Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

The Ferris Wheel (Memoir)

January 4, 2013

Friday Fictioneers’ (http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/) is hosted every week by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. It’s a pretty awesome idea that goes like this: A weekly photograph is posted and the writer is challenged to create a 100-word story or poem inspired by the photo. Post your work on your blog and link it to the Friday Fictioneers’ post where comments and feedback are shared. Give it a shot! This week’s photograph is by Lora Mitchell.

ferris wheel

Here’s my attempt this week:

The Ferris Wheel (Memoir)

I sat wedged between Mama and Ray. My feet dangled.

We’d come to Virginia Beach, like a family. It was nighttime, and the carnival lights had pulled me in. “Can we ride?”

Three tickets later, we soared in a salty wind. City lights were our magic carpet.

The carriage stopped at the very top. Ray leaned forward, tipping us, rocking us.

I inhaled, looking up to him, eyes wide.

Ray’s hand tightened on my shoulder. “Don’t be scared; I’ve got you.”

Off to our right, there was a whistle, then a loud boom, and a million sparkles lit up the night.

Harder than Naming a Baby

March 17, 2012

My decal man finally worked me into his schedule. It’s only been five months since we received the title and registration to the boat in the mail. That’s when it became legal. That’s when we became real owners of the 1971 Larsen Shark.

We’d spent an entire summer attempting to prove ownership; and with the delivery of the envelope from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, we took our two inch thick folder filled with copies of old registration, previous owner’s address, bill of sale, New Jersey DMV forms, online change of ownership forms, certified returned letter to previous owner, official letter from the VDGIF and our temporary registration from Walmart, and put it in a drawer for safe keeping. We really wanted to burn all that paperwork and do a dance around the bonfire, but were just too afraid to chance it. We thought the official letter might be a dream. After all, the lead up had been a nightmare.

“I’ll never buy anything without a title again,” Bruce grumped as he held the new Virginia registration decal and boat number in his hand. “Who would have thought it would be such a pain in the ass to title a boat?”

“She’s all ours now though,” I said.

Earlier that month, with our temporary registration in hand, we put the boat into Assateague Bay for the first time. It was on that trip that we named her.  We toured the five marinas on Chincoteague and paid specific attention to boat monikers.  “Birthday Wishes”, “Reel Time”, “Triple R”, “Miss Daisy May”, “Island Time”, “Dream Baby”, “Crabber One.”

We sat in the truck, the boat resting on the trailer behind us, bright, refurbished and naked other than her New Jersey identification number. We threw out suggestions to each other. Bruce liked “A Fish Tale”, “Southern Comfort”, and “Crack of Dawn” (which I did not find funny). I punched his shoulder and made my own suggestions, “Dream Boat”, “Hook Line and Sinker”, “Irish Wake”, and I liked the ones named after women.

Most of the boats we saw were white. Three sported a red stripe and one was a light blue. None we saw were bright spring green, only ours. Built in 1971, our vessel was obviously made during the age of Aquarius. We had a hippie boat. We started brainstorming slang from the 60’s.  Words like cool, square, peace, man, far out, a gas, stoned, bummer, drag, flower child, funky, pad, right on, groovy.

“Yeah,” I said, “groovy.  I like that.”  I said it again, my mind conjuring visions of bell bottom jeans with hot pink embroidered daisies, a lime green peasant blouse, a peace sign.   How about Groovy Girl?”

“My Groovy Girl,” Bruce said. “Yep, that’s it. My Groovy Girl.”

I floated the name to my group of literary friends. The graphic artist of the bunch drew up some curvy letters and we were hooked. I ordered the marine grade vinyl decals the next day, and my boat name was ready for application by the end of the week.

The boat was in dry dock for winter, covered and stored in the garage. “There’s no hurry,” Bruce said. “We’ve got until spring to apply the decals.”

No amount of whining, cajoling or bribery worked. I’d have to wait until he was ready, or I could attempt the job myself. I’m a weenie. I waited.

I hadn’t thought of the decals since the week after I picked them up from the sign place. Bruce has been cleaning the garage because it’s been too rainy to work outside. “Where’s the boat name?” he asked me yesterday.

“Right here where they’ve been since September,” I said, pointing to the cardboard tube in the corner of the bedroom.

“Bring it down to the garage. Let’s see if we can get it on the boat,” he said.

We cut on the dotted lines, peeled the backing, lined up the letters, pressed, prayed, and peeled the wax covering off the decals.  When we finished, there was “My Groovy Girl”, no longer naked and un-named. She’s official now, and she’s ours. We have the paperwork to prove it.

“All we need is champagne to christen her,” Bruce said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “That’s all we need; and I’m sure that will be another story.”

A Boat, Wrapped in Red Tape

August 12, 2011

Bruce and I have spent a month in the garage, just the two of us. July and August are miserable in Virginia. Humidity hangs in the air, and we’ve had two weeks straight of temperatures in the upper nineties with no relief.  I sit in a dry-docked boat, no water lapping at the sides, no ocean breeze, no cool drink. Sweat runs down my forehead and drips into my eyes. Box fans don’t cut it.  I remove my glasses again, wipe at the salty sting, and curse the day we decided to buy a boat. How could this much work be worth it?

We have less than a week before our Chincoteague trip and not only are we still without a title, we don’t even  know whether the Evinrude outboard motor will run. It sits, attached to the end of the boat, its cover off, wires, like wild hairs, stick up in all directions.

Bruce stripped the boat when we got it home. The hull was fairly sound, but everything else needed an overhaul.  I’m no mechanic, nor am I a carpenter, and I’m certainly no boat repairwoman, but I have cleaned, scraped, sanded, and patched fiberglass, measured, cut and pieced the wood flooring, laid carpet, stapled upholstery, cursed bolts into uncooperative holes, then held parts in place while Bruce cursed the same bolts. He’s in charge and I’m the fed-up helper. We’ve barked at each other, pulled ourselves up and over the side of the vessel hundreds of times, and so far, our only reward has been a dizzying high of inhaled epoxy and fabric adhesive.

My back can’t take much more. Last night, I stretched out in the bottom of the boat, looked up into the spackled sheetrock of the garage ceiling, and grieved the loss of seven hundred fifty-two dollars spent on this sixteen foot untitled, unregistered, illegitimate watercraft.

My plan had been for Bruce do the boat repairs while I handled the paperwork involved in getting the title and registration for the boat.  I found that although I’m very efficient in collecting the evidence needed, the state of New Jersey and the state of Virginia are in no hurry to help me.

I go to the mailbox each afternoon, hold my breath, reach inside and look for that Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries envelope. Our illusive title is so close. The process began June  24th, but nothing involving the government is easy or quick.  

The state of Virginia requires that a buyer without a title (that’s stupid us), make every effort to contact the previous owner of the boat to obtain the original title. This involves sending a certified letter, return receipt requested.  If the title is not available, the former owner is asked to send his own certified letter, to us, stating that the title is lost. If the previous title-holder has been searching for his boat, he must send a letter stating that he wants it returned immediately as it’s been lost or stolen. If the past owner is dead or has moved without a forwarding address, our certified letter is required to hang around the post office for fifteen days, after which time, it is stamped as undeliverable and returned to us. Our letter was mailed July 6th. We tracked its location online and waited. The letter returned to us, unopened, undeliverable and un-signed for on July 26th

The state of Virginia also requires that the unopened certified letter, along with a copy of the letter inside the sealed envelope, the New Jersey lien-holder form, a copy of the bill of sale, copy of the cancelled check, copy of the former registration/title holder information, a notarized  Affidavit for Transfer of Watercraft Registration/Title form, all be sent to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Within thirty days, if all checks out, we receive a title in the mail.  Thirty days from July 26th is August 25th.  Our vacation falls in the middle. We’re screwed.

 Bruce punches numbers into his cell phone.  He explains what we have done so far, that the papers and the check are in the mail.  “There’s no way to float this boat until we get a title?”  he asks the person on the other end at The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

 The nice lady directs us to Walmart, where we receive our temporary boat registration. It’s good for thirty days. The form states however, in big bold letters across the top: “This form does not constitute ownership.” 

No worries. No one, not even the two of us want to own it at this point.