Friends and Family visiting

After returning from Kentucky we had a few days of boat work and cleaning.  On Saturday some close friends from Aledo, Don and Judie Woodall, drove down to spend a short weekend with us.  Judie had a niece getting married in Galveston, so they coupled the trip with stopping by to see us.

Due to work schedules they were not able to come Friday evening, but instead drove down early Saturday.  We visited for several hours and drove down to Noah’s for lunch.  The weather was not cooperating, and it was cold and rainy.  Noah’s is a large tiki bar/restaurant on Galveston Bay open on the sides to the weather.  Today they had put up clear vinyl curtains to block the wind and propane heaters to warm the patrons.  It was very pleasant to sit and enjoy fried oysters, shrimp, and catfish while we talked.

After returning to the boat, Don and Judy dressed for the wedding.  It was an outdoor wedding, and the weather was still cold with light rain.  While they were at the wedding, Laura and I went to a warm dry sports bar to watch Louisville play Notre Dame.  It was a hard-fought close game and the Cards prevailed.

The next morning was bright, sunny, and much warmer.  Judy sat on the dock enjoying the sun while Don walked to the next pier to shot some photos.

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We all went over to the Kemah Boardwalk for a walk and morning coffee.  It was a very relaxing morning, and we all enjoyed the warm weather.  Although it was short, we had a wonderful time together and were very happy they came to visit.

Update on Upgrades

Thought I’d try to list the major projects we have completed.

1) Remove inop washer/dryer and replace with sliding drawers for food and hardware storage.  The laundry room has thus become our pantry.

2) Replace forward head with Blake Lavac.  Replace all sanitation hoses. Add larger holding tank.  Replace macerator pump and Y valves.  Add ultrasonic level sensor which displays on the Blue Seas Vessel System Monitor.

3) Add stainless steel structure to davits for mounting three 140 Watt solar panels.  Move AIS, GPS, and Wifi antennas from rail to new location at stern of boat.  Raise stern light so it is not blocked when dinghy is hanging from davits.

4)  Replace SSB with new Icom M802 and AT-140 antenna tuner.

5) Replace all electronics with Simrad.  One chart plotter is at the helm and one is at the nav station.  The units are identical to allow exchanging them in the event the one at the helm fails.  Add new autopilot and 4G radar.  Install Sitex AIS.

6) Replace 120 Volt refrigeration and freezer compressors with new 12 Volt Technautics units.

 

Family Time

Last week, we took off from our boat working projects to head back to Kentucky to visit our families.  For those, who don’t know, Laura and I went to high school together, and our parents live only a few miles apart.  This year was my dad’s 80th birthday and Laura’s parent’s 60th anniversary and we wanted to be there to celebrate both occasions.

We started the trip by flying into Cincinnati where we met my brother, David and his wife, Tamra.  We went out to a cozy German restaurant for dinner and then drove to their home to watch the Louisville-Minnesota basketball game.  We had a great time visiting and seeing this year’s Cards in action.

The next morning we had a relaxing breakfast and drove to Louisville after lunch.  This was the evening that we had arranged to take her parents to dinner.  Ruth Chris did a great job making this a special occasion.  They had little gold sprinkles on the table that said “Happy Anniversary”, sort of like confetti.  We had a delicious meal and enjoyed the opportunity for us all to be together again.  In addition to Pat and Banis, Laura’s brother Steve, other brother Jay, his wife Karen, son Jacob, and his fiancee Ashley were all there.

Pat and Banis at dinner

Pat and Banis at dinner

Jay and Karen

Jay and Karen

Jacob and Ashley

Jacob and Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

After getting home I realized I didn’t have a picture of Steve at dinner.  I assure you he was there, and I apologize for not having a picture to post.

The next morning, Laura and I went to Mass at St. Bernard’s, where we were married 35 years ago.  We always enjoy going to Mass there, and it holds a special place in our hearts.  After Mass we had a surprise birthday party for dad.  We don’t often get to pull a surprise on dad, but since it was the day BEFORE his birthday, his guard was down.

Everyone met at my brother Mike’s and wife Debbie’s house.  Dad thought we were just going for a family lunch, and was not expecting all of the relatives and friends that were there.  He was very surprised to see the 30 or so people there to celebrate his birthday, and it was a very special day for him.  It’s hard to remember all of the food that we had, or who cooked what.  Let it be said that it was delicious and no one left hungry.  Not just the lasagna and chicken alfredo, but the great salad and deserts.  LOTS of deserts!  Hats off to Debbie, Tamra, and my mom for planning a very successful surprise party!

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All of the chit-chat is in the background. Once we got in front of the food, it was all business.

Mom and Dad (center on couch) surrounded by sons. daughters-in-law, and grandchildren

Mom and Dad (center on couch) surrounded by sons. daughters-in-law, and grandchildren

The next morning we were treated to a beautiful snowfall.  It was only two or three inches, and did not stick to the roads.  It was the prettiest snowfall I had seen in Kentucky in quite a while.

Mom and Dad's back yard

Mom and Dad’s back yard

Since this was actually dad’s birthday, Mike and I took him to the movies that afternoon to see “Interstellar”  We enjoyed the film, and also the chance to be together.  That night, Laura and I took mom and dad to dinner.  They wanted a good steak, so where better to go than Ruth Chris?  Of course, this was the second time we were there in three days, but hey, we were up to the challenge.  This time I got the Cowboy bone-in ribeye instead of the filet.  That was a great decision!  One of the two best steaks I’ve had in my life.  Again, a wonderful evening together.

Mom and Dad at dinner

Mom and Dad at dinner

Mom and me

Mom and me

All four of us at Ruth Chris

All four of us at Ruth Chris

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday was a little more low key, with Laura and I spending time with our folks.  We flew home Wednesday afternoon, arriving home around 10:15 that evening.  We were tired, but very thankful we had such a great visit with family.