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January 24, 2020
And We’re Off! Sort of… (Gail)

Gail writes…

Wow. We made it. And we did it before we collapsed!

I have been so busy that I have not really had time to get excited. When Russell went to sleep on the 22nd, I still had my final packing to do. The room where I was sleeping was a mess, but I managed to get all but the last-minute toiletries packed up and the remaining cases downstairs.

I was done. Oh, but wait, there was more. The next morning at 7:15 when I got up, I still had the last-minute clean-up of the master bath, a few more boxes to get into the laundry room and other miscellaneous things to do.

As I was putting a last bin into the laundry room, Russell came in and said, “Where is the box with the keys to the safe?”. Ummmm… as I turn in circles trying to remember which bin of the 12 I put it in. I know it’s there… but where? So I start dismantling the great wall of heavy shoulder-height bins, looking inside then handing them off to Russell as he slowly disappears into the stack. At one point I climbed onto the stack.

This time-sink was not part of my schedule, and I start to worry. I keep saying, “I know it’s here.” Is it in the bin marked “bathroom”? Or one of the three marked “linens,” “towels” or “blankets”? How about “Gail’s desk”? Erg. I know it is here. Russell is standing next to the dryer with bins around him. I am blocked in, and finally I tell him to go do what he needs to do I will find it. And indeed I do. In the middle of the middle bins, I peek inside and there it is right on top of miscellaneous bits and pieces of stuff. Just stuff—no label, just stuff.

Joss was not feeling well, so he was home for our goodbye, and I hugged him extra tight. I will so miss my boys. I wanted a few minutes to wander my home for the last time while it was still entirely ours. But this did not happen. Instead I hurriedly took a few photos and tried to impress the last memories into my brain. When next we return we will have to knock on the door. Strange to think about, really.

Our Uber ride arrived, we threw the cases into the car, and off we went. And our airport arrival went smoothly. We easily found the Regent rep, though they had two “Gail Lee”s – one a party of two and the other a party of three. I was both. Go figure. There was no other Gail Lee.

As we boarded the shuttle van from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that my name was on the windshield. I meant to take another photo from the outside but forgot, so only got a quick shot from inside. Later on (I really can’t remember where now), my name was also the indicator of a group. I am a star! Ha.

See the sign in the windshield?

I will skip the hotel as Russell covered that nicely.

Our arrival at the ship was so smooth, and as full-circuit travelers we were able to bypass the line of folks registering to board. I ran back and confirmed that the boys and Russell’s sister Joanne and her husband Matt could also bypass the line as they were registered guests. We wandered the ship while waiting to hear they had arrived, then waited by the gangway for that first glimpse.

I am so happy we had them come up. Now they know where we ae living for the next four months. We had a nice lunch, they saw our cabin and wandered around impressed. Cameron got a cup of coffee and then off they went. I made them promise to take care of each other, hugged and kissed them, and then cried a bit as they walked down the gangway. At the last minute they passed two ladies and I (as a typical mom) called out “Janet and Susan, those are my sons!” Greetings were exchanged… and then the guys were gone.

As Russell already said, the sail away was cold, windy and foggy. (It’s San Francisco, folks.)

Can you what what’s different between these two photos? (Answer below)

Because I started a Facebook group, we are already known to many people onboard. It’s been nice to chat, and we look forward to meeting and spending time with this new community. It’s funny: folks seem to know who Russell is already.

And we’re off!

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