.". I suspected as much, but it's always good to have a reputable second opinion. I think of boats constantly - real boats, not leaky, listing ones. When my friend Rick and I were crossing the bridge on our way over to the beach the other evening, we stopped and gazed out at all the boats anchored in the sound. I wistfully imagined being on one of those boats, the cozy warmth of the golden light being emitted through the port lights, the soft sounds of the wavelets lapping the fiberglass and the gentle sway courtesy of the wind across the water. It's all so irresistibly elemental, quiet and very spiritual.

Thank God my love for those things weren't extinguished or even slightly diminished by a series of unfortunate events at the hands of what Barney Fife could only term, "A NUT!".

As we were taking leave of our table, Bobbi slipped her hand in her purse and pulled out something with a ribbon tied around it. She handed it to me and I broke into smile. It was a clamshell, hand-painted with a setting sun and a sailboat. She suggested I untie the ribbon and open the shell. Taking her suggestion, because she is a good pirate, I opened the shell and found a floating key chain with Parker on it. I was told that not if, but when I finally get a sailboat of my own, I would be prepared and have a key chain ready and waiting. I broke into a grin and carefully placed it in my purse, grateful for the beautiful artwork, the "hope" attached to an empty key chain and, best of all, thankful that out of my messy and, at times, dangerous summer, I'd made what already feels like a good friend under the most unlikely of circumstances.

Thank you, Bobbi! What a gift of a day.

As Bobbi and I were sitting in my office talking, an e-mail came in as if right on cue. It was from another newfound friend, also courtesy of this past summer of trials, tropics and errors. My Texan friend, Sheri, had been visiting friends in Greensboro this past week and I dearly wish we could have met in person, but it just didn't work out (this time). Sheri, thanks for writing and your comments on the attachment I sent you Friday Night were hilarious. I opened your e-mail up with Bobbi sitting right beside me and we both had a good laugh. Next time, we have to meet up!

And in other news, my son, Justin, left Friday for a trip to New York City where he met up with his Dad, who flew in from Texas, and they both joined Katie for a fun weekend in Manhattan. We've missed Justin around here, but were delighted the three of them had this special opportunity to hang out together. I can't wait to hear all about the trip and hopefully there will be some great photos - I reminded Justin about fifty times to take his camera. He will return home later this evening and I'm sure he will be tired but very happy after hanging out with Katie and their Dad. [Photo: Tim & Justin in NYC. Taken by Katie Parker.]

UPDATED: 9:44 PM 28 October 2007. Dateline: Wilmington, NC.

I Have A New Rack and Found a Stud! (How's that for a teaser?)

Justin returned safe and sound from his trip AND (this is for your benefit R.E.), I did it!!!!!! Yes I did! I'd been wanting a hanging pot rack for over the island in my kitchen. However, have you priced those things lately? Well, I had so this set me on a quest to find a DIY (Do It Yourself) version and I found a kicky one on, what else, someone's blog!

I followed the recipe (it was a kitchen accessory, after all), and removed the tire from the wheel of a bicycle, scrubbed it, spray painted it, went to Lowe's Home Improvement for the hardware, where I was assisted by a very sweet and dedicated young man, came home and then realized that I needed to hit pay dirt when it came to the installation...(i.e., I needed to hit a stud first time around. This summer, my stud-finding radar was way, way off - totally missed anything close to a target.).

I was talking to a friend and he offered me the use of his which I appreciated very much but, well, I was ready to hang the thing up and we all know how impatient I can be when I have it in my mind to do something - can I hear an "AMEN!" to that Rick? Even though I will be seeing this friend tomorrow night because he's consented to go see "Dan, In Real Life" (the movie, not that 'Ol Dan'), I knew for certain I wouldn't be able to wait until tomorrow night to see my pot rack hanging in all it's black, shiny glory. What to do?

Well, what I did was take a very fine, long hat pin and pierce the ceiling to see if a stud was where I suspected it to be. Guess what. It was! My Dad and I had quite a time removing the bolt from the wheel so we could insert the eye bolt, but with two pair of pipe wrenches, we did it, by golly. I then climbed up on the island and, holding my breath and saying a prayer that I had, in fact, found a stud, I bravely drilled a very large hole and, voila, I hit sawdust! Just what I wanted to find! I had, in fact, FOUND A STUD!!!!

I then screwed in the 8" eye-bolt, attached two large "S" hooks and then ceremoniously hung my project. Nothing fell! Before long, I had the cabinet emptied of pots and frying pans and about five minutes after it was complete, Justin arrived home from Raleigh Airport. He was rather impressed with my handiwork. I took a deep, long bow and gave him a big, hearty hug.

I know, I know, I could have saved the pot rack story for another day, but I had to write about it because it is DONE! I wonder if my "stud finder" is working now? This could be good news all the way around, the least of which has to do with pots and pans.

"Oopsie Daisy, Celia"

One more thing, you need to read Celia Rivenbark's latest column. I read it as I was waiting for my Dad to find the pipe wrenches and I laughed myself silly. Fortunately, I didn't have any trouble installing the @#$%&*& pot rack or I would have possibly gotten arrested like the lady in Scranton, Celia wrote about. If you want a good laugh, check it out. Another note about Celia - she was on "Good Morning America" yesterday. Celia - we need to do lunch soon so I can get your autograph and sell it on ebay.

Justin is downstairs in the middle of carving two very LARGE pumpkins he purchased before he left for NYC. It's chilly outside and supposed to dip down into the 40's tomorrow night. Can a fire in the wood stove be far behind? Rick, I hope you finish building that firewood rack soonish. I'm dying to say, "Wow, you've got a nice rack!". Hey, come to think of it, I guess I have a nice rack, now...get your mind out of the gutter...I'm talking about my new pot rack.

Oh, and I got a new PC Magazine assignment...and a new deadline! YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!! I have seriously missed having deadlines...go figure!

Katie - keep using the Vick's and drink rivers of hot tea. Feel better soon, please. We love you.

More later...