Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day. A national holiday in England. It is the traditional Christmas celebration day for the staff of English country houses who had to work on Christmas.

Yesterday was Christmas. We had three ships in port. We had no staff in so Martin and I opened the museum. We ran three cruise ship tours and had just over 80 visitors through the building. We had a very interesting mix of tourists in and I enjoy getting to talk to people and see what attracts them to the museum. I rarely do the cruise ship tours anymore. One of the successes here has been that after designing and writing up our current 45 minute cruise ship excursion tour I have been able to train staff to handle it very effectively. Lina, one of the girls on staff has become one of the most engaging tour guides on the island and we are getting excellent reviews and everyone is happy.

We finally finally closed around 5:00 and went home to make Christmas dinner. Deneen was thinking we were going to have a nice evening together, but surprise! I brought guests home who then stayed to watch movies long into the evening.

It is hard separating my life here and their life here. I don't really think about it, but my relationships with people here have continued and have typically grown while Deneen and the boys now only get plugged in to these relationships sporadically. Martin even made a snide comment about my "other children" the other day. Just in jest, but it made me think about how life changes and how people come and go along your path. I practice a life theory where I don't believe that I can change the world, but I believe I can have a positive effect on the lives of the people who come across my path.

Deneen and the boys are amazing people and have an unbelievable ability to be loving and accepting. Deneen, especially, is unconditional in her willingness to continually put other people's needs in front of her own. And if she is not always happy about it, I am the only person who ever sees that she is not.

I thought Christmas this year was kind of small, busy, and we really did not really have any presents. But in the end, as I write this, I realise that I got the best gift I could ever get. I got the best wife and family in the world.

When I left for the museum this morning, all Deneen said was, "No surprises today."

Thursday, December 24, 2009


It has been a week since Martin arrived, and several days since Deneen and the other two boys got here. The day Martin came in to Grand Turk, Tiffany left. She actually flew out on the plane he came in on.

Martin flew in on AA points and had miserable connections. He left Columbus last Wednesday, flew to Laguardia in New York, took a bus between LGA and Kennedy, took a shuttle to a hotel, checked in (though technically he is a minor and can not check into a hotel),got up at 4:00am and made the flight to Provo, and took the small domestic flight to Grand Turk. I almost wanted to leave a car for him at the airport so he could make the whole trip on his own, but I picked him up.

Deneen, Lucas, and Davis came in a couple days later. They had to drive to Pittsburgh Friday night. It started snowing on their way out. This was the weekend of the big east coast storm. They stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express at the airport. In the morning they took the airport shuttle. The roads were covered. The flight before theirs boarded. Then a few minutes later the plane unboarded. Cancelled to Philly. Deneen's flight was changed to a different gate. They boarded, deiced, and took off an hour late.

At Charlotte they had to run to their new gate. They arrived a minute before the door closed. The last people on the plane. I met them in Provo, unfortunately their luggage did not.

We finally picked up the luggage yesterday. In a few hours it will be a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I feel like everyone on Grand Turk is trying to get their parties in before my family gets here. Last Saturday Alessio had a BBQ that lasted six hours. Then on Sunday night Mitch had his birthday party at the Osprey. On Monday night I was invited to a party at the Ward's house. I thought it was going to be a small dinner party for 8 but everyone who is here in the interim government and all of the Brit expats were there. This party was great because the hostess passed names around in a hat and everyone had to sit with the person they drew. Tuesday was the Carnival Christmas party at Margarittaville. Then last night we had a staff dinner at the house before a big cleaning party today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Work, Work, Work

This week has been sooooo much work. I am trying to finish grant reports. We wrote and submitted a $120,000.00 grant for the National Arboretum last week. I am beginning a new round of the After School Homework program, which was re-grant funded. We received a $10,000 foundation grant that had to be matched with "new" sources of funding, but we had only raised half by December so I am trying desperately to find another five $1000 donors this week. I am trying to get CAD drawings completed of the foundations we found and measured at Ft. George. And this week we were suppose to begin the installation of the new Salinas Kiosk. What I did not get done by Friday was three support letters other people have asked me to write.

This is also party season - if anyone remembers. Today I received three invites: a BBQ at Alessio's tomorrow, the Carnival Christmas party on Tuesday, we have a museum party on Wednesday, then a Red Cross party next weekend. In between this, my family arrives, so I also have to clean the house.

I am exhausted and not sleeping well. I am so tired today. I worked until after dark yesterday and the sun has already gone down today. I did not get to swim either. And everyone is complaining that I am crabby. I might as well be in the frigid north if I am going to work all the time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


After being here two years, things that were at one time great interesting stories are now just common run of the mill occurrences that seem like a waste of time to write about.

I had curried goat for lunch today. No big deal. It is often on the menu. I got it because yesterday I was in a meeting where someone suggested that we have goat at our Christmas party, and then someone else said they only like the goats from Haiti because goats from here don't taste as good.

So there you go. You know what it tastes like - chicken? No, actually a little more like lamb. Except that evidently when you chop up a small goat there are lots of bony bones and just a little meat. But, tastes good all curried up!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why We Cruise to Grand Turk

As I prepare to have my family fly down to the Turks and Caicos for Christmas I came across this ad. It is not lost on me. Last year we took the Carnival Destiny to Grand Turk in November and went back on the Holland America Eurodam the first week of January. What great holiday travel that turned out to be.

This year will be very different. A shorter visit. A lot of work. We have nine ships in the week of Christmas. Three ships on Christmas Day. We have cruised here because, frankly, it can be cheaper than flying.

If anyone wanted to see me for a day, the cheapest cruise this year on the Carnival Destiny will be leaving Miami on December 14th and will be arriving here on the 16th. Two people could sail that week in an inside cabin for less than $600.00 total cost.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Governor's Christmas Party

It is hard to believe, but I attended my third Christmas party at the Governor's residence this weekend. These parties have always resulted in some big story. Not much to report this time. Unless you count when I jumped on stage and grabbed the mic to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas all Joe Cocker style. What can I say, these island rhythms just get to me. And then there was the whole repeat of the Knott's Berry Farm incident. Enough said.