Thursday, June 25, 2015

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude!


After a really busy year .. or should I say years, we're overdue for another vacation.  Last year's trip to Mexico seems a lifetime ago!  While our attitudes aren't all that bad, we're needing a mental break.  So, we've cashed in our credit card miles again and later this Summer we're going to a latitude South of Louisiana!

Ken and I wanted to go somewhere tropical that we've never been to yet so Mexico, Virgin Islands, Hawaii & Jamaica were out of the picture.  We also wanted a place with hills, so the Bahamas was scratched off the list.  Heck, we hope to sail to the Bahamas shortly after we start cruising so it wasn't really a consideration anyway.  We also wanted to go somewhere that had an all-inclusive resort.  I know ... those resorts don't really show the beauty & culture of an island!  But, we like the fact that there are lots of folks around to meet ... and lots of food & alcohol that have already been included in our price (which was paid by credit card miles, so it's a great deal for us).  We've spent a majority of our time off the resort during past vacations, and this time will be no different.  When we need a day of relaxation in between outings,  there's nothing like a day on the beach with cocktails brought to our lounge area!

After some research, I once again booked our vacation with Cheapcaribbean.com.  They always seem to have the best deal, and we haven't been disappointed yet.  So, where are we going?  The Dominican Republic .. woo hoo!  We considered Punta Cana, but learned that this area is isolated and surrounded by other resorts.  With our plans to explore the North coast of the island, we decided that Puerto Plata made more sense.  We'll be visiting Luperon, Caberete and the 27 Waterfalls during our week stay, and we're planning a motorcycle ride too!  The ride will start at a bar in Luperon named Putula's, which is owned by Juan (a local) and his new bride, Kathay, from British Columbia.  Kathay sailed her boat to the Dominican Republic several years ago and never left!  The bar is geared towards the cruising community, so we're looking forward to meeting Juan, Kathay, a few locals .. and hopefully a few sailors too!

We're excited about our "attitude adjustment", and to make things better ... our daughter & son-in-law are coming with us.  We haven't been on a tropical getaway with our daughter since she was a pre-teen, so we're looking forward to exploring the island with her & her husband.  They're a lot of fun!

Needless to say, we can't get to the Dominican Republic soon enough!  In the meantime, we have lots to keep us busy .. including boat work in the boatyard.  Do I dare say that we hope to have Nirvana back in the water before we leave?  That's the plan.

While our week "in paradise" will go way too fast, we'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Our Future Boat?!

Hideaway if for sale!

When Ryan & Tasha from Turf to Surf mentioned they were going to sell their boat, they got our attention!  While we love our Catalina 30, we couldn't help but think how great it would be to own a Catalina 34 that already has a dodger, bad-ass anchor, solar panel, Honda generator, chart plotter, LED lighting, a main sail that furls into the mast (awesome), a dinghy & motor, kitchen appliances and all sorts of other stuff to make our dream of cruising much easier ... and it's already in St. Maarten!

Yesterday, it became official ... Hideaway if for sale!  Once we saw Tasha's post and the price ... our heads started spinning.  This is a great boat for a really fair price.  Could we make this work?  Could we buy Hideaway and finally paint our boat, get her outta the boatyard and sell her for a decent price?  Did we have time to get to St. Maarten and buy a boat in the immediate future?!  Would Hideaway really cost that much more than the dollars we've already spent on boat paint, the labor we need to spend in the heat (not fun), the anchor, LED lighting, solar panels, generator, etc that we still need to buy?  Maybe we could make this work.  The thought of flying to St. Maarten, boarding our new boat and immediately starting our cruising life "in paradise" is perfect ... except when it isn't.

Ken and I had a serious discussion last night, reviewing our schedule and going through scenarios in our head on how to make this work.  But, the sad truth is that the timing is just a bit too soon.  While we can't wait to "Just Do It!", the facts are that we have to honor our lease until October, work on getting Nirvana out of the boatyard, and work on closing our businesses while still making money to pay the rent and the bills that come with it and our businesses.  Add the fact that the boat is so far away (perfect location if timing were right) and we'd have to also pay to store it until at least October .. it just isn't possible yet.  So close, yet so far .. it kills me!

Anyway, as much as I'd like to "save" Hideaway for us and keep her sale a secret, I'm gonna go ahead and share Tasha's post in hopes that she finds a buyer soon. She & Ryan have a new (and amazing) catamaran in Europe that they need to pick up in August, and I know they'd like to find Hideaway a new home before then.  So, if you want a great boat (we love our Catalina) that's already sitting in paradise and ready to cruise ... check out Tasha's post.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

HOME ...


H O M E ... it's an odd word if you look at it too long.  Those four letters hold such a strong meaning to so many folks ... us included.  HOME may mean a house, a trailer, a boat, or even a van.  Although the word has various meanings, HOME often brings thoughts of warmth, security and love.  

If you read my last post, you know that Ken and I have been especially busy the past couple of weeks with getting two special ladies HOME ... my mom and our daughter.  I'm happy to say that as of today they are both HOME!!  We are filled with joy, relief and hope for their bright futures.

While our daughter's journey to her new home was an exciting time, my mom's was not.  It's such a relief to know that they are both now where they want to be.  My mom was released from the hospital this past weekend, and she seems to be recovering well.  We visited Mom on Sunday, and other than her lying on the sofa instead of sitting ... we talked like nothing had happened.  She's relaxing at home, eating, and will be receiving physical therapy at home 3 times a week to get her back on her feet.  She's able to get around slowly with a walker and she's got some back pain from the spinal tap, but I think she's on the right track.  It's going to be a slow process, but I believe that with patience she'll be okay.  

Just yesterday, Ken received the "Certificate of Occupancy" for our daughter & son-in-law's very first home ... woo hoo!  All four of us (Ken, myself, and our two "kids") spent Saturday cleaning and finishing the final touches on the house for Monday's inspection. This morning I'm taking off work to help our daughter move small items in our cars, and tonight the four of us are moving the big items.   This is such an exciting time!

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort"  -  Jane Austen

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Auto Pilot!

Mother's Day with my "Nirvana" shirt our daughter created and made for me!*

Well, it's been over a month since I written a post. I don't think I've ever gone this long without writing! The first three weeks since my last post were spent doing the usual that you've heard before if you keep up with our blog ... finishing up our (once again) flooded rental, building our daughter and son-in-law's house, and trying to keep our businesses alive and make a buck in between. Weekends no longer meant a break, and when I did have time to write a post .. I just didn't feel like it.  
We did manage to take a break with my mom, our daughter, and our son-in-law's family on Mother's Day with a Champagne Jazz Brunch ... the grits covered with crab & corn bisque were my favorite! Our daughter gave me an awesome t-shirt that she designed and made ... I love it!*  It's my favorite color (burnt orange) and it's a lady Buddha with two thumbs with "Nirvana" below. Nirvana is the name of our sailboat, and it's a Buddhist term meaning "bliss". It also means to live without ego, envy or materialism ... perfect Mother's Day gift!  After brunch, I changed into my new t-shirt and we drove over to a local waterfront spot for the afternoon.  All at once, we gave up our waterfront home AND moved Nirvana to the boatyard ... we were having water withdrawals!

One other day was squeezed in the last weekend in May ... a crawfish boil at my Mom's house.  Ken is known as the best boiler, which means he never gets to just show up ... he's gotta cook!  Oh well, plenty of beer helped.  Ken got our son-in-law to help, and he shared a few of his secrets with him for the "perfect boil".   We gotta keep good crawfish boils in the family!



We don't get to Mom's as often as we'd like, and little did we know that just over a week later she'd be in the hospital.  A week ago last night I got a call that she was at the local hospital, but being taken across the lake to another hospital that handles brain injuries.  What?!  While sitting at the kitchen table with my aunt earlier that day, Mom started to get a bad headache, then neck ache ... when she stood up to go lay down, she collapsed and got sick.  Just That Fast!  The ambulance came and after doing an MRI it appeared that Mom had blood in her brain.  That's when it was decided to move her to the other hospital an hour away.  My brother and our family rushed to the hospital and didn't really sleep that night.  When Mom woke later the next day, we thought the worst was over and she'd be okay.  It's been a long week.

Long story short ... the hospital she's in now is one of only two in the state that do angiograms of the brain and deal with this sort of "injury".  The good news is they didn't find any clots or anything "bad".  The bleeding has seemed to stop on its own and perhaps an aging blood vessel broke?  The bad/scary news is that her short-term memory comes and goes and she's very weak.  When Ken and I went to see her this past Sunday, we were thrilled to be sitting and talking to the "ole Mom".  Imagine my surprise when the following morning I got a call that she was unresponsive!  It seems that the blood in her brain can take a week to drain, and in the meantime fluid can build up.  Mom had a spinal tap on Monday to drain the fluid and she's again weak and has memory loss.

This is all new to us, and we're finding out this set-back is not unusual and could even happen again.  If all goes well, Mom will be moved to a physical rehab facility for at least 3 weeks.  Needless to say, this past week has been exhausting and I've been on auto-pilot.  We're hopeful that Mom won't have any more set-backs and that she'll be in physical rehab soon.  More importantly, we're hoping that we'll have our "ole Mom" back.  We are searching for the "new and unknown" with our cruising plans ... not this kinda "new and unknown"!  It's a scary thing.

Mom and her two "great-nieces" feeding ducks in her backyard on the day of the crawfish boil.

Why finally write a post now?!  I guess it's a way to "let it out", and I do love the cruising community that I've become a part of ... even though we're not even cruising just yet!  I hope my silence in the past month hasn't caused any of you to get bored with our blog.  Your comments and "following" have really meant a lot to us.  It seems that our "plates" have been full for a long time, but this latest incident has been the most difficult.

We're trying to remain positive and take one day at a time.  The family is taking turns staying with Mom, and we're trying to allow our step-dad to get some rest. We don't want him in the hospital too!  I spent the day with Mom yesterday, and today I must admit ... I'm tired and haven't accomplished anything but this post so far today.  I think I'll make myself do a yoga workout and get back on track.

Meanwhile, Ken's finished renovating our flooded rental this past Monday and he should have our daughter's house complete within a week ... woo hoo!  We're so happy to see the excitement on our daughter and son-in-law's face ... and we're happy to have a paying tenant again!  Our 26th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, and we'd originally thought that would be the perfect time to celebrate all these things ... until last week.  Maybe we'll still go celebrate ... we still have a lot to be thankful for.

If all goes well with Mom, we should be in the boatyard and working on Nirvana soon.  We also booked a trip a few weeks ago to a tropical destination with our daughter and son-in-law later this Summer.  More about that later ... we're sure looking forward to some "island therapy"!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

*Our daugher has started her own business, making personalized items that would be great for the boat!  She makes t-shirts, cups, koozies, crawfish trays ... all sorts of stuff that's inexpensive too!  She's made some adorable shirts for kids as well. The best part .. you don't have to order a bunch to get it personalized!  Check out her Etsy site and her Facebook page!  I've already got "Nirvana" cups, koozies and shirts in mind!
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