Monday, August 17, 2009

What an Awsome Weekend!!

We have been spending the past three weekends at the gay campground just outside of Fredericton. It is a really beautiful location, and a great facility with free showers, heated pool, and club house for events, but mostly it is a really nice community of people. In fact in the past 11 years it is the first time we have both felt like a part of any community in the maritimes.

It was a weekend full of special occasions as well. Friday was Darrell's birthday, Saturday was our 11th Anniversy, and Sunday was our Friend's David and Miachael's anniversary. So needless to say a lot of alcohol was packed. I stayed home from work on Friday and got stuff ready so we could just hitch up the camper and get right on the road. (We bought a 12 foot hardtop tent trailer three weeks ago, that combined with Fredericton's superior weather has fueled the camping bug lol). We got away a little later than planned but were in the road by five so it put us into the campgrounds around 6:30, which wasn't bad. We got set up and settled in, and eventually David and Michael made it out to join us. They got a little lost due to some construction detours, but ultimately we all ended up in the same place. We had a great night having a few drinks and visiting the other campers.

Saturday was a scorcher of a day. So once we were all up and had breakfast we spent some time in the pool. We made several trip to the pool throughout the day. Around 8 ish that evening my cousin Laura and her partner Ray arrived at the camp to hang out and help us celebrate our anniversary, they even brought some sparkling for the occasion....woohoo. I took Laura on a walk around the campsite to show her around, and when we got down near the washrooms where there is a seasonal tent set up, the three girls who stay there spun their heads around so fast I thought I could actually hear the vertibrea pop, then I remebered...oh Yeah...that's right....Laura's hot! It was actually quite cute. We headed over to the clubhouse for karaoke around 9. It was the first time they had karaoke there since we started going to the campgrounds so no one there had actaully heard me sing yet. Laura and Ray had also never heard me, so I was feeling a tiny bit nervous with a new crowd and family there, but for me those nerves usually only last about half a verse into the first song. I did two in a row and the campers were quite surpised. There were only a few singers in the crowd, but everyone was quite good. Laura put up a song as well, and they called her up to sing it right after I had just finished singing Sherry. She said something, like of sure call me up right after my cousin, and Randy the Host said, well let's see if that voice runs in the family. The music started and Laura opened her mouth and out came a great big powerful voice....blew my mind because I had absolutly no idea she sang. We sang a few more songs and then Randy suggested that we should try a duet, he also said that we needed to make an album together. We tried Picture by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock, it was really good if I do say so myself. Ray and Laura didn't stay for the whole thing, but are coming back for more karaoke next weekend (fingers Crossed). Of course I stayed until the bitter end and then we all ended up around our neighbour's fire. I didn't factor in the bubbly to my drinking equation so was double fisting it for a portion of the night and actually got quite drunk, the sky was starting to brighten by the time I finally rolled into bed.

Of course when you're camping you're up with the sun, so I was up far too early and feeling the effects of drinking far too much for a man my age. Had a quick bite and then right into the pool, because the day started out hot and just got hotter. I got lots and lots of compliments about the singing the night before, for both me and Laura. She and Ray were quite the hit with the girls and guys alike, they all really liked them. After lunch we started packing up. David and Michael headed out and Darrell started breaking down the camper. There was no breeze so the heat actually started to feel punishing by the time we were finally on the road home.(I never thought cold Foggy Saint John would be a relief but it was) We unpacked everything and put some stuff away then Darrell headed off for a nap and I went to soak in a luke warm tub. afterwards I came into the office to start the final render of the final segment of an animation project that has been ongoing for nearly a year. My friend Jesse was down in Saint John from Fredericton for Pride and his husband told me he was planning to go to the drag show at Element, so I popped down to visit with him. When I got there Michelle, the hostess spotted me, and asked me to sing a song at the end of the first set. I was pretty scratchy and dry, but I said sure why not. Jesse left before it came up because he wanted to get back to Fredericton so he didn't get to hear, but it was actually really good. I did Try by Blue Rodeo and crowd went nuts. It was a pretty good boost to the end of an already pretty great weekend.

Today I am decompressing and recovering from all the fun, booze, and sun. Plus I'm feeling pretty good about finally finishing a very long on going project, although it technically isn't finished yet, it's just completed. The corporate whosey whats its still have to go over it up the and down the chain and see if there are things they want to change.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Elevator Etiquite

Why is it so damn hard for people to figure out how to work an elevator? You press the button and step back. The elevator arrives, the doors open, the people get off, and you get on. You press the button for the floor you are going to and find a place to stand until the elevator arrives at your destination. The doors open and you get off. Pretty damn simple if you ask me.

You do not, press the button and then stand right in the center of the door waiting to barge on the second they open. The elevator isn't going to leave you behind. Let the people off first!! Oh yeah, and if the button you for your floor is already lit up, there really is no need for you to press it again.

And if there happens to be someone on the elevator who needs extra assistance getting on and off, or extra time, you put your arm across the doors or press the door open button and get out of their way so they can get off with as least amount of hassle as possible. Don't step over them or crowd them. Parents you are responsible to keeping control of your children as well, do not let them go barging on over top of everyone. People are so rude and stupid sometimes it makes me want to scream!

Here's something that perplexes me about one elevator in particular. The elevator in Brunswick Square which you have to take if you want to go to the gym, go figure having to take an elevator to go work out. There is a post about three feet out in front of the door and people waiting for the elevator tend to stand in that area. On the other side of that post is easily 20 feet of walking space. So why do all the people wandering through the mall feel the need to squeeze themselves between the people waiting and the elevator door in that three feet of space? WTF?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Trip Home

I had a fantastic time on my trip home to BC. I flew out on the 16th of July from Saint John to Vancouver, then up to Williams Lake. My original trip was supposed to be from the 16 to the 27 and my WL to Vancouver flight was supposed to be the 16 and the 26 leaving me a night in Vancouver then home. However my return date got changed to the 1st so I had some time for a surprise trip to Vancouver Island.
My first few days in Williams Lake were nice and slow, I stayed at my Grandparent's house and everyone dropped by at one time or another. I dug my grade ten woodworking project out of the office and finished it. A mahogany Coffee table that we ran out of time in school to finish. It only needed a light sanding, some urithane and the top screwed, so 22 years later I finally got around to it and now it is in my grandparent's living room. Their brand new never used antoque coffee
On the Saturday there was a horseshoes tourny up at my Dad's place, and there were lots of people up there that I haven't seen in a long time as well as some I've never seen before. After the Horseshoes, I popped out to Chimney Lake to check in on Heather's 40th birthday Olympics, then I stopped by the Red Dog and sang a little karaoke before heading over to my cousin's place for her Daughter's birthday party. Busy Day. I hung out with my Cousin Laura catching up until about 3 am. Sunday I met up with Debbie and we went over to my Cousin Jim's place for his daughter's birthday. We ended up laughing long into the night, and then Monday, Debbie, Hether, Jim & Sylvie, and I went to the OV and laughed our asses off all night long. It was a great time.
Wednesday disaster struck and I battled a bout of food poisoning. I managed to still make it out for lunch with my aunt Brenda and spend some time catching up, but I spent the rest of the day and night either on or beside the toilet. I was severly dehydrated, and (found out after I got home and weighed myself) lost 15 pounds. Thursday Dad brought me some immodium and gravol and I spent the day on the couch drinking gatorade and sleeping, then Friday I was on the plane headed for Vancouver and the Island.
I can only imagine what Earle must've thought when he laid eye's on me at the sea plane terminal. I was all gaunt and flushed and weak. He took me back to his place, fed me some water and then we went out to Rick and Owen's place, where Earle had his tent set up. I was pretty tired so I didn't stay up late enough to see Rick when he got off work, but I got to see him the next afternoon at the hall where they were setting up for the Pride Dance. Earle's Band Wonderbread played at the dance and Rick did his Vikki Smudge (which has gotten a hell of a lot better than when we doing it 12 years ago - the bitch finally listened to me and starting doing his own singing.) I didn't know a lot of people at the dance which was actually pretty cool, because I was still feeling a little weak and icky, but I did manage to catch up with a few old friends, and I got to concentrate on watchign the band. In all the years I've known Earle I don't think I've actually been to one of his gigs. I've been to jams he's played at, but I think his gigs probably conflicted with mine in those days. It was a pleasure to see them play. Great energy, fantastic musicianship, and great music... the crowd really dug it too.
Sunday I got to spend the day and night with Jan and Mark. Jan swung by the campsite and collected me and too me to her house. I even got to have a nice lonog soak in her jacuzzi tub. It was a very healing experience. I finally felt like myself that day. The next morning Earle swung by and picked me up to take me down to Ladysmith to see my Aunt Cheryl, Uncle Vic, cousin Brett, and her new baby Holly~Anna. (Side Bar - Earled bartended until 3am and picked me up at 10 am....I don't have any friends like that in Saint John). After a short visit there, we were off to Chemainus to see my Grandma and my Aunty Kim. We spent most of the Afternoon at Grandma's new Townhouse and then we were back to the campsite so Earle could go to work. Tuesday morning we headed over to Earle's so he could be present while the concrete guys poured and stamped his patio, then we were off to lunch where we unexpectedly ran into Burton (my friend Bill's Boyfriend). He called Bill and Bill rushed over to see me. He was so happy he actually cried (nobody loves me that much in Saint John). He looks fantastic too...lost 140 pounds, I could actually get my arms all the way around him. We had a good visit, then it was off to the Nanaimo River to enjoy the sun and the water, then back to the campsite.
Wednesday Morning I reluctantly got on the plane and headed back to New Brunswick and the crappy excuse for a summer we've been having here. It was damn hard to get on the plane and leave all my friends and family behind.
I think a change of location is in my not so very distant future.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sore Tummy

I woke up this morning with a sore stomach. It was good sore though. I went out last night with my cousind Jim & Sylvie, and my close friends from Highschool Heather and Debbie, and we spent the night laughing so hard, that today my stomach ached when I woke up. I have a such a good time telling old stories and catching up on old times. It was a great night.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Green Coffee

No it's not coffee with green food colouring in it, and it's nothing like Green tea.
It's the difference between buying your coffee in the paper cups provided or using a travel mug. We have about a dozen different travel mugs we've picked up here and there, and use all of them. In the morning we make a pot of coffee and take our mug to work. It keeps the coffee hot, the lids close so you don't slop all over when you're driving, and it actually saves us quite a bit of money. How does it save money you ask?
That first cup is made at home, which is a quite a savings in and of itself, but there's more. I generally have my first cup on the way to work and finish it around 10. The mug keeps it hot enough that I don't have to be in a hurry to drink it. Then I go out to Quality Convenience for another cup. They sell java moose coffee there and I like it a lot more than that burnt tasting sludge you get at Tims. A large coffee at Quality Convenience costs $1.25, but if you bring your own travel mug it only costs a dollar. Okay, so a quarter doesn't sound like very much, but add it up over a work week and it's $1.25. Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year and it's $65, then double it for Darrell's coffee and we save $130 dollars a year, by using our travel mugs for our coffee. Add the savings to the 520 paper cups we aren't using and throwing away, and the $2 or $3 dollars a travel mug costs suddenly seems like a no brainer, doesn't it?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14th

Ten years ago a complete stranger got a call from the hospital and was told they were a bone marrow match, and for whatever presonal reason they may have had, they willing allowed a doctor to take the largest oger of a needle they could find, stick it into their hip bone, and extract a quart of their marrow. That marrow was immediately picked up by a visiting nurse from Halifax who then jumped on a return flight fromwherever on the planet they happened to be, and then transfused into me to cure my leukemia. I recieved that transfusion exactly ten years ago today, and to this day I still don't know who that perfect stranger was, where they were from, or anything at all about them. I can't even send a card to say thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


First day of spring was Friday. First Day of Spring MY ASS!! It has snowed three times since the "First Day of Spring." Here's an idea, how about we change the Canadian Calendar to actually reflect the Canadian Seasons. Spring means, Snow melting, grass turning green, leaves and and flowers growing, not 10 cm of snow falling and bitter cold.
By this time of the winter I have had it so much with the snow and the gray skies, that to think spring has started and then get snowfall, actually feels like a physical assault. Like being punched in the gut. WE should adjust the calendar so that spring starts in April, when it actually starts in most areas of the Country, not March. Our seasons shouldn't be reflective of some ancient Italian calendar, any more than our time zones are. Australia doesn't call our winter winter, because for them it's summer, so if we're still entrenched in Winter why are we calling it spring?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vacation Part three

Our holiday seemed to have three very distinct parts to it, a holiday sonata if you will.
The first was our week in the Keys, which was very refreshing and relaxing. I felt very much at home in the Key. I could actually imagine living there part of the year. The pace of life is much slower there and the people are very welcoming. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and had it not been for the fact that this was my first trip to Florida and there was so much I hadn't seen, I think I could've quite happily spent the entire time we were gone in Key West.
The second part of the vactation was the Bahama's, which was also quite relaxing. However it was painfully obvious that we were tourists, in a foreign country that relies on tourism. Everywhere you went someone had their hand out trying to to sell you something or expecting a tip. I enjoyed the sun and the sand, and I think I would like to return there one day on a diving holiday, but to be quite honest I'm in no rush to see it again. There are planty of other places on my list I would prefer to go instead.
The third part of the journey started with a brief return to the Keys for a day of diving, which was totally awsome. Then off to explore some new territory that even Darrell hadn't explored. He's been to Florida several times in the past, but had never done an everglades tour, so it was something we both really wanted to do. We had stayed in Florida City after the Bahama's so we could easily get down to Big Pine Key for diving, and discovered that there was an aligator farm right in the city, near the Everglade National park. We headed over there the next day to see all the gators and take an airboat ride. It was a lot of fun. We watched the Gator show, and saw the breeding and grow out pens, then rode the big airboat. You have to wear ear protection on the boat because it is really loud as it whips over the water, and the Driver would spin it 360 degrees almost at full speed. It was a real rush. The driver was an excellent tour guide and he pointed out all the wildlife we encountered and told us about the birds that live in the swamps as well as some of the different kinds of vegitation. I could've rode that boat a few times, but we had places to go and things to see.
Our plan was to travel across to the west coast and up as far as Tampa then across to Orlando. The most popular highway running across from Miami to Naples is a four lane highway nicknamed Alligator alley, and you can supposedly see a lot of wildlife on it. Darrell has been on it before, but was unimpressed by it's claims, luckily we spent some time talking about our plans to various people in Key west when we were there and got some local info that was very helpful. One of the ladies we met inthe bar, Ginger, told us to avoid Aligator alley and take the old highway 41, which is a longer slower drive, on account if it being only two lanes and winding up the coast, but she guaranteed we would see a lot more on it. Man was she right. The ditches on either side of the road basically blended seamlessly into the swamps in most cases and we saw aligators everywhere. We stopped saying "oh there's one" because they were all along the banks every ten or twenty feet. Just about everywhere there was enough land on the side of the road for a parking lot there was a swamp tour operating and there was also a very cool nature center we stopped at, which had a big observation deck over the ditch. There were about a dozen aligators just laying about on the banks along the length of the ditch there as well, and these guys were not all covered in dried mud and laying piled on top of one anoter like the ones at the farm. These guys were sleak and clean and sunning themselves, and perfectly able to leave the ditch any time they wanted too, because they were wild. Of course wild aligators are actually safer for the most part than the farmed ones, because wild aligators, lik emost other wild animals, are naturally afraid of humans. Honestly, can you blame them. People are the most destructive and deplorable animal on the planet, they should be afraid...I am. You are actually in more danger at the aligator farm, because those aligators are fed by people and associate food with people, not a good thing...that's why it is illegal in Florida to feed or approach wild aligators. People are mostly harmed by wild aligators for their own stupidity, but doing things like trying to touch them to see if they are alive, or swimming in water where they could be, or any number of macho things that people are apt to do. That said, I still wouldn't have wanted to break down on the side of highway 41, even though there were people all along the sides of the road fishing in the ditches, it's not a place I would get out and walk about. I certainly wouldn't stop to let the dogs out either.
All in all our aligator portion of the trip was a blast, with one glaring exception that only bothered me. Everywhere we went, the Farm, the nature center, you name it, they had all kinds of information about the wildlife, and in their information they all mentioned the various kinds of poisonous snakes in the Florida Everglades, and that really grated on my nerves. There is no such thing as a poisonous snake! I think if you are setting up information to educate people then you have aresponsibility to provide accurate and correct information. Snakes are Venomous, they are not poisonous. It seems like a small thing but it is not. Ignorance begets ignorance. Snakes, and spiders, and other little fanged or stingered beasties are venomous. Berries, and toad slime, and arsenic are poisonous. The easy way top remember - If it bites you and you die, it's venomous. If you bite it and you die, it's poisonous. It bugs the hell out of me to see it wrong in a public information setting where people go to learn about things. End rant
We drove across to Naples, then up to Tampa and over towards Orlando. We stopped at a Ramada about halfway between for the night. The next day we headed into Orlando to see about park tickets. Oh My God, what a total rip off, tickets for those parks are. I can't imagine how families can afford to take their kids to them. The prices are insane. Disney has five different parks, and tickets to one of the for the day are $90 at the gate. That ticket doesn't get you in to all of Disney, just the one park. Want to hop between parks, add another $50 for a second park. Rip off - but for some reason people are paying it. I'm guessing with the state of the American economy, people won't be paying it for long.
I have already been to Disneyland in California and Darrell has been to Disney World, so neither of us felt the need to see the Magic Kingdom. Darrell does enjoy Epcott, but the $90 price tag kind of made us cringe a little. We then discovered we could go to Universal Studios for $69 and get access to both parks, Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure. We didn't have the full day since we were meeting our neighbours, who were also in Florida for dinner at the place they were renting from our other neighbours. For some reason, that I`m still not sure of, we bought two day passes to Universal. I think the plan was to go and see what we wanted to see then give the second day to Mike and Cathy (our neighbours) as a thank you for letting us stay with them that night. Turns out that wouldn`t have been possible anyway, since they have these little fingerprint readers at the gate, that reads your pass and your fingerprint together, so that only you can use your pass. You can`t give away the second day of your pass to someone else, or sell it or whatever. You are stuck with it once you`ve bought it. To top it off...Universal Sucked!
The time it took to park, get into the park, see three things, and get out again.....Five Hours. We waited for 40 minutes in line to see Shrek 4D. It was okay. We waited 30 minutes for the Mummy. Great roller coaster style ride, lots of fire and very fast.....also very short. We waited almost 40 minutes for Jaws...It was awful. We didn`t choose to use our second day. I was really disapointed. I had hoped for something cool, especially when you consider the kind of thing was do for a living...Unversal Studios seemed to be the sensible place to go. (I guess DisneyMGM studios is the one to go to)
After the park we went to visit Mike and Cathy and had dinner and some drinks. We spent the night at the house with them, and then got up to do our second park day. We decided not to do our second day at Unversal and chose instead to splurge and buy ticket to Epcott. We really should have done that the first time, because Epcott, although very pricey, was excellent. We did most of the attractions right at Epcott, with the exceptionof Soar in which had a two hour line and no fast passes. We had a blast doing the mission to Mars simulator, and liked it so much we did it a few times. The Canada Pavilion had the 360 degree movie, which I remember from Expo 86. The movie has changed since, although the Maritimes was not well represented in the presentation. In fact what they showed were the same sort of stereotypical fishing village sort of images I had in my brain when I lived on the west coast. aside fromthat the presentation was really good. We stayed the entire day and watched illuminations that night as the park closed. It was a great fireworks/laser light show. Then we headed back to the Ramada we had found a couple nights before and stayed there for a our last night. At this point I was past ready to go home.
The next morning we got all our stuff packed back up and arranged, then hit a few of the aquarium stores on our way to the airport. Considering our love for the aquarium hobby we should've skipped Universal and gone to Seaworld. Next time.
Our flight was ontime and went well. We got to New York with no trouble, and our connection all went smoothly. We landed in Bangour and picked up the car, then started the cold late drive home. Of course we stopped at the duty free for a couple big bottles of booze and some inexpensive cologne, and then made our way up the highway to Saint John. We got home around 5am and hit the sack.
Bright and early that morning, Brian Dropped by on his way to work and dropped the dogs off. They were very excited to be home again, as were we. In the week that has followed since our return God has been trying to punish us for enjoying ourselves by burying us with snow. I wish I could return to Key West until spring.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Diving at Looe Key

After we arrived back in Fort Lauderdale, Darrell made another call to Underseas on Big Pine Key to see if there was a diving charter going out that we could participate in and there was, so I was finally able to try diving. We drove down as far as Florida City that night and found a hotel, then we were up bright and early for our trip back to the Keys.

Since I have never dove, I had to do what they call a resort dive, which means spending an hour in the swimming pool with an instructor to learn the basics, and if the instructor felt I had a good enough understanding and was comfortable enough I could dive with him at the reef.

We stopped at the Dive shop where I met the instructor, Phil, and got outfitted with gear, then we headed back to Parmers Resort, where we had stayed our first three nights in the Keys, to use their pool. It was nice to get an unexpected extra visit in with Brad and some of the other staff at Parmers.

I got in to the wet suit and hopped in the pool, then Phil showed me how to get into the weight belt, BCE, and mask & fins. Then he showed me how to inflate and deflate the BCE, and how to breathe through the regulator. Even though I have used a snorkel in the pool many times in the past, breathing underwater with a regulator feels very strange the first time. In fact it feels strange for the first little while. I learned how to clear the regulator, and cough into it etc. I learned hand signals, and how to recover the regulator if it were to come out of my mouth, as well as buddy breathing in case you run out of air, and how to clear water out of my mask. Since I was the only resort diver that day and we had time, Phil also showed me some basic bouyancy stuff. We were in the pool for about an hour and by the end of it, he was pretty confident I would do fine out at the reef...that made one of us at least. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

We had some time to kill before we had to meet back at the dive shop, so we took another quick trip over to the blue hole to visit the aligator and iguanas. The female aligator even graced us with an appearance closer to the platform. She surfaced a few feet out and gave one of the little ducks a fright. He hopped right out of the water pretty quickly. Unfortunately a bunch of noisey people arrived and she disappeared. Some people have absolutley no clue. They show up making tonnes of noise and laughing and carrying on, then wonder why they never see any wild life. Duh!

We met back at the dive shop then, everyone headed over to the charter boat. Phil had three students who were doing their open water tests to get their licences, so I was going to be sticking with them. There were also some other divers there going out for the day as well as some snorkelers. Darrell was paired up with another tour diver and a couple other guys, and I was with Phil and his class. The boat ride out was about 20 minutes, and my butterflies were getting whipped up in my tummy the closer we got. When we got to the site I got into all my gear. Phil brought me two wet suits, one full sized and one shorty to wear over it, because the water was actually a little colder than usual. It couldn't have been too cold, since coral will only tollerate a fairly narrow tamperature band, but it still felt cold after being down for an hour. I got into the BCE and strapped it all up, then I couldn't get up off the seat. I was thinking, holy crap that tank is heavy, what if I can't even lift it and get off the bench. I was watching everyone else get up fine, and was feeling like a total wimp, then the dive boat operator reach over me and undid the bungy cord that was holding the tank down. The tank was still heavy back there, but not that heavy. I made my way to the edge of the boat, and put my left hand on my weight belt and my right hand on my mask and regulator, then stepped off and plunged into the water. I came bobbing back up, and put my fist on the top of my head to indicate that everything was fine and made my way over to Phil.

The group that was getting their licences had to do some stuff at the top with their BCEs and then we made our way over to the bouy where the rope was. I started going down the rope, but had to stop a few feet down, because I panicked, and came back up. It was kind of freaky trying to calm myself and go down to the bottom. There's a big difference between a six foot swimming pool and 30 feet of ocean water. Couple that with the fact that the visibility wasn't very good, only about 20 feet, so I couldn't see the other divers just below. I made a second attempt to descend the rope and chickened out again. I was starting to think I might not be able to do it and may have to return to the boat, and then I got ahold of myself and forced myself to go. Third time's a charm and I made it down to the sand below. Phil and his class had some stuff they had to do down there before we did anything else as well, so there wasn't much for me to do, but hang out on the bottom and try and calm my nerves. I was very aware of my breathing, and not much else. I was still waffling about going back to the boat as well, but as I sat there I started to relax a bit while I was watching them clear their masks and go through their manouvers. Then I noticed a little hog fish about six inches away watching me. He just hung there in the water looking at me, and for about ten minutes I sat there watching him watch me. Then I started noticing the other fish gathering around, and lost interest in the goings on of the diving class. Just when I was really starting to relax I had another little panick attack because I realized I had to cough. Phil showed me how to cough in the regulator, but knowing how and actually doing it were two different things. So I screwed up my courage and coughed into the regulator and didn't die, and felt relaxed again. When the class was finished doing their thing we all started moving and exploring the reef. There were some huge coral and sea fans, and lots and lots of little fishes all around. I was keeping one eye on Phil the entire time and trying to see the reef with the other, and then under a ledge I noticed a huge baricooda. He must've been about four feet long, and bright flashing silver. I stopped fora minute to check him out and that's when Darrell's group came around the corner and caught up with us. It was cool to see them emerge out of the cloudy water, and it was really neat to see Darrell in full gear swimming about. I have so many pictures, and we have a lot of footage that he has shot when he wasdoing underwater film, but to actually see him in action was pretty cool, after only hearing the stories for the past decade. I don't know if he had a great dive though. He was with a group of guys who seemed to do a lot of swimming and not alot of observing. If you really want to see things in nature you have to be still and let it come to you. A really good example is our aquarium, we have a few fish in there that are over six inches long and if you come up to the glass, every one of them will disappear. They just flash away and pop into the rocks, and unless you sit back and let them be, they don't come out. The reef is no different, except there are larger fish with larger places to hide. darrell likes to go down and park it in a one spot for a while and see the fish come out and swim around, but the guys he was with seemed to be on a marathon to cover as much ground as they could find. He did manage to sit tight a few times and see some cool stuff.

The first time down lasted about an hour, and I was nearing the red zone on my supply gauge by the end of it. Newbies tend to use a lot of oxygen their first few dives because they are so excited and breath a lot more than normal. I was no exception. When I got back on the boat, I was just shaking, partly from the cold and partly from the excited energy. Next they took the boat to the second diving location. It was little clearer in this spot and you could actually see the bottom this time. I also had no trouble at all going down the rope the second time around. I was much more calm and relaxed and saw a lot more stuff the second time around. The second dive also lasted about an hour, and after three hours of swimming that day, I was all kinds of sore the next morning. I will definitely be going out and getting my licence before our next vacation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Bahamas

We took our tour over to Freeport, Grand Bahama on Discovery cruises. The cruise ship was a bit of a bucket, but it was cheap. At least the fair was cheap, once you were on the boat, they wanted to be tipped for every little thing. They even posted suggested tipping amounts all over the place. There was a complimentary breakfast buffet, that had some nice items on it, and some questionable ones. We had stayed up all night and done the drive from Key West up to Ft Lauderdale to catch the boat, so we spent the majority of the cruise sleeping in our cabin.
We stayed at the Sheridan, which was a fantastic resort hotel, right on the beach. We arrived on Tuesday and were scheduled to leave on Thursday. We checked with the dive shop there to see if there a diving tour we go on, but it was on Thursday. We looked into staying, but it was going to cost way too much to change our plans, so we decided not too. On our way back from the dive shop we were looking for a place to have lunch (not an easy thing for us, since Darrell is allergic to fish). There was a couple sitting in a little restaurant we were passing they were being served some pretty nice looking burgers, so we went in. I had the best burger I've had in a very long time. In fact if I've had a better burger I don't recall. Needless to say, we were there two nights and three days, so I had three of the best burgers I have ever had.
We spent the majority of our time in the Bahamas on beach chairs in the sun, but on the second day we were hit up by one of the many gals who man the middle of the road trying to track down clients for timeshares. We had nothing else to do, and there were some nice little perks for going, so we decided what the hell. No we did not buy a time share in the Bahamas. Had there not been a 900 dollar down payment required right away, the story may be different, but luckily they weren't willing to wave it and we couldn't afford it. We did get a couple bottles of rum, some tee shirts, and a free activity for going. We chose to go on the sunset booze cruise that night, and OMG we had fun.
The booze cruise was serving all you can drink Bahama Mama Rum punch, and Agnes, our bartender, made sure our cups were never empty. Agnes was a lot of fun, she had about six teeth in her mouth, and posed for pictures with everyone, and kept us drinking all night. We also met a couple fellow Canucks on the boat. Two french Canadian Sisters, Fran and Claire. Claire lives in Ottawa, and Fran now resides in Ft. Lauderdale. We had a great time drinking and dancing with them, and they were even on our return cruise so we all went up to the top deck to watch the sunset together.
Just a sidebar about the sunset, we have been jipped on it three times now. In Key West when we went to watch it in the "Top" rooftop bar, it was all going very well, and then the damn thing went behind a wall of clouds on the horizon. On the sunset cruise it was behind a bunch of buildings and we never got out of the canal in time to see it, then on the cruise home, there was another line of clouds along the horizon.
After the booze cruise docked we went to a little stand called rum runners that sold two corona for $5 so, needless to say it was a very drunken night, and we were both quite hung over the next day for our trip back to Ft. Lauderdale. In fact I was so run down I had a scratchy rough voice, and could barely talk. There was a karaoke contest in one of the lounges on the ship and I went ahead and participated anyway, even though I was having a rough go of it. I won.
Once we got into Ft. Lauderdale, Darrell gave a call to Underseas on Big Pine Key, to see if there was any chance of getting out for a dive. They said there was, so we traveled down to Florida City and got a hotel there for a couple nights.
I'll post about the dive later.
The vacation so far seems like three or four little vacations in one. We are getting very close to having to come home, and I'm feeling like I'm ready.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vacation - Week one!

I can't believe it's only been a week since we left on vacation. It seems like forever. Not everything has gone smoothly or to plan, but luckily we tried to keep our plans pretty loose to begin with so we could go with the flow, and that has worked out perfectly.

We Drove down to Bangor last week on Monday night and flew out the next day. We flew via JFK in New York into Orlando. There was a snow storm so bad in New York that we were delayed for a few hours and the sky was so white with snow, I couldn't see the city coming in or going out. You know it's bad when you can't even see the lights of the largest city in the country. In fact we didn't see much of anything from the plane until the Carolinas.

We got into Orlando late and found our hotel okay. It was very cold. All the weather reports were calling for a cold snap. Our original plan was to take a couple days and so the theme parks then head south, but since temperatures were going to be in the 50s we decided to head south right away, and left for Ft. Lauderdale the next morning. When we got there our Hotel room was awful, and driving around the beach area looking for a new one was promising to be a pricey affair, so we called down to the resort we were book at in Little torch Key to see if we could arrive a couple days early, and headed to the Keys. It was fantastic. We had only really planned on a few days in the Keys but were there from Wednesday, right up until last night. We stayed three nights at Parmer's Resort on Little torch key, and did a lot of partying in Key West, then spent the next two night right in Key West at the Travel Lodge. I love Key West!!!! I want very much to be a snow bird in the near future and start living the winters there. It is the Southern most Island in the Florida Keys and only about 2 miles by 4 miles. The pase of life is slow and there isn't a bunch of overgrown buildings taking up all the oxygen. It is a total party town, and you can take your drink from the bar and wander down the street into another bar. One of the biggest things every night is to go and watch the sunset. We didn't manage to get to that until last night and unfortunately it was cloudy so we didn't actually see it sink into the sea.
We checked out of the Travel lodge Monday morning and hung about Key West enjoying our last day and evening there. We even hit the Monkey bar for a little karaoke before heading up the highway at 11pm for Ft. Lauderdale. At 5 am we hopped the discovery cruise line ship and headed over to Freeport, Grand Bahama where we are for the next two nights. The day trip to freeport is only $30 round trip per person, and you can rent hotel rooms here for $50 a night. We are at the Sheridan for the next two night, and it is awsome. Right on the beach and everything right here. The weather has been so windy in the Keys the past week that there have been no diving tours, so I haven't had the chance to try scuba diving yet. There is a beginner course and tour here in Freeport on Thursday (weather permitting) and I am signed up for it, if we can change our reservations on the boat back and stay an extra day. Fingers crossed! We still have plans to take an everglades tour, and check out the theme parks in Orlando before we fly home next week...but nothing is set in stone, so we'll see where the wind blows us. We are having a fantastic Time!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Six Sleeps to Florida

This time next week I will be in Sunny Florida. I'm very excited!! This is my first trip to Florida, so I am really looking forward to it. It's almost like a Honeymoon without all the hassle of the wedding.

We're going for two weeks and plan on spending some time in Orlando and the Keys. We'll check out Disney and Universal during our Orlando stay, and do some scuba diving in the Keys. I've never dove before so I will have to take a course while we're there. I can't wait to leave winter behind for a little while and get a little sun.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poor neglected little blog

I have been such a bad blogger, and haven't posted in almost a month. Mostly because there hasn't been much to say.

The Holidays were good, and not long enough...duh. We kept it very cheap and decided not to spend money on ourselves or each other. Instead we used our bonus' etc to pay down debt. Considering the current economic situation this is not a time to be splurging on crap, plus we recently spoiled ourselves with a bunch of stuff anyway, including a dishwasher...that I have no idea how we managed to live so long without. I had a bunch fo sewing planned for my neices and nephews, that I still haven't finished, because the house was such a mess and we had so many other projects that had to be done while we were off. Hopefully I will be able to get around to it soon. On a high note I am starting off 2009 with no car payment!! Yay...I own it it will probably be breaking down any

We went back to work on the 5th and have been going full steam ahead ever since. The school has started back up for the winter term but enrollment in my classes is way down. I only have one class a week this time around, and we had to do some juggling just to make that one. I can't say I'm surprised considering the weather this winter, and everything else that is going on politically etc. People are just not spending money on extra things, and they also don't want to be traveling around in nasty weather. Speaking of nasty weather and travel...we are taking off for two weeks in February to Florida. Can't stand these long drawn out maritime winters anymore and need a little sunshine break to get us through to spring. We are hoping to get to see the spaceshuttle launch among other things. We haven't decided if we are flying or driving yet. If we fly it will be out of the States because the fees and taxes in Canada make a simple affordable fair into a mammoth expense. We will probably drive down to bangour and then fly out from there. It would be fun to do the drive though and watch winter disapear as we move farthur and farthur south. Plus I've never driven the East Coast and would like to see the different States as we go. I think this will be my first actual vacation since I was in grade ten and went to Disneyland with my Aunt and Uncle. All my other trips about have been to visit family, and let's face wonderful as that is, it is no vacation. How sad that I am 37 and this will basically be my first vacation. I will have to endeavour to rectify that several times in the coming years.