Island Time Kayaking

Casey’s view of the world

Kayaking in Olympia


Well for a couple of kayakers we have only kayaked together once. All of this changed though on Sunday when we took out our new, old kayak. Let me explain.

A week a go on CraigsList I found a Chesapeake Light Craft Double for a few hundred bucks. The wners delivered it from Port Townsend in exchange for a nights stay here (good deal!). It needed some touch up vanish on the top deck due to some poor storage. So I refinished it that week. Really it needs stripping down to bare wood and re-epoxying then revanishing. However that would defeat the purpose of purchasing a boat we could use right now!

So we put in at Swantown Marina and paddled around to Percival Landing. Surprisingly we came across a few seals, a few herrons, seaguls galore and the odd boat. It was a fun paddle. We shall explore the area more.

The downside was Sydney wouldnt sit in the storage hatch by herself. After falling in the water she went and sat with Casey in the rear. Not a huge deal but not what we had planned. Unless we work something else out next time she might stay at home.

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Giving Garden at Madison-Avanti


I love that I call Olympia home and that the sense of community is so strong amongst our friends and neighbors.  What has been accomplished in such a short amount of time is nothing less than amazing.  This project started as a small idea from the pricipal at Avanti High School.  A joint venture with Madison Elementary to have a garden.  Perhaps just a raised bed or two in the shared parking lot between the two schools.  A project that would get the kids from both schools working together.  There was interest and after a meeting of interested parties this idea evolved from a couple of raised beds in a parking lot to a magnificent working garden in what was once referred to as "The Madison Pond."  Parents, volunteers, students, and the community came together to make this project a reality.

This garden has already been a fantastic learning experience for the students, and they have already reaped the rewards in the form of salad and ownership.  Most of the students can tell you which plant they grew from a seed and then planted in the garden, what it is, and they are excited about it!  And it just isn't gardening they are learning, there have been reading lessons, math lessons, social studies (complete with a borscht and salsa garden) and it is all growing right outside the windows to the school from the tiny seed of an idea.

When we walk by the school during recess it is great to see that some of the kids actually spend their free time in the garden, walking the paths, checking for weeds, enjoying the space.  Community members and neighbors use it as a spot for picnics and to take care of it.  Food produced from the garden will go to families who need it and the Food Bank during the summer when kids are not in school.  It is truly amazing what has transpired from that tiny seed of an idea.

Just imagine what we could do as a community if we all put our little bit of effort into something.  A marshy portion of a field became a garden in a matter of a few months and a handful of work parties.  People who have no vested interest in either of the schools got involved.  We had adults and kids alike who were there for a baseball or soccer game during a work party pick up a shovel and pitch in, they wanted to be involved.  Amazing…simply amazing.

During this whole process a neighbor and photographer Steven Herppich came and took photos documenting the process and he was kind enough to put those photos into a very moving slide show.  It was shown at the garden dedication and it was very emotional for the adults but for the children as well.

And now you can see how far the garden has come, and the fabulous thing is, it is just going to continue to get better and amaze us all.

April 1998


Lets go back…back to 1998.  It is April and I have been waiting to hear from one of three dealerships I had deposits with that a Black New Beetle with Tan interior had come in and it was mine.  April 1st started with a message on my phone at work that I knew right away was an April Fool's prank from a co-worker saying that my car had come in. Robert you didn't fool me.  But Friday (4/3) of that week my phone did ring and Auburn VW told me that my car had come in!  Hooray!  I picked up my loan check and went down to the dealership to get my car.  I signed all my paperwork, took lots of pictures of me with my car, and then…bastards, the general manager came to tell me that I couldn't take MY car, the one I had just signed for and paid for because VW had a policy that they must keep one of the New Beetles in the showroom for potential customers to see.  I called bullshit.  Regardless they said I couldn't have it, and who do you argue with when the General Manager tells you you can't have the car you just paid for.

So back to work I went…and I called VW USA.  I was on a mission.  I talked to several people, had several people call me, I talked to some pretty high up people and complained about Auburn VW, and at one point contemplated calling the police.  They had in a way stolen my car!  MY CAR.  THE ONE I PAID FOR.  Well on Sunday (4/5) I got a phone call again from the General Manager saying that my car would be ready to be picked up on Monday morning, so sorry for the inconvenience, blah, blah, blah.  I couldn't pick it up on Sunday because they were going to make sure it got detailed, etc.

One thing most people know about me.  I go after what I want and I don't stop until I get it, and if I feel I have been wronged you will know about it.  I was not going to let them screw me over, I would get my car, and I did.  My new bug, the one that I told my dad long long ago that I would have, and when he said they didn't make them anymore my response was, "They will for me."  Yes even as a child I knew what I wanted.

Monday (4/6) came and on my lunch break I waltzed in and drove out in my first brand new car.  The GM again came and apologized profusely and said that he hoped it wouldn't keep me from bringing it to them for services, blah, blah, blah.  The smell of the smoke he was trying to blow was strong in that office.  Later the VP of VW USA called me (I still have a folder with notes in it with all the people I talked to and their names) to make sure I got my car and there were no further issues with the dealership.

I brought my car back to work and it was like a flood of people exiting the building to see it.  It was the 13th one in the state, and it looked sharp.  A daisy in the bud vase and the radio playing, the sun was shining and the reflection of the blue sky on the hood of the car.

Now I don't know what happened to the GM, but he is no longer at that dealership.  I was really pushing for them to lose the VW selling rights, but they didn't.   So for service I took my car with his personal plates DRM BUG to the one dealership that everyone I talked to said to take it to, Campbell Nelson VW in Edmonds.  FANTASTIC people there.  I called and told the receptionist, whose name I think was Jane, what happened when I purchased my car and she had Bob Campbell call me and they extended me the same deal they extended to customers who purchased cars from them, complimentary oil changes for life.  So even though I had to drive to Edmonds to do it, I did, until we moved to Olympia.  Then it just became a bit too far to justify.

I have driven that car everywhere, it has never let me down, I put 137,000 miles on it since that day in April 1998 when I picked it up from the dealership.  I've hauled beds, kayaks, people, animals, plywood, 2x4s, and even moved from my condo into the Inn using it .  Where does that bring us…2008.  Ten years later.  Lauren is born and her infant seat fits, but barely.  We decide to stick with the bug until Lauren outgrows her infant seat, which we were hoping was near her 1st birthday so we can put her in her next seat forward facing.  But then…a glitch, the recommendation changed from 1 year to AT LEAST two years rear facing.  So we had to abandon the bug for the Eurovan as the larger seat just didn't fit in the bug.  I still drove him occasionally but not nearly as much as I used to.  Then in 2009 cash for clunkers happened and we sold the Eurovan (instead of having her crushed) and bough Sandy our Prius, which the car seat fits in, and is an amazing car.  So for about a year there sat the car with its insurance suspended.

A few weeks ago I started our online garage sale selling off our unused items that needed a good home.  One of the first items was three working toilets (as of this date we still have one), that were from our guest rooms, we replaced them with dual flush toilets to conserve more water.  We had one guy that said he was interested in one and came out to look and ended up buying two.  Nathan, jokingly said, "Anything else I can sell you?  We have two cars here we are looking to sell."  And as luck would have it, he was looking for a car for his daughter, a Junior in HS.  Just a little car to get her to and from school and to soccer practice and hopefully a job this summer.  The bug was perfect.  He came back with his daughter and wife and looked over the car, we looked at the service records, and with no dickering on the price he emailed last week and said he wanted it.  So…Twelve years from the date that I picked up my car, April 6th, I will be driving it, and dropping it off at his new home.  Although the daughter might have to fight mom for him!  She made a comment to her husband that they could give their old Honda to the daughter and she could drive the Bug, it reminds her of the one she used to have in '76.

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