Monday, June 29, 2009

Graduation Week

In a world without Ike, Martin would be graduating high school this week.

This is a picture of our neighbor Denzel. He is graduating from H.J. Robinson High School. He was awarded two subject awards coming in third in his class in Visual Arts and third in Social Studies. On Wednesday we went to the Ona Glinton Primary graduation. I went to support my friend Tuvol who graduated from the sixth grade. Denzel's sister was also in his class. She was fourth in the country for her grades and end of year testing. Her mother, our neighbor and the vice principle at Ona Glinton, was dancing down the isles of the auditorium. Deneen and I talked about how different celebration is here then in our reserved Puritan society in Ohio. I don't think there was a graduation ceremony anywhere in Ohio where the vice principle was dancing.

The Harrisons also left this weekend. They bought a house near ours and they have become good friends. They have been on Grand Turk since Deneen arrived and she has been hanging out with them for the last two weeks.

This weekend was the fishing tournament as well. Sixteen boats signed up for the weekend. On Thursday night the boats were auctioned off. $22,000 was raised for the tournament pot.

This week has been filled with all kinds of things to do, but we just stayed home building a timber portico for a patio/garden I am working on on the east side of our house.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Carpet

When people think there is not much work done in the Caribbean it is because they don't see days like today.

I have not had anything cool to blog about this week. It has just been a lot of work. I have finished the outline proposal for a small exhibit for the Provo building. I am in the middle of finalizing the Salinas kiosk panels finally, and today we installed carpet in the classroom.

When I say we installed carpet...

It is now 10:30 and Joseph is just cleaning up. We had 2x2 carpet squares shipped here in February. I just got the pressure sensitive glue shipped down last week. Today Joseph and Raphael painted the classroom and this afternoon and evening the three of us installed the squares.

I told them that in the states I would have a carpet company install them so I could get a guarantee that they would look perfect. Well, there is no carpet company here, and anyone who would do the work would not have any kind of guarantee. So, I said we might as well do it ourselves. This was the first carpet Raphael had ever seen installed, and he did most of the work.

The bummer of the day is it took a third more glue than the manufacturer in Miami said it would, and I have to ship more glue in order to complete the offices.

Too bad there isn't a guarantee on that. Shipping cost as much as the glue last week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Roger Booker in the House

Yesterday, Roger Booker and his family came to Grand Turk on the Carnival Destiny. Roger works in the Facilities Management Division at the Ohio Historical Society. I was able to set up a one tank dive with Blue Water Divers so that Roger could see what is best about Grand Turk without being with 30 other cruise passengers. I picked up Roger and his family at 8:00. We were at the dive shop by 9:00 and in the water by 10:00.

We had a great dive at the Aquarium dive site. This was also Lucas' first dive back on Grand Turk. We coasted along we wall at about 80 feet. The site is very nice with lots of marine life and visibility was great on this dive.

About half way through the dive, we went through a small swim through and came into a small, deep-blue crevice in the coral wall. I felt my breathing become very constricted. I swam up to Lucas, who was above me, to look at his depth gauge as I did not have one. He was at 110 feet. I was ten feet below Lucas. I looked down and Roger was ten feet below where I had been. The dive master we were with started pounding on his tank, telling us to come up. I estimate Roger was at about 130 feet. That is very deep for a recreational dive here, which is suppose to remain above 80 feet. Though it was very cool!

After our dive, we came back to the house and met up with the rest of Roger's family. Deneen had taken them snorkeling out on our beach. We went for a wonderful lunch of cracked conch at the SandBar, but alas, time slipped away and they had to get back on board by 1:30. When you see a port call of 7:00am to 2:00pm it seems like you have all day. But time goes fast here when you are off a ship.

As the Destiny was loading passengers to leave, a second ship came into port. As it turned out our day had just started. Davis went over to talk to Lucy and Nate, our old neighbors from when we lived at White Sands resort last Thanksgiving. They gave Davis a deal on the Flowrider and we wound up riding waves for an hour and a half. I finally completed a 360 on the body board. I have been working on this for months. The thing about the Flowrider is it looks easy, but it is all about how much time you are able to spend riding it. Passengers off the ship get on and fall off. I am actually not so bad now. Later, when I was swimming this couple says "Hey we saw you on the Flowrider, old guys rule."

and you know that makes me feel...

But then when I think about Roger's dive, I guess old guys rule.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nikki Beach

Here is Davis playing volleyball pool side at Nikki Beach. And one of Deneen watching.

The whole idea of staying here has worked out great. When I picked Deneen up at the airport I told them we were going to the only hotel I could afford. She said later she was picturing cockroaches everywhere. When we arrived at Nikki Beach Davis said, "Please tell me this is our hotel." They were totally surprised. Today, Deneen commented that this was a surprise that she really needed.

We were going to drive around and look at Provo today, but Nikki Beach is so nice that we spent the whole day by the pool. We ate the brunch buffet for lunch. When I asked about the price, the hostess said, "fifteen ninety if you are staying at the hotel, fourteen ninety if you are local."

When I received the bill I actually saw that she had said, "fifty nine if you are staying at the hotel and forty nine if you are local."

There was a lot here lost in the translation. But as Deneen said while we were eating, "everything I have had has been excellent."

I have heard that Nikki Beach has one of the best chefs on the island. What I noted is that the salads were incredible. There was a pickle onion salad that was crazy. They also have a wood-fired oven as a feature here. Tonight I think we will eat light and just get a wood fired pizza.

When I checked in, the manager told me that 40% of the guests here increase the length of their stay. Maybe tomorrow we will drive around Provo. Maybe...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Deneen, Lucas, and Davis fly into the Turks and Caicos tonight. Deneen has never spent any time on Provo so I wanted to show her the best of what this island has to offer. We are spending the weekend at Nikki Beach.

"What?" You say. "Isn't that the hotel where they only let young, hip, trend setters stay?"

I say, "yes, you are exactly right."

In fact, it was voted #2 on the Travel Channels 21 Hottest Caribbean Escapes. I hear there is a dance party at the pool after brunch tomorrow.

We have a suite that is going to make me change my story of the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. I am here right now. I just got a message that Deneen's plane is running an hour late. I am trying really, really hard to keep the room clean...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is what the house looked like on October 31, and what it looks like today. I have been working on this house since the begining of this blog. In the last 21 months we have redone everything in the house - twice.

But it is completed. I am excited to have Deneen come back for the summer. It is just a few days away now.

Last night we had a cleaning party at the house. My staff fixed dinner again. We had steamed fish. They like parties.

There are many ways I could talk about the evening. I could be philosophical about our place in the world, I could have an honest talk about the dancing and showers, or I could share the intimate stories of male bonding and mentoring (this includes some crying). So, I thought I would let you decide what you wanted to hear about. But, you have to choose just one!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Signs of Progress Being Made

I put in seven hours of work on Sunday. Sherlin came in and we are working on a new sign package for the museum. This last week we have been trying to develop my engaging signage so that the Carnival cruise ships tours are easier for staff to do well. We have designed a series of large signs that give a one sentence overview and then pose a question. This way tour guides can just read the sign and ask the question - in order to be more engaging. Our tests went very well.

But in putting these signs together I had the brilliant idea to do a second and then third series of signs that focus on providing a better interpretation for the casual visitor. Basically, we have been postulating that if you are only going to read one sign in each gallery, what sign do we want you to read. We have created visual cues for that sign, enlarged it, and have made the copy more inviting. The problem is trying to find all the info and images that were used to make the exhibit 20 years ago in this cluttered garage-version of a storage area I have. But a few minutes ago I found what we needed. We have this weekend to finish - there will be a cruise ship in at 7:00am tomorrow morning.

Raphael came in a few minutes ago in his Lakers jersey to remind me that the second Lakers/Orlando game starts at 7:00 and he was ready to go to the house. So I guess I am watching basketball again tonight.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Life After Dinah Redux

Well, it was a bust. Friday night was spent making a bed until 11:30. When I say making a bed, I mean I physically built a headboard to go on Martin's bed.

We had to clean the shop before Aaron came down. Before that it was storage. Now it is a workable shop again so I have been doing several projects that had gotten put off.

You can not really get good hard woods here. When I first came I took apart an oak dining table and rebuilt it into our sink cabinet. This headboard I made "rustic" out of pressure treated 1x4s. When Sherlin came into the museum today he looked at it and said, "Ey, you making Turks Island furniture."

The other tragedy this week is the Xbox won't come on.

Denzel and I have been playing Halo every evening. This is a bummer of such proportions that I can not fathom the repercussions.

A couple days ago I pulled something in my shoulder. I put hot water in the tub to soak it. I felt so guilty about the conspicuous consumption of the water that I left it and have used the water in the tub to bath in three additional times.

Evidently I'm fine with that. But living here without the Xbox is untenable.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Life After Dinah

Dinah has been gone for one week. What is different? Last night Raphael accidentally left his phone at my house so at 9:30 he reminded me that we had to go home and get his phone, and watch the Lakers play Orlando in the first game of the finals.

Why did he remind me at 9:30 you ask?

Oh because evidently without Dinah here we work late. On Wednesday I made Joseph stay until 11:00pm. On Thursday we worked until 9:21pm. I don't know about today. But we still have lots of work to do.

Our band dates ended at the Bohio at the end of May. So now Friday night just mean work. Well, I think anyway. Last Friday I was in the Casino on Provo. So technically, this will be the first Friday on Grand Turk without Dinah and without a band date.

I guess I don't know what this Friday could hold. As I am sitting here there are limitless possibilities. I will let you know what happens.