When Pete first called me to report his knee injury, I was not grasping the gravity. He’s not dramatic, has a high tolerance for pain, and generally downplays a situation – – partly to prevent me from worrying. This time, he sounded a bit more concerned, and since he was in Connecticut with his family, and I was in California with my family, his call was mostly to prepare me for what was to come. “I’m going to the hospital to get this knee checked out,” he said. “I’ll call you after I know something.”

Pete's "not-so-pretty" knees. His left kneecap is "not right."

Pete’s “not-so-pretty” knees. His left kneecap is “not right.”

I continued to get a phone, text, or photo play-by-play of his early activity in the Emergency Department of Hartford Hospital, but the call that included the ED physician is when my heart sank. The doctor believed his injury was a ruptured patellar tendon, the reason he couldn’t move his lower leg, for the significant effusion (swelling) around his left knee, and for his knee cap shifting to a new position (about 4 inches north of normal). 

I knew, before any mention of surgery, that this was a game-changer. Despite this being a Saturday night in the ER, Pete moved from evaluation to admission in record time, and he was put on the Sunday morning surgical schedule. Pete was released Sunday late afternoon. (I’m writing the hospital CEO to commend his efficient staff!)

Pete at Helen's planning for boat storage.

Pete at Helen’s planning for boat storage.

He was set up with a twin bed in Helen’s living room, complete with bedside (coffee) table, lots of pillows, and ongoing Tender Loving Care from the entire family. (This includes Gabby, the family mutt. They were all witness to his two most uncomfortable post-op days.) I arrived Wednesday morning after a sleepless Red-Eye flight. Pete looked pretty good as he greeted me on crutches, and then he sent me immediately to bed (to nap in Abigail’s room, the new graduate who was on a road trip).

Pete had already made most of the boat storage arrangements by phone, including hiring a captain to assist in relocating the boat from Burlington to Plattsburgh. I had cancelled a visit with friends, Maria and Michael, who were scheduled to visit us in Burlington on Wednesday and Thursday. Maria (my college roommate and long-distance BFF) offered to assist in our decommissioning. I know when to ask for help, and I sorely missed her, so I agreed.

Maria and Sue.

Maria and Sue.

We met our friends on the boat at Burlington Boathouse. I was identifying items that had to be off the boat for winter. (Anything that could freeze and burst, any food that would outdate or spoil, any clothing or gadgets that we needed to bring home). Our new Looper friends, Jean and Jerry Coleman (m/v “Makin’ Memories,” acquaintances from Liberty Landing Marina, NJ), were behind us on this journey but now were caught up and in Burlington. I reached out to them to help us purge our pantry. They were slipped next to Louise and Dick Heusinkveld (m/v “Nine Lives”), more Loopers who graciously accepted our offerings. Whatever was left over, was gifted to a local food pantry.

Maria, Mike and I met Captain Al the next morning to motor “Reverie” to her winter storage at Plattsburgh Boat Basin (after a pump-out and fuel fill at Shelburne Shipyard). Our uneventful journey to PBB ended with a little excitement: the skinny lift chamber… I was nearly breathless as the line handlers carefully guided our vessel into the lift and strapped her in… then up she came, without a scratch. 

Maria, Mike and I watched (from the Naked Turtle) over cocktails, as our “Reverie” was power washed, then positioned and blocked. We took the ferry back to Burlington. 

Saturday morning (6/30), Maria and Mike bid a sad farewell, and Pete and I returned to Plattsburgh for the closing details and final walk-through of “Reverie.” Whereas last winter we were able to winterize ourselves, this time we must trust PBB to carry out our wishes.

With time on our hands, we plan to explore more territory (perhaps Canada!) and report back.