60 hours to go

My Mother was of those of the school that, if you can’t say something nice, at least say what’s true. Saying what is true, is, most of the time, very good advice. Anyone who saw the Oval Office address last night, however, might suggest that the President received different advice in his youth. I don’t know. But, drawing on the original diktat which urges us to say nothing at all if you can’t say something nice, I’ll defer further discussion of last night’s display — although it, and spinoffs from it, dominate the news today.

Instead I’ve got big things on my mind….packing…again. I did my preliminary pack a few days ago but now we depart in a touch more than 60 hours for a journey of 32 days. 21 of those days, will be on the Crystal Serenity as we make our steady oceanic progress from LA to Auckland. The Crystal Serenity is a lovely ship and one of the flagship vessels for one of the top luxury cruise lines. This will be our second time onboard one of their ships where, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m trading lectures for our passage. Seems an awfully good deal to me.

Having had one earlier experience, we approach the enterprise of packing with a bit more confidence than before but still, the challenge of getting it right and yet staying within reasonable limits of weight and space (the staterooms are NOT huge) is a bit of an art.

The conversation flows: “if we only do laundry once, how many outfits do I need?” “Don’t forget, there’s daytime wear but we have to change again for evenings.” (No shorts, ball caps, jeans etc after 6 pm). “Can I just alternate outfits for the formal nights?” (There are four of them) “How much underwear should I pack?” “Are two pairs of sandals ok?” It goes on. Don’t forget swimsuits and cover-ups. What about for the gym? (We WILL use the gym). What should I wear to deliver the lectures?

I know that our packing plight won’t elicit much sympathy — but it is real nonetheless. We have the shoe rack that hangs over the door of the bathroom, the metal hooks that will attach to the walls. We have a smaller suitcase and a larger one so that we can store one inside the other and hide them away under the bed. We have gizmos for the compact bathroom which, however, to its credit, does have double sinks, though, and you can kind of both be in there…or at least near it…at the same time.

Yes…60 hours to go. Today it was haircut and manicure and pedicure for us both. We do want to look civilized after all and, after three weeks of furlough, well….let’s just say I wasn’t worrying about whether my beard was perfectly trimmed.

We’re groomed, organized, packed (mostly), and starting to get excited to be venturing into the world again. And it will give me something to write about as I continue this effort into the second week of the new year. And there will be pictures too. Fun.

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