Saturdays with Gertrude

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. As I blogged our way across the Pacific, I really tried to bring to life all of the wonderful experiences we had. A couple of little comments about my buddy Gertrude and now she has a fan club. In the last couple of days, I received four inquires about her health! She is fine. I am gazing fondly upon her as I type and am happy to report that the snow has all but melted around her so her airways are clear for now. When the rest of the snow melts, I will venture out there and take a head shot so she can send out autographed pictures.  Volunteers for President of the Gertrude Fan Club are welcome.

 I actually do look forward to my Saturdays with Gertrude. I try to be standing nearby so I can observe her as she commandeers the electrical panel and does her thing for about ten minutes. I assume that is what is going on. She revs up, sounds like a mini jet engine and appears to be emitting something with enough force to ruffle the leaves on the shrubs nearby. I’m guessing Gertrude doesn’t care much for her shrub neighbor because she is doing a pretty good job of scorching its leaves. I am hoping that she just scorches the backside and the front stays somewhat green because Gil would not be a happy camper if he walked out the back door and his pride and joy that he planted fifteen years ago was a goner. Gertrude and I had a talk about it and I think we’ve reached a compromise on the shrub issue. Maybe.

 I was told by the folks who are responsible for her (except for shoveling) that Saturdays with Gertrude is designed for my piece of mind and I should feel reassured that she will be ready for action if we ever lose power again.  I doubt that will happen because our power company (appropriately named CLAP) seems to have gotten the message that Gertrude is at the ready and they have not had to import crews from Iowa to restore power since she was put in charge. She adapted to Day Light Savings Time with no ill effects.

 Her first birthday is just around the corner – June – and the folks who are responsible for her (except for shoveling) are suggesting that I purchase an Extended Warranty for her in addition to re-upping for another year of their (except for shoveling) services. The way I figure it, an Extended Warranty for Gertrude is no different than purchasing life insurance and I admit to having strange feelings on the subject. I am all for life insurance and have never gotten the “weepies” when discussing the subject. I do have a problem with canceling or amending a policy once in place. For example, there is the Two Bimbo policy I purchased way back in the early 80s. Gil had just begun a new career in a new business and I decided that if anything were to happen to me, he should at least have some bucks in his pocket. The Two Bimbo policy specified that if I predeceased Gil, he was to mourn me for a month or so, use the policy proceeds to fly to Las Vegas, acquire two bimbos, paint the town red and gamble his head off. Unfortunately, I purchased term insurance and as I aged, the premiums increased exponentially and Gil began to suggest that I cancel the Bimbos. This immediately caused me concern that I would jinx myself and Gil would find himself Bimboless. I finally was able to rationalize a downsize of the Two Bimbo policy on the theory that a) Atlantic City is closer and b) Gil couldn’t manage two bimbos these days. So we now have a One Bimbo policy. If the premiums keep climbing, he may end up with a bus ticket to Atlantic City and a voucher for a free buffet meal. No provision for Bimbos.

 Try as I might, I can’t come up with a similar workaround for Gertrude’s Extended Warranty Life Insurance Policy. If I go for it, I’m sure the amount will climb annually. If I don’t, I am reasonably sure that one minute after Gertrude’s first birthday, the shrub she is tormenting will take its revenge by committing shrub-icide, topple over and suffocate poor Gertrude. It’s a problem.

Dam Email Gremlins

My apologies to all who have been so kind to comment on our BLTwJ blog and/or have attempted to email me and have gotten a bounce back and/or no response. Everything is fine here. I just have Dam Email Gremlins.

 You may recall that when I disembarked from the Dam Elegant Statendam, I could not send email at all. The Dam IT person at my Dam Internet Service Provider determined that my email was still trying to go through the Dam Elegant Statendam’s Dam Server to all the Dams at Sea and he “fixed me.” He certainly did. When I logged on to my email this morning, it showed that I had in excess of 8,000 emails and my allotted space on my Dam ISP was full. Dam. I must have been hacked! Nope, it appears that when I got “fixed,” all of the Dam emails that I have previously received dating back to September of 2009 reappeared in my Inbox regardless of what folder they had previously been plopped in. I was sorely tempted to commit email homicide and just delete every Dam one but, unfortunately, important stuff (like comments and emails from all of you guys) are interspersed with emails from every store or other web site I have ever visited.

 Now that I have blown off all of the “you still have time for Christmas delivery” circa 2010, apparently there is some breathing room on the Dam ISP Server and recent emails are appearing.

 There does not seem to be a logical explanation for this and I know that one or more of you are going to tell me to restore my files from my backup drive. I thank you in advance for that kind advice but I have not backed up since I got home because I can’t remember what plug goes where. I’ll try to figure out the spaghetti after digging out of the email blizzard.

 On the bright side of life, it is snowing here again – just another 3 to 5 inches expected and I can spend my day wading through old emails while gazing fondly at Gertrude. She is currently “up to her ankles” in snow but I’m placing my bets on a warm up later this week so I’m not venturing out to shovel. She seems happy. The other “G” in my life – not so much. It’s lunchtime and there isn’t a waiter or menu in sight! Later!

 Love to all.

Sochi, Ct

You will all be happy to know that the ice events continue up here in Connecticut. In my opinion, it is inherently unfair to take a person out of Tahiti and put her into the Winter Olympics. Yesterday, I spent the morning trying to get to blacktop on our rather long driveway. I figured that if the UPS guy or the dry cleaning guy attempted to deliver, they would fall an break their butt, sue me and I would never again be able to book another cruise. My darling husband didn’t realize I was missing in action. My neighbor and her daughter came to help. They had real shovels – not a red plastic kids thingy. We made great progress and we decided to keep at it until Gil realized I was missing. I bet that he would appear sometime around lunchtime looking to see what was on the MS Richmandam menu. I won. I was out there for approximately two hours before he realized he was hungry.

I have a method to my shoveling madness. I go out and strew ice melt as far as I can throw it. I let it marinate for a half hour or so and they I shovel and try to break up the ice with the red plastic shovel which is completely a waste of time since it just bounces off the ice. This method works pretty well until one runs out of ice melt which is available at our local store for only $12 for a little container if you can get there. My stockpile of ice melt ran out and the driveway is only half ice melted. The rest is a glacier. Unfortunately, that is the half that the mailbox is located on. Screw it. Who needs mail anyway?

I think we need a reunion cruise. Soon. Someone please volunteer to organize this. It is snowing again. I just checked Gertrude out with a flashlight. I think she has the sniffles.

A person could begin to think that they have the Dam curse or something. Speaking of that. Some Dam couple is sleeping in my Dam cabin on the way to Hawaii. I hope they forgot to pack their generator too.

The Dam dry cleaning guy made it. Sheesh.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

So I decided to name my generator Gertrude. This morning I looked out at Gert and SHE WAS BURIED and certainly in need of CPR in order to breathe. My guys who promised me that I would absolutely, positively be taken care of were no were to be found. They would have needed a few huskies and a sled to get here. What to do, what to do? As I stared at Gert, I became afraid that if we lost power and she tried to work she would explode in a fire ball. I then fretted about how that would work with the warranty and if we were possibly covered by insurance. After two hours passed with me fretting away, we added another Dam foot of snow.

I had to go in. I had to save Gert and I had to save myself from The Gilbert saying “you blew up the generator and the house and the neighborhood.” The big problem was the fact that our Dam snowplow guys screwed up the shortest path to said Gertrude because they shoveled in front of the gate that opens inward and that had a couple of feet of snow pushed up against it. I kept waiting for Christa and Bill to arrive with their tractor but that didn’t happen.

I suited up and told Sir Gilbert that I loved him and that if I froze outside to just turn me into a scarecrow come next summer. He spluttered a lot but supported me throughout by yelling at me through the open door. He kept on telling me to be careful. Really?

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This is me with my kid plastic shovel. Not very good for breaking ice but I can’t lift a big person’s shovel that has snow on it. Was I really in Tahiti?

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This is my battle plan.That is me going out the back deck and around to where all the stuff lives. The biggest problem was that the new snow was fluffy but it was on top of frozen stuff that was on top of more snow. But I did it. Having said that, I thought I was broken after winning the Hula Hoop contest. I’m really broken now. Sheesh.

Since Bill did not rescue me with his tractor, I think he owes me a woodworking project. A cute little garage for Gert would be appreciated. Something in red.

Well who knew?

I don’t know. I just was happy that I had a Dam generator given the forecast for tomorrow. Gil and I did the “thing” today and went out to buy milk that we don’t need and bread that we don’t need because that is what a person does when they are going to experience a blizzard as forecast by a very excited Sam Champion who is now a Weather Channel person. I also bought a container of snow melt. I don’t know why because this container might take care of about two feet of a very long driveway that no one can walk on. Getting the mail is kind of fun. I park the car in near proximity of the mailbox and then one of us holds on for dear life and stretches to open the box and pull out the mail. I think the mail person is on strike because it has been a very wasted effort thus far. The NY Times has been delivering. I figure that the snow plow will push it up the driveway and we will find all the news that is fit to print sometime in the Spring. What the hay, we lived with Fox News for all of those days, we can survive without all the news that is fit to print for a couple of days or a week or two.

 So, on our return to home, I gazed fondly out upon my generator and got a bit concerned. It is all covered by the least a foot of snow and I distinctly remember my brother telling me that this is like a car engine that has to have an exhaust and all. So, in an abundance of caution, I called my “go to” person – my sister-in-law Kathy. Her Mom, Harriet lives in the butt end of somewhere near Syracuse and gets a ton of snow and has a generator. I first inquired as to how they were all coping with this mess and then got to the real purpose of my call. So Kathy, your Mom has a generator and has a ton of snow. How does that work? Kathy said that she was pretty sure that the snow had to be cleared from said generator. Dam. Kathy really thought that a call to our Dam Good Generator folks might be in order. She is /was a teacher and I figured I had homework or something and she knew what she was talking about.

 OK. I called them. Yup. I was supposed to make sure that the generator has room to breathe. Well who knew? I arranged for our snow plow person extraordinaire to make sure that the access to the back yard would be clear. He dutifully kept the access to the garden gate shoveled. Too bad the gate opens in and that the back side of it has two friggen feet of snow piled up against it. The excellent generator folk then suggested that I go out and dig out around the generator. Really? I don’t think so. There is two feet of snow on the deck and buried stairs. I then pointed out that I really couldn’t do that. They then promised that they wouldn’t let me down. I’m not  quite sure what that means. So I figure that if the generator fails, they can slip and slide up the driveway, arrive at our front door, come through the house, go out the back door, navigate the back yard and make their way to the choking machine.  I’ll make them hot chocolate and invite them to stay but only if the generator works. Shoot me. At least when we had a power failure on the ship, someone else was having a nervous breakdown. Gil will chop me up into little pieces if all of my very expensive, permit needed, gas hooked up, cement pad required generator nagging comes to naught! Not to mention that he will freeze into a little ice cube. Sheesh!

 This really stinks. There is no more room to put the snow. Sir Gilbert has the Delta disease and is hacking and wheezing but refused to see a doctor. If this generator fails, I’m going to ship it to the excellent Captain. Maybe he can use it. Does someone have a tractor I can use?

 Well, now that I have figured this all out. I have decided that this it truly my sister-in-law Kathy’s fault. It’s a reach but plausible.  I am gonna start planting that in the Gilbert’s ear tonight. Keep you all posted. But only if my generator works!

Love you all.

PCBs

Post-cruise blues. More accurately, I have a post-vacation cold. It might have something to do with the one foot of snow and two inches of ice we have had this past week. It could be from the un-friendly skies of Delta flight home from Florida. It might also have something to do with the culture shock of interacting with the extremely grumpy frozen cabin-fevered people who are out and about or the fact that I have to pay with real money at the grocery store. I am also amazed and slightly dismayed that I accomplished virtually none of the items listed on my pre-cruise plan. For instance, I downloaded six books that I really wanted to read. I read four pages of book one. I downloaded tons of music and packed Gil’s hunker new headphones. I was going to listen to music while reading on our balcony. Gil was going to listen to Country Western while on the ship’s treadmill. Never happened. I unpacked the headphones and they need to be re-charged if I could just remember where I put the instructions. I ordered a small needlepoint kit that I was absolutely sure I could complete in forty-five days. I did unpack it on the ship but it remains 99.9% undone. I was going to walk laps daily on the ship’s Promenade Deck. Four laps equal one mile. Over the course of forty five days, I managed to do one-half of one lap. So here I was sitting dressed like a lumberjack, sniffling, feeling like I got hit by a truck and the phone rang. It was our new friend Christa of Christa and Bill fame. We had a lovely chat and she uploaded photos to the Cloud which I actually managed to get from there to here. A wonderful reminder of where my best laid plans went awry. Here they are.

Hard at work blogging

Hard at work blogging

The one and only Astrid. Sitting duck concierge.

The one and only Astrid. Sitting duck concierge.

Janet of busted knee. John just busted.

Janet of busted knee. John just busted.

The Gang of Six

The Gang of Six

Christa & Ingrid met on board. Turns out they live about 12 miles apart.

Christa & Ingrid met on board. Turns out they live about 12 miles apart.

 

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Guess who?

Guess who?

Guess who?

Guess who?

Andi had a paper towel roll under his hat to hold it up!

Andi had a paper towel roll under his hat to hold it up!

Good sport Bill.

Good sport Bill.

My version of a Dam Stars Award Ceremony.

My version of a Dam Stars Award Ceremony.

Sucked it in for the picture!

Sucked it in for the picture!

Having fun yet?

Having fun yet?

Ingrid & Jim - 90 years young journalist. Favorite quote - "This ship is like mutton dressed as a lamb."

Ingrid & Jim – 90 years young journalist. Favorite quote – “This ship is like mutton dressed as a lamb.”

Having fun yet?

Having fun yet?

Sir Gilbert gets his medal.

Sir Gilbert gets his medal.

Wearing a fashionable brace.

Wearing a fashionable brace.

Tristan sang for us.

Tristan sang for us.

Andi & Tristan

Andi & Tristan

Ingrid and patient Byron

Ingrid and patient Byron

Astrid cuts the cake.

Astrid cuts the cake.

Dam Great Crew

Dam Great Crew

Celebrating being "no stars"

Celebrating being “no stars”

I'll show them stars!

I’ll show them stars!

Ingrid and Andi

Ingrid and Andi

No Dam Stars Cake

No Dam Stars Cake

Relatives from "Up North"

Relatives from “Up North”

Byron (law enforcement retired but still packing a shield) arresting John for smuggling booze.

Byron (law enforcement retired but still packing a shield) arresting John for smuggling booze.

Don't think she took this ritual seriously.

Don’t think she took this ritual seriously.

Woes are gone.

Woes are gone.

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Flushing Janet's woes away. Busted knee.

Flushing Janet’s woes away. Busted knee.

We did not stay here.

We did not stay here.

Great day at an end.

Great day at an end.

Wither he goest, so goes Walmart.

Wither he goest, so goes Walmart.

Ace photographer.

Ace photographer.

Getting ready to kiss a fish.

Getting ready to kiss a fish.

Manna and Me.

Manna and Me.

Christa lifeguard while looking out for sharks.

Christa lifeguard while looking out for sharks.

The boys. Bill & Gil.

The boys. Bill & Gil.

Never made midnight!

Never made midnight!

Welcoming the New Year.

Welcoming the New Year.

Ingrid the "he who stands and waits" Byron.

Ingrid the “he who stands and waits” Byron.

Strutting my pearls.

Strutting my pearls.

The letter of the Day is ..

The letter of the Day is ..

Miss Christa

Miss Christa

Following "ist" EG's instructions.

Following “ist” EG’s instructions.

Dam Good Crew Party Pics

I promised many of the Dam Good Crew of the Elegant MS Statendam that I would post the pictures of the Dam Good Crew Party of January 26, 2014. Here they are. On behalf of all of the passengers who sailed with us, thank you for all of your incredibly hard work and friendship in making our cruise so memorable. As for us, Gil and I enjoyed each and every day but if we had to name a “best of the best” memory of our journey, it would be your party. Thank you for including us. Love to all.

Patiently waiting to be fetched.

Patiently waiting to be fetched.

Impatiently waiting to be fetched - 11PM

Impatiently waiting to be fetched – 11PM

Ready to Party. Stella provided by Tristen.

Ready to Party. San Miquel provided by Tristen.

"Adopted daughter" Ashley at start of party.

“Adopted daughter” Ashley at start of party.

Gil with "Officer Mini Bart"

Gil with “Officer Mini Bart”

Wow. The crew made this banner last night. No sleep for them!

Wow. The crew made this banner last night. No sleep for them!

Getting DJ ready.

Getting DJ ready.

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Crazy Eyeball tape providers!

Crazy Eyeball tape providers!

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The awesome Augus.

The awesome Augus.

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Gil is in love.

Gil is in love.

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On Demand Andi

On Demand Andi

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I wonder what kind of hair cement they all use?

I wonder what kind of hair cement they all use?

JR with my new love Arvie - my buddy and babysitter.

JR with my new love Arvie – my buddy and babysitter.

JR with Gil's new love.

JR with Gil’s new love.

Karen of "Karen & the HAL cats"

Karen of “Karen & the HAL cats”

How do you play spin the bottle when the floor is moving?

How do you play spin the bottle when the floor is moving?

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Very important Tristen - wine steward!

Very important Tristen – wine steward!

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The one and only Miss Astrid with Peter.

The one and only Miss Astrid with Peter.

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We were waaaay up there - rocking and rolling

We were waaaay up there – rocking and rolling

The fake palm tree I hugged all party long.

The fake palm tree I hugged all party long.

The Day After

The Day After

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Being escorted back to our cabin by our buddies and babysitters.

Being escorted back to our cabin by our buddies and babysitters.

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Yup. That is beverage waiter Pee Jay at the far right.

Yup. That is beverage waiter Pee Jay at the far right.

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Little Miss Mae

Little Miss Mae

GR JR with awesome Karen. Note Gil's glasses are saltified.

GR JR with awesome Karen. Note Gil’s glasses are saltified.

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Awesome photographer James. Also awesome party bartender.

Awesome photographer James. Also awesome party bartender.

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