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Joan and I met in 2014 and liked each other right away. I’m not sure either of us understood the attraction since Joan is neat, responsible, well dressed and enjoys detailed photography while I am less neat, tend to work on projects like engine rebuilding and aspire to clean in my dress, so my clothes only match to this day because Joan pairs outfits in our closets. I believe we are better together because of our differences – the colors match and everything works.
The Gabe Goldberg Relationship Test
Early on in the relationship, Joan agreed to take the “Gabe Goldberg Relationship Test,” a big risk showing bravery on her part. Gabe had introduced me to Ethiopian food years ago at a technical meeting. I enjoyed it, continued to meet Gabe for dinner, and shared stories for several years. Gabe was, I’m guessing, approaching 50 when he met his soon-to-be wife, Kim. His seminal requirement for a relationship was the prospective candidate enjoyed eating the generally lamb and beef based finger food served with injera, a flat Ethiopian bread instead of a knife and fork. Kim rose to the occasion, ordered every vegetable on the menu and Gabe immediately married her. We look forward to meeting Kim and Gabe for dinner whenever we are in the DC area.
Joan isn’t a vegetarian but does lean toward fish-based dishes when we go out. On our first date at Queen of Sheba she suggested a fish dish, Asa Tibs, as one of our “meat” dishes. Everything is served on a single plate the size of a pizza dish that is covered with injura. We dug in and I believe Joan enjoyed the lamb as much as I enjoyed the Asa Tibs fish. The local menu has fish, beef, lamb and chicken plus ten or so vegetables prepared in various sauces.
Joan passed the test with flying colors. We try to find an Ethiopian restaurant wherever we travel and frequent the only Ethiopian place in Palm Beach.
I just came from a trip where I took my granddaughter Nicole and her new friend Carl to an Austin Ethiopian place for his Gabe Goldberg Relationship Test to see if he might join our family some day. Nicole warned him to wash his hands before coming to dinner. He dug in, we cleaned the plate together, and he passed. I like Carl, but I suppose the future is up to him and Nicole.
Shearwater IV, a Small Power Trawler
We purchased our first power boat, a Ranger Tug, and named her Shearwater IV. It was a smaller 25′ version of the Down East fishing boats that are so popular in Maine.
Joan and I shared lots of time on Shearwater IV. We loved to go out to dinner, sail up to the dock at the Broward Center for Performing Arts for a show or concert, and visit with friends. We made several trips across Lake Okeechobee to a Ranger Rendezvous, and a trip South on Florida Bay from Fort Myers to the Keys.
On the trip to the Keys, our Tug actually got to tug. We were traveling with another Ranger Tug when our friends experienced engine failure. I towed that Ranger to her home port in Marathon where she ran briefly before failing again and being towed in by SeaTow. Our first and last tow.
Finally, we sold the Ranger because the local shop was reluctant to work on the engine any longer in such tight quarters.
Winnie, our Travel Trailer – Life After Boating
We were not ready to give up traveling. Joan and I rented a few motorhomes to see if we enjoyed the life. We did, and started looking at Travel Trailers because we wanted our car to do double duty and give us a way to unhitch and see the local sights on our trips.
We ended up trading our 250k miles car for a 2012 GMC Acadia Denali SUV. It was the largest car we could find that would fit in our garage. Once we purchased the car, that determined the largest Travel Trailer we could tow.
We adopted Winnie, our new Travel Trailer,. She has lots of room for the two of us and a very occasional guest who wants to sleep on the dining table.
Stu had the Shearwater III when we met and took our first few trips together.