Thursday, June 25, 2009

To Do List


Elaine, yes, I could use some information on San Juan! We are scheduled for a segway tour the evening we are there, but have a few hours to kill beforehand, during the afternoon. The segway girl recommended we go to Ocean Park, but I'm having trouble figuring out if that's a public beach, or a private community, and if we can catch a taxi there. What would YOU recommend for about three hours, on a weekday, during the late afternoon, that wouldn't take us tooooooo far from the cruise ship pier? Thanks!!

So, we're leaving on vacation in just a few days, and I am in full panic mode. I've gone beyond the casual list-making of "Wow, I still have a lot to do" into the full-fledged "Holy shit, how many things am I forgetting?" zone.

I hesitated about how much info to post here regarding our trip. Blog safety consciousness everywhere dictates you simply DON'T put that information out there on the web ..... might as well rent a neon sign to put in front of your house advertising to any and all prospective burglars that the house is empty with no one standing guard.**

So I considered not posting ... but then, if my blog suddenly went dormant for fourteen days in a row, wouldn't that be kind of big clue, as well? I mean, you guys would assume I was on vacation ... or in jail.

And no way am I organized enough to pre-post fourteen days' worth of blog entries and then at the end be all, "Surprise! I'm back! You didn't even know I was gone but I'm back!!" Yeah, none of you would fall for that.

And you know what else? I *want* to blog about my vacation while I'm on it. Not because I think anyone else really gives a rats ass (although if you DO, how nice is that for me?) but because its a much more convenient way for me to collect my thoughts and memories and tales on a daily basis, and then use that for my personal scrapbooking later.

So ..... here goes:


We are leaving next Monday for vacation --- the teeny tiny part of me that isn't hyperventilating in the corner for fear I will forget our passports, or we'll drive off and leave the suitcase with all the medicines in the garage, or someone will fall overboard, or we'll over stay our excursion and the cruise ship will leave us in Haiti, or we'll all catch some Caribbean version of the swine flu ..... well except for those minor concerns which are keeping me up at night, panic stricken and anxiety ridden .... except for those things, I'm really excited about it.

We are traveling with two other families, ten kids altogether, plus Grandma Betty. I think Grandma Betty thinks we only invited her for some free babysitting, which is totally not true, unless maybe one night there's a really good R-rated comedian or something on the ship, and then ok, maybe it would be convenient if she would take the kids on in to bed .... but mostly, its just because we like her company.

The kids are ecstatic ... they've never cruised, they can't wait to try snorkeling, we've chartered a private sailboat one day for just the six of us, they love the ocean, they love the beach, and Kellen was pretty much sold once he found out there is unlimited soda on the ship.

Blaine is in full "Oh, you just manage all the details, I completely trust you" mode ..... which I both appreciate and resent.

As for me, when I'm not stressing out that I'm going to forget something, or updating my to-do list, or crossing things off my to-do list as already done .... I'm giving a valiant effort to get as much done ahead of time as possible.

A variety of clothes, for a variety of situations, for five people, for fourteen days, with zero laundry facilities in the interim .... is a little intimidating. The situation is complicated by the fact that approximately twelve hours after we return home, my older two kids are leaving for a five-day church camp. Which means I will have to unpack the car, do laundry, and help them re-pack .... **probably** during the middle of the night, groggy eyed, grumpy, and still hopped up on caffeine from the 22-hour drive home.

So, a list of The Top Ten Things I discovered tonight, while demanding begging forcing threatening helping my children select their car clothes, daytime cruise clothes, dinner cruise clothes, formal dinner cruise clothes, swimsuits, pajamas, shoes, and undergarments:

1. NO-ONE in my family has fourteen days worth of underwear.

2. Kellen has not a single pair of dress socks to his name and has apparently been wearing athletic socks with his church shoes for months now, un-noticed by me.

3. Two of my three children do not have fourteen days worth of socks. The only reason it doesn't matter for the other child is because she lives in flip flops.

4. Kendrie despises dresses with every bone in her body.

5. When told she will wear a dress for formal night(s) or stay in the cabin during dinner (hello, Grandma Betty, looks like we'll put you to work after all!) she has to really think about it. The jury is still out on which she will choose.

6. The only way she will consider a dress with an itchy bodice is if she can wear an undershirt.

7. If you don't have an undershirt, taking scissors and cutting the arms and neck out of a plain white t-shirt will suffice, although after you have made the cuts is when she will tell you that's the shirt she normally wears with her pajama bottoms and you'll be screwed anyway.

8. My 12-yr old has cuter shoes than I do.

9. My 11-yr old was extremely helpful during the packing process, even voluntarily running downstairs to get his shoes and reminding me to pack him a belt. Hmmmmm. Something's up.

10. There's no way I'm doing this without forgetting something. Something big .... something important .... probably one of my kids. Or to pick up Grandma Betty the first morning on our way out of town.

**Burglars, ok, you really should know .... there is an alarm on our house. The dogs will still be here, inside most of the time. While the golden would simply lick your face off, the lab is actually pretty pissy if he doesn't know you. We found a camel cricket in the garage tonight, so take your chances with the mutant insects that might attack you. We really don't have anything good to steal, anyway. My sister and nephews will be here on and off the entire time, feeding the dogs and cat, bringing in the mail, mowing the lawn, etc. Since they live half an hour away, they intend to use our house as "home base" during these two weeks and will actually be here quite a bit, perhaps even overnight. Did I mention her husband is a volunteer sheriff's deputy and carries a gun???

I'm just saying ......


Trish in Leesburg, VA said...

Have a great time! I have an extra week to get ready for our 2 week vacation to Florida, but I am in the panic mode what if I forget something and we can't get it when we arrive at our destination mode already! I have been working on packing for the past 2 weeks and still feel like I have way too much to do. HAHA. Anyway, again, have a great time! Can't wait to read all about it.

hyzymom said...

Please let me know how it goes. My husband continues to try and convince me to go crusing with the kids, but all I can ever envision is Brenna daring Zack to stand on the railing and him falling over board. Or the ship starting to sink like Posideon Adventure and the kids all being on different levels or Brenna finding her first summer fling and having sex in the lifeboats. There... have I made it better for you?????

Cathy said...

Have Fun! I don't know how you will post from the ship, the last time I cruised it was something like $10 for a half hour of internet. That's a lot of days worth of clothes to pack - woah - good luck!!! We just got back from vacation but we were renting a condo on a beach and we knew we would have a washer/dryer it made packing and planning SO much easier - but I still freaked out that I was forgetting something big and important. We did fine - I had to make an emergency run to Walmart for female supplies that I didn't know I would be needing. All in all not a big deal. Did I say HAVE FUN... I can't wait to hear about it and see your pictures.

Tina S said...

We just got back from a cruise and had lots of fun! (Bahamas) I also discovered my oldest has been living on about 4 pairs of underwear and didn't bother to tell me. That old zofran even came in handy when Bryce said he felt kind of sick the last night of the cruise (thankfully no one got sick!). Have a great time. We went with 15 people, 7 of those kids and 4 of those under the age of 7. We survived!

RSMDianne said...

Kristie, stuff a bag laundry day - on our cruises, on one day, the steward left a bag in our room, stuff the bag with dirty laundry and it's cleaned for a flat fee. Also, my kids LOVED the kids program on board. No need for Grandma Betty to babysit. Oh and I hear you on the dress sock thing - I keep buying dress socks for my boys and I don't know where they disappear to. Have a great time!

leeanne said...

Kristie ~ Hang in there...that list will be your savior and you wont forget anything. At least nothing that you cant live without, cuz if it wasnt on the list in the first place, then it just cant be that important or necessary, right? Clothes for 14 days?!?!? Ha! No one has that, do they? Just wash some undies out in the sink and hang them overnight and you are good to go. (Hey as long as I have clean undies, I can recycle some other clothes when traveling...) Have fun!! I'll look forward to any posts, whether during or after vacation!

Anonymous said...

We are leaving for a spur of the moment vacation to the OuterBanks and I know your angst. We are in the country and who would know if someone decided to pillage and plunder our home? fortunately I have folks coming three times a day to care for all the critters. But yea, it is hard to decide when to share what about extended leaves from the homefront. I hope you all have a STELLAR time! Your kids are going to love it.
Tammy in OH

Anonymous said...

Who has 14 days worth of clothes?? I mean, except the rich/spoiled, lol. Just pack things that you can reuse/match to different things and hope the kids are neat.

I hope you have an awesome trip, you certainly deserve it.

Prayers for your sister (and all the family)


renee said...

Don't forget the CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!! And your dear friend Renee! Sniff sniff...

Elaine said...

Ooh, exciting! If you have a stop in Puerto Rico (I'm in the Coast Guard here) let me know and I'll give you the skinny. Don't forget sunscreen!!! ~Elaine

p.s. Hm, I seem to have forgotten the password to my Google Account to link my e-mail address...well if you still want the skinny on Puerto Rico just mention it in a post...

Cindi said...

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time! Of course you'll forget something. It's not really a vacation if you remember EVERYTHING!

kimi said...

I cracked up reading your post...the only thing that stuck with me was the camel cricket. I just learned about carpenter bees, and now camel crickets. The U.S. has the coolest bugs!

I always leave room for forgetting something on our trips and pray it's socks or something stupid. The worse thing we forgot - insulin for my 6 year old. Yeah that sucked. Thank God we weren't on a boat...just in West Virginia!

Have a wonderfully blessed trip, and I can't wait to see pictures. You'll never get me on a boat!

Hot-and-not-in-a-good-way-Mom to:


Anonymous said...

Even if you forget something, you can still have fun on a cruise ship! Delta lost my bag somewhere in San Juan last December. But I still managed to have fun and brought back some really funky apparel from the Caribbean. I did get the bag on the 5th day, just in time for the 2nd formal night. Whew! Just think Bob Marley (or whoever that dude is all over the Caribbean)"...don't worry, everything's gonna be all right..."

Have fun!

Anne in GA

Natalie said...

Have a great time!!!!

I no longer take trips that don't have laundry facilities. It's too taxing on my pea brain to figure out all those clothes.

Jeanette in GA said...

Wish we could go!

Maybe invest in a camisole type top for Kendrie-they are everywhere during the summer months. Or let her wear Khakis and a polo type shirt for Formal nights and avoid the whole dress thing altogether.

And you can fill water bottles with rum and no one will ever know...

Karen - Mommy to four sweeties said...

Have a great trip!!
We will miss you( your blog that is)

Lolly said...

Have so much fun!!! We're not vacationing until this fall - because that is when all the schedules come together at just the right alignment - I'll be waiting to see and hear all about your fabu cruise!!!!

Danielle said...

What ship are you going on? You know you can ask me any cruise questions! Have a great time.

debbie said...

Hi Kristie,
I have 2 weeks to get my kids ready for two weeks at camp, then immediately after camp we are going to the State Championship for tennis (both kids) and 2 days after tennis we leave for 10 or so days in China. Oh, and I have to work, too. I'm not hyperventilating, but the other day I was thinking about everything I have to do (my hubby takes Blaine's approach) and my eyelid started twitching, and hasn't stopped. Your trip sounds great and I'm sure you'll remember everything! Have a wonderful time,
Debbie E.

Pam D said...

First, I actually KNOW what a camel cricket is. Bonus? Second.. have TOO Much Fun! I'm so glad y'all are going away, but ohmylordtohavetopackforfivepeopleforfourteendaysmakesmecrazy. Really. I've spend most of June packing, unpacking, washing, repacking, driving, eating at fast food restaurants, and generally going crazy. And I have one kid. My hat is off to you, and you ARE in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Good to talk to you....PC just told me about your sister...I am so sorry....have a great time...she will be in good hands just like my 36 year old niece was when she had it...and she is 2 years out now :)

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Have an awesome vacation Kristie!

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful trip. You deserve to have a great vacation - all of you.


Anonymous said...

Oh do share all Elaine has to say. We decided to hang out and wing it in Puerto Rico b/c none of the excursions caught our eye or would work. That is awesome! Thanks Elaine. :) Kim

The Running Girl said...

How very exciting! We are heading out next week on a cruise as well, but ours is just a 4 day to Cozumel and back. Darn! Wouldn't it have been fun if we were on the same cruise. Hope you have a great time and I look forward to reading about your travels.

Catz said...

I just moved back to Wisconsin from living in San Juan for 5 years. I hated ocean park but to each his own. The public beach in Isla Verde is much nicer and is about a $9 taxi ride from the cruise ship docks. There are plenty of great side walk cafe's in Old San Juan as well as some good shopping deals for the touristy kind of stuff. There is also Senior Frogs and a Hard Rock if your more into those kind of places.

Linda said...

Oh, enjoy the segway tour in San Juan. We did it when your cruise stopped there in April, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. As the guides say, if you can Segway in the hills of Old San Juan, you can Segway anywhere!

Elaine said...

Okay, I sent you an e-mail. It's from elaine.m.(last name) just in case it goes to your spam folder.

Kelley said...

I just returned from a cruise (Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Maarten) and am SO envious of you (that mine is over and yours is just beginning). Can hardly wait to go again and take the kids. I'm guessing you can stuff that laundry bag pretty full (it was about Day 4 or 5) for $25 bucks. What ship are you on? Can't wait to hear more. Cruises are AWESOME !!!

Jen said...

We were on a cruise that stopped in San Juan in January, and I would very much recommend just wandering around. Get away from the port area (the first five or six blocks are all very touristy, and extremely crowded especially if one or two of the megaships are in town.) Go and look at the big fortress wall - there's a wonderful little shaded park area where the pigeons roost in the brickwork, talk to the people who are actually living there, wander up and go through some of the old churches, especially Iglesia de San José (San José Church)'s also very cool and shady which is a good thing- I think that the big cathedral is still closed for renovations. Walk around old downtown (again, once you get a few blocks away from the tourists, it's quieter), especially at night. The architecture is just stunning, and the open air second floors of houses are gorgeous- it's a really magical place after sundown. Wear extremely comfortable shoes, as the streets are very steep, and cobblestones hurt after a while. And take lots of water with you- we saw a sign advertising selling agua, and ended up in some poor guy's living room who was not only happy to give us water, but asked if we wanted to stay for dinner :-)

Don't book shore excursions through the ship if you can possibly help it- they're brutally expensive compared to what you can get when you're in port. One of the best things to do is get away from the tourist area, find a friendly cab driver, and ask them where they take their family for a fun few hours. You'll definitely get the best food that way, and see the interesting parts of the island.

Take half as many clothes as you think that you're going to need need- depending on what line you're cruising on, laundry's often free, or they have washing machines and dryers that you can use. Buy soda and alcohol cards before you get on board (soda's usually "free" only from certain parts of the ship), and don't buy anything from the ship's shops until the day before you land, because prices will drop about 50% on the last day. Most ships also have great libraries on board where you can "rent" DVDs free, and they've usually got a great selection. Make friends EARLY with your room steward, and tip them well when you leave- they make all of the difference in the world as to what kind of experience you're going to have, and the tip is almost as important to them as the customer satisfaction survey that you're going to fill out before you leave.

My husband's a cruise travel agent, so if you want any hints or tips, feel free to contact me if you want any more info. And have fun- San Juan is just a fantastic place, and we're planning a full holiday there very soon.