Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…

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Epilouge – These Things Just Write Themselves

I usually don’t blog about the trip home. Let’s face it, it’s kind of anti-climactic. The drinks have been drunk, the sights have been seen, the fun has been had. But we had quite an adventure. We woke up to pouring rain…yeah. Our ride was there as promised at 10:00 a.m. for the hour and a half drive to the airport. We had two vans that took us 30 minutes up the road to Governor’s Harbor, where I assumed that there would be two more vans waiting to take us on to the airport. You know what they say about assumptions. There was one van, 11 people including the driver, and luggage for 10 people, one of whom is Gina, who never met a pair of shoes that she thought should be left behind. I’m not complaining, because you could live out of her suitcase for a year and she’s saved my ass with something she brought that I forgot more than once. We had suitcases strapped to the top of the van. Did I mention it was raining? For some strange reason the Beverly Hillbillies kept running through my mind.

We arrived at the airport a couple of hours before our 2:05 flight. I wish our story ended there. We talked about the fact we had a 3 1/2 hour layover in Miami and thought we might get there in time to switch to an earlier flight, and if not, there is 200 shop mall at the airport. That was a pipe dream. As it turned out, we had a two hour delay in Eleuthera, which left us just an hour in Miami to catch a bus to the international terminal, clear Immigration with 15,000 other people, claim our luggage, go through Customs, re-check our bags, go back through security and race 20 gates. Can you detect a potential problem here? I think the Marines have a term for what we were experiencing and its called FUBAR. We literally sprinted through the airport as they were announcing a final boarding call for our flight, but we all made it. Unfortunately, Julia and Tres’ luggage did not.

The rest of the gang at least got to sleep in their own beds last night. The Midland contingent had to stay overnight in Dallas for an early morning flight. I’m happy to say that the Grand Hyatt was a wonderful experience in an otherwise dismal day. One of the hotel’s best amenities is that it’s at the airport and thus keeps you close to your next flight delay. It’s in the brochure.

We got up early to make our flight to Midland…and this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone…things did not go as planned. Our plane apparently got struck by lightening coming in (how would you like to have been on that flight) and had “maintenance issues.” This, of course, necessitated a plane change, a gate change and a delay…all surrounding the Big Burrito Debate. Purchasing a burrito apparently takes a lot more thought than I knew. American brought two other planes in before they found one that would actually accommodate everyone, and after we were all loaded, with our electronic devices powered down and our tray tables locked and stowed… Hey, wait! Stop the presses! One of the tray tables won’t lock! We experienced what in my mind will forever be know as the Great Tray Table Delay. I kid you not, another hour maintenance delay for a broken tray table latch and there wasn’t even anyone sitting there. This is how AA fixes a tray table lock: Step 1, wait 30 minutes for a qualified union aircraft mechanic. Step 2, mechanic uses duct tape to secure the table (no kidding). Step 3, the pilot takes an additional 30 minutes to approve the maintenance log.  But boy howdy, I felt safer. I would have been really uneasy with regular Scotch tape. Obviously, American Airlines doesn’t have the equipment necessary to pull off a 50 minute flight. Thank God it wasn’t an overhead bin or we’d still be there. It was kind of garbled so I’m not 100% sure, but I think the pilot said at the end of the flight, “Thanks, and please choose American Airlines for your next flight delay.”

One last thing. It was so humid yesterday that my BFF, Julia, bestowed upon me a new alias. From henceforth, I will be known as Kinky Hemingway, since my hair resembled that of Roseanna Roseanna-Dana. I just love my friends…who are more than happy to point out the obvious, in case I missed the fact my hair looked like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. I’m thinking of having my name legally changed.

Over and out,

Kinky Hemingway


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Day 8 – Total Consciousness

I’m sure this will start a firestorm of controversy, but I think Caddy Shack is one of the worst movies ever made. It ranks right up there with Pineapple Express in my book, and there’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back. But if you’ve ever picked up a golf club or have a penis I’m sure you will try to convince me otherwise. Don’t waste your time. I don’t get it. That being said, there is one really good moment when Bill Murray’s character, Carl Spackler, is talking about how he caddied for the Dalia Lama who stiffed him on the tip. Carl says, and I paraphrase, “Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, and Lahma said ‘Oh, there will be no money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness’, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.” After my massage with Monique, I feel like I have received total consciousness and it is nice. Let me just say, Best. Massage. Ever. I want to bring her back to Texas with me. Of course, if I stayed this relaxed all the time I’d probably never get anything done, but I wouldn’t care.

I must go back briefly to last night because I left out one of the best things. Gina and Denise bought us all tee shirts for the trip, and they are not just any tee shirts. Last year we drank a 55 gallon drum of Painkillers, which is a wonderful island rum drink. In honor of that, the women’s shirts say “Pain” and the men’s shirts say “Killer”. Not only that, but they are in the brightest neon pink and chartreuse you’ve ever seen. You’ve got to wear sunglasses to look at these things. They also have our names on the back…in rhinestones for the women only, which I’m sure the guys appreciate. We are special. We decided the fish fry last night was the perfect place to break them out and boy, did they cause a stir. Someone asked if we were a fishing team. Huh? I didn’t know there was such a thing, although now that I think about it, Scooter Bivens

had a partner on this season of Mud Cats, but they certainly didn’t have shirts of any kind, which would have been a big improvement. There are some things you just can’t un-see and Scooter Bivens back hair is one of them. Someone else thought we were a (senior) softball team and another wanted to know if we were part of a political party. Denise told them, “Yes, it’s called Republican.” On the way home we decided, in the future, if anyone asked, we are going to say we were a group of square dancers.

Our farewell dinner was outstanding. Beryl cooked fresh conch fitters, fried grouper, bacon-wrapped shrimp, sweet potatoes, rice and vegetables. Denise and Gina made a mango cake for tonight’s dinner and it was a trial waiting until tonight to get into it, but somehow we managed, and it was worth the wait.

After dinner, Dave K. And Joe smoked their last cigar and finished off the 18-year-old (Glenlivet Scotch). We’re trying to figure out how to finish what’s left of the tequila, vodka, rum and Crown in the next few hours, but alas I think we might miss our flight if we succeed.

It’s been a great trip, with great friends…and as far as I know, we all still like each other. I’d say that alone makes it a success! Thanks to Julia for all her hard work with all the planning. One of these years we’re going to do the planning for her and let her take the year off…just kidding, that’s never going to happen. She’ll just have to accept our undying gratitude for a job well done. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

Until next year,

Uma Hemingway

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Day 7 – Mother Buggers

I’ve decided that henceforth no-see-um bugs will be referred to as mother buggers. We went into Rock Sound and bought every freakin’ tube of hydrocortisone we could find. Bring it, mother buggers! I’m thinking about making a suggestion to…”pack a gallon of DEET when visiting the islands.” What is wrong with a country where you can buy Viagra over the counter but you can’t buy decent bug spray?

We took a side trip to Ocean Hole while we were out. It’s the size of a large Texas-sized pond, but it’s salt water. There is a hole that comes from the ocean somewhere, but they’ve never been able to find it. It must be a small inlet because there are all varieties of tropical fish but they’ve never had any sharks. We took breadcrumbs and started a feeding frenzy of not only the fish but seagulls.

Everyone we talked to said we needed to be sure and go to the fish fry in Governor’s Harbor. Everyone was wrong. Denise said that she was expecting “Oyster Bar fish” and what she got was fried fish alright…head, eyeballs, bones and all. And they serve it to you in the dark, just to make it interesting.

One of my friends back home says we all need nicknames so that it’s easier to keep up with everyone. I’m not sure we need nicknames, but we might need aliases. Tres started it by giving his name as Fabio when he ordered his fish. Julia is Orbitz because she is our travel planner. Dave S. is Jacque, as in Cousteau. Judy is Bo, as in Derek. Eddie is Paparazzi, since he’s taken 347,750 pictures…today.  Denise is Magnum, because she has her PI license, which is a whole story in itself.  Dave K. is the Joker, because Liar Liar Pants on Fire seemed too long. Gina is Martha F’n Stewart because she can whip up a four course dinner with an egg and turnip. Joe is Chad Pitt, Brad’s slightly older but better looking brother, but sometimes uses the name Art Vandela because he is famous by association. Bonus points if you know who Art Vandela is. And I am trying to decide between Bob Marley, because I’ve got the hair for it, and Uma Hemingway. Send me your vote.

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Day 6 – A 1000 Ways to Die, Episode “Bugged Off”

I posted my blog last night before I had a chance to report on the Fantastic Farkel Fiasco, which is a dice game. The Holcomb’s thought they had the game wrapped up when an obscure rule gave the Shatzer’s one more roll and Judy had a well-timed hot streak and made up an almost 3000 point deficit in one turn to take the game. I smell a re-match tonight.

The day started with Beryl’s homemade brown sugar banana waffles. All I can say is “wow”! We had a masseuse come to the house for massages in the tiki hut by the pool, and today was the guys’ day. They report it was a big success. We women are looking forward to our own massage day on Saturday.

The rest of the day was just spent hanging out at the house. Tres had a close encounter with a 4 foot shark while snorkeling. That shark report is making me rethink the whole kayak thing. In fact, it might take me out of the kayaking game for good…either that, or I’m going to need a bigger boat.

I have been dealing with about 1,000 bug bites that are itching me to death. I took three Advil, three benedryll and slathered myself in anti-itch cream before going to bed last night, but I still didnt sleep more than an hour, and Joe woke up at least three times and told me to “quit it!” I guess my scratching was disturbing his beauty sleep. To be fair, I’m far from the only one dealing with the little buggers. The bugs in question are called no-see-ums, otherwise known as sand flies, and I hate them…a lot. I discovered that if you stay in the pool, the bites don’t itch, however, that doesn’t seem like a workable long-term solution.

Moving on, between the two of them, Dave S. and Tres were able to finally catch a Grouper, but it was a nice one. We had him for dinner tonight along with the coffee-crusted steaks we smuggled in, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, salad and pineapple & coconut tartlets. I thought I was the only tartlet, but these stole my thunder. Beryl ate dinner with us. She seems to enjoy our company, but then, who wouldn’t?

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Day 5 – It’s Always the Quiet Ones

We had homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning. Yum! Poor Eddie. We had to give him a hard time over breakfast, mainly because he makes such an easy and convenient target. Dave S. missed the rolls in favor of bone fishing. He wants a big fish like I want to hit a straight flush at three-card poker…or get a decent Internet connection…but so far his luck has been running about like mine does at poker or trying to upload pictures. Maybe today will be his day, and if it is, well, I hear they have gambling houses here on the island…

There’s an Austrailian woman named Flipper who is coming today to teach a couple of us how to find lobster and “play around” with them. She can’t legally show us how to catch them because they are not in season right now since it’s their mating season. To be safe we’re only going to look for the ones smoking a cigarette. The usual suspects, Dave S. and Tres are “doing Flipper.” The rest of us are going to watch for our own amusement. There was a picture of Flipper, in a bikini, in one of the brochures. Tres is pretty sure she can kick his ass. I’d pay extra to see that. I asked Joe if he wanted to reconsider the Flipper adventure because she was buff and had a six-pack. He said he might be interested if “she was carrying a six-pack.” It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

We left the boys in Flipper’s care and headed out for lunch at Tippy’s in Governor’s Harbor. It’s known for its lobster pizza, which deserved accolades and for their signature drink, Tippy’s Sunrise. We tried to bribe the recipe from the waitress,but she wouldn’t give it up and I don’t think the 8 of us combined could have taken her down…at least by the end of lunch. The most Julia could get out of them, even using her feminine wiles, was that it contained four different kinds of alcohol. After lunch, we headed for the French Leave Beach which has fine pink sand and the brightest tourquoise water to be found. In a word, spectacular.

On the way back to the house, we stopped to buy, what else, beer. One little problem…the van wouldn’t start when we got ready to leave. Did we have jumper cables? No. As Eddie pointed out, you can’t get the job done if you don’t have the right equipment. Sounds to me like he has personal knowledge. Luckily, Judy found a “player”, at least that’s what his tire rims said, with jumper cables that was willing to help. The moral of the story is…(wait for it)…if you need to be jumped, find a player.

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Day 4 – The Beauty of Back-up Plans

Can you say s-u-n-b-u-r-n? Apparently, sunscreen will not last all day. Who knew? Not this white girl. My back, neck, chest, face, arms and legs are a nice shade of red. On the bright side, my makeup went on quicker this morning since there was no need for blush. Gina warned me yesterday to be careful because we are “closer to the sun” here, but it doesn’t look any closer to me. There are about four or five of us still in junior high that think the laws of nature don’t apply to us. We were wrong. Denise said that sun damage takes 40 or 50 years to show up, so thankfully, at our age, we won’t have to worry too much about the damage we’re doing this week.

The two Dave’s and Eddie got up early this morning to go fishing. Beryl, our cook, told them that she would cook whatever they caught for dinner tonight. After they left, she told us she bought Grouper as a “back-up plan.” Wise woman. It looks like she has the same expectations as the rest of us as to our fishermens’ skill. And as it turned out, the back-up plan came in handy. Of course, Dave K. said they caught lots of fish but just didn’t have a camera with them. Whatever. Eddie and Dave K. decided to take the dinghy out to fish. I see disaster written all over this. Having no luck getting the motor started (obviously this equipment is too much for them) they cut the anchor off the dinghy and put it on one of the kayaks…which got about 5 feet from shore before it was “man overboard!” Next up was the inflatable raft, aka the Titanic…which needed air. Too bad we don’t have a blowhard with us. Luckily they found an electric pump and even remembered to take the raft out of the water before using it. These guys are nothing if not determined and by all indications, willing to go down with the ship, which is a real possibility judging by the kayak debacle.

Gina took me out for my first kayaking trip. I do not swim, but I did not let this minor fact dissuade me. I did not let the guys’ experience deter me either, instead relying on careful preparation. I had on a sun blocking shirt, two life vests, one of those ring thingies they throw off a boat and inflatable water wings, none of which I needed. See Eddie, this is how it’s done. I have to admit that the glass bottom was very cool going over the coral reefs, even though we didn’t see any fish. I’ve decided all the fish have deserted the area because they heard the big white fishermen were coming They need not worry.

The dinner of Grouper (I just pretended the guys caught it), wild rice, roasted carrots, salad and fresh key lime pie was fabulous. Beryl should write a cookbook. My plan to hide the pie did not work out like I wanted, which was namely to have it all to myself. I had to share…drats.

After dinner, Tres got out his night vision goggles to look at the stars. The sky was beautiful, but I ask you, who travels with night vision goggles? I guess they might come in handy if there is an uprising or hostile takeover…but they are going to need more than night vision to pry my iPad away from me. Maybe that’s what the slingshot is for…

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Day 3 – Define Chillax

What a relaxing day. Breakfast was served at 9:00, which seems a little early for vacation unless you know that the sun comes up about 5:30. After breakfast, we took a long walk on the beach. The color of the water is  indescribably beautiful. Some places the sand is packed but on most of it you sink down with each step. The jury is out on whether I’ll be able to walk at all tomorrow.

All that walking stirred up quite a thirst, so the first beer was popped, along with our first batch of painkillers at about 11:00. I’m trying to get in the groove. If my blog was emailed to you yesterday, you had a couple of pictures. If not, even though the narrative referenced pictures, they did not upload. I tried for three and a half f’n hours to get it uploaded. I was stressed, or as Joe said, “had my panties in a wad.” I could seriously ruin my entire vacation screwing with the Internet, so I’m trying to go to my happy place and chillax. My new motto is “it is what it is.” My nephew, Grant, has been begging for more blogs to take him away from his miserable life as a law student…apparently, I am a bright and shiny spot for him and he looks up to me…but some things just can’t be fixed, so you’re on your own buddy. This blog is hit or miss from this point on.

 Most of the day was spent in the pool, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, or chilling on the deck out by the ocean (or as the the guys call it “the cigar lounge”). The weather was perfect, the drinks were strong, the food was delicious and the laughter was plentiful and often. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow and the Internet service brings.