Weekend Review # 3 – “Decoration Day”

After three years living in a town house it Atco, I had more than outgrown my garage/shed space.  I used to have a two car garage.  I turned 3/4ths of it into my recording studio two years ago, leaving not even a cars worth of space for my workbench, all my tools, my refrigerator and all my extra supplies (like paper towels, toilet paper, and a various multitude of kitchen gadgets that surely do not fit into the limited space of a town home set aside for culinary expertise).

The garage as it looked the week before I owned it!

This is how it looks now ( a bit messy)

This is why I needed a shed...

I also had a small outdoor storage shed.  This was actually just a small closet attached to my house and not really a shed at all but more of an outhouse.   This is where I’ve managed to stuff every bit of lawn furniture cushions, lawn and garden chemicals (yes, some of them organic, but not all), seeds, a rather large ceramic kiln, a lawnmower, weed whacker, blower, gas for all three (and some gas for I don’t even know what), and all kinds of various outdoor things that really don’t fit in a 4’X6′ closet.

So, I ordered a storage shed from here, and had it delivered last Thursday morning.  I had made some preparation in my backyard by removing the stones in my front yard and making a stone foundation in an appropriate place in the deep backyard.  In their place, I decided to plant corn with Monika.  It just started to come up by the time this weekend came to a close.

Having expanded my vegetable garden into my front yard is not only an intelligent use of my obviously limited space in a town home, but a hilarious trick to play on my neighbors.  I plan to make it up to them in the Fall by giving them all dried corn stalks for their Halloween and Autumn decorations.

Okay, in this photo, the corn is barely discernible, but it's there, I assure you.

In any case, I had an unbelievably long, 5 day weekend ahead of me without actually having to burn any vacation days.  I had intentionally left it completely free because I wanted enough time to build the shed I had ordered.  I arrived Thursday around noon, and that’s when I started building.  It took me that afternoon and evening, with some help from friends, and then I finished by the next afternoon.  It came out damn nice and I’m completely happy with the money I spent on it.

Now with the big project out of the way, and three entire days of vacation left, me and Monika headed to my parents house in Forked River for an evening of relaxation.  Obviously, we had some delicious cocktails on Friday night with my family.  the next morning, after a nice breakfast, we took my brother’s boat out for a swim.  There were seven of us, and we raced around with no destination, a cooler of beer and tunes blaring.  We really didn’t want to end up anywhere.  We just wanted to enjoy the crystal clear day, the calm bay and the calming ride.

Alas, after the ride was over, there was some obligatory work to do back at the house.  Working on the boat lift and fuel filter for a few hours is a decent exchange for hours of fun on the boat I’m sure I’ll cash in on later in the Summer.  Nevertheless, I crouched over the bay, balancing on a metal beam only four inches wide, trying with all my strength to loosen bolts that have partially corroded due to the salt water.  It was nerve racking and I enjoyed a much needed martini when we were finished.

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the top deck, in the sun, with our family.

And, I’d like to take a moment to point out that Decoration Day, otherwise known by its modern name of Memorial Day, is about paying homage and respect to those people who have served our country’s military in all facets of defense.  Originally, Decoration Day was a day of remembrance for those soldiers that died in the Civil War, and was celebrated on the anniversary of the armistice.  Much later, it was expanded first to the first World War, and then again, much later, for all fallen American service people.

Modern celebrations have drifted to the edge of meaningfulness.  The “bank holidays” of the United States have lost much of their potency to the coveted “three-day weekend” that we all treasure so much.  And, I certainly understand that it’s not always the best time to bring up the fact that our country was not only bitterly divided, but at war with itself, and many people were killed.   In fact, the tactics of the North versus the South near the end of the American Civil War were undoubtedly insane.

call me a patriot, but this alone sometimes can bring tears to my eyes...

Admittedly, we really did nothing more that fly a flag, which in reality, is the same thing we do every day.  Of course, we should have flown it at half staff.  Next year, I’d like to remember to do more.  Better still, I’ll try to do something today, or next week, or all year.  Personally, I’m not a fan of leaving carnations of grave sites, but sending letters, or supplies to entertain soldiers overseas suits me just fine.

That night was game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.  It was a crazy, high-scoring game that I watched with my Dad on the couch.  They Flyers lost, but it really doesn’t matter all that much to me since I’m a New Jersey fan.  However, if I’m at a bar watching the rest of the finals (game 4 tonight), I’d like to see Philadelphia win so everyone isn’t pissed off and upset.

Perhaps this'll be your year, Philly fans.

Sunday we planned to go home, so we didn’t get into anything too time consuming.  Monika drove home while I tried to convince my friend to go sky diving with us the next day.  I’ve wanted to for a few years now, and after talking to a friend of ours who had just done, she convinced me I needed to go sooner rather than later.  But, alas, the request was turned down due to lack of funds.

However, he did have a pretty damn fine idea that required no money at all.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to sail, and he has a sail boat!  He invited us both to meet him and his wife to the yacht club where he stores his boat for my first lesson and an afternoon on the Delaware River.

Getting in and out was a bit more adventure than I expected, but we got it done.  Once out in the water, my friend showed us some of the more important things, like how to not capsize by “hiking.” When the wind failed us, we broke out a bottle of champagne and some PBRs and took a break.  It was a perfect day for beginners:  sunny, not too crowded and light wind.  Hell of an adventure.

We wrapped up later that evening hanging out with Kreg and Kat and their families for memorial day BBQ at his house.  It was a great weekend.  I got a lot done, and had a ton of fun with my friends and family as well.  Can’t beat that.  I hope everyone else had a great deal of outdoor, familial, friendly, somewhat drunken fun at some point, too.


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