Thursday, March 25, 2004

ST. MAARTEN VACATION 3.22.2004

I am trying to get it all down before i forget its all fading fading all the sunshine on st maarten there are these storms that sweep in on you in minutes and the rain pours in your rental before you can roll the window up. Driving is an adventure there are narrow roads and goats and wicked speed bumps that send you lurching to the roof of the car. We drove to our place saturday night, rented a suzuki car of some kind had dinner next door to us at some forgettable place it was breezy and quiet the next day spent an hour trying to find coffee for the villa.

It was nice, the place we rented. The Geo Village Party Villa! There was a pool that perched over the ocean and a beach that always had big crashing waves and sign warning of the undertow. We didn't swim there.

We went to three beaches. Orient bay was the most beautiful -- windy and wide, with a nice level beach and row after row of beach bars. We ate at Pedro's, burgers and beers. Beers everywhere, more common than rum drinks. Went to Grand Case, the first of three times and drank more beers at Lolo's, sort of a food court made of plank wood that looks out over the ocean. Pauline and Andrea worked there. I left the coffee behind and Andrea came running after us almost a block before she caught up. The people are so nice.

Went gambling and lost, the first try, at Casino Royale, with dour looking locals dealing and serving drinks.

The days are now blending together. Its hard to remember which day we did what. The second night we stopped at some horrible casino that served me a couple of rum drinks that made me sick with a hangover the next day.

On Wednesdays they shut down the streets in Grand Case and have a big party. They really love parties (and gambling and drinking too!) They called it Bombay nights and had an ad-hoc parade of drummers who just jammed as they strolled up and down the street through the middle of towm, which was closed off to traffic for the night.

We had dinner at a gorgeous restaraunt called "Il Netunno's" that looked out over the ocean.

Thursday it was over to Bay Rouge, and we paid too much for a few beach chairs and some umbrellas that were held together by duct tape. One blew off and hit me in the head. A nice beach, but by then we were spoiled and the food was so so.

We gambled again Thursday night, and again Friday night. I don't think we ended up losing more than a hundred dollars each though, which isn't bad considering we got some five nights entertainment as part of the deal. And free drinks!

Friday we got some last minute beach time, some more rum drinks, more gambling (if you are clever you might be able to discern a pattern taking shape). We did stop by the bar at the bridge that allows entrance to Simpson Harbor, the big harbor where all the ships stop. We saw Wild Thing enter, a sailboat some French lunatic sailed solo from the Canary Islands all the way to St. Maarten. The crowd roared as he hobbled in, looking forward no doubt to a hot shower and a comfortable bed. Then, still later, we saw Limitless the 10th largest private yacht in the world, and the 2nd largest docked in the USA. It is owned by The Limited Corp., which also owns the Victoria Secret chain. As some other salty barfly put it, "tha boat was made from ladies underpants!" and then later "I'm in the wrong business."

Friday night we had a fantastic dinner at a place called "Yvette's" which served creole food up in a smaller inland village on the island. Small and quiet, they served large portions of seafood with Creole sauce. Mmmmmmmm, lobster.

And that was it. Vacation was over and we had to go home. All good things must come to an end. The flight was long and sucky and now we have returned to our humdrum lives. I have some thoughts on why these vacations are so important, but I'll save that for later. It was some big fun though. Big big fun.


THANK YOU FOR A REAL GOOD TIME 3.22.2004

I suppose I should start this with another big round of applause for Ellie a.k.a Nina, my mom, and Rita a.k.a Gagi, Kath's mom, who were kind and gracious enough to come out and take care of our kids for the whole week so that we could be independant adults and relax for the week. I remember telling some woman on the commuter bus about them who said "You're mother AND you're mother-in-law? That sounds like a sit-com."

(I tell everyone. My co-workers were excited about me going on vacation just because they were sick of hearing me talk about it. I remember telling some homeless guy about my upcoming vacation. He eventually put down his styrofoam cup and told me to beat it.)

But they did get along, and as far as I know, the week went well. Anna and PJ got away with stuff. They insisted, for instance, that Mommy and Daddy always let them get in bed with them in their bedroom for a session of bedtime stories that would last up to two hours. Nina fell for it hook, line, and sinker. She would be patiently reading story after story to Anna while PJ jumped up and down, pogo-ing all over the bed.

At one point Gagi lost it a little while trying to get Anna ready for the bus and told Anna, "J---- C----- Anna! You're driving me crazy!" which is actually a phrase that Anna hears quite often in various forms.

After school though, Anna was very contrite, and said to Gagi, "I am sorry we had a hard time getting on the bus this morning."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I have slipped to number 15 on google. What can I do? I am on a googlequest.

Since I haven't posted anything about the St. Maarten trip, here is the one email I sent home to the grandmas while stopping at an internet cafe on vacation. I'll put more up later. I am in a post vacation slump. I keep asking Anna for a pena colada, and asking PJ to get me some grilled ribs , but it doesn't much help ease the pain :^).

From "Pete"
To "Rita Watkins" "Mom Shaw" Subject hello from st. maarten
Content-Disposition: inline
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: MIME::Lite 1.2 (F2.71; T1.001; A1.51; B2.12; Q2.03)

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 15:10:38 -0500
X-Sasl-Enc: 46vOlV1kK2CZLSiN8uUIAg 1079381438
Message-Id: <1079381438.30492.182719735@webmail.messagingengine.com>
Subject: hello from st. maarten

Hello, Gagi and Nina!

first of all, the weather *IS*beautiful.

say hello to anna, and pj, and sam. I hope everyone is happy.

Rob, had to download some work stuff, sdo I surfed for a minute. Kath
and I went parasailing today and saw naked people at Club Orient.

Kath and Tina had massages yesterday. Both were very good. Our place is
great, and I am driving like a local (in the middle and no turn signals).

So happy. So peaceful. Went gambling last night, and lost 60, Kath lost
30. Didn't care. Happy times! :^)

thank you thank you thank you. all is well. hope same up in leesburg.

peace
--Pete

Friday, March 12, 2004

NUMBER FIVE 3.12.2003

Go to google. Type in 'pete shaw'. Hit search. 259,000 hits are returned. This web site is number 5, behind other, no doubt lesser, Pete Shaws. This is all going to change. My goal is to be number one. The problem: I have no idea how to do this. But stay tuned. I will be number one.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

WHY AM I HERE? -- ALSO, VACATION TO ST. MAARTEN APPROACHES 3.10.2004

I sometimes wonder why I am writing this thing. Its not about social networking, a newer term to describe the way younger people are tending to extend their lives into and throughout the internet. But my purposes are different here I think. This is more like a family album, a scrapbook of thoughts and pictures that hopefully Anna and PJ and Sam and the rest of us can all look back on when they're older.

So that's all, its just a little collection of cute bits. Strung together, they might be fun to browse through later on.

Kath and I go on vacation in a couple of days. Well, to be exact in 71 hours, 15 minutes, and 12 seconds I'm gonna be drinking a god-damn rum and coke somewhere on the eastern extremity of the Dutch side of St. Maarten, also known as the Netherland Antilles. While I am gone, our delightful and wonderful children will be cared for by not one, but both Grandma's in a contest of dueling spoilage. I happened to describe the situation to a woman on a bus (ok, I pretty much talk about this vacation to everyone I meet) and she said "You're mother and you're mother-in-law? it sounds like a sit-com!"

Well god bless 'em for letting Kathleen and I take this much needed break. Hopefully the next post up here will be lots of great photos from both the trip and from our kids time with the grannies.

Monday, March 08, 2004

BRONCHITIS: 3.82004

I may have said this already, but when your family gets sick it becomes an epic thing. First Anna or PJ will pick up something at school. Maybe Sam gets something at church in the nurserie. Then its in. The virus has free reign of the entire household, and quickly sweeps through.

There have been so many colds and flues this year that its hard to tell when one starts and one ends. Poor Sam is always the hardest hit. He just wants to be held, and he has a sort of sad and far off look on his face all the time. PJ gets whiny, and takes big naps during the afternoon that in turn enable him to stay up late enough to watvh Letterman. Anna isn't sick this time. Maybe its those tubes in her ears, or more likely it is through sheer will. She denies the flue. Kathleen and I are both fighting off this bout and its a bad one. I just feel sick to my stomach and dizzy all of the time. I am stoicly dragging myself to work no matter how sick I am. Besides, its easier there than it is at home!

We find out that Sam has bronchitis. He gets some antibiotics. We stay up on his medicine and its helping, but he's just so puny. Then one scary night Kath wakes me up literally wheezing for her breath. Her asthma is coming back. It left when her body became 'in a family way'. For some reason asthma is mediated when you are either pregnant or nursing, and Kath has been one way or the other for the last six years. But not any longer and the asthma comes back, brought on by this kicker virus no doubt.

Then Saturday PJ goes to the doctor. He too has bronchitis. He gets some meds, and sleeps on the couch all day. Poor little guy.

On Sunday I finally put together this big desk that I got for the front office. Its came in two bulky packages, with pieces of particleboard and authentic cherry veneer labelled in letters from A to WWW. It took all day to put together, me being all cough-y and thickheaded.

One more week to vacation. The grandmom's are convening to take care of this sick brood so that Mom and Dad can go sit in the sun for a week or so and pretend they are adults once again. The warm salt air will cure us I am sure, at least for the week we need it.

Friday, March 05, 2004

ANNA'S EARS AND EYES 3.3.2004

Anna had been complaining about blurry vision out of one of her eyes lately. We took her to the doctor and found out that one eye was slightly weaker than the other. The result of all this was that she had to wear a patch for the last two weeks.

As if this wasn't enough, she had tubes put in her ears last Tuesday. Too much water in the middle ear area, and lots of ear aches, hearing trouble. She was brave through the short procedure, and I brought her some Pokemon movies to watch that evening. (We treat Pokemon movies like a controlled substance around here; they are addictive and mind-numbing.)

But now she can hear! At least she can hear her friends. She still can't hear her parents. "Anna?" Then louder, "A-n-n-n-a!" Finally "AAA NNN NNN AAA!!!"

She turns and just asks, in a normal voice, "what?"