Thursday, February 11, 2010

Woohoo and we're off

Well, just a few moments snatched between work duties (and yes I did do those first) and all the last minute details involved in getting ready to go. I've topped up the minutes on my cell phone, copied the message (en espanol no less) from daughter # 1 to her Cuban family, found a spanish translation of the antibiotic I'm taking to them and made sure I have all the phone numbers for when we are on the ground.

One of the lighter moments in our preparing for flight is that our e-tickets came with my age as 29 and the shore captain's as 23. It was flattering and tempting to try to travel with those documents but unfortunately the passport photos and faces themselves would lead to troubles I fear.

As well as last minute packing, I spent the day doing all the last minute things that need to be done and which aren't any fun but are less fun if you come home to them ex. emptying garbage, running the dishwasher through, putting away the laundry. I also cancelled the newspaper and made arrangements for the dogwalker,left a long note for the prodigal son with respect to watering flowers, feeding of animals etc. So a full day before it was time for the shore captain to drive me to meet my ride at the intersection.

The shore captain is concerned about the strong winds which are forecast (and appear to have started already) but hopefully we'll make it out to Toronto. We're on a really tight schedule so if there is any kind of delay we won't make the connection to Cuba. Fingers crossed. I am being picked up here at the door as my shift ends and whisked away to the airport with very little time to spare so it'll be a long day by the time we arrive.

We will be returning on February 26th but yours truly will be coming back to do a night shift so it may be a few days after that before you're caught up on the blog. And for all those who have wished that we have a good time...that is not going to be a problem!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Transitioning to Days

The last two night shifts have been manageable and in fact the final one was downright pleasant - not often the way staying up overnight for pay is described. Managed to check out Twitter a bit, get my crocheting back on track (one of the hazards of doing it at night are mistakes which become glaringly obvious in the daytime and necessitate ripping out large sections) and catch up on all the news.

After a sleep until early afternoon the shore captain and I headed up to Yarmouth to do some final Cuba shopping. It was necessary that he drive (as I was sleep deprived) but he had his warnings about male shopping behavior (he has a severe case - meaning he spends 15 minutes maximum looking for things he wants and the is ready to leave) and staying focused as his adult ADD kicks in when he is forced to participate in shopping especially with me carrying a list! We started at Frenchy's and true to form he looked for t-shirts for 15 minutes then began wandering aimlessly with a pained looked on his face (think constipated and you're not far off) coming back frequently to stand beside me and issue a long sigh. This (as it would have with whining children) gave him the gift of firm instructions to sit in the car if he couldn't wait any better than that. He quickly moved away to the book bin and allowed me space to dig for 'sports clothes' for my Cuban nurse friend's daughters. Found a good selection and scored a duffel bag as well. We moved along to WalMart after that for sneakers, fishing gear, and discount bins and although we are still lacking a few things on the list the charter luggage weight restrictions will likely settle that problem for us.

The weather was a bit slushy and as we backed of the parking space I snuggled down into my winter jacket in my sleep deprived haze when......bang! I flew up out of my seat yelling "what did you hit?" and the shore captain who is looking surprised says "that big blue truck" pointing to an older model 4 wheel drive (the kind you would expect to NOT carry insurance) which was exiting the parking lot by now. He maintains he looked and it wasn't there and came out of nowhere. Hmm. I looked pointedly at my chauffeur so he did grudgingly get out and have a look at the rear of the car pronouncing "no damage". Now I shall decide that for myself in the daylight tomorrow as it was dark when we made it home. I instructed that if he wanted to drive his own vehicles like that it was his choice but I am doing my best to keep mine on the road. It was a quiet ride home.

Tomorrow evening has been booked as 'packing night' which is always stressful. Meaning the shore captain thinks it is and I know it is! Into the countdown now. Hasta.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It will grow out

Have been keeping rather busy in the run-up to vacation so just noticed I haven't blogged since last weekend. On Saturday I forgot to get up from sleeping after nights (had meant to get up at 1:30 p.m. but regained consciousness at 4:30 p.m - oh well) we had a great evening with friends, good conversation, lobsters and all the fixings. Sunday I spent being a domestic goddess and made eggs benedict for brunch, then baked rabbit hotpot with blueberry buckle for supper. Entertained one of my co-workers and her husband in the evening as he had been on an adventure where he signed up as crew on a tug in his first non-fishing sea adventure. He flew to United Arab Emirates to pick up the tug/barge and head back expecting to return in six or seven weeks and finally made it home seven months later after having been in Sri Lanka (twice - once during the war) Indonesia, Hong Kong, Egypt, Suez Canal, Gibraltar, Portugal and after the Azores across the pond. They had + + mechanical problems etc. and finally had the tug and barge seized for unseaworthiness when they arrived in Newfoundland. Great photos and stories though!

On Monday I took it easy and played on the computer, figuring out how to post photos on Twitter using something called Twitpics - how could that be bad? Then in the afternoon I got into the countdown to Cuba vacation mode dragging out the one way suitcases and various items collected over the past two years to see where the gaps were. The actual packing of our clothes is usually accomplished in about 15 minutes and fits into a carry on bag. It's the finagling required to cram the tall stack of gifts into the 55 lb. luggage allowance that is exhausting. An appointment has been made for Sunday evening for same as it is (at least) a two person operation and that is the only time available until we leave... a week from today - but who's counting?

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in gainful employment doing long days (and they sure were) but there was an added bonus of having good travel and work buddies so that always helps. And I was successful in not one, but two IV starts! I have begun to regain my confidence and have settled myself to the thought that it will just take time to get up to speed. I had a day off (if you can call it that with the schedule I kept) and work nights on the weekend.

Poor Klyde as you can see from the before (on left) and after (right) photos of the coiffure experience he has had a bad haircut day. And before you think that something's happened to his hips - he often lays like that. He's not one to really care what anyone thinks but being shut in the front entryway without food or water since last evening, then carted to the vet in a cardboard box (no way could I locate the cat carrier) in the pickup truck (which I was taking for the shore captain to have repaired - more on that later) then waiting for 45 minutes at the vets to be 'admitted' with badly behaved dogs, then conscious sedation during which dematting, pedicure and immunization was done, a nap in a large cage before being dragged home in the cardboard pet carrier I purchased at the vet. He was very relieved to be rescued but still majorly ticked off at me for being involved with the whole fiasco. Needed to be done and it will grow out. Since I felt very badly at being such a bad cat-mother I have resolved to brush him weekly.

In between my to and fro of the animal hospital I managed to take the shore captain's truck to have the tire fixed. And by this I mean a large piece of wood from the side of the wharf which was wedged between the rim and the tire causing the alignment to be out and a shake in the front end. When I suggested he might be the one who could benefit from bifocals (the not wearing - I didn't say not needing - of glasses being important to himself) he finally disclosed that he could see but had run down the wharf when he came off a pile of snow there. I'm nominating him for that show 'Canada's Worst Drivers' if this keeps up. Of course I had missed the appointment at the garage when it took so long to get sorted out at the vet in the a.m. so I had to beg a Neon to run my errands. This allowed me to visit Frenchy's and shop with all those folks who are already retired - ah to dream - scoring some great Cuba and personal finds. Off to the drugstore for requested items and then some grocery shopping. This consisted mostly of convenience foods for the heir to the empire who is being left home to pet sit. No point in stocking up on veggies as I'll have to throw them out on my return home. By the time I got the truck back, transferred all the shopping over and made it home it was 2 p.m. Only time to make brown bread, read the paper and head back to pick up Klyde before getting a haircut myself, and not a bad one at that. Full day.

Tomorrow I am going to pace myself after sleeping in and then perhaps read. Ahh.