Spring in the time of covid

This post is long overdue. It was in the queue, but I had been too lazy to go through all the photos to make a proper post. However, with the latest family crisis, I decided to look back on a fond memory. One I had intended to share, but never did.

In February, The Pragmatist (I’m doing the quick calculation here and he’s a little over a month from turning 30!!! What???) started talking about coming home for a visit. At that point, there weren’t many vaccines to go around, especially for 20-somethings, and The Pragmatist and his partner were getting a little antsy all cooped up in their little Brooklyn apartment. Covid was still in full swing, everyone was still working remotely. They both needed some time away from NYC, and maybe a teensy bit of time apart.

They decided to head out to the Pacific Northwest the first week of March. The Peacemaker (he’s going to be 28 in three months 😮—how did I get so old!) and I met them at the airport with Blue Eyes’ little Volvo convertible and some road trip snacks. They were always super serious about covid safety and proper quarantine-ing. They met us in the parking lot with masks and face guards. Then they were off to the Olympic Peninsula for a hike-in camping experience that turned very wintery. This is what they woke up to on their second morning in the forest:

March in the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

I had told them that if the weather was too dicey, to get a motel or cabin and do day hikes. It’s just not that fun when you and your gear are soaked through, day & night, I don’t care how great your sleeping bag is. They took my advice after that second night and drove down to Forks. That may sound familiar to some…

I know The Pragmatist has not read or seen the Twilight movies, but he is aware of them, and got a kick out of the kitsch town that Forks has become since the success of those silly books & movies. They didn’t stay in the “Bella Suite,” but were very grateful for the warm, dry bed. After 5 days in the wet and cold, they headed to the comfort of the beach house, hitting a rapid covid test spot on the way down. We joined them at the beach house on day 7 of their self-imposed quarantine. They made homemade pizza (yeast dough included) in our new Kamado Joe Grill. Such talented kids.

The girlfriend left to go visit her mom in California the day after we arrived to the beach house, and by the following weekend she was back in NY. The Pragmatist on the other hand, had big plans for a “spring break” activity for him and his brother. He decided they would build their own kayaks, in the garage. As previously mentioned, he’s always been very very busy. His second choice was learning to sail a commissioned boat in the San Juan Islands. He saved that adventure for the future.

They set about ordering the plans/instructional videos from a local kayak/canoe building instructor. Then they started purchasing the materials and tools it would take to get the job done. They set up their shop in our over-sized Portland garage. Some of the wood was available locally, in Portland, but the green (wet, bendable) oak pieces had to be shipped from Michigan. Not because we don’t have oak in Oregon, but because the state was pretty much out of stock. Welcome to covid, and lots of home projects!

So technically the kayaks are supposed to be able to be built in 8 full working days (8-10 hours per day), but that was based on being at a workshop with the instructor, tools, and supplies all present. There are currently no in-person workshops due to covid, so the boys were on their own!

It ended up taking 2 1/2 weeks to build the kayaks after receiving the bulk of the materials, plus a bit of time to receive from out of state the proper kayak car rack for my car.

Getting things started
Cutting the ribs, very precise work
After the ribs were steamed, bent, and pegged, mortise and tenon style
Carrying the stained kayaks down for drying
Stained and drying in the backyard
Stitching on the ballistic nylon skin. We found out The Peacemaker REALLY doesn’t like sewing, so I stayed up until 4am one night sewing his up for him. I actually like sewing and it was fun to be a little part of the project.
Skins stained and ready for the water. Oh, they made their own paddles too!
A friend let us use his dock on the Willamette River
It was a beautiful night
Before leaving to head back home, The Pragmatist built these simple racks. We all cleaned the garage.

The photos make it look quick and easy, but it wasn’t. They worked hard, as a team, day and night, to build these beauties. The Pragmatist kicked it up a notch the last couple days and then declared that he was tired of watching the sun rise AND set from the garage! He also wanted to get back to Brooklyn. He was here for more than 6 weeks and it made our spring so much brighter!

I have yet to go out in a kayak. We took them to the beach house for the summer. I was supposed to go out in the bay in June with The Peacemaker, but the winds were high and my cramping was off the charts, so I watched him man his vessel from the shore. I just love my kids!

Life is full of good times. 💚

8 thoughts on “Spring in the time of covid

  1. Hey, Kat! I haven’t been on here in forever but glad to see you are doing well. My sister and I will be in Portland for 3 days in a few weeks. We plan to drive some of the coast as well. Any suggestions of places to stay? Any spots to make sure we get to or ones to avoid?

    Liked by 2 people

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