Saturday, April 24, 2021

Lean on me: Caregivers need love too!

 They've been quietly watching me from the closet for a few years now, just waiting for that moment when they will be back in my life again. I see the silver metal glisten as I take them in my arms. They make me feel powerless, weak, and self-conscious; however, I know that I am now dependent upon them once again. I need these bastards. 

Sound like an abusive relationship? 

Um...that's because it is..it really f'n is. 

I'm back on the crutches. 

I remember crutching out on our dock at Candle Lake, one of the first summers that I was on crutches. A boat cruised by slowly and I heard a guy say, "Hey, that girl is on crutches!" Funny enough, about a year later, after my 3rd or 4th knee surgery, I crutched out on the same dock and watched the same boat cruise by. The same guy yelled, "Look! She's still on the sticks!" Haha! If that guy could see me now, nearly 9 years later, still on these same damn sticks. 



I had a good run...2 years without crutches is a new record for me, in fact. But it was only a matter of time before things would deteriorate again - such is the progressive nature of the rare Osteochondritis Dissecans with which I am diagnosed. 

My right knee has deteriorated to the point where in addition to the 3 known lesions in my cartilage, I have developed a new large lesion. Unfortunately, my cartilage that was growing in a lab in Boston expired over Covid (did it go rancid? Moldy? Stinky?), so there is no cartilage readily available for a transplant. I am booked on June 4 in Philadelphia for a cartilage biopsy, as well as an overall "clean-up" of cartilage (This will be my 12th knee surgery, if anyone is counting). At that time, they will know if I'm still a candidate for a transplant. If my lesions have become diffuse, as opposed to localized, then I hit a point where the MACI (Matrix-Induced Autologous Cartilage Implantation) is no longer an option. If that's the case then...well...I don't know what happens next - mermaid tail, I suspect (and secretly hope). 

Unfortunately, because I've been stubbornly limping around with no crutches, my left knee, the "good knee" is now in distress as well. I haven't gone as far as to request an MRI, so I'm just going to assume that it's tired from carrying the load.  Let's go with that for now and hope that the addition of the asshole crutches helps the situation. 

So...you know...here we go again. I am now in significant pain, which has crept up on me over the past few months. I'm trying to manage the pain with the perfect combination of medication that doesn't make me sleepy/stupid/nauseous and incorporating acupuncture, massage, and spinning in my weekly schedule, so that I can still maintain my full-time work schedule with the kiddos. It's not ideal. I typically push through the day and then collapse on my bed at 4:00 for the rest of the evening. My cartilage may have given up on life, but it's important for me to maintain a routine in order to feel like I'm not giving up. It's not easy for me, but I know that it's not easy on Evan either. 

I don't think that a lot of people consider the caregivers of people with chronic illness. If you look at Evan, you will see a fit, upbeat guy who has his shit together. And he does...but I know that this is all very difficult for my bud.

When I was initially diagnosed nearly 9 years ago, it took both Ev and I quite some time to fully process the reality of the situation. We owned a gym at the time, and Evan was throwing himself into his business, working 12 hour days, while I spent the majority of my day on the couch. I was annoyed and frustrated. I didn't think that he really cared about me, and I began to question the sincerity of his "in sickness or health" vows that we took about 7 years prior. One day, however, as Evan made dinner, I heard a strange noise that I had rarely heard before. Evan was crying. When I turned to look at him, he cradled his head in his hands and began sobbing on our kitchen island. 

"What's wrong?" I asked, assuming that something awful had happened. 

"It's just...you're really sick. This isn't going away," he communicated through tears. 

It occurred to me in that moment, that this wasn't just affecting me. This was something that would affect us and our future forever. 

Thankfully, I have a a super teammate in Evan. After 9 years of navigating this disease, although we still have our ups and downs, we do have a rhythm. For example, he knows that pain takes away my appetite, which then leads to gastrointestinal issues...so he starts stocking the cupboards with beige food like potatoes, macaroni, and porridge, and will simply bring me a bowl of macaroni when he knows I haven't eaten in a while. He reminds me to keep moving, even when I feel like I can't, and will open up the hot tub and physically put me in it himself if need be. He knows that if I'm snapping my fingers that indicates that my pain is out of control (it's a weird thing that I do when things are bad bad). When my crutches fall, he picks them up and pretends to fight them until I'm laughing hysterically. He is my number one support, and I cannot thank him enough for being my person. 

But...man I feel bad when I see that look on his face - the look when someone you love is in pain, and there's nothing you can do to help. I know that I'm not the same girl that he married 15 years ago. I'm a little less fun, a little less funny, and a lot less mobile. I know that we all change over time. That's inevitable.  I mean, Ev no longer emits the sweet scent of hockey gloves ;) hehe. I know that he loves me unconditionally (just as I do him), but I can't help but feel sad for him. It's a lot. I don't think that many people consider just how difficult it must be for the spouse of someone who is suffering. 

So...if you know someone who is enduring health issues, please don't forget their caregivers. Check in every once in a while. Be cognizant of the fact that being a caregiver also takes a physical, emotional, and mental toll on your health. Caregiver burnout is a real thing. 

I'll leave you with this riveting dialogue in which I participated allllll week long:

Student: Ms Kirstie why are you on crutches?

Me: I hurt my knee

Student: How did you hurt it?

Me: I have a disease that makes it hurt

Student: How did you hurt it?

Me: I didn't actually hurt it. Something is wrong with it that makes it hurt. 

Student: How did you hurt it?

Me: I was jumping too high

Student: Oh. How high did you jump?

Cheers friends! 



Sunday, April 11, 2021

Biloxi Lindsay: Looking for a partner to spend the next 9 lives with....

 Biloxi, the cat, has been in our family now for 19 years, 3 months. That's a significant amount of time for a cat to live amongst one family of humans. I know that Biloxi loves us. We've basically grown up together! He's put up with our many moves (19 to be exact), and seemed to be quite content when we initially settled in the Cayman Islands, where retirement life is spent watching Evan work, basking on the sunny patio, and maiming any lizard that dares enter his domain. 

However, over the last few years, we can see old age setting in with our dear old man. His orange coat does appear greasier than a bucket of KFC, he's skeletor skinny, and he can no longer jump high enough to clear the couch (cat stairs have been erected everywhere in our house). Despite all this, Biloxi's overall health is decent for a 94 year old. He still eats, drinks water from the dripping faucet, and even plays with his toy mouse when the mood hits him right. The biggest problem, however, is his mood. He's just kinda...miserable. 

Always with the pawparazzi!

When our sweet Dundee passed away in September, we were initially concerned that Biloxi would be lonely. However, he appeared quite happy to be the only pet again, and was extremely cuddly, purring on our lap at any chance he got. But over the last few months, we've noticed that he's drifting back into miseryville, spending the majority of his day screaming his discontent,  for reasons unbeknownst to us. And just to clarify - it is a "scream." It is no longer a meow, but like a "Why the F can't you guys do anything right?" whiskers shaking kind of scream. We just can't seem to please this guy! Whether it's because the faucet isn't dripping at the correct rate, or because I haven't placed the sheet over his little orange head at just the right angle - we just never know exactly how we are failing him! 

Our good friends, Rachel and Michael, recently had to put their sweet old dog to sleep, leaving the other dog (whom they lovingly refer to as "Wobbly Dog," due to a neurological condition) sad and depressed. They decided to foster a beautiful blonde female dog and within hours the two dogs fell hopelessly in love, ending Wobbly Dog's depressed state. This got me thinking...perhaps Biloxi's last wish in his golden years is to find love? It's worth a shot. 

So I sat down with my dear old friend Bilox, and we created a dating profile:

Biloxi Lindsay - age 19 years; 4 months (That's approximately 94 in cat years)

Hair - Orange with a greasy sheen

Weight - light enough to blow over in a strong wind

What part of "Right Meow" don't you understand?


Summary:

I'm really a simple cat. My very complicated humans have moved me all around the world, and all that I'm really seeking is some stability. After years of adventure and unpredictability, including the London Heathrow catnip quarantine incident of 2002 and the fox chase of 2008, I require routine. If you try to F@#$ up my routine, I will let you know. I don't ask for much, really. 

Likes:

1) The seafood Tower - my food must be arranged in a tower-like structure. It must be comprised of some type of seafood pate, but if I determine that I do not want a particular seafood that day (you can't ask a cat to eat tuna everyday!),  the correct seafood must be quickly identified and served immediately (in the tower structure). If my tower falls or touches the edge of my dish, I will scream. I would enjoy a partner who will scream along with me, whilst appreciating the finer things in life. 

I enjoy the finer things in life....

2) The Faucet Drip - I refuse to drink water from a water dish or pet waterfall device. That is for the domesticated. I drink my water out of a dripping faucet. The water must drip at a rate of 2 drips per second. No more, no less. If the rate is not correct, I will scream. I am looking for a partner who appreciates my need for precision.  

3) Au Naturel Fur - I no longer groom myself. That is for mere mortals. My humans groom me with coconut products and fancy brushes. If they try to remove a piece of seafood tower from my whiskers or attempt to remove a knot from my tail, I will scream. I am looking for a partner who will appreciate my low maintenance lifestyle. 

4) Looking out the window - I do enjoy sitting at the window and looking over my domain. The neighbourhood cats often approach my window, hoping to bask in my excellence. When they come too close to the window, I scream. I'm looking for a partner who respects that I rule the empire.

5) Cuddling under the covers - I really enjoy cuddling with my human under the covers. She lifts her sheets and allows me at least 3 minutes to establish if entering the sheet fort is preferred. If she lowers the sheet fort down on my head before I have determined that it is safe to do so, I will scream. I'm looking for a partner who will appreciate that perfection takes time. 

My humans are exhausting. 

6) Direct communication - I'm not about subtleties. If I am pissed off, I will let you know - literally, by pissing. I can't imagine a more direct form of communicating my discontent. My humans initially thought that perhaps I had a medical condition, causing me to pee outside of my litter box. After spending $500 on medical tests, they determined that was not the case (which I already knew). I was actually pissed off, and the screaming no longer appeared to be effective.  I'm looking for a partner who will appreciate my directness. 

Dislikes:

 I really do not dislike anything. As you can see, I'm quite an easy-going and loveable kind of guy. 

Although it's taken an excessive amount of time, it appears as though my humans are semi-trained. I'm looking for a partner who will not interfere with this training process that I have so meticulously put in place. 

Applicants can come to my window between the hours of 3:00pm and 3:07pm (Seafood tower screaming commences at 3:08pm). 



Saturday, March 6, 2021

It's a dog eat chicken world

 Hey guys!

I know that I was just on here a few weeks ago, but I've been plagued by chicken incidences over the past few weeks that just must be shared...


Firstly, if you haven't heard... Cayman is overrun with wild chickens.  It always surprises me when a new visitor arrives and begins taking pictures of the chickens outside the airport like they've just discovered Brad Pitt on Hollywood Boulevard. The chickens go to the supermarket. The chickens go to the beach. The chickens even eat the chicken scraps outside of KFC! Chickens! Chickens! Everywhere Chickens! (I see a future Dr. Seuss-type book in my future). 

The origin of the mass chicken invasion is not for certain, but I have heard that when hurricane Ivan devastated the island in 2004, all penned chickens escaped and just carried on producing their own large colony? I'm not sure, but that sounds like a reasonable explanation. 

For the most part, we just ignore the chickens. Some people feed them. I've seen areas alongside the road where tens of chickens sit waiting in the morning for an unsuspecting vehicle to make a seed drop off. In the schools, we mostly spend our time addressing the chickens like this: "Insert child's name here, stop chasing the chickens!" 

I don't think many people use the chickens for food, as they are basically garbage disposals, but I do know of people who capture them, pen them, feed them, and create a little chicken farm in their yard. As far as predators go, other than dogs (who definitely will eat the chickens - foreshadowing!!!!), the chickens are quite high up on the Cayman food chain. I've even seen stray cats live harmoniously with the chickens! It is quite a unique experience living amongst chickens. 

Sometimes, however, the chickens cause issues...

Take for example, a beautiful Monday afternoon. It was about 2:45 in the afternoon and school was winding down for the day. I could see the students heading out to the bus stop, which is located directly in front of my therapy door. I made the monumental error that one should never ever make when working in a school or hospital setting. I thought to myself, "Well that was a reasonably smooth day." Ugh. That's the equivalent of shouting "shutout!" at the goalie with a minute left in 1-0 hockey game. Fatal error. 

Suddenly I heard a loud "THUMP" against my classroom door. Followed by another "THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!" 

Then the screaming began. 

Kids scream all the time. You develop a special sense to determine if the scream is a "This is me flirting with a boy" or "I just saw a frog" or "Call the police... this is assault" type scream. This was definitely the latter. 

So...against all common sense I opened my classroom door.

To my horror, a stray dog was swinging a rooster around by it's neck directly against my classroom door. 

"Miss! Do something!" cried the children - some of who were sobbing with terror.  

I erratically waved my arms around and yelled something unintelligible until the dog dropped the rooster over a short fence into a grassy area and ran away. 

"Miss...is it dead?" asked the children. 

I looked over at the rooster, and horrified to see that it was still breathing, I very calmly stated, "No. He's just sleeping." 

I went to go find someone who could put the poor rooster out of it's misery, but in the Caribbean, it's a dog eat chicken world. Sympathy for a dying rooster is zip, zilch, zero, so I had no takers to um...help the rooster cross the rainbow bridge.

But...when I returned to the scene of the crime, other than blood and feathers on my classroom door, the rooster had disappeared! To this day, I imagine that he stood up proudly, shook off the concussion, and clucked his way back to his family on the farm. One can dream. 

Fast forward to a few weeks later...

I was out East providing speech therapy to one of my schools. During one of my sessions, my young student uttered "uh oh" during our story reading ("Uh Oh" is generally bad. bad bad). I looked down and observed wetness spreading down his pants. I'm no rookie, and could see that we were in the middle of a pants peeing emergency, so I quickly led the little boy down the hall to the bathroom. Usually the student will determine that he/she is peeing and then attempt to hold it until they reach the washroom. This little boy, however, was past the point of no return, and the pee was now puddling at his feet (and my own) as we rimped to the bathroom (rimping is run/limping, which is the only fast movement I'm currently capable of). 

I quickly got the student into the stall of the boys washroom and looked down at my feet. They were covered in pee. I grabbed some paper towels and cleaning supplies and attempted to minimize the damage. I could hear my little bud hitting the bathroom stall door with his hands.

"Are you ok in there?" I asked. 

No response....as the hitting became louder. 

I soon realized that he was unable to open the latch to get out of the stall, and he was so upset that he couldn't communicate this to me. 

I decided to go in.

I got down on my belly (wearing a cute little work dress) and army crawled under the bathroom stall in the boys bathroom. It did occur to me that I had hit a new low, both figuratively and literally, but I also knew that I had a Ritz staycation to look forward to in a mere 48 hours, so as I crawled through the icky boys bathroom germs, I imagined the bliss of sipping bubbles on my Ritz balcony at sunset. I could do this. I could do this. 

I managed to get my little friend out of the stall, clean up the unfortunate accident in the pants, and carry on. 

At this point it was noon. I had pee on my shoes. I had boys bathroom germs all over my dress. I looked a hot mess. I considered calling it and heading home. But I only had 3 more students to see at a school 20 minutes away, so I decided to suck it up and finish the day. It couldn't get worse...right? Haha...famous last words. 

Other than reeking of urine, my afternoon carried on without incident...until I heard the chickens. 

The chirp chirp chirping of tiny baby chicks was deafening as I walked my students back to class, that I just had to turn the corner and investigate the source of the cacophony. Again...another fatal decision. 

In a culvert, about a foot deep was an entire chicken family - mama hen and her 8 baby chicks. It was apparent that the culvert was too deep for the chicks to jump out of, and mama refused to leave them, so the family clucked around urgently - they were trapped. 

Shit.

I tried to walk away. I went back to my office and attempted to do some paperwork, but I could still hear the urgent squawking of the trapped chicken family. I couldn't, in good conscience,  just let this family starve to death. This was surely the culvert of death if no one intervened. I messaged a few friends with chicken wrangling experience and they suggested that I carry the chicks out. 

I knew that mama would be upset, so I tried to communicate with her that I was there to help. In my shrill nervous voice, I assured her, "I'm just here to help your family. I won't hurt anyone!"

As soon as I picked up the first baby chick, Mama hen jumped in the air, shoulder height, and began flapping her wings in my face. Yep...I definitely saw that coming. I managed to drop the chick out of the culvert, safely on the grass, and the chick immediately turned around and jumped back into the culvert of death. Lord Jesus, I'm not the praying type but please...I smell like pee, I have chicken feathers in my hair...please just let me save these damn chickens. 

Just then a classroom window opened up. 

"Girrrrrl. What are you doing?" implored the Teacher in her Jamaican accent, as the entire class watched in disbelief behind her. 

"I'm trying to save this chicken family!" I shouted, now covered in sweat, piss, and chicken feathers.

The Teacher shook her head, bewildered with my actions, and closed the window. 

I continued, unsuccessfully, placing chicks outside the culvert, only to watch them jump back. "No! No! No!" I yelled, completely frustrated with my lack of progress and the blatant defiance of the chicks. 

Suddenly a superhero, in the form of a year 6 student, appeared to save the day.  

This boy was a true chicken wrangler! 

"Miss, we have to get the hen out so when we place the chicks on the grass, they will go towards mom. Once our hands touch the babies, the mom can no longer smell them, so we have to put them where mom can hear them."

This kid knew his chickens!

In a few minutes, this incredible student helped me reign mama hen over in the grass. In addition, the lovely reception Teacher and a few of her students came out to assist with the chicken rescue as well! Hallelujah! We saved the chicken family!

You know....I realize that sympathy for chickens in the Caribbean culture is well...low...but this student demonstrated kindness, empathy, and his problem solving skills. I intend to gift him with some type of chicken saving medal!

Now I have a hard and fast rule here in Cayman...I do not drink alcohol on school nights - weekends and holidays only (thank God for frequent school holidays!) However, as soon as I walked in the door, around 5pm that evening, reeking of piss, covered in boy bathroom germs, with greasy feathers in my hair, I tracked directly to my fridge, and tightly seized a bottle of wine. It was all I could do to rip open that cork off with my bare teeth! Evan observed my state of unruliness and without question, immediately handed me my favourite "bad day" wine glass which bears a nautical symbol and the words "Ship Happens."

That day wasn't egg-zactly what I had hoped for, and I do suspect fowl play, but as I sipped my wine and took in a chick flick, I realized that it would provide egg-citing material for an egg-cellent blog. 

OK OK. I'm done! 





Wednesday, February 17, 2021

No REGERTS. I mean...REGRETS!

Hey Friends!

How is everyone out there doing? We are still kickin' in Cayman with no Covid, so it's been pretty good. Our borders remain closed to tourists, and although family and residents are able to fly into Cayman, the strict 2-week quarantine is still mandated. We continue to live "free" with no restrictions since our very firm lockdown last year, and our vaccine rollout is moving along at a swift pace. The latest statistics indicate that we are the top 6 vaccinated country to date. I've received both of my Pfizer vaccines and feel so grateful, especially after hearing about the situation in Canada - people are desperate for the vaccine but unable to get it! I'm feeling frustrated, as I desperately want my family and friends to receive the vaccine ASAP...so I can't imagine how disgruntled you must feel if you are waiting for this vaccine. 

Although I'm missing my family and friends something fierce, and feeling a touch of "rock fever," I know how privileged we are to be here. I've been looking at all the social media posts from Canada this week and feeling so bad for all of you enduring a pandemic in -50 degrees celsius. In my mind, that is like the worst form of torture. I've been showing my students some of the videos circulating - videos of boiling water freezing mid-air, wet pants freezing solid in seconds, and crispy frozen hair. My kids' minds are absolutely blown. Most of the students, (who wear jackets when the temperature dips below 80),  wish that they could experience that type of cold, but one kid in particular asked, "Ms, can you die from cold?" When I replied that yes you can, he replied, "Then why would anyone live there?" Touche.





My beautiful Baba turned 93 years old last weekend! Can you believe that? 93! Think of everything that she has witnessed in this world in 93 years. I'm really missing Baba and my 90 year old Grandma these days. Covid robbed us of our annual summer visit, and I'm feeling a sense of urgency to be reunited with these wonderful ladies. 

My Baba - she always has beautiful flowers!

Grandma got Vaccine #2! Yay, Grandma!

My Aunty took a video of my Baba on her birthday and asked Baba to share some wisdom with all of the grandchildren. Baba talked about how happy it makes her to see her family all together, laughing and teasing each other. She feels like that is her greatest accomplishment - creating this large and close family who love and care about each other so much. I must say, Baba passed along her wicked sense of humour, and that is apparent when my aunties, uncles, and cousins are reunited at family events. I really miss the witty banter and belly laughs that result when we all get together. My Aunty also asked Baba about any regrets in life. I thought Baba might say that she regrets not traveling more or perhaps she regrets not spending enough time with someone in particular...but Baba's response surprised us all! Now I won't give away her secrets, but I will tell you that it's something somewhat regrettable that all of us have done at some point in our lives...Hint: have you ever misread a very important symbol on a door when you have urgent "business," and perhaps see something that you didn't fully expect to see? Embarrassing, yes! But the fact that this is Baba's greatest regret had me and my cousins in stitches! 

Funny enough, a few hours after hearing Baba's "regrets" story, Ev and I were witnesses to someone else's very embarrassing and likely regretful experience. 

Ev and I don't typically celebrate Valentine's Day, but it's been A YEAR and I'm down to celebrate anything and everything these days. We booked ourselves on a sunset sail across the North Sound to a great restaurant at Rum Point for a lovely three course meal. 

As soon as we boarded our catamaran, it was apparent that there were only 3 other couples taking the trip with us (How things change with no tourists). We pretty much had the entire boat (and crew) to ourselves! Evan immediately recognized a man who was on the boat with his blonde girlfriend. Evan recognized him because he was a police officer who had issued Ev with a 300CI speeding ticket about a year ago!

We had a beautiful sunset sail to Rum Point. The breeze was strong so the sails were hoisted. Ev and I laid out on the nets and sipped our rum punches while enjoying the sounds of Bob Marley and the wind whipping through through the sail. Pure heaven!


When we arrived on shore we were escorted to our tables overlooking the ocean and immediately ordered our drinks. We noticed that the police officer and his girlfriend had been seated behind us. 

Just as Ev's glass of wine was delivered to his table, Ev left to use the restroom.  The police officer, seated behind us,  just happened to head to the washroom at the same time.

I sat quietly in my chair, sipping my bubbles and listening to the waves lap on shore when suddenly I looked up - like a slow motion video, I watched as the police officer casually pulled out Evan's chair and sat down across from me in Evan's seat.

I cringed as he placed Evan's napkin onto his lap. Just as he was about to take a sip of Ev's red wine, he glanced up and made eye contact with me.

His eyes widened in sheer and utter panic upon realizing that he had sat down with the wrong blonde. Tossing Ev's napkin back onto the table, he quickly stood up and muttered some type of unintelligible apology while I burst into laughter.

"You're welcome to join us!" I laughed as he awkwardly raced back to his table. 

Another couple seated beside us erupted into a fit of giggles and commented, "Don't worry, your secret is safe with us!" 

When Ev returned from the washroom I explained what had happened and we laughed about it all night. I humorously texted my friends the story, theorizing that Evan and I might just be swingers now? Haha! 

I wonder if the Police Officer will someday tell his grandchildren that this was his greatest regret in life?! 

 Cheers to living life with no minor regrets!



Saturday, December 26, 2020

World Junior Hockey - The most wonderful time of the year! How Evan helped to shape one of the top goalies of all time

 Ahhhh...Christmas. Time for cozy fires, turkey dinners, magical winter nights and....hockey.

That's right - any true Canadian hockey fan spends the Christmas holidays glued to the TV watching one of the most exciting sporting events of the year - The World Junior Hockey Championship. 

Only the best of the best up-and-coming young hockey stars are invited to play in such a prestigious sporting event, so when Evan Lindsay, aged 18 and sporting an impressive fro of gingery curls received the invite to try out for the Canadian World Junior Hockey Team in 1997, we were all pretty damn excited! 

Evan was traded to the Prince Albert Raiders at aged 17 with the intent of backing up the Raiders experienced older goaltender, Blaine Russel.  However, everything changed suddenly when Russel suffered a broken leg halfway through the season, forcing a young and inexperienced Evan into the top spot. 

Although Ev had a shaky start (first game losing 14 to 2 - eeks!), he quickly stepped up his game and became one of the top goalies in the league. By February of that year, he received the "rookie of the month" award for the Canadian Hockey League. The team exceeded expectations and made play-offs that year, with Evan been touted as "the one to watch."

That summer, Ev was drafted 32nd overall in the second round of the NHL draft to the Calgary Flames. Ev was in good company with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and the renowned young goalie from Quebec who was drafted 4th overall, Roberto Luongo. 

Side note: Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, Ev's rise to fame coincided with the beginning of our epic love story, so you know - I do have to take some credit for Ev's sudden success. ;) 







We were all pretty pumped when Evan received an invitation to try out for the Canadian World Junior Hockey Team in Fall 1997. He was scheduled to fly to Kitchener, Ontario for the week-long try outs. Four goalies in total were invited, including Matthew Garon, Patrick Derochers, and Ev's draft buddy, Roberto Luongo - you may or may not have heard of those guys if you follow NHL hockey. 

Now I'm not sure if perhaps Ev was feeling the nerves or if his raging 17 year old hormones were causing him to make terrible decisions, but about 4 days before try-outs, Ev instigated a fight with another goalie, who, unbeknownst to Ev, was nicknamed "The Cuban Assassin."

 The Raiders were not having a stellar game in Brandon and were losing 7 to 2 to the Wheat Kings, while being outshot 55 to 18.  Ev was pissed off. It was apparent that the team had given up and left Ev in net to deal with the onslaught of shots. Tempers were high and a line brawl erupted. As the crowd went crazy jeering on players as they threw punches, Ev looked down the ice at the opposing goaltender and motioned, "Let's go." Brandon's goalie initially didn't have much interest in fighting, but once Ev angrily shot the puck directly at him, he threw off his gloves, indicating that he was game, and the two goaltenders lumbered to center ice to "settle the score" (as you recall it was 7 to 2!)

Long story short, Ev quickly learned that one should not fight a young man who holds the title of "Cuban Assassin." 

Ev threw a few punches, but eventually ended up on the ice where he separated his shoulder, lost a little blood, and earned a legit black eye. Watch the fight here. 

Heading into world Junior try-outs with a separated shoulder and black eye is not ideal - I mean, Ev looked "tough" I suppose, but typically world-class goaltenders don't sport black eyes. With a shiner and shoulder shot full of cortisone, Ev made the trip to Kitchener, Ontario. 

Evan says now that as soon as he arrived at World Junior Try-outs it was very apparent that the invited players were next level. He noticed immediately that the other goalies had much larger pads and their equipment was far superior to his. Initially, he rationalized that Luongo was playing better due to the larger pads and expensive gear, but Ev admits now that as he watched Luongo move in net, it was apparent that he possessed a very special talent. 

Despite the separated shoulder and black eye, Ev faired well. The try-outs consisted mainly of intersquad exhibition games. Because there were 4 goaltenders, 2 would play half a game and then switch out so the other 2 goalies would play the next. By the second game, Ev was feeling pretty good. Letting in only 1 goal on 21 shots in half a game, Ev skated back to the bench feeling as though he had "won" against Luongo, whose stats were not quite as stellar as his at the other end of the ice. 

As Ev stood behind the boards next to Luongo, watching the second half of the game unfold, he could see that Defenseman, Mike Van Ryan was about to clear the puck out of the zone. Ev knew this particular player had a bit of a wild shot under pressure, and Ev could predict that things were about to go sideways. Leaning over the boards, Ev carefully tracked the puck as it sailed directly toward the players bench. 

Ev leaned his body further over the boards, directly blocking Luongo's line of vision. Ev waited. And waited...and timing everything just perfectly, quickly jerked his head back just as the puck collided directly with Luongo's face. 

Roberto Luongo fell to the ground and the medical team quickly rushed in to assess the situation. This was their star. He was going to win the championship for Team Canada! Everything had to be done to ensure Luongo was ok.

Ev recalls watching as the Luongo lay motionless on the ground. He also recalls silently chanting in his head, "Please don't get up please don't get up." Deep down inside, Ev knew that Luongo was a better goalie, and Ev's chances of making the team would significantly increase if Luongo was rendered blind.

Luongo eventually stood up and proclaimed that he was fine. The medical team quickly stitched up his eye, and with blood dripping down his face, he went out to play the next game where he effortlessly stopped every puck that came his way. 

At that point, not only was Luongo proving himself a world class goaltender, but he was a world class goaltender that persevered with blood dripping down his face and limited vision in one eye. 

Sadly, Ev was cut from the team the very next day. 

Luongo went on to play 19 seasons in the NHL where he earned a career total of 107+ million dollars. 

To this day, Ev insists he promoted Luongo's resiliency,  basically making Luongo's career. ;)

I, for one, firmly believe this is why Ev is such an incredible business coach today!

So...Cheers to Roberto Luongo and Evan Lindsay for the assist! 






Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The tribe has spoken. Extinguish your tiki torch. Game over.

 Typically my posts are pretty light-hearted in nature. I dislike conflict immensely so I tend to avoid  anything political, and to be honest, I don't enjoy reading political commentaries, so I choose to blog about topics that I enjoy reading about. But, hey, it's my blog, and I'm pissed off. I feel like venting. If you're not into reading a short vent, I recommend that you skip this one...because here I go...

Over the past two weeks, two separate groups of travellers arrived in Cayman, were mandated into 14 day quarantine, proceeded to tamper with their tracking devices and breach quarantine. One couple, whom I am embarrassed to admit are Canadian, managed to get caught on camera breaching quarantine 15 times. That's right...FIFTEEN. Once to visit the liquor store (can you hear the squeal of steam emitting from my ears?). The other breacher decided to attend her boyfriend's jet ski competition, where hundreds of onlookers watched her hold someone's baby and interact closely with the crowd. WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. F? 

I realize that there are a multitude of beliefs circulating the world about Covid. I've heard that this is all a conspiracy theory. We are all puppets of our government. Death rates are being inflated. Human rights are being violated. Covid is a plot by big pharma. Yes. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. However, if you intend to step one foot into this county...if you wish to live or visit the Cayman Islands where we, as a collective whole of nearly 60,000 people followed our government's rules to a "T" since this Pandemic was defined, resulting in one of the few countries in the world living freely without community spread, then you better follow our damn rules for F^%#'s sake!

One of the breachers was fined $10,000. I hope that stings. The couple from Canada was fined $1000 (not nearly enough) and their tiki torches were immediately extinguished casting them off the island. All of the breachers were shamed incessantly on social media. But...what if they unknowingly infected someone and began the spread in this utopian paradise that we have worked so hard to create? What if someone on their flight was positive (we are identifying positive travellers on a daily basis), and unbeknownst to them began community spread across an entire country because they had a hankering for gin at 3:00 on a sunny afternoon? What a selfish act to place 60,000 people at risk. It's vile and I am disgusted by this blatant disregard for our rules. 

If I could speak directly to these selfish humans I would ask:

- Do you have any idea that we were essentially locked down for 3 straight months without any contact with family or friends?

- Do you have any idea that helicopters literally tracked our movements to ensure that we did not so much as leave our yard on mandated days?

- Do you have any idea that many of our students live in less than ideal conditions and returned to school in August with PTSD after experiencing and/or witnessing violence in the home during lockdown?

- Do you have any idea that's it's taken our students months to become physically and emotionally regulated enough to be in a position where they are finally equipped to begin learning again?

- Do you have any idea that our servers donned masks outside in 90 degree temperatures for entire shifts, all while maintaining friendliness while relieved to still have a job to return to?

- Do you have any idea how scared we all were to take that first trip to the grocery store after being locked up in our homes for months?

- Do you have any idea what a relief it's been to safely attend birthday parties, happy hours, and celebrations with friends while the rest of world is concerned about making their family members ill?

- Do you have any idea how incredible it feels to be able to safely hug or high five your students without fear when they desperately crave human contact and wish to celebrate an achievement with you?

- Do you have any idea what we've all sacrificed to get to the place that we are at right now?

No. I don't think that you do. 

If you don't like rules, please do not come here. 

As for everyone else who is enjoying 2 weeks of solitude in quarantine...enjoy the beautiful views. Welcome to paradise. See you at happy hour in 2 weeks. 

Cheers. 



Saturday, October 24, 2020

Living in our Island Bubble

 Hey Friends!

I recently posted a video to my Instagram story of an event we attended on island. The Kimpton creates these super cute pop-up bars on a regular basis and they had created a speak easy lounge circa Prohibition days. It was really fun - they had live music and all the staff was in character. You were greeted by a "character" who asked if you wanted to visit the "library" for some reading, and then you replied with a pass word to gain access to the secret bar. The ambiance was fantastic and I posted a little video of the bar to my story. Quite quickly I was inundated with comments, "Where's the social distancing?" "What about masks?" I was like...WHOA. I kinda forgot what everyone's mentality is everywhere else in the world. You see, my friends, we are literally living in an island bubble. 


Since our strict lockdown back in March, April, and May, our island has basically eradicated any community transmission of Covid-19. We had a little fright a few weeks back when a student in public school tested positive. The island went into sheer panic mode for about 24 hours; however, thousands of tests were immediately carried out through contract tracing and volunteer drive-by testing centres, and miraculously, everyone tested negative. Perhaps the student was a false positive? No one really knows. The bottom line is...we do not appear to have Covid in our little island community.

Travellers are slowly being allowed in but the rules are strict. They must quarantine for 14 days and wear a tracking device if they are not isolating in government facilities. Self-isolating is taken very seriously, as a few of our travellers are testing positive on arrival. One traveller breached quarantine and was quickly picked up by the police - I'm certain that if they released the law-breakers name, locals would have showed up with pitchforks. This is serious business when you've basically created a virus-free island during a Pandemic. 

So this all sounds quite wonderful, doesn't it? We have access to the most beautiful hotels and beaches in the world without any tourists. Businesses are in stiff competition so they are hosting special events such as pool parties, movies on the beach, and incredible staycation deals that you would never see offered to locals otherwise. It's the perfect time to take advantage of all that the island has to offer with your island buds and without any fear of contracting the virus. We truly are incredibly lucky to be in our current state, and although I read the world news daily, I sometimes forget what the rest of the world is presently up against. 

 It's been an interesting progression since this all began. Initially when we were placed in strict lockdown, having no access to the beach, or even the freedom to ride out bike down the street on certain days, there was a feeling of resentment. While helicopters monitored our every movement, we watched all our friends and family in the US and Canada carry on with their day-to-day. Although social distancing was a thing,  I saw pics of my friends having deck beers with each other and felt a little bitter that I wasn't able to see any of my island friends for basically 3 months. 

Once our lockdown was lifted, there was a feeling of trepidation. We gingerly began leaving our houses, wearing masks (it was the law), social distancing, and drowning ourselves in hand sanitizer. Once it became apparent that Covid was no longer a "thing" on our island, we gradually began to let loose. The masks came off, people began hugging again (yes! hugging!), the crowds became larger - and here we are today. We are living "normally" amidst a global pandemic. 

But...like everything, there is a downside to all of this. We are essentially unable to leave, nor are we able to bring our loved ones here. Although we are enjoying this freedom that is unique to our situation, I can see that people here are getting worn down. This island is comprised 60% of expats. That means that at least 60% of our island have family and friends residing elsewhere in the world. As Christmas approaches there is a sense of resignation - we are all processing the fact that seeing our family is unlikely. You hear people expressing their gratitude, but also communicating their need to be reunited with family: 

 "Yes we are so lucky that we can do this but this is the longest I've gone without seeing my Mom." 

"I'm so thankful that the kids are back in school but my family hasn't seen my daughter in a year now. She is growing so fast and they are missing it!"

"I know I should be grateful but I haven't seen my son in a year!" 

You can also hear the tourism industry begging the government to lift the travel restrictions. Businesses that have operated successfully for years are closing left and right, which is really sad and I'm sure quite frightening for those who make a living off of tourists. 

As for myself...I really miss my family and friends in Canada. I think that the absence of Dundee has increased my feelings of loneliness. I'm experiencing "island fever" on a regular basis where I just desperately long for stretches of prairie land and partaking in road trips that extend longer than 22 miles. In addition, as my knee deteriorates steadily I am concerned about getting to Philly for my cartilage transplant. To add to this concern, I just found out that I require overseas dental surgery (YUCK!!) So, you know, to quote Maroon 5, "Even the sun sets in paradise." ;) 

I'm not sure how much longer until our island bubble bursts. Until it does I guess we live life to the fullest, seize the day, YOLO, and any other cliche you can think of. 

I wish that I could bundle up all of my friends and family (Oh and my knee surgeon too), send a fabulous private jet, and fly you all to my island bubble!!

Cheers friends!