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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Asticou.........

6:07 am - Thursday - July 19th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 57º F, 80% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south.......sunny, blue skies with a forecast high for today of 74º F.

Wednesday, while cool initially, was quite humid with a forecast high of 77º F.  We decided to take a week off from hiking and just do a little site seeing later in the day.  I began my day watching stage 11 of the Tour de France.  There is something pleasant about watching bicycle riders suffer for hours climbing 12% grades in the Alps from the comfort of your leather recliner.  I've done enough of that in my life spending hours climbing in hot weather over mountain passes day after day on a 500 mile bike rides not that many years ago.....I know what it feels like.  Certainly, I do not ride as fast as these guys do, or as many miles in a single day as they do, and I was never riding for the 'yellow jersey', but I do understand the suffering.  It is suffering to which you willingly submit yourself.......it is for the sense of accomplishment, and for the reward.......the equally long downhill.  You stand on the pedals for mile after mile with the wind in your face........all the pain of a few moments prior is forgotten.  

Stage 11 was completed around noontime, and we were in the VW shortly thereafter driving over to Northeast Harbor to have lunch at the Asticou Inn and Restaurant.........Yelp gives them a solid 4 stars on 34 reviews.  We arrived just after 12:30 pm, and were shown immediately to a table on the outside deck......perfect!



The restaurant was quite busy and we both felt we were lucky to get a table so quickly.  The view of Northeast Harbor was perfect and exceeded our expectations........



......we quickly ordered some adult beverages......white wine for TLE, and a local stout for moi......


.....like Jordon Pond, the Asticou Restaurant offers popovers and tea.......TLE ordered the popovers (no tea), and I their Lobster Quiche.  The service was excellent, and within minutes of receiving our drinks we had our food......



......according to my sister-in-law, Kay Houghtaling, we have become excellent 'Rusticators' (The term “rusticators” is used to describe families who came to spend long summers on the coast of Maine. Rusticators started arriving in the late 1800’s. The word rusticator is derived from the word rustic, which relates to country living).....I guess I would have to agree with her.
 

We lingered over our food and drinks until almost 2 pm when we finally asked for our check.  Right across the street from the Inn are the Asticou Azalea Gardens, so we decided to walk over and check them out.......


......unfortunately, the azaleas went through their blooming cycle a number of weeks ago.  I can only imagine how beautiful the garden would have looked with them in full bloom.  As it was the gardens were quite lovely........








......and it was a very nice way to walk off our lunch!  We were home about 2:45 pm.....time for a nap for moi.

We watched some more 'Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee', and some recorded shows.  I was in bed a little after 9 pm as it is back to work on Thursday!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Binging......

7:39 am - Wednesday - July 18th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 66º F, 96% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the north......sunny today with a forecast high of 79º F.  Rained most of the night and is quite humid this morning.

We awoke to threatening skies and high humidity, as well as forecasts of thunderstorms and copious amounts of rain......the forecasts came true, but well into the afternoon.  We are definitely not fans of hiking in the rain, or in high humidity (I guess that's kind of redundant, eh?) so we stayed home.  We had slept in until almost 8:30 am, and didn't have breakfast until after 10 am.  TLE whipped up a batch of sourdough toast, fried eggs and a lot of well done bacon.....I was in heaven......I hadn't had bacon for a couple of fortnights.

I wasn't in the mood for reading so I suggested to TLE that we finish watching season two of 'The Crown' on Netflix.  I decided I would try to connect to Netflix via the campground WiFi.  I was not very optimistic, whatsoever, but was totally surprised that I could, and not only that, we never had any buffering whatsoever......the streaming was flawless......AMAZING!  I have to say that over the almost 7 years we have been on the road we have never encountered campground WiFi as good as we have here at SDC.....seriously.  About 90% of the time campground WiFi is worthless, and if you are able to connect it drops out continuously.  Not so here at SDC.  


Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Jerry Lewis

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Brian Regan

After watching episode 10 of season 2 we decided to binge watch a series by Jerry Seinfeld called 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee'.  It was launched in 2012, but I have only just become aware of it.  Each episode is about 9-22 minutes long and features Jerry Seinfeld driving cool, unique cars to pick up fellow comedians, and go out for coffee.  It is actually quite funny, and at times you will find yourself laughing uncontrollably. One of the funniest, for us, was when he picked up Jerry Lewis.....it was hilarious, and his episode featuring Brian Regan had me in tears.  They are all funny and I would recommend this as a 'binge project' for sure.

Finally, about 3:30 pm it began to thunder (didn't see any lightning), and then rain, and it rained on and off all evening and into the night.  We went to bed shortly after 10 pm with smiles on our faces.....that is really the best kind of way to end any day!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"Monday I have Friday on my mind......"

8:43 am - Tuesday - July 17th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 63º F, 98% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the south.......cloudy, foggy with a forecast high today of 68º F.

Monday is our Friday, and on every "Monday I have Friday on my mind........."......

The Easybeats - 1966

......when you are working 5 days per week you look forward to Friday, right?  As the week progresses and Friday gets closer you begin to think about what you will do on your 'weekend'.  When Friday finally arrives you feel as if you are walking on air.....the day seems to fly by and suddenly you are into your weekend.  You talk about 'sleeping in'......you talk about what you will do after you 'sleep in'......you talk about making the weekend last as long as possible.

All the aforementioned thoughts are going through my mind as I report for work just before 8 am.  The humidity is up and it is giving the early morning air a warmer than normal feeling.  I am concerned it may get too warm, but, thank goodness, that never happens.

On Mondays I work with Tony until 2 pm when he goes home.  Tony is one of my favorite people here at SDC and I look forward to spending time with him on Mondays.  There is rarely ever a break in the conversation, and we laugh a lot about almost everything.  

After we retrieve 25 bundles of wood from the 'back 40' to refill the wood box we head down to the Group sites to check on the porta-potties.  All four group sites are rented, and there are about 100+ people utilizing those porta-potties, so we must make sure they do not get too full before they are emptied. We find them out of paper, and almost full so we notify Todd immediately that a visit from the pump truck is in order.  He takes it from there and we are off to gather up another 24 hours of effluent for transport to the transfer station.

As is often the case when we are getting ready to drive over to the transfer station Todd asks us to pay a visit the McEachern's Hardware Store  on the way back to pick up a few items.  By the time we return it is about 10:55 am and time for lunch.  Tony and I reconvene at the restrooms an hour later for their daily cleansing.  We finish just before 2 pm.....I bid Tony adieu and am now on my own for the last 3 hours of my 'Friday'.  If you are a frequent reader of my blog you know what is coming next.......I retrieved the Stihl string trimmer from the 'garage' and went to work.  That effort took me to about 4:15 pm.....time to put away my tools and spend some quality time cleaning my golf cart.

I clock out (4:51 pm) exactly 9 hours after I clocked in (7:51 am).....subtract an hour for lunch and you've got another 8 hour work day in the books.....of course, on Mondays, my work is not quite done.......I am night manger on Mondays, and will be returning around 7:40 pm to close the pool for the evening, and do the fourth water test of the day to be sure the PH and chlorine levels are where they should be.

TLE has prepared an Alfredo Casserole for me to heat up for dinner, and after a nice, long hot shower I put it in the toaster oven at 350º for 20 minutes.  I get out an Atlantic Brewing Company Summer Ale to chase the Alfredo, and spend the next 20 minutes dining whilst watching American Pickers......life is good!

I get dressed again around 7:30 pm and am out the door to walk down to the office to retrieve the office golf cart before working on the pool.  I am greeted with fog rolling in from Southwest Harbor.........


.......that fog would linger all night long and into Tuesday morning.  I'm feeling pretty good after completing my 10th work week here at SDC, and hang around talking with TLE after closing the pool, and making my rounds of the campground........we lock the doors at 10 pm, and TLE begins to count down her drawer.......

The 'countdown'

.......we are in the golf cart heading home by 10:10 am.....we enter the Newell with big smiles upon our collective faces.....thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Oops!

6:14 am - Monday - July 16th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 61º F, 100% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the southwest.......cloudy with a forecast high of 70º F.  It's our 'Friday'.....YAY!

Sunday began cloudy and ended cloudy....it also ended with SDC at 99.9% occupancy.  Tammy and I spent the morning with Alex helping him clean sites.  There were only 21 to clean on this day and we had all but 10 done by lunch time.  Whilst Tammy and I worked on the bathrooms Alex finished the 10 sites and then joined us in finishing the men's side.

Since we don't make a run to the transfer station on Sunday's Tammy and I deferred the trash collection to 2 pm.  By the time we had put the last bag in the dumpster it was almost 3 pm and time for Alex and Tammy to head home.  I still had one more hour so I got my Stihl string trimmer and headed down to site 113 (occupied by our night manager Deb) to trim up the grass around the 5th wheel.  I was almost done when a gentleman from site 110, right across the road, approached me.....I turned off my trimmer, and took off my headphones.....he said my trimmer had thrown up a rock and shattered his driver's side window.  At first I thought he was just kidding, but then I looked across the road, and sure enough it was......


.......big OOOOPS!  Even though my eyes were seeing the evidence I was still in disbelief, because in over 30 years of operating various types of string trimmers around my home and other places this had never happened to me.  Sometimes I get hit by rocks thrown directly up by the trimmer, but I had never seen a string trimmer throw a rock some 30-40 feet and break anything.  At any rate, I was trimming with my hearing protection head phones and didn't hear the window shatter.  He was visibly angry, and I totally understand why.....I'm sure I would have been upset, too.  Ultimately he calmed down after I assured him I would report it to the owners and that they would take care of  everything......not the way I expected Sunday to end!

4 pm came none too soon, and after I put away my tools in the garage I headed down to the office to record the incident in our 'book', and then punch the clock......just as I was about to record the time on my time card a gentleman came in saying there was a wasp nest under their RV site deck.....okay, so I'm not getting off at 4 pm.  I headed back to the 'garage' to fetch some wasp spray and headed to site # 117 to exterminate the pests.  Now it was about 4:10 pm and I was once again poised in front of the time clock to record my time when another gentleman came into the office asking if I could trim a couple of branches from a tree in site #71 as they were pressing against his patio awning.  I once again returned to the 'garage' to get a ladder and long handled pruners.  That took another 10 minutes, but finally I was inserting my time card into the time machine....it was 4:24 pm......time to head for home!

I watched a recording of the 9th stage of the Tour de France while I ate dinner, and took a nap.  I was on my way back to the pool area about 7:40 pm to fulfill my duties as night manager.  Once the water tests were done and transmitted to Todd for review I toured the campground on the office golf cart.  During the afternoon three large groups of high school age kids had arrived (with appropriate adult supervision) and were everywhere.  I was concerned about what the noise levels would be later in the evening and determined to return again at 9 and then 10 pm to be sure everyone observed quiet hour which begins at 10 pm here.  Normally I make a tour of the campground around 9 pm and then go to bed.  On this night I did make the additional 10 pm rounds and found all to be well.  I picked up TLE form the office and we headed home for the night.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Just perfect.....

5:11 am - Sunday - July 15th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 58º F, 100% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the southwest......partly cloudy with a forecast high today of 70º F.  The sunrise if now 5:02 am and sunset is now 8:14 pm......daytime is getting shorter!

Well, what can I say?  Another wonderful weather day on Saturday in Southwest Harbor was had by all.  We are in that time of year I love when neither A/C, nor heaters are required 99% of the time.  The days are never too hot, and the nights are never too cold.  Just perfect!

As some may recall, on Saturdays I am 'Person # 3', and that means no restroom cleaning for moi, just lots of site cleaning.  Saturday is a big departure day here at SDC and typically we turn over between 30 and 40 sites on a typical Saturday....most other days it is only 5-10.  In order to give me more time to just focus on cleaning sites only TLE helps me by handling the flower duties.  On this Saturday I had 31 sites to clean before 3 pm.  The key is to get more than half done in the first three hours (8-11 am), and I was able to get 18 done by the time I took my lunch break.  

The other thing about Saturday is it is the day all the rented cabins turn over.....if they have all been rented then that means there are 12 cabin sites to clean.....on Saturday I only had to clean 8 of the 12 cabin sites.  The cabin sites take longer to clean because in addition to cleaning the fire pit, table and campsite we must clean the gas grills.  Depending on how much grilling has been done it can take anywhere from a few minutes up to 20 minutes to clean one grill.  If the propane bottle must be refilled that adds a few more minutes.

TLE goes to work at 10 am on Saturdays and Sundays so I was on my own for lunch.  I watched the second half of the 3rd place World Cup match between England and Belgium.  It was 1-nil in favor of Belgium at the beginning of the second half, but England had numerous chances to level the match in the second half, but failed each time.  Finally around the 83rd minute Belgium added a second goal and that is the way the match ended.....2-nil.

So, it's now 12 pm and I have only 13 sites left to clean, and up to 3 hours to do them.....not bad.  I was able to finish them just before 2 pm.  Usually after I finish with site cleaning I head up to the garage to get my Stihl string trimmer and spend a couple of hours trimming grass, and that is what I did Saturday, however, I am finding that I am running out of places to trim.  Two things are happening.....one: the grass is not growing as fast as it did a earlier in the season, and two: I have been so consistent in doing trimming every day I work that it is all caught up, and that is a good thing.

After washing my cart and putting away my tools I headed down to the office to punch the clock and found that TLE was coming home an hour early as Sam was there, and there was not much for two people to do so we both punched our time cards and headed for home......yay for our team!

After dinner we watched 'Dunkirk' which is the story of the miraculous evacuation of over 300,000 British and French soldiers from Dunkirk beach, which were surrounded by German troops and faced imminent death.....it was the ultimate race against time.  I enjoyed it, but thought it was a little short considering the magnitude of what happened (one hour and 46 minutes).   I didn't feel they developed the story lines thoroughly enough.....anyway, that's my take.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

9 weeks.......

6:07 am - Saturday - July 14th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 53º F, 97% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the northeast......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 68º F.

When I arrived at the pool around 7:53 am I was struck by the reflection of the clouds in the very still water.....it was just one of those days that immediately strikes you as way above average......


......we have been struggling lately with water clarity in the pool, and it appears that amazing crystal clear water has returned after all the hard work of the pool staff......


.......I mention on a regular basis how many flowers there are here at SDC, so here are some pictures of the hanging flowers at the pool.......they add a nice, homey touch......



.......Alex is 'dead heading' the flowers as he does every day he works......he is no longer 'one armed' Alex.....his doctor has officially released him to work without the sling, and to lift up to 10 lbs. with his left arm.......
 

......the cloud parade continued all day long.  Friday was a day for the books......the kind of day you wish you had every single day for the rest of your life.  It appears we have, based on the weather.com forecast, 14 days of temps in the high 60's and low 70's (link to forecast).......

For those who don't want to click the 'link'

......the rest of the day was the normal work day at SDC.  I finished my day, as I often do, with my Stihl string trimmer in hand.....no better way to end a work day!  By 4:45 pm I was putting away my string trimmer and washing my cart.  I spent about 15 minutes talking with Todd about his plans for SDC....they want to add about 45 pull through sites 'out back'.....they have about 200 acres of land which has not been used yet, so the sky is the limit.  When that will happen I don't know, but I hope they can get it done.

I clocked out about 10 after 5 pm and was on my way home for the day.  TLE had the 10 am to 6 pm shift this day, and was home at exactly 6 pm......nice to have her home before I go to bed!  We watched recorded TV shows ('Alone', 'Masterchef' and '24 Hours: To Hell and Back') before I headed to bed about 9:30 pm (TLE followed shortly thereafter).  We have now been in Southwest Harbor, ME for 9 weeks.......we have also virtually reached the half way point of the Summer of 2018....."Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."......Ferris Bueller, June 11, 1986

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Sameness........

6:09 am - Friday - July 13th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 54º F, 98% humidity, wind - CALM.....partly cloudy with a forecast high today of 72º F.  Just finished 9 weeks here at SDC.....does not seem that long.

After two days off work it is always hard to go back to work on Thursday's.  It takes me until after lunch before I'm back into the swing of it again.  There is a sameness about each work day here at SDC that I like mostly, but on the other hand I don't like.  I'm not complaining.....it is what it is.  The one thing I loved about working as Ranger at TVC (Tahoe Valley Campground) is that every single day was different for me.  I like variety, and not knowing what to expect each day, but there is something to be said for a job that is exactly the same every single day.....you do know what to expect, and there are no surprises.  I am slowly beginning to embrace that 'sameness'.

 Each morning (except Monday mornings) I walk to the 'garage' to get a golf cart key, then pickup one of the two carts available for work around the campground.  I then drive it down to the office where I pull out my time card and insert it in the time machine to get my starting time stamp.....on Thursday it was 7:53 am.  I then walk over to the pool where Tammy, Steve and Todd are finishing their morning pool work.  We then all walk back to the office together for morning coffee before beginning our work day.  I begin work at 8 am four of my five work days, and everyone else, without exception, begins at 7 am every day.......I like 8 am better.

Now, to be fair, there are two minor variations in my routine.....on Saturdays I don't do the restrooms.....my focus is primarily on cleaning sites, doing site checks and taking care of the many flowers in the campground.  On Sundays I go to work at 7 am to help open the pool, but everything else is the same except I get off work at 4 pm.

On Thursday TLE had switched shifts with Sam and worked the 2 pm to 10 pm shift instead of her usual 10 am to 6 pm time slot.  At 3 pm Tammy and Steve were done for the day so I went up to the 'garage' to pick up my favorite Stihl string trimmer and headed down to the tent site area to trim some grass.  Around 4:30 pm I headed back to the 'garage' and caught this picture looking northeast......Thursday was a very nice day in every regard......low temp, low humidity, nice breeze and beautiful clouds.....


......I was done putting away the string trimmer, and washing my cart by 4:45 pm and thus headed down to the office once again to pull out my time card and insert it in the time machine to get a time stamp.....exactly 4:53 pm, and exactly 9 hours after I began my day.

In case you wondered, here is what my Stihl string trimmer looks like

Since TLE was working until 10 pm it fell to moi to prepare my dinner.....this is something new for me.  On all the days she works until 10 pm (mostly just Sundays and Mondays) she does the initial food prep for my meal and leaves me sweet instructions on how to prepare the meal.  Sometimes it is a casserole, but Thursday it was carne asada taco salad.  I grilled the carne asada about 6 pm, cut it up into small pieces, then placed it on a bed of lettuce, sliced tomatoes and grated cheese.....easy peasy!    While I ate I watched a recording of the Tour de France stage 6.....a nice end to a pleasant day.

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