Friday, January 21, 2011

Life Resumed

So, Life has finally resumed on the sailboat...
....hereby known as THIN LINE.

I don't have time for a big, lengthy blog about how happy we are to be back on the boat and the perils of living on land...I honestly don't know how you all do it.

We'll save all that for another time.

But yesterday was a good day.

First they picked the boat up.

Then moved her just to the right of where we have sat high and dry for the last 5 months.

Then they placed her very gently in the water.

That's when I popped the cork on the bottle of cheap champagne and took a swig.

The motor fired right up...amazing after sitting for so long...and Jeff maneuvered backwards down the canal to the space on the dock we'll be calling home for just a bit longer.

Doesn't that boat look beautiful in the water?

Once parked, Jeff took a sip from the champagne bottle, gave a sip to the boat, and then a sip to Neptune.

And of course, the dog had a sip as well!

I know some of you must be curious about the name change. The boat was formerly named "Exposure" because the previous owner was a photographer. Jeff found the name to be apropos because he thought of the lifestyle, travel, and the new places and things as being "exposed" to new experiences and cultures.

But after all the blood, sweat, and money that got put into this overhaul it was time to make it our own.

We thought of naming the boat "Groove Billy" in honor of the late, great musician, Tim Krekel.

We also thought of "Derby City" to hail our hometown of Louisville, KY.

Another option, "Parking Lot," was an reference that only the two of us understand.

And after a day of cartoons, we considered "Tuff Puppy."

"Thin Line" won out for several reasons. The first is we really admire our friend Dave Johnson's song writing talents and the line "it's a thin line between here and gone" really rings true when you live on a boat. If you don't like it HERE anymore, it's time to move on and go anywhere but. We really miss Dave since he's left Boot Key Harbor but we wish him the best in his musical endeavors upstate.

The other reason "Thin Line" works is as a reference to Jeff's prior occupation in law enforcement, retiring from the Louisville Police Department in 2007...the police often being referred to as "the Thin Blue Line."

And finally, there is the hope that someday we will pick up our mooring lines and travel. Then we will be a "thin line" on a map as we wind our way to destinations unknown.

That's all I have time for today.
Check back and I am sure there will be a slideshow of the whole remodeling process.
But for now, the long awaited day when we would be floating again is here and I just wanted to share.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Birthday Fun

My birthday started a little early this year when the birthday celebrating started Monday morning.
Like any other Monday, I arrived at the marina to do the Net [VHF channel 68].
By the time I finished, 2 of my partners-in-crime for the day [Jen & Cindy] had already congregated in the parking lot with presents in hand...a tiara, a wand, flashy crown earrings, flashy crown bracelet, and a large bottle of champagne.

As you can see, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful day with the sun shining and temps in the upper 70's.

Once I donned the proper birthday bling, we were off to pick up our remaining cohort and designated driver [Karen].

Our only real plan was to have a good time and get out of town so we headed north.

First stop was The Island Grill, one of my all time favorite places in the Keys located about an hour away from Marathon in Islamorada by the Snake Creek bridge. We promptly ordered the tuna nachos which may quite possibly be the best thing to eat in the entire world: Fresh ahi grade tuna nestled on a bed of sesame seaweed salad over crisp wontons and topped with wasabi drizzle, sesame seeds, sweet soy, sriracha and scallions ...YUMMY. I wished I would have taken a picture of the plate as it arrived, but it's just too tasty not to immediately dig in and eat up. Instead, we took a picture of the group of law enforcement officers that had the misfortune to be seated next to us.

After filling our bellies, we loaded into the car and headed back south.
We had made a mental list on our way through of all the places we wanted to stop on the way back. Even though Islamorada is just a few islands away, it has remained mostly unexplored by me.

The first place that we came to that I-always-wanted-to-stop-at-but-haven't was Holiday Isle, a beautiful resort area on the ocean side. We found a place to sit and a nice, young man to take our picture and soaked up some sunshine.

Next stop was Bud n' Mary's Marina. Although mostly under reconstruction and not really a hang out and party kind of place, we made our way to the upper deck [At Our Own Risk] to take in the spectacular view and stuck our hands and heads in the giant shark...also At Our Own Risk.

Then it was back in the car until the next stop.

Anybody who has read my blog before should recall me mentioning Robbie's in prior entries.
It's one of our favorite places to have people stop either on the way from the airport or back to the mainland. With it's outdoor shops and $1 cold beers, it's a taste of the keys and a nice place to take a break.

Not to mention the interactive feeding of the tarpon.

18 years ago a tarpon showed up at the marina hurt and floundering. The local vet was called and that particular tarpon was the first known to ever receive medical care.

He survived and apparently spread the word that Robbie's was a good place to hang out and now you can see hundreds of them everyday...just waiting for you to feed them a snack.

For a small amount of money you can purchase a bucket of fish, head out on to the dock, and risk life and limb [<~~not really...but kind of] dangling dead pinfish in front of the large, gaping mouths of the prehistoric-esc tarpon.

And if it's your birthday, and you tell them, you get a free bucket.

And in my case, a strange foreign guy holding a net on the dock to keep the pelicans at bay asked me quite seriously if I was a queen.

I replied, "No, it's just my birthday," and he went and got me another free bucket of fish.

Must have been the tiara.

We wandered the premises a little bit longer, taking in the wares, snapping pictures, and trying to get the fishy smell off of our hands.

Then it was back in the car and off to our next destination...

...The Safari Lounge, otherwise known throughout the Keys as "the Dead Animal Bar" because of all the big game heads mounted on the walls and ceiling.

The lounge is located on the second floor with a glassed-in panoramic view of the ocean. They don't serve food and you can smoke inside and this is most certainly where our day started to spiral out of control. We already had drinks, so we ordered shots. Then we ordered more, stronger shots. Then another round of shots after that. We might have been a bit obnoxious, but I guarantee that 3 out of 4 of us were having a really good time.

Back in the car, I noticed our designated driver seemed a little disgruntled and I started looking in my car for a snack for her...thinking that should fix the problem.

Instead, I found my taser.

Now the batteries in my taser have been mostly dead for a very long time.
You click the button and nothing shock, no jolt, no 400,000 volt pick-me-up.
Except for when I laid it down in my lap...then it zapped me with some sort of residual charge left in the prongs. It didn't hurt, but it will get your attention.

I decided to see if it would do it again and not wanting to try it myself, I zapped the driver.
Bad idea.
An already grumpy, designated driver who really just needed a snack and a nap did not find the humor in being matter how slight.

Jen [the redhead], always a sport, lightened things up by bouncing up and down in the backseat saying "Do me! Do me!"

So I did.

And now to change the subject...

It's a little known fact, but beaches -especially nice ones, are not very prevalent in the Keys. The Keys are basically a string of rocks dangling off the end of Florida, dividing the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean.
So, when you come across a good one, it is compulsory that you stop and wiggle your toes in the sand.
Anne's Beach is a good one and so we made the stop.
We had seen kite-surfers there earlier in the day, but they were all gone by the time we made it back. So, we waded in the water, took a few more pics, and gave Karen a bit of time before getting back in the car with us.

Then it was back to Marathon.
Food was eminently important for at least one member of our party, so we headed to Burdine's.
After a quick stop at Porky's and then a drop-off at the Marina and I was ready to head home.

The actual day of my birthday was spent a little more sedately, but it was still good, none the less. It was a boatyard day since we still have work to be done. Jeff went on ahead of me to the yard giving me a little extra time to lounge about.

The day was warm and sunny, Jen came over, and cocktails were had. I opened presents and received Happy Birthday phone calls and Facebook messages.
By the end of the day, the first coat of varnish was on the wood and that was a great thing to see.

Dinner was at my favorite mexican restaurant and we called it an early evening.

So, until next year...
Happy Birthday to Me!

[And just remember, drinking and tasers just don't mix.]