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Life Turns on a Dime


As I write this as we are sailing down the ICW to St James City where we will anchor and meet up with Edwina and Paul aboard Bakhita. I need to catch up on the last two months.

The end of March was full of pickleball, day sailing and mingling with friends. I developed a stye in my right eye which was very uncomfortable – a first time thing for me. My Cleveland doctor prescribed an antibiotic which unfortunately did not take care of it, so I went to a doctor here in Florida. I got a second antibiotic and some antibiotic ointment which improved it somewhat. Unfortunately, it turned into a chalazion – which is a lump under my eye lid. It doesn’t hurt any longer and you might even notice ti but it has played with my vision. I will see an ophthalmologist when I get back to Cleveland for the summer.

Then in an instant - things changed.

My sister Lynne fell and fractured her wrist in three places and needed surgery. Lynne has been in Cleveland supporting my mom over the past five winters and I would not have the life style I have (winters on the boat) without her. That being said, I love my sister and would do anything for her. So, I flew home the first week of April to support Lynne and be nurse and chauffer. She lived with me for the first 10 days after surgery. I must admit it was nice having her in the house (nursemaid role aside) since Bob did not come home with me. The pain medication drip and the soft cast came off after the first week and then she had a lot more mobility.

Family is so important - My sister Lynne is in the purple sweater in the middle. Here she is with my mom, brother (Paul) and nephew (Scott).

Since Lynne could not drive, I stayed in Cleveland and then Bob came in to join me. We had time to meet with a new kitchen floor installer (Jim Novack – my new knight in shining armor) who pulled up the badly laid floor and gave us the good news that the former installer just didn’t do it right and that he could get the floor level without pulling up the original ceramic tile. I also got to see the first pieces of the Hebrew Cultural Garden fountain being reinstalled. The weather held them up a day or so and I am waiting for pictures of the fountain completed and in service.

Then on the 28th we drove to Philadelphia for my friend Nancy’s son’s wedding. The rehearsal dinner was Thursday night (delicious food and good company) and the wedding on Friday (more delicious food, good music to dance to and more good company). We enjoyed getting to know Nancy’s siblings and it was heart-warming to see so much happiness from the young couple. The service was outside (the weather cooperated) and it included a knot tying ceremony which I had never seen before.

Steph nd Trey Hoffner Tying the knot

My beautiful friend Nancy - the happy mother of the groom

We came back to Cleveland just in time to go to Shaina’s photo exhibit Saturday night at the Negative Spaces gallery in Asia Town Center. She was asked, along with about 25 other artists, to exhibit a self-portrait in a variety of media. Her photo was of a bowling ball and a cue ball on a pool table. At first my reaction was – come on, are you kidding?? Then I looked more closely and noticed the reflection in the bowling ball that looked like two eyes. I asked myself, does she see herself as the powerful bowling ball, ten times as large as the cue ball? Or, is she the cue ball over powered by the large black bowling ball. Then there is the figure towering over the pool table. Shaina of course won’t divulge her take on the picture but wants the viewer to think for themselves. INTERESTING! Needless to say, we were very proud of her.

Karen and Brooke - all dressed up

Sunday, we had a family dinner and planned on meeting Brooke, Karen’s new boyfriend. Brooke is in the Navy, stationed in Norfolk and he joined Karen to attend Nicole’s wedding in Columbus. They were to have dinner with us before he had to head back to Norfolk. Plans got a bit messed up when the appointment they had in Columbus went later than expected, but we did get to meet him. He seems very nice and the two of them seem very fond of each other.

We got back to the boat on Friday in time to have a lovely dinner with David, Rhonda and Rachel. The new plan is to head for the Dry Tortugas on Monday which gives us just enough time to provision and move the boat from E dock (not floating) to D Dock (floating). Bob was insistent that we needed to be on a floating dock during the summer when we are not in Florida and unable to watch our lines with the changing tides and weather conditions. Even though we have lots of friends on E dock that would watch it for us. The marina was willing to let us move over so Sunday afternoon we did. – uneventfully.

But, Monday morning when it came time to gas up and head off with Edwina and Paul aboard Bakhita, the engine had a low rumbling vibration and sounded way too loud, our indication that it wasn’t getting cooling water. Bob changed the impeller, checked the belts, and blew out the through hull from the inside but we still weren’t getting water to the engine. We limped back to our dock pretty disgusted. The next few hours things went from bad to worse. This is a 30-year-old boat and some things have never needed to be replaced. But when you take off or install parts and things are moved around – they sometimes break. A small plastic elbow broke which I found a replacement for at Home Depot. Then the screw that controls the clean out for the strainer broke off and we had to make a trip to West Marine - normally 20 minutes each way back to Punta Gorda, where I had just been. Unfortunately, there was a terrible incident on Burnt Store Road (two highway workers were killed in a collapsed trench) that made us take a detour and added about an hour to the drive. The good news is that the part we bought at West Marine is going back as Bob was able to fix the original strainer. Good work Bob!!

After all the work that Bob did trying to diagnose the problem, it turns out we just needed to get the boat bottom cleaned. It had been three weeks since our last cleaning, but the boat, which has ablative paint on it, had not been moved at all during the interim while I was in Cleveland. The growth had covered up the small holes that make up the water intake for the engine. Thankfully diver Joe came early Tuesday morning, cleaned the bottom and we are now underway.

That is enough for now.More to follow………….

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