400 days away, but who’s counting?

The Cruise Buddies got together Saturday.

Kathy and Sam volunteered their little log cabin in Lafayette for our group to meet and eat, greet our friends who like to get on the big ships every year or so, and thus make this summer complete.

We’d never been, so we printed out the directions she sent us, a couple turns off the main Interstate south of Syracuse into pretty apple-growing country just a dozen miles or so out of our hub-bub in city neighborhood of Eastwood.

Welcome sight.

Welcome sight.

We pulled in when we spotted the balloons on the mailbox. It was a log manor. The garage was bigger than the Little Bitty. Nice digs. I wouldn’t want to mow the grounds, though, tractor or not, I imagined.

Where we're hanging.

Where we’re hanging.

A bunch of us were arriving all at once. We grabbed the food and coolers we’d brought and headed out back for the bash.

Brenda and JoAnn on the way announced some bad news after looking at phones. They’d received a message from Pauline that the hoped-for guest of honor, Dave, would not be joining us. He’s recovering from the awful accident of a year ago that’s left him still in a rehab center with lingering effects from traumatic brain injury. This cruise friend almost died before saving surgery. We were all disappointed but understanding. Maybe next party.

Click on any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo of any gallery for an enlarged slide show.

The food spread was better than the daily lunch buffet at the ship’s Windjammer, I declared out loud, getting my intended agreement from my cruise friends as we ate pizza and wings and salad and chips and dips and crackers and cheese and fruit salad and cookies and pastries … Yes, it was.

Pretty inviting.

Pretty inviting.

Backyard oasis.

Backyard oasis.

Kathy and Sam also sent word that bathing suits would be advisable for those who like to dip more than the big toe.

I’m not much of a swimmer, so I stuck to taking photos with my iPhone 6. My dear wife Karen got in the water, and was glad she brought appropriate attire.

While we sat and chatted, Sam — who did not go in while Kathy joined the swimmers — told me how they’d placed the solar blanket on this week, and the temperatue was up to 80ΒΊ F. At home, Karen told me that Kathy told her how easy it was to care for the salt water in the pool, too. All in all, it’s quite beautiful.

Brenda brought up the interesting fact that we were exactly 400 days from this excursion that will take us to St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

The ship will be the biggest we’ve been on yet, she said.

Wow. Thirteen months from now we’ll fly to Florida …

Bring your suit and swim or stay on the deck and talk with Sam and Eddie and I? Have you ever swam in a salt water pool, and if so, what was it like compared to a treated water pool? Which is your favorite photo, and why?


61 thoughts on “400 days away, but who’s counting?

  1. love the shot of the house from the side with the other house in the distance, flag pole and lawn. Screams open space and country to me. I went into a salt water hot tub in Florida years ago- it was great.


  2. What a place! And those photos Bro Mark. Do I have to choose just one? I like them all. I guess if it has to be just one, it would be the opening shot, when you first drive in and see the house. I wouldn’t want to mow that lawn either, especially on a hot day, but I applaud the person who does it. Since I don’t swim, but can drop like a rock to the bottom, I would NOT be in the water, but sitting in some shade sipping a cold drink and enjoying a cool breeze and good conversation. Much more fun than what I’m actually doing — packing. I finally have a move-by date. Friday, Sept. 4. and this year even. Already exhausted, and only getting started. I’m gonna get something for this headache. You have a cruise to plan.


  3. As usual a great piece Mark! Glad you all had such a good time, the home & grounds look lovely & I know your hosts and the party goers are a fun group! Happy to say David’s doing great after the scare this past weekend. The ER visit really opened my eyes, what a terrible experience at that hospital. It’s frightening to think of what could happen if you’re ailing & don’t have a strong advocate. No surprise here, Pauline was a champ taking care of business!


  4. I think my favorite photo is the one the HUGE green lawn and all the green trees. Looks so lovely. The pool looks very inviting. I was thinking about taking the boys on a cruise but there is the issue of flying to get to the cruise. These boys are so big now, I am not sure they would fit in coach, and I am pretty sure I can’t afford First Class. I must ponder this some more!!! Looks like you had a great time at the cabin!!!!!


  5. wow, what a place! i’ve never been in a salt water pool, but would like to try it out. looks like this is the perfect kick off for the cruise, i’ll bet you can’t wait, but this day sure comes close. best wishes and hopes to your friend who couldn’t be with you –


  6. Awesome home and pool Mark. Looks like a good time with friends. I had a colleague who converted his pool to salt water and praises it highly. It is becoming the water of choice, along with salty water aquariums. When I was into aquariums, many years ago salt water were rare. The big problem was the same as pools: most metals could not be in contact with the salt or it could damage the metal parts and poison the water. As the years went by technology developed coatings and plastics that could withstand the salt. The salt water was always easier to manage, except for the metal thing. Once the pumps and fittings and filters were developed to avoid the interface of the salt water with metal parts, then we were off to the races. Not only does salt water stay organism free, it literally promotes healing of skin in humans and fish. We seem to have evolved from the sea and salt water is a natural habitat for us.

    Great post Mark.


  7. That’s such a beautiful cabin. I’m really enjoying the pic that shows the deck. You’re lucky to have been able to enjoy it. I don’t like to get in the water unless it’s very hot but sometimes have to because of the kids. I’ve been in a couple of salt water pools. Don’t really know the difference until it gets in my mouth.


  8. How exciting! Just the other day, my mother and I were talking about going on a cruise. Then I looked at the expense of it and now I’m thinking a local trip to somewhere in the states may be better. But, we only live once right? And we can’t take money with us, so…maybe we *will* go! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to hear about your trip in 2016.


    • The cruises are a bargain when you factor everything in, Karen and I thin, Me Who. It’s hotel, restaurants and entertainment all rolled into that single price. πŸ™‚ Of course, you’ll also get the extra tab for whatever excursions you choose in the ports of call, and alcoholic drinks, but still … You only live once, right? I’ve been on a half-dozen, and Karen several before we got together, and we really enjoy them as a way to see parts of our world.


  9. As for the photos, #1 is “Relax and Eat.” It’s alive. It has motion and emotion. The angle is good. You could almost imagine being there. It’s a little mysterious, as it isn’t completely clear what everyone is doing. It’s also kind of funny. As for the swimming, no thanks. You’ll find me on the porch.


  10. Great photos of a lovely spot – what I imagine that neck of the woods should look like on a warm summer’s day. Different from the views we experience and delightful for the differences.


  11. A beautiful property. Didn’t know you could have a salt water pool ? ☺ My husband always thought that 2 of the happiest days of his life were the day we bought the house with the pool…and the day we sold it. It was a lot of work. I enjoyed it, he mainly used it to cool off after lawn mowing.


  12. Very nice!! Looks like a fun time with friends and good food. πŸ™‚ That is absolutely awesomeness that you have the cruise to look forward to! You can never go wrong in the Virgin Islands. Lucky you!


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