Thursday, April 21, 2011

85° Y'all!

That's right. It got to 85° yesterday and this being Eastern Shore Maryland, it was muggy, too. This Maine boy was not ready. Only last week I was contemplating the old question of when the ice would be leaving the lake (since devoured by 60+ MPH winds and driving rain). While I was sweltering in a nursing home yesterday, the fine folk of Fort Kent were fighting frozen fluids! (Quick, steal the "F" key cap, would you?)

Things are flowing in this vicinity. My days involve driving the 12 or so miles up to the nursing home late mornings (early afternoons) and returning in the evening, cooking supper, cleaning up, watching a few hours of the tube, communing with my wife via iPhone and then reading on the computer for a while. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Spring is in full force here, along with my allergies and sinus issues. It is very pleasant looking out across hundreds of acres of plowed ground. Living in Maine, you tend to forget the whole world doesn't consist of ground covered by anything but trees.

This is a heavy farming area and will stay that way provided there is no bridge built across from Baltimore. The charm and value in this area is in agriculture, not row houses and exhaust fumes, traffic, and soccer moms. Much as they did when they built the "new bridge" between New Hampshire and Maine, if the proposed bridge across Chesapeake Bay is ever started I trust some true patriots will supply enough C4 to take out the base of each and every pylon...

Anyway, plans remain in flux. Like the folks at AA, I'm taking it 'one day at a time.'

Y'all have a happy Easter.

And So It Goes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Weekend Is Upon Us ...

And I find myself in a new venue. A family medical crisis resulted in relocation to Rock Hall, Maryland. Gee, it's REALLY Spring here! There's tulips and daffodils and forsythias and lilacs and acres and acres of fields being plowed and fertilized for the wheat, corn, oats, soy and barley commonly grown around here. Temperatures in the sixties and vernal rains. Cool beans. It bodes well for Maine if it is this warm next to Chesapeake Bay. There really is hope the ice will go out before the end of the month.

About that relocation. It was done on a Greyhound bus. It has been a very long time since I rode a bus. There have been a few equipment improvements. For instance, some of the buses had 110  volt AC outlets. I was on one that had seatbelts for each seat. The air conditioning worked on each of the 5 buses I rode on Wednesday and Thursday. That is right. Transfers were made in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Easton, Maryland. A long, boring trip. Scary, too. Parnelli Jones came out of retirement, donned black-face and drove like a bat out of Hell between NYC and DC for four hours ( 1:45 to 5:45 AM ). I'd swear on a whole stack of Bibles that we only hit every third bounce or frost heave we encountered. And I know, as I was stuck next to the bathroom door on the rear bench seat on a full bus for 230 miles.

Then there are the things that haven't changed despite the spin that corporate Greyhound's new motto, "The New Greyhound", would have you believe. For the most part, riders are still poor, young or old, and often non-English speakers. Unlike the last time on a bus, no skis were in evidence. Service men and women were amongst us, usually on their first leave before deployment after training. Bus stations are still not as clean as airports, despite similar people loads and occupancy patterns. Chairs, if any are provided at all, are metal mesh and extremely uncomfortable for spend a six hour layover on. And some buses were atrociously filthy.

The best thing I can say about the state of interstate bus transportation is it is reasonably priced for an individual when compared to travel via a one-ton dualie pick-up. Make it two people and the economy vs. convenience takes a dive. Change the vehicle to something that gets far better gas mileage, like the Scion xBox I've driven for the past day getting over 40 mpg, and there'd be no comparison, even for an individual. Its still a third the cost of airplanes and at least I found the best kept transportation secret in Maryland - MUST. I was able to be picked up at the Greyhound agency stop in Easton, MD (about a half mile from the terminal of the Easton Regional Airport) within 15 minutes of my arrival and transported to within a few blocks of the hospital in Charlestown (thirty road miles or so away) for the staggering sum of a dollar (it'd be two dollars if I wasn't so old). In these days of $4 gas, that's a flipping bargain.

Anyway, I don't know how long I will be here nor when I can get back to Maine to finish the work I set out to do. That's the nature of medical emergencies, now isn't it? I do hope you are all safe and healthy. I will finally be able to catch up with reading some of my blog friends in the evenings. Who knows, I might have skimmed all  2400 entries by the time I leave. Then again, that delete button is looking mighty handy about now.

And So It Goes.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Spring Has Come

Spring has come to the Northern latitudes and per usual it is a mix of sun, rain, snow, and mud. Oh, my yes, make that MUD. Big letters. Cold and sticky. The bottom is frozen, too.

It's been a moderate year for frost around here. Probably only 3 to 4 feet depth in this vicinity. While cold enough to crack the dangley bits on the brass moose in Rockport, it never got below -24 or so. That is pretty mild, as winters go in these parts. Still cold enough to freeze my feet off in the trailer despite electric and gas heaters and a head high temperature near 75.
I am very thankful for my friends who took me in these past few months. No frozen feet here-- the floor has radiant heat.

The lake is still ice covered. But, with the forecast predicting average highs in the 40-50 degree range and no subfreezing lows over the next week, it should be mid-month or so when the sound of waves lapping the shores is heard once again. That is a week to ten days early ... average ice-out is between April 26 and May 5.

The camp road has been vacillating between rock hard and soup. The little Nissan has found itself violently tossed between frozen ruts or paddling like an old side-wheeler on the Mississippi.

Too soon to bring the "Flying Pig" back   as it would sink out of sight. Then there is the flooding issue. Given the amount of water in the snowpack, there's a good chance there will be minor flooding along the lake shore this Spring. When it comes to one's home, no flood is truly 'minor' is it?

I am using my so-called "smart phone" to compose this, so I will attempt to edit the entry to add a photo. My computer is moribund still. So no promises of success.