Sunday, July 7, 2013


This is a chronology of our cruise vacation.  Since we didn't have easy access to the interweb while on the cruise or in New Jersey, I kept track of the highlights so I could post all at once when we returned.  It was hard not to post every day and I appreciate those of you who wrote that you missed my posts!  I missed you too! 

Friday 6/21/13
Today was all about running around: taking the bird to boarding, dropping off the dogs at the boarding facility, finishing up last minute client requests, going to the bank, pharmacy, post office, etc.  Then setting rat traps (thought I would do it one more time while we were gone), filling the pond, turning down the hot tub, charging the iPod, iPad, computer, phone, camera (crazy isn't it!), putting audio books on the iPod, and movies on the iPads.  The packing it all up.  I was still going at it at 12:30 am.  Ugh.

Saturday 6/22/13
Woke up late because I didn't hear the alarm go off at 2:45 am.  I think I dreamed that it was going off and didn't wake up!  Finally at 3:05 am I woke up and got going.  We made it on time to the airport but there was tension in the house from a lack of sleep.  Lots to do in the morning.  Turning everything off, finish up the last minute packing.  We got to the airport and for the first time my bag was over weight.  I had to pull out clothes on the sidewalk and shove them in Brenda's bag to make weight so they didn't charge me $100 for being a few pounds over.  The plane was so full.  There was this one girl who had this enormous suitcase and she was bound and determined to shove it in the overhead compartment. It was not going to fit and there was a line of people waiting to sit down.  She ended up taking clothes out and I have no idea what she did with them.  It was so obnoxious.  She had no business bringing that huge suitcase on the plane.  We slept almost the whole way across country from exhaustion.

We landed at Newark and took the shuttle to our hotel.  We are staying here for the night and hook up with the cruise tomorrow.  Brenda's sister and family came to visit since they live close by.  My brother B and his partner B are also going on the cruise and they are also staying at the same hotel.  We all met up and went to dinner.  We had heard mixed reviews about this restaurant but it turned out very nice. The service could use some assistance but the food was quite good.  It was fun to see them and catch up.  Brenda's grandnephew is getting so big!  I can't believe he is 10 years old.  Now I am going to sleep so I am bright eyed and bushy tailed for the cruise tomorrow.  I have my Dramamine patch on so I will not get seasick!

Sunday, 6/23/13
Day we go on the cruise.  But first I have to tell you about the continental breakfast at the hotel.  I am not a buffet eating girl.  I tend to avoid them and now my doctor has forbidden me from eating at them.  The only option I had to get any food at the hotel was the continental buffet breakfast.  The hotel was fairly full and the line for the buffet was long.  First the guy in front of me starts coughing.  Then a lady takes her used water bottle and fills it up from the water spicket.  It would have been fine but she shoved her used bottle with all her germs on it right up on to the spicket.  Yuck!  Then I see two people take food with their hands and then put it back on the food platter.  Disgusting!  I opted to eat cereal from this container that you could not get into that had a turn knob to get the cereal into your bowl and a cup of tea.  Then I went back to my room and ate a protein bar.

Then we went to the airport to return the car and get subway sandwiches.  That was quite an experience.  They made my sandwich fine. Then they made Brenda's sandwich but the woman accidentally gave to the guy in front of me in line.  He opened it and gave it back.  Well, Brenda was not going to eat it once some guy opened it.  So I had to go back a third time to get a new sandwich made.

Finally we got on the boat.  It is nice.  Not as big as I thought.  Our room is nice. 
  We love our balcony. When we boarded we had to do the fire drill.  They took Brenda and I long way around to get to our Muster  station.  I swear I may not ever find that place again.  They should not expect to see me in case of a fine.  Plus the life boats are one floor down and I plan to jump!

Here is the problem area.  I have been worried about a couple of things for this trip and one of them is food.  I am practically vegan and I find it really hard to get food when I anywhere outside the West Coast.   This is no exception.  First most of the people don't know what vegan is.  Second, despite me calling to make sure there would be food, there isn't.  It is nice that the menu tells me if it is glutten free or lactose free but that is not helpful in some cases.  They also do not list all of the ingredients.  The waiter felt sorry for me the first night and brought me extra food he knew I could eat.  But even extra's of a beet salad is not enough to sustain me.

Monday, 6/24/13
Today was spent exploring the ship.  It has some nice features: pool, hot tubs, mineral bath pool, spa, etc.  The pool is filled with salt water. Too cold for my blood.  I am thinking of a mineral bath. One thing though: that stupid staph thing or whatever on my chest has come back a bit. 

I had a veggie burger for lunch. I spoke to the maitre de and he said making food for me should be no problem.  I just needed to look at the menu the night before and tell them what I want.  Then we relaxed in the shade for a little bit.  Then we got dressed for dinner for Formal Night.  There were women here in sequin dresses.  Crazy!  I saw one woman here in a fancy dress with a price tag still attached.  I know what she is doing!  I was not in a sequin dress.  At the end of the dinner, I asked to see the menus for tomorrow.  It was a different waiter and she was not as helpful.  I didn't see anything I could eat or transform.  It all had dairy in it.  I don't know what to do.  My meal was a Portobello mushroom and spinach.  Sad thing is I can't eat garlic and they cooked it in garlic.  Now I have an upset stomach!    Anyway, I got frustrated when there was nothing I could eat.  I kinda stormed out and got upset.  I returned and apologized.  Brenda calmed the woman down.  We decided that it would be better tomorrow. 

At least I have something to eat for the morning.  I just get so frustrated and hungry that I can't always think straight. 

Tuesday, 6/25/13
I had oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.  I found out they had soy milk so that made me happy.  My step sister and her boyfriend spoke to someone who told them that there was a separate menu for vegans!  What?!  So after lunch we went in search of this person.  We didn’t find him but we found Sriz and Mickey instead. My saviors.  They sorted the whole situation out.  Mickey is a vegetarian so he totally understood.  I actually cried from happiness.  I was going to eat on this trip!  They called the Executive Chef and he said it was no problem, I just had to tell him the night before what I wanted and he would cook it.  It was a bit too late for that night but we were set up for the next night.  Each night Sriz would come and ask me what to cook and my meals were specially made and delivered. 
We just hung out on the boat and read books and walked around.  Getting a bit boring...  We had family photo night. We all wore khakis and white shirts.

Wednesday, 6/26/13
We docked in Bermuda and got off the boat today!   View from our window. 

Brenda and I took a ferry to Hamilton and then a bus to Horseshoe Bay to snorkel.  The snorkeling was okay.  Not too many fish.  I was covered with sunscreen, hat, and rash guard. It was interesting to take a local bus and travel with the locals.  I didn’t eat much lunch and didn’t feel well for dinner.  They sent dinner to the room. It was a meal of tofu, veggies and couscous.  Best meal yet!  I felt well enough later to attend the glass bottom boat trip.  It was okay.  We really didn’t see many fish.  I spent a lot of time with my head out the window.  They showed us a site where a ship ran aground.  

Thursday, 6/27/13
Another day in Bermuda.  Our only full day on the island.  We decided to go to St. George’s.   I heard there was good snorkeling there.  We missed the first ferry so we had to wait around for the 11 am ferry.  It takes 45 minutes to get to St. George’s.  On the way over we heard that they changed the return ferry from 3 pm to 3:30 pm.  I needed to return around 4 pm to do some work.  Since that was not going to work, we got some take-out food and ran back to the ferry and came back to the dock.  We decided to try Snorkel Beach close to the dock.  It turned out to be the best snorkel place.  We saw many different color fish: white, black, blue, purple, yellow striped and really big fish.  Brenda saw a cannon.  It was a lot of fun.  I am so glad we bought snorkel equipment to take with us.  After snorkeling, we went back to the boat where I did my little bit of work and then went to the adult thermal pool.  It was quite soothing.  I had masala potatoes and veggies.  Each night I had a super sorbet!  We attended the only show of our cruise.  It was an illusionist.  He was funny.  We stayed for a few tricks.

Friday, 6/28/13
We were docked until 4:15pm.  We got up early and got going.  We went to the little market to get T-shirts and return Brenda’s waterproof money holder.  It was leaking.  Then we went right to Snorkel Beach. 
  Once again we saw all sorts of fish.  They were all over the place.  Schools of minnows come right up to you.  We ate lunch and Brenda went in again with my step sister.  I was exhausted.  I went in twice.  That was enough.  We were back on the ship by 2:30 pm.  We wanted to be on early enough that we were not in some big line waiting to get onboard.  We relaxed and watched as we pulled away from the island.  Then it was another formal night and photos of the family.  We stopped off for drinks before dinner.  I had this great non-alcoholic drink called a watermelon tropic. Delicious!
Everywhere you turn there is someone taking your photo! 

On the way back to our room after dinner, I tripped over the cleaning bucket in the hallway.  I was following Brenda and I didn’t see it.  I fell flat on my knee and on my face.  I was crying on the floor.  My knee was already swelling.  I got back to my room and the assistant room attendant apologized.  He got me some ice.  My knee was already turning black and blue. 
  It was not pretty. It was intense pain.

Saturday, 6/29/13
I woke up and my knee was stiff.  I had taken a pain killer so I slept soundly.  I decided I should go see the doctor after breakfast.  I limped around and went to see the doctor.  The receptionist basically said that it would cost to see the doc but he probably would not be able to do anything.  Here are plastic bags for ice.  So I limped around all day.  Meanwhile the ocean was tumultuous.  People were getting seasick left and right.  For some reason it didn’t bother me.  Yes, I had the patch but so did some of the folks getting sea sick.  The rolling just didn’t end.
We had to pack up and get our bags ready to be taken downstairs by 11 pm.  I had to organize to have my Enbrel stay in my room in the fridge.  That was a huge negotiation.  You would think I was negotiating a peace treaty!  “I am sorry this just isn’t done.”  Why?  “Because”.  Why can’t it be done?  “Because he has to do inventory”.  Well can’t he do inventory now and take the stuff out?  “no”.  Why?  “Because that is not how it is done.”  Finally I get them to agree to let me keep the Enbrel in the fridge but then I have to have the ice pack refrozen and I have no freezer.  Another negotiation.  This whole trip has been one long negotiation!  

Sunday, 6/30/13
At 5 am a knock at the door.  My ice pack has arrived.  At 6 am I get up to get going.  Shower, pack and get down to breakfast.  We have to vacate the room by 8 am but our disembark time is 9:50 am.  Lots of time to kill.  We start watching a movie but then the whole family shows up.  We all start reminiscing about the cruise.  One by one we all disembark.  Finally it is me and Brenda.  Yeah!  Back on land.  In a car and South to Brenda’s mom’s house. 

We are at her house for about an hour when we decide that my knee looks worse and is very hot.  I need a hospital.  We all get in the car and go to the emergency room.  I get called in right away and get x-rays immediately.  They come back clean.  Nothing broken.  Then blood work.  All clear.  The consensus is that I have another staff infection along the lines of mersa.  Cellulitis is what it is called.  A skin infection caused by bacteria.  The theory being that I fell down and got an abrasion on my knee and the bacteria got on my knee either from the carpet (can’t imagine what is on that carpet!) or I had it on my skin previously or soon after the fall.  Anyway, I got it and it got bad real fast.  In the hospital they outlined the red and hot spot with a pen so they could see if it got bigger or smaller.  I got some drip antibiotics and a lovely knee stabilizer.  I also have to take antibiotics every 6 hours for 10 days.  I was told to come back the next day.  Every person at the hospital asked me if I filled out an incident report on the ship.  A what?  No one told me about an incident report.  We went out to dinner.

Monday, 7/1/13
Got up and went over to the hospital and had them recheck me for infection.  Seems the infection has subsided a bit.  The redness has decreased but the hotness has not.  The doc said to stay the course and to come back if I develop a fever or the redness returned.  I am to follow up with my own doc when I return home.  We went food shopping and I did a little work.  Brenda and I went to Applebee’s for some food.

Tuesday, 7/2/13
We went to see a family friend of mine.  She is much older and we took her out to lunch.  It was good to see her and catch up.  Lots of running around and in a hot, humid and rainy New Jersey.

Wednesday, 7/3/13
Last day in on the East Coast.  We went to Brenda’s dads grave site.  Then out to dinner at Applebee’s again.  We had a worst waiter.  It was beyond funny.  He told me they were unable to swap out items in a salad.  Huh?  Turns out yes they can.  Then when everyone’s order arrived but mine, he asked where my salad was?  I said I don’t know you tell me!  My lettuce was full of sand.  I informed him and the manager came over and told me we would not be charged for it.  When we got the check, he gave us a credit for the salad but never initially charged us for it.  He was such a ditz.  We packed for our early morning flight.

Thursday, 7/4/13
Got up at 5:30 am so we would be ready to leave at 6:30 am.  Well we didn’t leave until about 7 am but we got to the flight in plenty of time.  We were worried about it being July 4th, it had been raining and we had to return the rental car prior to our flight.  I had a wheelchair ready to take me through to the gate.  It was really great to have so I didn’t have to walk that whole way. 

The flight was going along fine until about 2 hours until landing when all of a sudden I felt very hot.  I am not sure if I had a fever or what.  I suddenly felt this overwhelming amount of heat and got up and went to the back of the airplane.  I had a very nice attendant who helped me with ice.  I didn’t get ill but I needed to cool down.  It took me a while to cool down and they allowed me to sit down and gather myself.  I think these antibiotics are wreaking havoc in my body.  We landed early and a wheelchair took me right to baggage claim.  We took a taxi home and I collapsed.  I sat in front of the TV until I fell asleep.

Friday, 7/5/13
I gathered up the rat bait I set and washed down the backyard.  I found a corpse of an eaten rat.  I guess a rat died and something in the area ate it.  Another rat down.  Then I went and got the pups.  They were so happy to come home.  Unfortunately they brought home fleas.  I am not happy about that!  Happi seemed to be breathing funny.  Gonna monitor that!  Went to get Sunny the bird.  Then I rested for the remainder of the day.

Saturday, 7/6/13
I ran some errands and then rested most of the day.  Had to clean the pups bedding.  Got Chinese Food. 

What a day!  The airplane crash at SFO was so scary!  The number of times I have flown into SFO.  It is a tricky airport to land at since it is a short air strip and it is surrounded by water.  I always hold my breath and my partner when we take off and land.  A miracle that so many people got out of that plane alive.

Sunday, 7/7/13
Went food shopping finally!  We had NO food in the house.  Today is a day of catching up on work and blog and stuff.  I have not even unpacked!  I have a doctor’s appointment at 8:15 am tomorrow about my knee. 

Just heard that the plane that crashed at SFO had two casualties; two 16 year old girls from China.  So sad. 

Until tomorrow...

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