Day 7

So today is our last day on the ocean and we are headed back to Baltimore. I think we had a fun trip. We got to the beach two cents, and one of the days was even nice beach weather. We went to karaoke, saw a musical show, and went to the comedy places a few times. Mom got lots and lots of sleep and I did pretty good on slept myself.

Even though I had a good time, there have definitely been some reflective moments. I tired not to go overboard with alcohol or eating. More than usual but nothing too crazy. Some people on this boat have the alcoholic beverage package where they pay for almost unlimited alcoholic drinks (15) per day. Probably half the ship was drunk at any given time.

And the food is crazy. The couple next to us at dinner each ordered 2-3 appetizers, 2-3 main courses and extra dessert every night. Most of the times they ate it, but so etimes they just wanted to taste it and the rest was thrown away.

All the excess on this boat sorta makes me sick. Why does someone need 7 meals for dinner? Not like I’m one to judge, but is that really necessary. I imagine all the food that must go to waste and think about people who have nothing to eat. I think about all the alcohol and money people have spent on expensive drinks and wonder how that money could be better spent and where it all goes. The crew on the boat is paid very little. They work sometimes 20 hour days in split shifts. Most of them are from other countries working to send money
back home. They sign contracts for 6-9 months. I can’t imagine working for that long on a boat, for little money, and even less respect and being away from my family for nearly a year at a time. I see the servers for the little dances in the dining room for us and I wonder if they enjoy it at all or merely feel like performing monkeys in a circus.

The cruise has made me think about mortality, sometimes my own and also those I love. I see the vast ocean and realize I’m just a speck in this giant world. I think about this trip meant for making memories with my mom. Of course it has been fun, but maybe a little morbid. One day I won’t have a mom. One day my kids wont have a mom. Time gets faster year by year and each day that passes is another step closer the the grave. I try to enjoy every minute, but sometimes the point of it all eludes me. We are all marching to the same place.

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Day 4…

It’s day 4 on the beautiful carnival pride. I got up around five. It’s hard to sleep in when you are used to getting up early. The boat arrived at port Canaveral a little bit before 7. We headed to breakfast around 8. They worked hard to make me gluten free pancakes, but they we’re probably the worst pancakes I ever tasted. Mom got a grapefruit and some weird banana french toast.

We packed up and headed outside around 9:30 and found a cab to take us to Cocoa Beach and back round trip for $15. It sure is still cold and very windy. We went to a little shop and mom got a hoodie. Then we walked around Ron jons surf shop. I like this store. I got a new hoodie and some pants and a hat. I’m extra touristy.

We walked over to my favorite restaurant. The sand bar. The steamed shrimp were good and the hurricanes were delicious. I got the blackened mahi mahi it was super delicious and mom and the coconut shrimp was the best she ever had.

We headed down to the beach. Poor mom fell down again and scratched up her knee. But we got onto the beach anyway. It was cool and windy. But nice. I really love that beach. Doesn’t matter what the weather is.

We got back in our taxi and headed back to the boat. Hung out by the pool for a bit but it was too windy to stay. We got our picture together out in these little lockets and we went to dinner.

The food has not been that stellar but today they had some chicken tenders that were spicy and delicious. I ws really tired and headed back to the room for a shower and a quick nap before the love and marriage show tonight. Last night we watched a comedy show that was hilarious and a musical that was so so. Tomorrow we wikl be in Nassau 🙂

Day 1

We walked to Bob Evans and got some good breakfast. It was freezing cold outside. We wandered back to the hotel and got ready for our ride to the cruise terminal. Since I had messed up our transportation already, we got a cab. The driver was very friendly. He was about 80 years old and insisted to put our bags in hospital car with no help. I was praying he did that have a heart attack before we got to the ship.

We arrived at the boat, checked some of our bags and wandered inside. Our check in time was 2:30, but we got there at noon and didn’t have any lines or problems getting through security and all the other hurdles. It was not even 1 pm and we were on the Carnival Pride.

It was freezing cold still. The pools weren’t even open. Everyone was stuffing their faces but very few brave souls were sitting out at the pool deck. Felt kinda weird to be listening to carribean music in the Arctic wind.

We really wanted early dinner. Carnival considers early dinner 6 pm. I think that’s a later dinner. Mom harassed the staff at the desk and the restaurant. She told them she was elderly and had low blood sugar, big that didn’t help our case. We ate at 8:15. Despite telling anyone who would listen and it being in the computer, no one seemed to know what celiac or gluten free was. I got an overcooked piece of steak and a fruit plate.

Mom and I went for an Irish coffee and hung out at the piano bar. Laura was our pianowomam for the trip. she has a nice little raspy voice, but wasn’t quite as entertaining as other times on the ships.

We stayed up for a comedy show with Macio. He was hilarious. Mom and I enjoyed it. Then back to our room around midnight. Mom couldn’t sleep. She forgot to ask for decaf coffee. But there is nothing like sleeping out on the open sea and being rocked to sleep by the gentle water. I slept like a baby.

Day 2

Boy is it cold outside. I tried to wander up to the top deck, but it was frigid and windy and didn’t quite make it. I have been taking the stairs to slightly combat the onslought of extra calories my body is comsuming. My fitbit says I walked 35 flights of stairs yesterday. That’s not too bad.

We watched a hairy chest contest and silly men dance around shirtless in the cold. We headed to our cabin for a few minutes before karaoke. Mom convinced me to sing. I like singing. I did Bobby mghee and mom tried to record it, but alas a technology guru she is not and she didn’t manage to record anything.

We checked in with the dining room staff and they informed us that they found a place for us at earlier dinner woo hoo. We got the mandatory cruise picture taken and went to eat at 6:00. I had pre-ordered my food to ensure it was prepared sans gluten. The server brought me out a plate of lettuce. I had ordered a Caesar salad. I asked him why it didn’t have dressing or cheese and he said because of my dairy allergy. I told him I didn’t have a dairy allergy, but the computer insisted I did. I think we got that straightened out somehow. The server stopped by again and asked if we wanted dessert. I asked for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. He said, sugar free ice cream, right? Apparently I am now gliten free, dairy free, and sugar free. Wonder how they can even accommodate that?

We went to the comedy show after dinner. Mom had her huge bag with smuggled wine from home (not really smuggled. We could bring it on). It seemed highly suspicious as she snuck the red wine out and carefully unwrapped the water goblets from our room out of their carnival washcloth blankets. It was a family friendly comedy show. But was still really good.

We headed back to the piano bar afterward. Laura was back and she had song requests for miles. I asked for anything Warren zevon and she said she had never heard of him. Lame. Mom had her play maybe I’m amazed. The song dad had picked to propose to her. I had a Manhattan. Mom still drinking her smuggled wine. We stayed till about 11 and headed back to the cabin to sleep again cradled in the arms of the ocean.

Captains log

T minus one day till cruise time. I’ve been really looking forward to this trip so I hope we have fun. I went to pick up mom in freezing cold weather and it was snowing and sleeting and icing outside. Neither one of us knew how to pack. We brought spring, summer, and winyer clothes. I don’t know if we have everything we need but I know we both packed too much.

And we were off to Baltimore in the snow and sleet. Of course we sat in lots and lots of traffic but we eventually made it to the hotel. I made the reservations. We were supposed to park our car there and the hotel shuttle would take us to the cruise port. We checked in at the hotel and they said they didn’t have any such shuttle. Only to the airport. Ehh airport, cruise port all the same.

We met mom’s cousin and family at a really good restaurant. I had picked it out because of it’s proximity to the hotel, but it turns out it was one of dad’s favorites. Apparently, they serve Maryland’s best crabcake. I had a steak and shrimp. Might have been the best steak over ever had. The server didnt understand what celiac or gluten free was. But it turned out to be okay. The last time I was in Baltimore was to visit dad after surgery at John’s Hopkins. He spent much of the last year of his life in this city and I don’t think he cared for it very much.

Mom and I had some Duncan donuts coffee and headed back to the hotel.

Day 3

I’m freaking out a little cause I’m hearing reports of snow back home. Anywhere from 1-20 inches lol. I feel a little bit guilty for leaving the kids and dad to fend for themselves while I am relaxing on the boat. Snow would complicate things for sure. I’m still in bed right now listening to the rumbles of the ship and to mom snore. This trip has gone pretty smoothly so far. The last cruise we went on was the Disney cruise. We had a blast there. But, I ran the 5 k on their island and stuck my phone on my bra. It got so hot and sweaty it died. Never to work again. I lost a lot of pictures that I was never able to recover. Every cruise I’ve been on I’ve lost my passport. Disney it was my passport, Alabama it was my entire purse and same from Baltimore before that. Luckily someone has always found it and turned it in. Have to try harder to keep up with my stuff. I got a concussion on the boat somewhere near Cozumel this last summer. But things have been pretty smooth and hope to keep them that way. It’s supposed to be 60 degrees today. Definitely warmer than home but definitely not cruising weather. Much better than snow and freezing though.

We sat with the same people at breakfast today. They are from Pennsylvania and they sure do like to talk. After breakfast we walked around some and then played trivial pursuit. Of course we won and we got cruise ship metals. I tried fried plantains for lunch yuck! And we walked around for a bit. It was so windy a lot of the top of the boat was closed. We sat out at the adult only pool. It was quite chilly but it was quiet. Took a quick rest in the room before dinner. Boy I am ready to get to dry land. I love the ocean but it’s not a pirates life for me.

It warmed up a little and I decided to take a walk while mom took a nap. I was up on the lido deck and I heard a loud crash. A woman started screaming that someone had fallen hard. I turned the corner and saw an elderly woman on the floor, her glasses were crushed and her head was bleeding. Her children were with her and she was screaming and slurring her words. Hopefully she was just drunk but it looked like she had a stroke. I ran across the pool deck past a million recliner chairs and found a big wicker chair with a straight back. I pushed the chair over to the lady and helped her children get her into the chair. Her head was still bleeding an employee from the beauty salon went to fetch the medical team. I asked her kids if there was anything else I could do and stood back to make sure someone would come to help her further. The lady who had alerted everyone that she had fallen was just staring and not helping and said something about not wanting one late for her spa appointment. Ugh people

Love and life…

Feeling like writing something, but not really sure what. Most of the time I write about what is dragging me down, the thoughts hidden deep in the dungeon of my weirdly overactive brain. But today, I think I will write about something light and airy…it’s not even Valentine’s Day and it’s all about the love.
Sometimes the day-to-day gets in the way of things. The busy hustle and bustle of life and kids and all the other nonsense just become roadblocks on the way of life. Life gets so monotonous. It’s easy to feel bogged down and drowning in it all.
Last night the kids went to bed. I had totally had enough after making dinner and homework and baths and mediating disputes. And they just kept whining and screaming and whining. The girl was complaining of a broken foot and the boy was complaining of needing something signed for school. A paper that didn’t even exist. I couldn’t take anymore. Luckily, you ushered them to bed and somehow made them stay there.
Then we sat on the couch. I flung my feet up on your lap. This is my most happy place. On the couch with my feet in your lap. You lovingly rubbing my feet and legs. And we are watching tv and I am happy. All the craziness of the day seems to melt away into infinity and oblivion. And it is quiet. No kids and background noise. Just us and I can remember that we are in love. The reason we did all this in the first place. The reason we chose each other to be family.
And I am sitting here today. Working from home. Trying to get stuff done. Trying to write my reports, but my thoughts just turn to life and the choices I’ve made. And I think of all the ways I love you and of all the reasons why…
And I love you for all the little things. The way you stock up my pill box. The silly way you take a pair of scissors and cut the top off of all the bags of chips. They roll up quite neatly and clip them up with a chip clip. How you call the people I don’t want to talk to. How you come with me to the doctors appointments. How you pack up my lunch and go down the stairs with a broken foot to make me a cup of tea. And buy me a huge bag of laffy taffy even though I don’t need it. The way you let me waste money on silly things. The way you support me on every whim I happen to trip on over the moment. The way you let me sail far away on a cruise and watch the kids for a week without any help. And I realize that this love is life.
This silly grey area that is life. And the fact that sometime love disappears under a smothering blanket. But the love we have is unrelenting. It is beautiful. It is ugly. It is hard. Raising a family is hard. And sometimes we are thick as thieves and sometimes we are worlds apart. But what I know for sure is we are always and forever….
Uncompromising

Premonition

I gave a love my cherry
And it went pop and pop and pop
And hop on pop
And I am detached and heartless
And I am what you need to please
And I am what you agreed to do
And I am what you split in two
And here I am I beg and I plead
I’m so afraid of what you need
Here I am with whipped cream and a cherry on top
Here I am ready to sit down
On the town
To binge watch the dream
On the big screen
I’m lost in disease
I try and I try but I am what I’m not
I try to be what I forgot
And I try not to be sad
And I don’t want to die
I just want a piece of the big apple pie
I have a premonition that I am healed and I am free
And I am comfortable in my own skin
That I am living in
That I am one with the one that I am
That I am not cooking myself in the pan
And I boil in the oil that you heated up for me
And I am sorry for what I pretended to be
And I have to let go
And I have to move on
And I have to be strong for the ones that I love
And I have to be strong for the one who is above
And I have to be strong to get what I need and
I have to be strong to love all I need
But inside I am weak and nothing to know
And inside I pray that I really won’t go

Conjure

Conjure up the broken image of your past
The one that was meant to last beyond the years, tears, and fears of those who loved and left
The ones who are all gone
And the ones who were never there
To lend an ear
Or lend a hair
Or lend a beautiful face
Of teeth and smiles
And all the denial that rushes through your broken face
Your face is filled with cracks that let in the sun and the snow
And everyone knows
What is wrong
And what is right
And what is black and what is grey
And full of dismay
And I would not choose what is right for you
Or me or down on my knees
I cannot choose what you have deep down my throat
And I wouldn’t choose to rock the boat
I would only choose the spot that you gave
That you laid in the grave
And I’m excited for you
And I’m excited for me
And I’m excited for the things that will never be
And I’m searching and I’m loving
And I am loathing and I am here to bear the pain
That I can’t stand to lose
Cause the pain is the only thing that is here stuck between you
And me and the truth
Of the matter
Is I fell off the ladder
And I fell of the wagon that was
Dragging the dragon
And I felt something off and I felt something on
And I felt like I want something more than I have
And I felt like I want something more than I need
And I love what I have is what you will please
And I love what I have is just a disease
And I love what I want and I love what I am
And I love what is happening to you and to me and to all that we know in between
And what makes me happy is what makes you sad
And what makes you mad is what makes me feel
And what makes me feel is what makes the seal
The seal that tightens the pain and the hurt when it
Mixes with dirt and despair and deeply in love
And the love that is falling
Like rocks from the sky
That falls on the head of the lost passersby
And it feels really good
And it feels really great
Until you realize
It is all a mistake
And it makes me want to feel more than I can
And it makes me feel like a yellow kegstand
And it makes me feel I am more than I want
And it makes me feel all I forgot
And this is the start of something to come
And this is the start of what has never begun
And this is the start of the finish line
And this is the start of coming behind
To win and to lose
And to find who I am
In the hurt and the pain and all of the cracks
Begin to begin and I am not coming back
And I’ve been in love
And I deserve what I need
And I deserve what I want in this pot that is guilt and a caldron
Of deceit and dismay and I feel sad and happy and I feel you in the sheets
And I feel the pain of the life of defeat

Captains log


Bewildered

It’s after midnight and I’m sleeping in a creeky hotel bed and I’m tired. So tired. I once spoke to a counselor who talked about people in other countries who experienced catastrophic, emotionally charged traumatic events or disasters, yet they had little to no after effects. No ptsd, no trauma disorders, no fear or long lasting anxiety. Just resilient folks who didn’t feel permanently victimized as the result of trauma.

When I heard this, I was hoping maybe I was one of those lucky people. One of those lucky people who had escaped trauma without the emotional and physical Battlefield that ravaged a sinking body. And things went swimmingly. But today I realized that although the emotional scars may have hidden for a while, they are never actually gone.

I went to therapy for a little bit. They tried to teach me to deal with my feelings. The problem is that I have no feelings. I am not angry at him, nor do I want him to go to jail and spend time away from his wife and children, nor do I feel any sense that justice must be served. I forgive him. I just want everything to go back to normal. As if this was something that might could happen.

Despite being nearly fearless in my job, today my assignment took me to someone’s home. My inspection was unannounced and it always makes me feel a bit uneasy walking in to someone’s home when they don’t expect me to be there. Today I sat with two men, mildly defensive from their perceived feelings of criticism toward their business. The barking dog they refused to put away felt like an attempt to gain power over me. As things continued on, the man, in a simple gesture touched my shoulder. I cringed and froze up. A few more of these harmless touches occured throughout the day–my shoulder, my elbow, my forearm, a pat on the back. Yet each I time I froze in fear. Terrified of a stranger’s hands on my body. And my voice was stuck deep down in my throat and nothing would even come out.

Friendly, innocent, human gestures have become torture chambers. Why should human contact feel like knives stabbing into my skin and why is it so insanely hard for me to politely say, please don’t touch me? Am i afraid of how i might be seen? How it might come off? Am I afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings? Being perceived as cold and strange. I don’t think so. It’s just our of fear. Fear of what? Of what happens when I assert myself? Will a perfectly fine person in an average situation flip and become violent? Will he hurt me? Why am I so irrationally terrified of being hurt? It’s not physical pain. I can handle that no problem. It’s the emotional pain I’m scared of. Being so vulnerable, easy to take advantage of, not worthy, less than, not worth it, easy to treat subhumanly.

I am sensitive. I am strong. I feel on many levels. But please don’t touch me or hug me without asking. This is my space. My emotional buffer. And the only hands that belong here are mine