women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Safe Passage

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
Any fool can do it
There ain't nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to
The top of the hill
But since we're on our way down
We might as well enjoy the ride

-James Taylor

We had a wonderful time on our Caribbean holiday. I didn't knit a single stitch.

Swear to God!

I know. It's hard to believe, isn't it?

I also got a great big dose of how things look in the outside world. When I shared my profession with the muggles on board the cruise ship, not one person was overly impressed. No one asked questions. No one appeared interested in the slightest.

It's official. I am a medium sized fish in a small (but extremely convivial) pond.

Nice to be back in home waters...

I discovered that what I thought was Drake's Passage (hence the name of the post) is actually Drake's Channel.

Drake's Passage is a dreadfully hard to navigate traverse around the southern tip of South America. Drake's Channel is a delightful green and blue and turquoise mix of sun and sea and small islands dotting the horizon. See picture above.

Sir Francis really got around...

I kept the title because we still booked passage on a passenger ship, we still passed our time in delightful ways, we passed from our everyday world to the tropics and back again, and because it's my blog and I can call it whatever the heck I want to!

Seeing as how I am a medium sized fish and all...

Our trip started off on the wrong foot. Hell, it wasn't even attached to the right body!

All of the flights leaving Indianapolis between 6:00 and 8:00 AM were checking in their luggage from the same 12 kiosks and 4 baggage stations. This is a recipe for chaos.

After waiting patiently for a half an hour, we discovered they were never going to call our name. They were experiencing "technical difficulties."

As we lined up at the security checkpoint, having finally checked our bags into the system, we heard our names over the PA system, accompanied by the dread phrase, "closing the doors." I ran barefoot from security to the gate, yelling , "Hold the door!" at the attendant as she passed through and the glass door swung shut behind her with a final click.


Delta bailed us out and even got us to the church San Juan airport on time 20 minutes ahead of our original flight. Ha!

We trundled over to the Northwest luggage claim area and awaited our luggage's imminent arrival. Y'all can see where this is going, can't you?

No luggage. No foolin'...

Also, no Northwest agent. No presence in the San Juan airport at all.

Luckily, we have free roaming and plenty of bars. The phone kind, not the alcoholic drink kind, (although that was beginning to sound like an excellent alternative option!)

DH got on his cell phone and within minutes (well 45 of them anyway) they could tell us where our luggage was.

La Guardia airport.

New York City.

San Juan and New York - I get those two mixed up all the time...

We actually paid them $55 to lose our luggage. I want a refund.

What's worse, they only had two of three bags. One of them had apparently, in a fit of independence, ripped off all its identifying tags with their extremely useful bar codes and gone AWOL.


Long story short (guess it's a little late for that actually) I, like the proverbial emperor, had no clothes.

Imagine my delight upon returning from dinner to our cabin to find the little miscreant safely aboard along with her more cooperative and exceedingly well traveled brethren.

Fifteen whole minutes before sailing.

Hello Gorgeous!

The trip could only go uphill from there. And I am pleased to report that it did indeed.

We swam, we sailed, we snorkeled, we lazed around on deck chairs, we took multiple naps. My idea of a perfect getaway.

Our trip homeward went much more smoothly, but unbeknownst to us, we had another passage waiting for us at home.

Our grand dame, our eldest cat, Jingle died sometime between Thursday night, when Scott's brother last checked on her, and Sunday night when we arrived home.

It doesn't appear she was in any pain. She was curled up next to the couch, like she had simply fallen asleep. We knew it was coming. She was almost nineteen years old, stone deaf, arthritic and nearly toothless.

I just wish we had been here for her, to hold and pet her as she passed. No one should die alone.

I got up on Monday, went to the bathroom and she wasn't asleep on the bath mat (her preferred spot to pass the long hours of the night.)

I took a shower and she wasn't there to lick the floor when I was done.

I ate my cereal and started to put the bowl down for her to finish up the milk, but she was gone.

We buried her in the back woods last night. I hope that heaven is full of all the milk she can drink, all the chipmunks she ever chased in her younger days, all the shower fetishes she can stand, and enough tummy rubs and ear scratches to keep her happy.

I cried a bit, Scott read a prayer, and I told her to look my mom up. Mom will take good care of Jingle. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without cats, y'know?

Safe passage Jingle...wherever you are bound. We will miss you.


teabird said...

It definitely would not be heaven without cats, and dogs, and any other being we loved. (hugs)

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about Jingle and understand your missing her. My best little doggie died alone and I have always felt so sad about that.

Sounds like your trip was lovely! We took our family on a cruise in January. Wonderful.


Melissa said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Kathy said...

So sorry about your Jingle, it doesn't matter how old or how expected it is, you miss them so much. Your vacation was certainly an adventure! Really, no knitting?! Sometimes it just doesn't fit in.

risiko said...

welcome home susan ! i am so glad you enjoyed your trip. i am so very sorry for your loss of Jingle. being more a cat person than a person person, i have the feeling she planned it this way so you wouldn't have to see her go. they protect us whenever they can, and protecting you was her last gift.

thaddeusrose said...

I lost my cat after having her for 20 years. That was over 5 years ago and still I miss her. But she lives on... in my happy memories and stories of her antics... and as my avatar. Sure but heaven must have many cats.

denise copeland said...

Dear Susan,
I am so sorry about Jingles. I think that sometimes our little companions need some space away from their loved ones when the time to pass becomes a reality. You may not have been there when she passed but I believe she may have needed that space in order to let go.
There is a new star in the sky....


Elysbeth said...

I know you miss Jingle. Perhaps she was waiting to be alone to pass in order to spare you. People often do this.

Suzanne said...

I am so sorry about Jingle. My favorite cat passed over the summer and my dog in early April. I still start to save my pizza crust for the dog and then remember she isn't there to eat it.

Jeanne said...

I'm so sorry for your loss - we have a 17 year old cat, and I am dreading the day when she passes - it just won't be the same without you.

Glad you had a wonderful vacation!

Unknown said...

So sorry about your Jingle--but she's right there on the Other Side when all is said and done with all the milk, chipmunks and showers she would want! (I lost my best cat Roo and sidekicks LoooLoo and Lily this last Fall[lousy cat year here!], and the world is surely be a bit different now all the way 'round). Glad you had a lovely trip! and may many meories sustain you always...

Donna Lee said...

I didn't believe in spirits (the kind that walk the earth) until my Kubla died at age 20. We buried her on a Thursday and I swear I saw her on Saturday morning, in her usual spot. It's been 5 years and I still miss her. Yet, people tell me, she was only a cat....

My heart aches for you today.

Dragonarc said...

Sorry about Jingle, I lost Isis on 3/3/09. Had to decide to let her go when congestive heart and kidney failure made it impossible for her to recover and before she was suffering. She was 17 that month and was with me for 16 years. I am glad her last days were more comfortable and less stressful. I was stoking her head as she passed. I miss her greatly. But she is without the pain of arthritis and health problems chasing things and having fun. Our consolation is also that they had full happy lives with us.