Lost and Found

People don’t take trips – trips take people. ~ John Steinbeck

And this trip certainly took us! This is the rest of yesterday’s story. I have one more short one to tell and then I’ll pack my bags. Here’s a recap:

  • We Found Tuscon without getting Lost (If you know us you, know that’s big)
  • H’s phone did get Lost (stolen) at jcp
  • We Found the best seat on the plane but Lost air space to the big blurry man
  • We Found our uglied-up luggage and my nice looking cousin in Seattle
  • We Found our ship and our room
  • We Lost our sea legs
  • We Lost our dinners

Our assigned table in dining room which we Lost for 3 nights

We Lost our dinners because I’m unfailingly polite. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes, not so much.

The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them. ~ Amelia E. Barr

For example, we Found Wala, our head cabin steward, finishing up our room when we boarded Friday afternoon. He soon got Lost and wasn’t Found again until Wednesday. Meeting him did make the voyage very different from all the previous ones.

On Sunday, we arrived in Juneau. It was a beautiful sunny day, which is really saying something about an area that gets 55-90 inches of rain between May and October and then it starts snowing.

Leaving Juneau by float plane

Heidi Found her sea legs but mine were still Lost as I griped my bottled water and filled up on tiny Tums.

Found these at the airport. How cool to get an antacid and breath freshener in one! They made up my entire Sunday breakfast. Haven’t been able to look at one since.

In Juneau, we took a float plane to a remote area and went on a bear hunt (which will be my next and final vacation story).

Beautiful float plane flight

I was moderately sick on the way to the island. I was really sick on the flight home and just barely Found the room before I Lost Saturday’s soup and a half a container of tiny Tums.

When we got back on the ship, there was a notice on the door.

Cruise Ship GIS warning

As it turns out, Heidi wasn’t seasick and I wasn’t tap-water sick, we had the Cruise Ship Flu. Since we got sick the 2nd day of the cruise, catching it so quickly was a mystery. The mystery was solved when I Found Wala on Wednesday, “feeling much better”.  Much of the crew had gotten the bug at the end of the previous cruise and the symptoms started when they saw us!

You probably can’t read the last sentence in the photo of our notice. It says:

The biggest problem is that this illness is readily spread from person to person (such as by shaking hands) as well as by touching surfaces and items that an ill person has touched.

In my pre-Top Secret Agent life, shaking hands wasn’t just polite, it was a standard professional practice. When we met Wala Friday afternoon, I cheerfully shook his hand. Heidi, wisely, just stuck with hi. In my weak defense, I doubt there was a surface in the room he hadn’t touched while getting it ready for us so maybe we would have gotten sick anyway?

Because this was a 2 week voyage, Juneau was followed by a 2nd At Sea day where I remained quarantined as requested by the captain. I Lost myself in book 3 of a Dean Koontz series I’d been reading on my Kindle. Everything on the ship changed. There were bars on all the books in the library.

Books behind bars

For a week there was no serving yourself anything at the buffet where the wait staff looked like surgeons in their plastic gloves. At nearly every corner, someone was squirting Purell on you. Even the salt and pepper shakers were removed.

Puzzles pieces were quarantined. I don’t do puzzles on cruises but it was strange to read puzzle warnings on the tables.

Missing pieces

To their credit, the staff did all they could to contain the virus and threw a party the second week with free wine (or soda) and cheer for all.

Celebration notice

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey. ~ Fitzhugh Mullan

We Lost about 3 days of this 14 day trip, but Found new ways to celebrate the journey! One last story about Bear Hunting and then this vacation will be all packed up.

Learning to Roll With It

The older I get, the more necessary it becomes to learn to roll with it.

I was pretty athletic when I was younger getting straight A+’s in P.E. in every unit except gymnastics. I wasn’t flexible. I’d Run, Tuck and Splat Out Flat. I never did get the Roll part down. I’d just thump over onto my back.

In the past several years, my athleticism seems to have left me. I now tip over so often. I’ve had to learn to roll to prevent seriously damaging any one single section of my body.

In my life as a Top Secret Agent, being able to roll with things is crucial. I can’t tell you what things because they’re secret so you can just make some up!

Here’s a visual. It has nothing to do with my TSA job or with rolling with it, but Heidi did make rolls  today and the RV still smells like fresh bread!

Which would be a grand thing if I could eat any.

I won’t because I’m still on a diet. And yes, I did say diet. No I didn’t say a I’m on a quest to learn how to eat healthier.  I’ve always known how to do that. Pretty much everyone knows that.

Heidi’s on the pathway of healthy eating because she’s all done with her diet, as of last week! When I’m done with mine, I’ll hop and skip down the healthy eating pathway, too.

But, for now, I’m on a diet.

The word Diet has become very un-PC, even to the diet industry. Funny. Pretending I’m not dieting would be like that word game where I say I don’t have problems, I just have opportunities. That’s one of those motivational sayings that was made up to sell books and posters. Of course I have problems. We all have problems. And I really am on a diet.
I’ve had a bit of success with this diet thing and I’ll write about that soon, but tonight I’m just concentrating on rolling.

Back to vacation – no worries, Fork isn’t going to turn into a travelogue – I just have a couple more stories to share. Vacations require a different set of rolling skills. For me it means being awake in the daytime and sleeping at night, which plays havoc with the cogs in my TSA clockwork. Since a segment of this past trip involved a cruise, some rolling was automatically attached.

Holland America – Amsterdam

We successfully joined up with our luggage and my cousin T and her husband B (sticking with code) to begin our all expense paid vacation that we’d won (like the 6 cruises before this one) by virtue of the Generous Cousin Foundation.

Me and T before things went bad

We stayed at The Edgewater Thursday night, just down the street from Pikes’s Market. It’s built entirely on a pier – but it didn’t roll.

Definitely not Sleepless in Seattle at The Edgewater

In addition to being on a pier, which is very cool, it’s famous because The Beatles fished off the balcony of their room when they stayed there.

I have no idea if they caught anything? Probably not – but it sure made for a great photo opp!

We boarded the ship Friday afternoon feeling full of anticipation and optimism.

Heidi  is all happy here because she had no idea what I was about to do to us.

We sailed away out of Seattle’s beautiful harbor.

Leaving Seattle and Mount Rainier

We met our cabin stewards, Wala and Jocko. This was the tipping point – literally and figuratively. I’ll be coming back to this moment in the next post. We had a lovely dinner and everything was pretty perfect. We slept to the soft sounds of the ocean and woke up Saturday to rolling seas.

Heidi starting feeling sick right away. She’s a little prone to motion sickness. She tried all the conventional cures – Bonine, ginger, sleep, tea, Tums etc… but she kept getting worse. A half a Bonine (I assumed named for My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean – sick at her stomach) and she’s  usually good to go. Not this time.

Saturday was an At Sea day (no port – Tracy Arms Glacier).

Tracy Arms Fjord

By noon, I wasn’t feeling too well either and I’m a Tilt-A Whirl kind of girl. I love motion!

In my TSA job, I never drink the water. TSA’s all know better than to drink tap water (we never know what might live in it). I had been drinking tap water (because it’s free) on the trip. We diagnosed Heidi with seasickness and me with tap-water-sickness.

H spent most of the day on the veranda sleeping and glacier gazing.

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

I spent the whole day doing very little gazing – mostly just glazed over, lying on the sofa. It’s tradition to serve split pea soup to accompany glacier gazing. I can’t tell you how terrible spit pea soup sounds when you have motion/drinking water sickness.

My view of Icy Straits from my vantage point on the sofa. (If you ever take a cruise, spring for a veranda. It’s so worth it! Thank you, T!)

We were glad for the At Sea day to recover since the next day held the promise of a Float Plane Bear Hunting trip in Juneau. I had no idea that things were about to go from not so good to really bad, all because I was trying to be polite.

Me and My Velcro

Your modern teenager is not about to listen to advice from an old person, defined as a person who remembers when there was no Velcro. ~Dave Barry

OK, that would be me. I’m so old I remember when I was smarter than my phone! I’ll come back to that in a minute. These days, Velcro is my friend!

My relationship with Velcro has been evolving over past few years, in part, because I live in a rolling home and Velcro stops everything from falling off the walls.

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But my true affinity for Velcro developed when I became a Top Secret Agent. There are certain things that SA’s need at all times: like a pen (which we SA’s lose like regular folks lose socks) and the exact time to the minute – no rounding. My watch only has a 12, 3, 6, and 9 so once again, Velcro came through from me.

Also, there’s the fact that as an SA, I work mostly in the dark. My eyesight  and memory both hover around a 6 on the 1-10 scale. SA Heidi, who lives to problem solve, Velcro-ed all the small things she thought I might need to the inside of the drawers by the sink: Pencil, Marker, Lipstick (apparently considered essential for SA work), Visine, Glasses Cloth, and Dental Floss.

Unfortunately, we failed to take any Velcro with us when we went on our not top-secret vacation. If we’d only thought of pocket patches we would have been able to get black dress pants for $17 instead of $82.50! With Heidi driving and Henry and I syncing and singing, we made the trip to Tucson in good time (a 10 hour day and a 5 hour day).

As a matter of fact, we made such good time that we decided to try to get our shopping done early Saturday morning to beat the masses. Top Secret Agents in remote locations have very few shopping opportunities.

Someone wrote and asked if we TSAs have phones in our shoes? Unfortunately no, but we sure wished we did once we got to Tucson. We typically carry them hidden in our back pockets. H’s phone wasn’t quite hidden enough and we never once thought about Velcro.

On only the second day of our grand adventure, and our first day in a city, her phone was skillfully picked from her back pocket while we were perusing the sales racks at jcp (JCPenney). We were outsmarted by a Smart phone thief.

We went to jcp just to buy black dress pants for the cruise. We each got a pair from the drastically reduced racks and spent just under $40 total, which is pretty good shopping. That is until you add in the $125 insurance claim for the phone which meant we left jcp with 2 pairs of pants at the bargain price of $82.50 each.

Before leaving the city, we headed to R.E.I. where H bought SA pants that are full of pockets, some so secret that she didn’t find them for two weeks. And some so special that they securely fasten with, yes, Velcro!

It was an auspicious beginning to our adventure. You would think things could only look up from there. As it turned out, not necessarily…

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Some folks have written and asked if my vacation was also top-secret since I didn’t say where we went (y’all are quick). I was just about to tell you a few stories from my not top-secret vacation when I got waylaid by the Emmys, an internet crash and a move to a new Top Secret Location.

Stories to come. Here’s a quick outline. The trip was just like Planes, Trains and Automobiles minus John Candy and Steve Martin, and the trains and automobiles. 😀

It was Trucks
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Heidi saw this and said: “Is that supposed to be our truck? Yes. It looks just like it except I left off the back door, the tires aren’t really flat etc…

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Planes

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We flew Southwest where “luggage is free”, there are no assigned seats and they still give you tiny pretzels and peanuts.

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and Cruise Ships

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The squiggles above the ship could be smoke or waves. I couldn’t decide which to draw so you can take your pick.

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Time for an aside here:

I have no idea why I decided to illustrate this post myself. Just so you know, I know that I can’t draw and I’m perfectly fine with that. I have no aspirations so you don’t need to send me kind, encouraging comments about how I’ll get better with practice. Y’all are so sweet but I won’t get better and I won’t practice. This was a one time thing.

Back to the story:

We drove from our TSL in Texas to Tucson,where Henry VIII vacationed for 2 weeks with a good friend and we visited my Sis (Hi Sis, it was grand!). Then we flew from Tucson to San Diego to fly to Seattle to take a boat to Alaska. We sailed away on an all expense paid cruise (which I won by virtue of being related to a very generous cousin – thank you T!) from Seattle to Kodiak. Then, we flew from Seattle to Albuquerque to fly back to Tucson to reunite with Henry (thank you, Gene!) and pick up the pickup to drive back to our TSL. 😀

Just before we left, I sprained my wrist doing something SO top-secret on my TSJ that I can’t even remember what it was which I couldn’t tell you anyway. So when I say we drove, really just Heidi drove. Henry and I sang to keep her awake. When Henry and I sing, it’s very hard to sleep. (If I’m going to be truly forthcoming, Henry just lip-syncs.)

*Henry wasn’t harmed in the making of this trip. He’s in his kennel which took up a full 1/2 of the back seat. Despite appearances, he wasn’t covered in luggage.

At least H says that’s why she drove – all the way to Arizona – and all the way back again. Maybe… It could also be because I’m still on tiny palm tree probation from last fall. It was quite a trip. Non-illustrated stories to follow.

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there. ~ Yogi Berra