Wednesday, October 20, 2010

8 Days a week....

Yup, we have 8 days left until we are back at our island paradise.
Time is both flying and creeping by. How is that possible?

There are things I need to do before we leave…for those things time is moving way too fast. Such as, writing a bio, publishing a website, getting my wife to decide on what she wants to bring to wear. Will I have an art show or not…if so which pictures will I bring if not can we pack all in a carry on suitcase? I have a computer that needs to be worked on, movies to download, camera memory cards to clear and batteries to charge up.

Not quite a Beetles song but, there are days we must get thru before loading up and heading out. Still another 5 days of work at my primary job before I can fully turn my focus to travel, photography, sales of items that I have on island and such… Doesn’t help much that two other couples we are looking forward to seeing while there leave this weekend…a week ahead of us…grumble, grumble. Good part of that is we will still be on island once they have left.

I am finding it increasingly more difficult to focus as the days get closer. Nice part is everything on island is taken care of…have reserved my rooms, car, phone and contacted all to make sure things will run as smoothly as ST Martin time allows. Look out island…our trip is on the immediate horizon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh, Well!!

Guess great schemes don’t always work out. When we booked our airfare to the Caribbean several months ago I chose an aisle and window seat in the back of the plane hoping that the middle seat wouldn’t be sold.

I get on line every Tuesday morning to check our seats. Every week since that seat remained vacant. I noticed last week that there were two, yes two empty seats that do not have an added fee to sit in them that were available. Today’s check brought a little sigh of disappointment. My wife and I will be sharing our row with a third person.

I have done this every time we fly to the Caribbean and probably 75% of the time the seat is filled. This one however didn’t fill until we were three weeks from traveling.

I let out the sigh and then as quickly as it came…it passed. Whom ever is sitting with us will be offered the window or aisle seat…their choice and it is only 4 ½ hours until we tell them goodbye and most likely don’t see them again anyway.

Yes I whined a bit, I choose to think I vented but it was whining. I am now moving on to thinking about all the leisure activities and rest as well as visiting with friends that we will do while on island.

We were betting against the house that the seat between us would remain vacant…and you normally loose that bet and yes we lost the gamble. Again, we are still on the flight, still living the dream of a tropical escape we are just arriving in a full plane. Oh well!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

30 Days Hath September!

30 Days hath September, April, June and November….oh and Rob!
Yes my countdown has gotten to a very manageable 30 days.

Today for the first time in a while I am in a really good mood. I am not sure if I can point to one specific thing or to the concoction I will now describe.

First is the obvious from above is the flour in this wonderful treat…30 days until our next Caribbean escape.
Add in a sprinkle of fake bake. Have laid in the nuclear powered glowing clam shell of a tanning bed now for about a week…must have my sun vitamins starting to kick in.
Then there is a touch of caffeine….am thinking my espresso may be the proverbial icing on the cake of happiness here.

I have a file folder full with a calendar, copies of my tickets, room rental, car rental, phone rental and many other helpful numbers. The calendar has some info like what days our friends will overlap with us, special activities we have planned and specific activities we want to do…things as simple as walking the near mile to the opposite eid of a beach we love.

Ok, yes I am a bit excited. It has only been 6 months since I was last there but I miss the islands…..

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is that bacon I smell???

No not bacon at all rather,it is the beginning of the beginning of the count down to our next Caribbean trip.

What the hell am I talking about you may wonder.

My lovely wife and I signed up for and completed our first fake bake tan in preperations for climbing into a big metal tube to be propelled at 600+ miles an hour southeast to our final destination of ST Maarten Dutch West Indies!!! In short....VACATION!!!!!!

Last nights tanning adventure went like this. We stroll into the local tanning salon. Meet two young women at the reception counter that ask if we have been there before. Then the same young lady that was there last year recognized us.

Pay our fees and then stroll down the hall to our own private little rooms.

Next step is the obvious, strip down to what ever level of clothing you may feel comfortable in, be it swimsuit, underwear, gym shorts or au natural. Hop into what looks like an open MRI machine with lighting…and pull the clam shell down to a couple of inches above you. Push the button to ignite the afterburners and lie back and relax for my 7 minutes of microwave cooking.

These machines are nice, they even have fans that you can adjust for your face and lighting that controls tanning your face. I set the fans on supersonic and enjoy the cat 1 hurricane force winds blowing thru my hair. Turn up the music and vegetate for my previously agreed on time.

Ding, fries are done! The lighting shuts off and you quickly move from microwave to freezer as the fans are still blowing. Time to pry myself out of the nuclear powered clam that I was just resting in clean up a bit, put back on what ever I chose to remove and then head back to the waiting area to wait on my lovely wife. We all know that it usually takes the ladies a bit longer to get ready to go back out for public viewing than it does guys. I know, more items to remove and put back on…..

Today the dear wife is a quick one and meets me just a minute or so after I get to the waiting area.

Ok, why is this worthy of blogging about today? As I stated above, we start tanning about 30 days before we head to the tropics in order to be able to spend more than a half hour in the tropical sun each day. Besides, if we get off the plane on island and are lily white (maybe not that white but certainly not tan) it kind of puts you out there as a fresh off a plane from somewhere tourist.

We tan once a year before going on our trip…and use lots of sunscreen on the island daily to protect ourselves but we do enjoy having a bit of color before we get there.

So last evening may not have been a bacon fry but it way the beginning of our trip planning and we are now springing over the next hurdle that stands in our way of traveling to the Caribbean.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Listening to the Travel Savvy WIfe

My wonderful wife and I were sitting together Sunday afternoon discussing….guess….yes it’s a tuff one. Give up? Yup, you got it first guess, our impending visit back to the island. We were discussing getting to the airport. Do we take an airport limo service, do we impose on a family member? We were looking up the pricing of an airport limo (big van) and she asked a great question. Does KC have a park, sleep, fly arrangement like many other large cities?

Surfed the net and low and behold, yes it does and the relative cost beats….limo service as well as the imposition of bothering a relative to get up that early.

Why is all of this necessary? Our flight from KC leaves at 5:30 in the AM. We live 45 minutes south of the airport and we are flying international meaning we would beat every chicken and rooster in the area out of our beds that morning and would be driving to the airport about the time all of the drunks are coming home from the bars.

My wife’s offered solution is awesome and frankly I am a bit embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself. Math works like this….14 days parking at airport (using the outer parking lot) would be $84. Then there is leaving home at probably 3AM to get there, get parked and to the gate early enough to check in go thru security and catch the Oh Dark:30 flight to Charlotte.

Another side journey here is if we stayed home the night before it would most likely be 11 PM or later before we headed off to bed with all of our pre trip activities like watering the plants and making sure everything is just perfect before we went to sleep.

So, we have agreed to leave shortly after my dear sweet wife gets home from work to drive to the hotel close to the airport. We will bring a bottle of wine, some chocolate and cheese and start our vacation that evening before the flight instead of in a rush the next morning. Cost $125 including the room, parking and shuttle to airport. So my math tells me for $41 I can rest close to the airport in a Sheraton hotel, car already parked. Enjoy the company of my wife without all the night before racing around and get at least 2 extra hours sleep.

After all that …the best I can say is GREAT IDEA HONEY, glad I listened this time..

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Knew?

Who knew that taking out the trash can be hazardous to your health? I sure didn’t think much of it as I walked out into my garage a week ago and bent over to pick up the bag and take it to the curb. Guess what…I found out right away. No pop or anything like that. I simply felt a sharp sting go down the side of my right leg, then the back spasms set in. I was down for the count! Thursday laid on the floor with a heat pack all afternoon. Went to work on Friday walking like an 85 year old with a bum hip, the only thing I was missing at this point was a walker. Made it to the doctor Friday afternoon.

He filled my hip full of cordozone and another steroid and prescribed a muscle relaxer and sent me home. Repeat Thursday afternoon lying on floor in pain. Sat came and still more pain….took meds but they did very little good. Sunday morning I rolled out of bed and told my wife as soon as I was done with a shower it was time to head to the emergency room, I have never felt my back hurt like this before.

The ER really fixed me up…I left there feeling NO pain. More Steroid and a bit of morphine for the pain along with a new muscle relaxer and an awesome painkiller. First time in several days I had felt at all decent.

I’ll save you most of the rest of the minute by minute cause I did a lot of sleeping and my intent is not to bore you any more than I have. Today is Day 8 and the spasms are most of the way gone but the nerve still tingles down into my leg pretty heavily. I am supposed to continue stretching and cut back on the meds for the next couple of weeks along with some physical therapy.

My biggest concern is there may be a bulging disc or something else that will lead to surgery…..Here is the biggest worry for me. We have 71 days until we load ourselves into a big metal can and fly to the Caribbean. I cant have this still going on while I am trying to get there. I will be going to PT, doing y stretching, cutting out the pain meds and everything else I can and or need to do to get better to include…the obvious dropping of a few lbs along the line.

Learning for the day, if I don’t stay fit, I will end up in a lot of pain by doing something as simple as taking out the trash…by the way I did take it to the curb today with no impact to my back. At this point I have been 21 hours with no painkillers in my system though I am sore enough that they sure would be nice to take they just aren’t necessary at this point.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quack, quack….boing! Are you kidding me?

Things I read on Facebook can be a bit troubling at times, today I read a hyperlink on facebook that took me to a letter posted on the ST Marten News Network ( ) I don’t normally send you to another link but I found this story to be pertinent to me as a photographer, take a few moments and read his letter as well as the notes following and make your own decision for I certainly have an opinion on this one.

This is a story about a guy that sat down at the edge of a naturist beach resort with a powerful camera that was accosted by the security folks of said resort. They requested to view what was on his memory card….he refused. They jerked his equipment away from him and took it to the front desk of the resort. The clerk viewed the pictures and then reformatted his memory card deleting the pictures he captured. He sent a letter off to the French Govt to complain about how he was treated on the beach as well as by the gendarmes after they were called. The folks at the resort say that there were graphic images of children that were undressed on the memory card. It was deleted so there is no proof one way or another.

I am concerned on a couple of levels here;

First and foremost if this “gentleman” was shooting photos of naked children…he is a sick man and needs see a therapist after he serves time for invasion of privacy and child pornography.

Second, I too am a photographer and bring some reasonably expensive equipment to the island but to capture nature’s scenery not people with or without clothes on.
I hate to feel that because I bring a professional quality camera to a beach to capture the beauty of the island that I will be lumped in with those trying to capture secret pictures of the unaware people on the beach.
When we go to a beach in which there may be nudity, I will shoot pictures of the landscape in the early morning light and if we choose to stay and enjoy the day on that beach I will put my camera away, not to see the light of the rest of the day at that beach.

I simply find the explanation of what occurred tasteless and rude…just the image American’s need. Thanks dude! It says in your note you are 60 but that doesn’t sound like rational behavior of any 60 year old I know.

The Facebook page that I found this on had a lengthy list of responses and basically one could shoot a lot of holes in the story that he told. His complaint is one that leads me back to Woody Harrelson’s character in the movie “after the Sunset” says…..”hey ,look over here at my assistant with the big tits while I take that Rolex off your arm” of deception and diversion from what was really happening.

In the end I responded if one walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I seriously doubt that they are a kangaroo….now you know why today’s title is ….Quack, quack, boing!