Friday, May 01, 2015

A Reunion and a Birthday: The Beauty of Plans and Non-Plans Alike

About a year ago we received an email from some blog followers, Sarah and Mark. They had hatched a plan to take a sabbatical and cruise for six months with their youngest son, Jimmy, and wondered if we would be willing to consult with them about when and where to do it (Bahamas or Caribbean?) and what sort of boat to do it on (rented or owned?) Being recently inducted into multiple baby madness, we didn't feel comfortable charging them for our limited and biased "expertise" but we definitely wanted to help them out if we could. Over multiple emails, we decided a dinner would do - and they drove down from Wisconsin to meet us for a meal over which we would answer any questions they had, and guide them as best we could.

A friendship was born.

You know those people you meet and you instantly start talking like you've known each other for years? Those people where there is never an awkward lull in conversation and there is a general excitement and energy in the air when together? The kind of people who, after hanging out with them, leave you smiling and feeling better about yourself and life in general? The McGuire's are those people.

The connection was so immediate and natural that we discussed everything but boats and cruising for the bulk of our three hour meal. The conversation just flowed. They didn't really need specifics, anyway. They just needed reaffirmation that, yes, they could do this and, yes, they absolutely should do this. We gave them the little boost they were looking for. Everything else was just logistics. Before we knew it, the lights were dimming and busboys were turning up chairs. It was time to end our awesome evening. We parted ways that night as friends, and vowed to keep in touch via email to help them hash out the details of their plan.

Fast forward a few months..."We are renting a boat in Grenada and will be finishing up our trip in the British Virgin Islands in April" they wrote to tell us, "Will you be there?" they asked. We told them that we should be (at that point we had no idea how things would go with 'three under three' aboard and we were playing it by ear) and that if we were here, we'd be waiting with tropical slushy rum drinks in hand to toast their trip.

And last week, that is exactly what we did.

I love it when a plan comes together.

We were able to buddy boat with the McGuire's for almost a week and it was fantastic. I seriously cannot sing enough praise about this family, and particularly their thirteen year old son who is by far the coolest and sweetest young man I have ever met. I will be turning to Mark and Sarah for parenting advice in the years to come (they have two older daughters in college), because these folks are doing it right.

As if the company could get any better, we were then surprised by my cruising bestie, Genevieve, and the rest of the adorable crew of s/v Necesse over in Jost Van Dyke. Our three crews hit up Foxy's at Great Harbor and the bubbly pools at Diamond Cay and - after some discussion - decided to buddy boat over to Cane Garden Bay, one of my all-time favorite anchorages, to celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday in true BVI style (coughcough*I turned thirty-six*coughcough).

This was very fortuitous as I had all but forgotten about my birthday until a couple of days before (I sometimes have to be reminded what month it is, let alone date #cruiserproblems). Due to this little oversight, we had no plans whatsoever to celebrate my birthday in any special way let alone with awesome friends in one of my favorite bays. For the stars to align and create such a perfect last minute "plan"? Well, that's just serendipity at it's best.

I love it when a non-plan comes together.

Scott let me sleep in, made a delicious home-made Belgian waffle breakfast and then baked cupcakes to share with everyone for our afternoon beach gathering. The sun was shining, the kids were running amok, Painkiller's were flowing (as was a delicious lava cake baked by Sarah!) - and I was surrounded by some truly wonderful people. Really couldn't ask for more.

Since I don't get out much (ever) these days, for my (spontaneous last-minute) 'party', I had decided on a ladies' night outing to Quitos beach bar. It was a blast. My girl Genevieve, her wonderful mother in law Diane-Marie, and the lovely Sarah were my partners in crime and what a great group it was. We talked over drinks, danced our butts off and even belted out an old favorite, "Red Red Wine" (a Caribbean standard, imo) with the one man band. So. Much. Fun. Earlier in the evening I had experimented with wearing some essential oils - it was, admittedly, an "interesting" blend- and, evidently it was a hit with the local men. So much so that they wanted me to bring them some so they could wear my scent. Hmmmm (Insert emoticon face with the squiggly line mouth). I guess I should've left the patchouli back in 1997 where I left it. Either way, we had no shortage of dance partners and before we knew it, it was midnight. Not "cruisers midnight" (which is 9pm) but actual midnight. Our Cinderella posse needed to get home, stat. We were turning into pumpkins, fast.

I was a little fuzzy the following day (note: I have not slept a solid seven hours in over a year!) but it was so worth it to welcome the upper half of thirty with a bang and in the company of some incredible people.
Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Family photo at the beautiful bubbly pool
Jimmy, delivering me the sweetest home-made birthday card ever and my birthday bottle of sauvignon blanc!

Isla made me a card too, I love the little people she made! My favorite gift ;)
Some pics from our girls night out - so much fun with these fabulous women!
I mean, look at these goofballs. What's not to love?


Josh said...

Congratulations on your advancing years! My wife and I got married in St Thomas and honeymooned for a few days on Tortola. We stayed at a pink, cinder block shack of a place in Cane Garden Bay and loved it... Much more than the couple of days at one of the schwanky places we stayed at a few days later on St. John. Dream of going back by boat in a couple of years.

Mark McGuire said...

What a wonderful post Brittany and what a joy it was to wrap up our adventure with you guys. You and Scott were a big inspiration for us to take this trip, so it was only fitting that we concluded it with you. You guys are great parents and people and we are very happy to now call you great friends as well. Until next time! Mark, Sarah and Jimmy

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