Monday, February 27, 2012

Making Swing Set a Home

  I took this shot of the Mississippi River at dawn on the morning we left the harbor for a trip up the Illinois River to Peoria back in 1999. It's one of our favorite pictures and until last week, it hung in a hallway of our condo, an area we called "the gallery". That's sort of a snobby way of saying "picture wall", but the fact that the "gallery" consisted of over 100 photos in an odd collection of frames gives away the joke.
  As we are getting closer to the time to move onto the boat, last week I bit the bullet and removed all the pictures from our home and hauled them up to Swing Set.

  The sunrise picture got laminated and placed in a frame and I mounted it on a wall near the dinette, but in order to get more pictures on the boat, I laminated the small ones and eliminated the frames and began sticking them to a bulkhead in our office as you can see in the above picture. You might be able to see the laminating machine on the desk, we bought it last winter just for this purpose, but we also intend to laminate any charts that we print off of the web if we want to keep them.

  We have very little wall space on Swing Set, but we'll use it up by adding these photos. We have 1000s of photos dating back since the mid-50s, but the oldest is of my grandfather and new wife as they arrived in the United States back in 1908. We have pictures of special friends, our various homes, and the pets we've owned. As much as we are looking forward to making new memories, we don't want to forget our past friends and memories due to the fog of an advancing age. It could be the copious amount of beer consumption over the years, but I'm sticking with age being the reason for my forgetfulness.

  Here's Rosie and Holly shortly after arriving on Swing Set last weekend, waiting for the chill to wear off. Once the temperature warmed up, we employed ourselves in various chores designed to improve the homeyness of our little space.
  We had purchased a sliding drawer to place in the base of a galley cabinet and after I installed it, Rosie went to work arranging our dinner and cookware to make the most of the space. I mounted a flat screen T.V. in the master bedroom too. It's not like we need a T.V. in there, but as we are selling our home fully furnished, there was no reason to leave a T.V. there to basically give to strangers. It might be nice to catch the weather on T.V. right before turning in, maybe not, but we'll have the option. Who knows, we might run across someone in our travels who needs a television and we can make a gift of it to a fellow boater.
  We then both worked on the pictures, Rosie picking out ones that she especially wanted to hang, and I did the laminating and trimming. The placement of each photo was a random process, but we are already getting some good natured grief from friends that commented on the placement of their photo. I responded to one such complaint by stating that if they didn't cease their squawking, their photo was going to be mounted behind the toilet.
  By late afternoon, I had run out of sticky tape, so we left a mess on the desk to attack next week with a new supply of tape and another supply of laminating envelopes. The Yacht Club of St. Louis had just opened for the season on the previous weekend, so we got Holly comfortable in her pen in the day head and drove over to Sundowners at the Yacht Club.
  By 7 P.M. the place was full of river friends. Some live music by Captain Tim Woodson, along with a limited but adequate menu of pizza, wings, and fish sandwiches, joined by a steady supply of cold Bud Light, made for a full evening of fun.
  Our limited plan includes spending a fair amount of time in Kentucky Lake this summer as we sandwich some time there between a trip up the Cumberland River and our continued trip further south and a complete exploration of the Tennessee River before coming back and heading down the Tombigbee to Mobile Bay. We are getting lots of promises from friends to meet us in Kentucky Lake while we are there from our friends with trailerable boats, and others who may opt for a condo on the lake to stay at night between daytime outings aboard Swing Set. We're excited about extending contact with some great people in this manner, and we know their claims to join us are not just bar talk, but are real commitments.
  We are ramping up our attempt to get our condo cleaned out. Furniture and most decorations are being left intact so it feels like a home to potential buyers, but we will continue to move things to the boat that we want to keep. We're also giving away items that some friends have use for. We don't mind giving things to friends in this manner; our feeling is that having something of ourselves in the home of someone we know puts us in their hearts and minds, hopefully in a fond way. The most we can ever hope for in life is to be remembered when we are gone, be it fondly or not, but we still shoot for the former.

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