Alaska-Embarkation and Ketchikan

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So, I’ve been on vacation. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was on vacation, and then I got the death plague on vacation, and spent the last week trying to shake the remainder sniffles/cough and having to go to WORK and look at a computer all day again. That was nice, on vacation, to not stare at a screen all the time.

Day 0, Friday: Travel

We went on an Alaskan cruise with a large chunk of my mom’s family. Mike and I flew to Vancouver via Seattle on a Friday night and got in super late (for me). I think the plane landed around 12:30 after circling for a while. Maybe it’s just me, but at the end of any flight, no matter the length (Seattle->Vancouver was like 30 minutes), I am like, “GET ME OFF OF THIS NARROW METAL TUBE NOWWWWWW” and any delays or circling or being in the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back of the plane during disembarkation is just pure aggravation.

Anywho! We landed and went through customs and found our luggage. My parents, who had already been in Canada for almost a week, picked us up and we went to a nearby hotel.

Ok, sure, that doesn’t look too exciting, but it actually was a pretty neat hotel with wrap around windows.

Day 1, Saturday-Embarkation: The next day, we got up, had breakfast, repacked. I took a long shower, knowing the remainder of the week would see a shower the size of a postage stamp. We took my parents’ rental car back to the airport and boarded the cruise shuttle. Some family members were mere minutes behind us and got on the next shuttle. They were lucky, our driver was mute, theirs gave them a tour of Vancouver.

Cruise port: long line for security, long line for customs, moderate line for check-in, mild waiting for dad to go to the bathroom, yay, we’re finally on board!

Our room was a typical small room. Nothing super exciting, see?

My parents were much less enthused with their room, but we’ll not get into that. Eventually, we all met up at the food court buffet, since no one had eaten since about 9a and it was now 3p. After the muster drill (Mike and my muster station was in the casino?! Shouldn’t we know where our lifeboat is??), we reconverged on my parents’ room, which had a balcony and said our goodbyes to Vancouver.

My parents’ room was at the rear port side of the ship, and our room was four floors down on the forward starboard side. Which meant we spent a lot of time walking down the world’s longest hallway. (It was 492 steps from their room to our room)

Day 2, Sunday-At sea: I don’t terribly remember what we did this day, other than get lost and turned around a lot. Which is weird for me, because I have the spatial abilities of a human map. The International Dining room, where they served sit-down breakfast and lunch (you could also go to what my dad termed “The Pig Trough” but it was much busier), was at the back of the ship, one floor up from our room. But you could only access it by the rear-most stairs, and in getting there, you couldn’t go anywhere else but up or inside the dining room. We had to go up two flights of stairs, all the way to the back of the ship, and then down one flight. It was bizarre.

Oh right, day 2 was the formal night. I brought the dress that I had bought for the rehearsal dinner and ended up not wearing because it was FREEZING. I had tried to borrow a black dress from my neighbor, but it was sadly too large on top.

Here is my cousin Erik, his girlfriend Tiffany, my grandma, myself, and Mike:

Day 3, Monday-Ketchikan: Mike was jonesing to see the Lumberjack show in Ketchikan, which is not exactly a high-attraction town.

They have food recommended by cruise ships:

and offices sharing diamond buildings:

And lumberjack shows so rigged that it was obvious:

We also visited a salmon ladder that the salmon were not climbing, but they were resting. Do you see them over there? In the shallows? Yeah, salmon. Woo!

We decided to get back on board our ship for lunch, as the food in Alaska is pretty expensive, and as we’ve already established, recommended by cruise ship crews. We departed Ketchikan around 1:30p (it was a short day). Mike and I sat out on the deck as we left and watched the scenery

In the next post, Juneau, Skagway, and more!

A Weekend in Georgia (and South Carolina a little)

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Thursday:
The alarm was set to go off at 4a for our 6:25a flight. I was awake probably twenty minutes before that, and I didn’t feel like I had slept *that* well. We dragged our half-dead bodies out of bed, got ready, and packed toiletries. I hate that I can never be fully packed until right before I have to leave. Also, I have too many toiletries to take. SparklnJoyce37 rolled down the stairs and we were out the door around 4:45a. We took the car to Josh’s old work and they shuttled us (along with some pilots) to the airport. We were dropped off last (of course) and then went up the escalator…to a really long line. There were about eighteen quadrillion people waiting for Delta. Mike and I already had our boarding passes, but you couldn’t get to the bag drop without waiting in the line for the kiosks. Even the line for the bag drop was a good 20 minutes. I never understand how some people arrive at the drop totally unprepared, hunting for their ID. You’ve had twenty minutes to prepare, at least take your ID out of your wallet and be ready. Mike & Mags and Jess & Charles were a few people behind us in the bag line, because they had had to check in still. We then went over to the security line, which had four huge switchbacks of people. It is now approximately 6:10ish? I’m totally freaking out that we are not going to make the plane. A TSA worker came by asking if anyone had 6:30a flights, and you better believe my hand was the first one in the air. She looked at my ticket and was like, “you should already be on the other side.” Umm, thanks? She let us go in the first-class/pilot line and we speed-walked (well, I did) to the gate, where we were one of the very last people on the plane. The plane had those cool in-seat TV systems, so that was entertaining. I also tried to work on Wendy’s website redesign a little, but the lack of internet made it difficult. We landed in Atlanta, and then had to high-tail it to a different terminal to get on our puddle jumper to Augusta, which was also mostly boarded already. Augusta’s airport is like a country club, complete with a putting green and outdoor patios with rocking chairs. Jess & Charles elected to take the hotel shuttle while Mike & I rented a red Camry and we took Mike & Mags with us to the hotel. I am glad Hertz gave us a free GPS, because Georgia is confusing and one of the main roads was closed. We got to the hotel, and then went looking for food. Downtown Augusta was very dead and nothing was opening until 5:30 or 6p (which was a lot earlier to us, but we hadn’t eaten anything substantial all day). We finally settled on a place called The Bee’s Knees. It was a tapas restaurant and it was fabulous! Mmmm. We walked back to the hotel and wandered around the river (the hotel was right on the Savannah River) area before having some ice cream and calling it a night.

Friday:
By the power of Twitter, Mike and I knew that Mike&Mags were eating breakfast, so we joined them briefly for some noshing. Pretty decent oatmeal. We then returned to the room and watched Grey’s Anatomy. Kate (bride) picked me up along with Jess and Mags for lunch later at Luigi’s. She dropped Mags and I back off at the hotel, and Jess went with her back to her parents’. Mike & I and Mags & Mike and Charles then went on a gift-finding venture. We first stopped at Kohl’s so Other Mike could find a suitable suit (ha) to wear at the wedding. We then went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and got some gifts. There was a funny store called HHGREGG which we thought sounded hilarious. (It turned out to be a Best Buy kind of store). We killed some time with iced drinks from Starbucks and wandered around a photo store before heading back. We then reconvened at 6 to head (back) to the strip mall we had just been at for the rehearsal dinner (we had no idea it was the same place until we got there). The rehearsal dinner was at Sticky Fingers (ribs, bbq) and, unsurprisingly, had no vegetarian options. Oh well, chicken it is! They had a killer peach cobbler. While at the strip mall, Charles, Mike, and I went to Target to buy swim suits so we could go in the hot tub when we got back to the hotel…except when we got there, it was infested by about 15 children ranging from ages 15-2. Hot tub is not a giant bath tub. I kept expecting them to leave, as it was almost 11p, but they showed no signs of slowing. We made plans to go swimming in the outdoor (cold) pool the next morning at 9.

Saturday:
Kate & Luke’s wedding day! Charles met us for some early morning swimming. It was still cloudy, and I was freezing, but we all managed to swim a little. We then walked to a cute café called New Moon, I think. Good food, good drink, slow service, and it was about 90° INSIDE the building. It wasn’t even that hot outside. We sat outside (wisely) and enjoyed our food. While we were sitting there, some local people started setting up for a Historic Augusta Loft Tour (or something like that). It sounded super interesting, so Charles graciously bought us all tix and we headed out, following the map. We had a little time to kill, because it didn’t start for a half hour. It had gotten quite warm by then, and I had no hair tie! We bought some water, which was my savior, because I felt like I was melting. Some of the places on the tour were kind of “eh”, but some of them were neat houses and overall it was very enjoyable. We went back to the hotel to cool off (I had to soak my feet and hands in cold water and only after twenty minutes or so were my hands sufficiently unswollen as to get my ring off). We got dressed for the wedding, and met in the lobby around 3. The five of us piled in the car with the printed directions and headed out. Twenty minutes later, we realized we had probably passed it, and asked the GPS to guide us. We finally found the church (like a one-room schoolhouse in the middle of a forest) and fanned ourselves in good Southern tradition while Kate and Luke had a very nice ceremony. After the ceremony was over, we went back to the hotel and sat in the blissful air conditioning at the bar and waiting for the reception at 6:30. We watched the Kentucky Derby and randomly declared our favorite horses. Then we went to eat appetizers and drinks at the reception. Dinner was yummy and cake was nom. The TTC (time-to-club) at the reception was surprisingly long. I was crashing by 11, and we headed back upstairs (oh, did I mention the hotel where the reception was was the same one where we were staying?).

Sunday:
We met Matt & Ash and Mike & Mags for breakfast at the Waffle House. The waffle (well, duh, I had to get one) was pretty good. Mike and I went back to the hotel, and the others left to drive to Charlotte for their flight to NYC. We checked out around 11 and then spent a half hour trying to find a gas station near the airport. We returned the car and checked in by like, noon…and our flight wasn’t until 2:12p. We sat, and sat, and there was a weird guy spouting bible things into his cell phone. We got on the plane (another tiny one) and the captain informed us that we couldn’t leave for another half-hour due to back up at Atlanta. Why even have us on the plane?! Boo. We got to Atlanta, finally, and then changed to the next terminal and went to Chili’s for lunch? dinner? Something. It was meh, but at least it was food, because we were starving. Next plane (probably the same one we flew out on) and the baby and his mom and dad from our flight on Thursday was sitting right there in the terminal waiting. Weird. The flight back to SD felt LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG. I watched some bad movie called “The Wedding Date” and was generally just ready to be done with flying. We landed, got our bag (we had managed to take only one checked bag between the two of us) and then got the airport shuttle and back to the car. On the way home, we stopped at Panda for food, and then WaMu for check depositing, and then Vons for milk. We went home and ate again, and then I craaaaaaaaaaashed. (And then I woke up at 5 and my body thought it was 8 and I was annoyed and broke mustard all over the kitchen.)

The end!

Cruise, teeth, NOMNOM

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We have been back from our epic voyage since Monday, but I’m still trying to recover from jetlag and a bug I came down with in D.C. I’m getting there, though. I stayed home from work on Tuesday, so as not to infect my co-workers. I tried to do some laundry, but in my sickly state, I accidentally washed all the clothes that Mike had already washed and left the dirty ones sitting out. Woops. I have to work on the pictures from the trip. I took about 2.5 GB worth of pictures on my big camera (~300) and Mike took another 300 or so on my old Sony camera. We also have some formal pictures to scan in from the cruise, and some rock climbing pictures from the ship, too. (Funny story, my helmet fell off halfway up the rockwall and tried to strangle me. My options were let go and fix it, or hang on for dear life and keep climbing. I kept climbing, which resulting in a funny picture at the top. They had a photographer stationed at the top of the wall sometimes.)

In teeth news, I went to the dentist for a cleaning on Weds, the orthodontist for a checkup today, and then I have to go back to the dentist tomorrow for xrays, due to some confusion on my part on Wednesday. At the ortho today, they did IPR (interproximal reduction) between some of my front lower teeth. They have a tiny strip of thin metal, which has a bunch of small holes in it. They shave away the edges of your teeth, between the teeth, so that they fit better together. Yeah, that’s fun. It was very uncomfortable. They gave me my next three sets of trays, up to 7/8 upper and 7/16 lower. Looking at 7/16 on the lower, the bottom teeth that are stairstepped are actually flattening out, though the one tooth that is pushed so much further back than the others still seems like it has a ways to go. I’m excited to see some progress. They’re supposed to send my my ClinCheck video this afternoon, so I’ll actually be able to see what teeth are supposed to be moving. I’ll post it when/if it comes in.

Completely unrelatedly, Costco sells these delicious veggie patties. You get 14 for $10 and they are gigantic and awesome. Only 170 cals.

Also unrelated, Mike and I celebrate 4 years on Saturday. That is awesome.

Random update

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Teeth:
I put in Invisalign tray #2 tonight. Technically, it’s supposed to be tomorrow, but I read many places that putting them in overnight was the superior method, because you’re asleep and don’t notice how much it hurts initially. I keep staring at the trays I have (up to tray 4) and trying to see how my teeth will be shifting. I mean, tray 4/8 on the uppers is halfway. It’s hard to see minute differences. I haven’t been able to see the ClinCheck (the computerized model that shows you how your teeth are going to move) yet, because the ortho’s computer went to Office Depot (?!) for repairs. There will be a new aligner pic tomorrow. I’m expecting pain. Especially since tray 1 for both has become loose and comfortable. I hardly notice they’re there.

The weirdest side effect: when I take the aligners off, my teeth feel super crazy sharp and slimy! My tongue has already decided the dull, plastic aligners are “normal”.

Nicer side effect: my pants are looser! There is a jar of M&Ms and a stocking full of candy, a tin of cookies and a jar of nuts at work, and I haven’t really eaten any of it. I mean, I don’t love brushing my teeth *that* much.

Christmas:
Looks like this is going to be the first year that I do not spend some form of Christmas with my parents. They’re still debating about whether they will go to Las Cruces to be with my grandma. I have decided not to do that, since we’re going on the cruise right in January.

Oh right, the cruise:
Did I mention the cruise? 11 night Mediterranean, leaving Jan 5. We’re going to Sicily, Athens, Rhodes, Cyprus, Egypt, and Malta. The boat leaves and returns to Barcelona. We have horrible flights getting to Barcelona, and my mom is nigh on convinced that we’re going to be horribly stranded in Chicago forEVER and miss several days of the cruise. I’m trying not to think about it. Mike and I bought each other a shared pair of Bose QC3 headphones to wear on all the multitudes of planes. I think they will make a big difference. Maggie and I went dress shopping on Saturday, and I walked in to JC Penney’s, found two super cute dresses, and BOOM, I was done. They were both 50% off, too! We went to DSW and I got some black heels to wear. My remaining clothing mission is sneakers. The shoes that I bought at Clark’s a couple months ago are perfectly fine, but they’re SOOOOO slippery when wet. I slipped twice this morning in the admin building. Bad idea for a boat during winter. I went with Mike to Men’s Wearhouse yesterday, and he bought his very first suit! It’s very sharp, a very dark, dark charcoal color. The jacket fit him like a glove, but the pants need hemming. They only charged $12 for the hemming, sweet. And the store provides free pressing for life! He also bought four different colored shirts and ties to match. Very nice, and I’m very proud of him. He will be dashing and we can take cute pictures on the cruise.

Rain:
OMG it’s raining like whoa!