But, proving better late than never, here it is...
Yes, I LJ cut this, because it could very well get long. However, I will attempt to make this sound somewhat entertaining.
Friday, 11/7/03 We arrived a bit after 4:00, which is check in time. We checked in. We went to our room and find a "Please no smoking" sign in the room. As we are both smokers, we did not greet this with great enthusiasm. So, we call the desk and find out if there are smoking rooms. There are none.
We are basically told that the sign is put there to appease non smokers. I say that is a great idea, but doesn't quite solve the problem. I explain to them that as long as the weather isn't gastly cold, I have absolutely no problems with stepping outside to smoke, however, it is November and November gets cold. They tell us that they will make note and bring an ionizer to the room when we leave. They also ask if we would mind keeping the windows open whenever possible. I tell them this doesn't bother me at all, since I'm not paying the heating bill, but does this mean we can smoke in the room?
We are told, in a round about way that it's okay for us to smoke in the room, what seems to not be okay is to call and ask if we can. Apparently, they are quite used to people just ignoring the sign. I consider telling them this is crazy, but decided against it.
We find out the kitchen has a decent exhaust fan, which we leave on the entire time. We also keep two windows open the entire time we're staying there, and we leave the bathroom doors open and the exhaust fans in there running, 24/7. We agree to limit our smoking as much as we can, leave the ceiling fan running at all times, etc. etc.
We go and pick up food. We also pick up carpet cleaner powder, five "smoke eater" candles, a very large bottle of industrial febreeze, and a big bottle of Windex. Armed with this stuff we go home. We put the various smoke eater candles around the place, bathrooms, kitchen, living room. Whenever someone is in one of those rooms, we light the candles. Every single morning on vacation we sprinkle the carpet cleaner on the carpet and use the carpet sweeper to clean the carpet. I also stop by housekeeping and ask them if they have any extra blankets. They give us two. We put those over the chairs in the living room and sit on them. Every morning I remove them and spray the chairs with febreeze. I also windex all windows, pictures, and run a damp sponge over the walls to get rid of any traces of smoke that might be sticking there. Keep in mind, we were not smoking that much, in the room.
Yes, I did more housekeeping on vacation than I normally do in a year. But, that's okay. I just wish they'd let us know before we went down there, like when we made our reservations. Then I would have brough a couple of fans and had them exhausting out through the windows.
We go to sleep.
Saturday, 11/8/03 Todd, despite having gone to bed before me, woke up durring the night for a few hours and is still asleep. I decide to go out for my walk before breakfast. I walk a bit, then realize that the new sneakers I bought at Payless are cutting my ankles. Now, I had walked with them Friday to test them, and they were fine, but today, they were cutting into my ankles. So, I return half way through my walk and change into the other pair of sneakers I'd also just bought at Payless, but I didn't buy them to intend to walk. But, they seem to work fine and don't rub up against the sore spot.
We have breakfast, then go out to buy bandaids. Later, Todd hooks up the DVD player we bought and we go and rent some movies. Most of the day is spent watching movies, relaxing, and for me, soaking in the tub.
Sunday 11/9/03 Todd is up before me, but I still decide to take my walk before breakfast. I barely walk a mile and my feet are absolutely killing me. Shooting pains going all the way up my legs, I am in absolute agony. I barely make it back to the room, walk inside and in a mature, responsible, fashion, burst into tears and fall on the ground.
Needless to say, Todd is a bit concerned about this and helps me to my feet again. We take the sneakers off, which is a lot harder than it looks, because my feet are so stiffened up, I can't flex them. Todd fills up the tub with hot water, and I climb in there. After 45 minutes, my legs have losened up enough so I can walk around again. Meanwhile, Todd called the local "walk in" clinic to find out if they'd take our insurance, if we had to go there. He's also telling me I will be getting new sneakers, specifically designed for walking. I don't argue. My original plan was not to buy walking sneakers until I'd been walking for at least 3 months, to prove I was going to do this, but clearly, this is not a good idea. I am kinda mad at myself for not bringing my black waitress shoes, which is what I have been walking in at home, but what can be done?
I get out of the tub and make breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. Todd jokes that I don't take care of him this good when we're at home. He's right. I really should learn to make breakfast for both of us, because it is pretty cheap.
We go first to the Reebok outlet. Which, for some odd reason, smells like fertilizer and I mean literally. It has that fertilizer smell, which seems to combine the odors of chemicals, shit, and grass. It's absolutely revolting. That, combined with a sales staff that looks as if your coming in is the worst thing that has ever happened to them, and a general lack of knowlege, makes us decide to seek elsewhere for good walking sneakers.
We hit the mall. We go to footlocker, because we just want to make sure I have the right shoes. On the way, we also stop at Dunkin Donuts to try one of their expresso drinks. I get the large carmel one. I drink it quickly.
In Footlocker, they are helpful. "We don't sell a specific sneaker for walking, but what you should have is a lower end running shoe." I try on one pair that grabs at my heels and while they feel comfortable, that heel grabbing thing is "different." I ask myself if "different" will translate to "painful" tomorrow. Todd, being the rational creature he is, suggest I try another pair. I do. They fit and feel absolutely wonderful. I also pick up a package of sweatsocks for both of us. Todd insists I wear the new sneakers out of the place. I don't argue, because my feet felt 150% better in them.
I pick up simple book about how to use the Internet at the bookstore and a November Beanie Baby bear at a cart. These are birthday gifts for my mother. We leave, stopping at Blockbuster for more movies and return home. By this point, my eyes are very bright and sparkly, due to the expresso drink kicking in.
Back home, I make a traditional roast beef dinner with salad and mashed potatoes. Todd gets the job of mashing the potatoes. We don't have an electric mixer, so he has to do it by hand. I only find one lump in my potatoes. I tell him that I'm very impressed. He beams. We start "gaming" as we often do. Funny though, all our characters want to do is have sex. We take that as a sign that it isn't really our characters speaking through us, it's us pushing our desires onto the characters. You can use your imaginations on the rest. But, I will tell you that the dishes didn't get done until the next morning.
Monday, 11/10/03 We wake up. I go out for my walk, wearing my new Nikes. The left leg feels fantastic. The right is still a tad cranky, but I manage to walk 1.44 miles. I bounce into the condo, which is quite comfortable, despite some of windows being opened. I express a minor bit of sympathy for the place, having to pay the heating bill, but then shrug.
Breakfast, then I do the "housecleaning" and take a shower. Todd helps me with the housecleaning and even goes out and manages to cage a real vacuum cleaner from the housekeeping staff. We actually vacuum the carpets today. Windex walls, do the febreeze thing. I test how well we're doing with keeping the place smoke free by going outside and coming in. Even though I am a smoker, I still smell smoke pretty easily. I don't smell it when I walk in the room. I am satisfied. It's fairly warm outside too, so we open all the windows and even the big sliding door and we go out. Return movies. Get more. Then, we go down to the ocean and walk along the beach for a bit. My right leg is a bit cranky, so we find some rocks and sit down. Todd tells me that even after 12 years, he still can't believe he's so lucky to have me. I get all drippy and tell him the same thing. After that, he wraps his arm around me and I lean up against him. We sit like that for over an hour, not saying a word.
We return and watch a movie. I fall asleep on the tiny chair. Todd tells me later that I looked like some cute little cat girl, all curled up on the chair. I tell him he's crazy and probably needs his eyes checked, but I blush as I say it and deep down feel flattered. I am anything but little. I am a very very very big woman. However, I do have pretty good flexibility for someone of my age and weight.
My parents phone. They are heading to their condo and want to know if we should meet for dinner. Where they are staying is the same place we spent our honeymoon, so we agree to meet them at their place, so we can see it again and get more drippy. Mom also take the time to tell me every single thing they are passing along the way. Eh, it's their dime not mine.
We get dressed. Todd shaves. I wear the cute but fatal sneakers, thinking I won't be walking much. On the way over, Todd asks if my folks would be willing to leave for awhile, so we could have sex in their room, in a tribute to our honeymoon. I tell him that idea will fly about as freely as a brick. We both giggle.
We get to their place. Mom sees my hair and flips out. I assure her that the dye is supposedly temporary, and even show her where parts of my natural color are starting to drift through. She is still not pleased. Dad's reaction is, "Shit, why did you do that?"
We go to dinner. Mom and Dad encourage Todd and I to order whatever we want. I want clam cakes and lobster chowder, which is what I get. Todd gets a turkey dinner roll up. Dad gets clam cakes and lobster chowder too. Yes, I'm Daddy's girl. Mom gets lobster chowder and half a lobster roll. Dad eats Mom's French fries. Our waitress is a very nice girl, with a great sense of humor. Mom tells her that I'm a waitress. I have no clue what to say to that, so I simply agree. "yes, I am a waitress. Isn't that wonderful?" We have a waitress bonding moment.
At the end of the meal, I tell my folks I absolutely must go to the ladies room and then outside, to have a smoke. I am a big fat lier. What I really do is sneak up and go pay the check. When it's all discovered, my dad keeps going, "Aww, we wanted to take you to dinner!" But, as we all rise to leave, Dad hugs me tight and tells me, "That's really super!" I feel enormously pleased about this.
We separate. My folks ask me if I want to go to Provincetown the next day with them. I decline. I have no desire to visit every single shop from here to the tip of the cape. We hug and agree we'll see each other again at Thanksgiving.
We return to the condo, close the windows in the upstairs bedroom and turn up the heat to a nice 65 degrees. We watch a movie then game. Again, our characters seem to want to have sex. And, just so I don't have to keep saying it, we can assume that the entire week this happens in the evening.
Tuesday 11/11/03 Wake, breakfast, etc. I decide not to walk until later in the day, thinking that maybe part of my problem has been that I've been walking in the morning. We pass a pleasant morning talking and sitting outside staring at the trees. After the housekeeping, of course. Todd tears up the tip envelope for housekeeping, a tad annoyed. I have a moral dilema, because I depend on tips for my survival. However, the housekeeping crew to this place does absolutely nothing but clean the room before you arrive and after you leave. While you are staying, they do nothing. If you want to exchange your towels, you have a certain time you can go to the housekeeping office. If you need more supplies, you can call housekeeping, ask if they have it, and go pick it up, if someone is in the housekeeping office. If it is not the towel exchange time, good luck. Also, before you leave, they expect you to put all your dishes in the dishwasher, which doesn't bother me. Start dishwasher, which doesn't bother me, but they also tell you to please make sure the stove tops are clean, the beds stripped, and all linens put in the kitchen. And please make sure the linens with colors are not in the same pile as the linnens that are white. Also, all trash is to be brought to the dumpster. I am sure the folks in housekeeping appreciate tips, but damn it, they don't do much of anything! They won't even strip the beds when you leave, or gather up the linens. Or even stop by once while we're staying there and offer to exchange towels or something.
I go for my walk and manage 1.07 miles, but my feet are killing me by the time I'm done. Not quite as bad as Sunday, but they are miserable. It's like they tightened and refused to let go. I limp home. Todd is getting annoyed and tells me not to walk tomorrow. Since it's supposed to rain Wednesday, I agree. We go to CVS and talk to a pharmasist about my walking problem. I end up showing her my legs, because she's afraid they're swollen. She compliments me on having nicely shaved legs. I tell her that I don't shave my legs. She absolutely cannot believe it. She also tells me not to walk for a few days, elevate my legs, use ice, and wrap it in an ace. She also recomends tylenol for arthritis. As I buy it, I feel very very old.
That night, I have trouble sleeping, because I cannot stop itching. All over me, I am itching. It's about 4 when I finally fall asleep.
Wednesday 11/12/03 I wake up. It is raining, but not badly. However, it is a rather cold, nasty, day. I am still itchy. We rush out before breakfast and buy oatmeal soaks. We return, eat breakfast, and do the housekeeping.
Due to my lack of sleep, we go, get some more movies, and watch them for most of the day. Actually, Todd watches them, I sleep on and off. The oatmeal soak seems to help. Later, I decide to go for a walk anyway. I make it .68 miles and my legs start to bitch at me. I return, feeling a bit depressed. Why is this happening? I put ice on my legs, take the tylenol, and fret.
Thursday 11/13/03 Another overcast day. Make breakfast, do housekeeping. Todd makes me promise not to walk. I agree. Instead, we go and pick up a sweatshirt for the landlady, to thank her for watching the cats. We end up picking up two fleece jackets for Todd and I. My sweatshirt jacket from three years ago is wearing out. We decide that I'll use that as my "walking" jacket.
Friday 11/14/03 Friday I walk again, but I'm only able to do .68 miles again. I am in tears over this, because I know it's mostly in my mind. I start walking and my legs just tighten up. Todd and I do a lot of talking about how comitted I am to this. Todd tells me he knows I'm going to keep up with this. I tell him that I worry. We go around and around about it. Meanwhile, I am still itching like crazy and the oatmeal soaks don't seem to be working as well.
We do decide to go to the beach again, where we again sit on the rocks and just be together. It's a bit less romantic, because I keep having to itch. My skin is starting to get really red and very dry. I put lotion on the dry spots, but I still itch.
Saturday 11/15/03 Todd says he will walk with me. He makes it one lap and then goes back into the house. I force myself to go further, telling my legs they are not allowed to stop me. I make it 1.44 miles. My legs ache like crazy, and I notice that my legs seem to be the worst problem. My lungs and heart are not even working very hard, it's just my legs that are miserable.
We spend the day watching movies and Todd gets to watch me itch.
Sunday 11/16/03 We wake up, strip the beds. gather the towels and sheets, put them the way they want them. We do the "normal" housekeeping we have been doing, and open all windows. We also make sure all the smoke eater candles are lit. I do dishes and wipe down all countertops in both the kitchen and the bathroom. When we've got everything packed, we put out the candles, throw them away, take the last of the trash to the dumpster. We also put the new liners in the trashcans, so they're all set. In a dark mood, I decide to take the half box of klenex that was in the bathroom with me. There is a full box still under the sink. Meanwhile, my skin is really red and my feet are aching, so I skip the walk.
We get home where surprisingly, the cats act as if they missed us. Goten even lets me hold him for a bit and purrs happily. I am so used to returning to cats that act like, "Oh, you're back? Hmmm... yes, I think I remember you. You left me here to starve, cold and alone. Why should I be glad to see you?" As we're unpacking, I give Goten a new nickname, Visa, because he's pretty much everywhere we want to be. Exactly where we want to be and making sure to make it as difficult as possible for us to be there.
I am tired, so I go to bed fairly early. However, I don't fall asleep, cause of the itching. At 4:00, after lying in bed, not sleeping for over 6 hours, I finally get up and go to an all night drugstore, and buy Gold Bond lotion. It seems to work, and I do get a little sleep.
However, now it's Monday, and I'm still itching. I have been using the lotion, but the itching has started up again. Also, I'm starting to look rather reptilian, because the red, scaly skin seems to be growing in patches. At least it hasn't hit my face.
But... I walked 2 miles today and my legs didn't hurt.
So, yes, vacation was a real blast. I loved having time with Todd. I loved seeing my folks. I love my new sneakers. I even like my new ace bandage for my legs.
But, I could do without this skin problem. *sighs*