Saturday, June 20, 2015

Toto, I have a feeling we're not on the island anymore

We've officially been back in Canada for over 6 weeks now. Honestly, given the state of my knees (which I really don't feel up to discussing right now), it feels like forever. The days are long. Sometimes it feels like we never left and our incredible Grand Cayman life never happened. Every now and then; however, I realize that a part of me is still in island mode. I still have moments of "island brain." Some mornings I wake up and can hear the Candle Lake waves crashing and for a moment I forget exactly where I am. I'm literally torn between two worlds…or perhaps I'm still over medicated? - tough to say.

Here are a few indicators that I am NOT on the island anymore:

1) Avocados:

Ev came home from Safeway with an avocado.

"Avocado?" I inquire, "What are we like rich now?"

"Hey Kirstie, avocados are like a buck here."

Right. Avocados are like anniversary/special birthday treats at $7 a pop on island. At $7 a pop, you're not even guaranteed that it won't be smooshy and overripe! We're stocking up big time and I'm going to avocado everything up while we're in Canada (did I just turn avocado into a verb?) There must be an avocado cocktail? dessert? smoothie? Can I rub it all over my face to reduce pores? Foot scrub? If there is a recipe, I'm on board because the elusive avocado is gold on Grand Cayman and our avocado eating days will soon be a distant memory, "Remember that day in Canada when we ate an avocado just for fun?"

2) Sundays:

We had a near panic attack one Saturday night in Candle Lake when we realized that we had forgotten to buy milk. We calmed down and reminded ourselves that all the milk stores in Canada are indeed open on Sundays. Heck, we could go to Walmart and buy Martha Stewart sheets and George shoes on Sunday if we wanted to! (but we won't, keep reading below to find out why) We're getting used to the "Sunday is a day of rest" philosophy on island. It is kinda nice, other than the fact that the grocery stores are often jam packed on Saturday nights, and you're really in a pickle if you're making a special Sunday meal and are missing a key ingredient! Sunday is a true day of rest on Cayman. There are no errands to run if nothing is open. What shall one do on a Sunday then? Church? Sunday brunch? Swim in the ocean? Go for a dive? Lay by the pool?  - the possibilities are endless when running errands is officially impossible. Yay for a day of rest! (Although I must say, initially, I hated it and suffered anxiety around the day of rest. What if I just suddenly want cake and a bottle of wine on a Sunday? I'm SOL).

3) Forecast:

On Grand, I might check the forecast once a week - maybe - but unless a tropical storm is looming, it's pretty boring. The weather page is typically full of bright yellow suns and an average high of 30 degrees Celsius every day. No surprise there. Every now and then you might experience a cold front of 25 degree highs for a few days (the kids wear fleece jackets!) Now that we're back at Candle Lake, I obsessively check the weather for 2 reasons:  1) to determine my father's emotional state. The fields are dry. The farmers require more rain for the crops. Time to panic? Nope, we're just mildly pissed at Mother Nature, but we can still forgive if she sends some precipitation now…NOW!  2) to determine if we will finally get a nice boat day. The boat and dock are in the water simply awaiting us to clamour in with our coolers, bikinis,  and tunes for a lovely summer boat day. There's nothing worse than anticipating a hot summer weekend based on the "scientific?" weather forecast, only to realize late Friday afternoon that the beauty forecast has been kaiboshed and replaced with rain and/or high winds. C'mon weather network. Don't psych us out like that! There really are so few weekends in summer that can be enjoyed in the boat with the sun beaming down. That's not fair. After the winter Sasky's endure year after year, I feel that we are at least owed 2 months of legit summer. My theory is that most Saskatchewanians are in an emotionally abusive relationship with the weather. We get smacked with a -40 day, we bitch, we complain, we threaten to leave (some stray for a few weeks in Mexico - we even check the weather back in Saskatchewan while we're in Mexico and laugh to ourselves, "Ha, I got away from you, weather!")  and then the weather's like, "I love you. I'm sorry. Here's a sunny +30 day." We lie to ourselves, "What a great day. I'm so happy with this weather. I knew it would change if I just remained patient. I love living in Saskatchewan!" We advertise it all over Facebook, "Look at the amazing highs today on my weather app!" And then Boom, it hits us with a cold rainy July weekend like the A-hole it really is. Ugh. I want out of this abusive relationship and want absolutely nothing to do with obsessive weather forecast checking ever again. I'm breaking up with Saskatchewan weather. You are dead to me…until I need to know the weekend forecast.

The view from my window: you can't have a rainbow without a little rain? Ok, sure, but can't it just be sunny for a while?

4) Driving

I haven't driven once since we've returned to Canada, nor am I cleared to drive until i'm weight bearing and progressing with my rehab (I'm currently double braced, donning big ugly braces on both knees). As a passenger, I silently freak out when Evan or my mom make a left turn into the right lane, especially in parking lots. My heart skips a beat until I realize that staying right is the appropriate lane in this country. Still a weird one to shift back and forth between. I've advanced to feeling completely  comfortable with left lane driving in Cayman and dealing with round abouts vs. traffic lights. Sitting through so many traffic lights here makes me cringe. When will it change? Make it change! Why won't it….OH, it's green now…well Thank goodness! In fact, during our first week here, Ev blatantly drove straight through a red light. Not yellow. Bright red. He wasn't looking for it nor did he notice it. And where the hell are the chickens? Note to self: watch for traffic lights, not for chickens.

5) Wait times:

Mom asked me to wait in the car while she picked up my prescriptions. My first thought, "I can't wait in her vehicle for  6 hours!" And then I remembered that prescriptions in Canada can actually be dropped off and picked up in the span of  20 minutes! Brilliant. What an efficient system! I drop off a prescription and then I have pills in my hands in about half and hour. Beauty. No worries about my meds "not existing" on island. Sweet, you mean I don't have to make my meds in my basement?

It was the same situation with banking. Sprawled out in the backseat, donning my clumsy knee braces, I prepared myself for a long wait as Ev ran in to do some banking. I took out US magazine, contemplated the marriage of Kim and Kanye and before I could even delve into Kim's new pregnancy (Oh just what we need in this world - another self-centred, entitled human), Evan was back. "Seriously? Did you just perform several transactions in less than 5 minutes?" Lovely. You have no idea how convenient this is until you're faced with multiple hour waits to run a simple errand.

6) Converting currency:

When we initially moved to the island, we were constantly converting Cayman Island Dollars (CI's) into Canadian dollars to determine how much things cost. "This drink is $10 CI - OMG I'm paying $15 Canadian - it better be the best fricken rum punch I've ever drank" (FYI: it was, and I was "happy" after just 1 drink!). Around Dec-Jan, we just stopped converting. It didn't make sense to convert everything into Canadian dollars anymore, as my salary is paid out in CI's and Ev's is in US dollars.  Funny enough, now that I'm back in Canada, I find myself converting back to the CI currency. With the exchange rate where it is, everything is such a great deal - I can't possibly pass it up. My awesome mom and fabulous mother-in-law oiled up my wheelchair and took me on a road trip to Winners this week. It was so great for my presently foul mood. (Side Note: If you require help composing an angry letter/death threat, I'm your woman. Walmart lost a hot tub that we purchased weeks ago. Not only did I send numerous angry private messages, but I also filled their Facebook page with sad "poor me" messages in my attempt at public shaming. You messed with the wrong biatch who desperately needs that fricken hot tub, Walmart). Anyway, When the cashier rang through my incredibly successful purchase of $330 at Winners, I quickly convinced myself it was an amazing deal at only $210 CI. I basically owe it to our budget to do as much shopping as possible whilst in Canada. Do you sell avocados at Winners because I'll take more of those, please.
Mom and Peggy putting together my wheels for the shopping trip. Perk: convenient parking!

7) I'm married to a pirate:

Ev's always been a beer drinker. He delved into red wines for a few years as well, but typically when company is over or when he's out in the boat in warm weather, he's drinking beer. Once we began the routine of post-work Friday happy hours on the island, I noticed Evan ordering rum punches more frequently. In Ev's teenage years, hard liquor reduced him to a cantankerous stubborn ass (sorry, Ev, but you can't deny that)  Not anymore. In Ev's maturity, the rum punch relaxes him, abolishes his nervous eye twitch, and renders him harmonious. Since we've returned to Candle Lake, I've noticed our bar fridge is still stocked full with beer from last summer! He's simply not into the beer anymore. Surprisingly, he has been mixing himself a rum punch in the evenings, adding several different rums and fruit juices (Perhaps he requires hard alcohol to cope with his now cantankerous wife?) You think you know your husband after 19 years together? Now he's a rum punch guy? Who knew? Arggg matey!
Rum Punch please! heavy on the punch, if you know what I mean
Cheers to a great weekend! 10 more days until I can weightbear (AKA re-learn how to walk). Not that I'm counting down every single hour.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Another chapter closed - Saskpro CrossFit has a new owner!

This week was a big week for Evan - he handed over the keys to Saskpro CrossFit, the business that he created 6 years ago.

When we made the decision to move to Grand Cayman, Ev's intention was to continue to run Saskpro, commuting every few months to ensure things were running smoothly. At Christmastime, it was apparent to Ev that this was not going to work. Evan was definitely in a tough spot, wanting to spend time with his dad during his last days, and feeling the guilt of not being present at the gym as much as he had intended. He told me in December that he knew in his heart that he needed to sell the gym if we were going to continue living on the island. That's when the dialogue began.

As luck would have it, the perfect buyers came along! Scott and Shelli Gardiner - an inspirational couple and loyal Saskpro members -  have purchased the gym. Evan and I couldn't be happier. Scott and Shelli have an amazing story to share - I couldn't do it justice in a blog post, but I will say that Shelli suffered a stroke in 2007 which left her with paralysis on one side. She and Evan worked together for years at Saskpro, and as a team, they accomplished great things - including a fabulous new cane-less gait, hey Shell? Scott and Shelli have battled through big-time adversity and Evan and I certainly look to them for inspiration when we're fighting our own little battles with my knees. Evan and I just know that they will be fabulous ambassadors of the gym and will inspire everyone who walks through Saskpro's doors. Congratulations Scott and Shelli. We know you will put your heart and soul into it.

I really view this event as something to be celebrated. It's a true success story: Evan created this gym from nothing. It all actually began as a hockey conditioning centre converted out of an office building. Evan's dad, Jerry, drove in from Alberta for 2 weeks to help with the construction. Ev and his dad worked long, hard days and I know those memories of working so closely with his dad and having his dad's unconditional support are so precious to Ev. With the help of family and friends, we converted an office building into a skating treadmill paradise! Six years later, after changing locations 3 times, completely changing the vision of the business, and selling one very expensive skating treadmill, it has become something amazing. It became a community - a place where people go to work hard, feel great, and meet like-minded people. Some people think that Ev just got lucky. Not at all. The first 2-3 years were insane. I vividly remember Evan's 90 hour work weeks, the late late nights, the tears (mine…and maybe his too at times), and the books - Oh man, Evan must have read 450 business and fitness books! He worked his ass off. There were many times when the business wasn't "working" - Evan never gave up - he would read another book, consult with a business coaching company, and make changes until it began "working" again. The gym began with less than a dozen members and it has expanded to serve over 200 members! I am so proud of him. I am incredibly grateful to those who have supported us in this decision by sending us messages, stopping in to say "hi", asking how I am doing after surgery, and congratulating Evan on a job well done. I hope that once the dust clears and Ev can breathe a big sigh of relief, Evan and I will properly pop a bottle of champagne and toast the end of an amazing chapter! What a wild ride - life is just full of these wild rides - you just never know what direction your life will take.
Kayla and Ev hang the first sign
Evan and Jerry after a long day of work

Stop for a snack - those green walls HAVE to go!

As far as my recovery goes, I have nothing exciting to report. It's slow. It's painful. I'm not very mobile, given the flare up on my "good" knee. My mood is…well, kinda low. Luckily Dr. M gave me a gentle kick in my ass (wait! I don't have an ass anymore, let's call it a flass, shall we?) Dr. M let me cry for a bit and then sternly told me that it was time to fight. I need to cut back on the painkillers (AKA not be sooo high), I need to start eating (everything tastes like fish, for some reason), and I need to do bed exercises - leg lifts, raises, quad squeezes, etc. Ok Fine. I can do that. I'm trying. I've been through this before, you'd think I'd be awesome at it…but it's tougher this time around. I feel disappointed that I'm right back to a place I swore I'd never be again. I can't help but flash back to 2 years ago - again, I am 20 pounds under weight, high on pills, and immobile. ugh. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a dark hole -  Dr. M threw me a rope - some days I climb the rope (slowly) and some days I just hang on. But I won't let go. June 29 is the day that I will be cleared (hopefully) to begin weight bearing on my surgery knee. I vividly remember that stage from my last transplant. It's painful and difficult, but I recall the pride I felt when I began "learning" how to walk again, after months of moving very little.  My goal is to be as strong as I can be (even if I can only do bed exercises!) so that I'm ready to face my new challenge- the next stage of recovery - at the end of June. Sometimes I feel like screaming, "Enough with the challenges! Haven't I been challenged enough?"

In the meantime, Ev's been trying to keep me comfortable when I come home for a "home visit" (I'm still living at my mom's most of the time). A few nights ago, I complained about the knots in my back, hips, and neck, from being so sedentary. Thoughtfully, Ev came to bed one night with massage oil and offered me a lovely back massage. Yes! Thank you! This is what I need! He began working out a horrible knot in my shoulder. It was amazing! Just as he was really getting to the core of the knot, his speed slowed….and then stopped. I turned around to see that he had fallen asleep on my back - mid-massage. The next day I told him that was the first time he had ever disappointed me in bed! haha. The thought was there, but I'd have to give that one an epic fail! I'm hoping to recoup the other 3/4 of that massage on another date - perhaps during the day when there's less chance of massage narcolepsy.

Cheers to a happy weekend!