Sunday, June 17, 2007

Still in Demopolis

Last Sunday, June 10th, Becky (one of the waitresses at the marina restaurant) called and invited us to a cookout. Her husband, Keith, came by the marina about 4:30 Sunday afternoon to pick us up and take us to their home. While there we got to meet their new baby boy, Colin, and a friend of theirs, Kevin, who works for the Coast Guard in the area. We had a very nice evening and ended up walking back to the marina, which is probably less than a half mile from their house.

Monday and Tuesday were essentially uneventful but we did invite Wayne over for dinner Tuesday evening. Wayne is one of the "B" dock crew we met and got to know when we were in Demopolis last fall. He left Demopolis several months ago, spent the winter in the Mobile area and just returned to the Yacht Basin on Monday so we wanted to welcome him back with a home-cooked meal aboard "Life's2Short."

On Wednesday we made another trip to Wal-Mart and then treated ourselves to dinner at the marina restaurant that evening. I finally tackled our laundry on Thursday and Todd went to Bashi Creek on a service call with Mike, one of Fred's mechanics. Bashi Creek is an anchorage on the Tombigbee River south of Demopolis. After isolating the problem on Thursday and getting parts overnighted to the marina, Todd and Mike went back to Bashi Creek Friday to finish the job.

I learned on Friday that my mom is scheduled for a needle aspiration biopsy of her lungs next Wednesday, so we made arrangements to rent a car so that I can go back to Missouri. The Captain will stay here and work on boat projects and help around the marina, as needed, while I spend some time in Missouri. We picked the rental car up late Saturday morning and then Fred stopped by late Saturday afternoon to invite us to his house for dinner and a movie.

Todd and Fred went fishing Sunday morning while I packed for the trip to Missouri. The plan is for me to return to Demopolis in about two weeks, depending on the results of the biopsy and what the next step is in terms of diagnosis and/or treatment. In any event, we sincerely appreciate the support of our family and the wonderful friends we've made over this past year as well as those we left behind when we started our boating adventure. You've all been really terrific!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Back to Demopolis

Todd and I returned to the boat in Demopolis, AL on Friday, June 1st. I had been in Missouri since May 6th, Todd had been there since May 21st and the rental car was due back June 4th, so we decided to head south until we learn more about my mom's situation. After many tests, we still don't have a clear diagnosis as to what is going on but we are hoping to know more soon.

My parents' new lake house on the Gravois arm of Lake of the Ozarks.

We had fun watching this feisty chipmunk eat sunflower seeds off the frog's head.

We left Missouri at 7:30 a.m., drove straight through to Demopolis and arrived about 4:30 Friday afternoon. It was a long trip but we were glad to be "home" again. After we got everything unloaded and put away, we visited the marina restaurant to say hello to the girls (waitresses Amanda, Becky & Sharon) and also visited some with Ed and Steve. Ed is a long-time local patron at the restaurant and Steve is a live-a-board on B dock who we met last fall when we were here.

After a late lunch at Pizza Hut Saturday afternoon, we made a run to Wal-Mart and returned to the boat to find that a couple who had pulled in to the slip across from us on B dock in a beautiful 44-foot Carver named "Marlee Ann" was asking about us. As it turned out, Blake & Morele ran across our blog site and have been following our adventure since last June. They spent the past few months in Destin and are headed to Kentucky Lake and possibly on to Nashville later this summer, so we may very well catch up with them again somewhere along the way since that's (hopefully) what our summer plan is.

We spent a few hours visiting and sharing boat stories with Blake & Morele and then stopped by to see Bobbi, a former live-a-board on B dock who was spending the night on the boat while her husband Keith worked night security at the marina. Bobbi & Keith have moved back to Demopolis after spending several months working in Florida this past fall and winter. They recently purchased a place on land near the marina and have decided to become "dirt dwellers," making Demopolis their permanent residence.

Todd went fishing early Sunday morning and ran into Fred, Kim & Asia, Kim's daughter, who were out fishing in Fred's boat. They apparently had a relatively successful morning with Todd catching a couple of nice "keeper" bass and Asia catching a large grinnel (officially known as a bowfin) on her little Snoopy rod. Fred, Kim & Asia stopped by the boat when they got back to the marina and invited us to Fred's house later that afternoon for some pool time and a cookout. Fred's daughter Lindsey and her two children, Hunter & Peyton, were also there so Todd had a good time playing with the kids in the pool while simultaneously entertaining the adults.

The Captain proudly shows off his "keeper" bass from Sunday morning.

Fred also invited a couple of other gentlemen who were staying at the marina to the cookout. They were having their 66-foot Novatec yacht named "Private Affair II" hauled the next morning to store it "on the hard" in Fred's dry lot and then returning to Cincinnati for the summer. We all enjoyed a wonderful meal of grilled pork loin chops, wild rice, corn on the cob and broccoli and then visited with Fred a while longer before returning to the boat.

Fred graciously offered the use of his truck Monday morning to shuttle the rental car to Meridian, MS. When we returned, we watched as "Marlee Ann" got hauled out and then Todd assisted some of the marina employees as they scraped barnacles off her running gear. The barnacle build-up occurred during the two months they recently spent in Destin and even though it didn't look too bad (to me anyway), it was causing the boat to lose about one-third of its speed capacity - pretty amazing that such small creatures can impact such a large boat to that extent!

After returning to the boat, Todd tackled the transmission leak he had discovered when he & Everett were making the Gulf crossing. He thought the seal he had replaced last summer in Guntersville might have worn badly enough to start leaking, but if it did that means the engine and transmission shaft are probably not aligned correctly and we really didn't even want to think about the amount of grief that would likely cause us!

Thankfully, the Captain found a loose nut on the coupler that the fluid was leaking through and resolved the problem with little difficulty. "Marlee Ann" took off Tuesday morning hoping to reach Columbus, MS by evening. The trip is about 130 miles with three locks, but they can travel three times as fast as "Life's2Short," so with a little luck on the timing of the locks they should be able to make it in time for Happy Hour! The Captain went golfing Tuesday afternoon with Becky's husband, Keith, and they both ended up with scores in the 90's, which is consistent with the temperatures in Demopolis!

Todd & Keith at the public golf course.

Wednesday was a quiet day on the boat, as was Thursday, although we did go to Ezell's Fish Camp Thursday evening with Fred & Kim and her three girls, India, Chloe & Asia. Ezell's is in a little-known Alabama town called Lavaca, about a 45-minute drive from Demopolis, and sits right on the bank of the Tombigbee River. Their specialty is catfish and they certainly know how to do it up right. The catfish was excellent and I think we all ate more than we needed to. I know I was downright miserable by the time we got back!

Our group - Fred with his two wives (me and Kim) and Kim's daughters - Asia, Chloe & India. The Tombigbee is prominent in the background.

The Captain poses with his new girlfriend, our waitress Charcy.

Friday morning was spent cleaning the interior floors of the boat and then we walked over to the restaurant late Friday afternoon to say hi to the gang again. We hadn't been by since the previous Friday evening so we were overdue for a visit. Amanda, Becky & Sharon were working again and Ed had his usual spot at the bar. Becky's husband, Keith, also stopped by, as did Jerry, another local patron we met last fall when we were here. Definitely an interesting cast of characters!

Saturday is starting out as another hot one in Demopolis. The Captain is working on some of the boat's exterior wood and is sweating up a storm. We are expecting the results of my mom's latest tests by the middle of next week and should be able to make plans at that point - to either head north on the boat or back to Missouri to be with my mom. In any event, we will update the blog when we know more. Your continued thoughts and prayers are appreciated.