It’s been a quiet couple of weeks in Lake WeBeGone…
Sorry. That might be more of a Minnesota joke. But seriously, it’s been a couple weeks of admin, waiting, a day of Boat Excitement, more admin, more waiting, and a psycho squirrel encounter.
We moved up to Fort Pierce last week, about two hours north and where The Boat is currently located. After two months, we were ready for a change of scenery. Fort Lauderdale was a great place for our boat search, but the city living was getting old. The RV Park/Marina was in a rather industrial area, so other than the lovely walks along the docks it wasn’t a great location for wandering or biking. And the driving in Fort Lauderdale was just nuts. There seemed to be two driving philosophies: 20 mph above the speed limit and 20 mph below the speed limit. I guess the thinking was that it would average out to the actual speed limit, thus making driving a team sport. We met some really nice fellow RVers. One was a young man who worked for a big tech company, and when COVID sent everyone into working remotely last March he took to the road in a RV with his dog. We had him over for burgers one night, and it was a lovely evening of conversation. He is exactly why I have great faith in the next generation. His parents have 67 grandchildren! Upon hearing this, I spent the next 30 min wrapping my head around what that meant. That averages out to more than one birthday a week! How do you remember all their names? How often does a kid get left somewhere? Attending weekend sporting events must require Scotty and a lot of “Beam me up.”
The day after we moved up here was the big boat inspection, called a survey. This is like a home inspection, but even more detailed. One guy does just the engine, and another guy does everything else on the boat. After several hours of poking and thumping and viewing of maintenance logs, which were meticulous, we all went on a ‘test drive’ and over to a boatyard to be hauled out for the surveyor to take a look at the underwater parts. If you’ve never seen a boat get hauled out of the water, it’s pretty impressive. You drive it into this giant sling, and they lift it up and then the whole thing moves over onto land. After an hour out of the water, it is ‘splashed’ back in and we then took the boat through some paces for the surveyors. For us, it just felt really good to be out on the water, and the boat is a joy to cruise on – and she can move! David and Char (the owners) taught us all kinds of stuff, including pearls of wisdom from their 16 years of cruising: bay leaves in cabinets will help prevent bugs as does NOT storing anything in cardboard; don’t open the starboard aft window when underway because for some reason that side gets more of the engine spray; where the electronic compass is so that I can be sure not to store anything metal in there or north might not really be north; “Don’t touch THAT valve!” and so on. After a full day, we were exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. And the boat passed inspection with flying colors! The surveyor said this was only the second ‘excellent’ he has ever given, a rare ‘Bristol’ in seaman terms. And we are now one major step closer to owning The Boat.
So now we’ve turned everything over to the finance company and must wait for all the admin to be processed. We are still expectant that we will be moving onboard the first week of April. In the meantime, Dave discovered that Amazon will deliver right to the campsite and he has been busy with outfitting! Let the record show that Dave is the Amazonian in our family. It started when he was buying all the track officiating gear shortly after he retired. I was still working, and with the account in my name I would get all the text notifications when he placed orders. At first, I thought my account had been hacked because I would have all these notifications for seemingly random things such as 300 yards of rope, 100 small orange cones, and dozens of cans of chalk spray paint. If I forgot to turn my phone to silent when I left it at my desk to see patients, my staff would tell me on my return “I think your husband is on Amazon again. Your phone’s been dinging non-stop.” But now it’s all boat stuff – navigation aids, air horns, life vests, portable induction cooktops, radio headsets. I’m sure the Amazon delivery guy is wondering where we are going to put all this stuff, since the trailer just isn’t that big and it’s already full. Shoot, I’m wondering where we’re going to put all this stuff.
I’m afraid the Drivers License saga continues. When I hadn’t received mine in the requisite time, despite seeing that it had been mailed, I contacted them by email and was informed that my license had been returned by the Post Office. AAAaaaargh!!! It didn’t say to which address it had been sent. So I settled in for the anticipated prolonged wait on Ignore and called the Minnesota DMV. After fifty minutes of hearing “please hold, a representative will be with you shortly” repeated every 15 seconds (i.e., 200 times), a live voice finally comes on the line. After explaining that we had done a change of address in person in February, I am told that it was returned because we had a forwarding address on file with the post office for the White Bear Lake address.
“But the mail forwarding was for the Stillwater address, because we moved from there. The White Bear Lake is the mailing address we directly gave to you. The license wasn’t forwarded there.”
“The Post Office can’t deliver driver’s licenses to any address that is listed in their system as a forwarding address.”
“Can you just send it to the Lakeville home address instead?”
“No, we have to send it to the mailing address. If you want us to send it to Lakeville then you have to come in to an office and pay a $17 fee.” Ugh! Here we go again.
“But the change of address forwarding is effective for six months. How do we remedy this?”
“You have to cancel the address forwarding with the post office.”
“But then my mail to the Stillwater address won’t be forwarded.”
“Once you get your license, you can start the mail forwarding again.”
“So will you resend the license?”
“You have to tell us to.”
“Okay, I’m telling you to resend my license.”
“You have to tell us a couple days after you cancel the mail forwarding, because it will take the post office that long to process it.” (Sound of my head hitting table.)
I would say that this whole process since February has been one big circle, except that simplifies it too much. It’s more like a SpiroGraph, but I won’t end up with anything the least bit pretty when it’s done. I understand the whole concern with security and identity theft, but this can’t be the first time they’ve ever encountered anyone who has changed their address with both the DMV and the post office. And if I hadn’t been following up regularly, how would we have even known and what would they have done with our licenses? *sigh* The only good thing I’ve learned is that two independent government agencies can share information between them. I just wish they hadn’t shared MY information so efficiently.
Roxy likes this new campground better because it has squirrels. LOTS of squirrels. They’re skinnier than Minnesota squirrels, but also cheekier. She spends hours every day patiently waiting for them to come near, then chases them up a tree where they loudly scold her. The video above from a few days ago shows one bold guy – who we named Killer because he seems to be fearless in search of food – walk right up to Roxy, to her paralytic amazement. Yesterday afternoon Dave and I were sitting at the picnic table, each working on whatever it was we were working on. Out of the corner of my eye I see Roxy stalking something. Next thing I know she jumps up on top of the table and starts pawing at me and looking down anxiously. I look under the tablecloth and there’s Killer, inches from our feet, staring up at me. I squeal in surprise and lift my feet up, and he starts jumping and playfully grabbing at my sandals. I squeal louder and raise feet higher, kicking Dave, as I tell him there’s a squirrel under there. Dave takes his metal coffee thermos and tries to push him away, but apparently metal coffee thermoses rate below dogs on the Killer Squirrel Fear Scale and he stands on his back legs and tries to grab it. Roxy is lying down on the table now, her job done, enjoying our antics. Dave and I are both laughing hysterically as we try to vanquish Killer and not fall off the picnic bench. Killer interprets our mirth as an invite and jumps up on Dave’s lap!!! Dave bats him away and we both scramble to extricate ourselves from the picnic table quickly, which was hardly graceful. We take this to the next level and Dave gets the broom from the trailer. He pokes at Killer. Killer charges the bristles of the broom. Dave executes a wide sweeping arc of the broom. Killer jumps back and swats at it as it goes by. I’m clapping and stamping my feet. Killer doesn’t even glance my way. Dave tells Roxy to ‘go get him,’ our usual release for her to go chase a critter. She gives him an “Are you nuts?!?” look and doesn’t budge from her Perch of Safety on the table. We all stare at each other for a few seconds, at an impasse. Eventually Killer apparently decides either that we don’t have food or we just don’t have any moves he hasn’t yet seen, and with a final scolding chatter runs off to the trailer next door to see what havoc he can wreak there. Roxy stayed up on the table a full 10 minutes longer just to make sure the coast was clear. She has been duly stripped of her Great Protector From Squirrels title. Turns out it has been an 11-year charade. We will have to see if she can redeem herself with seagulls.
Now comes a couple weeks of hanging out and enjoying the beautiful weather and our last days of land-based living while defending our small RV home from psycho squirrels. And we will be doing it while NOT living in Lakeville, or White Bear, or Stillwater – or apparently anywhere. Too bad we can’t have our driver’s licenses delivered by Amazon. They don’t seem to have any trouble finding us.