The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Nostalgia and Anticipation! May 29, 2013

Hello all.  This will be relatively short, as I only have half an hour left at work to write.  I promised in my last post before all the tornado stuff to keep you updated about the Little Theater audition for Les Miserables, how it went, and the results and all that.  But first I also have to say, I am super nostalgic this week, because exactly one year ago this week, I was on the biggest cruise ship in the world, cruising the Caribbean for the first time ever in my life, and you guys…I wanna go back so badly!  I absolutely cannot wait until my next opportunity to go on a cruise.  I told the kiddos if I had the money I’d take them back again in a heartbeat, but Oh! what I wouldn’t give to go on a cruise with just me and a Significant Other!  The romance, the beauty, all that sickening stuff.  🙂

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AND exactly TWO years ago, my whole family was at Disney World thanks to my incredibly generous mother, who took all of us to Disney to help celebrate her retirement.  It was something she had promised the grandkids a long time ago, and she saw the opportunity and took it.  So I keep looking back on that too, remembering how much fun we had together, and even though there were moments that were not so pretty, I would definitely do that trip again too, if I had the chance.

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Ok, so the auditions.  It was Saturday, May 18.  I had felt really nervous and undecided about it, right up until I woke up the morning before auditions, and the theater group’s Facebook status was something about just coming to watch if you were nervous or undecided, checking it out, seeing how things went, and coming back on the second day if you wanted to audition.  Y’all, I cried.  I know that sounds insane, but it was like a message from God, telling me I needed to at least GO to the auditions on Saturday, whether I went ahead and sang or not.

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So on Saturday morning, I got up, showered, etc., tried to put together an outfit that looked confident, but not desperate.  I drove into town, singing along with my warm-up exercises that I had added to my audition CD.  I was among the first people there, because when I originally called about it, the lady I talked to said to come early.  I parked outside and waited around until I saw someone else go in, because I wasn’t sure if I was at the right door, and I’m just a big chicken- that’s how I roll.  So I went in, signed in, had my picture taken, and went to go sit in the auditorium and be nervous.

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I almost immediately struck up a conversation with another lady sitting there who looked about as nervous as I was.  We chatted a while and she was very friendly.  It turned out that she was from a nearby town, and a member of the same type of church I attend!  (By the time it was all said and done we had exchanged phone numbers and added each other on Facebook!)

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So first they took all the auditioners who were using sheet music because the pianist had a prior commitment and we needed to get her out of there.  There were probably at least 30 folks there to audition, and about 2/3 needed the pianist.  It immediately became apparent that this… was going to be SO. Much. Fun!  Just watching people perform and listening to them sing was so inspiring.  Some people were really good, others pretty good but really nervous, but the audience was always extremely supportive and respectful.  Everyone was applauded, which was really encouraging.

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Now, all this time leading up to the auditions, I had been so nervous, so worried that I wouldn’t be good enough compared to everyone else, but by the time I had my name called, something weird had happened.  I realized I was at least as good as most people there, and had as good a chance as any of them to be selected, and something in my just sort of went, “Go for it!”  So I took my spot on stage, assumed an attitude, and waited for the music.  When it came, I just pushed down my fear and nervousness and performed.  I strutted, I danced a little, I made eye contact with the audience, and I felt like a seasoned pro.  As a reminder, my audition song was “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago.  They had said in the information that the time limit was 2 minutes, but at first they were not stopping anyone.  By the time they got to me, they were cutting people off at 2 minutes, and when they stopped me, I literally had like 15 seconds to go, if that.  But oh well.  I was able to do the best of the song, and felt like a smashing success.  My new friend was right after me, and she also put it all out there and was really great.  She was auditioning for an actual part, the one I would have gone for if I’d had any experience.  But she’s braver than I am, because she’s a member of the church, and her songs have some profanity in them, and I could never have dealt with the disapproval of those who would come watch the show and gasp at me saying those words, even as a character.

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So anyway.  There was another day of auditions on Sunday, and then we waited.  And waited.  And WAITED.  Finally on Wednesday afternoon late, they posted the cast list on Facebook, AND….. I made it! I got in the chorus, and my new friend got the part she wanted.  Now it’s just a few more days until rehearsals start June 3rd.  It’s a huge time commitment- rehearsals are every weeknight from 7-10 pm, but I can’t wait.  It’s going to be awesome!

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Until next time,

D.

 

Allure Trip Journal: Final Installment- The Last Morning, Disembarkation, and the Flight Home! June 18, 2012

DFW

DFW (Photo credit: ksbuehler)

Hello again. Nearing the end… : (

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I let the kids sleep in as long as I dared, and we went to the WJ for breakfast. (This part is totally pathetic, but we were all tickled pink to be back in the US where we could use our phones! All three of us girls had ’em whipped out and were texting like mad over our eggs and danishes! LOL!) My mom had already been up and watching the webcam and marveling again about how big the ship is. I have a picture of Daughter S. with a whole muffin stuck in her mouth like a roasted pig with an apple, but it’s on the one memory card I haven’t managed to upload yet- the micro one from my phone.
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After breakfast we consulted the oh-so-convenient digital signage that tells you where you are to wait for your number to be called to leave the ship. We were assigned to go to MDR deck 5. We went down, and rather than wander around looking for a table, we plopped ourselves down right at the entrance behind the danish and coffee table. Yeah, it might have been a little rednecky, but we set a trend. We were the first, and a couple other people followed suit shortly after. The father of this family was a rather cranky old soul, and by the time they called our number, I was ready to jump out the window if I’d had to listen to his voice one more second.
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So we waited about 45 minutes and they called our number- 75. We got off the ship and into the luggage area, only to find that we’d had a Group Moron Moment, and our number was not 75, but 72! So we could have gotten off a little sooner if I weren’t such a scatterbrain! Oh well. What can you do, eh?

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Unfortunately, here is where our experience went sour. One of our bags was missing. I knew the minute I saw the ones that WERE there, that the missing one… also happened to be the one with the seashells in it. Oooooohhh boy! I began to be ever so slightly terrified that our bag was missing precisely because it had shells in it, and I would be concluding my vacation with a nice little stay at the Gray Bar Hotel. We searched and searched, checked the Lost Luggage area, waited, wandered, asked a few different people, and finally decided to give up. We went through customs (me still shaking inwardly, wondering if they had somehow flagged me and I’d be stopped at that point. I wasn’t). So we went outside and up to the first agent we saw and told them we still hadn’t found our bag.
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Apparently some breakdown in procedure had happened here, because the first 2 or 5 people we had talked to inside should have directed us to the ‘fill out the correct form’ desk, but we managed to get outside without having to do this, and we were sent right back in the front door. Then we were sent OUT the front door and alllllll the way down to the Day Visitors door to fill out the form. Talked to some guy with a walkie talkie who seemed to be listening to someone on the other end telling him that some bags were still in customs. Again… oooooohhh boy.
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So I filled out the form and we waited around for a few minutes, and I began to be further terrified that we would miss our flight. The kids were a little distraught at this point, especially S. She of course, being the wisest and most discerning among my three little munchkins, was quite upset that this would happen to us. The other two were just kinda like, “How long is this gonna take again?”
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After a while, I decided that we’d better just go. It was 10:45 and our flight was at noon. We left the room and trotted as fast as we safely could without running, alllllll the way down to the end of the terminal where the taxi line is, got in the line, and tried to just breathe. The kids at this point were like, “Ok, so we’re leaving without it. How are we gonna get our stuff?” and I said I hadn’t the foggiest. I was trying not to have a weeping meltdown at this point. What a crappy end to a great trip.
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Finally we got in a cab. I did my usual thing of asking the driver if he was doing ok, and he just kind of shrugged and mumbled. We made it to the airport. (Fare was $15.90 and I gave the guy a $20, in case you’re interested.) We checked our luggage at the curb, because I didn’t know you could do it inside, and we got stuck behind these two women traveling together who had the wrong luggage with the wrong ticket, or something, but finally we got inside. I felt a little lost, because it seemed like there were no employees anywhere, and I went up to the desk to ask where in heck we were supposed to go. [ETA: I had used the Flight Check In kiosk late the night before, which was quick, convenient, and no complaints.] I got directed in the right direction, and we went through security. The kids went through ahead of me and I somehow started talking to this lady and telling her what had been happening, and it was here that the stress finally got to me and I began to cry.
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I went tearfully through the rest of security, and got my shoes back on, and we found a place to sit and wait. This terminal, I might add, was nowhere near as well-appointed as DFW’s was- it was tiny and crowded and stress-inducing, but maybe that was just because of where my overall stress level already was. Right before boarding I ran and bought some gum and some water and Chex Mix. We stepped onto the plane and I immediately began to need to pee. But I was in the middle seat with Daughter J. on my left and some cute kid from Nebraska who had been on a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas on my right, and so I just put it out of my mind.
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Toward the end of the flight, I desperately needed to go, but the kid was asleep and I just decided I’d suffer until we landed. Finally we made it, and I waited patiently before standing up until most of the plane was already clear (may not have mentioned that on our first flight, I stood up as soon as we stopped moving, and I felt like a moron still stuck waiting there for everyone to clear ahead of me. Live and learn.)
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Once again on a Bathroom Mission, I apparently went sailing right past my dad, who saw us come off the plane and waved like crazy, but we were oblivious and finally spotted him again closer to the luggage claim area. The kids made a mad dash and we swarmed him and hugged him, and then a little farther on, Mom was sitting there too, in the row of seats against the wall, and we ran for her too, and I have to confess here, that although I will be 40 years old in September, I have never been so glad to see my mommy and daddy in my entire life! I wanted to cry with relief!
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So we claimed our luggage, got out of the airport, went for lunch at Cracker Barrel, and headed North! Stopped at the WalMart in Gainesville to pick up a few things that J. needed, because get this: we were taking the poor child straight from the airport to a week of church camp! Finally, we got home, dragged everything inside, and started trying to refresh, renew, and recuperate.
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***Ta-Dah!***
Things I learned:
1) If it’s not formal night, almost anything goes in the MDR, but it really does look a little sloppy to go in there in shorts and t-shirts.
2) I only noticed what people were wearing because of the CC boards.
3) Give your luggage to the first person who asks.
4) Every time it occurs to you to do something, go ahead and do it, because you may not remember to come back to it.
5) The wild animal species LoungeChairius Hoggus does exist, but the FoodLine-icus Defenderus is much more prevalent and vicious.
6) Never again with Character Vacations unless the people I’m with are prepared to Divide and Conquer the character search on their own time!
7) Powerstrip is definitely a must (didn’t have) and we forgot to even try to use the Ipod dock. We had a wall charger with 4 USB ports for that. We had an alarm clock, but I never needed it because I always wake up at around 6:30 on my own no matter what.
8) We apparently scored the Triple Crown Trifecta of family travel: three women in the family and nobody was on their “Girl Time”!
Things I took and didn’t need:
1) Dollar Store rain ponchos (it rained a couple of times on ship, but if we hadn’t stayed out of the rain we might have just enjoyed dancing in it. You never know. Although now that I think of it, they would have been great at Sailaway! Duh!)
2) Clothes pins. (never saw a clothes line)
3) curling iron, nail polish and remover, and other beauty items like hair combs, pins, and so on. (You just can’t make a bunch of girly-girls out of a bunch of low-maintenance country girls, even on Formal Night!)
4) Highlighter- nope, never used it. I either circled stuff in pencil or just carried the compass around and referred to it frequently.
 
5) Workout clothes- Duh, goes without saying. (Here is the promised confession of the result of my incredible gluttony: For the two weeks between the Tuesday before we left and the Tuesday after we came back [Weight Watchers meetings are on Tuesday] I showed a gain of an incredible 15 lbs.! But I am happy to say that in the ONE week after we were back, I made such good choices I took off the entire 15, plus a few ounces, which tells me that the VAST majority of it was nothing but water retention.)
6) Sunscreen- not all of it, just two or three extra bottles I could have done without, seeing as we didn’t spend a ton of time on the pool deck, and when we did, it was after dark!
7) Extra swimsuits. I didn’t end up getting to swim all that much, either on ship or in port, and I had about 4 or 5 with me and only two ever made it onto my body.
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And so we come to the end of our journey. If I forgot to revisit any subject I promised to revisit, (and in case you’re interested) please ask any questions you have. If you have any other questions, just let me know, and I’ll try to remember.
Regarding what we’ve been up to since the cruise: We picked J. up from church camp last Saturday the 9th and went straight up to Oklahoma City for my baby sister’s wedding. It was beautiful.  We now have a few days before we leave for a road trip to a family reunion in Colorado that I’m very much looking forward to, and when we get back from THAT, I need to immerse myself in paperwork for Daughter S.’s college and The Boy’s online public school that we’re going to try this next year.
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I don’t know when we’ll get to cruise again. I like to think that I will eventually get to go again someday, with someone, but if it never happens, I had this one golden memory of a trip with my babies at a special crossroads in our lives.
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Thank you for being with me!
Until next time,
D.

 

Allure Trip Journal Part 2: The Water Taxi and Embarkation Morning June 7, 2012

 

Water Taxi

Water Taxi (Photo credit: Joe@HIO)

Hello All!!  And we continue…

After stopping to take pictures with a few more little dinghies  😉 that would make my poor Dad pea green with envy, including one incredible boat named Milk Money, we made it to the Water Taxi stop, taking the long way around the back of the building, thanks to my spectacular lack of instinct for locations. Daughter S. was quite certain by this time I was the WORST navigator on the planet. She turned out to be quite good at finding our way around different places, and at ever-so-gently verifying with me whether or not I knew for sure where I was going before she started making suggestions. She’s such a wise child. J

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The kids plopped down on the edge of the pier or whatever you call it, and started checking out the water below, arguing about whether their shoes would get eaten by an alligator if they dropped them in the water. I issued dire warnings that NOBODY had better drop their shoes in the water, and struck up a conversation with a rather perturbed lady sitting nearby, who had apparently been misdirected and had hiked all over land and valley to find her way to this stop, only to discover that the boat she desperately thought she needed to catch, being the last Hollywood Connection, or something, was too full to allow her and her husband to board. With many oaths and declarations of severe retribution, she sent her husband into the office to find out exactly where the next boat would take them and exactly when it would get there, stating quite firmly that she was not taking another unnecessary step that night! Eventually, the next boat came, and Happy Shirley was ready to go, but her husband was still in the process of getting informed, and besides, another boat was pulling up right behind this one. So we got on it and tried to make our way to the back where the empty seats were, without causing injury to the exposed toes of the other passengers. We found spots at the back and off we went!

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I definitely want to point out here that the water taxi was one of my favorite parts of the trip, mostly because it was the first step and it made us feel like we were having an adventure! We rode through several stops, listening to the tour guide talk about all the different houses, marveling at them and being amazed at the amount of money some people have. I kept glancing and smiling hopefully at the kids, like “Isn’t this fun? Isn’t this cool? You’re having a good time, right?” And they assured me it was fun, and cool, and they were having a great time. The tour was a bit of a torture, though, because we kept passing eating establishments with the most delicious aromas leaking out of them, and if I hadn’t been 99.99% sure they were outside our budget range, I would have happily jumped ship at any one of them. 

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We had been perusing the water taxi brochure for the whole ride, trying to decide at which stop we should disembark, and the kids thought Stop # 7 looked promising, because it had listed under it, a pizza place. Doughboys, or something like that. My kids can always be counted on to be in the mood for pizza, so we left the taxi at this stop and proceeded to walk. And walk. AND walk! We had asked the tour guide when she came to sell us our tickets where exactly this place might be, and she said something like it was just a little walk down the street from the stop. Now keep in mind, we didn’t know our way around, and ok, boys and girls… how is Mommy with directions? Terrible, yes, thank you! I kept telling myself, “If we don’t see it by the next corner… ok, maybe the next corner.” Finally, the children were getting hostile and we started to go around one corner, then changed our minds and decided to cross the road, and The Boy almost darted out in front of a car, whereupon words I don’t normally say issued from my mouth. 

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We joined another group of folks crossing the street (who happened to be CCers, btw!) and continued on a little farther. Finally, we turned a corner into The Shops on 17th Street or something like that, and desperately stumbled through the door of 5 Guys Burgers. My pizza-loving children were not exactly pleased at this point, but we were exhausted, starving, it was dark, and I. Didn’t. Care. Anymore! We threw ourselves on the mercy of the cashier, asking what was good and what we should order, etc. She was really super nice to us, coming over to chat a couple of times, and upon request, giving us the number to call a cab, and I paid it forward by asking for the manager or shift leader after we finished eating, and telling her that the girl was really great to us tired, hungry, out-of-towners, and that I just wanted the manager to know she was a good employee. I was trying to set an example for the kids that when people are kind to you, you try to be kind back.

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Then we called a cab and took a short, uneventful, mostly silent ride back to the hotel. (Fare was $7 including tip, if you’re interested.) A little note about cab drivers here- remember when I said I feel l should at least try to make conversation with airplane seatmates? Same goes for cab drivers. I always feel guilty just talking to the kids or riding in silence, so I always asked the drivers how they were doing, in my whimsical, Southern Oklahoma way: “You doin’ alright today?” Some answered that they were fine, some barely spoke, and some were friendly and chatty. Mostly they seemed to want to just drive and not be too social, which I can understand. Back at the hotel, we checked out a few more things on TV, being very careful not to hit any channels that would result in having to pay more money. The girls showered, and we all eventually passed out. 

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I woke up early the next morning, like “isn’t this still the middle of the night?” early. The Boy and I had been sleeping in the same bed, and he was awake too. I had thought we might be up early enough to watch Allure coming in, (squeeeee!) and I had heard and read on CC all about going to the top of the tower building to do so. So I asked The Boy if he was up for an adventure, told him I wanted to go check out the tower, and as always, he was gung ho. We walked over (my borrowed camera takes less-than-great pics in the dark, I discovered) and went up to the top of the round tower of Pier 66. My son was a little concerned that maybe we weren’t allowed to be in there, but I assured him it would be fine. As we walked in, we were bowled over by the beautiful scent of the flower arrangements still on the tables from the night before- calla lilies, and I don’t know what else, but they were so lovely. We stepped outside, took some pictures, admired the wrong ship (I forgot my glasses back at the room) and posted a preservation of the moment to Facebook from my phone. (Internet Addicts Anonymous, remember?)

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We decided to head back and stopped at the pool. It was very gradually getting lighter. He stuck his feet in the pool and I took my first “lounge chair” picture, despite the fact that it was 5:30 in the morning or so! (I’m such a dork!) We went back to the room and tried to rest a little longer. He fell asleep and I got up and showered, and I let them all sleep until the last possible minute. Woke them up, finally, and everybody put on their new Allure of the Seas t-shirts that I had had made at home, which many people asked about throughout the day. Daughter J. was peeved that her shirt was too long and her shorts were too short, and she was rather cranky and irritating, but we snapped some “happy family pictures” on the balcony and went to check out. Easily got a cab to the port, but the kids had been hoping for some kind of breakfast, it being about 10:30 a.m. at this point, and I asked the driver to stop at one of the pharmacies on the way. We stopped at Walgreens and I grabbed some Pop Tarts and similar items, a cheap plastic watch because I’d forgotten one from home, and some Gatorade. We arrived at the port, all excited and nervous, flashed our IDs at the gate, and he took us to the terminal.

Up next:  Embarkation, First Day aboard, and Sailaway!

 

Until next time,

D.

 

My Allure of the Seas Trip Report: There IS No Readers’ Digest Version! June 6, 2012

English: MS Allure of the Seas leaving STX shi...

English: MS Allure of the Seas leaving STX shipyard, Turku, Finland. Photo is taken from Saaronniemi, Ruissalo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[NOTE:  This post will be edited later to include trip pictures, so be on the lookout for that!  Thanks!]

 

Hello all!  Well, we made it.  I’m just back from my very first cruise.  We were on the Allure sailing 5/27/12.   I had been looking forward to writing this for quite a while before I ever even left home!  I was even playing around with cutesy titles.  Some of the contenders were:  A First Time Cruiser’s Big Adventure! (Pee Wee Herman, Eat Your Heart Out!); Cruise Virgin No More- How I Lost It to The Allure of Seas!; and Me and My Kids: From Oklahoma to the Caribbean and Back on Two Prozac a Day!  In the end, I just decided to go with the obvious.

Just the Facts, Ma’am:

First timers, family of 4: Mom, twin 18 YO girls, 11 YO boy

Allure of the Seas– Eastern Caribbean sailing

Captain Johnny

CD- Anna Banks

Pre-cruise- fly in on 5/26, stayed at Pier 66

Cabin- Interior Quad, Deck 3 #838

Dining- Traditional, early seating

Ports of call:  Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte-Amalie, St. Thomas; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten

Tours:  Nassau- self-guided walking.  Went to Pirates Museum and Ardastra Gardens

St. Thomas- Sunny Liston Fun Tours

St. Maarten- Bernard’s Tours, Driver- Sugar

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And now… The REST of the story!

Saturday, May 26, 2012- We Leave For Cruise!

I woke up early and knew I had no chance at going back to sleep.  Packing was pretty much complete, lacking only things we had to use before leaving that morning, like toothbrushes and deodorant.  You’re welcome.  😀  Being a charter member of Internet Addicts Anonymous, I got online, checked the Cruise Critic message boards, checked Facebook, and took a screenshot of my one-day countdown on Royal’s website.  My nerves felt so tightly wound at that point, if I’d been hooked up to some electrodes or something, I probably could have powered a small city!

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Finally it was time to wake up the kids, which if you have them, you know is a gamble as to what kinds of moods you’ll be facing when they finally become fully conscious.  Luckily, on this day, mine were pleasant.  I should add here, that in addition to being just your normal kid types, one of mine has been diagnosed with ADHD, depression, and some as-yet-undefined mood instability issues.  Another one is developmentally delayed and operates at a level approximately 4-5 years younger than true chronological age.  The third one is basically pretty normal and well-behaved, thank you Jesus! 😀

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Well, we got around and got dressed and got all the last minute stuff collected and waited for my mom (hereafter referred to as G-ma) to come pick us up and take us to the airport in Dallas. She arrived, bringing a few things that we had left at her house and might possibly need, and we started loading our bags (2 large bags to be checked, and two carry-ons, if you’re interested.)  Experienced a small moment of panic when her car did its usual thing of not wanting to start unless the key and the steering wheel were perfectly and precisely aligned.  Finally it started.  Whew!  We stopped at the Dollar Store and I ran in to grab a few last minute things while G-ma ran to put gas in the car.  Our flight was at noon, and we left my tiny little hometown (Lone Grove, OK) at about 8:15.

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The trip to DFW seemed to take no time at all.  G-ma had brought along a little GPS thing which kept telling her to take certain actions, and she would take them, and the calm little voice would say “RE-calculating…” as if we had totally gone off the wrong direction.  These things do NOT take construction into account.  (Later, we texted her to say one last goodbye and she said she was still “arguing with the lady who kept trying to tell her how to drive!”)  I wasn’t sure whether she would be able to accompany us into the airport or she would just be dumping us out on the curb, and as it turned out, it was a curbside farewell.  She popped the trunk, plopped our bags on the sidewalk, hugged us all… and from that moment on, for better or worse, it was just me and The Munchkin Herd.

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We paraded inside, a mama duck and her little ducklings (with suitcases) and checked our bags.  I had done the flight check-in online the day before and that whole process was super easy and quick. (American Airlines, flight 600, if you’re interested.)  We went to the waiting area, where The Boy quickly made friends with an older gentleman sitting nearby, who kindly and cheerfully chatted with him, as well as with the girls, despite the fact that he had just opened his newspaper.  I love older gentlemen like that.  🙂  We had plenty of time before the flight, and the kids decided they were hungry.  DFW has a wide variety of places to grab food and stuff once you get through security (at least from my less-travelled, not-familiar-with-many-large-airports perspective.)  So The Rugrats decided they’d like some Subway sandwiches for lunch.  I knew their usual, as we go to Jared’s Place frequently at home, and they ALWAYS get the same thing!  (Remember this tendency of theirs toward habit and repetitiveness when it comes to food.  This will be pertinent later.)  So I trotted over to Subway and acquired sustenance.

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Not long after I had returned to them and we had wolfed down our sandwiches, they began making the usual pre-boarding announcements and I ran back to get the other package of chips I forgot to get, and we got ready to board.  The kids sat three across in one row and I was in the aisle seat across from them.  There was a small child seated by the window in my row, all by himself.  I quickly determined that his parents and two small siblings were in the row in front of us.   I was worried that this was going to be a HUGE problem, as I could easily picture the little urchin wanting to climb in and out of his seat the whole flight.  He was already playing with the trays and the window shades.  He put the middle tray down and tried to put mine down too, and I ever-so-gently indicated that this would not be taking place.  The middle seat was as yet unoccupied, but eventually a young man arrived and indicated that was his spot.  A few minutes later his friend came and asked me if I could trade seats with him so they could sit together, but I politely declined, explaining that the three kiddos in the row across belonged to me, and I probably should stay near them.  The two young men were perfectly accepting of this and the friend returned to his seat several rows forward.

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We took off (the man in the aisle seat behind the kids crossed himself) and it quickly became apparent that the kiddo in my row was not going to be a problem.  He conked out almost immediately.  I am one of those travelers who feels she should make some attempt at conversation with those sitting next to her, and I felt guilty that I didn’t do that with this young man, because I didn’t really know what to say.  He and his friend hadn’t seemed to be fluent English speakers, so I just let it go and consoled myself with the fact that he was listening to his music and napping anyway.  The flight was somewhat bumpy and I think the captain left the seatbelt sign on for the entire flight.

(I don’t think I like flying much, by the way.  The minute I step on a plane I always notice the mild urge to use the restroom, which gradually grows more “urge-nt” but I hate getting up and walking past all those people, so I just stay put and suffer the whole time.  Strangely, I always accept a soda when the flight attendants begin serving beverages, and then I get to sit and watch the Great Pee Parade of others who also accepted their drinks, but don’t have my particular hang-ups.)

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So anyway.  Not a moment too soon, we landed in Ft. Lauderdale, and after a much needed restroom stop, we claimed our bags, which seemed to take quite a while, especially with The Boy, who was of the opinion that hanging back and waiting patiently for our bag to make its way around was for lesser mortals, and we needed to crowd our way up to the front and just get our bags, darn it!  At one point I think he might have suggested we just leave it there and go on to the hotel.  Patience is definitely not his strong point.  (Not to get ahead of myself, but if you were unfortunate enough to come within a 25 yard radius of us at any point during the week, but particularly on Sapphire Beach, Studio B ice rink, or the 2:00 Cupcake Class on Saturday, you probably noticed this particular fact about him.  I’ve been combing the reviews of my fellow sailors with terror, looking for references to “that one horrible kid I saw who …………………..”  Fill in the blank with any one of a dozen objectionable attitudes he displayed during the week.)

Ok, we got a cab to our hotel.  (Hyatt Regency Pier 66, if you’re interested.)  Cab fare was $15.90 and I just gave the driver a $20.  (As an aside, this would be a theme for the rest of the trip- cabs were always more than I had thought they were supposed to be based on research on Cruise Critic, or CC.)  The room wasn’t ready, and we waited in their lounge area for only about 15-20 minutes, maybe.  It didn’t feel like very long.  It was here I uttered to my children the first of many similar sentiments I would reiterate in different variations throughout the week:  “Don’t act like rednecks!”  We felt like the hotel was a little on the fancy side for us.  I wanted to make everything as amazing and impressive for the kids as possible for this trip, but we would have been just as well served at a basic Holiday Inn-type establishment.  Anyway.  The waitress approached us as if we were there to eat, and after a moment’s confusion we told her we were just waiting for our room.  She brought us water and I left her a small tip.  Finally, they said our room was ready, and we checked in and got directions to the room.  It should be noted here for future reference that I am terrible with directions.  TERRIBLE!  So we took a rather scenic route to our room and finally had to ask a housekeeper to help us find it.  We had a balcony room facing away from the port, with a big fancy yacht outside our window.

The kids were getting hungry, but they were also in full-on “Veg Out” mode, having discovered the TV clicker, and were flipping back and forth between something about alligators on Animal Planet, and Forrest Gump.  I wanted to make the most of our only night in Ft. Lauderdale, and had planned that we would ride the Water Taxi around and eventually find a place to eat supper.  So I insisted that they get up and we went to the desk to get directions to the Water Taxi stop.  We had to stop once more when we got out by the pool area, and finally got headed in the right direction.  The first of many poignant moments occurred about now- I was rushing along, trying to get to the stop, and we were passing all these boats, both super-impressive and not so much.  The Boy said something like “Hey, mom, look at these fish!” or something similar, and I replied with something along the lines of “I don’t care about the fish, we’re trying to get somewhere, hurry up!” and I looked at the boat we were walking past at that exact second, and its name was “Share the Moment” which was the absolute most important objective for me on this trip.  That hit me like a prize fighter, and I stopped, looked at the fish, and took a pic of the boat so I’d never forget that moment.  And I won’t.

*

Up next:  The Water Taxi, Embarkation, and First Day

Until next time,

D.

 

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, But I’m Making Good Time December 27, 2011

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas luxury c...

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Hello all.  Ok, so some of you might think that I’ve been taken back to my home planet or that I’ve run off and joined the French Foreign Legion (an expression of my Dad’s) or that I’ve become a goatherder at the top of some mountain somewhere.  Nope.  None of you are right, but thanks for playing.  The truth of the matter is… life is just busy, peeps!  What with everybody’s favorite ready-made excuse for everything, the Holidays (shudder) and changing jobs and all, things have just gotten away from me.  But here’s the deal:  I’m going to try.. TRY to start updating more often.  Shorter posts, more to the point.  I mean you guys don’t have to know every detail of what’s on my mind, just the highlights, right?

*

With that in mind, the new job is going great.  Things got smoothed out fine with my old boss.  Misunderstanding.  All good now.  Crazy co-worker, not so much.  She sent me a Christmas card with a sort of perfunctory apology for all the junk that’s gone on between us, saying she missed me and she wanted us to still be friends.  And I said, “Whaa…?!”  So I wrote her a little Christmas card, which I also did for everyone there, and I included a little letter that said, in effect, that I accepted her apology, but she needed to know how she had made me feel most of this past year.  I basically thanked her for making the environment there miserable enough to push me to get out of my comfort zone and try to find another job (which wasn’t hard, because this one just sort of fell into my lap) because I am much happier where I am now.  I ended by telling her I hoped that she found something that made her happy and joyful, and that she was a good homemaker and a great mom, both of which are true.  Overall, best response I could have made?  Probably not, but she needed to know that “Sorry” doesn’t fix everything.  I am definitely happier with where I work now, so that’s all that matters.

*

Job-related happiness aside, the children are causing all sorts of emotional turmoil for me at this point.  The girls are graduating in May, which is just one of those “Where have I been the last 18 years?” things.  You wake up one day and realize your job is almost finished, and you hope like crazy that you did it well enough.  Thankfully, I’ve still got…The Boy.  He is enough of a challenge to keep me busy for another three lifetimes.  His educational issues and mood issues and social issues, or rather teaching him to function in society despite those issues, is going to be the focus of my life for the next 10 years at least.  Getting him through high school alive and finding him a direction in life is going to be my main goal.

*

Despite the challenges in raising them, the kids are a lot of fun.  We had an awesome 18th birthday party for the girls.  We hired a karaoke DJ and decorated a local small meeting space to look like a club, sort of.  They had a great time.  We all did.  I discovered that I make dorky faces and dramatic gestures like some kind of Diva Wannabe when I sing.  Except I knew that already.  I’ve been a Wannabe singer my entire life.

*

Also under the category of Kids and Fun, I am really, REALLY looking forward to our vacation in May, when I take them on a cruise.  I could literally spend hours just looking through my planning notebook, staring at packing lists and flight schedules and touring plans.  I have read reviews of our ship and looked at hundreds of pictures, read Frommer’s Carribean Ports of Call backward and forward.  Just can’t wait.  Except that when it finally gets here, it means the girls have graduated and are now free to go make their own lives.  As tough as it is for me to let them be free, I hope they get where they want to go.

*

So anyway.  Things are good.  I have been working on what I want next year’s theme to be, so be watching for a post on that.  Life theme, I mean.  This year was action, last year was transformation… I’ve been trying to examine where I am in my journey and where I want to get to from here, and that is never easy.  But hopefully with prayer and hard work, I’ll eventually make a start at it, at least.

*

Until next time,

D.

 

Simply Recommitting October 10, 2011

Hello all.  You know, sometimes, when I’m going through my day thinking, “I REALLY need to write a blog entry, I really need to update, etc.” I’ll sit down and try to write an entry and nothing really comes.  Often, I will just keep writing, rambling, ranting, and I’ll post the result, whether it’s good or bad, like that’s a cure for writer’s block, but it doesn’t mean that what I wrote has any quality to it.  That post may not necessarily be my true voice.  There’s something wrong with that.  There’s something wrong with a lot of things, and I am in the mood to change that.

*

I went to a revival-type church service tonight that was sponsored by my sister’s church.  I had never heard of the speaker, a man named Ken Freeman.  My sister attends a Baptist church, but I got the feeling this man was inter-denominational in his preaching career, meaning he didn’t just go to one type of church.  His message was about the difference between ‘good’ and ‘great,’ and how we have to let go of certain things in order to fully accept God’s grace and blessings.  I realized there were a lot of things I have been holding on to, and I need to let go and re-commit.  I need to re-commit, not just in my spiritual life, but in everything- my job, my parenting, my health and fitness, and even my writing here. 

*

So that’s what I’m doing.  Starting tonight, I am re-committing my life.  I am going to re-dedicate myself to my weight loss, my writing, my parenting, and most of all to a life that is dominated by Love.  Love for God, and love for my fellow human.  I need to work on showing Jesus to others through my life.  I’ve been in an ongoing cold war with a co-worker for weeks now, and I’ve made weak, pitiful attempts to pretend I was reaching out to her, to delude myself into thinking I was the bigger person by praying for her, but in reality I wasn’t willing to let go and truly acknowledge that I haven’t always been the Christian I am supposed to be.  I gave it lip-service, but I wasn’t willing to completely let down the barriers.  I’m still not.  I know I can’t trust her to be real and honest.  She is an excellent actor and faker- I’ve seen it.  My point is that I can’t worry about that.  I have to just say ‘You know what?  I’m recommitting to living for Jesus, and because I am, I choose to love you.  You can think what you want about me, you can like me or hate me, but I choose to love you in Jesus’ name, whether I can trust you or not.’  And really mean it, because I didn’t before.  I wanted to mean it, but the selfish, immature part of me said ‘Why do you have to mean it?  It doesn’t make any difference.  She’s not accepting your overtures, your gestures, your attempts.  What difference does it make if you really mean it?’  But I know now that I have to forgive all that, I have to forgive what she’s done to me, the hurt she has caused me, and I have to love her in Christ, and I cannot allow myself to add anything else to that sentence.  My judgement of her is irrelevant. 

*

In addition to this, I have to be brave enough to re-commit to my health and fitness efforts.  I have done well.  I can say that.  I have lost almost one hundred and twenty pounds in almost 2 years.  But I have not been fully committed.  I have chosen to take easier roads- skip workouts, eat junk food.  I signed up for another 5k mud run as a volunteer, knowing I would be allowed to participate in the race for free as a volunteer, but thinking I wasn’t obligated to do the race if I chose not to.  That wasn’t committment, that was fear.  I completed the first one, the Dirty 30, back in July.  I did it on adrenaline, not knowing what to expect, not knowing what kinds of obstacles I’d face, but determined to tackle them no matter what.  In this next race, I know what kinds of things I might see, and I feared them.  I was afraid I didn’t have it in me to put that much effort out again, but now- I know I need to re-commit.  I need to grasp the fact that I have the strength to finish that race, complete the obstacles (or go around them if I have to) and finish.  I can’t be afraid that I might twist an ankle or a knee- I just have to take the steps. 

*

I realize this entry has had a serious tone.  I usually like to try to be funny here, and I hope I succeed at that sometimes.  But tonight was a night for seriousness.  I had a talk with my kids on the way home from the revival tonight, because I have been really concerned for them in their spiritual lives, because they have not yet obeyed the gospel and been baptized.  Despite what some people may say or believe, I truly believe what I have been taught, that baptism is the point at which we are saved, and I want my children to be baptized and commit to living their lives for God.  I believe it is on their heart to do it, but they just haven’t taken the step.  I am praying that they make that decision soon, but at least I took the opportunity to share with them what I want for them- the peace that comes with knowing they are saved. 

*

I’m not saying I have it all figured out, or that there aren’t sometimes brief moments when I question everything I’ve ever heard and wonder if maybe, possibly, it could all be crap.  But when it comes down to it, I’d rather just believe what I believe than buy into “something from nothing, for no reason, with no purpose, and nothing after, and nothing matters.”  It’s just not enough.

*

And in the middle of all this recommitting, loving, being brave, and trying to bring my kids to heaven with me, I am going to embrace all I can possibly accomplish in this life that is fun and joyful and meaningful.  To that end, I can announce that my daughters’ senior trip in May is a done deal!  I booked the airfare today, so Lord willing, we’re definitely going!  We’re going to be Royal Carribean cruising fools!  Wooo hooooo!  Allure of the Seas, here we come!

Until next time,

D.

 

 
The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

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