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Six Months

My hair is wet and wrapped in a towel. I’m wearing a tank top and a pair of capri sweats that I bought at Walmart to wear for Comfy Cozy night on NKOTB Cruise 2013. Sitting on the couch next to me is a pair of argyle knee socks that I can’t decide if I want to put on or not. My television is currently showing me the touchdown montage on NFL RedZone channel…one of my favorite parts of Sunday. Soon I will be watching a new episode of Once Upon A Time. After that, I’ll watch a new-to-me episode of Supernatural, a show I picked up a little over a month ago. (I’m currently on the very beginning of season 7, so no spoilers, please.)

I got up this morning and went to the church. My daughter rings in the youth handbell choir and they were playing during the 10:30 service this morning, so we had to be there for 9am. to practice. Then there was Sunday School, which all three kids go to while my husband and I attend our own adult class. Then the youth vocal choir rehearsed their song for today, then the adult (my) choir practiced… Then church. Once home, we had lunch, then I had a different choir rehearsal that went from two until just after four. Home for dinner (fish and potatoes… YUM!) and back to church for a rehearsal of a different kind. It was a typical Sunday as of late.

It’s a busy time of year for me. Between school obligations for my children and church obligation for the entire family, there’s not a lot of time left over. We still manage to sit at the dining room table for dinner every night, so it’s not like we’re not spending any time together as a family. We’re just busy…though not as busy as some other families I know. I would say we’re content.

We recently bought a new bed. It’s a TempurPedic something or another and I LOVE it!!! I’ve also picked up crocheting, so not only am I working on a knit scarf (that I only have about another twelve inches to go and I’m using chunky yarn) but I’m also making myself a sock monkey hat. I have a few other projects I’m working on… There’s a lot of yarn in my house.

Why am I telling you all this? If you go back into my archives, you’ll see that one year ago found me fretting over an upcoming wedding. (the bride and I are actually getting together again this week) More importantly, six months ago, I was just starting the most amazing vacation. Six months ago right now, I was at the airport in Miami, getting off the plane, getting my bag, meeting up with my friend, getting dinner, hanging out. Six months ago tomorrow I saw South Beach for the first time and then got on that boat.

Six months.

Can you believe it? Has it really been that long??? Some of you are sitting there right now, reading this and thinking, “yeah, but it’s almost seven months until the next cruise.” That may be true, but unless something drastic changes, I will not be on that boat. Six months ago, I had nary a care. There was sun and fun and friends and New Kids.

This is not six months ago. Tonight I worry about whether or not my boys are actually cleaning their room, or if they’re playing as the noise they’re making would suggest. I wonder how much longer my daughter will be in the shower; she’s been in there fifteen minutes already and would probably stay fifteen more if I let her. Tomorrow I have a list of things that need to be accomplished because I was busy all weekend. (We went to Reptiland on Saturday, and while my kids had a blast, I could have done without all the snakes…though the various assorted frogs were amazing!)

The point of this post is that time is fleeting. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the concept that it really HAS been six months! My mind is so far removed from the chaos that was last year…that was the months leading up to the wedding, to the cruise, to the cruise itself. My life is cooking, cleaning, practices, helping my kids with their homework, and running to see my father who is about forty-five minutes away. This is why I haven’t blogged much. It’s boring. It’s repetitive. Some days it’s so damn frustrating and I just want to curl up in bed and sob. (Like the morning recently when my older son came into my room crying because the tooth fairy didn’t leave him anything for the tooth he’d lost the night before… I completely forgot! The tooth had been knocked onto the bean bag chair at some point in the night, so I told him that she must have kept going because there was no tooth there. We put it back under the pillow and told him that maybe she would come while we were at church. Then, while we were all running around getting ready to leave, I covertly stole into the room and did the switch. Not my finest parenting moment.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my life. Perhaps I’ll try and make this a Sunday night thing. Once a week would prevent the boring posts that basically say, “same shit, different day.” Also, since I’ve started this post, OUAT has come on and the warmth from my shower has worn off. I’m now wearing the socks, as well as a hoodie.

Until next time!!!

A Cruise???

Yup! If NKOTB cruises in 2015, I’ll be there!!! hahaha What? Did you think I meant this year? First off, they haven’t announced ANYTHING yet. Second, I have other thoughts.

I had a BLAST on NKOTB Cruise 2013. I met some amazing people along the way. The months leading up to the cruise were simultaneously fabulous and nerve-racking. Once I got on the boat, the trip went WAY too fast, but I still have my memories. I would LOVE to go again and would go again in a heartbeat.

Just not this year… or rather, next year… if there is a next year.

Nothing has been announced yet, as I’ve already mentioned. However, it was around this time last year that they started posting about NKOTB Cruise 2013. In just a few days, it will be a full year since I booked the cruise and the excitement began. While I could say that a lot has changed since then, it really isn’t that much.

I had a friend get married. Sadly, since that day last December we really haven’t seen that much of each other. We still talk and chat, but getting together has been hard. She’s enjoying married life, her husband is amazing, and they are happy. That’s all that matters.

My youngest still doesn’t really sleep through the night, but he IS potty trained. My older son is enjoying second grade. My daughter loves fourth. I still live in the same house. Still have the same husband. I am no longer a pet owner. Our last kitty, and I say that simply because my husband had three when I met him, was sick and we had to put her down. Whether or not you are for this treatment, this was our decision. She was fine two months ago, just had a hernia. A week and a half ago she pretty much stopped eating after gradually slowing down her intake. Hubby took her to the vet and it was discovered that she had a very aggressive kidney cancer. She was fifteen.

NKOTB Cruise 2014 will not happen for me. Over the summer, my husband and I took the kids to Ocean City, MD, for a night. Then right before school started for the year, we took the kids down to Baltimore for a night and also for their first Major League Baseball game. The Orioles played, and beat, the Colorado Rockies. It was an interesting experience, as the room we were given at the hotel was already given to someone else. The people on staff the night previous just forgot to check them in properly. Then at the baseball game, I had the pleasure of explaining heckling to my big kids. These trips were fun, but way too fast. For someone who LOVES to travel, and does precious little of it as of late, I’ve made a different decision.

Next year, my family will be taking a trip that is more than one night long. I don’t have ANY details yet. No known dates. No known destinations. However, it is going to happen. Hubby and I have been talking about how we really want to take a FAMILY vacation, and I am bound and determined to see that it happens.

Watch this space…err, blog… as the details emerge!!!

A Comparison

So, by now, I’m sure you all know that I went to Half Moon Cay back in May. What you may not know is that I’ve been to the beach many times in my life, and NONE of those trips were like HMC. Let me explain.

Growing up, we would go to Revere and Nantasket up in Massachusetts, though I haven’t been to Revere in YEARS. (I mention it because it will play into this blog post later) Also, before my parents were divorced, we used to go to Atlantic City every weekend during the summer. You go to the beach and there are waves, the water is steel blue and chilly, and when mixed with the sand it’s kicking up, you can’t see your feet when you’re in to your knees. That is the beach I knew.

Half Moon Cay is NOT that beach. The sand is almost white, and it is a fine powder. I cannot for the life of me recall any real waves coming in! My memories are of an almost flat calm on the water. It didn’t matter how far out you went, you could still see your feet, and the water was so blue and WARM that it fairly screamed paradise.

By way of a last minute decision, my husband and I took our kids to Ocean City, MD, for the weekend. We were discussing possible things to do this weekend on Friday night while making dinner and on Saturday morning, we were in the car and driving down. The kids had NO idea where we were going, as I’d packed for them the night before. Everything was already in the car when we told them it was time to head to the grocery store for our usual weekly trip. When we got on the interstate, it was easily explained due to the monster truck show that was happening in our town this weekend: we just wanted to avoid traffic in town. Then my children decided to get into an hour long discussion of what we should do this weekend.

I should have taken a video when we finally told them we were going to the beach. It wasn’t until we’d crossed the Delaware line that we FINALLY broke down and let them in on the secret. Amusingly enough, they were just as excited about the prospect of staying in a hotel as they were of going to the beach!!! We stopped to eat on the way and arrived at the hotel after a LOT of stop and go traffic through little podunk towns in Delaware. (My daughter, who is my oldest, was very excited to go through Dover, as she learned the state capitals this year at school.)

I’ll spare you a lot of the minute details and just say that the kids LOVED the hotel, my daughter and I split a half dozen hardshell crabs (YUM!), and we spent way too much money at an “amusement park” that was mostly children’s carnival rides. We arrived just after three PM on Saturday and left just before three PM on Sunday. I took my Sunday morning coffee on the balcony of our hotel room overlooking the bayside of OC. It was amazing.

Here’s why I’m writing this blog: The last beach I was to was Half Moon Cay while on the NKOTB cruise. I live in the middle of nowhere in PA and in order to go to the shore, you need to drive more than a couple of hours. My husband doesn’t just pick up and go at the last minute, and we don’t get away as a family…ever. Yes, I know that I say I frequent Boston, but he is usually away on business when *I* take my mom and my kids up for a week. We’ve gotten to the point where we alternate years: one year we will go to Boston and the next, the Boston family will come here. It works out very well. This year is when Boston comes here, and two of my uncles were down in June for when my niece graduated high school.

I’m rambling. I don’t know why you all put up with me. Ha! Anyway, we went to the beach and the first thing I noticed was the sand. It was SAND!!! This was expected, but after HMC, it was different. It was coarse. It was HOT! It got everywhere… We set up our towels and got all slathered up with sunblock, then it was time to swim!!!

Did I mention the water was cold? HMC was WARM!!! Do you remember? Can you feel it? It was AMAZING!!! Yeah… Ocean City was NOT like that. My first thought upon seeing the water was that it was steel and not clear blue. Then there was the temperature. I can not stress enough how cold it was! It was quite a shock to the system. Once you got used to it, it wasn’t AS bad, but still… After HMC…

The kids had fun, and we played at the beach until the lifeguards went off duty at 5:30pm. Then we went for a walk… It was a long walk that ended up being mostly for naught. The only good things that came from the walk were the dinner at Blu Crabhouse and Raw Bar, and the stop at the “amusement park” that was on the way back to the hotel.

Sunday morning was breakfast at the hotel, which the kids were amazed by. Then we got dressed, cleaned up, packed up, and checked out. Fortunately the hotel allowed us to keep our car parked there until three, so we didn’t need to go find another lot. That helped a lot! We packed up the car and walked over to the beach.

Now, on the boat, before HMC, I covered myself in sun block. I reapplied twice while I was on the island, and I didn’t get even a hint of a sunburn. Before I left the hotel I applied much the same as I did before I boarded the tender. I forgot to reapply… I slathered the kids up a few times, but I forgot myself. Needless to say, I resemble a steamed lobster right now. The water was cold, the sand was everywhere, and we all had an amazing time!!!

I wish I was back on Half Moon Cay, but perhaps not this time of year. It was HOT there the day we were there, and while it was hot in Ocean City this weekend, the sea breeze kept it bearable. It was a night vs day difference when compared to the island. With that said, I really can’t compare which I enjoyed more. While I LOVED HMC because my girls were there, this weekend had my family. It was an amazing last minute trip and I can’t wait to do it again!

Jealousy

Yes. I am jealous. It’s a bad thing, but I’m only human. I’ve no real reason to be jealous. I mean, I went on that damn cruise! That’s like the ultimate in fan experiences! I saw all five guys on that boat. I hugged all five guys on that boat. I got my meet and greet and had my photo with Joey. I had my picture taken with Danny. I had my picture taken with Jonathan. I even got to go to a concert! (though I’m still kicking myself for ordering a drink and waiting before taking my seat. Sorry Jen)

So why am I jealous???

I’m on twitter. A lot. More than I probably should be. While it was surprisingly easy for me to “unplug” for the cruise, it was also surprisingly easy to “plug back in” now that I’m home. Every night of this Package Tour, I see the VIP pictures. The parade of women who get to go and interact with the guys. The ones who get all goofy when they have their Ultimate and it’s just the one woman and the guys. The clothes that leave me questioning the sanity of the woman wearing them. I’ve seen everything from too-short dresses that my seventeen year old niece would wear, to badly airbrushed drawings of the guys on hugely over-sized tees. Also, why would you want to wear heels to a concert? To me, that’s akin to wearing flip flops to an amusement park. I understand the whole wanting to look nice for the guys thing. I also get the whole wanting to show your NK love. However, I strongly believe there should be someone standing at the gates saying “is that REALLY how you want your picture taken with them???” or “Are you SURE you want to wear THAT?” and even “honey, you’re MUCH too old to be wearing THAT dress…”

Back on point, because the wardrobe choices of BH’s is NOT the topic of this post. What is, is the fact that I’m starting to see a pattern. Have you noticed it? Have you been looking close enough at the FANS and not just the guys??? Starting to see some familiar faces? I am!

There is nothing wrong with going to see NKOTB. There is nothing wrong with spending your money how you want to, so long as your adult obligations are met first. (i.e. bills paid, kids taken care of, food purchased, etc) I’m not here to tell you that you’re spending your money wrong. I’m also not here to tell you that you aren’t allowed to go to all the damn shows you want to see.

I’m jealous. Plain and simple. Due to my own familial obligations and financial situation, I am unable to attend any of the shows. The Mohegan Sun show was the day before my mom had cataract surgery, and I was her ride to and from the hospital. NKOTB are currently in my neck of the woods. I could have gone to the DC show, as there was a BH who was offering me a ticket free of charge. I could have gone to the Meadowlands (or whatever the hell it is right there) the other day. I could have gone to Philly no problem. Hell, I could even be in Brooklyn tonight! However, my youngest is still recovering from surgery and he comes first. I know he’s OK, and if I absolutely HAD to leave him for a few hours, he’d still be fine when I got home, but I can’t leave him. The procedure wasn’t even a week ago yet, so I’m not comfortable leaving him. We didn’t even go to church this morning because I didn’t want him running around the nursery and eating the crunchy snacks they offer to the kids. He isn’t healed up enough for that yet. And I don’t miss church often. You could say that I go religiously! HA!

On a serious note, how the hell can these women afford all these shows??? I’m not talking about $50 tickets here, $75 tickets there. I’m talking five star VIP every night! Ultimate meet and greets which are an additional $250 ON TOP of the $400 five star! I’m talking Total Package for multiple shows!!! At a thousand dollars a POP!!!!

I know a few people at the Brooklyn show tonight. They are awesomely amazing women that I talked to on twitter and then met on the boat. My cruise roomie is using her Golden Ticket from the game show (Group B) to attend the Brooklyn show tonight. (had it been me, I would have gone to Tacoma) I hope they have a fabulous time! But they were in Philly. And I think they were in East Rutherford. They may have even been in DC and Pittsburgh. I don’t know where their seats are, but I’m pretty sure they did five star at least twice. (could be wrong. The pictures could have been after party)

Which is another thing!!! After spending roughly $500 on concert tickets a night, people are then spending another $150 for an after party ticket??? Plus parking. Plus hotel, if you’re staying in one. Plus gas. GAS!!!! I don’t know about you, but it’s over $60 a shot for me to fill my beast of a mom-mobile. That’s a shit load of money!!!

As I said, spend your money how you want to. However, give others a chance! I was sitting here thinking about it after a friend tweeted that she was at the show tonight. I knew she’d been already and it got me wondering about the guys. Do you think they get to know the women who are always there? Do they recognize the same faces night after night? Do they get bored of the same women always asking for the same photos that they have a million times? I asked said friend, and another who is with her, how many shows they’d been to, and while one said she’d lost count, the other said that this was the last one until July…

…July is in two weeks. No sympathy. hahaha

I’m going to try and take my daughter to the Atlantic City show at the end of next month, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. We’re planning a family get away for the beginning on August, so money might be a little tight then. So if (big if because they’re sold out and I haven’t seen what they have on stubhub) I can get tickets for my daughter and I, it will be drive out, see the show, drive home that night. No hotel, no after party, and especially no five star. Even if we didn’t have a thing in August, I don’t know if I could drop a thousand dollars for two concert tickets. Read as: look for me in the nosebleeds! HA!

I’m happy to have been on the boat. I’m going to try my hardest to be there next year too…if they do a cruise. (Hopefully if they do, they’ll skip Nassau) This summer, well, the end of this spring, has been terribly busy. By the time the guys come back this way, it will be getting busy again for me. The timing just isn’t right.

I’m jealous of those of you who are going to the show, no matter where you are sitting. You’re in the building while I’m sitting on my sofa, holding my three year old who is complaining that his throat hurts. I’m jealous of those of you who have four star. You’re in the good seats while I’m straining to hear my TV because I can’t have it too loud without waking up one of my children. I’m jealous of those with five star or five star plus. I’m especially jealous of those with the Total Package. Those of you with an Ultimate, you need to let me know when you’ll be there so I can DM you my phone number and you can call me while you’re in there and I can talk to the guys! HA!

If I don’t get to the Package Tour this summer, I’ll live. I didn’t do the CasiNo Tour. I didn’t see NKOTBSB. I didn’t go to Mixtape, and I won’t go to Mixtape this year either. (no excuse aside from little interest, since it’s only just over an hour from me and it’s a drive I’ve made a hundred times or more) I was on the boat and I know there are those who are jealous of me for that simple fact.

To those who get to do Meet and Greet’s with the guys, tell them I said hi!!! This busy mom doesn’t have the time nor money to do another Meet and Greet this year… Perhaps another cruise next May???

As a side note, I had a dream the other night that the guys opened a vintage cruise merch store on HMC… It was STRANGE!!!

What’s This?

A post? Bet a bunch of you thought I fell off the face of the planet after the cruise, huh? Well, I didn’t. I’m still here…

I started a post in regards to another blog post I read about the cruise. I was going to talk about that one post, but I’ve since discovered that the author isn’t alone in her sentiments. I have to say, I’m a bit surprised. So, here’s a “thoughts” post from me!!!

First off, I’ve watched a few of the Duets at Dusk performances since being home and I’ve come to the conclusion that I underestimated the contest. Also, while I knew that it was for the best that I didn’t sing with Joe, I was a little resentful of those who were able to. It has NOTHING to do with me not being picked, as I really did NOT try very hard, but everything to do with me in a vain attempt to save my voice for this weekend. (I was at our final rehearsal tonight and my little descant part came up. I stepped up to the mic, took a deep breath, opened my mouth…and NOTHING came out. Yeah… At least it was just rehearsal. Two measures later I was back in and on pitch, but that false start sucked.) If there is another cruise, and if I’m able to go, and *IF* he does this contest again, I will try harder. I’ll bring out my full Soprano range. You have been warned. Ha!

Now to the meat and potatoes of the cruise. A lot of people were NOT happy with the cruise!!! It was what you made of it. I went into this cruise knowing that I was getting a few days in the sun, on the boat, with my girls, listening to great music. I knew that I was getting a game show starring the New Kids on the Block. I knew I was getting a concert. I knew there would be a photo op. That was all I was looking for going into this. *IF* I was to have any other facetime, I knew that it would most likely be short and be in close proximity of dozens (or more) other fans. I knew the cabins would be small. I knew the food would be just OK. I knew the Lido deck setup, as I’d been on Victory before. I never expected to see the guys out and about a lot, if at all. I never expected to get VIP, or to be given a bracelet to the after parties. I never expected to be swept off my feet by my favorite New Kid, as he professed his undying love for me and promised to make me the happiest woman in the entire world for the rest of our days.

I didn’t get VIP. I didn’t go to any after parties. No member of the band professed anything more than a “hey! How’s it going” type attitude toward me. I got a slight tan. I got a few days off from being a stay at home mom. I got some time with friends who not only live on the other side of the continent from me, but also in another country. And the only bum I had to wipe was my own.

My photo group was split. Oh well. It sucked, but it was what it was. My hug from Donnie, looking back, was kinda half-hearted. My hugs from Danny and Jordan were good. My hug from Joe was just phenomenal, but Joe is my favorite so even if he would have just looked at me, it would have been amazing. …which he did, and it was. Ha! Thinking about it now, I’m not even sure I hugged Jon, so the next time (HA!) I find myself with the opportunity for a M&G with the guys, I’m a Jon girl. I need a Jon hug. Was it an ideal meet and greet? Hell no! That would only happen if I had all five to myself for a few hours…I mean, minutes! Yes! Minutes… (insert shifty eyes here) Seriously, though, it was exactly what I thought it would be: hello, hugs, and a FAST picture…that I’m still waiting to see. With all those women on the boat, and the very limited time, what else would people expect?

I’m still not sure how I feel about the people camping out on Lido deck. On one side, there’s the “what the hell are you doing?” mindset. This is the part of me that says, “dudes!!! You just spent over two grand to sit on the deck by the stage all day in the HOPES that one of them will notice you? I was just randomly walking around the boat and talked to Danny and Jonathan! Both times, there were very few, if any, other BH’s around! First night, I didn’t wait around, and I STILL managed a hug and kiss from Donnie! I said ‘hey’ to Joey and he smiled at me!!! And you’re sitting around all day for what I got showing up at the last minute???” The other half of me says “if that’s how you want to spend your vacation, have at it.” Neither is wrong. The ONLY problem I have with the people who wait on deck all day is that they get terribly territorial. If you come NEAR them, they give you the stink eye. Don’t get me started on DURING the deck parties! Good luck trying to get through! I read more than one review that said you had to go to the back, take the elevator down one level, and walk across to go back up, in order to get to the other side. This is true. I did this as well. Did it bother me? HELL NO! Took two minutes, tops, and it was good exercise, as I took the stairs. You do what you feel you have to do. It is what you make of it.

There was a lot more I wanted to touch on, but I can’t find the thread I was reading on facebook anymore. *snicker* Oh well. I really feel like I would be beating a dead horse, anyway. Honestly, people, get on that boat and take the stick out of your ass. Sure there’s going to be hiccups. Sure there’s going to be bat shit crazies. Sure there’s going to be something that you don’t like. Don’t let it ruin your trip! I drank WAY too much on day one and ended up losing most of day two. My shore excursion, that I’d been looking forward to pretty much since I booked the damn cruise, was cancelled. I kept hitting that damn seahorse sculpture that adorned the stairways and the bruise is just now FINALLY faded to where you can no longer see it. My photo group was split up at the last moment. NONE of that ruined my mood! I had an AMAZING time on that boat!!! It was the perfect union of the best parts of my youth while still being an adult. Now I’m home and finally getting over my post cruise depression. Would I go again next year if I could? HELL YES! Would I think twice about it and worry that I won’t have a good time? HELL NO! Did I care when we were told our group would most likely be split? Meh… It was upsetting, but there was nothing I could do about it. The only thing I really could create a beef about was the seating debacle in the auditorium. First our seats were taken by the sound board, but we were moved to the second row behind the grand suite peoples. The night of the concert, someone else was put in THOSE seats, but we ended up sitting behind Danny’s daughters, and still not too far from the stage.

Actually, no. I will complain about something. Two somethings, actually. First off, I couldn’t find a damn waiter during EITHER show in the auditorium, even though the night of the game show I left my room key in, well, my room. (thank God my roomie had hers) And the other thing was that after all that planning, all that waiting, all that buildup, it was over in the blink of an eye…

Here’s to next year!

How @NKOTB Has Ruined Me

I used to be normal. No, wait… I take that back. Let me start again.

I used to be a regular New Kids on the Block fan. Yeah. That’s better. I listened to their music, went to the occasional concert, and would occasionally do the dramatic and girlie sigh when my favorite was mentioned, or when he sang on the albums. Sure, I’d never done a meet and greet, had five star, etc, but I didn’t need all that.

And then I booked the cruise.

Back when this all started, I posted about how when the previous cruises had gone on sale, I would simply sigh sadly and say, “I wish I could go…” This time, this year, I needed to go. It was on Victory and I had sailed on Victory before. I had a good time, too! I relaxed by the pool in the back of the ship. I’d gone to karaoke, I laid in my bathing suit on the deck while reading a book, I did the water slide a few times… It was a nice and relaxing experience filled with food, soda, random music, and relaxation. (yes I say relaxing twice because it was just that, relaxing)

And then I booked this cruise.

I’d always wondered why they don’t give more notice before putting the cruise up for sale. I mean, regular people need more than a few days to get the money in order for the deposit. Unless you do a last second decision and have that sort of disposable income, it is HARD to prepare for the cruise in just a few days! I was curious how they could announce the cruise and then sell like mad just a few days later. It didn’t make sense to me.

And then I went on this cruise.

I’ve been home for just under a week and already I’m trying to figure out how to get on that boat again next year. All the stresses leading up to it were totally worth it. All the sleepless nights, the lists of things to do and things to pack, the strange dreams… All of it was worth it and then some. The three hundred dollar deposit doesn’t seem as daunting when you have a few months to prepare for it. If they do a cruise next year, it would most likely go on sale in September again. This is the end of may. Three hundred dollars in three and a half months? Totally doable! Hell, if I tried, I could probably save up half the price of a cabin in that time!

To my husband, should you find yourself reading this blog, yes. I am being serious here.

Earlier tonight, after we’d eaten dinner, we enjoyed some ice cream. My kids ate a variety of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, while I enjoyed one of those single servings of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream. One of my children asked what kind I was eating and my older son joked and said, “New Kids on the Block ice cream?” I told him that if they had ice cream, I would probably eat it. My husband came back with, “Why not? She’s drinking the Kool Aid.”

It’s like a drug. It really is. I was discussing this with Vancouver Jenn the other night (last night?) and we both agree that they must have drugged us. I mean, take a look at the cruisers on your twitter feed: we’re all going through post cruise depression. We’re all exhausted still. We all took a few days to acclimate to life back on land. We get off the boat and before the dirty clothes are even washed, we’re contemplating doing it all over again.

I told my children that eventually we would take a cruise as a family, but now I’m not so sure. I’d LOVE to take a trip with my family, but now I don’t know if I would be able to adjust to a “normal” cruise. The New Kids on the Block cruise was just so amazing…so epic. I’m not sure I would be able to go back to regular cruise activities, average music on deck, no deck parties that last until at least three in the morning.

One of the best parts of being on that boat was that no matter who you were near, passenger wise, you knew that you had something in common with them. Sure, you could say that about any cruise as you’re all cruisers, but this is different. We were all part of the same sisterhood, sharing love for the same guys.

Five Brothers and a Million Sisters.

The slightest and silliest things bring back memories. Discussing dinner ideas for this week, my daughter brought up having mac and cheese one night. My mind immediately went to Joey and Donnie. Having a hot dog from our cookout, I remembered the countless hot dogs that I consumed on Lido deck. Listening to 10 is so much more meaningful, especially Survive You, since I heard Jonathan actually singing his part! And Step by Step?

Step five! …Step five!!! …Step five!!! Don’t you know that the time has arrived!!!

I was at a wedding this past weekend (in a professional capacity) and three quarters of the songs played at the reception had me smiling and remembering the headache deck. My cell phone ringing has me jumping up and down…my ringtone is Crash. Seemingly random things have me smiling while my husband jokingly (or maybe not) tells me to stop thinking about the cruise again!

This cruise also ruined my perception of beauty. We went to Half Moon Cay and I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. I have a lot of friends, both on facebook and twitter, who enjoy posting pictures of beaches and the ocean. Before the cruise, I would look at these images and wistfully wish to be there. Now, it’s almost a letdown to see those pictures. Sure, they’re pretty, but HMC was breathtaking. The lush foliage. The rocks you pass on the tender. The wildlife. The powder sand. The water… Pictures do not do it justice. I would love to go back.

My life is better for having gone on this cruise, but at the same time, there is a part of me that wonders if I could live with only going once. Is it really better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Can you sample something so amazing, live it for just a few days, and then never enjoy it again?

I love my husband. I love my children. I am for them almost constantly. Sure, hubby and I argue, but every couple argues from time to time. We aren’t rich, but we get by. My kids are spoiled, as am I, and I am fortunate to have had the chance to enjoy this cruise even once. Victory hasn’t changed much from what I remember her being five years ago. She’s showing her age, but only if you look closely…well, the TV’s in the cabins, but whatever. Did anyone watch anything other than channel 27? And how can I get NKTV from my local cable provider? But back on topic, I love my family, but as a stay at home mom, my family is my life. Yes I have some friends and I have my choirs, but that’s it. Most of what I do revolved around my family. It was so great to get away for a few days and know that they were safe and sound at home with their father so that I could relax and enjoy life…

But NKOTB has ruined me. Vacations will never be the same. Music will never sound the same. It was awesome to get away, it was great to come home, but now I’m looking toward next year and wondering how I can get away with my friends again. I want to live it up again. I want to hang with my sisters again. I want to see the clear blue waters of Half Moon Cay again. I’ve tasted the Kool Aid and I’m thirsty for more.

…I just had to go and book that cruise. My life will never be the same, and for that, I thank you, New Kids on the Block.

#LoveEternal

Day four was the fun day at sea, but I’m not sure how much fun most of the day was. I woke up and immediately set about making myself ready for the photo opportunity. We were told in line that this was NOT a meet and greet, so we shouldn’t expect that, but since I’ve never done a five star at a concert, I didn’t know any difference. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I knew that there would be a line. We were told that group A would go in the morning and then group B in the afternoon. So there was plenty of time for me to rest up and get ready before the seemingly endless waiting I knew was coming. I got my shower and put on the dress I’d packed for this very occasion. The problem is that when I put it on, I thought I looked…wide. So I took it off and changed into shorts and a tank top. Not the best outfit for a photo op, but I was comfortable and that’s all that mattered to me. After all, I’m a married woman and while I wanted to look decent, I really don’t care what the guys think of my clothes or my body. I didn’t look like I just fell out of bed; I looked like I was on vacation.

Anywho, after getting dressed I made my way up a few floors to meet up with part of my photo group. They were still getting ready, and I utilized their cabin blow dryer and an outlet so that I could (mostly) straighten my hair. When the time came, we went down a flight of stairs and met up with the rest of our photo group. Since we were all there, it was time to head up and get in line.

In the email from Rose Tours, we were ALL told that we needed a group of ten in order to have our pictures taken with New Kids on the Block. So, our group had ten members before we got in line. In our group, there were two girls for each guy, as was the norm. There were women holding up signs advertising for what they were missing in order to fill their photo groups. The line was long, and I stupidly assumed that everyone waiting in line was in a group of ten, as the email clearly stated that those not in a group of ten would be sent to another area in order to fill a group of ten. We waited and walked, watching the seas when a window presented itself. As we got closer to where the photos were being taken, Rose Tours people were there to tell us how it would go.

No bags of any kind.

No cameras.

No time for conversation.

We knew from people coming out of their own photo op how the guys were positioned. From memory, left to right were Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Joey, and Jonathan. Everyone said it was quick, but if you did it right, you’d have a chance to hug every guy. I was banking on this because this was my one chance. When we’d gotten close enough, they punched a small hole in our wristbands to signify that we’d had our photo taken. Then it was time to go into the room with the guys.

A few years back, I sailed on Victory with my father. The first night of that cruise, I’d gone to karaoke and had a good time. The room that the meet and greet…photo op… was in was the same room I did karaoke. It brought back memories. There were Rose Tours people just inside the door, taking handbags and wristlets from all the women coming in. You were allowed nothing but your Sail and Sign card, which I wore in a lanyard around my neck. Then the line snaked around the back of the room and over to another Rose Tours person who was counting off groups of ten.

Let me say that again. There was a guy counting off groups of ten. They weren’t asking how many were in your group, but just counting to ten and cutting the line. Our group of ten had been together for quite a while, but they didn’t care. Instead of sending people away who didn’t have ten, they were just moving people through in order to get the pictures done.

I understand why they did this. Sure, I was upset a little that our photo group was split, but from a business standpoint, I get it. They have a job to do and that’s that. As a fan you have your favorite guy, but really you’re in a picture with that guy, even if you aren’t standing next to him. I was fortunate enough to be standing next to Joey McIntyre, who’s been my favorite New Kid since 1988, but I was happy just to be on the same boat as they were! I’d have stood next to Earl or Victor if they’d told me to! (those are NK bodyguards, in case you didn’t know) I was getting a picture with NKOTB. I was happy.

Two of our group members were drafted for the group in front of us. This meant that we got two people from the group behind us. As I said, I was still able to stand with Joey. Our group moved in, ready to get up there, and I noticed that they had snacks and stuff for the people working. I mentioned the bag of Doritos to the guy telling people when to go up on stage and he looked like I’d just handed him a winning lottery ticket! He asked for the Doritos and then directed us to the stage. This is where I got another Donnie hug, another Danny hug, my first Jordan hug, and then FINALLY got to speak to Joey!!!

Back in 2009, Joey was doing a book drive on the Full Service tour. He was looking for volunteers and I was chosen to help out at the Scranton, PA, show. Long story short, I turned to find him standing right next to me and barely said a word to him. This time, though, I put my arms out in hug position and said, “Guess I’m with you!” I smiled at him, he smiled at me, and started singing a little off-the-cuff song about being together. I could have died a happy woman just then. That was my ultimate fangirl moment: Joey McIntyre was singing to me!!! After the photo op, I got my hug from Jonathan, who had said something about drinking to which I replied, “good to know I’m not the only one getting drunk on this boat.” In truth, Jon was probably feeling good most of that cruise. Jordan was the only one I did NOT see drinking, and that’s because he’s been sober for a few years now.

After the photo op, we decided to head to Lido (headache) deck. This was when we decided to be a little bit crazy and just sort of hang out all day. We ate some food and I took a nap and we even witnessed some women almost come to blows over a chair that was holding a spot for an elderly passenger. It was actually rather amusing, looking back, even if at the time I was worried that there would be actual punches thrown.

Duets at Dusk happened… This was a contest run by Joey McIntyre where fans who were cruising could submit a video for the chance to sing with him. He was looking for five singers and ended up choosing seven. I submitted a video, but it wasn’t anything special. I really didn’t care if he picked me or not and I was relieved when he didn’t. With my concert coming up in a week and a half, I need to save my voice a little. (and after the rehearsal last night, I realize that I need to really work on my breathing.) The women who were chosen were good. … And I’m really kinda torn writing this because while they were GOOD, I really don’t think any of them were to gush over. They were mostly on pitch, but anything off COULD be blamed on nerves. Hell, I’d be throwing up if you asked me to sing in front of all those people WITH JOEY MCINTYRE!!! I will say that they were amusing, they had decent voices, and NONE of them showed any signs of being a first soprano. I’m willing to bet that MOST of them were altos. There were two …no. I’m going to stop because this is where my mind starts working, thinking about throwing out some operatic video should he do this next year. Even if I were to get on the boat for a cruise next year, I don’t know if I would want to set myself up like that. Besides, I’ll be in Bicentennial next year as well, and those concerts mean more to me than five minutes on stage with Joe Mac. Sorry, Joey. You come to my stage and I’ll sing with you. Otherwise, I’ll just have to enjoy (unfairly) critiquing your choices. They were good AND they had the guys to get up on stage with Joey. End of review.

The final deck party was supposed to go all night, but apparently the Carnival people didn’t like that too much. You see, there were lights set up all over the deck and there was rain in the area. It even rained on us for a few minutes that night, even though the ship was trying to avoid the storms. (South Beach was flooding that day, but since there is no drainage in South Beach, this isn’t as uncommon as one would think.) I stayed with my Vancouver friends for a while before one left the party to go to bed. Had I known she was leaving for the night, I would have said goodbye… Shortly after I got another kiss from Donnie, Jenn and I left our area to grab a beverage and snack. We met up with another friend and chatted for a bit over pizza. While we were sitting down, I noticed some lights off in the distance. Yup. It was land. I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t ready for the party to end. We went back to the main area and got back into the party crowd.

And then Donnie stopped the party and pointed out something that I thought was in the distance. Only it wasn’t. The high rises of South Beach were passing right next to the boat. We were back in port. Chants of “turn the boat around” broke out. Donnie told us that Carnival had told him it was unsafe for us to be on deck with the rain and electricity, to which we replied, “hell no, we won’t go.” I have to say the funniest part of us all realizing where we were was the fact that EVERYONE took out their phones and immediately started checking email, facebook, twitter, etc, right in the middle of the deck party.

It was hard to say goodbye to my friends. Many tears were shed on the headache deck that morning. The hardest for me was saying bye to Jenn from Vancouver. We’d been chatting almost daily since October, getting to know each other, and keeping each other sane. I was looking forward to meeting her almost more than I was looking forward to the cruise itself. Then once we finally get to spend some time face to face, it was over in the blink of an eye. This is someone that I never would have known if not for New Kids on the Block, and this is also someone I now consider one of my closest friends.

She left Lido deck before I did, but even I didn’t stay up all night. I hung around for a while after Donnie and Jon said good night, finally heading down to my cabin around twenty til five in the morning. I took down my part of our door decorations and finished packing most of my things, leaving only my travel clothes and hygiene things out for after my nap. We were being paged to leave the boat at around seven, and I was off the boat and heading to the airport shortly after eight. The trip home was sad, knowing it was over, and I even slept for a while on the second leg of my flights back to PA. Once I finally got to my van in Harrisburg, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t on Lido deck anymore, as when certain songs would come on my radio, my natural inclination was to jump up and down while screaming the words. That doesn’t work as well on the interstate.

My husband came out to my car almost as soon as I pulled in the driveway. I think he may have been happy to see me. My kids were certainly happy, as they fairly bounded out of their bedrooms to hug me, and I don’t think any of them wanted to let me go. Being home was bittersweet for me, as I was ecstatic to be home, but really wanted to be back on that boat. (though I kept the sensation for a few days, as it seemed like my world was still rocking on the waves)

NKOTB Cruise 2013 was so much more than I could have ever imagined it would be, and I didn’t even discuss the Back Rub!!! There were people I wanted to meet up with but didn’t. There were others that I met and didn’t realize it was them until after I was home! Some I only saw for a few minutes and others I spent a great deal of time with. People keep asking me how it was, and I tell them it was amazing, but it was so much more than that… It was like winning the five hundred million dollar Powerball jackpot.

…I wonder if lightning can strike twice?

NKOTB Cruise Day Three

Nassau!!! Part of me was excited to go to Nassau, but part of me was indifferent. For the most part, when I’ve heard about Nassau, it has been talk about going to Atlantis resort. My brother went to Nassau a few months ago and walked all over the place. He gave me a few pointers and tips, but in the end I only took one.

I was surprised how many people stayed on the boat that day. Well, I was surprised until I got off the boat to explore. Initially I wanted to hit a bar that my brother recommended and then get a good seafood lunch. I got to the bar. I didn’t get the lunch.

Sad to say, I was not impressed with Nassau. I made my way up to the headache deck and, while I was on the phone with my husband, a friend walked past and joined me at my table. She and I talked and decided to get off the boat together. We walked through the “shops” right by the port and then walked down the water to Senor Frogs. Then we went up a couple blocks, walked down a ways, turned onto the street that had the Green Parrot on it, and then headed back to the ship. Half of the stores I saw were closed. The stores that were open, and the shops right by the port, were all touristy and really not all that interesting to me. We walked past the Hard Rock and briefly considered stopping, but if you’ve been to one, you’ve pretty much been to them all. However, I insisted that we stop and have a drink at the Green Parrot.

And that was Nassau. It really wasn’t all that impressive. It felt a little sketchy, actually. I have zero inclination to ever return there. Half Moon Cay I would go back to in a heartbeat, but not Nassau. I took some pictures, both on land and from the boat, and I have my memories of the place. That’s good enough for me.

We got back on the boat, and I think it was my New Jersey friend who told me the story, but I’m going to recount it now for you because I find it highly amusing. The Victory docked next to the Disney Dream, which looks like a beautiful ship. Apparently Joey McIntyre got off Victory and went for a run and didn’t go unnoticed. Some of the passengers from the Dream saw him and asked some of Victory’s passengers if they saw him. Once they discovered that yes, it was him, and that Victory was the NKOTB cruise, I’m thinking that they may have wanted to change ships! A little bit later, I overheard some people saying that it was a good thing the Dream left before our party got started, otherwise we would have ended up with extra passengers! HA!

Anywho, after walking around Nassau, my New Jersey friend and I were sitting, eating, and talking, when a rarity happened: Jordan Knight walked by! Now, I’d read probably every NKOTB Cruise review out there that was made public. I’d talked to a LOT of past cruisers before I got on the boat. They all had one common refrain: Jordan is a ninja. No one EVER saw him outside the events! So imagine my surprise when I look over to see him walking not five feet from our table! My friend and I jumped up, hoping to get a picture, and he did sign a few autographs, but he had a plate full of food and wanted to eat. I snapped a few pictures of him and left him to his meal. I was just happy to see him out and about.

A short while later, it was time for BBQ Wood, an event on Lido deck where Danny was going to talk about living healthy while making turkey burgers. I stood toward the back and watched the beginning before something told me that I should just go wander the boat a little. I ended up in the rear of the ship and saw Jonathan sitting by the pool and chatting with his group of friends. I left him be and went up to deck ten to enjoy the quite, the fresh air, and to take some pictures. After a little while, I decided to go back down to Lido and make my way back up to the event. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, the Dream sounded its horn to the tune of When You Wish Upon a Star. It was cool. (apparently she has seven different horns, all different Disney songs) At this point, Jonathan was apart from his group, so I walked over and asked for a picture. He was super nice, put his arm around me, and I snapped the picture with my iPhone so that I could see what I was shooting. Ha! Then I said thank you and left him be. On the walk back up to the event I grabbed a turkey burger, made by Carnival, but apparently made with Danny’s recipe. It was SO yummy!!!

Night three was Remix night. I changed into my outfit and met my Vancouver friends for dinner in the main dining room. That was the night that I ordered shrimp that didn’t taste good, so I had a baked potato instead. We also discovered that we missed lobster the night before, as we’d opted to eat in the Lido restaurant instead. After dinner it was time for the group B concert.

Remember how on the first night we discovered that our seats were overtaken by the sound board so we were moved closer? Well, I decided I wanted a drink before heading into the concert and I really feel like it cost us our new seats. By the time my roommate and I made it into the theater, there were other people in our seats. They’d been placed there by the same Rose Tours guy who initially put US there. Long story short, we ended up seated off to the side, still a few rows back, but behind the handicapped section and just behind and to the left of Danny’s daughters. The cool part of that was that he kept looking over our way and smiling. LOVE his smile!!!

The concert was acoustic and it was beyond amazing! The guys sang and joked and sang some more. Their set lasted well over an hour, though it didn’t feel it. Like the trip itself, it was over far too quickly. They performed some songs from 10 as well as some of the classics. A few of my favorite parts: During Step by Step, when singing the steps, they had the audience sing them like normal. It came to step five, and we sang. Then the guys said “step five!” again and waited a few beats. Then they said “step five!” again and Jonathan sang!!! It was awesome!!! This was after the guys performed Survive You. For those who aren’t aware, this is a slow song that start with two lines sung by Jordan followed by a few lines performed by Jonathan. Now, Jon deals with anxiety and generally does NOT sing alone at concerts. I can tell you (because I looked it up on youtube) that he did NOT sing his lines in Survive You for the group A concert. He tried, got two words out, and that was it. There was a joke made about him not being able to walk off the boat and then the song went on. So, when Jordan was singing his opening lines, I watched Jonathan turn on his stool and almost put his back to the audience. He sang his lines, slowly turning around to face the crowd, and before his bit was over, he was smiling, fully forward on his stool, and showing us how badly he was shaking. Despite all of that, we were SCREAMING!!! Everyone was on their feet and loving every second of it. Joey gave him a high five and Jonathan was laughing. It was amazing!

The deck party that night was tons of fun. The music was loud, as it always seemed to be on Headache deck, and I stayed around until about a quarter til three in the morning. The guys looked great in their old school outfits, with Jordan taking the cake dressed as a nerd. He was totally adorable. Joey looked like he was channeling his inner Carlton Banks (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), while Donnie, Danny, and Jonathan looked like they did back in the day. It was fun. Most people dressed in normal clothes, but of course you had some who just wanted to show skin. My favorite outfits were the ones who dressed like school-girl Britney Spears and the cheerleaders. I especially liked the cheerleaders because I SO BADLY wanted to do that myself, but changed my mind.

So that was day three. Day four, the fun day at sea, coming soon!!!

NKOTB Cruise Day Two

Yes, I realize that I just posted day one not too awfully long ago. However, I want to get these all written up before I go and forget everything. So, here’s day two.

I got up early, especially for having not gone to sleep until almost 3:30am. I was out of bed and in the shower by 8:00. I had a 10:30 shore excursion that I was SUPER excited for and I needed to be on the first tender over to the island if I wanted to make it on time. Once I was up and dressed with my beach bag packed, I headed up to three to meet up with groups getting ready to tender.

Half Moon Cay is a private island owned by Holland America Cruise Lines. (Carnival) Since there is no way to dock on the island, the ship stops out a bit and you have to take a smallish boat over. We went down to deck zero to get on the tender and I got a seat on the top level. It was a bit breezy and the boat kept rocking into the side of Victory. Add this into the fact that I’d had rather a lot to drink the day before AND only a few hours of sleep and you have one uncomfortable woman. I was going to push through, though. I was going to go parasailing!!!

Anyone who’s been reading my blog since the beginning knows that since this all started, I’ve wanted to go parasailing. I may have strayed from the original thought a few times, but it always came back. I booked the excursion well before sailing and couldn’t wait to get on the island and get it done. As soon as I got off the tender, the first thing I did was head over to where the parasailing boats left from…

…only to find them parked with the parachutes still packed. That was when I was informed that the wind was too strong and it wasn’t safe to be parasailing. They told me to keep an eye out, that if the wind died down they would be out there, then I could just come over and get my flight in. In the mean time, I was going to enjoy the beach. I walked over to the water sports hut and rented a shaded lounger and a floaty to use in the water. (henceforth called my dinghy. lol) I set out to find a spot close enough to the action yet far enough as to not be as loud as the Headache deck on the boat. Then I got set up and relaxed for a few minutes before going out into the water.

The sand is like powder. I’ve been to my fair share of beaches here on the east coast and the sand is always like…well…sand! It’s got a certain grit to it, as you would expect sand to feel like. Some beaches are just sand and shells, some have rocks mixed in. This sand was powder. The water was SO blue and SO clear!!! You could see schools of these tiny, almost translucent, fish swimming around if you looked. The temperature in the water was PERFECT! I would LOVE to go back!

Here’s the problem, though. Remember how I said that I’d had a lot to drink the day before? Do you also realize that Half Moon Cay is in the Bahamas? Combine that with the rocking of the boat and the lack of sleep and you get me not feeling well.

It was HOT. I was alright in the water, but I hadn’t eaten much the day before (a hot dog, half my dinner, a hash brown) and I’d not eaten breakfast. I tried to eat lunch on the island, but nothing tasted good to me. The jerk chicken was alright, but dry. The hamburger was also really dry. I had half a banana but at that point, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat. It was cool, though, because there were birds singing all over the place and even a few chickens walking around! I tried to stick with beach day, but I was over heated, over tired, and hung over. I lasted until around 1pm before I gave the day up and headed back to the boat. I was there to see the guys arrive, but didn’t stay for the games.

I didn’t last long once I got back on the boat. I made it to my cabin, took a coldish shower, and fell asleep for a few hours. Jenn from Vancouver came to check on me, but I fell asleep again after she left, assured that I was alright. I woke up and managed to get something in my stomach, finding some friends in the Lido restaurant and eating dinner with them. By that point, I was in my pj’s for Comfy Cozy night and after eating, we made our way to the Headache deck to await the viewing of the cruise DVD. (there was supposed to be an event for Group B that night, but it was cancelled, so there was nothing to do but relax for my group)

I never made it to the DVD viewing. I still wasn’t feeling well, probably due to the lack of coffee, lack of sleep, and lack of a real eating schedule. I went to bed early that night, missing not only the DVD viewing, but also the guys in toga’s. I’m still kicking myself for that one. Looking back, part of me is wondering if maybe, just maybe, I could have gotten through the day had I just decided to imbibe the hair of the dog that bit me, but I wasn’t about to drink anything harder than a soda. Yes, I missed a deck party, but you know what? There are already a TON of videos on youtube from that night. And the cruise DVD that they showed? I have a copy of it. It was part of our gift for being on the cruise. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m planning on watching it tomorrow.

So, that was day two. Not very eventful, but it happened. I was refunded the money spent on the parasailing excursion. It was credited back to my Sail and Sign account and promptly spent. …actually it was spent before I got it back. Day one I’d gone to the merchandise store on the boat and purchased a cruise hoodie. There were key chains, canvas bags, shirts, shot glasses, and hoodies. The one hoodie was of the pullover variety and “only” cost $75. It was pink, and I don’t do pink. There was also a grey zip up sweatshirt, and that was what I ended up getting. I had to really dig to find a medium, and the cost was…well, more than $75, but I spent it. You only live once and I told myself before I left for the cruise that I would come home with a hoodie. After being refunded for the shore excursion, though, I only paid $10 for the hoodie. I can live with that. Ha!

Day three coming soon… probably tomorrow.

I preface this by saying that MOST of my pictures are on my camera and I don’t yet have the adapter to get them from the memory card onto a computer. So, for now, no real pictures. There will be some, as I took a few with my phone, but not much. You have been warned.

I slept surprisingly well for knowing what was going to be happening on Saturday. I got up, got my shower, and repacked my bag. I knew that I wouldn’t want to carry around all my stuff and I wasn’t sure if my room would be ready when I got on the ship. So, I put my Red Carpet outfit, a bottle of sunblock, and a few other essentials into my beach bag, and then reorganized my carry on. My friend and I left her place and immediately went to get coffee.

Now, initially I had told her that I would cook breakfast. However, my stomach was just a bit …OK. It was a mess. We ended up at McDonald’s where I got a frozen mocha something or another that wasn’t too bad. I also got a hash brown, which is amusing all in itself. You see, where I live, breakfast ends at 10:30. The McD’s down there in Miami didn’t start lunch until eleven! I originally wanted fries, but had to settle for the hash brown…and it was GOOD! (to clarify, it was about 10:40 when we hit the drive thru) After getting our beverages, we went on a mini tour of Miami and hit up South Beach. It was exactly as I thought it would be, down to the people riding around on mopeds. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the public gyms just sitting out in the open like that, but whatever. It’s Miami. After driving around, it was time to head to the boat.

Driving up the highway, you could see the ship just waiting there for us. However, we had to go off of the island to drive across and take another bridge to the port island. There were signs up for Victory and my friend dropped me off. I had a good time hanging out with her and I wish I could have stayed longer. Maybe next year… HA!

Once my friend had left, I checked my bag with a porter and went to get in line… Words cannot describe how long that freaking line was. It was INSANE!!! It was one thing that I didn’t take a picture of and wish I had. It would have been even more impressive once you realized how long the line was INSIDE the building! I sat down and started tweeting that I was there, waiting to get on the boat. A friend responded, asking where I was. After I told her, she said she had NO idea where I was talking about. Apparently she wanted to find out because a few minutes later, she was standing in front of me! Since I was alone, I followed her up to what I THOUGHT was the front of the line. Then we turned a corner and saw people queuing in one of those snake-like lines… This was just to get IN the building. Once you were in, they directed you to another queue where you lined up to show your boarding pass and went through security. After security, you had to go up stairs…AND WAIT IN ANOTHER LINE!!! Here is a link to the line. I took his from above AFTER I’d gotten my Sail and Sign card and wristband.

I was on the boat!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was! Fortunately for me, I’d been on the boat before so I knew where I was going. I walked over to the elevators and took then down to deck two (Main) and found my room. I left my beach bag there and went up to deck nine (Lido) to grab a bite to eat and see what was happening.

From here on in, Lido deck will be referred to as the Headache Deck. I know they say that if the music is too loud, you’re too old, but man oh man!!! It was LOUD!!! The bass was DEEP and shook my insides. I stood off to the side and texted my Vancouver friends to let them know I was officially on the boat. A few minutes later, they found me!

Now I have to stop here for a minute because even though I’d gotten to know a LOT of people on Twitter before the cruise, I spent a LOT of time talking to Jenn in Vancouver. She and I kept each other from going completely crazy in the months leading up to this trip. We were there for each other through a lot of crap and meeting her face to face was worth the cost of getting on the boat. Now I’ll go back to my review.

Not long after that, I met my roomie and spoke to her for a few minutes. Then my Canadian friends and I went to grab a bite to eat. This was also when I started drinking. I grabbed one of those fruity specialty drinks of the day and settled in to enjoy my vacation. We ate, we drank, and then we went down to their cabin on seven (also the floor the guys stay on) for a reason I still can’t remember. Oh well. Either way, while we were there, another BH came into their cabin to chat for a bit. She left and then two minutes later, she knocked on the door again.

“You need to get out here RIGHT NOW.”

So we did, and a little over an hour after getting on the boat, I had my picture with Danny Wood!!! I hate to say it, but he was shorter than I’d expected him to me. I gave him a hug and posed with him while one of the body guards used my camera to take the shot. After that, we went down to two so I could grab the Target version of 10 I’d picked up for Jenn, and once it was safe in her cabin, we went back up to Headache deck. While we were walking around, we saw Jonathan with a group of friends just sitting in the corner of the Lido restaurant, talking and laughing. We left him be and were content to smile, knowing we saw him out and about on the boat.

Now, here’s a detail that I’m not certain about, because I remember walking around with my Vancouver girls, but then I remember being alone off to the side at the Sail Away party. The guys were ON and Donnie made us all take an oath similar to the one he used in 2012. Here’s from this year. I had a feeling they would start with Block Party, and I was right! They went on for like an hour or so…I lost track of time. But then it was time to go get ready for the Group B game show. Before the game show, though, my roommate needed to get her wristband, which was somehow misplaced. Fortunately the Rose Tours people were very accommodating and then we were off.

We got to the theater and went to locate our seats. What we found was the sound board. Apparently they’d put it in the wrong place, but it worked out, as we were moved up to just a few rows from the stage!!! Then, when it came time to start the show, my roomie was picked to play!!! It was WICKED cool!!! The game this year was Wheel of Fortune-esque, renamed Wheel NKOTB Fun. I won’t go into details, as I’m sure you can find the whole thing on youtube by now, but Jen (roommate) was paired with Danny, Jon was drunk, Donnie and Joe were HILARIOUS, and we all got tickets to the show at Mohegan Sun next week. I just wish I could go.

I met up with my Vancouver friends after the game show and we left to get ready for Red Carpet night. It’s only now, as I write this, that I realize no pictures were taken of any of my theme outfits! Sad times… Anywho, we went to dinner in the main restaurant and I think I had beef that night. I also ordered a Cosmopolitan and when the woman came over with the glass and shaker to pour it for me, there was too much liquid in the shaker. Therefore, I had to suck down a quarter of the glass before she could pour the rest. Now, this is AFTER the fruity drink to start and a few beers. I’m already feeling pretty good, though not drunk. Just slightly buzzed and loving life. After the Cosmo, I was definitely buzzed.

Dinner eaten, we went…somewhere. I think we went back so the girls could change their shoes, and Jenn got changed. At one point, we explored the “hidden” deck at the front of the ship. That was funny actually, as it was like a vacuum trying to open the doors. Once we were out there, it was dark and it was windy. It was also really cool and I wish I would have gone back at some point.

The first night deck party was supposed to start at midnight…and by midnight, I mean that it started at 12:30. Promptly at midnight, though, the open bar started, and instead of tiny cups of watered down booze, they were passing out full sized drinks and whole bottles of beer. The party was GREAT and at one point, Donnie was out in the crowd and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek!!! I’m not sure how late the party went, but I didn’t head back to my cabin until about three am or so.

A few other things: Miami was WAY more humid than I thought it would be. The weather was BEAUTIFUL!!! The palm trees were so very pretty. Victory looked almost exactly like I remembered it. My bag didn’t get to my cabin until almost seven that night, so I didn’t get to decorate the door early enough and missed Jonathan on our floor signing doors. Our next door neighbor put up a picture of that woman (Sweet Brown???) that said, “Door decorations” on top and then under the pic it said “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” He wrote “LOVE THIS!” and signed it. My Vancouver friends left a note on their door saying that they didn’t feel like making decorations, and Jonathan signed that one too, with a note that said “BOO!!!” HAHAHA

My Day Two review will be a lot shorter than this, but I hope you enjoyed day one!!!

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