The difference between living and existing

04/28/2019 I’ve struggled with the thoughts rumbling in my brain, putting them down for others to read is difficult. I was recently back in the states visiting with my 98 year old Father. I’m so happy that I went, despite the fact he may not even remember I was there. He does not remember that I moved out of the country 6 years ago, he does not remember that my Mother, his wife of almost 70 years has passed away. He does not remember going flying with Bill in his plane, he does not remember time spent with the boys in the Outer Banks. The only thing he seems able to recall is WWII. Something he never spoke of when we were young.

My Dad was always a strong, intelligent hard working, well respected business man. He taught the 3 of us to be responsible, to be honest and kind and to always work hard. He (and Mom) taught us to be good parents, they led by example. To see him like this is so hard, my proud Father reduced to this man who doesn’t remember if he ate breakfast. What a horrid disease dementia is.

My trip there was uneventful, I got bumped to first class on the way to Houston.

Wine and apple pie..

I realized on the way to Houston that my AT&T sim card did not fit in my new phone which meant I had no internet when I arrived at Reagan International airport near DC, my final destination. This posed a problem because this was the first time I ever flew into there AND I had to find my way to my sisters house in the dark with no GPS. I was stressing. I tried to find somewhere to get my sim card cut at Houston but had no luck. They called my flight and had us waiting to board when someone (thank you whoever you are) noticed that the plane had a flat tire. We had to wait until they changed it. Fine with me, it would really suck to take off in a plane with a flat tire.

Thank you tire Gods.

Finally, @ 10:30PM we landed at DCA in Washington DC, well, really Arlington Va. My foot was throbbing in my always super comfy Skechers that I wear to travel. I could not find where I was to go to get the rental car and walked the length of the empty airport looking for someone to ask. Finally, I was told I had to go outside and get a bus to the rental facility. When I got there I was number 9 in line with 2 agents and it was 11 PM. I was a little stressed. When it was my turn I poured my heart out to the agent and he said he would fix me up with a car with a nav system in it for 11 million dollars more. At that point, after paying for insurance (because I no longer have insurance in the US) I didn’t care if it was 15 million dollars. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I found the car in the deserted parking garage, the kind you see on movies that muggers and rapists lurk about in. I didn’t see any keys for the car but noticed a push button start, which didn’t work. I had no clue, I’ve never driven a key less car, remember, my car is 13 years old. I found an attendant who reached to the very front of the dash, over the lip, grabbed the key fob and told me; hold this in your hand, step on the brake and push the button. I’ll be damned, it started. Then I had to program the route to my sisters. Once I was on the road I was OK but still really stressed. I was driving on the poorly lit, riddled with potholes, George Washington Memorial Parkway, then I was on I 495 and I saw signs for Rte 200, which I know is a toll road. I’ve driven on it before and ended up being charged $45.00 each time because I don’t have one of those pass things. I pulled off the road and figured out how to set the GPS for no toll roads and was back on the highway again. I don’t know what time I made it to my sisters but I was frazzled.

FRED, my Ford Flex. I actually liked this car a lot. It reminds me of something Fred Flinstone and Barney would cruise around in, hence the name.

I went over to see Dad the next day. He was sleeping and I tried to wake him but he didn’t stir. I decided to go take care of my phone and buy a new sim card for it. Once I had that I felt a whole lot better. I realized that on my drive from the airport to my sisters, I couldn’t even call anyone if I needed to, it was like 1970 with no cell phones.

I had a foot doctor appointment at noon that day so I did a few things then went to see the podiatrist. The unusual thing was, my foot has been so much better since I went snorkeling a few times, I was barely limping. The Doc was very nice, read my list from the 5 previous orthopedic surgeons and their thoughts on my ailment. He said he wanted to take his own X-Rays, I said OK. He took the X-Rays and came back in to see me. His opinion was I had severe arthritis in my big toe. The one that was operated on Dec 3rd. He gave me 3 choices: a cortisone shot, orthopedics to wear in my shoes (flip flops 24/7) or surgery. I told him I would think about it and call him back. When I checked out they said my medicare number was not correct so I told them I would follow up on that.

I left there and went back to see Dad and decided to wake him up. He was so surprised to see me, he recognized me right away and sat up. His socks were tucked into the nightstand drawer, far be it for my Dad to ever throw anything on the floor. His shirt was hung up and his dress pants were over the chair. He got up and dressed and we went out to the main room where people congregate. He is on the top (3rd) floor in a memory care center. None of the residents can operate the elevator, for their own safety. They have a key pad by the elevators for the workers to use. There is a lady named Shirley who thinks it’s a phone and uses it to call her Mother every day. She also tries to get on the elevator to go downstairs and escape to freedom, so you need to tell her it is going up.

That afternoon they had a nice man come in to play some music. I recognized a few of the tunes, obviously Dad did not and quite loudly said, many times, “well, he’s trying but he’s not very good.” I could have crawled under a chair.

Dad and I sat for 3 hours in this room and as happy as I was to be with him, it was heart wrenching to see my strong intelligent Father sitting there wondering what was going on around him. I saw a younger man who seemed very with it, I assumed he was a visitor but he was a resident. There were a few couples where the one partner was mentally fine but their spouse was not. One couple in particular, I really admired the man who was there because of his wife. The sacrifices he made to be with her. I wondered if he would leave and move out if and when she passed. My sister said there are many people who she never sees anyone visiting and she would know as she is there almost daily. She and her husband Mark are my Father’s angels, and sometimes he is a very difficult man to deal with. They know it’s not him, it’s the disease, it was something I had to learn again. Despite the fact of knowing that, it still hurts.

When I got back to my sister’s I got online to the Medicare website, turns out I never got the “new” medicare card. I didn’t know because I’ve never used it. I called Medicare and of course, they could not give the number to me over the phone. I decided to go to the Medicare office that was close by and get the number. I waited almost 2 hours in the most confusingly numbered system I’ve ever experienced. When I finally got up to the window the girl said she could NOT give me a new Medicare card. I assured her that I knew that but could she give me the correct number pretty please? Yes, she could and did. I was in there so long the weather went from cool and sunny to cold and rainy. I think I may have gone shopping to ease my pain. The following morning I went back to the Dr and got a cortisone shot in my big toe. It didn’t hurt but by the next day I had developed a new pain in my foot and I had a hard time walking. Great. From bad to pretty darn good to a new kind of bad.

This was my first trip to TJ Maxx where I believe I set a world record for filling a cart the fastest. Don’t even ask me what I bought, I know there were dog toys and a pair of shoes. ONLY 1 PAIR OF SHOES THOUGH.

I went back there a few times with my sister. We share the same shopping skills, inherited, passed down from our Mother. Our wallets thank her.

My sweet adorable nephew’s wife came over to see me and she and Missy and I went to Target in Gaithersburg. O M G. I miss that store. I wanted one of everything. Missy, Sofie and I did a substantial amount of shopping, I was feeling good, I love to buy new stuff. We got back to Missy’s and Eric, Sofie’s hubs and my favorite (only but still favorite) nephew came over to see me. He made some kick ass guacamole and we had another amazing meal.

I’m sure I’m getting my days mixed up but I’m allowed to, I’m not on a schedule. My BFF Olivia lives in Bel Air, MD and we have not seen each other for too damn long. She took a sick day and met me at TJ MAXX in Columbia, MD. We did some shopping and then went to a fabulous place for lunch. We were debating going in when a cop walked by us and said, “have you eaten here?” We said no, he said, “try it, it’s fabulous”, so in we went. My BFF Olivia is a foodie, she lives to eat. I eat to live but we have found common ground and it works for us.

Everything was fresh, made to order right in front of you. It was delicious.

I made sure my nephew Eric and his wife knew about this place since they just bought a new home in Columbia.

I called Dad late one morning to see if he wanted to go to McDonald’s. He has always loved a plain cheeseburger with fries. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about. So I repeated myself. He started shouting that he didn’t know what I was saying and why was I bothering him with this. He didn’t know what I was talking about and didn’t want to go. I said, “Dad, why are you yelling at me?” He said you are talking crazy talk and he hung up on me. My brother in law heard the conversation and came out and said, give him an hour, he won’t remember a thing. I waited until after lunch and went over. Mark gave me a can of Coke for him and a straw. He did not remember talking to me and he guzzled that Coke down so fast. I got him to go out and walk around a little bit. Not for long though, he wanted to go nap. He came to Missy’s one night for spaghetti and meatballs. He ate a good meal but was ready to go home before we even ate.

 

Dad and I.

Missy, Dad and I. Sorry these are smaller, can’t make them any larger.

Dad taste testing the spaghetti to see if it’s done.

Missy had some cards made for him with photos of family and flowers and other things. Two cards of each photo and he tries to match the cards. He really enjoys playing it but can not, for the life of him, remember where the matching cards are.

Mark, Eric, Missy and I went out for dinner one evening to Cava. It looks very nondescript from the outside, it is in a strip mall, but once inside, OMG.

More bar seating but we were at the actual bar, of course we were.

My first ever Moscow Mule made with Vodka, Ginger Beer, crystallized ginger and lime juice. These things are dangerous.

Eric and his dad Mark. So much fun to hang out with them. I love that Eric wanted to spend time with me.

Me, Eric and Mark at Cava.

They serve Naan bread and some hot spicy dip and oil and tzatziki dip, we got chicken skewers, fries, grilled brussel sprouts and lamb sliders. I did not eat Mary’s Little Lamb. The rest was delicious.

Missy, Mark and I outside of Cava.

The next day my brother and his daughter Devon came down for Easter. They came a little early so they could see me too. We all went over to see Dad one afternoon. Missy and Devon found a puzzle so we helped Dad put it together in the dining room. He was very upset because we were in the dining room and people didn’t usually hang out in there.

Dad had a difficult time with the puzzle but Devon helped him.

Yep, I look like my Dad.

Dad and his kids.

PJ and Devon. She is such a happy girl, always smiling, unless PJ is making her do something she really doesn’t want to do, like turn off the computer. I’m so glad they came down and I got to see both of them.

We were sitting out on Missy’s deck when I got an alert from United saying they were expecting severe thunderstorms in the afternoon on the day I was leaving. I called Bill and he said to call them and reschedule. They put me on a 10:10 AM flight, which meant I had to leave at 7 to return the car and find my way. I went over to the memory care center at 4:20 that afternoon to say good bye to Dad. He was in bed and would not get up. I wanted him to go eat dinner but he said he wasn’t hungry. I gave up, didn’t want to upset him so I hugged him, kissed him good-bye and left with tears in my eyes. It sucks to leave, you don’t know if that’s going to be the last time you see him or not. He still doesn’t understand that I am not close and can’t pop over for lunch on a whim.

Missy took this of me on her deck.

Me, Missy and PJ

That night we all (minus Dad, he doesn’t do trips more than 10 minutes very well) went to Eric and Sofie’s new house for dinner. They just moved in a few weeks ago and were excited for us all to see it. It’s a great house, lots of room and a beautiful back yard. They made parmesan chicken and stuffed shells. Missy made a salad and I took wine. It was delicious.

Sofie has hit the ultimate coolness factor with me. She has a T-Rex sippy cup. I was in love.

Devon took this of Missy and I. The first one she took was hysterical, it was of her thumb. This is a picture off of a phone.

Eric, Sofie, PJ and Mark, waiting to dive into a fabulous meal.

Getting ready to dig in.

PJ, Devon, Sofie, Me, Eric and Mark.

We helped them clean up and then headed for home. I still had to pack. UGH. We sat around and talked for a short time after we got home but I had to get up early and get on the road so I said good night.

I was out the door at 7 AM, stopped to fill up the tank and then got lost in VA trying to return the rental car. I was pulled off the road cursing at the Nav system because it just stopped and I was clearly nowhere near the rental return. Just then a cop pulled up and asked me how I was. I was stressed and lost. He was so nice, he told me exactly where I needed to go, repeated it several times and said, don’t take this turn…I finally found it, dropped off the car and made my way to the airport. Once I was checked in I got something awful to eat (donuts) and went to my gate. My foot was hurting so much I could hardly walk. Once I got on the plane to Houston I was able to sit back and relax. I arrived in Houston much earlier than scheduled due to my flight change times. I was spending the night at the Marriott at the airport. You have to get your luggage then go down a level and catch the subterranean subway to the hotel. I made it to the hotel a few hours before check in, they said no problem. I got checked into my room, took my shoes off and opened my suitcase only to realize they had ruined my suitcase, the zipper pulls and the TSA lock were missing. Now that it was opened there was no way to close it. I called United and she told me to take it back to Terminal C and they would replace it for me. My foot hurt so bad I asked if there was anyway they could deliver it. She said no, but she had just been in Roatan on vacation and loved it. YAY. I emptied everything out of it and trudged back over to Terminal C. I spoke to a man at the United luggage desk. I expected it to be a lot more difficult than it was. He got some info then walked me over to these glass door closets filled with NEW suitcases. He asked if I wanted a hard or soft side, I said hard please. He gave me a brand new 28″ suitcase and sent me on my way. As I got on the subway to go back to the Marriott a girl said, “you must have come from somewhere warm.” I said, not really, I’m going home, I live on Roatan. She said, OMG, I just got back from there and am going again in August. Then she proceeded to pick my brain for the short 4 minute ride to the hotel. I got back to the room, re packed, took a bath, called room service and ordered a chicken ceasar and opened my box of wine.

Brand spanking new and I adore new suitcases for some odd reason.

Cracked open the box before I even got home!

I couldn’t figure out how to work the remote in the hotel room, (it had 300 buttons on it and was more than likely handled by very germ laden people) so I went to sleep. I was up by 7 and at the airport by 7:30 and checked in. 10 minutes later I was at my gate for the almost uneventful trip to Roatan. All was fine until we got ready to land and the pilot could not see the runway. He was way too high to even bring it in if he could see it. We flew over the ocean for awhile and he came in for another landing. This time I could see the runway, phew. I just wanted to be home. I was waiting for Bill when he walked up behind me. He had Max with him, once Max saw me he went crazy. He missed his momma. We came home and when I unpacked I realized the TSA agents stole my damn Skechers. I couldn’t wear them because my foot hurt so much, so I hid each in a separate travel cube. My cubes were open, clothes strewn all over and my shoes gone. Another call to United, they are taking care of it.

The dogs were so happy to see me and to get their new toys. When I got home my foot was way worse than it was when I left and I didn’t know what to do. I called the podiatrist in Maryland and he said it didn’t sound like a cortisone flare (I had googled that and it was not the issue), he suggested I see an ortho doc. Thing is, I’ve seen 5 and none of them helped me at all. Wonderfreakingful. I was talking to my friend about her results from seeing Mary Mason, a chiropractor from Austin TX who has a practice here. She suggested I go see her about my foot. So I did. My friend Steph and I went together, she is having neck/back issues. Dr Mary has a much different approach to chiropractic work than I am used to, I’ve seen chiropractors for 50 years. She worked on some bones behind my ears, the backs of my legs and my hips. She had me go out for a walk while she worked on Steph. Then she gave me another adjustment before I left. I was really sore (and still am) but I can walk without a limp. I’m going back to see her again tomorrow, hoping that one more treatment is all I will need.

Boys having a swim.

Lola getting comfy.

I wanted Dra Diana, the vet from Tegus who gave us the miracle cream for Max’s wounds, to check Max’s ear, he seems to be shaking his head a lot and we wanted to get both he and Highway tested for heartworm and erlichia. Max and Highway were in the back of the truck, Max sat there perfectly quiet and Highway howled the whole damn trip (25 min) to the vet. I was losing it to the point that Bill threatened to turn around or let me out. I had him drop me at the vet and he went to the plumbing store. After they were tested and Dra Diana tested the goop in Max’s ear, we were ready to go. Bill suggested I sit in the back with Max and allow Highway up front. UGH. Fine, whatever. Can you believe this idiot dog didn’t howl once on the way home? He must have called SHOTGUN in dog speak and I didn’t catch it. He was howling BECAUSE I WAS IN THE FRONT SEAT. He really pushes my buttons..

Highway, the howler. This dog is lucky he didn’t get thrown out of the car when we went to the vets.

Max was perfect, as usual.

I have company coming on Thursday and I can’t wait!! I haven’t seen Tammy since 2013, looking forward to catching up with her and showing her around the island. I have a zillion things to do so I should probably post this thing and get moving.

It’s hot and humid, my weather app says: OMG, It’s so hot and humid. Who the frak even needs clothes today. Forget clothes. It’s 9:45 AM and already 86 but feels like 97. Luckily, we’re up on the hill top so we have a nice strong breeze blowing through the house.

Happy Monday everyone!

My Mother told me, “Don’t get old.”

wine8/30/2016 I’ve returned from my trip to the US. I was really happy to get back to my little island and my daily routine but every time I have to say good bye to my folks, it just keeps getting harder. They are 95 and 91. Time is of the essence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At Appplebee’s

This visit wasn’t a hang out and relax one, I was trying to help my sister, brother-in-law and brother prepare my folks to move closer to my sister Missy.

I arrived in BWI at midnight and made my way to the rental car place. I knew my cell was dead but I had my charger in my carry-on so I was good to go. I got my rental and left the lot, but my cell wouldn’t charge. I went across the street and sat in a vacant parking lot screwing with my phone. I needed my GPS to get to my sister’s house. I could get it to come on but it wouldn’t start to charge, and then it shut off. After about 30 minutes of this crap, I was ready to cry. I was hungry and tired and wanted to be somewhere so I could relax. I decided to go back to the rental car garage and go inside the building and charge my phone. I got the wall charger out of my bag and went inside. I told the girl at the car rental desk what was going on and she said to have a seat and charge my phone. About 5 min. after I went in there, she said, we have car chargers here for sale, maybe that would work for you. I decided to buy one and got my money out and she said she had an extra, I could have it. She made my night. I was finally off to my sister’s house. I arrived there around 2 AM, meaning I had been up 20 hours so far and was running on fumes.

Missy and her husband Mark and I stayed up another 2 hours talking about the situation with Mom and Dad and some of the obstacles they and my brother, P.J., have gone through trying to make this move happen. I feel like a schmuck because I live so far away. Once they move they will be 30 minutes from BWI, not 90 and 4 minutes from my sister, not 90, closer for P.J. also. The move is good for various reasons and I am really happy they are doing it. They will still be living independently but in an apartment, not a condo. There will be someone to clean weekly and change their bedding. The dining hall serves excellent meals and it is in the same building that they live in. Convenience all around.

I stayed with my sister Sat and Saturday night too. I don’t get to see her and Mark much so it was nice to hang out with them. I left Missy’s on Sunday morning and went to Ikea and then to Mom and Dad’s.

My job while visiting my folks was to help (push, coerce, trick) my Mother to part with all the shit she had stored in that condo. THIS WAS VERY HARD. There were 3 expired cans of cheese, 2013. A single serving apple pie on the top shelf of a cupboard from 2012. This was the tip of the iceberg. She had enough Q-tips to clean the ears of each child on the island of Roatan. She did not want to part with her waste cans, she had 7, not counting the big one in the kitchen and the 2 outside the kitchen door in the garage or the HUGE one outside the garage door. I went through all of her cupboards and boxed stuff to get rid of and I threw out trash bags full of dead food, broken scissors, tie bars and cuff links. Jars of nail polish that were hardened in the jar?Enough, no more about the amounts of stuff but the hard time Mom was having parting with it was a very new, different reaction to have to deal with. Like, “really Mom, you want these 11 empty pill bottles in case you travel. Where are you going?” It truly was hard for her to let go of so many things. Usually my Dad is all about throwing crap out. He threw out so much of my stuff, so much of everyone’s stuff when we were little. He never liked clutter; however he has been living in it for some time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cleaning out the computer room

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And I caught my Dad on this stool, I got him off of there quickly and finished the job myself. It’s really difficult for him because he was always in charge of things, everything was always under control when he was around.

IMG_20160814_143424

This is how hot it was when I arrived in the Solomon’s

IMG_20160814_191607

Dad found a box of these old hair clips and a few of the pins you stuck through the curlers to keep them in place.

IMG_20160814_191722

Remember these things? We stuck them into the different colored/sized curlers and actually slept with them on our heads. I remember having dents on my forehead from these pins.

IMG_20160815_145553

Found this old pic, I think it was from 1958, Me, my brother and cousin, on the beach in Florida.

IMG_20160815_173654

Mom’s idea of tying one on. O’Doull’s through a straw. UGH.

Mom has knee trouble and she just broke her wrist so she has trouble getting out of chairs and out of a car. Every time she did either she would look at me and say,”Debbie-Leigh, don’t get old.” It was really sad because I am getting old, not a damn thing I can do  about it and she doesn’t seem to be enjoying her golden years at all. I sure hope once they get settled in their new place things will be easier and the fact that they are up in years won’t be so evident. Dad is going to stop driving, which breaks my heart and makes me happy. I know it’s his independence but I also know mentally he is a danger on the road to himself and to others. So bittersweet. So many thoughts in this old muddled brain of mine. I find myself trying to exercise in the pool more and to be more active, with Mom’s constant warning floating on the sidelines of my brain.

Mom and I had some disagreements about things to keep and things to donate and things to trash. Keeping was the easy part. Throwing out spices she has not used for 5 years was traumatic. Dad and I had an argument also, he was being very stubborn, changing his mind rapidly and being nasty about it. I feel bad that we argued but it sort of cleared the air and got him on my side disposing of things. We went from keeping 25 photos (wall art) to about 8. Dad gave them to the neighbor who uses the frames immediately, that way Mom couldn’t change her mind. We were donating things ASAP because she was developing the habit of going out in the garage and looking through the boxes of crap we had just thrown out. I had to rein her back in to the task at hand many times.

IMG_20160822_170259

I told her to get rid of her LARGE sewing kit. She doesn’t sew, never has. She finally agreed, except she pulled the pinking shears out because they were expensive. Then she threw out all of these flyers that came in the mail only to go back through the trash can looking for one because it had a sewing kit for sale. I died.

Mom wanted a smaller TV stand but didn’t want to spend much money so I suggested Walmart. She and I went and looked at them and she saw one she liked, but they didn’t have it in the store. We went home and I looked online and saw that the store over the bridge had it. We went out to eat at Olive Garden that night but before that we wanted Dad to look at the TV stand. We got to Walmart and he said he wasn’t going in. I said if you think I’m lugging this thing out here to have you say you don’t like it, you’re wrong. Now get out, we’re going to look at it. I had him push the cart so he had something to lean on. We went back and I found it on a lower shelf. Now these things are made out of particle board and weigh a TON. I got it off the shelf and dropped it on the floor. Great, now I had to get it back up and in the cart. Dad wanted to help, I said no way. I asked some young guy to help me load it and he was very nice and put it in the cart. After we paid we asked for help to get it in the car. We had dinner @ Olive Garden and then went home. I was going to get the TV stand out of the back of Mom and Dad’s mini van for them.  Mom was insisting they had a cart to move it but she didn’t know where it was. Dad said the neighbor had it. Mom said, “go get it, we need it.” I have the 3000# piece balanced, ready to slide onto a cart and wheel into the garage when Dad rounds the corner with a walker. A flipping walker. I said, “what the hell is that? ” “It’s a cart.” I said “like hell it is, it’s a walker. How the hell am I supposed to move this damn thing with a walker?” By then I was feeling very Charlie Chaplinesque and had to laugh at the situation. Here I am moving a TV stand that weighs as much as my car with a freaking fold up walker. We’re all insane. I got the damn thing balanced on the walker and held the other end and wheeled it over the lip into their garage. When I went to get it off the walker (am I really saying this shit?) I dropped it on the concrete floor, I tried to stop it from hitting the ground and it landed on my middle finger. My Mom yelled, “Oh my God I hope that stand didn’t break.” All the while my finger is still under the 3000# box.

I drank a shit ton that night.

IMG_20160821_200300

My beloved wine

IMG_20160816_160115

It came from a Black Box, not a green Bandit box and I have to say, this was pretty decent wine.

The next day Mom and I were going somewhere and as we’re walking out of the house she says to me, “I can see your breasts.” I said “no you can’t.” She said “yes I can and I can see a little of the lace on your bra.” So I pulled my V neck Hurley T down to my navel and asked if that was better. She dropped it.

I took a walk down to the pier one afternoon, it was so hot out and there was barely a ripple of a breeze.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Patuxent River.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Osprey nest

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view up, the white building is apartments, dining hall and gym of Asbury, the place they have lived for 11 years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mom melts her ice cream in the microwave so she can dish it out easier.

My sister and I were talking one evening while I was at Mom and Dad’s and she told me a few week ago she took them up to Prince Frederick (about 30 min N) for Dad’s check up. They stopped at Applebee’s on the way home for lunch. Mom said she was cold and Missy said she would run out to the car and grab a sweater. Now Missy moves fast just like I do, so she was back in a flash. And they were gone. Mom and Dad weren’t there. WTH? She looked around and found them sitting elsewhere AT A TABLE FOR TWO. She asked what they were doing and Dad said he didn’t like that spot so they moved and Missy said, “but you moved to a table for two, what about me?” I was dying laughing when she told me the story and she was laughing so hard her dog and cat came running to see what was wrong.

After many days of packing and talking in the evening (through Law and Order, which they watch 4 or 5 shows in a row but the TV is on mute most of the time but they act like they’re the world’s best lip readers and they knew what was going on the whole time the TV was on mute)  {I was so confused} we decided to go to Applebee’s to eat but I told them I wasn’t leaving for any jackets or anything and if I went to the bathroom, they had to stay in the same place until I returned. The Olive Garden and Applebee’s are their favorite places to eat. Not mine.

Obviously I have re-located and not been told. Mom told everyone, this is my daughter Debbie-Leigh, she lives on an island in the Pacific. I say Caribbean. Next person, same spiel, I say Caribbean. I continue to say Caribbean every time I am introduced as the daughter who lives on an island in the Pacific. Geography was not one of her favorite classes.

IMG_20160822_174617

I was freezing in their house. I am not a fan of A/C and was really happy I had gotten Bill new socks. I even wore them to bed. In fact, I pulled the floor vent out of the floor in the guest bed room, closed it, put it back and piled pillows on top to keep the cold air away.

My time to head home was drawing near. I was really missing the dogs, it’s too bad they don’t understand words and actually knew I was returning, as opposed to deserting them for the rest of their lives. I couldn’t wait to get their wet sloppy kisses. I didn’t go overboard shopping for them, buying mostly NylaBone toys and a few more stainless food bowls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Parting shot before I got in my car and cried half the way to BWI.

My trip home took 24 hours. I left Mom and Dad’s at 10 AM and drove to Baltimore, waited several hours there, then to Denver where my plane landed at 6:01 and the flight I was getting on boarded at 5:55. I had to run again. From Denver I flew  to  Los Angeles, then had to find the Avianca terminal. Once there, they changed gates, I got to the last gate and was sitting there and they called my name. I went up to the counter and they asked about a return ticket to the states, I said, no, I live in Roatan. They asked for my residency card (which I am still waiting for) so I gave them my Constancia that says I am a resident of Honduras and they thanked me and that was it. It was interesting. I was the only white girl on a plane full of Central American’s from LAX to San Salvador. I was bummed because I’m Premier Gold on UAL and had to fly Avianca to San Salvador in row 30D. Turned out the plane was empty and I had all 3 leather seats to myself as well as a USB port and disco lighting. Avianca was a cool flight.

IMG_20160823_232823

The whole darn row to myself.

IMG_20160824_005415

Mood lighting

IMG_20160824_005556

Leaving LAX, headed for El Salvador.

The El Salvador airport was spotlessly clean and vacant. I sat alone for several hours at my gate waiting to board my flight to Roatan. Once again, the plane was pretty empty. There was a couple across the row from me on the way to Roatan. The girl sounded like a drunk Daffy Duck and she was not using her inside voice. They were pointing out Toxic Hole and West Bay and I’m all, dude, that’s NOT even Roatan. I didn’t say anything, I just continued to allow them to be delusional.

IMG_20160824_073947

Cool shot of the mountains through the scratched window on my way to RTB.

IMG_20160824_074740

HAH! On Roatan, the most popular beer is Salva Vida, or life saver.

I always get teary eyed returning to the rock and this time was no different. My flight arrived at almost 10 AM, making for a 24 hour trip for me. Bill met me, we ran a few errands (still trying to get my replacement residency card) then made our way home, I was so anxious to see the dogs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They were all on the porch and they saw me coming.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was a glorious reunion, I love these guys so much.

I am thrilled to be back on the rock, I spent a few days organizing all the stuff I bought, getting groceries, all the normal stuff. We have some friends staying here so I had to get the downstairs cleaned up also, Carla came and did that. I’ve spent a few days poolside, today we delivered some soccer uniforms and hopefully I’ll catch up with my friends this weekend.

It’s always nice to visit the US and see my family but I can honestly say I prefer island life to living stateside.

I’m looking forward to getting underwater again and playing with my case for my dive camera, it will allow me to go deeper and take photos, Thursday will be the trial day for it so stay tuned, lots of island info and fun shots returning soon.