It's about that time. And my "time to look good again" hair styling is done in Petaluma lately.
We sail there, a nice romp up San Pablo Bay followed by careful bumping along on and off the soft riverbed, a trip scheduled in time to arrive before the D Street bridgetender leaves for the day.
The D Street bridge is a drawbridge, raised for sailors and motoryacht skippers wishing the peace and convenience of the Turning Basin just west. On a good trip, arrival at the bridge is well before the late afternoon rush hour begins. Incoming flood tide moves the boat nicely up the river.
On a bad day, the deep keel of the boat glides deeply into the oozy, sticky, smooth mud of the river's bottom, too deeply in fact, something dreaded, and the boat runs aground. On a terrible day, this happens as the tide begins falling, the river is ebbing to sea. You probably can't imagine our 40' home, Georgia, lying slightly on her side, on the worst day, a day when Ben did not get all the way to Petaluma for another 8 hours.
(Long before we met, by the way. I have a photo, and guess it's time to figure out how to insert photos into the text!)
The Turning Basin is one short block from the main shopping street in town, the new movie house, and now my favorite hairdresser too. When we had a gym membership, we soaked in the outdoor jacuzzi overlooking our boat in the Basin.
I've been going to Petaluma by boat for years. Long, long ago, another life, another sailboat. A Frostbite Cruise over the President's Holiday weekend, we played poker in the cabin with all the children: Wendy, Kim, Pete and Nora when they ranged in age from 11 to 6. Corn nuts, M&Ms and cashews served as poker chips. A web of shore power cords enclosed the fleet, boats rafted together, side to side. Drunken sailors huddled nearby in one or another boat's cabin, sharing yarns woven stronger with salt water.
Petaluma by boat is so far away it's like cruising to another country. A good place for a mind "reset." Ben and I sailed to Petaluma for his birthday, and for club cruises on big weekends like Memorial Day and the town Butter and Egg Parade, and just because we wanted to go far away in under a few hours.
We found my new hair stylist on a cruise "just because."
We had a few days, and quickly sailed straight for our favorite beach, China Camp. It was not our favorite that night, a rolly anchorage with wind pushing the boat against tide. Our departure was so unplanned, we were surprised to find the stove propane tank empty when we wanted coffee in the morning. Petaluma was just up the bay, so anchors aweigh and up the river we went.
After chores came lounging, this time meandering through town, stopping here for pastry, there for chocolate. Ben noticed a nice frock in a store window, but I preferred grooming so we went off in search of a salon open on Monday. I also needed someone brave enough to eliminate my remaining chin-length hair. Two years of steady decline and multiple liver disease treatments didn't leave much, so I needed someone with some spirit. We stopped in two salons, and finally found cheery Maria at the Capelli salon, and she's seen me through the worst of the transplant wait and the changes along the way.
It's a good thing to have Petaluma to go to when I need a haircut. There's the wonder of going across the country to get there, the beauty of the river winding through peacefully with dense suburbs a few miles away, and inner salve of a good haircut shared with joy.