Friday, July 1, 2016

Back in the US Again

Our home away from home. It's tough to see but the blue hull just behind us is Rupert Murdoch's yacht, and to the left and out of sight is the Google owner's yacht. They didn't invite us over for tea, however.
The PPJ Rendezvous sailing regatta and party was a full weekend for us and it took a while to recuperate, but we still had a lot of preparation work to finish on the boat before our July 1st departure to the US. 

We finished varnish coat number three (normally we do four coats but time was getting tight), tried to go through the boat to find extraneous items to take back home, and getting the boat ready to be left unattended (in the water) for two months at the marina.

We had become friends with the crew of Huzzah, a Tacoma boat whose skipper I used to race T-Birds against. While Gerry and his wife Jodie are staying for several more months in French Polynesia, Ken and Theresa and Fred and Christine were headed back to Tacoma. The boys had a grand adventure crossing the Pacific Ocean and the couples were able to spend two fun weeks exploring The Society Islands. It was hard to say goodbye to such nice folks.

While it never seems there is enough time to get the boat ready, we somehow got everything stored and our bags packed. At 4:00 am (that’s even earlier than o’dark thirty) on July 1st we caught a cab for the airport and checked into our Air France flight to Los Angles. We had taken this same flight the year before and throughly enjoyed the service and this flight was no different. Within a short time we’d settled into watching six movies, enjoyed the great food and service onboard, and before long we were landing in LA. 

Now the only fly in the ointment was we couldn’t catch a connecting flight to Seattle so we had to spend the night in LA. We got up at 5:00 am the next morning (do you see a trend developing here?) to begin standing by for a flight to Seattle, only to realize (this is how out of touch you get on a cruising sailboat) that it was the 4th of July holiday and every flight was packed. We could have bought a ticket to Seattle for a fairly reasonable price but our years of flying standby told us with Meryl’s seniority we could eventually get on a flight. Oh, how wrong we were. We will spare you with the ugly details but we spent all day running from terminal to terminal trying to get on flights. Sometimes we’d be the very next person to board and full fare passenger would come sprinting down the concourse with one minute left to departure and get on. We finally got on the last flight to San Francisco and checked into a hotel and ended up booking a full fare ticket the next day to Seattle. Sometimes the learning curve is a slow one!

We checked into a nice VRBO (this is the first time we tried them) on Lake Sammamish and had three days of quiet bliss while we did some medical appointments and other chores. We spent the 4th of July with our son and his family attending the Kid’s Parade in downtown Issaquah, a perfect small town celebration in our old home town.

While they are normally jumping all over me, this is a somewhat calm picture of us looking at photos on the iPhone.
Grandma Meryl reading bedtime stories to Brad's kids:  Brody and Bennett.
Brody and Bennet at the Seattle Aquarium. It's hard to explain to them that where we live all those fish are just underneath "our house."
Ashley, Brad, Bennett, and Meryl at Brad's lake.
Brad has done an incredible job turning his 9-acre estate into a kid's playground.
We then stayed about a week at our son’s beautiful house complete with lake and forested walking paths, a perfect environment to raise two energetic little boys.

On July 13th we flew over to Boise, ID and then drove the two hours up to McCall and Payette Lake where our daughter rents a house for two to three weeks each summer. As usual we had a great time stand-up paddle boarding on the lake, walking, taking the kids to various playgrounds, and especially enjoying treats at Ice Cream Alley. 

This house was formerly owned by the General Manager of the San Diego Padres baseball team. It was one of three houses as part of an estate, with this house serving as the "game room" and full of pool tables and such.
Mother and daughter taking a well deserved break. Oh how we love visiting McCall in the summer.
Christa signed Quinn up for a local soccer team. When people asked where the little blondie was from, it was weird to say "Hong Kong."
The main attraction of Payette Lake for the Nash-Webbers is water skiing. Quinn doesn't drive the boat when they are skiing, however, but she'd like to.
Daughter water ski's like her momma used to.
How these two have the energy to make it through a typical Nash-Webber day amazes me.
Quinn helps Christa frost a birthday cake for everyone with summer birthdays.
Christa loves to throw dinner parties and this spread (put together with help from Auntie Melba) was for Luau Night.
Grandma Dottie put on a great puppet show with the help of Quinn and Conner.
Dottie went to school in Hawaii and taught the kids how to hulu.
Nash, Christa and Quinn entered a Friday Night Fun Run at Brundage Mountain. Apparently the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
Quinn was running with Christa and Nash until someone told her it was a race and she took off. She's a fast one.
The adults did three laps up and down Brundage Mountain, both running and mountain biking. 
The head of the bike patrol lent Quinn a mountain bike so she could compete in the race. Yes she did wear a helmet.
Waiting for Christa and Nash to finish the race, Meryl helped the kids build a huge Jenga tower.
Riding the chair lift up to the top of Brundage Mountain certainly puts a smile on everyone's face!
The view from the top:  Payette Lake is the bottom two bodies of water . . . it's kind of a big u-shape lake.
Grandma Dottie arranged for horse riding lessons for Quinn. Doesn't this look like "cowgirl country?"
On the day they were scheduled to fly back to Hong Kong, Christa entered the Mile High Mile, a one-mile swim in cold Payette Lake. She got first in her age class.
Christa and her long time friend, Jenny Schoen.
Christa’s mother-in-law, Dottie, came from Boston and regaled everyone with a wonderful puppet show and hula lessons on Polynesian Luau Night. Our two weeks went way too fast and soon we were saying goodbye to everyone and driving back to Seattle. The only unfortunate thing was both of us picked up a worsening bronchitis that had especially me under the weather during most of our stay in McCall. We both ended up checking into Urgent Care once we arrived in Bellevue for diagnosis and treatment. It’s tough out here in the real world.

We were fortunate to house sit for old sailing friends Rod and Maryhelen Johnson who have a beautiful home in Trilogy at Redmond, about 10 miles northeast of Bellevue. It’s a planned community for over 55 year olds with more than 1,000 homes, a club house, pool, and golf course. It was a great experience for us to see how we might like living in a planned community and in the Redmond area in general. We figure we have about one more year on the boat and then we’ll put it up for sale in Australia. In the meanwhile we have to decide where in the US we want to live when we return. Not an easy task.

These three beautiful women, Marne, Patsy, and Meryl, all met when they were Pan Am flight attendants.
Our friends Patsy and Steve Larson hosted us and Bob & Marne McCluskey for dinner at their impeccable Bainbridge Island house.
We spent about three weeks at Trilogy, enjoying time with our grandkids, visiting with old friends, and ordering various supplies via Amazon before our return to Tahiti. Meryl had her 50th high school reunion towards the end of our stay and enjoyed seeing friends for the first time in many years. It seems there’s never enough time, and this year was more difficult since we were sick for the first few weeks and had to compress many activities into our last two weeks.

High school classmates Marilyn Lowry, Meryl, and Anita Snyder.
We went through our typical ritual of unpacking Amazon packages and then repacking everything into our two 50-pound grey duffel bags. We found we had some stuff left over and are hoping our friends Patsy and Steve will bring a duffel when they fly down to visit us at the end of the month. 

We then drove back to Boise to drop our daughter’s car off, prayed that TSA wouldn’t take all the weird stuff like boat wax out of our bags, and boarded the flight to Denver, then another flight to Los Angeles, and finally the 11:45 pm departure for Papeete. It’s funny to think about going back to Tahiti as “going home” but that’s what we talked about on the plane before falling into that weird “I’m so tired I’m going to pass out but really can’t sleep because I’m stuffed in an uncomfortable airline seat for seven hours.” 

And so it goes.