No Cruise/No Deposit

I booked a cruise with a friend with MSC Cruises, a cruise line that I had never used before, for October, 2022. It was a cruise to sail out of Barcelona, Spain and it was going to go all over the Mediterranean. I paid a $199 deposit using a debit card that was attached to my checking account at First Texas Bank. I was living in Round Rock, TX with my ailing mother as I was her primary caregiver. My mother ended up passing away in June, 2021 of Congestive Heart Failure and I had to move to College Station, Texas. She and I shared a two bedroom apartment together and I couldn’t afford it by myself. I couldn’t afford anything in Round Rock, so I ended up in College Station. I had to close that checking account at First Texas Bank, and I opened one at Prosperity Bank in College Station.

I ended up having to cancel the cruise. The pandemic happened, then as it was easing up, I got Covid for the second time. I have been dealing with Long Covid. When I called MSC Cruises in July, 2022, which was 13 months after my mother had passed away and one year after my accounts in Round Rock had been closed at First Texas Bank, I explained to the MSC agent that the original form of payment was my debit card and the account was closed. Would it be possible to just have a check sent to me? At first they were insisting that it would have to be refunded ono the original form of payment. I had to keep explaining that this was not possible. It had been over a year since that account was closed. She finally told me that it would not be a problem at all, she obtained my information, and that I should see a check by the beginning of August. I should have been suspicious that it was so, right?

I called MSC Cruises back in August, 2022 after I had not received my check as promised. I was then told that no, I would not be sent a check. It had to be sent to the original form of payment, the bank would have to refuse it and return it and then MSC would send me a check. I should have it by September 12. I explained that by now my checking account had been closed for over a year and the bank had told me that it would not even be looked at; they would just automatically reject it without any transaction numbers. I was told by the MSC agent that there was nothing that could be done. I would have to wait.

I called MSC back again on October 28, 2022 and the MSC agent decided to open a case. I never heard from anybody regarding this. In November, 2022 I called back again and after some research the customer representative emailed me to tell me that I had to get the money from the bank and have the bank write me a check. She did not call me because she did not want to “deal” with me. That made me mad. So again, I had no way of getting any answers. No help at all. She had kept telling me there was a transaction number, but my bank, who is actually not my bank anymore as they don’t even have me in their computer any longer so I’m no longer their customer, keeps telling me they do not have it. They say that after one year they do not keep past customers in their system, so it would have automatically been rejected. So, I cannot get the money from the bank. They are not going to write me a check. (Small town Texas bank).

It is now April, 2023. I still do not have my $199 deposit and it all started in July, 2022. First Texas Bank says they do not have it, they never did. It was automatically rejected. That tells me that MSC Cruises has my money, and that is who I originally paid it to. I am just at a loss. I cannot get anybody to assist me when I call on the telephone. I have not heard back from any of my correspondence that I am sending to them. I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in Florida for that area and I have yet to hear a thing. My next step will be to contact the Florida Attorney General. The cruise industry doesn’t have any place to complain to, especially when you haven’t actually gone on the cruise.

I am so frustrated. I have a lot more to say about other things as a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. I just need to get this out there about them. I have been more than patient. I am done. They have my money. Why do they think this is okay???

I am dealing with Long Covid. I have tremors and will be having to drive 1.5 hours each way to a movement disorder specialist. This will take gas, which will take money. I’m tired of these people ignoring me. I need my money.

Don’t do business with MSC Cruises unless you are absolutely positive 100% that everything is going to go just perfectly right. If anything goes wrong, you are screwed. You won’t because you will not exist to them.

It’s too bad because my friend and I would have rebooked the cruise with them. There is no way in hell that is going to happen now. There are a lot of other choices.

Thanks for listening everyone! I will write soon…from Aggieland (groan…)

Hook ’em Horns!



Back on Track

I lost 109 lbs. and reached my goal back in 2010. In fact, it was July 2, 2010, so this month 10 years ago. I can’t believe it was 10 years ago. Wow. I belong to TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and I became the 2010 TOPS Texas State Queen and I was able to travel around the state of Texas and speak to groups, some over 200 people, and tell my story. It really brought me out of my comfort zone, let me tell you. I loved it though and met tons of people who I am still friends with today. I normally see them once a year at the state convention, which because of everything happening in this crazy world, we were not able to hold it. It was supposed to be in Waco, which we love because there is so much to do there now. And it is not too far away as well.

Anyway, I have had several surgeries during the past 10 years. I had my right jaw joint replaced in 2012. My right hip replaced in 2014. My neck fused in 2014. My right hip re-replaced in 2017 (it did not “take” the first time…) My left hip was just replaced in January. After each surgery I have struggled with my weight. Not 100 pounds. But for awhile there was 30 of it, but I finally got it off and reached my goal again. After this past surgery in January I have been struggling with 10 pounds. I am on “medical leave” with TOPS, which means that I haven’t lost my KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) status but I need to get back to goal within a certain time frame. With everything going on and without having meetings right now my time frame ends next April. So I am trying to get 10 pounds off.

I have changed in 10 years. I can’t lose weight as easily as I did ten years ago. It is frustrating. I took 109 lbs. off by eating less and moving more. That was it. I did not deprive myself. I believed in moderation, not deprivation. So I lost it slowly. It just doesn’t work as easily anymore and I can’t exercise as easily as I used to. My arthritis is worse and my back is not in great shape. I go to pain management and get injections, my sacroiliac joints are shot, and these are things that I just can’t do a whole lot about. There are no surgeries that are going to help. So it is frustrating. My spine is compressing, so I have lost over one inch in height in one year. Sigh.

So talking to my doctor I have been reading The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I have begun fasting, just on certain mornings, not all the time. This goes against everything I have learned in TOPS. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It has been hard. But I am back to writing down everything I eat. Drinking black coffee except using Monk Fruit sweetener, instead of my beloved Sweet and Low. I am a “pink packet” person. Not anymore. I eat too many carbs. So that is ending. I am now walking 5 mornings each week and I am up to 35 minutes each time. I started at 20 minutes. Over the past 4 weeks I have increased up to 35. I am down one pound as of this morning, but that can change in one day. Very frustrating. But this is all under my doctor’s watchful eye. I see him again next month and we will see how it goes. I am still reading the book and it is very interesting. My younger sister has problems with her blood sugar levels and she is reading The Diabetes Code, by the same author.

I will keep posting here. It helps. I don’t know if anybody reads but that’s okay.

What’s Life Got to do With it?

Okay, so things seem a little better since my last post. Maybe it is better just by writing it down. I have been frustrated. And anybody that has lived with my mom, and that narrows down the population to about 5 of us kids, they would completely understand why I am frustrated and how I got this way. But today is better than yesterday and yesterday was better than the day before. So maybe it was just a bad week. We just hadn’t had one of those in awhile. I will blame the pandemic.

I try not to dwell on the pandemic. The news does such a good job on that, that I don’t feel that I need to. But obviously it is taking a toll. I was sick in April. I was never officially diagnosed. I wasn’t in the “at-risk” category so I could not get a test. They didn’t have enough at the time. I was too sick to get out anyway, but not sick enough to go to the hospital, thank goodness. So I am not part of the statistics but had all of the symptoms. I was sick for 5 weeks. My one lasting effect: I had headaches and it seems to have made the ringing in my ears (tinnitus) much, much, much worse. Before I could distract myself enough to ignore the noise but now I cannot and it affects my hearing. It seems I will need to get hearing aids as a result. I will see a specialist but could not get in until the end of September.

I was supposed to go on a tour of England and Scotland this past April but it got cancelled, obviously. I rescheduled for the end of September. It just got cancelled again. So I have rescheduled for the end of March, 2021. Plus, I changed airlines. Before they had me going on Delta, from Austin to Detroit and then Detroit to London. So I asked them to look into British Airways as they fly out of the Austin airport to London with nonstop flights now. They did and came back with flights that were only about $50 price increase. I took it. I would much rather do that than be running like a mad woman through the Detroit airport trying to make a crazy connection through customs. I am not a world traveler by any means and would have been a crazed person by the time I would have been seated on the airplane. This is much better. Hopefully by next March I will be able to go.

My body is getting to the point where my traveling days are limited. I want to go to England. So I hope this tour doesn’t get cancelled again. I was going to Italy in November but I cancelled that and it seems if I hadn’t, it would have been anyway. I would love to see Italy eventually. I may be happy after that with international traveling. I would have been to France, England, Scotland and Italy. That may do it. I could just stick to the US and more closer trips. There are a lot of places that I haven’t seen here.

Just one day at a time meanwhile. I am taking free courses on Coursera online. I signed up for two continuing education classes with the Austin Community College in the fall, both online. I just want to stay busy now that I am no longer working part-time. I can’t go to the gym, but am walking 5 mornings per week now. I have 10 pounds I need to lose since my left hip replacement in January. And I am reading books from the top 100 books of all time (the Great American Read from PBS.) That has been fun. I haven’t written as much so I need to get back at that. I have missed my writing group.

I am taking my mom to the dentist this morning. I guess it could be worse…it could be me in the patient’s chair…

I am trying to stay more optimistic!!


Today is my older sister’s 39th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe that it has been that long. She was lucky and married her high school sweetheart. Yep, one of those. Me? I have never found “The One.” I am the quintessential adult child of an alcoholic. I’ve gotten better through Alanon, therapy and the use of forgiveness. It’s taken me a long time but I may have missed the boat. I’m almost 59 years old. Maybe I will eventually find “The One.” And they will wonder “why didn’t she ever get married?” Because I suck at relationships, that is why. And I haven’t given myself the chance to find out if I have gotten better. And I always pick really bad people for me.

I am having a problem today. Actually it has been the past few days and it is just probably a phase and it will pass. I hope it does anyway. If it doesn’t I don’t know what will happen. I live with my mom. Overall, we get along pretty well. I have learned to pick my battles with her. Lately, I am just losing my patience with her. And the woman is 81 years old. You have to know that she was not nice when we were growing up. But she doesn’t remember any of it. Which is where the forgiveness had to come in. I had a hard time remaining really angry with somebody who didn’t even remember what they did. But she is really hard to live with. Not saying that I am easy. I have lived alone for a long time. I moved in with her when my dad passed away in 2017. Financially, it was really good because it gave me extra money so I was able to travel and it just gives me extra money each month now. That’s really nice. But she is just maddening sometimes. And this is one of those times. It may be that I am just tired. I am getting older myself and my body is disintegrating, courtesy of arthritis. My right hip has been replaced twice, my left hip was just replaced in January, my right jaw joint was replaced, my neck fused and I go to pain management for spinal injections. My mom no longer drives so now I need to drive her to all of her doctor appointments, to the library. I am her power of attorney. I take care of all of the finances. All of the insurance stuff. Everything.

I am embarrassed to admit that I have been fantasizing about dropping her off at one of my sister’s houses. They are on the East Coast though. We live in Texas, so it is not an easy task. It’s a nice fantasy and then I stay on the East Coast. I would not mind going back. Would I do this? No. Unless that is what she wanted to do. I don’t know if I would put up much of an argument. I don’t think I would right now.

I am a Caregiver. I have been for a long time. I took care of both of my parents when my dad was still alive. I think I would love it if one of my siblings said, “why doesn’t mom come here now?” I think I would gladly hand over the reins.

Right now I would. She is a hard woman to live with. Most of my stuff is in storage. I am worried that I have fallen into a depression. I am sure that this pandemic has not helped even though I am trying to keep myself busy.

I love my mom. Even after everything. I hate to say that I really, really loved my dad. He was wonderful. I miss him everyday.

I think I need a vacation! Maybe that is what is wrong…


I am not sure what my problem is. I am tired but I am ready to go out and run–far away. Run fast. And I am not a fast runner. I never have been and I certainly am not now. I don’t feel like doing anything but I have a million things I could be doing. I just want to be left alone but I am lonely. My life is not my own. I know that now. I will take care of my mom until she passes away and she is 80. I love her but did I really want this for my life? No, not really. Selfish, I know. She wasn’t the most nurturing of mothers but even if she was, I probably would still want my life to live. I am here pretty much alone with no help. Whine, whine, whine.

I guess I am just tired. Bottom line. I feel like I have this great story to tell inside of me and I sit down to write it and I can’t get it out. I keep thinking I can be a great writer, that I have a best seller just sitting there, waiting to be written inside of me. Don’t we all? How long will I keep thinking this? On my deathbed will I be thinking “I should have written that book…” Or should I just go for it and try and write it? It’s hard to with little privacy. Again, whine, whine, whine.

I look outside my bedroom window and it is just a gray day. It hasn’t been sunny for awhile and maybe that is the problem. I need sunlight. This weather is depressing. Am I depressed? Maybe I am. I know nobody’s life really turns out the way they think it is going to, but mine really hasn’t. I never married, I always chose the wrong guys. I had a chance to have a baby once and didn’t because I was scared of being alone after being threatened, and then I could physically not have any more. I have had to financially take care of myself but after being mentally broken down and having dealt with depression I went on disability. It has been hard. I am still on disability but work part-time. Things have gotten easier but I have watched my siblings go on vacations and I have thought that maybe, if I had married, I could have afforded something like that. I just always thought I would marry and have children. Just didn’t happen. It is frustrating at times and now I get to take care of our mother while they still travel around the world. Whine, whine, whine.

I have gotten a chance to travel. I save and save for it. This June I will be going to Maine (some of it courtesy of American Airlines due to a voucher from a reimbursement they gave me when there was a computer glitch in Charlotte, NC…coming home from Asheville, NC I nearly did not make it home and things were a mess…) and in November, 2020 I am going on a bus tour around Italy. I pay on that monthly and will have it paid off by that August before we go. Never easy. I hope to marry someday; I hope to find “my person” but I never get out, so it will be difficult, I guess. I hope to write that best seller (ha ha). I hope to keep my friends, make new ones, keep my weight off. I hope to get out of this funk that I am in.

I hope that the sun comes out soon. I hope that there is a cure for tinnitus and fibromyalgia someday soon. I hope, I hope, I hope. A girl can hope, you know. And dream. I don’t want to wake up. These are good dreams. Sometimes reality is not so good. But sometimes it isn’t as bad as it seems.

I will wake up in time to go to work this afternoon. Until then, I am going to dream…

Long Time

I don’t know why I have waited so long to post anything. My life has changed dramatically since the last time that I felt I needed to change the title of my blog. Last time I wrote anything I was in Louisiana celebrating Mardi Gras. I never finished that. That was a wonderful trip. I have never been to New Orleans. But a back-country Mardi Gras in Lafayette was an experience that I will just never forget.

Since Louisiana I have traveled to Maine to visit my friend, Carolyn. This was in August, 2017. We spent the week driving around the state. I have a new laptop that I just acquired about two days ago and it does not have my pictures on it yet. As soon as it does, I will post some. It was a wonderful time. I arrived home happy but about 10 pounds heavier. And determined to take off all the extra weight once and for all. I had my right hip re-done after the Louisiana trip and was happily walking without a cane again. So I started exercising and eating better. And the weight started coming off. I reached my goal weight in May, 2018. I can again wear my Texas State Queen tiara.

In June, 2018 I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina on a Road Scholar trip and met Carolyn there. We had fun but I think it was not our favorite  trip. We had issues with our travel (the American Airlines computer glitch debacle) and other things caused some undue stress throughout the week. It was a good trip, but we have had better ones. Then this past September I traveled to Paris, France with my younger sister. We had been planning the trip for several months. Our nephew (our older sister’s son) works at the embassy in Paris and he and his wife have a wonderful Parisian apartment just a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower. So we flew over and spent the week walking around Paris, being shown around by our own private tour guide (our nephew’s wife) and she is a photographer, so we have wonderful pictures, that I will have to post as soon as I can get them transferred over. We took the high speed train to Nice and Monaco as well and spent the weekend there. The whole week was wonderful.

When I returned, Carolyn and I began planning our next trip: Italy. It won’t be until November, 2020 and it will be a bus trip through Go Ahead Tours. We will drive all around Italy. I have already signed up for it and have started making payments on it. We cannot wait. My next trip will most likely be in June, 2019 when I will be going back to Maine to visit with Carolyn again. I haven’t seen her since Asheville and probably won’t see her until I fly up there. It’s hard not seeing your best friend for that long. But we email almost every day.

Now that I have gotten through all of that, there are sadder things to report. My dad, who had been in a nursing home for a couple of years, passed away on October 18, 2017. It’s been a hard year, but a fast one. But when he passed away, finances changed for my mom, so I ended up moving in with her. My life has changed dramatically since then. I am still on a waiting list for a one bedroom apartment but have another year to go. I moved in with my mom in December, 2017. So one year has passed. It has worked better than I thought, and I have saved a lot of money and was able to travel to these places. But my freedom and privacy has disappeared in a way that is so hard to explain. I will try in future posts but it is Thanksgiving morning and it is a day to look for things to be thankful for.

Plus, it is time for me to get up, out of bed, and start my day. We have reservations for Thanksgiving dinner at 11am at Mimi’s Cafe, so I need to eat breakfast. And have coffee! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Country Mardi Gras Thursday/Friday

Somehow I got off one day of writing during this vacation. My hip has been hurting really bad, so I have been very tired by the end of the day. I will try to fill in what happened yesterday. It was a fairly leisurely day and it was our last full day here in Cajun Country. I will miss it here.

We had a small talk by a guy who plays the fiddle and is of Acadian descent. We have had quite a bit of history regarding the Acadians and I find it very interesting. I love genealogy, so maybe that is why. I love that they still speak French. And that they sing in French. He was very funny. That was about 1.5 hours but it went very fast. We then rode out to a little grocery store/meat market/restaurant out in Breaux Bridges, LA and had lunch. Good fried chicken. Came back to the hotel.

Then it was time for the swamp boat tour. We have been extremely lucky with the weather while we have been here. It may have been overcast at times but it never rained while we have been out and about. We went out on our boats. It was so nice on the water. We saw alligators, turtles. all sorts of birds. The wind felt good. Then the boat broke. It was funny. The boat got working again and we continued on and just saw amazing things. I really enjoyed it.

We returned to the hotel and got our certificates as honorary Cajuns. This was our final meeting together before dinner and Cajun dancing. We went back to Breaux Bridges for dinner where I had stuffed crabs and jambalaya. Yum. It was just delicious. I didn’t dance as my hip just can’t take it. I am actually beginning to look forward to my surgery on April 19th…Carolyn didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t want to dance!

Carolyn and I got a glass of wine through room service and talked for quite awhile. I can’t believe this trip is just about over. It is now Friday morning. We have the Foodie Tour (more eating!!!) I wonder how much weight I have gained this week! I have loved the food and the music this week. Carolyn’s flight leaves about 5pm. I have the hotel room until 5pm. My bus leaves at 9:55pm Late!

Carolyn just arrived back from her walk…more later!

Country Mardi Gras Wednesday/Thursday

I didn’t write yesterday. I was so tired and then we drank wine. This trip has been so much fun. I just wish my hip has not hurt so badly. I’m glad that I’m not waiting until May to have my surgery to have it repaired. I am not sure that I could wait that long. Already April 19th seems a world away. But I have hobbled around and just bit my lip when I have needed to. Luckily Carolyn knows what is going on, our group leader is now aware of it after seeing my face yesterday. I think she thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion or something yesterday. It was funny. I told her that no, I was hungry, a little tired, but mostly just hurting from walking around the little village and just needed to sit down.

Because I didn’t write yesterday, it already seems like a blur and it is only Thursday morning. We got on the bus early and went to the Jean Lafitte Center, which is a National Park and watched 2 very interesting films about the Acadians and about the Atchafalaya Basin. It was all very interesting. From there we travelled to Vermillionville, which was the original Lafayette. It was where I had trouble walking around for such a long time. But the lunch was very good and I felt better after we were able to sit down and rest for awhile.

We returned back to the hotel and had the afternoon. Carolyn and I took the hotel shuttle up to Walgreens and shopped and then rested back at the hotel. Then we went to Martin Accordions. That was a lot of fun. The family put on a fantastic show for us and we learned a lot about accordions. Loved this. The family was great, they were funny and the music was fantastic. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant and had Louisiana pizza. Yum!

We returned back to the hotel and Carolyn and I started talking about our next trip. Time to get ready for my day today!

Country Mardi Gras Tuesday

It was Fat Tuesday and I will never have the same view of Mardi Gras than I did before. Before when somebody mentioned Mardi Gras, I pictured New Orleans, partying, floats, beads, lots of people, women taking off their shirts, etc. Someplace I would not want to be. I have never been to New Orleans and I do not ever want to go during Mardi Gras. That’s for sure.

We celebrated the country Mardi Gras today. We went out to a family farm near Iota, Louisiana and the Mardi Gras showed up at the farm in wagons pulled by pick up trucks. The costumes, the guys, the begging, the chasing of the chicken, etc. It was just an incredible experience. One I will never, ever forget. Afterwards, we joined them for burgers in the barn. We were able to chat with them. From there we moved on to a festival and then went back to the hotel.

We learned Cajun dances, went out to dinner and danced. I can’t dance very well because of my hip. Surgery on April 19th. I did not describe the Mardi Gras celebration very well, but I am so tired. I can’t even remember what is on the schedule for tomorrow!

So I guess it will be surprise!

Country Mardi Gras Monday

What a fun day! After I woke up too early (and woke Carolyn up…) we had a nice buffet breakfast here at the hotel. We walked up to a bakery and looked at their king cakes. They are beautiful. Carolyn was thinking of having one shipped home to work. We headed back to the hotel and at 9:15 loaded onto the bus for Eunice, Louisiana. There, after a great lunch, we had a great presentation regarding Mardi Gras–I will never look at Mardi Gras quite the same way again I don’t think. I never knew everything that was explained. This guy was funny also. Then he had some country Mardi Gras guys there and they came running in begging. One sat next to me begging and I finally had to give him $5 just so he would leave me alone. We were in a theater full of people and he wouldn’t leave. It was so funny. Carolyn and I are now calling him my “Cajun Man.” Tomorrow we are going out to a farm and experiencing the “country Mardi Gras” and after hearing this presentation, it should be really interesting. Chicken chasing, etc. We will be eating hamburgers in a barn with “the Mardi Gras”.

We had time to rest back at the hotel, and then we headed into Lafayette for the in-town Mardi Gras. I was so worried that I would not get any beads. Carolyn and I had read that if you were visiting from out of town, you should make signs and so we had gone to CVS and made little signs to hold up during the parade to get attention. We got to the parade route and had PoBoys for dinner. Yum. Then went outside for the parade. Those signs really worked. We got so many beads. And we had a blast! It was a rather short parade, but it was so much fun. I look forward to tomorrow for the country version and the festival. That will be fun.

We have crashed back at the hotel, our beads are strewn all over the hotel room, and we keep giggling over little things. It’s just a lot of fun. G’nite!