If today had any theme, it'd be Trivia Day. Brad wanted me to call this post "Dipped in Trivia" and that's pretty accurate. It was a great day, though, and it helped keep the family together a little bit better. Yesterday and Sunday afternoon we let Brad and Noah have free reign of the ship, and it was a little bit too much freedom for my taste. I don't think they need to be under constant surveillance, but they tended to wander aimlessly and have no plans, and as a result, they seemed bored. There's enough options of things to do that you can only be bored on a ship if you try really hard. So today I told the boys that they had to either be in their Camp Carnival group, at a scheduled activity, or with the family. It worked out so much better, and even though both of them were irritated by the strictures at first, I think they enjoyed themselves more being together as a family.
It helped that there were half a dozen trivia games sprinkled throughout the day, so we knew that we could always find family members there. Today was our day for winning ship-shaped plastic - while I didn't get one myself, the family walked away with three trophies, and I ended up with two more medallions, also for a total of three. If I don't end up with a piece of ship-on-a-stick, my medallion collection will comfort me. I missed the Trivia: Fun Challenge this morning at 9:30 but we went to Trivia: Food, which I thought was my best chance for a win. We refined our trivia teamwork today: each person fills out their own answer sheet but we collaborate on the answers. Anything one of us knows for sure, we all write down. Anything that no one knows, we each make our own best guess. (Teamwork is totally fine by the trivia game rules, btw.) Well, by guessing that 3 out of 10 plain m&ms are brown and that a sangria is made from pineapple and lime juice, Brad walked away with the coveted prize that round. He was absolutely thrilled to be the first to strike gold. Next we went to Name That "Toon" where, in a surprise upset, my mom beat out Ryan the animator to win trophy #2. She had an amazing score of 19 out of 20, the only question she got wrong was "How many dalmations were captured in 101 Dalmations?" We all said 99, but they claim the answer was 98. Internet access costs $.75 per minute, so I haven't yet looked it up, but I question the veracity of that answer. Mom did know that Riki-Tiki-Tavi was a mongoose and none of the rest of us knew that one, so she definitely earned it. Super-Duper Trivia at noon was too much for most of us, but my dad ended up with 13 right and won it all. Three trivia games in a row, and three ships on sticks. At 2 we met up again in the Spectacular Theater for a trivia game where they gave prizes out to the first person who answered correctly. My dad won an underwater camera (film camera...it was like winning a corded phone) and a snorkel. I answered two questions right and won two more medallions and two bingo cards (bingo is a really big deal, apparently - the cards were worth $10 each, but I would have traded them for a trophy). My questions were: Who was the first President to dance onstage with Ricky Martin? (George Bush) and What are the final words in the movie "Gone With the Wind"? (After all, tomorrow is another day.)
I feel like I'm hitting my groove, cruise-wise. Yesterday I was feeling a little hectic, like there were always three different places I wanted to be and so I wasn't satisfied with wherever I was. Today I played it cool. I was relaxed and I enjoyed myself. I had an hour to myself on the deck in the sun to read my book - if I could do more of anything, it would be this, but with four kids (and six games of trivia!) it's pretty difficult. The next time I cruise with kids, I will definitely get a balcony room - it'd be worth it for those times when the kids need to chill somewhere and not be so stimulated, and I could be sitting on the balcony instead of in the air conditioning. I might have been doing well, but clearly other people are falling apart. I shared an elevator with a guy who was complaining about the cost of his drinks in the casino after he had spent more than $2,000 gambling. He said, "The next person I talk to about this will be the ship's captain, and if he doesn't fix it then when I get off the ship in Cabo I'm flying home and suing their butts!" Seriously, dude? After dropping (I refrain from saying 'wasting' but that's what I'm thinking) $2k on glorified computer Solitaire, you're complaining about your $7 Red Bull? There's something majorly wrong with that story. I also heard an adult daughter fighting with her mother - when the daughter was younger, she wanted a belly button ring, but her mother convinced her to get a tattoo instead, which the daughter now regrets and blames her mother for. A body piercing could have closed up by now, she said, but she's stuck with the tattoo. I so desperately wanted to know what the tattoo was of, but there was no way really to ask without sharing some of the wrath directed at the mother. It was kind of a hysterical insight into family dynamics right there.
We went to a second night of family friendly comedy, and this guy was funnier. Ed Regine, I think his name was, and yesterday's slightly-less-funny guy was Paul Lyons. I missed half of it when I took Darcey to the bathroom. That's what I get for finally (mostly) potty training her. (On Wednesday she had an accident, but it's the first one all trip so I'm feeling pretty lucky.)
I am loving this trip so much.