Morning dawns early on the Carnival Splendor, at least it does when you have a three and six year old in your room. They were awake by 6:30 but I managed to keep them in their beds until about 7. Zack's first words to me were, "Can I put my swim suit on now?" He'd been waiting, with all the patience of hyper kid off his meds, since yesterday afternoon, when it was 60 degrees outside and I was trying to keep my brains from lurching around inside my skull. (From the rolling of the ship. I don't know if that was clear or if it was one of those things that made more sense in my head.) I told him yes, then took the two of them up to the Lido Deck for breakfast. The hot chocolate was wonderful, creamy and just the right temperature for the slightly cool morning. The kids had pancakes and croissants, yummy. My stroke of brilliance came after breakfast when, instead of getting into the glacial pool water at 8 a.m., I went upstairs to Deck 10 and plopped the kids in an empty hot tub. I joined them and relaxed - we were probably in there for an hour or so, and the only people that came in were other kids. It was perfect! They could splash around and not bug adults, and Darcey was tall enough to touch the bottom. This was an enjoyable enough situation to make it okay that I got up at such an unreasonable hour of the morning, and I'm almost okay with doing it every morning.
I eventually got Zack and Darcey checked into the Club Carnival with my mom's help, then Ryan and my parents and I claimed some loungers in the sun to read. It was lovely and relaxing, exactly what I wanted this vacation to be. For about 45 minutes. And then Ryan got too hot and went inside and my parents went to do...something. I can't remember. Then I was alone and that was even better! For about 15 minutes. And then it was time to go pick up Zack and Darcey and begin parenting again. Ugh. Parenting takes the fun out of a vacation and turns it into work. We had promised to take Zack to the real pool but even at 2 p.m. the water wasn't any warmer. It was basically torture. I'm going to fast forward through this part of the afternoon because I don't really want to relive it, and you don't really want to read about it. You're welcome.
My quest for trivia gold continues. Today I did the Triviathon: Fun Challenge with my dad where we improved our score to 13 out of 20. I missed Super-Duper Trivia, but mom and dad went and came in second. Noah, Darcey and I hit the Triviathon: Movies where I scored 12 out of 20 all by myself. I'm smart enough to know not to bother attending Triviathon: Sports today, so that was my last chance until tomorrow. This does nothing but whet my appetite for the authentic 24-karat-plastic symbol of my intelligence.
I was writing this at 5 pm on Monday. There are a million places to sit on this ship, and a million reasons why each one is just this far from being the perfect place to sit. The Lido deck is a constant party. Deck 11 has a cold breeze. The lower decks aren't in the sun. Whichever deck is perfect is also the deck that has no chairs left. It goes without saying that the deck preferential rankings change every time the sun shifts positions, which is to say, constantly. I found a perfect deck this afternoon, when Darcey was truant from the Club Carnival play area she's signed up for, and we sat down right next to Brad, who also deemed it perfect. That is until the drunk twenty-somethings decided to see how long one of the guys in the group could stand there with his swimsuit down. You know, the guys who take up a challenge like that are never the ones with a butt that anyone actually wants to look at, and this guy was no exception, his fat, white, dimply butt and hairy legs and ugh. The only good thing was that his back was to us, otherwise I would have had to burn my eyes out with a hot poker. I asked Brad if he wanted to find a new place to sit, and he was off like a shot. Then a guy in a different group yelled at Butt Man to go take his show somewhere else and a war of f-words ensued. I ended up carrying Darcey out of there while she asked, "What was that man saying?" I'm pretty sure this is one of those moments that my kids are going to tell their therapists about someday, when identifying traumatic events from their childhood.
So to make a long story short (too late) I am still in search of the perfect place to sit. Right now I'm in an empty restaurant with my feet up on the windowsill and the sun on my legs. There are more relaxing lounges, to be sure, but I feel guilty being inside. If I was going to sit indoors, I'd have stayed home. The whole point of this place is sunshine and water. I know it sounds a little dumb, considering I'm 10 floors up inside a giant floating hotel, but there's a calming rhythm to the sea that I want to capture. Listening to the band on Deck 9 singing Guns 'N Roses while judging the Hairy Chest contest is not bringing me that nature communion. But sitting inside at the window in the sun and writing by myself is the closest thing to the perfect place to sit all afternoon. I'm feeling really happy right now.
I need to buy a little notebook. I keep having tiny little semi-brilliant insights and then by the time I get back to my laptop the brilliance has faded and I'm left with half a metaphor and some useless dross. I had a unique thought but lost the insight and ended up with: Drunk people sure are obnoxious. True, but lacking a certain finesse. I'm going to have to work on it.
Tonight was Elegant Night at the restaurant, which was too big an effort for any of us to bother with. Walking through the halls were women in prom dresses, evening gowns, and cocktail dresses. The men wore suits or just slacks and dress shirts with ties. I saw no tuxes. The kids wore basically church clothes. Maybe it's an excuse for people to dress to the hilt, but especially with kids, I don't see an attraction to it myself. Most people did, though, because the Lido deck was deserted during dinner...except for the random dressed up couple that we saw eating on the Lido deck - kind of the worst of both worlds.
The family all gathered at 8:30 (after Darcey's late late afternoon nap - poor kids are absolutely wiped out but are refusing to sleep in) in the El Morocco Lounge for the family-friendly comedy show. I wonder how much effort it took to keep it clean, or if the effort comes from making it adult for the 10:30 show. The one thing that I am experiencing but didn't anticipate was the amount of worldliness that my kids are being exposed to. Not that we're on the S.S. Gomorrah or anything, but I'm realizing that my kids are pretty sheltered. In a good way, though - I think I'm trying to protect them from the more negative things. Now I'm aware of all the drunk people, the bad language, the 3/4 naked people everywhere, and I'm wondering what my teen and tween boys are thinking about all of it. It's starting a discussion, and that's a great thing, but the conservative/lazier parent in me would rather avoid the issue altogether. Still, we're having a great time and with the exception of Butt Man, I don't think I'd change much.