Holy Mackerel!

Operation In-law Week is off to a great start! Monday the four of us chartered a deep sea fishing boat for a half-day tour, and what started out as a rather boring loop-de-loop offshore turned into a battle to stay in the boat as a very angry mackerel tried to pull us all in with him.

We had expected to be taken to a particular fishing area and allowed to fish off the side of the boat until we caught something, but that’s not actually how it works. Instead, the captain rides back and forth along the coastline while the deckhand strings six poles and releases the bait into the water. Then, you wait. And wait. And wait some more. Then, with any luck, one of the poles will eventually jump. This is your cue to jump into the special reeling chair and take the pole handed to you by the deckhand and try to pull “your fish” into the boat.

The Mister reeled in the first fish – a large mackeral about 18 or so inches long. An hour and two lost bites later, his dad got to reel in a beautiful barracuda. Then, it was boring for a very long time. You can only play “i spy something blue” for so long.

As we were on our way back from Nevis, one of the poles jumped violently and everyone started. It was my turn. I jumped into the reeling chair and grabbed the rod that was handed to me… and immediately realized I am not strong enough to turn it. The Mister rushed over to help me, and even with the both of us reeling the fish was not ready to cooperate. It ended up getting so wrapped around another of our lines that the Mister had to reel in one rod and the deckhand had to reel in the other just to keep both lines from snapping.

This continued for a good ten minutes with no progress being made at all, so the captain finally came down to the deck to help. It took the Mister AND his dad reeling the first rod, the deckhand reeling the second and the captain leaning over the back of the boat trying to haul the fish in bodily to defeat it. Judging from the fight it put up, we were expecting a shark! It turned out to be a spotted mackerel almost two feet long, which the mister estimated to weigh close to 15 pounds. It was an exciting catch.

(Yes, at this point the captain is on the deck pulling in a fish and untangling line, so nobody is steering the boat. Which is why my father-in-law and I can now put “helped drive a fishing boat” on our lists of personal accomplishments. :])

We only kept the fillets from the big mackerel and let the captain and deckhand have the others. One fillet served all four of us! I roasted the pieces in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and we ate them with rice and some red potato wedges from Sunday’s big lunch. It was surprisingly good, and the Mister and I still have a whole fillet in the freezer for a rainy day!

Today we visited Brimstone National Fortress and Caribelle Batik, where they make a type of Caribbean dyed fabric. My legs might never walk another set of stairs again! Nevis is on the agenda for tomorrow, so wish us luck getting onto a car ferry that apparently leaves whenever it feels like it, regardless of the posted schedule. :/

Meera is getting to go play with Daisy and Penny – American dogs that belong to our friends – tomorrow, so that will save her from a whole day in her kennel. She’s really taken a shine to “Nanna” and “Big Dad” and hates to leave their sides. First grandpup is a success!

Happy mid-week to you all, and to all a good night.

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Lion Brand Giveaway!

Attention all crocheters!

Lion Brand Yarn is hosting a giveaway through allfreecrochet.com for three free skeins of Heartland yarn – made in America and named after national landmarks. I really like Lion Brand for blankets and throws because it has the strength of a regular worsted weight but is soft enough to cuddle up in. I’m dying to try a c2c (corner to corner) pattern style someday when I can make afghans again.

Enter for your chance to win at http://www.allfreecrochet.com/sweeps/Lion-Brand-Heartland-Yarn.

So. Much. Singing!

So I know I’m a bit late on this week’s post, but April Staycation 2014 has gotten off to a busy start!

We got some disappointing news Friday night when grades were posted and we learned that the Mister will have to repeat a class this coming semester, thus putting him a semester behind where we were before and adding three and half months to our island sentence, but we’ve worked past the initial shock and are trying not to let it ruin the rest of our staycation.

[You see, it’s a bit backwards for us because staycations are staying on the tropical island and vacations are leaving it, but at least most of our friends stayed behind with us.]

So far we’ve been to see Captain America and Rio 2 (so. much. singing! I was not adequately prepared for the ridiculousness that is that movie and laughed hysterically through most of it. Mostly in shame that I was even there.); we’ve had a game night potluck and a movie snack night; the Mister and I hosted a pool party today; and we have a puppy play date planned for tomorrow night. It’s been a busy first half of the week, but it’s wonderful to be out and about and enjoying days with friends. The last time we stayed on the island for a break (last August) we were stuck inside a borrowed apartment with no air flow, stranded by a borrowed car with no power steering and sleep deprived by the three puppies we watched in exchange for staying in the borrowed apartment. It was miserable.

But this staycation is turning out a hundred times better and we’re not even halfway through. The Mister’s parents’ vacation joins our staycation on Saturday night, so next week will be filled with sightseeing and island tours with the in-laws. Hopefully our week will be a thousand times better than theirs.

Tomorrow evening I have to go across island (like across town? get it?) to Best Buy (which is a grocery store here, not an electronics place) to check out the meat situation. Apparently they get a better stock of normal-type meats there, but you have to go on Thursday night if you hope to get anything before it’s all gone. (And by normal-type meats I mean pork loin as opposed to ox tails and turkey necks, which is what my regular grocery store sells.) The meat selection will then determine what meals I plan for our visitors next week, thus dictating the direction of Friday’s grocery shopping. We’re also getting hair cuts (the Mister has looked like a homeless man for months) and cleaning the house so I won’t be ashamed to bring my in-laws inside. (Ok, I’m cleaning the house. Who knows what the Mister will be doing.)

To all you U.S. vet school students posting constantly about how “you can’t wait for summer vacation,” poo on  you. Try going year-round in a foreign country and then get back to me. To all you Rossies who escaped the island on a two-week furlough, eat some good American food for us and don’t brag about it when you get back. To everyone else, merry April and happy springtime.

On Topic

I’m going to be starting a new periodic theme here on the Nut House blog called “On Topic,” which will be a series of short, personal essays on a given subject. Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t that what a blog post is?” Well… yes and no. I try to keep my regular blog posts about actual events in everyday life and typically make an attempt to be funny. In “On Topic” posts, I want to try to be more philosophical — inspirational, if you will. Who knows if that will be achieved or not, but there is a piece inside me that aches to get back to that style of writing we studied in my literature classes in college. Not stuffy, academic writing, but something in-between that and the newspaper column-type humor I try to infuse into my normal blog posts.

I’m particularly inspired by a writer from one of my senior classes, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me (and Google isn’t responding to “famous author who writes about stuff”). One of those one-name authors… a really old dead guy… he might have been British… anyway, I know I didn’t resell or throw away the book, so he must have been someone I actually enjoyed reading. I do remember that class was taught by Dr. Chris Hill and that we ended up arguing about the merits of owning a cat through a lot of our lectures. But I digress (as did we, obviously).

This might be an idea I end up moving over to erinchesnut.wordpress.com someday (which is inactive now, so don’t go trying to look it up. And if for some reason it’s not, please just ignore whatever  content you can see there. It’s currently a terrible attempt at analyzing my industry). I’ve been sitting on the URL for a while now, intending it to someday be a professional blog in which I intellectually expound upon the changes and trends in the public relations world, but obviously that isn’t happening anytime soon.

At any rate, these articles will be included as the mood strikes me and will be archived under the new “On Topic” tab in the top menu. Feel free to let me know what you think or to suggest a topic.

Borrowed stories – A week to remember

A friend of mine here on the island recently had her in-laws come to visit, and boy did they have a week to remember! She’s too nice to post any of these stories online because she doesn’t want to “make this place look bad,” but I have no such filter (often to my husband’s chagrin), so here it goes.

The day her in-laws arrived was the day the airport people finally found an employee that had died in the service elevator three days previously.

The first night they were on the island a  young local man was shot in Frigate Bay, which is the area where they, we and a large portion of Ross students live.

One day they took a boat ride to Nevis and saw a badly injured baby goat thrashing in the waves off-shore. They rescued the goat and then her husband carried the goat on the boat all the way back to St. Kitts. The goat bled all over the boat, peed on the husband and pooped in their car. They ended up calling several RUSVM professors and the emergency clinic and had the goat euthanized (it was too badly injured to recover). [Granted, this particular episode is more on them than the island, but still factors into the interesting week her visitors had.]

While they were in Nevis, she and her mother-in-law witnessed a small boat pull up close to shore and dump several large packages into the water before taking off. These packages were then retrieved by a couple of men in a waiting pickup truck, who eyed them and their camera suspiciously before taking off as well. Definitely a drug dump.

The last day her in-laws were in town the family was eating at the Circus Grill (which is in port near the docks) and witnessed the chaos of two dock workers being drowned under a cruise ship that pulled out too early.

I mean MY GOODNESS! Could they have had a better vacation? (Holds up sarcasm sign.) Somehow I don’t think they’ll be visiting again anytime soon.

Here’s to hoping my in-laws have a better visit.

[NOTE: Stuff like this doesn’t happen every single day around here, but corrupt and suspicious things do happen a lot. These people just seemed to have come at the right time to get a good dose of all of it at once.]

It’s that time of year again…

Three times a year the Ross Vet School community gets to experience that most special occasion known as “finals week.” You would think this only affects the students, but it does, in fact, have a way of spilling over into the rest of the spouse and family community.

Thus, my lack of a Monday post. (Or at least I can blame it on the Mister, anyway.)

But, really, things are getting pretty hectic around here with the Mister rushing back and forth between the house, campus and various group study sessions and leaving his notes and materials strewn about the house like so many Easter eggs.

Exams start next week but this week has lab finals and all the last-minute study stress that the end of a semester always brings with it. Hopefully by the end of next week we’ll all be fourth semester students and one step closer to being halfway done with this island.

Then we’ll get a week of peaceful rest and another week of island exploration with the Mister’s parents, who are coming to visit at the end of April. We’ve got all sorts of things planned, including a sugar mill hike, a tour of Brimstone Fortress, a day trip to Nevis and possibly a deep-sea fishing expedition. Should be blog-worthy by the time we’re all done.

The crochet creations business is doing well and I’m pleased with the results I’ve been getting. Now if only I could round up those pesky monkeys in the garden and turn them into an army of crochet minions I’d be cranking orders out like a Chinese sweat shop. As it is, it’s just me, crocheting frantically in my own little Kittitian sweat shop… but at least it keeps me busy.

Now to sit on the porch, make a turtle and watch the golf carts flee to safety as the rain rolls in off the ocean. Run, little golfers, run!