Condo bliss – The weather is here

It is so gawd awful hot in Stuart today. It is 83°f and the forecast is for temperatures to reach 86°f later this week. I really miss that cold, damp weather in the mid-west. APRIL FOOLS! If it gets hot, we just jump in the pool.

After returning to Stuart from our three week sailing adventure to Cuba and Jamaica we settled back into condo living. Dan and Iris helped get us back into the swing of things by making a dinner reservation at Sauder’s Landing.  This restaurant is located in a gated community of several thousand motor homes. They are packed into a one square mile island like stacked cord wood. The restaurant is in a marina with a nice water view.

On Nettles Island you can buy a 2,300 square foot lot for your motor home for $250,000.

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Condo living consists of sleeping until 7:00 or 8:00 am and then going for an hour walk over the bridge and back. Next is breakfast on the lanai with the sliding doors wide open to get sound of the waves lapping the shore. There are always boats passing by. From time to time there is a young fellow fishing from the shore in waders. He walks out into the river and casts under the pier. We watched him catch 3 snook one morning. Occassionally we see dolphins swimming just a few hundred feet offshore.

Afternoons are reserved for shopping and other activities. We went to see the NY Mets play the Washington Nationals at First Data Field in Port St Lucie. It is about a 30 minute drive. We arrived at the spring training game at 1:10 pm and bought front row seats behind home plate. A highlight was watching the former football quarterback Tim Tebow play for the Mets. He needs to learn patience and wait for the right pitch. In fact, Tebow only saw 10 pitches through four at-bats and nine innings, going 0-for-4 with three swinging strikeouts, each on three pitches. The 29-year-old’s other out was a first-pitch groundout against Nats reliever Enny Romero. The Nationals won 6-0. None of the Mets were having a good outing that day.

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We also try to visit a new restaurant each week. There are so many restaurants around the Stuart area that it will take years to make a dent. This week’s new restaurant was the Blue Door. It is more of a coffee shop than a restaurant but has a few entree items on an eclectic menu. We arrived around 5:30 pm and sat on their patio. All service is at the counter so I placed my order and carried the drinks out. While standing at the counter, a young man was lamenting that he did not know what would be the best approach to gain the attention of his love interest. I later saw him sitting alone in an alcove in the restaurant. I commented that he had a nice spot to hang out. He replied “a wolf needs a lair. Can you see my yellow eyes.” At that moment I started to regret making contact. Stephan ( he introduced himself ) was soon standing at out table in an over served condition talking about his friends restaurant that we must try. I couldn’t follow most of his blather and eventually he walked up to the counter and then departed. When I went to the counter the server said Stephan had paid our beverage tab. A random act of kindness. For dinner we started with a lovely baked brie and had a nice chutney chicken salad followed by key lime pie. We will go there again.

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Another activity that I thought we might do more often is sailing at the US Sailing Center in Jensen Beach. The sailing center is only a 10 minute drive. I have gone sailing four times so far. It is open five days a week, Wednesday thru Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Just show up and take out the boat of your choice. Since I go with a crew the boat of choice is the 19′ Flying Scot. Foredeck Dan (aka Beachcomber Dan) and I went sailing on March 30. The winds were light in the morning but forecast to build in the afternoon. When we arrived at the sailing center we were told that given the forecast we would have to talk to Charlie. Charlie was in charge that day and told us we had to reef the mainsail. We agreed and had a lovely afternoon sailing on the Indian River. The waves where just the right height to splash Danny every few seconds. He did a yeoman’s job of keeping me dry at the helm. We finally worked our way to windward enough to crack off the mainsheet and reach back and forth across the river. That put an end to the splashing. When we returned to the dock Charlie was waiting to take our bow line (aka painter). It was a picture perfect landing under sail in a stiff breeze. Charlie gave a nod of approval and wandered off.

Foredeck Dan getting our pink boat ready to sail.

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I only have to walk a few feet to go fishing. In fact, I could cast my line from my lawn and sit in my lanai with the fishing pole. I went fishing on March 31 and I think I caught the same horn belly snapper my son-in-law Oscar caught when he was visiting in January. I caught it on the left side of the pier about 1/3 of the way out. My line was hit only a few feet from the dock. After I landed it, the fish was kind enough to spit the hook out itself. I should have pushed it back into the water with my foot but I reached down to toss it back in. That is when I was rudely reminded it was the horn belly.

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The fishing rod and reel I have, thanks to Jeff and Stacy (they gave me the spinning reel (2 of them) and helped me choose the Ugly Stick rod and surf casting rod) I can cast a half mile. I will know I am really “hooked” on fishing locally when I buy waders so I can cast under the pier.

The maintenance projects keep getting done.  We painted the guest bedroom this past week.

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That only leaves the kitchen and living room to be painted.  We are having a 6′ X 8′ mirror removed from the living room wall. Once the mirror is removed and I repair the wall, the painting can begin.  Up until now we have had great success working with contractors  Steve from Glass Plus is proving to be a bit of a challenge.  Although he did arrive about the time he said he would to look at the job so he could give us a quote, we still do not have a quote after several days.  We did ask him to install a glass wall door in the shower.  We will chase him until it is easier to give us an answer than it is to avoid us.  Perhaps that is his business model.

We are starting to count down the last few weeks of our time in Stuart.  We have been here for over three months.  We will probably start driving north around April 25 and visit a few friends along the way.  We are not in a hurry.  We will still have some more visitors before we depart.  My brother and his wife Joanne will be at their condo in Sebastian and we will get together.  Bill will be at his condo this weekend and asked if I am available for some heavy lifting (furniture) and pickle ball.  Dick and Candy Smith will visit the week of April 10.  Candy recently had knee replacement surgery. This will be her first outing.  Perhaps some of our Looper freinds will be cruising past Stuart and give us a shout.

Bonus photo – Erwin Brouwer (aka Bloke) caught a nice fish in Sydney Harbor (Australia) on a popper. It is a yellowtail kingfish.  I had the pleasure of fishing with Erwin several times in Sydney. His daughter Annalise would bake us banana bread.

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