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Yesterday we were both up early again and by 0900 we had enjoyed a walk on the beach, breakfast aussie style at the Surf Life Saving Club; croissants served with apricot jam and vegemite; socked the new spinnaker, stowed all our new spares, set aside all the DYI items to be completed over this cyclone season,  purchased our cruising guide to New South Wales and paid the marina to stay an extra few days given the storm that was battering the south east coast of Australia and which was forecast to reach us today.

After a delicious fresh fruit salad for lunch and with the rest of the day to do as we pleased, we decided to take the tram to the Pacific Fair mall and replace Elaine's comb and nail clippers which mysteriously disappeared during our travels back to the US. We also took the opportunity to purchase some new tea towels and a new memory foam mattress topper for Elaine's bed.

Late afternoon snacks and sundowners were enjoyed aboard before a light dinner. It was also the first night since our return to Australia that we both managed to stay awake until a reasonable hour before heading for bed.

This morning Roy was awake early and used the time to replace the anchor swivel and the water sensor in the starboard saildrive, while Elaine enjoyed a sleep in. After breakfast we enjoyed another walk on the beach, followed by a mid-morning coffee at the Surf Life Saving Club. The remainder of the day was spent reviewing the various charts and cruising guides, as well as setting our route in preparation for our passage to Sydney. Although the wind had picked up significantly, fortunately the rain held off and, by late afternoon, it was time to dinghy ashore to enjoy the Mayor's  Christmas Carols at the Broadwater Parklands followed by a spectacular fireworks display. It certainly inspired us to think about decking Paw Paw's halls!

Our domestic flight on Quantas from Sydney to Brisbane was very refreshing indeed. The gate opened on time, following which ALL passengers were requested to board; no call for platinum, gold, silver, bronze, diamond, ruby, frequent flyers, etc and we were all greeted by name as our boarding passes were scanned. Everyone was loaded on a completely full 737-800 aircraft in ten minutes flat. Amazing! Then a healthy snack of hummus, celery sticks, cheese and crackers was served, accompanied by either a fresh fruit juice, water, coffee or tea, regardless of the fact that it was just a one hour flight. Having to wait only six minutes for our shuttle after our arrival, which dropped us off right at the Southport Yacht Club, was the cherry on the cake. Exhausted and feeling like death warmed up, we were both delighted to see Paw Paw and crawl into our own beds.

Tuesday morning was spent liaising with Delta Airlines both in Sydney and the US to try and obtain clarity on the status of our missing luggage which indicated everything had been loaded in LA. It was only when Elaine suggested that the sailbag resembled a mailbag, that the light bulbs went on - It had been unloaded in Sydney as mail. It was a great relief to receive the phone call later in the day indicating that the missing item had been delivered to Coolangata Gold Coast airport and was ready for collection.

With Roy feeling dreadful and having to spend most of the day in bed after starting a course of antibiotics for tonsillitis, a chest infection, sore ears and a splitting headache, we decided that collecting the sail could wait another day. Elaine, however, managed to mustered up some energy to start the process of getting Paw Paw back in order and unpack. A walk to Tedder Avenue for a late lunch and to buy a few things for a light dinner helped clear the cobwebs, but we were both "man down" by early evening.

Fortunately by yesterday morning, we were both feeling a little more human and the antibiotics had kicked in for Roy. A short walk to the nearest tram station, a tram ride and a connecting bus journey got us to the airport without any hassle. Finding the sail damaged because some bright spark had decided to drag the sailbag across the tarmac, rather than carry it was, however, infuriating and, of course, there is no recourse. Fortunately it is repairable, but another saga we would have preferred to avoid. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, then, since it was Roast Night at the Southport Yacht Club, we settled for a very tasty early dinner.

Although we were both wide awake at 0430 this morning, we took advantage of the time to catch up with family in Ireland and Arizona. Having William recognise our voices immediately, followed by his cheerful and enthusiastic "hi Grandma , hi Papa" was a wonderful start to our day. Then, while Roy dealt with some landlubber matters and investigated a possible leak in the dinghy, Elaine completed the task of unpacking and getting Paw Paw organised again.

This afternoon we dinghied over to the Australian Fair mall to make a start on our provisioning, while we await a weather window to head south. Although it has been raining on and off since yesterday, the weather cleared this afternoon, so we decided a barbecue on board and another early night was a fitting end to a very long and busy day.

Well, it wasn't first class, but it was free. Or, was it? Our new downwind sail and some of our cloths didn't arrive with us in Sydney, although the last status indicates that everything was loaded in LA. Lets hope they find our baggage, otherwise it could turn into a rather expensive undertaking and a major headache to replace it from Australia. It's fair to say that we've definitely been spoilt with our air travel these past few years, so having to travel economy for the first time in forever, definitely reminded us just how unpleasant air travel has become. Cramped, uncomfortable and exhausting, particularly on a fifteen hour flight. I think it'll be a while before we complain again about a passage on Paw Paw. At least we have all our home comforts at our finger tips no matter where we choose to roam and the officialdom processes are far more enjoyable and efficient when entering or leaving a country by yacht. Of course, we crossed the international dateline again and, therefore, lost yet another day of our lives, but, regardless, we're both looking forward to getting back to Paw Paw and our very peaceful, calm and fulfilling lifestyle!
Well, we experienced another first. Although we lived in the US for seventeen years, we never participated in Black Friday, preferring to stick needles in our eyes instead. That, however, all changed yesterday, when Keenan announced that we were all going shopping. Needless to say, all Elaine's protests fell on deaf ears. Getting all of us into the car with a stroller and room to spare for any purchase was definitely a challenge. Once we arrived at San Tan Mall and everyone scattered in different directions to make their purchase, Elaine found a spot in Starbucks and looked after all the children instead. Far more enjoyable.

Once that was done, it was a mad dash home to get packed and then ready for our night out with our friends, Lisa and Joe and what a treat it was; dinner at the Orange Sky restaurant, with a sunset view, overlooking Camelback Mountain. It turned into a very long night with all the catching up that we had to do, but with great food, wine and company, the hours simply slipped by. A great big THANK YOU to them for spoiling us at this fabulous venue.

This morning we were up bright and early to collect our hired car and commence the first stage of our long journey back to Australia and Paw Paw, but not before a very difficult and tearful goodbye to all our sweethearts. Since we had to move our international flight earlier by a day due to the loads and all the internal flights were full, there's nothing like a road trip to Los Angeles in bumper to bumper traffic. Fortunately we've got just under 100 miles still to go with plenty of time to spare before our flight tonight.

Thank you to Keenan, Brooke and the grandchildren for a fabulous three weeks. We're looking forward to March already!

Tuesday was a day for the girls to go out together, so Elaine, Brooke and Capri wasted no time in getting ready and leaving the boys to their own devices. Our outing included lunch at Oregano's followed by the movie, Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. Needless to say, a few tears were shed, but for Elaine's first movie theatre experience in more than four years, it was very enjoyable.

It was early evening by the time the girls returned home, but there was no sign of the boys. They had decided to enjoy a day to themselves and headed for the Phoenix Zoo. William was obviously in awe of the Dinasaor Exhibit because it was all he talked about that night.

Yesterday we were both up early for a rather different day. The morning was spent at the dentist in order to have Elaine's crown fitted and for each of us to have a decent oral hygiene procedure. Elaine was completely fascinated at watching her "tooth" get milled from a 3-D computer generated imagine. Incredible and it fitted perfectly.

After lunch at the Chandler mall and completing our final list of errands, it was time for Elaine to have a few medical tests completed before enjoying sundowners at the Monastery while we waited to collect Keenan after instructing his students at the CAE Oxford flight school. Flying is definitely his passion!

Today we woke to mouth-watering aromas coming from the kitchen. Brooke was cooking up a storm in the kitchen and, before long, we were all enjoying eggs benedict for breakfast.Thanksgiving dinner was a joint effort however, with Roy and Brooke preparing the turkey and stuffing, Roy in charge of the gravy, Elaine in charge of the bacon wraps and the girls preparing the mashed potatoes, bean casserole, cranberry sauce and the pies, all of which was completed and enjoyed after a long family walk, while enjoying the fabulous weather at this time of year in the Valley of the Sun. Keenan did a marvellous job of keeping the babies "fed and watered" and, most importantly, out of the kitchen while preparation were underway.

Of course, by the time we had all completely and utterly overindulgenced with our dinner, all we could muster were a few games of corn hole and ladder ball in the back garden before heading to bed for an early night.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends in America. We were thankful to be spending our day with Keenan, Brooke and the grandchildren. It was our first Thanksgiving back on US soil in four years and a memorable one indeed!

It wasn't that long ago we were counting the "sleeps" until we saw the family and now we only have four more "sleeps"  left before we have to leave them and head back to Australia. We've thoroughly enjoyed our time with them and the past few days were no exception.

Although Elaine spent Saturday at the local Queen Creek library for a little peace and quiet to get some paperwork completed while Roy visited the storage unit and we've spent a few days running some errands, we've still had plenty of time for family walks, playtime at the park, movie nights, barbecues and family time around the fire pit just to take the chiill out of the evening air. William has also enjoyed his bicycle rides and Roy has cooked up a few storms in the kitchen, much to the delight of the twins.

By yesterday though, Grandpa needed an afternoon nap, so he joined the babies, but woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed to enjoy Keenan and Brooke's friends who had come over to visit.

Today was "mom and son" day, so, after fetching Keenan from the airport, him and  Elaine headed off for their afternoon together.  Lunch was enjoyed at San Tan Flats and although the plan was to go to the movies,  we opted instead to go off roading in his new truck. It's fair to say we both enjoyed our time together without the demands of family life.  By the time we got home Roy, Brooke and the rest of the family were well into their afternoon of backyard games; corn hole and ladder ball. The day was wrapped up with another barbecue, roasting marshmallows and we got to taste a "smore" for the very first time.

By the time we headed to bed, we knew all was right with our world, including Paw Paw.  A great big THANK YOU to Ros and Rick off Raya who, once again, tended to her engines and docklines before their departure to Sydney.

It has been another busy week in the Cadman household. While Elaine enjoyed a "sleep in" on Monday morning, Roy was up early to head to the condo to meet the carpet contractors. After that the whole family took a trip to the Chandler mall to do some Christmas shopping before heading to Costco for some much needed alcoholic supplies of beer and wine, some of which was consumed later with a barbecue and another gathering around the fire pit.

On Tuesday, Roy and Keenan enjoyed a "father and son" day, although all of us were definitely sleep deprived following an emergency trip to the hospital overnight with Carter. Fortunately that matter was resolved just prior to daybreak which allowed all of us to get a little more sleep before William and Brayden woke up.

It is safe to say though, that by the end of Wednesday we were both, not only sleep deprived, but suffering from "sticker shock" after the continuation of Elaine's root canal treatment here in the USA, which, unfortunately, could not be completed in New Caledonia due to complications that set in towards the end of the procedure. Although a much better experience completing the treatment than she had envisaged, it was more than ten times the price - New Caledonia $150USD, USA $2370USD. The latter does, however, include a new crown, although New Caledonia was able to reuse the old one. One cannot help but wonder though, that something is definitely amiss with medical charges in the USA! In pain, Elaine spent the rest of the day on the sofa watching Disney movies with William while the rest of the adults decorated the house for Brayden and Carter's First Birthday celebrations.

And what a fun day of celebrations it was. Brooke and Elaine spent a relaxing morning at the hairdresser and then baked cupcakes to accompany the "Cookie Monster" themed birthday cakes for the twins, before preparing the last minute dinner items and getting the birthday boys ready. Roy and Keenan completed the last minute To Dos and by early evening the guests had arrived and the party was in full swing. The day was topped off with lots of giggles and laughter when the adults enjoyed a few rounds of "catch phrase / phrase frenzy" around the fire pit. It was also lovely that Elaine eventually got to meet Brooke's dad, but we all definitely missed "Nana", Brooke's mom, who was unable to join us.

Today was a quieter day and, after taking Keenan to the airport, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Brio's, at the San Tan Mall, followed by a relatively peaceful afternoon and an early night.

It's hard to believe that we only have one week left with the family before we have to make our way back to Paw Paw. We do know that all is well on that front though, thanks to the staff at the Southport Yacht Club and our friends off Raya, Ros and Rick, who were kind enough to visit Paw Paw in her berth after their passage from Fiji. Thank you to them for turning over her engines and checking her docklines, as well as closing the hatch we had inadvertently left open - We were obviously in a bigger rush to see the family than we realised!

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