Monday, November 28, 2016

Two Days

We are now two days away from seeing our first Grand Daughter. Time sure did fly since we arrived in the cold north and this is a good thing.

I think I am handling the cold just fine.



Deb on the other hand is not too amused about snow and freezing rain falling on her head. One of the many reasons we left this area is the aches and pains you feel in your joints and your back during the long winter months of damp cold weather. This November brought us a record snow storm. Third largest November snow fall total. We are lucky that way. Deb is feeling this cold in her back and knees. I would be too but my grandson Mason is keeping me limber by running at me full speed and tackling me to the carpet. I have a few bruises and some muscles that have not been used in a while but I'm not so stiff.

Speaking of muscle failure, my daughter Nicole showed off her strength at a playground by climbing around on the swing set and bars. She said, "Let's see you do it Dad!" My brain said Don't Do It Slacker Boy, but I tried anyway. Ugh. My shoulder still hurts. My arms looked like raw chicken wings being de-boned while I hung helplessly from the rings.

I realize now that I need to do some things to maintain strength besides the usual stuff sailors do, like opening beer bottles and adjusting the sails. This will be tough to do when it is eighty five to ninety degrees and ninety percent humidity but it sure beats shrinking. I might have to go to a size small shirt if this keeps up. The smaller my body gets, the bigger my head looks so there is some incentive there to keep the muscle mass. Maybe I should buy those stretchy rubber band like workout things and get up on deck every morning for a workout. Maybe I should save my money and just do push ups and drink a protein shake. Maybe I should just drink tea and watch the sunrise and other people working out while I order small shirts off Amazon.


Aside from whining about the cold we are keeping busy. There is plenty of toddler care happening in between guitar practise and spending time with friends. We had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with Sharon and Bill who hosted for both families. It was nice of them to invite the wayward sailors. We even told a few stories and lied about the sailing life. Kidding. We always tell the truth about this life. The truth is funny. Like how we had to buy new backpacks in Trinidad because our old ones were ripped and the zippers were corroded in place from the salty life at sea. We then stuffed our new one's for the plane ride to the US only to have the zippers break and the straps come off before the trip. Quality.

I really hate to blow the image of us just holding hands walking the beaches under palm trees and a beautiful sunset every day but they need to know it's not just one long vacation. Or do they? The sailing magazines don't feel the need to show the "real" life out there. If they did then the anchorages would be less crowded.

Does anyone read a sailing/cruising magazine anymore?


We bought new Waterproof backpacks. They look pretty tough and there are no zippers to fail. Only problem is everything is in the same pouch. I also wonder how sweaty these things will be riding on my back all day. Sure beats getting electronics wet so I will put up with the sweaty back.



The Sun came out! We had a whole week of snow and then rain to melt it all. I miss the Sun.

Baby Girl soon come. Grandpa gets tired just thinking about it. These kids wear me out. To them I am some sort of punching/wrestling bag but I admit it is fun playing and messing with them. Mason has found out that gramps can be quite a wise guy. I only made him cry twice so far. Aiden found out gramps doesn't take any crap from a two year old and then he cried as well. When we leave they will get to see Grandpa cry.

Having fun up north.

Cheers!
PB


posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Back at latitude 43

Holy shit we're back!

Most of you (8 followers) know we are on an extended return to the US to welcome our latest Grandchild. Harper will be arriving soon and we are holed up in a cottage on the south shore of lake Ontario in Sodus Point NY. We can't wait to welcome the little cutey to the family. We also can't wait to get the hell out of here! Damn it's cold and yes I am a wuss. When Harper is old enough I will tell her, "I damn near froze my nuts off to be there for your arrival!" Then I will get yelled at for mentioning my nuts and tthey will wheel me back to my room.

Cold. It's cold. The overnight lows are now in the 30's and there is snow in the forecast for Monday. I have yet to buy thermal underwear but I think we may hit up Target soon because I have no winter jacket, just a fleece.

The drive up from Georgia was tiring. We stopped in Fredericksburg overnight and hit the road in the morning and drove right into DC rush hour traffic. Before we even made it to the DC morning disaster we were slowed by road work almost the whole way. WTF!!

To anyone who has ever lived in this area and had to drive to work every morning I commend you. You must have the patience of a Saint. Saint Loser McDumbAss. Have you people ever added up the time you spent in traffic every work day for 30 yrs? Don't do it. You'll cry.

Driving in the lower states was a breeze in comparison but there were plenty of yahoos trying to prove their truck was worth the $40k versus spending it on their kids braces by racing anything on the road.  The occasional drug runner from Miami trying to get to Baltimore or NYC before the club closes is always special to watch. I told my son-in-law once while we were driving south on I95 that this highway is full of the unknown, and strange shit can happen at any time. He wanted to know why that is and I mentioned the usual overturned trucks or fast cars rocketing off the road into the trees, boats falling off trailers or box springs flying out of truck beds. I need to update him on the latest attractions.

Yep. It's a black bear. In a pick up.

So we survived the roads traveled and managed to arrive at our micro cottage by the lake. Cozy. For most "normal" people this would be insanely small but for us it's kind of just right.

Our micro cottage.


I am actually having fun. I know it's cold and the snow (white death) has not fallen yet but damn it's kind of nice being in the crisp fall air with the smell of wood smoke and apples. I want to walk with my grandsons through the woods and then visit the cider mill for some cinnamon fry cakes and sweet apple cider. Maybe a caramel apple or some kettle corn will do. Eventually the freezing rain will fall and suck the life out of me but right now it's kind of nice. Baby girl will bring a nice ray of sunshine into our lives when the weather is the worst. Looking forward to that real soon.

I will be blogging more now that Facebook has become just a land of memes about politics and self help. Getting boring. Anyone else feel the same way? We do like family and friends updating us on their activities but the other crap I could really live without yet it Just. Won't. Stop.

Good talking to ya. I will let you know when it snows.

Cheers!
PJJB


The dude in the pick up with the bear was just as relaxed as can be so we assume it's a stuffed bear that he thinks is a unique add on. I would have added a Yogi Bear hat and tie.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, November 7, 2016

Questions

Since we have been stateside and visiting with friends and family we have been asked many questions regarding our trip to Trinidad and living on a sailboat. I like answering these questions because the folks asking tend to be either surprised by the answers or completely underwhelmed by my response. It's interesting to hear what people think our lives are like down there.

This week I will list some of the questions we received since our return and give the answer.

#1. What was the scariest part of the trip?

Running out of beer. No, not really. Horrible yes, but not scary.

For me it was the Derecho in Georgetown, Exumas. Hurricane force winds surprised the harbour, whipping us around for hours while we were anchored close to shore. Our boat was heeled over and swinging from side to side giving us one horrible night we thought would end with us washed up on shore. The engine was running and we tried to steer into the wind to reduce the pressure on the anchor. This kept me at the helm the whole time, braced and tense. Boats were dragging their anchor and getting closer to us in the rain swept night. The waves in the protected harbor had reached at least four feet at times and the interior of the boat was getting trashed with stuff flying everywhere. The radio was alive with people asking for help and warning others about their plight. Spotlights and flashlight beams were blinking all over the place as well as air horns and shouts. Many boats were in trouble. Many different languages were spoken in panic and sadness that evening.


Image result for derecho
derecho (pronounced similar to "deh-REY-cho" in English, or pronounced phonetically as " ") is a widespread, long-lived wind storm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines, or quasi-linear convective systems.

Deb and I were in the cockpit hanging on and begging our boat to handle the storm. We prayed our new Mantus anchor was as good as advertised and that our engine continued to run in this maelstrom. SV Kelly Nicole came through it all intact and secure. The Mantus anchor got a big kiss from the captain.

Our legs were like jelly and we were mentally exhausted after it all ended. We had a lot of cleaning up to do down below yet somehow that big pot of chili stayed on the stove top. Imagine if that had spilled? Our floor is already soaked with beer seawater and molasses so I guess chili would have added a nice touch. After checking all systems and the boats around us we began the cleanup. The chili was good even cold but the beer was excellent.

We got lucky that night. Others not so much. In my opinion this was the scariest part of the trip. In fact I told Debra that I think we just experienced the worst weather ever and it should be all good from here on out. We were scared but we were in control. Had we lost both the anchor and the engine it would have been a disaster as I am not sure we could have deployed the second anchor and got it to hold in time before we hit the shore.

We always play it safe but sometimes Mother Nature throws you a curve ball. We have had some other scary moments but the Derecho was probably number one.

More later.

Cheers!
PJ


St George's Grenada

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stateside

It's really hard to believe we've been stateside since August. Now that the seasons are changing we are well aware of how far we are from SV Kelly Nicole, our home. This is really going to be a long stay for us and one we will probably not repeat unless there is another Grand baby on the way. Three to four months in the States seems about the right length of time. It's pretty much all we can afford as the States are expensive relative to living in the islands.

Living out of an old hockey bag

The family has been missed terribly. We are really soaking up every moment we are here. I am pretty sure though that the thrill of having Mom and Dad living in the spare room has worn off considerably. The kids have been great and we really appreciate the savings opposed to living in a hotel or renting an apartment but seeing Dad every morning sipping tea and commenting about the world news has got to get to you after a while.

Our Grandsons are incredibly funny. Such personality in both of them. They really get me going and I tend to egg them on a bit which gets them in trouble from time to time. Grandpa also gets in trouble. The other evening Aiden grabbed my hand and said "C'mon Grandpa" and proceeded to lead me into the kitchen. My daughter asked what we were doing and I said Aiden wants to see the scissors. I got yelled at by both parents. My humor is lost on them sometimes.


Mason the comedian greeted Grandma
at the door with a snake surprise.

Aiden, master of facial expressions and
tester of patience. Both are happy kids.

Pretty soon we drive up to the north country for baby girl to arrive. We managed to snag a cottage rental for cheap while in NY. Problem is it's about a 45 minute drive to our daughters house which doesn't seem that long unless you add snow. Believe me, there will be no escaping driving in the snow or ice. This will suck but for now we are still soaking up warmth in Florida and Georgia

We ventured to Vero Beach the other day to visit the Doc. It appears that all is well. We both feel healthy and our blood work came back good. My BP has been spot on despite taking the meds every other day because I was running out. Makes you wonder why I take them at all, but after driving around Florida for the last week I think I might actually double up on the meds! These people crash into each other like bumper cars down here. Pretty scary stuff even if we hang out in the slow lane.

So we are in the waiting room for blood work. The place is crowded. No seats available. This elderly couple comes in, one with a walker and the other with a cane and neither one is moving very fast. They walk to the end of the waiting room looking for a seat. They pass by several guys in their 30's who see them but ignore them. I stood up and offered my seat to the woman and Debra offered hers to the man. Both thanked us and were all smiles to discover that someone actually cared. I glared at the twits who never offered and wondered why they are such assholes but they never looked up from their phones. I guess that answered my question.

The Doc told me something interesting when I mentioned that my left ear plugs up and refuses to drain after snorkeling. He said my left ear canal is smaller than my right. He said it's very narrow. Damn. I'm not symmetrical! This bothers me. I'm going to have to measure a few other parts of my body and see if the left is smaller than the right. Maybe that's why my left turns in hockey were always better than my right. What if the left side of my brain is smaller than the right side? Is that why I am bad at math? My right shoe is always tighter fitting. My eyesight is better in my right eye. I even think my left ass cheek is smaller than my right because my wallet always fit better on the left. WTF! I feel so unbalanced.

At the time of writing this I am watching the world series. Go Cubs! Funny thing about baseball is it's so boring that the announcers never shut the hell up for fear you might fall asleep and miss a pharmaceutical commercial.

While we are poking around the area we stopped to visit a few pals. Deb and Tim on Kintala (Retirement Project) are parked momentarily and it was great fun visiting with them. Deb made a fantastic dinner and we shared a few laughs and some stories. It was great seeing them again and enjoying their company.

A good reunion with Kintala

Long time friends Deb and Don also made a great dinner and entertained us on their Key West sport boat with friends Ron and Joyce who have a trawler nearby. Great fun being on the water again even at high speed. We all met each other while we sailed, raced and cruised lake Ontario. Izzy the wonder dog was also there! Good times except for the sunburn. You know, I live 10 degrees from the equator for months at a time and never get a sun burn. Two hours on a powerboat and I scorch my face. I look stupid.

Our new old car. We hate owning a car.
Renting for 5 months was $$$


Having our own transportation has been nice while here. Yesterday we traveled up to Beaufort to see our always smiling friend Annie. We had a nice lunch and chat. Thanks for the brewski's Annie!

Our time in Florida and Georgia is almost up and before long we hit the road for the north country. Getting excited about the baby girl and it will be a joyous time having everyone together for the holidays. The ice and snow will be no contest for the warmth in our hearts.

Cheers!
P
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, September 19, 2016

Morning Tea. Ocala Florida. USA


Morning Tea posts are a brain dump to the blog. Whatever pops into my head at the time I am writing this goes into this post. OK, not everything. You definitely do not want to read everything that pops into my head. I would need an anonymous blog for that. 

Well here we go...



There is something wrong with starting your morning seeing your Mother-in-law's 87 yr old boyfriend walk through the kitchen to the garage in his not so tighty whitey's. Boxers dude! He looks like he stole them from a Sumo wrestler.

We are in Central Floriduh visiting Mom. There is zero breeze here.

I have been going outside in the early morning hours to do my Internet thing and have a tea.

Sitting at the breakfast table covered in sweat after just cooking everyone eggs is not very appetizing to the consumers.

I figured out that all the sweating is coming from the BP pills I have been taking as half of it is a water pill. Damn.

Unfortunately I am probably already known as the little sprinkler so I will have to prove to my cruising pals that I am no longer sweating like a cold can of beer.

Our re-entry to the States was immediate and somewhat shocking as we landed at JFK and then had to go through security again to get to Rochester. Everyone is a potential threat and you are treated as such.

Nothing worse for a food service worker at JFK than a undecided, slow and easy going chill person trying to decide on a coffee flavor and size then just asking for a small regular cream no sugar.

I was overwhelmed with all the selections.

A Greek salad at a brew pub. Dreams do come true.

When you are at a Brew Pub in the south and you ask for soup and salad you might be asked for your man card. So you order a heavy stout and one of those T-shirts with the cloaked death skeleton holding a beer.

Being vegetarian is not very manly. Good thing I don't care what other people think.

Call me paranoid but I never go through the scanners at the airports. The metal detectors of course but the body scanners, no way.

When you "Opt out" at the airport they yell it all over the place, especially JFK. "We have an opt out here! Opt out! Got a friggin opt out over hear!" I then get patted down in front of everyone while my pants start slipping away because I have no belt. "Sir hold up your pants." You told me to keep my arms out and palms up. "You can use one hand to hold up your pants." Oops, there they go. "Sir I got one word for you. Boxers."

Poor William Shatner. He opted out and during the pat down his pants fell to his knees.  https://youtu.be/SoCZJUc1PHw

I still can't believe we have a friggin car. We think we got a good deal on a Acura sedan. We needed something with good resale for January. Hopefully this happens but I would not mind if we just kept it for next season when we return.

I retired from GM and this is our first import in quite a while. GM stole my retirement so I feel zero shame in buying this car. I never recommend them either. Bastards.

The price of cars is insane. Imagine mass transit in all our towns.

Imagine Congress doing something. Anything.

This is a lengthy return trip for us. Baby girl is coming in December so we will stick around for the holidays. Flying back and forth from Trinidad and living on the hard was not an option ($$).

Car rentals long term are very expensive.

Did you know that some car dealers rent vehicles for half what the cheapest rental company charges? We found out after we bought the car. Doh!

Our kids are awesome for letting us bunk at their homes for a while. I brought plenty of boxers.

Our friends are awesome as well for letting us stay at their homes. Hey guys are we staying at your homes? Guys? Hello?

We rented a cottage for the winter months we will be spending in Western NY. Our friends need to be spared. Was it the snoring or the tighty whiteys?

After reserving the cottage and putting down a non-refundable deposit I was asked if the place had heat. Uh, I don't know. They have a gas furnace for the living room and space heater for the bedrooms. I never really gave it any thought as I assumed anything in that part of the country had heat. Space heaters. Oye.

I wonder if I can still drive in snow.

Snow. Shoot me now.

I think we will take the Grandkids snow tubing.

I wonder if our insurance covers back injuries out of state.

Why is everyone here in the US in such a hurry?

No one here is really going anywhere.

In Trinidad it is customary after entering a place of business to greet everyone. Good Morning! In the US you look like a kook if you do this. I got a lot of side glances and no return greeting at a Dunkin Donuts.

As soon as we got to the US we caught a cold. Deb got it bad. Deb always refers to the power of positive thinking to stay so healthy. She then caught some other thing that I think the kids shared, viral bronchitis.

The power of negative thought and defeatism kept me safe from the viral part. I just had the sniffles though I told everyone I was going to die from viral whatever. Deb could not help smirking at the power of negative thinking and paranoia. Maybe it was an eye roll and not a smirk.

I am not a pancake person.

The coffee sucks in the US.

Breakfast is a small meal for me. Caffeine and citrus. Maybe a slice of leftover cold pizza.

Everyone is picking on my eating habits here in FL. "You eat like a bird!"

After sitting in McDonalds for an hour using the wifi and watching the people come and go I am going to continue eating like a bird.

Pawl Pawl Pawl.

Never wear shorts on a plane. Nobody wants to see those skinny legs.

I paused in writing this to take a shower and I had some good material while in there. I completely lost the thought after I got out.

A small waterproof voice recorder should be standard for all showers. Hell we could be off fossil fuels and might actually have flying cars by now if we all could record those shower ideas.

Everyone loves vegetarian meals until you tell them that's all you are cooking all week.

I actually ate some pork the other day. I cooked a tenderloin for our hosts and I noticed it wasn't gobbled up with smiles and requests for more so I tried it. I thought it was fantastic! I put a salt, pepper and brown sugar rub on it. Nicely caramelized on the outside and super tender inside. The pig did not die in vain.

No, I am not craving meat because I tasted a dead cooked pig.

If you refrigerate onions they will go easy on the eyes when you cut them.

We went to get our eyes examined and got new glasses in Grenada. My eyes improved! How about that! I dumped the bifocals and now have a cheap pair of reading glasses that I rarely use depending on the font size. I mostly drive without glasses now.

We went to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup in Trini. My teeth were in good shape and no bleeding gums. So they improved as well.

There is less sugar in foods outside the USA

I think overall the sailing/cruising lifestyle is pretty healthy for us.

We have yet to see a dermatologist so I will retract the last statement.

I drink more beers while on a boat. They just go together.

I am totally amazed at the number of grouchy Americans sailing around the Caribe.

Speaking of grouchy Americans why is everyone here so angry?

It appears that a lot of angry white males shown on TV speak in incomplete sentences and most have a Goatee or Van Dyke beard and a beer gut.

I'm thinking of shaving, cutting back on the brews and increasing my vocabulary.

Today I saw a phone hanging on a wall. Amazing.

The new iPhone is here! The new iPhone is here! Get a life.

I wonder if I sound old like a neighborhood get off my lawn type.

Did you see the kid who was 1st in line to get a new iPhone and then dropped it during an interview? Priceless.

I put on a safety orange shirt before going for a walk the other day.

I really miss biking. Nicole lets me use her bike she won at work. It's a coca cola beach bike. I rode it around her neighborhood a few times. I'm a rolling billboard for a sugary soft drink. "There goes the coke man!" could be misinterpreted.

The older you get the louder your TV.

"Toe ring? Who has a toe ring?" No, I said the PHONE IS RINGING!

You have a watermaker? So it makes drinking water from salt water? You have to run a generator? It takes hours? Huh. I like to just turn the faucet and water just comes out.

I read where a central floriduh fertilizer plant had a sinkhole open up under their waste storage tank and 250 million gals of animal waste just flooded the main aquifer for all of Florida.

I really am impressed with musicians that taught themselves to play without youtube.

Does anyone actually sit down and look at old photos very often?

Maybe the reason you watch the "news" so much when you get older is because you are trying to justify the fact that you do not leave the house. Scary out there you know. Terror!

My Mother-in-law is one tough woman.

The news is scary. Scary music. Scary scenes. Flashing emergency vehicles. People talking seriously. People crying. Men with guns. Shooters. Victims. "Honey are all the doors locked? I see a black man out there." That's Bob dear. He's our neighbor.s

I went out to get a coffee the other morning and everyone was white. It was a weird feeling.

In the Islands we see school kids in uniform laughing and joking as they walk home from school. The laughter of children is a nice sound that puts a smile on your face.

In the US we see a bright yellow bus open and a blur of a child running to the house and the slam of a door.

I am trying not to wake people up but the microwave is so damn friggin loud. Why does it have to alarm so much when the time expires? WTF!

Just sitting here thinking and I see on the wall by the door a rack where 6 sets of keys are hanging. On the boat there is one key for the engine. For some reason the keys stand out as the difference between our lives and others on land. Keys.

I need more tea. Be right back




Houses with air conditioning are kept dark. Dark houses have fake plants.

One of the best things about approaching an Island is the smell of the flowers.

I had to change two diapers so far. Very unpleasant.

So I hear anti-bacterial soap does nothing and is actually harmful. What a surprise.

Since our return I noticed people have a short attention span.

So you sailed all the way to South America! Awesome. Tell us about your trip! You have 20 seconds.

Is my voice boring to listen to? Do I sound like Ferris Bueller's teacher. Bueller?

People tell me I sound different over the phone. No. I sound taller.

I called into a meeting once and people didn't know it was me. The manager wanted to know who was speaking. They were shocked it was me. Your voice is deeper. "Well, I wore boxers today." Some people spit out their coffee.

Winter in Western NY is going to be a bad flashback.

Our Grandkids are funny. They are little comedians.

We really missed our family

We really miss our home

We can't afford to live here.

Home is on the boat at sea.


Cheers!
PJJB
posted from Bloggeroid