Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One of the downsides to being in a career field for a long time is that sometimes your professional life spills over into your personal life.  I can imagine how an accountant might view his friends as 'personal exemptions' after a lifetime of doing taxes.  Some of my business executive friends can't stop talking in corporate speak.  A conversation with them will always include words like 'synergy' and 'organic'.  Problems are 'challenges' and obstacles are 'learning opportunities'.  I don't know if I have ever had a real live "Aha moment" but I faked one once at a dinner party just to keep the conversation moving.   I also have a couple of friends who teach elementary school.  I think you have to be a special person to do that for a living.  But I think that after a few years behind the desk, many have trouble turning off the persona they use everyday with their students.  When at their homes, for instance, we have to make sure we use our  'inside voices'.  Once we were invited to a cookout and I am sure that when the food was ready, the hostess told us all to "line up."  I truly wanted to ask her if we had to sit 'boy-girl-boy-girl' but I don't think she would have gotten it.

So after 30 years of flying around airplanes, I too have some spillovers to deal with.  This last trip up the west coast of Florida was a perfect example.

One thing pilots always have in the back of their minds is a backup plan.  Doesn't matter what the situation, we are always thinking 'what if'.  What if the weather is bad?  Where we going to go?  Better have a plan.

What if something breaks?  Where you going to get it fixed?  Better have something in mind.

What if?  What if?  What if?  It is enough to drive you (and your spouse) crazy.

So, me being the itinerary planner, I seem to worry a bit too much about the schedule.  Originally, we were going to go to the Bahamas.  I don't know how many schedule iterations I went through before we finally scrubbed the trip, but it was a ton.  Granted, there are a lot of 'what ifs' involved with a trip like that. I mean you just can't fire up the engines and take off across the ocean, can you?  Well, I can't.

The western Florida cruise should have been a piece of cake.  From Fort Myers, where the trip began, until we reached our destination of Clearwater, there are many great anchorages, marinas and attractions for us to visit.  If there is anyplace on the water that you can just wing it and be safe, western Florida is it.

We started off thinking we were going to take three weeks to a month to visit all the places on the agenda.  We were going to spend three days here and two days there.  I had us staying at a marina in St. Pete for a week and an anchorage in Useppa Island for 4 days.  I poured over the guidebooks and internet for every scrap of information I could find.  After a few days I proudly showed Kim the fruits of my labor.  "Huh!" she remarked.  "I bet we don't do a quarter of all that," she said.

"No way!" I told her.  "This is going to be great."

"Well" she said, "let just provision for a week to start.  We can always buy more food as we move up the coast."  I was fine with that because, what if something happened and we had to abort the trip, etc. etc. etc.  I was at it again.  The 'what if' syndrome.

We left Ken's house and started up towards our first destination - as planned.  As it turned out, that was the only day that went off as envisioned by me.  We were going to spend three days at the first anchorage, exploring the beaches and restaurants in Useppa Island.  Each night as we sat on the back deck of the boat thinking about what we would do tomorrow, it seemed like we would lose a day off the itinerary.  Our first stop ended up being two days instead of three.  We skipped stop number two and went straight to stop number three, thinking we would just add a day on at that destination.

I think I drove Kim crazy going over every possible variation in the schedule we might undertake.  "We can stay an extra night in Tampa if we skip night number seven in St. Pete," I would tell her.  Or, "there's a great band playing on Wednesday in Sarasota but that would mean we would have to skip the Venice anchorage," I said to her.  This was a daily event for us, this schedule gerrymandering.  I think I was taking a lot of the spontaneity out of our trip as scheduling became more of a chore than something to look forward to.

One night the phone rang and it was our daughter.  She had been in an accident and while, thank goodness she wasn't hurt, her car was totaled.  Since the car was in my name it meant that I would have to fly back to Cincinnati and deal with insurance people.  I also needed to help our daughter get another set of wheels.  This was a 'what if' I hadn't anticipated. 

Out came the paper and pencil and within a few minutes I had another itinerary ready for Kim to review.
"Okay" I said.  "We can turn around tomorrow and still make it to the last half of our original trip if you want, or if you would rather, we can stop in Cabbage Key for blah, blah blah. "  Peeking up from my handywork, I could see that Kim's eyes were glazing over.  "Lets just get back" were her words of wisdom.

So we did.  It took a another week to get Maya back to Fort Myers and tucked away in her slip but we had a good time on the way.  

As we sat at the airport waiting to board our flight home, I turned to Kim and said, "You know, if this flight cancels, we can take the one thirty flight to Atlanta and connect to the four thirty back to Cincinnati.  And if we don't get on the one thirty, we can......"

Judging by her response, I don't think she appreciated my due diligence.


Monday, May 16, 2011

For some time, we had been putting together a trip from the east coast of Florida to the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas.  We had put a lot of time and effort into planning this trip and were very excited about the journey.  The plan was to stay about six weeks, exploring all the tiny islands that make up the northern part of our Island neighbor.  Unfortunately, mother nature did not cooperate with us and we had to scrub the mission.  Turns out that the water levels in Lake Okeechobee (which we needed to cross in order to get from where we were in Fort Myers over to the other side of Florida) were too shallow for us to safely navigate.  They are having a drought in Florida and the lack of rainfall has had a serious impact on the lake levels.  So, discretion being the better part of valor, we decided to go to plan "B" and head up the west coast of the state and visit some of the wonderful ports on the Gulf side.

Our first stop was at our old friends Ken and Phyllis Weber's home.  When I was a corporate pilot at P&G, Ken was one of the pilots I flew with.  He has been retired from flying for many years now but we still keep in touch.  As a matter of fact, Ken was partially responsible for us getting into the boating world in the first place.  Ken and Phyllis have owned a 56 foot trawler for over 30 years now.  Kim and I were so impressed with their boat when we were on it the first time that we thought we would like to own one someday ourselves.  So, 20 years later we found ourselves pulling into the Weber's dock outside their home in St. James City, fulfilling a dream from many years past.

To put it mildly, Ken and Phyllis are living the good life.  Outside their waterfront home on the shores of San Carlos Bay, is where they keep their boat.  They can keep a keen eye on it from the three levels of their home which all have expansive views of the water.  They also have a pool and hot tub from where they unwind each evening to the sounds of lapping water and the taste of a fine pinot grigio.  (Am I sounding a bit like Robin Leach?)  Of course, they invited us to join them for cocktails that afternoon and we happily agreed.

I must tell you that sitting there in his pool with a glass of wine was quite the experience.  I wouldn't call it a vulgar display of wealth but rather the fruits of the culmination of many years of planning and lots of  just plain dumb luck.  We toasted our good fortunes, well aware that we deserved none of it and that it could be all plucked away at any moment.  "Carpe diem!" as they say.

We spent a wonderful evening with Ken and Phyllis.  They took us to their favorite restaurant (in their Rolls of course!) where we dined on the freshest fish in southwest Florida.  From there it was back to the boat for a nightcap and then a good nights sleep.

I hope Kim doesn't get too used to this lifestyle and its going to be hard to replicate it on a daily basis.  But I will tell you that if we have learned anything from our short time at sea, its been to enjoy whatever gifts you have been given, whenever possible.  You never know what tomorrow might bring.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our first cruise was now 'in the books' and it was time to head home and catch up with our lives up in Ohio.  Three months was a long time for us to be gone and I think we were both getting a little tired.  We have Maya tied up to a dock behind a friend's home near Fort Myers Beach. She will stay there for the next couple of months while we get ready for the next adventure.

We were scheduled to attend a Defever Cruiser's Rendezvous in Sarasota the third week of March.  This annual event is a chance for fellow Defever owners to confab together to share stories, drinks and adventures.  We always look forward to seeing all of our friends at the annual Rendezvous.  Its a great three day party.

Around the end of day two however, we started to run out of gas.  We had been boating non-stop almost since Christmas and feelings of homesickness were beginning to set in.  Maya had been put to bed, our car was loaded up for the drive north and I think our brains had already checked out from life on the sea.  As we got ready for the final day of the Rendezvous, we discovered our hearts just weren't in it.  So instead of taking the highway offramp for the meeting venue, we kept going straight up I-75.

We haven't made the drive up from Florida to Ohio in a long time.  Being back on the highway sure brought back some good memories though.  When I was younger, we used to vacation in Florida every summer.  During the high school and college years, there were the spring break trips.  Now that I am in my golden years ;>) I am a little nostalgic for this old ribbon of concrete.

A few things have changed over the years.  Yes, there are still senior citizens driving around with their blinkers on and truckers doing 85 mph on your tail.  That part is still the same.  What struck me the most was the flavor of the billboards along the side of the road.

I remember those benign (and annoying) signs for Stuckey's..... "8 Miles Ahead" or Howard Johnson's.... "AAA approved".  Although those signs seemed to be everywhere back then, they were essentially harmless. During this drive up from Florida however, we were bombarded with signs touting "No Scapel Vasectomies" and "Porn Superstores."  The Coppertone Girl has been replaced by scantily clad XXX models.  I even saw one billboard cleverly advertising "Lookout Mountains" as the come-on to their porn shop.

I am no prude, mind you.  But really.  Do we have to have these signs all along the highways?

By far however, the most prolific ads were for personal injury attorneys.  They were everywhere.  Here is a short list of the best 'easy to remember' phone numbers in case I am in an accident:


and my personal favorite:


I am thinking that a fair number of accidents are caused by people reading those annoying signs and not paying attention to the road.  Probably a potential lawsuit in there somewhere.

Anyway, we are scheduled to make our next trip in a month or two.  The plan is to cross Florida at Lake Okeechobee and head out into the Atlantic Ocean on our way to the Abacos.  The Abacos are part of the Bahamas chain of islands and are the closest to the US mainland.  Only 50 miles east of Palm Beach, the Abacos are a wonderful way for us to get our feet wet as we explore the islands outside the United States.  We are very excited about this upcoming trip and already wishing we could leave tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We left the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys behind and started our way back north.  The "Season" as they call it down here is on the wane.  The snowbirds, having had their fill of tequila and hubris, are making their way back to the thawing permafrost of middle America. 

We left Marathon a little before the rush.  Having some work to do on our teak railings, we needed access to shorepower and city water to complete the task.  The plan was to take a slip in Marco Island for two weeks where we could take our time and finish the job right.

The trip up from Marathon is usually a two day affair.  We were in no hurry and wanted to check out some of the local flora and fauna, so we did it in three.  First stop was the Little Shark River.  Ideally situated halfway between the Keys and the Mainland, Little Shark is in the middle of a mangrove patch, a long way from nowhere.  There were no bars of any kind.  No cell phones bars, no internet bars, no beer on tap.  That was okay though.  It was good to get back to nature and just bask in her enormity.

So we pulled into the anchorage around 2 o'clock and enjoyed the lapping of the waves against the hull and the callings of innumerable birds.  By three o'clock we were into our first beer and by four we were looking at our now depleted cache of videos wondering what were we going to do for the next 18 hours?  We decided to watch a horrible movie called "The Dog Problem" (it went straight to video) and pray that we fell asleep by nine.

The next night was a little better.  We were anchored just outside of Everglades City.  It is the last outpost of civilization before one makes the crossing from the west coast of Florida, across the swaps to Miami.  We knew there was life there as all day long, a steady stream of fishing boats came in and out of the pass that leads to the city.  Our plan was to go and visit the very famous Rod and Gun club for dinner.  A mecca for sportsmen, the Rod and Gun Club has been around for almost 100 years.  Big game fisherman make the pilgrimage at least once in their lives to pay their respects (and high prices) to those anglers who have come before.  The place looks like a TGIFridays, but instead of license plates on the wall, they have giant dead fish.  Anyway, we didn't make it in.  The winds were so high that day that we couldn't get the dinghy in the water.  It was a four mile run from the anchorage to the restaurant, so we would have been drenched on arrival anyway.  So, discretion being the better part of valor, we ate cereal for dinner that night.

The next day we triumphantly made it into Marco Island.  From about 15 miles away, we could begin to see the gleaming white towers of condos off in the distance.  Like magic, our cells phones and air card came back to life and we were once again among the living.  Or so we thought.

Marco Island can best be described as a haven for the over 80's crowd.  I have never seen so many senior citizens in one place in my life (and Kim worked in a retirement community)!  The restaurants are like a funeral home with bar service.  The giant screen TV's behind the bar don't show the big games.  They show Wheel of Fortune.  If an ambulance with sirens blaring passes outside, you can hear the patrons whispering..."I bet thats Maury.  He didn't get his flu shot."  It was going to be a long two weeks.

So while we busied ourselves with the teak project, we also got accustomed to life in Marco... or 'Shuffleboard City' as I called it.  They have a lot of rules down here... and a lot of people watching that you don't break any of them.  Our grocery store in Ohio has an express line for those who have 20 items or less.  The stores down here cap their item count at 10.  So unknowingly, I got in line with a few too many items. Well a hush came over the store.  All you could hear was the hum of Musak and pacemakers.  Then came the stares.  Not the furtive glances we give up in Ohio.  These were the stink eye, in your face, if looks could kill stares.  And they were all looking at me.

At first I didn't know what was going on, but I knew something was amiss.  I looked around thinking that maybe "Maury" had come back to life and was seen over in the incontinence aisle.  It seemed though, they were all looking at me.  At first I felt pretty cool.  Here is a reasonably young guy, in fairly good health, visiting their local establishment.  I must have looked out of place to them.  Maybe they were just trying to remember when they were in their prime and Ike was president.  Who knows.  But they were definitely looking my way.

Finally it was my turn to "check out"  (by the way, they don't use that term in the grocery stores in Marco...its too close to home.)  As I unloaded my cart, the checkout lady advised me of my blunder.  Aha!  That was it.  It was me...over the limit.  Well, I apologized the best I could noting to her that I was from Out Of Town and didn't know any better.  She didn't care.  I think the 'incident' livened up her usual dull shift.

Anyway, as I left I could hear the old farts whispering among themselves and looking at me.  In a final act of defiance though, I exited through the entrance doors and didn't return my cart!  Maury would have dropped dead on the spot!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One of the favorite things we do on the boat, almost every day is enjoy 'happy hour'.  I am not sure who coined that phrase or exactly what it means.  For us, this time doesn't make us any happier, as we are generally in good moods anyway.  And, lord knows our sessions normally last much longer than one hour, however for the sake of clarity and to keep with social colloquialisms, we will refer to our afternoon respites as HH. 

Here in the Florida Keys, there seems to be this fascination with the daily sunsets.  Admittedly they are beautiful.  The cloudless sky and aqua blue waters coupled with the setting sun does make for spectacular vistas.  The local custom around here though is to set your watch (who am I kidding... no one wears a watch around here...) so that when the sun is coming down on the horizon, you drop whatever you are doing and race out to watch the last vestiges of the vesper light.  As though they are paying tribute to the sun god Ra, locals blow their conch horns the instant the sun touches the horizon.  Some say that if you watch carefully you can see a green flash as the sun and earth meet in the final stages of daylight.

I haven't quite gotten onboard with this local custom.  When I hear the daily conch horns blowing, it generally means that I am about halfway through the evening's bottle of wine.  That whole thing about the green flash I think is just folklore.  I think half the population down here is suffering recurring bad trips from acid they did back in the 60's, but who really knows.  I have never seen this elusive flash, but I have made myself available to it.

So every afternoon when the shadows grow long, we meander up to the flybridge where our daily ritual begins.  We set up our little nest, complete with the RDA of wine, cheese and olives (I checked with my doctor.  He said daily glasses of wine are actually heart healthy!) and wait for the horn blowers to start their rackets. The cacophony begins as the bottom arc of the sun touches the surface of the water.  Within seconds, the groundswell of conch blowers grows to a fevered pitch. The noise is almost deafening.   For almost a full minute they celebrate the end of the day....or in my case the midpoint of HH. 

So in the spirit of local customs, I am trying to convince Kim to join me in starting a new tradition here in Boot Key Harbor.  We have found ourselves getting up much earlier in the morning than we did back in Ohio.  (I think it is mostly a function of going to bed at nine p.m. as almost everyone does around here.)  My thought was that we should also celebrate the beginning of the day with a ceremonial blowing of the air horn.... no conch shells for me, thank you.  Precisely at first light, I want for everyone to go outside and make some noise.  If someone doesn't have an air horn they can use the ship's horn (or the horn on their car if they slept there overnight).  It doesn't matter what is used as long as its noisy.

Kim was doubtful that this 'new tradition' would gain much traction.  As a matter of fact, she informed me that if she heard our air horn making any noise at all, she would start her own tradition.  She said it would be called 'unhappy hour' and like our afternoon ritual, it would be daily and last often longer than one hour.

I thought you might enjoy a short film of the views from our mooring here in Marathon.  Just click on the link to see a short clip of the surrounding area.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well, we have definitely found life in the slow lane.  And, surprisingly we love it. 

We are located on a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor right in the middle of Marathon, FL, part of the Florida Keys.  This is quite an interesting place, this marina we are staying in.  It reminds me a lot of the intergalatic bar scene in the movie "Star Wars."  I know Kim has never seen that movie (and if she can help it, never will).  However about halfway through the film there is this snippet where the characters all convene in this bar for a drink.  The bar was filled with all kinds of aliens and species from all over the galaxy.  In the movie, everyone was non plussed about the fact that the person next to them might have four heads or six sets of eyes or whatever.  The bar was simply a meeting place for stargazed voyagers and beyond that, not much mattered.

Here in the Harbor, there is a lot of that same sentiment.  Boatwise, there is everything from multimillion dollar yachts to floating derelects.  Peoplewise there are sailors from every walk of life.  There are multimillionaires and those barely squeaking by on social security.  The great thing about this is that nobody cares.  Everyone down here is doing their own thing and supremely laid back.

Our day starts about 0730 when we get up and read the paper (on the internet) and have breakfast out on our back 'patio'.  I have noticed that since here, we are eating more 'fat' food than we did back in Ohio.  Pop tarts or leftover Key Lime pie seems to sneak into our meal plans anymore.  Good news is that we have lost weight since being here, so I guess we are okay on that front.

Promptly at 0900 there is a radio program broadcast over the marine radio channels.  It is a moderated - freewheeling account of the days happenings in and around Marathon.  New boaters in the marina introduce themselves and those getting ready to leave offer their goodbyes.  We are reminded that yoga classes are at 1000 or there is a pickup tennis league at 1100.  Today there was a briefing put on by some fellow boaters about making the trip to the Bahamas.  Anyone contimplating going was encouraged to attend and those who have been there, generously offered any tips that they might have.  Beyond that, there is the crap (I mean craft) group, basketball leagues, walkers and lots of parties.  A few weeks ago there was a Super Bowl party held at the main marina building where they had large screen projectors with the game on.  There must have been 200 people there, watching the game and enjoying a beer (or two).

So, we sit, glued to our chairs as we hear all about the day's events on the radio.  Additionally, part of the program highlights anyone who has anything to buy, sell or trade.  Someone looking for help rebuilding a pump (or whatever) can solicit help via this channel.  This radio program can also be a bit of a soap opera as some boaters are called out for making minor transgressions of the rules.  The highlight thus far was when an amourous young couple was asked to keep their... ummm.....'voices' down as their 'adventures' were making quite a racket at night.  As a matter of fact, the boaters in question were moored just down the way from Maya.  When I heard what was going on I thought they were watching porn on their TV and had the volume way up.  Anyway, this went on for quite a while that night and made great fodder for the radio show the next morning.

After the daily radio show (which last about 30 minutes) we generally putz around the boat.  There are always some project that need attention and for the next two hours or so, we look busy.  By then, its time for lunch.  See?  Isn't retirement grand!

After lunch we head to the beach.  There is the most perfect beach we have ever seen a short 10 minute dinghy ride from the harbor.  The sand is like powder and the views are spectacular.  There are lots of palm trees, which I like as I am not a sun lover.  Shade on a beach is great for me.  This beach is run by the city of Marathon and has first class facilities.  From volleyball to cookout shelters, you won't find a better place to enjoy the ocean anywhere.

We generally spend several hours enjoying the sun, sand and refreshments.  We are getting to know many of the regulars who also come to the beach everyday.  Everyone is so nice.

By 4 o'clock or so, we head back to the 'mothership'.  Once back on board Maya, we enjoy happy hour while getting ready for the evening's festivities.  Tonight for instance, we are headed out to the movies.  Sometimes we meet some other boaters for dinner or drinks or once in awhile we just go to Home Depot or Publix for supplies.

I hate to admit this, but by nine o'clock we are usually tuckered out.  There is no TV here in the harbor unless you have a satellite dish.  We have one but haven't hooked it up yet.  We really haven't missed TV so much and doubt if we ever will connect it.  So our ritual of watching the boob tube until we drift off has been replaced by reading a few chapters of a good book or straining our ears to hear the couple making all the noise on the mooring ball down the way.

Anyway, its all good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The past several weeks have been just a whirlwind.  We have been working on the backlog of boat projects non-stop.  On top of that, we moved Maya from her temporary home in Stuart to her winter home in Marathon, FL.  What a wonderful trip it was.  More on that adventure later.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos of Maya's renovation.  We were able to, among other things, finally repaint her non-stick areas and she looks great!

Like any good paint job, the most work is put into the preparation of the surfaces.  We cleaned and scrubbed like there was no tomorrow.  Throw in a little acetone for the removal of any lingering oil or grease (and brain cells.... that stuff is strong) and we were ready to tape it off.  I think we must have used a mile of the blue painter's tape, but it was worth the effort.  Gone was the faded old blue decking, replaced with a lighter tan that was more in tune with our teak and bimini colors.

After a couple of weeks of boat projects, we were finally happy with Maya's condition.  Its been over two years since we bought her and we are now right where we want to be, the exception being the makeover of her fabrics, window treatments and furniture.  But hey, that is the admirals department.  My job is to keep the boat afloat.

So now, its off to the beach for some much needed R&R.  


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We had dinner the other night with our old friends Steve & Diane Koch and new friends Pat & Chuck Berry.  Both Defever owners, it shaped up to be a wonderful evening of food, drink and boat stories.  Steve & Di live in Stuart on their boat, and Chuck and Pat have been here a long time as well.  Both couples knew the area well, and when the decision on where to eat came up, they both zeroed in on the same restaurant.

A sushi bar.

I love sushi and all things seafood.  Kim does not.  I will eat anything that swims in the sea.  Kim will not.

For the entire time we have been married, Kim would not sample, not even nibble anything from the ocean other than fish (cooked).  Being from Ohio doesn't help as the seafood we get isn't exactly fresh.  My guess is that the most popular 'pescado' dish eaten in our neck of the woods is the Filet o Fish from McDonald's.   (BTW, the filet o fish and the hash browns are the exact same food item.  They simply add tartar sauce and cheese to make it a 'fish' sandwich.) Now that we are boaters and will be near the water, there is a whole new world of seafood delicacies awaiting us.

So when Kim found out we were headed for sushi, she kinda wilted.  Always a good sport, she didn't say, "let's go somewhere else" or "I hate sushi", but rather "sure, why not?"  Usually she can find some kind of food alternative when we get into a situation like this, but that night, my intuition told me otherwise.

The group decided to get the house specialty, the sushi 'boat'.  I must say that is was beautiful.  It was arguably the best seafood display I have ever seen and boy did it taste good.  Kim did manage to find something else to order, however midway through the meal something magical happened.

I don't know if it was the wine, our table mates or the "new" Kim in charge, but she decided to take a whack at some of the sushi items.  I am not just talking California rolls here.  She was trying octopus and crab.  I think I even saw her take a bite of her long time nemesis, shrimp!

I wish that I could report to you that she loved all of the things she tried and that a whole new world of restaurant choices was now open to us.  Such was not to be the case.  She really didn't like anything she tried.  But hey, this whole cruising thing is about trying new things and Kim started things off with a bang.

A few days later we swung by the Golden Arches for a quick breakfast.  As Kim dived into the hash browns, I couldn't help but smile.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

When I was younger, I like reading about Greek Mythology.  All those tragic heroes were interesting to me.  I often wondered how those folks managed to get themselves into so much trouble and why the punishment for their infractions was so swift and severe.

My favorite character was Sisyphus.  Sisyphus was a bad dude.  His crimes included murder, incest, avarice and deceitfulness.  Interestingly enough however was that his eventual punishment was for hubris against the gods and not for the other awful things he did.  The thing that most people remember about Sisyphus however was his punishment.  For eternity, he was sentenced to roll a huge rock up to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back to the bottom before he could ever complete his task.  Talk about your exercises in futility!

In some ways, I think that Poseidon, the god of the seas, is looking down on us from the Pantheon, delivering his own brand of 21st. century discipline to boat owners around the globe.  What is that punishment you ask?

Any boat owner can tell you without missing a beat that the punishment I speak of is cleaning.  Like Sisyphus, we have been relegated to spend the better part of whatever 'boating years' we have to scrubbing, polishing and shining our ships.  It never ends.  Once we have gotten the boat all spiffed up, the process starts over again.  Round and round the hull we go,  endlessly removing dirt and grime and salt and filth.  

To add insult to injury, Poseidon has hackled us with no ordinary dirt.  No, the scum that we must deal with won't come off with ordinary soap and soft rags.  The super race of mold and mildew boaters face is unlike that of mere mortals.  It is industrial strength.

A few weeks ago, Kim decided to tackle a job that we have both been dreading.  It seems that our fenders have seen better days and the time had come to bring them back to new life.  I don't know exactly what had overtaken their once resplendent luster, but the fenders were now stained in an ugly gray brown hue that refused to come off.

We tried every cleaner, polish and soap known to man.  We had Comet, SOS pads and even steel wool at work on these bad boys at one point.  After several hours on just one fender, Kim achieved moderate success.  However, the price was high and her determination was low.  We still had three or four more to go and I could see the energy waning from her soul.

Ah, Sisyphus.  How did you survive?

An hour or so later, I noticed Kim on the computer.  She was busy looking up prices for new fenders.  A few clicks of the mouse later, she was free from the bondage of fender duty as four new fenders were on their way to us.  I can't say that I blame her.  Those fenders were nasty.  This isn't something that we would normally do, nonetheless, it did feel good to drop the old guys in the dumpster.  It felt like we were cheating the gods.

Then I remembered back to my friend Sisyphus.  His punishment was for hubris.

I can't imagine what Poseidon has in store for us now.