I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I decide to check my cell phone voice mail. I have only checked it one other time since getting down here, as everyone knows I am not using my phone. There is a message from Club Penguin. They want me to call them back. Crikey! I applied online for a job posting and asked them to contact me by email as I am out of the country. I guess they missed that part. It’s too early there to call yet. The woman said her hours are from 8:30 and its only 9:30 here. I have no idea how long ago the message was left. I used to be able to hit number five on my Telus phone while a message was playing to get the date and time it was left, but that doesn’t work on my Fido phone.

I head over to the Pet Resort at about 10:30. I am anxious as I wait until 11:30 my time and as soon as it rolls around I call using Skype on my computer. The lady is very pleasant and doesn’t seem to think I have neglected calling back in a timely manner, when I explain the situation. She goes ahead with a short phone interview of about 6 questions, which the answers of each were fully addressed in my cover letter so I just reiterate what I said there with a bit of added detail. I think it went well and she tells me that I will hear in about two weeks from the guy who will be doing the hiring. He is away on holiday right now. That’s great because it fits in perfectly with when I wanted to book a flight home.

I really don’t like looking for flights online. There are too many sites and variety in pricing. As well, this flight leaves at this time and makes this stop; that one leaves later but has a shorter layover. This one charges for bags, that one charges for your second bag only, and yet another doesn’t charge at all for checked luggage. It’s a nightmare for me. But this time I find a flight right off for $178 including taxes. That is about $100 less than the best price I have found over the past few days. It’s with Continental and I haven’t ever flown with them before, so checking their baggage rules I see they charge the same as AA for checked luggage; $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second. I go ahead and book the flight. So now I am leaving on Wednesday, June 17th at 6:45 in the morning. That gets me to Vancouver at 12:30 in the afternoon and a day after Ashleigh’s birthday. It will mean leaving Key West at 4:30 but Jake said he would drive me if it was a morning flight so that works out well. Otherwise I would have to pay another $70 for the shuttle from here. And Nancy tells me that she owes me $170 for working at the shop so that will nicely cover the cost of the ticket which she let me put on her credit card.

I later realize that I will have been away from Ashleigh on her birthday for the third year in a row now, June 16th. I feel bad and wish I'd have booked the Monday flight instead.

There is no work for me to do so once I have finished on the computer I take Nancy’s truck and head to the pool for the afternoon. It’s really hot out these days and the only way I can cool off is to either stay inside where there is air conditioning, but who wants to do that when the sun is shining, or go where there is water. I swim a bunch of laps and then read poolside. There is a group of about 15 college-age guys and one girl there and they aren’t rowdy or anything but they are a bit loud and their language is awful. I don’t understand why the youth today can’t seem to construct a single sentence without using the ‘f’ word. That should be a college course - Creative Speaking, Expand Your Vocabulary with Forgotten Adjectives.

The puppies were taken away on Friday by the local humane society for a checkup and shots and then off to their adoptive homes. So now there are no more puppies to take care of . Jake has suggested that I take his car back to the houseboat when he and Nancy go to the property at four in the afternoon, that way I am not sitting around in the heat and mosquitoes. I think it’s a good idea, that way they get some time alone without me around.

When I pull up to the houseboat, big shock… there are two guys underneath, painting the bottom. Nancy and Jake have been so fed up that nothing has been done for over a week. They will be thrilled when they get here and see this. I get to the back and see that the painters have tucked the ladder away that leads up to the deck. I go ask if it’s ok for me to climb aboard, as I can see they have removed some of the supports. They say it’s ok so I go back and pull the ladder out and climb up.

I have a couple of hours alone to read or whatever, then I start dinner. Tonight we are having fried rice and chicken so I chop the onion and celery in preparation. I cooked the rice earlier in the day so all that is left to do is put it all together. Nancy does that when she comes home and it tastes fantastic. I haven’t ever made fried rice that turned out that good. Later we watch a program about a guy who was lost on a ski mountain for 7 days. He was an Olympic hockey player and he ended up losing both feet to frostbite. It’s amazing he lived through the ordeal.

As I am heading to bed, Jake asks me if I like Mexican food. I say that I do and he informs me that he is taking me to Florida City tomorrow and we will go to this Mexican place he knows and have breakfast. He is going up there to stock up on his beer and wine, cheese and Ahi tuna. He wants to leave at seven in the morning.

I can’t use the toilets in the houseboat anymore except to pee in the middle of the night. They need pumping out, badly. But the guy who comes to do that can only do it from the water and we are high and dry. The boat was only supposed to be out of the water for two weeks so it wasn't meant to be an issue but it has been well over a month now. Fortunately, there is a big trailer on the site here that has been converted to bathrooms and showers. It’s a bit weird though as the only door is the one that separates the men’s side from the ladies and it doesn’t lock. Once in the ladies area, it is divided into two rooms, each with a toilet, sink and shower but the divider between the two areas is just a shower curtain. So there is no way to lock anyone out if you are sitting on the throne. I have this unfortunate case of not being able to …. well, you know… unless I am relaxed. I can in no way relax when I can’t lock myself in. So I am having a bit of a problem these days and it isn’t pleasant. Two more weeks of this and I will be headed for the hospital.

I get up at 6 and we set of at 7 after watching most of Obama’s speech in Egypt. It’s really warm outside already and I love it; so much better than at home where it’s always so cold in the morning, even in summer. Jake keeps up a running commentary on traffic, the new bridge, the roadwork after the bridge, and the new communities springing up everywhere. I am starving and so mention that I am getting hungry. “You aren’t even up yet normally.” is his reply. True enough but I usually eat something within an hour or so of rising, and it's been almost two hours. We start of at a Cuban/ Mexican grocery store where he buys his tuna. It’s only 7:45 or so when we are done, so he decides that we will go for breakfast before heading over to a Costco type of store who’s name I forget. We pull up to a little hole-in-the-wall place called “Rosita’s” and there are two US Marshall’s vehicles in the small parking lot; a car and a Subaru. I get out of the car and my glasses steam up. I laugh as I am used to them steaming up when I go inside, out of the cold. There are no Marshals to be seen inside the tiny restaurant and Jake comments that they are sitting in the back of the truck. We sit down at one of the small Formica topped tables and as we do the Marshals enter. They are both really overweight and strut past us with the overconfident air that is so stereotypical of a United States lawman. We order our food and when it comes, there is a lot of it. I can in no way eat this much food but make a valiant effort and manage to muscle down just over half of it. I waddle out of there in the stereotypical manner of someone who has eaten way too much. Jake had asked the owner if he could by some of their salsa and they have given him a huge container of it, about the size of a large McDonald's drink, for $1.50. What a steal! He loves to make scrambled eggs in the morning with salsa in, and heaped on, the eggs.

When we get to the warehouse store, I go off and find the book section. It is a disappointing one-third the size of Costco’s, even though the entire store is about the same size, so I am done in less than ten minutes. I wander about the clothing section and then remember that Ashleigh loves Orbitz gum and we can't get it in Canada, so go to find a box of the pink flavour for her. It doesn’t take much looking and once I have it in hand, I go find Jake. I can’t see him anywhere but I believe I have found his cart. It’s one of those flat ones and it has four cases of beer and 36 bottles of wine, and one container of Roquefort cheese piled on it. I toss my box of gum on top and then sit down on a nearby display of wicker furniture to wait for him. He appears in about ten minutes holding a bottle of glucosamine for Nancy and one of her dogs (they both suffer from joint pain) and laughs when he sees me waiting. “You knew this cart was mine, did you?” he asks. “Ummm, yeah,” I reply, “it’s the only one I could find that had only booze and cheese on it.” He thinks that’s hilarious. We go to the checkout to pay and he suddenly realizes he has forgotten cans of Lysol spray for Nancy’s shop. He hands me his club card and credit card and takes off. I feed the items through the checkout and the clerk rings them all through. I tell her that ‘he’ has gone off to get one item and shouldn’t be long. Five minutes later we are still waiting and the lineup is growing. I am embarrassed and not at all happy about it. I can’t pay for the items as I can’t sign for him so I am not sure why he gave me the credit card. The supervisor comes along to see what the problem is and she says ‘One more minute and then we cancel this transaction.” I say that is fine and apologize. About thirty seconds go by and they cancel it just as I see Jake coming. I say ‘there he is’ and they both roll their eyes. Jake comes up and puts the Lysol cans down on the conveyor belt and then asks if the bottle of glucosamine was included in the transaction. I say yes and he tells the woman to cancel it because he wants to pay for that separately with the Lysol. She picks it up and scans it through, to remove it, and he yells at her, “NO! NO! I want that separate.” “Yes, I am canceling it off the total.” she tells him. “Oh.” he says. She gives him the new total and he points to his credit card that I gave her and she has on the till, “Well you’ve got it there, don’t you.” he says abruptly. I have to walk away. I can’t handle how he chooses to talk to people. It’s embarrassing.

That sorted, we leave and head over to Home Depot for some glue or sealant or whatever it is and once we get that, we head back to Key Largo. But not before I take a picture of the the Home Depot logo on the store flanked by tall palm trees in the foreground. Don’t see THAT at home.

We stop in to drop off Nancy’s stuff for the shop and I stay there to check emails on her computer. She is swamped with work because a new groomer was supposed to start today but she called in to say her boyfriend was in a serious accident so she wouldn’t be coming in. I ask if she wants me to stay to man the office but she doesn’t so I take the truck and decide to kill some time. I don’t really want to go back to the houseboat while Jake is there so I stop in at a couple of the gift stores and a clothing store to do some serious browsing. I find a really nice pair of capris at the clothing store marked down to $14 and buy them. My hair is getting long and in this heat I have started to put it up so I stop at the dollar store and buy a card of clips to catch back the shorter pieces. By the time I get back to the houseboat Jake is just leaving. I go in and change into my bathing suit and cover-up, heat the leftover rice for lunch, and then head over to the Holiday Inn for another afternoon by the pool. I am getting very dark, probably the darkest I have ever been.

I am floating in the corner of the shallow end. No college kids in sight today. A woman about my age gets into the water and comments on how hot it is. I ask her where she is from and she says Chicago. I ask what sort of weather she left behind and she says that it wasn’t bad, low 70’s but that they haven’t had a spring. It’s been in the low 50’s up until this week there. We get to chatting and she tells me that she is a court reporter. She asks what I do and I tell her and she is very interested in what sort of shows I have worked on. I ask if she watches Lifetime and she says she does. I tell her that she has probably watched movies I have worked on then. Turns out she watched an episode of Blood Ties and was interested to know why it wasn’t picked up.

Eventually I get out and go sit in the sun so that I can dry off before I have to get in the truck and get back to Nancy’s. When I pack up to go, the lady is sitting at the Tiki bar with her husband and son, and so as I walk by I tell her it was nice to meet her and to enjoy the rest of her stay. She asks me what name she should be looking for in the credits and I tell her, and then I say goodbye and leave. It’s so fun meeting people out of the blue like that and sharing a bit of our lives with each other. I just love that sort of thing.

Again, I take Jake’s car back to the houseboat while he and Nancy go to the property together. I change and then sit out on the back deck overlooking the water and read for a bit but my mind can’t take anymore reading. I have read three books in three days. I need to do something else so I pull out my Sudoku and do that for a bit.

I am thinking about getting a small tattoo. THINKING about it.

I turn to the back of the Sudoku book and start doodling it out on the inside cover where it’s blank. I want a series of three small symbols, one for each of my kids. I can hardly believe I am thinking of this because I have always hated tattoos on women and made my girls promise me they wouldn’t get any (and so far they haven’t). I am actually thinking of getting a second one, just a line; 'BVI dreaming'. I have no idea how much these things cost but I saw a tattoo parlor here on the main drag just today so I will drop in tomorrow and ask. I saw a tattoo a FaceBook friend had done recently pictured on her page - just one line. It say's 'more than this' and I loved the script it was written in. That is when I got the idea for the BVI line. Then I got to thinking about how, if I was going to do this, I would want it to be about what is most important to me, which of course is my kids, and that is when I came up with the idea for the three symbols. If I come home with this done the kids will be shocked. I wonder how much it hurts. I am not really into voluntary pain.

The guys are here painting again and they are almost finished the first coat. We could be in the water by the weekend.

When Nancy and Jake arrive, I go in and start dinner; egg rolls, potato salad and Caesar salad. Jake has his tuna. Once dinner is over, Nancy and I are sitting there, watching some pet show thing on TV and Jake is outside. He comes in and says that it’s gorgeous out on the back deck; that there is a nice warm breeze and why are we sitting inside. He goes out the front glass door and slides it shut. I turn to Nancy and am about to ask her if she wants to take a glass of wine and sit out on the back deck with me. I get about two words out before Jake slides the door back open and says “All we hear is Tortola this, and Tortola that. I bet you didn’t sit inside with the air conditioning on in Tortola all the time did you.” I just look at him. I am trying to come up with a retort, without getting his back up, as to how - before he interrupted - I was asking Nancy if she wanted to go outside. Before I can say anything, she tells him to shut up and close the door. Amazingly, he does. I then turn to her and resume asking if she wants to go sit outside. She does and so I get up and pour two glasses of the wine Jake bought today and we go sit out back until the sun goes down. The moon is almost full tonight and the sky around it is filled with tiny, puffy clouds. The water reflects the light of the bright moon and there is a thunderstorm on the far horizon. It’s magical.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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