Before you ask, yes, I missed you too. The quick summary of last week was that I went on a cruise with the Seattle/German fam. Nathan and Kathi told me that they don't read all of my updates, and then told me that I need to create a character list. I told them that people who don't read what I write already, aren't allowed to ask me to write more - not that it hasn't occurred to me that a character list wouldn't be helpful mind you, I just get huffy sometimes.
Jordan, Dawne, Zach, Nate, Luke, plus Kathi (D&J's German daughter), and Jordan's parent's, Mort and Judy were all in attendance on the biggest ship ever made, the Allure of the Seas. I have lost count of how many cruises I have been on, but this ship by far trumped them all. Complete with an ice skating rink, deep diving pool, a central park, boardwalk, Starbucks, surfing area, zip lining, rock climbing wall and well too many other things to list here.
Overheard in the elevator of the ship: There isn't a sea otter exhibit. Quite a disappointment.
Kathi: I was embarrassed to tell anyone I was going on this trip [because of how extravagant it all was].
Me: Weird, I had the complete opposite feeling.
At midnight the night before we left:
Kathi: My flight is delayed. They think we will make it to Atlanta in time. I hope so because otherwise I could have issues with my connection. There are only Americans here O.O I can tell by their beige pants and new balance shoes! Jk XD Either way apparently my plane does not have an entertainment system, which rendered me close to a nervous breakdown.
Meanwhile, at 5:45am, Lucas, who I must say not only packed himself, but packed early and had included items that he thought his siblings might forget, walked into the kitchen with a mariner’s hat, red sunglasses, blue and red shirt, red seersucker shorts, and red flip flops. Here was the reaction as people trickled into the kitchen:
Zach & Nate: You cannot leave the house like that.
Me: He's very matchy match. You might be cold, but otherwise I think you look great.
Dawne: You might be chilly on the plane.
Jordan: You can't go through security like that.
Lucas repeatedly told us that he was fine and wouldn't be cold. "In fact, I think I have a fever."
Jordan: Do you want TSA to not let you go on this trip because they think you are wearing underwear?!
Lucas: I'm wearing shorts! I made these shorts myself! If that happens, I'll just show them I have underwear under these.
Jordan: GO PUT A PAIR OF JEANS IN YOUR BACK PACK!
Lucas (walking up the stairs.): The world isn't ready for you, Lucas.
Every time I go on a trip with this fam, I am always worried I'm going to be left home a la Home Alone. Especially because when Nate was like 5, Dawne told him to return a bike to a neighbor's house, and then left, leaving Nate sitting patiently on the neighbor's front step.
Dawne: Speak up if you aren't here!
Nate: I'm here - this time.
Jordan: Is he still complaining about that time we left him?
Nate: Don't be surprised if I reincarnate as a clingy girl.
Dawne and I watched "This Means War" on the plane, and I think I might have been bruised by the number of times she hit me during this scene to emphasize that it might have been Dawne and I talking instead of Witherspoon and Handler. (LOOKING FOR CLIP!)
We got to Orlando safe and sound, except for Dawne's new Mickey Suitcase, which was not sound upon arrival. Dawne went to talk to someone about it. While we were waiting I learned two knew dance moves. One involved one pointer finger straight up and twirling it around (Classic Nate.) The second was a minimalist breakdance from Lucas that also featured the pointer finger - but this time this finger was reenacting a mini "worm." Both of these dance moves would of course be repeated throughout the trip. Finally, she returned with two plastic bags filled with her belongings saying, "Look! I went in with one bag and came out with TWO!" Classy. We then quickly started our trip down to Ft. Lauderdale. I started reading the Pearl out loud to Dawne until it got too dark. Then Dawne, Zach, Nate and Luke played Risk. When things started getting serious, I heard Lucas say, "Mama. Please don't attack me." I'm still not sure if this tactic worked, but it was worth a try.
Let's see, met up with Kathi and Mort and Judy at the hotel. I realized that despite my attempt at being prepared for every possible situation, I had neglected to pack a toothbrush, but Kathi brought TWO, so disaster was averted. (And you thought I was going to leave out the details this week.) Did I mention that Kathi is so proficient in English that when she can't think of the word, it always ends up being something like “existentialism" or in Sunday's case, Dawne and I struggled to come up with the word, "meringue." I mention this, because during this trip we had several conversations that went like this:
Kathi: This is awkward.
Me: Oh, I think you're confusing the English language again. The word you're looking for is "Awesome."
After a high-five/fist pump action:
Kathi: I think you bruised me.
Lucas: Oh, I think you're confusing the English language again. The word you're looking for is "Bro'd" you.
With 7 people, and 7 people's worth of luggage, it was impossible to fit everyone into the van safely. As we were trying to figure out the situation so that we could get from the hotel to the ship, Jordan yelled back at us, "GET IN THE CAR! GET IN THE CAR! GET IN THE CAR!" to which Lucas calmly replied, "You don't understand that it takes longer to get in the car than for you to say "get in the car". It actually only takes two seconds to say "get in the car."
Lucas: You know what would be a great name for a group that had one Asian and one Jew? "Soy Vey."
Me: You can still make that happen.
Lucas: And a great name for a group from Chicago? Ill Noise.
During a late night discussion with Nate & Kathi about relationships in the Champagne Bar (I ordered the Flirtini - more than once.)
Kathi: I think my mom is worried about my single status. She sent me a monkey seminar on leadership and to go show that you're ready to mate.
We got on the ship, it was awesome. This was our room which had a central park balcony:
And this was Dawne and I enjoying the view from her balcony (before we set sail):
Let's see, the first thing we did was go to Johnny Rockets and check out the surfing area. Lucas told me that in New York, when someone wants two slices of pizza, they just say that they want "two cuts." This was news to me, but it totally worked at Sorento's. While we had the finest of dining experiences, Luke ordered a lot of pasta with marinara and I think ate around 20 hot dogs.
I should probably mention that Kathi hates water, getting wet and riding horses. Naturally, I was immensely amused by the amount of things we did to torture Kathi on this trip (she was seriously an incredibly good sport during every single activity.) I would even say she actually enjoyed herself a couple of times. Amazingly, she volunteered to get into a pool even. Immediately after entering, I saw an expression on her face that indicated that the water on her skin felt like she was in a pool of urine - but the point here is she did get into a pool. Then, she got out of the pool and we played a full game of volleyball with strangers. I tried to take a nap on the beach of Haiti.
Me: Can someone explain to that crying baby that I need a nap?
Dawne: His daddy is trying to have fun with him in the water.
Me: Kathi, I think we found a kindred spirit for you.
I can only describe the excursions as terrifyingly awesome. Terrifying because every activity made me think I might die or seriously injure myself, but then eventually I was like WHOA I can't believe I did that - that was amazing. We got to Haiti an hour later because our ship needed to help another in distress. We then hit up the beach, climbed around on floaty things and trampolines (again, being on the top of the slide because it was so high was terrifying.) Meanwhile, Lucas started climbing to the top of things, holding up one finger and yelling, "AMERICA NUMBER ONE!" (Just what the Haitian's wanted to hear, I'm sure.) We then went on a Jet Ski tour - which shouldn't have been scary, but I wasn't used to not driving, and I was afraid I was going to pull Dawne off the Jet Ski and we could both fly off and break something. I did a lot of screaming, "I. AM. HAVING. SO. MUCH. FUN!" every time I thought I was going to die. At one point, Dawne, following the group, was zigzagging across the sea instead of making a straight line, to which I said, "What the hell are they doing....? Oh. I see. We're having FUN." I squeezed my legs so tightly together on this trip, that the next morning my inner thighs were super sore. There was good news to be had, however. One, they didn't leave me in Haiti and two, the next day we went horseback riding! In the water! Combining Kathi's two favorite things!
Day two of terrifying awesome. We climbed up Dunn's River Falls. Not on the side, but up the center, with gushing water and no safety measures beyond holding hands. The gentleman hold my hand literally had to pull me up the whole time, thank God. I only fell twice, and the second time I twisted my ankle. In the end though, it was pretty awesome that we did it. Here's a picture of other people doing it because Dawne has our pictures - note that when we went, it was so crowded that there were 4 or 5 lines going up and ours was in the middle.
Still soaking wet, we grabbed some lunch and headed to ride horses. Half was a normal ride, and the end was us riding into the sea. I don't know why I was scared of falling off the horse, but I definitely gave my thighs another work out while whispering, "You're doing such a good job, Baby" over and over (mostly to the horse, but a little bit to myself. He was probably thinking, "What is this good crap? I'm doing GREAT."
On day three or 4:
Me: How many shirts did you pack?
He lied though, I saw at least 4. And one of Luke's.
Did I mention that I had a cold all week? See, the only real reason why I'm invited to anything is to be happy and excited. So clearly, I needed to pretend I didn't have a cold, down some Dayquil, and power through. I did this until Thursday morning, when my body must have known that it was a sea day, and I woke up sleeeepy. Dawne said she had never seen me so tired, and I couldn't drink enough coffee to battle it. Instead, I went up to the solarium and dozed with the crew - taking breaks only to jump in the hot tub, and finish reading the Pearl out loud. I also went down to the infirmary for my ankle and Jordan's hurt side. When we got down there, we saw that it was 120 dollars for a consultation and 90 dollars if we needed a prescription. We decided to doctor ourselves instead. Jordan prescribed me an ace bandage, I prescribed him some rest and to watch it to see if he got any worse. Done and done.
Look who we met on Thursday evening?
We went to the Champagne Bar one night before dinner. They brought out appetizers and peanuts - and because Lucas is allergic to peanuts, he said, "You say nice place I say death trap." And then I gave him some Benadryl.
Friday, we went to the Yucatan Penninsula. We had to take a 45 min ferry ride (which meant I got two really long naps in. Now I know Sean's secret to happiness.) We then took a bus to Xplore where there was swimming and rafting through stalactite caves, zip-lining, and a crazy jeep ride. In the caves, "I'm glad we gave Tiffany coffee. As soon as that kicks in, you're going to be the best partner." I think it took more like 20 minutes...
The zip-lining was scary because we were walking up these really high towers in the pouring rain, and there was crazy wind, and NO RULES or INSTRUCTIONS. Finally, I saw a sign that said, "lift your legs up at the end of the line." It's not much, but I'll take it. It was also really cold - being soaking wet, on the top of a tower with the rain - so I started randomly breaking into song, "I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAIN IS GONE!" but it didn't actually make the rain go away. Dawne was so cold that her hands looked dead. Like less then no color. Dead for days, dead.
Then we did the little jeep things through the caves and huge mud pits. We had to wait quite a bit, again in the torrential downpour. That's when I found out that Kathi has never been soaked through, outside, all day long and then Nate asked, "What else can we do to torture Kathi on this trip?" I let Kathi drive as I tried to hum the Indiana Jones theme song - which is when we final found something that Kathi LOVED. She asked if we could get, for her birthday, an opportunity to drive a bulldozer or something else that lets you drive through crazy terrain and mud. We got stuck a couple of times... or at least someone a couple of cars ahead of us got stuck, that left us stranded, in a cave, with the exhausting pumping out, and Jordan yelling at us to move because we were going to miss our bus and get stuck in Mexico forever. Kathi and I found it hilarious that someone was probably also stuck with one of the waterfalls of water falling on their heads, and while we were at least having a terrifying blast, there were folks waiting for an hour not knowing what was taking so long.
Don't worry. We made it back to the ship - changed, using our towels mainly as a poncho. On our way back on to the ship, Nate and Zach met a couple of young ladies. Later that evening, Kathi said of the following conversation, laughing, "Lucas embarrassed Zach and Nate so badly today." To one of the ladies, asked Lucas about his neon yellow back pack.
Chick: What did you write on your back pack?
Lucas: Flower Power on one strap, and Skate and Distroy on the other - spelled D-I-S for Lols
Saturday it rained, but I was outside anyway. We did NOT win the trivia prizes (actually Judy did get a key chain.) I think Team Majestic Shoelace did a good showing, though there was definitely some tension when Kathi wrote down 5 instead of 7 children in the sound of music, and the time I confused Hartford and Hartfield - even though I fixed it. I want it noted in big red letters that I actually was playing for fun for once. Mort took things slightly more seriously. We were a little late for dinner... poor Kathi:
Then on Sunday, Jordan and I got up at 6 am, got off the ship, rented two cars, picked up Dunkin' Donuts, then the fam (priorities), and we all headed back up to Orlando. There was a moment in which we were 5 minutes from the hotel, but then got lost for an hour, making a full circle because of a GPS malfunction. I was kind bummed because it was cutting into Disney time, but Kathi, Zach and I comforted ourselves with the reminder that we weren't in the car with a lost Jordan (I heard a lot of cursing, pounding of the steering wheel and the occasion death threat happened while three other people curled into balls and put headphones in.) Good news? I got two and half hours of Disney in! We all wore our "Celebrating Dawne's Birthday" buttons too!
You gotta really want the Dumbo ride:
We continued our "America Number 1" mantra until I saw some folks from the UK and I yelled "England Number 2" and then looked back at Kathi and said, "Germany Number Four!" to which she said, "Yeah. We really are number four. England isn't number 2 in anything though."
Before getting on the Haunted House ride, I saw a baby in a father's arms.
Me: Who takes a baby on the haunted house ride?
Lucas: He's tough. Just like my kids. The won't ever be scared because I'm going to tell them to base jump. I'll say, "We’re not leaving until you jump." I'm not going to jump though.
We were soaked on our way out, so I was so glad we were getting into rental cars (because I would never have allowed us into Stella.)
More pictures to come!