Thursday, February 28, 2013

Memories: A ghost?

It was early 1994, and I was about three months pregnant with Lizy. As with all my pregnancies, I was extremely nauseated, weak, and exhausted. So I always stayed home with close access to a bed and bathroom.

Late one evening, the whole house was very dark. My family was coming home from an outing. I heard the sounds of Tom and the kids coming in the back door. I rolled my reluctant body off the bed and walked through the bathroom to the hallway to greet them. The only light on in the house was in the bedroom behind me. As I was coming out, I let out a loud moaning noise which I tend to make when I feel nauseous. Carter (age ten), one of Christian's best friends, was the first one in the house. As he turned the corner toward the bathroom, he encountered my backlit figure and heard my loud, low moan. He jumped in the air with his limbs flailing wildly like he had just seen a ghost.

We all laughed so hard we were practically rolling on the floor. That was over eighteen years ago.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Last Day in Fort Myers

So we spent four full days here not counting two travel days. It’s snowing in Chicago, so our flight is delayed, giving us a few more hours in this beautiful weather. We found this perfect spot (just outside of our hotel) for a photo that I promised Carla! Actually I wore that LoveWorn skirt for two days. It was so comfy.

We are so sorry to leave here. It was wonderful enjoying the glorious sunshine and warmth. We’ll be back later, and we won’t be sick. Inspite of our limited activities, it was wonderful that when we had the energy for mini outings (a couple of hours) once or twice a day. It was also wonderful that we had kitchen facilities so we could subsist on toast, applesauce, and ginger ale when we couldn’t handle much more!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lovers Key Beach

This morning I woke up, still feeling nauseated and weak. Our last full day and I may be sick.  Oh well...

So we have Tom who says he is almost fully recovered. Then we have me who still feels very weak and sick. At breakfast time Tom asks me what I would like to eat. “Toast and applesauce,” I said. He smiles. “There you go.” Being able to eat toast and applesauce was the beginning of his recovery.

Surprisingly enough after eating, I felt like I could handle a mini outing. So at 11:45 am we started out for Fort Myers Beach. Little did we realize that big and little hotels and restaurants lined the beach. The whole area has been so commercialized into a mass of humanity. I was not sure if there was a spot for us to park—if we really wanted to be here at all. So we continued to drive. We talked about JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge we visited yesterday. We felt so glad that such a huge portion of land has been saved in its entirety in its natural state. Otherwise that area would look like Fort Myers Beach, lined with hotels.

As we drove along, the next destination would be Lovers Key State Park Beach. Could it be possible? These two areas are next to each other. Yet this one is empty with a long stretch of beautiful beach. So we spent our day here. Today there were much bigger waves. The sea was emotional today and we loved it. We took our shoes off and walked along the beach as the sea water rushed over our feet.

Later on, Tom picked out for me the littlest shell ever, then prettiest shells. So even though this is not me, I thought I would start a collection of shells. Tom picked up unusual shells and told me their stories. How he loved to collect and study shells as a child...

We lasted three hours today. That was a good day.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oh NOOO! Please NOOOO!

Day 3 in Florida—Sanibel Island part 2

After two hours of visiting the Island, doing our best to take in all the wondrous creation of God, I am feeling nauseous. I try to suppress the nausea and stroll along the boardwalk, but I am feeling too nauseous to notice anything. I just want to crawl into bed. Within half an hour, I tell Tom we must get back to our hotel. But before that we must get some more ginger ale. I had no appetite for breakfast and no appetite for dinner. I slept a good portion of the afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Sanibel Island, Florida

Day 3 in Florida: O Camera, Where Art Thou?

So today I woke up with the excitement of visiting Sanibel Island. Of course all this can happen only if Tom is well. I gingerly ask him how he feels. He smiles. His flu symptoms are completely gone.

So I prepare for him two scrambled eggs, two toasted slices of English muffin, apple sauce, fresh strawberries and blueberries, and apple juice. He eats the whole thing. His appetite is back.

So Sanibel Island, here we come! I pack my iPad mini. That will be our camera for the day, or rather, the rest of the week. We wanted to pack light and from the iPad mini I can upload pictures directly to Facebook. How easy is that?

We are getting onto Sanibel bridge which seems to climb into the sky. Hurry take a picture! What do I do with your breakfast picture? It’s too late. Oh that scenery is sooo beautiful. Open the cover...too late we are past that. Let me take a photo of you against that amazing background. The sun is so bright I cannot see what I am taking a picture of.

At the visitors center, we are told of the birds we will see. One type of bird comes from above the Arctic Circle and flies 24/7 for seven days without resting or eating. When they land here in the wildlife refuge, they are just about dead. It takes them three weeks to replenish their sustenance enough to fly to the tip of South America. Again no rest or eating until they reach there. Where are those birds?

Tom is noticing so many things; birds in groups, bird alone, birds drying out their wings, and others just dosing. He notices plants, lizards, fish, and crabs so unusual that I have to look at them to really have them sink into my brain. Otherwise I will file them away into the deepest filing system and forget that I have ever seen them. He tries to take pictures. He cannot zoom in and out. He could have had a field day in a place like this.

Oh Camera, Where Art Thou? I have a good camera recommended by my art teacher. It can do so many wondrous things. Our desire to travel light took away all the artistic memories we could have created. So hopefully we can come back again next year, a little better prepared and with a little more travelers’ sense.

Life does not always happen the way you imagine it would. But that in itself is an adventure in life.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bonita Beach


Tom feels a bit better. In fact he ate some toast and applesauce for breakfast, and half a bowl of chicken noodle soup and toast for lunch. For dinner, ravioli, toast, and juice. So he is on his way back. So wonderful to get my pilot back. It is pretty amazing to think how much Tom opens up my human life for enjoyment and adventure.

Today, as we were strolling along Bonita Beach south of Fort Myers, Tom said, “This reminds me of Scarborough Beach, the one we went to in Rhode Island.” I had no recollection. He said, “We went there with Seth and Lizy during our college trip in the East.” I really did not remember. This is not the only time. Often Tom mentions trips we took....sweet times, memorable times, and I look at him with a blank face. I have no recollection. Then he describes the setting, when, where, and how much fun we had as a family or as a couple. Oh yes! Now I remember!

I am trying to figure out what is in me that I can so easily forget those moments that make life a joy. Yet how much in detail I remember all the hardships and struggles we had as a couple because we could not think alike in the way our paths should go. Often Tom does not remember those struggles. He remembers so many of our sweet moments we shared. He sees me not through the eyes of overcoming struggles and hardships but of sharing sweet moments together.

So I shall record our trips and outings so that if my memory somehow fails to remember, I will have something in writing that will last.

Today we strolled along Bonita Beach. Long stretches of sand as far as the eye could see. The ocean water stretches forward beyond the horizon. Little birds are dancing on the sands, running towards the receding water then running away from the oncoming water. They are grabbing little bits of something and eating between the approaching and receding water. If a bird is not quick enough, another one will come and snatch his food.

We walked hand in hand, a couple who has been together for many decades. We have fallen in love, out of love, and struggled and built that love back into our lives.

Tomorrow we shall visit Sanibel Island.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Venturing out


Happy Birthday Seth!

Tom is sick and I must maneuver around on my own to get to a grocery store to stock up on healthy snacks.

So another day of adventure begins. I am as unable with roads as a toad. I think when my brain was being formed in my mother’s womb, some connection never linked. I cannot for the world get a feel for direction or remember how to re-trace my steps.

My goal for this morning is to go to a grocery store without getting lost and find my way back home (Candlewood Suite) without getting lost. I drove around our cul de sac until I was familiar with every building before I dared to take the car onto the roads.

OK. “Turn Left onto Bass road, turn Right onto Summerlin Rd for about quarter of a mile then turn Left onto Publix shopping center.” I am repeating these words over and over. Such simple directions. Yet I am giddy with joy that I actually found the area. I found the store!

I am giddy with joy for a second time. The grocery store is beautiful and has so much organic produce! Ohhhh they have freshly-made Sushi. I hit the jackpot! So I fill up the cart. I hope we can eat all this food in the next several days.

Glorious Sunshine, Wonderful Sunshine! I am soaking in all the sunshine I can. I sit at the pool reading my pharmacy journal. Then I walk around the hotel cul de sac to make myself familiar on foot. Who knows when Tom can take the helm. I hear of a beautiful beach a short drive away. Do I dare to venture out by myself without my GPS?

Ohhh GPS, we miss you!


So the flight was uneventful. There were two adorable toddlers in front of us. Poor parents. I can hardly take their girls’ crying, wanting to get out of their seat belts to move around. There were two travelers behind us who were engaged in conversation through the whole trip.

We landed. Could it be possible that it is 10:30 pm already? We don't know where our hotel is. The car rental man from Hertz gave us directions. Oh GPS, we forgot to bring you. And we are not prepared for unknown roads like in the days of yore.

It is very beautiful...what I could make out in the dark, by now after 11pm. After a while I called the hotel. Why did we not think of this. The hotel clerk became our GPS until we safely arrived. Now we are extremely hungry. We did not realize that meals are not included on the flight. I slept through the food-for-purchase cart passing through the isle.Tom was not hungry at that point. Denny’s at midnight for dinner! Delicious when you are so famished!

What a day!

To Florida

O’Hare Airport

It has been over ten years since our last air travel together. I decided to use to do my booking for the flight, hotel, and car. Saves me time and money, right?

We check on-line hours before leaving for O’Hare. Delayed from 2:17 to 3:30 gate B-9 (we think “benign”) Spirit Airlines. OK, it’s been snowing. We get to the airport looking for our flight. Fort Myers, Florida... B-9 is in Terminal 1 and Spirit is in Terminal 3...Spirit/United... Maybe Spirit dumped all of their passengers to United? No matter. We shall go to United.

The United agent is very helpful but does not know anything about Spirit Air and United being combined for the flight. Our names are not under any of their flights. One thing is certain: all remaining flights to Fort Myers, Florida, are with United, and our names are not on them.

So we call Priceline. Long drawn-out pre-recorded messages. How long ...I just want a real person and time is slipping away. Customer service finally answers. She only knows that the flight is delayed. Our names are still there. Other than that, she is not aware of anything else. So what was B-9 and United/Spirit all about?

We are rushing to Spirit Airlines in Terminal 3 after a long walk and shuttle ride. We found it. The take off time is now 4:45 pm. Another delay. No matter, we will get on it and get to our destination.

So who did the mix up of gate info?

We then go through long winding rows of humanity for x-raying our luggage, coats, shoes, and liquids like shampoo and lotion. It felt more like hundreds of cattle waiting for slaughter. Everything is OK...