Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Housekeeping

This is a sort of maintenance, catch-up entry; odds and ends that need to be tied up.

First a follow up about the replacement of our home's roof. After a couple of weeks of delay, partially related to weather, the ordeal is finally over, somewhat anticlimactic as now when I look at the house, it seems like the new roof has always been there. But its guts are very different, with the underlayment and the Polyset roofing system designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. The house might be gone but the roof will be levitating!

Now the rest of the house speaks to me for repair and upgrading, particularly exterior painting. The eves are a high priority as wood rot was replaced while roofing, and bare wood needs to be primed and painted. As some of the eaves are at a second story level, that will have to be done by a professional, but the rest of the house, in particular the courtyard and the courtyard walls, call out to me so I've slowly started to prep and paint. Elastomeric paint is very forgiving, allowing coverage of narrow stress cracks that would have to be filled otherwise. I thought I would despise painting and repairing, something I haven't done in some time, but I find it somewhat satisfying, and doable if I take it in small doses each day. Not the same feeling as when I was younger and routinely did repairs and even undertook larger scale projects on our homes, but fulfilling nonetheless. Maybe it's just being relieved that my life is back to normal after a year of health issues.

Next, I wanted to experiment with posting videos directly to this blog. Although I've posted to YouTube, this is new to me so I just filmed a couple this past week or so. These are not very remarkable, but they are mercifully brief.

The first was taken when Ann's friend, Arlene, was visiting from Tampa, and we went on our boat and up the Intracoastal to look at the Christmas lights. The Palm Beach boat parade was only a few nights before that so I thought most homes would be finished with their decorations, but that was not the case. Nonetheless, one of the homes in Palm Beach Gardens that has a fairly spectacular display, perhaps about a half mile north of the PGA bridge, had their decorations finished. The video is a little muddled as I was trying to steer our boat while filming with the other hand.

[Well, this first experiment failed. The video will not upload. Will keep trying but as the narrative is still valid, I am posting without the first video.]

Christmas in Florida reminds me of the Diane Arbus photograph "Xmas tree in a living room in Levittown, LI." -- the sterile living room consisting of a couch with fringe hanging from the upholstery, a lamp, a clock that looks like a star on the wall, a TV set and an end table, with a heavily decorated, but unlighted, Christmas tree shoved in the corner with wrapped gifts under it. There is a certain sadness that Arbus captured and she would have had a field day in Florida during this time of year where the juxtaposition of Christmas decorations and tropical weather seems to have the same effect as her photographs of the bizarre. To the right is a typical December Florida scene, a Great Blue Heron sunning himself on our sea wall. It just does not say "Christmas!"

The next video might interest local boaters as the Munyon Island docks were just completed and it is a pleasant destination for smaller boats in the Palm Beach area, with floating docks, and an effective breakwater to protect boats from the wakes churned up by the larger vessels traversing Lake Worth north and south. Munyon Island itself was slightly developed to accommodate visitors to the docks with a few small pavilions and grilling facilities, as well as a slightly elevated walkway through the native growth of Munyon where it dead ends into a pathway which I followed only to be greeted by a spider the size of a B-29, so that is where my reconnoitering ended. But the tropical environment is lush on the island and well worth visiting. Here is a history of Munyon and of the restoration project.

video

We're fortunate to have such a facility so near us (ten minutes by boat) as well as the more elaborate ones of Peanut Island but Peanut can be crowded, particularly on holidays and weekends.

Besides occasionally adding videos to the blog, I want to begin to label the blog entries as I've written more than 250 entries in the four years I've been doing this and while there is search capability (upper left corner) and of course contents and images are searchable via Google et. al. as well, there is no structured index, something that bothers me as an ex-publisher. That is going to be an ongoing job and I'm not sure about the approach at this point but there might be some strange entries in the future to test the labeling capabilities.

Moving on to some family stuff, earlier in the year our son's friend, Jeff, was married and the wedding was sort of a reunion, five friends, boys we've seen grow up from the innocence of childhood, through the terrible teens, and now into manhood, each going their own way in life, but coming together as if no time had passed at all. Uniting them is the love of boating, water skiing and swimming as each grew up on the water, spent summer weekends out at "our" Crow Island and a part of their summers together on Block Island.

So today, this is the motley crew (picture courtesy of Jeff's Mom, Cathy)

and here they are in photographs from years ago:









Finally, one of my fellow bloggers, is "graduating," having used his blog to pursue a dream (starting his own mutual fund) and after several years writing about the market (and maintaining a "virtual" portfolio, providing complete transparency), his blog will be moving to a web site as his "Paladin Long Short Fund" has been approved by SEC (the proposed symbol, not yet approved, is PALFX) I predict Mark will be a very successful trader and offer him my congratulations, bringing his dream to reality -- yet another instance of how technology has been used as a fulcrum for entrepreneurship.