Shark Encounters of the Too Close Kind

I’ve been away.

Playing.

We stayed plenty busy down in Florida, with Ahab and The Nana for the last few weeks.

We did a lot of this:

snorkeling2_fl_july_missindeedy

A little of that (I think it’s important for you to know that I only mostly win.):

uno2_fl_july_missindeedy

Some of this:

fishing_fl_july_missindeedy

And even a visit to my favorite South Florida barbeque joint. (The Georgia Pig, for those taking notes.)

But, the most exciting things to happen, by far, were my Close Encounters.

First, we had a lizard that decided that the car was a much more exciting place to hang out than the yard.  For 3 days! I mean, I thought, fer sure, this little bugger would “expire” in the heat of the car while we were at the beach, that first day.

I forgot one little fact. Floridian lizards live in the heat all the live long day.  The car was probably a respite.  The more I think about it, the car was probably like a spa visit.  Some air conditioning,  a few generously sprinkled cracker crumbs… he had himself a veritable spa weekend getaway!

lizard_fl_july_missindeedy

He really lived it up in there.  Until, I finally had enough of our “Where Will Larry the Lounge Lizard Be Today” game, every time we got into the car.  So, The Nana graciously, and bravely, got him to Sit! Stay! Jump on a pole!  And promptly took him out of the car.

HOORAY FOR THE NANA!

Said with no relief what-so-ever.

However, it was the close encounter that took place in the ocean, that caused the most excitement.

And, by “excitement”, I mean, cause for adding to the salt content of the ocean.

Ahab taught me two important things about snorkeling, growing up. One, stay aware of your surroundings. Two, objects in mask are smaller than they appear.

Easy peazy.

Sweetboy, my nephew, Ahab, and I were snorkeling around a reef area close to the beach one day. I swam in to drop Sweetboy off, up at the beach. He was tired, and I was using my old fins, one of which had a split on the top.  It made for lots of stopping to empty the sand out.

As I neared the shallow area where I could stand and shake out my fin, I noticed another type of finned thing off to my left.  A long sharky looking finned thing.

“Calm down, woman.  It’s not as big as you think.  Just carry on.”

So, I took off my fin, as planned. I was just about to put it back on when I noticed that my finned friend had come much much closer, and was most definitely longer than I was.

I’m not short.

I haven’t moved that fast since high school! I scrambled my way, fin in hand, up to the beach and out of that water so fast, I darn near ripped one of my fingernails off!

Ahab and my nephew tried to convince me to get back in and swim out to them.

Uh, no can do!

My family, of course, has ridden this for all it’s worth. From placing things like this in front of me, to ask if I recognized my “friend” from a lineup:

sharks_fl_july_missindeedy

to telling me that he “just wanted to get to know me better”, the gags have been nonstop.

He might have wanted to get to know me better, but I just wasn’t that into him.

We even sidled up to a car at the movies with this bumper sticker on it’s rear:

kiss_a_shark_missindeedy

Everyone in the car erupted in laughter.

Except for me.

That was an encounter of the too close kind, thank-you-very-much!

And finally, Sweetman and I were granted the opportunity to skip out one night for dinner.

Alone.

Did we do the Happy Dance all the way out the door? Why, yes. Yes, we did.

When we returned home, Sweetman practically swept me off my feet. But, not for the reason I’d have hoped.

“Is that one of those deadly poisonous snails”, he asked?

I’m just going to admit, right now, that between the darkness of night and my enjoyment of a beautiful bottle of Cab with that Sweetman of mine, I was in no shape to be differentiating between deadly and non-deadly snails.

When we had safely maneuvered into the house, we showed The Nana a picture, (Because, even if you’re near a deadly snail, you still have to stop and snap a pic. Am I right?), and asked if these were the Death Snails.

(By the way, she was totally waiting up for us – even though we are solidly in our 40’s!)

The Nana informed us that these African snails are indeed deadly, but that the bad ones are 4 or more inches across.

These, thank The Good Lord, were not.

We escaped death, once more.

Yes indeedy.

All said, I believe this trip was filled with enough adventure and close encounters to last me a good long while.

Or, at least until next year.

He’ll Catch it, But He Won’t Eat It

He loves the thrill of the chase and can outmaneuver even the most slippery among them. He can find them in the deepest depths of the ocean. And, he’ll help you reel them in over many long hours of give and take.

But, he will not, I repeat, he will not eat them.

My brother, the Boat Captain.

Who doesn’t eat fish.

You want to take a fishing excursion to catch some delectable white flesh King Fish?  He’s your man.

You want someone to cook it up to artistically cubed perfection? He’s your man.

You want someone to pull up a chair at the table and enjoy it with you?

He’s not your man for that.

One of the things I most admired about this kid, who slept in the bedroom next to mine, was his ability to hear adventure calling so easily. He’d climb right on out of that bedroom window, without a backward glance, and go find it!

And as The Captain of many a boat over this past decade and a half, he’s had lots of adventures.  I love to hear about every one.

I raise my fish-laden fork to my brother, who turns the big 4 – 0 today.

May forty bring a renewed Spirit of Adventure.

And wrinkles.

May it bring you a ton more wrinkles than me.

Yes indeedy.

I love you, Kid.

Happy Birthday!

bro_sis_collage_missindeedy

Captain Ahab’s Daughter – Part One

A handful of friends and family are going to get the reference above.  But boy, oh boy, am I ever.  When I was a wee little lassie, girl, my family would take a couple of weeks every summer and jet off to an island in the Bahamas.  Now, before you shut down this blog as the ramblings of some privileged snoot, hang in there for a moment.  Let me share with you a few key details about our yearly summer escapade.

1) We needed to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to get loaded up on the boats and caravan over to this island that was 3 hours away from our home in South Florida.  And if you didn’t get up and get cruisin’ (literally!) by 5:30, that water was going to be r.u.f.f.  Think, a 25 foot boot on 6-8 foot waves for 3 hours.  Yup, a TON of fun.  And vomit.

2) Upon arrival at said island, we spent the first 3 hours unloading 3 weeks worth of food and beverages contained in about 6 coolers, two of which were sized large enough to carry a big and tall MAN inside.  (Thinking back on it now, as an adult, I think I understand why one of those Big Coolers were almost entirely filled with beverages…).

3) Those of us who were too short to qualify for carrying one of said Big Coolers were given the task of helping the moms either: apply tin foil and saran wrap to the windows that were missing pieces of glass or were cracked or were just simply missing; unload an endless supply of the makings of tuna noodle casserole (it was good hot or cold, right?); or make the beds with our own linens.

The rest of the kids immediately started rounding up the stray dogs and puppies on the island to play with.  There were lots.  It took a while.

Does it sound luxurious yet?

Rest assured, we were blessed to be able to hang out for 2 or 3 weeks at a stretch on this not-yet-popular island.  Oh, indeed!  But, I should also mention the daily routine.

5:30 a.m. Captain Ahab starts making all manner of noise in the hopes of waking up his own and the other 3 families to get going for the day.

6:00 a.m. One or another of the other families’ adults threatens Captain Ahab with bodily harm if he doesn’t pipe down.

6:30 a.m. Captain Ahab begins loading the boats with gear for snorkeling, fishing, and diving.  In the hopes that by the time he’s done everyone will miraculously be ready to rumble.

7:00 a.m. Captain Ahab’s wife tells him that if he doesn’t stop hounding people to get rollin’, she’s gonna roll him right into one of those cavernous Big Coolers.  He’d fit, you know…

7:30 a.m. Captain Ahab heads down to the docks to get the boats fired up.  You never know… we could be on our way down.

8:00 a.m. Captain Ahab goes back up to provide the lunch-makers with his sandwich order.  He’s starting to get hungry for lunch.  At this point, the lunch-makers begin checking the Big Cooler with the “beverages” to take stock of what’s left.

8:30 a.m. We finally get a move on.  And Captain Ahab announces he’s ready for a nap.

I find myself understanding the thinking behind his desire to get up and get movin’ more and more, the older I get.  Maybe it’s because I turned 30 40 this year.  Maybe it’s because I’m married to Sweetman who truly doesn’t understand why anything before 9:00 a.m. ever made it onto the official clock.  But, I do know this.  When I get up and get to see that beautiful sunrise; or get the first snuggle of the day with Sweetgirl or Sweetboy before they’re fully awake yet; or enjoy that 30 minutes of quiet time before the world comes crashing in?  It’s then that I understand what a gift it is to be Captain Ahab’s daughter. Yes indeedy!