Notes from Puzzle Palace

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Cruising again

 What do you do when you are living out of 2 suitcases and you are effectively homeless?  Travel of course!  George and I found ourselves in the interesting position of having a free (It was really paid for pre-covid, but you know how that went.) cruise and we wanted to use it before we lost our money. 

We are now on an 18 day cruise-2 cruises really-that lands in Ft. Lauderdale after 7 days.  We are making the most out of it though. I mean, it's warm, we are at sea, and all is right with the world.  

Both houses are now packed up.  We have 3 empty suitcases in the museum closet and a few personal items in the big house.  There are no puzzles, no toys, no nothing.  Our plan?  When we finish this cruise we will have a pile of puzzles waiting at the house to play with and then they all get packed in those extra suitcases and brought down to our daughter's for storage until we head to Europe in April.  

When we return to Boca, I have a bit of dental work to do then we are hopping in the Tesla and spending the next 2 months traveling around the States visiting friends and family before we leave for good.  

So.  Back to travel blogging it is.  

We are now on the Holland American Rotterdam. It is a massive ship.

This one holds a maximum capacity of 4,173 passengers and crew.  That's a lot of people!  Many more than we are used to.  But at this point, we had no choice.  Not that it's a bad ship. In fact, it is brand new.  It went into service in 2020 and we were supposed to be on it then.  And then again in September of 2022, but life just got in the way.  We cancelled our TransAtlantic crossing to pay for the castle instead.  

Our room is quite large. There is a nice balcony, the bed is comfortable, and the shower is big enough for two.  

We had a blast trying to get onto the ship. It turns out the folks on the phone at corporate and those at the pier didn't get the same information about having stars on drivers licenses.  Our passports are at the Italian consulates awaiting our longterm visas.  When I called I was told we could get on with just our license and a copy of our passport.  As it turns out at the pier they wanted a copy of our birth certificates.  Fine.  George had his but I didn't.  Trouble! We lucked out!  I called our man Scott at home and he knew exactly where the file marked personal papers was in the crate.  He pulled it off the truck, opened it up, found the file, took photos of the birth certificate and we were in business!  Now I have added a copy of that to the travel folder as well.  That folder is sure getting bigger.

The artwork on the ship is very interesting.  I post some of it here.  More will come later I'm sure.

Our first stop was at a private island, Half Moon Cay, and as usual, it did nothing for us.
I bought a swim suit because of course ours are all in Italy.  We had the "Island BBQ" which was just a shoreside version of the Dive In Diner food.  Listened to a man give us a first person account of his life as Jesus and we went back to the ship.  It turns out that 1/5th of the ship this first 7 days is some Southern Gospel Singing group.  Just our luck.  We've been prayed for more times than I care to account on this trip. 

I brought along a set of nano blocks to complete on the ship.  This one is the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  It's fun.  Much harder than Lego's simply because they are just so small.  I had fun running around trying to get cups to sort the pieces in.  The Baristas thought I was up to no good.  

The next day was a sea day and I spent the greater part of it in bed.  Thankfully there was no real sickness this time, but there was quite a bit of nausea.  I took the pills and was good within about 3 hours.

Today we are in Jamaica.  We've been here before so we went ashore to get George some swim trunks-I think he's going to look like Bad Santa, but he assures me they will fit well. Either way, I promise not to post photos.  Nothing to report from here.  We stopped at Margaritaville for the free wifi, posted the blog and headed back to the ship.  

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Small hiatus.

 I am still alive and all is well in Florida. 

We have just been busy packing up the houses.  At last count we are ow at 100 pallets and the guys have told me I'm no longer allowed to purchase any puzzles.  They don't want to crate anything more.  

It's Christmas Eve today and time for me to make a short post on the happenings around us.  Our houses are packed.  The 100th crate has been filled and will soon be on its way to Italy.  

There is no puzzling in the Miller household as every puzzle that came in had to be sent out right away.  George got to play for a day with a few from Fortunate Son Puzzles, and I have unboxed and repacked a large number of new crystal puzzles to build on our 2 week cruise to Italy.  At a very young 55 years of age, I recently assembled my first lego type puzzle.  It was a Christmas tree that had been sitting in the attic for a while. I loved it.  I'm hooked.

George of course said I was crazy but indulged me with the condition that I don't stray from holidays.  Deal.  Sort of.  I am buying The Colosseum to assemble, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Trevi Fountain just because I must given where we are going.  This week I assembled a load of Christmas ornaments and characters.  He won't let me have a tree, but that doesn't mean I can't have a Christmas scene.  Watch this space next Christmas.  I've a year to sort out what I want to do.

On the 28th we leave on a 3 week cruise if all goes according to plan.  There won't be much puzzling then.  If our homes sell quickly, we will be traveling around this wonderful country visiting friends and looking at giant lobsters, balls of twine and other such things.

For now, we would like to wish each and every one of you a Buon Natale! 

Monday, December 5, 2022

The move continues

The time is flying past.  The guys are filling more boxes than we have, another 14 pallets have left the building, George continues to work on new puzzles, and I … well I do whatever is left to be done.

Almost all of the big house is packed up and shipped out.  We only have our bedroom and the remains of the garage workshop to finish up.  Of course, we have a few bits of furniture left, but those will be the last things to leave.  The mirror room looks so sad with nothing in it.  This is a drastic change from what it was before. But it is a beautiful room. 

We continue to have puzzles come into Puzzle Palace here in Florida, but I have begun to send all to our new address in Italy.  This is a daunting task in itself as I have a large number of people I have made a deal with to purchase one of everything they make.  This really is a time when I need a better system.  I know that I have forgotten at least a few.  

Thanksgiving was nice.  We had our daughter, some friends from the club and Bill and Scarlet here for dinner and a very small bit of puzzling.  I hope everyone out there had a good holiday.

The work continues and now the garage is full of crates awaiting the next pick-up.  Bill fixed the cracks in our coffee table and is in the process of crating it for shipment.  Our bed is gone; all the remains is the platform we had built.  Sadly, the castle will not take a round bed.  The Murphy beds will all remain as they too are too large for the castle and the hotel rooms.  I’m sure we will be able to do something even more wonderful there.  

I was pleased that they could take the wine shelves and two of the custom desks. Mine was made to fit a specific octagonal room so it stays.  Perhaps this will show the new owners how wonderful this house is and will prevent it from being torn down as is the recent want of everyone purchasing in Boca Grove.  

My kitchen now holds only 2 pans, service for 4, a kettle and a few utensils.  We have moved out of our bedroom and back into the game room.  This is a fitting end to our time in Puzzle Palace Boca Raton.  We have returned to where we started when we first came to visit in 2018. 

I hope we never do this again.  Moving is a big deal for most people, moving country, even bigger.  But this move takes the prize for being a stressful situation.  I supervise the move out of Italy while George is supposed to do the same for the Italian end.  Unfortunately I am caught in the Italian side of things as well and I’m starting to lose my calm.  :) I am shouting because the bank won’t let me in, I’, shouting because our man there is sending me messages and George emails and I don’t want to deal with it.  

Add to all of this a lack of knowing what is happening with our visas and I am wound up tighter than a clock.  Katherine has moved into her own flat, but has failed to put anything away.  This past Friday I spent the day organizing her kitchen and getting rid of a lot of unneeded stuff.  We managed to empty around 1/2 of the boxes she still had not gotten to.  A job well done I’d say.  

We have cleaning ladies in here today and some guys fixing the screens that came down during the last storm.  

The house is so empty.  It echoes.  I forget how big it is.  It sure looks different empty.