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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Teacher is Eastbound, Yet Again

Today, I confess to being emotionally and professionally stressed.

Most immediately, I am deeply saddened by the death this week of the 25 year-old son of a beloved colleague.  Tom Perkins was a classmate at Plymouth High School of our youngest son, Alex.  The body of Tom Perkins was found Thursday after a three-day search, following an apparent rock-climbing accident while climbing solo on some cliffs in nearby Rumney, New Hampshire.  His father Dan Perkins is a brilliant professor of music at Plymouth State University, and is my friend.  I can only imagine the pain of Dan's loss, and when I do, I weep for him and his family.

My upcoming departure next Tuesday for a week in Eastern Europe also has me emotional, for I will take a few days to visit Cluj, Romania, before seeing to academic duties for the ACBSP at a business school in Budapest, Hungary.  These emotions are pleasant ones, thank God.  I look forward to renewing many friendships in Cluj, insofar as possible in only three days' time.

Then, there is my teaching.  I am happy to report that my two fall online MBA courses are both full, and that my students have proven thus far to be punctual in their posting to case forums, and remarkably willing to dig into the case data, both quantitatively and managerially.  It will take some juggling of my time to keep both courses current while I travel for the next week, but then, past classes have complimented my tap-dancing in the classroom, so how hard can it be to juggle?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I did last Summer 3: Still Downeast in Maine in May

Little Toot?
Still alone in Maine:
After remounting, with Chip Skinner's help, the pond dock to its concrete base at Wick's pond, I took a few shots at Treetops, then rode to Spruce Head, and on into Rockland, and took a few more.
The Cove from Treetops' Deck.  The tide was in.

And six hours later it was out.

Treetops' Deck

My wheels, as seen from the kitchen.

Lobster boat in Spruce Head Harbor

Self explanatory.
McLoon's of Spruce Head

Coast Guard  Cutter in Rockland Harbor. Semper Paratus.
Victory Chimes: a sailing ship, now used for dinner cruises, etc.

She started life as a coastal freighter, hauling lumber.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I Did Last Summer At Sunrise

Also last May, I awoke one morning needing a haircut.  Living here in Greater Plymouth, New Hampshire, we are blessed to have locally a semi-retired barber named Peter Minickiello, who works only three days a week, but opens his shop at 5:30 AM.  It was one of Pete's workdays, so before dawn I drove out and got my haircut.  As I left the shop, the following sunrise greeted me in Peter's West Plymouth driveway.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What I Did Last Summer, Part 1

I apologize to all who follow this blog for my long absence.  Tonight I have just completed my first class of the fall MBA term here at Plymouth State University.  I have been sipping black coffee for two hours, and thus have both mind and body well stimulated.  I couldn't go to sleep now if I tried, so I've decided to break my silence and spill stream-of-consciousness memories into the blog in hopes that I can later add illustrations to back up my claims of an absurdly busy summer for a man of 68 years.

Maine Trip 1.  May, 2011

In May I went to Maine to repair the pond dock at the Tenant's Harbor home of my friend Wickham.  We built this dock a few years ago to my design, and while it looked great and served well for awhile, it seems I left a weak spot... screws too small and too short secured the deck boards to the frame, and then the hinges mounting the dock to the concrete base were lagged into the deck boards, and only the deck boards.  So, when a rainy season came, the forces acting on the hinges popped the first couple of deck boards loose, and the floating dock was set adrift.  Fortunately, it is in a small pond on Wick's property, so it did not go out to sea and become a hazard to navigation.  However, a local beaver found it resting in the reeds some 50 yards from its base, and decided that its end, a swimming raft, would make an excellent roof for his lodge.  He proceeded to secure it to the bottom with a maze of small birch and poplar logs.  So, when I rowed over to it, I found the dock/raft assembly almost impossible to dislodge (note the appropriate wording), and to tow back to its proper location.  Wick was in Ireland that week, so I was working alone.
Picture this whole assembly snagged in the reeds on the far right..
I thought about the situation awhile, and decided that from the shore I might have sufficient strength to break things loose, so I went into Rockland and visited Spear's Lumber and Hardware.  I bought forty feet of line, a pair of rubber fishing boots, and some mighty fine lag bolts and washers.  Back at the pond, I put on my new boots, rowed back out, tied one end of the line to the dock, then rowed close enough to shore to hurl the rest of the coiled line up onto the shore.  Sure enough, all the rockng and pushing I had earlier done on the raft had loosened things up. and with just a modest effort at the shore end of the rope, I had her broken loose and afloat.  I pulled that sucker back to its home base, and faced the next challenge: how to hold her in place as I drove a first lag bolt down through the hinge and into the frame of the dock.

She's well screwed now, if you ask me.
I have to admit that progress was lagging, before Chip appeared on the scene.  Chip is Wick's grandson, a strapping lad of about twenty, or so.  He was over at Wick's to cut a bit of firewood, and a good thing, too.  With Chip's help, running out onto the raft and securing the line to it so he could hold her steady for me, the job of remounting it to its base proved a snap.  And, now I have new fishin' boots.