Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Experiences - the good and the not so good. They happen. And we remember.

Most of you know by now how very much I love the beach.

And Topsail Island, NC is at the top of that list.

Some of you were readers here at Meanderings and Muses back in May, 2010.

That was when we had our trip to Topsail all planned.

The house on the beach in Surf City was rented, paid for and waiting for us.

Donald left for work on Friday morning and I threw open a window to say goodbye as he was getting in the car.  And I remember saying "tomorrow we leave for the beach!  Yay!"

And he smiled and said "Yay!" back.


That's not what happened.

I got a phone call to please come to Watauga Medical.

And I needed to come right away.

Donald had had a heart attack.

He had been revived and they were going to take him by helicopter to Asheville Memorial.

It's all right here - http://www.meanderingsandmuses.com/2010/05/phone-call-no-one-ever-wants-to-get.html

Needless to say, this was a hard time in our lives.

One of the hardest.

And a time that changed Donald Barley.


I thought the changes might be temporary, but they have proved to be a very ingrained part of who he is.

He has always been a kind soul.  It's one of the things that initially attracted me.  It's one of the things I remain attracted to.  and cherish.

The changed Donald is not one a casual observer will ever notice.  He doesn't make a big deal about anything, my Donald.  He's as laid back as a old boot.  (and you know how much I do love old boots, so this is a compliment of the highest sort.  really.  Well, it is . . . ).

But I'm not here to talk about Donald, how sweet he is, how kind, how cute or how funny, or how smart . . .

I'm not.

I am here to talk about some things that happened during that period of time.

While Don was in the hospital friends gathered - both in the real world and in the world of the internet.  It's when I knew Facebook could be quite powerful.  It was a lifeline.

Friends gathered and held my hand, figuratively and literally, while I sat in that hospital room with my best friend and held his hand.  Not knowing for a couple days if he was going to make it or not.


Obviously, he made it.

And is as full of piss and vinegar as he ever was.

Will I remember who was there for me?

Of course I will.

But here's something else I remember.

The house we had rented and paid for?

Well, suffice to say, that experience turned us off for Surf City and Topsail Island for a couple years and we lost a good bit of money.

It's also the reason I now buy travel insurance for everything.





As you know, we were scheduled to go to Topsail for the week of Thanksgiving, but I got sick.

Certainly not anything as serious as what we went through in 2010, but sick enough that we had to cancel the trip.

But, I wasn't worried because - ta DA! - I had purchased travel insurance.

But you know what - turns out we didn't even need it.

The owners of the property, along with the rental agency, agreed we could just transfer the money paid to another week if we wanted to.  They never even asked about insurance - they were just doing what nice people do.

This was not an option that would or could be considered in 2010.  It wasn't even on the table for consideration in 2010.  

Lessons learned are hard, but they're learned and never forgotten.

That rental company won't get our business again.  This rental company?  Well, they have a couple pretty loyal renters, I must say.

Small things mean a lot.

More than we realize until face to face with them, I think.

So - the beach for a week in the dead of winter or a week next spring or summer?  Our choice.  We chose dead of winter.





And - did you know there were whales spotted off the Surf City Pier on Topsail yesterday?!  YES!

take a look - - -


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