September 2007, Palatka, Fl
The first two weeks we were in Palatka I spent getting the kid's cabins painted. Abi chose a Tinkerbell theme for her cabin and Aaron chose Nemo. Since I've pretty much adopted his electric sander for my jobs now, and proven I can use the thing, Justin bought me a buffer in the hopes I would work out any marks and scuffs on the fiberglass (interior) but the nice light buffer wasn't strong enough to do the job. We returned it and got a stronger buffer but I can barely hold on to that one! It has various speed settings and although I can sort of manage for a short time at low speeds (it's really heavy) the adjustment for the speed is placed right where my thumb tends to wonder and I end up increasing speed - imagine increasing speed on the treadmill to someone who is not expecting it and they lose control and fly off the back - this is quite similar really. I lose control of the thing altogether and as it buzzes around wildly while I'm there holding onto it as best I can using both hands to control it and get the setting back down to a manageable speed! So, needless to say, buffing jobs have been suspended from my duties at present, until we figure out a better method, find a lighter but strong enough tool or until Justin can do it. Click here to see photos of the kids' cabins.
Palatka is a nice place. Is it Podunk and everything we imagined? Yes it is. But we pride ourselves on the fact that we can get used to any place with the exception of Ft Lauderdale. Everything (and everyone - only kidding!) is a slower place here. People aren't half as stressed out as they were down in Lauderdale. Everyone on the dock has been really great and friendly. Nearly every boat here is a houseboat. The kids have met other kids around the area. One stays on the dock about 8 boats down from us, so they are now buddies. We have seen several gators! Our sightings have usually been during the wee hours of the morning between 1am and 4am. They are easy to see on nights where the water is calm and the moon is bright. Many people do swim around here but I think they are nuts. I'll swim at the pool thank you! Justin nearly stepped on a 3 ft long cottonmouth, aka water moccasin and the kids spotted one (probably the same one) a few days later sunning himself on a rock. You have to watch where you step around here! Spiders are everywhere which thankfully don't really bother me. I know some people hate them and would probably really have a problem with it. If we walk the dock at night they usually have a web spreading from one side to the other and the only way to get where you are going is to go right through it.
The fine dining in Palatka is also worthy of a mention! Our good friends, Wayne & Jenny on s/v Aztec Princess from Jacksonville took us to dinner at Corky Bell's (the marina restaurant) when we arrived. They also drove us to Ft Lauderdale to get our cars (5 hrs there, 5 hrs back)! We are grateful to call them our friends. Anyway, the menu at Corky Bell's included a swamp platter, complete with gator tail, crawfish, frogs etc. Enticing as the swampie looked we went for the fish and were very happy. It was a lovely evening. The next time we saw frog legs we were at the China Buffet in town - we have an addiction to those places and the amazing thing is we have found one in every town we've been to, even Palatka and they all look the same! So, anyway, I took this opportunity to pass down a family tradition.... making kids eat weird stuff by trickery! We got the frog legs off the buffet and presented them to the kids as "Special Palatka Chicken!" Abi, the cautious one, didn't like the look of it or the taste of it from the get go but, Aaron, the gung ho one liked the little froggies quite well until he found out what it was! We ribbited at him the whole way home in the car! Dr Phil would probably have a field day with us. My Dad tricked me into eating all sorts of weird stuff - stuff they don't even put on menus so they are getting it easy.
Justin is working here and there. Keeping dockage on both boats is making us feel the pinch. He's done a bit of work around the marina and he has also started an ebay business. He's doing quite well and enjoying it. Since he's mainly selling marine surplus at discounted prices he's met several people also working on project boats and it has been interesting to share stories and photos! You can link to his ebay store here.
School is underway and going really well this year. I have two very keen and eager students and they are both brilliant so it should be a breeze! I also have candy and find it to be a wonderful motivation! Again, Dr Phil would probably not approve of our methods! Too bad.
Till next time...