Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…


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Byline by Keith…not.

Remember that extremely big pink pot of seafood that Dave ordered last night? Remember how I said we should have ordered one pot for the whole table? Well, I take that back. We hadn’t been back an hour before Dave got sick as a dog and stayed that way all night long and a good part of today. Gina was dosing him with so much stuff…Pepcid, Tums, meclizine, Benedryl, melatonin and who knows what else…I was almost as worried about the over medication as the food poisoning. Something must have worked because he finally emerged from his room about 2:30 and it looked like he was going to make it, so we’ve got that going for us.

Other than Dave being sick, it was totally laid back at the house so I don’t have much to report unless you want to hear about a walk on the beach and hanging out at the pool again. But, dear reader, you are in for a treat as I have a roving reporter, Keith, covering activities at Club Med. He, Tres and Cheryl discovered you could get a day pass for $79 and that included two boat trips out to snorkel and all the food and drink you could handle. I promised him a byline if he would report back, so I will leave the rest of the blog to him.

Keith reports: a big fat nothing. Keith kinda sucks as a roving reporter. Don’t quit your day job, Dude. Of course, with free drinks I don’t know what I expected. Here’s what I heard when they returned: drink tractor, blah, blah, blah…trapeze, blah, blah, blah…drink tractor, blah, blah, blah…snorkeling, blah, blah, blah…drink tractor, blah, blah, blah…Cheryl losing them for two hours, blah, blah, blah…drink tractor, blah, blah, blah…cute girls mistaking them for tycoons, blah, blah, blah…drink tractor, blah, blah, blah. Keith did come up with a new slogan for Club Med and they really should jump on it: Enough twenty somethings to keep it interesting, enough 70 somethings to keep it real.Damn photo bomb...

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Delusions of Grandeur

This morning we took the ferry over to North Caicos and Middle Caicos. On the ride over I was reminded again how beautiful the water is here. It’s pretty from the house but it’s even better when you’re on it. The color can’t truly be captured in pictures. It’s almost otherworldly. Once on North Caicos our ten passenger van wouldn’t start, so we ended up with an eight-passenger Suburban and two people in the cargo hold. This crowd just rolls with the flow. Denise and Gina definitely took one for the team getting bounced around back there. It brought back memories of our first trip to Vigin Gorda when we had a 1990 Caravan for ten people.

The plan was to hit a few beach bars, have some lunch, walk some beaches and see the sights. That was the fun-filled day the brochure promised. We drove for what seemed forever without the benefit of road signs, shoulders or even scenery. Finally arriving at a beach bar on Middle Caicos we waited for about fifteen minutes while someone apparently went to wake up the bartender, who I believe might have also been the cook. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the establishment, and I use that term loosely, seemed to be out of half of the items on their menu. No lunch here. The killer view seemed to be about the only thing they had going for them. And the views we’re spectacular and very different than what you see on Providenciales. I hate to say it, or disparage two whole islands, but North and Middle Caicos turned out to be kind of a nothingburger. Maybe we just didn’t know the right places to go. After a vote, we decided to cut bait and try to catch the 1:30 ferry back to civilization. It was our last shot until 4:30 and we took it. I’d say the person that put together the brochure touting those two islands had delusions of grandeur. It might not have been our most successful excursion, but you don’t know what you don’t know, and the ferry ride alone was great reminder of what it’s like being out on this water and well worth the effort.

On the way home the subject of dinner came up. FYI, if Gina ever tells you she needs to make a quick stop at the grocery store “for like two things,” do not fall for it…she will come out 25 minutes later with $250 worth of stuff. Joe accompanied Gina and Denise inside and said that’s the most stressful thing he’s done since sitting for the CPA exam. To her credit, she seems to take whatever’s at hand and somehow turn it into a great meal.

The rest of the day was low key and relaxing and really that’s the perfect kind of day to have here on Turks.

 


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How Long Until We Get Some Cobbler?

This morning after breakfast on the upper deck of the house, I observed Tres running up and down the 53 steps again and again…up and down, up and down, up and down. I just assume he keeps forgetting what he came up here for because the alternative, that he is voluntarily exercising on vacation, is too horrible to consider. Only a psycho would do that, but this is Tres we’re talking about so anything is possible.

 

About noon we loaded up the van and headed for town. A little lunch, a few drinks and some shopping. That was our plan and how we found ourselves walking down the beach searching for a restaurant we went to five years ago. Telling someone that something is “just down the beach” is like telling someone at the Wynn in Vegas that the MGM is just “a little way up the Strip”…only you’re doing it barefoot in sand. I have to admit the beach was incredible, but that sand was damn hard to walk in.

 

 

By the time we walked back to the shopping area (or Wynn in my previous analogy), I had blisters on both feet. Julia traded shoes with me even though that meant her heels were hanging over the back of my sandals. If I’d had more to drink, I probably would have wept at her kindness and slobbered something along the lines of “I love you, man!” A woman that will trade shoes with you, especially when you don’t wear the same size, is a special kind of friend.


Back at the house we had more pool time, because there is always pool time. If we ever rented a house without a pool, which will never happen, but if we did, I swear we’d chip in and buy a kiddie pool to hang out in. It’s our favorite activity.

 

After dinner, Martha Feakin’ Stewart, a.k.a. Gina, threw together a cherry cobbler for dessert. Eddie wanted to turn in early, but he also wanted cobbler. The struggle is real, people. A nanosecond after dinner we heard, “How long until we get some cobbler?” There were six minutes left on the timer. The bookies in Vegas would have given the situation even odds. It was touch and go, but the cobbler won. It was the right decision.


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Down for Whatever

I was tempted to write a four word blog post: Pool Day…enough said. And it would have been enough to anyone that’s ever been on one of our trips, but maybe not for everyone reading this. It is tradition that we take the first day after arriving on island and spend the whole day in the pool twisting off. The thing is, some of us do a half twist, some a pretty respectable twist, but there’s always one, and that person changes every year, that does a forward triple somersault with a twist in the pike position. This year did not disappoint.

We had a really great playlist on the sound system. Joe and I started it one night while discussing what songs you’d have to include for the perfect playlist. We’ve got music ranging from ZZ Top to Willie Nelson, The Beatles to Frank Sinatra, and Bob Seger to Ed Sheeran. We call it “Drunk Requests” and it has grown to about 80 songs. I guess we, as a group, have grown pretty comfortable around each other because there were several songs that we had a sing-a-long with. David Alan Coe’s “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” broke the ice, which judging by our singing abilities should probably have remained unbroken. But the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages, the thing that brought the house down, was Joe rapping along to Ice Cube’s “Down With Whatever” while Eddie did the bump and grind as his backup dancer…and Eddie’s got moves. I wish someone had gotten a video, although the imagine is burned into my brain, for eternity I’m afraid.

As the day wore on, it became apparent who the winner of this year’s Twister Award would be. I don’t want to name names but his bartending duties were curtailed in the public interest…namely ours. This house is stunning, but there are something like 53 steps from the top level to the bottom, and when the house manager tells you during the initial house tour to call him instead of an ambulance because the “ambulance can’t find the place,” it gives you pause. I mean, how do they know that? And how many times did it take to figure it out? Every time Twister got too close to the infinity edge of the pool or the stairs, we got nervous. Real nervous. At our age, tucking and rolling down the stairs is probably not going to end well…and tucking was beyond his abilities at this point anyway. Instead of retractable bug screens, what we really need are retractable baby gates on the stairs. 

We ended the evening around the fire pit on the lower level. Hanging out at the pool all day really takes it out of you. It was a good day and no one broke a hip. That ranks as a success for Pool Day.

 


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8th Annual Let’s Get Kicked Off Another Island Bar Crawl

The older I get the less I like to travel. Oh, I love actually being at new locations, breathing in new experiences, seeing new sights, trying new cuisine, enjoying old friends, but the actual planning, packing, airports, TSA, et certera, are not as exciting as they once were. I look forward to it like I look forward to my annual mammogram. But somehow the wonder that is the turquoise of the Carribbean pulls me back each year without my normal grumbling, probably because I already know what the payoff will be…and positively because, besides what I put in my suitcase, there is no planning on my part. This is the eighth year Julia has handled that monsterous task for a group of ten to twelve people, and it is a huge undertaking. I feel guilty about that, but obviously not enough to relieve her of the burden. In my defense, I can follow instructions with the proper motivation, so she just needs to channel her inner bitch and tell me what to do to help. (See how I turned that around and made it her fault? It’s a talent of mine.) I usually end our trips by telling her how much I appreciate her hard work, but thought it would be a great place to start this time. Her life is hectic enough without planning trips for the Dirty Dozen. Word of advice, Julia…if you’d book us a place like a tiki hut on Gilliagan’s Island just once, that not helping shit would stop.

So, after all that planning, our 8th Annual Let’s Get Kicked Off Another Island Bar Crawl has finally commenced. Our destination is a house called Cascades on Turks and Caicos (https://tcvillas.com/prop/cascade/). You should see this place…six master suites with outdoor showers, three pools on two different levels, a waterfall walkway. It’s decadent. The exact opposite of a tiki hut on Gilligan’s Island. Whenever I arrive at one of these places I have to pinch myself. I was a military brat and our vacations growing up consisted of spending three weeks at my grandparent’s farm near Crowell, Texas. We didn’t have the Carribean, but we did have plenty of sand, my Granny’s yeast rolls and peach cobbler, and a childhood filled with Papa’s teasing and countless memories. 

I wouldn’t change a thing about any of those years. I also never in my wildest dreams envisioned staying in a place like this. To dissuade you of the notion that I’m totally spoiled, I can report that although there is maid service, we do not have a full staff with this house…no house manager…no driver…no breakfast cook…no lunch and dinner chef…and (gasp) no bartender. I suppose we will have to muddle through on our own. Dave K has already voluneered his services as bartender, but if he starts pouring floaters, he will be relieved of duty immediately. Alcohol poisoning is not on my agenda this week.

Two of our Dirty Dozen are MIA. Dave and Judy are missing out and the purpose of my blog this year is to make them so filled with regret that in the future they move heaven and earth to get this trip on their calendar. I actually requested that a trip be scheduled a couple of weeks later than normal several years ago because of the impending birth of a grandchild. After that, the kids were put on notice about pregnancies and due dates. That, my friends, is dedication. 

One of our first orders of business after arriving was dinner and drinks since we haven’t had a chance to buy mixers yet. It’s called priorities, people.  Everything was excellent. I had fresh caught grilled Wahoo fish (I had to look it up), with vegetable risotto and caper sauce…oh, and two pina coladas. I didn’t really want the second, but they brought it by mistake so the waiter said he’d just leave it and not add it to the bill. Joe swears he hasn’t seen me move that fast since he sent me to the Louis Vuitton store the last time we were in Vegas. While waiting for our entrees, Gina became distraught because her phone was nearly dead. I thought I was plugged in, but she takes it to another level. The palm trees were strung with lights which means what? Electricity! I swear she eyed the nearest tree, calculating her odds of making it the nine or so feet to access the plug. I really, really wish she had tried. It would have made for some great blog pictures! I guess it’s going to take more than two drinks…now I have a goal! Stay tuned.

 


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Would that make it the 5th or the 6th annual???

For the fifth time in six years, five crazy couples will be leaving soon for a week on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. You might have noticed that the math doesn’t work out exactly right for an annual trip. That’s because we missed last year and let me tell you, I heard about the lapse all year long.  Since we skipped a year, I’m not sure if this counts as the 5th Annual Let’s-Get-Kicked-Off-Another-Island Tour and Beer Fest or the 6th. Joe is a CPA and his partners frown upon taking a vacation in the middle of tax season, which is very small-minded if you ask me, but our goal is to leave every year as soon as the getting is good, which this year is April 18th.

Last year, my daughter Whitney was expecting a baby due on May 6th. This unfortunate date played havoc with our island vacation plans. It effectively put a big ‘ol X on anything from mid-April through the middle of May. Joe: “Do you really have to be there? It is our seventh grandchild after all. It’s not like she’s the first. You could go for a visit as soon as we get back.” Me: “YES! I really have to be there, you stupid, stupid man.” The “stupid, stupid man” wasn’t actually said as much as implied.20110428-084945.jpg

I could just imagine a conversation with Jolee, the child in question, a few years from now.  Jolee: “Honey, why aren’t you in any of the pictures from when I was born.” Me: “Well Sweetpea, G-Joe and I really needed a trip to the islands.”  As it turned out, she showed up prematurely, several weeks early. You just never know.  Anyhoo, Joe sorely missed our post tax season trip. Apparently, it was my fault that he didn’t get to relieve his stress by staring trance-like for hours at crystalline turquoise water, with a beer in his hand. I told him it was not my fault…it was Jolee’s fault.

flookThis year, we are making our first repeat performance. We are going back to Frenchman’s Lookout (https://www.inspirato.com/destinations/tortola/residences/frenchmans-lookout) on Tortola. I assume that since they let us rent the place, they have forgotten our earlier visit. It’s a beautiful five bedroom villa and comes with a cook for breakfast. Last time, breakfast was provided.  This time, the cook is provided but we have to buy the food. I guess everyone is feeling the crunch. Getting there has turned out to be a challenge, but as usual, Julia has come through in style. It’s going to be epic. And to my fellow compadres, I call dibs on our old bedroom/suite.

In conclusion, Joe thought I should remind our traveling buddies, Tres & Julia Ward, Dave & Gina Kulbeth, Eddie & Denise Holcomb and Dave & Judy Shatzer, of “the rules.”  We came up with these the first year and they still apply, although I have made a few changes on my own.  They are for your own protection, so no grumbling.

Rule #1 – Cursing is not only allowed, it is encouraged. There are only a couple of words that would earn you gasps and dirty looks…and don’t pretend you don’t know what they are. “Gosh”, “darn” and “shoot” are not acceptable and might get you bitch slapped, Tres.
 
 
Rule #2 – Drinking alcohol is not only allowed, it is highly encouraged, however, you may only drink as long as you can stay upright.  Drinking many different types of alcohol in the same day is perfectly acceptable. Any resulting embarrassing incidents will be recorded and immediately uploaded to Facebook. I am the sole judge of what is deemed Facebook-worthy…and I can guarantee nothing I do will make the cut.  I cannot make the same guarantee for the rest of you.
 
 
Rule #3 – Smoking cigars is acceptable…anything else and ‘I’ve never seen him before in my life, officer.’
 
 
Rule #3a – Under no circumstances can any female smoking a cigar be photographed…good grief, our kids could see that.
 
 
boratRule #4 – Men will not be required to wear a man-thong, banana hammock, mankini, or Speedo but will get extra attention and favors from the ladies if they are so inclined. (I just threw that one in there for myself.)
 
 
Rule #5 – Music from The Midnight Special will be limited to no more than four hours a day.  Anything by the Bee Gees will get your iPod privileges revoked.
 
 
Rule #6 – The Internet will work at all times, otherwise, your friendly blogger becomes very, VERY surly. This is non-negotiable.
 
 
Rule #7 – Bribes are accepted, even expected, by the aforementioned blogger.  If you need an incentive, remember that I can paint you in any light I wish.
 
 
Rule #8 – We must do all in our power to have a good time and to come back to Texas as friends. If this is not possible, you are responsible for burying the bodies on your own.
 
 
P.S. Joe says that he wants a vote on the Facebook posts I mention in Rule #2. He has obviously forgotten that the British rule by monarchy…and I’m the Queen.


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Day 6- Walking On Water

We had a busy day.  Well, a busy half day.  We didn’t do squat before noon.  After lunch we drove over to Chaulk Sound and Taylor Bay.  Chaulk Sound was absolutely breathtaking!  I’ve seen pretty awesome Caribbean waters over the last four years, but nothing like this.

The water in the Sound is actually quite shallow, causing the vivid turquoise color.  Pictures really can’t do it justice.

Next up was Taylor Bay. Now this is a beach that I can really get behind.  You can literally walk a 100+ yards out into the water and still not be knee deep. This was as close to walking on water as I’ll ever get…and I wasn’t worried about drowning.

This evening we went Dewayne & Chris’ condo for drinks and to listen to some live music. Their place at the Seven Stars Resort is fabulous! We got to see a sunset for the first time since we arrived, as the sun sets behind our pool house.  After drinks it was on to a great local Italian restaurant for dinner.

The only funny thing I have to report happened early today while the housekeeper was here.  Apparently, the owner of our house regrets giving us such a good deal (thank you Master Negotiator Julia) and has instructed the housekeeper that she is not to replenish toilet paper or paper towels for us this week.  Really??!!  While she was upstairs cleaning this morning, one person kept watch while another pilfered a roll of paper towels and hid them in the refrigerator. What a lawless group we are.  Normally I would frown upon these kind of shenanigans, but he should know he cannot win this kind of battle with the likes of us.  He obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.  We are Texans after all.