Friday, January 30, 2009


I was supposed to be cleaning the rest of the house today, after having lunch with a friend, of course. But standing there in the kitchen pondering sweeping and mopping, I noticed with my newfound "photographer's" eye (yeah, in a pig's) that the light on the bowl of tomatoes was ever so beautiful.

Thirty minutes and 42 photos later I realized that 1) natural light changes every second, 2) the floor is still dirty, and 3) I can't outsmart this camera. It consistently takes better photos on auto than I do when I change the settings.

It's now after 5 o'clock, 17 hours before the house will be shown, the downstairs is a wreck, and I don't know what we're having for dinner.

Nice photo though, huh?

--made a final deal on the cello

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Nothing like two appointments to show the house to light a fire under me. I've been dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping. I remind myself of that old short story (Poe perhaps?) where the murderer is backing out of the house wiping fingerprints from everything he has touched. He gets more and more obsessed until they find him days later in the attic scrubbing away imaginary fingerprints where, of course, he never went in the first place.

Today's cleaning was the polar opposite of that pretend, silverware-drawer clean I wrote about the other day. At some point, when I was about to wash my travel makeup bag, I called a halt.

Yesterday we got a counteroffer to our counteroffer (try to keep up). If you stood on our offer and looked toward theirs, you couldn't even see it from here. We decided to lay low, but the people want to look at the house again anyway on Saturday afternoon.

I told the universe yesterday, "What might help this along is another person looking at the house at the same time." You know, get a little sense of competition. I assume the universe needs my advice.

This morning our realtor called to set another appointment for Saturday morning.

Will either of these folks buy our house? I don't know, but it's really nice to have a clean house.

And you may tell yourself
this is not my beautiful house
-- Talking Heads

--finished compiling tax info to give the accountant
--cleaned out under the house
--put washing machine parts on Ebay
--put the Flintstones thermos on Ebay for round two
--feeling better after a week of having shingles in my ear. really. awful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Apparently the prospective house buyers did NOT look in the silverware drawer.

We were spending a leisurely Monday afternoon shopping for wet suits at Outer Banks Boarding Company. As our friend Robert Farmer was explaining about polymers and limestone and blindstitching Chip's cell phone rang. It was our realtor telling us we were about to get "an ugly offer" on the house.

Ten minutes later, our business broker called with news from that prospective buyer we spoke to last week. We are now one of four businesses he's vetting -- down from five last week -- and he wants to know if we'll provide owner financing.

The photography class that was "sold out" last week now has room for me. I registered this morning.

For three weeks I've been trying to persuade a doctor to see me as a new patient. I gave up about a week ago. This morning his receptionist called to see if I'd like an appointment.

Well, our realtor was right, the offer was ugly. We countered and are encouraged that there are people out there who actually like our house. They really, really like it.

We're pondering the pros and cons of financing the business. Suggestions and advice are welcome.

My photography class starts next Tuesday, and I have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday.

I keep looking out the back window to see if an Island Packet 35 has appeared.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

10 WHAT!!?!?

Our realtor called this morning to ask if another realtor could "preview" our house for a client.

"Of course," I said. "When?"

"In 10 minutes."

"Oh, shit," I said (paraphrased).

There are times in your life when you realize how far the apple really does fall from the tree. I used to call my mother Hurricane Marge for the way she would spin through a room cleaning, fluffing, dusting, leaving a sparkling, photo-shoot-ready room in her wake. Okay, technically that's more like a reverse hurricane creating order from chaos. If George Bush had only sent mom in after Hurricane Katrina, she might have secured a better place for him in history.

Once my mom found her longtime friend Dene, a friend who is more "terrestrial" in her housekeeping, on her knees peering under the bed in the guest room.

"What are you doing?" Mom asked.

Dene replied seriously, "Trying to find where the heck you keep the dirt."

That apple must have fallen somewhere else, because I did not inherit this trait. I leave a wake behind me that consists more of rumpled couches, fingerprints and dirty dishes and less of sparkle and shine. I've tried to convince my mother that low standards are much easier to maintain.

After I hung up the phone with the realtor, I flew through the house sweeping, washing, fluffing, but it was less Hurricane Marge and more Roseanne. In one quick swipe, all the contents of the kitchen counter were dumped into the silverware drawer. Random loose objects that were too large for the silverware drawer landed in the coat closet. As I was running around pushing the swiffer broom a huge roach ran out in front of me.

"AH, you little bug!" I shouted (paraphrased).

I swung the swiffer, flinging floor particles far and wide but missing the roach on the first try. I briefly considered stepping on it, but not in the fuzzy slippers I was wearing (completing a delightful winter ensemble of non-matching sweathshirt and sweatpants). Instead, I tried again with the swiffer and scored. His legs twitched as I pushed him along for the rest of the floor dusting. Off to the bedroom to make the bed, fluff the curtains, clean the mirror.

Nine minutes after the phone call, I slippped out of the sweatpants and into jeans just in time to hear the knock on the door.

I opened the door all smiles and calm, hoping they wouldn't notice the dust particles flying like confetti behind me, floating down onto the roach dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies."

--someone is flying in from Atlanta to look at our business

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We went to see Slumdog Millionaire last week in Asheville. That was a freakin' huge serving of humble pie.

I try not to complain but sometimes throw myself a little pity party. You know, poor me, we're not sailing yet. On the other hand, I've never seen my mother being murdered by a mob, lived in a dump (literally) nor watched a child's eye being scooped out by a spoon. Self pity. Gone.

It made me question my resolve just a wee bit too.

There's a scene in the movie where the main character as a child is locked in an elevated outhouse. His hero, a movie actor, flies overhead in a chopper and lands nearby. The kid is so committed to seeing his hero that he opts for the only path to that goal: he jumps in the cesspool.

Would I do that?

I took the camera to the beach today to prove I know nothing about photography. That went quite well. That photo of the feather was taken by the camera. All I did was press the button.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BLACK BEANS: Pressure Cooker Recipe

Yeah, one more thing to learn. I'm putting this recipe here, so I don't have to ask Chip every time, "now how do I cook beans?"

We got a pressure cooker, because quick-cooking on the boat will mean fuel efficiency and less heat production in hot climates. Dry grains and beans are easy to store, cheap and last years. They're also readily available worldwide. So I begin my cooking lessons.

Black Beans

Place washed beans in cooker
Cover with water
Add salt
Lock cooker and bring up to pressure (2nd orange ring on ours)
Take off heat and let sit for one hour
Drain, rinse, season
Add liquid (water/broth) to about 1/2 inch above beans
Bring up to pressure
Cook for 20 minutes (turn off heat for last 5 minutes)
Go for less than 20 if you want them al dente

These were a little overdone, but they taste a-mazing. Shockingly better than canned beans.

All things considered, I'd rather be learning this ON the boat, but use the time, use the time.

--started some research on portable sewing machines
--continuing photo lessons

Monday, January 12, 2009


That's my first picture of note from the new camera. It's a strange place to start, photographing my old wedding rings, but, well, it's where I started. I've been dragging those rings around the country with me since that marriage ended in 1992, unsure how to get rid of them. Thank god for Ebay, the great online dumpster.

All weirdness aside, I'm thrilled with the shot. When you click on it to zoom in, you can see all the grains of sand, a hair in front of the rings, the carve marks on the sculpture. (Remind me never to turn this thing on my face.) Spectacular. Especially when you consider I've had the camera for 72 hours. It's a testament to the quality of the camera, NOT my skills. The only setting I've played with is the ISO. I don't know what it stands for or what difference it makes yet, but I've lucked into some nice accidents.

I've cracked the door into a whole new world. While I probably won't be photographing many wedding rings on our travels, I hope to master this expensive toy well enough to record and maybe peddle our travels.

--started a transition TO DO list
--Chip is on a quest for the perfect boat drink recipe
--watched at least three hours of camera tutorials

Saturday, January 10, 2009


A lot of water has passed over the rocks since I last wrote. Those rocks on the right there are in the mountains outside Asheville where we went to see "all our children," the biological and the acquired.

Casey lives in Asheville with her boyfriend, Dave. Dylan, who lives in Wilmington, was passing through on his way back from Ireland with Brett, who attends Warren Wilson College just outside of Asheville.

On the seven-hour drive from the beach to the western tip of North Carolina, we wondered if we had some unfinished "business" with the kids, if perhaps we needed to assure them our plans include rather than exclude them. While that seemed obvious to us, maybe it wasn't to them and maybe this was the right time to make sure we're all pulling in the same direction.

I guess you can't overestimate the power of spoken transparency. Don't assume it's obvious. Say it. We're all working on a new, grownup understanding of how we fit together and how we can help each other realize our dreams.

And how we all need a little help now and then.

--the store rocked out in December.
--we spent New Year's Eve and New Year's Day doing inventory :-(
--I got a Canon EOS 40d camera for my birthday. No, those aren't pics with the new camera. stay tuned....
--Island Packet introduced a new 36' boat. Interesting.
--I'm newly unemployed as of yesterday (temporary layoff)