Happy Birthday to me. I was lucky enough to celebrate a 2nd birthday on St. John.
The day started as a typical St John Sunday begins…for me at least. I had inspecting to do and lists to make. It was twilight or darker the night before (funny how that works) so I didn’t get a good look at the house and the surroundings. I must say that with the sun out, I was pleased. MerlotMan was up already and had coffee made. Few things beat a morning cup of coffee while standing on your deck overlooking an island bay. You more or less have to be naked to experience anything better.
Once the ladies were up and about, MerlotMan and I set off into town. I had chores to do. I had to get on the rental agreement at St John Car Rental, I had to stop in and see Ruth at St john Spice, we had to hit the NPS offices to argue over paperwork, and we had to go food shopping. Cooler-people that we are, we only needed about a gazillion dollars of staples.
What had we brought to eat? Thanks for asking:
Coffee, tea and breakfast breads for the morning
A giant pack of Nathan’s hot dogs. This would be our daily lunch at the house.
My birthday steaks – 4 gigantic ribeyes.
A huge pack of chicken breasts – good for Sunday dinner and then for slicing into sandwiches all week long
Pork Chops – really good ones from the local pig store.
And…a whole bunch of other things.
Off to town we bounced. For all that changes in Cruz Bay, there are constants…the narrow streets, the local “flavor”, the general dinginess of it. This ain’t St Bart’s, folks. This is a little more hardscrabble and “lived in”.
I bought some stuff from Ron (Ruth was pecking away at the computer upstairs and I didn’t want to bother her). JJ’s was still closed and rumors were circulating (I wonder how) about when it would re-open.
We walked to the NPS offices and got our paperwork settled for the next day’s hike. We got to the jeep and drove to the store to shop. Remembering the breezes from the night before, MerlotMan and I decided to pick up some wine. True Wineauxs that we are, we found a big bottle of Gallo Merlot. This was not to be fine-drinking. This was to be power drinking.
That all done, I was now ready to sit. I had a dip in the pool and took in the scene. What followed would be played out time and time again all week.
Me: I think I see an iguana in the tree. (Off the edge of the pool, there’s a huge flamboyant tree. Since they’re in bloom right now, it was an explosion of red flowers.)
ChurchBomber: (swims over) Where?
Me: (Points) There.
JewelrySlut: (also swims over): What?
ChurchBomber: I see it. On the branch by the edge.
Me: No…on the branch in the middle. Shit! There are 2!
JewelrySlut: I see one too. That makes 3!
Our tree seemed to have a family living in it. By week’s end, we had identified 6 of them. They were all different sizes and colors. It was quite fun to watch them sun themselves and eat all the flowers off the tree.
Lunch soon followed. In our typical stately fashion, we ate standing at the kitchen counter. 8 hot dogs vanished in about 16 bites. JewelrySlut and I noticed that if you put Sunny Caribee’s Pirate’s Gold hot sauce AND Tabasco sauce on a hot dog, it’s like an orgasm. Something you all should know. (Sunny Caribee hot sauce is available from St John Spice)
I opened my gifts: 2 shirts from Shmuppie and 3 books from JewelrySlut. MerlotMan and ChurchBomber got me a shirt from Low Key with a map of St John on it. Very nice. I tucked right into one of the books, A Trip to the Beach. It’s one of our vacation favorites.
JewelrySlut checked the computer and saw that we had an invitation for drinks. Ruth was going to be at the Beach Bar at 5 and wanted us to come down to toast my birthday. (Squeeeeeeee)
So, having eaten, we mounted up in the jeep to go snorkeling. We drove out the North Shore to Trunk Bay. We wanted to start the week with something familiar and easy and Trunk always fits that description. The only problem is that we arrived “early” and had to pay to get in. No worries…I have no problem supporting the National Park Service on St John. It was only once we hit the beach that MerlotMan realized he’d forgotten his life vest. No snorkeling for him…
JewelrySlut, ChurchBomber and I set out to see the underwater trail. It was the usual maelstrom of floundering, screaming people, but if you look hard enough, you can find something special. Like a Caribbean Reef Octopus! I found one and guided the ladies over to take a look. JewelrySlut and I stayed in the water for over an hour and returned to shore in time for our engagement.
Arriving at the Beach Bar, I found Ruth. Considering that we’d never really “met”, I didn’t know how to greet her. Well, the huge hug and “Happy Birthday!” settled that. I met some other on-line people and we talked about what everyone talks about when you meet on-line friends; other on-line people. It was a good time. I had 2 birthday Red Stripes and we watched the happenings at the bar.
Suddenly, JewelrySlut and MerlotMan were excitedly pointing at the stage. Could it be? Holy Shit! It was! RuthEllen was on stage! Holy Shit! So was Capt Magic! He was not only alive, but up and about! As no one here recalls, they own the house we’d rented twice before. They sang something and we gathered up to go back to the house. Not being able to resist a chance to talk to someone, I wandered over to see them.
I babbled something about who I was and how happy we were to see them up and about
RuthEllen: Where are you staying (looking at me accusingly)?
Me: We decided to splurge and are in Great Cruz Bay. (A white lie at best)
RE: What was your last name again?
RE: YOU! I REMEMBER YOU! YOU SAID THE HOSUE LOOKED SHABBY!
Me: (Sheepish face)
RE: I READ THAT! KNOW WHAT I DID? I FIXED EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE! THAT’S WHAT I DID!
Me: (Realizing that people do read what I write). That’s great. I’d love to run up and see how it looks.
I bade them farewell and we headed home.
We got to the house and we all started showering. I finished mine and started grilling.
Have I mentioned the pump yet? Didn’t think so.
The night before, I was at the sink and noticed that when I turned on the water, a pump kicked on under my feet. It would run for a second and then rest for 5 or so. I just assumed this was normal and told everyone not to be alarmed.
Back to Sunday.
JewelrySlut was in the shower and I was at the sink washing my hands. I turned on the tap. Nothing. Oh crap. How was I going to wash my hands?
OH SHIT! JewelrySlut IS IN THE SHOWER!
I ran into our room and opened the bathroom door. There stood my lovely wife. Tanned in all the right spots and naked as the day she was born. Oh…she was also covered in soap.
Me: So…no water, eh?
JewelrySlut: What the fuck do you think?
Me: OK…grab a towel and run for the pool.
Dainty to the end, she put on her bikini and rinsed in the pool. Meanwhile, I had chicken on the grill. I found a note in the house with a phone number to call.
I called the woman who had been our greeter the day before. I was told to call back later.
Still no water.
I called back and the greeter told me she had to “call The Lady”.
The Lady called and I explained the problem.
Mind you…it’s now dark out. I also know that the pump is more or less under the house by the laundry machines.
The Lady: Grab a light and go under the house. (This is all being relayed to me on a scratchy cordless phone from a woman with a good Island Accent.) See da pump?
Me: I see it. It’s hot.
TL: See da green ting?
Me: (hand over phone) MerlotMan! Get down here! OK? I think so.
TL: Der be a little metal on it. Wiggle it.
TL: Da little metal. You gotta wiggle it.
Me: (Climbs into the dirt behind the pump. I see no “metal ting”. I do see an air release valve on the tank). The valve?
TL: No Da otter ting.
Me: (Spotting a little metal lever) Oh…I see it. OK.
I wiggle the lever and a huge blue spark/flame shoots from the little green box I have my hands on. The pump fires once and dies.
TL: Dats it. Yo got it!
Me: (Wiggles again and hears it catch). I guess so. Is this normal?
TL: Good night.
So…we had water. We ate dinner and enjoyed a new story from the island.
MerlotMan and I opened our wine and tried to play “Which star is that”. Mostly, we just drank too much.
Thank God the A/C still worked.