It’s Been How Long? (Part 2 of 2)

Here’s some more updates to catch you up to speed.

As is in this blog, in January of 2015 we did a cruise with Beth and Anne.  We had an awesome time!  Beth has severe motion sickness issues; she wore one of those patches.  Unfortunately, when we returned home, she ended up in the hospital for a few days due to dehydration.  It’s unsure of if the patch played a big role in that or not.  Anyway, a year later, we set out for another cruise.  This time on one of the world’s largest ships, Oasis of the Seas.  Just like the prior year, we were chased out of Charlotte a day early due to an ice storm.  So on 1/6/2017, we left Charlotte and got a hotel in Hinesville, GA. At 4:30am, Jim woke me up.  Pains.  Off to the Emergency Room we went.

1/7/17, an emergency appendectomy was needed.  Although modern day appendectomies are easy, we still didn’t want to risk any recovery issues on the boat.  He’d also be in pain and doped up so a cruise wouldn’t be ideal.  We canceled our cruise and sent Ann and Beth on without us.

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The worst part?  No trip insurance.  Not even from the credit card.  The whole situation sucked.

1/8/17, Beth and Anne left Hinesville and headed for the ship.  A day or 2 into the cruise and Beth was very ill – motion sickness.  She didn’t have patches (she didn’t trust them anymore) and they had to leave the ship in St. Thomas.  They got a hotel room and flew to Miami.  They rented a car, drove to Port Canaveral to pick up the other rental and drove to Charlotte.  They got home a few days after us. 

Nope, they didn’t have insurance either.  It was a lesson learned.  There you go.  All caught up.

It’s Been How Long? (Part 1 of 2)

Hi.  It’s me.  I’m back.  I’m not sure for how long but at least until after the cruise.  What cruise?  Patience.  It will all be clear soon enough.  First, I must fill you in on a few things. If you’ve been a Facebook friend of mine for at least a couple of years then you already know our pet situation.  If you don’t then read on.  If you don’t care then move on.  If you know it but want to see the pretty post then read on.  If you’re hungry then you should eat.

Pardon (or don’t, I don’t care) this post as I’ve copied and pasted some info from Facebook posts.

4/19/2015.  Dasher moved out.

This bit of news is in a blog post so this is just a reminder as it’s key to the next section.  As posted on Facebook:

We had to have Dasher put to forever sleep while in Augusta. We knew we were on borrowed time since Thanksgiving. He lived longer than typical for his breed. He went peacefully. I'm so devastated.

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8/13/2016.  Ready for the next step.

As posted on Facebook:

Warning. Sappy TMI personal story ahead: As Jim and I watch TV, sometimes he’ll surf the internet on the couch from his laptop. At times, he’ll tilt the display my way and say “look at him/her” as he points to a rescue/shelter dog in need of a home. I’ll usually reply, “That’s nice”, or maybe give an “awwwww, no thanks.” My replies vary; my decision doesn’t. I don’t want another dog right now. Maybe never.

Recently we bought a pretty memorial frame for Dasher and as we picked out different photo possibilities, it got emotional here and there. Even though the top 10 winning photos haven’t been printed, I still feel as though I have closure I guess. I’m not really sure what happened, how it happened or why it happened but just a few nights ago, Jim, as usual, showed me a dog who needed a home. I looked, and then looked away, but this time 30 seconds or so later, I said “let me see him again” and that’s the start to my story.

I'm finally ready for us to have another furbaby in our life. The dog (CJ) that triggered the second look was pending adoption and no longer available. I’m OK with that and have decided, we should continue to look. We saw an Italian Greyhound but although he was a different color, he really looked too much like Dasher. Also those Italians are so hard to understand. I don’t want to blur my memories of Dasher with another of his breed that will typically have similar personalities. I don’t want to replace Dasher. I want something different. We need housebroken in our lives so I’m not willing to train. I’m not a fan of crates (I hate the thought of my baby locked in a cage) but if that’s what he/she is used to, then so be it. I need a small dog. Short haired. A lap dog to smother with love.

Since I’m in this emotional state, I just want to add that although we’re worlds apart anymore, I thank Carl and Tim for bringing Dasher into our lives. Dasher wasn’t a good fit for them but he sure was for us. I’m ready to let go but he will always be in my heart. I’m so tearful right now. This would normally have been a blog post but if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t blogged since January. If you didn’t notice then you’re a bastard… just kidding, I needed the humor right now.

Here’s the frame and photo we settled on:

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8/16/16 Adopted CJ

We thought CJ was adopted.  It fell through.  Jim’s mom, Ann, was visiting from Florida.  While I was at work, Jim and Ann went to adopt CJ.  Although I hadn’t met him, I was confident that Jim would make the right decision for our next furbaby.  He did.

CJ had severe Separation Anxiety.  He tore up the house.  We had to crate him.  That was a disaster.  Here’s the Facebook posts:

8/20/16 Look closely at the bent rails. One was snapped from it's weld. CJ escaped. Excuse the bare floors (we're in the middle of having them replaced).

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8/22/16 We put him in the crate for the first half of the day. I came home at lunch and put him in the utility room but not in the crate. When I came home at 6, he had escaped. He tore up the cardboard (it was there along with scatter rugs to be sure he didn't hurt himself on the bare wood). He peed a little in the dinette. CJ 3, Jim and Garret 0.

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8/24/16 If you've been awaiting the next installment of "Destrucules, The Cute Hellion", here it is. We put him in the utility room with blankets, a bed, food, water and doggy soothing music. In front of the gate, we put a "scat mat" that delivers a 9v shock should he walk across it. Jim heard him get shocked a few times as he left the house. At lunch time I came home andCJ had the scat mat at the end of the utility room. I'm not sure how he did that without getting zapped. He did not escape. He ma have peed so I left a pee pee pad in there for him. When I returned at 6pm, the scat mat was moved again, the gate was secure, the pee pee pad was ripped up and he can now hum the notes of the continuous looped doggy music. We're going to make some other changes but we may have found a good combination.

8/25/16 Today CJ was crated. No issues. Hopefully sometime in the future we can revisit restricting him to one room.

9/12/16 A CJ update: He broke out of the pretty, spacious and $100 pricey crate. He somehow pulled the door inward. We returned the crate and used the type shown in the picture. He can't escape that but the plastic holes prove the struggle is real. I hate this crate. It doesn't let much light in and it's a little on the small side. He seems to be able to walk this entire crate several feet away from it's original location. The $30 pheromone Glade-ish plugin may or may not be working. Who knows.

Jim found a metal crate with thick bars made of titanium (OK, not really) that is too big but is doing the job nicely. The smaller the crate, the thinner the bars. We're going to see if we can find something as sturdy but smaller. So far we're on crate 5 or 6.

Other than that, he's as cute as a button. He sleeps on the bed with us and never makes a mess. He's so well behaved (when he's not in that crate). I'm tempted to leave him out of it for the day but when he escaped that time, he caused quite a bit of damage. Maybe that was because he was jailed and broke free? Maybe he's a terror when we're not home? I'm not willing to take the chance right now.

We have a college student close by that comes to the house and lets him out each work day. She spends about 10 minutes with him.

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1/13/17 Another post. This one is positive though. CJ is free from the crate. (If you never saw the photos of the damage he caused, look at my album called “CJ” and witness the unbelievable mess this little 11 pound dog can wreak.) A couple of weeks ago, our fill-in dog lunch time letter-outer, McKenzie, called us and said that she couldn’t get CJ back into his crate. He was growling at her. He ran up to our bedroom. We told her to leave him out and close the gate to the bedroom so he couldn’t get to the rest of the house. I left work a little early. No damage. This occurred the next day but this time downstairs so he had the run of the house. No damage. We have these things called “Tattle Tales” that we bought from PetSmart years ago. They take a 9v battery and screech if they detect any loud noise (air vibration) or vibration. Since our door moldings are already ruined, Jim nailed 1 into the door frame leading to the garage and another he used a 3m to fasten to the front door. We turn the alarms on and leave the house. If he should claw at the door or molding, the alarm will screech. He doesn’t like the noise. So far, it has worked. For now, we put up a gate to block the upstairs but will soon stop doing that. We think he probably still has anxiety when we leave but I hope it’s not as bad. He’s such a sweet dog. We love him!

I’m happy to say that for several weeks, we’re eliminated all sensors, buzzers, screechy thingies, and barricades.  CJ has been doing great! 

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Next post: Emergency surgery.  The cruise that never was.  Stuff like that…

1-29-16 At Sea & 1-30-16 Port Canaveral

Today wasn’t very eventful.  Some of us took naps, some gambled in the casino, some hung out here and there.  Mix this in with brunch and cocktails making this a relaxing day.  Oh, we did participate in the 90’s music trivia.  No win.

I don’t even have photos worth posting.  Here’s 2 towel critters.

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1-30-16 Port Canaveral

Off the boat we need to go.  The worst part of the cruise is disembarkation.  It’s typically a mess.  The Faster to the Fun pass gave us another great perk…  Off the ship faster.  We gathered at 8am, was off the ship and through customs in under 30 minutes.  Best disembarkation experience ever.  We drove home, an approximate 8 hour drive, while I blogged in the back seat. 

Overall review of mine and Jim’s 8th cruise, first Carnival Cruise:

Dining: The buffet was very good especially for lunch.  We ate in the main dining room every night.  The food was excellent and I hate to say it… it might be the best food on a cruise we’ve ever had.  Seriously.  There’s few foods that we said “nope, don’t like it.”  Most items were great and others surprisingly delicious.  The desserts were underwhelming.  Service was hit or miss.

Entertainment:  The dancing was terrible.  Always out of sync.  Jim and I liked the shows themselves… Beth and Anne weren’t impressed.  We enjoyed the trivia.  Bingo was a rip off.  We paid $40 each for 3 rounds and found the payoff was only $120.  There were so many people playing and that’s the best they could do?  The bingo MC was annoying.  The comedy shows were in the George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Club (George Lopez wasn’t on the cruise) and they were awesome.  Several different comedians throughout the week along with different shows made this a winner for us.

Ship: The cabins were fine, and well cared for.  They could use a color scheme change but nice overall.  The ship decor was nauseating at times.  The theme is American Heroes.  Here’s what Cruisecritic.com had to say “Heads of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and other patriots adorn the atrium's sculptural frieze, faux gilded eagles perch on pedestals near the elevator banks, and the hallway art often suggests heroic or historic moments.”  Enough about that.  There was a strange fowl sewer odor here and there.  It’s gross.  It’s not all over, all the time, but it’s there.

The cruise was awesome.  The value was there.  We’d come back for sure.

1-28-16 Costa Maya, Mexico

Today, we’re in Costa Maya.  Unfortunately, we’re only in the port from 7:30 to 2:30.  We were up pretty late and never made it into port.  No big deal for Jim and I since we’ve been here several times.  Beth and Anne weren’t concerned since their preference was to relax.  We spent a good part of the day on the Lido deck, in the shade, near the pool, near the pool bar, enjoying adult beverages (Peach Daiquiris, yum!) playing Phase 10 and Cards Against Humanity.  We hung out with a new friend, Tim, who joined us to play Cards Against Humanity. 

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Above/Below: Anne

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All week we’ve been playing various trivia games as a group and tonight we finally won with 30 out of 30 points for 80’s music trivia.  Basically a Name That Tune game.  Beth and Jim did 95% of the work.  The Cruise Director, Mat, gives 2 different types of awards.  A plastic ship statue which he lovingly calls “ship on a stick” and a plastic gold medallion on a ribbon dubbed “bling on a string”.  We won the coveted ship on a stick.

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Tonight’s show = “Far from Over”.  Another singing/dancing theater show with 80’s music/themed and bad dancing.

Other photos:

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2016-01-28 105Above: Me making fun of the ship decor.

1-27-16 Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan

Today’s port of call was Roatan, Honduras.  We were supposed to scuba dive here but cancelled the day before due to Jim feeling sick.  We weren’t sure he’d be well and the excursions have to be cancelled 24 hours in advance.  Beth and Ann stayed aboard.  Jim and I decided to check the port out.  We got off the boat, the heat/sun sucked.  We took a trail through the woods which was a great way to cool off.  Up a path, atop a hill, we found a swing.  It was a great view point, cool in the shade and off the main path.  We attempted to walk into the beach area but it was very hot.  We decided to go back to the boat.  I was sweat drenched.  It felt awful.  We found a shady spot to cool off and eventually made it back to the cruise port entry way shops where we browsed around some air conditioned stores to cool off.  We got a few souvenirs.  T-Shirts and a Christmas Ornament.  Nothing spectacular. 

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Back on the ship, we met up with the girls and found a quiet semi-private place to play Cards Against Humanity.  Beth and Anne had never played.  Jim and I had only played once previously.  They enjoyed the game.  We had a fantastic time.  We laughed.  A lot.    

2016-01-27 103Above: Towel critter of the day.

Cat in the HatAbove: A fun photo shoot we did.  I loved it and bought it.  $20!

Tonight’s entertainment = Love and Marriage Show – I think this is another common cruise ship game.  Think Newly Wed game only there’s 3 couple with varying degrees of marriage lengths.  70 years (yep and they were so darn cute), 15 years, and 10 days.  All 3 couples won.

Since this is a light entry, it’s a good time to share Carnival’s daily newsletter.  Each cruise line has one.  They’re all similar.  It’s a list of activities, reminders, restaurant/shop hours, and entertainment for the day. 

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Below is a tear out (back and front) that has all the activities in a nice list by time format.  The reverse side was everything food related. 

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