Friday, August 29, 2008

Tired with a capital T

I am SO tired. Never recovered from last weekend away tired. I look tired. I sound tired. I feel tired.

My husband tried to convince me to drive to Orlando this afternoon after working an 10.5 hour work day. I flatly refused politely provided a counter offer. He too was too tired to argue.

Robert has had a pretty boring trip here so we are going Orlando this weekend. I tried to talk Morgan into going without me for some brotherly bonding. He decided he couldn't go without me. We decided to leave tomorrow either after 4pm Mass or in time to get to Orlando for Saturday evening Mass.

Sunday Cork is playing in some match that has been described as the "priority for the weekend" so the guys will research a yet-to-be-determined pub that will show the Cork match up there. After the 9am game we will head to a yet-to-be-determined Disney park where we will stay until closing. From there we will head to the yet-to-be-determined hotel. Monday we will hit the usual outlet malls before heading back to South Florida in enough time to recover before school on Tuesday.

That is the plan. I am tired thinking about it.

I took a nap when we got home. Morgan called Ireland and was chatting away. I read a little of my book and then fell asleep. When he got off the phone he tried to wake me up. I responded with an obscenity rude comment that shocked even me. I was allowed to sleep until dinner. (I won't complain...Morgan reheated it cooked!)

I am taking sleep seriously tonight. I changed the sheets on the bed and heading that way now. Morgan and Robert are going to the movies. I have no intention of going with them or even being awake when they get back.

(Morgan just came in and discovered that the movie is not until 9:55. He has secretly admitted that he too is wrecked. It has been a long week!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Is it only Tuesday? We got home from Houston at 11pm on Sunday night. Needless to say we are still recovering!

Friday afternoon we got to the airport early. If you know us well, that is no small feat. We were going back and forth between doing park and ride or paying the $12 a day to just park in the garage. Then God stepped in. Actually it may have been Fay. The sky opened and the rain fell. Hard. It was like water balloons hitting the windshield. And then there was the lightening. The now $15 a day parking garage won hands down.

As our luck would have it, we were early and no flights were leaving due to the weather, so we had some time to kill. On the plus side I finished a book, two magazines, and graded my reading & math inventories (that's 38 tests) before we even got off the ground. The down side was we killed the phone batteries and I had nothing left to read once the plane took off. In the end we got to Houston 2 hours behind schedule. Jason and Mom picked us up and took us straight to Pappasitos. Not a shabby way to start the trip!

Saturday we met up with Kristina, Jason, and Brinley for lunch. Kristina is one of my KD friends and I hadn't seen her in a few years so it was great to catch up and meet her little girl. After lunch we met Mom at the mall and helped her pick out Julie's birthday present. (I also dropped MAJOR hints to Morgan about what I would like for my birthday. The nice lady at Brighton even gave him a card with the item number on it.)

Saturday I had a chance to look at the reunion information. Remember the large bag that flew for free full of options to wear? Well the reunion website said the dress was casual, but the information mailed to my mom's house said "business casual/dressy." Hmm...this added a bit to the "What to wear" issue. I wore a brown halter dress that I had figured was the least likely to be worn on this trip. It worked just fine. = ) Morgan looked great as always!

The reunion. Sad but true I got lost on the way there. I have been away from Houston for too long! One of the guys there posted on Facebook afterwards that he was happy he went and even happier that it was over. I think I would agree. I'd say about 1/3 of the class there. I saw people I wanted to see. I saw people I didn't really care to see. There were lots of people who didn't come who I'd have liked to have caught up with. I think we took two pictures the whole night. They were not great shots. Trust me.

I got to catch up with people I had not seen or heard from since graduation. The low part of the evening was when the music started. (They even shut the doors hoping we wouldn't leave.) It was not long after that that the "party bus" left to go to another local establishment where beverages were not $6 each. While there were things that could have been better about the reunion, it was a nice excuse to fly to Houston.

I did have to laugh though because my Mom wanted to know the scoop on everyone when we got home. I got on the computer and showed her Myspace and Facebook pages for various people she was curious about. Then I showed her my brother's pages. Proud moments, lol.

(Okay so this picture doesn't really go here, but it is almost impossible to get all three dogs in one shot so I had to add it to this post anyway!)

Sunday we went to Kemah after Mass. I had not been there in ages. We had lunch at Landry's and then walked around a bit. My two favorite stops were still there: The Christmas store and the Kandy store. Morgan was thrilled. He got a Christmas fix and an English candy bar. I do find it funny though that this is possibly the best picture of the trip! In August!

The flight home was uneventful. We were ready this time with extra phone batteries, but the Southwest terminal in Hobby had plugs everywhere, so we didn't need the extra batteries like we should have had at FLL. Live and learn. We got to bed at midnight and were up the next morning at 5:45 am. Good times.

Last night we took Robert, Morgan's younger brother to Cheeburger Cheeburger. He once again finished the one pound burger. Morgan and I had to rush off to a Catechist meeting at church so we didn't wait for them to take his picture for the wall of fame. I figured this would be just as good. Or not. Too late now!

Let's see - what else. We are monitoring Gustav. Morgan was a bit disappointed to be out of the cone of terror. (I think he just wanted another day off work!) Now it is looking like it will become a monster and head in the general direction of Houston. Not good!

Right now Morgan and his brother are playing tennis and going for a swim. My brother and I are sending text messages back and forth. So much for our 10:00 pm bedtime! Maybe tomorrow...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Houston Bound

I think I have mentioned before how much I despise the night before a trip. I am almost ready for bed though, so it looks like this one is not as unpleasant as I thought it would be. Here is the update:

DELIGHTFUL: I remembered that my final assignment for my ESOL course is due tomorrow and got a copy of a test for ELL students to write a review on.
DISTRESSING: The type of test I got will not work for my paper.
DELIGHTFUL: Our wonderful Spanish teacher has agreed to meet me early before school in the morning so I can quickly write my paper.

DELIGHTFUL: I am teaching a half day tomorrow.
DISTRESSING: I have to leave sub plans for an unknown person. And we are not really teaching much yet. What do I leave for them to do?
DELIGHTFUL: I am almost done with the aforementioned sub plans.

DELIGHTFUL: I am missing my long afternoon without any specials.
DISTRESSING: I have to write sub plans for a long afternoon without specials.
DELIGHTFUL: I do not have to follow the sub plans for a long afternoon without specials.

DELIGHTFUL: I can check in for my flight on
DISTRESSING: The printer is out of ink, so I cannot print boarding passes.
DELIGHTFUL: We got the tickets for a good price.

DELIGHTFUL: I have packed a suitcase full of clothes.
DISTRESSING: I still have no idea what to wear to my class reunion on Saturday.
DELIGHTFUL:Bags fly free on Southwest so I can afford to bring a big suitcase with lots of clothing options.

DELIGHTFUL: I get to spend the weekend in Houston.
DELIGHTFUL: I get to bring the Irishman with me.
DELIGHTFUL: I get to catch up with family and friends.

I guess the DELIGHTFUL out number the DISTRESSING!

Confession: I typed up this list as GOOD/BAD and then decided that I needed to expand my vocabulary. I will confess that I implored the use of a thesaurus to continue my endeavor toward a broader vocabulary.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fay, Fay Go Away

It is official. They have canceled the first day of school.

This morning was supposed to be "meet the teacher" day. I was putting on my nice "meet the parents" dress when the ALERT NOW message came through announcing the event was canceled. After a change of attire, I headed for school.

Thankfully my wonderful, helpful, never sarcastic husband came with me to school for a couple of hours yesterday evening. He moaned and complained the whole time lovingly and patiently watched Desperate Housewives on his cell phone put together my entire class set of Mountain Math. My hands would have numb for a week if I'd done that myself. With the loss of a day in my classroom getting ready, last night's prep becomes more important! Thank you honey!

I was actually kicked out of school today. The university closed at noon and at 12:10 they made an all-call announcement politely telling us that the building was being evacuated.

Before we left we had to cover the computers with plastic bags. Now I have done this for 4 other storms. (Most a much bigger threat than Fay) Seriously, if the storm is bad enough that there is water inside my classroom, do you really think that plastic garbage bags are going to make a difference? When they went through homes businesses after Katrina, were the plastic bag covered PCs spared? I'm not buying it.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the first day of school, but the university is closed so the lab school is closed. It doesn't look like the storm is going to be that bad here, but we have a day and a half off. I stopped at Publix on my way home from work. We'd planned to do our shopping tonight anyway so I thought I would use my time wisely. It was crowded, but not "the end is near" busy like it has been for past storms. After Wilma, Morgan said he felt like he was in communist Russia the way things were being snatched up at the store.

Meanwhile, Robert is due to arrive at 10pm tonight. We shall see if the weather holds out for him. Right now it is just a rain event. Boy is it WET!

The Irishman just got home. He had to work an extra couple of hours more than me. (And I've kindly let him know it!) All this rain makes me want to take a nap. I guess I don't have anything better to do!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Phoning Ireland

It is going to be a very busy weekend, but here is the story I promised in my last post...

When Noel arrived on Monday afternoon he started to sneeze. A lot. I was quite nervous that he might be allergic to the cats. In typical Irish fashion he gave me the, "Ah, no I'm grand" line, but I was worried. SO, I sent Morgan with him to Target for some allergy medicine.

While they were at Target, the guest room was empty and I could use the computer to check my e-mail and read blogs and such. I feel a bit like a junkie that I have to send my guests to the store to have the time to catch up on these things, but so be it!

Then Morgan calls from his cell phone. You must remember that the Irishman has not been driving for that long. I think we have just passed the one year mark on the driver's license. When the phone rings, I fear the worst. It turns out this time his brother had sent him a text message asking Morgan to call him. Wanting Morgan to focus on driving and getting medicine for Noel, I agreed to call Robert. (Especially after my darling husband tells me he almost crashed the car when the text message came in...I didn't want details!)

Robert is just out of college and still lives at home, so I dialed the family home in Blackrock and waited for the familiar, "Hu-lo" of my brother-in-law. I was starting to get worried when it was a female voice that answered. Panicked, I started to do the math. My mother-in-law was doing the same. "Paul, Paul what time it is here?"

It was 2:30 IN THE MORNING!

I called my mother-in-law at 2:30 IN THE MORNING!!!!

Robert forgot to mention in his text message that he is in Dublin at the moment and NOT at the family home in Cork.

I tried to explain this to my mother-in-law, who I woke up in the middle of the night. I was telling her how Morgan was at the store but got a text from Robert. She told me that Robert was in Dublin and then kept saying, "but I don't know how to send text messages." Poor thing. I tried to convince her that it was all okay. I am not sure I would be able to get back to sleep though if I were her.

Anyway, I called Morgan back and he tried to get me to then call Robert's mobile number. (Thanks to Vonage, we can call Irish landlines free of charge and cell phones at a nice reasonable rate so we try to always use that first.) I told him to call from his cell phone. I didn't care what it would cost, I was NOT making any other calls to Ireland at 2:30 in the morning.

In case you were wondering, Robert wanted to tell Morgan that he had just booked flights. He gets in Monday night at 10pm. The night before school starts. Morgan promised to look into the price of a taxi from there today for me. If not I'll do it.

Morgan's sister called on Tuesday and she'd heard about my phone call in the middle of the night. I'll never live this down!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Routines? What routines?

I starting FLY-ing in February. We'd had a rough couple of months and needed something. I shined my sink and got the house and our lives back in order. It made a big difference. We made little changes and got into a nice routine.

On the way home from work today Morgan admitted that he misses our routines. We went on the cruise and have had company (that we love by the way!) and changes in work schedule and the Olympics to watch. It is all great, but not routine friendly. No regular bed time, menu planning, and the like.

Which would be why I have not updated much. That and I have had guests in my guest room/computer room. So instead of writing my paper tonight, I am going to catch you up on what non-routines we've been up to...

I can't remember if I wrote about Morgan's sisters leaving, and I am too lazy right now to look back at it, so forgive me if I repeat myself. We hit all the usual haunts while they were here: the pool, the mall, Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Carrabba's, etc. I really look forward to the summer visit. It is nice to out number Morgan... bring on the chick flicks!

This weekend I did some major cleaning and cooking. Morgan was again captivated by the ever popular Padraig Harrington at the PGA Championship. He watched it on the couch with his cell phone and the landline phone right next to him. Every 20-30 minutes he called his father in Ireland and they would talk about Padraig's latest shot. It was comical to watch. For a while. Then I remembered that it is still golf and I could go read my book for a couple of hours and still catch the end. Small doses!

Monday I had a mentors meeting at school and then picked up Noel at the Tri-Rail station. Noel is one of Morgan's friends from college. He is Irish, but is currently working in Oslo, Norway. He leaves tomorrow night to catch up with some friends from his previous job before heading back across the pond. Right now he and Morgan are downstairs now playing the new Olympic game on the Wii. I am about to head down to see the actions behind the shouts!

School starts Tuesday, so I have been busy getting my classroom together. It is getting there! I have cleaned areas of the room I had not properly gone through in the last 5 years. I am quite pleased with myself!

My brother-in-law, Robert flies in Monday night. We usually look forward to having guests because it is the only time we eat out...but I think we are both looking forward to some home cooking!

I think that is about it for now. I'll save my story about my embarrassing phone call to Ireland for the next post...

Final Cruise Pictures

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cruise Part Four: Cozumel

I did not expect much from Cozumel. My grandmother talked about the wonderful snorkeling she'd done there, so we decided to try that. We looked at the excursions available and we were not sure what to do. At the talk, the cruise director talked about the Catamaran, Snorkel, and Beach Break. He said it was the party boat and you could hear them coming from a mile away. That is not our style, but the nice lady at the shore excursions desk managed to talk us into it.

Much to our surprise, it was one of the highlights of the trip. The crew on the catamaran was fantastic. They can have up to 100 guests on this excursion, but only 35 signed up which gave us all that much more space. They went over the serious safety information and then put on the music and let us go.

The snorkeling was only fair, but I have snorkeled in some world famous places in my life. I did see the largest school of fish I have ever seen which was impressive. After snorkeling they provided us with my favorite Mexican beverage and we got to enjoy drinks and music on the sun deck. I didn't think it could get any better...

Then we got to the beach. It was spectacular. They "parked" the catamaran on the beach and we walked down the steps and away. They had floats, beach chairs, and hammocks available to us free of charge. The only down side was that we only got to spend an hour there. It was amazing. The number of pictures we took here - one became the desktop background as soon as we got home!

After an hour we reluctantly got back on the catamaran after several failed attempts to bribe the crew to let us stay longer! It wasn't all bad though - we went back to the sun deck to enjoy the drinks, the music, and the color of the water. That is the life!

After leaving the crew of The Fury, we headed out to do some shopping. Back on the Valor, we had a quick nap before dinner. I played it safe with an appetizer of fried mozzarella, while Morgan was a bit more adventurous with the Tom Ka Gai. Our main courses brought grilled salmon for myself and a pork chop for the Irishman. I longed for his "Bitter and Blanc" dessert, but decided not to tempt fate with a chocolate headache.

There was no movie at the Seaside Theater because of the big party. It was part of the whole color competition that we wanted nothing to do with, so we took a stroll around the boat before watching Blue Crush in the room. It was a full day so we didn't mind an early night!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cruise Part Three: Belize

The last week before teachers report back to school has been a busy one! I went to Melissa Forney's Writing Superstars Extravaganza all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Add to the mix a two page reflection on a chapter to read in an ESOL book for a course I am taking and company in town and there was not much time for blogging...or reading! = (

So, we pick on our vacation recap in Belize...This was the one stop on the cruise we were most excited about. We'd booked tickets before we left for the private island beach break.

We went up for a quick breakfast before leaving the ship. We could see that the sun was shining and the water was a spectacular shade of blue. We filled our water bottles, grabbed a few mini-boxes of cereal to tide us over and headed down to the tender. We were having flash backs to our boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. It was not quite that rough, but I noticed a few green faces!

It became abundantly clear to use that though the sun was shining, the wind was blowing. In order to truly understand the magnitude of this statement you must watch the video below. Let's just say the pictures and the video tell two different stories!

The colors were amazing. There were shades of blue and green like no other. We found two chairs in the shade under a palm tree. Morgan swears he couldn't sleep because he was afraid of falling coconuts. I have pictures that would prove otherwise!

There was a pier that went out to block off the swimming area. After resuming our usual positions (Morgan sleeping and me reading) we went for a swim. I would love to see what the water was like on a day with a little less wind.

After a while we moved the chairs into the water and relaxed as the waves tickled our toes. The huts scattered around the place really added to the tropical feel of beach number 3 of 4 on our vacation.

Back on the boat, it was the second formal night. I do enjoy getting all dolled up. I enjoyed a started of broccoli soup before my shrimp dinner. Morgan savored the escargot followed by spring chicken. We both had a cup of tea as we finished our meal with Baked Alaska. Yummy!

The Seaside Theater feature was No Reservations. I'd seem it with June and Chris in the theater, but it was new to Morgan. Nothing like a lack of options to get my hubby to watch a chick flick. He won't admit it, but I think he enjoyed it.

Next up: Cozumel

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cruise Part Three: Roatan, Honduras

At the excursion talk on board, the cruise director advised everyone that Roaton was NOT one of those places to try to explore on your own. Then the shopping guru stood up and said not to worry about shopping at this port, you should go to the beach. They identified Coral Cay as the quieter of the two beaches. Now party people we are not, so we booked our tickets.

I LOVE this beach. Adore it! I did not want to leave this beach. We were impressed as we got there with the view and the glorious blue color of the water. We picked out a chair each under the shade of a palm tree. (After the previous days sun exposure we were being careful!)

As we were swimming away giddy about how wonderful the whole thing was, another gentleman swimming out just past us found a live conch shell. And then another. He was so excited he came over to let us hold it. A little bit later another snorkeler found a star fish. Someone spotted a sting ray.

Now, I know some of you enough to know that you are thinking that you could do without the ocean creatures. I will tell you that one of the two of us (he shall remain nameless) is also not a fan of non-human creatures in his swimming area, but it was so beautifully crystal clear and the aforementioned creatures were there but far enough away that we didn't have any unsolicited close encounters, so it was pretty spectacular.

We swam until we got tired of it. We took turns with the camera. Morgan slept. I read. We went for another swim. We enjoyed the tropical music in the background. It was unreal.

They had shuttles back to the boat every hour. We'd planned to leave fairly early in the afternoon, but in the end we stayed as late as we could without missing dinner. (I LOVED the beach, but I am yet to meet a beach worth missing dinner for!)

After a while we tore ourselves away snapping pictures the whole way back to the shuttle. All evening we looked back through the pictures and talked about how this was only beach number 2 of 4. I loved this vacation.

Dinner started with veggie tortellini. Morgan started with the fried shrimp. We both dined on the Fillet Mignon and finished up with apple pie. After a quick stop in the cabin to change and check our the towel animal/newsletter we went up to see Borne Ultimatum. What a day!

Next up, Belize.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cruise Part Two: Grand Cayman

As I'd mentioned before, this was our second time on the same ship. Our last cruise made three stops. This time we hit four ports of call. Now those of you who have cruised before know about the debate between paying for an excursion and doing it on your own.

To understand our situation, there are two things you must know about Morgan and myself. We are not the most adventurous, and we can travel on a budget. Seriously. We will do what we need to to get the most out of vacation. The stories I could tell about Australia...

Several years ago I went to Cayman on my family's cruise for GB & GB's 50th anniversary. On that occasion I joined my cousins for snorkeling, the beach, and lunch. So, thinking about my experiences at this port of call and the expense of paying for 4 shore excursions, we decided to not do an organized trip. Our goal for this trip was to crash out on as many beaches as possible. I think we chose well!

We started out walking around. Morgan wanted to open an account in a Cayman bank, but he settled for a picture outside one of the many banks. (See the above budget reference!) We walked around and then took the $4 taxi to the beach. Nice!

The weather was ever so slightly rough, but the beach was lovely. We got to try out the "beach" setting on the camera. (Have I mentioned how much fun I had with the new camera?)

In typical fashion, Morgan fell asleep. In typical fashion he denied really being asleep. "I'm just resting my eyes..." Well, I have the proof!

Oops! Grand Turk was our last cruise. Let's try that again!

Notice a difference? That's more like it!

We really liked the sand at the beach in Cayman. We went to four beaches on this trip and became quite particular! As Morgan mentioned, it was roasting hot. Thankfully we'd brought our own PBA-free water bottles and filled them on the boat.

Even though we put on our sunscreen, we were both a little red in spots. I was in a panic. This was beach #1 of 4! The rest of the week I used the good factor 40 we bought in Australia! I made it back to Florida looking nicely sun kissed and not fried. (I consider that an accomplishment.)

We got back to the boat in time for lunch and then...the always much anticipated dinner! Tuesday night brought French Onion soup. I enjoyed the pork, while Morgan feasted on braised beef ribs. We finished it off with New York Cheesecake before heading out to watch Elizabeth on the Seaside Theater.

Back in our cabin I again fell asleep watching 27 Dresses. It is one of those movies that I have really enjoyed, but only seem to watch when I am exhausted and not really up for a movie. Maybe next time!

After a great day in Grand Cayman we were off to Roatan, Honduras.