Sunday, March 02, 2014
A typical day started around 7 a.m. when my dad headed out for a 1 hour hike and I did an exercise DVD in the room (except for Thursday when I went to the fitness centre for TnT).
When my dad returned from his hike, he showered and we went to breakfast at the buffet restaurant. My typical breakfast was an omelette with green pepper, onions, ham and a little cheese plus 2 slices of French toast, a little bit of extra crispy bacon and fresh fruit.
After breakfast, we went back to the room to get "slathered up" as my dad would say and put our bathing suits on. During the day, he hung out on the beach, which was cooler than the pool as it was breezier and I hung out at the pool so that I could do my laps and because it was closer to the restrooms.
Between 11:30 a.m. and noon, I would go and get my laptop and head to the lobby to enjoy the free Wi-Fi so that I could log my exercise and touch base with family by email and my Warrior team. Between 1:30 and 2:00, I would meet my dad at the buffet restaurant for lunch. After lunch, he would head back to the beach and I would head back to the pool for a couple of hours. Around 4 p.m., I would head to the room for my shower and change for dinner. My dad would arrive around 4:30 and have his shower and change for dinner.
Dinner was usually between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. so between 5 and 6:30, he would have a cup of coffee and I would have a Diet Coke and we would play Scrabble. He's much better this year than in past years. He's finally learned that Scrabble isn't just about words but it's also about strategy. After the game was done, we would go to dinner.
We ate dinner at 4 of the specialty restaurants and the other nights were at the buffet restaurant.
My favourite specialty restaurant was Le Chanterelle, the French restaurant.
However, there's a funny story about it. My dad and I arrived at the restaurant and the maitre'd showed us to our table. We were told to help ourselves to the salad bar after we had placed our orders. I had French onion soup as my appetizer and my dad had mushroom soup. For our mains, I had Chicken Provencal and my dad had Coquille St. Jacque au Gratin. And, for dessert, I had Crepes Suzette and my dad had Creme Brulee.
After we had finished our soups, the waiter came over and told us that we had to leave. I asked why and he said we weren't allowed to be there so I said but you've already served our food and taken our orders so we weren't leaving. He kept insisting so I finally asked to speak to his boss but he said no one was around to speak with so we just ignored him until he went away. My dad and I sat there for awhile wondering if we were going to be served our main courses or if we would be forced to leave. Finally, the waiter came back and told us we had to take our wristbands off and hide them, which we did. They served us our mains and dessert and so were able to finish our meals.
It turned out that Le Chanterelle was only available to guests who were staying at the Royal Suites Turquesa next door to the Grand Palladium and our wristbands were the wrong colour. But, it was their fault; they let us in without checking our wristband colour!
My dad's favourite specialty restaurant was Rodizio, the Brazilian restaurant. If you like meat, this is the restaurant for you. First of all, the waiter directed us to the salad buffet. After the salad course is done, the waiter pointed out the card on the table which was green on one side and red on the other. We were told that lots of meat would be coming out of the kitchen and as long as we wanted more meat, to leave the card on the green side. When we'd had our fill of meat, turn the card over to the red side and she would bring us the dessert menu.
The meat comes out on large kebobs. There was chicken, beef, lamb, pork and sausage. There was also a vegetable skewer. I tried everything except the sausage as I don't usually like sausage. It was good and the meats were really tender.
Another specialty restaurant we tried was the Japanese restaurant. The tripadvisor.com website said that this restaurant was a must try especially because of the show that the chefs put on. There were 3 square cooking stations with approximately 12 seats around them for the diners and then there was around 10 tables placed along the window and wall of the restaurant. We asked for seats at the cooking table but were denied even though most of the seats were empty. Language was a barrier and so we have no idea why we weren't allowed to sit there so we made do with a table by the window.
My dad insisted on ordering hot sake wine for both of us even though I didn't want any but he wanted me to try it. I did try it and honestly, it just tasted like hot white wine, in my opinion and since I don't like white wine, I didn't drink mine even though the waiter kept adding more to my glass each time he came over.
My dad had tempura vegetables and shrimp as an appetizer but I passed on the appetizer since what my dad had and miso soup were the only two options and I don't like tempura or miso.
For our mains, my dad had Chicken, Beef and Pork Kebab marinated with sake, honey and ginger and served with vegetables and I had Grilled Salmon filet with teriyaki sauce and sautéed vegetables. For dessert, my dad and I both had chocolate mousse. The food was good and I tried to eat a lot of it with my chopsticks.
And, the only other specialty restaurant we went to was Mare Nostrum, the seafood restaurant. Once again there was a salad buffet for the start and then my dad had the Cod Fish Portuguese Style and I had Sea Bass Filet Meuniere Style. My dad's entree came with potatoes and veggies and my Sea Bass came with rice and veggies. This was the only specialty restaurant dish that I didn't enjoy as the sea bass was overcooked and mushy. For dessert, I had ice cream and my dad had fresh fruit.
After dinner, we'd go back to the room and read until bedtime, which was usually between 9:30 and 10.
Sunday, March 02, 2014
My dad and I just returned from Punta Cana yesterday afternoon after spending a week at the Grand Palladium Palace Resort & Spa.
Overall, we had a good time with more pluses than minuses. The weather was almost perfect. It rained one evening on our way to dinner and once overnight. Other than that, it was sunny and hot every day with a nice Caribbean breeze.
The pros of our trip include:
- The Pool
It took me 15 minutes to swim 10 laps of the pool and I tried to do a minimum of 20 laps daily.
- The Ocean and the Beach
The beach was long (almost a kilometre) with fine, non-seaweedy sand. The ocean was warm and not too wavy. However, I only "swam" in it once because I much preferred the pool since it was easier to swim in and get some exercise.
- The Beach wildlife
We saw this cute little guy on the beach the first day.
- The Company
I always go somewhere warm in February with my dad. Both of us are sick of the cold and the winter by then and look forward to our annual trip.
- The Food (overall)
(Crepes Suzette at La Chanterelle)
- The Flights
I usually get an awful earache and/or headache when the plane is landing but I didn't have any problems either way. I also paid extra for my dad and me to have seats with more leg room. Well worth it in my opinion.
- Free Wi-Fi in the Lobby
Most days, I went to the lobby for a couple of hours when it was hottest out to use my computer to touch base with family and friends. The Internet was a little slow but not too bad.
My goal was to not gain any weight while away. Unfortunately, I gained 2 pounds but I still consider this a Pro as it could have been much worse.
I only had one alcoholic drink the first day and two sips of sake at the Japanese restaurant.
The cons of our trip include:
- The staff at the resort, for the most part, didn't speak or understand English so if I wanted something specific, I had to go online to look up how to say it in Spanish, e.g. tea with milk is te con leche. Although, that said, they tried to be helpful and friendly despite the language barrier.
- The specialty restaurants didn't take reservations so you had to show up when they opened and hope to get a table. The tripadvisor website said that La Parillo, the steakhouse was also a good choice for dining and we showed up at 7:30 for a table and told that there wouldn't be one for two more hours. It's fine if you like eating early but since lunch wasn't until 2, eating early meant that we sometimes were at a restaurant but weren't even hungry yet.
- I wanted to read a minimum of 3 books during the week but I only got 2 read since the first one I chose took longer than I thought it would (4 days).
- On Friday, I woke up with some bathroom issues so I avoided dairy and fresh produce for the day except for one banana in an effort to reduce the possibility of any accidents. Friday night, I woke up around 3 a.m. feeling like I was going to throw up and rushed to the bathroom but felt better once I got there but was wishing for an antacid, which I didn't think to bring with me. I took aceteminophen with codeine (what I use in place of Immodium) throughout Friday and Saturday (our travelling home day) to avoid bathroom emergencies. I'm still not feeling 100% but I'm better. I also didn't exercise Friday morning in the room prior to going to the pool because of not feeling up to snuff but I swam 40 laps in the pool for a total of 1 hour so I did get some exercise that day.
- I got a blister on my right big toe the first day and then a small pus-filled sac on the side of my right foot and a larger one on the side of my left foot, which made it somewhat painful to walk and to put my sneakers on for my exercise. I have no idea what caused the two pus-filled sacs. The blister occurred because I needed to adjust the strap on my sandal.
- On Thursday, my dad and I went to the beach to swim in the afternoon. Somebody had stolen his towel and chaise from when he was there that morning but his chair was still there with 2 towels on it plus someone else's stuff so he just took one of the towels since it was probably his anyways.
We found two empty chaises and were going to move them to a quieter area and while I was pulling my chair across the sand and up a small incline, I fell on my butt. It happened so fast; I literally wasn't expecting it. My dad helped me up and told me to just carry our bags and he would move the chairs.
After relaxing on the chairs for about 45 minutes, we decided we wanted to go swimming but getting in and out of the ocean was tricky since the sandy bottom was slightly hilly with some deep drops and of course, the water itself was wavy and tended to knock me off balance as well.
So, my dad and I agreed to help each other in and out of the water but my dad didn't help me with the getting in part and the first big drop landed me on my butt AGAIN! And, then I couldn't get up because each time, I tried to get up, a wave knocked me over again and it was all so ridiculous that I couldn't help laughing and my dad was trying to pull me up but I just couldn't get my footing. Finally, the lifeguard came over and pulled me up and out. Consequently, I didn't do any swimming that day.
- The Airport
We arrived and departed on a Saturday. Arrival was chaos. About 1000 people arrived at the airport all at the same time and there were lines for everything from going through customs to going through immigration to getting our bags and it was really hot in the terminal. One of the airport personnel told me that Saturdays are their busiest days because of all the incoming traffic.
Arrival may have been chaos but departing the airport was very stressful and of course, I was having multiple hot flashes as well. We got to the airport around 9:30 a.m. Lining up to get our boarding passes went smoothly but my dad wanted to use a rest room before going through security so I waited outside on a bench for him. We headed toward security and after we had been in line for only a couple of minutes, I realized that I couldn't find our boarding passes or baggage claims! Somewhere between checking our bags and this line-up, I had lost them so we had to backtrack. First stop was the bench by the restroom and there was nothing there but a woman saw us looking and wondered if I was looking for my boarding passes and of course, I said "yes". She said that she and her husband just found them and he had given them to one of the airport staff and as he could still see the staff person, he went after him to tell him that I had come back looking for them so that was a relief. My dad and I thanked both of them profusely.
But we had to get in line for security once more and it was really long but moved fairly quickly. We loaded the trays with our shoes, personal belongings, etc. and went through the gateway. On the other side, a female employee told me to put up my arms so she could pat me down, which I did but I'd forgotten to remove my pedometer so she found that and indicated that she wanted to know what it was. I told her it was just my pedometer and that I had forgotten to take it off. She looked miffed but let me go.
I had to wait for my dad as he had to remove his belt and shoes and it always takes him longer than me due to his age.
It was now 10:30 and our flight was due to leave at 12:30 p.m. with loading the plane beginning at 12:05 p.m.
We went and found our Gate and I left my dad with our carry-ons and I went to buy us some water (since the tap water was suspect).
I got back to our seats about 11 and sat down to read. Periodically, someone would make an announcement over the PA system but it was indecipherable due to the language and accent but around 11:30, I was sure that I had heard my name in the announcement. My dad said that I was imagining things and to ignore it so I did. At about 11:45, another announcement was made and this time, my dad heard my name as well. It asked me to go to our Gate so I did. The man there told me that my checked bag had been randomly selected to be searched and that I would have to come with him to ensure that nothing was taken.
I said my plane was leaving soon and why did they want to search my suitcase; I was just a normal woman with normal woman stuff in my suitcase but he kept saying it was just routine.
I had to go all the way back to security and then he told me to wait when he went to get my suitcase. This probably took about 5 minutes and then apparently, certain personnel were also needed and this took about 10 minutes and it was now 10 to 12 and I was feeling very anxious. All told, 4 men went through my suitcase taking everything out, checking out each still unopened package of gum, looking in all the pockets, looking in the liner of the suitcase, handling all of my dirty underwear, etc. and I hated it. They even made me turn my computer on and off. We didn't get done until after 12 but the original man told me that the plane would have to wait for me so I shouldn't worry but I was because I knew my dad would be wondering where I was. However, I had to stop at the restroom on the way back though because my nerves had made my bladder weak.
When I got back to our Gate, everyone was gone except my dad who looked relieved to see me and we headed outside to get on the bus that would take us to the plane. A lot of the people from our train weren't on the bus but waiting beside it. I found out that they had been on the bus but since it wasn't air conditioned and they had been on it for 15 minutes, they got off because it was just too hot. The reason the bus hadn't taken them over yet was because they were waiting for me. I tried to get an upgrade on the plane, which I thought I more than deserved after all the hassle but no such luck.
DH thinks that I was singled out because of the lost boarding pass and that honestly, didn't occur to me but he may be right.
And, now, I'm home again where it's still cold and snowy and I'm tired and achy. I laundered everything in the suitcase even the stuff I didn't wear because of all those hands touching my stuff. I even thought about throwing the gum out but I didn't since it really hasn't been opened yet.
I've done the grocery shopping and two loads of laundry and this blog. I booked tomorrow off from work as well and I'm glad because this week is going to seem long enough as it is. I have a dentist appointment on Thursday and a hair appointment on Friday.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The longest city name in the world is "Krung thep mahanakhon bovorn ratanakosin mahintharayutthaya mahadilok pop noparatratchathani burirom udomratchanivetmahasathan amornpiman avatarnsathit sakkathattiyavisnukarmprasit" --it's a "poetic" name for Bangkok, Thailand. Many people abbreviate it to "Krung Thep," or "City of Angels."
~ taken from The Weather Network's website ~
Sunday, February 16, 2014
My mother-in-law has Alzheimer's and the most common behaviours she has include paranoia, memory loss and hiding things. Last weekend, DH and I took her to a play but before we went, she was stressed about her daughter because she just noticed that her daughter's name was on her bank account statement but she doesn't remember setting up the joint account with MB (daughter). MB set up the joint account with her mum because she wanted to ensure that her bills were being paid and so if she lost her bank card again, MB could request a new one on her mum's behalf.
But her mum saw this as MB being interfering and spying on her. She also said that MB was dishonest because she kept insisting that she had returned her mum's health card and passport but since my MIL obviously didn't have them, and since being dishonest wasn't like MB, my MIL deduced MB probably was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We ended the talk by promising her that all of her kids (MB, DH and TJ plus me and MB's DH) would come and visit her this Saturday (yesterday) so that she could air her grievances.
So, I called her yesterday morning and she was in good spirits and remembered that we were all coming to her house in the afternoon but I don't think she remembered why and I didn't want to tell her and then possibly ruin her good mood. She said that I had to remind her at the grocery store to pick up some treats for her company later in the day.
At the grocery store, I tried to steer her towards healthy snacks like a fruit platter and some blueberries that were on sale but she also insisted on getting two kinds of cookies and she definitely wanted ice cream. I suggested a small tub but she was having none of that because she wanted some leftover so she could have more when we were gone. We compromised on the ice cream and bought some strawberry frozen yogurt instead.
I dropped her off at home and told her we'd probably arrive around 3:30 and that the most important thing for her to remember was to put the fro-yo in the freezer when she got upstairs (which she did).
The family plan was that the kids were going to meet ahead of time to review what MIL told DH and me last weekend and go over our game plan. I brought the book that I had bought and distributed to each of the kids two weeks ago, The 36-Hour Day by Nancy Mace & Peter V. Rabins, which was recommended to me by a friend whose dad had Alzheimer's and she found it really helpful.
The main points that came out of this pre-meeting were:
- that we would let my MIL lead the day and the talk and go from there
- we wouldn't talk about her medications which she's not taking unless she brought it up. (DH met with her doctor a couple of weeks ago and he said that her not taking them wasn't life-threatening and that they would just help with her memory so if she didn't take them, it wasn't the end of the world.)
- we would take her concerns seriously and not try to talk her out of them
- we would stay calm no matter what happened
We got there just before 4 and in addition to the treats she had bought earlier in the day, TJ had brought a Valentine's cake because it was marked down to $1.99 and he just couldn't pass up the deal.
Initially, we just made chit chat and then I started to get hungry so asked MIL if I could get the fruit platter out of the fridge and that started everyone moving to the table to put out the "food" so that we could eat. It wasn't the most healthy "dinner" I've ever had but it was definitely sweet. I had strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, 3 very slim pieces of cake and about half a cup of the fro-yo. (I was desperate for real food by the time we got home around 8 and made a salad.)
When we were mostly done eating, MB brought up whether her mum had found her health card yet and her mum said that MB hadn't returned it to her yet (MB had) and I guess they came to some kind of agreement that maybe her mum should just look in her purse to confirm she didn't have it (I wasn't paying any attention at that point) but when she went into the bedroom to find her purse to check, I went with her.
First of all, her purse was hidden in her really cluttered closet behind lots of shoe boxes on the floor of the closet.
She pulled out her wallet (really just a plastic folder like the kind that your insurance and ownership might come in) and we took all her cards out and lo and behold, there was her health card. So, I yelled into the other room that she had her health card but that it had expired last July. We put everything back into her purse and left the room with me leading. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that she had hidden her purse again but in a different spot this time.
DH said that if he could have his mum's health card, he could find out what was needed to renew it so that she wouldn't have to so we headed back to the bedroom to get her purse and the card and guess what? We couldn't find the damn purse!
It wasn't where she had gotten it from last time and of course, she couldn't remember so all 6 of us crowded into her room and looked EVERYWHERE! In her dresser drawers, under her bed, under her mattress, under her pillow, in her hampers (she has two), in her nightstand and of course, in her closet. Her bedroom is so cluttered. In addition to the large amount of shoe boxes (that are empty, by the way), she has piles of newspaper in the closet and clothes everywhere! On the bed, in all the drawers, in the closet, in both hampers, in two suitcases -- EVERYWHERE!
When we couldn't find it in the bedroom, we started searching the rest of her apartment (kitchen & living/dining room) even though I knew she hadn't brought it out of the bedroom. All told, we probably spent close to 45 minutes looking for that damn purse and finally, DH and BIL decided to look on every single hanger in her closet and lo and behold, that's where it was! Crazy!
All-told, the visit was fun and crazy but not very productive other than the health card. Oh well, I'm sure there will be more opportunities.
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