Merry Christmas 2012!!

Merry Christmas! I just got home from driving five hours to take Cappy and his crew their Christmas stockings and gifts. Like everybody, I've been rushing hither and yon trying to get things done. Now all I want to do is collapse into my nice soft bed surrounded by my nice soft bankies. What I'm going to do first is to put THIS year's Christmas card to you here on our Blog before I do anything else. I'm sorry to say that when I scanned it, and even tinkered with it a bit, the colors didn't come out looking as great as the original art. (...and I notice the snow glitter looks rather pathetic, too...rats.) Nontheless, our wishes for you are not faded. We hope you have a very wonderful Holiday...and because we want to include you in our celebration, we say to you, "Merry Christmas" and may God Bless you richly in the coming year.


LAST Year's Christmas Card...We Forgot to Post :">


Santa's Reindeer??

As soon as the morning fog burned off, I set about deboning the deer that followed me home off'n the boat.

It never fails, as soon as I start butchering or cleaning, scaling or filleting something in the yard, the dawgs are soon at my feet trolling for droppings.
It was like 78 degrees so I kinda hadda hustle to get it did before the meat warmed up.  I muscled the deer out and diced the whole thing, 'cept for the back straps into small bite size pieces. 
We save the long bones to make broth then freeze the broth and it becomes stock for soups and gumbos.
With Peg's help, we got it in the freezer pretty fast.  The Wild Game shelf is under the seafood shelf, in our Cajun freezer.  The seafood shelf is a little light but we not worried.  No tellin' what's gonna follow me home next hitch.  Peg picked at me saying a guy that looks like Santa aughta not butcher a deer in front of God and everybody out in da yard.  She was scared I would scandelize da neighborhood kids


Smoke On The Water, Fire In The Sky

The crew and I set out across the Gulf one afternoon looking forward to an early arrival and a night to just goof off and relax.  I was driving, feet on the dash, music blaring on the radio, both doors open for fresh air, just doin my "Cappy thing".  I had one eye on the GPS, one on the radar, one on the gauges, one on the navigation computer and one lookin' out the window.  The crew was all lounged about the wheelhouse, some inside with me, some sitting on the steps.  The 4 of us were anticipating what shaped up to be a truly wonderful sunset.  I noticed a smoke trail off in the distance, so I grabbed my camera and zoomed in.  It was an oil platform that we service and it was on fire!
I zoomed in my with my camera to see which platform it was for sure, dropped the camera and reached for the VHS radio to report it, when I heard someone on the radio already calling it in.
About that time our Company's phone rang and we were instructed to tie up at a neighboring platform wait for the fire to be put out and then go the platform to pick up crude oil and oily waste water that had not burned.
They got the fire out shortly after dark.  Once things cooled down, literally, the next morning we headed for the platform.
The damage wasn't that bad, mostly burnt paint and slightly warped metal. 
Some one was using a torch and the fumes caught fire.  Thankfully it spread slowly enough that there was no major explosion and no one was hurt.  They were able to extinguish the flames fairly quickly using a foam system so no crude oil got into the water.
Under the watchful eyes of the Coast Guard and Emergency Response teams we loaded the crude oil and oily waste into our barge and brought it in to be recycled.  The platforms in the Gulf number in the tens of thousands and even a small facility like this one has 12 men on board at all times.  Their safety record is very good and you'd be safer on an oil platform than driving or riding on an inerstate highway.  Unfortunately, all too often, even minor accidents like this one and the one that occured this month call national attention and even tho' lives are at stake, lives are at stake in many dangerous jobs around the world. Countrys run on oil. countrys run on nuclear power. Mistakes happen, sometimes on a grandiose scale, like the BP oil spill. But until we have something "safer" and consistantly reliable to replace the energy sources we have, we need to appreciate the talent and hard work that goes into an industry that keeps the country going. There are risks everywhere that could potentially cause major problems that don't have the national media spotlight shining on them. I guess when feces does occur, and it often does, it's fodder for the media. No matter on how large or small a scale of said feces, you can be sure they've got their noses deep in it and love smearing it around. 

Black Out Friday

Out on the boat, me and da crew spent "Black Friday", "Blacked out".  No cell phone, no T.V., no radio, and no computer internet service.  But...we also had no crowded stores and the only line to be found impatiently waiting was the one at the door to the "head" (bathroom) in the morning after the day before's excess.  We feasted on turkey, rice dressing, green beans and sweet tater puddin' for desert.  Maybe not the variety ya get at home but we had plenty.  As ya can see from the pictures of our navigation systems, we truely were at the bottom of the Country. (The little green boat is us. And in the lower photo, we are the where the red arrow is pointing...more than 100 miles south of New Orleans)
You never realize how nice it is to 'have', 'til ya don't.  Something we forgot to be thankful for Thanksgiving is the advantages of the technology we are blessed with.
The quiet day came to a fittin' end as we came in from the extreme southeast of the state.  All of a sudden my phone lit up with several messages and I was again able to hear my sweet Peggy's voice and enjoy listening to the high-school football playoffs.  It's good sometimes to be reminded of the little things that make this such a blessed life we all live.


BBQ'd Redfish

When I bring Redfish home from the boat I usually fillet them off the bone leaving the skin and scales on them.  This is a Cajun trick. (this picture shows one scale side up, two scale side down, for those folks who aren't familiar with good fish or how to cook them. It's pretty obvious to those of us who do.)
By keeping the scales on like this, the flaky flesh holds together and allows ya to put them on the BBQ pit.
Seasoned with our own blend of Cajun Spice we park them on a smokey pit for 15 minutes.
While Pourkey the Pig stands guard, we melt a stick of butter a shot of lemon juice a Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and half a beer in a pot on the stove. (In the house I told Peg, "Take a sticka budder, a good Tablespoon of our spice, 'bout an ounce of lemon juice and a couple ounces a beer...put 'em in that small pan and heat it some. It's got to get to know itself".) 
The fish basted with the spicy butter sauce are then covered for another 15 minutes re-basted til done. (Don't forget, down here in Cajun country, it's against the law to fire up the pit and not include sausage :-P)
Combine this amazing smokey spicy fish with a pale sweet tater and some of Peg's killer coleslaw and ya got a meal fit for a king.
Too bad yall weren't here or this woulda been your plate.  Don't worry though it didn't go to waste.


Louisiana State Fair 2012

  Cappy was sitting at his laptop, drinking coffee, perusing nothing in particular the other morning, when he came across the news that the Baton Rouge State Fair was going on and that they had a jelly judging contest that day...PLUS, if you were going to compete, you could get into the Fair for free. Well, being the kind of people we are, he said, "Les GO!" And with that, we were off. We would have gone to the Fair, just to go to the Fair, my never having been to a State Fair ever, anywhere, but almost as a joke and a get-in-free kind of joke, we grabbed a jar of our Lemon Jelly on the way out the door.
   First thing, Cappy made sure I had my cotton candy, then meandering around, we found sausage-on-a-stick, sausage with onions and bell peppers, and really GOOD (and HUGE) turkey drum sticks for our lunch and supper, all the while on foot.
We saw some pretty funny sights of course.
 Cappy broke about six balloons in a row and won me a teddy bear! We rode on some rides and Cappy took some great shots of the Fair from atop the ferris wheel.
As it was getting dark, as we munched on our turkey drum sticks, we sat and watched an assembly of some of the coolest musicians: Lousiana Hall of Fame members. They were truly amazing!!! They said to come back the next day, as they were going to be there again...one guy was going to be operating the rides and one guy was going to be working the ring toss...not really, but that's what they said.
 At the end of the day, come to find out, our  Lemon Jelly "contestant", that we had brought along as a joke, and had gotten us in free, actually won First Place while we weren't looking! It was just one of those spur of the moment fun-filled days that turned out to be a winner in every sense of the word...Yeah!   


Our New Look

For years now (since back in 2005) We have had the same plain brown blog.  Blogger has been wanting us to upgrade for some time, so today I took the plunge.  At first we didn't like it, but we are kinda resistant to change be nature.  Anyways this is it.  The ads are not nearly as bad as we thought, 'cause Google picks the ones that kinda apply to what we write.  Who knows, we may be able to retire and blog for a livin. 'Somehow I doubt it though, because so far we have made $3. in 6 months of having ads.  Not enough to keep us in beans.


Unwanted Company

We had unwanted company the other night when a coon snuck aboard from the dock where we were tied up for the night.
The scoundrel found a bag of garbage on the back of the boat that was accidentally left out that night and he tore it to pieces.  The next morning we found garbage all over the back deck.
To add insult to injury that raccoon didn't even wipe it's paws before crossing back across our barge.  


Lucky Gator

I ran upstairs to the wheelhouse to do some paperwork while we were tied up in the marsh yesterday, and spied a gray "smudge" across the pass.

I grabbed my camera and zoomed in on it and sure enough it was a gator about 8 ft long sunning himself on the bank.  I don't know how he survived gator hunting season which just ended, but I'm glad he did and it was good to see him enjoying this beautiful Fall day here in the Delta.
It's sights like these that keep me loving my job and appreciating the beauty of all God's creations.

Wild Hogs

Well, I finally decided to get internet service for my laptop on the tugboat.  Now I can post stuff almost as it happens.  So here goes my first attempt.

While traveling down Main Pass, off the Mississippi River, yesterday evening, we scared up a herd of wild hogs.  I've been seeing on the news a lot lately about pork shortage and bacon prices tripling in the future.  It sure don't look like a problem down in the delta though.  Judging by this herd of wild pork chops, looks like there is plenty pork to go around; ya just gotta scare it up.


The Labor of Our Fruits

Although Cappy was home for two whole weeks, the only thing I remember for certain that we got accomplished was eight batches of lemon jelly and lemon pepper jelly (four each). I say we because I was here, behind the scenes "helping". Cappy did the lion's share as will become evident, one'st you see the slideshow I made about the whole ordeal. ....Oh RATS! I've tried and tried and tried and tried to get that slideshow to upload on this new formatted blog post for nuttin'. Now I'm going to have to ask you to click on the youtube link to see the danged thing. It's not that long, and it's our video "channel", Cappy's and mine, so yall should be safe clicking on it. Nobody that we know of has had any problems, but I know there are folks who say they not gonna click on any links. Here ya go:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7wkbQ_cQLg&list=UUe6CkaSkPG0EXROyp-xQkjw&index=1&feature=plcp

And...I've still got a lot of new stories, especially about the great people we met on our travels this Summer. Lots of wacky stuff going on around here, too, like the baby alligator hatchling I found in my kitchen sink (!!!?) the other day. Alrighty then :-) 


Hurricane Issac 2012

I was working on a video/slideshow about riding out the storm. It's too long to put on youtube prolly; 'bout 45 minutes long. I wanted to take off and run away, as usual, but stayed. Thank God for our friends, Sam and Louise. The dogs and I stayed with them 'during'. Because somebody else was 'in the house', I slept like a baby during the worst of it Tuesday night.
  The next couple of days the roads were closed due to power lines being down, so I had to stay longer than I would have liked and the dogs (BAD dogs) wore out our welcome, I think. The BRAT got out of the bedroom during the night where we were staying and peed everywhere in the house and left a 'pile' behind their computer chair. Sam gets up early and didn't the Brat bark at the man in his own house....BAD dog. I didn't know any of this til hours later when I got up and went about cleaning it all up. Only thing; the Clorox wipes makes it look like the pee is still there, Louise and I noticed. And, I had put those denim, velcro belly pads, which I call "pajamas" on them and they somehow don't work at all on these guys.
   Waiting for the electricity to come back on was awful...just awful. The hot, thick stagnent air kept sweat from evaporating off our over-heated skin. I feel so bad for people who, still today, a week later, have no electric or A/C. And not to mention those who have lost everything in the floods and have to suffer in the heat as well.
 I think (my own uneducated opinion) that a lot of the flooding was from some of the water they pumped out of New Orleans's "bowl" with the new high wall all around it. The new pumping system can draw water out, put it into Lake Pontchartrain, at the rate of an olympic sized swimming pool per five seconds. It ran for days and nights. The wind pushed all that water to the west into LaPlace and other towns around the lake. They had to do it. The yearly Decadence festival was going to be taking place that weekend in New Orleans. Don't know what that is? Google it.
   Yeah, I'm down about the whole thing around here. It seems that 'the man' would have his act together by now. It seems as though whenever another hurricane blows through, they have to reinvent the wheel all over again, as to how to deal with things; especially basic services for the people who live here. 
  It is a beautiful place, South Louisiana. No matter how nice, tho', the resiliant folks have learned long ago that they either have to do it themselves and help each other, or it aint gonna get done right...or done right away, anyhow.
  I've been listening to one of our local favorite singer/songwriters, Marcia Ball. (She's the gal ridin' her piano stool 'side-saddle'.) This song just suits me right now. I don't know why.


But Before All That...

Well, I've been working on another slideshow/video and fomenting on 'the rest of the story' about our trip. Yall may have lost interest by now, cuz it's taken me so long to 'get on with it'. I've been messing with the idea of making my own music for the slideshows, too, on the keyboard Cappy had gotten me for Christmas a few years ago. Just as I'm about to start working on all of that, I have to brush it all off the desk in anticipation for this Hurricane, Isaac, which is barreling it's way toward New Orleans. Somehow, we all instinctively knew that it would cast it's eye this way. So now I've got to spend a lot of time battening down the hatches and getting ready for it. Sighhh. Just so ya know. All prayers are welcome.  


On the Road AGAIN

We felt like we were riding by the seat of our pants a lot of the time, despite all the road maps, road signs and the GPS on our trip north to Nova Scotia. We sailed right along, planning on skirting Boston, as we had New York City, but, once again, we fell off the interstate and ended up in Peabody, Massachusetts. I have to mention this for my son, Joe, who likes to remember his business trip there once and learned that you don't pronounce Peabody, like Peabody. You pronounce it like "Peebuh-dee" and you say it fast. Now whenever we can't decide how to pronounce a word, like tomato or tomah-to...something like that there, no matter what word it is, one of us declares, it's pronounced, "Peebuh-dee"...and that's the definitive answer now for any word. A foreign dignitary's name, a strange road name, anything we have trouble with...it's pronounced, "Peebud-ee" and leave it at that. So since we were meandering about Peabody, trying to find our way back onto the interstate and hadn't had breakfast, it being around 11 a.m., we went to a CVS and loaded up on trail mix, "chay-ter chips", bottled water and lemonade, and also we found a  nice dark brown Massachusetts souvenier t-shirt for Cappy. He got to hear the "Bah-ston" accent, too. On the street we saw some old guys, who looked like they had just stepped off the cover of a book that held stories of sailors who had sailed the high seas for half a century and had barely lived to tell their tales. If we hadn't been in a hurry to get into Canada, Cappy would have loved to have stopped and talked with them, but alas, we kept going.
  And we made good time, the weather being sunny and nice. In Portland, Maine, around three o'clock in the afternoon, we stopped and had supper at the Foreside Tavern. I forgot what we had, but I know mussels were part of 'da deal'. I'd never had them before. I guess they were pretty good, but I am still thinking I'm not a big fan of them. Cappy said they were great. Take it from him, tho' and not me, because he knows seafood a lot better than I do. (I just hate finding sand in the food in my mouth, no matter how tasty the food is, spoilsport that I am.)
  On the road again, Cappy and I were thrilled at the good time we were making. Famous last words. If I thought the bad storm that we got under while going around New York City was bad, it was nothing much compared to what we got hit with going up through Maine, toward Bangor and on up. Oh. My. Gosh. It was bad. Bad. Plus, our soft, although new South Louisiana tires weren't equipped to ride fast in those sloshy conditions. Not being able to see the white lines on the side of the road even with the windshield wipers going as fast as they could, other drivers put their emergency lights flashing away, so we turned ours on, too. A couple of  times we had to pull off the highway along with a herd of traffic to wait til we all could see anything so we could pull out onto the road and try again. We heard later in the motel that we had somehow missed being in a tornado, and I don't doubt it one bit. Actually, we didn't get to that motel til way after midnight, because although the speed limit had been 75mph, I could only do about 40mph at the most in that constant torrent. If I tried speeding it up, we would start to hydroplane. It felt like the back of the SUV was lifting up and going off to the left into the passing lane. Scarey stuff. It was interesting, tho' once it got dark enough for the lights to reflect off things on the side of the road, to see deer crossing signs, but more fun was the moose crossing signs. We were very far north now, with towns very far apart. Actually, we never did get to see a moose during our whole trip, but the moose signs were enough to satisfy. (I have only ever seen one real moose in the wild while driving along the New York State Thruway headed toward Syracuse years ago.)
  But hours earlier, before we had gotten to that motel, there on the road, since it was getting so late now, we decided that, we really should try hard to find a place to stay. Good luck with that. It was another thirty miles or so to the border and we didn't know if we'd even find a hotel or anything once we did get into Canada. Exits were few and far between, and we were still slogging along around 30-40 miles an hour in the dark heavy rain. We got off at one exit and saw a motel sign right near, so we drove into the dimly lit parking lot. Immediately I got a creepy feeling; a "Bates Motel" feeling. The place was dark green and spread itself, down along the big, darkened  empty, gravel parking lot, like a tentacle, with it's pale yellow peeling window panes faintly glowing in the dark. The place looked like it had been built in the 1800's. There was a small group of people, drinks in hand, standing around an open door halfway down, with motorcycles parked right up tight to the well-worn long wooden porch. My Cappy was all enthused. He said, "Hey, they look like they may be our kind of people". What I wanna know is: when did I get so uppity? When did I get so snooty? I like people...I really do. I try fitting in. These guys...I dunno. They looked like Hell's Angels to me, but then maybe I was just jaded by the dismal night we'd been having. Cappy is a way better judge of character than I am, so if he said they were nice people, then I'm sure they were, but I didn't want to stay there. Cappy  got out and went to talk with them, looking for the owner of the place to open a room for us. (I don't wanna stay here,  don't wanna stay here, I don't wanna drive another thirty miles in this bad weather, but I really don't wanna stay here.) Everybody tried helping Cappy rouse the owner. They banged on doors, they pounded on doors, they tried calling, they tried  yelling, they tried their phones. I sat there peering at the whole blurry scene through the rain on the windshield. Cappy finally came back and said, "No....we can't get the owner, so looks like we'll have to keep going".  I sighed, "Oh, that's a shame", and I meant it, even though I was relieved,  because we'd have to drive somemore in the wind and rain; wherever it would take us for the night. I'll bet the place was nice, despite my misgivings, too.
  On we went into the night, listening to some really stupid public radio CD's I had gotten for the trip. By then we were the only vehicle on the dark, lonely road. At long length,  we got to the town of Houlton, just south of the border, found the greatest motel, Ivey's Motor Lodge, which is obviously family owned, meticulously clean, sweet little homey touches in the room (and in the morning a wonderful dining room with free breakfast and they only charged $83 for the room and breakfast). It was such a clean place, that I even walked around in my sock feet! And that's really saying something. But when we first got there that night, we were drenched to the bone by the time we got all our stuff dragged through the rain, into the motel. We watched the weather channel and the local weather said there was flooding right in the town of Houlton and all along where we had driven that night. No kidding.  Then we got the best sleep ever with the wind and rain beating on the motel room windows.  In the morning we 'gassed up' and made a bee-line for the border. The weather was still kind of raining, but not as hard as last night, still I had a difficult time with our tires, getting up to speed. I was lucky to be able to do 50 mph, let alone the posted 75 mph. (Yow! 75 mph) We had everything on the dashboard all ready for the border crossing folks.  Our passports, our special car insurance to be able to drive in Canada, and my special driving license to be able to do the same. They let us right in, no problem. It was still drizzling, so as we pulled back onto the road, I was wondering how fast I'd have to drive on the interstate in Canada when I spotted the speed limit sign, "110"....whaaaa? Here I couldn't even do 75, how in the heck am I going to do 110?? Cappy said, "No, Peg, it's kilometers, not miles per hour". That was still kinda fast for the conditions.  We decided to get some literature about Canada and maybe a couple of maps at the Tourist Information Center. (They give all that away free.) Also, they love to talk to people who are traveling and give them lots of advice and updates. Sooo, we drove into the infomation place as soon as we got into Canada. What a very nice group of young, helpful ladies who work there! I can't emphasize that enough. We were having so much fun visiting with them, we had to remind ourselves that we had an agenda to get to our destination before nightfall, over in Nova Scotia, and drag ourselves out of there. So away we went again. They also gave us a laminated conversion chart to be able to tell how fast we were supposed to go, weights and measures, etc.  Whew, so I didn't have to go 110 mph, but 68 mph instead. I did what I had to do until it stopped raining, then we did the 110 klodhoppers per hour, as they came to be called (in Peebud-ee). 
Tell ya what. How 'bout I make you a slideshow with pictures that whizzed by as we were doing our "ROAD TRIP" thing.      Okay, I was trying to upload the video here, but it's going to take too long and I've got other stuff to do, so I'm just putting the link to our youtube channel. Hope you don't mind. (some people don't like clicking on links in general) Anyhow, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILpqyxocIHU&list=UUe6CkaSkPG0EXROyp-xQkjw&index=1&feature=plcp


Whining and Dining (part two)...a CRAB takes on a Lobster

Well...so there we sat in CHOPS restaurant in East Haven, Connecticut, having finally made it into "lobster territory", all the way from "sunny South Louisiana". This would be our first romantic dinner on the trip called, "the honeymoon we never got to take".  It was still dark and rainy outside, but inside here it was all warm and cozy, and...well, Cappy said, "Look at the place; sufficiently tacky enough to be cool". I thought it looked like a place where we  needed to use our best manners anyhow. It had very pretty wood everywhere and here we were dripping rain water onto their nice floor, like everybody else who had braved the storm to get here. It was old and casual, but nice. I guess you'd get the picture better, if I didn't blur my camera so much. 

Our waitress, impressed our Cappy alright. He says, "It shows that a waitress is attentive if she puts one breast on ya shoulder while helpin' ya look over the menu, calls ya "Honey" and keeps your beer glass full". (nice.) I just wanted my lobster. It did take a little while, tho' since they have to "take a live one down" and cook it. I always felt kind of bad about that. But the lemon and drawn butter helps.   It was my first time handling all the tools and hardware they give you to crack open the lobster and fish out all the meat.  The table was loaded with all kinds of stuff, like bibs and...well, just lots of 'stuff'. I opened a little package of wipes, first thing, because my hands were already 'dirty', I thought, from not being washed,...not really, all day. Cappy saw what I was doing and said, with the end of his torn open, too, "OH! Handwipes, I was going to pour it over my potato". Boy, what a couple of rubes. I didn't even know where to start on my lobster.  Cappy said, "It's no problem, I'm gonna treat it like it's a big crawfish", and so he did, quite successfully, too.

While we were waiting for our supper, we were enjoying the live band that was out in the other room. Not in the way we should have, I suppose. Hey, we live in New Orleans territory. We are spoiled. Well, honestly. They were playing Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville", going right along, but kept forgetting the words, so were just mumbling to the music, "...rummin' er six stax, blew out a pop tart...had to get healed, hurried on home". We just looked at each other, "Whaaa???" Then they went over the chorus several times in a row. Boy oh Boy, what would they have done if Cappy and I had started yelling, "SALT, SALT, SALT..." like all the customers do at Pat O'Brians on Bourbon Street...or what ya s'posed to yell when they sing, "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille". (Let's not go there, except to say that I shocked and embarrassed my daughter, Sookie and my sister, Lori, who thought they'd seen me lose my mind right there in front of them, in public. It's Cappy, I tell ya... zall his fault, I never did all that before :)) So, anyway, while we were eating, another song started and I recognized it right away. Cappy said, "You impress me, Peg". I liked that, but then he added, "you knew what that song was just from the first three missed notes". We were being brats, for sure. Good thing the greeter had spotted us for who we are and right away had put us at a table in the back near the corner. While we were loudly cracking and ripping the lobsters apart, they started playing a romantic song, but it was a pretty shakey rendition of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You". With a mouthful, Cappy slurped, "Oh Lord, now dey gonna drag 'Elv-eye' out da tomb...sounds like he's still in there".
Now, I was thoroughly enjoying my meal, but then I overheard another customer say in a crabby disgusted voice, 
"The lobster is sticking to the shell...it's over-cooked!" I hadn't even noticed before that...oh yeah, mine was stuck to the shell, too, but I thought it tasted pretty darned good, once I got most of it into my mouth...yum. Maybe a little tough, but it really, really tasted good. NOTHING like I've ever had at Red Lobster, (but Cappy calls Dead Lobster) where I've only had bits and small chunks.  When we finished eating, I placed my silverware in a thin V-shape pointing from "5 o'clock toward 10 o'clock on my plate, and placed my napkin to the left of my plate, as I was taught, to signal to the waitress that I was finished eating and mentioned that Cappy maybe do the same. He said, "Oh, I'm pretty sure she can tell by just lookin' at this pile of wreckage", and must be she did, because right away, she was there with our bill, we paid, and after Cappy feigned interest in the band, taking a picture, which I will not post here, we were out the door from our first romantic dinner of our "honeymoon that we never got to take". Outside the rain had stopped, it was warm, and the air was so clear and refreshing. I told Cappy thank you for a wonderful evening and gave him a nice big smooch. Know what he said? He said, "Yeah, I really liked that waitress...in another world, she'd be goin' home with me tonight". Yeah, she was sweet, she was attentive, she did have that joie de vivre like Cappy said. Although she was busy, she managed to make us feel special and I appreciated that. But right about then I wanted to "BANG ZOOM!!!" Put him off to another world, alright. Well, he was a bachelor for such a long time...old habits are hard to break; those crusty ol' sailors...whatcha gonna do. Just for fun, a lot of times, I'll point out really "hot" wimmens; and say,"Hey! Look at her, Honey!!" He usually averts his eyes and hems and haws and says, "They aint my type". Well, now I know, Miss Nancy, who is. And as nice as ya are, we aint never comin' back to CHOPS. ('til maybe the next time we come north to Maine). 
 I've gotta admit, I was a CRAB(!!!), there for awhile 'til the next day.  Cappy is such a sweetie-pie, and I know he didn't mean anything by it, so how could I stay mad at him? Here in Cappy and Pegody's World, *I'm* da one dat goes home wit him, and that's all that counts. (til he reads this blog post <:-0) S000ooo....next time we won't be so shellfish; we'll both just clam up instead, (boyyy, that was a stretch).
  Well, with full tummies, we went from there to try to find a hotel and start all fresh in the morning and see how far we could drive; maybe even into Canada. We couldn't even make it out of town that night. We got impossibly snarled in and around New Haven following detour signs. We wound around dark alleys, got off the beaten path somehow, went thru neighborhoods where we knew we shouldn't be, and somehow managed to find the detour again which led us, like a shining beacon to a Holiday Inn Hotel. It was still kind of early, so there was a lot of activity around the outside. (I remember the beautiful Holiday Inn near Lexington, Kentucky that my friend, Louise and I had stayed in...wow, such luxury, and the breakfast room was a true deluxe banquet.) Cappy and I went in to register and they needed to see my AAA card. (It's a good one, this time, not the bottom of the line.) Even seeing it, they didn't honor it. They didn't give us a discount for Cappy being a Merchant Marine, either. They were charging us $155. for one night and stuck to their guns. The one in Lexington was only at the most $89. and it was the same room...layout wise. So, what were our options....oh, let's see...go out into the dark, wet night and get lost and tossed by those crazy detours? I wasn't in the mood to argue, and neither was Cappy, so we settled. They were so very nice to our face and told us to drive around to the side extrance and we'd have easy access to the room. It was a big hotel! I went to drive around to find the entrance, while Cappy found the room. I waited in the SUV and waited, fumed and waited some more. Finally he came out and said we were wayyyyyyyy away from the entrance and that the place was so huge that he'd gotten turned all around and came out the wrong exit. What a mess. Because the parking lot was so jammed and not well lit, we decided we'd better take all our stuff in with us. He insisted on carrying everything like a pack-mule so we wouldn't have to make another long trip, and I didn't carry much of anything. (He still felt bad about the restaurant thing, poor guy, and I wasn't making it any easier for him.) Come to find out after the long trip along a very long hallway, we ended up in the room behind the check-in desk. Were they too ashamed by the way we were dressed to have us simply bring our things through their lobby? (That's what Louise and I had done when we stayed in the room behind the check out desk) Too tired to complain, we just went to bed and got a good rest, anticipating a good breakfast, that would help compensate for the larger than normal cost for a "not fancy" hotel. In the morning, while I was getting ready, Cappy set out to bring us back a cup of coffee and check out the breakfast spread. He came back empty-handed. "They got nothing...no breakfast, no fruit, no cereal, not even any coffee...nothin'." He said he inquired at the desk and they said, "Oh, we don't do that here". (That colored the rest of our trip. Any time we saw a Holiday Inn while we were searching for a place for the night, we said, "NO WAY" and drove on until we found someplace else...anyplace else.) We got our things together and once again, Cappy insisted on carrying all of the luggage. He even had the room ticket/key in his mouth, so he wouldn't lose it when he was going to be checking out. So down the long hall we trudged and came upon the Boston Red Sox  team standing by the door with their duffle bags, and luggage, just joking and talking. I was in a bad mood, which is not like me. One of the duffle bags was out near the middle of the hall, so I stopped and angrily shrugged at it. One of the guys, leaped to move it and apologized. I ignored him and all of them and pushed on out the door, followed by my poor, over-burdened sweet hubby. Once we got everything stowed away, he walked around the outside of the hotel to the lobby to the check out desk, leaving me sitting there, like a big lump. Looking around, I saw the Boston Red Sox logos on vans, etc.  Oh migosh, the real deal, those guys were for real and here I was acting like a rude -itch to 'em. When Cappy came back, he said, he had felt so bad because there in the hall, he'd had that card in his mouth, and his hands full, so he couldn't even say "Hi" or anything to them, so he came back out through the hall, but they were gone. 
   Once we pulled out of the parking lot, of all things...we easily found our way onto the interstate that we had "fallen off from" the night before in that rainstorm. And away we went. We took advantage of the texters and big gaps, stop and go traffic by unwittingly entertaining other drivers, I think, while we were "clearing the air" about issues from the night before...and we both talk with our hands. Soon enough, we were out of  town, sailing north, looking for a place to have breakfast, (or coffee again, at least), singing and laughing at the top of our lungs, more in love than ever. Now, that's how we really roll.  


Whining and Dining (Part One)

We started our roadtrip north to Maine and Nova Scotia with a packed ice-chest, but quickly abandoned the food we'd/I'd lovingly and carefully packed, and instead opted to actually go into restaurants, sit at a table and try out the local fare along the way. Boy, some of that was a mistake.
 We had gotten a good start, earlier than we had anticipated, Cappy having gotten off a day early. The dogs were at their doggy camp with "Aunt Mary" and a myriad of other dogs to play with, and so it was just Cappy and me heading off down the road. We only got a couple hundred miles when we pulled in for the night. The next day we only had coffee for 'breakfast' then put another five hundred miles or so on the odometer, 'til Cappy said it was time for supper. He likes to set goals, like keep driving til we get to the next interstate where we are going, then eat. Oh Come On! Everytime I'd complain, he'd unwrap another granola bar for me to stuff in my mouff. Well, we finally got 'someplace', so he said to pull off and we'd look around. We couldn't find any place, so he said to stop at this car repair place, cuz surely, "the ol' boys workin' there would know of a good local place to eat". The good ol' boy who came out, looked like Dan, our son.

He and his wife told Cappy of a real good place to eat that was popular with everybody, but it was kinda on the back road. We went and found the place. It used to be a gas station, but they converted it into an old-fashioned diner, which did seem to be pretty popular. It just so happened that it was the owner's mother, Edna's 80th birthday, but there she was hustling food to customers from the kitchen. They said, "You couldn't have kept her home even if you'd wanted to...she wanted to be here". They had a big poster/birthday card that everybody was signing, even us.  The insides of the place was delightfully old, but painted up in a warm yellow. The special of the day was hot dogs and saurkraut and maybe liver and onions...that sounds about right. I swear the place took me back to when I was a kid and my grandma was a waitress in an old diner like this. A time warp slice of history. I had a hamburger 'steak', which was just a hamburger pattie, and asked for a little bit of the saurkraut to go on it, cuz the ketchup wasn't the kind I could have. Cappy said it was better for me not to mention what he had, or how he liked it. Well, the ambiance fed me well, and that of the people who worked there. Cappy even 'flirted' with Miss Edna, telling her she couldn't be cuter, which made her blush and giggle like a school girl.We got back on the road and made over 700 miles that day, 'til we got just past Roanoke, Va. and fell into bed at a hotel I can't even remember, I was so tired. The next morning Cappy grabbed a couple of bananas for me for breakfast, and a cold frappacino from a gas station...and again, he fished out a couple of granola bars to shut me up. Poor guy, I don't  think he even ate anything himself, just coffee...oh he MUSTA had something. We made good time once we got going and when Cappy saw a sign where we were supposed to cross the Potomac River, he said we had to get a picture of the sign. The speed limit was 65 in high traffic, so I accidentally whizzed right on by it and onto the bridge. "Noooo, ya gotta turn around and go back, so's I can get a picture of the sign!" I got off the interstate and noticed the town was Falling Waters, West Va....where my Uncle Duane and Uncle Spike used to live and work in the coal mines. I was delighted in that! My Uncle Duane had passed, and I don't get to see my Uncle Spike nearly as often as I'd like. I miss them both dearly, so for some reason, being in the town where they had lived, was just a good feeling for me. (Uncle Spike lives in western NY now) Cappy said as long as we were passing by, we might as well fill the tank, before our swing back across the bridge into Virginia again. After tanking back up, I pulled back onto the interstate heading toward the Potomac River again, but again, the traffic was thick with semi trucks and fast. He said, "Pull over...pull over...slow down, so I can get it!!" Nope...whizzed right by it again. "Oh man...turn around again, and this time find a place to stop...I'll tell ya where". Oh yow! The speed ruts, or whatever ya call them on the side of the road were loudly complaining and so was I, because I had to swerve to get onto the tiny, narrow shoulder out of speeding, honking cars and trucks. Cappy gets out and strolls along the guardrail as though he were in a quiet shady park toward the sign, which was only a few feet off the road. The wind from a passing truck blew his straw hat off into the weeds over the guardrail. He got his picture, but not without me holding my breath and praying loudly, because he didn't seem aware of how close he was to the road at his back. Just one wrong step....(I know he knows what he's doing, but I worry so). So he got his photo. And a couple of the River. I don't know the significance just yet, but I'm sure he'll tell us sometime.
We got into Pennsylvania; Quaker and Amish country. I don't know what brought it up, but his straw hat came into question as to whether or not he might be mistaken for an Amish guy wearing it in that neck of the woods. That did it...he never put it on again up north. He opted to wear the canvas one I had gotten him for Christmas. He does look good in either of them...he's a "hat" guy, for sure.
We kept 'rockin' and rollin' toward New York City. "Hey! That sign sez New York City...we aint going thru there are we???" I said that I didn't think so, but we were supposed to skirt around it according to our AAA maps and itinerary. "Well, I sure as heck don't wanna go to New York City, no matter what", he said adamently. I was starting to worry, because I know how cities spread out, not showing how widespread they are on maps. We just kept following the road signs, on into New Jersey and headed north.
 It was beautiful weather for a long road trip. All bright and sunny everywhere, except for that dark cloud way up ahead that we looked like we were going to miss whenever we would turn east onto the NYS Thruway toward the Tappan Zee Bridge that would take us into Connecticut. The interstate wound up and around small mountains and the dark cloud kept flirting with us, getting closer and more angry looking all the time, until, for some reason the traffic came to a stop, then a go, then a stop, then a go...but each 'go' was slow. It was then that the cloud revealed itself to be a big old thunder and lightening storm...aha! It had us. It  had all of us! "Wishy-wipers" were all going full blast, but that was the only thing going full blast; the storm notwithstanding...it too was going full blast, raining sideways in buckets, lightening cracking around everywhere. We crawled along with everybody else, made the turn onto the Thruway, still crawling. Dang! I had wanted to have the fun of gawking around as we went over the Hudson River. Instead, big hail stones began hitting the windows and the SUV so hard, I was sure the windshield was going to break. The sky turned a sickening pukey green, and the wind picked up worse than ever and it was hard to see where we were going. I was shaking so hard that I was glad that I had the steering wheel to hang onto. The whole mob of traffic inched along, and as we crossed along, on the long bridge, we kinda got ahead of the storm. Meanwhile I could see the bumper to bumper cars on the other side of the road heading toward the storm, just parked almost, like sitting ducks waiting for the worst of it...a tornado, or whatever to come and get 'em. I prayed for those people.
We managed to get ourselves into Connecticut, then found Route 95 North. The darned storm was a threat even then, having moved east and found us again. I was terrified at that point. We did like we did before, tho'...creeping along. Then to make matters worse. People let big spaces open up everywhere in standstill traffic because most everyone of them were texting away, sitting there, not even looking at the road. For miles. Sitting there looking down, typing away, with big enough gaps for twenty cars to fill. How can they live like this? How can they do this every day, sit in traffic for hours for no reason, except this stupid stuff??? There were no accidents up ahead. Just texters holding up three lanes of cars and trucks ...and us, who were tired, hungry and wanting to 'get the show on the road' and get to where we were going. Cappy said, "For a sweet little granny, you sure have a lot of road rage", and I wasn't even doing anything, except for griping, like I was just was now to "yall". Finally we decided to get off the main interstate onto a secondary interstate, and found other texters and gaps, so we opted to just drive on Route 1 up along the coast and find a place to have supper and a hotel. We found "Chops" restaurant in West Haven, Conn. and were even more excited when we saw that they had a banner outside that said, "Twin Lobster Dinner". Lobster was one of the main reasons for our trip north, and here we were actually IN lobster country!! We had made it, finally!