Home Again


I really loved sailing into New England.  The further north we got the more happy I became.  The land became familiar to me; places that I’ve been to, stories, memories.  Albeit the perspective from the water was different.

I grew up in Maine, so that will always be home to me, regardless of where I walk or roam.  One lesson that I learned in life is that no matter where you grew up, every other place that you come to know will always be compared to that benchmark.  I remember standing in 130 degree heat in the Middle East and thinking,  “Wow, this is so much more hot than Maine”  Really?

My son Christopher was onboard, and I wanted him to feel the “special-ness” of New England, specifically Maine.  Of course he’s been there many times as my family still lives in the area, but it dawned on me that his home, his benchmark,  will always be Atlanta.  I watched him struggle with a lobster on a pier on Belfast, and he sprinkled every other sentence with “ya’ll”.

Maine has a way of capturing people.  I can name several people that migrated to the State, and just never really left.  I guess is some way, I migrated away from Maine, but never really left as well.

Weekend Project

imageRainy weekend in March, so we decided to do some arts and crafts and put our industrial sewing machine to the test. After going to the boat show in Annapolis in October last year, we saw some bags made from recycled sail cloth that we thought would be a great idea as host gifts. We’ve been thinking about what and how to do this for the past several months. This weekend we finally got all of the bits and pieces together and here is a pic of the end result. We plan on giving these out to friends and family who visit…unless we find a market for them on Etsy 🙂

Home to Maine

Ashore in Maine
Ashore in Maine

We’re home in Maine for a few days.  One of the places that I wanted to visit was the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.  The museum is really well done and is a truly educational experience into the tradition of shipbuilding in Maine, especially during the age of sail.  Remarkably,  within sight of the museum’s back windows is the Bath Iron Works, where they are now sea-trialing the latest “Star Wars-looking” guided missile destroyer for the U.S. Navy, USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000).


“There is Smoke in the Kitchen”


I joked about not burning the house down the other day, but yesterday our Nest Protect sent both Janet and I an emergency message that we had “smoke in our kitchen”.  I was in Seattle and Janet was at work.  Not fun.

The very first thing that I realized is that I didn’t know how to dial Chicago 911 from Seattle.  The local 911 operator told me that I had to call 411 Information to ask for the correct Chicago number.  Playing phone tag while your house is potentially burning down is less than “not fun”.

I finally got in touch with Chicago FD, and they sent someone out to investigate.  The Operator took my phone number down and said that they would call me back, which never occurred.  The fire station is two blocks from our house so I assumed that it would be a pretty straight forward affair to investigate if there was an actual fire or not.  After not getting a callback I was unsure whether it was because sending a fireman out from the station was a low priority or they were busy fighting our house fire.

Once Janet arrived home we realized that the alarm was just a malfunctioning Nest unit; no fire.  We soon realized that there is no way to turn off an alarming unit short of ripping it out of the ceiling, as it’s hard wired in.  She tried to call Nest Customer Service, but got put on hold for over ten minutes as the alarm was screaming in her ear.

Finally after opening some windows, despite the absence of smoke, the alarm quieted.  I suspect that it had some particle stuck in the sensor.  Later I learned that you could hit the unit gently with compressed air and they normally clear.

Lessons learned:

  1. Have commercial numbers for Chicago PD/FD preprogramed in your phone.
  2. Ask for a way to call back PD/FD even if they promise to call you back first.
  3. Have your neighbors’ phones programed into your phone.  We did not.
  4. Know how to disable alarms, or be aware of the fact that you can’t.
  5. Think these things through ahead of time.