I know it's been a while since our last update, but I didn't get around to posting an update before we left for Missouri and time has just gotten away from me. On Friday, January 4th, we met Todd's sister, Jennifer, on the road between Orlando and St. Petersburg to pick up Todd's nieces, Shannon and Sarah, and come back to St. Petersburg where they dropped us off at Cathy's house and then went to spend the weekend with their father who lives in the Tampa area.
Todd's niece Shannon (left) with younger sister Sarah (right).
That evening we went to the V.I.P, a Mexican restaurant in Treasure Island, with Cathy and Mike & Mary where we shared a few pitchers of margaritas and sampled the local fare at one of Cathy's favorite restaurants. Mike & Mary left for Punta Gorda late Saturday morning to visit friends before continuing south to Isle of Capri where they plan to spend several weeks at another friend's dock.
Saturday afternoon Todd & I met Steve & Lisa at Tampa Bay Downs to watch the horse races. We had met Steve & Lisa at Cathy's New Year's Eve party and made plans to go to the horse races the following weekend. We tried several different strategies when placing bets, but in the end I made my choices based on the color of the jockey's clothing and, oddly enough, that seemed to work as well as anything! We ended up going over to Steve & Lisa's after the races to spend the night and stayed up late playing hearts and Catch Phrase and we even tried out Wii bowling, which neither of us had ever heard of! We had a really good time, though, and hope to see them again while we are in the area.
The four of us pose at Tampa Bay Downs as the horses roam around in the background.
Lisa and I display our winnings!
The Wii bowling experience - very interesting!
The Captain looks like a pro, doesn't he?
Isn't this special?!!!
We returned to Cathy's Sunday morning and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day poolside before tackling various boat chores on Monday. Todd worked on more boat projects Tuesday while I spent several hours messing with our navigation software which has started locking up when we zoom in on certain charts, an issue that will have to be resolved before we venture too far south. Unfortunately, I didn't make any headway so a call to technical support may be in order.
On Wednesday we took "Life's2Short" to Gulfport Marina to pump out the holding tanks and then we went out into Boca Ciega Bay to test the autopilot and oil pressure gauge, both of which were out of commission during the Gulf crossing. For some reason the autopilot seems to be working fine now (go figure!) and we determined that the issue with the oil pressure gauge is a bad sending unit which should be an easy fix. We were back at Cathy's dock before noon and Warren & Robin arrived aboard "Pepi" about 1:30 that afternoon. We all met on Cathy's patio at 5:00 p.m. for a drink and then Warren & Robin joined us for dinner aboard "Life's2Short."
Thursday was a relatively lazy day with some time spent poolside before enjoying a wonderful meal of shrimp and angel hair pasta, courtesy of Cathy. Mo & Joe had driven down to St. Petersburg from Crystal River where "MOTU" is currently docked and were planning to spend several days on a friend's boat at a local marina, so we asked them if they would mind taking us to the airport Friday afternoon. They came over to Cathy's early Friday afternoon and we all visited for a while before heading to the airport to catch the flight to Missouri.
Lounging poolside at Cathy's. What a life!
Cooking with Cathy - always an experience!
We arrived in Springfield about 6:00 p.m. January 11th and were met at the airport by Nila & Everett Hayes. Everett is the one who came to our rescue last May when Todd needed someone to crew with him while I went back to Missouri to be with my mom. He and Nila also drove to Clarksville, TN this past August to spend a long weekend with us on the boat. We then drove to Shelly's house where she was having a get-together for the Dining Services management team. As you may recall, Todd was the General Manager of Dining Services at Missouri State University and Shelly took over as General Manager when Todd resigned. We spent the next several hours enjoying a first-class meal prepared by Shelly and catching up with the management team before going back to Nila & Everett's to spend the night.
We had made arrangements to meet my parents in Lebanon, MO the next morning to go to their lake house at Lake of the Ozarks, so Nila & Everett drove us to Lebanon and we spent the next week at the lake house with mom and dad. Unfortunately, the weather was very cold and the fish were not biting so we spent most of our time there cooped up in the house. My brother, Dewayne, and his wife Pennie came up the following weekend and took Todd back to Lebanon Sunday afternoon where Shelly picked him up and took him back to Springfield.
I went back to Houston, MO with my parents Monday morning and stayed there until Wednesday when Todd picked me up and took me back to Springfield. Wednesday evening we got together with several former co-workers and friends and then Todd left with one of the University's vice president to go to the Missouri State men's basketball game while I stayed and visited with everyone. By Thursday I had developed a pretty nasty cold so I stayed at Shelly's house while Todd made his rounds on campus, touching base with various friends, former co-workers, employees, University administrators, etc.
That evening we went to Bob & Linda Eckels' house for dinner only to find that Linda was bed-ridden as a result of a foot operation the previous day. They purposely didn't tell us about the operation because they were afraid we wouldn't have come (and they were right!). Nonetheless, we spent a nice evening visiting with Bob and looking at dates for them to come see us in Fort Myers again this spring.
This is Molly, Shelly's little girl.
The Captain gives Dakota (Shelly's main man) some much-needed attention!
Todd went up to campus again on Friday while I stayed at Shelly's and got things packed for the return flight to St. Petersburg. That afternoon we picked Shelly up from work and went to the Springfield Brewing Company where we met a former co-worker, Tim Kilpatrick, and had a few drinks before heading to the airport. The flight appeared to be on schedule but after we boarded we were held up for 3-1/2 hours waiting for the plane to be de-iced! They finally got a de-icing truck that would work and we took off about 10:00 p.m., arriving in St. Petersburg at 12:45 a.m. where Cathy graciously picked us up.
I spent most of Saturday unpacking and putting things away while Todd tried to catch up on e-mail. Robin fixed lasagna Saturday evening and we all sat around chatting and playing Catch Phrase after Todd made a trip to Wal-Mart to purchase it. Sunday afternoon was spent enjoying the sun poolside while "Mr. Todd" put some low-lights in Cathy's hair. We told Cathy that Todd used to highlight my hair and she wanted to darken hers some, so Todd volunteered. Fortunately, it turned out well and Cathy was very happy with "Mr. Todd's" work!
"Mr. Todd" at his finest! Poor Cathy looks like she's being tortured!!!
Warren & Robin left this morning and plan to spend the next several days seeing the sights of Sarasota before continuing further south toward the Fort Myers area. After spending two very cold weeks in Missouri, we are grateful to be back in Florida, even though I am still trying to get over my cold and Todd has now come down with one. Hopefully, the Florida sunshine will expedite his recovery process.