Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost Summer

It is almost Summer, and the mentioning of summer vacations in my previous entry started me thinking on how I spent my summers as a kid.  I shall reminisce here:

I played Softball for 11 years, from 1st grade through I guess my Junior year of high school.  I finally had to give it up because my Springtime was extremely busy with Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Marching Band Boot Camp, the school musical (I played in the orchestra), UIL Solo/ensemble contest, not to mention my school classes and all Senior-class-related things.  

I can still remember my daily schedule:  7am Jazz Band (I played the 5th trumpet part on the flugelhorn), 8am Symphonic Band (French Horn), school classes until 3pm, at 4pm the Boot Camp for incoming Freshmen began (I was Band Captain), then after that ended I think we had an hour or two until musical rehearsal began at 6pm, maybe 7pm and lasted until 11pm or midnight.  Many of my friends ran this gauntlet day after day alongside me, and we loved what we were doing.  We completed our homework in the orchestra pit during musical rehearsal when the director was working on the acting parts with the cast.  

And I digressed greatly there....

Back to softball.  So, for 10 of those 11 years, I spent each summer playing in tournaments on the All-Star team for our league.  I loved the years of fast pitch, when I played catcher and was the only kid in the league who had the arm to throw out a runner trying to steal second.  I was 8 years old, and my accuracy was inconsistent (read:  crappy) so one never knew if I would hit Maria's glove or send the ball into center field.  We placed first in many of the tournaments, and I absolutely loved playing.  My dad, worried that I would get hit in the head by an errant ball, or worse, an aluminum bat, took me to the big local sporting goods store (this was before big chains like REI, Academy, Dick's, etc.) and got me a helmet that covered my entire head, a catcher's mask to fit onto the helmet, and a throat guard.  All that combined with the chest protector and shin guards made for one hot outfit in the 100+ degree Texas heat.  But you know how kids often don't realize exactly how hot it is.  

I was a very aggressive kid, and I'd chase runners back to their bases, stare down batters, and 'own' home plate, guarding it against any would-be run-maker.  I wasn't trying to be mean or nasty, I was just very serious about winning.  I thought losing was for losers and didn't understand people who thought just trying was good enough.  Years later I learned that some of the girls were afraid of me.  If I had known that then, I would have been upset about it, but knowing it years later just made me laugh.

I practiced for hours by myself in the backyard, throwing pop flies into the air and catching them, and my dad would play catch with me frequently as well.  I looked forward to each practice, and was disappointed if a game was cancelled because of rain.

I wasn't very many years into my softball career when the organization, and many around the country as well, switched from fast pitch to slow pitch to prevent injuries and make the game easier for more girls to enjoy.  At the time, I didn't understand why we were changing over, and we all just adjusted, because the grown ups said that is how we would play the game going forward.  This is also where softball lost some of its luster.  No more stealing, no more drop third strike, no more windmill pitching, no more playing catcher, because now catcher was nothing more than a person to throw the ball back to the pitcher. There was an additional position called left-center field, which is now where most of the action happened.  Guess what my new position was.   

In slow pitch, you really want the batter to hit the ball, and the fielders make all the plays.  It's difficult to strike out unless you're either not swinging at all, or are really inept at it.  More people get more hits, but if your pitcher can't get the ball over the plate (again, when dealing with kids it can be difficult to get that ball over the plate) then everyone is left standing around for a good 5 minutes until something happens.  During the regular season it got kind of boring.  During All-Star season it was much better.  The pitchers could pitch, the girls could hit, and the fielders could field, so there was some actual action happening.  

Fast pitch softball has become common at high schools now, but there was none of that when I was in school.  If there had been, I am confident I could have played and gotten a college sports scholarship of some kind, and I would be in a very different place having taken the sports route rather than the music route.

I remember batting orders, our sleeveless jerseys, thinking I looked fat in my softball pants, a pair of cleats I had that cut holes into my heels, the year we began wearing visors instead of hats, rules regarding hair clips and bands, many of the cheers, walking down the line and slapping hands and saying 'good game' at the end, and running to the snack shack after the game to get either a small cup of soda or a fla-vor-ice.  I remember many of the girls I was on the team with year after year, and their moms and dads and families.  I remember my dad taking me to those tournaments on the weekends during the summer and how he would perch his ballcap on top of his head, but never really pull it down.  I remember Becky and Maria's dads coaching us most summers and how they both smoked and occasionally said 'damn', and how they sometimes scared me with their intensity.  I remember we had batting signs and code phrases, and I remember when we switched from itchy polyester jerseys to cotton ones.  I remember how I was on the Maroon team in T-ball in the 1st grade, on the orange team one year, but was on either the Red or Blue teams almost every year thereafter.  I remember in regular season how one of us better players would always warm up with Ida Jane, a sweet silly girl who probably had some sort of disability that we didn't know what to call.  

I remember one summer Saturday at a tournament we played probably five games, and we all got sunburned despite the best efforts of the moms to keep us lotioned-up.  That was also the day that we ran through quite a few big coolers of gatorade yet never had to go to the bathroom because we were sweating it out as fast as we could drink it.

I remember end of season and end of summer parties with all the softball girls and parents and families.  If there were bad or terrible things, I don't remember them at all, and I'm not inclined to try to conjure up those memories.  I prefer to remember the smells, oh the smell of the mown grass, the sight of the red dirt, the numerous fields and parks and league areas where we played, the Army duffel bag full of old softballs and equipment, my Bombat...I think I have it around here somewhere still...and playing the game to win.

Softball was a big big part of my life for a long time.  I'm glad.

Good memories. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quit Your Bitching About the Price of Gas

This goes out to everyone who says they've 'changed or cancelled summer vacation plans' due to the high cost of gas.  This was inspired by the article on AOL regarding people changing or canceling their Memorial Day plans this past weekend.

Shut up, already.

If you don't want to go on vacation, then don't go, but quit blaming the price of fuel for the collapse of your vacation.  Here's why your complaining is ludicrous:

I know someone who owns a spiffy 4WD Honda Element...oh wait, that's me!  This gorgeous tangerine metallic vehicle, because it's a 4WD, gets worse gas mileage than its front wheel drive sibling, and considerably worse gas mileage than, say, a Civic.  But the Element has tons more room and is a joy to drive, and really is just perfect for long road trips.  Civics are tiny and cramped and not well suited to a long road trip.  

I've been averaging 24 mpg on my recent road trips, and my summer vacation trip to Maine is 4076 miles round trip.  That means I'll need 17o gallons of gas.  At $4/gallon that's $680 worth of gas, which really does seem like a lot of money.  But if gas were $3/gallon, the trip fuel cost would only be $170 less.  That's it....$170 less for taking a trip of over 4,000 miles. 

Really,'re telling me you're going to cancel your summer vacation over $170?  You could easily save $170 by packing sandwich fixin's and soda and chips in an ice chest rather than eat at a restaurant or fast food place each meal.  $170 is a few less t-shirts or crappy could even be 2 fewer tickets to that fancy theme park.  It's $34 per person in a family of five $42.50 per person in a family of four.

But truly, if a single person, a couple, or a family have enough money to consider taking a road trip vacation in the first place, I cannot imagine that $170 would be the deciding factor.

I realize fuel prices are ridiculous.  I agree they are.  But quit using them as an excuse.  If you want to go on vacation, then go.  If you want to find a reason not to, then join the blubbering masses.  If you want to make an argument for other prices rising in stores/restaurants/hotels as the result of rising fuel prices, then I might think you a bit smart and be inclined to listen to your data.  Otherwise, you're just part of the group of people 'freaking out' over this.

And so, I say again....shut up.

By the way, Mount Desert Island has a free Island Explorer propane-powered shuttle bus system that runs all over the island, so I'll be taking advantage of that perk and save the island and Acadia National Park from the fumes of my $4/gallon gasoline.  

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Short Stuff

1.  The first week (partial week, actually) at my new store went very well.

2.  I really want to see the new Indiana Jones movie.

3.  Joe Mallozzi is ignoring me on his blog.

4.  I'm ignoring Joe Mallozzi on his blog.

5.  I leave for Maine in less than 5 weeks.

6.  I got to see my family today.

7.  My nephew didn't want to play with me.

8.  I told my nephew he wasn't getting a gift for Arbor Day because of it.

9.  This was my first day off in 8 days.

10.  I watched several episodes of Smallville.  I'm up to season 6.  

11.  I got locked out of my Treasury Direct account because I couldn't remember the answers to all the security questions.

12.  Who the hell actually has a favorite teacher, childhood pet, film, and author?  

13.  I set up automatic fund transfers to my Roth IRA, making it much easier.

14.  Last night I grocery shopped for the first time in 3 weeks.  I spent $135.  Insane.

15.  Tomorrow, Memorial Day, I work 7-4.  I'm leaving right at 4.  I can't work these 17 hour days any more.  I ain't as young as I look.

16.  My torso muscles are ripped on my front left side from all that coughing when I was sick.  Putting on deodorant or turning over in bed is crippling, though less painful than a week ago.

17.  I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Bigger Store for Me

I haven't said anything about this before, though I've known for about a month...

I have moved to a bigger (higher sales volume) store at work.  The store is just 3 miles from my current store, but it was remodeled last year to be a test store for many of the fancy new concept store elements you may have read about or seen.  

I will miss my old store and staff terribly, as we had really built an excellent team and had a well-oiled machine running there, but new challenges await me as my career grows and goes.  After all, you never learn by just doing the easy stuff again and again.  There is enough opportunity in this new store to make me a superstar.  

So people had better hold on and prepare to be Wow'd, because here I come! 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cruisin' Part II

I took the underwater disposable camera to Walgreens at lunch today, and just picked up the pictures and disc.  The pics didn't turn out all that great, but I'm attaching a couple of the better-looking ones.  Again, neither the fish nor the coral were brilliantly colored in Belize, a fact which disappointed me greatly.  H&D had snorkeled and sea kayaked the prior day in Cozumel and said that the colors were more vibrant there.  Belize is supposed to be astonishingly beautiful for snorkeling, having the second longest barrier reef in the world.  I was sadly disappointed...too common a theme during this trip.

Before writing about the final full day at sea, I'm going to back up and briefly write about the journey from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale, since I frequently get questions from people curious about my driving such a distance.  

This was the third time in 10 weeks that I had driven from Dallas to Florida.  I had twice before driven to Orlando, once in March and once in April.  This time I was going a couple hours further to Ft. Lauderdale.    I dislike to fly and love to drive, so car travel makes for a perfect transportation method whenever I can work it in.  Usually I do all the driving, but since I was still in the early stages of that nasty illness (though no longer contagious), I asked A to drive a leg for me.  

In the wee hours of a Sunday morning, I drove north to the city where A lives to pick her up, then we got on the road about 5am.  In case anyone cares, we traveled east on I-2o, south on I-49 in Louisiana (a state which I loathe), the hop over east on I-10, bypass New Orleans by taking I-12 east, pick I-10 east back up and ride it through Mississippi, Alabama, and all the way across the Florida panhandle until reaching I-75 and going south.  It's almost exactly 1,000 miles from Dallas to Lake City, Florida, which is where I usually stop for the night.  There is a Best Western in Lake City that is nice and clean and has a chorus of very loud frogs singing each night from their pond out front.

One thousand miles is about my limit of driving in a day.  I am a significantly less capable driver at night in unfamiliar territory, and losing the light means I stop soon thereafter.  I've driven the route so often now that I know where the cops sit and hide, and I am able to go about 75 mph on cruise.  That extra consistent 5 mph above the speed limit gets me another 70 miles or so in a day, and thusly saves me an hour.

I was coughing pretty hard all day long on Sunday...poor A had to listen to me all day long, bless her heart...and I had pulled several muscles in my torso from the coughing, so I was ready to see the Lake City exit off of I-75....hooray!  

The next day we got up and skeedaddled  to drive the final 350 miles to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale.  We took Florida's Turnpike from I-75 all the way down to the loop in FTL, and the tolls were over $18 total.  Abso-freakin-lutely ridiculous, if you ask me.  We have toll roads in Dallas, and I have a toll tag for them, but I still don't like them.  I think all the other fees we have to pay for our cars and licenses and registration should cover the cost of the roads.  Anyway.........

We arrived at the Port and had to show our passports, drivers licenses, and cruise 'tickets' to get through the first security checkpoint at the gate.  The security person at the gate quickly glanced at our documents then gave us directions to terminal 25 where our ship was docked.  I'd never been to a sea port before, so it was kind of exciting to be there.  That excitement quickly turned to a realization that everything looked really old and dirty.  I guess I was expecting a crisp, clean place...don't know why....I just was.

I pulled up to the unloading zone, gave our bags to a porter, tipped him way too much, and then we hopped back into the car to drive the short distance to the parking garage.  We easily found a spot, parked, then walked back to the terminal and joined a line of people outside.

While in this line we first went through another checkpoint where they looked at our passports and licenses again.  I can't remember if they needed our SeaPass document at that point or not.  Then we went through an actual security checkpoint with metal detectors and parcel x-ray machines and all that.  It makes perfect sense to want to check that no contraband is being taken on board a contained vessel, but I guess it just didn't occur to me that it would be necessary for a cruise ship.  Silly me.  If I remember correctly, we then got into line to be helped by an actual Royal Caribbean employee.  It was just a few minutes before we were helped.  The lady took our SeaPass documents, retrieved our SeaPass cards for us, and we moved on to the next station.  It turns out that the next station was an opportunity to have our photograph taken in front of a backdrop.  What is it with cruises and photos?  Geez, there was always someone wanting to take my photo or a photo of the group I was with.  I always told them no and to go away.  I think I pissed off the photographer at dinner on the first night when I told him in no uncertain terms that I would not be in the picture and would he please drop it.

Ok, so we bypassed the stupid pre-boarding-still-in-the-terminal-so-why-the-fuck-are-you-taking-peoples'-photos line, and we went up an escalator to get in yet another line where they ultimately scanned our SeaPass card and took a photo to marry the two items together for security reasons.  I was ok with that, by the way.  If someone loses their SeaPass card I'm sure that is one of the ways they ensure that the correct person is receiving the replacement card.  So finally, after what....5 different stops/checkpoints/security screenings, we were finally walking up the gangway to the ship.  We quickly found our stateroom and laughed at how tiny the bathroom was (and the shower!), but also remarked at how roomy it was, all things considered.

Our luggage would not arrive outside our stateroom until many hours later, so we went up to the Pool Deck where we ran into H&D, had a couple drinks, ate some crappy food from the Windjammer for lunch, and started checking out the ship.

Today's Photos Include:

The top two are of the coral found at Rendezvous Caye in Belize
The next one is of parrots at Playa Mia in Cozumel
The fourth one is monkey towel origami by Sean, our stateroom attendant
The final pic is the view of the Port Everglades terminal from our stateroom before we embarked 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cruisin' Part I

Once again I kept a little journal during my trip.  I have found this offers me something calm to do while on vacation, and it also keeps some thoughts fresh for when I might write them here.

In very general terms I'd have to say that I did not enjoy myself on the cruise.  I am glad and thankful for the opportunity and experience, but I won't cruise again unless somebody else pays for it...again.  There were so many other highly satisfied people, that I simply must surmise that the cruise experience is a highly individualized one.  I entered into this voyage with high expectations and was disappointed on every front, which may or may not be the fault of Royal Caribbean International and the Enchantment of the Seas ship and its crew.

And so, with that introduction, here goes:

May 12, 2008 10pm-ish

Whoever it was who told me you really can't feel the motion of the cruise ship is a big fat liar.  We're moving at a fairly good clip now to make up for leaving more than an hour late from port...something about cleaning something under the ship.  At least I have this motion sickness patch.  While I don't like the motion, at least I know I won't get sick from it.  I'm really too tired to write much of anything right now, so I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 13 1:38pm   Key West, Florida have a good night's sleep.  I haven't had one in over a week, but I slept wonderfully last night.

This morning we slept in.  H called and woke us up.  We got ready and met them for breakfast then headed down to deck 1 to get of the ship at Key West.  We walked the entire length of Duvall St., down to the southernmost beach in the U.S.  D & H swam for a bit while A and I just chilled in the lounge chairs on the beach.  H was kind enough to ret the chairs for us at $5 a pop.  Can you believe that?  You have to pay to rent a lounge chair?

I looked over at one point and there was a man who had taken off his swim trunks, and his bare bottom was bright and exposed.  It's too bad I didn't get my camera ready in time.  It was too funny!

We took a cab back to near the pier and stepped into a CVS.  We lost H & D at that point, but I just saw them in an elevator a little bit ago.  They were heading to the pool.  A & I decided to return to the room for a little bit to rest.  All that walking today tired me out!  But the weather here is beautiful.  Sunny, breezy, and not too hot.

We should be embarking again shortly...for Cozumel, which we will reach tomorrow morning.  We're going to gamble in a little bit...slot machines in the casino...neat!  

-----I'm back in my stateroom.  We cleaned up for dinner earlier; it was formal night.  I didn't bring a dress so I wore black slacks and a shiny turquoise blouse.  I selected the escargot appetizer which was good and tasty but I'll be ok if I never eat snails again.  They were in a butter & garlic sauce...yummy.  For the main course I selected the beef filet, which was 'meh'.  

I have been completely underwhelmed with the food on this cruise.  The food in the Windjammer Cafe is especially poor.  I guess at least it's preventing me from overeating.  We took such a long nap this afternoon that I felt odd for most of the evening.  After dinner I came back and changed.  Then H, D, A, and I all went to the Orpheum theatre to watch a show...a lively broadway show tunes revue with selections from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, and Chicago.  The performance was good quality.  The orchestra was marginal.  After the show I went to the casino and dropped $40 in the slot machines.  

Then A & I each put $20 into a machine that pushes quarters over a couple of ledges.  It was great fun.  I came back to the room, and A went to go join H & D at the Viking Lounge for drinking and 70s dancing.  I don't want to either drink or dance tonight, as I'm still feeling sucker-punched due to the pneumonia that still has its hold on me, so I just got ready for bed.

Wednesday, May 14 6:20pm

We left Cozumel a little while ago.  Now we're headed for Belize.  We're just a few miles from shore, sailing along the Yucatan Peninsula before we cross over to Belize.  I love it when the Captain speaks on the intercom system, explaining our location, velocity, sea conditions, and the like.  He is from Croatia and has that hunky Eastern European accent.  Our head waiter said the Captain is a 'nice man'.  I don't care if he's a nice man or not; I care if he can Captain this ship well, and I only have reason to think he can.  

We've passed by the place called Playa Mia where A & I went today on the "Deluxe Beach Break" excursion.  As of breakfast this morning we still didn't have any fixed plans for the day, so we grabbed an excursions sheet and decided upon the Deluxe Beach Break.  

We got off the ship, walked the length of the pier, and stood around waiting for our group leader to call us.  Then we shopped a little, too.  I bought a big bottle of water and some big bandaids for my blistering heel.  Finally we boarded a bus for the drive to Playa Mia.  We lounged on the beach, swam in the pool, partook of some alcoholic beverages, ate some crappy food, A did some shopping, then we re-boarded the bus to return to the pier.  

I cut my foot on the rocks below the water at the beach.  Fortunately, A has some Neosporin, so I should be ok soon.  

I had my picture taken holding an iguana...$20 for the pic and frame.  It was nifty.  We were so hungry when we returned that we quickly showered and went to the Solarium to grab a quick bite.  We all agreed that the Windjammer Cafe is completely yucky, so we're avoiding it.  I had a slice of pepperoni pizza then went back for chili fries, a move which I am now regretting.  We're resting now; we'll have dinner at 8:30pm, then we plan on coming back to the stateroom and going to sleep.  I keep having to go in search of ice because my stateroom attendant, Sean, is not taking care of us in this respect.  In all other respects he is wonderful, but if the ice machine is off limits to passengers, he needs to make certain we have ice available to us in our rooms.

Thursday, May 15, 2008  2:47pm   Belize

I have just returned from lunch with N & M in the Windjammer Cafe.  All the food in the Windjammer is sub-par, so I went with a baconburger again.  All the food has been 'meh'.  

Snorkeling was a good time this morning.  Our excursion was called "Catamaran Snorkeling at Rondezvous Caye".  All the folks on morning excursions met in the Orpheum Theatre this morning, and we waited until our tour was called.

The ship is anchored a few miles off shore along with 2 Carnival cruise ships.  Apparently the water is way too shallow to dock at the pier.  So we boarded the catamaran from the tender station below deck one...maybe it's actually on deck one.  It's where all the crew quarters are, I know that much at least.

H, D, A, and I went to the upper deck of the catamaran while N & M were seated on the first floor.  It took us about 45 minutes across choppy seas (thank goodness for the anti-motion sickness patch!) to reach the tiny private island.  And boy was it tiny!  It probably wasn't 150 feet long and maybe 70-100 feet wide.  We jumped off the boat in our flippers, and with masks and snorkels in hand, then began to snorkel.

It's a bit of an odd feeling, really, to breathe through a snorkel.  N had some lady near her freak out and clutch onto her.  N pushed her away, put the lady's snorkel in her mouth and told her to breathe through it.  Then she did the double waving arm signal for help.  N said the guys in the sea kayaks came immediately and pulled the lady out of the water.  Way to go, N!  She probably saved that lady's life.

I was able to take pictures with the underwater camera I bought.  I have another camera to A, so it'll be interesting to see how the pictures come out.  I was disappointed that there weren't more fish, but I took pictures of what I could.  I started getting tired, and I kept getting water in my snorkel because of the big waves crashing over our heads.  I swallowed more than my share of saltwater but am no worse for it.

This little island started as a dumping ground for conch shells.  Apparently it was the local spot for hundreds of years for shops to come to, clean their catch of conch, and toss the shells overboard.  Over time the island built up.  Now it has a handful of palm trees, a thatch-roofed shelter, and still plenty of conch shells all around it.  The guides told us where to step and where not to, to avoid getting cut by the shells.

I saw some conch on the bottom that were enormous...perhaps 2 feet across.  Huge!  We weren't allowed to take any shells with us.  After the snorkeling was done, we swam back to the catamaran where the rum punch started flowing.  The combination of heat, exercise, and alcohol made for a very fun spectacle.  I didn't drink the rum punch, opting for my big bottle of water instead, but almost everyone else on the top deck did.  Oh, what fun we had!  Some of the guides started dancing, the music was turned way up, and people generally enjoyed themselves.  There was a limbo game, lots of wacky photographs, and people talking and laughing.  I was an observer and still really enjoyed myself.  As the tender hooked back up with the ship, many of the other people were staring at our revelry in a jealous manner.  ha hah!  I carried everyone's stuff back to my stateroom while H, D, and A caught another tender into Belize City.

More Later.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gone Cruisin'

I leave in 7 1/2 hours for Florida.  I still feel icky, but I'm coughing a bit less and was able to sleep last night after heavily medicating myself with Nyquil. I'm also no longer contagious-yay.  

I think with all the coughing, though, that I have done something to my pipes, as every intake of breath for the past few days feels like it's icy cold from menthol or something.  

I hope to have safe travels and will think of you all quite fondly while I'm thoroughly enjoying myself.

And I'll leave you with one parting thought:  Michael Buble' is so adorable I just want to take his face in my hands and kiss him on the lips.  What a cutie pie.  

Total non sequitur, I know.  Blame the drugs.... 

Thursday, May 08, 2008

And the Winner Is....Pneumonia

I went to the doctor today because I still don't feel well, and I'm not going to miss out of my cruise.  I have a bacterial pneumonia which the doctor called atypical pneumonia.  I don't really know what that means, but am surprised to hear that word.  

I have medication to help be get better, and I will hopefully be fine and dandy to travel on Sunday.  

I still need to clean and pack and do some last minute shopping, so I'd better feel better pretty darn quick.  No one likes to clean when they're sick...I need a manwife.


That's not a radio station.  It is my temperature, or it was at midnight tonight.  Now it's down to 100.4 because I took some Alleve.

I struggled through work tonight, not able to go home because the other leadership team member went home at her dinner break with a fever and illness (she was out sick Tuesday as well).  My staff was so sweet to me and kept checking on me.  I had to sit at the desk in the receiving room and try to run things from there rather than from out on the salesfloor where I was supposed to be.

I've had this deep, wrenching, chest muscle-pulling, painful to my body but not my throat oddly enough, cough since Monday.  I thought it was just the final farewell of my sinus infection from a couple weeks ago.

While I feel terrible, I am grateful that I am not nauseous.  And apparently I feel well enough to be able to sit here and type this.  My skin always looks great when I have a fever.  Why is that?

If I still feel terrible tomorrow, I'll go to the doctor.  I leave for my cruise early early Sunday morning, and I want to be fully well so that I can completely enjoy it. 

And bummer...I have no soup and no gatorade or ginger ale in the house. 

Now I need to try to get lots of sleep.  Fortunately I am scheduled off tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kidney Karma

Someone I know has a career in assisting people with Diabetes (and perhaps other illnesses) and their families.  Yesterday this person was telling me she had a client + family appointment where the father needed a kidney from one of his three kids (adult children, I'm assuming) in order that he live.  No kidney transplant = death.

I was first aghast that there even had to be a meeting about this kind of thing...deciding if any one of the three would offer up an organ for dear old Dad.  I was told the family was dysfunctional, and that the purpose of the appointment was to make a decision:  let the father die, or someone pony up a kidney.

And so I thought about this a bit last evening, through my fits of wretched coughing and blasted headache, and wondered why in the name of all that is medical and surgical would anyone refuse to donate a kidney to their parent.  After all, I surmised, they can't be that dysfunctional if they all agreed to this appointment, right?

Well today I spoke with my acquaintance and asked how the appointment went.  She told me that they made a decision.  And then I just knew what they had decided.  The children had decided to let their parent die rather than donate a kidney to save his life.  Then I learned that there was incest involved in the family and the kids felt that their donating a kidney would just be another form of rape at the hands of their father.

And so finally, now that these folks are old enough to have control over their bodies and their situations, they are in a position where they can refuse to be a victim.

That takes guts and courage and resolve.  I bet that father never once thought that he'd one day need such a vital thing, literally, from one of his children as he stole their security and childhoods.  I wonder if he's thought about how he has sealed his own fate.  I wonder if it would have made a difference.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Five more Days

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Leavin' for Cruise Day

I have 5 full days and 4 work days before I leave for Florida (again) to hop on a ship.  This will be the third time I've been in Florida in the past 10 weeks.  I hope the drive is as lovely this time as it has been the past two times.

Now if I can just lose this terrible cough that is making my head hurt and my body ache because it is so severe.  I need to try some hot tea with honey a bit later.  

I've sworn off sugar sodas, candy, cakes, desserts, and other really bad-for-you things.  All that junk running through my veins, organs, body in general, was making me run less than optimal.  I wonder how long it takes to really work that stuff out of one's body...days?  weeks?  

I'll be missing the Mother's Day celebration at my parents' house this coming Sunday because I'll be en route to FL, so I need to go now and find something nice online to send to her at work to make her feel all kinds of special.  Any suggestions?