Sailing the Inside Passage to Alaska

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Finally. We’re on Holland America’s Statendam. Look at that water – smooth as GLASS!!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our 2013 Alaska trip:

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I want to blow this one up and hang it – soooo pretty.

Here’s a short video to show how smooth the water was in the inside passage…

We were also fortunate to see some whales, too.

I wish I could say the trip back down to Vancouver, after our cruise was over, was equally smooth sailing but alas, no, it was not.

We were one of the last cruises of the season and we ran into a storm on the way home. Luckily, our ship was small enough that we were able to stick to the inside passage and though it was not as smooth sailing as above, it wasn’t too bad. Whenever we passed by an area that there were no longer mountains on either side of us, the waters got very choppy and I got seasick. In fact, we have a video, somewhere, of the water in the pool sloshy so much that it soaks the deck. The pool water got so bad, that Holland America had to drain the pool it was making such a mess. But at least we were able to keep to the inside passage most of the way back to Vancouver. We were sailing side-by-side a Royal Carribean ship and it was too large to sail the passage so I heard they had some REALLY choppy waters on the way back.

That is definitely a con to cruising – even though the captains do a fantastic job of avoiding rough waters, it will occasionally happen. That’s when your Dramamine comes in handy.

Applying

This picture has nothing to do with anything, just thought it was cute.

This picture has nothing to do with anything, just thought it was cute.

We visited two apartments today.

The first one, we met the gal at the complex and she showed us an apartment on the 2nd floor. The first thing I noticed was – it was dirty. At least, it FELT dirty. And it was right next to a major highway, so there was the highway noise. And then there were REALLY squeaky floors. And the floors felt … bumpy. And I immediately felt sorry for the neighbors down below the unit. And it just felt … wrong. The boys weren’t too terribly impressed, but they haven’t really had anything to compare it to so …

When we left, we discussed the pros and cons. I felt like there were too many cons and I wasn’t impressed.

Moving on.

The second apartment, I had high hopes for. It’s the closest one to our house and the most reasonably priced. It’s near grocery stores and in the middle of a nice neighborhood. I crossed my fingers.

We didn’t have an appointment at this complex, we just showed up. (But to be fair, I had called them them day before and they said it was okay to do that). The guy was super nice and very helpful. He also showed us a unit on the middle floor and I immediately LOVED it. It felt right right off the bat.

The living area was a nice size. The kitchen is small, but again, it’s just the two of them. There’s also a pantry and a coat closet just off the tiny dining area. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. And the closet in the master bedroom is the BIGGEST closet I have ever seen. In fact, it’s so large, they could easily have a third person move in and use the closet as their “bedroom.” There is definitely room for a twin-sized bed in the closet. They’ve been toying with the idea of having one of their cousins move in with them… but we’ll see how that goes. It came as sort of a shock to Blake, when we talked to the manager more at length, that if their cousin moves in, he just can’t “move in,” he too will have to go through the application/approval process which means he will HAVE to have a job before that can happen. I’m relieved that was brought up and discussed because I really think Blake had plans on basically supporting the cousin and that would have been a bad idea all around.

They have several units available. And again, I think it might be a better idea if the boys either get a ground floor or a top floor – stay away from the 2nd floor. Having neighbors is bad enough, having a neighbor both on top of you and below you is double the trouble.

This complex has a pool, a BBQ area, and a laundry facility. And Blake is seriously considering paying an extra $15 per month to reserve a carport.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We left with some applications and went to our third apartment prospect.

But the manager was out and wouldn’t be back for 45 minutes. So we went ahead and came back home.

The conversation we had with the boys was probably one of the best conversations we’ve had in, wow, a LONG time. We weighed the pros and cons of the 2nd complex and talked about a realistic move-in time. After a while, I said, “what, exactly, are we waiting for? Let’s go ahead and start the application process.”

And that’s what we did. The boys filled out the applications and wrote checks out for the application fee. Kevin wanted to see if they could be approved on their own first before we agree to become co-signers. Either way, we are going to work hard to try and make this happen. The manager said they usually have an answer back within 24-hours. I told the boys to keep their phones close.

We never even returned to the third complex.

I’m so excited for them! This is such a big step in their lives!! We talked about priorities – what would they need to buy right away and what could wait. I even found a pretty sweet kitchen table and chairs on clearance at one of the furniture places. I think I’m going to try and talk everyone into going to a few furniture places tonight after dinner, just to give them an idea of how much things cost.

If today produces nothing else, it was a FANTASTIC learning experience for the boys. We can talk to them until we’re blue in the face, but to actually hear someone else explain the process and do some comparison shopping was a much needed dose of reality for them. I was worried about them being able to afford it, but after delving more into their finances, and being shocked by how much they both have in savings (We’re doing something right!!), I’m more confident they will make this work. And they’ll still have keys to our house, they can come over and do their laundry and of course, they’re welcome to come over for dinners to save them money on food, at least, initially.

I’m hoping we have an answer by the end of this week. I hope they get approved on their own, but if they need a co-signer then let’s get the ball rolling on that process. Our goal is to get them moved in mid-March, IF all goes according to plan.

It would be nice to have them all settled before the end of April.

Why the end of April, you ask? You’ll see … :-D

Time to Grow Up, Boys!

I have the day off today and tomorrow.

Let’s take a moment and savor that sentence a moment ……………………………………

Okay fine. You don’t care. But I am loving it!

I haven’t had a day off since our Vegas trip in October.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Okay, okay … we’ve savored enough.

I got my gray covered this morning.

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I ABHOR the hair dresser. Not because of where I go – they are actually super nice and their prices are fantastic – no, I hate going to the hair dressers because that means I have to be messed with and I HATE BEING MESSED WITH.

Body massages and pedicures are definitely out for me.

Know what else I’ve been up to today? Other than a nappie poo … or two … (Hey! It’s a day off, remember?? I can be lazy if I want to be …), calling apartment complexes.

I did a lot of research over the weekend. (I love doing research on the ‘net – so many things pop-up that you don’t think about). And I narrowed our search to four strong possible places for the boys to live.

Yes. The boys SHOULD be doing this themselves. No. If I waited for them to take the initiative they would never move out. I wish I was kidding. *sigh*

Since this is the year we kick them out (I’m DETERMINED to make this happen), then I’m taking the bull by the horns and getting this ball rolling. Plus. They are getting on my nerves SO BAD. They are both so immature and lazy and I’m sick of their little boy mentalities – ENOUGH.

All of these places are close to where we live. And the prices are reasonable. In fact, my first pick just happens to be the cheapest pick. And the closest. When I called to see if anything was available, I learned a con right away – the parking is a first-come-first-serve situation. Which means … what exactly, I’m not sure. But if they want to park under one of the carports, they have to pay an additional $15 per month – which is one reason it’s probably cheap, now that I think about it.

I called all four places today. We are looking at two tomorrow. Possibly three. Since I could never get anyone to answer the phone at one of the complexes, we’ll just take a chance and drop by tomorrow and see if anyone is available to show us around. And the fourth place? Didn’t have any units available until April. Which, may work out fine anyway as I’m not sure the boys would be ready to move out in a week anyway.

We’ll talk about that tonight at dinner.

We have an appointment to meet someone at my second choice at 10:00. When I told Brandon what we were doing, (he isn’t working today) he was NOT excited. When I asked him why, he sighed and said “it’s more responsibility.” Well freakin’ duh! It’s called LIFE son; it’s time to start living it.

See what I’m dealing with here? They’re spoiled rotten. And yes, I realize it’s our fault. Bleh.

Anyway, I’m trying not to get my hopes up about these showings tomorrow. I can’t explain it but I either KNOW it’s going to be right or it WON’T. That’s how it always is with me. I KNEW Kevin was the one for me. I KNEW this house was perfect for us. I KNOW whether I’m going to get along with someone or not right away. I KNOW if I like something or not right away. It’s just a … feeling. That’s the best way I can describe it. Granted, these apartments are not for me. And I will do my best to keep my mouth shut and let the boys do the talking … but ugh. I just can’t wait on them anymore. I’m ready for them to begin their lives whether they are ready or not.

And I’m being selfish – I want two extra rooms in our house. One will be an extra bedroom for either me or Kevin (I mentioned we don’t sleep together, right??) and the other will be an office and/or a workout room.

It’s going to be SO NICE to have that space. But I don’t want to get too excited yet – we still have to make this happen. Blake actually did a budget the other day based on just the money he makes and he can do this – it will be tight, but he can do it. Brandon … can do it but he may have to get another part-time job or get more hours at work. But I’m hoping that moving out will motivate the boys to DO something more with their lives. Right now, they just go to work and play video games. I mean, they will likely do that when they move out, but at least it will be on their terms.

This MIGHT motivate my nephew, my 24-year old nephew still living at home with his dad, I might add, to get a job and maybe move in with them. They have all talked about moving in with each other for years. That way, they could split expenses three ways and it will hopefully kick-start my nephew’s life into gear. WIN-WIN.

Time to grow up, boys!

Walking Through Vancouver

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Kevin was so fascinated by these planes in Vancouver. We watched several take off and land.

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This was taken off the pier in Vancouver. Just another example of Kevin’s eye – I would have never have thought to take this picture.

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Kevin is so cute – I don’t care who you are. (inside joke).

Tweet of the Moment

I would.

We watched “The Iron Lady” this past weekend and WOW – Margaret Thatcher was one tough lady! (And I was super impressed with Meryl Streep’s performance).

But some of the things she said really resonated with me … for example:

One of the greatest problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas. Now, thoughts and ideas, that interests me.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.

I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.

There are significant differences between the American and European version of capitalism. The American traditionally emphasizes the need for limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labour-market flexibility. Its success has been shown above all in the ability to create new jobs, in which it is consistently more successful than Europe.

Sadly, not anymore. Our country is definitely not as successful as it used to be and I not only blame OBummer, but the government in general. America is no longer, “We the People,” it’s “We the People want the Government to Take Care of Us Because Being a Responsible Adult is Too Hard.” (Insert incessant whining here).

Yes, I’m bitter. I’m one of the 51% working stiffs supporting the other 50% of people who DON’T work. It’s disgusting the way this country kowtows to people who are physically, and mentally, capable of working but choose not to.