bunt sign

Tuesday, August 1, 2000

While Suzanne and John and almost everyone else I know (except me) were on vacation at Shasta Lake last month, they started having problems with their ski boat. It was taking on water, which can be a serious defect in a boat. At first they bailed, but by the end of the two weeks they were staying, bailing was no longer an option, what with the boat having sunk and all.

Okay, I guess it didn't totally sink, since it was on the beach when they lost complete control of the situation. Enough of it sank that it's probably no longer technically a "boat." If six or eight people sucking water out of the boat with water cannons can't keep it afloat, you should probably hope that whatever is wrong is covered by your very expensive marine insurance.

Insurance companies being what they are, they were not prepared to make a decision without an inspection. They decided that the submerged object that cracked the hull (covered) was a minor inconvenience compared to an estimated two years of dry rot (not covered). There were no warnings before this summer, and the boat has been seaworthy for thirteen years. It was a traumatic time, learning that the Attitude was no longer good for anything but whatever parts could be salvaged.

This is a family that works hard, and they worked hard for many years to be in a position to have a boat in the first place. Now, in the summer of their lives, they depend on being able to get away and on the water as often as possible. They couldn't be without a boat, and they weren't, not for long anyway. Saturday they looked and bought, Monday they test drove it on Lake Sonoma, and this morning I went with Suzanne to Petaluma to sign the papers. There's a new Attitude, and they'll pick it up Saturday. There will, of course, be an appropriately solemn memorial ceremony for the old boat.

Attitude II

More boat pictures.

I did get to sit in the new boat today, and I'll have a chance to ride in it when we all go up to Shasta for Labor Day weekend. Circumstances kept me home in July, but nothing will keep me away from the lake next time.

The Sonoma County Fair is one of the best around, they say. I wouldn't know how it stacks up against any others, but it's always a riot of colors, lights and sounds. It's a typical old-fashioned county fair, I guess, in that there's a lot of emphasis on kids and animals. Mom, Suzanne and I saw a lot of cows and chickens tonight. Before wine, Sonoma County was known as farm country, and even though tech industries are the biggest employers here now, agriculture is an important part of our identity.

ferris wheel at nightlivestock

The fair's claim to fame, though, is the flower show, and this year's fair theme of "Fairly Close Encounters" translates to an otherworldly floral display dubbed "Flash Garden." For me, the outer space paraphernalia detracted a bit from the gardens themselves. But it's a minor quibble. The amateur displays, especially the junior exhibits, show how much talent there is to be discovered and appreciated. We spent a lot of time at the flower show, but even more walking through the arts and crafts buildings.

flower show: ETflower show: giant clock

Eating is the other main attraction. We go to the fair to eat, and if you really want to, you can keep eating for hours there and never run out of new things to try. We had already gone out to lunch today, so I wasn't as hungry as I usually am when I go to the fair, but I still made room for a cinnamon roll before we headed out at nine tonight.

We've had a couple of hot days in a row, which is fine by me. The weather was perfect tonight at the fair, and apparently about half the people in the county felt the same way. I sometimes get a bit tense (read: "panicky") in crowds, but these folks were pretty darn mellow, for the most part. We spent about four hours there all told, and it was just enough for me to see everything I wanted and come away satisfied until next year.

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