Thursday, 22 August 2002

This was going to be our first full day alone together, but also our last full day at the cottage. We woke up and had French toast with a Bananas Foster sauce. Oh, it was good. My wife is such a damn good cook.

The garbage guy arrived today. He actually comes into the screened-in back porch to get the garbage cans! Wow! When he came in, he said, 'Hey, you guys don't have very much! The others have been partying it up. This is nothing.' We explained that we had recycled everything. In fact, we came back to St. Louis with 8 bags of recycling. The entire back of the van was filled.

It was cool out, and overcast, so we just stayed in the cottage during the morning. I finished *Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary*, by Linux Torvalds and David Diamond, at about 11:55 am. It made me glad I'm using Linux (to write this, even) and that Linus was the man behind it.

When it cleared up, we went to the beach. We just sat and read. It was windy out and cool, and the beach was completely at high tide when we got there. Still, it's quite pleasant to sit and read next to the surf, with the salt air in your nose.

I started *In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex*, by Nathaniel Philbrick. My Mom bought me this book for my birthday in 2000, from, no less, and I purposely waited until I would be back at the Cape some day to read it. It's the true story of a disastrous whaling expedition in 1819. A large sperm whale stove in the side of the Essex while it was in the middle of the Pacific. Within 10 minutes, the men were in their whaleboats and the ship was unrecoverable. 90 days later, 5 men were rescued. In order to survive, they had killed and eaten their fellow shipmates. Pretty harrowing stuff. The book was great. Not only was the main narrative incredibly compelling, but the author also veered off into several fascinating related tangents, including the history of Nantucket, whaling, the role of women in the 19th century, famous naval disasters, cannibalism, and what happes when you starve to death. I couldn't put it down, and I in fact read the whole thing in one day, finishing at 1:22 am that night.

We got back to the cottage and, after eating some appetizers and cleaning ourselves up, we went to get dinner. We first went by Gina's By The Sea, but it was packed. Cars were literally lined up outside just to park. So off we went instead to Mattakeese Wharf, in Barnstable. It was drizzling lightly by the time we got there, so it was nice to get inside and enjoy a good meal. The food was quite good. We both had Haddock; I had the baked Haddock with pesto, and Denise had the stuffed Haddock. One thing we both noticed about dining on Cape Cod: except for Provincetown, people eat out early. We got seated at 8:15 pm, and by the time we left an hour or so later, the place was only 1/8 full. When we had first arrived, it was full. That's pretty weird coming from New York City, or even St. Louis.

We came back home, full and tired. After another quick game of Crazy Eights—best three out of five, and Denise kicked my ass in three straight—we went to bed. I ended up reading 'til 1:22 am, as I said above, but it was nice & cozy & warm in bed.

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