I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I am all packed up and text Ron to tell him I'd like to buy him lunch at Pinocchio's. He texts me back to say he is at the gym and will meet me there at 1:00.

I load up my rental car with my luggage and, with deep sadness, take one last look around the beautiful home and grounds that has been my home for the past eight days. As I open the gleaming wooden gate set into the adobe wall that surrounds the yard for one last time, I feel quite choked up and almost cry. I really do love this place.


I have lot's of time to kill so I drive to the coffee shop just down the street from the restaurant and order a hot chocolate so I can sit in the sunshine on the sidewalk and finish the book I brought with me. The people working in the coffee shop must be short on sleep or something because trying to get my order right, and then giving me back the money they overcharged me for the wrong drink is a comedy of errors. At one point the guy just looks at me and says, "so what do you want me to do for you?" I say, "you can give me the drink I actually ordered along with change you owe me?" He ends up bringing my change outside where I am sitting, a full 15 minutes after I sat down, along with a $5 gift card for their mistake. I won't be able to use it before it expires so I will give it to Ron at lunch.

I luxuriate in the warmth of the sun and try to memorize how I am feeling right now. I won't get to feel sunshine burning through my jeans like this for a long time to come, and certainly not while looking up at palm trees. Oh how I wish... LONG... to live in a place where palm trees wave in the warm breeze all year 'round. Why can't it just BE?

While eating curried chicken salad at lunch with Ron (the first meal I have really enjoyed since getting MSG poisoning on the 23rd) he suggests dropping me at the airport really early so that I can clear security and relax in the outdoor waiting area in the sunshine. Apparently there's lounging chairs and even a putting green. It sounds like a good idea but I know enough to suppose that there won't be anyone at the Allegiant Air desk to check me in and thus will spend hours sitting in the waiting area indoors until the ticket agents come on duty. Ron assures me this will not happen as he's flown out of there hundreds of times and has never had to wait. That may be so but I am betting two things; he never arrived four hours before his flight and that he wasn't flying with tiny Allegiant. But I say nothing as I am pretty sure he just wants me out of his 'hair' so that he can get back to a normal life with no Christmas company. After returning my rental car, Ron drops me off outside the terminal with my bags precisely four hours before my flight is due to depart. I walk inside and, as I suspected, there is no one at the desk. So I sit and wait. For two hours. As the sun sets and it gets very dark. So much for soaking up some last minute rays. Not exactly how I had thought it would go when I very cleverly booked a flight late in the day so I could enjoy a few last precious hours in Palm Springs.

My bags are overweight, again, so I pay $50 and ask for a receipt. The agent used his computer to take the payment but now he pulls out one of those heavy sliding things they used to use for credit cards way back before the computer age. He puts my card through it and writes $50 in the charge area. I protest that I don't want another charge and he claims this isn't one. Then why do I have to sign it? I protest more but he insists this is how they give a receipt. So I write in bold caps that 'THIS IS NOT A CHARGE - DO NOT PROCESS' and sign it. I have huge misgivings as I walk away. If I do get charged twice, I am going to be furious. It's bad enough having to pay extra for bags at all.

After an uneventful flight we land in Bellingham at 9:30 to wet roads and freezing cold air. This is the part of the trip I have been dreading; loading everything and me into this cold, cold, rattly old jeep and driving an hour and a half home. But the drive goes pretty fast and I am at the border in no time. To find an hour line-up. But when I finally make it to the booth, he only asks where I was and how long I was gone. I had been worried about having to pay duty on the two large bottles of Malibu Rum I got for $16 each at the Rite Aid. He didn't even ask.

BYE-BYE BEAUTIFUL PALM TREES AND BLUE SKY As sad as I truly am to leave, it's so much better than last year. Now I have a job to come home to and a somewhat stable life. I am very grateful!

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