Saturday, July 16, 2016

Where was I?

My old computer crashed and burned a few days ago and I know all seven of my loyal readers have been sitting in eager anticipation. Well, the new computer arrived about an hour ago and I think I'm going to like it. Enough about that. Let me tell you about our last cruise.

Our son Cody planned a cruise for this summer for two of his children and himself. He wanted the kids to have a vacation and knew it wouldn't be possible with a newborn. He thought a few days with the kids in tow would give Cayce a chance to rest and bond with Claire. Andy, his oldest, was way too cool to go on a cruise with little kids so he immediately found another important opportunity. Cayce would stay home with the Little Cricket because she (Claire) was too young to go on a cruise. Cody would be taking Carter, a lovable little four year old, and Charlee, a sweet little 'girls just want to have fun' who had just turned three. Luckily for Debbie and me, Cody felt nervous about a trip alone with two toddlers so he invited us to go along. We had no expectations. We knew we were going as babysitters but who cared??!! We were going on another cruise!

We left Hurst really early on a Saturday morning and drove to Galveston. The kids were sleepy but excited. Debbie was sleepy and...well, just sleepy. Cody was anxious to get on the road and I was a grinning old man with no responsibilities other than to keep Cody from falling asleep on the way down. You may have heard the sonic boom that morning because we made it to Galveston really fast. I think it was about twenty minutes but I'm not sure. When we left Hurst it was warm and muggy. When we got to Galveston it was one hundred and forty-seven degrees with one hundred and twenty per cent humidity.

Nothing much happened on the way to Galveston so there isn't much to tell. Well, I guess I could tell how we lost Carter at a Buc-ees only to find him in the parking lot putting on a Power Ranger demonstration. Or I could tell about Charlee throwing up all over herself as we entered the Galveston city we had to burn her clothes and find a pharmacy. Or maybe I could just start the story with us getting lost in the parking lot at the pier and wandering aimlessly with seventeen bags, a tired four year old and a three year old who kept saying, "My tummy hurts" in one hundred and forty-nine degree weather. No, I think all those things would bore you so I'll start the story after boarding.

Boarding was a piece of cake. We sped through the process like pros. It didn't hurt that Charlee kept repeating over and over, "Daddy, I need poopy". We have learned that condensing five hours driving into a twenty minute trip tends to upset Charlee's tummy and gives her gas....bad gas. We just moved through the crowds so easy!!

Once aboard we tried to go to our cabins but found out we couldn't get them until 3:30. It was about noon. We found a restaurant on board to wait. Debbie and Charlee visited most of the restrooms on that deck during our wait. All false alarms. Finally we were allowed our cabins and settled in. Debbie and I unpacked, had a refreshing beverage, watched all the activity at the port from our spacious balcony, took naps, and read. Cody sat in the bathroom with Charlee. Someday she will understand the difference between "poop" and "toot". Until then, I doubt Cody will take her on another cruise.

Before we sailed everyone had to attend muster. If you haven't been on a cruise I'll explain. Muster is required by Maritime law. It is a short meeting at your assigned lifeboat to learn how to calmly gather and board your lifeboat in an emergency. In other words, it is important to know where to freak out in the event the ship begins to sink. Muster on our last cruise lasted about five minutes with much camaraderie and laughter. This muster was not like that. This muster lasted nearly an hour, most of which time we were squeezed together like cattle in one hundred and fifty degree weather....waiting. And waiting...for one moronic passenger who was hiding. He didn't want to go to muster. During this time Carter got lightheaded from being pressed into strangers'....body parts. It ain't no fun being thirty-two inches tall in a crowd. I picked him up and put him on my shoulders where he played bongos on my head for the duration. Charlee also overheated and "needed to poopy". Cody picked her up and as she arced over his head to go on his shoulders she smashed her face into a window and busted her lip. She did not keep her discomfort to herself. Passengers on all decks heard her wail. To top off the activity the ship was "dumping the diesel". I have no idea what this means but I know what it causes. Strong fumes accumulated around our heads and everyone on our deck got sick. The captain later said, "dumping the diesel during muster was probably not a good idea".

Okay, maybe the first day was a bit all in all we were having fun. As the ship left port all the celebrations began. There were dozens of things to do and they would have all been fun. It has been determined by many observers that Debbie and I do not have a clue how to have fun. Everyone on board was either dancing, swimming, gambling, or playing organized games and activities. I wanted to try a trivia contest but Debbie didn't so we compromised and didn't do it. Even though I bought a new swim suit for the trip there was no way I was going anywhere near any of the pools. I was too old to mix with that crowd. I have never seen so much skin in my life. As a side note here, one day Cody, Debbie, and I were strolling the decks looking around. Cody saw a gate at the top of some stairs which led to yet another pool. He climbed the stairs and walked through the gate. A moment later he came back through the gate running all the way down the stairs and muttering, "topless pool, topless pool".

We stopped at Cozumel and Progresso. Cozumel was a day long stay with the kids. We went to a resort where the kids could play on the beach or in a pool. They did both. We watched a trained seal show and shopped. It was a great day. Progresso is a fairly new port still in development. It was very interesting to see the construction of the piers and the work the people of the city are doing to turn their hometown into a popular tourist attraction. Cody checked the kids into "cruise camp" for the day so the adults could roam about freely. Debbie got an open air massage (behind a curtain) for $10. While she was doing this Cody and I wandered the city and scoped out restaurants for us to try out later in the day. Before we left Progresso's downtown area and headed back to the ship we sampled some of the many shops. Debbie and I found ourselves in a jewelry store negotiating the price on a diamond ring. It was a small band with tiny diamonds wrapped around it. The opening price was $975.00. Debbie was amazed at my bargaining skills and beamed with joy when I finally got the price down to $675.00. I said "SOLD!" and Debbie walked out with a new ring. We had it appraised at our jeweler's in Hurst. I was quite the negotiator in Mexico. I paid $675.00 for a ring worth $425.00 here.  (Editor's note: Debbie swears we bought the ring in Cozumel. I am pretty certain we bought it in Progresso. It's my stays in Progresso.)

We spent a good deal of the cruise on the ship while it was moving from port to port. I watched Cody win and lose....and win and lose in the casino. Debbie and I did a lot of people watching and boy oh boy did we see some sights! Cruise ships seem to lower inhibitions in people. A man I met while boarding seemed like a librarian when I met him yet I ran into him several times on board. Let's assume his name was William. Librarian William was Wild-man Willie during the cruise. We loved all the music, the on board shopping, the FOOD!!!! Most of all, we enjoyed spending time with Cody and the kids. It was a great cruise....even though Charlee finally told her daddy "I need poopy" and meant it....she had a blow out on the sofa in Cody's cabin. The next day she threw up all over my shoes while we stood in line for pizza. She finally felt good....tummy ache gone. Good times!!


  1. You do have a way with words Russell. :-)

  2. Wish I could have been there. Looks like fun times had by most (doesn't sound like Charlee had much fun...poor thing)