A hip flask and I’m on my way

Water isn't a bad thing, in moderation.

Water isn’t a bad thing, in moderation.

It seems silly to complain about heavy rain in New York when the Maine coast is inundated. We got 3” of rain overnight, but that is nothing in comparison. Nobody here is bailing their mudroom out, as my friend Eileen was doing in Belfast yesterday.

My house-sitter checked in to tell me that my house is fine. It’s a relief knowing it’s being watched.

In New York City, the worst is ahead of us. I went to Alaska with only a small backpack and haven’t been home since mid-August. I had no foul-weather gear with me. The best I could rustle up was a lightweight nylon jacket that leaks. Yesterday afternoon I realized that if I’m painting in a torrential downpour this weekend, I need more clothes.

My next challenge is to stuff this in such a way as to avoid an excess-baggage charge.

My next challenge is to stuff this in such a way as to avoid an excess-baggage charge.

If you were born in New York (as I was), embossed on your birth certificate is the phrase, “noli sine pacto emere,” which translates roughly to “Never Pay Retail.”* It’s so deeply ingrained in the New Yorker’s psyche that violating it can give us the shakes for days.

What I needed was a farm or marine supply store. What I had were a few suburban huntin’, fishin’ and shootin’ stores and 2 hours to shop. At the second one, I plunked down $237 for a rain slicker, a pair of duck boots, and waterproof pants. I couldn’t even find a coupon on my phone. It hurt more than you can imagine.

Still, in for a penny, in for a pound. I’ve got my tickets. I’ve got protein bars and my water bottle. I have a palette knife in case Brad Marshall and I have to fight our way out of a flooded amusement park. I have wool socks. I have my painting pack, my frame and my hardware. I even have two boards to be stamped. After I wash my capris and my nightgown, I’ll have clothes.

These get put in their pillboxes as soon as I'm done writing here.

They get put in their pillboxes as soon as I’m done writing here.

The oddity about traveling to New York City from outlying areas is that it really doesn’t make much difference whether you drive, fly, or take the train: it always takes the same amount of time. (Likewise, it really doesn’t’ matter if you walk, take the subway or a cab when you get there.) You just choose the station that works best for you and work backwards. In this case, that’s Penn, so I’m taking the train.

The question I avoided is whether I should have bought a hip flask of brandy. I’m not really worried about freezing to death with Brad on Hen Island, but it seems like something they do in novels. What if Georgette Heyer knew something I don’t?

*And a big thank you to Dr. Amy Vail for her fascinating monograph on the subject.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit www.watch-me-paint.com/ for more information.