Welcome to my wonderful, terrible, soap opera sit-com world.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005Fricative Natalie and Pete have come up with a fabulous collaborative writing project, and I've made the decision I am going to try to participate.
I am not nearly as good a writer as some of the folks I've seen that have participated already. But I'm going to give it my best shot anyway. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's spilling my guts.
The "rules" of this project are here.
So now I give you my interpretation of the first topic. Difference.
I was older than I thought I'd be, but younger than I should have been. He was like a whirlpool, this spinning vortex that managed to suck me in against every ounce of my better judgment and in conflict with all of my prior experience. Gone were the days of chasing the skinny geek-boys and nerd-boys with glasses and computers -- he desperately tried to convince me that he was a real man and they were merely shells of human frailty, and I believed him. I wanted to believe everything about him. His barrel-chested hugeness and his valiant tales of football and bar fights and sexual conquests, all of those things made me stop and consider that perhaps by changing my "type," I could change my life.
I knew he wasn't very good at holding jobs, but I was positive that my affinity for organization and steady career track would get it all done for the two of us. I remember the day he came home "late from work" one day and got down on one knee, pulling out a little grey velvet box with a diamond solitaire. And all I could think to say was, "How did you pay for that?" Not, "Yes." Not, "Of course." Not, "Oh, darling." Just, "Where did you get the money for that ring?" It wasn't until after phone calls to family and setting a date and advertising my betrothal that the credit bills from the jewelry store in the mall showed up. And it wasn't until two weeks later that he suggested we have a joint bank account. And it wasn't until two weeks after that, that I wrote the first of many installment checks to pay for my own engagement ring.
Our second New Years Eve together, two months after the proposal, was a mishmash of anger, frustration and pain, culminating with me waking up on the floor with blurred visions of a fist plowing into my jaw, and little twinkles of light dancing around his head as I came back to consciousness. I grabbed the cordless phone off the counter, crawled into the bathroom, locked the door, and called his mother. Not the police. Not my mother. But his mother, two states away, who soothed me and told me everything was going to be fine and that I should just let him "cool down." She desperately tried to convince me that he was a real man, and I believed her.
11 months following the beating, my father walked me down the aisle and gave me away, against every ounce of his better judgment and in conflict with all of his prior experience.
After five years, three scars, countless fights, 17 nights where he just didn't come home, 2 jobs (for me), 8 jobs (for him), six months of trying to get pregnant, emotional counseling (for me), drug and alcohol counseling (for him) and marriage counseling (for us), we had a conversation over a burrito at the little Mexican joint and very matter-of-factly decided we shouldn't be married. One week later, my in-laws stopped talking to me. Two weeks later, he moved out.
I'll never forget the day I phoned him to tell him I had filed the final installment of divorce papers. It was the last time he ever made me cry.
"This isn't your fault, you know," he said. "The marriage ending. It's my fault. You were the best wife you could possibly be. I'm the one who screwed everything up. Thank you for everything you did for me."
For those 15 seconds on a random day in February, he finally acted like a real man.
So, he's happy, and I am in turn happy for him.
I had a nice bowl of his chili last night for dinner (S. waited hand and foot on me last night, for some strange reason -- whipped up my dinner, kept my wine glass full, complimented me, held my hand, rubbed my back, thanked me for being so amazingly super-awesome, and all that stuff) and then S. rearranged the cabinets in the kitchen a little bit (with some help from me) to make sure all of our new glassware would fit.
[To my wonderful amazing friend who has her own apartment now, I've cleaned out a kajillion mismatched but utilitarian wine glasses, some other glasses, and you know, glasses, and stuff, if you would like them].
It fits. And it looks great. The cupboard is now an ocean of blue, except for the one spot where there should be ONE spiral blue tall tumbler -- have to take one back to Pier One. It's got a crack, right along the spiral. Hopefully they can just give me a new one. That will be my holiday challenge this weekend.
So, S. was quite the man last night, getting all that done while I had to do NOTHING but sit in front of the TV watching my double-play of twisted medical television (House, M.D. and Nip/Tuck, which happen to come one right after the other on Tuesday nights). A girl's got vices, but only on Tuesdays.
Today, S. got hand-selected to do some kind of exercise with a bunch of people (this is a thing they do every couple months here at our base) where they're pretending to mobilize a squadron or something (I still can't get all the lingo down), and he's got to be out in the cold. So, I'm feeling kinda bad for him that he's out there in the 28-degree (currently) plus-wind-chill weather, while I'm in here in my jammies and sipping my coffee and settling in to work in a nice warm apartment.
That's okay. It'll all come back to me when I have to get on all my heavy clothes plus my big coat plus my accessories and take out the dog for a walk -- he seems to like it more when it's very literally freezing outside, than when it is moderate and wonderful in the spring and early fall. So he wants to run around, wag his tail, "go see everybody," sniff everything, and not take a crap to save his life.
It's this time of year I find myself walking around with my dog saying, "Okay, come on. Time to poop. Time to take a poopie. C'mon good boy, make a poopie. You gonna poop? It's time to poop, good boy."
So one of my clients has been very very slow on the "work to do" front, but other clients have more than made up for them in the last two days.
I am even copy-editing some work for an ex-boyfriend of mine.
I know. I know.
But I'm getting paid. That makes up for it, right?
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The UPS guy came!
And he delivered our new glassware!
I love it when Yule comes early.
And that there are many, many crock pots that have lots of chili left.
I think that's a good sign.
The results will be released at 1400 hrs.
AND Rose gets cold tingly fingers and nose through coat, gloves, hat and scarf
THEN it is freaking cold outside
OR Rose is a punkass bitch.
I have nothing to write about that involves sex, lesbians, drinking, or anything adult-themed.
A break! For you!
All I can say is, this whole "getting back in the swing of work" thing is starting to take its toll on me. It sucks. It sucketh mucheth asseth.
I'm having a hard time staying focused on, you know, normal life stuff. I suppose that's all part of recovering from two weeks' vacation, plus Thanksgiving, and looking down the barrel of [insert your favorite winter-time holiday here].
The one thing I DID do last night was help S. finish up his competition chili -- he's entered a chili cookoff, which is today. Oh, sure, it's "only" on the base and everything, but it's still his first cookoff where there's actually prizes.
And when one of the guys in the squadron bragged about how his wife was going to bring the pain with her chili, well then it was on. Yanno?
Why in the hell would some dude have his wife make a pot of chili for a cookoff that's being held within an AF squadron, and not submit one of his own? Isn't chili-making generally considered a man's domain? I mean, c'mon. Seriously. S. didn't let me do anything other than stir and taste and make the occasional suggestion (many of which he just ignored, thankyouverymuch). And I wasn't about to infringe on his territory as Man Doing Man Thing In Kitchen.
As long as he washed up all the pots and pans, it was good with me.
Besides, he says next time he enters a chili contest at work, I can always try to compete AGAINST him if I'd like to enter my own. But I am not allowed to enter on my own unless he's competing.
That's just dumb.
(chili news after lunch)
CHILI UPDATE: S. entered his chili as "Texas Red -- Family Style" and is hoping for the "Best Taste" award. As a side note, the inside of the car now has had its own sample of the chili, as someone cut him off and stopped short just inside the gate at the base this morning. Goddammit.
UPDATE #2 S. tells me that there is NONE of his chili left. This, my friends, is a good thing. Results at 1400.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
That's because it's not a joke, it's an interesting antecdote produced by yours truly as a result of our very true-to-life experience last night at the sushi joint!
Let me preface this by saying that I'm not bisexual, have never had a real lesbian experience (except for that time I made out in the bar with a girlfriend of mine, sort of "on a bet"), and don't actively seek out hot girl-on-girl action.
But, I'm a very sexual person, and I can appreciate two hot people totally digging on each other sexually, I feed off of sexual energy, and you know, who DOESN'T get a little twinge in their cooter when they're in the presence of immense sexual vibes?
So. Having said that, allow me to regale you with the story of the Two Hot Lesbians At The Sushi Joint.
We were having dinner, seated in our favorite seats at the far end of the sushi bar. Various and sundry folks were in there escaping belated turkey issues, and we were all ooh-ing and aah-ing over how great the sushi was that night.
That's when They came in.
They were two late 20's-early 30's gals, both with curly blonde hair, both with perky breastesses, both with cute shapely bodies, and they were all. over. each. other.
They bellied up to the (sushi) bar and ended up sitting right next to us. We hadn't seen just how into one another they were, yet, but it was about to get much better.
Whether or not it's subscribing to stereotypes, it's important to note that although these women were both very attractive, and both very feminine, there was definitely one who was more in the "caretaker" role and one who was more in the "lead" role. The "lead" woman pulled out the chair for the "caretaker" woman, ordered for the both of them, and picked up the check. The "caretaker" woman ordered both low-carb light beers (one with a lime, and one without, please), poured both beers, said a lot of "If that sounds good to you, that's great" when selecting their sushi, and basically was in a supporting role for the date experience.
At least one of the women had kids, and shared stories about kids. They talked about a bunch of stuff. But the thing was, I wanted to watch these two women interact and I couldn't! I was seated directly on the corner of the sushi bar, as was the "caretaker" on the opposite edge (the bar is in an "L" shape) and if I turned to look at them, it became infinitely more obvious that I was watching them. S. had a much better angle, as he could be "looking out into the restaurant" and still see what was going on.
And when they leaned in for a hot, soft, affectionate, sexy, open-mouthed kiss, which I couldn't fully see because I was trying really hard not to look at our own little soft-core-porn production at the sushi bar directly... well, I leaned over to S., and I said quietly, in his ear, "Are they on a date?"
"Uh-huh," S. said, his mouth full of sushi, keeping an eye on them out of the peripheral-vision corner of his left eye. I just hoped he'd fill me in later.
We saw them with their hands in one another's laps... feeding one another sushi... making sex noises at how good the sushi was (no, not "oh god, that's good" but "Ohhhhhhhhhhh mmmmmmmmmggggggggggggggggggggmmmmmph uuuuuuuuunnnnnhhhhhhhhhh"), brushing hair out of one another's face. The "caretaker" woman kept adjusting her ample bosom, which was proudly displayed with a pushup bra and a low-cut clingy blouse. I noticed her doing that thing that we girls do sometimes, where she'd put her arms JUST RIGHT and it'd lift them up a little bit to show off some more cleavage.
They lingered some long moments nose-to-nose, giggling and whispering and kissing.
And then it happened.
One second, they're eating and making orgasm noises.
The very next second -- with no verbal prompting, no visual signals that either one of us could see... they both got up... at the very same time... slid their chairs back... and immediately headed to the bathroom.
Where they were gone for a long time.
An extended period of time.
Much longer than it would take two grown women to pee.
We think someone was making out in the bathroom.
I saw a porno like that once. I think Jenna Jamieson was in it. Two girls got naked in a public bathroom and had their way with one another sitting on sinks and bent over toilets. Kinda weird. But kinda hot in a "oh my god, you dirty slutty nasty girl" way.
So anyway, they came back, boob woman was adjusting herself the whole way back to the bar. Lead woman picked up the check. They tipped the sushi bar staff, said goodbye, and headed out hand in hand.
Two hot lesbians.
In Oklahoma City.
Damned near feeling one another up at the sushi bar.
As low-rent as the joke sounds, we figured they were out of there in such a hurry so they could - as S. said - "go eat some more sushi at someone's apartment."
To give you an idea of the speed of their sushi date... we were there for an hour. We had already been served the first 2/3 of our food by the time they came IN. We were not done eating our food by the time they had ordered, drank, felt up one another in the bathroom, and left.
I guess sushi IS an aphrodesiac. Or is that attractive blonde-haired lesbians who can't keep their hands off one another?
It gave us some new faith for this city, which on some days resembles the buckle of the bible belt. And as we cruised up the 44 and took a glimpse of downtown, with the office buildings of OKC lit up to display crosses (as apparently they do at advent), we thought maybe there is a little bit of hope for tolerance and understanding.
At least for the hot blonde lesbians.
Nobody should outlaw that kind of sexual energy. Seriously.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Shopped a lot. Drank some wine. Decorated our Yule Bush.
Got up. Shopped some more. Slept half the day while S. worked on the Mustang.
We're gonna go eat sushi now. Because there is nothing to cure turkey leftover blues like some good raw fish.
And I got an e-mail from our long-lost friend Chef Christopher, who has announced he's coming to OKC some time in the Spring (though I understand not permanently, still can't wait to see him).
I am very excited. But right now I want a Japanese beer, some edamame, and some fish. Kiss kiss, my darlings.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The turkey is ready to go in the oven. The Sweet Potato Pie is looking mighty... uh... well, sweet. My mise-en-place is all mise-en-place, and all I basically have to do now is think about having myself a glass of wine (or should I just have another delicious cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee) and sit back and watch a wonderful plan come together.
And so now, I guess this is where I get to say what I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful for my husband, of course, who puts up with me day in and day out. I'm thankful for my business, which is actually doing pretty well, I'm thankful for my family even though none of them (except hubby) are around today, I'm thankful for new friends and old...
... and I'm thankful for you.
Honestly, I'm not just sucking up, either. For some reason or another, around 100 of you come here every day and check out my ranting and raving, you leave me great comments, this blog has helped me make some wonderful and amazing friends (you know who you are, and even if you don't know who you are, it's probably you) and what can I say, you've all helped me stay sane.
Here's to a wonderful, safe and amazing Thanksgiving for each and every one of you, too. And if you're here reading, why aren't you basting a turkey or having a glass of wine or calling some loved ones?
Go! Do Thanksgiving things!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Alex: Yes, we took all those (and many more) on the ship! They have professional photography stations set up EVERYWHERE on the ship in the evenings. So you just stop and get as many shots taken as you want. Then the next day you go down to the "photo gallery" where they proceed to rape you for the cost of the photos.
Or if you're like my mother, you just steal them.
Yes, you saw that right.
My mom, sister, brother-in-law, some of their other family and their two kids just got off a cruise on the Grandeur Of The Seas. That's a Royal Caribbean ship. They took a 9-night (so we were all planning cruises).
I spoke to her on the phone yesterday, and she was telling me all about how she had looked over our cruise pictures (and among other things, I should wear bangs, and she doesn't like my hair like that, and did I really "do" my hair in any of them) and then she said something about how...
We got the cutest pictures of the kids from the ship. If we had paid for them, I bet it would have cost us about $200.00.
I said, "Hm. We spent about $150.00 on all of our pictures. They made us buy the 8x10 of each one that we wanted. But it was free to get as many taken as we wanted. You just had to pay for the ones you wanted to buy. Was it like that for you?
Yeah, and [2-year-old niece's name] was so cute, she saw everyone posing for pictures and they ended up snapping like 20 different pictures of her. It would have been a fortune if we bought them.
I asked, "But you have them?" "Yep." "How is it that you have them without buying them?"
She paused, a long, thoughtful pause. And then she said this.
[My BIL's name] got them. But I know he didn't pay for them. I didn't ask him how he acquired them.
Then she laughed.
I said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. He STOLE them? What did he do, just walk out with them?"
"I don't know," she said. "He just got them, but I know he didn't pay for them."
"He stole them," I said. Again.
She just got quiet.
And this is the woman who wants to judge me about my hair, or about my job, or about whatever-the-fuck else?
My mom needs to get a clue. And stop bragging about her criminal exploits. I'm just saying.
You know me, working up a storm, as always. So yesterday, I was typing some dictation for a "new guy" (meaning one I haven't transcribed before, so new to "me") and I got a little gift. A gem, as it were.
I started the file as normal, and heard his voice.
"This is going to be a report."
So I get ready to type me some report.
And that's when it all changed. I'm telling you, the bow-chicka-bow-bow music should have just come on right then.
"No, wait. It's actually a gorgeous woman, standing in the doorway of my bathroom."
"Ooh, and her bellybutton is hanging out."
"And man, does she have a great pair of breasts."
"And legs, oh wow, her legs."
Okay. This isn't happening.
"Her legs that run right up to her sexy ass cheeks, which fit perfectly in my hands."
LALALALALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU
Oh, christonacracker. This is not happening.
"Okay. So this is going to be a report."
Oh my god, I had to listen to a working professional talk dirty in an effort to woo his woman. And then he forgot to rewind the recorder.
The things I do for the [moderately] big bucks.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Now don't get me wrong, it's not something where S. will have to tie me up in a straightjacket anytime soon. I just get weird feelings of anxiety, uneasiness, from time to time.
A year and a half ago or so, when I was going through some really bad stuff with my dad (for those of you who have been around that long), I actually got a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication and something to loop me out enough in the midst of an "anxiety attack" that I could take. And I hardly ever took them, and I'm currently off all of my medications ("all of my meds" being my antidepressant/antianxiety combo med, and uh, birth control) and have been for quite some time. I even made it through S. being gone for his last TDY without the help of any meds.
But the last few days, I've had anxiety. And I can't rightly explain it.
Sometimes it just sits in my stomach like a queasy tummy and I can't make it go away. Sometimes it's thoughts racing in the back of my head. You know the kind. What if they're right about what they said? What if what I did, was really that screwed up? What if that person's opinion or that person's thoughts are are really true? What if I'm as messed up as that person over there surely thinks I am?
What if I'm just not ready for whatever comes next?
Ah, yes, that's the kicker, isn't it? Waht if I'm not ready for whatever comes next.
That seems to be what this particular set of anxiety feelings boils down to.
And what comes next, exactly? Who knows? Seriously, who in the world ever has a clue, a proper clue, of what is really going to come next? We all get inklings, and feelings. Some of us have gifts that allow us to have more insight into those matters than others. But does anyone ever really, decisively know what's going to come next?
And that's where I am, right now.
What if we get pregnant? What if we don't? What if I make my income goal? What if I don't? What if S. finds that Plasma TV he wants so badly? What if he doesn't?
And this is the point in our program where I remind myself to just uh... you know. Not worry. And be happy. And Hakuna Matata, and all of that stuff.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Apparently, I have two votes already (which puts me like in the top 5 on this list) for the best Military Spouse blog on the MilBloggies awards which are going to be run through milblogging.com.
So whoever took the time to vote for me, thank you!
I'd like to take this opportunity though to totally plug MilBlogging.com as a way to find new and interesting military blogs, whether they're spouse blogs, guys who are the front line, or guys who are holding down the "fort" here at home.
I think military blogging is important. Although my blog isn't always military-oriented, it's still a part of our everyday life. And I'm just honored to be listed among some of the great blogs that can be found on that site.
So go check it out.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Well, we fought the crowds at the new Commissary. I should tell you guys about the new Commissary.
I love it.
I totally lurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrves me some brand-spanking-new Commissary. It doesn't smell like old people. The aisles are bright and wide (wide enough for four carts in some spots. FOUR CARTS, people!) The organization is slightly better than the old one, too.
Old commissary: Bread Section.
New commissary: Bakery! Where they actually, like, bake bread! And cakes! And cookies! And you can get silkscreened designs and photos on your cake to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. And stuff.
Old commissary: crowded deli
New commissary: Huge deli with lots and lots of brands of stuff, all of which are awesomely double awesomely cool.
Old commissary: frozen fish
New commissary: Sushi bar! We have a sushi bar where a guy stands there all day and actually makes sushi. Plus an entire frozen fish section. Plus an entire non-frozen-fish section.
Old commissary: moderately okay produce section.
New commissary: HUGE produce section with lots of exotic choices and fresh vegetables.
Have you guys seen the movie "Clerks?" I love that movie. And the new commissary compared to the old commissary is the difference between getting a movie at the Qwik Stop, and shopping at Big Choice Video. Complete with the "fruitful revelation" background Big Choice Video music.
I fall on my knees in reverence to thee, New Commissary.
So, since we've shopped, I will now present to you our Thanksgiving Menu.
TURKEY! (Picked up a 10 pound turkey since all the 6-8 pound turkey breasts were gone) ($0.99/lb)
Roast Turkey Stuffed With Oranges, Lemons and Aromatics, with Lemon Herb Butter.
Fresh (Steamed) Asparagus with Homemade Hollandaise Sauce
Fresh Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (pancetta if I can find it) and Shallots
Smashed Red-Skin Potatoes
Sausage/Herb Stuffing (dressing, actually, as it won't go in the bird)
Sweet Potato Pie
I was going to make homemade cranberry sauce, but decided against it because I have to buy a pound of cranberries to make it, and S. isn't a big cranberry sauce guy. Anybody who wants my recipe for homemade cranberry sauce (you'll never eat canned again) just let me know. It's easy peasy.
We are also going to enjoy a bottle of 2005 Beaujolais Nouveau with our Thanksgiving dinner, since the Shoppette ended up with a case or so of it. Do you guys know about this wine and how amazing it is? Yummmmmmmmmmmy, and you can only get it this time of year.
Of course, the fact that we bought one bottle and ended up drinking it last night means I have to go back today and get another bottle. Heh. Dang. But it was so good and so beautiful and I couldn't wait to try it.
Well, I guess it's almost time for us to get out of here for the day and try to do something productive. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!
Oh, I plan to have S. take pictures of the whole shebang for Thanksgiving, by the way. So hopefully we'll have lots of pictures with me up to my elbows in turkey for your viewing enjoyment.
UPDATE: We are now back from the BX, where I became the proud owner of a stoneware deep dish pie pan (to make a deep dish sweet potato pie) and an electric knife (okay, so S. is the owner of the electric knife, but after watching Alton Brown perform turkey surgery with one, we decided for $6.50 we needed to have it). Oh, and a hand mixer. I can find the beaters for mine, but can't seem to find the actual electrical aparratus that makes it go. Which means that now that I spent $13 on the damned thing, I will inevitably find my hand mixer. We also looked at Xmas decorations already. I know. We are insane.
And I bought pancetta at the commissary for $9.59/pound. (The deli lady said, "Oh my god, can't you just use regular bacon?" The things we do for culinary style. No, I cannot use regular bacon, because I need to feel like I am splurging after paying $2.97 for a quarter-pound hunk of rolled Italian bacon. It's Thanksgiving, for chrissake.)
And then we went to the shoppette, where I couldn't help myself and bought the last three bottles they had of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. And then, well, since we had 3 bottles already, we figured "Why not just make it a case of wine all together?" We get a 10% discount when we buy "by the case" so it would essentially pay for one of the Nouveaus. So we ended up getting 2 Pinot Noir reserves (one Sonoma, one just California), a couple Zinfandels, a couple Rieslings, something-or-other from Germany that looked kinda neato, a $3 bottle of cheapie chablis for me to cook with this week, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile that will wait about 3 years before we will open it, and a Shiraz/Merlot blend from Australia. Our wine rack is now full, 17 bottles in all (plus one Beaujolais that's in the fridge already). But it only cost us $80 for 12 bottles of wine (that's what, $7 a bottle after the discount?) Bargain shoppa! Plus, we put all 12 bottles in the Beaujolais Nouveau case box, so now I have a very purrrrrrrrrrty case box that says "Not for sale before the 3rd Thursday in November." Kaching.
And last night we watched Sideways. How fitting is/was that? I'm seriously starting to think that maybe a trip to California Wine Country would be in order instead of a cruise next year, provided I'm not knocked up. What do you think about that, Amber?
The Update To End All Updates: I found my mixer. Shit. At least the BX is on S.'s way to work tomorrow.
Friday, November 18, 2005
What's turkey going for these days around YOUR part of the country?
Here's what I can't figure out.
Oklahoma. Farms. Tons and tons of farms. Farms, and farms, and farms. And over there, that way, you might find some more farms. And past that? Farms.
So why is food so darned expensive here?
In Phoenix, you could get a turkey for $0.19 or $0.29 a pound with a certain purchase at a grocery store. Some years you could get them for free, even.
$1.49 a pound for Butterball turkeys ON SALE, 10 pounds or more. $0.99 for Honeysuckle White. $0.49/pound on sale for some store brand I never heard of.
What the freaking hell is up with that?
Seriously. What are YOU going to pay for your turkey?
(Since the Commissary -- which, did I tell you? Is brand new! We got a brand new Commissary and it just opened! And I love it!) doesn't really have "sales" on stuff like that, I'll just have to see what they have when we get in there this weekend.
But criminy. $1.49 per pound for a turkey ON SALE AT THANKSGIVING?
Fuck those dudes.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
We woke up to the sun streaming into the windows on our second Day At Sea. After the rocky ride the night before, I had to lay there in bed for a minute or two to see if I could feel the "motion of the ocean" before I tried to stand up! Turned out we were both awake. There was a knock at the door at 7:00 a.m. and we were surprised - we had failed to turn our clocks back the night before so our 8:00 room service showed up at 7:00, and with a big smile. We were up though, so it's okay!
Things we wanted to do, but didn't do: Go to the gym. Walk/run the track. Battle of the Sexes. Wine tasting.
Things we did but hadn't planned to do: We were in the lobby for Win, Lose or Draw, which looked cute.
First order of business of the morning was to go to the Monet restaurant, which we hadn't seen yet, because that was where we were going to eat with the Captain. I also had a question about the time, as Monet dinner started at 8:00 p.m. and our invitation said 8:30.
After about 20 minutes of trying and a lot of frustration finding ourselves in tiny little foyer rooms with only elevators or staircases that didn't lead us where we wanted to go, we finally found our way to the Monet just in time for them to close up. We asked if the Maitre'D was available and he was not, but they suggested we come back at lunch. We asked the young man at the door if he knew about the dinner seating time and explained we had been invited to dine with the Captain. He said, "Wow! What did YOU do to get to eat with the CAPTAIN? You must have done something good!" Just fed into our complete feeling of overwhelmed giddiness and awe about the whole thing. We agreed we'd go back for lunch.
We went straight up to the Sky Bar then to say hi to Jan and Boris and taste the Drink Of The Day for me, and the Bloody Marys for S. We had a little drink and set to wandering the ship. Went to the Gift Shop and bought some hair spray to make up for the hairspray I didn't have for the upcoming formal night. At 10:30 a.m., had a Bloody Mary or two and saw the Port Shopping Talk. Sat through about 2/3 of it but I just can't relate to people who want to go buy $1,300.00 watches in Grand Cayman. So we made some notes, completely forgot to grab shopping maps, and flitted our way out of the lounge on to the Next Big Thing, whatever it might have been.
At noon, we headed back down to the Monet dining room, met the Maitre'D, introduced ourselves, got the scoop on Dinner With The Captain, and we were surprised when he knew exactly who we were. "Mr. and Mrs. T----?" Yes, that's us. "We are just so excited to have you dining with us this evening, we are going to take such great care of you, you're going to have a lot of fun," it was just so neat - and so weird - to have all these people treating us like we were movie stars, or something. I asked about the scheduling and he told us that the Captain shows up when he's ready, not right at 8:00 p.m. with the "rush" and that if we were there at 8:30 that would be great. Then we let him know that we'd like to have lunch in the dining room and he clapped his hands, called over a waiter and said, "The T---s are going to be joining us for lunch! Find them a really good table for two!" We were led over along the wall by the window to a secluded table for two, and could hear murmurs as we were led through the dining room. "The T----s are here. That's the T----s. (mumble) VIP (mumble) dinner with the Captain (mumble) the T----s are here…."
The assistant Maitre'D came to our little table to greet us and say hello, told us he was among the group that was singing to us the night before and congratulated us on our anniversary and told us if there was ANYTHING they could do for us to let them know.
Lunch in the dining room was great. I had a seafood chef's salad and S. had some trout. It was really, really good. The cold orange cream soup with tapioca was also nice.
When we left the dining room and proceeded to get lost again, we found our way to the Lobby Bar where we hooked up with some of our fellow CC'ers who happened to be there. That's when we caught Win Lose or Draw, which looked fun. We went out onto the deck for a minute and stood in the wind. Then we set off to do some more exploring.
It's this afternoon that we again found Sur Mer, and I was determined to have a bowl of boullibaise. This soup was fabbo! We each had a bowl (yes, right after lunch, yes, we had a second lunch, but it was worth it) and by then it was around 3:00 p.m. and we figured we should head back to the room to relax a little bit before heading out to take some formal pictures, the Captain's cocktail party, et. al.
Weeks of practicing on my hair paid off as I was able to put it up in a French twist by myself. We got all dressed and ready to go and headed downstairs to take pictures. We both looked great, I think. I was so proud to be on the arm of my hubby with his dress uniform. We took a TON of pictures and ran into some of our tablemates at the wine bar, where they asked us a bunch of questions about our upcoming captain's dinner and stuff, which of course we had NO answers for!
We went from the wine bar into the cocktail party where we shook the Captain's hand upon entering and let him know we'd be dining with him later that evening. We had fun in the cocktail party (the meatballs were the best!) and I just tried not to get food or red wine on my white top! [I have this problem. My boobs, apparently, like to eat and drink as much as I do.] After the cocktail party [where all the drinks were free for an hour] we walked [tipsily] around for a little bit, took some more pictures, and then headed down to dinner.
Shortly after 8:30 the Captain and his senior officers and some of their spouses joined us at the table (we were the first ones there). Everyone was so kind and gracious, they all introduced themselves, and we shook their hands, and we had a very pleasant conversation. We were seated between the Captain and the Head Purser. (We were originally split up at the table but I think they saw how nervous we must have looked, and offered to seat us together instead of staggered around the table, and we took them up on their offer.) The Captain was a wonderful, soft-spoken Italian man who didn't say much, but when he did everyone listened.
Three or four times when we were at the table, people came up, asked to shake his hand, and said things like, "If you're all here, who's driving the ship?!" I leaned over and said, "You obviously get asked that all the time." He just looked down at his plate, kind of shook his head, and rolled his eyes. So! For everyone else's benefit -- He's heard that joke before!
Because "formal night" had been moved to Tuesday instead of Monday, the menu for "formal night" was not the standard Captain's Gala menu with lobster and prime rib and stuff. So the crew was pretty excited about that, and everyone dug into their meals with great gusto. They told us they were kind of "excited" because when they eat in the dining room it is always the same menu, so they got to change it up a little bit. I found the escargot to be great, and had the jerk pork. Stang had the veal parmesan.
The Captain gets to eat whatever he wants.
After the Captain's Waiter and staff poured the wine and Pellegrino around the table (which never quit coming, by the way, if your glass went below half full they topped you off) (and the wine was amazing) the Captain received his first appetizer of a dish of steamed and roasted vegetables with little roulades of smoked salmon, with some olive oil and vinegar to dress it. He ate about half of that, and then they brought him another plate with strips of proscuitto and some chunks of parmesan cheese, which he popped like snacks while sipping wine and chatting with us and his officers. Then the Captain's dinner was served to him -- a plain, undressed green salad in a large bowl, with a side plate of steamed chicken breast cut into chunks. The Captain had "build your own chicken salad" for dinner!
We asked all kinds of questions of the Captain and his officers and they asked us about ourselves as well. The conversation was really pleasant and very interesting. He was a very gracious host -- none of the officers nor him would start eating until we had taken the first bite of our particular course. There was also a toast.
I leaned over to the Captain and told him I couldn't help but notice what healthy choices of meals he had, and he said that if he ate the rich food every night they'd have to get him new uniforms all the time, as he'd keep gaining weight!
At the end of the meal and after dessert, he told us he was sure we had "other plans for the evening" and didn't want to "take up too much more of our time" but thanked us for dining with him, told us to enjoy the show later that evening and thanked us for honoring him with our presence -- we told him the pleasure was all ours, and it was certainly a thrill and an honor to dine with all of them, and thanked them all again individually.
It was truly an amazing experience.
We went upstairs, changed into some more casual clothes, and went to Formidable, the evening's show. It was a Vegas-style showgirl musical song and dance show, which we quickly decided wasn't for us, but we sat through it anyway. Where we were in the lounge the sound was a little muddy so we couldn't understand all the words to the songs, and it ended up just being more out of courtesy than anything that we stayed through the show. I'm sure it was a very good show [although by the end of it, S. and I were calling it "cheeseball."] . We just didn't find ourselves particularly interested or entertained.
We went out and got a drink and hung out for a while, and then went back for the midnight "adult comedy show" by Marc Rubben, which we didn't enjoy at all. He was a ventrioloquist which could have really been interesting, but he picked on the same two people who he obviously knew before the show started, and just cursed a lot without any real humor involved. [I mean, did this guy suck. Holy suckage, Sucky McSuckington.]
And that's about the time we stumbled back up to the room, somewhere around 12:45 a.m. The next morning was our first port day and we wanted to be fresh. What a day!!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005Oh, super-fantabulous brand new Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, how do I love thee? I love thee so amazingly uber-much, I cannot even begin to put it into words.
Or maybe I can.
Although I mourn the passing of your brother, The Other Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker, due to internal injuries (cracked decanter AND earlier-discovered rusting on the bottom metal plate that was staining my white countertops and making me frustrated), I'm not ashamed to say I love you more.
I love your new, sleek lines. I love that you have a big, backlit analog-looking, but yet very digital, clock front and center. I love that you will brew either a pot of coffee at NORMAL strength, or STRONG strength, whichever I prefer!
I love that you have a delay timer that is easy enough to work that my husband can get right in there at the end of our day, program you for 5:00 a.m., and pour his first cup at 5:05. I love that you have a Fresh Brew Timer that tells me how long the coffee in the carafe has been sitting there. And I absolutely adore that your beep is loud enough and long enough that I can hear you through my headphones and go re-set the warming plate to keep the coffee hotter, longer.
I adore your variable-temperature warming plate. I am enamored with your internal water filter that yes, really, makes my coffee taste better. And I am eternally grateful for the fact that my previously-purchased Mr. Coffee gold permanent coffee filter fits within the confines of your basket. I swoon! For you! Have! A "Clean" button! And will clean yourself! If only I push the button! You are self-cleaning!
But very possibly more than anything else, I love how you brew me the perfect cup of freshly-ground Millstone Organic Mayan Black Onyx, every single time.
God/dess knows I need it.
Q: At the time of accident what direction were you traveling on [sic].
A: Um, I was right in the middle of a turn so I guess kind of like southwest.
Q: Okay. On what street or freeway?
A: I was leaving B Street, onto Second.
Q: Okay. So which street were you on, southwest on what street.
A: Um, I was on B Street.
Q: B Street.
Q: What is the cross-street?
Q: How do you spell that?
A: S E C O N D.
Q: And going southwest on B Street, how many lanes are there going that same direction?
A: Two. But B Street is going west. But because I was right in the middle of the turn…
Q: So at the time of the impact you're in the middle of a turn?
Q: Okay. But how many lanes are there going the same direction on B Street, are you on B Street or the cross-street?
See that thingy on the sidebar? The one with the weather? It lies.
It lies because it says it is like 26 degrees or something currently. But the "feels like" is bouncing between 19 and 20.
20. 20 degrees. (It's the "feels like" that matters)
Which just makes me wish I were on a cruise ship, or in Mexico.
Speaking of that, by the way, when I get some more work done this a.m. I will try to take a break and post "day 3."
How cold is it where YOU are?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Q: Okay. And which vehicle were you driving at the time of the accident?
A: I was driving a white Tahoe.
Q: A white Tahoe?
A: A white Tahoe. It's the 2002.
Q: 2002 Tahoe, white Tahoe.
A: White Tahoe.
Q: That's a Chevy, right?
Q: And it's white.
*slams head on desk*
So last night I tossed and turned. Partially I think, because we booked another cruise.
The cruise forum we read has a large group going and their rates on this one particular 7-day cruise out of Galveston on the Conquest was just too good of pricing to ignore, since the rates went down (and are actually the same or slightly lower than the military rates for the same cruise). Okay, well, here, let me show you:
Inside (Cat 4A): $ 559 pp
Oceanview (Cat 6A): $ 659 pp
Balcony (Cat 8A): $ 769 pp
Mini Suite (Cat 11): $ 1299 pp
Penthouse Suite (Cat 12): $ 1829
Single (Cat 1A): $ 739 pp
Group Cruise Amenities:
- $100 per cabin on-board credit (that's $50.00 off per person)
- Free, all-you-can-drink Cocktail Party
It's a year away and our deposit is 100% refundable until July 31, 2006, which made it a no-brainer to go ahead and put a deposit down. We even booked thru Carnival for about the same rate with the military discount as the group, even though we don't get all the "group amenities."
But we did it because it'll be easier to cancel.
Yes, that's right, I said it'll be easier to cancel.
See, we won't take this cruise if we are pregnant or if we have an infant. Which means if we get knocked up (or rather, if I get knocked up) between now and July 31, 2005, then we are going to cancel this cruise with no penalty.
Why is this significant?
It's like having a back-up plan. I think this might keep me stressing so much about getting preggers. We really want to start a family. But we really want to cruise again, too. So right now this is the best of both worlds.
If we get pregnant, then we are pregnant.
If we do not get pregnant despite copious trying, then we are going on a cruise.
Am I insane? C'mon now, tell me. Am I a lunatic?
Other factors of weirdness around this booking of the cruise are:
1) It's the same ship.
2) It's the same itinerary (with the exception of including Cozumel rather than Playa Del Carmen).
3) This is STILL a route that has NO RUINS on it without a large, 6-8 hour roundtrip which means I will probably still not see ruins (although I would see Mexico).
4) We are currently paying more than we paid for the last one.
If we hadn't been in this weird position, getting to cruise with the group (they're wild) and have some fun with these new friends, well, we might have picked another date/time, another itinerary, a different ship.
And we certainly wouldn't have fucking picked to cruise during hurricane season.
Although by the time that rolls around, I'll know if I'm pregnant or not and we might just be canceled already.
I don't know.
It's not like I have buyer's remorse or anything. I'm just weirded out. I told S. last night that it feels like I am "cheating on" the baby. By saying that's okay, if the baby doesn't come, then we still have this other thing to fall back on.
Come on, you can tell me. Am I a creep?
Monday, November 14, 2005
We just got off the phone with our PVP at Carnival and booked another cruise.
I'm an addict.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Day Two -- Fun Day At Sea (Halloween!)
Here's where my memory of our cruise experience starts to get a little iffy, because on the days at sea we just didn't do a whole heck of a lot of anything. [As if that's a bad thing. SO not a bad thing.]
We got up fairly early on our first Fun Day At Sea, with the help of some room service coffee [that you could stand up a spoon in... S. made a joke later in the week that the reason the room service coffee was so strong compared to anywhere else on the ship, was that if you needed someone to bring coffee TO you, and were too slow-go in the morning to get your own ass out of bed and down to breakfast, they'd give you a jump-start], bagels/lox, and pastries. We went out onto the balcony and soaked up the sound of the waves, sipped coffee, nibbled our breakfast, watched the Conquest Morning Show on TV (Poor Todd, the cruise director, looked quite dragged out after that long night with the haunted house) and started going through our Capers for things we wanted to see. We left a post-it note [just a kind hello] for Harold [our cabin steward] and headed out.
Things We Wanted To See Or Do But Did Not: Wine tasting seminar at the Point; Ship tour; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire; Hairy Chest Contest; Ice Carving; The Dating Game; The Main Show (Ron Joseph)[A musical tribute to motown and jazz]
Things we did do and see: About half of the port orientation/adventure talk (we had booked our excursions already and just wanted to see if they gave us any information about Playa Del Carmen, but didn't wait long enough to find out) [Our Cozumel call was originally canceled, and we were rerouted at the last minute to Playa Del Carmen, which none of us knew anything about]
After having a couple of beverages [Drink Of The Day rum punch for me, Bloody Marys for S.] with our new friends Jan and Boris, we headed back to the room for a few minutes to read the Capers [Carnival's daily paper with activities listings] and find out what to do next. We were in the room for about 2 minutes when something came sliding under the door. It was a note card addressed to the two of us.
"Captain Carlo Quierolo requests the pleasure of your company at his table at dinner, in the Monet Dining Room on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 8:30 p.m."
We had to re-read it three times.
I was giddy with excitement and 100% in shock. And decided I'd better get out my first night's formal outfit and make sure it looked nice! After all! It was only! Tomorrow! I had to! Have it! All put together! [Because I am compulsive, and overly-stressed, and need to plan everything, and need to have everything perfect most of the time, and have a huge problem with things being out of my control. As happy as we were about getting to eat dinner with the Captain, I was most definitely beginning to stress about this "monkey wrench" into the works, and trying to figure out how I could get a grip on what was going to be happening with us.]
I grabbed my flowy polyester formal "carwash pants" and went down to the self-service launderette on Deck 8, thinking I'd give them a quick press. Found the laundry room, filled the iron with water, set the timer, set the iron on "low" (the recommended setting for my pants), waited for it to warm up, and started pressing. After a couple of minutes of pressing, I proceeded to melt a hole right through my brand new black formal pants.
Right. [Fucking.] Through. My. [Fucking.] Pants.
Turned out the [goddamned] hard-wired iron got MUCH hotter than it suggested it did. The temperature dial had little or nothing to do with the actual temperature of the iron [which was in actuality somewhere around the SURFACE TEMPERATURE OF THE SUN]. And since I ironed a hole in my pants right in the middle of the thigh, the pants were unwearable. I turned off the iron and ran back to the room in tears [and cussing like a sailor], my husband comforted me, and I decided I would have to rent an outfit. I phoned Bette in her room and asked her, since they had rented her husband's tux from the Formalities shop, if she saw they had women's clothes. She said they did. We went downstairs to try to rent a skirt but the shop was closed from for an hour [at which point I continued to panic, curse, stomp, get teary-eyed, and damn to hell irons, laundry rooms, and formal shops with the gall to close when I needed them most].
We went and finally found Sur Mer [a seafood buffet portion on the Lido Deck that had some freaking awesome food] (but didn't eat that day) and grabbed a bite to eat somewhere else. I think we had pizza. I wasn't thinking clearly [and frankly, I think I had a rum punch to help me calm down which adds to the fuzziness].
We made it to the Formalities shop and they had a black skirt in my size, so I rented it ($30.00 for the entire cruise) and we were instructed to return it on Saturday. Let's just be kind and call my size, "chubby girl size." So first the very nice shop girl has me try on a clingy velvet number. Now don't get me wrong, it was gorgeous and would have gone great with what I was wearing (a white beaded top) and it was SUPER comfortable. But it was that stretch velvet. And it stretched right around all of my uhhhhhhh, "assets." [read: my big fat ass] The kind gal in the Formalities shop told us that she thought it looked very "sexy." I said I thought it was a little clingy, and uh - well, I'll just say it - it enhanced the size of my big ol' butt! So I asked if she had a regular straight skirt instead of the velvet one. She did, and when I tried it on she said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I liked the other one better - this one just looks so… wide." I said, "Well, that's because I'm wide!" We all got a laugh out of it, and I did end up with the straight skirt rather than the clingy velvet one. [Not that you could tell from any of our formal pictures, because all of our "full length" pictures were marred with other problems and we ended up with one shot of us from the waist up, so you can't even see the fucking skirt.]
At 2:00 we met up with the CC'ers for our Meet and Greet at the Sky Bar. We had quite a group and we ended up taking up a bunch of space and really getting to know each other better, talking about all our plans for the cruise, and things we had already seen. It was determined that I am not allowed to ever iron anything, ever, again. At about 3:00, we got a little note when we tried to pay for a drink, saying our S&S account was over its limit. We excused ourselves from the group and went down to the Purser's desk, where there was a little bit of a wait. We knew there was just a glitch, so hubby went up to the room to get our visa card, and our documents, while I held our spot in line.
I was in line behind the meanest, most unhappy, most snotty, angry, devoid-of-all-grace individuals I had ever had the displeasure of meeting. Or hearing. Or seeing. [Bunch of freaking ugly, black-hearted rednecks who thought they were entitled to everything for nothing, made me embarrassed to be on the same ship with 'em frankly]
They all had different complaints, some of which were reasonable [Our air conditioning doesn't work] and some of which were just idiotic. [My door key doesn't work, and my phone doesn't work (how the hell do you know your phone doesn't work if you can't get in your fucking room, asshat?)] And the more they talked to one another the more they escalated their anger and they became louder, and ruder. They kept talking about "waiting in line for an hour" [that must be in dog years] to see the Purser, although I had only been in line with them at five minutes (and was in line for a total of 15 minutes). At one point, the rather large man in front of me actually touched [grabbed, forcefully] one of the pursers on the arm [sleeve of uniform] as he came out of the "secret door" in the hallway and said, "Excuse me, I'm going to need you to get the Captain down here right now, I need to speak to him." The Purser turned and asked him how he could help him, and he just kept saying, "You can get the Captain down here, he needs to take care of my problems for me." The Purser asked over and over what the issues were. On this man's list of issues were, "My door key doesn't work. My phone doesn't work. I can't be made to wait in line for an hour for these things to be resolved, no one else can help me."
When the Purser asked the man for his S&S card so he could start to fix it immediately, the man had the gall to say, "I am NOT going to get HELPED in FRONT of all of these PEOPLE in LINE in FRONT of ME! You have to HELP all of THEM first, I reFUSE to CUT in LINE, so I will WAIT my TURN." [Now. Add to this a Southern U.S. kind of accent, but not a pleasant one, a very hickville one. Dude was wearing golf shorts, a big shirt that was hanging out and wrinkled, and just looked about halfway put together.] The Purser just kept saying, "I'm going to help you now, I'm going to help you now, please, sir, give me your card." Finally my husband said, under his breath, "Please. [I'm begging you,] Let him [fucking] help you now." The Pursers were just trying to break up the group of rabblerousers and get them all worked out and on their way because since we were right adjacent to the lobby and common areas, they were causing quite a scene. The man "let" the Purser help him. Thank God.
We were helped shortly thereafter. Andre explained that there must have been some kind of glitch between the port of Galveston and the ship, and that there was no credit card listed on our account. He processed the Visa card and said everything would be fine. I showed him our documents and because of the confusion at embarkation asked him if he would be so kind as to check the people who had the room we were originally assigned to, to see if for some reason my credit card had been put on their room. He pulled up the other room's records discretely and checked my card number against the card that was being used with that account, and confirmed that there was no overlap. We were done and on our way!
The rest of the afternoon is a little bit of a blur [due to post-traumatic stress disorder and copious amounts of rum punch to soothe my emotional pain]. I know I also realized that afternoon I had left my hair spray and my makeup mirror at my Mother-In-Law's house. I was having a control freak's disaster day.
We made it to dinner and had a fabulous meal again with our dining room staff and tablemates. The other CC couple at our table were given a bottle of wine from the Maitre'D that evening, which was such a neat surprise! Then as we were getting ready to get up from dinner and go change into our Halloween garb, the dining room staff brought us a beautiful chocolate Anniversary cake and sang "Happy Vers'ry To You!" They tied our hands together with a napkin [which made me cry becuase on that day, at that time, one year previously, we were having our hands tied together with a hand-woven cord at our Handfasting ceremony, unbeknownst to anyone on the ship at that time] and "made us" kiss in front of everyone. The cake was delicious!
We ran back up to the room, changed for Halloween, and knew we'd be too late to find our CC group (but they all got the neatest group picture taken in costume, can't wait for someone to post it). We saw some of the costume parade and stuff, but were looking for the gang. In retrospect we missed a lot of Halloween because I was trying so hard to find everyone, I probably missed a lot of the great costumes. Was just having "one of those days" and was getting way, too overly stressed about everything. (But in real life, that's how I am -- stressed constantly about even the littlest things). [This is what happens to me when I can't blog and get all my spew out... I just become a stressed out freak] We finally ran into everyone up at the Sky Bar (standard meeting place) but by then all the formal portrait places had been wrapped up and put away so we didn't even get pictures of ourselves in costume. Bette was kind enough to take some shots of us. I noticed I had torn a hole in my bodice, maybe from stressing/breathing too hard or maybe from tying it too tight. [Definitely from tying it too tight] The weather was getting rough and the ship was really rocking so we went to change out of our costumes, lest we end up face-first on the pool deck. Went back up and found the group again, had a Pina Colada [but wanted three or four, I was really worked up and stressed, thank goodness it was late and I talked myself out of getting too tanked], wandered around a little bit, and then hit the sack.
The 12+ foot seas rocked us to sleep. That was the roughest night we had. [I thought I was gonna either get flung out of bed, get seasick, or get seasick on the floor after I had been flung out of bed.]
End of day 2!
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Okay, I finished writing my VERY VERY LONG "review of the cruise" for the cruise forum I'd been reading and participating in before we left.
So, I am going to cut and paste it here. Hopefully I will catch all the "board lingo" and change it into "blog lingo" but if I leave anything in and it doesn't make sense, comment and let me know and I'll clarify it or fix it. Stuff in brackets is me clarifying text from my original review.
Here we go!
Day One: Embarkation
At 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, 10/30/05, S. tapped me on the arm and said, "It's 5:45. Should I go back to sleep or should I just get up?" We got up. Too excited to sleep.
After a morning's drive from San Antonio, we parked at EZ Cruise Parking (www.ezcruiseparking.com) and a shuttle took us to the terminal, which was completely clogged with people. It was about 11:30 a.m. and we were tugging on our bags trying to find the spot where we could get new luggage tags. We hauled them quite a distance when a porter flagged us down and let us know they would give us luggage tags "right through this door" and then followed us in, and loaded up his cart with our bags. We got our luggage tags, tipped the porter, and made our way into the terminal.
We filled out all our information in our docs (hadn't done that yet) and made our way to the Funpass [Carnival Cruises boarding pass] line, where we received our Sail & Sign cards [The card that doubles as a room-key and also as your "charge card" for everything 'extra' on the ship] and the like. Our documents had an old cabin number as we had upgraded and changed cabins, so at first she handed us the wrong Sail & Sign cards! But, hubby got it all figured out and noticed immediately they shouldn't have been ours (they were gold [signifying people who are "repeat cruisers"], and we are first-timers) so she fixed that and we were on our way to the terminal.
Following the advice of folks on the cruise forum www.cruisecritic.com, we tried to get a seat in the farthest left bank of chairs [because those were the ones they were supposed to let onto the ship first]. We did find two chairs. They told us we weren't going to get onboard until 2:00 p.m., and that we should take some time (with all our bags we were hauling as carry-ons) and go visit the Strand in Galveston. We politely declined. Three times. And had a seat. I picked up the cellphone to call one of my new Cruise Critic friends to find out where they were -- Bette answered her phone, and told me to stand up. They were about 10 rows behind us in the same section! So we met up with our CC [Cruise Critic] Roll Call group [a group of folks who all read the forums, who were on our same sailing], and settled in for what ended up being a short wait. At 12:30 they came out to let us on the ship after a quick warm-up and some HUGE laughs in our group. We took our embarkation photo, stopped at the Purser's to get our S&S cards punched [with a hole so we could thread it onto a lanyard], grabbed a couple of copies of the first-day Capers [Carnival's little day-to-day newsletter where they tell you all the cool stuff happening on the ship] (we were told we couldn't go to our rooms until 2:00 pm) and were onboard sipping a Fun Ship Special before 1:00 p.m. We ran into some of the CC'ers at the Sky Bar, and shared the capers, and started making the "Hey! I'm onboard the ship!" phone calls home and such.
After the first Fun Ship Special we wandered up to the bar and had a conversation with the bartender (Jan (pronounced, "Yahn"), Czech Republic, Sky Bar) and the waiter (Boris, Czech Republic, Sky Bar) and immediately knew they were going to be our favorite stop. They were so friendly, and happy to see us, immediately asked us our names and shook our hands. They were an absolute hoot.
After the second Fun Ship Special, I realized there's some BOOZE in those things! We were pleasantly tipsy and ready to go exploring the ship a little. We went up to our room, dropped off our carryons, ooh-ed and aah-ed over our balcony, took a bunch of pictures of the room, and found that our rolling cooler had been delivered but none of our other luggage yet. We made our reservations for the Point Supper Club. We went and got another refill on our Fun Ship Special and started exploring the ship a little bit. Ended up on the deck at sailaway. I phoned my mom and she answered the phone and said, "I'm looking at the webcam! You're moving! You're moving!" She was watching us on www.galveston.com and we had indeed started pulling away from the port! We walked the deck and sailed into the sunset, watching Galveston fade out of sight. Went back in, through the Promenade and had some sushi and just tried to check as much out as we could before dinner.
We went back to our room and still had no luggage. Hubby went wandering up the hallway to try to find some ice so we could start icing our cooler [which was full of beer, wine, and diet soda], as we hadn't seen our steward yet and had paged him earlier in the day to try to meet him but they were all very busy delivering luggage. Not-so-surprisingly, the person S. stopped in the hallway to ask where he could find ice, was our steward! (Harold) Harold came in, introduced himself, shook our hands, took our cooler and filled it with ice and returned it. When he asked if there was anything he could do to help make our experience fabulous, I joked and just said that aside from not having our luggage yet, everything was great and that I knew they were still delivering bags.
Harold surprised me when he said, "You don't have your luggage yet? I thought everyone had theirs." I looked at my watch and noticed it was already about 7:45.
Harold told us he would track down our bags and headed out down the hallway. I instantly started to get a little bit freaked out [read: shit my pants] (it seems I function better under stress, or at least that's what I thought before this cruise!) and eventually, Harold came back with all our bags. We opened our "fun bag" that had all of our door decorations [Some cruisers like to decorate their doors with little signs, streamers, and the like. It's cute, original, and makes it much easier to find your room in a long hallway of identical doors, when you are tanked.], and decorated the door up and we got unpacked, changed, and headed down to dinner.
The first night in the dining room we were sitting with our tablemates and having a conversation with them, filling one another in on our purpose for cruising (a honeymoon couple, a couple on a romantic getaway, us with an anniversary/honeymoon and another with an anniversary). Then we started talking about military discounts. Then the wife seated to my right said, "Have you ever been on Cruise Critic Dot Com?" "Yes," I said, "I LOVE that website!" Her husband pointed at me, and said, "SABLEROSE!" Turned out one of the only couples who hadn't shown up to the rollcall get together at embarkation, was seated with us at dinner! So we instantly had something more in common.
Dinner was fabulous, and our servers (Davis and Jilene) were great. Our first little taste of what was to come, though, happened at dinner in the Renoir dining room the first night.
The Maitre'D came over to our table and asked for Mr. and Mrs. T----. We told him that was us. He leaned down and said, "I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for dining with us, we are so excited to have you aboard the Conquest. May I ask what night you were planning to have dinner in the Supper Club?" I let him know what night. Then he said, "And I understand you are having an anniversary, can you tell me what night you will be celebrating?" We told him our anniversary was on Halloween night. He thanked us and then went back to doing his rounds. After dinner, the honeymoon couple at our table received a gift of some photo coupons and bar coupons [gifts you can send to people on the ship, so they can get free drinks at the bar or free pictures at the photo gallery], and they were delivered by the hostess for the Renoir dining room, whose name temporarily escapes me. After she got done making their night more exciting with their wonderful gifts, she asked, "Now who is Mr. and Mrs. T----?" We again raised our hands and she said, "Ohhhh, they told us you were coming, we know all about you!" And smiled and giggled, and walked away.
Little did we know that was only a sign of things to come!
After dinner, we had all intentions of making the first-night show and the Halloween Haunted House that was put on by the crew, but the fruit juice and rum in the Fun Ship Specials was catching up with my hubby and he had a blinding headache from all the sugar. So, he laid down for a while and insisted that he would "feel better in a few minutes." By about 11:00 p.m., he was asleep and I was getting a little tired myself (we'd been on the road since 6:30a.m.) We settled in to a fluffy, squishy, cool white bed after one more "last chance of the night" visit to our balcony. We pulled the curtains back and waited for the sunlight to wake us up on our first Fun Day At Sea.
... more to come later, Day Two.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Go out now, take some time, hug a military blogger, or a military spouse blogger, comment on someone's site and let them know you're thinking of them today.
On my sidebar you'll find lots of military spouses blogs, many of them have husbands who are currently deployed and ARE veterans in this fight for your freedom. Whether or not you agree with the war, please take some time today and reach out to a veteran or their family.
Have a great day - I'll post more later.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Okay, well, here's some more little sporadic details of our cruise. I am still typing in the day to day recaps of everything for the cruise forum that I frequent, and I'm going to cut and paste them into here when I have some more time (today is my first day back at work). But I thought you'd all get a kick out of this.
Someone asked who CruiseTroll is.
CruiseTroll is a lady on the cruise forum I've been participating in, who has absolutely no fucking life at all. Seriously. She's got Internet Badass Syndrome, and she was in full glory right up to the time we left.
When I was making posts on the cruise forum about corresponding with Carnival when our original cruise got canceled, the discussion turned to military discounts. And my issue was, that when we rebooked on the Conquest at that time, there were no military discounts available (although Carnival had canceled our cruise, we had not canceled or transferred our own cruise) and I wrote a letter to them saying I kinda though it stunk. I was polite and kind, as you'll see evidence when I write more in this entry.
Well, this woman decided she was going to make some totally assinine post about how I was a whining, crybaby, tantrum-thrower who had a crazy sense of entitlement and how dare I "demand" that military personnel get "mandatory discounts", because military families already have it so much better than everyone else. She even posted that her sister-in-law was in the military and bought a house! A bigger house than HER house! And paid less money for it! (On what planet do VA mortgages give you a discount on the price of your house?!) And that this woman who was retired from the military, this sister-in-law, was going to have a fabulous retirement as a result! And that CruiseTroll was going to probably have to move in with her when they were 80! Because it wasn't fair! It wasn't fairrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Well, I responded to her and because it's a cruise forum and people are sharing their experiences and there aren't many fights, the mods on the forum nip it in the bud. Seeing it was going to escalate, they yanked the thread.
This woman totally had a chip on her shoulder about me and S. for the rest of the time leading up to our cruise... you see, she was on our sailing.
Didn't help that she kept posting all kinds of erroneous information when people were asking questions... and I would correct her. Because I'm all about the distribution of correct, factual information. And she kept getting all horked about it.
Two or three days before we left for the cruise, she made some post on the thread for our sailing about how "someone" on the boards was harrassing her and trying to make her feel bad and had a vendetta against her, and how that "someone" was stressing her out and making the whole experience unpleasant, and how she was just going to avoid the "someone." My vindication? Everyone on the thread was like, "Oh wow! You're kidding! That's terrible? Who? What happened?" Because I had been on my best behaviour, and had been killing her with kindness. She just read barbs into everything I said, which was her own problem. She posted all kinds of crazy people talk like, "Oh, my job is so important and so stressful. And oh, I have had surgery this year and I have so much stress and pain. And oh, I need this vacation and it just makes me so sad that someone hates me so much." Bah.
We get to the cruise terminal on the first day, find the group from the internet forum, and I get handshaking and everything. I had seen her picture (can't help it, it's her freaking avatar on the board) and knew immediately it was her. I put on my biggest smile, grinned from ear to ear, reached out to shake her hand, and she couldn't even look at me. She held out her hand and gave me the ol' slimy dead fish handshake, said "I'm Jasmine, this is John." I shook her husband's hand too, told them both it was really nice to finally meet them, and settled in to talk with the group (which was a fabulous group). We were cracking each other up, laughing, sharing stories... she wouldn't say another word. Pretended to be reading a magazine and not interested in what was going on.
We did not see her for the rest of the cruise; the only event she went to with our group for the rest of the entire week, was the one event that I had expressly said I wasn't going to be able to attend.
She hid in her room, for the most part, it appears making notes about all the things she was unhappy with.
Now, here's where it gets good.
I am posting my review of the cruise little by little on the cruise forum. And here are some of the things I get to share:
1) We got a bathrobe to take home with us as a gift from the reservations dept.
2) We got a chocolate "Happy Anniversary" cake at dinner one night.
3) We got a wine/fruit/cheese basket in our room from the Hotel Director.
4) We got invited to eat -- and ate -- at the Captain's Table on formal night.
5) We had our fancy/expensive dinner in the "extra charge" restaurant comped, "paid for by the CEO of Carnival."
We had the total VIP rockstar celebrity treatment. And when she started reading about all the things that we got she decided she was going to write her own letter to Carnival. And apparently, she did.
Telling them that by rewarding my "negative behavior" and "troublemaking" by giving us such amazing perks just "teaches people like me how to be mean." And telling them that apparently, she deserved just as much as we got, just because she is who she is. (Don't you know who she is?! *rolls eyes*)
Then she posted on the cruise forum that it's too bad that I got all the perks, becuase I'm a meanie, and a rabblerouser and a troublemaker and I was soooooooooo abusive and mean and angry and volatile to Carnival on the forum (lies, all lies) and how she doesn't understand how someone "like me" "gets" "extras."
I know, I pretty much shrugged it off. I did go ahead and respond to her, but not before a bunch of other people pretty much told her to go to hell. And for the record, my dear friends, here's how our correspondence with Carnival went:
a) In June, multiple e-mails to our fabulous Carnival PVP reservations guy thanking him for exceptional service.
b) In June, an e-mail to guest relations and the president of Carnival telling them how fabulous our experience with our PVP was.
c) In July, sent a thank-you card via regular snail mail to our PVP.
d) In August, our cruise got canceled and we rebooked.
e) In August, sent a two-page letter to president of Carnival, copied Guest Relations, and explained that we were confused/frustrated that our military discount didn't carry over to the new sailing since we had to pay $500 (which was a 58% increase) to get onboard the Conquest.
f) The next day, got a phone call from Carnival administration offering us a bathrobe and thanking us for rebooking our cruise.
g) The next week, wrote a thank-you to the girl who helped us, copying our PVP and Carnival administration, thanking them for getting back with us, helping us feel valued, and making the effort to communicate with us when we were sure they were fielding calls from the other 10,000 people who got canceled the same way we did.
h) In October, got an e-mail from the President of Carnival thanking me for the thank-you e-mails from June about our PVP and stating that since we were celebrating a special occasion, that he would like to do something "special" for us while we were onboard the ship.
It's obvious, at least to me, that one catches more flies with honey than vinegar. Fortunately or not, CruiseTroll just has no clue about that. She blathered on this morning about how "when [I] have my M.D. in Psychiatry, I can talk about human behaviour, but until that time I have no business judging her." I just pointed out that it doesn't matter what kind of a degree you have... you can always make a choice, to live positively or live negatively. And that she keeps choosing to live negatively, always comparing her life to other people and judging whether or not they are "worthy" of the blessings they get, well that's just a sad way to live.
In other news it appears we aren't preggers, I'm already showing signs of not being preggers. But we didn't have much sex on the ship, only one night really. There was just so much going on and we were always so tired. It was romantic in some ways but it was a lot of shock and awe and just so much to absorb, it really took it out of us.
But we're going to put down our $500 deposit on another cruise for next year... it's refundable until July. So we have until then to get on the baby wagon.
More to come. Just wanted to share that.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Let me summarize a little bit.
1) It was awesome!
2) I am a control freak and learned that it takes me 4-5 days on vacation to unwind and chill the hell out.
3) I don't think we made a baby, but that's perfectly okay.
4) We had dinner with the Captain! (And a bunch of other things I am still in awe of)
5) We made it to Mexico! (Thanks for the update, Vince!)
6) I am suntan!
7) I am not a good snorkeler!
8) Stingrays are slimy!
9) CruiseTroll was there for embarkation day, glowered at me, and then never showed up at anything for the rest of the week. Because she is mean, and self-loathing, and hateful, and has Internet Badass Syndrome. So I didn't have to worry much about her.
That's the recap. Details to follow! I missed all you guys so much!!!!
My job as a military wife is
to make it as easy as possible
for my beloved husband to do his job.
Where he leads, I will follow.
Husband: SSgt, USAF
Current Location: Tinker AFB, OK
Job: Self-Employed Transcriptionist
and Domestic Goddess
I am currently pimping:
me @ consumating
I play Everquest II!
Iksar Necromancer, Kithicor
We're trying for a baby!
Pagan Military Wives Webring
sablerose70 at hotmail dot com
Pagan Military Wives
More Military Wives
Thanks for the LinkyLove
Googly Moogly Home
< ? Pagan Military Wives # >
< ? MilWives Group H.U.G.S. # >
< Military Bloggers >
< ? Sarcastic Geeks # >
< ? Verbosity # >
< # Blogging Bitches ? >
< ? Cheeky Girls # >
< ? Not A Bimbo # >
< ? I Love My Cleavage! # >
My Mary Kay Consultant is Chris Noteware
I lurves me some Adagio Tea!
Saving Citizen Daryl
Internet Horndog Transcripts
Strong Bad Email
West Memphis Three
Original template by maystar
altered by Rose, graphics by Rose
Pinup Toon by Rion Vernon
image is used with his permission.
powered by blogger
|| maystar designs ||