Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not dead yet

Although sometimes it feels like it

Yeah, I know I haven’t put up a post in a long time. Things have been, well, busy lately. This past weekend Pat and I were up at Five O’Clock Somewhere, to get the place ready for winter and take the last Sunfish out of the lake before it freezes over. I ended up spending most of my time either nursing a cold I seem to have come down with or grading papers. I have an especially talented bunch of students this term, which means their essays have more depth, which means it takes me longer to get through them all.

The weekend before that was the first fall-series regatta at Elephant Butte, and we also had a dinner party with some of our closest sailing friends to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

For lodging, Cornhusker and Bassmaster made their fifth-wheel trailer available to us. It’s 15 years old, and it was in sad shape last year when Bassmaster picked it up for almost nothing. He has since spent untold hours and dollars fixing it up – as well as buying a truck capable of towing it. But now it’s gorgeous. It has a nice kitchen, wood-laminate floors, a luxuriously appointed master bedroom, a compact but fully functional bathroom, a solar panel charging a 12-volt electric system, and a propane-powered refrigerator.

Even more gorgeous was the spot where it was parked. The New Mexico State Parks sell an annual camping pass that, for New Mexico residents, is a great bargain. I believe there is an additional discount for seniors, veterans, and the disabled. There are a few restrictions – it doesn’t cover utility hookups, and the trailer can’t stay in the same place for more than three weeks. That means that every three weeks, Cornhusker and Bassmaster pick up the trailer, take it to a pumpout to drain the holding tank and refill the freshwater tank, and then park it someplace else. That weekend, it was on the peninsula south of the race course, on farthest east point facing Rattlesnake Island. It was a bit exposed for my tastes, but the scenery was beautiful.

Saturday’s racing was brutal. Zorro’s boat is still out of commission, so I turned over the helm of Black Magic to him. He brought along his loyal crew-member Twinkle Toes, and Cornhusker rounded out the crew. (Pat served race committee duty on Twinkle Toes’ boat, Windependent.) It was a rough day’s racing, and a whole lot of things on the boat broke – the traveler, which we’d only fixed a few months ago, failed again, and Zorro spotted a serious problem with the way previous owners of the boat had rigged it that was causing it to break. The bracket holding the tiller extension to the tiller broke. And the upper shrouds started to fray. We retired from the racing after the second race – those who participated in the third said things got really exciting.

The boat wasn’t the only thing damaged. Cornhusker and I both got a bunch of bruises, and Twinkle Toes’ nose had a collision with the boom. He kept insisting it was nothing, but he looked like a hockey player at the end of a particularly brutal game.

That night was the anniversary party. The guest list included my folks (about to celebrate their own 50th next year), Fuego, who’s currently in New Mexico to work on a spaghetti western (it’s an Italian film company, but with the current ratio of the dollar to the euro and New Mexico’s incentives for filmmakers, it’s cheaper to shoot here than in Italy), Twinkle Toes (who made quite an impression with his bandaged-up nose), Zorro, Cornhusker, Mother, and Dumbledore. We had also been expecting Magnum and Mrs. Magnum, but he got called away on a case at the last minute and couldn’t come.

Sunday, Black Magic was too beat-up to participate in the races, and Zorro had disappeared anyway. The original weather forecast had been for stiff conditions, but instead, there was a lot of rain and not much wind. Pat and Twinkle Toes took Windependent out as committee boat, while I went back to the trailer to rest, grade papers, and finish the mystery novel that Cornhusker had left on the shelf by the bed, which I had started reading Friday.

After the racing was over, we hauled Black Magic out of the water and parked her at Mother and Dumbledore’s place, while we wait for replacement parts that we have on order.

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