Preparations

Monday 10/29 - Our goal for the day was to finish cleaning our cottage. Like a good Spring cleaning, we thoroughly go through each room. We take an inventory of what we’re keeping and why. When we find things we haven’t used or appreciated in a couple years, we sell or donate them. It’s fun to find new homes for items that were important to us once. Then we clean. Knowing I’ll be away from my home for several months, I end up admiring wood as I polish it; I notice how nice the curtains frame and shade the windows; I wipe the dust from Dobbs’ models and my books and remember why they’re special to me.

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Murphy got a bath and then Dobbs cleaned the shower. We like not having to clean a shower for a couple months! Cruising sailors share a fondness for showering - we talk about the good ones, the bad ones, and the actual event “I showered…” as though it was a revelation.

Tuesday 10/30 - We drove up to Pottstown to visit my Mom. The drive was pretty - Fall leaves, blue skies. We were expecting commuter traffic, but this was the first time we encountered Amish rush hour - along one stretch, we passed three buggies in a line! We were taking my Mom’s Buick to Bill’s Repair to have the side view mirror replaced. Bill has been fixing my family’s automobiles since the 1980’s at least. He’d recently been on vacation to Elizabeth City, NC, of all places, and talked about watching the daily procession of southbound cruisers. He even toured the airship sheds and had a few photos to share.

While Bill worked on the car, Dobbs and I returned to Mom’s house for a proper social visit and, later, lunch at the Limerick Diner. It’s been ages since I was last there, and yet the décor and fresh roasted coffee smell brought back memories of when my parents took me there for Sunday lunch after church. From the diner, we drove to Bill’s and picked up the Buick - Mom drove her big, bright red car home. She looked relaxed, beautiful, and happy behind the wheel, and that made me feel happy, too.

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Back at home, Mom mentioned that she had a small leak under the kitchen sink - something that seemed minor. Dobbs took a look and was surprised to find that the pipe connection to the underside of the sink drain had corroded completely free! We ran out to Home Depot and Dobbs asked for help from an associate who knew exactly what we needed. Before long, we’d replaced the drain and two sections of pipe and the sink was functional again.

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The time for us to leave to drive back to Maryland came quickly. I’ll miss my Mama (I already do) and think of her every day!

Wednesday 10/31 - I’m surprised by how full our days are and how quickly they pass. We picked up our last share of produce at Flying Plow Farm this morning. There are still two more weeks left in the season, so our neighbors accepted our share as a “thank you” for watering our plants while we’re away. We took Grace’s cooking propane tank with us and had it filled at the hardware store in Rising Sun. After lunch at our cottage, I started garden clean-up. We have a lot of plants! Dividing and re-planting is part of the process that takes time.

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Dobbs went down to Bay Boat Works and permanently attached the seat in our dinghy, “Coquille”. Now we don’t have to stow it in the quarterberth. Later, before dinner, we loaded the dinghy on deck. Grace is looking more ready every day. For dinner I made pan-roasted butternut squash and onions with sausage, garlic, and yukina savoy served over egg noodles with a dollop of ricotta and a sprinkling of parmesan. It was tasty!

Thursday 11/1, 70/65 (high temperature/low temperature), S15>25 (wind direction and speed in knots) - Garden clean-up continues, along with two trips to the landfill and three loads of laundry. We dumped the contents of our composting head into our compost bin and then cleaned and re-charged the head with coco-peat. This procedure is refreshingly easy and not at all gross.

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We returned to Grace at 5pm, with groceries. We stowed the laundry and groceries and then sat in the cockpit drinking chamomile tea with a little snack of cheese, crackers, and radishes. For dinner, I made fried eggplant, pressure-cooked sweet potatoes in their skins, and steamed broccoli with lemon. A funny aside - I’m prejudiced against any sweet potato color other than orange, but tonight I had to admit defeat - the pink-skinned white ones were delicious! (Dobbs is a more open-minded sweet-potato eater.)

Friday 11/2, 68/49, S10, overcast with periods of rain, 8:10pm - This morning I wrapped up work in our office with a few remaining QuickBooks postings, back-ups and computer downloads. Meanwhile Dobbs shut down the cottage water system and swept the floor. We emptied the refrigerator and turned it off. I made lunch back on Grace and then we took our phones and laptop to the library for WIFI updates. We made a last stop at the post office and then took a check to our bank in Colora. We returned to Grace with an hour to spare before it would be time for Dobbs to drive the truck back to our cottage and meet our friend Rich. Rich drove Dobbs back to the marina and brought pizza, chips, and beer to share for dinner. What a treat! The rain held off long enough that we could sit in the cockpit until sunset and then we moved inside for dinner. We talked about sailing trips and projects, boats in general, and family and friends. We bade Rich farewell until Spring and retired early in anticipation of our morning departure.