Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bye-Bye, DI!

Well, we woke up this morning and I said, "So. Do you want to go home today?"
And Mr. Moon said, "Let's talk about it after coffee," and after coffee we figured we might as well. I mean, there really can be too much relaxing if you want to know the truth.
We'd done all of the Dog Island things we needed to do. We'd eaten too much and had plenty to drink and played cards and laid around and taken naps and been sweet and lounged in the bay (for what THAT was worth) and it just seemed like a good idea to come on home.
I missed my cats and chicken and oh, okay, my grandkids too.

Jessie sent me this picture this morning.

August is standing up all on his own although he shows absolutely no signs of wanting to walk. I've never seen quite this sequence of development, but there you go. August is his own man. 

We've been talking about our place on the island and whether it's really wise to keep it now. We bought it almost eighteen years ago and let me tell you- the difference between being forty-five and being 63 is pretty huge when it comes to a place where you have to pack in all of your needed goods. We used to go there a lot and we've had some amazing times there but things change. Hell, I used to go out there by myself and have a wonderful time and I could tote my ice chest and all my stuff and not really worry about it but now it's not as easy for any of us. And I used to be able to handle having the whole family out there (and of course, the family was much smaller then, pre-grands) but now the idea of sharing the place with a whole passel of other folks is so overwhelming. It's not big. And somehow, there's just never been time for us and our partner to get it together and do all of the repairs and make all of the changes we thought we'd make. Fixing the shower in the second bathroom. Replacing the old shag carpeted plywood flooring with new, more beach-friendly flooring. Fixing the side-deck which is now rotting off and completely unsafe to walk on.
Oh, the men have done plenty of things. Completely redigging the septic system and fixing the roof. And replacing the water heater and the air conditioning and the washing machine and dryer (I think- did we do that?) and all of the things that one MUST have, even in the most primitive of glamping experiences. Screen replacement on the porch has been done so many times that I can't even count. Ceiling fans have been replaced or installed where there had been none before. 
But it is what it is and although the little house is comfortable in a shabby sort of way, it's never going to be easy and it's never going to be done. Not by us, I am coming to realize. The old couch and chairs which were there when we bought the house are ugly as sin and they are now on their second hippie Indian print bedspread incarnations and those now need replacing too as they are faded and ripping. I mean, there's a certain comfort in not worrying whether dirty and wet feet get on the furniture but there's also a certain sigh which I sigh when I walk in and see those ugly things. The bed in one of the bedrooms is almost completely unfit to sleep on and the one in the room we call ours has been rendered only slightly better by a memory foam topper. Still, after two nights on that bed, my old bones ache. And to replace these things would require bringing the new items over on either our boat or on the boat the island management keeps to haul things back and forth across the bay. Which is not free, of course. 

It's a completely unique situation- owning a house on Dog Island. The privilege of having a place in Florida (or anywhere, for that matter) you can go where nature is almost entirely preserved, where there is absolutely no commerce, no pavement, no hunting or condos or swimming pools or street lights or any of what interferes with our interaction with nature as it is except for a few dirt roads, some wooden walls, electricity, and a place to take your garbage, is not to be taken for granted. This is not your typical beach vacation. You aren't going to be able to order pizza or hit the beach bar for daiquiris or call the rental agency if your dishwasher doesn't work. 
No. You're going to make your own pizza if you want pizza (if your oven works!) and your own daiquiris (don't forget to bring the ice!) and I suppose some people have dishwashers but we certainly don't and as Mr. Moon said when he washed a peach off before eating it yesterday, "I'm not sure whether this is helping or hurting." You can certainly wash your body in the water and we've never gotten sick from washing our dishes with it but I use bottled water for cooking and drinking and brushing my teeth. It's like a third-world country but within a few unbridged miles of a first world country. 
But. Where else can you sit and watch the sunset and the mullet jump and the osprey hunt and find shards of pottery and see snakes and butterflies and dragonflies and and hike through piney woods and down Gulf beaches and bay beaches and catch fish and crab for your supper and go to sleep on temperate evenings with the windows open and the sound of the waves crashing on the Gulf to lull you to sleep? 

Well. I don't know. But I know that we're home and decisions like whether or not to keep the Dog Island property need to be made with the input of not only our partner but also of our children because if we do decide to keep the place, we're going to need their help and we're going to need to know that they want to be part of this thing. That having a place where they can bring their children to see and experience a piece of nature not available anywhere else is something they find worthy of the effort. 

I'm glad that we bought that house on the bay because I know that all of my kids cherish the memories of the times we've spent there, both as an entire family and on their own. 
But sometimes? 
Lord, I just wish we'd bought a place on St. George thirty years ago when a regular person could possibly afford a cement block shack on the beach which would now be worth gazillions simply for the land and we could be all civilized and shit and drive there in a car and yes, order pizza and hit the beach bar and if the dishwasher quit working, call a plumber. 

Anyway, we're home now and all is well and I've got some extremely sensible zipper cream peas and green beans with onions simmering on the stove and Maurice let me hug her when I got home although I know she hated every second of it and I've got laundry going and tonight I'll take a shower in water that doesn't stink and brush my teeth with water from the faucet and sleep on a most comfortable bed and tomorrow I am going to go hang out with that August Man Boy who is standing on two legs while his parents work on some raised bed gardening. I realize with all of my soul that I am beyond lucky to have the choices that I have to make. 
And I have to admit that I am rested and relaxed from my most recent trip out to Dog Island, Florida where right now the cicadas are cranking up and the sun has set and left the sky with every day-glo color there is and the light is magical, pink and orange, and the tide is going out and no one cares whether I am there or not, my presence nothing but a slight disturbance in the atmosphere. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. So many decisions on the horizon. Welcome home. That August is a darling.

    1. You know, I so thought that at the age I am now, there would be so many fewer decisions to make.
      What a fool I was. How incredibly blind to the reality of life.
      August is a goofy angel of love. That's what I think, anyway.

  2. Welcome home! It's time to let the kids do all the fixing up if they want you to keep the place. You've provided so much. It does sound like a lot of work. Little August is so cute and funny. I look forward to more pictures of him tomorrow!

    1. Yes. It's time to sit down with all the kids and discuss the island house.
      Ooh boy.

  3. To tell you the truth, Dog Island sounds both divine and nightmarish. I love your rambling posts about it, though.

  4. Well, it's not a decision that needs to be made now, I suppose -- and as you said, it's one that needs to be made in concert with others. I love the sound of Dog Island but I can see how managing the logistics would wear on a person.

    My grandparents bought a country place in West Virginia with a farmhouse and a bunch of land up the side of a mountain. My mother and uncle now own it jointly, but none of us really use it. I haven't been there since 1989! It's sort of the same problem -- way remote -- and it has no plumbing or modern conveniences. I often think we should just sell it and move on.

    1. No plumbing or modern conveniences? Oh hell. That's the sort of thing a good hippie would have loved. But...doesn't sound practical now.

  5. I get it. I do. my family bought a beach house when I was 12 or so on the bay side of the west end of Galveston Island back when it was still pretty primitive and our little housing edition was the last one and beyond it all the way to the pass was undisturbed nature. we also had to bring in all food and drinking water (because the tap water tasted bad and smelled bad though there was a little grocery, more like a glorified bait shop, about 5 miles down the road towards town. and all the furniture was old and no cared about sand on your feet. my advice is to keep it but turn it over to the kids or sell it to them. of course, as you say, they have to want to keep it and do the work but if they have great memories, I bet they won't want to let the place go.

    1. I'm sure they DON'T want to let the place go but I'm not sure how any of them could figure out the means of time and money to do what needs to be done. Oh well. It's paid for and doesn't need to be dealt with this moment. Just thoughts for the future. Did you have good times in that place when you were a kid?

    2. I did. weekends and summers. well some years I had more fun than others. some years I would rather have stayed home and hung out with my friends. but overall we loved that place. I quit going so much when I started doing the river guide thing and then my parents retired down there it was no longer a beach house with crappy furniture and no one caring about the sand. that took a lot of the fun out of it.

  6. Your thoughts on Dog Island sound extremely practical - especially given coming ecological changes and rising waters, etc. Will the house Apalachicola (that's not right, is it?) maybe negate the need for this one? Or will that not feel like so much of a holiday.

    My father had a similar situation (except cold and damp and windy rather than boiling hot) with his and his brother's cottage in the West of Ireland. His brother loved it more, and made it his, so when he died his daughters felt strongly that it was theirs, but didn't want it (it's five hours drive away and needed more care than they could afford) so my father gave in and let them sell. It's so sad, I adored the place, but we could never afford the time to go there. And it's ... cold, a lot of the time!

  7. Sometimes places are more of a delightful and magical fantasy than a reality. It's hard to know which is which. And to be honest- all fantasies require far more work than they receive in magic.


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