Cruise 10, Vacations

Preparing for Vacation

Kevin went to the spine doctor today. We had to wait an hour before he was called back (and just think, this is BEFORE Obamacare).

His spine is fine. His compression fracture, though not to be taken too lightly, was never that serious to begin with. He no longer has the wear the brace (he actually hadn’t been wearing it for the past two weeks), and though the doctor doesn’t anticipate any problems, they did go ahead and take another x-ray, just to be on the safe side. We’ll likely find out the results of that x-ray when we get back from vacation.

Kevin is walking more and more. His stride is starting to even out a bit and though he still resembles a toddler when he walks, it’s getting better.

We went driving in his truck the other day. Yes. Kevin drove. He did well. He’s pretty confident he can get back into the driver’s seat again (heh), and is planning on driving himself to his next band practice. He says it feels REALLY GOOD to be getting his life back to normal.

We’ve decided to take the walker on vacation with us. Though he technically doesn’t need it anymore, it’s nice for him to have something to lean on and he can walk faster and longer distances using it. And since we’ll be walking long distances in New York, well, it just makes sense to take it.

We’ve narrowed down what we want to do in New York:

Day One: Take the Staten Island Ferry so we can take pictures of the Statue of Liberty to the other side of the river, then walk the Brooklyn Bridge back across so we can get some pictures of the New York skyline. Kevin’s boss, who has been to New York several times, highly recommends it and though it will likely be slow going for Kevin, he’ll have his walker and can sit down and take frequent breaks. We aren’t really planning to do anything else as we think this will likely wipe Kevin out.

Day Two: Rockefeller Centre. There is a Nintendo Store there that the boys would like to visit and of course, all of the other cool things to look at at the Centre. We’ll likely end the day relaxing and walking around Central Park.

Nothing too exciting, but enough to keep us busy.

We’ll then catch the boat on day three and sail up to St. Johns and Halifax Canada. We still haven’t booked our excursion in Canada yet, but Kevin and I decided to do the photography tour. A professional photographer takes us around and gives us tips on how to photograph landmarks and the beautiful scenery. I just checked the temps and the weather for Canada – partly sunny and highs around 67 degrees!

WOW! That will be quite the change from the hot and muggy New York portion of our trip.

Hence the reason I will have to pack jackets, rain ponchos and umbrellas for the Canada portion of our trip. (It rains a lot in Canada).

That is my goal for this evening. Pack. I’ve done laundry (I can only do laundry either in the morning or in the evening because the dryer just adds to an already hot house during the day), and will sort through everything and make sure we have everything we need tonight so that if we don’t, I can run errands tomorrow.

Kevin has to go through his old clothes. Dude has outgrown all of his shorts (Jazz now owns them), so if Kevin doesn’t have any shorts that he can give to Dude, we’ll have to make a trip out tomorrow and get him suited up.

So to speak.

Speaking of suits: I don’t even plan on taking my swimsuit this go-around. Since Kevin is not interested in getting into the pool and I’m already brown from tanning, I think I would rather just sit in the shade with a good book and take it easy on the sweat glands this year. The boys will take theirs, but they didn’t go swimming the last time we were on the boat, so I don’t really expect them to go swimming this time, but you never know, we’ll take them just in case.

We have one formal night and though I have a dress I can take, I think I’m just going to take my khaki capri/slacks with me this time and just go with that. I’m honestly not in the mood to dress up and a lot of people just wear something church nice as opposed to semi-formal nice.

We bought a scale. The suitcase that Kevin’s boss loaned us is nearly 20 pounds … which means I only have 30 pounds to work with here to keep within the 50 pound weight limit. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider I need to pack for four people, that can add up fast. I think I’m most stressed about making the 50 pound weight limit than anything else. (Well, that and getting Kevin through airport security).

We leave very soon. We have our house sitter all lined up (one of my nephews is going to hang out and watch the house – he’s pretty excited about it, NO parties J!!), our mail has been put on hold and we’ll make sure we have everything else ready to go tonight.

You can keep track of our progress on my Twitter account. I’ll also be calling in posts periodically so check this blog for updates, too.

This will likely be my last “live” update – I’ve already got a week’s worth of posts lined up and ready to go, but again, you can listen to my audio posts as I post them. I have no idea when I’ll get around to calling in posts, but hopefully I can get a few in before we get on the boat. I won’t have cell phone service on the boat or in Canada, but you’ll know we’re back in the states when you hear me calling in another post.

We are planning on taking four cameras. That way, each of us has a camera in hand and we’ll likely come back from this thing with a gazillion pictures. We did that last vacation and I have to say, some of our best pictures were taken by the boys.

I think I’m more excited than nervous at this point. I’m mentally prepared to deal with Kevin’s limitations and he has such a positive attitude about this that I’m confident he’ll be fine. He’s really excited to do this and that alone will make this process 110% easier.

Thanks for your interest and your support, everyone. “Talk” to you soon!!


Put Your Energies into People Who Deserve It

I really don’t care what people think about me.

Well, I care, but mostly I don’t.

Let me rephrase that: I care to a point.

After that? *shrug* Meh.

I mean, it bothers me when loved ones are upset with me, the closer to my heart they are, the more it tears me up. But I think we all have to reach a point where we say, “Enough.” A heart can only take so much.

I’ve had this conversation with both of my boys.

The “being TOO nice” conversation.

My boys are gentle creatures. I have no idea what I’ve done to turn them into such creatures but I thank God that whatever happened, happened. (Too bad I’m not smart enough to know what that was).

And they’re nice. They’re nice to everyone. They are loathe to hurt anyone’s feelings.

On the surface, this is a good thing. Truly. But there are times it’s not such a good thing.

Dude will agree to do something simply because he thinks disagreeing will hurt the person’s feelings. Or, Dude will search for the answer you want to hear because he doesn’t want to disappoint you.

Jazz will defend underdogs because he feels sorry for them. Even if defending the person puts him in the cross hairs, even if his stepping in means other kids will make fun of him, then so be it. I can’t tell you the number of times Jazz has come home to tell me about how some kid was being bullied and he swooped in to save the day. Or, the times he’s gotten upset because a “friend” suddenly began giving him the cold shoulder.

Life lessons are so hard to learn. And even harder to teach, I think.

In a nutshell, I’ve taught my boys that though it’s great to be nice, that you should always give nice a chance first, sometimes you have to stop being nice.

It’s human nature to take advantage of other people. I mean, if we’re constantly given something and then given the option of working for it, which option do you think the majority of people will choose?

If you’re continuously nice to people and expect very little, if anything in return, then most of the time, those same people will continue to take advantage of your good nature. They will suck you dry. And most won’t think twice about it.

There has to come a time when you have to put your foot down and say NO MORE.

You can do it nicely, you can do it tactfully, but ultimately, you have to do it. You only have so much to give before your reserves are tapped out and if your generosity, your willingness to understand and be patient is draining so much life out of you so that you don’t have the time, energy, or wherewithal to live your own life and take care of the people who depend on you, then it’s time to cut the dependency ties.

The challenge, of course, is knowing WHEN to do that.

And that’s what I’ve tried to teach the boys. Knowing when to stop being so nice (and by that, I don’t necessarily mean start being mean but to know when it’s time to move on) is hard. There is no cut and dried answer. It depends. It depends on the person, the situation, the circumstance. It depends on how much you’re emotionally invested in the person (though again, be careful, loved ones can sometimes be the worse when it comes to taking advantage of your good nature).

But I’ve seen too many people, I’ve heard too many sad stories from people I’ve worked with, about how they’re so tired of being taken advantage of and yet, they continue their behavior and continue to be taken advantage of. At some point, the cycle has to end, doesn’t it?

Most people are great and getting to know them can be a huge reward, but then there are some people who are poison to your mental health and to your quality of life in general.

The challenge is being honest enough with yourself to first SEE it, and then having the strength to do something about it.

Move on and concentrate your energies on the people in your life who love and respect you.

Not everyone will like you. And that’s okay.