Making the big transition from mobile trimaran life to solid land living? Not that difficult. Standing head room, flush toilets, and toilet paper so thick and durable you could probably upholster your couch with it just don’t take a lot of effort to get used to. And the refrigerator! It is so huge I find myself just casually putting whatever in it. Extra coffee mugs that won’t fit in the cupboard, uncooked rice, etc. I forgot that normal people wash dishes in hot water—we haven’t had hot water (on purpose) for nearly two years. (Washing dishes in hot water works really well.) Of course the first shower I took, I squirted out way too much shampoo thinking I needed my usual quarter cup or so to work up a vague froth like in salt water, and then suddenly I had to think sharp in order to manage the unbelievable volume of lather I generated. Fresh water is unreal! Joshua’s dad’s place has a mechanical DISHWASHER. There is a garbage disposal, except it doesn’t work, and this made me much more upset than I obviously had any right to be. I got to do my own laundry for the first time in over 18 months (Mexicans and Central Americans do not let the gringos touch their machines, which isn’t quite as grand as you might think) and I get to use detergent of my own choice, which is to say, detergent that doesn’t leave your clothes radiating an industrial Power Scent over an area the size of a Wall-Mart parking lot. There is an oven. I feel like such a primadonna.
Our days have been taken up with miscellaneous and varied boat projects: sanding, varnishing, epoxying, sanding, grinding, scrubbing, sorting, glassy-eyed into space gazing, minor constructing, filling, sewing, fiberglassing, and sanding. We’ve made no less than twelve billion individual trips to hardware/lumber/Wall-Mart stores.
Rockport is teeming with family members (Joshua’s clan) and evenings here are alive with parties, cocktail activities, sailing events, and dinners. Usually Joshua’s dad asks us: “Want to come meet so-and-so at [one of five places in Rockport] for dinner?” We’ll say, “Well, we’ll maybe sit this one out after last night.” “Okay. You should come; let’s go.” “Um..” So, we find ourselves out a lot. Trying to figure out how to order something that doesn’t come on a plate the size of a turkey platter. (The trick is you can’t. You just have to take the remainder home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day.)
Night action in Rockport consists of bars. Bars with live cover bands on weekends. We have been to enough of them by now that I recognize the cover bands by name. Early on in our visit, we went out with Bill (Joshua’s uncle) and Danielle (his daughter), Danielle’s wedding party (the girls), and later met up with her mother and mother’s husband, and in fact, the entire rest of the folks of Rockport Town. The night ended several hours later at with Danielle singing on stage with the cover band and rounds of drinks with names like “Slippery Nipple” and “Skittles” being ordered and consumed. For those of you with a demented sense of humor, a “Slippery Nipple” is a nauseating concoction of Bailey’s and butterscotch schnapps, served warm, and in our case, in 24-oz styrofoam cups. Which, you know, classy! I think you are supposed to shoot it down. A “Skittles” is served in a curiously shaped cup that gives one the impression one is drinking from a spraypaint canister lid. Red Bull beverage is poured into the outer ring and a mixture of vodka and, I believe, sour apple and peach schnapps go in the middle. Another one you are supposed to drink fast, not because this gets the deal over with faster but because when you mix this ungodly creation together in your mouth, it is supposed to taste like skittles. As in the brightly colored chewy candies. This is a drink you order in a bar. In Texas.
Another fascinating evening was a band concert we found ourselves attending. Joshua’s cousin is in the Rockport High School band/orchestra/marching band/etc. and this was the last concert of the season. Everyone was going. What the hell, we figured. Starting off the night was the beginning band, playing a collection of mercifully short numbers with names like “Symphonic Shuffle” in addition to the requisite Souza march. The concert attire was white shirt, blue jeans, and white shoes, which was a grave mistake because it was difficult not to be completely distracted from the musical genius happening above by the army of stampeding feet beneath, and not all entirely to the beat of the same drummer either. Being the last concert of the year, and therefore the last high school concert ever for the graduating seniors in the band, there was lots of familiar name calling and friendly chiding of the section leaders, some award mentioning, and sniff sniff I’m-so-proud-of-these-kids moments on behalf of the director. It was at the same time anthropologically fascinating and horrifying. Mostly because I was in band/symphonic band/orchestra/marching band/you-name-it-spin-off. My parents went to those concerts. I hardly know what to say.