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Mitsugirly had a JOYful cruise

Day 1: Flying to Miami, Florida and spending the night before the cruise.

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IT'S OFFICIALLY VACATION DAY!!!

Back tracking just a little bit...we have adopted a new "way of life" since last October. We have changed several things in our life style since then and one of them happens to be our sleep pattern. We put ourselves on a daily schedule for sleep, which involves going to bed between 9-9:30pm and waking up at 5:15am. Getting up early has never been our thing. We've always liked to stay up late and sleep in. Our work schedules have always allowed this and for years I worked the evening shift at the hospital. So, that's just what we were used to. HOWEVER, poor Sakari has to be at her bus stop at 5:50am  ish so we have to get up early to take her (she is bused to her art school and it's about 1 hour and a half bus ride...which is why they pick her up so early). So our new adopted lifestyle includes several things and this is one of them. This meant that for our 8:20am flight out...we were still getting up at 5:15am.

My alarm went off and I sprung out of bed energized and ready for the day. Sakari was already up and getting ready. She's an over achiever today! We packed our necessities in the luggage and I double and triple checked everything because I always manage to forget something, said goodbye to the doggies and we were out the door by 6am.

We didn't stop for breakfast this time. It would be a first for us. 

We arrived at the airport parking lot and man it was COLD! Hubby was wishing we had at least stopped for coffee.

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The first shuttle pulled up and waved to us and then left. They were already packed like sardines in there. Thank goodness I'm always early for everything (see, I'm an over achiever too!) and we had plenty of time to spare. One good thing about our Columbus John Glen Airport is that it is known to be not only a small airport but not a busy one. The lines are never too long and you can easily get through security fast. But, if in a bind, we were privileged and now are part of the mile high club. No wait, wrong club. We are a part of the TSA club! Woot!

We grabbed the next shuttle and off we went to the airport to check in. No crowds what-so-ever and time to get in our "special line". 

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We skipped all the way to the security check-in and handed them our tickets and passports. Ding, Ding, Bloop. Wait what's going on? "Sir, you do not have TSA check-in" Say what??? He explained he got his CDLs and when meeting with the TSA agent they said he would get the TSA check-in with it. "Well sir, you don't have it".  I guess that means another appointment to be set up to see what is going on with it.  I guess it's shoes and everything off for you buddy!

Sakari and I headed to the x-ray machine and she "beeped". Geesh, this kid. Does she always have to cause a scene? It used to be her gigantic eraser that said "For Big Mistakes" that always got her pulled to the side to check her bag. She no longer carries that with her so now she is still beeping. Unknown why to this day but they cleared her.

We headed to our gate and watched our plane pull in. Oh the excitement. Especially since I've read that there's a big pilot shortage and they are now offering people an expedited training with reduced flight hours for training. I don't know how much truth there is to it but it is a concern now. I guess not too much of a concern because I'm still getting on a plane today!

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As we sat at the airport waiting to get on, we noticed almost everyone there was talking about going on their cruise. I guess Ohioans love their cruising and it was spring break for a lot of the school districts around here. Kendra and family would not be coming with us because my grandkids already had their spring break back in March. Even though she only lives about 10 minutes from me, she's in a different district. 

Here comes the snack truck! I wonder what goodies they'll have for us.

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We watched our luggage go on the plane and that was a good sign. You can spot mine and Sakari's luggage easily...the hubby...well he hasn't upgraded to the new "look at me" colors yet.

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Now I lost my A1 boarding status...I guess we didn't fly enough last year, so I was impatiently waiting at my keyboard 24 hours prior to our flight to hit the check-in button and I managed to get seats B39, 40 and 41. Geesh! Are you kidding me? We're not even in the A category anymore. I feel cheated. So at that point I decided to purchase the "Early Bird Check In" for our flight home. We would be on the ship with no internet or way to check in. I didn't want to get the last possible seats available and be split up coming home. $75 later and they will be checking me in.

Time to board the plane and Sakari always has the ritual of touching the plane as we walk on...for good luck!

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We had no problem finding seats, although they were in the back, we got to sit together. That's all that matters. We all get there at the same time. We don't all get off at the same time because everyone has a carry-on luggage that takes forever to get from above, but we will finally make it. I think they should make an announcement to say "Anyone that doesn't have carry on luggage, get off now..." Wishful thinking I know.

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Our flight was to leave at 8:20am, but they must have had a lot of anxious cruisers on board because we left 10 minutes early. Everyone must have been there that booked.

 

Off we went on our 1 hour and 10 minute flight to Georgia to switch planes. We were informed "no treats on us" this flight. Maaannnn....that was going to be breakfast. j/k   They said it was going to be a bumpy ride, but I didn't think it was...but then again, I like roller coasters and heart pounding drop towers. 

We spotted our small little Capital city of Columbus. It looks even smaller from up here.

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We snapped our fingers and we were landing already. 

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The walk to our next flight wasn't far at all so we had time for a potty break and to sniff the restaurant food as we walked by. Then it was time to board the plane. We were informed it was a full flight "so if you see a chair, you might want to sit in it". Well, we needed to see 3 chairs beside us so we would be passing up a lot of seats to find it. Why? Because this time around we had boarding for B 40,41 and 42.

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We ended up sitting in the back again but that just meant easy access to the porta potty...no wait, those are bigger than the airplanes lavatory. Everyone knows when you're flying, even an hour to two hour flight, you have to go potty, even if you went minutes before getting on the plane. 

This time we were delayed. They informed us they were waiting on 15 people to arrive. They must have been transferring from another plane coming in late. Then they said we were waiting on another 4 people. When those people arrived, one had a child with her. She announced to everyone as she was going down the aisle looking for a seat "Is anyone willing to switch seats so I can have 2 seats together? If not, which one of you want to take on the responsibility of babysitting this uncontrollable 5 year old I have with me?"  Someone quickly gave up their seats and all was good. 

I would spend my time doing seek and find puzzles and WE GOT SNACKS! The hubby frowned at me for eating them while he managed to get his coffee and blow coffee bubbles with the stir stick. Lordy! He needs help. Notice I'm doing a seek and find called "Sea Legs". Appropriate don'tcha think?

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Sakari had downloaded a word game on her phone and she played that the entire time even though she brought her ipad with her to draw on. Well that was a shocker. I think this is the first time in history she wasn't drawing. Well, she's not herself this trip. 

We landed at Miami airport and headed to get our luggage. It took FOREVER to come. Like I don't think we've ever waited this long before. But we sure could spot them when they arrived. :D

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Outside it was 84 degrees and sunny. Woo Hoo! No more cold weather and we started stripping off the layers we had on while I called the hotel we had booked. I was informed that they come every hour so the next shuttle would be there at 2pm, which was only about 15 minutes away.

So the hotel we ended up booking was Home 2 Suites by Hilton in Miami Doral, located on NW 26th Street. I made sure there was something around there that we could go to eat at within walking distance. That was pretty much all we needed. Except a pool. We needed a pool too since we were arriving somewhat early in the day. Gotta keep the kid happy and entertained.

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We waited until about 2:30pm and I was calling them again to find out where they were. She said she was on the phone with the driver and he said he's there sitting and waiting since 2pm, mentioned the gate number, and no, no he was not. As I was on the phone with her, he pulled up. Then off to the hotel we went. It was much further than I thought it was going to be. It was an airport location, but all the way on the other side. I swear I read it was like 10 minutes away but it took 30 minutes to get there. Our driver did not say one word to us on the ride to the hotel. I'm not sure if it was because he didn't speak English or what. But he did hand me an ice cold water from the cooler beside him. Notice I said "water"...yes, I drink water now.

 

Check in was easy and the staff there was amazingly nice! All of them we encountered during our stay were super nice and helpful. They did say they require a $50 deposit for damages and would refund after check out. 

 

The hotel itself was nice as well and everything was nicely decorated and clean. They had a pretty waiting area with a large area for breakfast (free hot breakfast included), a snack area for purchase and so on. I really liked the place. 

We headed up to our room, which was on the 6th floor. We booked a King Suite Studio, which had a king sized bed and a sofa bed along with a kitchenette that included a dishwasher, sink, large refrigerator and microwave. They also had all the utensils, silverware, glasses and plates for use. No stove. The room also had plenty of desk space along the wall and also a desk on wheels that you could pull out and roll to where you wanted it. Not that we were going to use it...we're on VACATION! No work for us.  The television was welcoming me!

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