Sunday, July 07, 2013

Sliding into Summer

I know, I've been neglecting the blog. Just too much going on plus that dang Facebook to find time to write. Looking at the last post makes me sad as we have had a falling out of sorts with our longtime friends and now it seems we are no longer on speaking terms. Sad. I take such things particularly badly since I don't have very many friends and the ones I do have I keep forever. Not gonna go into details as it's neither here nor there, but maybe too that's why I've been absent for a while. I'm still hoping we can mend fences, optimistic pollyanna that I am. Now onto something more fun.

Cruising with the family! Yes, all my hard work organizing the family cruise vacation paid off and we all had a wonderful time aboard the Carnival Inspiration.

Fist though, I got to meet my dad's new dog whose name is escaping me, though I do know it starts with an L. It's an English Pointer mixed with something. Sweet dog. We all gathered at dad's house for pizza night and for me to go over important points for cruise embarkation. Many family members had never been on a cruise before, so there was a lot of excitement in the air. 

This was our 7th cruise. I can't believe it. Our first was on our honeymoon in January 2005, the year I started this blog. We boarded in no time and had our welcome aboard drink and then walked around the ship getting a feel for it.

The dining room was all ready for us and all 13 of us were able to sit together each night for dinner at a big round table. It was a great way to talk about our day and discuss the next day's possible activities. One thing I hadn't counted on was seasickness. Serge and I have never gotten queasy on a cruise ship even though we have been in very rough seas, but several family members battled nausea during the cruise. And there was only very gentle rocking motion.

One great thing was the first night we went to the Friends of Dorothy meet and greet at the atrium bar and met these handsome lads. We hit it off right away and talked for hours and ended up spending every evening carousing with them. I couldn't help wondering if the universe was sending in replacements for our lost friends. They live in San Francisco and I am going to visit them in a couple weeks. Bonus, my brother lives there so I get to hang out with him too.

The first stop was Catalina Island. It took the ship 16 hours to get there even though it's barely a two hour sail. The ship just hung out in the international waters so the passengers could get their gambling on. Your frugal host spent a whole twenty dollars in the casino during the cruise, even though we played every day. Ha! The photo above is of the casino building on Catalina. The family walked around town and visited the museum there. It was once THE place for the rich and famous.

Then dad, the cousin, Serge and I took a Segway tour around town. It was fun and although Serge and I had done it in Washington DC, it was a new experience for dad and cousin. The one hard part of it is that you are standing the whole time.

The next day we stopped in Ensenada, Mexico. This is the only picture I have of us from this day because I accidentally deleted ALL the pictures in the camera. I wasn't paying attention and poof, all gone. It was a fun day and we took a tour to see the blowhole, a natural phenomenon where the sea creates a geyser when the conditions are right, and for us they were! Very impressive. Less impressive was buying sleeping pills at the pharmacy only to get home and find that they were fakes. Yes, I know, buyer beware, especially in Mexico.

That's a video I took at our last dinner together. What a great vacation with a wonderful family. We definitely missed those who could not attend.

The last day in California we went to the IRS to get Serge a taxpayer number since he will now have to file US taxes since we now own rental property in Florida. (Except for an air conditioner that needs to be replace, all is going well with that.) But since Serge already had a social security number from 20 years ago, we learned we were in the wrong place. We had long forgotten his SS number so we had to go to the social security office to try to get one. It was a bit combative at first with the agent insisting that Serge have the legal right to reside in the states, but finally we worked it out. See we kept saying he needed a social security card, but all we needed was the number. Once that became clear, it was easy peasy. She printed that number right up for us.

The trip home was awful. Late planes and flat tires and a car breakdown meant we didn't get home until 4am, just as the first light was appearing in the sky.

Since then, I've been finishing up my contracts, just a couple classes to go until I'm off for the rest of the summer. Last weekend another cousin came up for a quick visit during the Canada day weekend.

They were totally enchanted with Montreal in the summer. It was fun showing them around because they so appreciated the architecture and the jazz festival and all the hordes of people filling the city. I tell you, early July is THE best time to visit this city, it will knock your socks off.

Finally, we decided to sell our place! The building went on the market Friday and while we would like to stay and continue renting our unit from the new owners, in all likelihood, we will have to move. Not looking forward to that, but we are downsizing as much as possible so we will have less to move when it comes time. Serge is having fun scoping out possible places to live, but I want to wait until we have interested buyers.

So now the blog is up to date. I've got another trip to California in a couple weeks and then a junket (my annual) to Vegas. I may shop for property while I'm there since we are going to reinvest in the states again with the (if it sells) proceeds. So in all honesty, I will probably be back here in mid-august. Until then, MWAH!

Oh wait almost forgot, Georgie is doing better. He's a sloth in the summer so that's probably helping him heal. Here's a shot of the little guy for you.