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...

Monday, September 7, 2009


My poor girl. She is so sore and swollen after having all four wisdom teeth removed under general anesthetic. She is being very stoic and doesn't complain. But when she tries to eat some of the food I have prepared for her, she often grimaces in pain. And she asks me when her next dose of Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen is due about half an hour before it is.

I picked her up and took her to the dentist office at 11:00 on Thursday and she was in there for an hour. While she was out for the count, I went and got her prescriptions filled for the T3's and penicillin. When I got back to the office, it wasn't long before they came out to reception to tell me that she was ready to go home. I went in the back where she was laying on a cot in a small room. She had her eyes closed and when the nurse spoke, she opened them and smiled at me in a dreamy way. 'That will be the last smile I see from her in a long time,' was my thought. And it was.

I get her home and into bed and then start the day-long routine of setting the oven timer for 15 minutes per side for an ice pack and then 30 minutes rest and putting the pack back in the freezer. I am up and down out of my chair all day and am wiped out by the time I go home. I also make her some jello and soup, and go to the store for some applesauce, juice, Gatoraid, and canned pears. I make sure she eats at regular intervals as the nurse said it was important for her to get some nutrition. Shonah had bought herself some popsicles in anticipation and so she has a few of those as well.

Friday and Saturday I spend most of the day with her right until she goes to bed at night. Saturday, I spend the morning packing up to leave for the coast. It doesn't take as long as I thought it would. I clean the bathroom and the kitchen and then get over to Shonah's. We spend some time watching episodes of Friends that a friend of hers loaned her and we laugh a lot. Well, I laugh a lot. Poor Shonah holds her cheeks and chuckles carefully.

My friend Brenda sends me an email on Friday to tell me that her sister is in Kelowna and is coming back on Sunday so I can catch a ride with her and her husband. I am thrilled as Shonah will not be in any sort of shape to do the trip with me. When I call to make the arrangements they aren't sure when they are leaving; they might even leave on Monday, which is too late for me. So we arrange that they will call me and let me know. I have packed for the bus, just in case, and plan to leave one big bag behind with Shonah; summer clothing and shoes that I won't need on set. The other bag is bulging with what I will need. And I still need to go through my stored clothes to find my micro fleece long johns, my rain gear and socks and my boots. Who knows what kind of weather we will have over there this time of year. It could be gorgeous and warm or raining and cold. There will be some night shooting as well, and that close to the water, it won't be a warm night.

On Sunday I go over to Shonah's at ten in the morning and spend a couple of hours with her. She tells me that she wants to go to a barbeque in the afternoon for just an hour. It's a meet and greet for the youth leaders to meet the new grade seven kids that will start youth group this fall. So I take drop her off at that and go to have a hot chocolate at Perks but it's closed so I just sit and read a book in the car until she's done. She comes out pretty flushed and tired and as I drive her back home she says she just wants to go to bed. At her place I get out of the car and give her a hug and kiss and then leave, knowing I won't see her for a month or two. I hate leaving her when she's like this. I wish I could have two more days with her; then the swelling would be gone and she might be off the T 3's and able to function a bit better. But I have to leave her.

Brenda's sister, who is also Sandy, comes at four in the afternoon just as the skies open up and rain falls like I have rarely seen in this part of the world. My soft bag full of clothes has to go in the back of the truck and if it's raining like this all the way, my stuff will be soaked through. So I fetch a couple of garbage bags and some duct tape and her husband and I wrestle the huge bag into the plastic ones and tape it all up. When we are done, we are soaked through. Reminded me of Virgin Gorda; it absolutely pelted it down, like I have only seen in movies, our last morning there.

He makes amazing time on the trip down and what would normally take 3-4 hours takes him just over two. We went through about 4 or 5 radar traps and he never got caught. He seemed to slow down just in the nick of time. So I get to Debbie's, my friend who is letting me stay with her for the next two nights, at 7:20. We sit and have some tea and chat until 11:00 and then, both of us almost senseless with fatigue, stumble to our respective rooms.

Another dear friend emailed me on Sunday and told me that I could use her car all day Monday, as she didn't need it. I gratefully accepted her generous offer and it made my day so much easier than I thought it was going to be. I headed over to Brenda's to cut her hair and then she took me to see the house they just bought. It's brand new and gorgeous. It has a basement suite that I may rent with another girl. It still needs a kitchen putting in and a bedroom walling off so I had a bit of trouble picturing what it will be like when done. There is a huge bedroom already there but the other girl will take it. She just has a twin bed and I have a queen so it seems a bit backwards but, whatever. I am just happy to have a prospect for somewhere to stay. They won't take possession until two weeks after I get back from the Island so Debbie said I can stay with her. Honestly, I don't know where I'd be right now if it wasn't for my wonderful friends.

After Brenda's, I head up to Cary's. Fran took all of my bags of shoes and clothing over there for me because she and Tom are going away for the long weekend. Cary is SO helpful, bending over backwards to make it easy to go through my bags, as my back is absolutely killing me. It started two days ago and I am in constant agony. She can see the strain in my face and comments on it a few times. My bags are out in her garage and I find the items I need in short order. I don't remember doing this (it doesn't surprise me, however) but I put all my work clothes in the suitcase last so they are right on top. And when I open my work bag (I call it my drag-bag because it's on wheels) not only is all of my equipment in there as I knew it would be, but so are my work lights, my gloves and my arm warmers. I am impressed with myself as I go back into Cary's and she can't believe I am done in less than ten minutes. "I thought you'd be out there for an hour or two." she says.

She wants me to stay for lunch and she makes us each a huge chicken salad in a tortilla shell bowl that she makes herself. Even though my stomach has been acting up lately and is sore today, I don't have any trouble eating the lot. It is delicious, as usual. Everything she serves is delicious.

I tell her that I want to go see Ashleigh and Rob and that Christopher and Izzy are spending the day together downtown Vancouver and, when I called him, agreed to go over to the apartment in North Van and meet me there and the five of us would go out for dinner. But I am really not feeling good because of my back and it's worse when I sit down, so I am dreading driving all that way. And with it being a holiday Monday, I anticipate that the traffic will be horrendous going across the bridge from Surrey to Coquitlam, as it always is. We listen to the radio to see what they say about traffic, and it sounds like it might not be too bad. I decide to go for it.

I stop off at Debbies to drop off the gear I picked up at Cary's, and to grab the little zester I found for Ashleigh at the garage sale. Then I hit the highway and, surprise, it's smooth sailing all the way and I make it to North Vancouver in less than half an hour.

Just as I pull up to the curb, Ashleigh and Rob are walking out of their apartment. I honk and they laugh as they come up to the car and open the passenger door. "Where do you think you're going, when you know I'm coming?" I ask in a cheeky tone. "You were supposed to call when you were on your way." Ashleigh says. Oh right. I was too. They tell me that they were just going to walk down to Lonsdale Key to Opus art supplies. I tell them to hop in and I'll drive them. So they do. It's a long way down the road, it would have taken them over an hour, there and back. I get there in 5 mintues and park. We cross the road and walk up the hill a bit and just as we are about to climb the steps to the door of Opus, we hear them dead bolt it from the inside. DANG! Even though it's Monday, because it's Labour Day, they are closing at 5 like they do on Sundays. We groan and the person inside hears us. She unlocks the door and pops her head out. "I heard that," she says with a smile, "is it going to be a quick trip?" she asks. "No." says Ashleigh. "Oh, then sorry. I am going home." she says. We thank her anyway, it was so nice of her, and head back to the car.

We go back to the apartment and while we wait for Izzy and Christopher, I cut Rob's hair because I happen to have my scissors again - just like last time. Then Ashleigh sits me down on the couch and shows me their professional wedding photos that they just got from the photographer in the BVI. The photographer has adjusted the color so that, even though they are color prints, they have a sepia tone to them. Ashleigh's dress was a soft white, they call it champagne white, but in the photos it looks ivory. I think they're gorgeous and so does Ashleigh and Rob. The prints they ordered have also been put on a disc and Rob makes one for me so that I can get some printed later. I hope they are the same color on the disc.

Christopher and Izzy show up and after hugs all around, that feels SO good, we head out for sushi. Lonsdale, the main road at the end of Ashleigh and Rob's street, is a wealth of little restaurants of every ethnic description, and there has to be at least five sushi places. The one they like is closed so we go to another one. The prices are so reasonable. Cheap really. I had 10 pieces of veggie tempura in Kelowna one day and it was $11.00. Here, 10 pc's - two of which are prawns - is $4.50. A huge difference. And their rolls are $3.00. Even the fancy ones are less than $5. When our food comes, it's absolutely delicious. Some of the best I have ever had. And my bill is $7.00. Can't argue with that.

The conversation is fun and we laugh a lot. I am crazy about my kids and the partners they have chosen are wonderful, special people. I love them all so much. I sit there and bask in the precious moments I have with them all, knowing that it will end way too soon and I will be alone again. And sure enough, I look at my watch and gasp. It's almost 8 and I wanted to be back in Langley by then. I have arranged for a ride to the ferry in the morning with a transport guy from the show. He lives in Cloverdale, which is fifteen minutes closer to the ferry than I am yet he said he will come and pick me up right at my door. He has to be on the 7 a.m. ferry so he's picking me up at 4:30 a.m. That's a pretty early call and I want to be in bed by 9. And before I can do that, I have to pack up all the stuff I got today into my bags. I reluctantly tell the kids that I have to get going, so we pay our bill and leave. On the walk back to the apartment, Christopher asks Ashleigh and Rob if they are up for a game of Uno. "Noooo!" I cry, "You can't have fun without me. You know how I hate to miss anything!" They laugh and Christopher says, "OK, we're just going home then." with a big grin. We get to my car and I hug each one of them, hating to let go, and then watch as they all go inside to play Uno, and I get in and drive off. It's 8:15 and I am so torn, knowing I have no choice... I have to get the car back and then get to bed.

I make good time and return it with many, many thanks and more gas in it than there was when I picked it up, as a small thank-you, and Debbie comes to fetch me home. I take 20 minutes to pack my stuff and then get straight to bed. It's going to be a short, short night.
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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