Made it back from Biltmore in one piece, although in a bit of meteorological spite, the only day it didn't rain was the day we were leaving. Which is all right - we were there mostly to traipse around the inside of the great big house, after all. It was fairly entertaining to see the place all decorated for Christmas. You know you've got a serious house when you've got a four story live Christmas tree INSIDE, in your dining room. Ornaments bigger than basketballs. Must be a serious undertaking, decorating a tree like that.
Than made it back here, and this weekend got sucked into my co-clerks grand plan to enter the New Bern Christmas Flotilla. One of my co-clerks, who somehow got the grand idea at the beginning of the year that he wanted to buy a sailboat and live on it for the year, got the even grander idea that he wanted to decorate it and enter it into the flotilla. The flotilla is an annual tradition, apparently ranging from multi-million dollar yachts to fishing boats to dinghies - basically anything that (a) floats and (b) you can hang Christmas tree lights from. My co-clerks being creative sorts, they came up with the ambitious plan of decorating the boat with a staging of the Nutcracker, with a stage, a giant inflatable Nutcracker, lights up the lines and the mast in the shape of a Christmas tree, crew members dressed up as the Rat King and the Nutcracker, and an oversized stereo blasting out the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.
The stage didn't work out, one of the crew members had to back out to take her mother to the hospital (mom's fine now), and the stereo died just as we were approaching the judges' station (the flotilla is also a competition for the best decorated boat). Oops.
Still, a fun time was had by all. And although we didn't win, I didn't actually freeze to death (it's damn cold out there on the water), the boat didn't sink, and we didn't (as one entrant managed to do) run into the anchored houseboat out in the bay. All in all, a rousing success.