Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo Everyone

Mea culpa: This is Doug. Tammy wrote this about two weeks ago and I'm just posting it now. She obviously needs a new IT group!

So we're not over in the Bahamas enjoying the gin clear waters, private beaches and fishing for mahi with Bob, Stephanie and the September Song boat dogs; ...and we're not down in Key West with our boating buddies on Muircu, Sunluver or Beausoleil; ....and unfortunately we're not even out there celebrating Cinco de Mayo which I have to admit ranks up there with St. Patty's day as my all time favorite holidays (forget all the sappy made for Hallmark holidays and give me a good old fashion reason to party with friends and enjoy life any day!!) Are you getting the picture - yup we're back to being working stiffs and life for us both at work is insane to say the least. Doug just was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in addition to being the CFO so all of sales, services etc reports to him - as happy as he is about the new role, be careful what you ask for since you may just get it and now you own it - congrats Captain Doug!

But as always with us, all work and no play ... well it just never happens! We firmly believe that the less time you have to play merely makes the time you have more important - play well folks! We have been loving the sunshine and the climate down here this winter - I know we have a miserable summer coming (or so everyone tells us) but you know what, I'm OK with that - that is why we live on a boat near the water and can go to the beach whenever we want!! We've been hearing a bunch of really great music and one of the funniest comedians ever - Ron White - I truly hurt from laughing for a couple days after seeing him!!! I know he's a pretty sick puppy, but I have to admit I had tears streaming down my face as did a lot of people in the theater! We had a blow out Kenny Chesney/Zac Brown Band concert at Raymond James stadium in Tampa and then we finally got back to a Buffett concert!! While we missed the Great Woods Gang (who we had gone to Buffett with every year for about 15 years) and all the pre-party planning, and of course Chris and Warren's gourmet tail-gating food, I think we would have made you guys proud with our preparations and execution. We arrived around noon for an 8:00 pm show and set up the tent, the grill, the coolers, the beach chairs and tables, and then sat back to enjoy the festivities.
Tammy sits just out from under the tent set up to protect Doug from the Florida Sun
Decked out in our Hawaiian shirts, shades, beads and leis - we took in the whole scene eager to see how the parking lot/tailgating experience of Florida differed from that in New England. There was definitely a similar level of craziness although some key differences - no ice luges down here because of the heat (probably not a bad thing- less puking), lots more tents to block the sun (unlike NE where tents only appeared really the year the hurricane ripped through), everyone plays corn hole down here in the parking lots and the biggest difference down here....decorated golf carts!!!
Here are some pics of what was a crazy, wonderful day which ended with one of Jimmy's best concerts I've ever heard him play - not only was it the kick off of his new tour, not only did the sun set right next to the stage which the open air amphitheater showcased, and not only did Ilo open for him, but he played music he really wanted to play - lots of his old stuff that he rarely plays in his concerts instead of the more commercial songs that newbie parrotheads crave! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Leis Seem to be a Big Business in Florida
Drinking Jack Daniels Through a Funnel
Much Craziness in the Parking Lot
Shark Bike - Only at a Buffett Show
Tents were the Order of the Day

The next day we were off to Sebring to see our great friends from Maine, Francesca and John Spain. We had planned on meeting them at Universal but John went and broke his collarbone mountain biking, so bumpy rides weren't high on his wish list! OUCH! Instead we had an awesome day catching up around the pool at their house, munching nachos and other yummy mexican food! Then we were off for an early evening airboat ride - not on one of those huge, tourist boats but with a friend of theirs who has his own boat! Very cool!! We brought along flat stanley (which those of you who have young kids know all about - we had to be educated) for the airboat ride and I must say he enjoyed himself tremendously, especially when our guide caught us a baby gator!!!
Flat Stanley Sits with John and Francesca on the Airboat
Flat Stanley, John and Doug Hold a Baby Alligator
Bombing through Arbuckle Creek lined with cypress trees covered in the hanging silvery moss reminded us of all those glorious outings exploring the Waccamaw River in our family cars with the September Song gang!! The difference were the gators and the huge snakes that were all around us - wild!! The other difference is the airboat can virtually go over land let alone cutting through marsh grass, lily pads and swamp crap with ease - no worries about getting stuff stuck in the motor or going aground - you don't have to have your eyes glued to the depth sounder. What an unbelievable trip - on the way back we had a gorgeous view of the sun setting and the full moon rising between the trees.
Sunset over Arbuckle Creek...
...As the Moon Rises
One Seriously Kewl Tree
Arbuckle Creek
Arbuckle Lake, Our Destination
Cypress Trees Line Much of the Creek
More Cypress Trees in the Distance
Unfortunately as the sun set, the bugs came out - and I do mean in force!!! It wasn't too bad when you felt them bouncing off your face until John our guide had to turn a light on to see the creek banks and then you could actually see them coming at you -- yikes it was like being in a blizzard -- normally I take my protein on a plate with a knife and fork rather than directly in the teeth!! Only one thing to do to wash all those bugs away - Dairy Queen for blizzards!! Thanks guys for a great day!!
Guilty Pleasures

We've also been able to see lots of friends although we've missed connecting with some too (my own cousin is too busy to see us - only kidding Melissa, next time!!)- seems like lots of people like to get out of New England in the winter/spring - wonder why! First we were able to meet up with our great friend Mary Ouellette from Rhode Island - she has just met her birth father who happens to live down here outside of Tampa, so we of course had to meet the fam - what better place to do that than Margaritaville at Universal?? If you've ever questioned nurture vs nature, I gotta tell you - you wouldn't after seeing Mary and her father together - it was frightening! It explained so much - only kidding Mary - we're so happy for you!

After having seen the first shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center (which was awesome) and experiencing the three hour traffic jam trying to get home (which was not), I planned on watching the launch of Endeavour from our boat Gypsies in the Palace. John and Francesca were driving over to make it a party as was my best friend from high school Andrew Foss who was around Orlando with his Mom and brother. Drew met me at KSC a couple days earlier and we had an awesome dinner over at the Cape on the water at Grillz where we caught up, laughed lots, drank a few tasty beers, laughed a lot ....- how is it that despite the passage of years, we can pick right up where we left off? Sure we've changed a little - a couple more gray hairs (thanks WSGI), a few extra pounds on me (thanks WSGI), Drew has an eleven year old daughter Emma, but yet some things never change especially with us - I guess that's what best friends means!! Drew, his brother and his mom came over for the shuttle launch - which as everyone knows unfortunately never happened. No worries - we plopped some chairs out on our dock, had a dock party and sat out in the sun for the afternoon. Thanks guys for a special afternoon- it was so great to see you!
Drew, His Mother and His Brother Relax on the Dock Behind Gypsies

One Sunday morning (when we were working...) Doug got a call from a couple of our cruising buddies who were doing a boat delivery and would be at our marina that evening - very kewl!! Late that afternoon as I was looking out the window, I spied another DeFever pulling into the marina - woohoo more friends. Into the slip next to us came Bart and Ellie Franey on Dewlap (yes their boat is named for the jowls of a bassett hound - they have loved a long line of bassett hounds with Reggie being the most recent). Reggie greeted us as we helped tie up their lines!! Last time we saw Bart and Ellie we were all in Charleston, one of my most favorite places - they are moving to Tampa where Ellie is starting a new job. Yippeee - we get to play with these guys more often!! Next in were Steve and Di - but they weren't on Aurora - they were doing a boat delivery and were only in for the night. So we all jumped into our car and headed over for a great dinner on the water - lots of fresh fish, adult beverages and lots of laughter!! An impromptu DeFever rendezvous - wherever two or more of us shall gather! Great to see you guys - thanks for playing with us for a night! See you all soon hopefully!
Mini-DeFever Rendezvous

Think that about catches everyone up - we've got a couple concerts planned (James Taylor, Motley Crue and Poison) to name a few - we may also be able to hit the ZZ Top show at the Hard Rock. We are tentatively planning on meeting up with September Song over in the Abacos at the beginning of June but with our jobs as crazy as they are, not sure that is going to happen - but we'll see!! We just found out that our KW musician friend Scott Kirby is opening a new bar in Key West called the Smokin' Tuna Saloon- just what we need, another bar to drink in in KW.....So of course, we immediately set plans in motion to head down to KW for its opening on June 10th!!! For all our friends who visited us in KW over the years, the location of Scott's new bar is the old El Alamo (home of the dollar drafts, mini pork sliders and corn hole!) Charlie Bauer who always brought the best music to Hogs Breath when he was running it, is going to manage it - so get ready for one seriously great bar!!!