Friday, March 30, 2012

Standing by to stand by...

The greatest day of the week is finally here, the sun is up in clear skies and it should be another fine 85 degree day.

The Spousal Unit continues on the healing journey, parked in her comfy leather chair surrounded by electronics, paper notes, mug o' water and pills. She has a work meeting (despite being homebound and OFF work) at 0900, so I have to get about picking up the detritus from yesterday. I type this with Malli Cat on my lap, purring contentedly at a steady 160 hertz.

While all of this action takes place, the Barco Sin Vela is getting all of the fluids replaced along with filters and belts over at Sadler Point Marina. I'm sure they will do a good job emptying out the wallet, too. So I have a thing to look forward to, that is a ride on the boat in the next few days, bringing the Barco home to her berth.

I'm sure I will stretch that little journey to a couple hours, just because I can. Florida is so nice during this time of year. Time must be spent on the water, it's the rules!

Has everyone caught the Megamillions lotto fever, yet? Half a billion dollars to the lucky winner(s). I drove to Camden County Georgia and purchased four tickets, so I'm no fool. Can't dream unless you have wasted your own dollar or four. I don't understand the people who will blow huge amounts of bucks on this stuff, I was in line at Winn Dixie and I watched some people cash their paychecks, buy a pack of cigarettes and 30 bucks of scratch offs. The Lotto is a tax on the stupid and math challenged, they say. But I have four tickets... Who's the Dummy? I bought my tickets on Wednesday, avoiding the rush.

The time is now 0806; I better get clearing, again. Have a fine Friday and an even better weekend!


I left the homestead at 1130 for a beer run. Drove over to Total Wine and picked up a keg of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and an assorted case of champagne/pinot grigio. The Barco Sin Vela crew is now rigged to endure a weekend of sloth, starting with tonight's steak dinner.

Just being an American is like winning Life's Lottery.

P.S. If we are so stupendously lucky as to score that lotto, well, I guarantee none of you will find out on this blog! But if any of you do win, keep us in mind when you buy that yacht. You might want someone to drive...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quiet weekend and evenings

It used to be wine, women and song. Now it's Beer, TV and the Old Lady.

That was an moldy-oldie joke, but here at the Barco Sin Vela it has more truth with all of the excitement, nowadays. Except She Who Will Be Obeyed does not like beer. And because of the pain killers she is abstaining from wine, too.

Everybody is getting in on this phase of helping out the recovery act. Even the kitties are performing Cat-Scans at every opportunity, doing their part to encourage healing and defensive postures to protect the wounded area.

They use Lasers.

Threat acknowledged. Activating defensive systems!

Move away, slowly from the Mom... and nobody gets hurt
They seem to instinctively know which limb is not doing well, they add body warmth and patented "Snooze Action" to help healing.

The Cats have a pecking order which is reinforced by pecking and biting. Mao (The Boy Cat) has a J in his tail and always has the best position, nearest the viewer. Malli (The Malevolent One) is always in the center. Malli's sister, Saffy (The Sweet, Pretty, yet Feral Kitteh) is always marginalized on the far side.

The two Girls like watching TV

Mao wants to snuggle

Mao Lf Saffy rt

More Cat Scan action

A week into this new routine, the pain is still present but there is more mobility in the Spousal Unit. We hope that in the next ten days the pain will cease completely. She was a bit more aggressive yesterday, we spent the afternoon by the pool in the sunshine, watching the Mom Unit do the gardening functions. We have a new batch of flowers and even a couple honey dew melon plants. I pitched in by transplanting a large rosemary plant out of the ten gallon pot to the ground by our Queen Palm.

Poolside flowers

Awaiting transfer

Bay Leaf, tomato, chive, banana pepper and marigolds

Afternoon storage area for Kittehs. The Sunroom is warm and bright.

Fine dining was had yesterday evening, I grilled a slab o' ribs while enjoying the late day rays of the sun.  Nothing like the smell of charcoal and burning meat coupled with the cool fragrant air of a warm spring evening. I could even smell the rosemary plant from the other side of the yard, settling into a new home in the garden.

Today is yet another glorious, sunny morning. The birds be a chirpin' and the skwiddle's are running about stealing the bird's food. I think I will go to the store to hunt and gather for later. The pool will be the gathering point yet again for us hoomans and we will enjoy the afternoon thusly.

Have a nice week!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


And she is feeling better, the pain is growing less with each day. Percoset every four hours keeps the pain well subdued. They gave us a bottle of just less than a hundred tablets, which seems to be really enough. I have a feeling the majority will be flushed down the terlet at this rate of pain subsidence. I look forward to doing the flushing, because I hate that someone would abuse this stuff.

By the way, Someone will get their first real shower today and I get to be the assistant. Joy. Apparently a shampooing needs to happen, stat! Those sponge baths in the bed don't seem to create the same soapy satisfaction along with being rinsed by twenty gallons of potable water afterwards. Ahh, to be an American!

Later, The DC Cat will be going to the Yacht Club to watch the Orange Peel Regatta and get some cold ones with his so-called friends and acquaintances. The Mother-Daughter team can have the house to themselves in peace.

Yep, The good deal is coming up; We only have about twelve more weeks of this! I look forward to the pain being completely absent and of bones growing strongly together. Another cool thing is we get to have the next couple weeks alone here at the house. I'm really ok with that, too.

Off to the shower!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Home, later today!

She Who Will Be Obeyed is feeling a hundred percent better and will be released later. First the parade of Doctors and the Physical Therapy folks (Who should have been there yesterday!) will have to do their sign off.

I have been to the hospital twice, with one more visit to pick everyone up. I also need to go get my Mom's car (four door Chrysler, better for disabled passengers) and move the Barco to the Sadler Point Marina for maintenance.

Thanks for the good thoughts out there. I am really happy that the road to healing is now under our feet. So to say...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So far, so good!

The Spousal Unit was released from surgery sometime around 1800. She was back in her room (Where her Mom and I were finishing our pizza and salad!) about 1900, woozy but in good spirit. She has a dull ache in the left ankle, the toes look healthy and there is no excess bleeding. She has a little green button which issues forth pain reliever at her bidding. She had a couple mugs of ice water and watched a little tv before letting us out at 2100. She has had a very long day and wanted to get a nice night of sleep.

The nice thing is that her private room is right outside the nurses station and has a nice view of the river, looking southward towards NAS Jax.

I really like the fact that there is professional help just a yell away out the door, so I gladly came home for a couple mugs of barley pops and rest. We will be back in eleven hours.

Thanks for all the well wishes and phone calls!

DC Cat

Going Sinker.

The procedure is in work. I came home rather than sit in a waiting room with others... The Mom Unit has direct comms with me and I am mobile with the Ipad.

I will be back up for regular comms in the next five hours or so.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A fine weekend was had.

I had so much fun that I left the camera on the boat!

Again, we were practically the only boat on the river, there were two! sailboats near Green Cove Springs, one was a Canadian Beneteau, ghosting south towards what looked like the terminus of their journey. Most of the boats at the Green Cove Springs Marina are foreign boats that are stored for the hurricane season. The storage rates are very affordable and the dry storage lot is secure. Why wouldn't a Canadian or European keep their boat on the hard but in Green Cove?

One thing different I did on this particular trip was to imbibe in cokes. Our ice machine had a fine load of large, solid ice cubes and I found we had a case of cokes. Why not enjoy a coke instead of the normal barley pops?

The Mom Unit was perched in her favorite place on the bow of the boat, facing the warm rays of the sun as we headed South. She was reading her book and had her hearing aids in the off mode. There is nary a trickle of wind except for the self  generated breeze of a boat moving at seven knots through the air. I passed a red solo cup filled with Atlanta's favorite bubbly with ice to help keep her hydrated.

The new chair, just installed! 

The Mom Unit sitting on the foredeck

It was a real nice float by our lonesome and we saw no one after the sailboats until we reached the fishing flotilla at the Green Cove marker. From the mark we turned to 180 and headed alone to the Shands Bridge.

Once clear of the bridge we had two overloaded speed boats pass us on the port side, they were (beerily?) cheerily woo-hooing as they flew by waving.

Aah, headed for the Crab Shack, too? Lots of room for everyone.

We passed through the shallow bar which protects the deep water Six Mile Creek with no issue, and slowly went to the long floating dock. I pulled the Barco to the pier like the Blues mobile, we swung from left to right and came to a stop without even touching. We had the entire dock to ourselves, except for some cutie who chose the end of the pier for herself and a towel, doing the sun tanning thing. So we had a nice view, too. Click to enlarge.

For Buck:

She owned the end of the dock.

View towards the restaurant
Along the way we saw this gator

Too warm outside, most everyone is inside

Dreaded crab traps.

Off to lunch!

The Crabshack was packed inside with revelers, mostly big bellied biker types with leather vest patches declaring their participation in the Southeast Asian War. Good on them.

We managed to find an empty table and took it without asking the front desk for permission. Finally, a wait-staff noticed us and came over with menus. We ordered a platter of boiled seafood and a philly cheese steak for myself. (Next time, I will get the pulled pork)


I had the first beer of the day (A pitcher of Landshark, they only had crappy Anheuser Busch beers on tap). I choked it down along with my sub-par sammich. I don't want to give the wrong impression here, the food at Outback Crabshack is never the same quality; But I love the restaurant!


Sunset on the river. No better way to enjoy the weather.
After lunch we took naps and at 1800 we looked around the dock and found ourselves alone. No point in staying at an empty dock so we went back to the home berth. It was a great three hour ride in the as the skies darkened.

We got back at 2100 and cleaned ourselves up and went to the Yacht Club for a nightcap. We were in bed by 2230.

Sunday came and all of the Barco Crew (Including Both Mom's) went to the Sunday Brunch at the Club. Great end to a fine weekend!

Be back later... We have to take my Favorite Human to the Vet.

Back from the Vet. I left the two of them at the hospital in that dreadful two bed hospital room. Whoever was on the other side of the curtain (I didn't look), they we're watching some kid show on tv called Dora the Explorer. I had to leave and take my negativity with me.

The good news is that She Who Will Be Obeyed shall have a private room after the surgery, tomorrow. I am bringing a new pillow from home for her bed, since the one they gave her is totally unsat. I may bring pizza with me later, just to piss off Nurse Ratchet. It is going to be a long four or five days, so I better stay scarce so I don't annoy the Hospital Staff.

Next up is forty five minutes on the stair machine.

Have a nice afternoon...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Underway today!

Friday afternoon at the dock

The Barco is getting underway @1100ish. Off to the Six Mile Creek for the Outback Crabshack. And no, I don't go for the food, just the great destination. And the news for today is that we have a new chair on the helm, installed by the unskilled house boy.

That chair took about four hours in the hot sun and I intend to enjoy the fruits of my labor this a.m!

Old chair, moments before removal ops began

The weather here has been like Summer anywhere else, say Michigan? Temp's in the low eighties and blue skies with very low humidity.

This has been what used to be called a normal Florida Winter. We had three freezes (Killed my Mom's lemon tree!) but other than that there was no need for wearing jackets. Global Warming had nothing to do with the mild  weather, just normal cycles of nature.

We will be sure to take pictures as the norm, and safety will be paramount on our minds.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The countdown begins

There was a visit to the airport last night. I arrived with plenty of time to allow for Delta Airlines to do their job at 0006 (12:06 Ante Meridian for those keeping a time sheet) in the morning. Nope, they were delayed by half hour, which is what Delta does. Delta is ready, when you ARE.


So I found the Spousal Unit's Mom and we headed South to the Serenghetti Spa and Veldt Lounge (Home of Wilbur, the Wildebeest!) driving the wet deserted streets and highways.

There, sharing the road were cops, drunk drivers and us. Ooh Rah! But we made it home safely and sat down to unwind. I served warmed up meat loaf leftovers and ice cold  Pabst Blue Ribbon served fresh from the kegerator. The Cats came out to welcome our guest and make nuisances of themselves, just like grandchildren around grandparents. Yowling, "Whatcha got to give me?"

The arrival of The Mom Unit means we are four days and a wake up from the dreaded event at the Vet's, I mean Hospital.

She may look harmless...

Next week's fun and frivolity will literally leave a mark and make drastic changes in our hedonistic lifestyle. So, there is plenty of nervousness to spread around which is why we brought in the Spousal Unit's Mom. There are many years of Mom advocacy experience in dealing with Doctors, Nurses and other health professionals towards the care and treatment of the Spousal Unit.

It is known world-wide that I may indeed fly off the handle with little provocation and aim sarcasm, ill wit, mean words and outright hostility towards anyone who is not providing the level of care I expect for She Who Will Be Obeyed.

Naturally, we also understand how reluctant a caregiver becomes when having a loud jerk like me hanging over them while they try to do their darn jobs to ungrateful clients.

So enter the calmly persistent and non-threatening Mom Unit. The Spousal Unit's Mom Unit is a Mark One Mod 0 Mom Unit made back in the days of the Beaver Cleaver Time Continuum. A Mom Unit stayed home and was an advocate for her family, cooked from scratch, was/is healer of illnesses, balancer of small budgets and referee to interfamilial squabbles. The Mom Unit protected home and hearth from all bad things and became a skillful hunter gatherer when it applied to her family's well being. Many years did this Mom Unit do battle with various Hospitals and health authorities back when hospitals were places where one went to die. Only The Mom Unit managed successfully keep my favorite Human not only alive, but to grow and thrive! (Bad poetry, I know...)

The Mom Unit's family values. 

Oh, yes. The Mom Unit knows which questions to ask and how to work the system, patiently and in a loving manner, too! It also helps that the Mom Unit has a slight hearing disability and uses a hearing aid which may work or may not work, depending on what need to be accomplished. (Secret weapon? T.I.N.S: She reads lips.)  This tool is also a strategy, as it causes her to "not fully understand what her opponent is saying..." and for that opponent to be disarmed thoroughly by skillful rewording of supposedly mundane questions, like; "I don't understand why we can't have ________ (Fill in blank with anything), or; "I understand your people have a wonderful reputation for caring for ________, did you know I am an artist and former Keweenaw County Commissioner for ________?"

The Mom Unit has spent the last 18 years writing up grant requests for Public Programs for Kids in Northern Michigan. She won the Michigan Governor's Award for Public Service and advocacy ten years ago. One of her fellow Awardee's that night was some entertainer named Smokey Robinson, they had a fine chat about ten feet from me that night in Detroit. I think This entertainer had something to do with music in the last century, not sure if it was considered cool, but there you have it.

In other words, The Mom Unit knows how to pry  the Shekels from the tight fisted Well To Do. And also how to get the influential to do what they should because we all feel better for their "service" to the Community.

See what I'm driving at?

As you can tell I believe in bringing the proverbial Nuke to a Knife Fight. Winning "Ugly" is still winning.

And The Mom Unit enjoys fun. Believe it!

Sometimes a Cigar is just what is needed. Her brother is getting concerned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Brevity

We're growing older, not up!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday after action report


We had a really nice dinner for eight, each dish paired with a specially chosen wine. Our guests arrived ontime at 1830, each nice person was welcomed with a glass of Francois Montand bubbly. Click to enlarge for detail.

I really like this Methode de Champagne because it tastes as good as the more pricey Champagnes and it is a great value for a Magnum (1.5 Liters) at $16.99. The reason the beer is next to it is that I had just opened the bottle and poured out some and I was getting ready to go outside to barbecue the shrimp.

One does not cook over open flame without having a beer, does one?

Our first course was coming up and I had to get running to put the food out. The Spousal Unit had prepared all foods earlier in the day and all we had to do was set it out. While SWWBO was chatting with our guests I placed ten skewers of shrimp which had been marinated in fresh garlic, chopped chili peppers and olive oil.

The cool fact for this course was that I had acquired the pre-skewered shrimp at the Commissary for a buck a piece! Each skewer had eight shrimp.

I preheated the propane bbq to about 500 degrees and popped the skewers on the grate. I sipped my beer and did a sixty count, flipped them over. Did another sixty count and pulled them out of the fire. The shrimp had a very slight char on the edges and was cooked wonderfully.

I de-skewered the shrimp into a bowl and announced the first course.

But everyone was still working on the champagne! darn it, those Magnum's get the party started and it seemed that the bubbly kept a-going.

Anyway, the first course was served along with an kalamata olive tapenade which was ground up olives, anchovy, lime juice, garlic, fresh rosemary (From our backyard!) and olive oil. This was served with Panera baguettes and of course, the shrimp.

$10 bucks at Total Wine & Spirits

The wine paired with the first course was a Rhone Rosé. This was a special wine made up of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah grapes. This means that the wine was not as sweet like your normal Rosé, which I do not care so much for.

While everyone enjoyed the course, I ran to the kitchen to monitor the soup and the braised beef. The dessert course was also placed in the oven to cook. Multi-tasking!

I also stayed ahead of the mess by washing pans and dishes as they returned.

The next course was the soup. Roasted Acorn Squash was the flavor, it was roasted earlier, and then pureéd with shallots. This soup was served in small bowls topped with chopped gorgonzola and crispy prosciuto bits.

The wine paired with this course;

$17 Bucks!

This is an excellent White Burgundy, which is kinda like a Chardonnay, except there is only a fruity flavor  and none of that Oak nonsense. Our Guests, Tom and Susan were verily impressed since they do not like Chardonnays. Pure, clean flavor which paired very nicely with that wonderful soup!

Now we are starting to run; I pulled the Braised short ribs from the iron pot earlier, so I had to rewarm the beef in the microwave, while reducing down the gravy. The gravy was a mix of cheap Cabernet with even cheaper California port, along with onions, carrots, shallots which had braised in the pot for about four hours. While getting the beef together, we also heated up the cauliflower mash (Boiled cauliflower and rosemary mashed like potatoes, only less fattening).

She Who Will Be Obeyed, our guest Jane and myself worked efficiently to plate the third course. I placed the cauliflower mash on the plate, scooped the roasted veggies (Parsnips, carrots and brussel sprouts!) onto the mash and placed the braised short ribs next to the mash and veggies and poured the gravy over it all.

The neat thing about braised short ribs is that the bone falls away from the meat so you can eat with just a fork. No knife is necessary.

The wine pairing for the Beef Course;

$15 bucks!

This was the most amazing wine, it was imported from Argentina and the Wine Bubba at Total Wine assured the Spousal Unit that it would go very well with braised beef.

He. Was. Totally. Right!

Seriously, this wine made quite the impact on our guests. We drained all four bottles expeditiously, while thoroughly enjoying the main course.

Why does a wine dinner always have to be a noisy affair? This fact was noted by all as we all tried to get words in edgewise into the table conversation!

 Now the dessert course...

Baked pear and cranberry crumble was retrieved from the oven. we topped the dessert with Blue Bell Vanilla Bean ice cream. The wine paired (Pun alert!) was a Merryvale Antigua desert wine, personally won from the owner of Merryvale Vineyard last year, in a drawing held at the Yacht Club.

While enjoying the dessert wine I read a toast from the Book of Blanding. Don Blanding, that is.

$35 bucks?

Here is a little blurb from the Merryvale site. Outstanding dessert wine!

Antigua Dessert Wine

Merryvale's Antigua Dessert Wine is a gold-medal winning
Muscat de Frontignan fortified with fine California brandy and aged
an average of eleven years in French oak.
<PRE>Merryvale Antigua Dessert Wine, 500ml</PRE>
Everyone's favorite dessert wine...
Golden amber in color from its long aging in French oak, the wine is a complex combination of nuts and orange-peel aromas. Thick and rich in the mouth, the nuts and orange-peel theme continues from the entry through the long finish, highlighted by the many subtleties from the fine brandy and time in the barrel. (500ml bottles)
$35.00  / Bottle
$420.00  / Case

Finally, we got to the cheese course. Earlier in the afternoon, some walnuts and pecans were coated in brown sugar and cinnamon and roasted for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. The nuts were plated with gorgonzola, stilton and aged gouda (Five Years and Crispy!). The wine paired was thus;

$45 bucks at Wine Warehouse
While doing the Port course, we read a couple poems from Don Blanding's book, "Floridays". 

What a dinner event! The perfect amount of stunning food paired with equally tasty wines.

We cleared most of the clutter, got the plates into the dishwasher and moved to the billiards room for more loud conversation and post dinner drinks.

I had some of this;

$85 bucks a keg
The party wrapped up at midnight. Great fun was had by all.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Heh. I have these!

They live in a hidden cabinet because I don't trust any of my good time friends to not break them.

Drinking like a Sir

Tiny port glasses, hmmm. Gives me an idea!

Seems I have one of these nice bottles hidden in the ready wine locker. I think we shall have to break it out. 

For Strength...

Home > Wines > Port > Port > Fonseca Tawny Port 20 Year Old ]

Fonseca Tawny Port 20 Year OldFonseca Tawny Port 20 Year Old
Size: 750ml.