Going Off

Yesterday I drove a friend to a medical appointment in Sandwich. Sandwich is on the Cape. Yes, indeed, gentle and ungentle readers: I went off-island.

Since the ferry reservation was for the 9:30, Trav and I left for our morning walk a little after 7. Usually I write till 8:30 or so, then we walk. Trav usually comes with me on one-day off-island jaunts, but it was 14 F (-10 C) out and he’d wind up spending a lot of time in a parked car. So with some trepidation I left him at home with his Kong Wobbler and two peanut butter bones (marrow bones slathered on the inside with peanut butter, then frozen). I’ll spare you the suspense: when I got home seven hours later, the apartment was intact and he was fine.

The Island Home (Steamship Authority photo)

The Island Home (Steamship Authority photo)

Not only was it cold, the wind was blowing like a banshee. Vineyard Sound was pretty rough, and to make it worse, we were on the Island Home. The Island Home looks like the control tower at the county airport slipped its mooring and went to sea. Imagine an elephant doing the butterfly in a shipping lane. As the ferry crashed into what seemed like every trough between the white-capped waves, seawater would fly up and splash the windows at the front of the snackbar area, which is where I and Hekate O’Dell (my laptop) were sitting. Some of the water froze to the glass before it could fall away.

We do like to joke that the Island Home is so top-heavy it could blow over in a gale, and I’m told that it has more weather cancellations than the other boats. Conditions yesterday morning might have been pretty close to its limits, but I must admit I enjoyed the ride. (When a jet I’m on wobbles or, gods forbid, hits an air pocket, I’m always sure we’re all about to die.)

On the other side, my friend and I had a very satisfying breakfast at Persy’s Place. Our very nice server assured me that he did not wear his cargo shorts outside. Persy’s is a very good breakfast or lunch stop if you’re traveling to/from. It’s at Inn on the Square, near where Route 28 splits and just across the road from what has to be the cheapest full-serve gas station in Falmouth.

Even the most expensive gas in Falmouth is 60–70 cents cheaper than the cheapest gas on Martha’s Vineyard, so before going off we let our tanks get as low as we dare so we can gas up on the other side. This strategy doesn’t save more than $7 or $8 on your average fill-up, but it makes us feel frugal and clever. With our savings we can buy a beer on the boatride home. This trip, I did the deed at the self-serve Hess station in Sandwich, just up Route 130 from the eye clinic.

Our return reservation was on the 3:45, but my friend was done in time for us to make the 2:30 on standby. With a bona fide medical letter, you can generally jump the standby queue, but in this case there was no need: the boat sailed barely two-thirds full, if that.

A trio of smoker's mitts

A trio of smoker’s mitts

En route to Woods Hole, we stopped at the Christmas Tree Shop in the Falmouth Plaza so I could buy some new smoker’s mitts. A former barnmate turned me on to these years ago. In sub-freezing temps, they’re the only things that both keep my hands warm and leave my fingers free to manipulate snaps, hooks, and dog treats. And they’re cheap! Only $7.99 a pair! Their only liability is that, being fleece, they aren’t waterproof, but I always take my gloves off to do water work anyway, no matter how cold it is.

Wonder of wonders, I found them PDQ and bought three of the last four pairs. Glovewise I should be set for the next five years at least.

The stuff at Christmas Tree Shop is so cheap that it has to be seconds or discontinued lots, either that or it’s made by underpaid labor in deplorable conditions. I studied the label in an attempt to ascertain where my suspiciously cheap gloves were made. It didn’t say. It did say that the label had been printed in Taiwan. It also included this interesting note:

glove label 2

The paragraph circled in red says: “A security device has been incorporated into this tag to help ensure it is a genuine Thinsulate™ Insulation hang tag. Reproduction of this tag is illegal and strictly prohibited by law.”

My eyes spied no security device. My fingers couldn’t feel it. What was it? I can only trust that it did its job of ensuring that my tag was a genuine Thinsulate™ Insulation hang tag. All three of them are now in the trash.

The day’s next success came after I got home. A little background: Morgana V, my venerable desktop computer, runs Windows XP. Microsoft is ending support for WinXP in early April; my tech-savvy friends tell me that without security and other updates any WinXP machine connected to the internet will probably soon run into trouble. Well, on one hand, this was no big deal. For the last three and a half years my primary computer has been Hekate the laptop, running Windows 7. Hekate, however, won’t play with my venerable HP LaserJet 1200 series printer. So replacing Morgana meant replacing the printer too. Visions of financial hemorrhage were dancing in my head, even before I learned that I’ve got some expensive dental work in my near future.

"New" HP 1320 in the foreground, old HP 1200 in back. Spatial arrangements remain to be worked out.

“New” HP 1320 in the foreground, old HP 1200 in back. Spatial arrangements remain to be worked out.

Then a couple days ago I was skimming the notifications for MV Stuff 4 Sale, the astonishing virtual yard sale that takes place on Facebook (it now has almost 4,200 members, by the way, up from 2,344 a year ago) and what should catch my eye but a used HP 1320 LaserJet printer. A little back-and-forth with the seller established that the HP 1320 connected to a USB port and played with Windows 7; in other words, it was a suitable companion for Hekate O’Dell and, I hope, my next computer. It also included a nearly new toner cartridge. The seller kindly brought the printer by after work and swapped it for my $50 bill.

I finished off the day by driving into town to see The Lion in Winter at the Vineyard Haven library. It was 12 F (-11 C).

Crossing Vineyard Sound, breakfast at Persy’s, three new pairs of gloves, a computer problem solved, and a good movie to top it off. It was an altogether satisfying day.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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1 Response to Going Off

  1. Helen Green says:

    Sounds like à perfect day!


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