A peaceful, sometimes windy day at sea

Day four of our cruise was technically our final day. The following morning we would dock in San Pedro, disembark and head home. While we enjoyed our cruise, we were ready to get home. However, knowing our busy routine was waiting, we took full advantage of these last hours of relaxation.

After breakfast, we spent most of the day on our balcony reading. This may sound boring to some, but it was extremely enjoyable to us. We like to read, but it seems there’s always something more pressing that needs doing. Our cabin was located in the back of the ship, or the stern. Some people would rather be near the front, or bow of the ship, for the views. What we lacked in views was more than made up for by the lack of wind. The sun was warm and the location was perfect!


I  had to remind myself that we were sitting outside on a balcony on a cruise ship in January! The following day I’d have to say goodbye to sandals, capris and short sleeved shirts and return to shoes, socks and a winter coat.

We stopped reading long enough to grab some lunch at the buffet, and then took a walk around the ship. It was extremely windy, and I was glad I’d grabbed my jacket. The breeze was just a tad bit chilly for me, so I was glad when we returned to the cabin to resume reading on our balcony.Cruise_3_LR

We wanted to capture the sunset, so we didn’t make dinner reservations. Taking pictures of the sunset seemed more important than where we ate. If you don’t make reservations, you may still be able to be seated in one of the dining rooms, but we didn’t want to be bothered and decided to eat at the buffet again. The buffet is more laid back, no real dress code, but they don’t offer the appetizers, soups and salads that are on the dining room menus. By the way, all the dining rooms have the same menu every night with the exception of their specialty.

After dinner we packed for our return home. We’d missed the infomercial they air regarding disembarking, and wanted to be ready for the unknown.

Cruise_Sunset_atsea_LRWe put on our Princess Cruise robes and went back onto our balcony soaking up the last of our time at sea. I could have stood there listening to the ocean for hours, but we had a long day of travel ahead of us and it was time for bed. I tried to concentrate on the rocking of the boat as I fell asleep. So peaceful…

Store price vs. online price

I consider myself a fairly savvy shopper, but I was unaware of the possible price difference between an item in-store vs. online. I figured if it was the same store, the price should be the same regardless if I ordered it online or purchased it at the store. Wow, was I in for a surprise!

I’ve been shopping for a replacement patio umbrella for a week. I’d forgotten that our last one had been destroyed by the wind at the end of last summer. We have open fields on the south and west side of our property and our strongest winds come from the southwest. We’ve lost countless umbrellas, at least one glass table and a barbeque (yep, rolled right off the deck!) to those strong gusts. The last umbrella had lasted longer than the others because I learned to close it when we weren’t using it. However, I left it open because I was babysitting my granddaughter who was about three months old at the time, and she very suddenly needed something, so I took care of her and thought I’d close the umbrella later.

I heard an awful sound and looked out the window to see the umbrella turned inside out and dragging our table along the patio. Oh, well! I can always buy another umbrella and table, but I won’t always have the opportunity to spend time with my granddaughter.

I’d forgotten all about the need for a new umbrella until we finally got the table (yes, it survived the dragging!), chairs and cushions cleaned and ready for use. Oh, right, no umbrella. So I started looking around our small town for one, but everywhere I went they were sold out. Before wasting my time and fuel driving to a larger town to check the stores there, I went online to see if I could determine whether anyone still had patio umbrellas this late in the season.

I scored at Target.com! The closest store had “limited quantity” in the color I wanted for $69.30. I called the store and asked if they’d set one aside for me. They agreed to hold one at customer service for the day and told me the price was $99. What?! That’s nearly a $30 difference! I asked if they’d match the online price, and fortunately they did. However, if I hadn’t checked online and just gone to the store, I would have paid 30 percent more unnecessarily.

The lesson learned is to check online before going to the store, and always, always, always close the umbrella when not in use!

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