Is there anyone I missed telling that hub-Russ and I were going on a cruise to Bermuda?
If so, let me tell you now: we went, we saw, we conquered!
We had a ball! To celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary, we invited my sister Nancy and her husband, Keith, to come along.
We planned the trip last summer—paid the deposit, sent off for passports and waited as the days crept by slowly.
I thought it would never get here.
This trip was oh so carefully planned out.
I knew, just knew, with 100% certainty that there would be no glitches—even though I am often called “a magnet for the unusual.”
We even took the trouble to drive an hour out of our way to borrow my parent’s Lincoln Town Car. Why? So we could all ride in one car and because it had a HUGE trunk, or so we thought. Arriving in Raleigh, I ran in Nancy’s house while the guys loaded up.
The next thing I knew, ALL of the luggage was on the sidewalk, with Russell scratching his head and Keith sweating and muttering. Russell said, “It’s no use. We can’t get all of our luggage in that trunk.” “What?” I said, shocked. Nancy and I were stunned.
Keith (who had only packed a duffel bag) offered to drive his Toyota, but I insisted.
“No! We’ve GOT to ride together. I don’t care what it takes!” Nancy agreed.
The next thing I knew someone had put the LARGEST suitcase in the middle of the backseat between Nancy and I.
It was stacked up vertically, so high, that I couldn’t even see Nancy’s face, or any other body part for that matter.
After I whined and complained a little, Russell gave in once more: he pushed, pulled and pleaded.
Finally that ole Samsonite was wedged in tight, but so were we.
Now we COULD see each other, but we couldn’t move our arms next to the luggage; so we were partially numb the rest of the trip.
We drove to Virginia Beach and spent the night with our other sister, Cathy and her husband, Paul.
I don’t think any of us slept (from excitement mostly, or in my case, hearing the loud motorcycles racing on the highway since they kept their house windows open AND in Russell’s case, my constant complaining about the noise).
After a hearty breakfast the next day, we said our goodbyes.
Then we four in the Lincoln drove off and ran smack dab into a parade not near the Norfolk port, but actually AT THE PORT and on every road leading to it!
Up until now, Keith was so proud of his Garvin, demonstrating each and every feature.
But let me tell you how to drive four crazy passengers even crazier: set your Garvin, find a parade complete with detours and roadblocks (with partially numb women in the back seat), and just follow the monotonous British voice that you eventually want to clobber with that big piece of luggage!
We finally stopped to ask a policeman, “Where is the shuttle bus that takes us to the port?”
In five minutes we arrived, threw out the luggage and threw ourselves on the bus, exhausted but hopeful.
Alright! Now we were getting somewhere! (Picture me rubbing my hands together.)
Russell made a note that I met six people before we even left the parking lot. Next we boarded the ship and things got better.
To me, the only thing more fun than going on a cruise for the first time is watching someone else go for the first time.
And Nancy, especially, didn’t disappoint.
Our brother Steve, and his wife Lori, had their cabin decorated to the nines with signs, streamers and a mobile!
Nancy (and of course, we) oohed-and-aahed over the ship’s opulence, smiled and nodded over the delicious meals, enjoyed the nightly shows and relaxed by the pool, next to a brilliant turquoise ocean.
I snapped pictures of anything moving — if it came within my camera range, it got snapped (even watermelons carved into faces and towels twisted into monkeys).
I took over 300 pictures and then spent an entire day at CVS, perched on a stool (rubbing my aching back and burning eyes), editing and printing those suckers.
The five-day cruise was fabulous and thankfully, nothing awful happened: no one fell overboard or ‘lost their shirt’ gambling (though Nancy bragged about winning $43, but refused to say how much she spent in order to win), no one got sick (I caught the Noro virus on my last cruise) and no one missed getting back on the ship when we left our port of call, Bermuda (though we came close).
However, I nearly “lost” Nancy in Bermuda. We were shopping for souvenirs, when suddenly, I needed a bathroom, which the clerk said they didn’t have. Hmph! Don’t you just hate that?
So, she directed me to the pink tourist center, a couple of blocks away.
As I turned the bend, I stepped off the curb and “Honk!”
A taxi cab driver yelled at me for jaywalking, followed by screeching brakes behind him.
After my stop, I checked the ferry schedule and realized it would be leaving soon, so I rushed to go get Nancy. Uh-oh!
I got turned around and didn’t know which street to take.
We didn’t have cell phones and I can tell you that the ten minutes it took me to retrace my steps seemed like ten hours.
I finally reached her and yelled out “Nancy!”
We literally ran three blocks to catch the ferry, which was being untied from the dock.
We waved, “Stop! Please!” We were the very last people to board, but the kindly captain waved us on.
Oh, and before that, I tripped and fell on a brick sidewalk while taking the ‘garden and architectural tour.’
Maybe subconsciously I wanted to see those bricks up close.
We met our hubbies (who’d been snorkeling), went to dinner and recounted our amazing day.
One real treat was our spa experience when Nancy and I got facials, massages and aromatherapy.
Though my perky British masseuse recommended a new skin regimen to me afterwards, I politely declined.
Somehow, $300-400 worth of exfoliant, toner, tightener, mask, moisturizer and anti-ager seemed out of reach.
Plus, I had a vision planted in my brain of—not dancing sugarplums, but—a sparkly blue topaz ring, which I found: an exquisite ocean blue topaz with inlaid opal.
And Nancy found a beautiful celery-green ancient Roman glass ring.
As always, we smiled for the camera when we embarked.
So I made sure we frowned for the camera when we debarked. And I’ve got the pictures to prove it.
Now we’re home and I don’t mind telling you, I’ve been pretty blue ever since. But I know for a fact there’s only one cure:
Plan another cruise! So Nancy and I are doing that now. Hub Russ and I have now gone on five cruises in thirty years and those numbers just seem wrong!
Now I want to see if we can go on thirty cruises in five years.
What do you think?
Ann Ipock “Life Is Short, So Read This Fast!” email@example.com www.annipock.com