Saturday, April 12, 2014

It was the best of times........

Spring is here in the northeast - it finally found us!

For a horse owner, spring means bringing mounds of muddy, dusty and just plain filthy blankets of all weights to the one laundromat within miles that will do them for me.  Gone are the days when I'd slink in the back door of a laundromat miles from the barn with several of those huge black plastic leaf bags suspiciously bulging with something other than leaves.

Anyway, the point of this meandering story is that the laundromat is just 2 blocks from the marina where we kept For Us and Serenity - and only 4 minutes from my old house (which I can't bear to go near).  Now, many folks might find it difficult to visit the site of beautiful memories - I'm no different - but I was on a mission that popped into my mind en route to the laundromat.  I was going to put my bid in with the marina manager to lay claim to Serenity's old slip for Summer, 2015.  Serenity had one of the most prized slips - very wide, lovely long finger and no neighbor on one side - ideal.  Considering I will be a VERY novice captain when the new boat heads north next spring, not sharing a slip with another boat is a dream come true - for both of us!

The marina folks were lovely.  After condolences were offered, I hurried to change the subject and lighten the mood.  I find myself doing that often, by the way.  I want to put people at their ease and move the conversation along as quickly as possible.  It's good for everyone.  I guess the economy is improving - they told me nearly all their slips are reserved (see how quickly I changed the subject).

While I was there, I walked down the main dock to my former D dock to see if anyone was around.  I ran into a friend (a sailor with a gorgeous huge sailboat) who told me he is going to do a solo circumnavigation of the world in November.  He has a great sense of humor and offered that we'd be dock mates in 2015 if he made it back.  He and Tom enjoyed each other's company; more condolences offered.  I continued my walk and was disappointed not to run into anyone else.  All the boats are out of their winter shrinkwrap, so I guess it's just a matter of a few more weekends til the dock is buzzing again.

Word travels fast in the boat world.  I hadn't even gotten home when one of my favorite dock friends called to say she heard the good news.  It seems her husband arrived shortly after I left, ran into the marina manager - and the rest is history.  I do think by the time the boat and I arrive in the marina next spring, we might actually be celebrities.  One thing is certain - the marina can accommodate close to 300 boats of all sizes - there will NOT be another Kadey Krogen there, and there will NOT be another single woman living aboard her own boat.  So there!  During our chat, I received an open invitation to spend time aboard my friends' boat this sumer.  She is a fantastic cook and always has wonderful things aboard to eat.  Since Serenity had the wine and Donna had the food, we spent lots of time on each other's boats.  At least I'll be near boats this summer - it's been a long, dry spell.

Weekends are still tough for me - despite a blistering schedule.  I rode this morning, spent 3 hours at the barn, THEN embarked on 3 more hours of errands.  Once the errands were done, I drove 25 minutes to pick up my grandson for a sleep over.  We had a dinner "date" at Bertucci's, then headed to the apartment for a bath and playtime.  He's finally asleep after watching a Winnie the Pooh movie on my iPad.  I can still be lonely in a room full of friends.  I know this feeling will ease over time, so until it does, tomorrow is another wild day!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We're on target

I was delighted to hear that we are on target for where we should be in the build process.

Today was an "email" kind of day - and not too many at that.  As we speak, Tom B. is sending me a couple of large swatches of Ultraleather which I somehow narrowed down to Light Oyster and Almond.  We tabled the Sunbrella discussion pending getting some cost information from the yard.  No sense spinning our wheels until they need to be spun.  There will be plenty of spinning to come in the days ahead.

However, we DO have 2 pictures!  One is a rendering of what the boat will look like with her sheer stripe on the bow - Forest Green, remember?

What a pretty girl she will be.  Remember, this girl's boat deck rails will encircle the boat deck so yours truly doesn't take any unplanned swims while tending to the dinghy.  My parents were advised to discontinue my ballet lessons - that should tell you something.

This is a photo of what the mast will look like with the radar and satellite TV dome.  This is a first pass and will be shared with RJ Marine to be sure things are where they need to be for optimum performance.

It's a nice clean look that means business without extra frills that detract from the job at hand.

I'm getting excited that this dream is unfolding in front of my eyes!   Last night, I exchanged a few Facebook posts with some Krogen folks who are already looking ahead to next winter in Stuart.  As I read their posts, I realized that my new boat and I will be part of that winter 2015 scene!  With our slip booked and friends ready to party, can life get any better?  I'm amazed that I'm even capable of saying these words since next week will be 7 months since my life changed with Tom's loss.  I guess it goes to show that with the right attitude, a truckload of determination and courage and true friends, anything is possible.  I must admit my impatience with people who look at me as if I've sprouted wings when I respond to the question: "so what will you do now?"  I think it's the condescending tone or look of pity that makes me want to strangle them.  I revel in their looks of amazement, incredulity or whatever you want to call it when I tell them about my plans to pursue our dream.  For those that get it, there is an immediate invitation to join me on the boat; for the others, a change in conversation.

Anyway, you're not reading this to get a philosophy lesson.  Even though there isn't much to share at the moment, I love to just chat away about the boat and my plans for her.  The posts prior to September 12 go into more detail about the other earlier decisions.  If anyone is out there reading this that wants to know more, please let me know and I'll do my best to fill in whatever details you might need or want.  When it comes to boats (and horses, golf and good wine), it'll be hard to shut me up.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Slowly but surely

The Sunbrella fabric BOOKLET arrived today along with the Ultraleather color card (not a tri-fold but whatever is a 6 fold)!

The choices are enough to make a grown woman cry!  There is one whole side of the Ultraleather card devoted to shades of "neutral"!  Luckily, I'm far enough along in my thought processes to be able to eliminate all the colors other than the neutrals.  BUT, and that's a big BUT, the choices are still vast.  Again work got in the way today, so I couldn't give more than a glances to the "gifts" that arrived.  However, in that quick glance, I could see definite possibilities.  

 The Sunbrella fabric card was another story all together.  Solids, stripes, zig zags, swirls, patterns - AND all of these designs come in COLORS!!  Can you imagine my angst when I opened that envelope and saw the gazillion choices?!   As I panted and sweat, I realized that this choice would most definitely not be the walk in the park I expected.  Now I was grateful that work was annoyingly requiring my attention.  Great excuse!  Once I recovered my wits, I zeroed in on the stripes section (several pages of those devils) and settled down a bit.  The fabrics are really lovely and I think just about anything will look wonderful.  So tomorrow at lunch, I will try not to get indigestion while I try to make a Sunbrella fabric selection for those all-important guest stateroom twin beds.  Would any of my potential crew dare to offer a suggestion?

The folks at KKY really know how to set the pace.  While I was agonizing over these 2 fabric challenges, Tom B. gave me another reason to lose control - granite choices!  OMG, as if the arrival of the fabric books wasn't enough to produce some gray hairs!  Again, I'm leaning in the rich green direction, so the samples Tom B. sent pictures of were pretty much on target.  Needless to say, I asked for a sample of each - and we all know what too many choices do to a woman, right?  How this saintly man manages to remain calm and exhibit a sense of humor through all these decisions never ceases to amaze me.  I know I couldn't do his job without possibly insulting customers' inability to just "move on, for Pete's sake".  There are 4 different granite choices in this dark green that Tom B. will be sending me.  Anyone who can envision an entire run of galley counter top from a 4x4 chunk of granite is a better person than I.  So, my week's work is cut out for me.

While all these decisions are exacting their toll on my nervous system, there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment as each decision is made.  Having pictures of other Krogens is a help beyond measure. Many of you have offered generous suggestions based on your experience and for that, I'm very grateful.  I know I keep saying this, but I can't imagine how other boat manufacturer's customers survive the boat building process.  Without the family of other Krogen owners to guide me, I would be hanging upside down from the nearest tree!  Thanks to all who have offered advice, suggestions and just plain good wishes.

So as the week moves on, I'll be playing house, making those all-important fabric selections.  As I've said, I do have some time, so can enjoy and savor the decisions instead of rushing through them, against the clock.

I'll stay in touch!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gearing up for the next round of decisions

Nothing too exciting going on at the moment, while not losing sight of the fact that my long-awaited dream of a boat is being built as we speak!!!

Tom B. is working quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make sure things are moving in the right direction within the time frame agreed upon.  Our order for the 2 helm seats was placed with Lebroc, a price determined and a delivery date in August nailed down.  So at least my crew and I will have a place to perch in comfort - and style!

Once the intercom is added to the electronics package, that too will be finalized and RJ can initiate the ordering and installation calendar process.  My thoughts on the intercom is that it is an essential part of the equipment package, especially since I will always want at least one person, if not more, with me at the helm for the foreseeable future.  If the 3rd person decides they've had enough of me and wanders too far, I can call them without having to shout (or otherwise send a panicked call for assistance).  Wait a sec, there will be no panicked calls, I keep forgetting that I really will know what I'm doing.  Considering the things I've mastered in my tenure on earth, navigating a small ship is certainly within the realm of possibility.  I keep reminding myself that I'm a former Intensive Care Unit registered nurse who actually was responsible for keeping a unit of critically ill patients alive - and was able to do just that - on most days.

Right now, I'm looking at 2 chunks of granite against 2 pieces of cherry, with different grains.   It's sunny in the spot I've chosen right now.  When I come back later, I'll move them to a different light source so I can get a better idea of how the colors will look at different times of day.  The granite selection is more difficult than choosing the generator - too many options!  I expect to receive color cards for the Ultraleather and Sunbrella fabrics this week.  As mentioned earlier, I'm thinking of dressing the guest beds in Sunbrella fabric so they always look sharp and neat.  Though I want a palette that is easy to complement, I'm not interested in blah.  I'll take a pic of what I decide on - assuming that can be accomplished in this century.

Switching from boats for a bit, I want to share an incredible thing that happened yesterday.  My cousin and I had tickets to see La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera in the city.  Since we decided to go at pretty much the last minute, our seats though in the orchestra, were in the last row (and still cost $150 each)!  While we were waiting in line to pick up our tickets, a well dressed man approached us and said he wanted to give us a pair of tickets he and his wife were unable to use.  It seems the friends who were supposed to join them were unable to go at the last minute.  When I politely declined saying we already had tickets (I'm a skeptical New Yorker after all), he asked if our tickets were as good as those he was offering.  When I looked at the tickets he was holding out, my eyes popped!  They were for row G (the 7th row) in the orchestra, seats 10 and 12 - only 1 row behind where the gentleman and his wife were sitting.  Those seats were $252.50 EACH.  He assured me he wanted no money for them, he just wanted someone to enjoy those seats.  So.... we picked up our own tickets and graciously accepted his tickets (once I knew no money was involved) and went to those seats (still skeptical).  They were real and absolutely fabulous!  Since one good turn deserves another, we went outside and gave our tickets away to 2 tourists who leaped into the air with gratitude.  How great was that experience!  To add to the drama of the day, the lead soprano (Anita Hartig) who sings the role of Mimi got the flu so that morning, the Met director asked the soprano (Kristine Opolais) who had just sung the lead in Madame Butterfly the night before to step into Mimi's role.   She had never sung or rehearsed Mimi at the Met, so it was a big leap of faith on Peter Gelb's part.  She was fantastic!  Not only did she get a standing ovation, but had to come back on stage several times.  She even got a mention in today's New York Times.  Seems drama follows me wherever I go.  Let's hope there's no drama at the barn when I go to ride my horse later!

Since there isn't too much to report these days while the yard bangs out the latest round of decisions, I feel the need to keep in touch with everyone.  I'm still sensitive to the 6 month hiatus that followed Tom's passing; I don't want to maintain long periods of silence while things are getting done.  As long as you don't mind insertions of happenings of interest, we can stay connected during the "quiet" times.  Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It was a quiet 2 days - for the boat that is

On Monday, I decided to finally visit my dentist to have him look at a lump that had developed under my gum - over 1 of my brand new front teeth crowns!  Oh oh he said, you have an infection brewing and will probably need a root canal.  Root canal!!  Are you kidding me I managed to shout. Those simple few words put an end to everything normal for the next 2 days, hence, no posts.  Now that you feel sorry for me, I'm sure you're already forgiving me for giving you all the silent treatment.  So I had part 1 of this inhumane treatment for teeth that misbehave last evening and was too miserable to do much more than moan and feel sorry for myself.  Today is a better day, even though part 2 is looming next Tuesday.  So here I am!

Not too much breaking news at this point, but some more email discussions took place today.  I've decided to use RJ Marine based in Stuart for the boat's electronics suite.  RJ did not do the electronics on either of our 2 previous boats, but for a variety of reasons, the other vendors were not invited to submit a proposal.  Tom and I had met with RJ's owner and his techie daughter last spring while we were waiting to close on Serenity's sale.  They were able to see firsthand what we had on Serenity, which was a definite advantage for all of us.  That tour sparked hours of very detailed conversations so that RJ knew how we used Serenity and how we planned to use the new boat.  Since those initial discussions were so comprehensive, I pretty much left things as Tom planned, but with a few tweaks here and there.  Typical of a man, Tom asked for more bells and whistles than I will ever need, let alone know what to do with.  Even now, the proposal reads like something out of a chemistry/physics book with reference to numbers, cables, models, megahertz, macrohertz and every other "hertz" in between.  I plan to go over everything (for the 3rd time) with Tom B., then speak to the RJ folks when I can sound more intelligent than I feel right now looking at those 4 pages of "stuff".   Someone asked me in July who was doing the electronics.  If you're reading this blog, now you know.  I feel very comfortable with my choice; since RJ has done other Krogens and has been in business for centuries (well not quite, but close), I trust their expertise will be up to the task.  I'm sure some of you will want to know which components I'm using for what applications; I'll share that once everything is in place.  Yes I know, that's the whole reason many of you are taking the time to read all this.  Don't worry, I'll try not to disappoint you.

While discussing the guest stateroom, I couldn't remember what material I asked to have the night table in the middle of the 2 beds topped with: cherry, formica, granite?  Tom B. reminded me we discussed and selected cherry.  I will swear I could see the smile he was hiding when he gently reminded me that this item was in that lovely right hand column of the build sheet under Completed.  How could I have forgotten that??????    Anyway, he suggested I might want to consider "dressing" the beds in a sunbrella fabric for a fitted, custom look when guests were not aboard.  I asked for - and received - several photos of other boats who had used this fabric.  While the examples were nothing I would have chosen, the overall effect was stunning.  So, I will receive in the mail a swatch book of colors and fabrics suitable for this use so that I can nudge this topic over to - yup, you're getting it now, the right hand column of the build sheet!  It's great to work with folks who have an unlimited repertoire of suggestions and ideas, backed by actual photos to help with the decision-making process.

The bed fabric discussion invariably led to a discussion of settee and helm chair fabrics.  So also in the mail will come a color card with all the Ultraleather color choices.  I decided to go with Ultraleather after seeing it on quite a few boats.  Not only is it neat, easy to maintain and care for, but it won't crack and fade like leather does, especially in a marine environment.  Our first boat (brokerage) had the beige tweedy fabric that KKY uses on their boats as a default if an owner does not make that initial selection. Serenity was built when we bought her, so she was "dressed" in ultrasuede.  That is beautiful fabric, but hard to slide on and even harder to keep tight on the seat.  It had a tendency to wrinkle and I hate wrinkles - anywhere!  I think I mentioned (see I really do forget what I've said) that I planned to do the settees and helm chairs in the same color Ultraleather.  Since a boat is confined space, I think going with a monochromatic color scheme with splashes of color on non-permanent items provides a more spacious look.  So at the end of this week, beginning of next week, I'll be haunting the receptionist at the front desk, casually inquiring about packages for me that are not from J. Crew.

Lebroc will do the 2 helm chairs as they did on Serenity with stainless steel accessories.  They won't need to be ordered until August, so once the color is selected, that item will go - wait for it - into the right hand column of that famous sheet.  I loved the chair on Serenity, even though I rarely got to sit in it.  These helm chairs will be my second home, so to speak.

A fellow Krogenite kindly offered information on enclosing the aft cockpit.  That is another wonderful feature of building one of these boats.  Though the decisions are certainly individual, they become easier to make after hearing from a whole cadre of knowledgeable and seasoned Krogen owners who want nothing more than to help.  How lucky can I be?

So, as I said, other than identifying the electronics vendor and starting to put some flesh on those electronics bones, nothing huge has happened since last week.  Of course if you're me, anything I do that is boat-related is huge.

As the next items present themselves for discussion and selection, I promise to share.  Don't forget, Tom B. goes to Taiwan in a couple of weeks.  He promises me pictures of what has been done so far which I will race to upload for you.  Since I've already preyed upon your sympathies crying about my root canal, I know I have to deliver - and without waiting a century!

Be well everyone.  Be back soon!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Finally Friday!

A grueling week ended with a bang - my tax return e-filing instructions - and the CPA's bill - greeted me in the mailbox tonight when I returned from having dinner with a friend.  Bad news is that I owe some hard earned money to Uncle Sam.  Good news, NY State cut me some slack and is returning some of the money it extracted from me.  No more on that subject, bad for digestion.  Good thing for the wine tasting that preceded dinner!

So we all knew I wouldn't get to this blog during the day, right?  To be honest, I thought it might happen several times, but that was not to be.  At least I'm not starting with the dreaded words, "sorry folks".  Tom B. and I did chat for about a half hour right before noon.  Though we worked through my list, not everything could be finalized or added to the "Completed" side of the build sheet.  Seems some items need more tweaking by some of the vendors.  Great thing about this build is that we're not up against the clock or a freighter waiting to load the boat and take off.  That would put me right over the edge.  This is not the time to rush through things, especially the items with big price tags that will be in place for awhile, if not forever.

So, here's what happened today:
-    confirmed that there will be one satellite dome on the mast.
-    16' VHF antennas will be on port and starboard sides of pilot house aft of the doors, towards the boat deck.  Other antenna will be placed on the pilot house roof as needed.  We had this conversation while I had the 55 brochure open on my desk so I  could actually look at where things would go.
-    AIS will be both transmit and receive.
-    Tom B. gave me some homework - I need to read up on the Garmin and icom radios.  Looking at what I printed from the internet gives me a headache, but I promised Tom B. I'd read enough to try to make sense of what we need to discuss in order to make a decision.
-    we initiated a discussion about canvas.  I eliminated hatches in the pilot house at the suggestion of several seasoned boaters.  Since the 55's pilot house is all windows, having the sun beat through hatches would be more of a liability than the light they afforded.  It will be bright enough in there.  So, one less location for canvas.  There will be canvas on the 2 wing stations, the BBQ grill cover, and I plan on having 2 bow cushions.  The big discussion up for thought is whether to put those pesky Textilene covers on the windows or coat them with the 3M filters that seem to be doing an awesome job on a couple of Krogens.  As one who often battled with the Textilene covers on both of our boats, I'm leaning towards the 3M filters.  No rush here, but do need to put it on the radar.  Since there is no flybridge on the 55, I can cross off the need for all that canvas up there.  Another item for me to think about is how to contain the cat while allowing her to get some fresh air.  I saw a 48 that had a nicely screened aft cockpit to accommodate several on board cats.  I like that idea - keeps the cat in and flying pests out.  Have to give that some more thought.  If anyone has suggestions, please don't be shy about sharing them.
-     big item - entertainment system!  We've pretty much discussed the components I want, but we are still tossing around several issues: the Home Theater system is the big one.  I know for sure there will be those cute little Bose cube speakers strategically placed throughout the boat to provide beautiful music in the areas most likely to be visited regularly - that's pretty much everywhere on a boat, but some areas are more conducive to kicking back with wine and music than others.  There will be speakers in the usual places, including the boat deck and aft cockpit.  I'm considering a Fusion system that will be unique to the pilot house and boat deck rather that have remotes below to control the pilot house components.  It will have the usual components of iPod/iPhone dock, will be Sirius XM ready, have an AM FM radio, etc. The spaces below will be powered by Bose components and include a 42" Samsung TV and Blu-Ray disc player.  Tom B. and I are doing a bit more research on the Bose Acoustimass System at the moment.

I think I'm spending more time on this entertainment system than we did on the generator selection (which by the way is a 16 kw Northern Lights with sound shield).  My Tom and Tom B. did discuss the generator for quite a few go-rounds.  For a while, we considered having 2, one large and a smaller 8 kw one.  Knowing how I will use the boat, one 16 kw will do the job just fine.

The struts for the salon table from the new manufacturer arrived and need to be inspected by Tom B.  I know the pedestal table is secure and functional, but I do like the look of the original table used on earlier boats - we had one on our 39.  It's more like a piece of furniture.  I'm going to just let this issue coast along until Tom B. makes a determination on the struts - and I make a determination on the cost.

I understand the yard is looking for the granite I liked and sent a picture of.  Good luck to them - not one of my favorite chores.

I may be really nit picking here, but I made a note to ask Laura if the dishwasher was quiet.  We had a Bosch at home and in the days immediately after it was installed, Tom and I used to argue about who forgot to turn it on, it was that quiet.  In contrast, the dishwasher in my apartment sounds like a cement mixer - with a block of cement caught in it.  I'll be happy with something on the quiet side with perhaps nothing more audible than a gentle swishing sound - and only when really listening for it.

Still many more decisions to make, but we are making consistent, definite progress.  Thanks to KKY's knowledge and patience, and the owners who are taking an interest in helping me navigate unfamiliar territory, my dream is becoming more of a reality with each decision made and each item selected.

In a couple of weeks, I will look forward to sharing pictures from the yard.  I have seen nothing since the pictures sent on September 12, so am looking forward to seeing the progress made since then.  Granted there was a 6 month work hiatus, but there has been a solid month of work since I decided to move forward with the build.  Much more fun to read with pictures sprinkled in.

Thanks for reading everyone.  The number of page views since March 11th is amazing - 1, 153!

Have an enjoyable weekend!  I'll be back on Monday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just a few email exchanges today

Sorry folks, but the call Tom B. and I were supposed to have couldn't take place today, despite 3 attempts to keep moving the time up.  Work started with a lot of drama and ended pretty much the same way.  I hate when work gets in the way of the things I really want to do!

However, we did manage to discuss a few things in emails.  Tom B. was able to clarify a question I had about chartplotter or radar/other display failure.  I managed to grasp that the way Garmin has its system set up is that if there is a failure on one screen, a cable (it has a number and letter designation I can't recall) automatically swaps the signal to the working screen.  If the other screen goes bad, well a prayer and a previously installed navigation iPad app to the rescue!  That was actually the justification I made to myself for buying an iPad Air - and that was before the boat became reality.

We also firmed up my need for 1 vs. 2 satellite domes.  Since I have no plans to be in an area so remote that a $25K satellite phone and its trappings is necessary, I am going with a single dome on the mast for the KVH satellite TV.  Done deal.  Next....

Lebroc came through with its quote for 2 helm chairs with stainless steel pedestals and accessories.  We are planning to discuss that item tomorrow in greater detail.  The color of the leather will match the pilothouse settee, which will also match the salon settee.  I'm crazy for a light, neutral look that carries throughout the boat.  I'll dress it up with boldly colored pillows and snazzy Persian rugs.  If you remember the rugs on Serenity, they were really wonderful!  A pair of leather club chairs similar to the ones on Serenity and we're in business.  This time, the chairs will be opposite the TV so that anyone in the chairs can comfortably watch the tube.

Also firmed up are the anchors - as mentioned earlier, a Super Max and a Delta.  They'll do the job just fine for the immediate and distant future.  Both anchors will have all chain rode (get me, will ya) and wildcats (thanks Betty) on either side of the windlass.  I even know to make sure the chain gets color coded for depth.  Volunteers?

Poor Tom B. - I sent a rather long list of the items I hope to discuss tomorrow.  Actually, not only hope, but plan to decide on and enter "completed" on the build sheet in that elusive extreme right hand column.  It's becoming a contest with myself to see how many items can make it into that column within a short period of time.

I was excited when the secretary brought me a fed ex package today.  She hung around while I opened it in hopes it was another "treat" from J. Crew.  She was clearly amazed at the joy I expressed when I held up my new treasures!  The package contained 2 lovely pieces of cherry wood.  Oh, do I loooove that beautiful wood.  So elegant and easy on the eyes!  These prizes will be my companion as I roam tile stores this weekend.  Right now on my not too spacious apartment kitchen counter, are the 2 wood pieces with 2 granite samples nuzzling up next to them.  It doesn't take much to pique my enthusiasm when it's boat-related.

So, I apologize for a not too exciting post, but will send more details after the call tomorrow.  Who knows, if I have time, I might post tomorrow at a more sane hour.  There is a method to my madness:  I'm going to a wine tasting, followed by dinner with 2 other friends tomorrow evening.  It depends on how good the wine tasting is if I can post.  Better to be on the safe side and try to get some words down in the afternoon.  I don't dare start tomorrow's post with the words, "sorry folks....."