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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Playing Catch-up

I sometimes wonder where the Writing Muse goes when she leaves you. I wonder if because you get bogged down in the mire of the must-dos and the what-have-yous, she decides you're unworthy of her time. If that's the case, then geez. What a bitch.

Yeah, I've had a lot of stuff going on. Most of which has everything to do with closing down House of Tiki. It just did not end on a specific date. There were loose ends that needed closure. There still are.

Charlie and I took a break. A cruise. The Cruise To Nowhere. We called it that because we've both done this cruise before. A little 4-dayer to Baja, with a stopover in Catalina. We had decided right away that we were not getting off the ship when all the other passengers did. The land did not call our names. For me, it was the lure of a completely empty aft deck with two jacuzzis that drew me in. For Charlie, it was the Cussler novel his daughters gave him for Christmas last year that he hasn't had the chance to enjoy. Until now. Boat drinks, jacuzzis, and Clive Cussler. The three of us were quite happy together.

I have to say that we were completely spoiled. We were taking the "cheap" route. We're lucky, because we live so close to two ports that the ships leave from; Long Beach, and San Diego. Honestly, a cruise is less expensive than a drive destination weekend. Everything's included. And because we don't have to fly to the port, the price is almost laughable. Laughing is good to the recently unemployed. So, we pick an inside cabin (the least expensive way to go), knowing full well that you don't spend that much time in your stateroom anyway. Hey, if we can fit the five of us into one of those tiny, inside cabins without someone being bludgeoned to death in their sleep, then surely the two of us should have more than ample room.

As time passes and the date of our cruise gets closer, I begin to get calls from "The Upgrade Fairy." She's pretty benevolent, this one. She offers you an upgrade at a nominal fee. So over the course of a couple of weeks, we were upgraded from that tiny, inside cabin, to...what? What did you say? A penthouse suite? Uh huh, that's what I said. A penthouse suite for $150.00 extra. With VIP Boarding priviledges. I know, huh? Sucks to be us.

I suppose it isn't nice to gloat. But it's very hard not to feel pretty important when 2,000 of our fellow cruisers have to wait while we, the VIPs, are escorted to the ship. Charlie and I were the second couple on board. Sweet. No one yet on the Lido Deck. Nice. No one yet at the bar. Aces. Life is very, very good in VIP world. Our stateroom is truly amazing. We felt giddy, and very spoiled. I proceed to take too many pictures, and Charlie was my willing model. I could easily get used to this. For now, I just pray the four days go by slowly.

I'm not going to give you a daily play-by-play. Instead, you get the highlights. One highlight, in particular, still has me a bit stunned, and feeling slightly guilty because I can't help feeling happy about it. Fortunately, the stunned part will remain longer than the guilt. Oh wait. Yeah, the guilt's already gone.

On our first morning, Charlie goes outside to our balcony to get some refreshing ocean air. There is a partition between our balcony and the balcony of the stateroom next to ours. He notices a young man on the balcony next door. He comes back inside with an "Uh Oh" look on his face.

Me: What's up?
He: I was standing out there and I heard "Oh Shit!" Then I hear the guy next door go in and say.."Honey, I just dropped my wedding ring over the rail."

Then, before I can ask Charlie anymore questions, I hear a shriek of panic. Out on the balcony we hear the wife yelling; "Where is it? Where is it?" The young husband responds; "Um, it's in the ocean." Then the cabin door slams and we hear muffled yelling to the effect of how fun the rest of their honeymoon is going to be. Oh great..honeymooners.

Well, unfortunately for them, the week didn't get much better. There was no typical sounds of newlywed naked merriment. Lots of passion, but not in the fun department. At night, Charlie and I could hear them screaming at each other. He telling her how immature she is. She telling him what an ass he is. I felt pretty bad for them. One particularly loud night, she locked him out on the balcony and he began to throw the deck chairs against the door and window. When he finally got back in, he kept yelling at her to stop hitting him. I called security. At one point, he screamed at her about how they'd only been married for three days. Oh Lord, I thought, these kids aren't gonna make it. Then, he said the thing that brought about my joy and subsequent feelings of guilt. And might I add for the record, that guilt is an entirely useless emotion. Just saying.

"This is our honeymoon Kristen! I paid $3,500 for this suite and I'll be damned if I'm gonna sleep on the balcony!"

I looked at Charlie.

Me: Honey, did you hear that?
He: Yeah, poor guy. She's gonna make him sleep on the balcony.
Me: No, no, no..not THAT part. The part about he paid $3,500 for the suite. Did you hear that? Oh MY GOD! Did we get the deal of the century or WHAT? Oh My
GOD! We paid less than 1/4th of that!
He: Wow Honey.
Me: What?

Me: Oh, yeah. Poor guy. He obviously didn't book directly with the cruiseline.
He: PUA!
Me: What?
Me: Oh please.

I guess I'm not as compassionate as I thought I was, but hey I love a good deal.