Following my husband's death in 2008, I moved from Tennessee to Florida to look after my parents. Now I'm living in a retirement community, making friends and trying new things. The most fun I've had has been ballroom dancing. So far, I've taken intro lessons in all the dances and now I'm starting intermediate. I hardly have time to read anymore but I manage four or five dances a week!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Short Cruise to Nassau

We just got back from a very short cruise to the Bahamas.  Den had a horrible first experience with a cruise 20 or so years ago so I wanted to show him that the ships have stabilizers now and it's a lot better.  Three days seemed survivable, so he agreed.

In the Polo Lounge
Well, Carnival's Sensation, apparently does NOT have great stabilizers!  Everyone was weaving from side to side the first night.  I didn't think the seas were all that rough, but the ship was rolling.  Luckily, Den got a patch before we sailed and he whipped that puppy on his neck within an hour of sailing.  It worked and he's no longer apprehensive about cruising.  YAY

The first day we walked around the ship.  Our room was mid-ship and it seemed like we were constantly turning the wrong way to get where we wanted to go.  And, of course, the elevators nearest our room didn't go all the way to the Lido deck where the food was.  We did eat reasonably the first day - Mongolian veggies and noodles for lunch and salad for dinner.  Sigh.  That was the last time.

Punchliner Comedy Club, Plaza Lounge
We enjoyed the comedy acts - Allyn Ball and Diane Ford.  They each performed one show that was suitable for all ages, including children, during the early evening, then gave adult only performances later.  Quite honestly, we enjoyed the early acts better.  When they warn you to leave if you're easily offended, they aren't kidding.  I can't say we were offended by Allyn Ball ... I just didn't think his style of humor which denigrated different cultures and people was particularly funny.

One surprise was how cold the indoor areas were.  The Plaza Lounge was freezing.  I was snuggled up to Den during the comedy acts for warmth.  I finally had to buy a sweater and carry a shawl to keep warm.

We decided to go on a shore excursion to swim with dolphins.  This took us to Atlantis, a first class resort.  A guide met us at the transport bus and led us through the casino which had some amazingly large glass sculptures.  Outside there were numerous pools with sharks and other fish as well as man-made beaches and some amazing slides.

When we finally got to Dolphin Cay, we changed into wet suits.  And let me tell you that was fun ... NOT.  Those things are tight!  However, the water was quite chilly and I was grateful for  the insulation.  Of course, we got used to it after a while but the wet suit certainly eased the transition.

Kissing Jill
Our group was small, only about 10, and Jill swam back and forth letting us pet her tummy and back.  Then she verrrrry patiently allowed each of us to kiss her and posed with us.  It's probably not healthy for the dolphins.  Sigh.  We rubbed her tail and fed her little fish.  It was a once in a lifetime experience.

After we changed back to our street clothes, we walked through The Dig.  It's a simulation of what they might have found if they'd found the real Atlantis.  Interspersed around are viewing areas for the amazing aquarium.  There were jelly fish, seahorses, manta rays, huge eels and some big fish that looked pre-historic.

Although we ate before the tour left the ship, we found we were really hungry so we stopped at a little bar near the casino and had the most amazing tuna sandwich and a Guinness.  I don't know if the tuna was spicy or the bread but it was delicious.  It was also nearly $12 for one sandwich.

The drive back to the ship took a while.  Traffic was bumper to bumper.  It gave us a chance to really see some of the old buildings in Nassau.

Captain's Party
We were exhausted when we got back to the ship but there was a Captain's Party in the Fantasy Lounge that evening and free drinks were available.  Plus we'd been assured there would be dancing from 7:00 to 8:00.  Oh yeah, there was dancing alright ... but we had to climb up on the stage to do it!!!  Bless Dennis's heart, we did a foxtrot and a cha-cha all alone up there.  Sadly we have no pictures of that.  But it was gratifying that at the end of the evening, when the "party" was over and the band was still playing, a lot of people seemed to stay and watch us dance even if they didn't join us.

Each day we started off with breakfast delivered to the room.  And until the last day, we also chose to use the stairs rather than the elevators.  However, by the last day, I confess, we were eating to capacity (and then some) and relying on the elevators.  Every once in a while one of us would just oink.

Dancing in Michelangelo's
On the last day at sea, we found Michelangelo's, a little lounge where nothing was happening during the day.  However, we could hear the music that was playing in the Mirage Bar around the corner.  At 5:00, the Sensational Showband played some Motown music and we danced ... all by ourselves.  It was fun.

A few grumbles here.  No hairdryers.  I was not happy to have bad hair days the whole time.  I needed a hairdryer!!!!  And the coffee was awful.  It was very strong and smelled of sewer water.  Den loves (craves) coffee but he couldn't add enough sugar or cream to make it palatable.  I cut it with half a mug of hot chocolate and half coffee.

At any rate, now Den is comfortable with cruising and overall, we had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January Trips

Total Wall booth
The week of January 17 was really busy.  There was a trade show in Orlando where Den's company, Total Wall, had a booth.  It was hosted by Sherwin Williams in the Dolphin Hotel at Disney World.  He travelled down there and back a couple of nights a week for dinner meetings before the show began and then stayed for one night.  I went with him on Monday night for the quick drive down and back.  Tuesday night it was all business, so I didn't go.

Me, Den, Vinnie, Mike
I decided to join him on Thursday night and figured since I was going to be right there at Epcot, I might as well have some fun.  So a girlfriend and I drove down early Thursday and spent the day at Epcot.  I've always loved those big drums and the Japanese section had a drumming group.  Luckily we were just in time to see them.  It was a very interesting but tiring.  Then she drove back to Ocala while I stayed with Den.

Japanese Drummers at Epcot
We went to dinner with all the salesmen but something in the air really aggravated my sinuses and we had to retire for the evening.  I just couldn't stop sneezing.  The next day I helped at the booth, asking if anyone had questions and then snagging a salesman for them.  I certainly couldn't answer any questions.  *grin*

The worst part of the trip was at the end.  Vinnie had supervised the unloading of the Total Wall booth but he forgot to take pictures so the parts could be packed correctly.  The salesmen had to pack everything up to be shipped back to Wisconsin and no one had any idea how they fit together in the styrofoam forms.  It got very uncomfortable with tempers rising so I just left.  I know it was rude not to say goodbye but I was afraid I was going to say the wrong thing to someone.

We got home at last but it was very late that night.  The trip was complicated by the entrance ramps to the Turnpike being blocked and we had to find another way.  Luckily Den has spent a lot of time in Orlando so he knew how to find another access ramp.  I was quite impressed by his cool control throughout this stressful day.

Den & Neal
The next morning we were off to Daytona Beach where his senior men's tennis team was in the State finals.  Den and Neal won their matches but the team came in second.  Although the team won more matches it apparently came down to who won more sets.  I don't understand it, but that's how it shook out.  We still had fun, even though it was freezing cold and windy.  I was very proud of Den.