My brother Paul and his wife, Libby, who are celebrating 35 years of marriage were vacationing with us, and I looked forward to the time together. On departure day, they would travel from VA and meet us in Chicago for a pre-cruise visit to see first cousins in Edmonton, Canada. It would be a short almost three day weekend with the cuz and then a flight over to meet the ship in Seattle Sunday morning.
I read blogs of Alaskan been there done that travel vets, poured over lists of what to take and how to simplify, all the while stuffing undies into shoes to go into the suitcases and folding in tops and coordinating bottoms as I decided what to wear for each day. Three suitcases lined one wall of the bedroom floor like giant rectangular mouths, open to devour whatever trip essentials I would feed them next. The large one would hold most of our dressy clothes, binoculars and toiletries not allowed on carry-ons. The other two fly-with-you bags were stuffed with the regulation sized plastic ziplocked necessities, cruise excursion clothes, outer wear, and gifts for the cousins. The contents in the big red check-in bag wouldn't be needed until onboard the ship.
Crazy details of planning sent me to resale shops and had me interneting for just the right pair of shoes- you gotta love Amazon Prime and their two day free shipping!! In between there were beans to pick and freeze and regular chores to attend to. (And always time to make a quick stop at the Chief, if I was driving by!)
During the first week of Preparation for Departure, my Dad and Lena asked if they could visit us the last three days before we would leave. They were hesitant to intrude into our plans, but I was insistent that it would be a huge privilege to host them, and I'd work ahead so my time would be free for them. How many years had it been since I celebrated my birthday with my Dad! I wasn't going to miss out on that opportunity!
They are still both in good health and lovingly caring for each other. Daddy took me out for lunch and dinner on my birthday, and I showed them around Defries Gardens where a circular brick paved path takes you past plants for each season of the year. Each brick is marked for a day of the year. Here's the selfie taken close to my birthday brick.
|Lena & Dad|
|The Love Train to the Basement|
On the day of departure, Dad and Lena's ride picked them up at 11am and Kevin
and I loaded up the car and pulled out for Chicago at 6pm.
We were finally beginning the Vacation! If only we had known it was a false start. God had a change of plans in store that we would discover shortly.