Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holidays can be painful

I haven't posted anything for a while because I was having trouble 'singing a happy song'. This month has been a real mixed bag. We left the boat in Stuart, Florida to head up to NC  for some early and abbreviated holidays and then on to Virginia for granddaughter Reagan's first birthday party. Seems simple enough. Historically, our holidays are prone to calamity, disaster, unexpected revisions and, occasionally, disappointments. This year tracked fairly true to form.

I was having a little bit of a tooth issue so I managed to get a dentist appointment. I really didn't want to find myself in the Bahamas later with a dental problem. Turns out I had a tooth cracked to the root. Extraction. This was a bad start.

granddaughter Reagan
Our family Thanksgiving/ early Christmas at home in the Outer Banks plan fell through. Daughter Emily and her husband Tyler pulled together a nice dinner and celebration at their house on short notice but we sure hoping to get everyone to our place this year. Of course, we are the ones that are sailing off to the islands and you won't get any sympathy for that. Nonetheless, we thought it might actually work this year.

We did get to the birthday party. It was adorable, Reagan was precious, mom Holly puts on a great party and all the kids are hilarious.

Through all of this, Junie is suffering with this back pain that has been nagging her for months. And, of course, 1200 miles in a car doesn't help much. So, concerned nurse/daughter Emily consults with concerned friend/nurse on the neurology floor Rachel and gets Junie an appointment with a top neurosurgeon on short notice (Thank you, thank you, thank you). So, Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Junie gets confirmation of what we have known all along - she needs surgery. Doesn't have to be right away - as long as she doesn't mind the pain and discomfort. Junie thinks she can wait until spring. We'll see.

We turned the roadtrip around and headed back south to the boat. Between the trip, side trips (including lunch in Savannah), doctor trips and shortcuts, we put over 3500 miles on the Hertz car (thanks Dusty!). We managed to escape without seeing snow but it was pretty chilly a few days. The house was fine and is now re-winterized. We got to visit with the neighbors and got a sunset canal cruise courtesy of Jack. We had a much appreciated invitation for Thanksgiving dinner from Deb and Ron when our plans shifted. The mail has been changed from 'on-hold' to 'premium forwarding service'.

On the topic of mail, we had sent a form and $10 to the Bahamian Dept of Ag about three months ago to start the process of getting Roux certified to enter the Bahamas. We expected to see that paperwork when we got back to the home post office. Wasn't there. We assumed that somebody in the office in Nassau was just happy to get a letter with lunch money in it. But, a call to the Bahamas got the ball rolling again and, while we were traveling, we had the paperwork faxed to the marina.

Roux, in his prime, looking like an LL Bean ad.
If you read this blog, you know Roux is our 103 lb, 11 year old Chocolate Lab. He has been slowing down over the last two years. The strong dog he was is pretty much a memory now. But, he likes the boat, loves dolphins, enjoys hanging around marinas. He goes where we go. We accommodate his weakening legs any way we can. We had to go to a veterinarian to get a health form but we also wanted the vet to check him out. And to answer one basic, tough question - Is it ridiculous, cruel or harmful to take him to the Bahamas on a sailboat?
Boat dog since he was a baby

This office and the vet, Dr. Coffey, turned out to be exactly what we needed. First, she dealt the bad news as gently as possible. Roux is about 100 years old in Lab years, isn't likely to get better and we just need to manage his comfort. We knew all of this but it hurts to hear it. Then, she said, 'Bahamas? Absolutely! He will love it! It's warm, he can play in the water and he will have you to take care of him.' Bittersweet. So, Roux is going to the Bahamas.

We are loaded up with anti inflammatory drugs, pain meds and phone numbers - for Junie and Roux. We have been studying charts, checking weather, talking to all the cruisers and taking notes. We are ready to start moving south for a jump to Bimini. We have a few last minute repairs, provisions and acquisitions. Wonder where we will be for Christmas?


  1. Hi Duane and Junie - Sorry to hear about your troubles, but glad it hasn't interfered with your plans thus far. Increasing entropy (scientific substitute for the vulgarity "getting old") has a way of doing that to one, and one's dog. Best wishes as you head for Bimini, and beyond.

    1. Watching your dog get old is such a painful reminder of where we are all headed. But, we will enjoy while we can! Hope your holiday season is wonderful. Merry Christmas!