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Since today was a sea day, Ron and I were up early and spent the day on the deck lounging, watching the weird contests (hairy men, champagne bottle ring toss, etc.), read a little (I my book and Ron his CPA study guide) and got plenty of sun. Tonight was elegant night, so after being on the deck all day we got cleaned up and headed off to dinner. I should mention that elegant night is by far my favorite night on any cruise, especially the first elegant night (there are usually two). The first elegant night of the cruise is always lobster night and I love lobster. It was amazing and I also tried something new—alligator fritters. They were good, but not like a chicken tender. Actually, it reminded me more of a potato pancake inside, but a chicken tenderish ball on the outside. I know that’s not selling it very well, but it was good, just too many peppers for my liking. After dinner, we hit up a comedy show and now it’s off to bed because we’ll be in Cozumel tomorrow.

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Today Ron and I started our cruise! We woke up this morning, ate breakfast at our hotel, hung out for a little while and then caught a shuttle to our ship. We got to the port at about 11 a.m. and quickly got through customs and checked in. We didn’t have much of a wait after that and we’re on the ship before noon. Because rooms aren’t usually ready until about 1:30 p.m., we sat on one of the upper decks and had lunch before touring the ship and then finally, heading to our room. Our luggage didn’t arrive for a few hours so we checked out some of the areas on the ship before dinner, which was amazing as usual. With all the travel, we hit up a show after dinner and then it was off to bed. We’ll be at sea tomorrow and then Cozumel on Monday.

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The sunset at dinner was pretty amazing, but dinner itself was a little crazy. The food was good, but the waitress had her crazy pants on. She was younger, probably mid-20s, but she wasn’t nice. She was never flat out rude but she didn’t smile or seem to have any personality. That’s not great, but still tip-able. Then when it came time for me to get a box, she boxed up fish with a ton of juice sloshing the whole thing in the box. Still not great, but tip-able. Then she proceeded to repeatedly slam the plate into the box holding it sideways basically beating the fish Tomlin death like she was trying to get something off the plate that wasn’t there. The fish juice, which was probably butter with lemon juice, splattered everywhere– on the table, on Ron’s shirt. She said “Sorry. I’ll let you box up the rest.” I’m not usually one to get too mad about bad service, but it was all I could do to keep from beating the Buffy down in the middle of the restaurant. Not wanting her to even have the ability to mess with my card, she got cash for our bill–$32 for a $31.99 bill. I hate not tipping, but that’s better than throwing the fish at her and going WWE on her ass in the middle of a crowded restaurant, right? We told the manager how crazy she was and funny, he didn’t seem surprised, but he also didn’t try to fix it. He said he’ll “talk” to her. I wouldn’t say I’m overly confident in that. I’m guessing going Chyna on her would have had more of a result. Review for dinner: food great, Charissa crazy.

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The first leg of our trip is done. We made it to Florence around 8 p.m., about three hours earlier than last year probably because I was able to leave work early. Our hotel has been renovated since we were here last year. It was really nice then and is even nicer now. Tomorrow we travel to our hotel in Port Canaveral and we’ll pick up our ship on Saturday. For now though it’s time to check out “Elementary” and go to bed.

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After work tonight I got us pretty much packed for our trip, except for a few things that’ll need to get packed tomorrow. I packed Buddy up to and he’s already on vacation. I miss him, but I know he’ll have a great time and we’ll pick him up next Sunday or Monday when we get back. We leave tomorrow afternoon, whenever I get home from work and we should get into South Carolina tomorrow night before heading to Florida Friday and picking up our cruise ship Saturday. I’m praying for safe travels, good weather and for Buddy to have a great, safe vacation of his own. Bon voyage!

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Okay so this deal I found today is too good not to share. Being a deal seeker and pretty thrifty, I’m signed up for all sorts of deal sites including Grouping, Living Social, JDeal (which is apparently for Jewish people) and Plum Deals. They send me daily emails with their deals. Today, Groupon sent one for movie tickets. Awesome deal! It’s $13 for two tickets or $26 for four. They never expire and don’t have to be used at the same time. The tickets are good nationwide at Regal Cinemas, United Artist Theatres and Edwards Theatres. Plus, if you purchase them using the Groupon link through Ebates you can get 3% cash back plus a $5 bonus if it’s your first ebates purchase. If you’re not familiar with ebates, its awesome. You use their links to click through to gazillions of online stores and get a certain percentage cash back on your purchase. They either send you a check or deposit into your PayPal the amount you earn each quarter. Plus you can get bonuses for referring people. Check it out and don’t miss out on the movie deal. http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=PqPnb3WbcNdtzurseomJlg%3D%3D  Movie ticket prices are insane. The Groupon deal will be on sale for 7 more days.

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Ron’s new iPhone 5 arrived today. He’s completely smitten with it. It’s very kid on Christmas morning. However, if he keeps talking to Siri like she’s a real person, I’m going to hide the thing. That’s a little too big brother/Surrogates/A.I. for me.

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I had to shoot Constitution Day at Montpelier today. James and Dolley arrived by horse drawn carriage in front of the mansion to much fanfare. Honestly, I’m not sure that they actually took the entire trip in the horse drawn carriage considering they passed me on a golf cart 10 minutes before “arriving.” That’ll be my little secret though. I’ll be sure to leave that out of the caption. After work I met up with my mom and went to a local pet expo. They had all sorts of pet-related items and some crazy animals–gigantic snakes, rabbits, chickens, llamas, pigs, etc. I was looking for a new collar for Buddy, but I wasn’t able to find one I liked. He did get some swag though. Mom bought him a Redskins handkerchief/bandana that he loves. He was rocking it all night.

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Today is my niece’s sixth birthday! She had a few friends over for a Princess Party, which was pretty cool. “Cinderella” came and sang songs, played games, read a story and face painted. Bri loved it and all her friends loved it as well. She had a great party and I can’t believe she’s already six. Happy birthday Bri. Love you girl.