We went up the Intracoastal Waterway to Sarasota. You contact the bridge operators through VHF and ask permission to pass. You get to use old trucker CB lingo (remember Smokey and the Bandit?) like “copy” and “roger” although we never called them good buddy. They have schedules, usually on the half hour, to open the bridge for boats. You can almost hear all the cursing from the cars lined up waiting for an old, lone sail boat to put put put put through.
We had the privilege of being treated to dinner at a Tiki Bar on the bay by my Uncle Kim and Aunt Annette who winter in Sarasota to escape the cold of Delphi, Indiana. It was really great to spend the evening catching up with them and hearing about all of my cousins’ families. Kim’s mom, my grandmother, wintered in Sarasota so I traveled through fond memories of her during our visit. I asked John if he smelled something funky when we got back to the boat that night. No, he didn’t smell anything.
We woke up to a beautiful day and I thought, a most unpleasant odor. You don’t smell that? I asked. Well, maybe I do. I reminded him that I am a nasal ranger (I am a smeller at a smell research lab – seriously) and that I should get paid to smell something like this. He suggested I add some tank deodorizer down our heads. So I treated them to an extra large dose of toilette mouth wash and we went to a fantastic art fair.
We grilled out and fished a bit with the same bait that John bought back at Fort Meyers beach. Anything that would hit on that I would not eat. And no, that wasn’t the smell. And yes, the stench had now surpassed John’s denial and wound me up to cantankerous. John investigated and found we had a leaking macerator pump. This is a marriage saving, essential contraption that pumps the stuff from the head to the tank and eventually out, or something like that. All I know is this one was leaking – in. The following day, Sunday, a lot of the marine shops were closed. Luckily, West Marine in Sarasota was not. John looked up their inventory and called to check availability before we headed out. No, they did not have the pump. They suggested another (which was completely the wrong part.) John tried other locations to no avail and called back West Marine to double check. No, our pump is not in stock. It will take three to four days to get it. Four calls and four people later, with a large bit of prodding, John got them to physically go look as their website said they had eight. Indeed! Low and behold they have one! A curb clipping Uber ride later, sitting on wet upholstery, (hopefully from a swimmer?) we get to the store where there is a polithera of pumps that would work, including eight of the very one we wanted. Did I mention where this leaky, marriage wrecker is located? Under our, don’t even think about it, bed.
Before I can say, well done, captain! there was a slight set back. I went to the fridge to grab something and was blown back 5 feet by the smell THERE! Out went the week old fish and shrimp bait lickety split and in went a new non-negotiable. No bait in the fridge! Now, MY HERO! It is truly a fringe benefit to be married to a smart, handsome, funny, hard working, adventurous…engineer.
Sarasota’s story was lost in poopouri, but it really was a surprising gem with great sidewalk cafes, farmers’ markets and a fun urban feel. The moon rises were spectacular and the sunsets, leap worthy.