The Day From Hell

I just got back from a great vacation in Greece, which I will share later, and meant to get this post off before I left.  Hurricane Irma swept through our state four days before we left, and it reminded me of the last time we got on a plane.  We had some really rotten luck for the better part of the last year, and part of the reason we went on this trip to Greece is as a reward from what happened and our marriage actually surviving the very shitty months that followed.

We had multiple plumbing disasters.  On August 25, 2016 our sewer line broke under our house in multiple places.  It was the old Florida standard cast iron plumbing system.  It broke in three sections and we had plumbers tunnel 47 feet under the house to remove the old pipes and put new PVC plumbing in.  This is not a quick or easy job.  It involves several men digging a 3’x 3’ x 47’ tunnel BY HAND.  It took six weeks and during that time, we couldn’t flush a scrap of toilet paper down our drains. Oh, and our homeowner’s insurance refused to reimburse us which cost $25,000. So on to the point of this story…

On October 28, 2016 we were scheduled to fly up to Rochester at 2:00PM to see my husband’s family for a week.  He was on shift the night before, and didn’t get home until 8AM.  I was woken up at 2AM by the dog that was having major back issues (old beagle).  So, from 2AM on I was up with the dog, who was going to be boarded for a week, while he struggled with back spasms.  I called my vet right when they opened at 8:00, and I was told they were really busy and I should drop him off.  They would “try” to see him before 10:00AM.  What could I do?  I dropped the dog off.  I came home and started pulling our coats out of the guest closet, looked down for some odd reason, and I see the carpet on the floor of the closet is completely black and soaking wet.  Black mold.  Great!  At 9AM we call the plumber out again, who will try to get to us as soon as he can.  In the meantime, we start pulling everything out of the closet.  Everything on the floor is ruined – things that can’t easily be replaced like old photos or the beautiful Italian leather tote I purchased in Venice.  The plumber comes at about 10AM and thinks that the toilet on the other side of the closet wall isn’t seated properly and leaking.  He pulls the toilet out and it’s perfect.  So the leak is coming from another plumbing source.  We still haven’t heard from the vet and its now about 11:00AM.  We need to leave in 90 minutes to go to the airport.

(If this were a play, this would be an “aside”:  there’s a reason I am specific about the dates.  First plumbing issue started on August 25 and took six weeks to fix.  Second plumbing issue happened on or before October 28.  So, we had maybe a two week break between issues.  I’m not proud of this and am glad this is an anonymous blog but on the advice of our plumber, we poured a gallon of bleach on the floor of the closet, sealed it with 4mm plastic sheeting, and carried on with our plans to go out of town.  Turned out, this issue was a break in our incoming water line and it destroyed our house.  An extra few days didn’t matter – it was already destroyed by the point we found it.  Moving on…)

We finally heard from the vet at 1:00PM.  By this time it was too late to catch our flight, so once we figured out the poor dog’s treatment options we scheduled a second flight out at 7:00PM.  My elderly parents drove us to the airport in 5 o’clock traffic and dropped us off.  I should mention that they had spent most of the morning with us helping clean out the closet and waiting to hear about the dog.  We were so relieved to finally be at the airport so we sat down at the bar and ordered a round of drinks.  As we’re sitting there, we start hearing announcements on the loud speaker:  THE AIRPORT IS NOW CLOSED.  Wait, WHAT???  We look around and see people start moving to the gate counters so we asked the people at the table next to us what happened, and they said that a Fedex plane blew up right outside our gate.  I shit you not.  A FEDEX PLANE BLEW UP OUTSIDE OUR GATE.  They had to close the airport because, aside from a plane blowing up, the runway also melted.

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I want to take a minute to give American Airlines a positive plug:  I did not go to the gate counter.  I called the 1-800 number to see about rescheduling our flight, and they had already done it.  They rescheduled us for a 6AM flight the next morning.  We went to baggage claim to see about our bags, and within 30 minutes we had our bags. Yay AA!

I called my parents and bless their hearts they got back on the highway and came and picked us up.  They dropped us off at home, and went on their way.  We unlocked our door.  The power is out.  Again, I shit you not.  The power is out at our house.  I call FPL to notify them, and because there’s been a house fire a few blocks away they had to shut down our grid.  Power is not expected to be on until 10PM.  I can live with that.  10PM rolls by, still no power.  I check FPL again, and now they have no idea when power is expected to be back on.  At this point, all I know is I need to be up by 3:30AM to catch our 6:00 flight.  Oh, and my poor parents are going to drive us to the airport at 4:30AM.  So, I set the alarm on my phone and plug it into the charger just in case the power comes on overnight, take a Xanax, and go to bed.  That’s all I can do.

I wake up on my own at 3:00AM and the power is still off.  I also have a ton of texts from American Airlines about our flight getting rescheduled again, so I go out into the living room to call them and find out what’s going on.  Just as I’m hanging up with them, the power comes back on.  Yay!  Power!  I get up to make a cup of coffee, and our house alarm starts screeching.  At 3AM.  I forgot I set the alarm and I guess it stayed set while the power was off.  The power came back on and my moving around triggered it.  Poor Carlos…I’m laughing as I type this remembering him jumping out of bed in his fighting stance ready to protect the house.  Thankfully, he has a strong heart.

We finally get rescheduled to leave at 1PM the next day.  I guess the runway was still melted at 6AM, and then when it was finally ok to handle planes, we had to be rescheduled so we wouldn’t miss our connecting flight.  So, as you can understand when Irma came through South Florida four days before we were scheduled to go to Greece, we were more than a little nervous.  We will forevermore refer to October 28, 2016 as “That Day From Hell.”

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The English Language

When my husband and I decided to go to Japan, I saddled him with the task of learning Japanese through Rosetta Stone since I was in my final year of graduate school.  I think he got through maybe one full lesson before he threw his hands up in the air in frustration and quit.  I sat in on one of the lessons, and I must admit that it was extremely difficult.  But then I downloaded an app for my iPhone that helped out with key words and phrases when traveling in Japan.  One of the features of the app is that it explains a little bit about the Japanese language and its pronunciations, phonetics, etc.  What I learned is that once you get the hang of things, Japanese is actually a very easy language to learn – as is many Asian languages.  You see, there are only about 50 sounds to these languages, compared to 5,000 sounds in the English language.  I find that quite fascinating, and in knowing that I hope to one day learn Japanese.

Anyway, the prelude to this fascinating blog entry (yes, I know) is that my mother sent me an email this morning that exemplifies part of the 5000 different sounds in the English language.  Enjoy!

So You think English is easy?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce .

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ?

Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?
We call UP our friends.

And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.

We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning.

People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed
UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.

In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.

It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP .

When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things
UP.
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry
UP.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so……..it is time to shut UP!

Post-Vacation Depression

I always thought that my post-vacation depression, after I escape from the US to go somewhere abroad, was something I just made up in my head.  Turns out, its a real thing!  I did a little research on Google and found a whole slew of articles on how to combat this phenomenon.  However, most of the articles don’t really address the feeling of “Yuck, I do NOT want to be back in the US.”  My husband and I are fortunate to have traveled to many places overseas for vacation, and each time I always come back disgusted with our country.  I’m not anti-American by any means, but I get frustrated with some of the crap that goes on here – politics, religion, business, ethics, etc. etc.  I think part of the problem with our return and my frustration is that while we are away, we aren’t exposed to the barrage of media and negativity that smacks us upside the head when we return stateside.  The language barrier of being abroad makes a vacation truly a vacation from everything – work, life, reality…

This time its particularly bad.  We just went over to Japan and had the most amazing experiences.  Japan is a Buddhist nation, therefore the amount of courtesy and respect for others and nature is bar none.  I read in one of my travel books that the Japanese people have a creed when dealing with others, which is basically “don’t annoy others as you don’t want to be annoyed”.  This creed is reflected in some of the simplest activities of their life, however the biggest area of effect is through the use of cell phones in public.  I don’t think I heard one cell phone ring when I was over there.  When we traveled on trains, there were signs in the train station and on the train cars that appeared to ban the use of cell phones in those areas.  (I say “appeared” because we couldn’t read the signs as they were written in Kanji, however a picture of a cell phone circled and crossed out in red with the word “MANNERS” made it obvious in whatever language you speak.)  Of course when the plane landed back here in the good ol’ U.S.A. and the captain said electronic devices were ok to use again, the sound of cell phones ringing, beeping and buzzing was nearly deafening.  Not really, but I was incredibly annoyed.

So, I’m giving myself a week to grieve my vacation that has come and gone, and think about making some changes in my life that help continue the feeling of peace I had when I was in Japan.  I think sometimes disassociation is key – you need to step away from and block out the things that give you stress.  In my case, it’s a little bit of everything – news, politics, needy people.  My plan is to focus on things that don’t stress me out to counteract the loads of stress that I put upon myself the last ten years.  I hope I get back to Japan again some day soon, but in the mean time I have 2000+ pictures I can use to bring back the feeling of vacation.

The Week in Review

I don’t usually post about what I’ve been up to, but I feel the need to update my blog and I don’t have any creative ramblings at the moment.

Last weekend Dina & I went up to Ohio to visit with Melanie and her family.  We had a great time up there in spite of the really cold weather.  However, it was nice to see snow and we went snow tubing!!  That was such a blast.  Carlos hates to ski or even go to a ski resort, so I’m hoping now with the alternative of snow tubing we’ll be able to take some winter vacations.    I know that he would absolutely love it.  Whenever we go on rides at amusement parks all I hear is him beside me laughing like a little boy.  I know he’d be doing the same thing zooming down the hill on a tube at 40 mph.  Anyway, it was so good to see Mel and meet little Lulu.  I am glad that we were up there for 20 degree weather rather than 0 degree weather like this weekend, though.

On Tuesday mom had her knee replacement surgery.  I feel bad for her…that is a really traumatic surgery for someone’s body.  She has had a great attitude throughout the recovery process, and I feel like she should be on her feet again like normal very soon.  The hospital let her go home a day early so that is a positive sign.

I’m still sticking with my New Year’s resolution and using it as a motto for daily living and minding my own business.  I feel like people try to interject their issues into my life and I just don’t want anything to do with it.  I have a life of my own and with my husband.  He is my best friend, and I would much rather spend my time with him than anyone else.   When I am not busy with work or school, then he is my focus.

So anyway, maybe a little venting is included in this post 😉

TTFN

SC Trip and Other Ramblings

I’ve been very very busy recently, which is kind of weird considering that I have also been extremely sick also.  I came down with the flu, then that turned into pneumonia.  And during all of that, I worked, wrote papers for school, traveled and planned baby showers.  Crazy stuff!! 

One of my travels was up to South Carolina to visit the family.  I haven’t been up there since last December, so we were way overdue to pay a visit.  We got to spend time with a lot of people this trip since we were up there for five days.  I got to meet up with my old friend Caroline who I used to get into trouble with when we were in middle school through high school — sadly through church trips.  After retelling stories I think I realize now why her mom hated me so much when we were growing up.  Carlos & I got to meet her hubby Steve and it was instant man-love for those two:

Steve and Carlos

Steve and Carlos

Caroline is still a sweetheart and cracks me up.  I love her crazy ass and remembered why we had so much fun as kids.  She was such a good friend and I am sure will be one of those people who is always in my life forever and ever:

I also got to see Ashley and spend some time with the twins.  They are so cute!  Kate has such big eyes and is just the happiest little thing.  Gray is very pensive and thoughtful.  It’s interesting to see how early they begin to develop their own little personalities.  I guess they are biting now too.  I wasn’t privvy to that experience:

Kate

 

Gray

Gray

We went to the USC – UAB game and actually had great seats, but it was so hot.  Ashley’s sister in law, Shannon, and her husband are partners in one of those train cars so we left at half time to go back and finish watching the game with them.  OH!  I did get to see Doug Hislop my old neighbor at halftime.  My second concussion was with him – when I was six I temporarily forgot how to use my brakes on my bike and hit him in the back while he was on his green machine.  I flew over my handle bars and I guess landed on my head.  I blacked out and only remember waking up in Wes Harper’s arms with blood all down my face and shirt.  Those were my first stitches too.  I busted my lip.  It was good to see Doug — he really hadn’t changed a bit in the last 20+ years!  Anyway, it was nice to spend time with Ashley and Shannon.  Carlos was poopy and hung over from too much man love with Steve the night before, but us girls had fun together:

Shannon & Ashley

Shannon & Ashley

 

Ash & Me

Ash & Me

Sunday we hopped up bright and early and drove up to Charlotte to see my cousin Jill cheer in the Panthers game.  She gave us friends and family seats (very seats) but it was a 1:00PM game and they were directly in the sun.  I swear I almost passed out up there!  The Panthers played great and won, Jill looked great too:

Jill cheering

Jill cheering

Me & Jilly Bean

Me & Jilly Bean

We went out to a neat bar after the game in Charlotte called Blackfinn.  It was nice to see Jill and meet some of her friends.  Cheers to moving on girlfriend!

On Monday, we had the wonderful pleasure of driving up to Campobello to see Amy, Gray and Jack and dining with them at the world reknowned Beacon Drive Inn.  But not without visiting them at their lovely aluminum condo first:

It’s only temporary while they are adding on to their house now, but I’d rather move back in with my parents than live in that.  No offense, Amy.

That was our whirlwind trip up to SC.  On friday we are taking another whirlwind trip up to Atlanta for Phil’s wedding.  Hopefully, it won’t reactivate the flu or the pneumonia.

Adios for now!