After deciding we were not going to be able to take the trip to Vero Beach that I had planned due to the uncertainty of his contract at work, Jim surprised the whole family, including his mother and Russell, by calling on the phone late one night from Minneapolis, telling us he wanted to go on a Thanksgiving week cruise. He had seen an advertisement, and Carnival was running specials that started at $139 per person, and he thought it would be a great idea for us all to go. Well, of course, by the time we chose a cruise we actually wanted, minimizing the time out of school for the kids, maximizing our time to just relax and not feel pressure to book excursions and visit exotic ports, we ended up actually paying on average about $350 per person, but that was reasonable enough to book, so we did! We are off for 5 days to Key West and Cozumel, having our turkey onboard the Carnival Imagination!
I did very little planning for this trip. I really expected this to be the kind of vacation I’ve heard other people have – you know, where you go, you sleep late, you order room service, you lounge in pajamas, catch up on your reading, and just enjoy not having to do anything. So, with only one formal night on a very casual cruise line, I expect to just throw some stuff in a suitcase and be on my way.
As the day draws closer, I realize that Eilis has gotten tall over the past couple of months, and her bathing suits, which were really close to not fitting over the summer, are way too short. I am assured by several sources that in Florida, bathing suits grow on trees, and will be readily available when I arrive, so I put my mind at ease about Eilis having to skinny dip in the middle of the ocean. Then I come up with the idea that during that formal night, I can have the girls dressed in holiday attire and get their Christmas picture taken without the agony of trying to get a photo taken during the holidays at Sears or Penney’s. That requires the rest of us to be equally as festive in our attire, so I am now scouring malls for Jim’s Christmas tuxedo accessories. They want an outrageous amount of money for a one shot deal when I look at tux shops – like $99 for a vest and bow tie. Russell finds a cummerbund and bow tie for just about $20, and I tell him to get one for Jim also, so he does. I also end up picking up some things while I’m out shopping for myself – since I have to be ready almost as soon as I get home to take with me on my trip to Disney for the Moms’ Panel training, so it ends up being an expensive pre-trip week or so.
The plan is originally to leave Friday after school with the kids, drive as far as we can, finish the trip on Saturday morning, then spend Saturday evening and Sunday at the theme parks. Well, this being the weekend before Thanksgiving, I start to anticipate traffic is going to be heavy, and additionally, if we leave right after school, we are going to hit some heavy duty Washington D.C. traffic. The urgency to get everything packed is gone now that I feel like I have an extra day, and I putz around, do things I don’t really need to do, wash every article of clothing in the house, and take my time. As a result, at 1 AM Saturday morning, Brighid and I are just finishing packing. But, everything is at the door, we are ready to go, and the plan is to leave whenever everyone gets up on Saturday.