An Aluminum Anniversary and a Little Blue Box

Tuesday December 16, 2014

wedding day

 

Today marks a very special day in the lives of Matt and I, as it is our 10 year wedding anniversary.  That’s right.  10 years have flown by since we were just a couple of love struck kids, wandering the streets of the Las Vegas Boulevard, high on life and a little drunk on the $0.50 margaritas sold at Harrah’s.

Today we sit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, just as much in love as ever with a pretty good life behind us so far.  It should have been a perfect day for celebrating such a momentous occasion in our lives.  Matt had already done his husbandly duty of buying me a traditional 10 year wedding anniversary gift, something made from aluminum.  Aka, that hunk of metal that awaits us in Florida. There was also a little blue box awaiting me that night that I did not know about.  Something from Tiffany’s perhaps?  Hmmm…we’ll see.  But there was one thing else missing for us to be able to celebrate in a proper fashion and that was access to a credit card or cash.

Let me back up a few days here.  While preparing for our own departure across the Atlantic, hopefully this coming week, Matt and I had been doing the usual provisioning of food and boat necessities over the past few days.  Yesterday while at one of the marine stores here we were ready to drop a pretty hefty sum on a couple of essential items for the boat that we have not had easy access to since we were in Miami back in June.  Upon check-our card kept coming back declined and we assumed it was because we were right around that time of the month when money gets moved from one account to another and we had used up our allowance and needed to wait until today for it to fill itself again.  No big deal.

With the bit of remaining cash we had on us, we hit up the grocery store and bought some of the fundamental food items since we were already off the boat and we knew provisioning would take at least a few trips.  Handing over our last 20 Euro we came back to the boat stocked with UTC milk, cereal and lots of saltine crackers.

Once again we went to the marine store this morning and tried to walk away with our purchase only to find the card declined again.  Getting on the computer to finally check the situation we found that no money had been moved over and there was still only $30.00 sitting in our account.  Not enough for our boat based purchases but enough that we should be able to go out and enjoy a nice enough dinner for our anniversary.  Not wanting the card to be declined at the restaurant though, we decided to hit up an ATM to make sure we had the cash in hand.  Popping over to the first bank we could find we tried to pull out our remaining money only to be declined that transaction as well.

At this point we had zero cash, zero access to any debit or credit cards, and worst of all, no more real food on the boat.  There was a little bread but even the lunch meat was gone for making sandwiches.  Because of the time difference we couldn’t even try calling our credit card company until the middle of the afternoon our time.  As far as living high, or hell, even having a decent day, we were screwed.  Back at Serendipity we munched on PB&J’s for lunch and kept checking the weather now that we weren’t sure how long our departure from Gran Canaria would be delayed if we couldn’t get access to money for a few more days.

As evening fell and we were supposed to be going out to a nice restaurant to celebrate hitting a decade of wedded bliss, we were instead tearing apart the boat looking for any kind of food to hold us over until the next day.  Peeking into the rarely viewed food storage nooks under the settees I came across something that actually put a big smile on my face.  A little blue box…filled with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Something we hadn’t eaten in months and had been joking with Kit and Alex that we were desperately craving, not having spotted it being sold in any stores since Horta.  Dinner had been found.

I was fine with this choice of meal and was surprised to find that Matt was quite upset that we weren’t able to go out and celebrate.  If you remember, he doens’t put much emphasis on any kind of holiday and wouldn’t even know when his birthday came around unless I was there to remind him.  For some reason though, this is the one occasion in his mind that deserved special attention.  But I just had to laugh at the whole situation as we sat with our little bowls and glasses in front of us at the dinner table.  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Pepsi.  This was so absolutely us.  And what a better way of celebrating ten years together than being completely who you are.

12.16.12 a

*We found out the next day that a hold had been put on our card due to the large and ‘suspicious’ purchase we were trying to make at the marine store.  Apparently our credit card company had no idea we were outside of the US even though we always tell them this….and we just paid a $300 marina bill with that same card in Madeira six weeks ago!  With our new cash we were able to get all our necessary supplies and even stuff our faces at Montanditos one last time.  Fully stuff them.  And wash everything down with tinto verano.  Man I need to find that stuff in stores.

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A Tropical Anniversary

Monday December 16, 2013

Cay Caulker, Belize

We eventually ended up back on the deck of Serendipity, trying to pick out the stars through passing clouds. It definitely wasn’t a bad anniversary for ‘having to settle in a boat yard’, but please, please let me be in a tropical location next time around.” I have to laugh at that comment from the blog last year. I had been (slightly) upset that our wedding anniversary was spent in St. Augustine Florida instead of the Bahamas. All I wanted was to be somewhere warm with beautiful beaches. I guess technically, I got my wish this time around.  I just should have been more specific and asked for a tropical location and good weather.

Even though it was still raining on and off, has been all day, and has been for the past five days now, we pulled on some quick dry gear and puttered to town to have a nice lunch out.  I can’t really say that it was romantic, I spent the whole hour and a half with my face glued to my computer.  Can you blame me though? You’ve read what my past few days have been like on the boat. I needed social media interaction.  Lovey-dovey time with Matt could wait, I see him all the time.

After finishing our authentic Belizian lunch, we tried to stroll the town a little before getting rained out and heading back to the boat for the evening.  It turns out that even though I ignored him all through our lunch, Matt did have a special little anniversary surprise up his sleeve.  He’d saved up enough battery on his touch pad that we’d be able to watch a movie together that night.  Piling up a bunch of blankets and pillows together in the v-berth, we feasted our eyes on a Pixar movie while I devoured the last of the hard candy I bought back in Guatemala, the closest thing I could get to Skittles.

It was sweet, and as silly as it sounds, something I really needed in my life.  I miss cuddling up to a good movie.  Unfortunately it ended quite some time before we were ready for bed, and we went back to…reading.  I’d already gotten most of the way through Sailing, by Ellen MacArthur, but my brain didn’t want to take in any more boat related information for the night.  So, I finished out my night by grabbing a deck of cards and playing Solitaire.  On my wedding anniversary.  Oh, the irony.

I just have one big favor to ask, Fate.  Next year will be a milestone, our ten year wedding anniversary.  Please, please, please let us be in a beautiful location, with good weather, and a nice restaurant to visit for dinner.  Something I wouldn’t feel out of place wearing a dress to.  Come on, help a girl out, I’m trying to be really specific this time.

beach on Cay Caulker, Belize

coffee shop, Cay Caulker, Belize

market, Cay Caulker, Belize

bakery, Cay Caulker, Belize

La Cubana, Cay Caulker, Belize

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The Eight Year Itch

Sunday December 16, 2012

(circa 12/04)

 

We were hoping to have been celebrating this in the Bahamas, I had visions of us watching the sunset from the cockpit while sipping a certain bottle of cherry wine that I’ve saving for a few years now, but our wedding anniversary is instead being celebrated in St. Augustine. While I thought we might be able to go into town and spring for a beer or a dessert, Matt surprised me by telling me we could actually go out for a meal. At a real restaurant. It’s surprising because he doesn’t put much stock into any kind of holiday or dates that are usually cause for celebration, even his birthday, but this seems to be the only one he really seems to care about, which if I had to pick only one I guess I’m glad he chose this one. The plan had been to get out on the bikes early in the day and finally check out the beach for once. In the two weeks since we’ve been here it’s actually something we haven’t done yet but keep telling ourselves we’re going to. But summer vacation schedule got in the way and after waking up just shy of noon, eating, showering, and getting ready we only had three hours of sunlight left in the day. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but we’ve heard there’s a charge to get onto the beach and we figured it would be better spent enjoying a full day there.

 Still enjoying the rest of the sunny and warm afternoon we hung out with Georgie on deck to let her do some exploring and bat at all the lines running from fore to aft. She seemed to enjoy the chance to do something new and after some time searching and slinking she picked a spot on the coachroof to roll on her back, throwing her legs up to the sun and soaking in the warmth. Then for a little while I was able to revert back to my previous life of getting ready to go out for a night on the town. Straightening the hair, putting on eyeliner, and rifling through my clothes to find that perfect outfit and matching it with just the right accessories. Something that probably would have been much simpler were it ten to fifteen degrees warmer, since almost everything dressy I have is in the form of a dress and not suitable for the cooler nights we’ve been having. And even though I wasn’t sure if I’d even need it when we left, my one cardigan had been sitting in the dirty laundry bag for over a week without much chance of quickly being pulled out at thrown on. I knew I should have brought that second one! Finally deciding that jeans and a nice tank top with my jacket over it would suffice (keep in mind, I can be a girly girl, these things sometimes matter to me) we pulled the bikes out for the ride into town.

Since we’re so used to to taking a left on the first main street and then following it to the highway where all the main stores are we were surprised at how quickly we made it down to the Bridge of Lions in historic St. Augustine where we locked up the bikes for a walk around. Having our hearts initially set on a certain restaurant we found out they didn’t have the meal that had been on special the last time we had passed by, the whole reason we were going there. Still being early in the evening we decided to stroll the streets until something caught our eye, taking in the ‘Nights of Lights’ while we walked. Strolling past Matanzas Bay we watched the horse carriages wait to pick up customers and throngs of people enjoying drinks and food on outdoor patios. Passing a Mexican restaurant at the end of the road we saw they had a special on premium margaritas and live music playing that night. Glancing at the menu posted outside we kept it in mind but but weren’t sold yet. One other thing we also found was a restaurant next door that apparently has a great happy hour going on Monday nights, only $1 for tall boys of PBR, Steel Reserve, and Miller High Life. Not too sure about the first two (in fact, I don’t think I’d touch the second one), but the champagne of beers really isn’t too bad. We vowed that if and when Rode Trip made it down we’d have to hit the place up with them, eventually stumbling back to their boat for the night which would just be a half mile up the road.

Taking a tour of St. George St. with all of the tourist shops and other restaurants nothing jumped out at us there either and since I absolutely love Mexican food we went back to that restaurant to see if there was anything on the menu that Matt would like as well. He eventually found a few things he could live with and we walked inside, asking for a seat on the patio upstairs. Of course in the basically empty restaurant they seemed to be the only tables that were taken, but we were still seated next to the live music, a guy playing the guitar. Straight away we ordered our margaritas and browsed the menu until I found the tostadas that I had been craving and Matt surprisingly went with something other than a burrito. His all time favorite food is Chinese, but I keep trying to convert him over to Mexican. We compromise and eat both a lot of the time.

Listening to a wide variety of music on the guitar we heard classic rock, alternative, and top 40, but thankfully no Christmas music, which he promised us he would not play. Singing the first few lines to Jingle Bells to see if anyone was still paying attention though he was quickly heckled, by us, and went back to playing much more ear pleasing tunes. When the food came out the portions were so large that I had no idea how I’d be able to eat it all and in the end only cleared half of my plate. The rest was taken to go and shoved into the basket of my bicycle, in a vertical position and sure to start leaking at any moment. It wasn’t enough to send us right back to the boat though and I still wanted to cross the Bridge of Lions to see what was on the other side since we had never gotten around to it earlier that morning. The bridge itself is very pretty and looking down at the water below it felt very different to be crossing over it instead of passing through it.

Neither of us knew what was on the other side on Anastasia Island except that it eventually led to the beach. We had both assumed because that it was ocean front property that it would be filled with mansions and really fancy shops, and we were very surprised to what we found. All we could see were budget hotels and hole in the wall bars and pubs. The strangest part of it all was even though it was just past seven pm the area was completely deserted. There were few cars driving down the road and no one out on the sidewalks. Very different from where we had just come from where I would not have been able to twirl in a circle without smacking someone in the face. The whole feel of this place was just very…eerie. Maybe that was partially due to the couple of hearses we saw parked near the road? (For the haunted tours) I’m sure during the spring and fall months when the sun is blazing and it’s perfect to spend all day by the beach this is a happening seaside town, but in the middle of December it looks like it was abandoned. Getting as far as the Alligator Park we turned around to head back to the boat yard.

Like I said, I had been saving a certain bottle of wine for this occasion, and I had hoped that while drinking it from our cockpit we’d be bobbing around in a tropical cove watching the sun go down and the stars come out. I thought about saving it until we actually did find that spot but right now you could make me just as happy in a turquoise water cove with just a glass of water so the bottle of wine was still opened. If you ever get up to Cherry Country (Traverse City, MI) make sure you go wine tasting and make sure that tour ends with at least one bottle of cherry wine. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so good. With glasses in hand we strolled the yard to look at other boats at the docks and Matt listed all their features while I just nodded my head up and down. I don’t know how he can hold such a massive knowledge for everything boats, but I just let him go off on his tangents and pretend I know a little about what he is talking about. We eventually ended back up on the deck of Serendipity, trying to pick out the stars through passing clouds. It definitely wasn’t a bad anniversary for ‘having to settle in a boat yard’, but please, please, let me be in a tropical location next time around!

Best. Wine. Ever.

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