Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Miracles for Today

What started out looking like a disaster...has miraculously been contained in tidy Ziploc(r) bags into one checked bag and one carry-on...both with room to spare! It's less than 10 hours now until we leave and the family has been called, the house cleaned and the details left for those taking care of my house and home.

Every time I pack, with each successive time finding me packing less and less, I'm reminded of my first trip overseas. I went on a young adult missions trip to Barcelona in 1993. It had been a tough year, particularly with my beloved Grandfather passing away shortly before I was to leave. But, even with all the family trips, I never learned how to pack. In fact, I probably didn't really learn until I became a travel agent 12 years ago. Even now, each trip finds me learning a new technique to roll, pack or stuff to lighten the load. My, how far I've come! That first trip found me schlepping two VERY LARGE Pullman suitcases that I had received as a high school graduation gift several years before. They were packed to overflowing! Oh, AND a large matching carry-on. That was back in the day when airlines didn't regulate much and the thought of paying for an extra bag, or even one over 50 lbs was absolutely unheard of. Everyone seemed to understand that when you went overseas you needed everything but the kitchen sink. Incidentally, only one of my suitcases weighed less than 50 lbs...the other was 73! Who knows how heavy the carry-on was? Today, I managed to pack one Denier-nylon-extra-tough-with-rotating-wheels-and-retractable-handle-suitcase-in-easy-to-spot-red to check that is probably pushing the 50lb limit, and one matching carry-on. Need me to take anything for you? No problem...I've got room.
Well, at least until I hit the souvenir stands...

One More Day... clean, to pack, to winterize, to obsess about travel plans and yet, here I am writing. I actually got a lot done today. Work was busy with lots of little piddly things to wrap up. I left feeling confident that all would be well and no one would miss me. Well...I hope they miss me a little. After work, I got to hold the newest member of the Mobley family and goodness, is he ever cute!

I got home and left again to go pick up the T-shirts. The MCA youth group did an outstanding job on these and I've decided to post a pix of what they look like. Now taking orders...

(And yes...I still have packing to do and sleep needs to fit in there somewhere).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Joy of New Life!

It's official! Baby boy Mobley arrived this morning to the delight of his loving parents! I'm so excited to see this little bundle of joy, promises and everything good in the world by the hands of the Creator - I can hardly contain myself! The miracle of life is so incredible, that it actually leaves me speechless. Doesn't it you?

It's two days and counting until we leave and the snow is falling and actually sticking. The better part of wisdom finds me taking tomorrow off after all so I can be a relaxed, prepared, carefree traveler. Besides - I need to go visit my new "nephew"!

Finding joy in all things good...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tick, Tock...Tick, Tock...

Three days and counting. It's times like this, when I have a multitude of things to get done, that I can appreciate the cities that never sleep. Anchorage is not so. I have critical things to accomplish, and yet, I don't feel like I'll be able to get them done on my lunch breaks. Now is when I long for stores open 24hrs, Round-The-Clock tire services and anything else that only large cities have to make my life and schedule easier. Whose, but my own, brainiac idea was it to work up to the day we leave? Ugh!!!

One more example of something to get done before I leave: After a discussion with my boss, where I proudly said "Oh, no...I never change my tires out - who needs studs?", I went home and realized that I really should at least rotate my tires. Better yet, I should put new ones on. I still don't think I need studs, but...maybe I should. Suddenly, I'm reminded of the scripture in Proverbs that says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall".

This morning's traffic seemed to bear that thought out - it was icy, a little snowy and it took me exactly one hour and 4 minutes to get to work. A journey that normally lasts all of 18 minutes. It's funny how one or two degrees can make all the difference in driving conditions.

One highlight to my weekend is that I am about to be an "Auntie" again. Well...sort of an adopted Auntie. My very pregnant friend, whom I cherish deeply, called to say that it wouldn't be long until their little bundle announced his/herself into the world. Way to go! I talked to the baby a couple weeks ago and told him/her that I really wanted the momentous occasion to commence before my departure. I'm so glad he/she is being so obedient! :-) I love you already, Baby Mobley!

I contacted the port agent in Istanbul and confirmed some of what we knew...that it's too far to walk from the pier to the sights we wanted to visit on Sunday...and now, it may be too late in the day for us to connect with the Gray Line tour we had hoped to on Sunday. The port agent recommended a taxi driver from the pier. Guess we'll check that option out after I contact the Shore Excursion manager onboard.

Snow tires, Ice Melt and Baby Gifts galore!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Time to Get Out of Dodge...

It's Sunday. It's FOUR days until departure. It's snowing. Yes. White, fluffy, beautiful flakes of precipitation. It's DEFINITELY time to get out of Dodge. :-) I spent most of yesterday not thinking about the Compadre's Cruise at all. Instead, I hung out with three of my nieces, played Wii, and slept. I came home on Friday early and went straight to sleep. I think I'm just a little more "concerned" about things than I thought and it was wearing on me. I feel much better now. :-)

I find it interesting that as an employee of a wonderful cruise line, with access to all kinds of information, that I can't figure out where the ship actually docks in Istanbul in relation to prime sightseeing locales. We want to visit Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque on Sunday as they are closed on Monday, but we don't arrive until 3pm. Istanbul is so large, that it's entirely possible that we won't be able to see it on our own in time - any one have recommendations? Oy...I guess we may be doing a Holland tour after all... Maybe when I talk to someone from the home office tomorrow, I will feel better about the situation.

Today was a lovely service at church and I feel much better about how things are working out. It's a short blog post today as I'm at a Compadre's house.

Until tomorrow...