Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I took CATivan once. It was CATastrophic.

So the knees are acting up. Both of them. At the same time. But let's not panic, people. I'm scheduled for an MRI next week and then I will know more.

In the meantime, I've decided to share a rather entertaining MRI tale (or "tail," as you will soon find out) about this one time when I took a cat pill for MRI anxiety. That's not a typo...I legit took a pill prescribed to my cat in a moment of complete desperation. Stay with me...

Anyone who has followed any of my blogs knows that I have a pretty intense fear of the MRI. I'm not sure why. I don't consider myself claustrophobic, nor do I fear loud noises. In fact, before my very first MRI, I reassured the Techs that I was more than fine with remaining motionless for a 45 minute scan. It was in the 10th minute of that MRI that I had a kinda traumatizing panic attack and swore that I would never do another MRI without the assistance of some anti-anxiety meds. Ativan is a beautiful thing, my friends, and was created especially for times like this.

Within our first year of living in Cayman, I found myself in predicament in which I have been so many times in the last seven years - one of my knees was sucking the big one and I required an MRI for a full diagnosis. Given that it can easily take 8 months to get an MRI in Saskatchewan, I figured that I had plenty of time to get a prescription for Ativan before I entered the tunnel of terror. That's why, when the hospital contacted me a mere 3 days after my referral was submitted, I was completely taken off guard when they requested that I come in that very day for my MRI. Shocked by the efficiency of what I had expected to be an inefficient system, I gratefully accepted and then realized that I had 3 hours to get some Ativan.

I did not have time to see my Doctor. In desperation, I began contacting island friends (new friends, given that I had only been on the island for a few months), begging for Ativan like a crack whore. Surely someone on this island suffers from anxiety? I had taken Ativan multiple times, so I knew that I responded well, and I knew the dosage that I required (Disclaimer: I do not condone taking medication without a prescription). I finally received a response from a good non-judgemental buddy who thought that she could get me an Ativan within the next few hours. She promised to message me as soon as soon as she had the medication and would meet me at the hospital so that I could take the anti-anxiety pill before my MRI.

When I hadn't yet heard from her an hour before my scheduled appointment, panic set in. I began rooting through drawers in hopes that I had an old prescription somewhere! Anywhere! Suddenly I came upon a clear pill bottle, containing little blue pills,  which donned the name of my cat, Biloxi Lindsay. I recalled this prescription from 3 years ago when Biloxi had been accidentally locked out of his litter box room by the furnace repairman for 3 days. It had caused my poor little furry friend so much anxiety that he began pulling his fur out in clumps. The little blue pill succeeded in calming down the cat and terminating the undesirable behaviour. That's right - this was an anti-anxiety medication for my cat, and at this point, it was good enough for me too. I quickly googled the pill and discovering that it was safe for humans, I swallowed it down in one quick gulp.

As Evan drove me to the hospital for my appointment, I noticed that I was not calming down. My heart rate was increasing with the thought of enduring an MRI, and I was convinced that the cat pill was having absolutely no effect. Thankfully, my buddy messaged me, "I have an Ativan for you. Meet you there." Once at the hospital, I took the Ativan and breathed a huge sigh of relief as I sat in the waiting room. I would be just fine. The Tech greeted me and apologized that they were running late and I would likely have to wait for another 30 minutes. No problem. I was chill, man. Every little thing was gonna be alright. I was feline fine!

Thirty minutes later I awoke to the Tech shaking me awake, "It's time for your MRI," she exclaimed cheerfully. Right meow? I wiped the drool off my chin and followed her to my tunnel of terror. However, this time, it was the tunnel of tranquility.

For 45 minutes, I was pawsitively catatonic while the magnetic field caused my protons to spin (or whatever the hell the MRI does?). I was almost disappointed when the thumping and loud sirens came to a halt. That's it? "That was pawsome!" I told the Tech enthusiastically.

After I managed to dress myself and head back into the waiting room, I was greeted by Evan, who litter-ally took one look at me and became wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Apparently I looked a mess.  It is possible that the combination of the cat pill and Ativan resulted in the purrferred effect - you know, times ten. There are reports that I was purring, purrhaps grooming myself with the back of my paw hand. I may have been rubbing my face on Evan's leg and sniffing the air for tuna...it's all speculation, but definitely pawsible.

Moral of the story...cat pills are for cats, you dummy! Don't take Cativan.

Cheers Friends - I will post once I know more about status of the knees.




Monday, January 21, 2019

From begging for mercy to throwing rocks at your neighbours - the 5 stages of the FLU



So I got rocked by the "which end??" flu this weekend. If you don't know that specific type of flu, I will spare you the grotesque details, other than to paint a lovely little scenario. Picture this: your body is telling you that something terrible is about to happen so you rush to the bathroom only to be greeted by the smug porcelain grin of the toilet, "Well hello there,  Ms. Lindsay! Nice of you to join us at such an hour! Will you be sitting or kneeling this morning?" You realize that you have mere seconds to make a very. important. decision. No one should ever ever be faced with this decision! This is the "which end?" flu, and it is one of the rudest thing that your body can do to you.



As I endured about 54 hours of sick (yes, I counted every. single. hour.), it occurred to me that I was on a journey through 5 predictable stages on the flu timeline. Allow me explain the 5 stages of the flu, to which I am sure you can all relate:

1) Survival
The survival stage of the flu is the initial violent entry into flu-ville. As horrific things are happening to your body, you initially wonder whether this is, in fact, how it all ends. You question whether major organs have been ejected from your body and if a 9-1-1 call is even feasible at this point in time. You tightly grasp the toilet seat/bathtub/cat's tail, quietly beg for mercy, and hang on for the ride.

2) Denial
Once the violent phase of the flu appears to be diminishing, you begin to reflect on what caused the sudden and shocking sick. You secretly hope for food poisoning, which is a temporary hell, and begin messaging all of the friends with whom you've recently dined, "Anyone get sick from that sushi last night?" You begin to panic as your friends reply with, "Sorry bud.  Feeling fine (sad-faced emoji, green sick face emoji)."  Dammit. The horribly selfish part of you was secretly hoping that you could lament over falling asleep on the toilet with your face in a garbage can with someone...anyone? This is also the stage when mass exodus occurs within your home - loved ones gingerly slide you Tylenol under the door and flee the country.

Evan fled to Austin. Biloxi, fearing that I would die without feeding him first, snuck into Evan's carry-on.


3) Acceptance
Once the fever and chills settle in, you begin to accept your reality. You do, in fact, have a flu. Your friend just messaged you that she's heard it's a 48 hour bug, so you set your alarm and settle in for 40 more hours. No worries. You create a lovely little bed out of towels on your bathroom floor,  at the end of your porcelain lifeline.  Who knew that your bathroom floor could be so cozy? And those cool floor tiles feel heavenly on your fevered face. You begin celebrating small successes, "I haven't puked in about an hour so maybe the worst is over?" You've been meaning to cut back calories this week, and today you've managed to eliminate...well about 1500 calories from your day. Wow, think about how great you will look in your bikini next week!

4) Anger
Once the situation has calmed down a bit and you are no longer making split second kneeling/sitting decisions, the anger begins to build within you. Who did this to you? You rack your brain, imagining each and every asshole person that you have contacted within the last 24 hours. "I bet it was that student in year 2....he looked a little green and he sneezed during my therapy session." You may even begin turning on your friends, "I bet it was Stacey. He took a sip of my margarita. He's shady like that." You realize that is now hour 51 so you angrily message your friend, "You said this was a 48 hour flu. You liar!! You lied to me!" You look out the window and realize that it is a perfect tropical island day - children are playing in the pool, tourists are sipping their cocktails on the beach. F#$% EM! F#$% them all! Your FOMO is at an all time high. It is so unfair that you are sick on the weekend! You worked so hard all week, dammit. You earned this weekend! You secretly pray for rain and snuggle back on your bathroom floor bed of despair.

5) Triumph
You successfully digest a bowl of rice and message everyone you know, "I ate rice! I ate rice!" You remain upright for more than 15 minutes and nothing falls out! You open up the blinds and let the sunshine flood into your room. You throw your sheets into the washer and properly wash your face - it's time to rid all evidence of the sick. Sure you're a little worse for wear. You will need to make an appointment with the chiropractor to get that rib back in place...but...you conquered the which end flu! You are a survivor. You have successfully defeated the enemy. Rejoice!

Cheers to surviving the flu!


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Awkward first date with L.R

I haven't been on a first date in a really really long time - 23 years in February, to be exact, but I remember that first date like it was yesterday. Evan Lindsay had asked me to a movie - the original Star Wars was being resurrected to the big screen. Although I was never super keen on Star Wars, I was super keen on Evan Lindsay and so, without too much overt enthusiasm, I nonchalantly agreed to accompany him on our first date. In actuality, I was dying inside. I was going on a date with THE Evan Lindsay!!!! I liked this guy. A lot.


First dates, regardless of how well they go, are awkward as hell - especially when you are an already self-conscious floundering  teenager. Is he going to pay for the movie? Is he going to try and hold my hand? What if my throat makes that weird noise during the super quiet scenes? What do I do if our fingers touch in the tub of popcorn? Should I eat the popcorn or pretend that I don't eat? And of the biggie...is he going to kiss me goodnight?


My first date with Evan, in my 1997 mind, went exceptionally well. He picked me up at my house and came to the door to retrieve me (some boys just honk - rude!) He took charge in line and paid before I even had the chance to offer. He ordered popcorn and insisted that I share it with him. As far as I knew, there were no strange noises or smells emitted from either of us. And... there was a really awesome, yet respectful, goodnight kiss at my house when he dropped me off.


The reality of our first date, however, was that it was far from perfect, but I didn't really realize until after the fact, that it indeed, was awkward as hell.


Firstly, despite the fact that it was -40 degrees Celsius that evening, Evan insisted on rolling (manually rolling) down the car window on the way to the theatre. Although I thought it was a bit odd, I assumed that he was just hot. The reality, which I discovered years later, was that Evan was trying to mask the smell of a first date jitters fart on the drive to the movie theatre. During the movie, unbeknownst to me,  Evan apparently attempted to hold my hand at least 30 times. He later admitted that just as as he built up the courage to creep his hand within inches of mine, he quickly retreated in a state of panic. The build-up to our first kiss was also...well, a bit weird, really. Evan stood at the front door, staring blankly at me until I finally broke the silence with, "Well...I would like to kiss you." to which he responded, "Yes. Me too." Haha. Smooth. Overall, in retrospect...awkward as hell, but decent outcome.

How it all began....



The reason I am reminiscing about our awkward first date is that I had a very similar experience today...oddly enough, with our new vehicle.


Our vehicle, a gently used Land Rover (L.R), finally arrived last week off of the slowest boat that's ever sailed across the ocean from Singapore. Some rough seas delayed it in Jamaica, and a dead battery and poor communication with our broker delayed it in the port here in Cayman. Anyway, it was a character-building lesson in fortitude, but Ev and I finally received L.R on Saturday. We were immediately quite happy with her. Not only did she have very low mileage, but she appeared to be in decent shape. Our first observation was that all of the windows rolled down and there were no zip ties holding anything together #adultinghard.  The combination of  forest green exterior and light leather interior result in a look that I refer to as "rugged luxury." And...the icing on the cake? Multiple cup holders and 2 sun-roofs so that Ev can tan his head en route!


The issue with L.R. is that we don't quite "know" each other yet. We are still in the process of feeling each other out. I sense that there's a future for us - I don't want to jump the gun, but this feels "long-term" to me (teenage girl squeal!!!)


When I settled down on the soft cream leather seat this morning, I hastily inserted the key fob and pushed the "start/stop" button. To my dismay, nothing happened. Thinking that I had used too much force, I repeated the steps - gently - and L.R happily purred away. Obviously, L.R prefers a gentle touch. Got it.


I turned on Bob FM - my favorite 80's and 90's station, and began my trek to the office to the tune of "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life." So far, so good. As I indicated my left-hand turn, I was alarmed by the obnoxious thumping of both the front and rear windshield wipers. Unlike every other right-hand drive on island, L.R's windshield wiper lever was located on the right hand side of the steering wheel! It was apparent, already, that L.R was a bit of a quirky bird, who obviously sends mixed signals (See what I did there? Haha).  I must have been a sight, driving through morning traffic, on a sunny 80 degree morning with my windshield wipers on full speed! I recovered and signaled my turn, quickly turning off the windshield wipers. I was back in business. Suddenly something  caught my attention in the rearview mirror - the rear windshield wiper was still on. As I attempted to find the correct combination of lever clicks and turns, it was apparent that I was not operating L.R to her satisfaction, and the rear window wiper persisted for the entire 45 minute drive to work. Me and L.R were just not feeling it.


Once I arrived at work, I pushed the start/stop button and removed the key fob. Despite removing the key, L.R continued to run. Not only did L.R continue to run, but she began an obnoxious "beep...beep...beep" sound that typically indicates one is reversing. "What now?!  Babe. Talk to me. What do you want? Stop? Go? What do you want me to do?" L.R had spun me into a whirlwind of confusion and frustration. "I don't know how to push your buttons yet!" Eventually, it occurred to me that the beeping was a result of another driver who was in the process of parking much too close to L.R (she needs her space, people!). I put the key fob back in the ignition and removed it, ever so gently, while quietly stroking her steering wheel and singing the Chainsmokers, "Baby pull me closer in the backseat of your Rover..." Like pure magic, L.R complied, and turned off. Complicated and high maintenance. Got it.


I've decided to persist with L.R. It was a bit of a rocky start, but I believe someone of her caliber is worth the extra effort. Given that she is from Singapore, I'm anticipating some cultural differences, but I believe that with time and patience, there is a wonderful future in store for us.


Cheers to awkward first dates ;)

caress gently and speak softly

L.R likes long walks on the beach...

...and sunsets. But...do NOT try to hold her hand - she needs her space!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Welcome to the Jungle

When I was a kid, I remember having croup - a loud, barking cough that caused me to lose my breath. I recall my mom rushing me to the bathroom, turning on the hot shower and rubbing my back while I inhaled the warm, humid air. Although the sensation of not being able to catch your breath was scary, I also remember feeling calm and relaxed once the humid air reached my airway. After that experience, I found that the sound of running water and warm humid air relaxed me. I remember laying on the floor of the bathroom while my parents showered in the mornings, drifting in and out of sleep as I listened to the steady rhythm of falling water. As I got older, I found myself reading on the bathroom floor as the shower ran, pretending that I was taking an extra long shower (I had no idea that we actually PAID for water. Say Wha? Sorry Mom and Dad). When I lived in Edmonton, my best bud roomie, Janna, and I would sometimes find a quiet day to study at the indoor waterpark at west Edmonton Mall, where I felt like I could focus and relax with the sound of water shooting down the slides. You get the drift...Well, you can only imagine the joy that I experienced when we entered Las Cascadas Lodge in Honduras, and I realized that I would be sleeping near the edge of a waterfall. Now this was a dream come true!

Las Cascadas Lodge, an eco-hotel set amidst the rainforests of Honduras, was a breeze to get to. Cayman Airways flies to La Ceiba, Honduras twice a week, and the flight is a mere hour away (complete with complimentary rum punch - booya!). The lodge was a quick 30 minute drive from the airport. I was a little nervous about traveling to Honduras, as the news depicts it as a less than safe destination, but I was assured that the Lodge would arrange for all of our transportation and take very good care of us - which they did. Prior to our arrival, the Lodge emailed us frequently and provided us with details of our upcoming trip. They also informed us that we would be the only guests that week at the lodge and inquired about our food preferences. Now Ev and I don't typically scrimp on vacations but I must say that we've never had access to our own personal chef before! Luckily, I watch a lot of "Below Deck," on Bravo and know exactly how to be a pleasant posh person, as opposed to the asshole posh person who requests sea cucumber ovaries for an all-white themed dinner. So, you know, I told our Chef that we like everything.  And we did. We loved everything! As soon as Chef Olvin greeted us at the Lodge, he began pampering us with drinks and food and we ate and drank like Gods for the entire week! From fresh corn tortillas and (gasp!) fresh avocados!!! for breakfast to shrimp and chicken skewers for dinner, we stuffed ourselves silly. Our resort was "all inclusive," so Olvin set up the bar for us, and we mixed rum punches (5 kinds of rum. Why not?) with fresh Hibiscus juice and indulged in evening glassessss (multiple) in the evenings. Magic!

I love waterfalls!

The house that we stayed in, the Bejuco Lodge, was simply incredible! One entire wall consisted of screen, with a waterfall a mere hundred feet away (FYI: listening to running water consistently DOES make you pee more!).  We had a relaxing lounge area, a beautiful four poster bed, an authentic soaker tub carved out of rock and an outdoor shower space, to rinse off under the moon. The house was staged with fresh flowers, soft pillows, wood-carved furniture, and felt exotic, yet cozy. Just outside our door were trails of various lengths leading up to waterfalls, rope swings, and cascading pools. Picture Swiss Family Robinson, the luxury edition.

A bath made in heaven

outdoor shower

morning tea with my book

Although there were numerous tours to choose from, we opted into two separate tours, including whitewater rafting down the Rio Cangrejal, and a horseback riding tour through villages, orchards, and jungles. Both were awesome! The whitewater rafting was a little more intense than I had realized - although it was class 2-3 rapids, we got our money's worth and flipped our raft on the last set of rapids for the day - a little frightening - but everyone was fine (Evan landed softly on top of me). We also had the chance to cliff jump halfway down the river (Ev jumped, I watched) and float calmly through the rainforest, while watching toucans soar above our heads. The horseback riding tour was super cool, and the horses appeared to be healthy and well cared for. We were able to ride through streams, orchards (and eat fresh lychee and oranges), and through the two villages in the area, one of which was Chef Olvin's home! The kids ran to the road to wave to us and shout, "hola!" as we trotted by. Despite that fact that Honduras is a third world country - evident by small shack-like houses, outdoor plumbing, and pigs and goats roaming freely throughout the village - it was apparent that the villagers took great pride in their community. It was incredibly clean. We didn't see a piece of garbage anywhere!  Everyone was so friendly and responsive, as Chef Olvin explained that they rely heavily on tourism, thus welcome all visitors. Other than Evan's ongoing battle with his very stubborn horse who chose to eat constantly then gallop wildly to catch up ("OK. You need to calm down, horse. Calm. The f%$&. Down." hahah!!!), it was very chill, and we covered a lot of ground in 3 hours. There was also canyon repelling, multiple hikes, and zip lining, but Ev and I decided to spend 2 days touring and 1 full day relaxing - I even indulged in a sublime massage at a waterfall's edge. Pure bliss.

Check out my "fun" face. Oh dear. 

Beautiful scenery!

Proof of flip

He's a natural! ;)

stopping to pick fruit

Cowboy Ev and his lychee

Cliff jumping!!!

This is more my speed. 

I think the best part of the vacation was our "happy hour" time back at Las Cascadas. Because Ev and I were the only guests, we created our very own happy hour at the edge of the waterfall everyday at 4pm. We drank our rum punch and alternated between sunning ourselves on the rock and jumping into the refreshing falls. We read. We laughed. We played, "what does this song remind you of" (when the wifi was working properly), and reminisced about high school, hockey, and Candle Lake Days (Example: "'Fly' by Sugar Ray reminds me of that Raider party, at age 17, when you drank red wine out of a paper bag and puked on the assistant coach's car! Haha). We had a great time. I realize that some people would desperately crave conversation with other guests, but this was exactly what Ev and I needed. We've spent a lot of our quality time in hospitals and orthos' offices - let me tell ya, the waterfall quality time far surpasses "medical" bonding time. It's been one year since my last surgery - the longest surgery-free stretch in 5 years! So we had cause for celebration. And I know I've said this before, but let me reiterate - for the love of God, marry someone you like! A vacation like this would have sucked balls if I hated Evan's face, and I probably wouldn't have let him land on me during the whitewater rafting incident.

Olvin, our fabulous chef!

Lindsay happy hour 

hahaha! We definitely look the part. 

So my friends, overall, Las Cascadas was the perfect mix of adventure and total relaxation. I highly recommend it, especially to my Cayman friends who want a completely different landscape and perspective, but wish to avoid the inevitable feeling of defeat one experiences when traveling through  the soul-crushing Miami airport.

Salud!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Purchasing a vehicle: Adulting at it's finest!

Adulting is hard. It's even harder on a tropical island where it can seem as though everyone is living the carefree vacation life around you. For those reasons, I've made it clear that Evan and I adult the minimum amount needed to, you know, live a semi-respectable life. We've had our TV and internet disconnected because we've forgotten to pay the bill. We've driven around with no window in our car because we chose to go to the beach instead of the mechanic. We've temporarily been locked out of our PO Box for failing to renew it (As I read this list I can't help but think, "losers"). But...Evan and I have also done some very respectable adult things here on the island. We purchased our house (excellent decision, given the incredibly rising market in Cayman), we've held respectable jobs and I've managed to get my contract renewed twice, and we purchased a very respectable vehicle. Now buying a vehicle, my friends, is probably the most challenging, soul-crushing adulting experience on island.

Purchasing a vehicle consists of attempting to connect with sellers via WhatsApp, arriving at their home for a test drive only to find that they are not home (duh....they are at the beach! They are selling, they don't need to adult!) and then finding that a) the car is rusting out due to sea salt damage. or b) It's needs a new engine or...something important like that. Vehicles here are incredibly overpriced (about 50% more than in Canada) and let's be honest, no one else here is adulting, so generally speaking, the vehicles often haven't been taken great care of. When you take a car for a test drive, it's not uncommon to find heaps of sand in the backseat, empty beer cans rattling around in the trunk, and a cleverly constructed zip tie apparatus used to open the window. It's difficult to hand over $5000 CI for a vehicle that has remnants of prosecco spray on the ceiling. If you do get lucky enough to find a respectable vehicle for purchase, you then must withstand hours and hours (I am not exaggerating) at the DMV, waiting desperately for your arbitrary number (do not expect order) to be called. When your number is called, you will no doubt have filled out the incorrect form and be instructed to fill out a new form and enter a new and eternal line. By the time the sale is complete you are left wondering how you seemingly lost years of your life during this time-sucking experience. Adulting at its finest.

Now we got this experience out of the way within a week of moving to Cayman. We purchased a 2010 Mitsubishi Colt, which had been originally imported from Japan. It was a great car! It spoke Japanese to us and nothing was more exciting than when the GPS lady would scream "Get out of the effin ocean!" (I don't speak Japanese, but given the fact that our GPS map depicted somewhere in the middle of water, I imagine that's what she was yelling). Like college roommates who spent their last $10 on beer, Ev and I shared the Mitsubishi colt for 4 years. Most of our friends, who were obviously adulting at a higher level than us, thought it was odd that we managed to share a vehicle for so long. The fact is, Evan works from home and rarely needed the vehicle when I was using it. When he did need to leave the house for appointments during the work week, he didn't mind catching the bus. The "bus" on island, by the way,  is a white van that picks you up if you are standing anywhere near the road, and indicating that you need a ride.  But there were moments where the bus wasn't so reliable and Evan ended up running on foot to appointments in his collared shirt and "dressy" shorts. During one such incident, a dude, sipping a Red Stripe while riding his bike past an out of breath Ev, exclaimed, "Bro! don't you have a car?" It was at that moment that Evan decided we needed to step it up and start vehicle adulting.

learning how to drive in Cayman: hands at 11 and 1. Obviously. 

In all it's glory!

"Ev! We finally made it to Tokyo!"

We made the decision to sell the Mitsubishi to our buddy, Stacey, because we wanted him to experience the love that the Colt provided to us for 4 years. Then Evan began the process of finding a vehicle overseas to ship in to Cayman. This is a common occurrence on island. Although it's a bit tedious shipping in a vehicle and paying duty, you can hire a broker to take care of the details and generally speaking, you can find a nice vehicle and overall, pay less for more than if you purchased your vehicle on island.

As Ev and I scoured the selection of vehicles, we upped our adulting game hard, searching for respectable SUV's with sun roofs and leather interior (no prosecco stains in sight!) We settled on a used Land Rover because of it's extra large sunroof, which would provide a sea breeze and beige leather interior, which wouldn't be as hot as black leather.  See! Adult decisions. Evan and I were adulting like we had never adulted before. We examined the inspection sheet and determined that this would be a good respectable vehicle for the Lindsays. Done. Then we began our search for our second vehicle, AKA the #midlifecrisis #livingmybestlife Jeep.

This was Ev's first choice ;)

I've never been one to be really excited about vehicles. I know some people love the "new vehicle scent" and yearn for the latest and greatest features on their vehicle, but that was never me. I just don't really care. I have, however, always dreamed of owning a Jeep. Since I was 16, I pictured myself as a super cool surfer chick, driving to the beach with my blond hair blowing in the wind, and jumping out of my Jeep and unstrapping my surfboard from my roof. I was told immediately that a Jeep was a bad idea in Saskatchewan winters. It rode rough. It was cold. It was shitty on ice. So I firmly placed my jeep dream aside and carried on driving my reliable Grand Am. But here I am. Nearing 40 years old, and although I'm not a surfer chick, nor do I have clearance from my Ortho to "jump," I'm finally living in a perfect Jeep climate and ready for my midlife crisis mobile.

So as we wait for our responsible "family" vehicle to arrive from Singapore (room for both the cat and the dog!), we are searching for our fun, rugged Jeep. Easier said than done. Now I have an open mind. Given that his is going to be our 2nd run-around vehicle, I'm willing to buy something a little rough around the edges. Evan jokes that I'm looking for "rugged luxury," but honestly, my bar is set quite low. I just want a cool Jeep. Unfortunately the first Jeep we test drove was a little more "rugged" than I anticipated. The seller was honest, explaining that it required x, y, z, a, b, c, d, etc to be fixed. When Ev started the engine I had flashbacks of driving my dad's old grain truck at the farm. Some belt squealed incessantly and the breaks didn't work well enough to actually prevent us from moving. As Ev drove this piece of rugged luxury down the road and commented happily, "It has character!" I was shocked to see that I could actually view the road beneath my feet! The floor was rusting out! Yabba dabba doo? As Ev marvelled at the bottle opener which had been cleverly attached to the dash for easy access, I couldn't help but think that we had adulted too hard with the Land Rover and had obviously regressed too far back into never never land - you know, the place where adulting is banned. I convinced Ev to discuss this "character-filled" vehicle with our buddy who is a mechanic on island before considering a purchase. And I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Jeremy for explaining, "It is bad if you can see the road from the floor of the Jeep." Haha. Thanks buddy. And, Ev, I'm sorry if I took you too far into adultville. I promise that once the Land Rover arrives from Singapore, we can fill that back seat with sand and empties!

"rugged luxury" haha. 


Cheers to #livingyourbestlife! haha.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

fangirling hard in Cayman

I love celebrity gossip. I am well aware that following the lives of celebrities via trashy magazines, daily entertainment shows, and TMZ online is not necessarily a sophisticated hobby; however, it brings me great joy and it doesn't hurt anyone so I continue to do it. Some people's vice is cocaine - mine is celebrity gossip, so kill me.

Now I've never really met anyone famous, but with all the celebrity stalking research that I participate in, I would assume that meeting one of these famous persons would be much like meeting a friend. I would remain calm and cool, ask intelligent questions, and refrain from taking obnoxious selfies. This is how I thought I would react - until I met THE BAND and made a complete and total fool of myself. I will refer to THE BAND as THE BAND throughout this post because they may or may not have a restraining order against me at this point in time.

There isn't a great deal of live music on the island. Evan and I were super pumped to find THE BAND during our first year in Cayman. THE BAND consists of two very nice men who perform several times a week at different resorts across the island. They play our favourite tunes from the 90's and throw in some Jack Johnson and Vance Joy which makes us smile. Typically on a monthly basis, Ev and I order some margs and nachos and sit seaside appreciating this awesome live music. THE BAND began recognizing us a few months in and acknowledged our presence with a smile and a wave. I thought that was cool. THE BAND knew we were fans. We obviously shared a special connection...and this is where I begin to sound like a crazy ass stalker.

On my birthday last year we did a Friday happy hour sunset sail with our posse. Now anyone who has experienced the Red Sail sunset cruise can vouch for me: something magical happens on that boat. It's some chemical reaction that occurs when you combine rum punch with wide open sea and a sailing boat. Each and every time you return to land after the sunset sail, you are shocked by the fact that you have quickly become incredibly intoxicated. Such was my state on that fateful day.

Walking through the lobby of the Westin, I was pleasantly surprised to see THE BAND performing in  the lobby! The lobby was quite empty, when I say "quite empty" I mean that It was basically my posse and THE BAND. That didn't stop me from exclaiming in a very loud drunk voice, "IT'S MY BAND! I LOVE THIS BAND! THIS IS MY FAVORITE BAND!" My posse would tell me later that THE BAND kinda snickered at my declaration. Perhaps at that point, they thought it was kinda cute that I appeared so starstruck by their appearance. I awoke the next day with a fuzzy head and a slight feeling of shame for humiliating myself in front of THE BAND. But that didn't stop me from continuing to sheepishly attend their performances.

My good buddy informed me that she knew THE BAND quite well, and one evening when we were out for drinks she introduced me to one of the members. At that point in time, I was super calm and cool. I asked intelligent questions and made conversation like a regular human being. I really felt that I had redeemed myself after my humiliating Westin lobby incident and I felt confident that I could continue attending THE BAND's shows without embarrassment - we had wiped the slate clean.

Unfortunately the Redsail sunset cruise got me again on another fateful Friday evening. As I disembarked the boat and found my land legs, that familiar feeling of over-intoxication grabbed a hold of me. Making my way through the Westin lobby, I could hear the soothing sounds of THE BAND playing their cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," and something terrible happened...I morphed into the annoying giddy fangirl.

I was happily sipping my sauv blanc at the bar with my two girl friends when the member of THE BAND whom I had spoken to a mere few weeks ago stopped by to say "hello." Now I have no idea what came over me at that point, but I very awkwardly put both of my hands in the air, palms facing outward, and shrilly proclaimed, "I'm here!" Out of the corner of my eye I saw my two girl friends look at me with complete bewilderment. What was I doing? Why was I so freakin awkward? At that point, panic overtook me and I began giggling incessantly. These awful 13 year old girl giggles were just bursting from my mouth. Wide-eyed, my buddy indicated to THE BAND member that my behaviour was not my norm, nor was it acceptable. THE BAND member cautiously replied, "Ok then..." and continued on his way. It was mortifying. Upon his departure, my buddies exclaimed, 'Kirstie! What is wrong with you???" Ugh. I felt shame.

So here we are today. I wouldn't put it past THE BAND to have a restraining order against me. I really wouldn't. I was a creep. It's sucky because there are so few live music acts on the island and I really enjoy their music. But...I've just heard some fabulous news...apparently there is a new BAND on island who is not yet familiar with me or my fangirling tendencies. I hear they are playing at the Marriott tonight so, you know, time to get my autograph book out and redeem myself. ;)

Have you ever been completely starstruck and made a complete ass of yourself? Please say yes.







Friday, August 17, 2018

#surgeryfreesummer

I can't believe that our summer in Saskatchewan is winding down. Seven weeks flew by! I hashtagged this summer #surgeryfreesummer, and let me tell ya, #surgeryfreesummer kicked last year's horrific #theneverbendingstory summer's ass! It's amazing what a difference a year makes. I spent the majority of last summer on the damn knee bending machine, popping pills, and hoarding food. The #surgeryfreesummer was filled with friends, family, activity, and laughter. I summered good. Cheers to modern medicine!

I've narrowed down my top 10 favourite things about the summer of 2018, AKA #surgeryfreesummer. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Happy Family, happy life

When you move so far away from home, you return every year with the realization that things have changed. You get a snapshot of your friends and families lives every summer and observe that some changes are awesome - new babies, new relationships, new jobs. And some changes, unfortunately, are not positive. Last summer I left Canada feeling unsettled. Some of my friends were experiencing challenges and my Baba had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. I cried when we drove to the airport, uncertain about what the future held for the people I love.

This summer, it was so fantastic to see my family doing well and feeling happy. I was able to catch up with my parents, sister, grandmothers, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Although my Baba did have some health issues this summer, it blows my mind how strong and active she is at age 90. It brings me great joy to see my Baba picking weeds in her flower garden at the farm, a house that she wasn't sure she would be able to return to  after receiving a cancer diagnosis last year. Take that, Cancer!  My Grandma, like my Baba, is doing well at home and happily living with her kitty. I'm so proud of her positive attitude and her ability to continue doing the things she enjoys like making soup, jam, and baking cookies for all of us. There is also great joy in seeing your parents happy and healthy. I observed my Dad living his best life, riding his dirt bike on the beach with a 19 year old grin on his face, his girlfriend cheering him on from the deck. I'm so happy that my Mom and Lenny enjoy so many wonderful days on the boat together (and take me as a passenger!), making plans for their winter in California. We were also able to spend a lot of time with Evan's mom this summer, who, along with Evan's Aunt Joan, rented the cabin next door for 4 weeks. It was so nice to just cruise over and drink coffee on the deck with them or engage in a competitive game of corn hole.  I was also able to spend a lot of time with my sister, Kayla, and we had huge laughs floating on the unicorn, doubling up on the paddle board, and singing on the boat - "To the window!!! To the wall..." In addition, it was great to catch up with cousins, share family gossip, and meet their new additions. Overall, it was a positive summer for my family and it was really nice to observe everyone flourishing.






2) Fresh Air

As soon as our plane lands in Saskatchewan, I crane my neck through the jetway in hopes of catching my first sniff of fresh Saskatchewan air. Summer in Cayman in stifling, and the air feels heavy and unbreathable. The combination of fresh lake air, pine trees, and campfires makes my nose very happy.  As I walked the dog every morning, I made a conscious effort to savour that fresh lake air.

2) Activities galore!

It's hard to believe that a year ago I was seriously contemplating whether or not I would ever walk again. This summer, not only was I walking, but I was riding my bike, paddle boarding, surfing, practicing yoga, and lifting weights. I can't even articulate how fantastic this feels! I refused to stay stationary this summer. Whenever I had some down time, I hopped on my bike and rode around the block. Why? Because I could! Every morning, as long as it was calm, I climbed on my paddle board and paddled to the end of our bay, stopping to do sit-ups and push ups. I surfed. I walked up and down stairs with no difficulties. I practiced beach yoga. I even pulled out my old school boat headstands, circa 2000. I rocked it! I haven't been this active in about 7 years! I am well aware that with the disease, things can change quickly, so I'm just soaking this all up and feeling grateful for the fact that, for the first time in 4 summers, I was able to participate in life during this holiday. Can you sense my massive smile as I type this???





3) Shark week baby shower followed by a baby!

When I initially found out that my bestie was having a baby at the end of August, I was disappointed that I would likely miss meeting her new human, but I quickly realized that I had the ability to pull off an epic shark week - baby style! The shark week baby shower was such an epic day with friends. We donned our shark hats, ate shark cupcakes, floated on unicorns, and drank champagne on the boat. We celebrated Allicia, Darren,  and baby Harper, who was still quite cozy in Allicia's womb, and we laughed until our faces hurt. Unbeknownst to us, while we chased each other with shark fins, baby Harper was planning her exit 3 weeks early! Incredibly, Harper made her way into the world just a few days post shark week party and I was able to meet the newest Hunter. I am so lucky that not only did I get to meet and hold Harper, but I was able to see my best friends over the moon with their new little person!





4) Singing on the boat

Picture this: It's a beautiful calm summer evening. The setting sun is melting into Candle Lake and the stars are beginning to scatter across the sky. I am floating on a boat with my posse, drinking my Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc and belting out Mr. Big's 90's classic, "I'm the one who wants to be with you." Ahhh...Pure magic. End of story.

5) Grooming a friend for the island

Our super bud, Stacey Weber, is moving to Cayman! I'm not exactly sure how it happened. He was at my birthday party in Cayman in April. We were partying on a boat. I was chambonging prosecco and the next thing I knew Stacey had 2 job offers! Go figure. I am very excited to have him join us in paradise. The three of us actually lived together about 10 years ago for a short period of time...Three's Company style, and although Stace will have his own place in Cayman, I'm excited to drink some rum and sing, "Come and knock on our door..." with my bud. I really enjoyed preparing Stace for the move to the island and reliving the feelings of excitement and trepidation that come with moving to a tropical island.



6) Fabulous Hair

Gosh my hair is fabulous in Canada. It curls, it bounces, it flips. It's really incredible hair, if I do say so myself ;)  I am already mourning the loss of my "Canada hair," as I can expect the limp, greasy, lifeless locks to return as our plane descends upon the island. Well...it was nice while it lasted.

7) Polite Canadians

Ever try to politely squeeze past someone in the grocery store or in a theatre as you are returning to your seat and say, "Sorry. Just gonna sneak by here..." If you are Canadian then, YES, there is a 99.9% chance that you have uttered those words. This is a uniquely Canadian phrase and I love it! I get teased non-stop on the island for my polite "Canadianisms" and it was such a great feeling to be back among my uber polite people again, apologizing profusely for....what exactly? being Canadian, I guess? Sorry.

8) Quality Visits

Let's call a spade a spade. Last summer I was highly medicated...AKA stoned. I was taking meds every 4 hours just to get through the painful days. When my friends came to visit, filling me in all their news over the past year, I struggled to process their words, respond appropriately, and provide witty comebacks, "Kirstie" style. I could see the concern in my buds' faces and felt like a terrible friend. Our conversations consisted mostly of surface topics and I suspected that some of my friends were holding back, knowing that I didn't have the cognitive capacity to delve into deeper topics.

Given the fact that I am now drug-free and mostly pain-free, I felt like my old self this summer. I felt confident, funny, witty, and quick. I had a really fantastic visit with my kindergarten bestie one afternoon this summer and we were able to really catch up and discuss everything that we've missed out on the past few years. When I hugged her goodbye she said, "I couldn't talk to you like this last year. It's so nice to have you back." Music to my ears.



9)  Road trips

Do you know what's kind of awesome? Setting your cruise control to 110km/hr and listening to your favourite music while you drive down one of the straightest highways in the world. I forgot how much I missed this!

10) Feeling Prepared

Last summer, when it was time to return to work at the end of August, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I didn't feel like I was even close to a full recovery, and I was concerned that I was not physically or mentally strong enough to return to work. Upon returning, while everyone discussed their exciting summer holidays in the office, I felt completely ripped off that my summer "holidays" were not "holiday-like" at all.

This summer, although I thoroughly enjoyed the time-off of, I feel ready to get back to work. I feel energized, relaxed and mentally prepared to tackle another school year and speech pathologize like a pro! And that's the whole point of summer holidays, right?



Cheers to a wonderful summer! Love to all my Canada friends and family. Cayman...soon come.