Our place in the Keys is rented for three months, but our boat ‘Bout Time was due for it’s 20 hour service at Unique Marine, so after debating how to get the boat there, Zeke reserved a truck with a hitch at the U Haul in Key Largo. Unique Marine could do it but they charge $300; a truck at U-Haul is $19.95 per day, plus 79 cents a mile. We arrived at our appointed time on Friday, anxious to complete this dreaded task. Neither Zeke nor I have ever trailered a boat before.
“The boss took that truck to Miami and it isn’t back yet,” said the lady from L.A. (that’s Lower Alabama) at U-Haul.
“So what should we do?” Zeke asked.
“Let’s go to lunch,” I suggested.
It was lunchtime and I was hungry. We ate at Sharkey’s Bar and Grille (we split Thai chicken wings and Fish Tacos) and returned an hour later. The boss still hadn’t returned so the LA lady told us to come back the next day. I called Unique Marine to see if we could reschedule the appointment and Amy at the service department said: “No problem.” This is the Florida Keys, where time constraints and appointments don’t seem to matter as much as they do in Miami.
Since our place was rented, we stayed at John and Kelley’s house in Venetian Shores. That night we relaxed and saw a beautiful sunset in their tropical garden setting, while sipping our cocktails of prosecco and pinot grigio. Dinner was Chicken thighs, Rice Pilaf and sliced San Marzano tomatoes and our Murder Mystery as a nightcap.
The next morning, as Zeke was rushing me out of the house for our U-Haul pick up, I asked: “Do we have everything we need?”
He said “yes” and off we went. We got the truck at U-Haul and headed to the Sanctuary to pick up our boat from the boatyard. Mario, who works at our condo, hooked the boat up to the hitch but we had a problem. The electrical hook-up on our boat was the wrong size for the truck (it needed an adaptor), so he stuck the insert by the socket and we left, with no lights on the trailer hitch.
“Have you ever trailered a boat before?” Mario asked.
“No,” answered Zeke.
“Just remember to go wide on the turns,” Mario suggested.
Zeke went wide as we exited the Sanctuary, narrowly missing the exit gate and crunching on some coral rocks on the way out. He then stepped on the gas and we bolted out onto the Overseas Highway with a jerk. I said:
“Whoa! Have you ever driven a truck before?”
“No”. Never driven a truck, never trailered a boat; a lot of first times here. We held our breath as we made the short, straight jaunt to Unique Marine. The girl in the service department told us to just pull in and people would come out to greet us and get the boat, so we did as instructed, but all the employees seemed to be busy with other customers. A guy finally came up and said:
“Were here for an appointment for our 20 hour service,” Zeke said.
“I don’t know anything about that,” he said, looking at us with a blank stare.
“I spoke to Amy yesterday and she said it was ok to come in today,” I said.
Thank God I remembered her name. The guy nodded, someone else came and unhitched the boat from the trailer and Amy emerged from the Service office to check out what needed to be fixed on our boat. After taking inventory, she got off the boat, clipboard in hand.
“I just need the keys,” she said.
“Oh s**t!” Zeke said.
He’d left the keys back at John and Kelley’s house, so we got back into the truck and headed to get them, at 79 cents a mile. It was 12:30, the Service Department closed at 1. We returned before 1, dropped off the keys to Amy, dropped off the truck to U-Haul and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“How much was it?” I asked.
They didn’t charge us a dime, due to not having the truck when they were supposed to. So that was good, but our thoughts turned to getting the boat back from Unique Marine when the service was done. But in the meantime, we were hungry, thirsty and dealing with frazzled nerves.
We went to one of our favorite spots, Key Largo Fisheries. A while ago, an employee there had been in line ahead of me so I asked her what her favorite menu item was and she said the Mahi Cuban Sandwich, so that’s what I ordered, along with a beer. I substituted the fries for black beans and rice and it came with coleslaw and was really good! Zeke got a Grouper Sandwich (grilled) with fries and coleslaw, also very good.
Sunday, after “my” show (CBS This Morning), we headed back to Miami. I was making a birthday dinner for A.J. and needed to pick up grocery items, set the table and decorate. We’d taken a French Cooking Class years ago at Aragon 101 (now closed) so I wanted to recreate that meal for her. I got the duck breasts and foie gras at Wild Fork and went to Publix for the rest.
Dinner was very good and started with the goat cheese lollipops I posted about in the last blog. An interesting Salad was the first course, with green beans, asparagus, soft red lettuce, artichoke hearts and topped with seared foie gras and a shallot vinaigrette. We all loved it; Wyatt just ate some green beans. The Roasted Duck had an asian spice rub and shallot sauce; I served it with French bread and Potatoes Au Gratin, another recipe from the class. Dessert was an assortment of sweets from Cecile’s Bakery in South Miami, so everyone could pick what they liked. And good news! Justin, A.J.’s fiance who is an actual Boat Captain, agreed to help Zeke retrieve his boat from Unique Marine after hearing our harrowing (and maybe hilarious) story.
Monday night we had Emma and Gui over for dinner and to watch The Bachelor. I had the leftover potatoes and asparagus, so just needed a protein. I picked up a steak at Wild Fork. They didn’t have our favorite flat iron, so we tried the flap steak, at the guy at Wild Fork’s suggestion. It was good, but I like flat iron better. I heated up the potatoes, Zeke grilled the marinated steak and asparagus and I made garlic bread out of the leftover French bread. We then watched The Bachelor and all agreed the bachelor isn’t “in it for the right reasons.”
Tuesday night I finally made the Beef Bourguignon I’ve been dying to try during all the cold weather we’ve been having. I made Ina’s recipe, which calls for a whole bottle of red wine! My quest for firewood was fruitless, with Publix and Home Depot sold out, but I was able to get some oak logs when I volunteered at Pinecrest Gardens on Friday for Helping at Pinecrest with my garden club. It was a beautiful day to be outside, working in the garden, with friends.
On a professional level, an article I wrote for Coral Gables Magazine on “What Can Revitalize Miracle Mile?” came out in the February issue. I am anxiously awaiting its arrival in my mailbox. On Thursday night I was able to present a short screenplay (Queen of the Wheel) and spec script (The Secret) on WAG, the Writers and Actors Group in New York City. It was on Zoom and I got many positive comments about both scripts. And, next week, Chris, Courtney and little Liam move to Miami! I fly up Thursday to drive back with Courtney and Liam.
A Chinese Philosopher I once met in a sporting goods store when I was seventeen told me I would be a late bloomer in life and I think he was right. A late blooming boater, writer and Gigi. Life is Good.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.Anais Nin
Up Next: Beef Bourguignon