Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cruising Together

I used to feel riddled with guilt anytime I left the kids for even the shortest amount of time. I was certain that I was a terrible, negligent mother and I just knew my children wept inconsolably for my return. Now I realize that as a full-time mom to my rowdy bunch, taking a few days off every once in awhile to recharge my spirit and reconnect with my partner, is the best thing I can do for them. And them missing me? Probably wishful thinking. They deserve a vacation from me every so often, too. And so when Aaron texted me out of the blue one afternoon and informed me that he'd booked a cruise (without consulting with me whatsoever), I didn't hesitate to respond with, "when do we leave?"

I love traveling with Aaron because he allows me to bury my nose in a book while he handles all of the arrangements and details. He checks in the baggage and maneuvers us through the airport, he hails the taxi and reserves the hotel room, and I just follow behind blindly, happy to have not a care in the world.

Our first item of business upon arriving on the boat was to secure a viewing location for the Seahawk's playoff game. I was worried that Aaron's spirits would be crushed when his team didn't advance, but he shook off the loss quickly as we settled into our lounge chairs and ordered our (virgin) margaritas.

If someone were to ask me what my talent's are, I would struggle to come up with many talents of any value. But, if there was a prize for sunbathing, I would win. I just can't get enough of the glorious sunshine on my skin. Add a big screen playing a feature movie or a live band singing cover music, an ice-cold beverage, some light reading material, and the sound of crashing waves in the background, and I'm set.

I did workout at the fitness center on the ship and I really enjoyed a few of the TRX classes, but as far as my nutrition, I felt pretty successful if I held my desserts down to only 8 or 9 each day.

Funny story: I hold Aaron to a firm no-gambling standard as a rule, but with so much of the on board entertainment centered around the casino, I decided it wouldn't hurt to allow Aaron to spend $20 at the tables, rationalizing that the money would be spent on a few minutes of entertainment just as we would spend it on movie tickets or some other activity. Aaron couldn't believe I'd loosened my hard and fast rule and decided to stretch his budget by taking his $20 and entering a blackjack tournament. Would you believe that Aaron, Mr. goody-no-gambling-allowed-Mormon-from-Utah, won the whole darn tournament and parlayed that $20 into the $500 grand prize?! In the back of my mind I was kind of thinking that he would blow his $20 allotment on the first hand, and then I'd pat him on the back with an "I told you so" consolation smile, and he'd have the gambling bug out of his system. Backfire!

Our ship stopped at Princess Cays (a private island in the Bahamas), Costa Maya, Cozumel, and the Grand Caymans. Not to sound snooty--all of the ports were beautiful--but we were really only interested in the Grand Caymans. We stopped at the touristy gift shops and browsed the local towns, but it was the pristine, fine sand, seven mile beach of Grand Caymans that really won us over. We walked the majority of that seven mile beach and just savored every step and the feeling of the sand between our toes, the warm ocean water lapping at our feet, and the heat of the sun above us. We stopped to enjoy some sunbathing (see above) and swimming at a beachside resort where poor Aaron was badly scorched while snoozing under an umbrella!

We filled our at-sea days with lounging on deck, playing board games (Aaron must've been practicing his scrabble game because he whooped me!), checking out the evening performances, reading, and lots of eating.

We could be content to do nothing more than spend our vacation plopped in a beach chair, but I talked Aaron into joining me on a little four-wheeling adventure in Cozumel.

We've already begun pouring over the 2017 cruise pamphlets and if Aaron doesn't get his act together soon, he might be getting a text from me, informing him that I've just booked our next cruise.

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