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The Journey Home

Yesterday was an extremely long day. I woke up at 5:30 am Denmark time which was 9:30 pm Missouri time. For the last time i had bacon and fresh-cut pineapples for breakfast. The pineapple was the best. Mom and I were off the boat by 7:45. We were herded onto busses to take us back to the airport. There were four buses total to take us to a tent where our luggage was located. Of course we ended up being the very last people in line to go in the tent. This made it easy to find our suitcases and the fact that they are orange helped a lot too. We then walked twenty miles into the airport. During the time we were waiting to get our luggage people were sneaking into the tent through a different entrance. We were scheduled to fly home Air Canada and guess what their desk did not even open until 9:15 to check luggage. So all those jerks that were in such a hurry had to wait anyway. We could not check in via the little machines because US passports do not have a bar code. So we stood in line forever to check our bags. I had done online check in but couldn’t print boarding passes because no telling what the cruise would charge to print. (haha) We then came across 7-11 and stopped for drinks and snacks. I found it so funny there is a 7-11 in Copenhagen airport. We then walked forever to our terminal. The flight was seven hours long. We left at 12:15 and arrived in Toronto at 7:15 (Copenhagen time) but it was now 2:15 in the afternoon. I watched three movies. My favorite all time cheerleading movie Bring it On, Despicable me 2, and Wild. Now I had read the book Wild, it’s about a girl who went hiking on the Pacific Trail Coast with zero experience and used it as therapy to get over her divorce and the death of her mother. The book was so much better but I enjoyed watching it. I didn’t sleep at all. After we landed in Toronto the adventure really began.

We got off the airplane and walked a really long way before we reached the area for going to the united states. We walked up to computers where you had to scan your passport and answer if you were bringing wildlife into the country. That took forever to get it to read our passports. We then entered the line for security which  was huge and the folks were crabby and made everyone take off their shoes. Of course I had to pull my computer out and everyone had to take off jackets. We finally managed to get through that to another line to go through customs. By this time it’s 3:30 and our flight was due out at 4:15. We got moved to an even longer line because we had an X on the paper that printed after the passport scanning. Finally mom went and complained we were going to miss our flight so we got moved to a priority line. I am not sure what was wrong with our passports but it was fixed within five minutes. So we go to find our gate and it now says our flight is cancelled. I’m thinking if I’m stuck in Canada until tomorrow I’m going to kill someone. I just wanted to get home and see Brian and Allyson. So we go to the desk and find we’ve been put on another flight that will be a half an hour later and had new boarding passes printed.

The flight to St. Louis was uneventful. I think I may have slept 45 minutes but it was that time where I was dreaming I was awake. Mom was convinced our suitcases would be lost but they showed right up on the carousal. Brian waited until right before we landed to leave so we only had to wait about five minutes till he picked us up. This worked out nicely since mom hadn’t smoked a cigarette since the suitcase line in Denmark. He forgets he is taking her home and takes 55 instead of 270 so we had the scenic tour. We dropped her off and headed home. I was so glad to be home and fell asleep around 8:30 after being up for about 22 hours. I haven’t done that in at least 16 years when I use to do an occasional overnight shift in the burn unit.

 

Mole Moral~ It’s always an adventure to go on vacation with me. Any crazy thing that can happen probably will. This trip was no exception and left us with many fun memories.

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Deck Chair Guy

I arrived on the ship on a Wednesday and the very next day was a sea day. Since I am still training for the 50k, I decided to waste no time and do my ten-mile run. I was happy to discover the ship track was a quarter-mile so four laps was a mile. That was the day I used GPS and the crazy thing said I did 38 miles with a 3:45 pace. No worries as I adjusted that. It was that first run that I noticed a guy stacking up the deck chairs for the night. He was easy on the eyes as well so it made the time pass nicely.
I didn’t do all the runs I was supposed to because there were days when it was so windy the track was closed. But every time I ran I would see deck chair guy. The day I did the marathon after the second mile it was raining and so windy the deck was closed so I ran on deck twelve under cover around the tables. I actually walked because the deck was wet and I wasn’t falling. Deck chair guy did not disappoint as he was in the towel exchange booth for an hour or so. Every time I rounded the corner there he was. I swear every time I looked over he was looking at me. He was probably thinking what is wrong with this woman running around in circles and in all orange.
So today I decided to be brave and go up and talk to him. His English wasn’t the best and I don’t think many crazy ladies talk to him. I asked if his only job was the chairs and he said no he can serve drinks, and he was a deck server. This cruise was not warm at all so there was not a lot of people out by the pool. So I am sure he didn’t have a lot to do. Plus I swear I’m one of the youngest people on the cruise. I asked to take his picture and I got his name tag because I want to mention him in the email survey about the cruise. His job is one that is not front and center but important and he probably never gets recognition. (It’s kind of like being the nurse that takes care of patients right after surgery, they are too drugged up to remember that nurse.) I did thank him for helping me pass the time while running and told him I was training for a 50k.
I will post his picture but keep in mind two things. One he had a hat on which hid his awesome hair and two he is probably 6/6 and weighed 150 pounds. His pants were always high waters.

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And those of you that know me, know how I like tall and super thin. Hee hee.

Mole moral ~ Take the time to recognize and appreciate the people behind the scenes who are often overlooked.

 

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Mercy House Dublin Ireland

Today was the day I have been looking forward to for months. When I was talking about taking a cruise and visiting Dublin, the best pharmacist ever (Kathy M.) told me she had seen Mercy Dublin in passing when she was in Ireland. She told me that they did tours during the week. When I checked the cruise schedule we would be there on a Sunday. I then contacted the guy in charge of missions (not sure of his title). He was spending a month volunteering there and would see if he could arrange a tour. Sadly, he couldn’t but I had plan B in my pocket. My mom and I would take a taxi over (it was about four miles from the peir) and take photos. I have been really nervous about the taxi because I had only been in one once and it was this past leap day. However, if I wanted to see where Catherine McCauley lived I would have to shove the nervousness to the side.

So we got in a taxi with a really nice guy. It wasn’t too long before he dropped the F bomb, so I knew God sent him and we were safe. I gave him the address and when I said the statue of the nun, he said “oh the Catherine McCauley house.”
They drive on the opposite side of the road here so I had to remind myself that we weren’t going to have a head on collision.
The taxi guy waited while we took some pictures. It was totally cool to stand on Baggot Street. That is the name of the cafeteria in the doctors building at Mercy St. Louis. Baggot Street is also the name of Mercy’s intranet. This is me walking on Baggot street. I’m not the best with selfies.

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Here are some pictures of the house and me of course. I kind of got the chills thinking about Catherine building the house and helping people. It was founded September 24, 1827 and we were there on September 25, 2016.

After this little adventure the taxi guy drove us to a souvenir shop and waited for us because we both knew what we wanted.

After this we returned to the ship and of course what happened next only happens to CR. Everyone told us all the taxis take credit cards. Well this guy didn’t and all he took was Euros which we had none. So I left my mom in the backseat while I ran into the ship to get some cash exchanged to pay the guy. When I came out I told him I thought about leaving my mom with him for payment and he cracked up. He was telling us he took his wife and two kids out for pizza. The kids had a soda and his wife had a glass of wine and he a beer and his total was 140 euros. (157 bucks). Surely it’s much cheaper to cook at home.
Mole moral ~ Always ask the taxi guy if he takes credit so you don’t have to make a mad dash on and off the ship to pay him.

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The mother daughter trip to South Carolina

I was rather quite on Facebook after Emily and I arrived at Uncle Larry’s. This was because we had a rather chill time. As Emily described it, “it was like a beach vacation without the beach.” My mom thought this was hilarious and calls my uncle a beach bum. We did manage to leave the house three times. Once to go to the grocery store, once to visit my cousin and lastly to visit Shelly and her family.
I met Shelly in 2011. She was training with fleet feet and a friend of J-Ho’s. They met at fleet feet. I had met her at the Halloween 5K a couple weeks before my big Dr Veronikis surgery. Shelly and her husband and I believe his sister had signed up for the Arnold turkey trot. Their babysitter cancelled at the last minute. J-Ho knew we both lived in Arnold so she had Shelly contact me. They actually lived within walking distance of us. (Maybe a 1/4 of a mile~normal people walking distance). Brian took Emily over to babysit and I went with to pick up. I still felt like hell but must have not looked too bad, because Shelly asked me if I ran that day. A couple years later Shelly was transferred to Kansas City for her job and Emily ended up being her kids “nanny” or babysitter. Whatever they are called these days. Emily loves Shelly’s kids and was always excited to babysit for her. She would be bummed when school would conflict and she wasn’t able to help out. Shelly was transferred to North Carolina around the time the school year ended. (At least I think, I can’t keep my own dates straight these days). Emily was so sad because she had to give up seeing the people she loved.

A couple months ago I came up with the grand idea to visit my uncle, cousin and Shelly since they all live about an hour and a half from each other. And I did airport checks and we could fly southwest for 150 round trip into Charlotte NC which was also in the one and a half hour radius. It was perfect. And thanks to all the silly cake hunting, my fear of not knowing where I’m going is much less. As Emily pointed out I had the radio volume on 17 dropping the rental car off when normally it would be 8 or less. Although when the freak horned me in the drop off spot my anxiety shot through the roof and I looked for my tranquilizer gun to shoot the dude.

We had a great time at Shelly’s. Her kids are so well behaved and polite. Emily knew what she was talking about. I hadn’t seen her husband Arick in such a long time. I had forgotten how much I loved him. I was reminded of the love dare days in which I was to identify a couple with a great relationship that I would want to use as a model. Herc and Christy Noblitt were who I chose. Had I known Shelly and Arick at the time, they would have been included. Shelly shared with me after I first met her that there were six girls in line for Arick if Shelly died. I immediately announced I’m number seven and started calling myself that. I conveniently forgot that the entire time we were visiting. It’s a good thing too or I might have not been able to speak to Arick. I really am shy in a lot of ways! They really are a great family and I hope one day they are brought back home to Saint Louis (because life really is all about me).

My fitness was horrible this past week. When I say chill I should have said never moving off the couch. I usually average 12,000 steps a day (I have a competition problem) and yet this vacation it was like 3000. I forgot my charger for my fitbit so I went a good 24 hours without data input and yet the world did not come to an end. Full marathon training starts tomorrow. I was going to use the coach portion on my Nike plus app but that starts off with an eight mile long run. That is ridiculous so while sitting on the couch at uncle Larry’s a found a much more reasonable 16 week training plan. So watch out Fitbit friends the step monster will be back on track. While at the charlotte airport I decided to walk the length of the airport for steps. Now I know why they say Lambert is tiny. Concourse E had 50 plane slots. Not sure what they are called. I got in about 2500 steps. I’m a crazy nut job.

As my mother daughter trip with Emily comes to an end, it’s time to start planning my mother daughter trip with Kayla. She wants to do a four day cruise so that means I need to work a little extra. She also wants to fly instead of drive so I better start working on that anxiety. How are we getting from airport to boat. Now I’m thinking taxi or über. I think I need a drink stronger than the diet doctor pepper I ordered on the plane.

Mole moral~ Despite all the yelling and fighting Emily and I had a great time at Uncle Larry’s and once again not seeing anything in Greenville South Carolina. Maybe the fourth trip I will actually leave the couch. Probably not!

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My new nickname

imageBrian and I have a nickname for almost everyone we know. The more we like someone, the more nicknames we have. A few of mine are ma sqaw, not the mama (from a show called The Dinosaurs that was on when Emily was little), crabby for thirty years, Rach etc. About the time we hit Death Valley Brian started calling me Schleprock. After a couple of days I asked him what that was about. He loved The Flinstones when he was little so he told me that Schleprock was a character on the show that always had bad luck. He said Fred and Barney would tell him to go away.
I was the one who planned the vacation so I earned the nickname.

Here is a recap of our disaster vacation.
1. We went to pick up the rental car and the lady gave us two choices so we picked the bigger one. When we checkout a different lady says it’s a bigger size and we owe more money. I said that’s not happening that lady told us we could have that one. So I had to track her down in the parking lot and she attempts to blame me. I confronted her and she signed the paper so it was the same price.
2. At the end of the race my phone jams up and I did not get a picture with the bear.
3. Brian had heard about the California mudslides while I was running but thought surely it won’t affect us. Of course it did and that drive turned into nine hours.
4. Our first night we spent at sequoia it rained overnight. This caused the restaurant help to be severely understaffed from call ins. Therefore, breakfast took over an hour.
5. Some of the stuff we wanted to see was unavailable due to the rain.
6. On the way to Death Valley I look to see how much that park costs to get into and find out they had rain the night before. A bunch of people got stuck at Scotty’s castle and half of what we wanted to do was not available.
7. The place I wanted to see the most was badwater and it had already been closed from the rain the week before.
8. Death Valley had spotty cell service and our dog got lost. It’s our cell numbers on the dogs tags.
9. We arrive in the Grand Canyon to sleet and find out they usually have snow by Halloween.
10. We arrive at the airport three hours early and still almost miss the plane.

Although all this makes it seem like we had a horrible time, it really was the best vacation ever. Here are some positives
1. The plane didn’t crash.
2. It was fun to watch Brian be amazed by the trees, wildlife, and nature. He was in guy heaven.
3. I found an amazing ring made by Navajo’s.
4. I ran my race faster than I thought I would.
5. Many hours of quality time due to no wifi and cell service.
6. My dog was found and safe.

Brian bought himself some property so I told him I’m picking the anniversary trip. I think he was pleasantly surprised how man like it was. He loved the Grand Canyon tour and said it was more than worth the money. That says a lot more than I could ever articulate.

Mole moral~ When crazy things happen on vacation come up with a funny nickname and have fun with it. As we were booking down the hall to get on the plane I put my hands over my head and yelled I am Shleprock.