On Cruising

We did our three day cruise to Mexico out of Long Beach last weekend. Are we the only people on the planet who could go on a cruise and not particularly enjoy it? Probably, old fuddy duddies that we are these days.

First, an important thing I learned: When you’re on a boat out in the middle of nowhere, you have to stay on it. You can’t go anywhere. You are trapped. When you are parked at port, with huge lines to disembark, you are trapped and can’t go anywhere. Both of those situations bothered me more than I would ever have thought possible.

Second. The food sucked. It was like eating at the Woodland Sizzler. Grade C all the way. I think that we are really spoiled with how we eat [free range organic chickens wild lettuce greens and all that], and should not buy cheap cruises and expect to be thrilled.
The Holland cruise in January will be better. Five star. With so much good live music on-board, I probably won’t care one way or another about the food, anyway. BluesCruise, which I think I already told y’all about.

Third – if you’re sensitive to cigarette smoke, you won’t be doing any gambling in the onboard casino. Ever.

Fourth – if you aren’t much for group activities, there may not be a whole hell of a lot left to do. We actually participated in a lovely towel folding seminar provided by the stewards. Yep. I can turn a towel into an elephant, now, which may be a useful skill when I get to the nursing home. And we went to a sort of Newlywed Game that was almost amusing. And then the final show, where wannabe stage entertainers end up when they can’t make it without a captive audience.

It wasn’t all bad, though. We went kayaking on the ocean at La Bufadora south of Ensenada. We went a couple of miles out into the ocean so we could see the blowhole. We were very close to a bunch of whales which was cool. I’ve seen them from boats before in Monterey but never that close or in such numbers. We were really quite vulnerable but probably far enough away (50 yards?) that they didn’t even know we were there. Kayaks don’t disturb the water much and they’re quiet.
Learned a couple of things there, too. 1. Bob is in much worse shape, cardio-wise, than I am. 2. If you get a lot of sunblock in your eyes, don’t use seawater to get it out. Doesn’t help and in fact, seems to exacerbate the problem.

After the kayaking we went across land to the tourist center for La Bufadora and looked around. They had a long shopping place, sort of like being at the fair, with lots of leather and silver and frontmen (hawkers? Cryers?) trying to pull tourists into the stalls. We didn’t buy anything, but we went up to one of the little restaurants and had tequila and beer and really enjoyed sitting there in the cool breeze overlooking the ocean getting a nice buzz after our rather strenous adventure. We’d do that part again, including the kayaking. I just bought Bob a stairstepper to help with the cardio conditioning for our next adventure.

I haven’t had the oomph to write about this until today. Giardia or Montezuma’s revenge or something since I got back. Getting better now. I am now 15 pounds lighter than when we went on the cruise. That’s just wrong, somehow. But good!

On early morning shock syndrome

[Or, “Why I Don’t Keep Sharp Implements By My Bed”]

I’m going to try and tell this story in such a way as to not come out looking too stupid or perverted or cranky, but it may be a stretch.

Know first that I sleep with earplugs because Bob can snore like a freight train going 90 miles an hour through your back yard. It’s a gift. But earplugs confuse things for me.

Know also that I get what amounts to a chemical wake-up crankiness that is intense when it happens and then evaporates, completely unaided, in two or three minutes. It’s weird and feels like uber-fast PMS.

Another “You Should Know” -ism, last one, I promise: My gadgety husband bought me one of those Bose Wave Radio/CD players [except that it’s a different brand with better ratings -Go Bob!] to replace my one-button blue and yellow plastic SpongeBob alarm clock. Can I just say here, that while it was very nice of him to get me that nice unit, it’s really, really hard and complicated to work in your sleep? Yes. I can say that.

Yesterday morning at 5 a.m., I was awakened by a big dog nose in the face. I was too groggy to remember what part of the face, but it was a big jolt because for once I had been sound asleep. I figured out that Sissy thought it was time to get up. I looked at the clock and it was an hour early, God Forbid. I heard a buzzing sound and went to turn off the alarm.

I reached over and poked the round spot where there should have been a light telling me the alarm was set and/or going off playing the FM radio to wake me.

Notice I said the *radio playing* was the alarm, not a buzzer. When I poked the button, the radio came on, and the buzzer kept buzzing. I decided in that addled moment that Sissy [of the big dog nose] had messed with the buttons on the radio. AAAARRRGGHH!! Quelle Horror!!! How will I ever reset it! You DO have to be a rocket scientist to control it!!! I had my wakey-crank on big-time and hollered at Sissy and took an earplug out. Bob wanted to know why I hollered at her, and I said “Because she screwed up my radio settings!” or something to that effect. “And I can’t get it to turn off!”

Meanwhile, I am punching random buttons and have not altered the buzzing or the song that was playing, but I DID manage to reset the time. Go, me!

And Bob calmly says, “You know, the radio wasn’t on until you touched it.” And I have to stop and take out the other earplug and stare at the possessed radio. I feel for the remote for the radio under the bed and hit the lights so I can find the off button. [Are you getting this? My ALARM CLOCK has a remote!!! AAARGH!!] The music obediently turns off.

The buzzing is still audible, however, and I figure out it’s in the nightstand drawer. You guessed it, a random vibrator incident, the kind usually confined to the airport security line. I had recently relocated my sex toy stash from the sock drawer to the nightstand, and Voila! I was being rewarded for it.

I was still convinced Sissy turned it on somehow by knocking against the nightstand or something, but maybe it was really more random than that. Bob thinks I’m nuts. I think it’s Back to the Sock Drawer for those particular implements of joy. My crankiness evaporated and we both laughed at the utter slapstick absurdity of the whole event. What a way to start the day! In case you’re wondering, no, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Big surprise there, eh?

Just to round this story out: My son and his girlfriend house-and-animal-sat for us last weekend while we were on our Crappy Cruise [maybe more on that, later]. They slept in our bed.

I sincerely hope they didn’t look for the instructions for the radio, because they would have gotten a nasty (pun intended) surprise. But they probably did, because I’m fairly certain I left the alarm set for 4 a.m. to get us up for the airport. Noon is closer to when they roll out of the sack.

I feel a little bad for them because some things, once you’ve seen them, just can’t be un-seen. I’m guessing Mom’s dildo collection would fit that category. Ewwwwww!

Memorial Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

—JOHN D. MCCRAE, A CANADIAN DOCTOR WHO SERVED AS A CAPTAIN DURING WORLD WAR I

Current Issues

A feline who wandered away from his Seattle home 10 years ago
is finally headed home, thanks to technology. Sneakers, a long-
haired black tabby, has been returned to his rightful owner,
Allison McEwan of Seattle, after employees at Sacramento Animal
Care found the animal had been electronically tagged with a
small microchip. “We had given up hope long ago,” McEwan said.
“Now this gives us renewed hope of eventually finding Grandma.”
(Jerry L. Embry)