Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bath Time!

 Before we headed out to officially begin cruising this season, I decided to give the crew a bath. It never ceases to amaze me how dogs that love the water so much hate having a bath. As usual, Dylan gives in right away and makes the process fairly easy. He went first.

As always, I'm rewarded with Dylan's display of beautiful curls every time his gets wet. It's one of the many things I love about my Dylan!

Once I was done with Dylan, I brought Dee Dee to the bow. She suspected something was up but was mainly happy to just be a part of things even if it did involve soap.

Finally, both were clean and fresh. They've had their ears rinsed - actually the worst part of the whole process - and were ready for their much deserved treats. Who could resist those pretty (and clean) faces?

Bully sticks on the bow makes it all worth it! The only thing left to do after all that excitement... a nap.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Homeless Again!

It was a busy and stressful week for the kids. Well, stressful for them means that occasionally their daytime naps were interrupted. After a week onboard, they were booted once again out of their home while aCappella was hauled, bottom painted, and received an insurance survey.

It's always an issue about what to do with the 4-footed crew. During the day they settled into the small lounge area in the back of the ships store. Fortunately, the guys working there loved dogs and didn't seem to mind as Dylan and Dee Dee took the place over

They loved the big wrap-around window right in the middle of things. This let them keep track of just about everyone's comings and goings. Atlantic Yacht Basin is a busy yard so there was pretty much always someone coming through the door. There was hardly any time to nap.

But the place did close down at the end of the day so that meant two fun-filled nights at the local La Quinta where there was plenty of time for napping. Of course, this time a preliminary room sweep occurred to ensure there were no repeats of the last time with the soap.

There were two mornings of Daddy's famous Brightside waffles and we even had a pizza delivered one night. Those things never happen on the boat.

By the second morning we were all getting a little restless to be back home. Dee Dee showed her displeasure by barking loudly - checked the water dish (full), made a potty run (nothing), wiggled a toy (no good). So finally I put on the TV and found Paw Patrol, a Nickelodeon cartoon, "where no job is too big and no pup is too small! When there is trouble in Adventure Bay, the pups of Paw Patrol are ready to save the day."

She was mesmerized. Of course, like any respectable children's show there are tons of associated items you can buy. Dee Dee is already hinting, after all Christmas is practically around the corner. At first she wanted the Paw Patrol Lunch Kit but then learned it didn't include any lunch.

So then she was torn between a Paw Patrol Plush Pup Pal.

Or a Paw Patrol Racer.

Hard choice. She wondered if she could be good enough so Santa would bring her one of each.  I told her when that happens pigs would fly out of....well, you know.

As for Dylan, he was the usual angel, happy to just be cuddling.

We were back onboard right on schedule and happy. We don't even miss the king-sized bed. Well, not too much...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not If, But When...

There are events that happen with dogs to create a situation you know isn't going to be pretty.  Such an event happened at our La Quinta hotel stay last week when we were heading back to the boat. Any guesses about which dog?

This was little Dee Dee's second night ever in a hotel. She was fascinated with the one room where everyone would stay together and ran around checking out every corner. We were busy finding places for clothes and computers and didn't notice that she had found the bathroom.

Unlike our house or boat, the hotel staff lays out little soaps and shampoos on the edge of the tub. You've all seen that before. Dee Dee hadn't.

La Quinta leaves Citros, a citrus-scented set of products. They're quite nice. I doubt they taste good but you can ask Dee Dee because she ate the entire bar of soap including the wrapper.

A quick search on the internet found that it's not dangerous although we'd need to watch her over the next few hours.

We knew this event wasn't going to pass without incident. We even had an idea of what might happen. The only question was...when.

At 2:30 am, Miss Dee Dee woke up and released the entire contents of her stomach including a 3/4 piece of whole soap all over the bed. Trust me, at 2:30 am, you don't notice the citrus scent any longer. And after that event, no one much slept the rest of the night.

It's a valuable lesson. New places can't be trusted when you have a puppy. Or a Dee Dee.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Short Timers

The crew has been very busy helping clean out the house and have hardly noticed that the summer has flown past. None of us can believe that we are down to days before we move back onboard. There's one more run to the dump, a carload of books to take to the library book sale, a few more boxes to pack up and stash in the attic, a car to pack, and then we'll be heading south back to aCappella.

So we've asked the kids what they will miss most about their land-based home. They love their daily walk around the block before breakfast - one of their two favorite times of the day (breakfast that is). Any guess what the other is?

It could be their lunch-time walk down to the town dock. Dylan loves the area where the pigeons hang out at the dock.

 And the smells there can't be beat!!

Is it the sun room window seat? It makes the perfect perch for keeping an eye on those dastardly squirrels - much worse than pigeons according to Dylan. He diligently stands watch and Dee Dee comes running when the alarm is sounded.

It also makes the perfect spot to lie in the sun.

The backyard, which Dee Dee points out always has a stick, is a big team favorite. The video shows how seriously they take stick retrieval.

Dylan and Dee Dee each have their own chair in Daddy's study which is perfect for a snooze after a good romp in the backyard.

And of course, the whole crew will miss the king-size bed. 

But ultimately it's about being together. Whether it's squirrels or dolphins, the town dock or aCappella's bow, a backyard or a dog park, the kids are happiest when we share the days and nights.

Of course, a king-size bed on the boat would be welcome too...

Friday, August 1, 2014

Our Old House

We've had several of you write us wondering about the history of our house in Maine. It is an interesting house - at least we think so. The house is somewhere around 175 years old - there are several different dates "on record" about when it was built. Amazingly, we are only the 5th owner. It's why so much remains intact.

When we bought the house it was in need of much work. Fortunately here in Maine there are lots of people skilled at working with old houses. We found a terrific architect who specialized in restoring old houses. A wonderful women who knew the art of working with horsehair plaster walls lived in our house for months bringing them back. We even found a fellow who had the same passion we did for the inlaid floors and meticulously restored them. But that's about us, what about the history?

The house was built by John Dresser, Jr., the only son of John Dresser who made his fortune building several ropewalks in Castine and providing rope to the ships on the Penobscot Bay. It was a good thing that John, Jr. was left a fortune by his father as he seems to have accomplished little in his lifetime. He considered himself a poet and some of his poems remain. As I said, he was lucky to inherit a fortune. He owned the house for 60 years.

Dr. Webster was the next owner. He was the town doctor but unfortunately was killed in WWI rescuing a young boy, as the story goes. The story is still told that he would regularly swim 1 mile across the Bagaduce River to see patients. He lived here the briefest period, less then 10 years.

When Dr. Webster died his assistance, Dr. Babcock, took over the house and Dr. Webster's medical practice. The house became the town hospital and when we moved here there were several people in town who told stories of "being in the hospital" on Main Street. Our dear friend Helene remembers having her tonsils removed and recovering in what is now one of our guest rooms. The Babcocks owned the house for 70 years. Eventually, Mrs. Babcock grew tired of patients underfoot and Dr. Babcock created the town hospital on Court Street which is still the Castine town clinic today. I served on the clinic board for 17 years which I like to think brought things full circle.

George and Katherine Marshall purchased the house from the Babcock estate living here for 17 years. George worked in the merchant marine industry and they lived all over the world. He came to Castine at the end of his career to work for the Maine Maritime Academy and then retired here. When they reached their 80's they found the stairs too difficult and built a one level house on the lot next door. They were terrific neighbors for many years. George passed away just 2 years ago well into his 90's!

We purchased the house from the Marshalls in 1994. We fell in love with the many beautiful details that had not been messed with (messed up?) by too many owners. We restored her back to original lines, modernized where it made sense, and kept features original where possible. It was definitely a labor of love.

So after 20 years we find we are ready to pass her on to new owners who we hope will cherish her as much as we have. Over the years it has been home to each of our 5 Labs - Duke, Tucker, Dyna, Dylan, and Dee Dee. So whoever the next owner may be, they'd better be prepared to find some dog hair along with the fine details.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Dyna was our speed demon. She loved going fast and loved having her face in the wind. She also had no fear although she put my heart in my throat on more than one occasion. Here in Maine we have a small Boston Whaler that we use to tootle in the harbor and go to some of the nearby islands. The Whaler always makes me think of Dyna.

This afternoon we took a break from our attic cleaning chores and took the kids on a ride in the Whaler after putting the latest batch of free items out on the lawn. Dylan and Dee Dee love being on the Whaler where they are close to the water and can get a terrific snoot-full of saltwater smells when we open her up. We still need to take Dee Dee over to Indian Bar to swim but that's probably better done on a weekday when there's fewer tourists on the beach.

Today was Dee Dee's second Whaler ride. She spotted her first harbor seal, buzzed a mooring ball, and barked at her first lobster buoy floating in the water. All in all a successful day. Add a walk back up the hill for a round of bully sticks and a good drink of water and the only thing left to do is take a nap.

...dreaming of their next ride in the Whaler, of course! Dyna would be proud!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Amazing Crate!

Dee Dee has slowly adjusted to life onshore here in Maine. To her life on land can be summed up with one word - More.

There's more rooms and more space in the rooms. There's more stairs and more places to go by stairs. There's more grass in her backyard. And there's way more room in her king-size bed. She only wishes there was more food in her dish twice a day...

One thing we didn't think about was her crate. Dee Dee still loves her crate and the one onboard takes up a significant portion of the salon. Unlike previous crew who simply tolerated the crate (and who could be trusted to behave outside the crate), Dee Dee may spend the rest of her life in one.

While the crate onboard sure seems mighty big, it pales in size compared to the one at the house. Dee Dee and Dylan both fit in the house crate and even like curling up together.

Sorry kids, this one is not going back to the boat. That would mean either throwing the sofa overboard or getting a bigger boat.

Well, who knows what'll happen when we all get back onboard. But in Dee Dee's world right now, more is more.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dylan & Dee Dee Homeless?

It's true. It's been a busy week. But now after living in Castine, Maine for almost 21 years, we've put our house on the market and are planning to live on the boat full-time.

We've started the process of getting rid of everything we've collected over 29 years of marriage. Some things were just put out on the yard with FREE signs and we've managed to sell a bunch of exercise equipment and office furniture on craigslist.

As for Dylan and Dee Dee, so far they only know that from time to time they're hustled out of the house to ride around town in the Jeep or sit on the town dock. Frankly, they think they could do a much better job of showing the house than some real estate agent (whatever that is...). Well, Dylan could anyway. They'll have more to say about the experience as things progress and we all transition to being fully onboard without any land base.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4th in Castine

If you cruise the US east coast and have never been to Castine's July 4th festivities then you are missing a unique piece of Americana. Last summer was the first time in over 20 years we missed July 4th here in Maine. So we were really looking forward to yesterday's celebration.

Dylan has enjoyed numerous Castine 4th's but for Dee Dee it was her first. The day always starts with the children's parade. Hundreds of children dressed in an array of costumes march at the town common. I worried how little Miss Dee Dee No would behave. How many hats would be stolen? How many children would be knocked over?  Would she ever stop barking?

So I told Jeff, "Take a picture for the blog right away so then I can take her back home."  I figured we had 10 minutes tops.

I don't know if the stars aligned or if there was just so much commotion she didn't know where to misbehave first. But Dee Dee was practically perfect.

We were so pleased it even made up for the fact the fireworks were canceled due to the effects of the hurricane. They've rescheduled them for next Friday and I'm left with the hope that maybe one day Dee Dee will be the good dog.

The aCappella crew hopes you had a happy 4th!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

One Well Behaved Dog???

One of the kids' most popular blog entries was from almost four years ago, One well-behaved dog is permitted..  That was when we were regular patrons of Red Roof Inns, one of the few motels that permitted dogs back then. Times have changed and it is becoming more common for pets to be allowed in the room, as long as they are, "well behaved."

In recent years we have switched to La Quinta which also allows pets in the rooms. We have found the quality to be more consistent and unlike Red Roof, who allows only one "well behaved dog," La Quinta allows two. That means the aCappella crew no longer has to be in stealth mode.

Last week, Dee Dee reached yet another of her firsts as a member of the aCappella crew. She spent her first night in a motel room. It also happened to be her first night in a king-size bed, something the whole crew enjoyed. Dylan was happy to be her mentor and both kids loved the La Quinta Bright Side Breakfast. Their dad made them fresh waffles!

So how did Miss Dee Dee do? Well, we didn't get thrown out and there wasn't any large unexpected charges added to the bill, so we are calling it a success. You really can't blame a girl for a few barks here and there when people are talking while walking down the hall. And as for keeping Mom and Dad awake by running around the room half the night, well, she didn't know they made rooms that big - and she just has to run in all that space.

We'll see what happens the next time we try to make a reservation. Do you think they have a banned dog list at La Quinta? At least we're not falling behind - we still have "one well behaved dog..."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

12 Year Warranty?

I'm not really sure but I think our boat must have come with a 12 year warranty... We passed that anniversary recently and one thing after another has been going. Before long we will have a whole new boat!

The most recent item to bite the dust was our ice maker. Yes, I know we could use the little trays or buy a bag but having ice at the ready for a cold drink on a hot day is really more than a luxury. I think it's pretty much a necessity.

Besides the crew loves ice. Dee Dee comes running from wherever she is at just the sound of tinkling ice. We've even had to break up a tussle when a cube dropped near both of them.

So we looked up the part number and put another order into Defender. It had to be delivered by freight but we struggled it onboard. Jeff had already removed the old one so it was a pretty simple job to just slide in the new one.

The kids were fascinated and helped through the whole process. Shortly after completing the installation we began to hear the lovely sound of ice hitting the bin. By evening it was an ice cube orgy. The kids were crunching them, we were making Dark n Stormie's. Life was good because when the crew is happy everyone is happy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stop Talkin' Trash

Anyone who has even casually followed our crew knows that Dylan is the good dog and Dee Dee is, well, the other dog. I think the facts are well documented right here in their blog.

But there are those out there (and you know who you are) who claim that Dylan wasn't always the handsome angel he is today. I'm telling you now - stop talkin' trash about my boy!

Dylan is, and always has been, my perfect guy. I do not remember him pulling on the leash or biting Dyna or chewing on anything that wasn't his or running through the house doing mad circles. And I don't even remember writing about "One well-behaved dog is permitted..."

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I've got your back big guy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Making Tracks

The whole crew on aCappella has been busy moving steadily north. Dylan has been showing Dee Dee some of his familiar haunts - Cumberland Island, Morningstar Marina Golden Isles, Charleston Harbor Marina, Barefoot Marina, Mile Hammock anchorage, Morehead City Yacht Basin, and River Dunes. They've also been exploring some new stops - Jekyll Harbor Marina, St Johns Yacht Harbor, and Osprey Marina.

The crew enjoys being underway. Dee Dee loves the pilothouse settee where she can cuddle up and sleep.

Or check out what's going on up ahead.

Dylan prefers to keep his dolphin vigil but does take a break now and then for a tussle with Dee Dee.

And the fun doesn't stop when we tie the lines or drop the hook. Sometimes it's an interesting dog from another boat.

At Barefoot Marina it was a row of jet skis that looked mighty threatening to Dee Dee. She kept them at bay by barking ferociously - every time she went outside for multiple days. Apparently it worked as they never got any closer.

Of course, some of the best stops involve dropping the anchor and just watching the sunset.

We have several more weeks of activity before the kids can settle into a routine back in Maine. Today while leaving Beaufort, NC they saw what will probably be their last bottlenose dolphins until next fall. They gave Dylan and Dee Dee quite a send off.

For now we're enjoying the waning weeks onboard and already thinking about plans for the fall. With this crew it will always be exciting and maybe even exotic as we're hoping to cruise to the Bahamas next year.