Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just Too Cute!!

I spent my Memorial Weekend in the Big City while I recuperated from my wisdom tooth surgery (as described in my previous post). I'm still amazed at how well everything went, heck I've suffered from PMS more that I did from this procedure!

But anyway my daughter, who lives in the Big City and is a vet tech, is 'fostering' a newborn kitten.

Some people brought it to the Vet's office where she works and apparently their dog found some newborn kittens and killed one. They found it's sibling nearby and fearing that the dog would kill it too, brought it to the Vet's and asked if they could help.

Before the little kitten knew what was happening it found itself in Vet Girl's apartment along with Gimpy, the torty cat, who almost lost it's leg and is also being 'fostered by Vet girl. By the way, Gimpy is not happy with this little interloper!

I don't even want to know what else has found its way to Vet Girl's apartment and I never will, as she won't let me past her front porch!

She brought the kitten over to Hans' last night and after it's bottle feeding Hans made the mistake of holding it for awhile. Luckily he had on an old T-shirt and I'm sure runny, kitten poop washes out easily. At least we told him that!

The new kitten has been named Chubbella because of her chubby belly but Hans thinks that Chiabella sounds nicer. All I know is - she is one loud kitten. When she isn't screaming her little lungs out, she's wobbling around on unsteady legs and bobbing her head in search of mommy. Mommy is a smelly, dirty, stuffed animal but Chiabella gets tight against it, and kneading her needle sharp nails, she finally falls asleep until the next feeding.

Vet Girl has 2 jobs and luckily both places of employment seem to very understanding, because Chiabella accompanies her everywhere as she needs to be fed every 4 hours.

With 'Mommy'.

Chiabella at 2 weeks of age.

I'm so glad to say that Chiabella already has a home waiting for her. One of Vet Girl's co-workers will be taking her.
Unfortunately no one seems to want Gimpy the torty, who comes complete with 3 good legs and an attitude.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wisdom? I ain't got none!


This past Saturday morning at the start of a beautiful Memorial Weekend (which happens about once in a blue moon, as I well remember some Memorial Day's that involved winter coats and mittens!), I underwent surgery for the removal of a wisdom tooth.

Now, I've known for over 3 years that this tooth should come out but my fear of anesthesia, and surgery in general kept me from having this procedure done. But I have a lot going on in my future and the fact that health insurance may become an issue was a huge deciding factor for me. So I guess it's only right that I got stuck spending my weekend recovering instead of sailing.

I had one wisdom tooth pulled about 20 years ago, and since it had erupted, the dentist was able to extract it 'in the chair'. All I remember is that it took way longer than it should have and required my dentist to leave the room several times in search of a bigger pair of pliers or other implements of torture. Finally after I was sure my jaw was going to break, the tooth let go with a crack and I spent the next 2 days on my couch, with a swollen face, and a lot of pain medication.

Don't worry, I still packed lunches and cooked meals. After all I wasn't dead.

So knowing that this tooth was impacted, needed to be forcibly removed from my jaw bone, and that my gums would be sliced open, told me that this would be a lot worse that my last experience.

But thanks to the 'happy pill' that I'd taken 90 minutes before my appointment (wisely prescribed by the surgeon who did NOT want to work on this nervous patient), I strolled into the office complete with a goofy grin and dragging Hans in my wake.

I suddenly found myself in the chair, a nitrous mask was strapped to my face, an IV was started, and then someone said, "You're all done, Laura."

I said, "No I'm not."

"Yes you are."

"How can I be done?"

"Because your tooth is out and you can go home in a few minutes."

And that was it.

Except for the fact that I had my usual 'tummy trouble ala anesthesia' and had to use a Wendy's parking lot instead of my trusty bucket (I was able to make it to a grassy spot!), I'm amazed at how well everything went. I took a pain pill before we left the parking lot and then 1 every 4 hours until the next morning. By the next day I was eating pizza and today (Monday) we went for a 2 hour bike ride.

My only regret?

That I didn't do this 3 years ago AND that I didn't let them yank the final wisdom tooth that remains!

Yes, I have one left but as I've said before, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box and I'll take my 'smarts' or 'wisdom' from wherever I can get it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No! No! Not more purse patterns!!Someone stop me!

Well, I bit the bullet! Ever since I saw Connie's version of Nicole Mallalieu's Snap purse, I've wanted it. But when I went to Nicole's web site I saw that she had another bag pattern that wasn't quite ready to be released, so I waited.
And waited.
And then it was ready! Hee-Haw!! I just ordered both of them.
Here they are: The beach bag, and The Snap purse.
I went ahead and ordered the kit for the Snap as it comes with everything you need. Then, since I could fit an extra frame into my order without upping my shipping, I did!
I just love making purses, and with Nicole's patterns and all of her hints on her web site, I can get huge mileage out of them.
And by the way Connie won the pattern review purse contest. I don't think that's news to anyone reading this post but I'll mention it anyway!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I couldn't make this stuff up!

The other night at the inn, I had a chance to work with Terri. She's around my age and I know I'm going to enjoy working with her. Years ago she was the bar manager and she eventually left, but now she's back as a waitress.

We were sharing some war stories and after I told her about a dropped wedding cake that I had the misfortune of being involved with, she asked me if I remembered when 'The Mrs.' (our name for the owner) had a dog.

This was before my time so she filled me in.

Apparently, The Mrs. had a dog named Brandy and Brandy knew her place. Brandy never went into the dining room, she regally greeted the guests, and when it stormed or she was nervous she would hide in the cloak room.

But then Brandy had to be put to sleep and The Mrs. was heartbroken. Off to the pound she went and darned if they didn't have a dog named Brandy who needed a home.

Unfortunately this Brandy was a bit common and this Brandy didn't know her place. She spent far too much time jamming her nose into crotches and was routinely chased from the dining room. The inn has 75 guest rooms and back in the day, they were left open for the public to view. That practice stopped a few years ago when the public started stealing quilts off of the beds. But back then, Brandy had her choice of rooms and was often caught napping on one of them at any given time.

One day Terri was working in the bar and since there was very little business she told the bartender she was working with that they should go check out the banquet room. There was to be a wedding reception later in the day and it's always fun to see how it's been decorated.

They were walking through the breezeway when Brandy came galumphing down the stairs from the banquet room. As always, she was in a playful mood so she wrestled around with the bartender before she grew bored and went in search of more fun.

They checked out the decorations and when they returned to the bar, the bartender asked Terri why he had whipped cream all over his pants. That's strange, they agreed, where could that have come from.

Right about then, Terri heard a commotion and stuck her head out of the bar only to see Betty, the banquet manager (who is about 4 feet 10 inches tall) literally running down the hall with a wedding cake in her arms, and her face an awful shade of gray.

"Oh my God!" Betty was hysterical. "Oh my God!" she said over and over.

She shot through the bar and into the kitchen, with Terri and the bartender right on her heels.

The cake was deposited on a table and Betty cried, "Look at this cake! Just look at it!"

Everyone stared down at what had at one time, been a wedding cake.

Now however, most of the entire bottom layer was gone, obviously eaten and slobbered on by a very hungry Brandy.

"What am I going to do?" wailed Betty. "They'll all be arriving soon and, oh my God, what am I going to do?"

Every one jumped into action. The inn does have a bakery, but of course there were no spare wedding cakes laying around so someone ran to the grocery store and came back with a bunch of small cakes. The chef whipped up some frosting but they ran into a snag when they realized that the wedding cake's frosting was a funky, off white color. Drops of coffee were added to the frosting until a passable shade was obtained.

The little cakes were crammed into the vacant space that Brandy had created, frosting was slathered over it all, and since the inn has cake decorating tools, a new border was piped on.

They were extremely lucky that it was a relatively plain cake and didn't have a basket weave or some other intricate design on it's surface.

Back to the banquet room the newly repaired cake went and the bride never knew anything had happened.

I kid you not!

When the staff cut and served the cake, they just bypassed the 'Brandy' section and threw it out later.

Sadly, Brandy's days as the inn dog were numbered.

But how I wish that dog was still there.

I have to work a wedding this afternoon and if anything goes wrong I can't use the excuse, "The dog ate it."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's all about technique

Hans and I are finally home from our sailing adventure, and it was indeed an adventure. I will post the finale as soon as I can get my thoughts gathered but until then I will leave you with this.

Even as a child I felt like an outsider looking in, especially when it came to female things. Some women are born with that inner knowledge like; how to look at that cute little boy in that certain way, starting the new school year with the latest hair style and not a hideous home perm, and exactly what the latest fashions are before anyone else.

I've come to the conclusion that it's all in the genes. What I've managed to inherit from my mother is not her brilliance or great artistic ability, but a little of her manic depression and her complete lack of fashion sense. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that I would be completely oblivious and out of the loop to the 'secret code' that other waitresses were privy to; that certain undergarments were to be worn under our uniforms.

Thanks to weekly trips to the beauty parlor for her wash and set, my mother (now in her 70's)maintains the same hair do she's had since high school. She has worn the same style of stretch pants ever since I can remember, and I can predict the exact outfit and costume jewelry she'll wear to the next social event/funeral that we attend.

So it's a wonder that I even know how to pluck my eyebrows let alone shave my legs.

This all came back to me in a rush one night at my waitressing job.

Bear in mind that I'd already been at the inn for about 4 years when I overheard Katherine telling one of the waitress trainees about the rules of the road.

Katherine was one of the only waitresses who kept me on edge and I was never sure of how to take her. Raven haired and sharp tongued, she reminded me of a young Joan Crawford. Katherine relished in liberally seasoning her conversations with the foulest language and crudest comments I've ever heard (including the dreaded C word, ladies!) and why wasn't I surprised to find out that her father was the deacon of their church?

Katherine loved and lived to shock and of course by reacting in horror to some of her diatribes I became her most unwitting victim. So she saved some of her choicest and grossest comments for me, and the fact that I was old enough to be her mother must have given her an odd thrill. It took almost a full season to harden myself to her antics but finally there came the day that I turned the tables on her.

To the new trainee, Katherine was explaining what was expected of the waitresses, including the no jewelry rule (wedding rings being the exception) and then she said something that made me stop short. Normally I avoided any kind of direct contact with Katherine in the same way I'd avoid a rabid dog but she'd said something that I just didn't understand.

First of all, while old women may shriek with delight over our uniforms, they are hideous! They are below the knee, pinafore dresses, complete with ruffled straps that cross over in the back. Completing this ensemble is a long sleeved white blouse that buttons to the neck with a pretty little ribbon that holds it all in place. The only redeeming feature is that during the hot months you can get a good cross ventilation from the skirt.

I don't even want to tell you what a brouhaha I created my first season there (the year I WAS NOT invited back) when I hemmed my skirt to about an inch above my knee!

Anyway, Katherine was in the middle of demonstrating the 'squat' which involves our dropping to one knee as to allow us to lift heavy trays off of the tray jack and on to our shoulder, when she said, "And you have to wear shorts under your dress."

She caught me off guard and like a dummy I said, "Why?"

This was all the ammunition she needed.

With black eyes fairly snapping she replied, "I said, you need to wear shorts under your uniform." And she hiked her skirt all the way to her waist (unnecessarily) thus exposing, spandex biking shorts.

I was dumbfounded

"But why?" I repeated.

"Well, duh! So that when you do the 'squat' people can't look up your dress and see your panties. What do you wear?" She challenged.

"Nothing." I stammered.

"Oh really?" She looked around the room to make sure she still had a captive audience and with a wicked smile demanded, "Well, if you don't wear shorts, how do you keep people from seeing your panties?"

And that's when I decided I'd just had it. This little snot had toyed with me all year. As a single mother of three, all I was trying to do was to make ends meet, and never would I have treated anyone the way she treated me.

So, with heart pounding, and before I turned on my heel to leave the room, I tilted my head, narrowed my eyes and asked, "What panties?"

And I know she almost wet hers.

From that day forward I had no more trouble with her.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Personally I don't like these kind of holidays. There are so many people who've lost a mother or perhaps have children who ignore them and this turns into such a depressing day for them. I think in the end it's just a big money making scheme.

And as a waitress it's a living nightmare. In my whole waitressing career, I've only worked one Mother's Day, and after that one day I vowed 'never again'. I have no idea why the place I work lets me take it off as normally it's required, and short of death (your own) no one gets out of it. Of course the fact that I'm currently sailing on the Delaware Bay (and have just been asked via radio to 'please move' by a huge Dole container ship), might have something to do with it.

To me Mother's Day is a day when; men would rather be golfing, the kids don't want to get dressed up, Mom is trying her best to keep everything together, and dear old grandma who's been ignored all year long has just donned her polyester Sunday suit , sticky pink lipstick, and best costume jewelry, and can't wait to make her waitress's life a living hell!

And she does a good job.

From refusing to order until the entire menu has been translated, dissected, and criticized-to insisting that what you brought to her is not at all what she ordered-to asking for 20 to-go containers for the very food she sneered at through the whole meal.

And when Grandma finally sees your hands shake, the tears threatening to spill over because she's been such a big stinker and now way too many of your other customers are getting lousy service, then and only then has the old bat had herself a wonderful Mother's Day.

And finally for the first time that day Grandma rewards everyone with a big lipstick smeared toothy smile.

Only Thank God, I won't be there to see it!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The time of our lives

The engine strainers were cleaned, the intake lines cleared (and they were totally jammed full of silt and mud), running light bulbs were replaced, and it was time to go.

Not quite yet.

Then the starboard engine wouldn't start. So Matt, the mechanic who seemed so young (I found out he's 21) stated very calmly that he'd check it out, found a loose wire down in the engine room, secured it, and we were in business!

Out of the harbor we went and immediately the boat started rolling and slamming and I couldn't help but wonder why it had to be this way. I ran around securing everything with towels and paperback books, and did a lot of fast rearranging, and just as I finished I realized that we were slowing down and I looked out a window. I could see docks and fuel pumps which puzzled me as I had been told that we didn't need to refuel. Gee, the fuel pumps looked familiar, the building across the docks was identical to the one we'd just left... Could it be? Were we, after about 20 minutes, back in the same marina?

Yes we were, and my heart sank. Obviously our boat must still be having issues and I couldn't bear the thought of going above and asking what was wrong.

But I did.

Frank and Scotty were securing the boat and Hans informed me that there were gale force winds blowing and we hadn't even been out of the harbor when were already being besieged with 28 knot winds. Hans said, "That's it! We're not going through this again, we're going back."

Even though we're not going to get home on schedule now, and I'll have to call work and tell them that I'll be arriving a day late, I'm glad he made that decision.

So we settled ourselves down for the night but not before some guy suffering from 'little big man syndrome', and for some reason reminded me of Pepe LePew, came by and huffed, "You'd better let the office know you're here, you're not staying for free you know!"

"Ok," Hans said.

"You better settle up!" Pepe LePew warned, he wasn't going to let up.

"Ok," Hans said again. "I was talking to John the mechanic, and he didn't say anything about paying for last night because we were here for repairs."

"John doesn't own this place," Pepe LePew yelled back as he got into his pickup and raced to the office to tattle on us.

I told Hans to get over to the office before the boat police came and kicked us out of the marina.

Hans did get it taken care of and we only had to pay for the second night which was a help as it costs 10.00 $20.00 a foot to dock.

We hooked back up to shore power which is nice as then you can use hair dryers and curling irons to your hearts content and then John the mechanic stopped by to see if we needed anything else.

After a major arm twisting he agreed to stay for a drink (or two) and admitted that Pepe LePew was an a**hole. About an hour and 2o stories later, "...and then there was the time I was going about 150 MPH on the highway..." he took his leave, but not before everyone tried to outshout and outdo the other in epic sagas.

So as we tried to settle down, listen to the Penguins, and the howling winds, the talk didn't die. And the more beer that was consumed (remember, we were docked and not going anywhere) the louder and more competitive the stories grew and then out of nowhere Scotty, who was visiting the head, scraped the door open in order to shout, "Hey Frank, who gives a F***!" and we all laughed so hard that I cried!

This is my life and these are the times that I'll always remember.

Stuck in New Jersey

Here we are Hans and Laura at the beginning of the trip, I wonder what we'll look like at the end.

Well, after being a ground last night for 9 hours and hoping that the incoming tide would wash us off our perch, a sea tow company radioed us and asked if we needed assistance. Grudgingly, Hans (who felt badly about getting us into the situation) accepted.

Actually it was a good thing we did. Our boat has a 2.5 to 3 foot draft and somehow we'd wandered into water that was never going to be much higher even in high tide. It appears that we washed in through low tide, kind of like water draining from a tub. Even with high tide, the winds would have been against us and just pushed us into shallower water.

It took the tow boat a long time to pull us out and we scraped bottom for a long time before he finally got us to a marina which is were we needed to go. Someone went and left the engines in neutral the whole time we were being towed and sucked all kinds of sand, and mud, and even small branches into the intake.

So $1000.00 later (Oh, Poseidon is having a blast with us!) we rehashed everything we'd done wrong and went to bed to await the deisel repair man in the morning. I shudder to think of what that's going to cost!

It's now morning and as I write this, there is a young man down below in the engine rooms trying to flush the lines out. They've already removed and cleaned the strainers, but this is slow going!

We also smashed a running light amongst other things and we're trying to replace those too.

Here's Hans sitting it out and waiting for high tide.

Here I am in the galley, whipping up yet one more gourmet meal.

Did you know that you can live on macaroni and cheese for a whole week?

Ok, I'm kidding. Actually we've had, spaghetti and meatballs, pork chops and cheesy potatoes, shrimp and sausage creole, toasted sandwiches, a hot Mexican dip with tortilla chips, french toast, eggs with bacon and sausage, and sloppy joes (We had these on our hideous 24 hour trip so I may not want them again for awhile). We still have ground meat for burgers and some strip steaks. We want to use our grill but it's been too windy so far.

We were supposed to eat ashore in NYC but since we skipped it, I was short a meal. So I cooked up macaroni, dumped a jar of salsa into it and grated some cheddar cheese over it. I added garlic and onion powder, and italian seasonings. I couldn't make macaroni and cheese because during our 'hell' night (as I call it) my half gallon of milk tipped over in the refrigerator and I lost all of it. Thank God the fridge comes with a built in drain, can you imagine what that could end up smelling like?

Here is a view from our bunk (I'm sitting in it to take this picture) and you can see the head at the end, with the shower curtain being the furthest away.

On the left is clothes storage and those handles flip down and let you lay your clothes inside. There are a total of 4 in that unit. Down further is a locker with hangers, It's very nice as the rod 'telescopes' out of the locker so you can hang your stuff up and then just shove it back in. Then next to that is a cupboard with shelves for even more supplies!

In our bunk is another hanging storage unit with a shelf, and at the foot of our bunk is a shelf for books or other personal objects! I could go on and on about this subject but I'll stop as I'm sure you're already getting the picture!

A mutiny?

It looks like Scotty and Frank are trying to make Hans walk the plank!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What was I thinking?

Last night was a marathon in madness.

We (Hans) made the decision to make a 24 hour sail. We were 10 miles out at sea and were able to use the sails for quite awhile. Unfortunately we've had to motor far too much. Then the winds kicked up and the whole place was jumping!

30 knot winds are just not for me. The boat slammed, rolled, and jerked for over 10 hours. This was all night long and made it impossible to sleep. We were going to spell each other with 2 hour watches but I was completely useless. Hans never left the helm and finally all 3 of the guys stayed in the cockpit and slept in about 30 minute intervals.

In the meantime everything was sliding around the cabins and galley with a nerve racking rhythm. We hadn't foreseen 30 knot winds and did not secure the interior as I'm sure other seasoned sailors would have.

I had tried to sleep in my bunk but as it's in the front of the boat the rocking was too insane so I tried to sit in the cockpit. We are fortunate to have a hose on deck but as luck would have it, it quit working when we needed it to hose down the big mess I left down the whole back of the boat. Hey! a person can only lean overboard so far with out falling in! Hans came in to use the head and the boat gave a mighty lurch, sending him face first into the salon bench. I was sure he'd been knocked out and he landed right by my feet. He was alright though and didn't even break his glasses.

Back down I went, but I stayed in the salon area and lying on the cushions with the mast light glaring in on me through the ceiling hatch and listening to all of the pots, pans, silverware, etc... sliding and slamming around for hours gave everything a surreal feeling. I dozed and puked until I had the dry heaves (sorry!) but I never slept.

Morning and the bay we were aiming for arrived and Scotty asked me, "Hey, Laura are you going to make eggs and sausage this morning?"

What do you think?

So the guys were up for over 24 hours with little to no sleep but that's ok, they have plenty of time to make up for it.


Because now we're aground in 2 and a half feet of water (there are some missing markers) and we have to wait for a few hours for high tide.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The important things!

I had this post ready on Sunday and it is now Tuesday. Sorry if it's out of sync but I'm out of sync (and stomach contents) for right now. It's been wild and crazy but no real huge issues thank God!

What a whirlwind trip! After work on Friday, I drove to the Big City where I met up with Hans, his hockey friend Frank, and his best friend Scotty, and off we went.

We drove straight to Annapolis and arrived around 11:00 PM , got up early Saturday morning and set off by train for Massachusetts, but not before we were stopped for speeding as we rushed for the train station. I have no idea why, but the officers (and there were 2 of them) let us off with a warning. They probably took one look at my panic stricken face, a vehicle crammed to within an inch of its life and figured that Hans has to put up with enough without the needed stress of a speeding ticket!

We finally arrived in South Dartmouth at around 6:00 PM when Hans announced that it would be wonderful if we could 'scream' out of the harbor by the next afternoon.

I promise, I did NOT laugh in his face.

I won't go into detail about the incredible amount of work that had to be done, needs to be done, and probably won't get done.

Suffice it to say, but the 'next afternoon' I was zipping around grocery stores and a cheap outlet store (I almost wet myself when I found it as I looooove those stores!) gathering supplies for a week long sail , and the guys were back at the boat, getting the sails in order, (and thank God they were in good shape) cleaning and scrubbing the cockpit etc... and needless to say there was no 'screaming' out of the harbor except for maybe me when I tried to phone the boat from the store and no one answered because ..."we were listening to the Penguin game, sorry!!!"

But, I think we'll be ok as a team because the first thing we did when we arrived was to get some very important supplies.

And this is only the half of it!

I kid you not!

We have priorities you know.


Just in case you're wondering?

A 5 gallon bucket works just as well as a 5 pound coffee can.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Still afloat

Our little foursome is in Massachusetts as I speak, and once again I have spotty internet coverage. Han's has tethered his phone to his computer and has pretty good internet access, but he didn't add the software to my computer! I only told him something like four times that I was bringing my computer and he swears that I told him I was leaving it at home!

Anyway this is Sunday night and we will set sail tomorrow morning on the first leg of our journey towards Annapolis.

We've been incredibly busy and I will post when I can, if I can. I'm really hoping that I can wrestle Hans' computer away from him (who cares about plot charting, and whatever it is he needs his computer for!). I would love (in between cleaning and scrubbing) to just sit and read my favorite blogs and I brought a couple of sewing magazines, and a book, and if we don't sink I'd like to read them too.
In the past I've mentioned that there were a few minor things that I didn't tell Hans about myself. Do you suppose it matters that as a child I was known as the car sickness queen and my family wouldn't get into a car with me unless I had a 5 pound coffee can safely secured between my knees?

Well, now he'll have a whole week to find out, won't he!?