And Now Back From Two Weeks in the Dominican Republic…

26 November 2017

We’re up in Maine for Thanksgiving week plus… and I’m just back from yet another business trip and another country notched on my passport – two weeks in the Dominican Republic assisting with site surveys for potential locations to install a communications system for the military.  I flew down on Sunday the 5th of November, and flew back on Saturday the 18th.  We used the Marriott Courtyard hotel in Santo Domingo as our base camp, and traveled to a number of military installations to survey their facilities with regards to connectivity, stable power, and backup capabilities.  We worked on Veteran’s day so that “holiday” time off got carried over and was applied to a different day while I was up here in Maine.  The exchange rate was about 50 DR pesos to one US dollar, and they use the familiar dollar sign ($) to label their prices too, so it was a bit disconcerting to see a cheeseburger priced at $650 on a menu (at 50 pesos per dollar, that cheeseburger was only 13 US dollars). Pictures of some of the non-military DR sites we saw are here.

Our Thanksgiving celebration this year was different than in past years.  Megan and Dan were celebrating with Dan’s family this year, and Audrey’s gastroparesis made her want to just forget all about Thanksgiving and eating, so with my very recent return from the 2-week trip we decided to escape north on Tuesday the 21st (I needed one day in the office to file my trip paperwork and catch up with other stuff) and stay through Tuesday the 28th.  Our Thanksgiving feast was celebrated with Lynn’s sister Jan and her wife Joyce at the Squire Tarbox Inn and Restaurant, a delightful 1760-era edifice on Westport Island in Wiscasset (no swimming required; there’s a nice bridge connecting it with the mainland). The gourmet chef has chops (Swiss-trained, chef at New York’s Four Seasons restaurant and Rockefeller Center, etc.).  We got on the wait-list, then got promoted to reservations! Pictures of the facilities (and a snap of the day’s menu) are here.

We also wanted to head north to consult with a designer we’ve engaged to give us some ideas on how to expand the Ballot Box for permanent residence.  Our planned retirement date is only about 14 months away, and our plan is to sell the house in Woburn and move permanently to mid-coast Maine.  But we’ve had the Ballot Box for 8+ years now, and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a little too small for us as our only home.  We both have too many toys to fit us and them into a 960 sq. ft. home.  We’re contemplating a few solutions.  One is to expand the Ballot Box (hence our conversations with the designer/architect).  We’re also weighing the option to buy a bigger house, so we’re also working with our real estate broker friend up here to begin looking at houses on the market as a possible replacement.  We’re keeping our options open.

So we’re two days from December and the holiday season is upon us.  Damariscotta had their Christmas kickoff yesterday with shops open and restaurants offering hot spiced cider and such, and Santa was enthroned in the theater in the center listening to all the children’s wish lists.  The festivities culminated with a very noisy parade with Mr. & Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn wagon followed by elves and reindeer, and blaring and screeching fire engines with dancing firemen on top. The cacophony was amazing! We scooted to the local Thai restaurant in town after Santa went by but before the full parade had passed, to beat the crowd and secure a table – it worked perfectly!!

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