Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jigsaw puzzle in progress

We have lived through our first weekend as campground hosts at Larrabee State Park, and its been a very enjoyable time. Our main job is to sell firewood and to answer questions and be friendly “ambassadors” for the park. Our secondary job is to check the bathroom (both sides) and replenish the toilet paper when needed. We have cute green State Parks volunteer vests that we wear a lot. I make it a point to have the vest on when I go marching into the men’s bathroom shouting “Park Staff” with rolls of toilet paper and the key to the tp dispensers in my hand.

Last night, our Bellingham friends Leslie and Kay brought out Mid-eastern food for us all to enjoy, and then we sat around the picnic table working on the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of shore birds that Lynne and I had bought 2 years ago but hadn’t had time to work. Throughout the evening, we had to stop to sell about 15 bundles of firewood and the puzzle served as an icebreaker with many of the campers. A young couple with 2 kids from Vancouver came to buy firewood and the mother eventually sat down at our picnic table and started working on the puzzle with us until her young husband came back for her about 30 minutes later. She was explaining the puzzle in Chinese (mandarin) to her young 3 ½ year old son as he was sitting on her lap, but I noticed that she used the English word for “puzzle”. She said she couldn’t think of the exact English-Chinese translation for this type of puzzle. Then a camper brought Winnie the bone from a T-bone steak--her first ever! Monday was a Canadian national holiday (they have a three day weekend every month), so we had lots of Canadians who had come down for the weekend. This morning, a woman knocked on our camper door and gave us a bouquet of flowers for our picnic table. On Friday and Saturday we had been helping a charming but somewhat befuddled couple (non-English speaking, although we don't know from which European country) figure out where to camp on Saturday night, and then before they left they gave us charcoal, leftover firewood and a can of pepper spray to protect against bears!

The ranger who hired us, Amber, has been very friendly. She has made it a point to check with us about how things are going, and her staff of young park aides has been friendly and helpful as well. Yesterday Amber drove us up the logging road to Fragrance Lake, which is usually a 2 mile hike straight up, and we got to talk with her about such diverse things as the sewer system in the park and funding and the sandstone boulders around the lake and apprehending people who mistakenly thought that Clayton was still the nude beach. She showed us several rock slides that happened over this past winter, which was more severe than usual. We are finding the work easy, and the timing is perfect as far as moving into our new house (top picture).

Our first task with the new house was to hire Ken Jones Services to remove the yucky old carpet ASAP, as well as the particle board under it and to install plywood underlayment before putting the new hardwood down. He and his crew have been working since Friday (this is Monday night) and they have finished 2 rooms and have 2 more to do. They will sand and stain and polyurethane the floors later this week. We are also trying to make a decision about what tile to put in the kitchen and foyer, and in the process found a cool local store with tile and bamboo flooring and cork flooring and cool doors and bathtubs and good service. We have tons more decisions to make, about fencing for Winnie, paint colors, door styles, and reclaiming the landscaping of the yard. Its fun to have this project, and already the house looks better. Lots of our decisions are based on maximizing the view (see below). Lynne already has a plan for placing the Mission style recliner so that she can sit in it while looking at the bay.

We continue to meet immediate neighbors—who seem delighted to have us there. Winnie is becoming almost a normal dog, going right up to Ken (#3), down the street, and letting him pet her. He helped the project by bringing out a box of dog biscuits so she could show off sitting and taking a dog biscuit nicely. Tonight we walked down to the park (at the end of the street) but didn’t have time to explore the trails too much. We turned around and walked home and noticed that we have another view looking north toward Canada that we hadn’t seen before. We hear that we can follow the trails to the nearest Haggens, the cool local grocery store chain, but I take that with a grain of salt. NW people think nothing of a 5 mile hike up hill and dale, so we’ll have to see how many bags of groceries get carried back that way!

Sounds like Lynne had a successful interview for her home health job, but she hasn't heard anything directly from them. I received a “Dear John” letter from the first job that I had applied for, and no word about the second. If we hadn’t found a house, we could have stayed on the coastal property of a merchant marine who was going to sea for 2 months and needed someone to water his new grass…I much prefer to think of us tucked away in our new house by the beginning of September.

Hello to all, and we can’t wait to see you!



1 comment:

  1. Hello Lynne,

    It's only been since the early/mid-'80s (I think) since we saw each other...it's Ellen Essig from Lex.

    I'm really enjoying this journal about your return to the great Pacific Northwest; it's bringing back wonderful memories from '69/70 of when I was out there.

    I'd rather e-mail than comment...I've just moved back to Lex. from Florida after 22 years and have been looking up old friends. The way I found you here was quite interesting. My e-mail should you care to write is edotson@ket.org