Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catching Up A Little (Whew!!)

When we last talked to our hero (that's me), she was gamely battling evil forces trying to mire her in mounds of paperwork.

Well, I'm still there. Big "shout out" to our friends from s/v Windy City in Hawaii watching over Soggy Paws. They went onboard and got all the docs I need (I hope) to prove to the State of Florida that aliens haven't taken over my identity. I can't seem to make an appointment online for a Driver's License. So after Thanksgiving I'll just have to go stand in line, and see if I have enough paper to satisfy them that I am still who I have always been as a full-time bona fide voting and driver's license-carrying resident of Florida since 1970.

Well, we have been doing our usual "visit home" crazy schedule--trying to fit in a year's worth of catching up with friends and family, getting medical checks, and acquiring needed boat things and tech toys to carry on for another year of round-the-world voyaging.

The first step on arrival was to go retrieve our car, which has been stored for the last year at my brother's house in Hawthorne (3 hours north of Melbourne). That's pretty much an all-day trip.

CSY Breakfast at the SSCA Gam 2010

Then we had one day of rest before we launched in the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam activities. It was another great 'Gam' and we got to see lots of old friends, and meet some new ones. We organized another "CSY Breakfast" where we got to meet a bunch of new CSY owners. What a group!

We also enjoyed a few seminars and the vendor area at the Gam. But our favorite is always the flea market, and this year didn't disappoint. We got a few things we needed at really good prices, that I know the sellers were happy to part with. Dave and I had a good time sharing our experiences at the 'Round Tables' sessions on Sunday morning. Dave handled the 'Eastern Pacific' round table, I handled the 'Western Caribbean', and our friend Gwen on Tackless II covered the 'Western Pacific'. (Wish we could have attended Gwen's, but she gave us a private briefing later).

Then we rushed off to catch the last of the Waterway Net get together in Wickham Park. More reunions with many old friends.

The week after SSCA should have been a 'recovery' week, but I had promised Melbourne Yacht Club that I'd do a slide show on this year's cruising adventures... which I hadn't started yet. I "crammed" all week... trying to fit 10 months of intensive adventure, photographed by multiple photographers, into a 1 hour presentation. It turned out to be an impossible task. I ran out of prep time at 5:45pm the day of the presentation, and was already up to about 240 slides. So I just said "The End... More to Follow" after I covered the first half of the Tuamotus. *sigh* It ended up taking about 1 hour and 30 minutes, and was just about the right length. It was well-received, and a few people asked "Well, when is the 2nd half?" Not this week!!

The next day we left for the west coast of Florida, where we visited Dave's cousin Bryan and Aunt Eva Nell, and 2 different CSY's that we hadn't seen before... owned by new people we hadn't met. We always get new ideas for doing stuff when we see another boat like ours. And we're still "paying forward" all the help we got from other CSY owners over the years as we were working on Soggy Paws. We had a great round of golf with Bryan, and then a nice visit with Don and Gwen, formerly of Tackless II (now happily in a house and w-w-w-working).

After a few stops on the way back from the west coast, we have just enough time to regroup, do laundry, and repack for our Thanksgiving 'tour' to see family and friends in Georgia and North Carolina!!

More to follow... and hopefully pictures *some day*

Friday, November 12, 2010

Driver's License Renewal Woes

This country has gone crazy!!

My driver's license is coming due for renewal in 2 weeks. Last time I renewed it, I did it online and they mailed it to me. No such luck this time. I went online and they said they needed to see me in person. So I made an appointment online. No big deal. I didn't pay any attention to the 'Documents You Need' link on the appointment page... I'm RENEWING an EXISTING a driver's license in the state I've been living in, and had one continuously in, for 40 years for heaven's sake!!!

However, we just got our stack of mail that's been piling up at home, and going through it today, I noticed a postcard from the State of Florida telling me that in order to renew, I need a passport or birth certificate, and some other forms of ID. Well, we left our passports onboard. Dave, when he was gathering up stuff to leave, decided not to take our passports--we're not crossing any borders, they are safer staying on the boat.

No problem, I can get a birth certificate... maybe? I was born in California... that might be hard (in the time frame we have to work with). It has to be certified, and it can't be the one the hospital issued. And... the name on that birth certificate doesn't match my current name. In fact I've had 2 name changes. So even if I CAN get my California birth certificate (I just MIGHT have a certified copy in my file cabinet here in Florida), I still have to get copies of EACH of my 'proof of name change' documents (Marriage Licenses). My first marriage was almost 30 years ago!!

Then, in addition, I need my Social Security Card. Well, guess where that is??? Yep, the Social Security Administration recommends you not carry it with you. So mine is tucked safely away in a filing cabinet on the boat.

Maybe I can go to the local SSA office and apply for a duplicate. But you need proof of id... what do they say I can use?? My DRIVER'S LICENSE!!! (and it takes '10 to 14 days').

Alternate documents that can be used in place of a Social Security Card are ORIGINAL W-2 forms, pay checks, or 1099's showing my complete Social Security Number and my current name. Well, I'm not working, and guess where all my tax records are???

And one final thing I noticed... the card says "You must pass a vision exam and MAY be required to pass written and road skills test." MAY?? Do I or don't I? This card has my name on it and my date of birth, surely they can tell me whether I do or don't need to take any tests...

I've had to cancel my renewal appointment, which was for Tuesday--there's no way I can get all this gathered up in the next 2 working days. And when I tried to reschedule for December (just before we leave to return to Hawaii), there are no appointments available. (but I can still go as a 'walk in')

Sheesh, this wouldn't be a big deal for anyone with a normal life, but for me, it might mean I can't renew my driver's license before we return to Hawaii (and/or I spend all day running around trying to document myself).

It's just crazy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heading for Florida

We've been too busy all day to blog. But we are sitting at the Honolulu airport waiting for our flight to Florida, via Chicago. We land in Chicago at something like 5:30am Chicago time, and finally get into Miami at 1pm ET. Not looking forward to the flight.

Am sitting at the airport with no free wifi, so not sure if we'll get this posted before we take off. We loaned our Mobi Hele wireless data stick (which only works in Hawaii) to our friends on Infini. I already miss it.

As usual, we have a very ambitious schedule... something planned every day between now and December 14th, and sometimes 2 or 3 things planned in one day. We will be trying to fit a whole year of socializing into a 5 week trip, including visiting family in Largo, Atlanta, and North Carolina. Fortunately, the 'shopping' part of the trip is not as significant. We can get almost everything we need in Hawaii, and therefore won't have to concentrate on that so much.
Sherry & Dave
in Honolulu, Hawaii for the winter
At 11/5/2010 6:06 PM (utc) our position was 21°22.26'N 157°56.27'W

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sonar Attack!

Early this evening we started hearing a beeping onboard. We are pretty familiar with all the beeps that can happen on our boat--bilge alarms, fume alarms, watches, cell phones with low batteries, reminder alarms, errant air conditioners, etc. But this beeping really stumped us. We spent about 10 minutes trying to localize it... was it down below? In the bow? In the stern? In the engine room? It is REALLY hard to tell where it is coming from.

We were pretty convinced it wasn't onboard, but when we went outside to see who else's boat was beeping, it was not as loud as it was down below. Hmmm...

We finally came to the conclusion that it must be Sonar signals coming through the water. A chat with a neighbor on the dock confirmed that occasionally a ship in Pearl Harbor is testing their sonar. She said sometimes it lasts for 24 hrs or more. Ooooohh nooooooo!

I'm a light sleeper. It's nearly 11pm and still beeping loudly. I think it's going to be a long night!!

But... it seems to change tone every now and then... almost like it's moving around. Do we have a mini-sub playing in our harbor??
Sherry & Dave
in Honolulu, Hawaii for the winter
At 11/5/2010 6:06 PM (utc) our position was 21°22.26'N 157°56.27'W

Getting Soggy Paws Cleaned Up

The "mostly boring stuff" we've been doing is cleaning up Soggy Paws and getting ready to head to Florida for a month.

Dave Washing Our Genoa

We have taken down our genoa and staysail, washed them, and inspected them carefully for places that need some repair.

They both look in pretty good shape after 3 years and 15,000 miles. But they do need a restitching in a few spots. The old adage "A stitch in time saves nine" really applies. It is so much easier to restitch something that is still hanging together than try to put it all back together once you've let it fall completely apart.

We have also taken down all the halyards--running up 'sacrificial' halyards--really cheap line we buy at Home Depot.

We put up our foredeck awning to protect the dinghy, which is still stored on the foredeck.

We are trying to offload some stuff that we haven't been using, or are upgrading. There's a marine flea market at the downtown marina area tomorrow, so we've been hauling all our stuff out to sell.

We have spent a lot of time online researching the new things we plan to buy in Hawaii, placing orders, and getting ready for some major refit activity. And planning our activities in Florida.

We are still learning our way around Hawaii... Dave let me take the car out by myself for the first time yesterday. Just down to Hickham AFB Exchange, where we had to return something we bought last week. I made it there and back successfully without getting lost.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

3 Shoes to the Wind

Well, we were dismayed to find yesterday that the Wind God took our shoes. We leave our shoes on the dock, and it was a really gusty morning. Dave stepped on to the dock and went to put his shoes on, and only found one shoe left from 2 pairs.

The Orphan Shoe

This, of course, is not a disaster, but we LIKED those shoes, and we miss them! We are left with one half of a pair of well-used imitation Crocs (from a city market in Peru) and I had to dig out my old Crocs (boatyard-stained and also very well used).

Dave has temporarilty reverted to his '2 left feet' sandals (which I find a little embarrasing). Back to Walmart we go!!

Dave's Temporary Shore Shoes

Sherry & Dave
in Honolulu, Hawaii for the winter

Monday, November 1, 2010

Univeristy of Hawaii Football Game

Well, we've been doing lots, but it's mostly boring stuff (boat maintenance).

But last night we went to a University of Hawaii football game at Aloha Stadium. We happen to be docked right in the middle of the 'Tailgate Zone' for Aloha Stadium. Our parking lot, which is normally a pretty sleepy place, turns into party city before the UH home games.

We saw that there was a home game (at Aloha Stadium, which is within walking distance), and went online and bought tickets. It is their Homecoming game, so we figured it would be hard to find tickets. But the stadium was only 2/3 full. We probably could have 'scalped' some tickets for less if we'd been patient. We tailgated a little with some other people on the dock, and then walked to the stadium. We are closer to the stadium here on the boat, than the parking lot we normally park in for Gator games.

But it was a great game--a lot more laid back than a Gator game (with 3x as many people and a lot more pressure due to 'standings'). The fans were just as fanatic (and a few just as drunk and rowdy). The UH Warriors totally wiped out the Idaho team, so it was fun watching the game. Lots of opportunities to cheer for 'our' team.

And, earlier in the day, we watched the Florida-Georgia game on TV. A great game that went into overtime, with the Gators winning in the end.