Scattered and Covered

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Like the hashbrowns at Waffle House, I feel scattered and covered. I suppose the boat is really the one that feels covered and I’m just scattered, but whatever.

For me, nothing says “I randomly drove away and the direction I chose was south” like Waffle House, and one of my favorite things about it is the hashbrowns1. I don’t really enjoy eating them that much, but I love ordering them, since there is a lengthy list of codewords for what you’d like done to them. Whatever you say, the server will yell back to the cook, so for the pure entertainment value, it’s in your interest to order them scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, diced, peppered, and topped. There is an additional option (capped), but mushrooms on hashbrowns doesn’t really sound that good, and if you order all of the things, the server will simply say “Scattered All the Way” and you will be deprived of the show. The Waffle House menu is a joy.

Andy Reid Reading a Waffle House Menu
Former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid, Probably Ordering a Screen Pass, Covered and Smothered

Apparently, all hashbrowns are “scattered.” The only explanation on the menu is that they’re “SCATTERED on the grill,” which I assume means “cooked,” but in all caps. I’m not aware of any special options to have them ORGANIZED (placed neatly on the grill) or CHILLED (raw). From there, the sky’s the limit, as is the use of bold, caps-lock, and sarcastic quotes, all of which are really on the menu in this format:

  • SMOTHEREDONIONS
  • COVEREDCHEESE
  • CHUNKED – “Hickory Smoked” HAM
  • DICEDTOMATOES
  • PEPPERED – Jalapeño PEPPERS
  • CAPPEDMUSHROOMS
  • TOPPED – Bert’s CHILI

There are more than 3,538,994 ways to enjoy our Hashbrowns. How many have you tried? How about onions, cheese and Picante sauce?

– The Waffle House Menu, original emphases

I didn’t check the math on that (I can barely remember how to calculate CHUNKED factorial), but that’s what they say. My favorite way to order them would be BAMBOOZLED, which is where I attempt to insert one non-menu option in a long list of official lingo, like “May I please have a regular order of hashbrowns, SCATTERED, SMOTHERED, COVERED, HOVERED, and DICED?” Or I would say “I think I’m going to go for it: I’d like a double order of those ‘browns, SCATTERED, COVERED, CHEDDARED, AU FROMAGED, and WHIZZED, and hold the cheese, please.” There’s also the Statue of Liberty option: SCATTERED, TIRED, POOR, HUDDLED, YEARNING, WRETCHED, TEEMING, HOMELESS, and TEMPEST-TOSSED. I don’t actually do these things, because my waitress is probably BELEAGUERED from dealing with the public and I don’t want them SPAT UPON, but this is a fantasy that I play out too far too often in my head.

Ah, restaurants: I remember them fondly. But beyond this digression, we did put the cover on the boat.

We got a bit of a late start, as is often the case. I got up late and then puttered around aimlessly for a while. After finally amassing the gumption to actually go, I half-decided to take the scenic route to the shore, which is something that I should reserve for the return trip when the sun goes down at 4:30pm.

The cover went on fairly smoothly though. I always worry about it. Just getting it to the car reminds me of how unwieldy it is, and then the thought of getting it up on the boat and properly tucked around every shroud and stanchion while creeping around the tiny side decks in ever-diminishing space as it comes together…it will wear on me if I let it. But I shouldn’t, because it’s always fine.

Covered Boat

The bubblers are already in place. I didn’t see any boats that appear to be staying in the water over the winter, but I guess the marina puts them in to keep the docks and pilings free of ice. From my vantage in the cockpit, I could see their ghostly outlines just below the water level and I kept having to remind myself that they were not horrendously huge jellyfish.

Bubbler in Slip

It was a little different tying the cover down without being on a cradle. I don’t own a cradle, but the marina has some that they use when they can, and I’ve always lucked into getting one. I guess I stayed in the water too long this year and they were all gone. Fortuitous got put on stands, which are fine, but I’m used to mostly tying the cover to the cradle. As it turns out, you only have to tie half as many knots if you tie the starboard lines to the port lines. I can’t believe I just realized this today.

I think we technically finished before the sun went down, but it was close. Sundown at 4:30 is absurd, and we’re still three weeks away from the solstice.

Sunset across the Lagoon

The full moon was rising as we left, and I drove up to Berkeley Island, hoping to get a decent photo of it. I can never really capture it, especially with a telephone.

Moon over Dune Grass

Here is a picture of the moon’s reflection in a puddle. This is what Bob Ross’s evil twin would paint, substituting out “happy trees” for “a moon in the mud.”

Moon Reflection in Puddle

Thanks to Jenn for helping put the cover on. Barring any unforeseen weirdness, this should be the end of boating activities until the spring. I’ll try to write occasionally in the interim.

Sunset over Berkeley Island

1 My spellchecker2 hates “hashbrowns” as one word, but it’s written like that repeatedly on the Waffle House menu, so that’s what I’m going with.

2 My spellchecker also dislikes “spellchecker” as one word, but I’m going with The Waffle House Manual of Style from here on out.

"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."

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