Sunday, March 25, 2012

Home again, home again…

I slept really good last night, after the chills and my body spasming died down… I thought I was just too warm. When Karen got here in the morning she took off my heel lift boots and there was a HUGE blister underneath one of the straps, they were on to tight. Karen came in with a bottle of creamer and said "I'm glad that nobody tried this coffee creamer and thought I was bad and threw it away”. While we were on our road trip the container that my shampoo came in cracked so we put it inside a coffee creamer container. It turned out to be a beautiful day and Robby and I went for a really long cruise through the lagoon, down to the end of the wharf and back and through the boardwalk and back. It looks like they are done with the Marine Sanctuary they are building over by the wharf, they were doing the landscaping and it is done now. It didn't look like it was open and I don't know how much they did on the inside but I remember going to the groundbreaking ceremony. They close off the trail that I used to go through and they tore up the sidewalk in front so it took me a long time to figure out how to get to the wharf, the sidewalk is fixed now and they repaid part of the trail so hopefully it will be opening back up soon. I got back home and Otis was working on the yard, he didn't even realize that I was gone for 5 weeks… it sure is nice to be missed LOL. I came back home and rested for a bit and then when Janea came in I put on my wrist weights and did my exercises, I didn't do them while I was on the road trip and I sure can't tell the difference. I guess typing with my left hand and using the mouse with my right hand is a lot of exercise when you don't sleep very much. Karen told me that something REALLY exciting happened on desperate housewives so to watch the shows that I have TiVoed but I forgot until she reminded me again this morning, I had 5 episodes TiVoed so I started watching them this morning but didn't get to finish them until tonight and wouldn't you know the 4th episode I have TiVoed, the really dramatic episode, was totally blank all the way through… what luck?? Luckily I have Hulu plus and was able to watch the episode I missed.

Tuesday was a very frustrating day, I don't know if it's because I was getting up every day for 5 weeks and I have now been down for 2 days and I have one more to go while they fixed my chair, or just because I am tired. Not much really happened, I ate breakfast, did personal-care and range of motion, I watch TV, I ate dinner… that's about it. I thought that was it. My aunt called to see if we wanted to play cribbage, I'm so glad that she did because I was on my 2nd day in bed and I was going nuts. My aunt was my partner and we kicked butt!

Wednesday was my 3rd and hopefully final day in bed. Daniel came by from ATG rehab and put the motors on my chair, tighten everything up and just basically gave it the once over so I am ready to go. I usually stay in bed on Friday because I get my massage in the morning and then we do personal care and then a nice long hot bath but I hope I still have time to get up after that because Robby and I both need to get out of here. The weather has been cold and miserable but not a lot of rain, I just have to bundle up. I downloaded a couple of movies on pay-per-view that I have been wanting to watch, extremely loud and incredibly close and the descendents… I hope there is good as they look like they are. If I hurry up in order for them before March is over I get $10 back, that's 2 movies so I better get to it.

Thursday was an awesome day. We got everything done and got ready to get dressed and the nurse called and said she was going to come by, I have been trying to get a hold of her since Saturday evening and I'm glad I caught her before she went on vacation. She got me set up with a podiatrist and I have an appointment tomorrow morning at 9 AM, hopefully we can find out what keeps breaking down the skin on the back of my ankle, between my ankle and my heel. I got up and took Robby for a cruise through the lagoon, to the beginning of the wharf where we just sat for a while and watched the ocean, down to the end of the wharf and back… there's usually too many people on the end of the wharf to stop. We also cruise down through the boardwalk and back and then back home, it felt so great to be out and the sun was shining. Teresa came to put me to bed after she finished with school so I got a nice long hot bath before. I bought this new hair care system that I have been saying for years late at night/early in the morning on a infomercial and been wanting to try. I don't usually believe the infomercials but they have a special so I figured why not? It's only the 2nd time that I have tried it and I already love it, after only 2 washings my hair is back to being soft and looking shiny like it was before 5 weeks of, wind, dust, cold and tangles…

‎"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown

Friday I got up early, well I don't usually get up on Fridays, because I have my podiatrist appointment at 9 AM. Everybody there, including the doctor, were awesome. Very knowledgeable and funny. He gave me some antibiotics and gave us a new way to dress the wound and scraped some stuff off of it. He said that my foot drop wasn't as bad as we thought it was, in fact it wasn't bad at all… that's what I was mostly worried about. We change the dressing every morning and I go back to see him on Wednesday. He said that he had 3 labs, he said he had 5 or 6 at one time, he also had a bunch of cats and some other animals… a real zoo sounded like. I came back home and Teresa waxed Karen and I and I took Robby out for a really long cruise, it was kind of cold out but we both needed to go out. My uncle and aunt, Lee and Claudia and my mom and I played cribbage, my mom was my partner and we won every single game, we won $10… I feel like we won the lottery even though we didn't play. I wear a typing implement on my left hand so I can type on the computer, I have a pencil eraser on the end of it so it's not so slippery. After everyone left I could feel my hair tickling my ear so I went to push the hair out of my ear and then itched so I stuck the eraser in my ear and it broke off, just a little piece on the end and it went down deep… I can't believe I did that. I tried to dig it out with my thumb but I couldn't do it so I had to call my mom to come down and get a flashlight and some tweezers and she finally got it out, can you believe that?? Okay most of you who know me might believe that.

Saturday was a nice relaxing day. Teresa was here and we did some personal care and then I got a nice long hot bath, I never get tired of those baths. It was raining in the morning and it was supposed to rain all day, of course it rained until right before Teresa went home. The sun is out and it is beautiful until you open the door and feel the cold wind… I'm glad I'm on the inside looking out. Heather came by and made some fish, I think cod, some spinach, some mustard chicken and some asparagus. I eat so good with Heather around, I don't know what I would do without her. Who gets a chef to cook their meals for them every day, I feel so lucky. I had Teresa checked my ear with that ear flashlight thingy to make sure my mom got all of the eraser out, my ear felt funny but I'm sure it was just the thought of what I did. I was sitting here watching Dr. Phil and I heard Robby starts heaving so I called my mom and she came down and sure enough Robby got sick all over the floor, I always feel so bad for him because he's sick and I don't know what it is and he looks like he's going to get in trouble for getting sick, is this normal? My mom cleaned it up and looked like it was pretty much all of his food and I don't dare feed him again so the poor guy has to wait until tomorrow morning. I hope he feels better now. Of course if he doesn't I can't really take him to the vet until Monday. My poor handsome guy…

Sunday was just a really long off day. Susan came over and gave me a massage because I missed Friday, it had been 6 weeks and she said my neck, arms and shoulders had a lot of knots. I'm going to have her come twice next week to see if we can get them under control, my upper body is so sore. I got up about noon and decided to take Robby for really long cruise but it seemed like everywhere we went there was way too many people around, it was a beautiful day and I think everybody decided to come to Santa Cruz so I got frustrated after we cruised through the lagoon, to the end of the wharf and back and through the boardwalk and back so I just came home. I even looked downtown and it looked like it was crowded to.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Almost home...

When Kelly went to start the van on Monday morning it wouldn't start. We thought maybe the filters were full of dust because of the dust storm so we called AAA, they couldn't do anything so we has to find a Mercedes dealer in the area and have it towed… The nearest Mercedes dealer was 40 miles away. They called us the next day and told us that the battery underneath the driver seat was Fried, I think that's the battery that works the ramp. We ended up staying here two extra nights, we had planned on being home Wednesday or Thursday but now it looks more like we'll be home Saturday. After the van was fixed the towing company and the Mercedes dealer we're arguing about who should bring the van back, of course neither of them wanted to do it. Finally the guy that towed it to the Mercedes dealer said that he would bring it to us after work, on his own time, he was so sweet. It was so cold outside we couldn't really do anything so the first day we just stayed inside and visited. We thought about taking a taxi to go get some food but we ended up just ordering pizza. We got a really good night sleep then the second day we decided to brave it and go out into the cold to Walmart to get some things that we had needed that were in the van. We went over to De La Vega's Pecan Grill & Brewery. We had a lot of really good choices but I'm glad we decided to go there because the food was awesome, everybody really enjoyed what they had. We went back and got a phone call that the guy was going to bring the van back. It was the guy that took it out there and he brought it back on his own time.
We slept really good and then got up to get the heck out of here. Our next stop is Arizona to visit Kelly's mom, aunt Bobby. Then to Santa Ana to visit Karen's family and then one more night and we should be home by Saturday.
It has been a really great trip but it will be nice to get back home. I think this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I am so glad that we did it. I have been so relaxed and I think we all had a great time. We found another Mexican on yelp that looks like a really good place, it was. It was called Cafe Poca Cosa. I had cod with green chilies and lentils and they gave me a huge salad. Kelly and I almost split up late and we should have because it was humongous and then they gave us a bowl of pinto beans and a bowl of rice. They had passion fruit cheese and it was awesome. We headed to Arizona but we didn't know that there is league baseball and a golf tournament here so it was really hard to find a place to stay. We finally found a holiday Inn in Phoenix Arizona. We were all really tired but Kelly decided to go and visit her mom, her mom lives about 5 miles away from here. Tomorrow we're all going out to breakfast, tomorrow I will probably be in a better mood. I slept really good and I feel a lot less cranky today. Unfortunately my aunt Bobby has a doctors appointment and we need to get out of here because we have a 6 Hour drive so I won't be able to say hello to her. I wish I would have went down and met her in the lobby with Kelly last night. Nobody has eaten because we thought we were going out to breakfast so hopefully there is a Starbucks on the way out so we can at least have coffee. We are getting ready to leave Arizona and I was cruising Robbie around the parking lot to get him some exercise so he won't be so uncomfortable while we travel and I see some guy walking towards me and waving, at first I thought he was crazy and then I recognized him, it was my cousin Mike. He just happened to be in the area working on a duplex, he is a contractor. I was so excited to see him, I haven't seen him for probably eight years and he looked great. We visited for a while but we had to go. He promised to come out this summer and visit, I hope he does because I miss him so much. We left Arizona and headed for California. Of course about halfway through the desert a light came on on the engine. We called Kelly's husband Tom, Karen texted her brother and I called Gabe to see what it was and apparently we were low on Diesel Engine Fluid. Apparently the only place you should get the fluid is at a Mercedes dealer but besides Phoenix which we just left the next one was about two hours away and we didn't know how long we could go until the van would just stopped. Gabe said you can also go to a Ford dealer because they sometimes have the same thing so we went there but we were still afraid to put it in because we were afraid that Mercedes wouldn't service it if we put the wrong thing in, It might break the warranty. We found a Dodge dealer who also makes the Sprinter and they looked it up and found the right stuff. It took about six
Gallons but we were on the road again with the right stuff. Our next stop was Karen's parents house, she makes the best food. She made some Menudo and she was making tacos, needless to say they were both awesome and we ate way too much. We ended up going to bed about 11 o'clock and Karen went back over to her parents to hang out. I slept really good and got up feeling great. Karen's parents invited us over for breakfast to have some Sopas, I know they will be killer. We decided it's about 6 1/2 hours to get home so we're just going to do it.
We stopped off at Karen's parents house for breakfast, I swear they are the neatest people. The mom is in the kitchen cooking away and the dad is in the bedroom singing, the two brothers are always joking around and just having fun. Her Mom reminds me of a big kid, she's just so happy and playful. I ate way more than I should have and she gave me leftover Menudo from last night. We hated to leave. Her older brother went out and checked all the fluids in the van… Which were really low by the way. We were going to stop and spend the night in Fresno but we were also anxious to get home and we just decided to drive straight through and we got here about 9 PM, it felt really good to get home.

36 days, 7466 miles, 162 cups of coffee, 373 gallons of gas, 2 oil changes, 13 states (some twice), 68 hotel rooms, 1 fleabag motel, 64 free breakfasts, 3 doggy baths, dodged a few tornadoes, a 2 day dirt storm through Texas followed by snow, 2 packs of allergy pills, towed once, celebrated St. Patrick’s day, visited Elvis, 3 home cooked meals, commandeered a “wash-o-rama” with 18 loads of laundry, more BBQ and tacos than we care to admit, beignets & chicory coffee in the french quarter & a mini Mardi Gras parade, alligators, 2 airplane rides…. ZERO squabbling.

My cousin Kelly, my service dog Robby, our friend Karen and I spent 5 weeks together on an amazing road trip from Santa Cruz, California to Fort Lauderdale, Florida AND back to Santa Cruz. So many sites, stories and memories… too many mention, it’s a trip I will always cherish.

I had a really good night sleep and woke up on Saturday feeling great. It rained, Pretty much all Saturday and all of Saturday night… I love to leave my door open and listen to the rain, especially at night, it is so soothing. Teresa and Janea came in at 4 PM and in 4 hours they emptied the van, put everything away, washed all of my dirty clothes and cleaned up… it was amazing how fast they did it. My nephew stop by unexpectedly, what a nice surprise, with about 5 or so of his friends. They were on their way back from a retreat and wanted to go to the boardwalk but ended up cruising around downtown because it was raining. Heather came by and cook some black ling cod and some asparagus, she came by on Friday night before I got home and cook some mustard chicken, spinach and quinoa… it is so great to have real good food that is good for you. She also did a demonstration where she works and brought me home a turkey and avocado wrap.

Sunday was a really long personal-care day but at the end of it I got a nice long hot bath, I stayed in the bathtub for 2 Jacuzzi cycles it felt so good, my 1st bath in 5 weeks. I got to take showers while we were on the road but there's nothing like a hot Jacuzzi bath. I went back to bed but for some reason I couldn't sleep as exhausted as I was, my body kept spasming and I couldn't tell if I was just too hot or if there was something wrong. I finally fell asleep watching Dr. Phil.

Monday, March 12, 2012

On our way back...

We all got a good night sleep and I got a nice long hot shower, even though we got a late start it was great morning. While the girls were loading the van I took Robbie and cruise around and found a shopping center. I found a carousel shoes and a discount clothing warehouse. I didn't get a chance to go look inside of them but what I saw from the outside looked pretty cool. I got a text from Karen saying that they were loaded up and ready to go. I cruise back and we decided to go to Walmart because we needed a few things. We ended up getting more than a few things but things that we really need it. We were looking for some St. Patrick's day shirts but we didn't see any. We still have until Saturday so hopefully we will find something. We cruised downtown and saw the cutest puppy outside of the candy store. His name is Wilbur and there was a sign that explained all about him so we thought that they were trying to get rid of him but they weren't . We cruised around for a while looking for souvenirs and then ended up eating at this place called The Redneck Gormet,the food was awesome. I had a pulled pork Sandwich, Brunswick stew and some fried mushrooms. Kelly and Karen had a turkey, bacon and spinach wrap… Karen had fries and Kelly tried fried Green tomatoes. We found a couple of T-shirts there that said something funny on them, I don't remember what it was. We loaded back up in the van, without our new friend Wilber and headed for Greenville Alabama. We ended up staying in another Hampton Inn which was very nice. We had a good night sleep, in fact I missed both episodes of intervention. We got up and headed for Slidell Louisiana. We drove and found a really nice little restaurant called Southside Café. It was pretty much in honor of Hurricane Katrina and the big fire, It was an awesome tribute. The food was really awesome. I had a cup of seafood gumbo, and Kelly and I split a soft Shell crab Po boy and a crawfish sandwich. Karen had a catfish po boy and some french fries with cheese and chili, it really looked good.
We had another really good nights sleep and then got up and went to New Orleans for the day. We have so much fun walking up and down the streets, checking out everything and trying to decide where to eat. We found a little place called The Oyster House and it was really cool, we sat in kind of a doorway. I had crab and corn chowder and split some crab and crawfish ravioli with Karen and Kelly had crab claws and crab and corn chowder, everyone was very happy.
We cruised around a little more and then we stopped at this place that was famous for Beignets and chicory coffee. I waited over by the bench so I could save a place for us, it seemed like it took them forever but they were awesome. We had another couple of places that we wanted to try but we were still full so we decided to just go back to the hotel, we had such a great day. We stayed another night in the same hotel and then packed up in the morning.
We drove on towards Texas and stop at Steamboat Bills Seafood Warehouse in Lake Charles Louisiana for dinner. The guy met us outside and said he had never looked inside such a big van and would we mind so of course we let him. He said that he would meet us inside he was the cook. We had way more food then probably five people could eat. Kelly and I split the seafood platter which had catfish, stuffed shrimp and crab, fried shrimp, fries and a roll. We also split a huge baked potato with shrimp and crawfish, cheese and some kind of really awesome Ettouffee sauce. Karen was smart and just had to bake potato. We also had an order of Boudin Balls. After we ate that guy came over and gave us two of the biggest brownies I have ever seen in my life, he said that he makes them himself. Needless to say we also have breakfast or the morning. We drove on to Beaumont Texas and stay at our first Marriott courtyard, I really really nice place. We had a really long hard night of personal care and slept really hard. I woke up with a headache but I don't know if it's from allergies or sleeping wrong.
Apparently there was something going on I think spring break, St Patrick's Day and some kind of South by Southwest music festival for two days so we couldn't find any place near Houston or Austin to stay so we found a place in Weimar Texas. We found a little Mexican restaurant called and a Days Inn so we decided to risk it. It turned out to be a really nice place and we had a really big room. The Mexican restaurant, Leticia's, was really good food also. It wasn't as much of a scary night as we thought it would be. I did hear something howling outside that kept waking me up, I don't know what it was. Robby kept crawling underneath my rollaway bed… I wonder if he knew something that we didn't know. Thank God we are leaving early this morning. We drove to Adkins Texas because Karens brother said there was a killer BBQ place there...he was right, It was a place called Texas pride barbecue and it was awesome. The guy that was cutting everything up did it just like an assembly line and had a great memory… He remembered everything. I ordered the sausage, cheesy potatoes and pinto beans and for dessert I got the peach cobbler, Karen and Kelly ordered the ribs and believe me they just fell off the bone. They also had a pecan cobbler that Kelly ordered and it was awesome too, I had to try a bite. I save the rest of it for my breakfast in the morning, I swear everywhere in Texas gives you enough food for five people.
We headed on to Fort Stockton Texas and to our Hampton Inn. I think Hampton Inn is one of our favorites, that and the Embassy suites is awesome too. We slept really good and got up to leave early in the morning, we wonted to be out of here by 10 AM but it was more like 10:30 AM… Not bad.
We took off headed for New Mexico, our next stop. We didn't quite make it all the way to where we had planned because there was a 40 mile an hour duststorm and we got a room right before they closed all the interstates, it's a good thing we got a room when we did or else we would stuck here with no place to stay, everybody was scrambling to look for hotels. We found a really nice Hampton Inn with connecting rooms and even had a roll in shower so I got to take a shower, that felt great after the big duststorm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Almost there...

We left Georgia and drove to Gainesville Florida, five more hours and we are at Tom and Kelly's. About halfway we decided to stop and eat at IHOP, I had a chicken, spinach and mushroom crape. The hotel that we picked tonight was the Hilton, it is really nice. They only have a king size bed so they are bringing us a rollaway cot. We had one in one of our first couple of hotels and they are pretty nice and my mattress fits on there perfectly. We slept really good. Karen noticed that they had a check off list for breakfast items. You check off what you want and then put it outside the door by midnight and that's what they bring you for breakfast, pretty cool. I went for the bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and tomatoes and it was awesome. Karen went for the pancakes and said it
Was also awesome. We also had a big pot of coffee and some orange juice.
It was beautiful outside so I decided to take Robby for a really long cruise while the girls pack up everything. I a couple of abandoned parking lots and the sun was out it was a really nice breeze… I love Florida. We took off for the first half of the end of our road trip to Tom and Kelly's house. We stopped along the way and had some KFC, not as good as I remembered. When we got there it was so great to see Tom, he came running out and gave us a big hug and kiss… We felt so welcome. Tom and Kelly drove us over to our hotel. It is beautiful, we have ocean all around us. It's more like an apartment here we have a full kitchen and everything. There is a roll in shower and I cannot wait to try it. Outside you can see water and we have a drawbridge thàt goes up every once in a while soa big boat can go underneath it, it is so cool. I can't wait to get up and out and explore. I took a nice long hot shower, the shower in here has two shower heads and a sprayer and it was awesome. I just got up and of course it started raining. Kelly brought us over some homemade lasagna and some Starbucks coffee.
Karen and I decided to walk around and check out Fort Lauderdale, as soon as I got about a block away it started pouring… I guess the weather here is pretty unpredictable. We came back and Tom and Kelly took us for a little tour around and it is just beautiful here. Karen and I went to target and got a few things that we needed and then we went to dinner at this really cool fish place by the ocean. While we were eating it just started pouring rain, the rain here is weird because it goes sideways but it was beautiful to watch.

We decided that Thursday we would have to spend the day washing clothes, it has been two weeks so we all running out of clothes to wear. It was supposed to be nice but it looks like it's kind of cloudy. Even when it's cloudy and Wendy here it's pretty warm. Tom is getting the van fixed, changing the oil and stuff that we need to take it back and Robbie has an appointment to get a bath and his toenails trimmed at 1 PM. After we dropped Robby off to get a bath we went over to Tom and Kelly's to hang out for a little while. Karen and Kelly took our clothes over to the laundromat, we had about six loads. Tom took me for a little tour of the lagoon and dog park and then across the street we found some iguanas and some really cool birds. After we washed all of our clothes we hung them around the yard in Tom and Kelly's house to dry, I can't believe I never put my clothes in the dryer...I hope they're dry by morning. Tom and Kelly took us out to this really nice restaurant called The Brick House. The food was awesome. After that we went back to the house and hung out for a while until they called and said that Robbie was ready. Apparently Robbie found a buddy at the groomers and they were having such a good time that they just wanted to let them play, Robby really needed it being cooped up in the van so much. We were really torn between staying here another day and heading back to Georgia in time to spend the day with my brother on his day off. We didn't get much time to relax and explore around here and it's so beautiful that's really sad. We only have the room for three nights and they weren't able to give us another night because it was booked. We didn't even get a chance to get any souvenirs, I hope we have time to get some today before we leave. We were able to get souvenirs before we left Fort Lauderdale. On the way we stopped by to visit Tom's mom and her best friend, we had a really nice dinner but unfortunately couldn't stay very long. We drove to Riverview Florida and had the most amazing presidential suite I have ever seen in my life, they upgraded our wheelchair accessible room . We had so much room. There was a dining table a desk, a TV , a fold out couch and a the half bath and then you went into the huge bedroom with a king size bed there was another bathroom with not only a roll in shower
But a huge Jacuzzi tub. Unfortunately we messed up the room before we got to take pictures so everyone could see how awesome it is. It also included a home cooked breakfast or fruit and Continental breakfast. We woke up and had an awesome breakfast and packed up to get out of here before 11 AM so we could get as close to Georgia as we can. Anna Maria picked up Aubrey and Stephen this morning at the airport and tomorrow is Dave's day off so we're hoping to spend the day with everybody, it will be great.

As much as we hated to leave the awesome room we drove on to Macon Florida, it's only about two hours away from where my brother lives but it was already eight o'clock and we didn't dare go two more hours, we still had to unpack and get everything set up. We ended up staying in the same hotel name is definitely not the same accommodations . We asked for roll away bed and they said that they would have one and then they said that they would try to have one, it's not going do us any good to stop there if they don't have one. The room was nice we didn't get a free breakfast but they did end up finding a roll away bed for me. Robby was testing out both beds and then ended up sleeping underneath mine. We got a pretty early start in the morning, We forgot about daylight savings time and losing an hour. I texted my brother and they were also running late so I didn't feel so bad. We got a really late start on Sunday and I felt bad. We didn't get to my brothers until about 2 PM but they were just hanging around and they are so easy-going. It was really nice to see my niece Aubrey and her son Steven, I haven't seen Stephen since he was born. We hung out for a while and then decided to go have dinner at Olive Garden, they don't have any in Santa Cruz and I'm always seen the commercials on TV and it looks awesome… It was. We came back and it was late so we took some pictures and then headed over to the hotel.