Sunday, April 19, 2009

home again, home again ...

After I finished Friday's blog entry, I went back to the room to collect Mother. We went to the International Cafe and had tea and cake. Then we went to the Princess Theatre for the final staging of "Once Upon a Dream". How these dancers manage to do what they do while the ship is rolling is beyond me! Mother, exiting the theatre, said, "Pitiful!". I asked her what she meant. She indicated that the show was just not up to her standards. I thought the cast did a great job.

After that, we returned to the room to begin packing since bags needed to be out before 8 p.m. This is a tricky business. You have to keep the items that you might need for the remainder of the evening and the next day. On a previous cruise, a ship's staff member told me that many times after bags are taken, passengers realize that they have failed to keep a pair of pants or shorts for the next day and have to send someone to the boutique to purchase something for them to wear off the ship. That has not happened to me, but I can just imagine that it could!

After we put our bags out, we walked down to the grill and ordered cheeseburgers and fries. Neither of us was up to dressing for dinner. We took our plates back to the cabin and just enjoyed a relaxed meal in the room. Mother decided to read for a while. I left the room and made the rounds, returning library books, playing the slot machines in the casino, talking with a few people we had met during the cruise and taking tips to certain people who had been especially helpful during the cruise.

We woke up early on Saturday morning to find that we were already docked. We quickly dressed and headed to the Horizon Court for breakfast. After that, we returned to the cabin to collect our belongings. I gave Mariana, our cabin steward, an extra tip for being so quietly efficient. Then we headed to the Explorer's Lounge to wait our turn to disembark. Upon arrival, we were told we could go ahead and leave the ship. So we did!

I hate the process of looking for luggage, but I have to admit that Princess makes it as easy as they possibly can. I found our bags in short order and we joined the queue for customs. Then we were out the door and ready to jump on the Princess bus for a transfer to the airport. Unfortunately for me, Mother's airline had set up camp just outside the exit and Mother insisted on checking in and getting rid of her bags. So instead of a quick 10 minute trip to the airport, I sat for 45 minutes while Mother stood in the line to get checked in for her flight. I think I watched a thousand people exit the ship during that 45 minutes. As each minute ticked by, I felt my chances for switching to an earlier flight home just slipping through my fingers.

Mother finally finished and we walked the next hundred or so feet to the transfer buses, only to find that although we were going to the same airport, we were on different buses because they grouped us by airline. (I could have left her in her airline queue.) I helped Mother to her bus, then got on mine. I arrived at the airport to find that there were two earlier flights that HAD available seats, but that those seats had already been claimed. So I was stuck waiting for my 2 p.m. flight. So I headed to Chili's to sit out part of the 4 1/2 hour wait. At around 12:30 p.m., I headed to my gate, only to hear an announcement that my flight was delayed and we would not be leaving Florida until 4:40 p.m., which means I would be missing my flight out of Atlanta. Sigh.

I did make it home last night - late. And the flight into Memphis was frightening! It was raining and you could not see the ground as we came in for a landing. But the pilot handled it all with aplomb!

It was wonderful to sleep in my bed last night!!! Today, I need to go in to work to look over my FY10 budget so I will be ready for my budget presentation. Ugh.

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