July 15, 2014

Drinkin' With Bowlegged Women

Over the July 4th weekend we had a visitor aboard Dragonstar: Mary Beth!

Mary Beth (she doesn't mind if you call her "MB") freed herself from the magnetic pull of her home in NYC and quickly settled into our slow paced life on the water. In fact, her eagerness to share life on the water almost pulled her into it — the water. Literally.

Dragonstar is currently tied up on four posts next to a dock, and floats between 2-4 feet away from the dock depending on the current of the Caloosahatchee River water running beneath us. So we tug on a spring line tied mid-ship to close the gap over the water when stepping on and off the boat. You've got to time your step and the closing of the gap just right, and get both feet outside of the lifeline before taking a step. MB learned that lesson the hard way...

On day one of MB's visit, after tugging on the springline to close the gap and stepping one foot off the boat, MB lifted her second foot...but her second foot was inside the lifeline, so her heel got snagged. With one foot on the dock, and one foot stuck on the highline, Dragonstar started slowly floating back to its normal position...several feet away from the dock! Within seconds, MB had performed an elegant splits over the water before magically releasing her caught foot, grasping the boat with both hands, and assuming a plank pose inches above the water. Her hands were gripping our boat's rub rail and her toes were sliding on the dock! Good thing she's tall! Unfortunately we do not have a picture of the scene because it happened so fast and we're not completely awful friends. Somehow we all managed to get MB upright without any splashing. We are also happy to report that despite her near dunk, Mary Beth was laughing the entire time.

We do have a disturbing picture of Cody laughing about it later with chocolate pudding in his mouth.

Pennsatucky from Orange Is The New Black
Gemsi tried her best to express her enthusiasm for Mary Beth's visit with open arms.

about as excited as she gets unless food is involved
We spent July 4th on the beach soaking up sun and watching World Cup matches. A few sugary rum drinks, sake bombs, and festive stickers later we founds ourselves directly underneath a fantastic fireworks display right on the beach.

Friends at the marina celebrated the 80th birthday of one of their family members on that same weekend, and were kind enough to let us join in the celebrations.

something went wrong here...
MB tried to let Angela be the tall one,
and Angela thought they were posing like idiots

During MaryBeth's visit it was revealed that neither she or Angela had seen the movie JAWS. What's more American than Hollywood? Plus JAWS is set on July 4th weekend...it couldn't have been more serendipitous. So we watched JAWS aboard Dragonstar and thoroughly creeped ourselves out. Don't watch JAWS at night aboard a sailboat.

On our final full day of Mary Beth's visit we decided to walk through a protected wetland. So we jumped in the car and started heading that way when, as if to prove just how revolutionary we really are, we spontaneously decided to stop by a nearby gun range before visiting the wetland. Why not? None of us has significant shooting experience but we suddenly had the urge to shoot stuff. 'Merica!

Could these people look any goofier?
MB and Angela got suddenly nervous
before the first shot..."what are we doing here?!?"

We did eventually make it to the protected wetland, the local Six Mile Cypress Slough, and it was beautiful. During just a 2.5 hour visit we saw wild pigs, alligators, turtles, gar, frogs, loads of birds, and goofy mammals.

We finished the day with a trip to one of our favorite local dives for some all-you-can-eat broasted chicken.

On our final morning with MB, we released her from Dragonstar and conceded to take her back to the airport only upon the condition that we see each other again soon!

July 7, 2014

Summertime And The Livin' Is...

We may, or may not, have begun resorting to extreme acts to keep friends close.

More details about Mary Beth's tale of capture and revelry will no doubt come out soon. In the meantime, know that she is safe...

We're guessing that it may be Angela's newfound strength that has emboldened her to act so aggressively. You see, this self-proclaimed owner of "noodle arms" just returned from a trip to Indiana where she worked those limbs into powerful steel machines (um...sort of).

She met up with her Texas-based Mom Elaine to visit her Aunt Sharon and Grandma Esther. It was nearly impossible to find a moment when all of these ladies would sit still.

Elaine, Angela, Esther, Sharon & Peanut
Three generations of women spent the week bonding over manual labor as they cleaned out a barn that critters had recently infiltrated (arrr!), ran a hugely successful garage sale (with lots of heavy furniture!), and tended to a fabulous garden. Since most of the work involved dirt, critter mess, or other feisty allergens, everything was done with PPE. That's what professionals like Elaine call Personal Protective Equipment in the hands-on, get grubby, and sweat your face off biz. Angela was glad to be working alongside professionals!

Mom is ready for anything!
Angela's goggle and mask selfie

By Esther Towns (Grandma!)

Lazy days of mowing lawns
Beneath a furnace blast,
Languid tasks like pulling weeds
In gardens growing fast,

Swatting flies and other bugs
That fly in for a meal,
Scratching poison ivy welts
As itching's all I feel.

All convince me that the bard
Who called such torture "lazy"
And wrote of "easy" summer days
Was either rich — or crazy.

getting past a seldom-used and slightly rusted lock on the barn
was a surprising challenge
an idyllic place to stop and catch your breath
watch out for Poison Ivy!
garage sale peek

we put up a fence around the strawberries (left side in photo)
to keep out berry-lovin' rabbits

corn that Sharon hopes will
not be stolen by deer
squash that's almost ready to be eaten
the tiny start of a cucumber!
carrots are just beginning
to peek through the soil
the view into Grandma's back yard

While Angela was huffing and puffing in Indiana, Cody and Gemsi drank beer and watched the World Cup. So far they haven't missed a match!

June 18, 2014

Watch It Pour

Sometimes you've got to stop whatever you're doing to appreciate the awesome power of a rain storm. We particularly enjoy watching the rain fall around Dragonstar's (recently cleaned!) windows. So we thought you might also like to join us for a little nature admiration from a fuel dock on the Caloosahatchee River...

June 10, 2014

Gemsi Blows Bubbles

A feisty black cat chewing pink bubble gum like a prissy teenager?! How did this come to be?!

we're not graphic designers or pro photographers so this is the best
bubble gum rendering we could manage...deal with it

About a week ago, Gemsi ripped out one of her claws! We don't know how it happened but the vet and the internet both claim that it's common and usually happens during play or any kind of scratching motion, especially if the cat's claws are long. And Gemsi's certainly were.

We feel bad about it because if we'd been better about trimming her claws regularly, she might not have gotten it caught up so terribly. Much to Gemsi's dismay, we've promised her that we'll be more diligent in the future and that no amount of grumpy meowing on her part will keep us away from her paws. One bit of good news though is that Gemsi is loving a new scratcher that we just bought her, and that should help prevent future issues. This is the first scratcher among many we've tried that she's taken to! Of course, it's also the cheapest one. Love that little girl and her scrappy taste.

The vet said that the area around her paw should heal fine on its own as long as it doesn't become infected. She prescribed amoxicillin to be administered orally via syringe twice a day for fourteen days as a precaution. Normally we don't like using prescription drugs for just-in-case scenarios, but Gemsi's wound is on her left back paw, which gets daily plunges and kicks through the bacteria-laden litter box. That combined with the fact that Gemsi can't speak with us directly to tell us how she's doing, or let us get a good look at her paw without sounding off a very sad little whimper, led us to chose the drugged preventative route.

We thought that inserting a plastic syringe full of pink nasty stuff into Gemsi's mouth would be an invitation to cat scratch fever. Black bloody revolt aboard Dragonstar! However, our fear of violent cat mutiny was slightly diminished by an option provided by the pharmacist. For just three dollars the pharmacist would add a special flavor to the amoxicillin so that Gemsi would take it willingly. We thought she was joking when she offered a choice of beef, chicken, or tuna. Apparently this is common, with many other flavors such as apple, cherry, grape, etc. available for children. We chose tuna because it is apparently addictive for cats and that was the whole point.

Unfortunately, when we opened the bottle at home to force feed Gemsi, the unmistakable smell of bubble gum filled the boat. Childhood flashbacks of staying home from school, sick, and running from the Robitussin were triggered. So much for the tuna flavoring! Apparently the pharmacist slipped us bubble gum instead. Sucks to be the kid who gets the tuna flavored amoxicillin instead of bubble gum, yikes!

"really guys, again?"
the stink eye!
she really hammed it up for the camera!

She fought hard at first, but now she only pretends to fight. Our persistence has worn her down, and we laugh every time we open the bottle and think of our prissy little cat blowing pink bubble gum bubbles and listening to Katy Cyrus Spears, or whatever.