Travelogue Part 2

Here come spart 2. Since part 1 was written, Shmuppie got home. It’s good to see her again. I also drafted a fantasy football team that I hate.

Enjoy.

Or don’t.

Sunday August 20,

I was up early because I hadn’t slept all that well the night before. I was still coming down off the excitement of the trip, I was hammered, and I was in an odd bed in an even odder room.

Let’s talk about the house. Before the 2004 trip, like all first timers to St John, I was blown away by the dizzying selection of houses to rent. You have to choose a location on the island. You have to choose amenities. You have to choose size. Pool? Hot tub? And, most importantly, cost. Through my adventures on several message boards, I was guided to Pocket Money Villa. That’s where we stayed. It’s got what we think is a great location, has a big pool and has AC in the bedrooms. It looked good and the price was also nice so we took the plunge and stayed there. After the trip, it was decided that I could stop looking for places to stay, we’d found a little island hideaway.

The house sits on a hill just above the town of Cruz Bay. Cruz Bay is the main town on St John and serves as the main harbor for ferries and commercial vessels. It has most of the restaurants and stores. This is all crammed into a space about 3 blocks deep and maybe a 1/2 mile wide. From town, you go towards the Centerline road and veer off, straight up the face of a steep hill. You make a left near the top and the house sits just off that side street. Of course, when I say street, I am using the loosest of interpretations of the word. Sure, there are no trees in the way, but it’s unpaved and rather bumpy.

The house is shaped like a right angle. You walk in at the point. Straight ahead is the living room. There are 2 couches and a chair that sit in front of the new TV. There’s a portable stereo hooked and the living room area is wired up for surround sound (new since the last visit). The TV also gets satellite TV. This was a nice addition. Going forward of the living room is a bedroom. This is where MerlotMan and ChurchBomber stay. The room is simple enough; bed, dressers, closet and a door to the large full bathroom. All along the inside wall of the living room and bedroom are double French doors opening out to the pool deck. But, back to the entrance. To the left is the dining area/kitchen. There’s a big table and a sturdy enough kitchen. It’s a little old-school, but has everything you need. Walking past the fridge (and the ever-present blast of hot air that comes from its back) is the other bedroom. It’s a little larger than the other and has all the basics. Off of it (looking out on the driveway) is the other, smaller full bathroom. Like the other side of the house, the dining area and bedroom open to the deck. The deck fills in the middle of the angle formed by the house and is mostly taken up by a large pool. One side (the living room side) is under cover and in the shade, and the open side across from it has the lounge chairs and the sun. The pool is large for a villa (or so I think) and quite deep. In 2004, I unknowingly wandered off the bottom step and found myself in water over my head. I’ll add that I kept my beer high and dry the whole time. There’s a grill out there as well as the washer and dryer.

The depth of the pool is not a problem for me, JewelrySlut or ChurchBomber. For MerlotMan, it poses a whole other set of issues. When he was little, he was washed under while down the shore in NJ and has never really liked the water nor has he learned to swim. In 2004, I found a big inflatable tube in one of the closets, and thus the Legend of the Woobie was born. MerlotMan and his Woobie were never far apart for the last trip. That was fine and dandy at the house, but on our one snorkel adventure, he’d needed a life vest. He never felt happy about how it fit and didn’t really feel confident with it. Taking matters into her own hands, ChurchBomber bought him a PFD (personal Floatation Device) for the trip. It looked a bit bulky and excessive (think of what a water skier wears), but MerlotMan seemed happy in it. Watching him gear up to enter the pool was an amusing part of every day. In fact, since he’d never walked off the infamous pool steps, he walked off them later in the week. As he momentarily submerged, the 3 of us watched in a mixture of horror and wonder to see how he’d fared. All was well as MerlotMan bobbed back to the surface.

So, that’s the house. I didn’t sleep well because it’s totally open to the outside. There’s not a pane of glass on any of the windows. You close the shutters and hope to keep most of the hot air out when you turn on the AC. Of course, our AC unit and I have a past. In 2004, I could not get it to work until the middle of the 2nd day down there. We’d spent an utterly sweaty and sleepless night on the island last time. I was not prepared to do that again, so I was very attuned to the noises of the AC. So, all night, you hear the tree frogs, the bugs, the wildlife, the rattling AC unit, and anything else that would wake a lunatic like me up. Plus, there has been an increase of crime on STJ lately, and there have been some attacks on villas. Not that I was worried about it, but at the slightest noise from outside, I was wide awake. Like I said…long night.

I was up before 7:00 and got the coffee started. Trying not to wake up ChurchBomber and MerlotMan, I went about my business as quietly as possible. I still had some unpacking and settling in to do. But, what I really wanted to do was get out on the deck and look at the view. The house, as I mentioned, is up on a hill. You can’t see much of town, but you have a great view of the channel that sits between St John and Red Hook, St Thomas. All day, boats scurry back and forth. At night, the sun sets over St Thomas. It’s like staying in a postcard. As I soaked it all in, I was abruptly reminded that “progress” is coming to St John.

BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG

Oh…that must be SirenUSA, the ridiculously large and expensive condo project that’s going up 2 hills to the left.

BANG
BANG
BANG
BANG

Great. And this is Sunday.

St John has been a quiet little place, across the water from the busier St Thomas for years. It still is for the most part, thanks to the Rockefellers, but it’s getting popular. Kenny Chesny hangs out there and people with money are flocking there in his wake. Enormous houses can be seen dotting the hillsides of the North Shore. And since most of the island is a National Park (again, thanks to the Rockefellers), there’s not a lot of land to build on. Where the land exists, building occurs. Projects like SirenUSA are scaring people. Multi-million dollar condos are going up all over the place. They’ll bring cars, congestion and infrastructure problems to this little island. I just hoped the noise wouldn’t be that bad for us. I’d heard about it and was told the worst of it (the blasting) was done.

I went inside, grabbed some coffee and got started vacationing as only I can; I opened up a map. I do love me a map. JewelrySlut emerged a little after me, as did MerlotMan. We would not see ChurchBomber for a while. I started making up a shopping list. We needed to hit the supermarket. It was MerlotMan’s birthday and we had to get cracking on dinner. JewelrySlut had to make her famous potato salad and we needed to bake a cake. Are we insane? You betcha.

JewelrySlut and I took the Jeep into town to go to the store. We managed to avoid passing out in the Starfish Market when we saw the prices. When you have to bring EVERYTHING that you consume in on a boat, prices run high. Like over $3 for a head of lettuce. We bought supplies for the week, loaded them into the cooler (ever the Boy Scout am I) and went on a little drive. I was in an exploratory mood. We took the South Shore road up some insane hills and passed the Westin resort. At some point (the road may or may not have been ending) I hung a left up a series of lunatic hills. This is when we realized that the Jeep had 4 bald tires. I skidded out on more than a few of the hills, both in the up and down directions. Mind you, I’m driving an American car, on the wrong side of the road, and these are very steep hairpin turns. I also only had on my flip flops. Not a good idea. I had little control of the brake pedal. I finally made my way back to Centerline Road and we headed down towards town, and missed the turn for the house. Only I can get lost and miss turns on an island with 4 roads. We got back tot the house and JewelrySlut started drinking.

ChurchBomber was up by now and we settled into our routine of sunning for a while and then hobbling to the pool to cool off. The ants in my pants were, for the meantime, settled.

However, by 3:00, the ants were back. I gathered the crew for our first road trip. It was beach time. We gathered up towels and snorkel gear and headed out. Down to town, right on the North Shore Road and off to Trunk Bay. You all have seen Trunk Bay. If you’ve seen a picture of St John, in all likelihood, it was of Trunk Bay. It’s often named among the top 10 beaches in the world. It’s in the National Park and offers an underwater trail to snorkel along. It’s nice, but can be crowded. We learned that 3:30 was not a good time to be there. By our standards, it was teeming with people. There were maybe 40. But, in 2004, we’d once had the whole place to ourselves, so we were spoiled. We swam around a little bit and I snorkeled out to the trail. I tend to wander off while we’re away so I am instructed to keep a yellow bandanna on my head at all times. It served as protection for my balding head and is a big beacon that shouts out “NoGoodDaddy is still afloat”. I saw some fish and a fairly large stingray. Nothing too exciting. (Listen to me). The rest of the crew puttered around some other rocks and saw some fish.

After about an hour, we were ready to go back to town to JJ’s to start MerlotMan’s birthday fiesta. Settling in at our table, Caribs flowed and conch fritters were consumed. Our waitress form the night before was off so we had a very strange woman waiting on us. She was scary. But, the Yankees were in the process of taking their 4th in a row from the Sox so I cared very little. I made a quick rum run at one point because we’d already wiped out 1 1/2 bottles from the night before and we were thirsty. We enjoyed our Cruz Bay happy hour and headed up the hill again.

MerlotMan got to celebrate his birthday, St John style. Like I had done 2 years prior, I grilled up some massively juicy steaks. We had JewelrySlut’s potato salad and some grilled vegetables. And we drank. Then we had birthday cake. And then we drank some more. MerlotMan and I had a bottle of wine, and I think we also polished off most, if not all, of another bottle of flavored rum and made a major dent in the regular rum. Our booze consumption was way up on this trip. We felt we deserved it.

JewelrySlut and I have been on the run for over a year. Ever since we got back from St John in August of 2004, we’ve been in motion. We got home, decided to move, had her Mother’s Memorial Service in NJ, listed the house, dealt with that mess, packed, moved, had chaos, I started hitting the road, we flooded twice, I seriously hit the road, and now have to deal with my parents’ move here. It’s been a brisk 2 years. We needed a week away from it all and several rum drinks.

Last fall, MerlotMan’s mother passed away. At the same time, his Aunt (in her 90′s) was battling cancer. No sooner than his Mom passed that his father (just turned 90) started really losing it. His wife of almost 60 years was gone and he was lost. He’s got dementia or Alzheimer’s and MerlotMan has become nearly a full-time caretaker for him. He REALLY needed a week off of sun, water and rum.

We’d gotten through our first full day on the island, I’d snorkeled and driven around the rock, and we’d all started relaxing.

Travelogue Part 1

I’ll be breaking tradition for a few days as I write a long-winded travelogue from last week. It’s likely to be boring to all of you, but I want to get it all written down in one place. I’m treating it as an exercise in writing to see if I have the discipline to get it all down on paper and capture a lot of the things we saw and did in a coherent way. I hope it improves over the coming days.

Enjoy it if you must.

Saturday, August 19 2006:

We woke up early (4:00) because we didn’t know what to expect at RDU. This was either going to be very easy or a major pain in the ass. As unhappy as we were about being up early, it was tempered knowing that ChurchBomber and MerlotMan were already at the airport in Newark. Delta had done a fine job in rearranging our flights. They had a 6:00 flight to Atlanta. I knew I’d be hearing about this in a few hours. ChurchBomber is not big on being awake anytime before about 10:00 while on vacation and this was a major exception to the rule. We got to RDU and had 3 bags to check. The cooler, by far, was the heaviest bag. It weighed in at 47 lbs. I like to be a thorough packer.

We arrived at 5:00 for our 7:00 flight and were checked in and through security by 5:06. So much for the lines being long. I took JewelrySlut on the grand tour of Terminal A. She’d only been to the Southwest part and was delighted to see where I spend my weekend evenings. Really she wasn’t, but it was early and we were bored. Finally, time came to board. The plane, thankfully, was mostly empty. We moved our seats to an empty row and I started in with making lewd comments about what we could do once airborne and under a blanket. I was told, ever so politely, to go scratch. We got to ATL a little after 8:00 and made our way across the terminals in the little monorail. We got to the new gate and saw ChurchBomber and MerlotMan waiting for us. They’d gotten in a few minutes earlier. All was well. We were all in the same place and ready to head down island.

We placed a quick call to NJ, talked to Shmuppie and then boarded the next flight. Amazingly, it was also quite empty. We split up, boys in one row, girls in the other and took off on time for St Thomas.

Delta kept us wildly entertained by showing the dreadful movie, RV. Boy that was bad. But, it kept me from fidgeting. I studied up for my upcoming fantasy football drafts and before I knew it, we were on approach to St Thomas. I observed that we were awful high up in the air considering where the island and airport were located. Moments later, we nosedived towards the water. In a few minutes, we were bouncing along the runway and were on dry land. We’d made it. We were back in paradise.

We deplaned and walked across the tarmac. Spirit Airlines was already in and American and US Air were landing. The baggage area was going to be crowded. In St Thomas, all the bigger jets land roughly at the same time. They land them, refuel them, and send them out all within a 2 hour span. And, they currently have one working baggage carousel. It was time to start waiting and sweating. We grabbed some free rum punches from an angry lady who kept yelling “I want a tip” and entered chaos-land. I should have taken pictures of the baggage area because it’s a site to behold. Imagine if you will one very tired-looking baggage carousel and 5 planes worth of people standing next to it (a Continental flight had landed in the time that it took us to get there). The people are hot and have been up all day. Most of them do not understand that they are now living on Island Time and the bags will get there when they get there and not a moment before then. I hitched up the straps on my backpack and waited. And waited. It was about 1:20 at this point. The ladies dared a trip to the bathroom and MerlotMan and I split up.

Well, I think Delta pays off the baggage dudes the worst because our bags were the last ones to show up despite being plane #2 in landing order. Other people off the Delta flight were going bonkers over this. I mean, slip them some beer or a few $20′s Delta. Get a move on. I called over to St John and left a message for our greeter (and the owner of the house) Ruth Ellen.

Finally, all the bags were there. MerlotMan’s last bag took a while and I could see that he was getting nervous. It was not 2:15. I quickly mustered the group and told them to haul ass to the taxi stand. I had an idea. I figured that if we were lucky and I used my Stern Voice, I could get us over to Red Hook in time for the 3:00 ferry. This would put us on STJ by 3:30 instead of 4:00. This was a good thing.

St John, for all its wonder, is not a place you just happen to go to. You need to want to go to St John in order to get there. You have to fly to St Thomas, endure the baggage follies and then get on a boat. The ferries run from the main town on St Thomas, Charlotte Amalie (10 minutes from the airport) or from the other side of the island in Red Hook. Red Hook is a 45 minute taxi grand prix away from the airport. From a money standpoint, it’s about the same. Do you want a long cab ride and short ferry or the other way around? The choice is yours.

We detest the cab ride to Red Hook but I saw a chance to get there a little earlier and to start pumping rum into my veins earlier than expected. I corralled a cabbie and asked if he could get us there in time.

“Sure ting”.
“No, I insisted. Make sure you can do it or I want you to take me to town” (I used my Stern Voice again.

We loaded into the van with some other saps who had no idea why I was using Stern Voice and off we went. I hate the ride to Red Hook. It’s a mess. It takes forever and a day. And, unless the whole island looks like this, you go through some of the uglier parts of St Thomas. Finally, we pulled into Red Hook at 2:55. We paid out $58 (why $58? Beats the hell out of me) and got our ferry tickets. We deftly avoided the baggage Rastas. They want to put your bag on a cart, wheel it 7 feet and then charge you money. We learned the hard way last time. No thanks, we were carrying our bags this time. Tickets bought, we loaded the bags on the boat and got on board. We went upstairs and began soaking it all in. We could see St John across the sound and even the cloudy skies overhead could not dampen the mood (holy clich�, Batman).

The ride over was uneventful and we all spilled off the boat in Cruz Bay. Ruth Ellen was right there and we headed her way. We quickly enacted the plan. JewelrySlut was to go buy rum and ChurchBomber was to secure a seat at JJ’s Texas Coast. That would be our in-town base for the week. MerlotMan and I loaded the bags in to Ruth Ellen’s car and drove to St John Rent a Car. She left us there and went to the house. We got our little Jeep and followed. I took my first right turn like an American and found myself on the wrong side of the road. Oh right…time to get back into St John driving mode. Up the hill we went and we got to Peace O’Heaven, our home for the week. Ruth Ellen greeted us and we went to work unloading the bags. The cooler had sustained some damage but all the food was rock solid. While she talked about this and that, MerlotMan and I shuttled around the house, turning on the AC units in the bedrooms, unpacking, and itching to get down the hill and to JJ’s.

Ruth Ellen owns the house with her partner, Captain Magic. The Capt. Had suffered a major stroke a year ago and they’d been off island for most of the past year. He was improving but had decided that all he wanted was to be back on STJ. The hospital in the States was helping him, but he wanted to be back in the island. I can’t say I blamed him. But, we’d miss his corny magic shows that he had put on for us. Now, scurry along, Ruth Ellen. We need to get to town.

Down the hill we went and we found the ladies on round 2. They had also already devoured an order of conch fritters. They were making up for the past 2 years. MerlotMan and I joined in, and got our hands on the first Caribs of the week. Man, it was good to be back. We ate and drank and then summoned the strength to leave. A quick stop on the way up the hill for staples (like beer, more rum, juice and milk) and we were back to the house. I was in the pool within 1 minute of arriving at the house. I just floated there and took in the view. All the planning, all the craziness had been worth it. We were back on St John for a week. Let the good times roll.

From there, we, as a group, proceeded to drink too much. I kept up a steady stream of cheese, crackers and cold cuts to try to slow down the impending drunkenness but I fell behind. There’s not enough cheese on Earth. By 8:00, ChurchBomber turned in. MerlotMan followed her and JewelrySlut went to our room. I busied myself cleaning up and taking inventory of stuff in the house. It was funny to see the same damn appliances and utensils from the last visit. I washed up and collapsed in bed at 9:00.

We’d made it.

Somewhere up on a mountain top. Or down by the deep blue sea.

I’m back. Did you all miss me?

It was a great week; a little hotter than we’d have liked. I know…it’s the tropics, but there’s supposed to be a breeze. If I’d wanted to see that much haze, I would have gone to NJ for vacation.

I’ll have to write an epic write up, but here are the basics:

Saturday:
Flights to ATL went fine. Flight to STT was better, and only about half full. We all stretched out. Arrived and got on a 3:00 ferry from Red Hook (good news!!). Got the girls to the bar by 3:25. Got to the house and back to the bar by 4:00. First Carib in hand at 4:01. First conch fritter at 4:03. Drank too much rum that night.

Sunday:
Went shopping. Drove up a big hill. Wandered around town. Got my snorkel wet at Trunk Bay. More Caribs and fritters in town. Made big steaks for dinner. Drank too much wine and run

Monday:
Hung out at the house. Went to town again. Got the snorkel wet at Cinnamon Bay. More Caribs and fritters in town. Drank less.

Tuesday:
Big adventure day to Virgin Gorda and Norman Island. Got snorkel wet at both places. Drank a lot of rum punch. More Caribs and fritters in town. Got roaringly drunk and passed out at 7:30.

Wednesday
Woke up hangover-free! 13 hours of sleep will do that. Dragged JewelrySlut on a hike through the forest. Got lost twice. Swam at Solomon Bay. Dipped snorkel at Honeymoon Bay. More Caribs and fritters in town. Didn’t drink too much.

Thursday
It was unbearably hot. Ladies had their massages at the villa. Drove to the East End of St John and dipped the snorkel in Hansen Bay. Saw Leinster Bay again. Snorkeled at Maho Bay. Got eaten alive by bugs. More Caribs and fritters in town. Drank enough to feel fine

Friday
Hung at the house. Went on a driving adventure. Nearly got T-Boned by a truck. Went back to Trunk Bay. Saw a sea turtle. Did not get more Caribs and fritters in town. Went out to dinner. Shopped. Packed.

Saturday:
Cleaned up the house. It rained. Got a very small ferry back to St Thomas. Ate lunch on St Thomas. Dealt with the airport. Flights were fine. Managed to drive home on the right side of the road and not crash into anything.

For images, check my Flickr thingie below. I uploaded 80 images. I way married over my head, didn’t I?

Then I’m headin south ‘fore my dream shrinks

Well, this time tomorrow, I’ll be in Atlanta fidgeting until the St Thomas flight leaves.

As a result, I’m sick to my stomach. Why? Oh, that’s simple. I’m a lunatic. Only towards the end did I stop getting sick to my stomach over the flights to PHL. And, it’s not because I’m nervous about the trip. It’s because I’m an over planning, dork who can’t leave well enough alone. My brain is spinning in 47 million directions today. Everything from work stuff to tie down, to flight and ferry schedules, to the allegedly balky luggage carousel in St Thomas, to Shmuppie, who we spoke to last night and does not sound 100% thrilled to be in NJ with Grammy and Grampy :-( . The list goes on.

But, I have boarding passes for tomorrow printed and have my clothes lain out in the guest room. JewelrySlut is torturing me by not packing yet. She knows this is KILLING me and is happy to oblige. The small suitcase is basically packed with our snorkel gear, toiletries and other junk. The cooler needs to move downstairs so I can start fretting over it. (Rule #1 when watching me pack: Count how many times I swear and announce “None of this shit is going to fit. What the FUCK?!?!”) Last time I forgot some of the food so I’m doubly under pressure to get it right this time. Who’s putting me under this pressure? Me. Only me.

I even laid out rules for the trip and emailed them to JewelrySlut ChurchBomber and MerlotMan. Here’s how it went:

From: NoGoodDaddy
To: JewelrySlut, MerlotMan, ChurchBomber
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 3:09 PM
Subject: The rules

And, stop rolling your eyes, ChurchBomber!

Here are my rules for the trip. Allow me to have them:

Saturday:
I am allowed to twitch until we all meet up in Atlanta
We land at 1:30. I am allowed to twitch because I REALLY want to be on the 3:00 ferry from town and it may take an act of God to get this to happen
Once on STJ, MerlotMan and I will handle getting the car and the bags to the house
I am allowed to twitch over the AC unit in our bedroom. I suspect it and I will have a talk

Sunday:
I will go grocery shopping in the morning because I NEED to
I will stop twitching
Monday:
No twitching allowed because I plan to try to relax
Tuesday:
We need to be up and moving early. I am allowed to twitch a little bit.
Wed-Fri:
No twitching allowed.
Saturday:
Twitching allowed as I figure out how and when to get back to STT

I plan to try something novel again: relaxing. Please note that I have had maybe 3 days off from work since we moved here. It may take me a while to decompress. But I plan to do so.
Thank you for your assistance and adherence to these rules

See what I mean? The rules seem to have been written in a jocular tone, but I swear to the Dirty Old Hobo Jesus that it is dead serious. Dead Serious.

But, at least things are better at home. The White Trash Carnival pulled out of town on Wednesday night at 10:30. They left their house in really bad shape, but not as bad as we’d anticipated. After I got home from the Y yesterday, the landlord and his wife were there and we stopped over. It’s a mess, but it’s mostly cosmetic stuff…except for the kitchen. If you recall, they had sold their kitchen/swapped it with a neighbor. Well, they put everything back in the house…but it’s just in the house. Nothing is installed. It’s all just there…It’s a good look.

And, we had a mini-meeting of the Board last night. The Rev didn’t show up and we discussed what it’s going to take to either vote him off the Board or ask him to resign. He’s bad news and we don’t like him. It’s fun being a dictator. In fact, the rest of them are allowing me to be a dictator because they know it’s best. If we make this a Democracy, the Rev will fuck things up. So, I’ll have him pinched. I know people.

And, because I’m never dull, the job situation is changing again. Now, they can’t seem to figure out how to allow me on the network as a consultant who works from home. So, on Wednesday, there’s a meeting to file an appeal to allow me to do it. What if they get rejected? Who knows? But, I’m going back to my existing job for a month. However, I was on a call with some people from RedVendor the other day and all but asked for a job with them, supporting the efforts of HealthCareRelatedCompany. They nearly fell over themselves to offer it. So, if Wednesday’s meeting goes poorly, I’m going to call them and start working out those details. RedVendor is somewhat concerned that it will look like they’re poaching me away, but if HealthCareRelatedCompany can’t figure out a way to keep me, fuck it how it looks. RedVendor is still chomping at the bit to get me in the fold. The job in PA just never panned out…mostly because it was in PA and I was not going to live there Sun-Fri and come home on weekends. Everything for a reason.

This is fun. Look at This site. It’s a webcam showing the ferry dock in Cruz Bay on St John. Maybe one day next week, I’ll wander over and giveWarCry a call and have her capture an image of me mooning the camera of something. But, tomorrow, if you’re bored, check it out at about 4:00 Eastern. If you see a frazzled idiot in an UNTUCKED yellow Hawaiian shirt, that will be me.

Boy, I wish I had more to say, but all I can think of is all the crap that I think needs to be done between now and tomorrow. I’m not sure they have the word that properly explains just how much I need this vacation. I’m really down to my last nerve and need a week away from computers, emails, phones, parking spaces, tow trucks, wet underpants, redneck politics, pool chemicals, and anything else that has been causing me stress. I want sun, snorkeling, rum, beer, grilled food, JJ’s Texas Coast, The Beach Bar, conch fritters, and some time with my sexy MILF of a wife.

Wish me well.

Barefoot children in the rain (or my basement)

Today’s an interesting day.

We all woke up early (or at least early for us home-dwellers) and drove to RDU. The girls are on a 9:30 flight to PHL. There, they will meet up with Grammy and Grampy. Luggage and car seats will be exchanged, as will the child. JewelrySlut will go back into the airport and wait for a 2:05 flight back to RDU.

She’s quite a jet setter isn’t she? After today, we won’t see Shmuppie until August 30. 2 weeks. The longest we’ve ever been away from her is one week when we went to St John in 2004. 2 weeks is a long time. I suspect we’ll miss her at some point, but for now, honestly, I need a Shmuppie vacation.

This is what I won’t miss:
“turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat. turn around and eat.”
“Jesus Christ! Did you piss your pants again?”
“Shmuppie Shmuppie Shmuppie Shmuppie Shmuppie Shmuppie Shmuppie”
“Yes. I know there was a frog in the skimmer. But, honestly honey, that was like over a month ago. Can we please get over it?”

And more. But, even typing it hurts my soul. I mean, I love the kid more than anything else, but it’s time for a vacation from each other. She’s taken her bad behavior to 11 lately. Of course, she’s spending 2 weeks with the source of said bad behavior, but what can we do? We need a week on an island, tucked comfortably into a bottle of rum.

I will miss her though:
The “best hugs”
The kiss routine at bed time (lips, cheek, cheek, nose, lips)
Watching Good Eats with her
Going to the pool
Staring in wonder at whatever nonsense is coming out of her mouth.

But, we need a vacation.

Also on the docket for today is White Trash Carnival Day here in North Raleigh.

The people who had the wedding back in June are being evicted. They haven’t paid rent in since roughly forever and the landlord has asked them to move. They responded by gutting the kitchen and selling it to a neighbor. They then installed it upside down and backwards in the neighbor’s house. Then they got in several fistfights among themselves out in the parking lot. The cops were called a few times. Their kids randomly wandered into our house. I had to throw White Trash Winnie (she of the short shorts that make me a little sterile) out of the pool over and over again. Today’s supposed to be the day. I know this because the landlord (a guy who used to live next door before the Horse Slobs moved in) calls me constantly to whine at me. I, of course, send him emails like “Take their pool keys now or you will be fined”. “They dropped an oven (yes folks…an oven) in the parking lot and if you don’t clean it up, you will be fined”. “They’re a menace and if you don’t control (everyone with me now), you will be fined”.

Really, it’s kinda fun.

I’m trying to wrap up some loose ends with the fucktards on the Board. They, as usual, are very helpful. One, the Rev, is accusing the management of trying to rip us off. Another has become obsessed (in a Howard Hughes way) with having cars towed from the parking lot. One’s been on the Board for 14 straight years and is just a lump of a person who irritates me. The other 3 I don’t have the strength to discuss. Why am I doing this?

And, for fun, the 2 little Street Urchins in the White Trash Carnival just broke into my basement. I keep the back doors unlocked (oh yea) during the day. Well, they opened the gate to our backyard, opened the slider and appeared. I happened to hear footsteps on the padded tiles in Shmuppie’s playroom and spun out of my chair. I think I scared the shit out of them. I then walked them home and told Mom that I had castaways in my basement and that Shmuppie was not home. (And to watch her fucking kids a little more closely). Fun. I can’t wait until the Sheriff arrives later with the landlord to evict them. I just hope I can get pictures. It ought to be fun.

Well, the girls should be on the ground by now and I have yet another conference call to attend. In 3 days, I’ll be nearly an hour into my flight from Atlanta to St Thomas.