Saturday, November 29, 2014

Celebrating With a Cruise!

I've always said that “The Thrifty Tabloid” is really about saving over here to be able to spend over there. So I have been quiet this month, because we have been spending!

Several months ago, we decided that we/I needed a more relaxing vacation this year. We decided to take a cruise on the Royal Caribbean “Oasis of the Seas.” We have a Royal Caribbean credit card and we gain points to help with paying for a cruise. If I were satisfied with a small inner cabin, it would have been a BOGO. However, I must have a view.

When I booked the cruise, the customer service representative asked me if I wanted an outside balcony or an inside balcony.  It was then I realized how big this vessel must be. At the time I am writing this, it is the largest passenger vessel sailing commercially. It carries 6,300 passengers and 2,400 crew members.

The "Oasis of the Seas" is on the left.
Hubby did the research on airfare. We had a choice: drive and make memories, or fly. We chose the former. We were able to visit my brother, visit Savannah, GA, which I have always wanted to see, then drive down the coast to Fort Lauderdale to catch the ship.

The cruise was seven days long, with three stops in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten; and three days at sea. That was a good balance. The Bahamas is another country, St. Thomas is a US Virgin Island so I could use my cell phone and check in! St. Maarten is divided between the Dutch and French. That was interesting. They seem to get along, but there are differences too. The Dutch side uses 110 volt electricity, but if you want to go to the French side, you’d better have your 220 European adapter!

All of them had shopping. My husband likes to keep me too busy to shop, but I was able to buy some Christmas gifts (already budgeted for) and some items we always get while traveling.

I definitely recommend buying the health insurance, because sure enough, I got a bad blister that I lanced myself and had a real mess, so had to go to the medical facility.  As if the $208 bill wasn't bad enough (that should be taken care of), I needed to buy more Neosporin and Band-Aids. You always want to take a small first aid kit when you travel, but buying $10.00 Neosporin (when I buy name brand at the local drug store) and $6.00 for more Band-Aids on the ship—they've got you!—it is rather painful, pun intended.

I guess my point is that there will be deals, but there will always be surprises, and they are a part of life. Also, some of our purchases will not be wise in the long run. My husband really didn't need his drink package—but I had a lot of wine on this trip! It was all good!

Don’t deny yourself life’s pleasures!

Becoming a Grandma Again!

I was never worried about loving one grandchild over the other. I have two children. If I had three, I would still love them all.

So when I learned that I was to become a grandmother for the second time in early October, I was exhilarated with anticipation. This child was more real from the get-go. As I recall, I felt the same way about my second pregnancy. Because I already had a child to love and it was REAL, the second child was a real life from the moment I knew I was carrying. It was the same way with this grandchild.

When we learned it was to be another girl, I didn't have one bit of disappointment. That’s the thing about being a grandparent—it just really DOES NOT MATTER! You love them all!

This baby had a name and the parents actually told us the name, because Big Sister was bound to spill the beans. I don’t know what it was about it, but a name made the baby more real. I don’t know why that is. We had two names chosen for our children, so their grandparents knew if it was a girl, it would be so and so, and if it was a boy, it would be so and so. But with this baby, we just always called her by her name, as if she was already among us. (She was in a manner of speaking!)
Within an hour of her birth.

We found out early, and it did seem to be the longest pregnancy ever, but she came one day after her due date. Mommy knew she was in labor on her due date. She doesn't tell me, but her husband hinted on Facebook. By the following morning, we were getting ready to get to the hospital. Norah was born at 10:40 AM or thereabouts. Big Sister got to see her at the same time we did. It was a very family oriented day. However, I do draw the line with being in the delivery room. I did that twice and that was enough.

We didn't stay long as Mommy was exhausted. Nana took Big Sis to a special afternoon for the two of them.

I have seen more of this child than I did her sister. Working kept me from being able to help with her, and now I can do much more. I took Big Sis to her preschool pumpkin patch trip. I was happy to be able to make those memories with her. I look forward to doing that again.

Life is changing, but this is the BEST part of it!