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These past fee days have been very busy with Wendy, Jeff, and Amy here - Wendy has left now but Jeff & Amy are still here until Saturday. Tommy arrived back here yesterday afternoon and of course the whole entourage are expected here tomorrow evening - I'll likely be asleep so they have to wait until morning to see my smiling face. HaHaHa.
On Tuesday evening I hosted a catered dinner here at my 4th floor villa for John, Jeff, Amy & Wendy - it was WONDERFUL. Last week I found a small little deli who's owner will cook meals, bake just about anything, and offers fresh sandwiches with home made bread in her deli. You can find meats, cheeses, and all sorts of homemade products for sale - this place is a gold mine IMHO.
The dinner was stuffed pork loins with garlic rosemary potatoes , a salad with mozzarella cheese and home made balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and fresh fruit - pineapple, melon, and strawberries. The meal was full of flavor - it was excellent! She even delivered the whole meal right to my door - I promise you I will not hesitate to use Debbiy [sic] again. I did not make a spelling error, that's how she rights her name. She also baked a Key Lime pie for us that is the best we've ever had down here! OMG...it was fabulous. I'll have her back another one so I can take it back to Vero.
On Tuesday afternoon John, Jeff, and Amy went out on kayaks for almost 4 hours. They went all over the bay side discovering new things you can't see in a boat. The picture today is one John took while on the trip. Tuesday evening John went to bed earlier than any other night since he's been here. With a morning at the gym, afternoon rowing, and all the sun he was a tired puppy.
This week I've worked on Don's computer in an effort to set up a wireless connection for his desktop I fixed and I've had pool duty every day - with TB gone we've not been boating. Tommy offered Drew's boat to John & Jeff but it's been way to windy to take it out - the wind has been with us every day for a week now. Tomorrow we expect more wind with rain as the tropical depression moves into our area - we sure hope it will not hang around long. For the folks arriving this weekend for their 10 days in paradise it would be nice to have some good boating weather. TB wants to take Jeff & Amy out today but with the wind we have this morning, it may not be possible. All the same, TB & John are going to the marina to put the Cracker back into the water - it's been on a rack for the week TB was gone.
Sure hope the weather doesn't put a cloud over lobster season - did you like my pun?
It's been rather slow around here because the weather has been nasty - today is the first day since Thursday the sun is out without an overcast or a lot of wind. It has been very windy for the last 4 days with nothing but clouds. This is the dawn of a new week of sunshine I hope.
Jeff & Amy arrived on Saturday morning along with a friend of theirs from Dallas. We all went to Lorelei for a nice 2 o'clock lunch on their deck by the bay. This was my first order of peel & eat shrimp - the others had blackened dolphin - it was all very good. Jeff & Amy have not changed at all - they both were very happy to be here in paradise rather than Hotlanta. We didn't see them yesterday but I'm sure we will see them again soon. In fact, I've found a place here in Islamorada where the owner/cook will fix just about anything I want so I'm thinking about ordering a meal for us to have tomorrow night - I'm waiting to here back from Jeff now.
Last evening we met Wendy and two of her friends at the upscale restaurant called Pierre's. I've not been to this fine dining establishment since I started going to coffee meetings 9 years ago. It is very nice, the service was excellent, and the food was wonderful - it was rather pricey too. It cost us about $75/person without ordering a bottle of wine although John & Wendy had a glass of wine - the bar bill was paid separately. Basically it is about twice as expensive as Lazy Days, Uncles, etc. mainly because everything was a la carte - we paid $11 for your basic house salad for example. We all enjoyed it but I must admit it's too expensive to visit more than once IMHO.
Later today Wendy's friends are flying home in their plane so we will fetch Wendy in Marathon to bring her back here. This is the first time I've seen Wendy in person since I left Atlanta although I do talk with her on Skype on a regular bases. It was fun talking about some of the adventures we've had together all over this big blue ball call Earth. Some of our escapades are hilarious - I enjoyed revisiting some of these places. I'm sure we'll talk a lot more about our trips in the next couple days.
Here is a picture from last evening.
We've had down right sh*tty weather here for the last two days. yesterday it was mostly overcast all day with heavy thundershowers late in the day and into the night. Lots of thunder and lightening. John and I saw some "new arrivals" in the hot tub last night around 8:30 when there was lightening everywhere - BWT I met these 20-something folks in the pool the day before. It was not a good time to be in the hot tub IMHO.
It's been overcast all day with lots of wind. Wind, wind, and more wind - white caps on the ocean everywhere. Some gust got up into the 30 - 49 mph range with steady wind at 10 mph. The thunder was so loud you could hear the windows in our condo shutter. The bad news is this pattern is going to hang around over the weekend according to some locals with whom I've talked.
When John was fishing the other night on the sea wall, he managed to cause his cellphone to fall into the ocean - we discovered it is not the waterproof model. For John and a lot of other young people, a cellphone is as important as breathing! While he was having major withdrawal symptoms since Wednesday night, he got everything resolved when Sprint sent a new phone overnight - he is remarkably better today night that his link to the outside world has been restored. You should have seen all the calls & messages which accumulated in just a day - he was contacted by more people than I even know! I do understand his frustration while without a cellphone - I would feel the same way without a computer I think.
While at coffee this morning a lady told me about a great little deli with what she described as wonderful food. I went by after coffee to talk with the owner who's name is Debbiy (I spelled it correct). She bakes all kind of stuff, makes the best sandwiches on the island according to some and even fixes an evening type meal although there's no menu for the evening - she fixes different things based on what she wants to do that day. I like her and her little shop a lot so I'll be going by to sample her cuisine. I didn't see a key lime pie so I asked her if she makes them - her response was I'll make some today so come back around 2PM. The pie looks fabulous - it had just come out of the oven so it was still very warm. She told me to put it in my freezer which is were it is now. Key lime pie report to follow soon.
John took this picture from our 4th floor patio. The hot dude is me.
Have you boys and girls been watching the island cam? There are not many folks here this time of the year which means quite often we might been the only ones in the pool. I like to listen to Rush while I soak but I don't do it for the whole 3 hours. When I get out of the pool I smell like chlorine which I guess is better than my usual odious self. The pool is very nice this year.
Of course JV went to the gym returning in the early afternoon. What gets me is he's usually gone 4 hours - what do you do in a gym that long?! I know it's a 15 to 20 minute drive each way but even so, he sure does work out a long time. I've not got any problems with his schedule by the way, I'm just jealous I don't have all the energy John has! Youth sure does have it's advantages, huh?
We went to Winn Dixie for the usual stuff - bread, milk, deli meat, juices and of course ice cream. Blue Bell has a new flavor I bought to try - it's called candy jar - Mmmm. I wonder if there are any calories in this ice cream? After the Winn Dixie trip we decided to eat in last night or actually out on our balcony - there was a breeze and no bugs. Without a breeze, there are bugs around here and believe it or not they like old, tough, nasty me almost as much as they like John.
Later this morning I'm going to see if I can help Robin with a computer issue. Yesterday as we were going shopping Robin came into the gate on his hog (motor bike) and he mentioned the problem. At this point I don't know what it's all about but of course I'd like to help if I can. As soon as TB returns from Vero I'll have a Windows 7 installation disk I know works because I used it on this machine - I'll try to put the OS on John's laptop as well as Robin's daughter's laptop.
While I was watching a movie last night John went down to the sea wall to fish. This night fishing on the sea wall is an annual event and there have been many times when something was caught - often a shark. Heck a tarpon was caught a couple years ago by a fried of Bridget's while they were visiting. I've not talked to John this morning but as of about 11:15 last night the only thing he was catching was a buzz!
Tommy left for Vero yesterday morning so without a early "boat event" planned, John slept in until late morning. Of course I got up to go for coffee and socialize with my fellow coffee drinkers - we had a good gathering yesterday. I talked to TB late morning and he had arrived safely to Vero - he was at his office.
Of course JV went to the gym while I went to Robin's apartment to burn a new DVD with Windows & installation files on it. The burn was successful but once again I got an error about 40% into the installation process saying some files were missing. At this point I'm not sure the files were missing from the disk or from the laptop on which I was trying to install windows 7. I do have an installation disk I used for this laptop I'm using now so I asked TB to bring it down when he returns - my cousin, Alice the cake backer, will get into my Vero villa to retrieve the DVD for TB.
Of course I had pool duty during Rush's radio show - John joined in once he returned from pumping iron. We decided to go looking for some gifts at various shops here in Islamorada with some degree of success I might add. I'm not going to mention anything in case a potential gift recipient reads this post. I did buy John a large "Conch Republic" flag to hang over his closet door at school - it's a cool flag.
While in the pool "UVA Jim" came in to bore me once again with the same old sh*t I hear every year. You know, his condo in Key West, his condo in the Bahamas, what he eats, etc. When our little group is here it gives him fresh meat with which to bloviate. On the other hand, Jim with his dog is always interesting.
Last night was a clean the left-overs out of the frig night. We ate out on the porch which is usually very nice but with zero wind it was hot - returning to the AC was the only thing to do. Plus, there are bugs without wind. No plans have been formulated for this evening's dining - we are going to Winn Dixie this afternoon. I'm out of ice cream!! We need bread, cereal, fruit, etc. Young John can eat about 3 times as much as the average guy so bread and meat do not last long.
Today's picture was taken by John last night as he was doing laundry - the sunsets look like this almost every night. For some reasons, the sunsets here in the Keys are always better than most other places.
One would thing one comes to the Keys to kick back but we'll have none of that! TB, John, and I have been busy everyday most all the day. It takes an effort to keep you boys and girls informed with this, that, and the other thing going on. What do I mean exactly you ask?
Take today for example. At 6:30 I got John up to go meet Tommy, have breakfast, and then go fishing with Jim who lives here year round. They went out to the 409 hump fishing hoping to catch blackfin tunas or dolphin - today was not a catching day. They got back in in time for a late lunch and now John is off to the gym as he is most every day.
Yesterday I agreed to load Windows 7 onto Robin's daughter laptop - the OS just like the one I'm using now. It was tough to find a DVD burner to mount the ISO file but it turns out Robin just bought a new laptop with a DVD burner. I burned the file then tried to install the OS on Mandy's laptop but after it gets to the 40% completion it fails giving a file error - I tried twice. So today I went next door to Bud & Mary's to use their DVD burner but it wouldn't even burn - what's up with that? Then I tried Don's computer - the one I fixed last week - but once again I got an error message. Have several attempts I decide to use Robin's laptop again with a freshly downloaded ISO file and a new disk as soon as he returns.
My cat sally is better but we are going to take her back to the Vet tomorrow at 9AM then John will go off to the gym. I think TB is going back to Vero tomorrow for a few days - he says he has grove work to do. Frankly, I think he should hire someone to do the work while he stays here but you know how stubborn he can be. After lunch, JV & I are going shopping for his GF.
For the last couple days Tommy has been cooking for us. Last night it was fresh scallops cooked on the grill and it was fresh yellowtail the night before - we are not going hungry. TB loves to cook, John loves to eat, and I obsess over clean-up - the system works very well. The 3 of us can have a seafood dinner for about a third of the cost of Lazy Days or Uncles. With TB gone John and I have cereal to survive on until he returns. Ya.... you believe that don't you?
I've become very popular among the few residents here because the word is out I can help with computer issues. Worry not .....I do not let anything get in the way of my pool duty. Of course I go for coffee every morning and was the guest speaker at Saturday's 8PM speaker's meeting. So many heard about my speaking we almost had to move to a football stadium to accommodate everyone. HaHaHa It went well and of course I like to hear myself talk.
Now I've got more pool duty. John has been doing laps in the pool - see picture.
Tommy and John took Buddy Emmit and his wife fishing - the weather was iffy in the AM so they didn't leave until just after noon. The found birds and weed but after 8 hours of fishing they got two small dolphin and one big enough to keep. When they returned to the docks around 8 everyone was tired but said they had a good day. I stayed behind this time because I knew the length of the trip was open-ended - I prefer knowing how long I might be out.
John came in beat...I mean really tired. We order a rib dinner take-out from Outback and after eating it John went to bed. Today the same people who went fishing went out diving but once again the weather was bad until about noon. I expect them back anytime from the trip but I've got got a clue as to how long the clean-up will take. You know the routine - flush the motors, clean the boat, refill the tanks, wash & dry the dive gear, etc. It has tuned out to be a very nice day. Once again I stayed here knowing I've got to be good to good at the night version of a coffee meeting. I've been ask to speak so I'm sure we'll need to move the meeting to a local stadium to accommodate all the attendees. Once the word is out I'm the Saturday night speaker there will be lines waiting to hear me. Then again, if the word is out, we may have to bring people in from the street so somebody will be there!
We had trouble with out Comcast TV this time so a repair guy came out. There was a bad cable running from the wall to the TV so a new cable fixed the problem - I TV is really good now but it still is a damn analog TV. I can't conveniently watch my video media so maybe I'll just not watch any until I return to Vero. When I do return, I've offered to help Buddy & his wife with their computer problems - they've been screwed by the same people who tried to screw Walter. The computer people really pulled the wool over their eyes so they ended up not even retrieving the computer in question.
They think it got a virus but the people at the shop said they needed a new hard drive - I'd try to re-install the operating system first because that would wipe the drive clean in the first place. They also said they could not recover the files on the drive..really? Hmm... I wish I had that machine because even if it did need a new hard drive the rest of the hardware worked. I think this fix-it shop takes advantage on folks who for the most part don't know anything about their computer.
The pool is very nice and warm enough for me - daily pool duty is required. John comes in once and awhile between feedings. That boy can eat! John has feedings about every 3 hours all the time he's awake. He can eat anything and as much as he likes - I warned him that will not always be the case. You remember what it was like to be 22 don't you?
This early morning we had those real loud thunder-boomers come through starting around 3:30 and lasting until just after 7. Tommy was taking some Vero friends out fishing this morning with John as his first mate but the weather postponed the trip. Now that it is clearing up I think they may still go later today. The radar looks a lot better now compared to 6:30 this mmorning. I was not going because of two things - my coffee meeting and I did not want to be on the boat all day which is a real possibility if the afternoon "bite" kicks in. I'm old and now would prefer a half day trip rather than a 12 hour marathon which doesn't include the preparation or clean-up upon return. The verdict is still out for a later trip.
TB bought some fresh yellowtail yesterday at the fish market so we all dined on this wonderful fish along with grits of course. The meal was really great! John and I were wondering how we would survive without Mary Ann here to prepare all her culinary delights - TB has taken up some of the slack. Of course we can always go out but a $70 meal every night can wear on me. I think tonight might very well be another night out.
We went T-shirt shopping yesterday however I could only find one T-shirt I really wanted. So many of them are too "loud" for me or too tourist-like for me. I'll likely get another Guy Harvey but that may be all. John found a pink Guy Harvey T-shirt he thought would be great for his bartending duties at FSU. You know how outrages bartenders can be in their dress. The shirt looks good on him.
I'm keeping up my pool duty tasks pretty much every day starting at noon. The water in the pool is WONDERFUL so sitting in the pool while I listen to Rush continues to be my mid-day activity. John gets up every morning to head for the gym around 9 - he returns after 12 or even sometimes after 1. Just how long can you workout? Jeez! With the long days here there is still plenty of time to do other things.
You folks remember Don don't you? Well it turns out his gaming computer is dead so I told him I'd give it a once-over. The computer will not start - no fans or the hard drive will come on. I think the power supply is bad so I ordered another one from eBay with the intent of replacing the old power supply. It will not be easy to get it out then put a new one in but I'll try as soon as I get the newer one delivered. I usual give a "tip" to Don for the time we're here - if I get his computer working again, this will be my tip for this year.
Just got a call from TP here at 9 - I think the trip is back on again.
Monday was a rather slow day around here because of the wind and rain. The roads were like a parking lot with all the weekend visitors headed back to where ever. Last even we all ate left overs or take home from Lazy Days the night before. Today (Tuesday) was more interesting.
Sally Cat has been sneezing a lot, not eating much, and not as active as usual so I took her to the vet this morning - she has an upper respiratory infection. She had a fever and there was fluid in her lungs so the doctor gave her an anti-biotic and some other kind of shot. We are to return in a week for follow-up and more shots if needed. I think she has been hanging around Tommy too much and got the infection from him. I'm glad we went in today before it got any worse - I hope the shots will fix her.
Late morning we all piled onto the boat with our dive gear and headed to Alligator - TB & John went diving while I guarded the boat and listened to Rush on the radio. They were under for just over a hour - both said they enjoyed the dive. Of course once back at the docks the work began on cleaning everything and....yep, you guessed it...flush the motors. I sometime think Tommy takes the boat out just so he can flush the motors. One thing for sure is that boat should last a long time the wayTB takes care of it.
I've been trying to find a DVD burner so I can mount an ISO file on it - my computer only has a DVD player, not a burner. I talked to the guy that owns Bud & Mary's and he said to just come over to see if one of his computers has a burn. Desktops are much more likely to have burns than are laptops. The ISO fife is an installation file for windows 7 Ultimate which I plan on installing on John's laptop - I have this operating system installed on my laptop. This is a fully functional copy of the OS which installs and is then good to go. It may die at some point but for the recent pass it's been working for me. Anyone else for Windows 7?
Another day in paradise and while it was overcast in the morning the skies were bright and clear by 11AM. We all had "pool duty" from about 1 to 2:30 yesterday but then it was time for "boat duty". Tommy has not taken his boat out since it arrived on Friday so it was time. Besides, after running the boat there would be an opportunity to flush the motors. We went out the Holiday Isle bridge then came in at the Bud & Mary's bridge but stopped for a swim just North of Alligator light before returning.
The water here is clear and warm enough for mew to get into it as I did yesterday. It is really nice folks - wish you were here. Ty and John did some snorkeling - they both found lobsters waiting for our return in a few weeks. I have a feeling this might be a good year for gathering bugs. TB and I just jumped into the water and enjoyed the ocean. Being in the ocean is a lot more fun than the pool IMO.
While going out the channel at Holiday Isle we saw tons of boats at the sandbar on both sides of the channel. Tommy seemed to be amused when several people yelled "Cracker" as we went by. The place was really crowded with loud music (my favorite), half naked people, and lots of adult beverages of course. Ty and John wanted to stop but Tommy wanted to keep on going as did I. He doesn't like all the crowds thinking it would be hard to park the boat or it might get hit - both are true of course.
We did not go to see fireworks although John did call Holiday Isle and Morada Bay - neither had displays. At my coffee meeting this morning I was told WorldWide had fireworks but who would know? Nonetheless, we could see and hear folks shooting off fireworks all around us. I was really tired so I went to bed about 9:30 and even John was in bed (alone) by 10. It's tiring having all this activity on us old folks but last night Ty & John were not far behind.
John and I had left overs from Lazy Days around 6:30 but John also had a second feeding at 8:30 with TB & Ty - TB grilled chicken. At the time they were eating I was having my daily requirement of ice cream and Key Lime pie. I bought a whole pie from the Midway Cafe which is good by the way but not better than some others. I can tell you the Key Lime pie at Winn Dixie is on the bottom of the scale - I'll not buy that again.
I'm not sure what the day will bring but it is nice and sunny at 9AM. If you want to see the Island Cam, click on the link here on BillsView.
We made it safely to the Keys in less than 4 hours including a stop in Key Largo at the Comcast office for a TV box. This year I decided to get a Comcast box so we can get all the channels I get in Vero plus some premium channels like HBO, Showtime, etc. Don't get me wrong, we are not staying in the apartment watching TV but when we are in I like to have all the options. I set on the TV box without a problem but once again I had a problem with Comcast internet service. It turns out my modem was not getting a signal so a service dude came out to check it out the next day. It seems there was a wire loose on the roof so that was easily fixed - what was not easy is my modem still did not work. When trying to connect it gave me a message "your modem is no longer supported by Comcast". Jeez! So John went back to Key Largo to get a modem.
We had a self install kit which failed on my 6 attempts both with my computer and John's computer. One time I got a message saying my operating system was not supported!! What's up with that - I have Windows 7 Ultimate on this laptop. Finally I called Comcast technical support and fortunately got a sweet young lady that new what she was doing. We ended up having to change our assigned IP and then reset my computer to the new IP. All works well now with really fast speed. BTW, while waiting to get Comcast up and running, we were able to connect to the WiFi here at the complex - we could not connect in years past.
John has been helping TB unload all his stuff from the boats, the red truck, and his Tahoe - this was a two day event. Ty drove the red truck down from Vero on Friday - he's rented a car to drive back to Vero on Tuesday. At this point we are set up and ready to do whatever. The usual first trip to Winn Dixie was a $187 event - John and I had to get all the basics. The future trips to Winn Dixie should not be as pricy now that we have butter, bread, milk, fruit, mayo, etc.
We've gone out to eat 2 of the 3 nights we've been here - first to Outback and then to Lazy Days. Both meals were really good but the prices sure have gone up. Since last year, I think the menu prices have gone up 15% to 20% - no kidding. Of course everything is more costly here in the Keys so I expect some higher prices - I'll give another report after we go to a few more eateries.
John has joined "Froggies" which is his local gym while here in the Keys. As many of you know, John is addicted to going to the gym which he does just about every day. Of course I go to the 7 AM coffee meeting every day as well - most people I see I've known from years in the past. I feel at home here in Islamorada.
The pool is very nice which for me means the water is not too cold. We've not been on the boats yet but will likely go out today if the weather is good - it's a bit overcast this morning. Tonight there are fireworks at a couple places like Morada Bay and Holiday Isle - I'm not sure what we might do. On our first day here we went to the Tiki Bar at the Outback where John met a waitress who has asked John to go drinking every night with her "group" - mostly waiters and bartenders from next door. I'm sure John will be invited to join the crowd this evening as he has once before - it's nice to know some "locals".
Today's picture was taken by Ty on his cell phone while we were at Lazy days for dinner. I had a wonderful shrimp-pasta dish - looks good, huh?