Sunday August 20,
I was up early because I hadnâ€™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.
Letâ€™s talk about the house. Before the 2004 trip, like all first timers to
The house sits on a hill just above the town of
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. Thereâ€™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. Thereâ€™s a big table and a sturdy enough kitchen. Itâ€™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. Itâ€™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. Iâ€™ll add that I kept my beer high and dry the whole time. Thereâ€™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, heâ€™d needed a life vest. He never felt happy about how it fit and didnâ€™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 heâ€™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 heâ€™d fared. All was well as MerlotMan bobbed back to the surface.
So, thatâ€™s the house. I didnâ€™t sleep well because itâ€™s totally open to the outside. Thereâ€™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. Weâ€™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 saidâ€¦long night.
I was up before 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 canâ€™t see much of town, but you have a great view of the channel that sits between
Ohâ€¦that must be SirenUSA, the ridiculously large and expensive condo project thatâ€™s going up 2 hills to the left.
Great. And this is Sunday.
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 MerlotManâ€™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
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 , 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
After about an hour, we were ready to go back to town to JJâ€™s to start MerlotManâ€™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 weâ€™d already wiped out 1 Â½ bottles from the night before and we were thirsty. We enjoyed our
MerlotMan got to celebrate his birthday,
JewelrySlut and I have been on the run for over a year. Ever since we got back from
Last fall, MerlotManâ€™s mother passed away. At the same time, his Aunt (in her 90â€™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. Heâ€™s got dementia or Alzheimerâ€™s and MerlotMan has become nearly a full-time caretaker for him. He REALLY needed a week off of sun, water and rum.
Weâ€™d gotten through our first full day on the island, Iâ€™d snorkeled and driven around the rock, and weâ€™d all started relaxing.