Having offered to put us up for the two days before we sail away on the Celebrity Century to begin the first leg of our worldwide journey, my darling niece and her hospitable husband welcomed us with open arms into their close-to-the-beach home in San Diego with sweeping ocean views.
Not only was our bedroom and private bath perfectly prepared for our visit, but they also cooked an amazing meal befitting our way of eating: prime rib, roasted Brussels sprouts and asparagus, and a mixed green salad with homemade cucumber relish. We were in heaven, relaxed, and at home after the long drive from Scottsdale in New Year’s Day traffic.
Packing the car in Scottsdale with not only our excessive amount of luggage, including miscellaneous items we’re giving to the family before we depart on Thursday, was a daunting task. Tom, with his usual determination, managed to load it all in the back of the SUV, including the flat-screen TV we had brought along “just in case.” (Which proved to be a worthwhile decision when the bedroom TV in Scottsdale was too small to see to lull us to sleep. We’ll unload it tomorrow on son Richard).
On the drive, we stopped at three locations for breakfast unwilling to wait in the hour-long lines for New Year’s Day. Desperate to get something in our stomachs, we stopped at a McDonald’s figuring we’d find something edible within our diet constraints. I can’t recall the last time I ate anything at a McDonald’s. It may have been 10 years ago or more.
Ending up with an awful southwest chicken salad (having requested gluten-free), I had to send back when it wasn’t. It was covered with some crispy fried things with a side of dressing loaded with sugar (which I didn’t use). Much to my shock, the uncut chicken breast was basted with high fructose corn syrup! I wiped it off several times with a napkin in a futile effort to “clean it.” That’s what we’re feeding our kids?
Tom, without any choices he’d consider, ordered chicken nuggets and fries. You’d think after a year and a half of our stringent way of eating, he’d enjoy junk food from his past. Not so much. Back on the road, we darted in and out of holiday traffic, hoping to arrive in time for dinner.
Today with one day until departure, we’ll be running around to complete our final tasks: a trip to the bank to get some arbitrary amount of cash yet to be determined, a venture into a local drugstore for a few last-minute toiletries, a trip to Goodwill to drop off my warm clothing that we won’t need where we’re going so far and a preliminary trip to the cruise ship port to scope out our upcoming arrival tomorrow morning when boarding begins around 10:30 am.
We’ll find a nearby restaurant for lunch with my sister and eldest son who has come to see us off at the pier. He is taking our SUV off of our hands either to sell or keep as an extra vehicle. It all worked out after all. We’ll drive ourselves to the pier, unload our bags, meet them for lunch and off we go, hoping they will be able to take a photo of us at the railing of the ship (we’ll post this photo if we get it).
Are we excited yet? Almost. Almost excited, holding our emotions at bay in an effort to stay focused on the endless steps necessary to get situated on board the ship. After all, we are taking virtually everything we own with us, not an easy task. There will be no home to go back to in order to repack. There will be no new inventory of clothing and supplies to prepare for the next leg of the journey. This is it.
Tentative? Yes, a little. There’s no going back now. Nervous? A little. We are embarking on the first cruise of our lives and yet, we’ve booked eight of them! Crazy? Yes, a little. After spending a lifetime trying to do the “right thing” we feel that it’s time to take a few chances.
In the realm of things, what is the worst that will happen, provided no unforeseen disaster occurs? We won’t like it or, we’ll become seasick that doesn’t resolve after a few days. Yes, either of these could occur. What would we do? We’ll cancel all of the remaining cruises, lose a portion of the deposits we’ve paid (we’d get most of them back in full as long as they are outside the 90 day cancellation period), and venture on as planned, flying as opposed to cruising.
Over the past year since deciding to embark on this adventure, we’ve discussed every possible scenario we could imagine and how we plan to respond. As for the unforeseen, which will undoubtedly occur, we shall hopefully utilize rational thinking with the utmost consideration as to what is the best plan for us.
We’ve taken many precautions that will prove to have been for naught and we’ll experience many situations for which we’re unprepared. We accept that reality which, it itself, is half the battle.
We’ll tire of hauling our bags. We’ll tire of looking at the same stuff day after day. We’ll tire of not having a car. We’ll tire of figuring exchange rates and paying exorbitant fees to convert, cash. And, we’ll tire of language barriers.
But, we won’t tire of one another as we find ourselves pleasingly and, not surprisingly enjoying being together day after day. That, my friends, is the greatest part of our journey.
Next time we “see” you here on our blog, we’ll be writing from the Celebrity Century. We’ll be unpacked, ready to experience the 23 days of cruising in the month of January and for now, we’ll be “home.”