to howl yet

Oh man, I tried so hard to make this weekend special for E. Back in June I started planning a three week trip to Asia. At one point we were going to spend the 20th anniversary of his heart transplant in the spa on the cruise ship. Then, after we renewed our vows in front of the Ship’s Captain ( I know, corny right?) we would have a four course dinner on the balcony of our suite floating somewhere in the Straights of Malacca, served by our personal butler. But life happens and in the grand scheme of things we are just grateful to be healthy and together.

We know there are young couples out there who may have to reschedule their weddings, high school grads looking at their formal dresses knowing they will not have a prom and of course those out there who are worried about their friends and family with the virus. It just sucks. But you come here to read about living a life off grid as a recipient of the gift of life. So we will stick to that topic.

I have added a new tab on the right hand side of the front page of the blog with the title Heart Transplant. In theory, you can find all of my transplant related posts through that link. Some are pretty good, usually the ones written around the anniversary date. I am honestly torn this year. Although I want to again give recognition for the tremendous gift we received and tell you how much we appreciate the donor and all of the support we have received over the last twenty years. But then I worry it could be a little self involved considering the world as we know it is changing and none of us know how it will turn out. This anniversary is perhaps insignificant.

I know that twenty years ago tonight we got the call that a new heart was available for E after waiting months on the list. He was running out of time. Now he sits beside me playing with his guitar, in front of a giant window over looking the most beautiful view a girl could imagine. The dog is laying at his feet. The progress he is making with the guitar must be pretty good because the dog hasn’t been driven

to howl yet

He is playing

Today is day five of quarantine or as I like to call it our first day taking life easy.

You see the kids and I gave E a guitar as a gift for his twentieth heart anniversary. In his youth he played the piano and clarinet and briefly attended guitar classes at the Dunbar Community Centre when he was twelve. Fifty odd years later we thought it would be good for him to take a break from standing one footed on ladders and spend some time relaxing..

Neighbours lent us music books this morning and he spent the afternoon playing around with his new toy. It must have been fairly melodic because I promptly fell asleep listening to him.

He had his annual check up with his St. Paul’s Doctor by phone this morning. Certainly much easier for us than a two day trip going into Vancouver. One wonders if this will become the new norm once the virus is gone.

I appreciate all of your concern, but the wine crisis is over. My sister in law brought me emergency rations last night in time for wine oclock.

In conclusion like many others we have plans to spend this time in isolation learning a new skill. For E it will be playing the guitar. I haven’t decided on mine yet but I have narrowed the options to either learning how to make donuts or guessing what song

he is playing

These difficult times

Day four of a life quarantined on the island or as I like to call it … living life almost exactly like we always do. E and I alone on the property doing chores during the day and binge watching TV at night. Our current show d’soir is Giri Haji. It is really good!

Admittedly, during the warmer months there is a very active social life on this island but during the winter months it is normal for us that two or three weeks might pass without socializing with others. This is not for everyone. In fact I think some relationships could find the situation difficult. For me, it is ideal. If you ask E if he agrees with me he would tell you that I said he does.

Three years ago I started my vegetable seeds earlier than normal (March 15th) as I was having my shoulder replaced. That summer’s harvest was the best I ever had. Yesterday I planted seeds. The guest room is playing the role of greenhouse this year.

E found a problem with the wiring on our well pump. It was a simple fix and The output has now increased from zero to 5 gallons a minute. This is going to make a substantial difference to our reserves. We discovered when we got home that the pump had not worked all winter. I envision our well is full to the brim with all of that untapped water and we are going to see great gains up top from well pumping. Lord knows there is no rain catching going on. We are having beautiful sunny days.

I am reducing my vegetable garden this year but still started 8 Cinderella pumpkins, 20 Ruths Medium tomatoes, 20 Pollock tomatoes, and 30 Yellow Wonder Light tomatoes and some lettuce. There should be enough tomato plants for us with some extra to trade. I have been given more asparagus and rhubarb plants. A friend is going to share some pea starts and that should be about it…

Although our son filled my grocery list before we got home we returned to find that we had forgotten a couple of items. The most critical being red wine! What was I thinking? Fortunately we have neighbours who have offered to pick up random items along the way for us.

Even after our quarantine is over we won’t be socializing or going to town until the situation is resolved. Although we love our neighbours dearly we can’t have any visitors. So we will have to change up a few of our routines.

Fortunately E had his annual blood work completed before we left on holiday. On Friday he is meeting with his medical team in Vancouver through FaceTime from here.. He just needs to take his BP and weight before the call.

I checked the liquor cabinet and although we have no red wine there seems to be an inordinate amount of Gin. Is it time I learn to like Martinis?

We all need to adapt during

these difficult times

not a hardship

On Saturday, we lay on the beach emailing our daughter. Our daughter was on the phone to our travel agent. The agent could not get through to Sunwing. From what started in the morning email to investigate if we can get an earlier flight home (we were supposed to fly home on the 22nd) to afternoon instructions that if the agent got through, tell her to book us on the next flight home.

We ordered another Margarita and went for a walk to the hotel lobby where the tour guys sell excursions. We approached the Sunwing guy who was sitting alone, obviously bored stiff.

Us: We would like to change our flights and leave.

Him: Why?

I held my phone out to show him the Gov’t of Canada bulletin to get home.

Us: Because our government is warning us to get home while we can.

Him: Because of the virus?

Us: Yes Him: That is fake news.

Choosing the calmer option of sipping my drink rather than jumping over the desk and wringing his neck for speaking those words to me, I responded

Me: Be that as it may we would like to go home.

So he got on the phone and changed our flight to the next day. He got straight through, had no trouble. There was no change fee but he made us sign a form refusing a refund for the lost week before he would change the flight. He crossed out the line on the form which stated quite clearly that we would receive a refund. We signed the form, knowing our travel agent could deal with Sunwing at home. This guy was not worth arguing with… We went back to the beach, told our kids we were sorted out and ordered a Pina Colada.

Sunday night at midnight our son picked us up from the airport and got us to our car. He had filled the car in advance with food and staples. On the ferry we stayed in our car. My brother met us in town with our dog. Our friends had our boat waiting for us and our other friends, who were house sitting, graciously allowed us to kick them out early.. Sorry!!!!! In forty eight hours our plans went from laying on the beach for ten more days to home and unpacked.

Yesterday, after unpacking, we phoned all of our kids to tell them we were home. We thanked them for their concern and help. We had to hang up early on one of our kids cause E noticed there were whales behind me.

We started planning a celebration for E’s 20th heart anniversary in June with a trip to Asia. In January we cancelled Asia and booked Mexico. In March we rescheduled Mexico and accepted that we would be celebrating alone at home on the island. It is

not a hardship.




On the beach

E and I are essentially lazy people. Sure it seems like we work hard on the island but deep down our preference is to do very little. We have, it seems, an infinite capacity for staring motionless at the ocean for hours and hours.

I have only read one book. E has read none. We have our head sets on with hours of prerecorded music. Our current favourite pastime at the beach is a game I like to call Spot the Canadian male. It is only for fun. No wagering is involved. Unaccustomed as I am to unreasonable generalizations, the Canadian male it seems has an easily identifiable uniform. Midcalf length shorts in a solid neutral colour. His shirt has no collar and is usually in a coordinated solid neutral tone. If there is a logo on his shirt at all, it is small or of an athletic genre. He is then usually of a fairly, trim build wearing a baseball hat. The hat if it has any logo at all, might have a small athletic logo. Some guy in a shirt emblazoned with Calvin Klein shouting at us or in an orange speedo is likely a very nice fellow but probably doesn’t know that it is perfectly acceptable to drink beer before ten am.

I have on occasion, for seemingly altruistic purposes, offered to take a family’s picture or complimented perfect strangers on their well behaved children. In actuality I am confirming by their accent a guess as to their citizenship.

There is a machine which I call the mexican zamboni. In the morning it scoops up all the seaweed on the beach. I have heard people complain about the seaweed. Not me, living on our island we know seaweed and all I can think of is what great compost it would make in my garden.

Don’t get me wrong, many men of all different nationalities on occasion may wear the uniform of the Canadian male and really, why shouldnt they. It’s a good look

on the beach.

To be thorough

Back in the day, travel agents were sent on Fam trips. Free trips to familiarize us with vacation destinations so that we could go back to the office and sell the packages with some personal knowledge. We would have to write Fam reports when we got home to better inform our fellow agents. I was a corporate agent so I didn’t go on many but for your edification here is my preliminary Fam report for this resort.

The resort where we are staying is gorgeous. We are enjoying it even more so because it seems unusually quiet. Although it is still spring break for many, the resort seems to be maybe two thirds full. As guests finish their weeks, which could be on any day of the week, it doesn’t seem like new guests are replacing them. As we are here for two weeks and most guests seem to only come for one, I am thinking due to the virus, the place will be practically empty next week.

Last night we had reservations at the seafood a la carte down on the beach. When you are considering transitioning to a more vegetarian type diet like we are, coming to a resort like this makes the choice easy. Prawns in garlic sauce, Calamari, Mahi Mahi… I’ll have to see if one of the Chefs would like to come home with us. You know, to stay away from the virus… and in return he could keep cooking meals like last night’s for me.

The resort grounds are very secure. We have yet to hear any gun fire and contrary to warnings from my readers, bedlam has yet to ensue. I can’t imagine the ne’er do wells want to hurt the tourist industry. This resort seems to employ hundreds and hundreds of very pleasant men and women. At any given moment a staff member drops what he is doing to answer our questions or escort us to our next activity.

Honestly , we feel like we are in the Fawlty Towers episode when Basil mistook a regular guest as the secret hotel inspector.

There are no issues with getting lounge chairs on the beach in the areas we like or on the pool deck in our favourite spot. Drink service to our chairs is frequent. We don’t bother making reservations at the a la Cartes. There are many choices and they are all free. We have had Italian, Spanish, and seafood. There is still a Brazilian, Japanese, Mexican and Thai restaurant to try. Although admittedly we eat probably earlier than most, we haven’t had to wait more than ten minutes in the bar for a table.

The other guests are mostly Mexican, European or Canadian. There are very few Americans.

I feel all of these observations should be examined more thoroughly through a comparison visit next year. I am not a scientist but perhaps the data should be collected over a ten year period. You know,

to be thorough.

To our room

First sentence I learned while in French Immersion at Dalhousie was … J’ai besoin de cendrier. (I need an ashtray). My first attempts failed when my new Québécois friends couldn’t understand why I kept asking for Cinderella. (Cendrillon)… I was nineteen and haven’t smoked since I was twenty two.

I dove into the pool yesterday and was quite delighted/surprised to discover that the shoulder replacement surgery I had in 2017 is a success. My arm works. I can swim again. The pools are huge and I had one of them all to myself for hours. Sure, there were guests in the chairs suntanning but no one was swimming.. Honestly, at one point I floated on my back staring up at the sun imagining this is what heaven must feel like.

Everything you could want or need is included at this all inclusive resort…. Every imaginable type of drink and all the house wines you want… But I drink enough cheap red at home. I want something special and there is a cost if you order decent wine. We have made friends with the sommelier we met the first night at the Italian a la carte restaurant and have been getting nice bottles of red with our dinners. But over two weeks it could be expensive.

We decided this morning to take a cab into town for a few bottles of wine for our room. We brought back four bottles and still made it to the pool by noon. But we are idiots and didn’t get screw tops.

I phoned the front desk and asked two different people for a sacacorchos. (Cork screw). They had no idea what we wanted. So we went to the in house store and they said they didn’t have one either. So we went to the front desk in person.. He assured me there would be one sent to our room right away.. We came back to our room at 4 pm cause Mama needs her 4 pm wine. But no cork screw had arrived.

So we went to an early dinner at the Spanish a la carte and who should be the sommelier but our guy from the Italian restaurant. We told him our problem and he happily gave us his corkscrew to take back to our room.

There is something pretty awesome in life when your only problem is the lack of a corkscrew.

I’m still kinda worried about what or who for that matter, they thought we wanted sent

to our room