Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cruise 2014

Due to some strange (meaning, strange to me) Ultimate Music Festival, there were no hotel rooms available in the area of Miami beach I like to stay.  So since we flew into Fort Lauderdale, we just stayed the night there and then went down to the Port of Miami the next morning.
We stayed at a Hilton in the marina area of Fort Lauderdale, which was lovely, and you can't really go wrong with a Hilton, right?  Well . . .
Our flight left SLC on Sunday morning at 1:00 am (what was I thinking??).  We flew from SLC to Detroit (a surprisingly nice airport), and were only in Detroit for less than an hour and then off again to Fort Lauderdale, landing there at 10:30 am.  I had requested an early arrival (noon) at the Hilton since we were coming in so early, and I also requested a tower room.  So we took our taxi to the hotel, only to find that the lobby was a madhouse for the people checking out of the hotel to catch their cruise out of the Port of Fort Lauderdale.  We got to the hotel around 11:30, and they told us our room wasn't ready, and they didn't know when it would be because they were so busy.  I asked about my early arrival request, and they said they would get to it as soon as they could.  Would I rather wait for my tower room or take the first available room?  Since we were on very little sleep, I asked for the first available room, which wasn't in the tower. I shouldn't complain, I wasn't charged for a tower room, but it was disappointing nonetheless.  We got something to eat at the hotel restaurant, which was still serving breakfast, and then went right to sleep as soon as our room was ready.  It was a nice enough place, but not nearly as nice as the South Beach Marriott, to which I've become accustomed when in Florida.  Also we were pretty much forced to eat all meals at the hotel restaurants because there was nothing we could find within walking distance of the hotel. Kinda annoying.

The hotel was right at the marina so there was lots of fancy yachts around, but no beachfront.  :(


So finally on Monday afternoon we were happily on the ship.  We sat here on the deck for about 45 minutes, which it turns out is exactly the amount of time I need to get a good sunburn going: farmer sleeves and capri pants legs.  When I did put on my swimsuit, I looked extra ridiculous.

BTW- Blogger won't let me put my pictures in the order I want, so ignore the out-of-order-ness.

Grand Turk.  Lane and I don't snorkel, so we took an excursion on a semi-sub.  The lower deck was all glass windows so we could just sit all nice and dry and lazy and look at the fish.  We even got to see a tiny (about 5 foot) shark.

 Grand Turk.  He just has to be silly in pictures.  Always.
 On the ship, in the lounge, waiting for the comedy show to start.

This is where my pictures get out of order, due to some being on the camera and some being on the phone, but whatever.  We flew home from Fort Lauderdale through JFK in New York.  I've never been to NY before, so I thought maybe I could see some skyline or something.  No.  Nothing.  I have no geographical knowledge of where JFK is in relation to NYC so perhaps I was expecting too much.  Now, I don't claim to be any kind of world traveler or anything, but of all the airports I've been to (and there aren't that many), JFK is the weirdest, most non-sensical airport I've ever been to.  And I was stuck there for 4 hours.  During that 4 hours, our connecting flight gate changed 3 times.  There was hardly anywhere to plug in a cell phone, and really - 6 bathroom stalls for the whole area?  I expected something completely different, not to mention it didn't look anything like the airport on Friends.

Plus, what's up with the pigeon?  No one seemed to notice or care that it was there, but I thought it was more than a little bit disgusting.

So we flew out of JFK at 8pm, and I did get to see the lights of whatever that is.  They went on forever and ever.  It was pretty cool, even if I never did see the skyline I was looking for.  Yes, I'm waiting for someone familiar with that area to mock me.

Back to the cruise.  This is Half Moon Cay. We did a hike and bike here.  Last time I came I did the bike ride with Jack, which was fun, but now they only offer the hike and bike.  It's not much of a hike.  The high point of the island is 60 feet, or 61 feet if you stand on a rock to take a picture.  It was a good walk though, and the bike wasn't quite the deathtrap as the bike I had last time.  This one at least had brakes that worked some of the time.  Not that brakes are needed that much, its pretty flat.

Starfish and stingray at Half Moon Cay

Some beach time at Half Moon Cay.  We sat in the shade since I certainly didn't need any more sun.  We went in the water for a minute, but it was much colder than when we were there before (September 2011)

Still out of order, back to Grand Turk.  This ship was pulling up alongside us at the dock. I thought it was amazing how they can steer those huge ships right into place.

So now we are back to the real world, which is always disappointing.  Especially due to the fact that I lied when I said Lane was switching to days.  Yep, they pulled the rug right out from under him despite what had been promised and he's still on nights for the next 8 months.  Then he'll go on days for a year or so.  Of course, this is all contingent on no further changes, which I am unwilling to bank on.

Things seem to be winding down, at least for a short time. Jack's winter drumline finished up on April 5. That was a huge time commitment on his part, which paid off well since they took 1st place in all their competitions except one, when they took second.  Not bad considering this is PGHS's first year participating in winter drumline.  So Jack now gets to come home from school every single day at the normal time.  Until the 28th, when he starts drivers ed after school.  Then Marching Band starts up again early in June, so I'm enjoying the downtime while it lasts.  I keep telling myself he'll be driving in September, which will be a huge burden lifted.

Taylor finishes up at USU sometime the first week of May and she'll be back home for the summer to work to pay for her sophomore year.  I'm thrilled at the prospect of her coming home.  Her?  Not so much, I think.  She wanted to stay in Logan for the summer, but an empty bank account changed her mind.  She has done well her first year up there, although I have missed her desperately.  She doesn't come home often enough for me, but she is better about texting more often or using Google Talk to check in. Or to ask us to send money.

So here I find myself on a Thursday evening with nothing to do.  It's a delicious feeling considering how evenings around here usually are.  I cleaned my kitchen, and even mopped the floors.  My little plants are still growing, but some have died so I got the dead ones tossed out.  I have the windows open and am enjoying the fresh spring air, while watching the dog chase a bird, hoping he doesn't get it.

 My job is going well, things at home are going well, my kids are healthy and happy, and Taylor will be home soon.  Its quite a beautiful life.