Scheduling a Cruise

I somehow ended up on the Carnival page on Facebook. I started looking at prices. Yes, there are a lot more rules than before, but the prices cannot be matched. Some 14 day cruises were going for as little as $100 a person. Wow!

I started looking for cruises that would work for me, and I found two that were less than I was expecting to pay. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a cruising partner in mind.

I mentioned the prices to a friend. She almost immediately volunteered to go with me! She chose to go on the more expensive of the two cruises.

I later mentioned it to my mom who volunteered to go with me on the other cruise.

I still have a little bit to pay on one of the cruises, but I should be all set to go when it’s time. I am so excited!

All the Bookmarks?

I brought many many books with me for my time away. Most of them have been started and are almost finished. Hopefully, I’ll get some actually finished by the time I leave.

For the books that I brought that I haven’t started. I need bookmarks! I forgot to pack some. I have several dozen bookmarks at home, and have packed zero, I think. I recall picking up a small box of them and putting them somewhere. Maybe they are in the box of books that I haven’t opened yet?

It seems silly to use a grocery receipt as a book mark when I have so many actual bookmarks to use. Let’s hope I packed them!

Not Visiting Disney?

Disney is modernizing?

The article linked above is from a “gentleman” who no longer will visit any of the Disney parks because the corporation is no longer following the vision that Walt Disney had of it when it opened in the 50s. From what I gather, the 50s was a time that was very much into white privilege. The writer of the above article seems to be living in the 50s still, if he thinks that the Disney parks should remain the same way that Walt envisioned it.

We wouldn’t have many of the rides that we do today, if we kept it in the 50s. Many of the safety measures wouldn’t be in use. The park certainly wouldn’t be inclusive.

I was very happy to see that the Disney corporation was coming into the modern world. Maybe, eventually, the author of that article will join us. Until then, with his attitude, I don’t think anyone will miss him. Disney will go on financially without him.

Writing Process?  Procrastination Process? Same Thing.

Here is an essay that I wrote for my writing class. It was an extra credit paper, so I was a lot less formal in the format. It entertained me, so I figured I would share it here. The paper is supposed to be about my writing process.

Writing Process?  Procrastination Process?  Same Thing.

Getting ready to sit down to write is a huge process for me.  I normally work in the garage, since no one in the family really likes hanging out there.  It’s usually cold and lonely and amplifies the noises from the neighbors.  It is the perfect spot to get some quiet, away from the household noise.

I have several steps that I need to take before I get going. If it is in the morning, I shower and fully dress, down to shoes.  If it is in the afternoon or evening, I am usually already dressed, so I can skip this part.  Next, I have to get the dishwasher going.  I need to empty out the kitchen garbage cans, compost bag, and recycling bag and take them all the way out to the bins.  I have learned that if I don’t do this, I will keep trying to get up to get it done, and it distracts me.  I have to start a load of laundry.  Besides being a chore that could potentially distract me, the noise from the washer and dryer help drown out the neighborhood noises.  The dryer helps heat up the garage a little, so my work area isn’t so cold.  The buzzer at the end of the loads helps remind me how much time I have been working and that I will need to get up and stretch.  Sometimes I ignore it, though.

Next I need to clear off my table in the garage.  My daughter sometimes uses the area for her school, so I have to move her stuff into a nice, safe place that is easily accessible for her.  I have to plug in the space heater and the lamp.  Then, after the work area is clean, heated and well-lit, I have to bring my laptop out to the garage and set it up.

I need to inform the family that I will be working in the garage.  This serves multiple purposes.  First of all, it lets them know that I expect them to be quiet.  I expect this, but I don’t usually get it.  Someone will have an emergency of some type.  My favorite is when they forget their keys and “don’t want to distract me by opening the garage door.”  A phone call or the doorbell ringing is much less distracting in their eyes, I guess.  Flipping open the mailbox and asking me to open the door scares the heck out of me when I am fully concentrating on what I am doing.  

Secondly, the “working in the garage alert” lets the family know to bring down their laundry so it can be run.  Also, if someone cooks a meal, they know where to deliver it to me. 

Finally, it lets them know that Molly, one of our dogs, is welcome to come down and help me.  She serves multiple purposes, too.  She is company that doesn’t require me to listen to her chatter.  She is a heated backrest for my chair.  She is a guard for the mailbox so the mail carrier doesn’t try to kill us when the mail comes flying in or when one of the family members talks to me through it.  She is also a snack-eating helper.  Using Molly as an eating helper is a minor distraction, though, because I am not always sure that pups can eat certain people food.  I have to stop to look online to make sure that she can eat what I am planning on giving her.  I had no idea that dogs could eat almost any kind of cheese, but never blue cheese.  Potatoes are ok, as long as they are cooked.  I don’t normally eat raw potatoes, so that’s not an issue, but I learned that dogs can’t eat them anyway.  No onions for Molly.  Most nuts are no-no foods for the dogs, too.  I try to not look up food that I am not actually planning on giving her, since I could be doing searches all day long.

Depending on the time of day, I will get a cup of coffee or tea to bring to my work area.  I have a blanket and sweatshirt ready, just in case.  The blanket is technically a Tinkerbell Snuggie, but we won’t get into that right now.  I prepare snacks or whatever meal will be eaten next and put it next to the cup of coffee or tea, next to the laptop.  Molly helps guide it there and will later remind me of where I left her portion of the snacks.    

After the family is alerted, the laptop is set up, and Molly has finalized her plans for keeping me company, I check my calendar for upcoming due dates and check the computer for anything that I may have left hanging.  Homework assignments have due dates that sneak up on me so quickly.  Bills become due between paychecks.  Blog posts that were scheduled have all been posted and I need to get more posts written and scheduled.  Emails need to be checked.  If I miss the check the computer steps, I am tempted to stop writing and check in on what needs to be done before I can finish writing.

When I have done all of my stalling and most of my procrastination, I am set for actual writing.  I have my drinks and snacks to the left of my laptop.  The mouse is on the laptop itself, in the lower right corner of the keyboard.  My phone is further away, on vibrate only, so I am not tempted to look at it, but close enough that I can answer it if it rings.  I am good at ignoring texts and other phone alerts, but phone calls might be an emergency.  I have a small notepad over the touchpad on the laptop’s keyboard, so I don’t accidentally relocate my cursor while I am typing.  It also serves as a place to make a list of things that I will need to take care of when I finish writing, so I will remember, but I won’t get up and actually do them while I am supposed to be concentrating.

I begin by opening a Google Drive document and jot down the plan.  If it is a school assignment, I post the instructions at the top so that I can refer to them as I am writing, so I know that I am staying on topic, then I start writing .  If it is not a school assignment, I start writing random thoughts on the document.  I type whatever comes into my head.  I write a sentence or two and then another thought comes into my head, so I start a new paragraph to put that thought down so I won’t forget that I want to mention that.   Sometimes, I will go back to the original paragraph and finish it.  Sometimes I will just run with the new thought and finish that paragraph.  Many times, I will get to the end of what I am supposed to be writing and I find that I have about 20 half sentences and 5 or 6 full paragraphs.  I need to go back and edit.  I either add those half sentences to the completed paragraphs or I write new paragraphs.  When there is a full paragraph or thought that I need to cut out, I start a new Google Document to put rejected thoughts into it.  I might need them later.  They were good thoughts once, so they don’t need to be completely thrown away.  

Once I have full paragraphs, I start cutting more.  I very rarely write less than the required word count.  Many times I have written a thousand words over the word count because I lose track of time when I am writing.  Given a required number of pages, I am likely to double that on the first round of writing, especially when I go back and remember to format the document so that it is double spaced.  I have to go back and read the piece over and over, taking out what I think isn’t needed.  The words sit in the reject document, just in case I change my mind later.  I usually don’t change my mind, but I have left the option open. 

When I get close to the required number of words or pages, I start taking out my filler words, such as “that” “also” and “I think.”  I didn’t need them to begin with, but when I am trying to get the thoughts into the document, I don’t worry about including them.  Get the thoughts out.  Everything can be fixed in editing.  

Eventually, I go back and make sure that I have a beginning, middle and end.  I try to make sure the paragraphs make sense in the order that they fell.  I add a few more words and try to make sure every sentence is complete.  I usually miss one or two, despite the fact that I have read it so many times, but there comes a point where I just can’t read it any more.  I declare it finished.  

I convert the document into whatever format is required, and I hold my breath, cross my fingers and submit it.  This is the hardest part of the writing process for me.  Once it has been submitted, it is out of my hands and the control freak in me just doesn’t do well with this.  Someone else has the next step – reading it.  

I do not stop writing at a logical point.  I stop when I am finished.  This might mean that I am finished for the allotted time.  It could mean that my eyes are too tired to continue.  It could mean that it’s time for Molly to go to bed.  There is no real rhyme or reason.  I just make sure that I clean up my area and put everything away, so I can start with step one the next day.  

Dropping the keys

I was leaving the house one morning and I had my hands full. I had my purse, my car keys, my phone, and a coffee grinder that I borrowed from a friend. I did not put the small items in my purse because they were going to be used in the car, so there wasn’t a point. The coffee grinder didn’t fit in my purse, but, don’t worry, I was not planning on using it in the car.

I picked up my house keys. I dropped my car keys. Ok, fine. At least it wasn’t my phone. I took about 5 steps while trying to put the house keys in my purse. Down went the car keys again. At least it wasn’t the borrowed coffee grinder. I opened the door to leave. The car keys were on the ground again. Did someone oil them today?

I managed to get to the car without anymore incidents. I called a friend during my drive and told her about the dropping of the keys. Basically, the response was to tell me to take a deep breath and the day would get better. Ok. I can do that. Breathe in. Breathe out.

I parked at work. I took the keys out of the ignition and dropped them on the floor of the car, between my feet.

A Strange Week

This week started out with a full schedule. I had work, school, meetings, and a CPR class to shove into the week. It made me crazy just looking at the schedule.

Once I got through Monday, Tuesday didn’t look much better, but my approach to it was better. I decided that I was going to entertain myself. I have a few patients who are a little goofy, but harmless. We have music playing in the room. As I was going in to help a patient off the table and back out of the room, Rhinestone Cowboy was just coming to the chorus. I asked the patient if she was ready, she looked at me and said, “really?” I nodded. We both broke into song as the chorus started. I did note that my coworkers were not in the room. They don’t always appreciate my off key singing, especially loud enough for others to hear clearly.

Another patient decided that she would serenade my coworker and I. This one was rather unusual, too.

To add to the weirdness that is this week – the checker at the grocery store asked how I was, so I answered and asked how she was. “Well, I would be better if my ex would pay his child support. He sent the kids $100 each for Christmas and is trying to tell the courts that it was his payments for the last 6 years. I tried to call during my break and spent the whole time on hold. I finally got a hold of someone, and she said, ‘oh, they weren’t supposed to transfer you to me. I’m on my break. ‘ and then she hung up.” She then continued to tell me about what a jerk her ex is and how much he owes her and it is for his own kids and he’s not going to get away with it. Then she started bagging strange stuff together as she muttered.

Wow. I was expecting her to say that she was OK, or fine. Or along those lines. I hope she gets it straightened out.

I decided to just do what was on my schedule on Friday. Nothing new. I needed the rest and reset. Today will be better.

Dance to the Muszac

I have a knack for finding the interesting people wherever I go. I went to the grocery store and was standing at the deli, waiting my turn. The woman who was being helped had the cutest shoes on. I complimented her. I got the longest response that I have received in a long time. “Thank you so much! They are Danskins so they are supposed to last at least ten years. They are very comfortable and I keep getting them painted by the cobbler who says they show no signs of breaking down any time soon and they are 7 years old. I had no idea that they would look this good when they are this old.” Wow. I think that she hasn’t spoken to anyone in a while.

I had an uneventful trip around the store, filling up the cart. No one in my way. No one doing anything that annoyed me. Nothing. Phew.

I got to the point where I was trying to choose a checkout line. A man was trying to do the same thing. He was entertaining himself while he did the deciding. He was dancing the cha-cha to the music playing overhead. In normal times, I would have cut in and joined him, but it’s not easy to be lead from 6 feet away. I smiled at him, but he couldn’t tell because of my mask, I am sure. He suggested that I take lane 6, and he’d take lane 4. Worked for me!

I miss dancing with random people in the grocery store. Or Starbucks. Or the mall.

Getting Back to Adventures!

As you may have noticed, I have been writing more about my adventures. They aren’t as exciting or interesting as the adventures that I had before the pandemic, but they are adventures. I have noticed that people aren’t as nervous about talking to other people. I have had conversations in the grocery store, and that hasn’t happened in over a year, it seems.

I still avoid chatting with people at the post office, but that’s nothing new. Run in, run out. That’s the perfect trip to the post office.

I have gone to restaurants and that’s been a little strange. At what point do you take off your mask and put on your mask. It’s like an added mini cardio workout. Mask on, mask off.

I suppose that the trips to the gym would be more social than they were when the pandemic first started, but, because I am swimming, it’s not so social. Perfect for swimmers. I did have that first trip to the pool when the one person per lane was too difficult to understand for some people. That was unusual, but certainly an adventure.

As things open up more and more, I hope to be posting more and more adventures. At least I am getting going again.

I Do ADHD Shopping

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I ran into an older woman and her son who were doing their shopping. Every time I entered a lane, there they were. The woman used her cart to block the majority of the aisle, and then would bend over to look at the bottom shelves, resulting in her rear end blocking the rest of the aisle. Her son, who was aware of what was going on, kept moving the cart so that others could pass. He occasionally asked his mom to move a bit so that others could get through.

After a few of these encounters, I skipped two aisles, hoping that I wouldn’t be in the aisle with them. Nope. They were in these aisles, too. I finished the main aisles and had to travel to produce. I mentioned to the man that I was going aaaaallllll the way over to produce, so I wouldn’t be in their way anymore. He laughed and apologized. He said they weren’t headed there, so I should be safe. The produce aisle was uneventful.

I went to the deli for the last leg of my shopping trip. There they were! In line in front of me. Again, she had the majority of the area blocked with the cart. I started chatting with the man. I told him that I found it funny that I even skipped over aisles and they were still there. He said it was because he does ADHD shopping. He forgets most of what he needed so he has to travel all over the store, covering the aisles multiple times. His mom finished at the deli and it was my turn. I finished and headed to check out.

The same two people were in line in front of me! Oh my goodness. I was waiting to unload my cart onto the belt and I could overhear the conversation in front of me. Her: “I can’t find my credit card. Oh! Here it is. Oh, why isn’t it working?” Him: “Mom, that’s your AAA card. They don’t take that here. Let me use my card.” Her: “Why do they take your AAA card, and not mine? Oh, wait, that’s because it’s not a credit card. Where is my credit card? Oh, in my pocket!” Him: “Mom, that’s your library card. I’ll pay and we’ll find your card later.”

I have done that so many times. They don’t take AAA cards. No library cards. No rewards cards from other stores. There isn’t anyone else standing there waiting to offer to pay, though.

I hope they find her credit card. They certainly entertained me in the grocery store. Entertainment outside of the house is hard to find these days.

Training and the Emergency Department

Earlier this week, I went to the pool after work. The new Covid-friendly rules state that there can only be one person in each lane. That means that since there are 3 lanes, there can only be 3 people in the pool. This is a difficult concept for some, I guess.

I got to the pool just as two young girls slid into their lanes. The third lane was occupied by an older gentleman who was actively doing laps. The girls were in the pool to cool off. They were playing, and splashing. Sitting on the stairs. One even managed to wear her paper mask into the pool, tucked into her swimsuit. The girls spent time playing catch with it. I waited patiently. In times past, I would have asked the girls to move to one lane so they could socialize together, but I understand that the rules are in place for a reason.

I stood at the end of the pool waiting. I was wearing my swimsuit, my swim cap, my goggles, my triathlon watch and my waterproof mp3 player, which doubles as earplugs. My towel and flip flops were waiting nearby, with my phone. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the gentleman got out of the pool, so I took his lane. One of the girls asked nicely if I would switch lanes with her so she could be next to her friend. I had to pull my earplugs out to hear what she was saying. I didn’t mind moving, so I shoved the earplugs back in as I ducked under the rope to get into the next lane. This is when all hell broke loose. The earplug portion of the headphones fell off the mp3 player and got lodged in my ear. I tried unsuccessfully to dislodge it. I decided to try a few laps since it didn’t really hurt.

I had just finished the round trip of laps 1 and 2 when I heard yelling. A “gentleman” was yelling at the two girls, telling them to share a lane. The girls very nicely told him that it was one per lane. The man’s wife showed up and he explained that the girls were refusing to move and he started yelling. The girls referred him to the staff at the desk. The staff came in and counted for the man. “Three lanes, three people. That’s the rule. These people were first. You can wait.” The man started yelling about his rights since he pays for gym access. The staff members referred him to the manager and explained that it was out of their hands, since it was mandated by the orange tier of the county. The man left. The wife had left when her husband started yelling about his rights.

So, after the show, I continued my laps. At the end of laps 3 and 4, another man came in, so I paused to try to take the earplug out of my ear again, hoping for another show. The two girls explained that it was 1 person per lane. The man said that he’d wait. What a reasonable answer! Another man, who the first man seemed to know came in and the first man explained 1 per lane. Ok. No problem. He’d wait, too. Man number three came in, greeted the first two men, and said that there was too long a line, so he’d see them tomorrow. Again, another reasonable answer.

I continued my swim until the pressure in my ear became unbearable, and I realized that I would have to get out, shower and dress before I could do anything about the stuck earplug. So I announced to the first man that I was getting out. He was appreciative of the heads up so he could get into position to get into the pool.

I showered and dressed and got to my car. I attempted to take the earplug out with the tweezers in my car. No luck. I was near work, so I briefly thought about asking the nurse at work to help me, because she doesn’t gross out easily, but I realized that the tweezers I had were too sharp. Option 2 was to go home and have my daughter to do it, but again, the tweezers were an issue. I went for option 3, which was to head back to work and hit the emergency room. I walked in as a woman was being brought in. The security guard recognized me as an employee and asked if I had my Covid screening when I worked that morning. Yes, I had. He sent me to register.

I was asked to take a seat. I pulled out my Kindle to read while I waited. The battery had died. Wonderful. Thankfully, I only had to wait about 2 minutes to register. Then I was sent back to the waiting room for another full minute. The triage nurse asked me if I thought that I had something in my ear. No. I know that I have something in my ear. She sent me to a chair next to the triage room. I waited another full minute before the physician’s assistant arrived. He took one look in my ear and announced “Oh! Good! The pool opened!” He left to get tweezers and came back to take 5 seconds to remove the earplug. He asked me to wait for the discharge nurse.

About 5 minutes later, the billing person came in to get my credit card and to tell me that I would be seen soon. I told her that I had already been seen, but was waiting to be sent home. She very kindly told me that once the nurse came in, I didn’t have to wait for the billing person again. I could go. Well, thanks for that.

The nurse came in and told me that she was sorry but legally she had to give me the paperwork telling me that I couldn’t drug seek in the emergency department and that I needed the paperwork to tell me not to put things in my ears or in my nose, but she understood what happened. Ok. All set.

I needed an adventure after all that time hanging out at home, but I really prefer adventures without emergency departments. I’m waiting to see what the next adventure will be.