Today was Esther's birthday and she chose hiking for the family activity. We hiked the Mt. Townsend trail which is at the northeast corner of the Olympics. It was a great hike and the weather was great. It's 8.5 miles round trip, with a 3000 ft. elevation gain, so it was plenty strenuous. I had taken this trail many times before with school children, but we had never done it as a family. The views from the top are fantastic. Besides seeing into the Olympics, there is a bird's eye view of the Puget Sound, from Port Angleles to Tacoma. You can also see the Cascade Range, from Mt. Baker to Mt. St. Helens. The wildflowers were also spectacular, but the bugs were bad, except at the top where the wind kept them off. In the evening, Esther and I went to a Chinese buffet where she enjoyed some birthday oysters:)
Fifteen years ago, Esther was determined to give her new son his own birthday. She made the extra effort to give birth to a 10 lb. baby boy at 11:45 PM, fifteen minutes before her birthday! Once again, birth weight proves to be prophetic as Calvin is the biggest of our three sons. This fall, he begins the 9th grade and is taller than his older brothers. To celebratre his birthday, we went to Tacoma where he chose an iPod Shuffle for his gift. Now all four of the Bulthuis men have an iPod! We went to Olive Garden for dinner on an unusually warm evening.
Since I'm still waiting on material to finish the Olander deck, I decided to work on Jim's deck. I've been working on this deck for four summers. It is ten feet wide and wraps virtually around the house. It has the best materials possible: 2x12 sunwood for joists, Trex decking and Clearview glass railing. Jim wants no maintenance; just hose it down. He practically has a 360 view, so the deck just accentuates it. I also pulled the large boat from around the side of our house. A friend came by with a winch and a come along and we were able to squeeze it around the tight corner. Now I have to think about switching boats on the mooring.
Last night was my high school class's 30th reunion. It was amazing how many old people showed up! Reunions always accentuate the passing of time. I had the opportunity to MC the evening events. Things went smoothly and it was great to see a lot of people that I hadn't seen for years. About half of my classmates showed up, most of them with their brave spouses.
This weekend was my high school 30th class reunion. Four of my high school buddies and I went out boating Friday afternoon. Morrie recently purchased a 36 ft. delux cabin cruiser which is moored at Blaine harbor. I told Morrie that his boat was missing an important piece of equipment - a sail! Of course the rest of day was spent enduring negative remarks every time we passed a sailboat. We cruised out to Sucia Island and back, a trip that would have taken me a couple of days in one of my sailboats! It was a great time of reacquainting ourselves and sharing memories. In the evening, our wives joined us for dinner.
This fall it will be two years since Esther's mom passed away, her father having passed the previous fall. She and her brother's have procrastinated the inevitable (sorting out the many belongings of their parents) The house, situated between the two brother's housses has been left alone, serving as business office, guesthouse and store house. This week, Esther is in Lynden working with her sister-in-laws, trying to sort out the thousands of items. Their mom was somewhat an antique collector and threw very little away. The process of sorting is daunting. Each item needs to be handled and a story shared. Yesterday afternoon, they were literally sifting through thread, buttons, rocks and shells. Markus and I came up yesterday as well as Camie and Missy. Today promises to be a productive day.
Since I had to wait for the Trex decking to arrive until this afternoon, I took the opportunity to work on 'the window.' The framing was easy because I only needed to tear out one stud and it didn't upset any of the inside sheetrock. It's in, and it sure makes a difference in the fireside room and kitchen. I actually cooked dinner tonight without any lights (Esther's in Lynden) Markus and I were able to put on a few rows of Trex this afternoon. This evening, the Southworth buck showed up on DeKorte's lawn. Paul DeKorte was able to get within ten feet of him. The deer didn't know that Paul just passed his hunter saftey test Saturday. But I don't think Paul has the heart to actually shoot a deer, like some people I know.
I found some more young sailors this evening. My niece Marika and her friend Elizabeth spent the day with us as they just finished a week at Miracle Ranch. The conditions were great for a sail and they wanted to sail in Uncle Peter's boat. I recruited Calvin to join for additional ballast and off we went for a two hour sail. The girls seemed to tolerate the experience, but I don't think that they are going to trade in their horses for sailboats just yet.
Since I couldn't work on the deck today, (no materials) I decided to start my own project of putting in a window on the west side of our house. The shingles came off pretty easy and I was lucky because a sheet of plywood was just where I needed--no cutting. Now I am ready to frame in the new window. I'm going to try to frame it from the outside without cutting the sheetrock. Should be interesting!
Sometimes I wonder how sailing maintains its lure century after century. Will it continue to draw its faithful fans in the next generaton? With jet skis, wake boarding and the like, how does the ancient art of harnessing the wind to propel oneself on water ever stand a chance to endure. Well, tonight my doubts were silenced as an eleven year old boy chose sailing as the activity he wanted to do on his birthday. Josh DeKorte has been looking forward all week for his birthday sail with me. The drizzle and gray skies of this evening could not deter his enthusiasm. So off we went. Two excited boys ready to dance with nature in the gentle waves of Puget Sound. (Sorry about the dorky romanticism, but sailing does that to me.) We had a great time on the water and the rain held off. Thanks Josh for reminding me that sailing is a timeless pleasure that will endure until the end of the world. . . . and maybe into the next :)
Yesterday I took my mom and sister to Lynden and drove back late at night, so no blog. I worked alone today as Calvin was with Corbin at John's and Markus was on Blake Island with friends. It took a while to set the rim joist against the house because the old one was recessed in from the siding and I had to fill it in. It's an interesting operation to set all the posts and beams by myself, but with braces and patience, there always seems to be a way.
The Lavender Festival is not until this weekend, but the Bulthuis ladies got a jumpstart on the botanical display. Sequim is a favorite day trip for us, and the lavender was an added incentive. I tagged along with the women to three different farms and we ate lunch at a church converted to deli. We redeemed the trip for me by stopping at the John Wayne Marina. I saw a Montgomery 17 and a Corsair 24! To each, his own: some like flowers and some like sailboats.
I spent today with the women of my life. These are the women who have nurtured, fed and spoiled me through life. Ellen is up from Sacramento where she is a sixth grade teacher. Susan is from Olympia and operates a preschool. Mom is down from Lynden. Bowser and I took the ladies for a walk to the beach this afternoon.
Michael and Marti came down to Kitsap county to drop Marika and her friend off at Miracle Ranch for a week at camp. We joined them for the parent's send off barbecue. Michael and I were recruited for a relay race. We had to rope a cone, which proved a little difficult for me. The girls were anxious for the week to start. Mike and Marti are spending the night in Southworth.
Since it was a nice day today, I decided to get started on the neighbor's deck. Markus and Calvin helped me tear down the deck. It went easier than I anticipated. Other decks that I ripped down have stubborn nails, but we were able to pry all the decking off. The only hard part was the joist hangers as they were recessed from the siding. All the old lumber was hauled off this evening, so it's all ready for the new framing next week. (Check out the before/after on my photostream) The sunny day was needed. We had a chance to dry out our tents and sleeping bags after our wet adventures on the Oregon coast.
Today was a long and wet drive home. The only stops we made were the Sea Lion Caves and a drive through Blodgett. I opted out of the Sea Lion Cave tour, since it was still vivid in my memory and Dutch runs thick in my veins. Esther and the boys went in and enjoyed seeing it, as Calvin couldn't remember it from the last time. Throughout the trip, we have had a family discussion as to the definition of a 'tourist trap.' Walking out of the caves, Markus remarked to Esther, "I guess this would qualify as a tourist trap." The other excitement of the day was touring Blodgett, Jenny's hometown. We almost missed it! We saw the sign and a country store and kept going, expecting to see some more. We had to turn around and take a side road, where we found the church and elementary school. We later learned that Jenny's home is just beyond the school. It is a very lovely rural setting, even in the rain. The drive up I-5 was wet. There was a lot of traffic around Portland, taking us an hour and a half just to take I-205. We arrived home to find Bowser tied up. A neighbor tied him up as he continually got out of his pen. It happens everytime that we are on vacation; he finds some way to escape, while we rarely have any problem when we're home. Well, it's nice to know that you're needed at home, even if it's a floppy eared canine.
This morning my feet were dry and we enjoyed the comfort of a motel bed rather than the soreness of a night on the ground. Today, we just hung around Florence. We did some more sandboarding, which went a lot better than last night, since it was a lot dryer. We found a real nice spot by the beach with a little jump. I stumbled upon some old boating/sailing books in an antique store and bought a few. They smell really musty, but they are some real classics for cheap. We did something unusual for us Bulthuis' and put out the bucks for a dune buggy ride! It was great! Almost like an hour long carnival ride. The weather was great, so after the ride, we went swimming at Honeymen Park. The evening was wrapped up with a mexican food dinner and some family tennis. Tonight we will stay in the same motel and head home tomorrow.
It started raining just as soon as we got in our tents last night. It felt kind of cozy until 3:30 when my feet were soaking wet. I had neglected to tuck the ground plastic under the corner of the tent. Well, needless to say, it was a pretty long night. It drizzled all night and we decided we deserved a Mc D's breakfast. So we packed up the wet stuff and hit the road. The Newport Aquarium is supposedly the best in the Northwest, so we checked it out. It is very nice. Not real large, but all the exhibits are very neatly done. We enjoyed the sea turtle and sea otters the most. On our way down to Florence, we ate lunch at a great overlook of the central coast. When we got to the dunes we had to try sandboarding. We rented a couple of boards for twenty-four hours and tried them out at Honeymen Park. We rented a room at a respectable 'dumpy trumpy' that has a pool and wireless internet. We figured we deserved it after two nights of cold wet camping. For supper, the boys had Taco Bell take-out and Esther and I went out for seafood.
After breakfast with the mosquitos at Fort Stevens, we headed south, stopping at the Tillamook Cheese factory and getting some ice cream. Our next stop was Pacific City. We kind of liked the place; a little of the beaten path and some cool sand dunes. We would like to go back sometime. We continued down the coast where we stopped at the outlet mall in Lincoln City where Esther found some dishes. We found a campsite at Beverly Beach, though we got excited about staying in a 'yurt' before finding out they were all booked. In the evening we explored Newport and ate at our favorite Izzy's on the bluff. Since the weather is turning cold, we went for some indoor fun and ended up at the Newport library where I found free wireless internet :)
We left home around 9:00 after dropping the truck off to be worked on at ‘Flex a Dent.’ We took our usual route to the coast through Shelton and Raymond. We arrived at Fort Stevens at about 1:00 and set up our tents. Then we went up to the jetty at the mouth of the Columbia and had some snacks on the observation deck. We drove down to Seaside and cruised the main drag. It was packed with people and traffic just crawled. Trend West has really changed this town. After bying some flip flops at a Zumei outlet, we drove down to Canon Beach which was comparatively quiet compared to Seaside. We walked the beach and looked in a few shops, and then drove down to Oswald West State Park, a favorite of ours. It is a remote surfer beach with a campground which can only be accessed by hiking down a trail. Then it was back to Canon Beach and the infamous Mo’s restaurant for deep fried seafood goodies. We ended the night with the most unique fireworks experience we have ever had. The Seaside beach was packed with thousands of people, many of them families or groups with big pits dug into the ground. Each had a fire pit in the hole and a launch pad for fireworks. As dusk arrived, there began a steady barrage of fireworks from hundreds of launch pads. It was crazy! There were even Roman candle battles. Everybody was lighting off there stock of fireworks. Then at ten, it all subsided as the official town display began. We were right up against the barrier fence, so had a great view of the fireworks. It was just a short trip for us back to Fort Stevens and our broken zippered tents.
Sunday evening, Bjorn talked us into going to the Compline Choir at St. Mark's in Seattle. Emily and Missy joined us for the adventure. We swung by a crowded Alki beach on our way to capital hill. Every Sunday evening at 9:30 the 'compline choir' sings monastic psalms, hymns and liturgies. Hundreds of people, mostly young, quietly fill the cathedral. They fill the pews while others lay on the cement floor and gaze at the enormous wood beamed ceiling. For thirty minutes the voices of a dozen or so men fill the cathedral with chants, hymns and prayers. It is a unique and peaceful experience which transcends centuries of christian worship. After the choir exits, there is an organ recital for which some people stick around. We went up to the organ loft to watch and then left half way through. We said good-bye to Bjorn and Jenny as they were headed to Lynden. Tomorrow, Esther, Calvin, Markus and I are headed for the Oregon coast for a few days. So unless I find some wireless routers on the trip, it will be several days before I post again.
Bjorn took Jenny home for the weekend. She will start summer school on Monday (yes, it's Canada) She and Bjorn went boating this afternoon and Camie came over for supper. It finally cleared up a little bit before the sun went down. Maybe the weather will turn after the fourth.
I finished the cement work that I needed to do for the summer. There is also a small slab under the stairs. It took five separate pours and a lot of wheel barrels full of cement to do the job. Makus and Calvin helped me mix the cement a couple of days. A friend generously loaned me a cement mixer. My next project will be a deck for another neighbor which I will probably start in a week or so.
Tonight we went out to eat with our friends, the Gillard, for a very unique dining experience. The Tacoma resaurant is called 'the Melting Pot' and the entire meal is cooked at the table. The first course is a cheese fondue with bread and veggies. The second course is a conventional salad choice. The main course is a variety of raw meat and veggies which you cook at your table pot. We had two different beef cuts some chicken, salmon and shrimp. It's a little slow as you have to cook each piece for about two minutes. The final course is fruits and pastries dipped in chocolate fondue. As you can imagine the whole process takes a while. We spent over three hours. It was a unique experience and we always enjoy conversation with the Gillards.