November 14, 2010

Finishing the Move

A Readers' Advisory (for both of you): This entry is constructed from talk-over-supper hearsay and pictures I didn't take. 

Truthfully, this post is a reconstruction because, on the first pass, my laptop threw an uncharacteristic hissy fit -- or maybe suffered a burp of indigestion -- and pitched an 80% completed first draft into some uncharted quadrant of cyberspace, where a cyber archeologist generations from now might find its artifacts and marvel that in the early years of the twenty-first century, people stepped outside their pods and experienced the world aboard tangible conveyances.

Recreating prose is a demoralizing task. It's taken me a week to sit back down here, wondering what the hell I wrote earlier, doubting I can express it again, and keeping a suspicious eye out for another anarchistic episode from my crotchety PowerBook G4.

So, to get on with the story: Two days earlier, in the hinterlands of 60617, Smitten was lowered onto one of Great Lakes Marine's ass-kickin' long-haulin' trailers to begin her 700 mile journey east on I-80 to 10464 and the Morris Yacht and Beach Club.

I wish I could've seen her flying down the highway!

Oh balls, who am I trying to kid. I'm so glad I couldn't. As it was, I spent the entire two days she was on the road cringing for her safety. Some primal fears Zoloft just won't touch.

Here she is at the south end of City Island taking a little peek at the Long Island Sound waters she'll be zig-zagging across in six or seven months:

She's cooling her heels in the City Island Avenue middle turn lane, awaiting the all-clear to enter Morris. She looks so tiny on this behemoth:

With the yard's machine- and manpower in place, she trundles down the club's driveway to meet them.

Oversize Load, my ass. Smitty's 10' beam is girlishly petite compared to the rig she's riding.

Once she's positioned in the yard, the traveler lift rolls up behind her and, slings secured under her hull, pulls her up off the trailer. Swingin' free, just as cool as a cruiser in a hammock. Remember, tricked-out for comfort as she is, Smitten weighs in at about 9,000 pounds.

Set delicately back down on a second sturdy trailer, she's creeping across the yard to be maneuvered into the narrow slot that will be her winter home. The stepped mast and rigging will be stored in the Stepped Masts and Riggings closet for the duration, and remounted in the spring. (Which reminds me of that acronym B.O.A.T -- break out another thou$and.)

Voila. Snugged in with her winter neighbors. Til April, darling. Have a good winter's nap.

September 12, 2010

The most nerve-wracking aspect of moving a household is enduring your imagination's natural inclination to inventing scenarios in which the process goes horribly wrong. I'm not talking about things going wrong with stuff you can replace at Big Box -- I can forgive an otherwise-diligent moving company an oops! or two if it only means losing a keyboard drawer or a coffee Thermos. I'm talking about the terrible vulnerability of moving the dear things, the things we are so fond of that we assign them anthropomorphic qualities, the things that make relocating a you're-going-lose-most-of-your-sleep-for-the-next-few-months proposition.

For some relocating parties that thing is kids (note: not necessary to assign anthropomorphic quality to kids, it comes standard). For some, including Dave and me, it's pets. For others, and we fall into this category too, it's possessions that lie outside the conventional "reasonable and customary household goods," to use the language of one nationally-recognized moving company.

Specifically, Reader, "reasonable and customary household goods" does not include this five ton party girl:

The only scenario more daunting to Dave and I than moving the cats is the one that involves moving Smitten. And apparently to move her, as far as the corporate relocation company is concerned, we're on our own.

We're not on the other side of that story yet. This weekend, Dave is coordinating the final steps to prepare her for the journey. He'll sail her to Crowley's (with a big party of Guys on Board) where she'll be lifted out of the drink, winterized, her mast brought down (they call that stepping the mast), shrink-wrapped, set aboard a tractor-trailer, and transported across 730 miles of east-bound interstate to her destination here:


Let's back up. It happened like this:

Dave, bless his eagle eyes, spotted this geographical feature during a final descent into LaGuardia back in January:

And as it was January, picture this island blanketed in white, not green. Even absent the floating watercraft though, Dave recognized it for what it is: a nautical playground.

He had no idea what he was looking at, but he did a quick, mental, only-sailors-should-try-this-at-home triangulation, studied some local maps and concluded he had flown over City Island dangling off the south end of the Bronx. He filed the information away with a personal promise to visit the island to check out possible accommodations for Smitty.

That visit come on an unusually warm Saturday in March when he followed his nose to the southern tip of City Island and found Morris Yacht & Beach Club. He met the right guy, asked the right questions, returned on a similarly warm Saturday in April with the missus bearing a checkbook, and we joined up -- breaking Groucho Marx's cardinal rule.

A week ago, freshly minted membership cards in hand, we made another visit to reinforce in our minds that this is really where the girl is going to live. This is our new Monroe Harbor. (It pinches my gut to write that. I think MYBC will be many things, but it could never replace the camaraderie we enjoyed with the harbor staff and the tender captains, and the friendships of our luvly neighbors on the moorings of South Monroe Harbor. Sniff.)

Okay, toughen up, grrlfriend.

Here's the "beach" part of "Yacht & Beach Club":

You don't have to own a boat to join, you just have to want the access and the community the membership offers.

Six or seven years ago, the original modest clubhouse burned to the ground. This is the permit board for the new immodest clubhouse:

Certificate of Occupancy is imminent. A swank, new clubhouse is almost beyond my fathoming. When I walk onto the property, I see its soaring new profile, but I can't imagine the luxuries that lie within. Something more than Monroe's mildewed concrete block shower stalls? I'll have to see to believe...

Here's the tender dock and the fishing pier beyond:

I was carrying the wrong lens, and it was a hazy day, but still you can see Manhattan in the distance behind our mooring field. If you take off your glasses and squint real hard...oh, bah, forget it, no one can squint that hard without getting a major facial cramp. I was hoping I could point out the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, but I think I need to shoot with different equipment on a better weather day.

Here are Morris's swanky neighbors:

I need to point out that Morris is nowhere near a pretentious yacht club. The majority of members are sailors, and if you are unfamiliar with the, er, frugal nature of the typical sailor, just ask my brother-in-law, the motor yacht captain, to describe it to you.

Look, a happy guy:

August 4, 2010

Where's Em?

This summer, boys and girls, we're taking a different tack.

With all due respect to Little Miss Smitty Pants (who still floats -- I hope -- in Monroe Harbor) our story takes an abrupt right turn to the East Coast. New York City is hammering us (don't worry, in a good way) with sensory overloads that won't be brushed aside.

Little Smitten will always provide the structure for this blog, but I need to talk about all this new NYC stuff.

I gave the Rebel a new lens for my birthday. I know, I know, so selfless. It's a Sigma 70 - 300. It's, um, big, to use a polite-company word. I took it and the Rebel out for a walk the other day, just so they could get to know each other a little bit, and found myself...well...see if you recognize where I found myself.

Here's the first clue:

Uh-huh, pretty cryptic, I agree. Try the next clue:

Hint: Upper East Side...

I love this shot:

Hint: That bad boy Frank Lloyd Wright was involved...

Here's a gimme:

This should bring it home for you:

Yes! I'm at the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue at 88th. I'd show you a full wide shot but to do so, without the other well-hung lens in my bag -- the Canon 10 - 22, which was inconveniently left at home -- I'll have to direct you to this stock shot if you want to see what the whole elephant looks like, not just these individual parts my lens -- like the proverbial blind guys' hands -- singled out.

By the way, that stock shot? I came of age in a Chrysler Newport just like the one that's beached like a whale at the curb. But that's a different blog.