It’s not as fun when we’re not together

I woke up and Dena was standing above me dressed in her rain-riding gear. “There’s coffee, it’s yummy!” “Are you out of here?” “Yep, see you on the boat.” “Yes.” The kiss, the door, silence. I (James) drag myself out and pump the first two cups in before the crust of another sleepless night in this fucked up place has left my limited vision. The last of Cryptonomicon is coveted. When I’m alone in this place I feel attacked with no armor, so I’m out. With the bike and trailer packed I step out into the winter streets, into the rain. Before I’m even out of the community property I feel alone, it’s not as much fun. It’s not as much fun because when I’m by myself I tend to immerse myself in my week, in my past and before I know it I’m pushing myself to the limits of my abilities. In no time flat I’m drenched in my own viscousness, heart pumping, burning. I opt for the back country trail and almost immediately regret it but push on, I do. The snow is almost gone but what is left is thick and hard on a bed of cold wet earth that sucks my wheels deep in its grasp.   The trail that we have come to know so well is unrecognizable in its present state. The trees have fallen over what was once a manicured urban refuge and the sludge is so thick in places that it can stop a biker cold. When I stop it’s a surgical procedure to remove the bike from the sucking mess. After a while I regain  the machine of the ride. The legs, the lungs, the heart, the perspiration, the twin jets of steam ejecting from my nostrils, all in sync, all a[…]

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The Install begins

This week, we made it to the boat. The streets were clear, but the paved trail was still raw snow.  Turning back, we made stab at the back country trail.  We could only ride across small patches, which left us with about 3 miles worth of pushing the bikes and slogging through snow that was up to 2 feet deep. Sweaty work.  Very hard to do. When we got off the trail in Mumford Cove, we cheered each other and relished the smooth roll over pavement.  And then it was straight to work. The project for the day – priming everything. From: To: The smell was so foul that we couldn’t stay in the boat.  Cold air doesn’t move very fast and fumes don’t dissipate.  In summertime, we can do a project like this and go for food (exactly what we did).  When we come back, we can do another project or just relax aboard.  Not in the winter. So we went to a movie.  Quartet.  Good movie, enjoyable.  I don’t think the big screen was a critical component of our enjoyment, but the big sound system rocked the Bach and Verdi.  But you have to know – we didn’t have to go to this movie.  We live this life.  The only element that was missing from what we live on a daily basis – ours isn’t a home for retired artists, and their estate was definitely not a dump like the place we live. By the way, going to a movie means another 6 mile bike ride each way.  This time, in the dark and freezing cold.  We moaned and groaned a bit, but the light exercise (we took it easy) felt good after the morning’s labor. Next day, we turned our attention to installing the hatches in the[…]

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Stopped Cold

So we got hit by this huge snow storm last Friday that dropped about 3 feet on us over night and well into Saturday. Then it froze hard overnight, rained like a mother-fucker the day after that and then it was time for our weekend. On Monday night Dena did the few remaining cuts of Azek that we needed to finish the new galley cabinet while I went on a recon mission around the neighborhood to see if the ride would even be possible the next day. The snow drifts were piled up to about 6 feet on both sides of the roads but the rain had cleared most of the salted roads to be pretty safe as far as I could tell. Everyone that I talked to that had been out in the world-at-large had told me that it was the back roads in the neighborhoods that were bad and we both could only imagine what the back-woods trails would be like so we figured we’d give it try and if it didn’t work than it didn’t work and that was that. The day was bright and beautiful with not much chill in the air so the big melt was in full swing. We packed the trailer up and headed out with very little to deal with outside of the fact that the traffic was a bit intense but that was to be expected, being the first day people could actually get out without putting their lives in mortal danger in about four days. Once we made it to the trail head we knew we were in for a slow slog but what we got was stopped cold. Once it got up to the derailleurs on my bike the trailer then sunk like a rock and stopped me in[…]

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A shelf and a drawer

This week we didn’t get to do a whole lot of work on the boat, I mean we worked, as you shall see but we did more riding our bikes through the insistent  snow than actual work on the boat. Back at the community we loaded up the bike-trailer with all the pieces of Azek that we cut to form on Monday night. Then we rode. Just after the crack of dawn we rode from Groton to Noank on a thick carpet of freshly dropped frozen precipitation and unloaded the trailer at the marina about 45 minutes later. We had about an hour before Dena’s eye exam so we thought we’d put the new dry-goods shelf in place and do the fiberglass so it could dry while we were gone. Then we rode to Mystic through the gently sloping Connecticut rivers edge. It snowed on us constantly the entire ride but it didn’t seem to matter much, the scenery was spectacular. When we got to Mystic Dena headed over to her eye-exam while I settled in at Bartleby’s for a relaxing day of reading and sipping coffee imported from the Mexican mountains. All the while it snowed, a light late winter feathering that covered the already picturesque town of Mystic painting a perfect postcard. …And it was all day. I (James) am reading a most fascinating book, Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson. It’s about all the things that Neil Stephenson writes about, computer culture, codes and breaking them and the thing that I think stimulates him as a writer more than anything else, the concept of a Universal Machine. Cryptonomicon is a 918 page future door stop that helped me pass the time quite nicely, so, by the time Dena showed up just after dark my feet had thawed, my mind[…]

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