Paradise in 60 amps

From: Erica Reynolds

Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 8:31 AM

To: Carolina Salguero

Subject: The boat trip

I hope the trip went well. I had to work yesterday so I couldn't make it. Any good news from the trip? Today I am looking at a painting job that I hope to start today. I will let you know what my schedule is like for this week. How's the view? and Lulu?

Dear Erica:

Sorry you missed it. The move was astounding. Our best yet. What joy aboard.

We had about 50 passengers, volunteers, bloggers, Tim Ventimiglia, our museum designer who said "this is my paycheck," David Bianiciardi who did all the powerpoints and AV hook ups for us. Anthony Mancebo the AV fellow at the book reading sadly couldnt make it. The amazing caterer gals from Bar Tini and Roquette Catering, some kids, septegenarians, Hans Hansen, the son of the engineer Hans Hansen who worked with Karen's father Alf Dyrland. Karen remembers answering the phone to Hans' thick Norwegian accent asking for her father, another Norwegian. Hans and Karen had never met before. This ship does bring people together.

We had about 10 band members from the Hungry March Band, a last minute connection to Nydia Velazquez' office of all things. Dan Wiley is, I think, going out with one band member. They were fantastic, made the day. Brass band, the music reminded me of gypsy music from Balkans to Spain, both places I've spent lot of time. I loved them. High energy and as Karen put it, clothes like Pipi Longstocking. There was a gang dancing the wave on the bridge deck. I danced on the main deck. the rain held until 2 hours after everyone left. Channel 12 TV was here, so it's on the record.

The K-Sea tug was great - again. Really nice crew. That company has been so good to us. The boat arrived early, some came aboard to visit. The engineer on the tug was Robert Mowbray. He used to be engineer here. I've been corresponding with him, he has some parts for this engine.

It was a magical day. Everyone was grinning. As we were unloading a guy in coveralls appeared on the pier and said "my father used to work on this boat." I said "I'd love to talk to you but have to deal with the tug." Next time I turned around he was gone. The guys on the tug told me that was Scotty Gellatley. I've tried to reach the other side of his family often, to no avail. The Gellatleys had some massive falling out and one side got the tugs and the other the tankers – I think that's how it goes. I do love the Irish, I'm half myself, but, my god, the feuds.

In any case, he was like some sort of ghost, no idea how he was here nor where he went but it's another case of "everyone worked on the Mary Whalen." Maybe he was over at the Circle Line boats. I'll try and track him down.

Once the cheerful mob left, I sat for an hour the galley with John, Karen and a friend of theirs Richard DuBois (who doubles for Robert DeNiro of all things); He says he'll come scrape paint God bless him.

I let Lulu off once all the guests left. The pier has a large burm of ancient used sandblast grit gone wild with weeds and one small tree. A Lulu Serengeti, as someone said. She began to prowl right away. I'm sure she'll find lots of fun chasing rodents, it's more kitty freundlich than the cement pier over in Red Hook. I do still worry about the hawk. Ernie brought him up right away saying he'll be two years old right away. It feels like he's become some sort of GMD mascot. Murray Fisher of the Harbor School who visited 2 weekends ago claimed to be a bird of prey buff and said red tailed hawks don’t go for cats, but as Ernie put it in his ever to-the-point way "why not?" I'll call Audobon. The hawks aren't here right now. Maybe that will be our new reason for summer home for the Whalen "save Lulu from the Navy Yard hawks."

Loving birds that don’t eat Lulu, I raced to put up birdfeeders before the snow. So far not a one.

In any case, the view is mighty different. We are no longer alone. I can see a building or boat out of every porthole, actually usually lots of both. Moran fuel barges on other side of pier. Circle Line fleet across the water of this berth, tho dunno how many folks are around there. Those are the boats tied up in an acquisitions haggle. When Hornblower won the RFP for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island ferry run, the Circle Line boats were supposed to be bought for the service. The price has been rising... I'm sure all the lawyers as sending love letters back n forth and here the fleet sits.

Ernie in his trailer is right at the head of the dock. A Coast Guard bought is coming in soon so the men in blue will be all over this place. Handsome nighttime view down the deck of the Williamsburg bridge and Schaefer Landing's curious light show.

I've so wanted to get here to make winter more bearable, I can see we will be sheltered from the worst of the winter winds and we will be basking in sun all day. This will raise the boat temp a good 10 degrees is my guess. Ernie has 400amps in the 220 power!!!!!!! I don’t know what it is in the 110 service yet, but it will be so much better then the trickle over in Red Hook. In short we will be able to run enough space heaters. You should be able to reduce your 4 layers of pants to 2. such progress.

and then WiFi. I see two networks right now without using Kyle's satellite dohickey. I can imagine there will be more networks after President's Day and folks come back to work.

So, as we long dreamed, here it all is, shore power, internet, sun and neighbors. Plus some dirt for Lulu. Paradise, til March 31 and our agreement expires. Then what, god only knows. Lots of calls to make to solve that one.

I can’t decide whether to go to the Russian Baths and soak my tired bones tonight or roast up a big dinner and invite the barge next and Ernie over for dinner. I'm feeling very nesty about this new home.

Heating the shovel so I can wax it and shovel off the deck. Why go to the gym when there's yards of snow to shovel?