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, December 27, 2009


I wake up early and it takes about ten seconds for a familiar knot of anxiety to tighten in my stomach and then run like an electrical current through my body. I have been waking up this way for the past month or two, and it's not fun. I haven't had it once since I got to Palm Springs. I didn't miss it a bit.

I get up and dressed and pack the remaining bits up and lock my bag. I get it and my carry-on to the front door and then go say hi to Bob and Ada who are in the kitchen. Bob points to a plate of pancakes and tells me that they're gingerbread and to help myself. I haven't ever had gingerbread pancakes before. I get a plate out of the cupboard and fork one onto it. I don't like syrup so just spread a little butter over it and it's delicious.

I ask Ada if she would mind if I picked a few oranges to bring home for my kids to try as they have never tasted anything like the ones she grows. She tells me to help myself. So I go into the garage and get the picker. It's a long handle with a small wire basket on one end that has wire fingers extending off of the edge. These trap the fruit at the stem and then when I pull down on the handle, the fruit drops off of the tree into the basket. I pick ten Tangelos - part orange part tangerine. As I am out there I notice that one of the trees seems to be growing Japanese oranges. I go over and pinch one and, sure enough, the skin feels loose. I pull it off and peel and eat it right there. It's the best I've ever had, despite all of the seeds.

I get a text from Ron saying he will be here in fifteen minutes. I ask Ada if she'd like me to strip the bed but she says to just leave it so I go back into my room and make the bed. I leave a thank you card propped up on the night table. I check the closet to make sure I haven't left anything in there but the crucifix lights (and yet I still manage to leave behind my favourite pants hanger I got in England) and as I do I hear Ron arrive. I say my goodbyes to my lovely, gracious hosts and they repeat their invitation to come back any time I want to. I thank them profusely and very reluctantly leave the house for the last time. This trip.

We put my luggage into Ron's car and I say that I hope it's not overweight. As he picks up my big suitcase he says he knows overweight and that's not it. He gets in his car and I in mine and I follow him to the airport. I don't have the GPS anymore, I took it out of the car when I got home last night and left it on the kitchen table for Bob. Ron leads me to the car rental return and, after a quick inspection, the clerk signs it off and I climb into Ron's car and he drives me to the terminal. I tell him how much I have enjoyed the trip and his generosity to me. It's a gloriously sunny day without a cloud in the sky and I say that I am not looking forward to getting back to the mess of my life. He says he understands but that often it just takes a bit of a reprieve such as I have had this past week to give you a fresh perspective when you get home. I take encouragement from his wise words and pray that is the case.

I leave another thank you card on the seat addressed to both Ron and Eric when I get out of the car. Ron puts my luggage on the curb and we hug goodbye. He drives off as I drag my cases into the terminal. When I get to the counter and put my bag on the scale, it's overweight by five and a half pounds. I hope the agent will let it go but she suggests I transfer some stuff to my carry on. I was trying to keep that light as I had a bit of trouble getting it in the overhead rack on the flight here and I didn't want that problem again. I manage to remove the offending pounds and I am off to my departure gate.

I read my new book the entire flight home and am so engrossed in it that I have no idea we are landing and when the wheels hit the runway, I practically jump right out of my seat. I thought we hit something. It really scared me.

We are about half an hour ahead of our scheduled arrival time so Rob and Ashleigh are nowhere to be seen. I text her and get a text back that they are at Bellis Fair Mall and just on their way to the car. Soon they show up and it's great to see them. It is surprisingly sunny out, although very cold, and it makes for a nice drive back to Canada. I get through customs just fine with the oranges, they never ask if I have fruit. Just the dollar value of goods and if I have any firearms or pepper spray.

When we get to my place, it's freezing cold as I turned the baseboard heaters down the morning I left. I turn them back up and we leave to go get a Starbucks instead of me making a cup of tea here. It's just too cold. I give each of them an orange and Ashleigh eats hers right away and can't get over the flavour and how juicy it is.

Soon they are on their way home. They are tired after a busy Christmas season and driving most of the day to get me. I call Shonah. She is heading back to Kelowna tonight, her dad will take her to the airport. But before then there's time for me to see her. I go pick her up from a friends place in Langley and we go to Boston Pizza for a bite to eat. It's good to see her and get caught up on her life and she is eager to hear the details of my trip. After a couple of hours together I drive her to her dad's and give her a big hug goodbye. And I give her an orange.

I drive back to my house and when I get in, the silence is deafening. I miss being with people already. I am a people person. I don't like being alone. You'd think I'd be used to it by now but I'm not. I am going to take some proactive steps to change this part of my life. I don't want to be lonely any more.
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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