In the Beginning…

from Bachelorette Bliss!

what seemed like forever with no break, I suddenly find myself with a week
off…alone! Strange to think this used to be a fairly regular occurrence for
Prez and me, being separated. If he wasn’t out of town on a show, we’d be
working on different shows, or different schedules. Sometimes weeks would go by
without seeing each other for more than a few minutes. Then we quit the biz and
have spent almost every waking minute together since. So, when he headed out
this morning for a week away, it was a little disconcerting.

I’ll get
over it.

Where is
Prez? Well, he’s been hired by Tim II to help build a cable car crossing
somewhere up in the middle of the wilderness for the Parks Board. This is a
huge project. The three team members, (as well as all their gear, food, tools,
equipment, etc.), have to be helicoptered in (including 11,000 pounds of
cement), and there they will stay until the job is finished. He has promised to
take a ridiculous amount of photos so I’ll write about his adventure in more
detail once he returns.

Prez is fending off bears and rock slides and who knows what else in the wild,
I am enjoying what I believe is a well-deserved holiday. (Hey, there are bears
here, too!)

after waking up at…wait for it…10:00 am, I started on my “to do” list. Thus
far, there are 27 items on the list. You see, aside from reading, writing,
sleeping in, and watching crap TV, a week alone is time to “get things done”. One
of the items, in fact it is #11 on the list, is to research the Cook Islands.
Yes, Prez is on the hunt for paradise again and we have a tentative job
opportunity on Aitutaki Island. He, of course, is bouncing off the walls,
reciting to me all the Pro’s of living on a palm-studded island in the South Pacific.
Me? Well, after our experience in the Bahamas, I am a lot more pragmatic. I am
definitely a Con-Woman.

anything’s possible.

it is almost four years to the day since we shrugged off our old life and began
anew in the beautiful Abaco Islands. I thought it would be fun to take a walk
(swim? snorkel? sail?) down memory lane and reprint the very first ever Coconut
Chronicle…with a twist. I will be adding commentary along the way.

have been changed, not to protect the innocent but more so to cover my behind.

further ado, let us journey back to Thursday, June 12, 2003…

It still seems so unreal that we are finally here
doing all the things we’ve been planning for so long. Our first week of work
has been busy to say the least, what with it being high season and all. To top
that off, we now have to clean and organize all the stuff that Joe & Jane
have neglected over the past, oh, 5 months or so, and it is kick ass hot and
humid! Prez meant to take a picture of the work room before we started to muck
it out but he forgot. I’ll describe it for you if I can: picture the biggest,
oiliest, dirtiest mess of crap you can and then pile 2 more messes, twice as
big, on top of that…ya, that’s about it, Now, I don’t mean to dis J&J, they
are just a little scattered to begin with and then working on this new project
[new resort] has completely frazzled them. Needless to say, we weren’t the only
ones who breathed a sigh of relief when our work permits came through. We have
been getting along with the new bosses pretty well, there are some ‘areas of
disagreement’ but that’s just life…was that politically correct enough?”

Notes: I
did not exaggerate about the mess one bit. The laundry room was such a disaster
I could barely squeeze my body through the door. Jane had this thing about
chickens and decided to put a chicken coop right next to the laundry room, then
she would toss food scraps in the yard for the birds. The birds ate the
scraps…so did the cockroaches, which also loved the laundry room. Ick, ick,
ick!!! I have mentioned my cleaning
problem, right?

I had to
be ultra careful about everything I wrote concerning our “slightly scattered”
(make that “highly scattered”) new bosses, as I had no idea if they were able
to access our email or not. Almost immediately, there was tension, but then
they left for several months and life was good. Of course, that all changed
when they returned but after three months of guest emails telling them how
fantastic we were, there wasn’t much they could say to us.

“Our guests: The property is
jammed full this week and we have a diverse group here. Clearwater [cottage] is
a family of 4, Jimmy, Kim and their two boys. If you’ve ever watched the show,
“King of the Hill”, and you can picture the character who wears a baseball cap
all the time and thinks everything is a conspiracy theory, (I think his name is
Dell), that is exactly what Jimmy looks like. They seem like nice folks but
they keep to themselves, except for Jimmy who makes a point of hunting down
Prez every morning for his 15 minute chat.

The Dolphin & the Garden
Cottages are all together and they are very cool people. We’ve been hanging
with them most of the week and they are the folks we did the sushi feast
for. Last night we met them in Hopetown
at Captain Jack’s [restaurant] as Shawn and Dana had gotten married earlier
that afternoon. Right now, Prez is off with Shawn, Tom, & Pete trying to
catch some snapper for dinner. Their last night is Saturday and we’ll be
spending that together at Cracker P’s for the big Full Moon Party…yippee!”

was no shortage of variety between guests. From friendly to freaky, we saw it
all. Luckily, of the roughly 18 or so people who arrived every week, there was
always one group we clicked with. Sometimes it was hard to say goodbye at the
end of the week. I remember standing on the dock as the “Lewney Bin” crew
departed for Marsh Harbour, my eyes filling with tears, amazed at how close you
could get to people in a mere seven days.

times, 7 days felt like eternity.

“The Big House…ay yi yi…they
are a trip…can you say ‘rednecks’? There are 13 people staying there (5
bedrooms, do the math) and I think 5 of them are children, but you would swear
there were a hundred of them by the noise and the mess! I am not looking
forward to cleaning that house on Saturday! Not to mention they are abusing the
boats and constantly demanding stuff…’I’m
sorry m’am but it says right on the website ONLY 2 TOWELS PER GUEST…yes, I know
your kids have dragged them all through the sand and water and now they are
dirty…well, I’m afraid y’all will just have to air dry for the rest of the

What I
remember most about these guests is that they shouted constantly. Instead of
walking from the Big House down to the dock to speak to each other, they would
yell back and forth like this:


Etc. So much for the other guests who came for a relaxing vacation!

Other stuff: Did I mention it was hot? No, I’m not
complaining (except when I’m mucking out the storage room). I can wear a bikini
24 hours a day if I want, and one day Prez cooked dinner in nothing but sandals
it was so hot (we were at our house),
was that too much information?”

My first
two weeks there, I developed a nasty heat rash down the side of my face. Prez
had a rash, too, but in a different location (very unpleasant). We took cold
water showers at least five times a day. Emily lost a pound of fur. At night,
instead of cuddling before sleep, we merely hooked pinky fingers – that was
about all the sweaty skin contact a person could stand. Yes, June in the
Bahamas is HOT!!!!

“We are starting to get the
fishing dialed in – tuna on the flood tide trolling cedar plugs at 1500 rpm. By
next year we should know every single thing about fishing here – well, Prez
will anyway.”

fishing was fun but not nearly as good as I imagined it would be. It didn’t
help with the weather being so unusually windy that summer (although locals
said to count our blessings as the wind kept the mosquitoes away). One night we
resorted to dropping a line between the slats of our dock to try to get some
tiny snappers for dinner, but all-in-all we gorged on seafood (don’t get me
started on the yummy lobster!!).

“I am slowly learning to dock
the Mako [our boat], and tie it up and all that fun stuff…Prez has several more
grey hairs now.”

Geez, I
thought learning to dirt bike with him was stressful; it was a walk in the park
compared to boat docking in the Bahamas – dock up front, other boats on one
side, jagged coral on the other, and only 3 feet of water…yikes!!!

“There are some funky things
here: fireflies, beautiful hummingbirds, lizards galore, and tons of hermit
crabs…I saw one the size of a football up by our house one day. There is a
really cool area called Snake Cay where there used to be an old lumber place
years ago. There are old rail cars that have been abandoned and some of them
are under water which makes for a terrific fish habitat and some wicked

If there
is one thing I truly miss about the Bahamas, it’s the water. The snorkeling was
like no other place I’ve seen. Because many of the reefs are so shallow and
treacherous they get very little pressure from divers and boaters, which means
they are healthy, full of life and colour. Prez and I frequented areas where
hardly anyone else went to and were rewarded with scenery Jacques Cousteau
would have given up his best toque to see.

“Joe & Jane are off to
the States tomorrow for an indefinite period of time so we should get lots done
while they’re gone. Well, I’m going to wrap this up because I’m starving and
I’m sure this is more than enough info for now! Prez hasn’t come back with fish
yet, I hope that doesn’t mean we’re having spaghetti again!!! LOL…he’d kill me
if he read that
J I will send out another report next week and I’ll be in touch here
& there. Love to everyone and we miss you lots.”

Oh, if
only J&J had stayed in the States, everything might have been much different.

you have it, the birth of my weekly email, soon to be dubbed “The Coconut
Chronicles”. Thanks so much to Ironwoman Benson for having the foresight to
print out every one and keep them for me! I spent an enjoyable evening last
week reading all my posts from that crazy year. What I got out of all that
scribbling, beyond the distinct sense that Strunk & White are rolling in
their respective graves (writer joke), is that we never did find paradise…but
we did find each other, and that’s about as much as two wayward souls can hope

well tonight my husband, my love, my soul mate…my paradise. I miss you.

What’s your idea of paradise?

next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!


p.s. –
We did have spaghetti for dinner, but don’t tell Prez I told you that!

p.p.s –
I would like to take a moment to direct you here. Our good friend Photog-Ann is
going to be walking her little tootsies off for the Weekend to End Breast
. With a sister who is a 2x breast cancer survivor, this event hits very
close to home for us. Any donation will be welcomed – or please just check out
the website. Peace.

This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In the Beginning…

  1. Cindy says:

    My idea of paradise?  When I\’m all snuggled up with my head on my sweetheart\’s chest listening to his heartbeat, that\’s paradise for me.  Too sappy?  What can I say?  I\’m easy to please.

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