Sunday, January 30, 2011

We're home!

Well, we made it home last Sunday afternoon - but by the time that I unpacked and did the laundry I was just too tired to worry about downloading pictures and blogging, so I waited until today.

This week was a little rough at work - the kids were really wild, I guess that's what I get for being gone a week, but in the long run it was sure worth the effort. I kept thinking that I would get on during the week and update the blog, but by the time I got home every night (after 6) I was not up to it - sorry!

Anyway, let's go back to the wonderful cruise - and it was wonderful. I know that I said that I would take lots of pictures to share with you - but I didn't! Actually, Dan and I didn't do anything except rest! We did not go on any excursions - we had one scheduled, but it didn't happen, so we just relaxed the entire time. Let's look at day by day with the only pictures I did take - the towel creatures that the cabin steward made each night.
Day one: We left the house about 7:30 to drop the girls off at my mom's house. By the time we had everything unloaded and explained everything it was 8:30 before we were on the road to Tampa, but we didn't have any problems on the road and even stopped from breakfast at McDonald's. We arrived at the port and found the parking garage with no problems. Parking cost $100.00, but that was still less than if we had tried to spend the night in Tampa Saturday night. We parked, unloaded the luggage, walked across the street, and got in line to check in. Actually check in wasn't bad - we were there before the big rush. We had to wait about 1/2 an hour before we could board the ship - which might have been a good thing since Dan forgot his hat in the car and had to walk back over to the parking garage to get it. He didn't have any problems going back through security and he didn't have to wait in line again to come back to the waiting area. When we boarded our cabins were not ready yet (or course not), so we went upstairs to the buffet and snagged a table to wait for Carol and Neil to get there. They were coming by bus from north Florida and we had touched base to let them know we were there and would be waiting for them upstairs. It wasn't long before they arrived also, and the fun began. Of course, the first thing on the agenda was food - and the buffet did not disappoint. We all had a good lunch and then sat around at the table until the cabins were ready. We left each other with the plan of getting together for the "launch".

Dan and I went down to our cabin on deck 6 to unpack our luggage - Dan's luggage was on a cart as we were walking down the hall, so he was able to get his. It was probably another 45 minutes before my suitcase arrived, but it gave each of us time to get things unpacked without being in the other person's way. After we got everything put away we went back upstairs and met Carol and Neil and just stood out on the deck and watched the shore line disappear. We were actually followed out by some dolphin - swimming and jumping along the side of the ship. Dolphin are magnificent creatures and I love to watch them. A good beginning to the cruise.

We had signed up for "Anytime Dining" which meant we could go down to the Dining room anytime after 5:45 for dinner. We were standing in line, ready to go in when they opened the dining room doors. Carol and Neil had changed their dining time to the same as ours and we were able to be seated at a table for just us four. We were lucky and got a wonderful waiter, whom we requested each night of the cruise. He was from Thailand and was quite a "jokester", which was great for Dan and Neil. After dinner we went to the first show - and it was awful! (This is probably the only thing that we were not impressed with on this cruise - the entertainment was just not what we had been used to on other cruises.

After a busy day we went back to the cabin to find our wonderful little "seal" on the bed. Then it was time for bed.

Day two: We woke up to pouring down rain for our first day at sea. This was a day of sailing all day, and we thought that a day of rain might be good. We went upstairs and found Carol and Neil - had a wonderful breakfast upstairs at the buffet (we decided NOT to go down to the dining room for any meal but dinner - just too much food). Anyway, by the time we finished with breakfast the rain had passed and the sun was out. Dan and I just walked around the ship some -looking in the on board shops and even checking out the casino. Then we decided to go back to the cabin and read a little before a nice morning nap. Well, I didn't nap then, but I did start reading one of the two books I brought with us. Then it was back upstairs to eat (are you starting to see a theme here?), walk around some, and back to reading and napping - I did take an afternoon nap.

It was "formal" night in the dining room, which for Dan means he doesn't wear jeans - we are just NOT into getting all dressed up to eat. Most people on board this cruise did not get all dressed up - although we did have some in tuxes, but I don't remember seeing any ladies in long gowns. I have a "dressy" top that I take to wear with black slacks, but no dresses or really fancy clothes (that's one of those differences between the first cruises we went on and now). After dinner we tried the show again - this one wasn't too bad as it was an outsider that sang Motown. He was pretty good and put on a nice show. Then it was back to the cabin for a little reading before turning the light out - where we were greeted with out creature of the night-----------

a lovely little elephant!
Day Three: We woke up to wonderful warm weather and sunny blue skies. We were heading to our first port - the Grand Caymans Islands. By the time we had finished breakfast we had docked and were cleared for disembarkation. This was a tender port, but since we didn't have an excursion booked we were able to wait a little later and there was not problems getting off the ship and onto a tender. We went ashore and did a little shopping - really just walking through the shops and looking. I don't think we were on shore more than an hour total before Dan was ready to head back to the ship. We went back to our cabin and sat on our balcony and watched the people on shore, looked at the beautiful water and even read some. We met Carol and Neil for lunch and then decided we needed to take another nap from all of our exercise that morning! We just spent the afternoon in the cabin, reading and napping. Just relaxing.
Once again, we were down for dinner when the doors opened and had a wonderful dinner, but decided NOT to go to the show - it was the "house" singers and dancers and we just didn't want to sit though another disappointing show. We just sorta hung out for a while before heading back to the cabin to be greeted by ------------------------

I'm not really sure what - maybe a horse? Not sure, but it was cute.
Day four: The day went pretty much the same as yesterday other than we were in Honduras - we did not have to tender at this port, but the only place we could go was the private shopping area that they had set up and a beach area. Well, Dan is NOT a beach person, so after walking around the 'town' it was back to the ship for us.
Well, as you can tell from the first three days - we were just tearing things up - NOT! - and nothing changed the next three days! In fact it got even slower!

This was our creature on night three (and probably my favorite of all the creatures!)
Day Five: This was suppose to be the day of our one excursion - in Belize we were going to go to some Mayan ruins and I was looking forward to seeing them. However, we got a letter in our cabin on the night of the fourth that said the cruise line could not come to an agreement with the tender operators in Belize and they had cancelled that port and we were going to Costa Maya, Mexico instead. Now, I don't know if I told you before, but Dan and I had decided that we were NOT doing anything in Mexico - we just don't feel like it is safe anymore. So, we did not book anything else and we were refunded our money for the excursion.
Day Five was in Cozumel Mexico and Day Six was in Costa Maya. Nothing changed in our schedule - in fact, by this time I had read everything I had brought and was working on the book that Dan brought ( a western - not my type of book, but at this point I'll read anything).

This was our creature on night five (maybe this was my favorite) a crab and

this was the one on day six.
Our last day was another day at sea and it was really rough - a lot of people on board got a little sea sick, but Dan and I are both lucky - we just don't get sea sick. We spent the day walking around, in the casino - I actually WON some money - I put in $10.00 and walked out with $28.95. First time that has EVER happened! Dan didn't win any and in fact lost $20.00 - so I guess in the long run we still came out ahead by $8.95. We only play penny slots, but it is fun and as long as you don't get carried away it's fine.

This was our last towel "creature", but I don't guess a flower is really a "creature" but it was nice on the bed.
The final morning was easy - we had packed the night before and were going to carry our own luggage off, so we would be able to disembark earlier than others. We were upstairs to eat our last breakfast with Carol and Neil by 7:30. By 9:00 they called for us to disembark - we hugged Carol and Neil goodbye and headed off ship. By 9:30 we were in the car, and on the road headed back to Lake Placid. We stopped at Walmart in Arcadia for things like OJ and bread for my lunch. We were home by noon and loaded the car. Then we went and picked up the pups before coming home to unpack and do the laundry. As you can tell, we didn't do a lot on this cruise, but we were able to relax and spend time together and with our friends. That was the nice thing - PLUS we got a check for $75.00 when we left - after our refund for our excursion we didn't go on we actually had money left on our on board account - that was another first. Dan says we would take more cruises if they would pay us.
I enjoyed the week - it was just too short (isn't it always?). Hopefully I'll be able to stay up to date now - I hope that you all have had a good couple of weeks and that you enjoyed my cruise creatures. Oh - in case your wondering, the first picture was taken out our balcony on the last night at sea - a beautiful full moon on the ocean. Thought you might enjoy it.
Well, that's it for this week - I'll talk to you next Sunday!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Leaving in the Morning!

Okay - I'm just about ready to head out and spend a fabulous week with my "bestest" friend ever! Okay, so I'm pushing it a little with the spelling, but I am looking forward to spending some time with just Dan without the "girls" (just don't tell them that!) Which "girls" am I talking about - well, our four legged ones of course. We love the girls - but it is nice to get away from them. They can come between us, if you know what you I mean.

I worked till about 6 every afternoon getting things ready at school for me to be gone all week. I even brought work home which I said I wasn't going to do, but you do what you have to do. Anyway, when I left yesterday, I said that "if it wasn't done, it wasn't going to get done", so I'm not going to worry about. If the sub can't handle it - well, too bad! I did the best I can do (now, I do have a little bit of a back up plan - I always have Melissa who can give the sub help and the teacher right next door to my room, who also teaches math - so, I'm not leaving the sub completely without recourse.) Now, if you know me at all you know that I have everything separated out by subject and then by day - detailed plans written and even back up stuff IF he should run out of things to do. Let's just say, that I am sure that I have done as much as I can do and I'm not going to worry about it anymore.

Yesterday I only worked 1/2 day due to the memorial service that we went to up in Lakeland. One of our really good friends lost their daughter last Sunday. Their daughter and our oldest daughter were only two days apart in age and they had grown up together. The family wanted Dan to talk about memories of the girls growing up and he was his usual "quick witted" self. He had everyone laughing which was exactly what was needed. After the service everyone - well, not exactly "everyone" because the chapel was packed - went out to eat at Fred's Market. There were a lot a school people there (our friends are both in education) and so, Dan and I saw a lot of people that we had not seen since our retirement eight years ago. While it was nice to see them, I just wish it could have been under different circumstances.

Before the service yesterday we did have time to go by Walmart and pick up a few last minute things for the cruise and I was even able to get my hair cut - stopped at a "Super Cuts" and 45 minutes later my hair had been washed, cut, and dried (great scalp massage!). Then we were at the chapel by 4 - I felt like we got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time.

Today, we have been busy - have the last load of laundry in the washing machine - got my nails and toes done this morning and Dan colored my hair this afternoon. Made a stop at Walgreens to pick up the things that I forgot when we stopped at Walmart to get all the "last minute things". (So much for getting everything done early!) Now we are completely packed and are ready to put the suitcases in the car. Boarding pass and passports are in my purse - camera is sitting on top of the suitcase so I won't forget it. The only thing that I can think of that still needs to be done is that Dan needs to pack the girls treats to take to my mom's (she is keeping them for us) and then we will load their blanket and heating pad, food, and leashes in the morning. We hope to be on the road no later than 8. I think that you can tell that we are both more than ready to get away. I will be sure to take plenty of pictures to share upon our return.

I hope you all have a great week and that all you people in Georgia and North Carolina have dug out of the snow and ice by now!

Take care and I'll talk to you next Sunday!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Well, IT has begun!

If you are wondering why Dan is so happy, or I should say, is smiling that kind of smile (you all know what "that" kind of smile is), just look below:

There was a wall here a week ago - actually less that a week ago. I came home on Tuesday and he had taken the dry wall down on the inside wall - I came home on Wednesday and not only had he taken the dry wall down he had taken the studs down also. If you look past Dan's legs in this picture you will see the pool area. We can now sit in the front room (which at Thanksgiving was the dining room) and see all the way out to the pool and to our bedroom.

This area had been the living room, but the more we talked about it we just weren't sure how it was going to work with the living room in this area. So, we decided to try the idea I had when I first saw the house last year - have the living room in the front of the house and the dining room in front of the kitchen. So, we are going to give this a try and see how we like it. We still have time to change our mind, because there isn't anything that we are doing now that would change anything.
I guess you could say that I was somewhat surprised when I came home and saw the wall gone. I mean after all, we had just talked about taking this wall down on Monday and we have the trip next week. (Can't wait, but I'll talk more about that in a little while). Anyway, Dan said that he wanted to get started - soooooo, I am now living with the remodeling project. I will keep you informed and updated. Right now, it hasn't cost us anything, but that won't last long. Oh well, I'm sure that you will get the idea as time goes on.
Well, other than straightening up the house and doing laundry I started packing today for the trip. (Yeah!) One week from today we will be on the ship and heading for warmer weather - not that it is that cold here. Temperatures were in the 70's today, not too bad for the middle of January. Anyway, I have a lot of my stuff packed - I don't take as much as I used to when we cruise - I'll never forget the first cruise we went on - I had a biggest suitcase you can imagine and a garment bag and a overnight bag. Really! And we came down to Florida from North Carolina! I didn't use half of what I took. Now I get everything in one small suitcase and a cosmetic bag. What a difference a few years make!

I think that Dan started his packing also, but he still needs a bigger suitcase - although he uses a duffel bag. Not that he takes that much more stuff, it's just that his clothes takes up so much more room - he takes things like jeans while I take Capri's. Things like that just take more space plus he's a big guy. He is suppose to go over to the storage room tomorrow and get his suitcase. Of course, we will have to finish after I do laundry after this work week, but at least we have a good start. I've done all the preboarding stuff on line - have our boarding pass and the luggage tags. We are sooooooo ready to go - just have to get through this week. Which leads me to another issue.
I know that I will need to take another day off work next week. The daughter of one of our friends passed away this morning after going into a comma on Friday. She was only two days older than our oldest daughter, Dana, and she and Dana had grown up together and had even shared their first apartment together. It is a very sad situation. Please keep this family in your prayers as they go through this difficult time.
I really don't have much else to report - at work I'll be working on getting all my lesson plans done for this week and next. Try to keep things picked up at home (which might be difficult, depending on what else Dan decides to work on), but the housekeeper comes on Tuesday so hopefully he'll try and keep a lid on it this week.
I hope that you all have a good week. BTW, to all my friends that are in North Carolina and North Georgia - I hope that you all stay warm and that the snow storm they are predicting for you will not be as bad as they say (unless you want it to be). We lived in North Carolina for a little over six years and never saw more than an inch or so of snow - looks like you are getting it all this winter. Just be careful (and my Atlanta family - if there is ice - STAY HOME!)
Well, I'm going to sign off for tonight - I'll try and post next Saturday since we will be leaving for the ship first thing Sunday morning. Take care, have a good week, and ------------------
I'll talk to you Saturday!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Vacation is over!

Well, my vacation is officially over! I have to go back to work tomorrow - the only good thing - it's a teacher workday/professional development day. What does that mean - I'll be in meeting all morning and then I get to work in my classroom tomorrow afternoon getting ready for the kids to come back on Tuesday.

I'll just have to remember that I work for two weeks then Dan and I go on the cruise. I spent some time yesterday filling out all the preboarding stuff online, so hopefully, it will make it easier to board the ship. I also booked us on one excursion in Belize. I had a $200 on board credit to use - I did this excursion and we'll even have some dollars left over to go on the shipboard bill (you know the daily tipping and I'm sure I will purchase Coke card).

There are a few things that I need to check on tomorrow at school and I have a nail appointment after school. Dan is suppose to go to the grocery store tomorrow while I'm at work. Hopefully he will be back in time to have lunch with me. We'll see.

I have really enjoyed my time off and being able to spend the time with Dan. We have had some good days - even with me being sick. I think that is one of the things that I really miss about having to work - not being able to spend the day with Dan. We enjoy being together and doing things together. I know some people don't, but we do - call us strange.

Well, I'm going to close for today - I actually posted twice this week. I hope that you all have a good week - I wish you a happy New Year.

Take care and I'll talk to you next week!

Rainy, Dreary Days

Well, I don't know what the weather has been like where you live but here it has been warm, overcast, and rainy.  We are having temperat...