I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Saturday morning and it’s Bethany’s birthday today and Fran has a feast of a breakfast planned; crepes with 4 different toppings – peach sauce, mixed berry sauce, Nutella, and lemon & sugar (my favourite), along with bacon, turkey bacon, sausages, fresh fruit platter, and croissants. My head feels normal today and, for once, Fran is going to let me help her in the kitchen. I get started on the two fruit sauces and Fran sends Tom off to the grocery store for the croissants and a couple of other things. He comes back inside to tell us that two of the neighbours have a garage sale. Fran and I go grab some shoes and our wallets. We are both suckers for a yard sale.

Fran buys some plants in lovely pots; I see a cute candle holder lantern and ask Fran if she wants it. She says no so I buy it for two dollars. It’s dusty but once I wash it, it looks fabulous and I decide to give it to Bethany as a birthday present as I wasn’t able to get one yesterday when my shopping trip was cut short. There is a toaster oven for two dollars and I debate whether or not to get it for Ashleigh and Rob, as I know they wanted one and didn’t get one, or a toaster, for a wedding present. I call to ask but there is no answer so I leave a message.

After about half an hour we head back to the kitchen to get on with breakfast. Fran is in a bit of a panic as we have wasted precious time at the garage sales. I go wash the lantern and put it on the kitchen table. It looks great there and now Fran wishes she had bought it. I ask her if she wants it but she say’s no, to give it to Bethany as she will love it. I go to Fran’s stash of gift bags and wrap and pick out a bag to put it in. That done, I get back to the fruit sauces. Ashleigh calls and says that Rob and she have talked it over and they have decided that they can just afford the two dollars for the toaster oven. We both laugh at that and I run back over to the neighbours to buy it.

Once back, I mix up the batter for Alyssa’s gluten-free crepes. Fran has everything else covered so I get stuck in to washing the pile of dishes we have used to get the meal ready. Alyssa and Glen arrive, Bethany and Chad aren’t far behind them. Fran gets the crepes going and soon we are all sitting down to one of the best breakfasts I have had in a long, long time.

Fran refuses to let me help in cleaning up so she, Tom, Alyssa and the boys do it all. They set up the kitchen table to play a game of Carcassonne but I bow out, as I don’t feel like playing. I go to my room and set about finishing my packing up and then gathering up the gifts etc. that I need to take to Ashleigh & Rob. I am eager to get on my way and will be making a stop at my friend, Brenda’s, to catch up and give her a hair cut. She is the only person I still cut and I enjoy it. I load up the car and head out. I am glad my head is better today or I wouldn’t have been able to borrow Fran’s car – she wouldn’t have let me drive. I get to Brenda’s and we have a great chat as I cut her hair. I stay about an hour after her hair is done; we have so much to talk about. Her business is coming along so well and she shows me a web site that she is building. It looks amazing and the tools she used to make sure she shows up in searches astounds me. I will have to remember it if I ever get around to revamping my script supervising website one day.

I am excited as I drive to Ashleigh’s, as I can’t wait to see them. There is a ton of traffic on the road; it’s the ColdPlay concert tonight and this must be everyone driving in for it – it’s the right time. Shonah is going to the concert tonight and I am envious. The last time they were in town I couldn’t go because I was between shows and wanted to save my money, but I vowed I would go the next time they were in town no matter what. I had no idea then that ‘no matter what’ would mean I was without a home and broke. So, needless to say, I didn’t buy a ticket. Besides, I was supposed to be in Guatemala right now, working on upgrades to the catamaran with David.

I eventually get to North Vancouver and load up with the presents. Fran gave me a little foldable luggage cart and I have put Ashleigh’s pile of presents on it; they are tied together with tulle. When I knock on their apartment door and she opens it, her eyes pop at the stack of gifts. We hug for a long time and it is so good to see her and hug her again. I give Rob a big hug and kiss and then drag all of the gifts into the living room. Ashleigh opens her birthday presents first and is taken aback by how many pieces of her dish set she is unwrapping. It’s so great to see and I am loving every second. Then I give them their presents from Florida. They love the picture frame I picked up at Bealls that looks like three windows with awnings over them… very beachy. I suggest they put it up in their bathroom, as the colors match, and put honeymoon pictures in it. They love the idea.

Rob goes off to pick up some pizza and wings that they ordered and I ask Ashleigh about how life is going for them. They both are so happy with each other. And they both bought bikes a couple of weeks ago so that they have something fun to do together on weekends that is also good exercise. They love it and just today spent the day with friends Christa and Jeremy biking the seawall in Stanley Park. Rob comes back and we sit down to eat. Ashleigh looks at me as I take help myself to a slice of pizza and says, “Ok, start talking.” I laugh. “We want to know everything that happened.” she says and they both look at me expectantly. I ask them if they have read any of the blogs and they say they have but not the last few, so I start to fill them in. They keep eating as I talk but I can’t talk and eat at the same time so my pizza goes cold. When I am done, they are finished eating and I bite into my cold food. Ashleigh feels bad that I didn’t eat while it was hot but I don’t mind a bit. It has been so much fun to tell them about moving the houseboat and all that entailed and we laughed a lot. Strange how things that go terribly wrong and are so stressful at the time are so hilarious later. I don't have many of those sorts of tales to tell as a rule, because I am usually so over prepared. This trip has made up for it.

After dinner, Asheigh says, "Rob was wanting a haircut but I guess you don't have your scissors." I say, "You are in luck! I stopped on my way here to cut Brenda's hair so I have my scissors in my purse." They are happy and say that Rob is so desperate for a cut he was ready to let me do it with the kitchen scissors or even the ones on his Swiss Army Knife. No need, a happy coincidence means I can cut his hair with my hair scissors and I get down to business.

Far too soon it is time to go and I leave very reluctantly. I know I am not going to see them again for a while. They have plans to go to Kelowna mid July so I know I will see them then, but that is a month away. We hug each other tightly and I kiss them goodbye. I drive away feeling very happy that I got to spend an evening with them in their cute little apartment, and that I will see them in a month.

By the time I get home, I realize that my head is back to where it was yesterday. That is to say, I am in a lot of pain.

The next morning, I get up early to go to church with Tom and Fran. We are leaving early so that we can stop in at Bethany and Chad’s new apartment and see their new couch. I am looking forward to seeing their place as I have heard it is beautiful. When we walk in, I cannot believe the size of it. It’s huge! The kitchen is one of the biggest I have ever seen in any house, let alone a condo. The living room and bedrooms are big as well. And everything is finished in lovely, contemporary colors and with lots of wide crown molding on the nine-foot ceilings. The main bathroom is huge with a deep Jacuzzi tub and a separate large shower. I am so happy for them and wish that Rob and Ashleigh could get into a place like this soon. Heck, I wish I could get into a place like this soon. It would be a fabulous place to live.

After church, Tom and Fran and their kids are celebrating Father’s Day with a barbeque so I decide to let them have their day without me hanging about, even though they protest that I am welcome to join in, and call Carol, another one of the six mom's, to see if she wants to get together. She does and she comes to get me and we drive down to White Spot for the Legendary Burger and some yam fries. Yay Yam Fries!!! I have missed them so much.

We eat our burgers and yam fries and get caught up with each other’s lives. She has been reading the blog faithfully so is up on what is going on. She is so glad I am not out on the open sea with some stranger. She was not crazy about me going from the very beginning and had a lot of misgivings. But at least she gives me credit for being gutsy.

I have to be back at Fran’s for four o’ clock because Shonah is coming to pick me up at about 4:30. When I get back I finish up packing the rest of my bits. All the winter clothes and other stuff I don’t need just yet are in my big suitcases and a couple of smaller bags and I take them all downstairs and leave them in the entrance hall. Tom will put them in their crawlspace later in the week. I pile the two large duffel bags and my backpack, which are going with me to Kelowna beside the other bags and then go to wait in the family room with Fran. My head is aching from the exertion and I enjoy just sitting there and chatting. It’s not long before the doorbell rings and Shonah is there with the two friends who came down with her for the concert. She told them to pack light so that there would be room for my bags in her trunk. She takes a look at all the luggage in the hall and says, “Oh-oh. We have a problem.” I laugh and tell her that not all those bags are coming with us and point out the three that are. She is relieved and we haul them out and they fit just fine in her trunk. Shonah hasn’t seen everyone for a while so we all go upstairs and visit for about twenty minutes. Unfortunately Alyssa had to leave for work so Shonah doesn’t get to see her. They have been best friends since kindergarten and don’t get to spend time together anymore so it’s a shame.

We hug our goodbyes and then all pile into Shonah’s little VW Rabbit and wave goodbye to the Abbuls. I am so grateful to Tom and Fran for letting me stay for the past few days and I will miss them.

All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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