…returning home after being long gone.

It’s  May 22, 2010, and we are still in Florida – Naples, to be exact.  Our intent was to return to Door County by the first of May. You know the old saying about the “best laid plans?” Wow!

We arrived in Naples on the first of February; our previous years’ experiences led us to believe we would have three months of sunny, warm weather.  Wrong!

We had two full months of record-setting low temperatures (from the thirties to the fifties), rainfall and overcast days.  Our cold-weather wardrobes consisted of the sweats we had worn on the trip down, a couple of pair of socks, two or three long-sleeved tees and a heavy jacket …and, of course, snow boots.

I won’t go into our varying levels of disappointment – and our many trips to Target.  What do you do in Florida when the weather is cold and wet? Fortunately, we had our computers and cell-phone and projects to finish. Wrong!

Nothing worked that was supposed to work – connections were null and void.  We went from hooking up with our computer guru in DC (Georgi) who tried very hard to get us online using available equipment.  Impossible.

Next, we bought a Sprint-card which also didn’t work. All of this “trying” went on for two weeks. We finally abandoned the existing router, returned the card (which was another story; i.e., how to  get a credit within two months of cancellation). We bought another router, called Georgi and were finally able to feed our Internet addiction.

Other events: my LG cell-phone started misbehaving and ultimately had to be shipped back to the factory. It was returned two weeks later, everything wiped off!!! I’m still trying to enter my contacts from memory or old address books. I also learned I could have backed-up the info through easy-edge.

Garrett’s phone got fried one day when he decided he had to go into the outdoor whirlpool and he forgot his phone was in the pocket of his shorts. He is, at present, attempting to reconstruct his contact list on a new phone. There is no US Cellular service (our provider in DC) in Florida which makes the process quite interesting!


On the 19th of March, Garrett was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Suffice to say, without going into the details and without becoming melodramatic (a tendency), after many tests, consultations with top-docs, etc., he decided to have his nine-weeks of radiation in Naples. It seems they have the most advanced machine (Calypso) available.  He also felt a rapport with the head oncologist and radiologist oncologist.  So, we had a plan; stay an additional two months in Naples.

Our grandaughter, Alexa (13) and her friend, Rachel came to visit us on March 22nd and we enjoyed the time with them.  We were able to set aside our thinking and planning for five days of fun and food.

After they left, we continued our planning.  You see, our lease would be up soon and with the owner coming down for his vacation, we had to find another place to live – and quickly.

In April, we began to feel the sun’s rays trying hard to get through the clouds; finally, it was spring and we breathed in the new air, began to smell the flowers and shed our layers. Garrett’s treatments were to begin mid-month after many more tests, exams, meetings, etc. We found a less-expensive and much smaller condo and packed and shlepped and unpacked and slowly, settled in and settled down.

Our daughter, Sharon, visited April 11-15 and we had a truly wonderful few days. She is a beacon for joy and hope and love.

Garrett finished half of his treatments, yesterday. The side-effects of the radiation vary day-by-day. His mood changes, also. I think, he has finally accepted the reality of “having cancer.” He had a hard time getting his head around the diagnosis; but, now, is accepting and positive. Luckily, he has returned to meditation and is exercising (although not as much as I think he should – well, I am his wife, what do you expect?

Our daughter, Michelle (a breast cancer survivor) will be visiting over Memorial Day Weekend. She is taking time from her very, very, busy life with her job, family and volunteer activities. We await her with open arms.

We expect to depart Naples on June 24th and drive, slowly, home. If Garrett has the energy, we will take the long route and travel north on I95 to Philadelphia to see our new grandaughter, Josette, who will be two months old by then. Of course, we’ll see our grandson, Levon (2 yrs.) and our son, Adam and his wife, Jill. Our daughter, Laura, her husband (Bill) and our grandson, Daniel (13) also live there. We are looking forward to a short visit with them.

As for me, my life has been completely different than I had envisioned when we planned our winter vacation. Although I have all my painting supplies, my knitting, my kindle and my bike, the only thing I’ve done on a regular basis is read (on my kindle) – and cook dinner. We have one car between us so each day is planned depending upon Garrett’s appointments (which cannot be scheduled more than one or two days in advance.) I have, however, insisted on having the car every Monday and Friday morning so I can go to my yoga class. I’m grateful for the peace I find at Bala Vinyasna.

Emotionally, physically and  psychologically, these months have challenged me in more ways than I can explain. I struggle with my fears, my loss of control and awareness of my mortality. I’m grateful for the new friends we have made in Naples and the old friends who now live here. Their support has been heart-warming as have all the e-mails and phone calls we have received from caring and loving friends in Door County and our lovely grandaughter, Jordyn (17) who is an avid supporter and volunteer for the American Cancer Society (and care-taker of Garrett’s car while we’re in Florida).

Until we meet again…




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