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I handled last week fairly well. Amelia and John may have different perspectives, but I think I did okay, all things considered. Up to a certain point, that is.

I made it through Thursday, and Friday was much easier once I knew that all the brouhaha over my mom was a false alarm.

This weekend, we had scuba class. 4am wakeup call and a drive to Monterey. On the way, there was fog and drizzling rain. Not exactly auspicious. Also, when we got to the beach at 6:30, it was crawling with students.

Turns out it was a Sacramento weekend. It’s such a long drive from Sacramento to Monterey that the instructors there save up classes and bring them down all at once. Then they dive come hell or high water, because, dammit, they made the drive and nothing’s going to stop them from getting in the water. More on that later.

There were 9 students and 8 staff. Would have been 9 if James M hadn’t decided to go off and fun dive. By himself. Wonderful example for the students, to be sure. Oh well, we didn’t need him. We had Nate and Shelly, who are working to become Divemasters like John and I, as well as Greg, Ben, James F, Alisa (boo) and John and myself.

James F and I worked together like we always do. We had 2 girls, ages 12 and 15. I love working with the kids. They’re so much fun, and they’re so much closer to my size. Plus, they just usually kick ass when it comes to learning. We rocked out the first dive with them, and then sent them up to strip out of the top part of their wetsuits and get into every dry warm thing they owned. It was a balmy 50ish degrees on land, and about that temp in the water.

In between the first and second dives, we rescued people. All fun, let me tell you. They were mostly Sacramento people, and a lot of them weren’t prepared for the “washing machine on low” that was Breakwater on Saturday morning. The problem with Breakwater sometimes is the waves come in towards the junction of the breakwater and the beach, so you get waves, but then you also get the waves that hit the wall and change direction–reflection waves. Also, the tide was going out but the wind was pushing in, so there was both an undertow outward and waves coming in. Fun, fun.

My favorite of all the people I hauled out of the water, which mostly consisted of holding them still in the surf long enough to get their fins off and then helping them stand up and get in, was one guy who was FACE DOWN in the water with NO REGULATOR OR SNORKEL, and thus no way to breathe.

He was obviously trying to get his fins off, but having problems. When I hauled him up (and keep in mind he was probably double my size), one of the guys (I’m assuming a certified professional (for the love of god, people, help your students)) who was JUST STANDING THERE told me, don’t worry, he’ll be fine.

My reply? To keep doing exactly what I was doing.

Does anyone else see a problem with this scenario? Seriously!

So that was fun.

We went off to do the second dive, but both girls were pretty cold so we kept it short and sweet. The younger one was also having problems clearing her ears, so she and I went in early. After getting her settled and in the process of changing into warm and dry clothes, I waded back out and hauled more people in.

At least it was good exercise.

The weather was still gray and nasty, and the wind and waves were still moving around, so we canned the third dive, had lunch and debriefed the students, and headed to the hotel. Complete with hot tub. Woot! Favorite part of diving right there, people. Oh, I’ll say I love certain things, but if you ask me when I’m cold and wet and tired? The hot tub afterwards.

From there, we moved on to dinner and a movie. In this case, Pirates of the Caribbean III. I was in the back bedroom of the hotel room, watching the Elite 8 for the first part of the movie.

I returned just in time to see Elizabeth Swan have a conversation with Will Turner’s dad about saving the dad v. being able to have Elizabeth.

And the whole losing a parent thing?

Well, let’s say my facade cracked a bit. It probably didn’t help that James F and I had had a long conversation in the back room and I’d filled him in on what the past week held. So I crawled into bed, unfortunately in this case the one in the main room, and tried to keep it together, since I was in the same room with all the staff, two random other people associated with our staff, and the girls and their parents.

And then the whole Will Turner dying thing?

Umm, didn’t go so well either.

Maybe I just really needed to cry. I dunno. I think I’d been holding it in so long, and last week sucked so much, and I was so tired (see above, re: 4am wakeup call plus crazy work hours plus insomnia lately) and I was so stressed (see above, re: mom, work, life in general), that it just all broke through.

And really, I felt so much better when I woke up that it was probably all okay in the long run, although I’d have definitely chosen a more private setting to do it in if I could have. As it was, I couldn’t even get John’s attention, although there wasn’t much he could do, and after the movie ended, he did come comfort me.

Sunday’s day of diving was fine, although I was exhausted. It was colder–a toasty 49 degree water temp at one point–but maybe a bit less water movement. In the break between dives 3 and 4, I bundled the girls into the hot pay shower in the women’s restroom, then bundled them into all their warm gear, then put them in John’s and my boat coats, then into my car. And thus they made it through dive 4 without turning into little blue girls, which would have been fun to explain to their mother. We did have to tow the younger one out and then in, since she had bad knees and was a bit lacking in energy by the time we made it to that point of the morning.

Definitely got a “thanks so much for working on their confidence” from their mom, and a “thanks for taking care of them”, both of which made me feel really good, and illustrate some of the reasons I love to work with kids.

So that was that, and we made it home warm and safe and sound. I had to run into work, and John washed the gear, and then we celebrated living through another class by heading to one of the restaurants around here where we know the bartender. It was his last day, and Amelia and I have been going by to see him somewhat regularly, so we went to have “one last drink”. By which I mean, 4ish. But, you know, it’s all good.

And hey, boy did I sleep well Sunday night.

The last three days have been crazy at work again, with The Big Experiment 3/4s of the way done. It’s been keeping me busy, which is probably good.

The only drawback? I’ve been wearing my iPod while working, and “Prayer for the Dying” needs to be removed from my playlist sometime very soon.

Because really? It’s a good song, but there’s only so much tearing up in lab I’m willing to do.

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The logistics of working an Open Water class all weekend, combined with having to dog sit a dog who needed to be walked many, many times per day, plus having two cats that needed feeding and were currently residing at home 15 miles away was just about too much this weekend.

Bob is the most spoiled dog I’ve ever met. Period. He’s a very well-trained and well-behaved dog for the most part, but oh.my.goodness. was he spoiled. Doggie ice cream? I didn’t even know such a thing existed. But it was fun to take him out for walks and play with him a bit, and he’s very good about heeling and whatnot, so that was nice. It wasn’t so much fun to pick up the dog poo, but it’s gotta be done.

I enjoyed dog sitting, but I’ve realized that no matter how much I want a dog, I just don’t have time for one right now. John and I aren’t morning people, and we’re usually a little rushed in the mornings due to one too many hits on the snooze button. If I had to walk a dog in there as well, I’d always be late, or I’d just end up throwing it out in the back yard, and our back yard is just not big enough for the size of dog I want. And all the nights when we’re down south for scuba stuff, or in Monterey? We can leave the cats to their own devious devices for awhile, but we couldn’t do that with a dog.

*sigh*

The scuba class this weekend was also so-so. We had a great crop of students, all of whom really had their heads screwed on right. Friday night there was cake (by yours truely) for James F’s birthday. Saturday was class and pool, which was fun. However, Sunday, I ended up doing nothing but running logistics. I didn’t really get to work with students at all. That sucked big time. Alisa’s an AI now, and we had another DM helping us, and they, along with James F and Greg, got to do all the student work. Gee, thanks, now I know where I stand. Frankly, if I’m needed in the pool, I’ll be there to help out, but from now on, if all I’m doing is telling the students which instructor/staff member to go to, and telling the returning ones to go up to the shallow end, then I’m out. The other staff members can do that on their own.

It was kind of upsetting, and I tried not to let anyone notice, but of course James F did. In asking what was wrong, he asked if it was ‘the ususal’. Now I know I complain about the disparity in the way some of our staff is treated to him quite a bit, and he’s usually pretty good for a sympathetic ear. But the way he said it made me feel like I’d already pushed his patience. He’s told me to suck it up and not make things a competition, so I just sort of shrugged him off. If it continues, I’ll talk to Greg, but for now, I’m keeping it to myself and John, who was fabulous about it. I got a lot of hugs with backrubs. And I brought banana cake, which got a lot of compliments. That made me feel a bit better, too.

This weekend just wiped me out, frankly. Between class in the mornings, getting up early to take the dog on walks, the pool all afternoon, and then a late night Saturday at James F’s birthday party playing Halo3, I was about done on Sunday. By the time I got out of the pool, I was exhausted and a bit nauseous. Might have been due to not eating much all day, but when we stopped by our favorite Mexican place, the smells did me in and I ended up eating toast at home, followed by 11 hours of sleepy time.

I also didn’t go into work Sunday night to set stuff up, so yesterday there wasn’t much to do. I mostly sat around talking to Steven a lot, which was nice. He’s great for joking around with in a semi-inappropriate-but-still-fun-and-games manner.

After work, I talked with Amy (boy trouble, job hunts) and Mom (her classes, Amy, dad, Thanksgiving plans), read a bit, and ate my untouched Mexican food. And then got 10 hours of sleep.

I’m excited for the ocean part of the class this weekend, but also a little apprehensive. It’ll be the first time Alisa and I aren’t on the same level, and I’ve got to try to be okay with that because that’s how things are. I just hope I get to do more than simple logistics, because if that’s my role, I’m NOT okay with that. I know DMs are glorified babysitters, but Greg’s never treated us like that. We’ll see.

Let’s hope I don’t pull to many and unravel!

*****

John, apparently, just needed a weekend off. He’s fine now, and has even said he’ll continue AI training with me prior to our next schedule class, which is the end of September/October. Part of it is, apparently, that he didn’t want to train with Jeff, since he felt a heck of a lot more comfortable with Greg and he’s a little worried about the politics involved. This is absolutely a-okay with me, as I’m wary of said politics, too.

I’m a little ticked off that I spent so much time worrying about him and it was something so small, but I guess that’s why I care. He could have just said he needed a weekend off, but maybe he didn’t know for sure until he took it. Who knows.

I’m just relieved that it seems to be over, he’s recharged, and ready at least to get on with the AI training. Good stuff.

*****

The class dives this weekend went well. It was warm, sunny, clear, and with no noticable waves orsurge. Which meant, of course, that the plankton were out in force, and viz was about 5-8 feet. It cleared up as the day progressed, to about 10-15 feet.

We actually, amazingly enough, did three dives Saturday, which we always say we’ll do and never actually do. The students did well.

I had the two teenager-ish boys and their dad to work with. The dad did excellent, and so did the sons, especially when it came to air consumption and buoyancy. I managed to find two giant rainbow nudibranchs and another small white one that I haven’t figured out what is yet.

I also did a bunch of tours in the kelp with the boys, who seemed to like swimming in among the kelp. Sometimes students get nervous, as it can be really pretty dark, but they enjoyed it.

Decorator crabs were out in force, and they had fun putting crabs on one another and seeing how long it took for the other to notice or the crab to fall off.

I got some more experience touring and doing surface skills, and it went well.

My drysuit was awesome, and I was just as excited for the third dive as I was for the first, which is a new occurrence. It was too hot to be standing around in warm fuzzies in the sun, and it’s tough to quickly get out/into a drysuit before and after using the bathroom, but that’s all made up for in the water.

It was a great time, even if John wasn’t there to share it.

*****

Alisa has finished her AI training. I helped out this weekend, doing some dives as her “student” and messing up on certain skills to see if she’d notice and correct me.

She passed, of course, and very well, too.

Now I’ve just got to get done before the next class so we’re at equal level whenever Greg needs us, which is basically the next class.

*****

I drove Greg to and from Monterey both days, and we did some talking that was very nice. He said I have the right mix of confidence in myself and caution in the students, and he thinks I’m doing a great job. That was a great picker-uper. I mentioned that I’d felt a little left out lately and we addressed that, so hopefully it will get better.

I think he’s aware of the “world revolves around me” personality that Alisa has, and that she’s overshadowing the rest of us. There’s not much we can do about that, but he knows that I, at least, wouldn’t mind a little more attention.

We talked about Alisa and Jeff a bit, and training and John’s and my issues with that, but that was mostly a private conversation. Sorry.

Let’s just say that most problems at this point have been addressed and Greg is aware of them and is likely to do his best to remedy the situations. I’m feeling pretty good about my relationship with him at this point, and my abilities and training, plus my future as an AI by the next class (cross your fingers!).

*****

Amelia has asked me to do another bike ride with her, this time a 100-mile, 5000-foot climbing one in Sonoma. I’m a little wary, based on last time, but I figured we’ve gone biking once and survived, and this might be a good way to exercise any remaining ghosties.

We talked on the phone a week or so ago for about 2 hours, which was excellent. We’ve kind of drifted apart recently, and I think that potentially a chunk of that can be laid at my door, as I’ve been reluctant to do too much reaching out, both for it being taken the wrong way and to protect myself from being hurt again. Plus, she’s obviously become close friends with some other girls in my absence, which is all well and good, but I’ve got some jealousy issues. I’m working on it, though.

Anyways, so the ride. I don’t have time to train, let alone train at a level close to 100-mile rides or for giant hills in the coming weeks, but I figured I’d do what I could and just do the ride and hope it wasn’t too bad.

*****

Except that I then realized that the next ocean session for the next class, where I plan to be AI, and the bike ride are on the same day. D’oh!

I feel like my responsibilities to a larger collective lay with Greg/Ben/James F and helping with the class, especially in light of my talks with Greg about my goal to be AI by the next class and our vague training agenda to achieve that.

So I’ve been given a tailor-made excuse not to do the ride, which the paranoid part of me is very, very relieved to have happen, but the rest of me is bummed about.

I wanted to prove to myself that (a) I could do the ride and (b) I could do it with Amelia, and (c) everything was okay with Amelia. I’ll be doing the class, since I have a responsibility to do so with those guys, but still.

If it was something else, something not for personal fun, I think Greg would understand, but he’s made some sticky comments lately about staff missing critical portions of classes (pool, ocean) to skiv off and do fun stuff.

Not much I can do at this point, but I haven’t told Amelia yet.

She’s currently got a lot on her plate with a sick friend and work and all, but we’ll get there eventually.

*****

And finally…

Quite randomly, not connected to the above.

We’ve started our search for a house, as we were actually approved for a loan. The places within our budget, of course, are not great. They’re kind of dumpy or don’t have room for people who need lots of outside space for lots of scuba gear and bike gear and whatnot.

However, our realtor did show us a place that’s $150,000 over our budget (yeeaaahhh, no problem there) that she’d talked about to us prior to us getting the loan.

The place was last updated/decorated in my grandmother’s era, right down to the appliances, the paper lining the shelves, the linoleum patterns, and the (thankfully now replaced) blue carpet. Wow.

It would require probably $20-40,000 worth of work and new everything in the kitchen, and a significant portion of the bathrooms, and all the lights and doors and whatnot to modernize it so we could resell it for a reasonable amount, but it’s got a ton of potential.

There’s a huge yard, fenced in, so it’d be great for gear and bikes and everything, and the possibility of a dog in the future. The house size is perfect. There’s a two-car garage. The HOA dues aren’t bad. It’s close to John’s work. It would give John a project to redo it, since I know that’s something he knows how to do and likes to do and sounds like he wants to do.

It’s just way out of budget, and if we’re going to try something like that, there might be a lot more and better options.

But it’s a start.

This is going to be a very scary and trying process, but I figure if we (and our marriage) survive, we’ll be that much stronger.

*****

So I think that’s about it. Now I’m wrapped up in learning two new procedures at work, doing a bunch of other first-time experiments, and having a meeting with Dr. M tomorrow where I’m planning on proposing to make a bunch of changes to our current plan for a manuscript. Hrm.

Wish me luck!

At the very least, I’m taking Rhiannon and Sam to the airport this afternoon, which lets me be home in time to go on a bike ride (for fun) with John, as he’s got the day off.

Thursday morning, my back hurt something fierce when I woke up.

I injured my back about six years ago while scuba diving, and it’s never been quite right since, especially not when carrying lots of weight wearing scuba on the shore (which I do often enough) or on long car trips or sometimes just in general.

Sunday I was cleaning closets, lifting (light, for the most part) stuff above my head and then bending over to sort through boxes on the coffee table. Monday I went bike riding. Tuesday night, I spent three-ish hours sitting in a non-ergonomic chair in the back of the classroom for Open Water class. Wednesday I spent another hour for Dive Club.

Thursday, I took handfulls of ibuprofen. And then got in the pool for three hours. I didn’t wear a weight belt, which seems to exacerbate the problem, but I did wear 10lbs in the pockets of my BCD. I got through the night, but I probably made the mistake of slinging tanks and weights around too much when the ibuprofen was blocking the pain.

Friday was more ibuprofen, but I had something to take my mind off of it all. John and I went and applied for a loan, and then looked at our first possible home. It was a townhouse/condo type thing, with two bedrooms, two and a half baths, a two-car garage, and lots of space. We really liked it a lot, and it’s central to both our work places, but it was about $125,000 over our budget. YIKES!! It was just a for-fun look as we drove by, but I may judge other places against this one from now on, sadly.

However, it’s much more real now that we’re planning on buying a house. John’s job here is just so good, and his boss is so well-respected in the industry, and it’s such a good training facility, that it will benefit him greatly to stay in the area and become and instructor and gain more experience.

And it’s not as if I can’t find jobs around here.

I actually sat down and talked to my boss the other day, both about vacation time, about experiments to finish up my paper, and about the future. We talked graduation (she’s thinking two years from now!!!!!!), and she thinks it would be easy and realistic for me to get a job in the area, and possible right at the same place, though not in the same lab. Woot!

So, if we’re going to be in the area another four-five-six years, it makes financial sense to buy a place and not just through money away on rent each month. We just have to qualify for a loan and be able to afford the morgage. Pamela, my mother-in-law, has offered to help us out with the money down and the mortgage payments if we need it (which we will), and I’m both grateful and wary. We couldn’t do it, I don’t think, without her help, but given our past, I’m a bit worried about the whole owing her lots of money part of it all. But I think it’ll work out.

So Saturday morning, we took another step forward by asking one of the ladies who went to Belize with us if she’d sit down with us and look at loans, and then show us some places. She’s a real estate agent, and offered to do so while we were on vacation, which was incredibly sweet of her. And it’s nice to know her, and not just have her be a random person.

And then the rest of Saturday was spent pimping myself out. Really. Pimping, scuba style…

Greg, Alisa, Ben and I went to a house in the east bay and did Discover Scuba to entertain party guests at some rich guy’s house. It was his annual “Yeah it’s summer” party. I’m not sure I actually met the host, but who knows. He requested an instructor with “female staff”, so there we were.

Yeah, yeah, I know. But it was thought by some people that he might have lots of female guests (and he did) that might be more comfortable working with a female staff member (which they probably were). But given the amount of arm candy there, it was also definitely to have girls in swim suits in his pool all day long as eye candy. Gah.

So what were some of the entertainments, you ask? Aside from us doing our scuba thing, there was a clown/juggler, a balloon artist, two masseuses, belly dancers, hawaiian performers, a dj, and judging from the people carrying music stands as we were leaving, probably some classical musicians. The catering alone was impressive, with crab legs and shrimp and whatnot. We only got a few tasty mouthfuls in during the time, but mmmm. I’m guessing a budge of easily $20K. Like I said, we were the cheap end. Next year, we’re asking for more money!

This guy had a niiiice pool, with a bridge over it and all, a half tennis court, and a gigantic house. With plenty of locked rooms that a girl looking to change back into street clothes was afraid to enter in her search for a bathroom. Uck.

And aparently, some of the girls told Greg that they were hired to be there, and that they were “models”, but he pointed out that one of them didn’t have great teeth, and thus he thought they were more likely “escort” types than “model” types. That may be a bit of a classification, but judging from what I saw, I wouldn’t put it past these guys. I repeat, WOW!

And another thing: the guests. Not a single person with more than a smidge of poodge. We joked about having a requisite low BMI to enter, but for a girl who recently lost a lot of weight and feels good with her body, it was still disheartening. Seriously, people, eat something! Also, the number of women who had natural, umm, well, you know, were seriously outnumbered by the women who’d had implants. No small asian women are naturally that big or that perky in that small of a bikini. You could have fed a small African nation on what all those implants cost. Things like that just sicken me, but I suppose to be arm candy, you have to look the part.

Me, I’m happy how I am, though another 10lbs would help both my self-esteem and my doctor’s opinion. I like my body, though I’d reduce rather than increase certain aspects, and I’m happy that I’m valued by my friends for my brains and my abilities rather than my looks. I sometimes envy people who have money, in that it would simplify things like wanting to go on expensive dive trips or buy a house, but I don’t envy that culture of having to always be and look perfect in order to fit in. Or in the need to hire cute guests to inflate my self importance. Or in the need of my other guests to take numerous pictures with the hired guests to remember my self-importance. Deep down, I’m guessing my insecurity issues are nothing compred to some of those people.

And frankly, I’d rather be me than be them any day. Even if I did get paid a miniscule amount to pimp myself out to them for a couple of hours in a swimming pool.

We especially didn’t get paid enough when you factor in the planning time, the loading and unloading time of all those tanks and gear, and the drive times. And the gas. *sigh* John yelled at me for slinging tanks around up on to the top rack last night when we were unloading, and this morning, I can’t say that I blame him. But we got stuff onloaded and put away or set out to wash, then headed to dinner with Ben and his girl.

What followed was BBQ and another gallon of so of water for dinner, the peach cobbler, then John and I came home and became comatose while watching Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run. I like him and that show a lot. Of course, I crashed about half-way through.

This morning, I swallowed another handful of ibuprofen within minutes of waking up. Guess John was right about swinging tanks. This time, strangely, it’s the right side of my lower back that hurts the worst, so I’m hoping this is a specific incident related to last night as opposed to a continuation of the pain of the last couple days.

We had planned to go bike riding, but I don’t think my back’s up to it, so we’re just going to be lazy and carefree, doign laundry, playing games, poking around on the internet, and whatnot today. Hopefully that’ll help my back more than anything, other than ibuprofen, right now.

DAY 2

Yes, yes it can.

Life is heinously busy right now, so unless you want to wait several weeks, you’re not actually going to get the daily version. Sorry, that’s what happens when fecal matter hits the rotary propeller.

MONDAY

We did managed to dive on Monday at Turneffe North. It was a great day–incredibly bumpy on the ride there and back, but good diving. We saw turtles, two spotted eagle rays, some moray eels, and tons of fish. I really like these cute little fish called fairy basslets. Their front half is bright purple and their back half is bright yellow. There were also tons of parrotfish, and my all-time favorite, the squirrelfish. Good name, good fish. John and I made up our own symbol for these way back. It consists of making fists with your hands, and holding them in front of your eyes–squirrel fish have huuuugggge eyes, so to us, this makes sense.

It was a great day, and we had dinner at a place called Elvie’s Kitchen, where I had the best ever Shrimp and Lobster Skewer in chipotle bbq sauce. Ohmygod! I would have licked my plate if we hadn’t been in public, and that almost didn’t stop me.

TUESDAY

We headed out to the Blue Hole. John and I did this dive three years ago, and actually weren’t that impressed. I’d been describing it to people as an “atmospheric dive”, one you do for the ambianace of being in the Blue Hole, not to actually see wildlife. However, I was much, much more impressed this time. We took our lights so we could look at stuff while swimming around in the stalactites. One of the DMs had a pony bottle that he used to fill a hole in the ceiling. He then let John and James M breathe from the air, which they said was pretty neat. I wasn’t all that interested.

Instead, I was watching the reef sharks circling above. I counted six at one time while we were underwater, and there were at least 10-15 that showed up when we chummed the water post-dive. Two were radio tagged, which was pretty neat.

The only neat part of the dive? Sally decided she didn’t want to swim in the stalactites since it was “dark” (murky, people, is not the same thing as dark), so she LEFT. THE. GROUP. At 133 feet. The DMs were soooo pissed at her when we got back to the boat and found her there. I’m sure they were imagining that they’d lost her at 133 feet and would be blamed for it all. I would have been scared out of my mind! I noticed she was gone, in my good little DM way of constantly counting people (why can’t you turn off that part of your brain while fun diving??), but figured she’d had equalization problems and had gone up. Ah well, I apologized on her behalf, they talked sternly with her for awhile, and she giggled her way through the thing without showing any sign of recognizing how serious the situation was. GAH! AND she thinks she’s DM material. We heard that and immediately planned to talk to Greg about NOT incorporating her into our group in any way, shape or form!

Anyways, the Blue Hole turned out to be an awesome dive, and once again, no nitrogen narcosis. Apparently I’m a really cheap date.

That was followed a dive at Half Moon Caye Wall, which was spectacular. The site is a marine reserve, so John and I couldn’t dive with gloves, and I spent a large part of the dive worrying about losing my ring if it fell off. Then we saw a baracuda, and John and I mimed attracting it with our rings, as they like silvery flash things. Then, suddenly, it appeared just under me, and it was no longer a joke. So I spent the rest of the dive covering my ring with my other hand in order not to lose it, and the finger, to a hungry fish. We did see some southern sting rays, and a huge blue parrotfish. Good dive.

Lunch was on Half Moon Caye. Lunch with AdM is always rice and beans, stew chicken, potato salad, and coconut cream pie. It’s tasty up to a point. Some of those guys have been eating it 3-4 times a week for 13 years, and I’d bring sandwhiches if I were them.

After lunch, we got to hike out to the red-footed bobby colony on the end of the island. Frigate birds and red-footed boobies have a big nesting ground there, and it’s a protected sanctuary for them. Apparently, these red-footed boobies are only found here, and the blue-footed ones are only found in the Galapagos. So there were lots of jokes about seeing half the boobies in the world, or going to the Galapagos so you could claim you’d seen all the boobies in the world. Divers are not necessarily always mature, but they’re fun people!

The third dive was the Aquarium, which has to be one of my favorite dive sites ever. There’s just a ton of fish. It really is like diving in an aquarium. We also saw another spotted eagle ray, which was cool.

Dinner that night was at Fido’s, only this time at their Italian steakhouse part of the restaurant. Let me tell you, this is the ONLY place I’ve been disappointed with the food at on the island. Don’t bother. Stay downstairs in the other part of the restaurant. MUUUUUCH tastier.

WEDNESDAY

While we thought it might be hard to top the Blue Hole, sharks, and boobies with local diving, we were wrong. Our first site of the day was Tacklebox Canyons, so named as it sits on the reef directly out from the Tacklebox Restaurant and Bar. It has a ton of swim-throughs, which were lots of fun. I also found an arrow crab, which are these tiny spidery crabs with bring purple pinchers. They’re adorable! Or at least as adorable as a crustacean can be. The dive was fabulous–good viz, fun swimming, neat fish. Plus, we got to see and hold a nurse shark!

But the next dive at Esmerelda…hoooweee! Our DM, Tony, brought down a large PVC pipe that was capped on each end and had holes drilled in it. And filled with fish. Suddenly there were nurse sharks everywhere! We probably had 20-30 nurse sharks. We sat really fairly close and just watched them filter feed on the fish bits for a long while. There was also a moray eel that was living in the area, and he was pretty spooked by our presence, but he did come out and swim around looking for some fish tidibts. He swam right across the back of my legs at one point, which was a little close for comfort given that another DM, Alex, had only that morning shown me his scars from a moray bite. Anyways, good stuff.

Tony caught some of the sharks but tugging on their tails. They’re really fairly docile as sharks go, and you’d pretty much have to insert your hand into their mouth and foce their jaws up and down to get them to bite you. He flipped them over on their backs and gave them to us to hold, cradled like a baby, and let us pet their tummies. It was adorable. There’s some good pictures out there of me doing this. I took off my gloves to better feel them, and they’re very sandpapery. There were also lots of groupers around, some fairly big.

We spent the afternoon wandering town, buying souveniers and some opal and diamond earrings that I liked, a early anniversary gift from John. Love that boy! Then we went to say a brief “hi” to my mother-in-law and some family friends who had arranged to be in Belize the same time as us, but had just arrived from the inland part of their trip. *sigh*

After that it was off for the night dive at Hol Chan Marine park. Again, no gloves, but fun. I spent a good part of the diving showing small fish to a grouper and a red snapper that followed us. When we shined our light on the fish, they went into hung mode, so I pretty much played god with fish for a good thirty minutes or so. I didn’t feed anyone any squirrelfish, though! We saw a bunch of eels out hunting, but none had any luck around us. I also found another arrowcrab, as well as lots of hermit crabs and conch out for midnight strolls. Additionally, we saw lots of sleeping parrotfish in their potective bubbles. And some of the those fish can get BIG! Big enough to rival groupers, which are huge!

John and I also spent time feeding bloodworms to brain coral. Bloodworms are these disgusting little things that are attracted to light, and brain coral feed on them, so if you hold your light close to the brain coral, the bloodworms swim by, get paralyzed, and then explode in a little puff of red. It was pretty much a night of death, actually. But in a good way. Just not if you were a little fish.

We also discovered, at the end of the dive, that if we held the lights still long enough, first the bloodworms appeared, and then these green string-like things, and then finally these little translucent eel-like creatures. They had a small amount of red at their tail, and I think they were hunting the bloodworms. They were cool, but having to sit still with the bloodworms long enough was just gross. Fun times, though.

After the dive, my mother-in-law was nowhere to be found, so we ate at the hotel restaurant and called it a night.

THURSDAY

For our last long trip, we headed to Turneffe Elbow. I wasn’t sure how these guys would top the previous three days, but I did it myself by finding….a scorpion fish! Now these guys blend into the rocks and are impossible to find, but I somehow managed it. My brain just suddenly went, “That’s a fish!” And there he was! Of course, it was the one dive where James M DIDN’T bring his camera. Alisa had hers, but the batteries died. Plus, James M is a much better photographer, as Alisa tended to forget the first rule of photography: Be a diver first and be aware of the group and the reef. Plus, he just takes better pictures! *sigh* But the day was great, the Elbow was fun (but currenty), and Secret Place and Calabash wall were also good dives.

And then….we got to swim with dolphins! We’d seen a pod on the way to the Blue Hole, but on our last dive here, at Calabash Wall, while hanging at 15ft to do our safety stop, we suddenly heard/saw the boat go by. And there, following it and playing in the wake, were three dolphins. They clicked and squeaked and swam around us for several minutes. It was AMAZING! Excellent, excellent experience!

Dinner that night was at Fido’s again, but this time in the downstairs part. We met up with my mother-in-law and some family friends and sat around talking until waaaay too late. I tried to hustle people to dinner, but by the time we made it to Fido’s, there was live music going on. So the food was tasty, but the talking was pretty much nonexistant. John was disappointed, but I really didn’t mind the situation!

FRIDAY

Okay, so you top great diving with the Blue Hole and boobies, and top that with a shark feeding/holding plus a fun night dive, and top that with a scorpion fish and dolphins. So what do you top a scorpion fish and dolphins with?

Well, 10 spotted eagle rays would do the trick!

We dove Eagle Ray Canyons and Pillar Coral Canyons on Friday morning. On the first dive, we saw 10 spotted eagle rays throughout the dive, with 4 spotted at once. It was so cool! Also, Tony brought more fish and fed some groupers that appeared. One of them, a biggie, actually chomped on another grouper to get it to move out of the way. He went after the gills, and the smaller one gave up the fight and swam off. I heard the chomp, and when it occurred to me that gloveless fingers look like small fish to big groupers, I kept my hands to myself for awhile! (We were diving in the Hol Chan marine park again, so no gloves!)

It was a fun dive, and the last one was also pretty darn good. We had a turtle with a remora as well as some more spotted eagle rays.

Then it was back to town to buy any last souvenirs and to poke around one last time. For dinner, we went back to Elvie’s Kitchen to sample their big Friday night Maya BBQ. Apparently I would not have made a good Mayan, but the shrimp quesadillas and fresh handmade tortillas were excellent!

SATURDAY

We got up at 6:30 to see of the mother-in-law, and then never went back to sleep. Trying to get 22 people and their luggage back to the airport was a bit of a hassle, but we managed, and all luggage arrived from San Pedro to Belize City…eventually. The claim tickets say your luggage is not late if it is not on your plane–it’s only late if it’s been more than 24 hours. Caribbean time, man!

The flight to Miami was fine, but lightening prevented us from landing right away. And then getting our bags at customs took FOR-EV-ER! I actually got my bag as my next plane was supposed to take off. We had to go through screening cause the customs guy didn’t like that we had so much baggage for only one week of travel. Ah well.

And now, I’d like to just take this time to say that (a) the Miami airport doesn’t not do well in the signage department. We had no idea where we were supposed to go to recheck bags and whatnot. While running at top speed so as to make our hopefully-delayed flight. And (b), while I really like American, their Miami people are incredibly not helpful and really fairly rude. When I ask where to go while panting and pulling two bags and two carry-ons, and you point in a vague direction and say over there, it doesn’t! really! help! But we got through, and took off at a dead run, towing James M, for the gate. Which was, of course, down a very long concourse.

Long run short, we made it there, but had to get a gate agent to unseal the doors for us. And thankfully, 13 of our group was already on the plane. And we sat there for another 45 minutes, which meant I could have stopped for dinner. But sadly, hindsight and all. The remaining 6 never showed up–they had a guy that wasn’t feeling well, so they decided not to make a run for it.

Thankfully, the people on the plane were nicer than those in the airport, and the divided up the food and snacks on board so everyone could have something to eat, and the didn’t charge for it. Plus, they showed “Music and Lyrics”, which is actually a really cute movie.

Of course, the situation wasn’t helped by Sally, who, in her infinite wisdom and lovely personal skill showoffness, marched up to the flight attendants and INFORMED them that that they had 22 people on board who hadn’t eaten since 10am (not true, most of us had lunch in Belize City) and they better get food and drinks on this plane to feed us all! If I’d been the flight attendant, I would have told her I’d serve her a beverage once we were in the air. Luckily, the flight attendants were nicer than me, and actually served us drinks before we left. But still! How rude can you be?!?!?

Not only that, but at several points throughout the trip I caught her doing things like counting the change from the waiter IN FRONT OF THE WAITER! Really, it’s no wonder this girl is single in her late thirties. James M, who might have been interested, swore off after just one day of traveling with her. HA!

SUNDAY

Anyways, we made it to SFO. Wait, wasn’t this trip supposed to end Saturday? Well, no luck, as we got in late. And, thanks to the ground folks at Miami, who’d had an hour between when we’d checked our bags and when the plane had taken off, we had NO DIVE GEAR AND NO CLOTHES! OR RUM! OR HOT SAUCE! So we fiddled around the airport until 2am filing claims and all.

Funny enough, there were 8 of us who’d come in on shuttle, and Sally took off right away. The remaining 4 waited for the three of us who needed bags. Good to see the good folks banding together.

But we made it home and collapsed in bed, and that was that.

One piece of luggage, my dive gear, arrived Sunday night, and the rest arrived late Monday afternoon.

And that, folks, is the end of the saga. I’m a little Belized-out at this point, but it was a fabulous trip! And other than some people who shall go unnamed (Sally), we had a GREAT group to travel and dive with!

Day 1

And then the phone rang.

It’s from the dive shop, Amigos del Mar, and they’re cancelling diving for the day.

Why, you ask?

Well, the strong winds that make boat flip-overs a risk is a good place to begin.

So at 7am, we have to go around to all the rooms and let people know that the dive trip that they’ve paid good money for won’t happen. Always an auspicious sign. People were fairly calm about it, and accepted our positive spin of, “Now you can relax and have a day to enjoy, and we’ll make up for the diving later this week when it will be better visibility and whatnot without the wind.”

Meanwhile, my brain is setting off all kinds of alarms, going, “Danger!! Danger Will Robinson!!” As you can imagine, I spent most of the day watching the trees whip back and forth and hopingprayingdreaming that the wind would die down enough that we would actually be able to dive on our dive trip!!

So we enjoyed a leisurly breakfast–there’s really no other kind in the Caribbean. Heard of Caribbean time? It’s true. Nothing is rushed. Ever. For anything.

Then the AdM folks came and boated us into town to figure out the diving. The owner, Gilmar, who’s a great guy, was cautiously opptimistic about diving the rest of the week. He figured the wind would start to die down, and diving on the outer atolls would be possible the next day and the day after that–the diving at those sites is generally on the leeward side of the reefs, so much more protected. And by the fourth day, we would likely be able to dive locally.

So, in exchange for two days of two-tank local diving (i.e. $60×2), he upgraded us to dive Turneffe North (i.e. $160). Sweet deal all around. He saved us as customers by being positive and gracious and accomodating, we saved face with our travellers by promising them great diving to make up for the lack of diving that day, and our travellers would get three great dives for the price of four good dives.

Alisa, James M, John and I, as well as Sally, a diver who ended up being Alisa’s roommate, then wandered around San Pedro awhile. We visited one of the Toucan shops (if you ever go, they’re touristy little shops that sell just about everything you could dream of in the chintzy category, but they have lots of cool tshirts), had some ice cream, walked by the closed rum and cigar shop, and finally had lunch at a little place called Fido’s.

Yes, I know, you probably shouldn’t expect much from a place named after the family pet.

But it’s pronounced Fee-doze, according to the tshirts of the wait staff, and ohmygod was the food good. I had shrimp roasted in garlic, butter, olive oil, and red pepper flakes, with a side of foccacia. Let me tell you, people, I have had (and made) some tasty foccacia in my day, and this beat them all. And the shrimp was even better.

John had lobster rangoon–lobster season opened a week before we got there–and it was almost as tasty as the shrimp. If it hadn’t been for the lure of the pool at the hotel, I’d still be sitting there eating.

But we did leave eventually, and the nice folks at AdM boated us back to BBR. Then we spent the afternoon lounging in one or the other of the two pools. The bigger pool had a couple of screaming, splashing kids, and in order to not commit murder in front of their grandparents or witness one of them split their head open when they fell on tile while running and thus be compelled to perform rescues, we adjourned to the smaller but quieter pool. This one has a waterfall, which is fun, but no lounge chairs. Alisa made a big production (throughout the week) of reading a bunch of the D.A.N. material for various diving safety courses, but the rest of us were officially on vacation and didn’t care. So an afternoon of fun and sun and water it was.

Eventually we retired to shower and nap, given that most of us were still sleep deprived. Then it was off to town again for dinner, the five of us, plus two other travellers. This time, we went to Caramba, a tasty Mexican-ish joint that lured us in with the promise of free conche ceviche appetizers, and then when we hemmed and hawed, offered free rum punch to all on top of that. So John was a pretty happy guy after having his, mine, and Alisa’s drink.

The ceviche was great, a little spicy, but amazingly good. And I had some of the best shrimp fajitas EVER. And they were beat, hands down, by John’s lobster fajitas. Ohmygod! Then it was off to DandE’s next door for “The best ice cream on the planet.”

Now, I know there’s a certain amount of liberty taken in advertising, but SERIOUSLY!! Best ice cream, or actually custard ice cream, EVER! I had an Oreo Cookie mini sundae, which came in a cute little dish with tasty hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry.

One day in and this vacation is doing horrible things to my diet. Ah well.

Then it was back to the hotel to set the alarm in order to be ready to go at 7:30 the next morning. And to send up happy calm thoughts, this time to the wind gods, that it would be a nice and diveable day. And to sleep with ever available body appendage crossed.

Day 3

My plane leaves in just about 14 hours for the Caribbean, and a week of fun, sun, diving, drinks, and friends.

Of course, we haven’t started packing, or doing laundry, or any of that other stuff necessary, but my talk and my poster are as done as possible for the time being.

We’re going with James M and Alisa, as well as a bunch of other people, including my mother-in-law, so it should be a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad wonderful vacation.

We’re diving every day, 2-3 times at least, in water that’s about 30 degrees warmer than here in Monterey, and things are a lot more colorful and plentiful than Monterey.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Monterey diving, I just wouldn’t be entirely heartbroken if I was told I could only dive in the tropics ever again.

So, adieu for now. I’ll be back in a week and a day, bringing July with me. It may take some convincing to get me into 50 degree water on the 4th of July after this trip, but it’ll be great while it lasts!!

…Alisa is going straight through to Instructor, and plans to take the IE (instructor exam) the weekend of Labor Day.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter, as further speculation will probably lead me to say things I shouldn’t/will regret.

*sigh*

So I want to stress that both Alisa and Jeff are my friends, and that I think they’re good people, good divers, and good PADI team members, and I respect and value their friendship.

It’s professionally that I have problems with them. I was venting a bit in the last post, so it may have sounded like I don’t think much of them as people.

Let’s put it this way: I’d go diving with them in a heartbeat, and I won’t dive with someone to whom I wouldn’t trust my life.

So yes, I feel threated by Alisa professionally a bit, and I have concerns about her plans to become an instructor at this stage, and I have concerns about Jeff’s role in working with and certifying Greg’s students. But that’s for Greg and Jeff to sort out, and it’s up to them to decide if Alisa is or isn’t ready.

The real thing that bothered me about the whole thing is Greg’s apparent involvement, which has been explained and fixed to my satisfaction by our conversation Sunday, and my relationship with Greg.

Now, I think some of the changes are in my head, given that I do feel insecure of my position around Alisa–this is due to simple lack of confidence that rears it’s ugly head from time to time. But some of it might be real, and eventually I’ll get up the courage to talk to Greg about it if I feel that I have concrete evidence.

So they’re my friends, and I don’t want to take anything away from that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have professional differences that are hopefully getting worked out.

*sigh*

We’re entering hour 11 of a 15-hour day, the first of two, so you’ll have to bear with me here. I made a full pot of coffee at 6pm. And drank it. By myself. Gah.

So yes, it’s been a long day at work. But first, the recent drama…

John and I became Divemasters (DMs) back in January/February-ish. About six weeks later, Alisa became a DM. There are a couple other people in the DMC (DM candidate) program right now.

(Because your number is permanent in the PADI professional system, John will always have a lower number than me by one, and we’ll both always have a lower number than Alisa. Regardless of how fast she goes through the instructor development course. Ha!! I’m a little competitive when I feel threatened.)

It’s been observed/felt lately, by myself, John, James F, and who knows who else, that Alisa is a rather ambitious diver in terms of the professional ladder. This is great in some ways. She’s a great diver, and a good friend, even if I do feel threatened by her a bit (see below). However, the problem that some of us have with this is that diving came easily to her. She didn’t have to work at it, and has yet to have a “tempering” experience while working as a professional.

By tempering, I mean things like the dive where James F and I had to rescue two students who weren’t watching their air levels and ran out. Or the class we refer to as “Bowling for Students Class”, where a wave came and knocked nearly everyone, myself and the student who I was holding included, over and sent us backwards towards a stone wall. It’s a sobering experience to have to jump up, wearing 60-80lbs of gear, and have to chase after your student as she’s getting washed out to sea. You just do things like this without regard for yourself or your equipment because the student is what’s important. It’s scary, but that’s what you’ve gotta do.

I’d say I’ve learned a lot from these experiences about my role with respect to students, my abilities to help students, and generally how I can improve. She’s never had that kind of sobering experience where you sit back and go “oh shit”. And I’d like to point out that the class where we had to rescue people—her class. She wasn’t one of them, but we trained her not that long ago. WE TRAINED HER. We’ve all been there, done that, but she seems to think she’s entitled.

Maybe due to this, and maybe because it’s part of who she is, she tends to appear somewhat stand-off-ish, with a “better than thou” attitude and a “why don’t you get this, are you stupid?” attitude towards students, particularly those to whom diving isn’t easy.

And lets face it: diving is not the easiest sport. Part of what I really enjoy about teaching is helping those students achieve their goals of becoming divers.

But it’s thought among some of us that she doesn’t have the right attitude about being a professional and teaching to really advance much past Assistant Instructor (AI) at this point. Not that she shouldn’t do it in the future, just that her attitude about it and her work with students needs to improve a bit.

Plus, it’s felt that she’s positioning herself for a take-over from James F and Ben, Greg’s Affiliate Instructors, and that’s JUST NOT COOL with some of us. I’m rather protective of my staff, even if they’re higher in the food chain than me, and I don’t want to see them get stepped on professionally or in their friendships.

So yeah…general unease, to say the least.

And I’ve definitely realized lately that the first person she’s over taken is me. Without me even realizing it. She definitely has an edge on me in prepping for classes, given that she can be there earlier than I can—her job as a baker is less demanding and timely. And she’s always first to volunteer—I never get a word in edgewise. Which is great that she’s helpful, but it ends up making me look like I never do anything. Plus there’s the baking thing….

I used to bake for the classes and staff all the time, given that I use baking as a stress relief and therapy of sorts. Lots of cookies and cakes for classes, muffins and breads for mornings at the ocean, that sort of thing. But since she’s come along, she tends to break bakery croissants and chocolate croissants, which are good (her partner’s a French pastry chef), and bakery cakes to stuff. Now, part of this is how I feel, and part of it is me being snippy, but I’ve never been a fan of bakery cakes. They’re always over done and never quite as good as you want them to be. Sadly, though, she always gets a ton of compliments, and they tend to be things like “You are the best baker ever, this is the best cake I’ve ever had.” Coming from Greg in particular, this hurts my feelings. I know he’s just being complimentary, and that’s how Greg is—over the top with the compliments sometimes. But still, what am I—chopped liver? Sheesh. But I feel, in my non-self-confident way, that I can’t compete with a professional baker, so I’ve just backed down from taking my baked goods to share. This isn’t her fault, but it doesn’t help nonetheless.

And finally, my interactions with Greg have changed. I don’t know if he’s less friendly, or there’s just less interactions in the joking around and giving each other a friendly hard time sense, or what. But things have changed, and I feel like she’s working to replace me, not just appear along side me in a staff sense.

I’m definitely the kind of person who prefers to be alpha female—problem is, I don’t like to fight for it. I prefer subtly running things from behind the scenes. I’ll be benevolent dictator of the world one day, but I’m unsure how to tackle this problem now.

So yeah…specific unease on my part, to say the least.

And then last Tuesday, a week and a half ago (oh dear god is it already Thursday?!?!), John and I were at the shop and saw Alisa and Jeff, another instructor at the Dive Shop, coming down from the classrooms, having obviously just worked on AI stuff. Which sucked, since we’d talked with Alisa and Jeff about doing it together. Greg included, of course.

They laughed this off, and Jeff mentioned he’d send out an email (which we got….five days later). They then proceeded, with Greg, who walked up about then, to discuss getting together Thursday at 4pm. Now, Alisa, with respect to her job, can be available at times like that. Neither John nor I can be—we both work until 7 or 8pm on an almost daily bases. Generally, on days I help with classes and need to be there by 6pm or so, I have to plan to be able to leave work early. Which, in fact, is a moot point, since none of them asked us if we wanted to be involved.

WHAT?

This REALLY pissed me off at this point. We talked it over that evening, and ended up talking to James F about it, knowing he already had some concerns about Alisa. And since we were all in the car headed to go dive, it made sense. And I’d like to point out we approached him in a “you’re our friend can we talk about this” sense, and not in a “you’re an instructor on the staff can we talk about this” sense. If that makes sense.

Basically, we (I) were pissed off enough to consider going to do AI with another instructor if this was how things were going to be.

I should mention here that Greg is really the only instructor that I’m truly comfortable working with, aside from James F and Ben, since my comfort level stems from my ability to take constructive criticism for what it is and not feel insulted. Bob may be the next best thing, but the other instructors he works with don’t yet fall into this category. So it would be fairly drastic for me to try and switch instructors/staff groups, and probably wouldn’t actually happen, just because there’s no one else I’d want to work with.

He shared our concerns that this WASN’T COOL, and commiserated that he couldn’t help us, since he’s not a high enough ranking instructor to teach the AI course. You have to actually go through the IDC (PADI’s how to be an instructor program) twice before you can train AIs.

Turns out, he viewed it in a friend sense and a staff sense and talked to Greg about it, feeling that it was enough of a problem that it needed to be addressed in a staff sense, not just in a friendship sense.

He moves fast, and Sunday we got a call from Greg. Greg had also heard similar rumblings from John’s co-worker, so figured he (a) couldn’t ignore it coming from two people, and (b) couldn’t ignore it coming from James F. Turns out, Greg wasn’t part of the planning for the whole “training Alisa in AI” thing, and was actually kinda surprised that Jeff was doing it. Apparently, Greg’s gotten a little uncomfortable with the level of involvedness Jeff has be having with Greg’s students, namely the DMCs and now DMs that are AIs-in-training. Especially since Jeff is Affiliate Instructor of someone else, NOT Greg.

So we apologized to Greg—basically, we explained that we wouldn’t have put it past Jeff to take Alisa and bolt with her to AI status so that he could sign off on her certification and get credit for it, and we wouldn’t put it past Alisa to bolt for AI and leave us behind, and Greg seemed to be involved in this.

Which brings up the whole potential problem of Jeff “poaching” students. Some people, myself included, feel that to most instructors, teaching is about helping students learn and have fun, but to Jeff, it is also about getting the certification credit, potentially at the expense of other people who might also need the cert credit, like James F or Ben or others. He’s made it known that his intention was to get to Master Instructor as fast as possible—given that PADI says you have to be an instructor for two years before you can do this, his aim was simply to complete all other requirements as fast as possible. And he’s not above getting there at the expense of other instructors, given ample opportunity. Opportunity was provided when Greg asked Jeff to help train the many of us going through the DMC program at the time. Jeff hasn’t backed off, and seems to be wedging himself in that doorway now that he’s been invited in a bit.

And he’s stepped on toes before of at least two other instructors at the Dive Shop. I was inadvertently involved in one of these situations, and am trying my damndest to stay out of this one.

John and I are intentionally trying to involve Greg and work with him, and limit our involvement with Jeff in the matter. Thing is, he’s a great guy, a good friend, and a good instructor, so it’s tough to also see him in this light.

But our first loyalty is to Greg, and to James F and Ben, so we’ll see where things end up.

However, consensus does seem to be that if he takes Alisa and bolts with her for his staff, it’ll kill two birds with one stone, and no one will be particularly upset.

Now, it’s 9:30pm, and I’m due back at work in 30 minutes, so you’ll excuse me if I take off now.

Stupid cells.

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