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Due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m not in my cabin, heading out on a family cruise. Instead, I’m wrangling a project at work. So, hearkening back to the last time I ‘net-stalked Carmella whilst on a cruise (available here), here’s what she’s doing for the next couple of weeks, courtesy of real-time location and progress of the Breakaway

…through the view from the ship’s bridge that’s updated every minute…

and photos she’ll send when bandwidth permits.

New York, NY 10019

Manhattan Cruise Terminal (40°46’06.9″N, 73°59’52.6″W)

2018-04-15 13:45 ET Carmella is standing in our cabin on the Norwegian Breakaway at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, just down from the The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, which Carmella just photographed:

FaceTime from the ship is spotty, though I forgot to ask whether she’s using the cellular signal from land or the ship-based satellite Wi-Fi; I think the former. Still, I got to see the buffet and the inside of the cabin, so it’s a start.

This was her view of the ship during her guest registration and onboarding process. We’ve done the Norwegian Getaway and the Norwegian Epic (twice), so I’m familiar with this class of ship. She’s comfortable, with lots of little nooks and crannies, without being so large as to feel overwhelming.

Sail-away should happen in the next couple of hours. In the meantime, Carmella posted a series of videos this afternoon:

Flying across the country

Anytime I am flying early in the AM, it’s almost impossible to sleep. And even if I do, I am plagued by dreams of missing the plane. So after a broken 3 hour rest, I finally popped out of bed at 4am beating the alarm clock by half an hour. I gulped down a not quite hot enough cup of yesterdays coffee, then rushed out the door. I figured that I would need the extra time after taking a look outside. It was a blizzard. Ugh. After a few days of almost summer, winter was back again with a vengence. Just in time for my early morning drive to the airport. The fresh blanket of snow and the almost white out conditions only steeled my resolve to get on that plane.

I carefully drove my little blue Nissan rental car down the slick highway, looking for the cheapest gas. I was annoyed I didn’t do it yesterday when I had thought of it. Gas prices jumped over 10 cents overnight. Luckily just as I was about to concede to the inflated $1.28 a liter, I happened upon a lone wolf still offering a fill at $1.13. This was the first win of the day.

I pulled into the airport rental lot, and parked the car, then dropped the keys in the overnight slot. It was still too early for staff to be on and it was too early for me too. I was lucky to arrive at YEG in one piece as I realized I was still uber groggy. That shot of discount caffeine had done nothing for me.

I got padded my way to the Air Canada desk and went straight to a real person rather than fussing with the electronic kiosks. I could already feel my stomach churning with flying nerves and needed to do all possible to alleiviate any extra stress. I awkwardly blurted out to the gate agent that I was a nervous flyer as I handed over my passport. She smiled and plucked away at her keys as if she had heard it a thousand times before. I am sure she had. After a couple minutes, she confessed that she couldn’t find my reservation and started asking me all sorts of questions. I could hear my voice getting higher as I peered over at her screen. Are you kidding me right now? This is all I need. Then suddenly she laughed and noted that she had typed in the wrong flight number. I couldn’t even manage a fake laugh. Anyway, crisis averted. I checked my bag and made my way to security.

At security I was lucky enough to get randomly chosen for a computer swab so the young man led me over to a side table. He asked me to remove my laptop cover and I tried. It was next to impossible. I wrestled with it for about 2 minutes then asked him to try. He said he couldn’t. I continued on shoving things into the crack and trying to snap it off, when suddenly it ripped. Laptop cover destroyed. He tried to give it back to me after confirming that I was intact, safe and clear. I told him he could keep it for a souvenir.

I was tired. I went to my gate and tried to keep calm until it was time to board. I watched on the lounge TV that there were weather issues popping up all over North America. Bizarro climate events seem to be in the news just as much as Trump lately. Finally, the plane began boarding. I was pleased to see there were TV screens at every seat and browsed through the movies, deciding on a comedy. The sun had come up and we were getting ready to leave. They had to de-ice the plane because of the sudden snow storm, and I got some pretty good shots and video of it. I had never seen it up close before and I was sitting right beside the wing.

The flight was more or less calm save for 4 bouts of turbulence. One of them was bad enough for me to gobble down half my stash of homeopathic sleeping pills. My hands were shaking as I dumped them in my mouth. I looked around and saw that I was the only one really upset. I tried to manage it. The guy beside me was sleeping. I tried the deep breathing Mom had suggested and hoped it would tide me over until the pills started working. I turned the TV to the map screen and tried to figure out where we were flying over incase we crashed. I always feel better when its a more densely populated area, thinking that the chances of survival would be much higher if emergency services could get to us quicker. Yeah, this is how my mind works.

After a short time, the plane calmed down. I was able to loosen my grip on the armrests and finish the movie. Then we were beginning out descent. I was SO relieved. In Montreal, I went to a burger place and fed myself a salad with fried chicken on top. Before long it was time to board the second, much shorter flight. The 55 minutes had worse turbulence but they were shorter. I asked the guy beside me (who was also trying to sleep) if he was familiar with this flight path. He remarked that it didn’t seem to bad. And that “they never seem to last long anyway”. I realized that was a good way of looking at it and tried to internalize that attitude.

Through out it all, the thing that helped calm me the most, was realizing that even if the plane DID go down, and I DID die, I should be grateful. I have lived a good long life packed with rare and life changing experiences. If my time was up, I shouldn’t be greedily grabbing for more. It is what it is. Flipping through my mental rolodex, remembering all the magical moments takes the edge off pretty darn quick. Landing safely works well too. I guess I will get better at flying the more I do it. I hope.

40°19’43.6″N 73°41’20.7″W

2018-04-15 20:32:50 PT (2018-04-16 03:32:50 UT) Carmella messages me, saying the seas are a bit choppy; would I check what’s going on with North Atlantic weather? Here’s the map that pops up, including the word STORM where she’s now and HURRICANE FORCE somewhere above where she’s headed:

38°58’06.0″N 63°52’52.8″W

2018-04-16 20:56:43 PT 2018-04-17 03:56:43 UCT Carmella just pinged me with her location and the word “stormy”. This is where she is:

I check the weather map and added a marker to show where Carmella is:

You’ll have to check out her blog for updates.

In related news, I turned those webcam captures into a time-lapse video of her trip.

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