Monday, December 7, 2009

The Cruise

This sailboat was down near the dinghy dock at the Urbanna Oyster Festival a month or so ago. A very large boat--a cruise ship-- is involved in today's post, written by my mother about a trip she and my Middle Sister took many moons ago. This is but one chapter of the many vacation horror stories from the Griswold Chesapeake Bay Family History Book of Nightmares.

Also starring in today's post: sweat, menopause, government forms, and Middle Sisters who twirl their hair rather than offer to help a stressed out parent.

Sweat Me a River
by Chesapeake Bay Mother

So much of life is beautiful, but a lot about life breaks your heart. The silver lining of heartbreak, a good cry makes you feel so much better.

I don't cry much since menopause, when in the process of going to seed, I cried a few times but always sweated like a longshoreman on the heavy end of the load. The reasons for crying varied, but the sweating was consistently a spontaneous event absent cause or cure.

There was the time Middle Child (Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister) on college break persuaded* me to spend my savings on a Caribbean cruise for just the two of us. Husband couldn't go and so that left me as the only grown-up, responsible and all.

(*Chesapeake Bay Woman would like to interject something here about Middle Sister and her ability to sell snow to an Eskimo, but instead I'll just remark that while Middle Sis was sailing the Caribbean on a free cruise, I was either driving the VW Vanagon non-stop from Charlottesville to Miami with sixty bucks to my name or slaving away at work depending on what year this was. We now return to the family dispute, already in progress.)

After the flight and on the bus to port, we were issued papers to be filled out in agonizing detail, requiring all kinds of numbers, dates and details of our authenticity. I struggled to write answers through steamed-up glasses as Middle Child filed her nails. It was do or die as we were told, because if our information were inadequate, we could not leave the ship when it was in port. Pressure builds.

Soon I hear Middle Child laughing, and laughing some more. Then, "Why are you sweating?" so loud heads were turning. I was soaked from the waist, blouse, and even the pen was slipping from my sweat-soaked fingers. It was raining perspiration.

What a great vacation this was beginning to be!

As the ship was leaving Miami, all horns tooting, all bells ringing, the Star Spangled Banner playing on steel drums, I took a misstep on "Z" Deck and slid all the way to "A" Deck using the Slippery Metal Stair Express. I don't know how many people I took out on the way down. Really, it wasn't so bad though. I had a couple of vertebrae that weren't even bleeding.

The rest of the cruise was pretty much all Hallmark moments with photos of us taken at every opportunity by an eager photographer who struck when you were least prepared and posted the pictures publicly as a complimentary embarrassment.

Then there was the waiter of foreign extraction, who felt obligated to pay me undue attention since I was traveling without Husband. If my very life depended on securing a man, I'd have to make out a bucket list...I am not gifted that way. However, this waiter would take every polite rejection as a fire would gasoline. I actually had to lose him after each meal by going to other decks so he couldn't track me to our room.

When it's over, heading home, we think about the fun, the food, the falls and wonder who will play me in the movie when my life makes the big screen.

Maybe one of the Flying, Sweating Wallendas.

Above written by Chesapeake Bay Mother. Some time I'll tell the story of another family cruise involving both parents, all three sisters, and not one grain of common sense in the bunch.


Mental P Mama said...

I have the entire picture of this playing in my head. And. I. Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

CB Mother's wit is crispy-dry! Hilarious.

big hair envy said...

When is the Chesapeake Bay Family Vacation movie scheduled for release?

Daryl said...

I can hear CBM soft cultured tones (a la Joanne Woodward) and I laughed so hard I was wishing I had one of LaLa's Pretends on

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

I think Chesapeake Bay Mom captured the very essence of a cruise ship.

P.S. My sister in law is always trying to get us down for that oyster festival. It looks like fun!

foolery said...

It is so obvious where you girls get your senses of humor. Unless your dad is fall-down funny like your mom is? Then you need your own comedy club. This was wonderful.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

The CB family needs to take over DONKS...for real! I would be more than happy to guest star!

Country Girl said...

Unbelievable. Love CBW mom posts!