Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30

As much fun as I had on the cruise, I'm really happy to be home again. Back to what's familiar, back on a schedule, back in the little niche I've created for myself here in life. Feels good.

So, what kind of trouble have I gotten into since returning from the fun in the sun? Well, sit back and I'll tell you some stories. :-)

Sunday and part of Monday I spent on some yard work. I just wanted to be outside! I made two different trips to Home Depot and basically worked like a dog to get things cleaned up in the backyard. I edged, I mowed, I planted some annuals (which I usually think is a waste of money but this year, I just don't care, go figure, ha!), I planted grass seed, I watered, I.....well, as I said, I was a busy little bee.

It's looking pretty sweet back there now. Next is the front yard. I need to do some major weeding and get the rest of the annuals in the ground before they really DO become a waste of money. 

Monday afternoon I went golfing for the first time this season. Okay, I didn't actually golf. Baby doll golfed, I rode along in the cart and kept him company. It was his first time out since his last hand surgery so I think he said it had been ~10 months since he last swung a club. He parred two holes, bogeyed one, and double bogeyed all the rest. Not that great but honestly, not that bad either after such a long spell of no golfing and now a bum hand to work around. It was a gorgeous day out although I think the course may have been a little on the wet side. If there's ducks swimming in the middle of the fairway, well, I'm pretty sure that's a good sign that drainage isn't what it should be. We even got the cart stuck for a good 5-10 minutes in a swamp area. Poor baby doll had to get out and push and got himself all muddy. Bleah.

After golf we stopped at baby doll's sister's house per her request. It turns out that after I admired the wooden box that her hubby had made her to keep "treasures" in, he made me one too! Woo hoo! On top of that, when they were her for dinner a few weeks back he noticed how small my spice rack was so he fixed me up, big time! Aren't these beautiful??

On Tuesday I decided that it was time to have a talk with my next door neighbor, Linda, about what was going on with me. She's very upset. I ended up giving her a key to my house, just in case, and we have a sign system set up for the windows on our house that face each other. If I hang a piece of red paper it means I'm in trouble and I need help ASAP. If I hang a piece of green paper it means I need something but it's not an emergency.

I thought it was really sweet that she's so worried and that I had to put things in place to make her feel better. Luckily these measures are only a stop-gap for the month of June. I sat down and talked to Jamie. I told him that unfortunately NYS does not have a physician assisted suicide program in place like Vermont and a couple of other states but we DO have Hospice which is about as close as we can come. It turns out that his sister worked in Hospice for many years. Who knew? So in order to 'open' with Hospice and start getting their help, I need to have 24/7 coverage of someone being here to 'help' me if needed. Basically to give me the drugs I need to keep my out of pain I think but we'll learn more at the opening. So I asked Jamie if he might be willing to move in early. The only difference between moving in now or when I pass is that he's basically signing up to watch me die. That's a lot to ask of anyone. He didn't even hesitate. He said that he will do whatever it is I need him to do. God I love that guy. So, the current plan is that he'll be moving in on July 1st and I will start the process with getting signed up for Hospice. I want to set it up so that both Jamie and baby doll are at the 'opening' meeting since they are basically co-primary caregivers for me. When Scott isn't here, hopefully Jamie is, when Jamie isn't here, hopefully Scott is. Meanwhile, there will be Hospice volunteers likely spending about 20 hours a week here with me to give both guys a break. And maybe some of my friends will offer to come spend a couple of nights in the guest bedroom now and then to give the guys a little relief. All in all, I'm not sure how long it actually takes to die. I can't imagine it would take all that long though. So, that's my current plan. Meanwhile, I'm really not in too much pain, the weather has been nice, and I've still been finding some joy in life so all is well.

Jamie was here on Wednesday night so that he could help Scott move my bedroom back down to the first floor. I am now once again ensconced in the room that was my original bedroom when I first moved in. I got a little bummed when they first put the bed in there. They thought I was napping, I was actually trying really hard not to bawl my head off. I felt like I was taking this huge step backwards by moving into that bedroom again. It's been two night now though and I have to say, it was a good move. I like that I'm back to using the bathroom instead of the porta potty. The porta potty was kind of humiliating. And I only ever sleep 3-4 hours a night. Sleep is super hard to come by for some reason. You would think this would lead to a lot of naps but not so much. But now that the bed is RIGHT THERE, I've been taking naps. It's just so convenient to walk in and flop for an hour. So, this has been a really good thing. I'm also thankful to not be doing the stairs as much. They really are starting to kick my ass.

So I saw Sterling Monday afternoon and then he disappeared. He's chipped but based on a weird phone call I got a few weeks back, I think they have the wrong chip number written down for him so I started to get worried when he didn't show up for two days. The city pound opens at 11:00 on Wednesday mornings and I got there at 11:07. They escorted me around to all three drop off rooms. No Sterling. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad. Maybe he was just out wandering. Anyway, as I'm walking out of the building there's an older, roly poly, Italian man standing there with a woe be gone look on his face. I walked over to see what was going on. It turns out he found 3 kittens in the dumpster next to his apartment that morning. He was trying to drop them off at the pound but they were telling him they were full and that he'd have to go try Lollypop or someplace else. Poor guy, he looked so lost and confused. I took the box. 

Yeah, I know.

On the bright side my will stipulates that Jamie gets the contents of my house including my vehicle, pets, appliances, and what not. It doesn't say how many pets are going to be included in the contents. Ha!

Sadly, one of the kittens was too far gone and did not make it through the night. So there are only two of them now. I'm guessing them to be 4-5 weeks old. I named them Shelby and Mouse. 

Did I tell you that I managed to lose my passport on the way home from the cruise?? I'm pretty sure it fell out of my purse on the shuttle bus from the ship to the airport. I sent a query in to Carnival about it but they said nobody has turned it in yet. I'm not sure what else to do. Am I supposed to report it to the state somehow that I've misplaced it? You would think this wouldn't be a big deal except I was kind of hoping for a 3 day weekend at a bed and breakfast at Niagara on the Lake in June if my health allowed it. Niagara on the Lake is in Canada. So, passport needed. :-( I've never been to a bed and breakfast. Not really a bucket list item but almost. I'd really like the experience I think.

My girlfriend Terri sent me a note recently that pointed something out about me that I know but that I lose sight of once in a while and I'm glad that she made me aware of it again. It's that I simply love life. I could watch paint dry for an entire afternoon but then when telling someone about what I did I could make it sound like a truly exciting adventure. I've always loved the premise of Seinfeld, a show about nothing. I think I've kind of lived my life like that. I get so excited about the smallest, mundane things. :-)

Okay, I haven't sung baby doll's praises lately so I'm feeling a need to end this with a baby doll anecdote that highlights what an absolutely stellar human being he is. I mentioned that I got drunk one day on the cruise. Sloppy can't remember shit drunk.  Baby doll having to call for a wheelchair and everything. It would seem I decided peeing on the floor of the cabin was a good idea as well. I don't even want to know what else he had to put up with. But at the end of the day you know what he told me? He said "Honey, at least we can say that we had absolutely as much fun as possible on Grand Turk. Nobody can accuse us of leaving ANYthing on the table with that outing. We squeezed every drop of experience out of it.". I'm sorry but is he the coolest person you've ever met or what. I can just imagine other guys being pissed or disgusted that I let that happen to myself, whereas my baby doll actually applauded my gusto. God, I love that man too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27

I totally forgot that long after the cruise ends, the boat keeps rocking. It wasn't really noticeable until around 6:00 pm Sunday night but now I can't un-notice it. I'm rocking and rolling over here like a drunk sailor! Hope it wears off soon and thank goodness I have nausea meds for the cancer. I've been taking them for the after cruise effects instead. LOL!

So Day 3 was a Fun Day at Sea. I had flashbacks to the cruise that Sammy and I went on back when we were in our early 20's. She just wanted to sunbathe, I wanted to DO stuff. Well, baby doll wanted to lay out on the deck and I was itching to be out and about. So we parted ways for a bit. And it should be noted that I did not say baby doll wanted to sunbathe because the sun was still in hiding at this point. Meanwhile, I went down to the theater and played a game of Bingo. They had to waste a little time in the beginning so they asked for volunteers to come up on the stage to play a game. The hospitality chick, Katie, noticed that I couldn't talk and she said I needed to be able to speak to  play the game. I was okay with that and left the stage. She felt so bad that afterwards she came up to me and awarded me a 'boat on the stick' trophy just for being a good sport. Too funny. All in all, we really just had a lazy day. I think we both got a little drunk, hung out playing more cards. We managed to get to one of the shows after dinner on this night. I was sound asleep within the first five minutes and slept through the whole thing. This makes baby doll laugh. It's like when your kid is teething so you throw them in the car seat and drive aimlessly around the block to get them to sleep. All you need to do is sit me down at a show and I'm promptly out like a light! Meanwhile, baby doll said the show was really good. And that was it for the night.

Day 4 saw us at the port of St. Thomas. This was absolutely THE BEST day of the entire trip!! I woke up in a good mood and full of energy. The sun FINALLY made an appearance and the island was absolutely gorgeous! 


I told baby doll that T and I have a tradition where you're not really on vacation until you put your sunglasses on. So after leaving the boat we paused on the pier and baby doll put his sunglasses on and gave a gusty sigh.

 I started digging in my purse, and digging, and digging. Yeah. Forgot my damned sunglasses. Ugh. No way am I getting back on the floating tin can, so, first thing on the list was to do a little shopping and buy yet another pair of sunglasses. The little shopping plazas at port were kind of cool and we meandered for a bit. You'll never guess what I found.

Yep, Lulubell and Bat Pig now have a baby Paradise Pig to look after. :-)

Anyway, mission for the sunglasses was accomplished, twice actually, and I was finally on vacation too.

Next up was the excursion we had purchased which was to ride the sky tram. I think this sounds much more thrilling than it was but that's okay because the views were spectacular and baby doll and I enjoyed it immensely.

On the way up in the tram we were looking at private residential homes on the hillside. There were fountains and infinity pools and landscaping to the nth degree. Beautiful! Baby doll commented that it felt like we were at a live taping/airing of House Hunter's International. I have to say, I totally agreed. It was really very cool. 

At the top of the tram was a little 'tourist trap' area, I guess would be the polite way to say it? There were some little shops, a couple of fried food kiosks, and the lady selling jewelry had a whole slew of different parrots in her booth that you could have your picture taken with if you wanted. (And had the cash!)

Down a level were some lookout points and a huge bar/seating area. Baby doll and I decided to make ourselves at home. Had us a couple of cocktails, played some cards, and basically just soaked up the sun and the views! It was so relaxing it was ridiculous. I never wanted to move again.

And I got to see a big, fat iguana trundling along the road, looking for a nice sunbathing rock. It tickles me to see somewhat foreign animals roaming about in the wild.

Baby doll and I finally decided we should get our butts moving along. Many years ago when Scott had been to St. Thomas, his friends had taken him to Magen's Bay Beach which he felt was the most beautiful place he had ever laid eyes on so he really wanted to take me there. On the way back down the tram we ended up chatting with a family who was cruising on the ship Sunshine (we were cruising on the ship Glory). They were doing the same ports as us but in the opposite direction. So they had just been to Grand Turk and they were raving about the excursion they did there. Some coast to coast thing. Grand Turk is only 7 miles long so coast to coast is easily doable. Baby doll and I had signed up for a stingray excursion on Grand Turk but this family planted a seed to be followed up on later.

We got down from the hillside and hailed a cab (open air trolley bus type thing in reality). Again, we met a really cute couple from the Sunshine on the truck and we were yacking with them the entire trip over to the beach which was where they were headed too. I have to say, baby doll was right, that beach was gorgeous! A little crowded but not too awfully bad. Baby doll was slightly bummed. Back in his day, nobody had really 'discovered' that beach yet so it was empty the last time he had visited. He was a bit disgruntled to see the masses had descended on 'his' beach. We did some wading, climbed some rocks, enjoyed the views, the spray, the was simply outstanding.

Alas, it was then time to get back to the ship. Oh, and I should note that we found a medical supply store at the shopping center here so I was able to replenish bandages and whatnot which went a long way to easing my mind. I had been running low on a few things and probably would have made it to the end of the trip but it was better just not having to worry about my stock of supplies at all. I don't think there was anything else news worthy to report. It was simply a truly wonderful day.

Day 5 saw us pulling into the port of San Juan. Baby doll and I had signed up for a Mojito and Mofongo walking tour excursion. Great excursion! Our tour guide's name was Noami. Pronounced No Amy. She rocked. 

We got more interesting stories and snippets of history than I've ever heard on a tour before. We got to hear all about the coqui tree frog, and we saw the narrowest house in the world (yes, it's in the Guiness Book of Word Records!), I saw authentic cigar rolling, and a mango tree. I was picking raw almonds up right off the street. It was amazing! 



 Noami was really good about pausing in the shade when she had her longer anecdotes to share with us and she even has it set up with a couple of store owners along the way to stop in their air conditioned stores, sample their wares, and hear more history. It was during one of these stops that I got a little antsy so I popped outside and walked up the block a little. Guess what I found?

 Yep, Lulebelle and Bat Pig also have a baby coconut piggy now. They're procreating like crazy!!

At the end of the walk we landed at a restaurant where we got to sample some Puerto Rican cuising and partially make our own lunch, chicken mofongo. 

I don't know what happened but baby doll totally kicked my ass in the preparation of this dish.

Here's his mofongo:

And here's mine:

And I call myself a cook. Yikes! LOLOLOLOL! Although I had two mojitos compared to baby doll's half of a mojito so maybe that was the problem. ;-)

After we ate it was back to the ship for some more relaxing. 

I'm going to pause here and add a note. I'm telling you all the fun and happy stuff from the cruise. I'm not letting you know that I shit blood every time I go to the bathroom or that there are random vomiting accidents every other day for no apparent reason. And even worse they come out of my stoma, not my mouth because a) I think my esophagus is probably mostly closed at this point and b) some fistulas have opened up inside my stoma between my trach and my esophagus making easy access for vomit. I'm not letting you know about the emotional roller coaster I'm constantly on. There were crying binges. Everything would be fine and then I would suddenly burst into tears and couldn't stop. My legs are starting to get really wobbly and I often feel like I might fall. I DID fall the day before we left for the cruise and still have a huge lump and bruise on my ass from where I landed. I didn't trip or anything, just fell over because I'm losing strength to hold myself up. So, while the cruise sounds fantastic, please keep in the back of your mind that a very unhealthy individual actually went on this cruise and there were struggles and bad times on top of the good. Baby doll helped me through all the rough spots and overall, I'm very glad that we went despite the challenges. Just wanted to throw that in there. Back to all the happy, good stuff.

Day 6 had us landing in the port of Grand Turk. This is the saddest, ugliest island I have ever laid eyes on. 


Baby doll and I had looked at our excursion again and we found a blurb in the description saying that we had to be comfortable in water that was over 5 feet deep. That wasn't in the original description and I can't go in that deep so at the last minute we swapped excursions and decided to do the one that the Sunshine family had told us about. It was okay. It was not as rave worthy as they made it out to be. We did a lot of driving around, went to some little outdoor kiosks which all sold the same exact thing over and over again. Then we stopped at a beach and that part was kind of cool. The tour guide had a little boat set up with all sorts of aquatic creatures in it. We got to hold a starfish and a sea urchin. He showed us a lion fish and a sea penis. He had some really great samples of the local ocean life. He then grabbed a huge conch shell, hammered a hole in the end, cut a big muscle, and slid out this great, long, slimy, live conch. He then whipped out his knife and started cutting off all the non-edible bits and was left with a palm full of white meat which he then cut pieces off of and handed out to everyone to eat. Baby doll was game and he said it was fantastic! He said it was better than any calamari that he had ever eaten, for sure!

You go boyfriend!

Then we went to a lighthouse to see some wild donkeys. I had stopped at a super market in town and bought some carrots to feed them. Only one of the four donkeys was interested in carrots. The rest of them seemed pretty spoiled with eating potato chips. Yeesh. So, then it was back to the 'town' we started in. I was a bit depressed after the tour. As I said the island was just very sad, I can't imagine anyone wanting to live there and the excursion just wasn't 'all that' for me. 

Baby doll and I decided to go check out Margaritaville. I've never been in one of those before. That place is awesome! Swimming pools, wave pools, water slides, huge ass bar, live dj, games being played, music thumping, quite the little party plaza going on. I loved it! I ordered myself an 'authentic margarita' and baby doll got himself a plate of cracked conch. At one point I pulled the seashells out of my pocket that I had picked up off the beach and put them on the table for baby doll to admire. As we watched, one of them got up and started to walk away! What the hell?? I took some poor little guy from his home! The shell was teeny tiny too, smaller than a dime. I didn't know crabs came that small! So, I walked him down to the Margaritaville beach and set him free. Headed back to the table, sat down, looked down just in time to see some little legs being pulled back into the tiny brown shell I had picked up. <sigh> Back down to the beach to release him too. For the rest of the night I kept checking my third shell for life. I was all sorts of paranoid after that. Luckily, the last shell was safe.

I'm afraid to admit that the first drink went down so easily that I had a second. If I had stopped there, a good time would have been had. Unfortunately I guess I asked for a third drink. I have no recollection of this. I don't have recollection of much of anything after that. I guess I shoved a cop and she threatened to arrest me, I ended up passing out in baby doll's arms, he had to get the security guard to have the ship send a wheelchair to come get me. I don't even know what else happened and I'm okay not knowing the details. I went to bed at 6:00 and didn't get up again until 9:30 the following morning. I hang my head in shame for losing half a day of the cruise. That was the second elegant night so I missed out on wearing one of my cute dresses again too. Luckily baby doll was smart enough to just let me sleep and he went to elegant night. 

And now we're up to the last day of the cruise which was another fun day at sea and another incredibly lazy day for my man and I. He did his usual Lido deck breakfast:

We played cards, drank some of the hair of the dog that bit me, and soaked up our last day of escape.

I did a little shopping:

Baby doll tried to do some star gazing. He was hoping for an entire sky of stars. I think he counted four plus an airplane.

We meandered up to the Serenity Spa and snuggled up in a big Papisan type bed for a while:

And that concludes the great Quinny/Baby Doll cruise adventure!