February 27. 2007

Palm Coast Marina is becoming our “Hotel California”, You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.  We are finishing up mounting the solar panels.  We went to Jacksonville and sold our Expedition and we sold our jeep to Tim the wildlife officer, or “The Nature Guy” as the kids call him.   We are carless now which our daughter cannot understand.  “We don’t have a car anymore?  That is so stupid.” 

We almost hit a major trip canceller the other day.  In casual conversation in the West Marine store, Dan just happened to mention that he wanted to get a small back up inverter in case something happened to the one we had on the boat.  When we were trying to decide which one to get based on the wattage, I realized that it wouldn’t work for my hairdryer.  At this point in the trip he decides to inform me that I can’t use my hair dryer on our CURRENT inverter.  Since we’ve been on shore power and since I take a shower and dry my hair at the marina shower, the lack of my ability to use a blow dryer on our boat has never come up.  I know we’ve had this discussion before and I know I made it clear that I never intended to go two years without drying my hair and why are we having this conversation now in the West Marine after I have quit my job and sold my house and car? 

He replies, “I thought you knew.” No I didn’t know and I don’t intend to know that.  I am not a high maintenance person but I am simply not living two years of my life with wet hair.  No way.  I am not the air dry, hair dry person.  That is a whole nother persona.  It’s like when the vaccination records were lost for my daughter Tessa, the state of North Carolina was trying to make her get vaccinated again. When I said no, the option was given to me that I could ”refuse on the grounds of religious reasons.” I’m like, are you crazy?  I am not a religious protester!  I would have to take on a whole new persona.  I would have to stop shaving my legs and start wearing long skirts and Birkenstocks and probably NOT USE A HAIR DRYER!!! 

In light of the current consequences we spent the next hour scouring the city until we found an 800 watt hair dryer.  The trip was back on.

February 18, 2007

When we toured Cape Canaveral earlier this month, our tour guide mentioned the launch of Themis and how we could contact our senator to try and get VIP tickets.  We didn’t think we would be here that long, but as we got closer to the launch date and realized we were still going to be in Florida, we decided to give it a try.  I talked to Mark Pendleton at Senator Elizabeth Dole’s office. He wasn’t aware of any VIP tickets nor was he sure how to go about finding out, but he promised to check into it and let us know.  We figured that was the end of it, but he called me the next day with all the information. Mark called on the 13th and said we had the VIP tickets to the launch and also tickets to a cocktail reception where we could mingle with all the people who had built, designed, and were responsible for the launch. 

The night before the launch we feasted on jumbo shrimp, free drinks and appetizers while we mingled with the engineers and scientists from Berkeley. This was actually interesting. You could feel their excitement and nervousness as Themis was originally supposed to have launched in October 2006 but was cancelled due to workmanship problems. There was a lot riding on the launch the next day.

The launch itself was amazing.  They took us on a bus from the main center to the launch site.  It was windy and cold (of course), but they had a tent set up for us, free drinks and hamburgers and hotdogs for a dollar.  We endured the wind and cold for about and hour.  Then six minutes before launch it was called off due to high wind.  It was rescheduled for the next day.  The next day, we again drove to Cape Canaveral, got on the bus to the launch site, again had hamburgers and drinks, AGAIN it was cold but less windy.  This time we had a launch.  It was amazing.  As the rocket goes up, these 6 fuel tanks burned through their fuel and then dropped off where presumably they would land harmlessly in the ocean.   The very ocean we would be crossing to the Bahamas.  I am sure the odds of being on a sailboat and being hit by falling fuel tanks is miniscule, but still, they do land somewhere.   If you are ever in Florida and have a chance to see a launch it is well worth it.  And do call your senator for tickets.  We are very grateful Mark Pendleton for really helping us out.  It is something none of us will forget.

February 12, 2007

Another week of boat projects. This time it was repairing both heads (bathrooms) and the refrigerator. The cars are still full. We found a note on Dan’s car the other morning. It said “marina parking only.” There’s construction going on here and apparently when they saw all the stuff in our car they assumed it was a construction guy living out of his car. Nice. I guess we’re considered transient now.

It is starting to get frustrating and a little depressing. The kids are having fun though. Tristan has become an unofficial dockhand at the marina. Don, on the beautiful trawler Overindulgence, has taken Tristan under his wing and has been teaching him how to handle the lines and different sailing knots. Now every time Tristan sees a boat come into the marina he is on the dock ready to help. He has been earning some tips too. It’s great to see this sometimes shy boy really become outgoing and confident.

We are getting to know more of the people here too. Dottie and Ritchie on the boat Mercedes invited us to a cookout. They have a great dog Buddy which Tessa is crazy about. Aubrey, their daughter has a used bookstore in Flagler Beach. We were able to unload some of our over abundance of reading material to her for her store.

That will free up a few more inches!

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