Knock, Knock….Who’s There?

Monday February 25, 2013

If I haven’t mentioned it already, Matt and I can basically sleep through any work that’s being done on the boat. Back when they were sanding the keel at 7:30 am, we slept right through it. This morning, when jackstands were being moved around to get paint on all areas, we slept right through it. I know this may sound terrible to you other cruisers out there, since you know that living on a boat, you always need to keep one ear open at all times for anything that may be malfunctioning, or just doesn’t sound ‘right’, but I’ll clarify. When we’re at anchor, yes, every squeak, creak, or clunk will get attention immediately. But since we’ve been on the hard, we know the anchor isn’t dragging, all the lines are properly tied down, and there isn’t anything we’re bumping into. So we let ourselves fall into comas where, even if we’re aware there is something going on around us, we just go back to sleep. The clammering of the jackstands this morning though, did rise us out of bed a little early, and for the first time in weeks we were up before 8:30 without a purpose. While each sitting on our side of the cabin with laptops placed in front of us, we heard a banging on the side of the hull. It was halfway between a knock and what sounded like the work that had just been going on, and we looked at each other a little confused.

“Is someone here?”, I asked, “Or are they just doing more work to the hull?”. Since I’m always the one to greet visitors first thing in the morning, and they’re always asking for Matt anyway, I waved him to the companionway to find out what the noise was. He stuck his head out first, and then climbed fully into the cockpit. I could hear him talking to someone, so it was obvious that it was a person knocking at the hull, but I had no idea who. Although I couldn’t make out the conversation, it sounded more casual than business, and I called up to him to ask him who it was. Looked a little shocked, he looked down to me and replied, “It’s my mom and Jack”.“Your mom?”, I spat out, “…Who lives in Michigan? Who gave no indication there was a visit coming? Did I miss a text?”. Ok, so maybe those last parts were said in my mind instead of out loud, but I still needed to see proof of this myself. Yanking myself up the top step (still only one..I know), I climbed into the cockpit and then looked down to see Matt’s mom and step-dad standing at the bottom of the ladder. Surprised that Matt hadn’t already done so himself, I pushed toward the ladder so I could climb down and give them both a hug, although once he saw this was my intent, he began moving down as well and made it down before I did.

After giving them big hugs and still being in shock that they were actually standing in front of us, we asked them why they were standing in front of us. It turns out that his mom had a case of insomnia on Saturday night and had spent hours on the computer researching a trip the two of them plan on taking to Hawaii this year to celebrate their retirement. She then thought about our plans for the year, how they had originally intended on visiting us in the Bahamas, but now that we never know exactly where our when we’ll be because our schedule has been so thrown off, she figured that she may as well take the opportunity to see us where she knew we’d be. When she told Jack of the plan when he’d woken up, he didn’t even hesitate before telling her to book the tickets. So here, less than 72 hours after it was thought up, they were now standing in our boat yard in Florida. Some of their big hopes while visiting were warm weather, and seeing us get launched and send us on our way for a second time. Well the warm weather isn’t happening due to a cold front passing through, when we got up this morning it was in the 50’s and getting ready to rain. And unfortunately, they would not be able to see us off either. We’re still waiting for a new bushing for the rudder, and now our launch date that should have been tomorrow, will probably be pushed back until the end of the week. But they still had us, and that was good enough.

Although they had barely gotten any sleep since they got into Jacksonville near midnight, and then woke up extremely early this morning to dive down to St. Augustine, they still wanted to take us to breakfast to catch up. Finding that the one place I really wanted to go to inside of the Lightner Musem (the restaurant is in the hotel’s old pool!!) is closed on Mondays, we opted for Denny’s instead. And while talking over pancakes and coffee, I realized that this oddly did not feel odd. It wasn’t strange to have them sitting two feet across the table when they should instead be 1200 miles away. It felt normal. Like breakfast with them was a weekly tradition, and we did it all the time. We talked about how things were going with the boat, things we had been up to, and how things were back in Michigan, and with all our family. I had expected for sure that after breakfast they’d need to go back to their hotel and nap or rest for a bit, but instead they wanted a quick tour of the town. After seeing all of the images on the blog, they wanted to check it out for themselves.

Trying to direct a car the best we could through the streets, we failed miserably since we were used to walking or biking, and could for the most part ignore all the one way signs. But we did find an empty parking spot near the town square, so we quickly slid in and filled the meter with enough change to get us through an hour of wandering around. First selecting St. George St, as that’s where all the restaurants and shops are, we window shopped long enough to come up to the Harley shop which we had to stop in. Sitting in their garage back home is a Harley that Jack rides, and just like most people will collect Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses from each city they visit, Jack gets a new Harley shirt from each new shop he finds. Matt’s mom and I tried to help out the best we could, holding up pink flowery shirts, or sleeveless muscle shirts, but for some reason he kept turning each of those down. He eventually did settle on a nice one with a St. Augustine logo on the back, and we were once again out on the street. Although Matt and I mentioned that we had no plans for the day and we could go into however many shops they wanted, I think they just like strolling the street better. We found almost every backstreet that historic St. Augustine has to offer, even going back to the meter to extend our time a little.

We did spend a little time apart to rest and recoup, and then met up again for dinner. Feeling in the mood for Mexican, we took them back to Acapulco, where Matt and I had dinner for our anniversary in December. Once more we got ourselves completely lost on the backstreets while trying to navigate through them with a car. Parking in some random Public lot that we didn’t know if we’d get back to, we walked our way over to the restaurant. I spied a special of ceviche on the billboard outside as we passed through the entrance and made our way upstairs to the tables. Having some chips and salsa laid in front of us, I tried to resist them as I best I could as last time I filled up on too many of them and couldn’t even eat my entree.  With four people chowing down on them this time though, I was still quite hungry by the time my ceviche came, and although it was literally drowning in lime juice, was still a great meal. Another chance to catch up on the past six months and enjoy our little surprise.   I’m actually kind of glad we’re not going in the water tomorrow now, I’d hate to take away from this family time with boat stuff.

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