2007 It was a very good year for getting married
So, another year winds down, and it’s a good time to crack open a bottle of wine and sit by the warm glow of the LCD screen and bring everyone up to date on life…and what’s been happening. Before we get to 2007, we’ll cover a little of Christmas last year…since it was at our house in Seattle for the first time in a long time.
First, of course, we needed the tree. So Karin, Christian, nieces Sarah, Lara and I packed Minnie the dog into the car and headed North. We figured that we were manly men, and should cut our own tree. We found a tree farm up near Arlington, not too far from Mom’s house. And with borrowed saw in hand, we dutifully marched around among the stumps…looking for that perfect tree. Not too tall, not too short, not too fat, not too scrawny. No flat sides. We were looking for perfection. Of course, when you get cold and tired of marching around stumps…your standards sometimes slip. So we found a nice tree. Not perfect….but it would do.
But Christmas finally arrived, and the flock of family and friends gathered around the hearth to toast “God bless us every one”. It was a lovely day, and everyone’s custom-made bowling shirt, with their custom-made bowling name embroidered on the shirt, fit perfectly. Half got red shirts, half got white. Oooh, custom-made teams. That’s important later. Everyone got what they wanted…well, that’s how I remember it anyway. Karin got nephew Josh and his wife Chanda to bring three month old Levi to his first Christmas in Seattle, and she just about hugged his cheeks raw. My brother Dennis got to hold Levi some, but I think he held that little puppy Lucy for the same amount of time. I know they both fell asleep on his lap. Dan got a new hat and a bunch of wood working tools. What more could a boat builder ask for. Christian got to spend a few days with Lindsay….grrrr tiger. Too bad she’s living in San Diego. She’s the kind of girl the family council would approve.
Everyone got what they wanted, except Lynn. She was none too happy with whatever my nephew Jared got her. Why? Well, it wasn’t a small box that might have a ring in it. I mean really, they’ve been together forever. Is he going to pop the question or not? I mean, what’s the holdup? Turns out, it was the arrival of Josh and Chanda’s plane. They didn’t get here until Christmas night. So while Jared had that ring all along, he was waiting until his brother arrived before popping the question. But as soon as they got here from the airport, Jared was down on one knee. Oh, she said “yes.” Nice.
Alan, Jamie and Teresa flew in from Pennsylvania for the festivities. Louie and Ethel were up from Oregon…so we were a big troop. Two days after Christmas we all donned our team bowling shirts for a battle royal at the Whirly Ball area. What’s Whirly Ball? Think basketball while you’re all sitting in bumper cars. That’s about it. Five on Five teams complete in 15 minute sessions while team mates like the arena cheering, drinking, cheering, drinking. You get the idea.
Some went sailing, others went buying wedding jewelry. Karin seems to have started a tradition. She buys the nieces their wedding jewelry. And since Lynn was now engaged she and Leah headed off to the Nordstrom jewelry counter to find the perfect look. I know the “perfect look” was not the one Leah found when the girls headed off to Seattle for “Girls Night Out”. Too many Cosmos and you find yourself leaning over a cardboard box. That’s what I’m saying. Ah, Christmas is such fun.
Mid January, our niece Lara invited Karin and I to McChord Airforce base down by Tacoma for a fancy awards dinner. She was up against a bunch of other Air Force folks for the “Airman of the Year” award in the Washington Air National Guard. Well, in a shock to no one at all, she won the darn thing. We were there with her mom, Judy, and dad, Dana. Her other Aunt, Suzy, also made it. We made a lot of noise hooting and cheering for no longer Airman, now Sergeant Lara Koler. Oh, and when you win one of these things you are automatically in the running for the Air Force-wide competition. I’m not going to linger on this too long, but Yes, Lara was later called to Florida because she had to accept her next award as “Airman of the Year” for the entire First Air Force. Nice.
Late January meant a wintertime trip to Idaho. Niece Leah and Phil finally tied the knot in a beautiful winter wonderland ceremony at the Portuguese Hall in Wendell. Nice location for a wedding. We all danced, a lot, and had a ball.
Spring was a whirl of more boat school for Dan. More deals at Sprint for Karin. There was some attempt at green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, but we’ve told Christian not to ruin the beer that way anymore. Dan sailed in a few races in the spring. Mom got that cute new golden retriever, Rudy.
In May, Dan and about 20 of his school chums set out for New Orleans to rebuild homes still damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Even a year and a half after the storm, there is still a huge amount of rebuilding to do. It will take a decade for some parts of New Orleans to recover. The good news is that the French Quarter is still there…and the music and food sound and taste even better at the end of a week of hard work helping folks out. You feel like you’ve earned the party.
At the end of May it was back to Idaho for a surprise 50th birthday party for the best sister, ok, the only sister, Rebecca. Her girls planned the 50’s themed party, and Rebecca had no idea until she was driving up that it was a party for her. We rocked around the clock and had a blast. And to top off the sweet Memorial Day weekend, we woke up the next day and Jeff’s horse had had her baby.
June arrived with a whirlwind…and her name is Grace. Karin has wanted a Bernese Mountain Dog for years, and she finally got her wish. The breeders are a couple we met at the dog beach in Edmonds, and they gave Karin first pick from all the pups. She couldn’t decide, so their picked out Gracie, saying she seemed to be the most happy and frisky of all the pups. They got that right!
Mid-summer was a blur and flurry of parties in Idaho. We have our normal Galena Campout in the Wilderness North of Sun Valley, but before we could even get to that, we had another wedding. Jared and Lynn, they of the Christmas proposal, tied in knot in the Wendell Portuguese Hall on what was probably the hottest weekend of the summer. And sure enough, the air conditioner fritzed out for a few hours, making it an oven inside for the ceremony. Oh, did I mention it was a Scottish wedding with all the men in wool kilts and formal jackets. Actually, despite the heat, it was a lovely wedding. As you would expect the bride was radiant, the groom handsome, and our son Christian was best man…and a stud muffin in his kilt. And his best man speech was all you could want. Funny, touching, heartfelt, and pitch perfect for the evening. As you would expect, dancing ensued.
Once the party cleanup was done, it was off to the mountains for that camp out. It was a low key affair so we could all recover from the party. Still, there was river rafting, hiking, fishing, a little target shooting, and lots of food and drink. No major injuries means a good year.
Back in Seattle at the end of July meant it was time to weigh anchor and get out on the boat. We were planning a get away to Vancouver BC for the fireworks festival, and Dan convinced buddies Jim Runkel and David Huntsman to sail there instead of drive. We’ll leave all that sitting in the line at the border to the women folk. 😉 We found a slip for the boat in Burrard Inlet, right next to Granville Island. That’s Vancouver’s answer to the Pike Place Market. Needless to say, re-provisioning the boat was no problem. There was all the fresh food you could ask for. We used our folding bicycles to get over to the site along English Bay where we could all settle down in the sand to watch the fireworks. It was a stunning show, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Everyone else had to go home, so on Monday after the show, Dan singled handed the boat across the Strait of Georgia to the Canadian Gulf Islands for a few days of leisurely sailing. Over the course of a week, Dan sailed back to the US San Juan Islands and finally to Anacortes to pick up Karin’s sister Suzy and her husband Tom who were coming aboard to celebrate their first anniversary. There were a few mechanical issues to tame, but there was also exploring, fishing…sort of, and a good time for all. Karin and Dan dropped Tom and Suzy off, and then went out for a few more idyllic days drifting, sailing, and crabbing, in the San Juans. Karin left for work, only to be replaced by niece Lara and her date Joe Henry. Again, how can you go wrong sailing through the islands.
Finally it was the end of summer and time for Dan to bring s/v Marie back to Port in Everett. But there will be more adventures. Tom and Suzy have already booked a long sail in 2008. Get your reservations in now folks.
September brought a return to school for Dan and Christian. And it’s the same school; the Wood Construction Center in Seattle. It’s the last quarter of Marine Carpentry school for Dan, but for Christian, it’s his first quarter that will lead to degrees from both the Carpentry and the Fine Wood Working/Cabinetry programs. Christian also had one more wedding where he was in the wedding party. I think he’s been to about 7 weddings this year. This one was for Boy Scout buddy Brandon Sweezea. Actually, I was in the wedding too. He’s Buddist and she’s Catholic, and they asked me to do a reading for the service. It was a hoot, and again, dancing broke out.
Since this was my last quarter in boat building school, I figured I better take advantage of the time. I knew that when I went to work, time would become a little harder to find. So I used some of Karin’s bonus miles to fly to Miami Beach in October for the annual convention of professional boatbuilders. This show had more boat making tools, and suppliers than you could count. The convention was ok, but the really interesting part for me were all the seminars on the latest techniques and technologies being used in boatbuilding g. That was just an extension of my school, and made the trip worth it. Ok, the warm beach and great restaurants also helped make the trip worth it.
On my return I decided it was time to get serious about figuring out where I wanted to work after getting out of school. It turned out to be easier than I expected. I asked my instructors what shops I should apply to. They just said, go see Roy Dunbar. So I did. Now Roy is a 69 year old shipwright with a 4 person Marine Service company on the Lake Washington Ship Canal near the Ballard bridge in Seattle. If you’ve ever gone to the locks in Seattle to see salmon swimming upstream, that’s nearby. So Roy is a little particular about what he works on. He only does wood boats. In this age of mostly fiberglass, there are very few companies that only do wood. But it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more from a guy who has been a shipwright since before I was born. Roy said he’d hire me, but didn’t want to wait until the end of the quarter. So with the school’s winking approval, they’re just marking me present and calling it an internship, I started out in career number three, as a newly minted shipwright.
Before we knew it, Thanksgiving arrived. Becky and Jeff came up from Idaho. Judy and Milly came from Eugene, and we had a big ole Thanksgiving at our house. And if that wasn’t enough, 24 hours later we threw another party, our traditional Day After Thanksgiving Bash. Suzy and Tom, Dennis, Terri and the boys all made it up from Oregon for that one. The food was great, the drinks were great, and no one went away hungry.
And that about sums up 2007. Christmas is coming up, and will be back at the ranch in Idaho. There’s a dog sled race, caroling, and a big dinner at the Church in Wendell. But we’ll include details in next year’s round up.
God Bless you in 2008.