03 July 2017

2017 Part One

This year started off up in Goshen, NH.  We rented a ski house for a few months.  Art was teaching at the local ski resort and I, looking for something to fill the gap of not being Treasurer any longer, decided to get a part time job at the hill.  It did not go well for me.  I took the job to make some new social connections as we thought we might move up to the area some day.  I ended up in a closet sized room that I could not leave, and no one else could enter.  I was only there for a couple of months.  I honestly stayed longer than I should have.  Probably because we had rented the house and when I did that I counted my new earnings in the "rent" cost.  It was irrelevant and I should have let it go earlier.  Cest la vie!  We did take a Lexi, Tori, Sam, and Susan skiing on Christmas since we had free passes.
We fired the inept manager early in the year and brought back a long timer who has been working out well.  The business seems to be on an upswing again.  Not a lot and not fast, but slow and steady is easier to adapt to.  The mood at the shop is also greatly improved.  Looking forward to a better fall!

In January we headed down to Arizona to see Art's Dad.  We had a nice visit going up to Mount Lemmon, and visiting a local observatory.  Not a long visit but certainly a good memory.
February heralded Art's 50th birthday.

He wanted to ski WildCat for his birthday so we headed up to North Conway with the Wildes.  They had a great couple of days skiing, while I took the pups snowshoeing at Dolly Copp.  Dolly Copp is all torn up.  Roads, campsites, et al to make way for updated electrical runs, and bathrooms.  Camping is officially turning into Glamping at Dolly Copp.

In March we were off to Puerto Vallarta with the family.  My parents, Art's Dad, Pam, Karyn, and Ralph, Abby and her bf, my brother and his family, Jeanne, and Marilyn.  We had a great and relaxing week by the pool and exploring the town.  Dad even went zip lining!  Wonderful adventure.

April brought us slightly South to Connecticut.  Pam had recently moved into her new loft and she was having her 60th birthday.  We had a few days so we headed down to celebrate with her.s  Beautiful place and a great visit.  A couple of weeks later the sisters all went down for a visit.

In May we headed off to Iceland.  A cold and barren hunk of lava and ice in the middle of the ocean.  It is very impressive that they have survived as long as they have.  It sounded like there were many hard times and few to no resources.  They have discovered and begun to harvest their geothermal waters (although with no regard to efficiency or sustainability), which has helped them a bit.  They have the largest aluminum plant in the world that consumes most of their power, and tourism is almost overwhelming with 3 million visiting their 360,000 person island that is the size of Kentucky.  The prices were starting to reflect the demand with a simple burger and fries meal totaling $25, and a glass of wine $15.  Hindsight I wish we had gone in winter to see the Northern lights.  Pretty and weird place, with birds but no mammals other than their controlled sheep, dog, and horse populations.  Did I mention windy?  Like really, really windy.  All. the. time.

Later in May we headed to Colorado.  We hadn't gone back for Christmas over the winter and we had a few key events to celebrate with family.  My nephew Mitchell graduated from high school.  He received a football scholarship to a South Dakota University so was actively planning his move with his girlfriend.  The family came together to have a nice get together at the sculpture park in Loveland.  My nephew Peter had also recently gotten engaged.  We were very glad that they could come up to Breckenridge where we stayed part of our stay.  Art and Peter got to go skiing at A Basin as conditions were still very good despite the late date.  We also caught up with Art's oldest sister and her husband who were driving around the country on a retirement trip.  My niece Lindsay had also recently had her second baby but she had a lot going on with her husband's family so we did not catch up.  My parents were also able to come up to Breck for a few days.  We walked around the town and did some hiking.  We had a great visit with everyone!

Since we were gone most of May we decided to reward the pups with a camping trip.  We headed up to Pillsbury State Park in early June.  The first day of our reservation it was a downpour so we delayed one day.  We easily found out way to our remote camp site and set up shop.  We were absolutely devoured by the black flies, and mosquitos but otherwise had a great time.  We paddled around the lake, took a hike, and relaxed by the fire.  Dogs had a great time.

Late June took Art to Nashville for a few days.  I opted to stay home as we had some larger projects coming together that needed my attention.  By happenstance two more people from the town put their resignations in during this time so I am glad I was here to support them at the select board meeting and during their last days of work.  It was good to catch up with old friends.

We didn't go for an overnight but Dad was thrilled when we got to go to Boston for the day to see the Tall Ships.  We stopped at a favorite old haunt of his, Durgin Park, then took a harbor cruise around to see all of the tall ships before they headed out of town.  Great day!

One night while reminiscing about old trips with Dad he brought up what a great time we (Art, myself, Abbie, and Dad) when we took our 'bridge' trip in Europe a couple of summers ago going to Belgium and the Netherlands.  He said he wanted to do a trip with just us again, a small group.  He initially wanted Italy but after a little searching I found that it was an extremely long travel, rather pricey, and extremely hot at the end of summer which is when he wanted to go.  So we settled on Ireland.  The west side of the island.  Art and I visited the East side in 2009.  So we will be off to Shannon, Galway, Killarney, and Limerick on a small group adventure soon!

02 July 2017


2016 is a year that started with promise.  Our new managers had been in place for a half a year and we thought we were good to go.  Alas, in hindsight it all fell apart.  We had what could arguably be considered our worst year of business ever.  Much was due to a natural downturn that our industry experiences way too regularly.  But, it was extremely exacerbated by an inept, prig of a manager who had no problem lying to us day in and day out while neglecting his job pretty much completely.

We started the year on a positive note having come back from a good Christmas 2015 trip where I met my parents in Las Vegas for a few days before heading to Colorado, while Art flew to Seattle to drive to Colorado with Abby and Teddy.  We had a great Christmas in CO Springs and Loveland with my family and nieces and nephews Linday, Jimmy, and Peter and Jade.  After the holiday we drove back to Seattle with Abby and spent a few days checking out her new home.
We were enjoying our Bruins mini-season package by going to Boston for an overnight visit to see a Bruins game.  We love staying in the North End.
In February we had our 20th Wedding Anniversary.  We splurged a little and took a trip up to the Mt. Washington hotel.  It was very icy and rainy/sleeting while we were up there but we had fun hiking around Dolly Copp and a few other areas.  Beautiful hotel and grounds set the mood for a romantic getaway.  We had massages and hung out in the spa, and enjoyed the bars and eateries on site.  Too warm to go ice skating, though...

The Hearth Show was in  New Orleans this year.  We took our managers with us.  It was like pulling teeth to get Mark to come.  In hindsight we should not have brought them.  They only piece of information we could verify them walking away with was another dealer (messing with them) telling them his sales people made six figures.  HA! Owners don't make that, much less sales people.  So that soured them and was passed around to other employees making a bad year worse!  We did enjoy New Orleans though.  Fun town and very walkable.

Later in March we headed South of the border with Dad, his sister Jeanne, her daughter, and Pam to Mazatlan.  My brother and his family met us down there and we had a great visit with my folks.  We rented a house in a nearby neighborhood on the beach and within walking distance to my parents.  We had a fabulous time as always.

We were on a budget this year as business was not going well, and our pups are getting older so we decided to stay closer to home this year and camp for our personal trips.  Art did get to take a last minute trip to CO to meet up with friends to go skiing.  That was a good splurge for him!
One of our favorite places to visit is Pillsbury State Park.  We can canoe in to a remote site and the pups can play in the water.  We went here twice this year.  Once our friend Teddy came with us.  Very relaxing.  We also took a pilgrimage up to Lake Umbagog and stopped at Dolly Copp on the way home.  Jackson does NOT like the water but he does love the canoe and loves camping.  Zdeno is just in heaven when we go camping.  I think he stayed in the lake for 90% of all the time we are camping and is passed out from exhaustion the rest of the time.

They love campfires and having us there 24/7.  We also got a great Halo tent from Marmot that can fit us all comfortably and an air mattress.  Jax always ends up sleeping on the mattress with us so we are glad he does not like the water!  We set out on a mission to visit waterfalls this year.  I think we made it to seven, including waterfalls on the Kancamagus, Diana's bath, Methusela Falls to name a few.

 We decided to do a family trip closer to home this year.  Art's Dad set it up so we could all do a morning hot air balloon ride over Amherst and down into Hollis.  It was spectacular and the weather was perfect.  We then headed up to Bethlehem, NH to a rental house.  The Kelley family less Lindsay, Jimmy, Natalie, Kevin, Jamie, and Jade were able to come.  We also had Aunt Jeanne and her son David.  We had fun hiking around Dolly Copp and just hanging out at the house.  Very relaxing.

There was also a great deal going on with the town offices and my job as Treasurer.  We have a Select(wo)man who was and is wreaking havoc on the office and causing major upheaval at every turn.  In March four people submitted their resignations.  We agreed to try to work through the problem with a mediator but it quickly disintegrated.  The Town Clerk resigned first in May and I followed in September after selecting and training my replacement.  I had the job for 9 1/2 years.  My Deputy also resigned so they wouldn't put her in my post.  Fast forward to spring of 2017 and two more people have resigned.  The woman is a nightmare and we are all pretty certain has mental issues.  God help the town.
Our "big" trip for the year was to head to Nova Scotia on the CAT with my parents.  We stayed the night in Portland, ME the night before and then took the Volvo on the cat.  We went to Digby and Halifax, bumping along up the coast.  We had a great visit, took some great hikes, and had overall good weather for our visit.  Dad was a little disappointed that it wasn't more "Scottish" but we had a great time and a good visit.
Each September we get the privilege of visiting Newport, RI with Dad.  They have been going down there for over 30 years!  So much fun and relaxation!
That was about it for travel.  Life got hectic with Art teaching at Sunapee and we did not make it out for Christmas this year.