Tuesday August 12

The Hiking 3-some all slept like babies the night before. Trust me; a several-hour walk in the tropic heat will drain anyone of their desire to live.

I have to make a correction here. JewelrySlut made the potato salad on Monday night. We were able to scare up enough water to clean and boil the potatoes. (As if anyone cares).

So, we all woke up on Tuesday to yet another lovely island day. There wasn’t much planned other than a possible excursion into town and a snorkel trip.

As we were going about our morning, guess what happened? Yup…the water dies on us again. Except this time we’d barely used any. That was it. I was done. Time for action.

I called the outfit I’d rented from. I was under the assumption they’d be able to help. I got them on the phone…up in Maine (a sign of what was to come), and they told me that this was the owner’s responsibility and that they’d see what they could do. Not trusting them, I tried to call the owner.

I got a confused-sounding person at her office who said she was not in. I left a message about being a guest of hers at her Caribbean house and that I had no water. He told me she’d call back.

(Now…at this point, I actually have to watch what I’m writing because I have to limit my snark here. The following hours and days get a little clouded here by bouts of blinding rage)

The house phone rang. It’s the owner! Yippee! I explained the problem of the pump and how I keep getting told to crawl under the house. I added that this had to be new otherwise this would be happening all the time…unless her other guests never showered. I was asked about the pump noise. I was also asked if I thought it was normal. (eek). I stated that I had no reference point. The noise had been there as long as we had so I just assumed it was normal. Odd…but then again…it’s St John.

Her: Do you think we need a new pump?
Me: I don’t know. All I know is that it’s running really hot and needs to cool off each time before it runs. I think we need a plumber.
Her: Me too. I don’t have one though.
Me: Ok…let me see if I can find one for you

OK…this is where the bounds of renter and owner/manager got blurry. Many people reading this may be shaking their heads at me right now. I know a few people who did. But, in my career, I’m the guy who fixes shit. When things don’t work, I get called. So, this was, in a perverse way, fun for me.

I called the one person who I knew would be able to help me. SUPER-RUTH!

Ruth gave me some names, including one listing that was “A Plumber: 715-0907″. Not someone names “plumber”. The listing in the phone book was “A Plumber”. I love St John.

In the meantime, “The Lady” had called (I think) and asked if I was wiggling my metal. She also said that the dopes in Maine had called the owner. In other news…WWII ended…We won!

The other 3 were watching me answer all the phones in the house at once, work the computer, and curse with a sense of wonder. Not at my skills, but at my insanity.

Finally the owner calls me again. She took my email of plumbers and went and found someone else.

“You’ll never believe this. His slogan is ‘Plumbing gone to trash? Call Ashe.’ He’s supposed to be there some time today or tomorrow AM” (Mind you it’s still maybe 10:30 in the morning). We’re staring at another day of this unless Ashe the Miracle Man can show up.

A little while later, the house line rang again.

Him: Dis NoGood?
Me: Yes. Is this Ashe?
Ashe: Ya Mon. I be right there. Blue Skies?
Me: Yup
Me (To the group): Ashe is coming.

5 minutes later, we hear a car in the driveway. I run towards the front of the house to greet our visitor. A tall, lanky, Rasta is coming my way. I greet him with a big smile, a “Good Afternoon” and a firm USA handshake. I get the usual limp handshake of an islander (it’s an island thing).

Ashe has arrived!

I explain the problem and he goes under the house.

Ashe: (Knocks on the tank…laughs his ass off” It goin’ gaching…gaching…gaching…right?
Me: Yes?
Ashe: (Laughs again). Your tank is waterlogged.
Me: Oh? Can you fix that?
Ashe: No problem. I’ll be right back.

Ashe lopes off and I announce to the group that the tank is waterlogged. I’m met with 3 shrugs as they all return to iguana patrol.

Ashe comes back, toting a small DeWalt compressor…and a Red Stripe. Come on! How do you not love a place where your plumber comes to the house with an already-opened beer? Impossible I say!

Ashe plugs in the compressor and does something. I go to the house and gather beer for the group. The other 3 mobilize long enough to be handed an icy Carib.

Ashe comes out and starts chatting with us about his broken cell phone and the day he’s had. He gives us his life story. He’s an amazingly nice guy who runs his own business on the island and seems to enjoy life. Ashe is another reason I love the islands. I hand him a beer (because why the hell not?) and we discuss how he’s going to Burning Man. He also gives a guide to the hillside, pointing out all the homes he’s worked on and who lives in them. We learned that someone in line to the Coca Cola fortune lives right nearby. Bully for us!

Ashe fixed the tank and all was well. There was mild rejoicing in the pool. I was ordered to cook lunch.

I think after this, we all gathered our crap to go to town and then to go snorkel. It had been decided that we’d his Cinnamon Bay. Nothing too fancy, but a lovely beach. And, I got to drive the switchbacks from Trunk to Cinnamon…one of my favorite things to do.

Back in town, we quickly surmised that JJ’s was still closed. FUCK!

We drove down the road to Mongoose Junction to take in a little shopping. JewelrySlut needed to go to a jewelry store there to see if they had a certain gold earring she wanted. Plus, there’s a lot to do and see. It also irritates the hell out of MerlotMan, so I always enjoy watching him hate shopping. Why? Because I’m an ass like that. T-shirts were bought and we headed to the beach.

Cinnamon is the first beach JewelrySlut and I ever went to on St John. It’s the beach that convinced us that we kinda liked the island a little bit. We got there and the usual wind was blowing. The water was a little rough too, so things were not shaping up that well. All 4 of us got in the water and we set off. I swam out ahead looking for fun things. I spotted a flock of squids and brought the group over. With the waves battering us, MerlotMan and ChurchBomber headed back to shallower water. Me? I pressed on through the surf towards cinnamon Cay, the little island that sits in the bay. I got there and saw some fun stuff. A good assortment of fish and coral. I moved through a shallow section and noticed a drop off up ahead. I swam towards it and found myself eye to eye with a rather large tarpon. I more or less peed my pants at the sight of it. It was a big fish. We eyeballed each other and then swam off in our separate directions.

I swam back to the group and we headed back. We skipped town all together. I announced that I was not going on any additional conch fritter searched. If JJ’s wasn’t open, I wasn’t interested. Plus, it was steak night!

At the house, we started the showers. JewelrySlut went first and was finally able to take a complete shower. She emerged clean, smooth and happy. The rest of us cycled through as I got dinner ready.

MerlotMan was salivating over the steaks before they even went on the grill. I plugged my MP3 player into the speaker that ChurchBomber had luckily brought. I say “luckily brought” because we’d kinda had high expectations for the house.

Allow me to quote from the website where I found the house:
It’s wired – for sound and laptops. Multiple speakers in the living room and on the pool deck carry music to both decks. The 32″ flat screen TV/DVD entertains in the living room, while the wireless DSL provides a good connection in the main house, the guest cottage and on both decks. So bring the laptops and iPods.

This was actually a deciding factor for us. We waned to plug in and have music down at the pool. Well, after having no luck figuring out how to work the outdoor speakers, MerlotMan had gone under the house where he found the speaker boxes…with loose wires dangling from them. AWESOME! This reminds me…we spent the first night trying to work the TV. The remote that said “Only use this to turn on the TV” did not work. We realized that you had to manually work the cable box form the floor. Really…we’d chosen a house with all the latest in technology.

In any event, the little speaker had my music on and I was limin’ on the deck as the steaks cooked. I had a rum drink and a sunset to watch. Life was good. I twirled JewelrySlut around on the deck to a few songs and we had a great time.

Dinner was ready and we’d decided to eat outside in the breeze. The steaks were presented with a flourish and the crowd went wild. We all agreed that these were among the best steaks we’d ever eaten.

We ate and then ChurchBomber disappeared inside to watch the Olympics. Cake followed along with much singing and rejoicing.

MerlotMan and I spent the evening on the deck again, watching the stars. I would occasionally yell to JewelrySlut to go check for flights in and out of Tortola or St Thomas. We were able to watch the planes go back and forth overhead. For a geek like me, it was very cool.

It had turned out to be an interesting day. The water was fixed…albeit not quite how it should have been. But fixed is fixed. Our bellies were full and we were content. We had a big day planned for Wednesday and we all went to bed happy.

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