16 Sep 2007

Books and boats

Posted by AC

I guess this really has been a bay area weekend. Yesterday, we went down to Berkeley partly just to wander, partly to pick up a kid-sized table and chairs for Sam that Carolyn arranged to buy through BPN but partly to go to Half Price Books. We were seeking the third book in the Song of Fire and Ice series — A Storm of Swords. I gave up on the series after the first book — too much soap opera, too little fantasy, but it engulfed Carolyn like a raging storm (of swords?). She managed to get the second one from the library, but the waiting list for the third was long, and she even had trouble getting it on paperback swap, so we headed to the bookstores of Berkeley.

We didn’t find it at Half Price Books, so we went on to Pegasus. We didn’t find it there, and retraced our steps to find The Other Change of Hobbit open which seemed like a bit of a rarity in our experience. We found a new copy there, and much relief was had in our household. In the process, I also got a book on my new obsession: sailing, and American Gods which I’d been wanting to read before Anansi Boys which I picked up for Carolyn on a whim for her birthday this year.

Today, we went back to the boat show that we went to last weekend — it was a 9-day show covering two weekends and the intervening week. On the way there, I was feeling kind of silly. I mean we’d done this last weekend. Surely there is something new or different we should be doing here. While driving along we considered skipping the show and going back to the zoo, but we decided that the boat show was what we had set out to do, so that’s what we’d do. I still had my admission bracelet from the previous weekend, Sam didn’t need one and Carolyn wanted to spend the time in the Barnes and Noble there looking through an annual publication on how to publish children’s books.

It turned out quite well. I was a little more relaxed on the repeat trip so was warmer in talking to salespeople which I did a couple of times. At least one of them recognized us from last weekend (even though we at best said “Hi” to people then.) It was interesting to hear about why a monohull might be better for this area than a catamaran, and because Sam asked to, we went on a couple of powerboats, including one that was listed at 2.4 million dollars, but the “show special” had it marked down to “only” 1.8 million. There are lots of things that I could think to do with 2.4 million dollars, and as nice as that boat was, it isn’t one of them.

At the end, Sam and I ducked into one of the sideshow tents where the California Department of Boating and Waterways was. I wanted to pick up a pamphlet about what the requirements for boat registration were as even if I won’t be buying a $2.4MM pleasure cruiser, or even a Beneteau 49 any time soon, I continue to troll craigslist looking for small (16′-or so) catamarans.

Unlike last weekend, the DBW table was well occupied. They asked if I owned a boat, and I told them I was considering buying one, but I didn’t now (I don’t think my windsurfer counts), but that was enough and they handed me a bag of pamphlets and goodies. Then one of them whispered something to another, there was some agreeing and more whispering and then they asked how much Sam weighed. I said between 20 and 25 pounds and they asked if she wanted a lifejacket. I said, you bet! Apparently, they’d had a give-away earlier but not all of the toddler-size life vests were taken. We went over to where they had them in order to get Sam to try it on. She was far too shy and wouldn’t even let me put it on her there. I asked if they had one I could borrow to at least model the behavior for her, as she’ll often want to do whatever daddy’s doing. They did, and I put it on, and we tried again with Sam. Still no joy. I asked if she could have it anyway, and they said “Yes.” I was delighted. Then they said, “and if that life jacket fits you, you can have it too.” I was still wearing the proverbial “shit eating grin” almost an hour later.

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