and hot as hell.
I mean hot.
Like we don't get but three or four days like this a year hot. And they usually come in July.
On Friday, it was up around 80 degrees, then Saturday and Sunday were both in the 90s, and then Monday was in the 90s again and today was in the upper 80s.
Yeah. Mid-July in late August. Go figure.
And I'm really sorry for not having written in forever. We're 77 days from the election right now and things are getting down toward critical. We have to get lots and lots of people to the polls in November to Vote No On 1 so that Laura and I can get married.
Only I have to pay the rent and electric and all that other stuff, too, so I have been scrambling around to find work. I have a couple of estimates out there, but no big money-makers are on the horizon. Eight weeks of rain really screwed things up. The economy is making noises that sound suspiciously like a death gurgle, and nobody is hiring me to do anything.
OK, that's not entirely true. I have been finishing a hardwood floor this week, and that's nice to watch come around. It started off as a hardwood floor on a screened in three-season porch, and it got weathered pretty solid. It got dinged up and weathered gray and some stuff spilled on it through the years, so the women who own the house asked if I could sand it down a bit and put some kind of varnish on it to protect it. Sure thing. After six hours on my knees (YES, I was wearing knee pads) in Monday's 90+ heat and 90%+ humidity, grinding off that silver patina with an orbital sander, I nearly cried. It felt like there was molten metal behind my kneecaps. Oh man, that was bad. And my back was not really happy about the whole situation either, but the knees were complaining loudest, so it really sort of kept quiet so as not to appear a wimp. Urk.
I went through a whole box of 60-grit sanding disks grinding that stuff off, but I got down to the good wood, then dusted and swept and wiped it all down with a damp towel before applying marine grade polyurethane with a long-handled roller. That stuff sucked into that wood so fast I think the first board was nearly dry by the time I got to the last one. And the room is approximately 12 by 12 feet.
The wood looked great today when I showed up to apply the second coat of poly, and if it is dry enough, I'll go back tomorrow to put on the third and final coat. Friday I'll go move the furniture and upright freezer back out there after it has a couple days to dry and harden properly.
All of this is provided that the weather cooperates. We'll have to see.
Last week we got to meet Robin over at Around the Island and her tall and handsome husband Jay when they were in town for a little mini-vacation. They were delightful people and they treated us (and our friend L) to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then we treated them to the best ice cream shop on the island and then we wandered downtown looking in shop window for a little while. But we local folks were pooped, so we barely made it to 9 p.m. before we were all yawning and we had to make our apologies and head off to our respective homes.
Food report: The chef sent us a complimentary starter tray of melted cheese, roasted garlic, soft bread and roasted peppers which we shared, then we also shared an order of marinated mushrooms on a seaweed salad with vegan caviar (I have no idea what vegan caviar is, but the others liked it. I found it a bit odd.). For dinner, Robin got the lobster penne, which looked divine, Jay got some crunchy-crusted fried tofu that also looked fantastic, Laura got the pecan-crusted chicken, I got the duck (medium rare) with spiced pears and L got the tempura ahi with shoestring sweet potatoes. For dessert, Jay and I both got vanilla ice cream (the woman who makes it scrapes the vanilla beans by hand!) Robin got Thai chili ice cream, which she described as peanutbuttery with a chili kick, and Laura got something called "Dude" which she describes as an ice cream version of a White Russian. L skipped dessert.
Funny thing? Robin's shorter than I expected. What the hell I expected, I do not know. We are blog buddies. We'd never met before. She looked just like her head shot, just it was closer to the ground than I had expected. Maybe she writes tall and that's what threw me. Who knows. It was an odd, odd thing to have that expectation somehow come up. I have no idea where it came from. And Jay? Really tall. And THAT threw me. My brain is a very strange place, I have decided. I imagine I was heavier, grayer and quieter than she anticipated. The quiet part was just tired - I had hiked AND worked that day and was wiped out.
But really - neat, neat folks. We traded hiking stories and good ideas and food challenges (no fresh berries or shellfish in TelAviv, and how to eat lobster 21 meals a week while on vacation here) and I got to hear how her kids' names are pronounced. What fun it was to hear the live, up-to-date version of their growing process! It's neat to see it on the internet, but to hear that stuff from a parent is just very cool. It seems they are making progress every day. Almost enough to make me want one. Note that I said almost. Almost is not wanting one, almost is almost.
It was a very cool visit. Very, very cool indeed. I think she might have the picture up over on her site - she's been waaaaaaayyyyy better about blogging than I have lately. Go check.
Also brewing in my world is a little painting job on a house just yards from the ocean and nestled in a shady little corner. That damned thing does NOT want to dry out enough for me to scrape and paint, it just doesn't. Damned thing. Going to try this week if I can get a day that does not rain when I am not putting on varnish.
Ah yes, and then there is this referendum campaign thing we're doing. Good god. It seems like every spare moment not spent working is eaten up by the volunteer effort. I am in charge of coordinating house parties to raise money and lining up speaking engagements to the animal groups and funny hat clubs in the area (you know... the Moose, the Elks, Lions, Masons, Rotarians, etc.). I have no idea how receptive these groups might be to our pitch, but I think we can offer some very sane and understandable reasons why each of their members ought to support marriage equality at the polls this year. We'll see if they can just let us have an audience.
We have three house parties this week, two of which I have to be at to do the pitch. This means I may have to wear grown-up clothes and not swear. We'll see how that goes.
Last weekend we went up to Machias for the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, where we helped staff a table collecting pledges of support. Between the booth and the volunteers circulating with clipboards, we amassed 301 signatures. For rural Washington County, Maine (look it up on a map, folks - it has around 34,000 people in the whole county!) that was simply fantastic. We had a good time and met some neat people and Quinn got to play with her friend Emma. A good time was had by all.
We did get shouted at a couple times, and a couple volunteers were called hateful names (one was even prayed at - loudly - in the middle of the street fair), but overall people were pretty decent. A couple vignettes worth sharing:
elderly couple passes by our booth, gentleman in the lead, hunched back and shuffling slowly, followed by lady with wheely-walker-with-flip-down-seat and fancy locking hand brakes. He looks at our sign ("Support same-sex marriage? SIGN HERE!") and says something to the missus. She looks up, reads the sign, locks down the walker and shuffles six or eight steps uphill to where we are.
"Where do I sign?" she asks. We ascertain that she is indeed a registered Maine voter and that she supports same-sex marriage, and she begins to fill out the paper, painfully slowly, hands gnarled with arthritis. Her husband ambles up and stands beside her. Would he care to sign? No, he already did with that nice young man over there. Great, thanks. Mrs. finishes up and asks her husband if he found what he was looking for at the last booth.
"They didn't have an extra small" he told her as he reached into his trousers pocket, pulling out an infant's t-shirt. It was emblazoned with the Machias Blueberry Festival logo. He held it up so she could see.
"That's for our grandbaby in California," the woman explained. "Our son and his partner just adopted him."
Four jaws dropped and eight eyes welled up on the inside of that booth. Love makes all the difference. We wished them well, offered them cookies, and sent them on their way.
And I said a little prayer of gratitude.
Earlier that day, our intrepid volunteer C was out gathering names of supporters and he found himself for one reason or another inside the church hall where the bathrooms and lunch areas were. An irate person stormed up to him, pointed to the clipboard in his hands and said "How DARE you! How dare you bring THAT (finger jab in direction of clipboard) into a HOUSE OF THE LORD?!"
Our young friend did not have time to answer before a member of the church (Congregational, I think) came over to the scene.
"This is an Open and Affirming church," the man told the offended visitor." He is welcome here. If that makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps YOU should leave."
If this shit is happening in Machias-freakin'-Maine, we might just win this thing. Wow.