Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…


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Hope You Didn’t Need Swat this Weekend, Because They Were With Me

I am sitting on a plane, waiting to take off for Liberia, Costa Rica and its already been an eventful trip. The fact that Joe and I had to fly in from Midland last night and spend the night in a hotel, an extra leg of a trip that will repeated on the way home, is the cost of living in Midland. The evening was quite entertaining as it turned out, as there was a SWAT convention at the inn. The place fairly reeked of testosterone, coming off of the muscular bald men that were everywhere. The shaved head thing must be a thing with them. Anyway, I’ve never seen so many big biceps, wide shoulders and narrow hips in one place, all decked out in camo. You could have decorated the cover of trashy romance novels for decades with that talent. I broke out in what I’m sure was a totally unrelated hot flash.

 I just showed Joe my first paragraph. Him: “Are you sure it wasn’t my T you were sensing? I mean, I was standing right next to you.” Me: “I’m sure that’s it, King Never-Wrong.” (A name bestowed on him by our grand daughter, Preslee, which I use to mostly convey the exact opposite.)

 I don’t know if it was all the eye candy in the lobby bar or the extremely hard seats on the flight from Midland, but when getting ready for bed I discovered that my butt pellets had tried to mount an escape. I should preface this by saying that I have had hormone pellets now for about nine months. You can feel them under the skin getting smaller with the passage of time. Anyhoo, I noticed that mine were all bruised and tender and felt ready to pop through the skin, which was alarmingly how I discovered that flying first class is a medical necessity for me. Instead of handicapped parking I need a first class flying permit. If that’s not a thing, it should be. Luckily, we got an upgrade.

 Bright and early this morning, we met The Wards and the Sawyers at the Centurion Club and officially started our trip, as all good trips should start, with Bloody Mary’s. Now a couple of hours later, sitting on the plane, I’ve added a glass of champagne and a gin & tonic and it’s not even noon. This could be bad.

 To say that this is the best house we’ve stayed in to date would be a gross understatement…and we’ve stayed at some phenomenal places. We were met on arrival by the cook and bartender with cool towels and a coconut drink served in real coconuts, which we needed because the drive up the mountain to get here was a white knuckle experience. When you step into the house you are immediately met with the most amazing view of the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific. I cannot believe we get to stay here. The tip we received from the house manager to shake our shoes out to check for scorpions gave me some pause, but what’s an adventure without a little danger?

 It didn’t take long before the infinity pool was tried out and it became clear that the bartender, Misch, will have his job cut out for him keeping this group lubricated all week. He’s not dealing with amateurs here. Lest you think we are spoiled with a house manager, driver, cook, bartender, maid and security guard, I should point out that the bartender only works from 11am until 7pm, so we are on our own for breakfast cocktails. 

 And speaking of cooks, there is a kick ass espresso machine and continental breakfast laid out for the early risers, then later we have the real, or as I call it ‘second breakfast,’ served. Lunch and dinner (which always includes dessert) are also prepared by Alberto, as well as two snacks. I read once that it’s healthier to eat six meals a day. Just sayin’. Tonight’s menu was traditional Costa Rican fare, which included rice, beans, chicken, slaw and cooked plantains. I should have brought my yoga pants.

 Dinner was followed by roundtable banter about previous trips. There was a lot of laughter and “remember whens.” This is our seventh trip together and that’s pretty awesome when you think about it.

 

 

 

 

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7th Annual Let’s Get Kicked Off Another Island Booze Cruise and Shot Fest

In just a few short weeks our motley crew will be leaving on our annual Caribbean island trip…except without the Caribbean or the island. The Pacific coast of Costa Rica is party central for the Geritol crowd this time around. Our vagabonds include Tres & Julia Ward, Dave & Gina Kulbeth, Eddie & Denise Holcomb, Dave & Judy Shatzer, Keith & Cheryl Sawyer and Joe and me.

Because we aren’t spoiled or anything, Julia found us an exceptional house again this year, Villa Estrella, and this one just might top them all. It boasts six bedrooms, an infinity pool, billiards room and my personal favorite, a high end espresso machine. Food and drinks are included, with this group, a tactical error and sure money loser for the owner. If all that weren’t enough, there is gourmet cook for all of our meals and snacks, a driver to take us places, housekeeping and grounds staff, and best of  all a bartender (oh, I hope he’s named Javiar). Yes, I can have someone bring me drinks with little umbrellas in them all day long. Would it be bad form to pack a bell to ring for refills? This is either going to be very good or very very bad. Only time wil tell. If you have a few minutes you can check out the YouTube video and hate us here: http://www.villaestrella-costarica.com/.

Each year I like to remind my fellow travelers of our mutually agreed upon rules. In reality, I just made this shit up long ago and tweak it every year.

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. If you need to brush up on your cursing skills, I’d suggest reading the political posts on Twitter.

Rule #2 – Drinking alcohol is mandatory, however, you may only drink as long as you can stay upright. Drinking many different types of alcohol on the same day is perfectly acceptable. Any resulting embarrassing incidents will be recorded and immediately uploaded to Facebook and Instagram. I am the sole judge of what is deemed Facebook-worthy…and I can guarantee nothing I do will make the cut, which was proven by my last trip to the Soggy Dollar. I cannot make the same guarantee for the rest of you, however, this is where Rule #9 might come in handy. Just sayin’.

Rule #3 – Smoking cigars is acceptable…anything else and ‘I’ve never seen him before in my life, officer.’ 

Rule #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. There might even be a few bucks in it for them if dancing, a stage and a pole are involved. However, I’ve seen you guys and I wouldn’t plan on paying for the trip that way. 

Rule #5 – Per Julia, you may not play, feed or spank the monkey (I swear, this is Julia’s rule although I might have paraphrased). They become dependent and no one wants a bossy, whiney, entitled monkey. Men, especially, should bear this in mind. 

Rule #6 – Under no circumstances let Joe or Dave K add a rum floater to your drink. That shit is deadly. They totally don’t understand the concept of a floater, but if you want 5″ of pure alcohol sitting on the top of your Painkiller, be my guest, but drink at your own risk. Later edit: Joe swears it was me that poured the first floater, but he’s in the middle of tax season and his memory can’t be trusted. If I did pour the first one, and I’m not saying that I did, it definitely wasn’t my idea.

Rule #7 – As was established last year, it’s Keith’s fault. If you get sunburned…it’s Keith’s fault. If you drink too much…it’s Keith’s fault. If you fall into a volcano…(now, say it with me) “it’s Keith’s fault.” You get the idea.

Rule #8 – The Internet will work at all times, otherwise, your friendly blogger becomes extremely surly. This is non-negotiable. People have witnessed bad internet service and it’s not pretty.

Rule #9 – Bribes are accepted, even expected, by the aforementioned blogger/me. If you need an incentive, remember that I can paint you in any light I wish.

Rule #10 – 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.


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Starfish and Sea-Doos and Stingrays, Oh My!

Boat day finally arrived! If you’ve read my blogs from previous years you know I don’t really swim, and when I say “don’t really” I mean I don’t at all, so you’ll be shocked to know that I channeled my inner Mark Spitz and I was all over the water today. We had a 42′ Sea Ray with a Sea-Doo on the back and two really cute crew, so maybe I just wanted mouth-to-mouth. Our Captain was semi-famous being the grandson of legend Bob Soto who almost single-handedly started the tourist industry on Grand Cayman by opening the first dive shop here in 1957.

Our first stop was Starfish Point. You literally jump off the back, and by “jump” I mean a lift slowly lowers you down into less than 4′ of water. We were allowed to pick the starfish up and handle them as long as we didn’t take them out of the water. We also got to ride the Sea-Doo. Sea-Doos are not really my thing but it was fun watching everyone else. I was content to hang with my new starfish buddies. Denise rode with the Capitain and the louder you scream the faster he goes. She apologized if she grabbed him inappropriately, but she was hanging on for dear life. Everybody kept offering me rides, which I kept turning down. These people just can’t take a hint. Julia said she would go with me and I swear I don’t know what got into me, but I somehow found myself agreeing just to see the look on her face. I don’t know which one of us was more surprised. Not only that but I drove…not as fast as I drive my BMW, but certainly faster than a starfish. 

Next up was snorkeling. I hear it was fabulous with huge lion fish, big coral fans and coral heads. The water was super clear and full of color from fish and the reef. That’s about all I can tell you because all of us non-snorkelers were sitting onboard with a rum and coke.

I know you’re not going to believe this but I went swimming with stingrays, ya’ll. Shut the front door. Stingray City Sandbar was cooler than cool. It was actually only about 3 to 4 feet deep and out in the middle of nowhere. It was weird being so far from land and still be able to stand up, and when I can comfortably stand, you know it’s shallow. The first mate said it was the first time he had ever been there when we were the only boat there. Usually boats are parked like a parking lot, but today we had it all to ourselves. How neat is that? As soon as the boat anchored we were inundated with really big stingrays. We got to feed them big chunks of calamari. Julia almost lost another finger to one. At least it was on the hand where she had a finger to spare.

We had a leisurely ride back to Rum Point. Once back to the house we threw together dinner out of what was left of the food and drank what was left of the drink. Joe said he’s finally found his island chill now that’s it’s time to pack up and go home. It was a great week! It makes me wonder, if you live on Grand Cayman, where do you go on vacation?

 


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In My Defense

Ok, I know that yesterday’s blog was not up to my usual standards. I’m sure it left you wanting more. In my defense, I just wasn’t feeling it. It might have had something to do with the four drinks I’d had in town. Hemingway’s adage to “write drunk and edit sober” apparently doesn’t apply to me. Even old Ernest probably had a off day occasionally. If he’d been as uninspired as I was, instead of “The Sun Also Rises” you would have been reading “Sun’s Up” in high school.

After breakfast, all the guys and Denise headed out for Rum Point for “ice.” I’m glad Denise went with them as our own private PI, otherwise I’m sure we would never would have heard about the mudslides and how Tres pontificated on at what tonnage a coverup should be required, and further about he wants to open a “fancy ice cream shop like Baskin Robbins” with a narrow door…and if you can’t fit through it, you can’t buy it. He’s only going to sell ice cream to skinny women. Joe told him he would go broke. We haven’t yet given out an Asshat of the Day award on this trip, but that just changed. I may have to strangle him with my coverup.

We sat around the patio retelling old drinking stories and laughing. If your story starts out with, “In my defense…” you know it’s not going to end well. It will, however, most likely be funny to your audience. Let’s just say Denise provided a lot of entertainment.

Tonight we went to a Michelin rated restaurant, Kaibo Upstairs. Getting ready, I asked Joe if he could see any panty lines in my tighter-than-when-we-left-home pants. He suggested I just go commando. He may be on to something as I could probably use the extra room. Dinner was fabulous. We had the 6 course chef’s tasting menu. Not only was the food top notch but the drinks were something else. Joe was drinking martinis made with Monkey 47 gin. He made it through 94 monkeys before he switched to coffee. Dave had this thing called a Smoking Gun, which was made with 23 year old rum and homemade soda syrup. 

It is poured into a decanter where they add smoke with some special contraption. The smoke is captured in the decanter when the bottle is corked. It “adds complexity” to the drink. Tres had rum poured over coconut ice. It might have been our most expensive meal ever, but it it was also our best. All in all a very memorable meal. Walking back into the house I asked Joe if he could cut the button off of my pants. I warned him to stand back when that thing went. In my defense, my pants fit in Texas. It must be the salt air…

 


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Relaxed to Terrorized in an Hour Flat

I’ll make this short and sweet. Let me start out by saying we are spoiled, and I speak for everyone here. That probably doesn’t come as a shock to anyone who knows us. We had two masseuses come to the house for hour long massages this morning for anyone who wanted one. Almost everyone did. We set up two of the bedrooms facing the water and left the French doors open so you could hear the waves during the massage. It was heaven, however, I may be bruised tomorrow.

Afterwards, we decided to go in to Georgetown to check out some shopping, drinks at a cute English pub and then catch the sunset at the Royal Palms on Seven Mile Beach during dinner. Outstanding! The food and the views can’t be beat. Getting there and back almost undid the mojo I had going from my massage. It’s a tad stressful driving on narrow roads, on the wrong side, with school children walking next to the road, with no shoulder. It’s a nail biter, but our drivers did a great job. The poor little school children won’t ever be the same.

In between the relaxation of the massage and the terror of the drive to town, we tried to get a decent picture of all of us by the pool. Keith’s remote shutter was not working as advertised…or maybe it was operator error…but either way it was pretty comical before we finished. I think we finally got a couple of good shots, but my favorite is Keith trying to get the remote to work. Hope he’s better with the TV.


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No Diarrhea in the Pool

As an insider, I can tell you this is generally not a group of what you would call rule followers. We are actually a bunch of old rebels. I’m probably the most by-the-book person here if that gives you an idea about the rest of our (very) mature miscreants. There is one rule we can all easily agree to follow. On the list of pool rules, one is particularly disturbing. The fifth rule states, and I quote, “DO NOT USE THE POOL IF YOU ARE ILL WITH DIARRHEA.” WTF?? Is this really something that needs to be posted? Does anyone really think, I’ve got a terrible case of raging diarrhea but I feel like a dip this morning? I mean, someone must have for the owners to take the time and effort to put it on a sign. Also, there is no mention of not peeing in the pool, so I guess that is perfectly acceptable. I guess you have to draw the line somewhere and if you had to choose…

Our lawlessness has no bounds. While the pool guy was here this morning, someone spied a couple of kayaks in the pool room. That guy takes his job seriously because Gina was offering him alcohol and no telling what else to give up the location of the key he let slip is hidden somewhere on the premises, and it was a total no go. Gina is famous for being able to talk anyone into anything…flashback back to her hijacking a local to take us to the grocery store on Saturday…but she got no where with this guy. Respect. Gina thinks it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission and “we probably wouldn’t get thrown in jail.” That’s a pretty low bar for what’s appropriate. Because there is no rule posted specifically against the use of the kayaks, Keith thinks they are fair game. I would think the locked door they are behind would be an implied rule, but the entire party is scouring the house for the hidden key and Denise PI is looking for her lock picks. She must have left them at home because I saw someone headed that way with a corkscrew. I don’t have enough bail money for everyone, so you better hope you’re one of my favorites.

The afternoon passed lazily until Julia realized Tres had been gone an hour and a half snorkeling. She walked down the beach one direction and I walked the other way looking for his little pea brained head to hop out of the water somewhere. Julia seemed pretty calm but I was getting a little panicked. By this time, even Joe had joined the search and about the time we all met back at the house, I could see him making his way back in. I’m glad there was a happy ending because that that would have been a bummer of a way to end a heretofore relatively funny blog. 

Tonight’s main course consisted of our contraband filet mignon and it was superb. It’s always the quietest meal of the trip. The only sound is the clink of silverware. It’s that good. After dinner we played Heads Up on the iPad. There are categories and your team has to give you clues to guess the phrase on the iPad you hold above your head. We played the adult version and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a bunch of women trying to give clues for “blue balls.” I almost had tears running down my leg, but I couldn’t remember whether to scratch my leg or squeeze my butt cheeks.

 

 


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It’s Nine o’Clock Somewhere

This is our sixth trip to the Caribbean with our friends and we’ve been lucky to have had pretty good weather every year. Today, not so much. This was supposed to be our boat day, but since the waves are big enough to surf we had to reschedule. It was the white caps on the pool that was my first clue that a boat might not be in our future today. That being said, a bad day on Grand Cayman is still better than a good day at the office. I’m sure we will muddle through somehow.

Since we aren’t boating, we drove over to the East End to Eagle Ray’s Dive Shop and Grill. It’s the Caymanian version of a Texas beer and bait shop. There we found lion fish which are beautiful, deadly, over populated and delicious. We had them in tacos and ceviche. I could easily go there again.

On the way back to the house, Gina wanted to crank up some tunes. The next thing I knew she was was searching her playlist for “It’s Nine o’Clock Somewhere.” While the sentiment might be technically correct, her Jimmy Buffet card is revoked. Come to find out, she frequently gets song lyrics confused. I’ll let you use your imagination as to what she thought the lyrics for Uptown Funk were.

This group is a wealth of trivia and useful information. For instance, because of the curve of the earth the furthest you can see looking out at the ocean is 23 miles. You can’t cry if you squeeze your butt cheeks together. If you need to pee, scratch the back of your calf. To head off a fart, jump up and down on one leg, stick your right finger in your left ear, cross your eyes and bark like a dog. It’s these helpful hints that make life so much easier. You are welcome.

This evening, Tres and Keith headed back to the East End for a night dive. I was going to go with them but I left my wet suit at home, plus there’s the minor issue of the no swimming thing. I can do a mean hot tub though. While they were gone we had what Gina considered a pickup meal of bacon wrapped shrimp, coconut shrimp, oven roasted potatoes, squash casserole and chocolate melting pots al la mode. She is making me look bad here. Half the time we have salami, deli ham, cheese and olives and call it good. After dinner, we enjoyed a card game. I’m pretty sure Denise was cheating, probably because she said she was going to cheat until she won. She needs to brush up on her skills because she came in second. Some of the guys enjoyed a Cuban cigar and we called it a night. The day wasn’t planned, but I’ll take one like this anytime.