Friday, April 21, 2017

Aweigh!

 

 

Wilbur's opinion of my blogging abilities.

 

Eight days after departing Stuart, Florida we've moved about 180 miles. 800 more to go.

I just got online to publish the blog post I labored over for days, and discovered it's gone. My draft disappeared.

Actually, it was not about this trip, but was about our last day on the ICW from two years ago. The only reason I didn't write about it then was because it was just an awful day.


So in short (and remember this was all in one day):

While underway I had to jump from our boat into the dinghy and bail it out as we forgot to loosen the painter and it filled with water.

In a very narrow part of the ICW a trawler in front of us came to an abrupt stop and proceeded to reverse. They very nearly hit our port rear quarter as Hans managed to motor out of their way.

In the same narrow waters a huge yacht in front of us stopped and began backing up just before going under a draw bridge. When I hailed him on the radio asking if there was a problem, he screamed at me and said he had to let oncoming traffic through first. The oncoming traffic turned out to be a small dinghy sized fishing boat that in no way needed us to stop.

A family of five, who in their kayaks, had been sitting idlely along the channel decided they needed to cross in front of us to the other side RIGHT NOW! Hans throttled back on the engines as they madly paddled and I'm pretty sure they spend their spare time running across highways in front of semis.

And finally there was the idiot who didn't understand that he needed to stay on his own side while passing under a draw bridge and ran us into the fenders. We were horrified to see him coming straight at us and even with me standing on the foredeck waving at him to move over, he just kept coming. The bridge tender called on the radio to him and told him he needed seamanship lessons. I tried to call him on the radio about the damage to our boat and he wouldn't answer.


We've got seen way too many of these along the shorelines.


So before heading north this time I was remembering that last awful day and I'm hoping this trip will be a little less exciting.

 

Do you think I'll be safe down here?

 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Wasting Away Again in Geezerville

Someone really doesn't have it so bad.

 

Hans and I continue to spend our days enduring that seemingly endless revolving door of doctors' appointments. We've been poked, prodded, squeezed, monitored, jabbed, dilated, cleansed, scoped... However, after 13 office visits it does look like the end is in sight! About 6 more and we hope to be done.


On the days we don't have appointments we've got a little routine down pat that works for us. Off to the Y we go so Hans can swim laps and what's nice is that Walgreen's is on the way for prescriptions (talk about a revolving door!), then to the library, and finally the Y where I sit in the car with Wilbur and read while Hans swims. And yes, nearly every trip is filled with bad pit bull breath emanating from the back seat as Wilbur accompanies us pretty much everywhere we go.

In my last post I got all snarky about having to deal with Voice when it came time to schedule some blood work.

I now owe Voice a huge apology.

The day of the appointment Voice granted me, I walked into a waiting room just buzzing with agitation. I was instructed to sign in at a little computerized podium and I rushed for it before a woman who'd walked in the door beside me and kept screeching, "WHAT? WHERE?" could get there before me. Was I rude? All I know is I had my information typed in pronto and was quite happy to type yes in the spot that asked if I had an appointment.

A screen on the wall, similar to an airport's departure and arrival monitor, listed patients names and times. Fuel was getting added to the fire when people realized their names weren't listed at all or they had very long wait times. No one was shy about loudly voicing their concerns and I could feel a mob mentality taking form. I didn't see my name but kept my mouth shut and made sure I was close to an exit. The girl at the front desk was clearly at her wits end and kept yelling out into the room to please ignore the screen and then got into a loud argument with a woman who was a 'walk in' as opposed to one with an appointment and would just have to wait her turn. "I'm going to your competition the next time!" the angry lady yelled. Good luck with that, I thought, because this is it. It was a bit scary and I was dismayed to find the frantic text I'd sent to Hans failed as there was no cell service in the office.

And then I was called in. I could feel the stares burning into my back as I walked through. I was so shocked to actually get in only 15 minutes past my scheduled time, I forgot to pass out when my blood was drawn.

 

Enjoying life between appointments


Last week we had back to back eye appointments so we went in together.

It seems like only yesterday that Hans and I used to go dancing every weekend and now we spend our time walking into places where everyone's using walkers and canes. "Dear God," I asked Hans, "is this us in a few years?" and he looked down at the monitor cables sticking out of his shirt and said, "I think we're already there."

I have never seen an operation such as this Eye Institute place in my life. I swear they have to have a traffic controller to keep track of everyone. We started in the packed main waiting room and then I was cut from the herd first. I passed through a large round room with several exam rooms radiating about its circumference. After being relieved of my contact lenses and glasses my pupils were dilated and then I was ushered into yet another waiting room. Honestly, I had my hand out in front of me as I felt my way to what I hoped was a vacant seat (I am that nearsighted). My eyes were oddly numb and the Kleenex I used to dab at my teary eyes was stained an ugly yellow and I wondered if my face was yellow too but was embarrassed to ask. I fished my book out of my bag and with my nose nearly touching the pages I read until someone brought me back my glasses. With a huge sigh of relief I put them on and exclaimed, "Hey there!" and leaned forward and gave the man sitting directly across from me a big kiss. It was Hans and he was holding a yellow stained Kleenex too. The lady beside me remarked she hoped we knew each other and Hans said this was a great place to meet women; way more fun than the colonoscopy center.

I was first out again and after a successful exam involving blinding lights and eyeball yanking, I was spit back into the first waiting room where I reeled up to the counter and made another appointment (yippee) this time for a contact lens exam. Nope, sorry, no can do, you need a different doctor for contacts.

Hans appeared shortly thereafter and made his next appointment. Since we both looked like Stepford Wives with our bizarrely dilated pupils we hopped over to the library which was close by to wait until the daylight didn't feel like it was searing into our brains even with sunglasses. Then finally back to the boat where we had to placate Wilbur, whose feelings were severely wounded at being left behind.


I have to make one last lab appointment (I hope!) and you can bet I'll be calling my good friend Voice.

 

Oh, the drama that exists in our berth.

 

Friday, February 3, 2017

I'm Hearing Voices and I Don't Like It.




Surely someone with a working dinghy will give me a ride off this boat!



When Hans and I arrived back in Florida we already had seven doctors appointments scheduled. We are both believers in preventative medicine but since our insurance coverage is basically an HMO and good only in Florida and we'd been in PA for a few months we had no choice.

So, now, in addition to taxi-ing Wilbur ashore for his preventative therapy (i.e; just us avoiding poopy revenge attacks aboard the Knotty Cat in our absence), and when we aren't trying to figure out why the dinghy motor has become a huge stinker leaving us adrift in the mooring field, we sit in doctors' offices filling out paperwork. Unfortunately though, it seems like every appointment we keep just spawns itself into yet another one. Colonoscopy? An office visit first, then the procedure, then a follow-up. Cataracts? Office visit, possible PCP visit next (even though you were there for a physical last week), then hopefully surgery and of course another follow-up. Mammogram? Office visit first... ad nauseum. Our original seven appointments have morphed into thirteen so far and I expect that number will grow.

Oh, and after you finally figure out which lab your insurance covers for blood work just try to make an appointment. The other day I sat in our car on my phone for an entire hour while Hans was at one of his doctors appointments (and trying not to worry about what might be happening to the groceries we'd gone and bought that were sitting in our trunk). After a half hour on hold with our insurance carrier I finally got the number of a lab. And then the fun really started. My entire transaction with the lab involved me 'talking' to a woman's computer generated voice and while I'm not a fan of this kind of service I admit I did get an appointment rather quickly. It was only after I hung up that I realized I'd gone and committed to an afternoon appointment when my blood-work was supposed to be done in the AM.

I googled the lab and dialed their local number. I then hit the number 0 on my phone in that old tried and true method of bypassing the 'voice' in order to speak to a real person.

The following is our dialogue.


Voice (far too cheerful because she knew she held the cards): You've indicated you'd like to speak to a person. I'm sorry (no she wasn't), that option isn't available. Please visit our website at www.wereallydontgiveashit.com.

I'd already been to that website and it hadn't helped at all so I called the original number back in order to talk to the voice who'd been so helpful the first time around.

Voice: How can I help you? (She kindly gave me a list of options. I chose 'reschedule an appointment', SIMPLE!)

Voice: Would you like to reschedule a date, time, or location?

Me: Date and time.

Voice: You'd like to reschedule a date and time. Great (really? that's great?)! What day would you like?

I chose the same date. I just wanted morning instead of afternoon.

Voice: You chose February eighth. What time would you like?

Me (getting all excited because this really was simple after all): 10:00!

Voice (dramatic pause): Ohhhh, I'm sorry! That time isn't available. Let me tell you what times I do have. I have 2:45 and 4:30.

Me: NO!

Voice: Okay. Let's pick a different day. What day would you like?

Me: February ninth.

Voice: You chose February ninth. What time would you like?

Me: 10:00.

Voice: (dramatic pause): Ohhhh, I'm sorry! That time isn't available. Let me tell you what times I do have. I have 1:15 and 2:30.

Me: NO!

Voice: Okay. Let's pick a different day. What day would you like?

Me (in addition to getting really tired of Voice's phony sympathy and ready to tear my hair out for fear I'd have to go through an entire calendar month): You **%#ing bitch!

Voice (dramatic pause and then quite primly): I'm sorry, I don't understand that request (oh yes she did!). Voice (continuing in a wounded tone): What day would you like?

Feeling bad now that I'd offended Voice, I picked another day and she finally gave gave me my 10:00 appointment.


Now I just have to hope for a calm, non-windy morning in order to get ashore without the dinghy motor failing and getting soaked in order to pass out while getting my blood drawn.


But before that happens Wilbur will want to go ashore because he knows the other marina dogs have marked his spots from the previous day and the marina employees are just dying to see him...


Multiply this times thirteen and you now have an idea of what life is like for us here on the waters of Florida.


Noooo! Don't make me get back on the boat! I have to piss on that tree that Harry just pissed on!

 
 
 

 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Home. Again

 

Very pretty. But cold


It seems like we'd barely unpacked our bags in Hooterville this past spring where the grass never stopped growing when all of a sudden it was January 1st and time to repack and head back to the boat.

Just like that, nine months of hard work was over.

Speaking of hard work, December didn't disappoint as we were busier than hell and my Pacer App logged in several 10 mile waitressing days. Dear Friend and I were beyond counting down the days, we were now counting down the hours, and yes, finally the minutes to when the inn would shut its doors for the season.



Again, very pretty. But cold.



I crawled through the door of our little farmhouse after my very last shift, took a shower, put on my pjs and fluffy robe, and collapsed into my camp chair. Everything from my arches, heels, and ankles, to my back ached, and while I've never taken a Xanex or Valium in my life I believe I now know what it must feel like. Knowing there would be no more emergency summons (Oh my god! Get your uniform on, we need to go in early!), I let the stress of the last month drip off me and I felt like a strand of overdone spaghetti while I dozed in front of our space heater and TV while snowflakes drifted outside our windows.

This occurred at noon and I pretty much stayed comotose until collapsing in bed and sleeping soundly til the next day.

 

But, it was time to get back to our boat. Our home.


I tearfully hugged Dear Friend goodbye and we departed on a 17 degree(F) morning and crossed the state in order to visit the cutest baby in the world (our granddaughter!). Andi greeted me with one of those huge smiles only a three month old can pull off wherein her whole body contorted and we all got a wonderful view of her toothless gums. She then demonstrated to Papa Hans just exactly how far she can stick out her tiny lower lip before letting loose a banshee wail.

On a different note I have to say I'm extremely pleased to find my son is an excellent cook and not one of his dishes contained Skittles.


Our next trek was further south where we spent a couple of couch-potato filled days with our youngest daughter and her girlfriend. Baby Girl has a knack for picking out great movies to watch and we finally got to see 'The Martian'. And also on a different note, I'm extremely pleased to note Baby Girl is an excellent cook and even though I love Chinese takeout, it was not on the menu this time.

 

We once again piled into our car (man it was still cold outside!) and this time we aimed straight south. At each rest-stop we would shed a layer of clothing and all of a sudden we were in Florida. Well, not really 'all of a sudden' as we had to fight our way through some of the craziest traffic and insane drivers I've ever encountered.



Are we there yet?


We (mostly I) were vastly relieved to find the Knotty Cat in excellent form (ie; cockroach free) and she was launched with little fanfare. A lot of drama on my part was avoided when we were informed that we could spend the night on the wall and not have to leave within an hour of launching. This allowed me time to scrub the topsides (three hours alone on this project), do a quick provisioning run (bread, lunchmeat, COFFEE, etc...), drain and fill our water tanks, make up our berth, put away all our junk (how does one stuff so much stuff into a Corolla is beyond me) and try to talk Wilbur into using a potty patch again. Gone are his long days of 'boys only' walks with Hans in the countryside.



After working on the outside all day long there's no sitting down until all this crap finds a home!


We left early the next morning, got through a lock and arrived at our home for now.


I fear progress took a giant leap forward while we were on the farm and has quickly surpassed us. Since the water fountain at a rest-stop was frozen, I asked Hans to get me a bottle of water and just as I was ready to send out a search and rescue team he arrived back at the car in a foul mood. It would appear the vending machine not only didn't take quarters, it didn't state just how much said water would cost. "Oh, I know how many calories everything there has, like I give a shit!" He huffed. "But I have no idea what the hell I just spent on this damned water!" He was livid. "For all I know some asshole is using my credit card now!"

I had to laugh and brought up the movie The Martian. "You know, Matt Damon might have been able to get off Mars with all his MacGyverish methods but after being up there a couple of years I bet he wouldn't be able to figure out these vending machines either."

I was hoping there hadn't been too much progress on the waterways while we were gone but then we jumped onto our Active Captain App. Let's just say I'm glad we have a couple of months to figure things out again.

 

Very pretty. And warm.