Whatever's Happened to Baby Jane?
I guess they didn't want to miss out on all the most popular viruses.

Kittery Point

We're in Maine at Sarah Smith and Fred Perry's Kittery Point House, a former fisherman's cottage built in 1836. It's about a quarter mile from the center of town, up hill. So we can't see the ocean, but we can smell it. (Geoff and Annie are at home in Pleasantville minding the house and pets.) It's foggy this morning and a little over 60 degrees. I can hear the fog horn in the distance. David's mother, who is 89, is with us. To my surprise, there is a high-speed Internet connection in the house. So here I am.

The weather's been great up here so far, but we're going to catch a piece of the band of rain moving across the northeast today, though I suspect it will be possible to go to the beach by late afternoon.

Monday morning, we drove up from Readercon. After lunch in Kittery Point, we took a boat ride in Portsmouth Harbor, around New Castle Island. It was a small boat, essentially a water taxi. I had with us the kids' life jackets we'd bought in the Florida Keys in March, so they were suitably attired. Elizabeth fell asleep almost instantly, lulled by the motion of the boat and the sound of the motor. Peter lasted about 20 minutes before dozing off. He spent most of those 20 minutes looking intensely over the side, hoping for glimpses of creatures.

Both Monday and Tuesday, in the late afternoon, we've gone to Seapoint Beach. On Monday, I took the kids for super-low tide (the moon was full) while David stayed at the house with his mother. Yesterday, David came with us. The beach has both sand and also rocky tide pools. Peter found crabs and snails, a small purple starfish, and a shrimp. But it seems to me that the tide pools ought to have more life than this. Perhaps their relative poverty is the longterm effect of having a huge naval shipyard nearby. Nonetheless, judging by the density of lobster buoys, lobsters seem to be plentiful.

Elizabeth loves the beach and gets very sandy. She fingerpaints in the wet sand and picks up all kinds of things to look at. I occasionally have to remove a rock or a live snail from her mouth, but usually saying "don't eat that" does the trick, though I must have said "don't eat that" about 200 times yesterday.

Yesterday, we drove around New Castle Island and down the New Hampshire coast to see Tom and Sue Beeler in Hampton Falls. They have rebuilt their house, which burned to the ground two years ago in a tragic fire. It has essentially the same floor plan, but is in a different orientation to make better use of the light. There is a parrot in their kitchen. They don't have nearly as many dogs as they used to (they have 5 or 6 now). They have 3 moneys, two spider monkeys and a capuchin. Peter and the capuchin, named Munchie, spent most of our visit entertaining each other. Peter loves their house. Last time, after we visited, when we got home Peter suggested that we needed monkeys in the trees in our back yard, too, and maybe a few parrots. The Beelers' idea of utopia and Peter's are very similar.

On the way to the Beelers, we went to the Seacoast Science Center, which has tanks with sea creatures in them and also a touch pond, very much Peter's kind of place. They have a shoreline with, I suspect, lots of tide pools. But it was foggy when we were there, so we couldn't see it from the main building.

When we are at the house, Peter spends a lot of time in the yard. There's a large garter snake that lives next to the front steps that Peter's spent a lot of time watching. There's an enormous friendly dog named Max who live next door, whom Peter gets along with famously. And a few black chickens who stroll through.

The fog is breaking up and the sun is coming out, though only for a little while. Judging from the weather radar, the rain will be here soon. So I should wake up Peter and let him play outside before the rain begins.