This, by the way, is the first vacation we had from Helen since we went to Montreal in 2006. So, needless to say, we were a little excited about getting freed from the shackles of parenthood.
And then, that pesky little ultrasound. I sure know how to make my side of a trip to Mexico really, really cheap.
Anyhoo, in February, we headed down to New Orleans and discovered that the group we joined up with contained 15 born & bred natives of the Crescent City. So, even if I could drink, I wouldn't have been able to keep up on my best day - and for those of you who can say "I knew her when" - that includes my 29th birthday.
(Don't ask, "Which one?" I mean, the FIRST one.)
Yeah, those guys were hard-core!
But we had a great time on the cruise, and we shouldn't have worried about it for a second. Yes, they do charge extra for drinks (including sodas) but after a while, all thoughts of "extra spending" melted into the background. There was plenty to do and see, and we enjoyed meeting all the new people.
I especially enjoyed my afternoon naps. It was so nice to have an 8 pm seating for dinner, because I could head back to the room and take a siesta before getting ready to eat. Our crowd was seated each night at 3 tables close together. We ended up sorting out with one table full of married folks (us), another table full of either newlyweds or more settled singles, and a third table of the wild single crowd.
The second night on the ship was Formal Night. We all got gussied up and as we were enjoying the appetizer course, I heard someone making that jangling noise of the silverware against a wine glass. Turns out it was a young man from the wild singles table. Once he had the attention of several tables around us, he stood up, then got down on one knee and offered a ring to a girl at the table.
We, of course, all knew that it was fake. But the rest of the night, people kept stopping by their table to say congratulations to the "happy couple." The married folks at our table dreamed up a pretty fantastic breakup scene for later in the week (i.e., another girl tossing a drink in his face and shouting, "I can't believe you're marrying that whore!"), but it never happened. I guess on a cruise vacation, you have time to dream up the wild scenarios, and plenty of friends to help you carry it out.
Our cruise included 2 days in port, one in Cozumel and one in Progresso. We ended up spending both days at the beach with most of the crowd. I got a little bit of sun, even. It was very warm and very relaxing, and I really enjoyed getting to know all these new people. Also, butchering the Spanish language by ordering food & drinks.
The last day in port, we all got back on the ship late afternoon, and as we pulled out to sea to go back to New Orleans, I noticed the wind picked up quite a lot. The water was pretty choppy, even though had been very calm all day. Not having been on a cruise before, I was surprised to feel the boat moving occasionally, and instead of making me sick, it made me very nervous. I wanted that boat to STOP. ROCKING. ALREADY. And normally, it didn't last very long, or if I moved to a different part of the ship, I couldn't feel it.
However, sometime that night, we sailed right into a large storm front. I woke up around 5 am to feel the boat rocking tremendously. Finally I got up to look out the window and saw nothing but huge waves with white caps.
The captain came on over the loudspeaker a few hours later to tell us that we had sailed overnight through 14-15 foot waves, and currently we were in 10-foot waves. He said the storm front stretched across the Gulf, and he had no choice but to go through it. The weather was pretty miserable on deck (60 degrees, very high winds), but he expected that it would calm down after lunch.
Later that morning we went to get some food. I had a lot of trouble walking a straight line down the hall, and there were little sickness bags stuffed into the railings every few feet. And after lunch, there were tons of room service trays lining the halls. I don't think many people on the ship left their rooms. It was pretty miserable, and although I wasn't sick, I was definitely freaking out.
I found out that back at our house, they had snow, and directly south, big tornados at my parents' house. So, it was a pretty big storm system, and I'm glad we all came through with no trouble.
Helen and Brian's parents were waiting for us at the airport. She had been a great little girl for them all week, and I was so proud to hear that they had a wonderful time playing with her. She only asked about us a couple of times, and finally her Nana told her that we were on a big boat. But since they were getting her two Happy Meals at a time (we must have TWO toys, after all), I don't think she had a problem with us being gone.
Seeing her at the airport was the best thing - I realized how much I missed that little girl, and I was so happy to give her a big hug. After her grandparents left the next day, she spent the next couple of weeks saying, "Mom, thank you for getting off the boat."
No problem, sweetie - no problem at all.