I know the blog posts have been few and far between lately. I don't have any pics to share because no one wants to see photos of boxes strewn around a house. Things are coming along nicely, and by the end of today, we ought to be completely, 100% out of the Norton house.
The Hopwoods are in town now and we're major excited to see them. Perhaps they'll even help with our move a bit (I have no shame at this point).
Among the many things for which we have to be thankful are a group of friends, the Kellers, Kings and Uckers, who helped us move last weekend. We can hardly express our appreciation for their help and sacrifice to help us set up our home.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Lincoln has been helping us pack.
We've boxed up what feels like most of our stuff, though there is certainly lots more to go. We're really ready to get the keys and start the moving process. That ought to come on Wednesday afternoon.
In the meantime, we took a trip to the park today.
In the meantime, we took a trip to the park today.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Jenn and I are back from our vacation, and we had a great time away together. We'll share a lot of photos in this post, and tell some stories from the trip, but we're also going to include some tips and advice.
Jenn and I were looking forward to this time with each other in a big way. With all that's been going on with busy-ness with work, getting our house ready to sell, the excitement surrounding getting the house that we really wanted, initially stressing about asking family to care for Lincoln while we were gone... there were just a lot of things going on and getting a short break was very appealing for us.
Our flight to Ft. Lauderdale was very smooth, and getting a cab to the port was actually very easy, and it was less costly than the pre-arranged Princess transportation. We got through the check-in process at the port very quickly, and realized that we had budgeted several hours for a process that we finished in less than one hour. So that left us plenty of time to get our stuff situated in our very small room and then explore the ship.
Holy cow. There's nothing second class about a Princess ship. The only arguable exception to this might be the cruisers themselves. Being on a cruise is like going to the State Fair... like a State Fair with lots of money. There are people, couples and fashion statements that you'd swear would be impossibilities. But I digress. The Emerald Princess was beautiful in every aspect: beautiful clubs and dining rooms, beautiful shopping areas, beautiful decks. Pretty soon after we finished scouting out the ship, we embarked from Port Everglades and started our sail.
Our first stop on Monday was Princess Cays (pronounced "key"), Bahamas, and it was overcast when we arrived. There's no port at Princess Cays so we anchored out in the ocean and took a life boat to the shore. Right after we landed it began to rain. Hard. We figured that if we were going to get wet, we might as well be in the water. But the rain made snorkeling difficult, and the splashing from the
Jenn read a lot on this trip.
All of the books were novels
about cruise shipwrecks.
The second day we were at sea. The Atlantic was unusually rough and the ship did a lot of bouncing up and down. We found it most pleasant to be outside either on the top of the ship or on the walking deck because when we were inside we felt "almost dizzy" with the rocking of the ship.
The Butterfly Farm was really fascinating, and the folks that give their time and lives to it were pretty neat. We saw all sorts of butterflies and chrysalises and caterpillars.
After we were through
St. Thomas was our Thursday stop. There were some neat art galleries along with some nice jewelry stores there, and the costs on cameras and lenses in both St. Thomas and Sint Maarten were phenomenal. Still no purchasing, though. Our excursion in St. Thomas was aboard the Castaway Girl 2, a catamaran that took us to Buck Island for snorkeling over a shipwreck and some coral. (The reviews found here and here are consistent with our own experience.) When we boarded the Castaway Girl 2, we noticed that the crew was 4 guys between the ages of 20 and 25. They were highly entertaining, but we each had the same thought, "Do these guys know what they're doing?" They demonstrated their competence early on and we had a great time. Catamarans provide relatively smooth, steady rides, and the views around the bay and out in the sea were dazzling.
I've spent the bulk of text to this
That's the Emerald Princess
way off to Jenn's left.
On Saturday we went to a wine tasting event that was really neat. I'd never been to an official tasting with guides that knew lots and lots about the particular wines they were presenting. They gave us two whites, two reds and a dessert wine, which were all very good. It reminded me of when Jenn first introduced me to wine 7 years ago (7 years!) and I couldn't handle a dry wine. I've come full circle and nearly prefer the dry wines to the semi-sweets.
Twilight at Grand Turk
Each day they had fine art auctions and we found this to be one of the coolest ways to spend our times during the days at sea. When I say fine art, I mean originals by Alexandra Nechita, Wyland, and Pino. There was art that was worth more than half as much as our Norton house! Jenn and I have been art ignorants, but we learned a good bit from the auctioneer and with the thought of Forest Edge being a blank slate for us to decorate (with the exception of Washington Crossing the Delaware, we don't have any art), we were able to start brainstorming, though any thought of decorating with originals causes a chuckle.
The entertainment was very good. There was only one evening that provided entertainment that we just weren't into (a mentalist whose show just plodded along). There was an evening with a hypnotist, a stand-up comic,
Jenn and I came to the conclusion that we're going to plan all future Caribbean vacations around the itineraries and not around cost. Additionally, sailing from San Juan usually allows for only one day at sea as opposed to two days at sea when sailing from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami or New York. Prioritizing itinerary over cost and sailing form San Juan may sound idealistic, and you know, it probably is. But when it comes to spending a week of one's life, pursuing idealism isn't such a bad thing, in my opinion.
On a completely different subject, we came home to learn that things are moving along nicely with our closings. We signed the closing papers on our Norton house, and we're set to sign the papers on the Forest Edge home this coming Friday. The closing dates have not changed, and we still ought to take possession of the Forest Edge home on Wednesday, Nov. 18, allowing us about a week and a half to get all moved. Our goal is to be all the way out of the Norton house before Thanksgiving.