Alabama Gulf Coast · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Uncategorized

The Misadventures of the Musical Mechanic: Part 2

I recently wrote about some of the adventures, or misadventures if you will of my Dad. Yesterday he came in and shared a story that was just too good not to write about it. Trust me I don’t make this stuff up. So here goes….

 

Last year Dad decided that he wanted the school to purchase bleachers for the High School band to sit in during football games. They currently sit in the crowded bleachers with fans. The school agreed to buy bleachers from the local community college, but Dad would have to arrange to have them picked up. This is no simple task. It required man power and a gooseneck trailer. They are heavy! With school starting this week and football games following shortly, my Dad enlisted the help of his best friend William and his brother, my Uncle Mike. They loaded half of the bleachers, leaving the other half for another day. Have I ever mentioned that my Dad is slightly impatient? Ok, well make that slightly more than slightly. He couldn’t wait for William and Uncle Mike to come back to help so he enlisted my brother in law Zach, the assistant Band Director, to load bleachers.

My Dad teaches in the country. A place loving referred to as “Snake Country.” It’s the perfect mix of dry and wet making the perfect accommodations for both rattlesnakes and moccasins alike. Most people wear snake boots when roaming the woods. So Dad told Zach to dress accordingly to pick up the bleachers that had sat vacant. The grass was about waist deep and it was HOT! Like middle of summer in Mississippi hot, because guess what it was!

On the way to the site, Dad tells Zach of all the perils that could be lurking in the grass. He explains that the bleachers are heavy and Zach could lose a finger if not careful, something really important to a guitar musician. “If you see me run son, don’t run towards me to help. I’m running from something so you just haul it the other way.” Zach was now throughly anxious about walking through what my Dad described as a landmine of danger. They made their way towards the bleachers, Zach hot and on edge, Dad cautious and alert. Dad began giving instructions on taking the bleachers apart. They got ready to lift one section when POW! My dad puts his hand right on top of a red wasp nest. The angry homeowners in an effort to protect themselves stung him five times, three times on his right hand and two on his left. Dad began waving his hands around in an attempt to ward off the attack. He and Zach ran to the car and promptly drove to Walmart for a can of wasp spray. Once the wasps were dispatched, they returned to the task at hand. 1, 2, 3, LIFT and with one hiss, the cottonmouth moccasin, who also called the bleachers home, let everyone know he was most unpleased about being disturbed. The moccasin began slithering quickly towards Dad with his mouth open, the unmistakeable white and triangular head revealing his deadly intentions. The nearly 3ft long snake made it clear he meant business and Dad yelled “SNAKE!” Zach, dropped his half of the bleachers and began running in the opposite direction. He got about 3 feet away when he heard the unmistakable warning rattle of an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. He froze and before him in the brush was the rattler. He turned to run back towards the bleachers. By this time the moccasin had decided he’d rather hide than fight. A local guy who’d been mowing the field, seeing Dad and Zach running, waving and yelling decided he’d better see what all the fuss was about. He made his way over. “What ya’ll doin’ out here fellers?” he asked. Dad explained the purpose of their adventure. Zach now excruciatingly hot voiced his great displeasure of being in the snake infested field. “I don’t want to be here” he announced to everyone as he wringed the sweat out of his shirt. Dad recounted the story of the wasps and snakes to the man. “Well sounds like you boys have had an exciting day, but what in the world else did ya’ll get into ’cause ya’ll stink to high heaven!” It was at this time my Dad noticed something fury just in the place where Zach had dropped the bleachers as he had escaped the snake. A small brown and white skunk had also made his home beneath the bleachers and had met his end when the bleachers crushed him. In a final blow, he had sprayed everything nearby, including my Dad and Zach.

That night as my Dad narrated the story to the me, I was thankful for the horrible head cold I currently have. He had run everyone else out of the living room with the stench of skunk. “Well, I guess I’ll go get a bath and we’ll try again with those bleachers tomorrow.”

The Misadventures of the Musical Mechanic……..

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Alabama Gulf Coast · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Summer Wind Down: Bucket list 2018

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Where has the summer gone?? I know for my New England friends you are just now in the height of summer, but here on the Gulf Coast summer is “unofficial” over. Of course we won’t experience the fall cool down until you know like JANUARY, but summer vacation for kids and teachers has ended. I guess I’m still in a New England state of mind, not having kids starting a new school year. I’m not ready to let go of summer just yet. I still have a TON of things on my summer bucket list. I wanted to share the list with you today, let you know which activities have been completed and which ones are yet to happen or not happen at all. So here goes: SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2018

1) GO STARGAZING- Well technically I do this every night but it hasn’t been a purposeful activity. Will do tonight if the monsoon holds off!

2) Ride a Roller Coaster- Sorry Nope Not Happening I get horrifically sick from roller coasters. I seriously can’t even watch people ride them!

3) GO CAMPING- I actually have a camping trip planned later this month in the Smokey Mountains. I’m really excited about going as I have never been to the area before. 

4) Have a watermelon eating contest- HA! This happens everyday around here. I love watermelon and will eat till I make myself sick of it!

5) Go to an outdoor music festival- I am actually headed to New Orleans this weekend for the Louis Armstrong festival. I can’t wait! I love New Orleans. It’s always been a second home for me. I’m excited to go with my friend who has NEVER been. Cafe Du Monde here we come!!

6) Have a water fight- Does bathing Ava count as a water fight? I think it should. Or maybe all the torrential downpours I’ve been battling to get through lately?!?

7) Go on a hike- I hike Blakeley State Park but I’ll definitely do it again! I’d like to also hike that nature trail at the Gulf State Park. This weekend I’ll be hiking the streets of New Orleans and cemeteries. 

8) Play mini golf- Kaitlyn, Brian, and I played mini golf last week while she was here. We had a really great time at Pirate Island in Gulf Shores. The course has two sets. One challenging and one fun. Let’s just say we should stick to the fun course. Sorry Arnold Palmer, Golfer I am not. 

9) Go to your local farmers market. I love love love farmer’s markets! I don’t care if it’s the same vendors with the same produce, there is just something about shopping outdoors for fruits, veggies and art. Right now I’m really digging ShipShape Urban Farm (www.shipshapeurbanfarms.com). They had AMAZING herbs this past weekend at the Farmer’s Market in Cathedral Square. The mission at ShipShape is pretty incredible and I am all about supporting local, sustainable, veteran owned farms!

10) Head to the Beach-C’mon guys you know this is a given for me! 

Here’s a great summer bucket list from Pinterest! Share your summer bucket list in the comment section below!

Happy  Endless Summer Everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

The Misadventures of the Musical Mechanic

DE3657C8-5620-4E86-82F0-63029469701EThe last few months have been insanely busy. It’s really kept me from working on the boat. This depresses me. My dad seeing how discouraged I’ve been with the remodel project decided to help me out.

My Dad has been been a band director for nearly 40 years. He is an amazingly talented musician. Put any instrument in his hands and he’ll be playing it in 5 minutes. Put any instrument into your hands and he’ll have you playing it in 10.  If you were to meet him you probably wouldn’t take him for the musician type. You’re just as likely to find him tinkering on some wood project or working on some piece of machinery. He grew up in the country where he learned to play the guitar and work on engines. He was raised in a time where you worked on things with your own hands and you fixed it instead of buying it new. I have always admired him for this. Sometimes however, he gets in a little over his head and that my friends is the misadventures of the musical mechanic.

When I returned home for New England, I sparked a love of sailboats for my Dad. He has always loved the water, especially the Gulf and we spent MANY days on it with him in various friends boats. Eventually he bought his own power boat when I was a freshman in high school and oh the adventures we had that summer! So when I moved back home with the dream of purchasing an older sailboat to remodel, he purchased one first. He sold the Deja Vu only a few months after he had become the owner. I knew it had made him a little sad as he loved that little boat, but he assured me that this meant he’d have more time to help me work on my boat. He claimed he really liked the Rialto Zephyr because she was big enough to take the whole family out. I don’t know if I really believed him but I definitely appreciated his offer of help.

A few weeks ago I began having engine trouble on the Rialto Zephyr. I thought it was the batteries at first as the Perkins Diesel in her belly wouldn’t start. Whining, turning over, but nothing else. My dad played around with her, trying to charge the batteries as Mr. Hall, the old salt who owns the marina watched him fiddle with her. I guess he saw my Dad and wondered what he could possibly be up to. He walked down and started a conversation with Dad and they came up with the wiring was loose. Once rewired, she roared back to life ferociously. Well maybe a little too ferocious. As Dad idled the engine the thermometer crept higher and higher. When it went over 200 degrees, Dad shut her down. He shook his head and thought he’d just burnt the engine up. He began formulating how he would break it to me that I would need a new engine. He waited for the engine to cool a bit and then took a closer look. He decided that maybe she was just really clogged up and began to clean her out. What made him decide to empty her completely of oil and fill her with soapy water I may never know, but I do know that he sat white faced across from me as he related the story of how she bubbled up water and oil. He said “I may have really screwed it up Rebecca, but don’t worry I think I can fix her.” Ever the scholar, he pulled books that the previous owner had stored on board. He also combed the internet in search of information on the engine. Once satisfied that he knew enough to continue the project, he replaced the oil filter and serviced the engine. Two days later my phone flashed his number across the screen. Before I could even say hello I heard the engine purring in the background. “Well, she’s singing now!” The joy in my dad’s voice was contagious. He had fixed her.

The project gave him the sailing bug and before I knew it, he had enlisted the help of his friend David, an avid sailor, with the rigging project. They rigged the halyards, straightened out lines that had been crossed and were backwards, reconnected the jib, oiled the tracks and basically did nearly $2000 in rigging work for free. I cannot tell you how blessed I am to have my dad. Were there some mishaps? Of course, one of them stepped onto the hatch and fell through, but you know what, I don’t care. Like everything else it can be replaced. The excitement and joy that I share with Dad cannot. I will remember these days forever. The Rialto Zephyr has become a family affair.

Yesterday my dad called me again. I could hear the engine and the faint splash of water. “I’m a mile out Rebecca and she’s cutting through the water like butter!” The Rialto Zephyr sails again.

Last night after tucking her safely back into her slip, he let me know the auto pilot fell apart. “Don’t worry though, I’ll get right on it!”

Thanks Dad! I love you.

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Alabama Gulf Coast · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

How I express my Creativity

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From an early age, I was a creative soul. Born into a family of gifted musicians, I learned to play several instruments and to sing. Creating was something that just came natural to me. Whether it was the imaginative stories I dreamed up and wrote about, or the intricately detailed make believe games I planned for my sisters, creativity seeped out like ink on blank pages.

Now as an adult that creative spirit is alive in this blog. It is nurtured by every photograph that I take and share, every sail on the Rialto Zephyr, every adventure planned. My creativity is a celebration of my uniqueness and all the quirks that make me who I am.

People often confuse creativity with the act of making something but it means so much more! According to Dictionary.com the definition of creativity is: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination. Creativity is innovative ideas in the workplace. It’s by-products are some of the major achievements in civilization; think of the invention of the wheel.

Over time society has really downplayed the importance of creativity. We are taught not to think for ourselves. Educational settings often stifle creativity in favor of memorization. Schools drop music and art programs in favor of more time to cram math facts. Recess, a time when young children could explore and imagine, is almost nonexistent. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Imagination opens up doorways and possibilities unknown. Imaginative and creative play is how young children discover the world in which they live.

I was so incredibly lucky to have grown up in a family that encouraged my creativity. When I was 7, my parents purchased a Play-Skool camera as a Christmas gift. I set out to document every aspect of my life. From the mundane to the extradorinary, I snapped away. I remember pretending to be a National Geographic photographer. I wrote articles on the different flowers and animals I photographed. My Dad encouraged me to start a family newsletter. I wrote articles about my family and my aunts and uncles, how this cousin had made the honor roll, or this one caught 8 fish. It might seem silly, but that encouragement led me to write more as a teenager and now as an adult.

If you look at society, our most successful scientists, musicians, artists, and businessmen will tell you how being creative led to their achievements. Many businesses point to the lack of innovation and imagination in the workplace.

So next time you feel like being creative, don’t let society get you down. Step out of the box and think or make something beautiful. You never know what it might lead to!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Final May Day

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Well here we are, the end of May and the celebration of a year of Wayfaring Tail Wagger. May turned out to be a rather interesting month. We had our first named Tropical Storm, Alberto, who didn’t make much of a fuss but did however, get me on my game as far as prepping for the storm season. I was able to get the Rialto Zephyr cleaned, began working on the sails to get them in proper order, and my Dad and I got the engine started! That’s something to be excited about.

In other news, I was promoted at my job and now it seems all I do is work. I haven’t had time for writing much, which is always a downside to “adulting.”

It occurred to me that I don’t have nearly as many adventures as I had originally planned. I think I miss that the most about my previous life, the adventure. I feel stale sometimes, like that heel of bread that no one ever eats. They just leave it in the bag on top of the fridge for weeks before it becomes dried out and crusty, tossed in the trash for lack of use. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, just an observation. I decided that I would at least find a local adventure and stumbled upon Blakely State Park in Spanish Fort, AL, just a 20 minute car ride from here. I think I’ll be hiking tomorrow as soon as I’m off work.

This month I discovered an amazing restaurant right here in Daphne AL called Bangkok Thai. They have the BEST green curry I have had in AGES!

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I always order the medium spicy and it’s just hot enough to cure what ails you! The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming. I’ve been twice this month alone.

May has really been a month of reflection. It was the anniversary of everything that happened that changed my life. It caused me to see how far I’ve come and how much further I have to go. It was a reminder that I am a survivor, independent, creative, and best of all resilient. Not all of it was a pleasant memory. I miss my life still, at least the life I had before. The pain has dulled a bit and I’m able to make it through the day without tears now. I heard something on a podcast today that I’ve decided to make my mantra. “I am defective, but I am healing. I am broken, but I am rediscovering myself.” I have also learned that I need to have a little grace and mercy for myself. I have accepted that I can’t change what happened. Now I’m allowing myself to move on from it. I am rediscovering who I am and who I want to be and realigning my life.

I am so thankful to those of you who have traveled with me on this journey. I hope you will continue to follow along as I chart out new adventures for Ava and I. Thank you for all the love and support. Your comments have encouraged me over this year in more ways than you’ll ever know!

Here’s to another year!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Happy Anniversary! Reflecting on a Year

 

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It’s here! The anniversary date of Wayfaring Tail Wagger. What a year it has been! There’s been some incredibly HIGH highs and LOWS that made me believe I was drowning while on the surface, but here we are. I survived.

I wanted to take some time to update and reflect on the past year. One of the most amazing things that has happened in this year is that you, yes you, my readers have followed along. When I started this blog, I really didn’t expect much from it. I thought it would just be a great way for me to release in print what I felt in my soul. I never dreamed that I’d have followers who devotedly read my blog and shared their own lives with me as well. You will never know how this encouraged me not just to write more, but keep my head up and believe that things would get better. Thank you!

This blog started with heartbreak and life change. While I am still recovering from the heartbreak, I can happily say that life is moving forward again. It’s not always easy. Some days it’s like trudging through calf deep mud as I try to make my way, but I am moving forward. This year saw me lose my husband, my home, my family structure that I cherished, and ultimately lead me to the realization that I had lost myself over the years. It saw happier times like the day I stepped foot on the Rialto Zephyr and knew that she was mine. It was the day my dad, Brian, and I sailed her from Perdido to Fairhope. An adventure! It’s now filled with memories of Ava happily sitting on the bow with Kaitlyn, Brandon and Kendall being home for the summer from college, and time with my parents that I may have never had. And while it’s intermingled with sadness and deep sorrow, I’ve come to the realization that while I was broken I was filled with a courage that I didn’t know I had. Courage to continue when I didn’t want to live. Courage to take a chance.

Somedays I still feel like the poet in Psalms 23 says “Yay though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will feel no evil. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”. There are times when I am in that “Valley of Death” when everything around me feels lifeless and fear sucks the breath from my chest. I recently recalled a night from when I lived in New Hampshire and Kenny and I were working on the farm. It was pitch black outside and the goats had not been brought in. They bleated from outside in the far field. It was dangerous out there at night. Predators could end their lives in a second. I walked out into the field with a stick and kept the herd together as we made our way to the barn. My rod and staff comforted them and guided them to safety. Guess what that’s what the Psalmist is talking about! Although I’ve been in this valley, God has been leading me, even through the blackest of moments when I couldn’t see. He was there guiding me to safety.

Ok so updates! My Dad and I were able to get the engine running on the Rialto Zephyr. It was a moment of pure joy. I jumped up and down like a little kid, laughing. My Dad did a little jig and a whistle. We ran her for awhile, cleaned the bilge, and the cabin. Brian joined me the next day and we started a list of projects, large and small. The first I sat out to accomplish was to re wrap the mast inside the cabin. It’s currently wrapped with a dinghy, brown rope like material. It sheds a brown itchy mess every time I touch it. So off it goes. I decided to go with braided line. We started wrapping it and OMG it takes FOREVER. After only getting a quarter of the pole done in an hour, I decided to take it down and cut off the old material. I’ll let you know how it works out. I’m putting pictures below of what it looks like right now. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! Brian helped me lift the sails and she’s definitely going to have to be re-rigged. That’s quite the project. I may enlist the help of a fellow sailor, David, who lives in the marina next door. He has become my walking encyclopedia of sailing knowledge. I highly suggest becoming friends with someone like David in your marina!

Brandon started working at a new restaurant that has just opened in Spanish Fort. If you like Italian food, you will LOVE La Dolce Vita in Spanish Fort. It’s traditional southern Italian food and the chef, Diego, is an amazing guy from Italy creating things I never even dreamed of. You really have to try this place out if you are local! Tell them Rebecca sent you!

Ava had her yearly check up and I am HAPPY to report that she is a healthy, happy dog.

We survived this year.

Thanks for following along on our adventures. I love you all!

 

Fair winds and Following Seas!

 

Rebecca

 

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

Home

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Home /hom/ noun- The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

A simple word with a a defined meaning. A physical place, and yet not a physical place. As a military family, home was often very loosely defined for us. It could be the base housing unit we resided in, or the friends and churches we called home as we traveled the world. It could be my childhood home in Jackson County Mississippi or it could be wherever my parents and siblings were living at the time. Home became more of an adjective to describe a feeling of comfort rather than a physical place for me. It became memories of sitting on the front porch with my Granny while I listened to her recall her childhood. It was skipping down dirt roads, hand in hand with my Daddy as we carried our cane poles to the ditch for fishing. It was the way my Mama played the piano every night after she mopped the floor as I lay watching her from my bed. That was home.

Today’s blog is about the place I call home now. It’s mixed with those same memories as I mentioned before, but it’s also a very physical place that I have learned to love the more connected I feel to it. After moving from New England, I joined my parents in the small coastal area of Mobile, Alabama. Like I mentioned before, I grew up just across the state line in Mississippi. Mobile was the largest city near us and we only visited when we were shopping for school clothes or Christmas. As a teenager, it was the only place I could go to see a movie. I didn’t really know much about Mobile other than my parents always warned me about watching my surroundings as Mobile had a significant crime rate.

Mobile is a beautiful oak tree lined 300 yr old city. She’s had a history that predates America’s birth, one that is rich in both tragedy and triumph. She sits proudly at the mouth of the Mobile River and the Mobile Bay. She’s musically talented, quite the party girl (just check out her Mardi Gras celebration), and rooted deep in faith. Her people are stereotypically welcoming, gracious, and full of southern tradition. To her east, sit small picturesque communities such as Fairhope, Daphne and Spanish Fort.

I sailed the Rialto Zephyr back from Perdido Key, Florida in September and made her new homeport Mobile. The bay is great for first time sailors because typically she’s calm. Although shallow, the bay provides an easy navigating body of water. I’ve learned so much just in the short time I’ve sailed here. Small coves and inlets provide shelter and the occasional beach bar/marina.

The downtown area is dotted with restaurants, bars, art galleries, and cathedrals. You won’t go hungry on Dauphin St.

The sunrises and sunsets over the high rises, with their color coordinated rooftops is breathtaking.

This is my home. Where the air can be so thick you can taste it. Where swamps and marshes give way to the Gulf of Mexico. Where I am loved, accepted, and comfortable. Home.