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I spent Friday listening to an audio book and occasionally looking out the main hatch at the rain while waiting for the kids to get to the boat.  I must have taken four or more naps that day.  I had expected the kids to show up earlier, but...
I should have known that “we’ll be there Friday” really meant in the evening.  I did a few chores like sweeping the cabins out, but nothing more extensive than that.  Lazy relaxing day.  About 7:30 P.M. I got the call to meet at Morgan’s, an upscale eatery in New Bern, for my birthday celebration.  I changed shirts, put on a broad brimmed hat as protection from the rain and headed up the dock to the car and into town.  I was able to find a parking spot right out front of the restaurant and in as much as I was still a bit early I lingered under the awning just enjoying the cool of the evening.  I got a call from Marina saying they were just coming off of the bridge so I went inside, spoke to the girl at the desk and she led me to our table.  I ducked into the bathroom to wash my hands and when I returned the kids were just getting to the table so I handed my hat to the waitress expecting her to check it for me.  The confused look on her face was beyond comical as I guess hat and coat check services had never been part of the restaurant’s setting.  My daughter gave me a “look” for being a jokester at the waitresses’ expense; I get those a lot from her along with exasperated sighs or “DAD!” expletives.  I ordered a grilled shrimp and seafood salad with a raspberry dressing on the side.  They brought honey dipped croissants to the table and in a minute we were asking for another basket full.    Our table talk centered on job interviews and financial concerns as both Marina and Josh are trying to get better employment situations lined up.  Me, I’m trying to get out of mine and retire which is only dependent of paying off the boat.  Once that is done, I’ll move aboard and then figure out where in the world I want to go next. 
 
It was late when we got back to the boat; however we sat up in the cockpit and talked some more until I told the kids that the Captain was turning in for the night. The next morning was gray and didn’t look much like a day to go sailing.  I went up to the office and took a shower, watched the weather channel for a bit and then headed back to the boat.  I had agreed to meet Jesse for breakfast at 8:00 up at the old foggy dinner but I thought I’d check with the kids to see if they wanted to come along too.  Josh was topside enjoying the cool of the morning but Marina was still curled up in the foreword cabin sound asleep.  I visited briefly with Josh and then headed out to meet with Jesse.  At first I didn’t see him and went back to the car, but he came out and with a wave explained he had been in the head.  Seated inside I ordered coffee and a short stack of pancakes along with a side of bacon.  We talked about diving, boats, and his girlfriend for a while and then Marina and company showed up to join us.  We had a lot of fun talking over breakfast as Jesse had some great stories to tell and kept us all laughing. 
 
Back at the boat we got busy with projects.  First off we had to turn the boat around and with a bit of effort we untied Kittiwake, eased her out of the slip, shifted the lines and fenders to the starboard side and then back her back into the slip.  With the help of Tony and his dinghy we pulled a floating camel around to tie up astern of Kittiwake so that Josh and Marina would have a platform to work from as they stripped the paint off of the transom in preparation for painting Kittiwake’s name and home port.  Leon, Josh’s brother, got busy shining the bright work and I got to work on the port life lines and gate stanchions that had gotten bent when we had the mooring line tangled up in the prop back in June.  As usual we had plenty of dockside supervisors stop by to share advice on how to best do what we were doing, but that is always helpful and I’m not one to ignore what is so freely given.  We left off work to eat lunch and then drove into town to pick up some odds and ends from Mitchell’s Hardware Store, Lowes Hardware, and the dive shop.  Returning we got busy again until all that could be done that day was finished.  Marina and crew packed up their gear to head back home.  I walked them to the car, gave Marina a hug and bid them farewell with many thanks for all they had done. 
 
Back to the boat I applied penetrating oil to the stanchion fittings that were frozen in hopes that they would loosen up over night.  Putting my tools away I washed up and had a sandwich for supper.  I sat listening to my book until about nine, went to bed and read for awhile before giving in to sleep.  Sunday morning was bright and beautiful so I fixed a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea for breakfast.  Checking the weather on my Kindle Fire it seems like the hurricane was heading more to the west and would not be visiting North Carolina at all which is bad for the gulf coasters but good for me.  I got my tools out and got busy working on removing the life lines and fittings that I’d oiled up the night before.  They all came undone with a bit of effort and a few whacks with a plastic hammer.  I figured anything else that needed doing could wait a week for when I take my vacation in September.  So I stowed my tools, collected up trash and gear to take back to the car and went up for another shower.  After cleaning up I stopped in the Captain’s Lounge and was invited to go to lunch with Tim and Jim, both very salty fellows.  We decided on Italian food and they, knowing the area well, drove over to one they said had the best lasagna.  They were spot on with their assessment of the culinary delight we enjoyed there.  Following a pleasant lunch we drove back to the marina where I secured and locked the boat bidding her a fond farewell as I trudged up the dock to my car.  The cats were glad to see me when I got home so I fed them and then got busy unpacking the leftovers from the weekend, stowing them in the refrigerator and tossing my dirty cloths in the wash basket when Marina showed up to help me clean the house.  Now that was a real birthday present.

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