Thursday, March 19, 2020

Back to the Beginning - Day 1

It's time to get back to basics.

I started this blog as a personal diary nine years ago during a rough patch in life. Out of work, in pain, without much hopefulness or thankfulness in my system. I knew then I needed something to get out of my rut so I set a goal. A picture goal. A take-a-picture-every-day-to-see-that-you-have-lived kind of goal. My intent was to take a picture each and every day for a year. In the end I wound up with 1000 straight days of pictures and stories. (You can read about the project here.)

Over the course of the last several years the blog has morphed into many different things. Even though I've been writing a lot about cruising lately, I've had this feeling like I needed to get back to the basics. Back to having my eyes wide open. Back to looking for new and interesting and beautiful things around me. Things not related to cruising. (No one wants to touch that topic now anyway so I'm totally okay at pressing pause on it.)

With COVID-19 having closed down our schools and businesses while we sequester in our homes, it seems like the right time to shift the blog's focus again. (At least temporarily.) My picture a day photos may not be nearly as exciting as photos from my travels, but they will again give me proof that I am living a life. A life focused on hopefulness and thankfulness.

First up, a picture from my quick trip to the store. And of course, I have a story to go with it. 

We are people who always keep paper towels and toilet paper on hand. Always. We stock up every few years and then live off our stockpile. (Remember this picture from six years ago in our old house? We're still working on some of those paper towels.) So when our daughter kept telling us about not being able to find toilet paper and paper towels in the store I somewhat dismissed it. How, because of work schedules, she and her husband couldn't get to the store first thing in the morning. Which then meant there would be no product on the shelf when they got off work. She told me stories of people at her work having to buy tissues and wipes because there were no paper products. We rarely ever go down the aisle so we really had no clue.

Until I had to go grab some disposable plastic cups in the store (trying to stay away from hand washing our glasses right now - there goes my zero waste household) and saw this where the toilet paper and paper towels are usually found. Wow.
A quick apology was offered to our daughter, as was several rolls of paper towels and toilet paper from our home stash. Unfortunately we had to make the transaction outside as she works face-to-face with customers all day and E and I are both high risk. (He with his kidney disease and me with only one working lung.)

Not the positive picture I would have liked to share for the first day back at it, but I have to give my daughter credit for being right - and needed the picture to prove it. 

Crossing my fingers tomorrow's picture will be less stress-inducing! 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Cruising Update

As a blogger I sometimes write posts and post them right away. Other times I write them and save them to post later when I'm ready. And sometimes I write them and schedule them to be posted on a certain day and time.

Guess I should have been more aware of when yesterday's Ways to Keep Healthy on a Cruise was posting. Bad timing on my part. While I do believe those ways to keep healthy are valid no matter which germs are floating around, the current strain of Coronavirus is a wild card. So much is unknown, and the information out there is changing so fast it's hard to know what to do. Which leads me to an update on how COVID-19 is impacting cruises. Mine included. 

First, we have a dear crew member friend who is on the Grand Princess right now. (He was the one we were supposed to meet up with in Ensenada last month but their ship had to skip the port.) Since we didn't get to see him in Ensenada we were planning on a cruise to see him in May, but that won't be happening now. While the future cruises on the Grand (other than this week's) haven't been cancelled by the cruise line, I wouldn't be surprised if the ship is taken out of circulation for a while. Even if it wasn't, our buddy believes all crew contracts will be cut short and they'll be heading home. After a quarantine, period of course. I've been talking with him every day and I can hear fear in his voice. It's certainly a stressful times for all.

Then today we heard from two other crew members, one on the Royal Princess (the ship we just left) and the Regal Princess. Both ships have crew members who had transferred over from the Grand Princess. (Before anyone knew about COVID-19 on the Grand.) And now both ships are in a holding pattern. The Royal cancelled yesterday's cruise and the Regal cancelled today's. The Royal is empty of passengers and sitting at the dock in San Pedro but the Regal is offshore in Florida with a ship full of passengers needing to disembark. Without knowing what is happening next, it's more stressful times for all.

With everything happening, what did our crew members on those ships and other ships tell us? Again and again, they told us the same thing. Stay away from ships for a while. I gotta say, I trust crew members we've know for years over what I hear on TV or read on the Internet so we're following their advice. 

We're skipping our two cruises on the Star Princess, our two cruises on the Grand Princess, and the one cruise on the Coral Princess. There will be no March-April-May cruises for us this year. Many months ago we had already decided to skip Alaska this season so no June-July-August cruises, either. We're not giving up completely, though. We've gone ahead and booked several cruises for October and November this year. But if when the time comes we have crew members telling us not to go, we won't. 

It's a crazy time in the cruising world right now and things are changing day by day and sometimes hour by hour. We all need to do what we can to reduce risks of exposure, whether we are on a cruise ship or not. Be safe out there, and stay healthy!

Thank you to everyone who has been checking with us to see if we’re okay. We are home now, having left the Royal Princess not too long ago. We’re healthy and happy to be back home for a while.