Scattered Thoughts From The Last Two Weeks

It's been two weeks since the last time I wrote anything here. Life more than got in the way. Besides going on vacation (again!), we had a lot of work we needed to do around the house before leaving. While on vacation, we were going to have all the floors in our house (minus two bedrooms) refinished. It was the perfect time to do this. We couldn't be in the house while they were doing the floors, so why not vacation, right? So in the days leading up to the trip, everything in every room needed to be removed. We piled furniture up on the (enclosed) front porch, took everything out of the other two bedrooms and stacked them in the two that weren't getting work done, emptied the kitchen. You know, it doesn't look like you own a lot of stuff when everything is in it's proper place, but when you load everything you own into two small bedrooms and a front porch, your life suddenly looks like a very special episode of Hoarders. Naturally, I stressed everything about the work, but it was really worth it. Getting home and seeing the new floors really made me happy. They're beautiful. We had such nasty floors to start with. We wanted to have them refinished before moving in, but we ran out of time and money. It's a shame we're getting them done now in preparation to sell.

My elation over the floors was extremely short lived, however. While walking around checking them out, I noticed that one of my dining room windows was open. Open. In December. With it being 17 degrees out. What's nice about that is the HEAT WAS BLASTING. It was 80 degrees in my house. We never run the thermostat that high because heating ain't cheap. What's even nicer about that is the guy finished the floors on Tuesday. We got home late Saturday night. I was livid. LIVID. And that's when Ken noticed the damage that was done to the brand new kitchen ceiling. The guy had apparently taped up a sheet of some sort to contain the dust, but in the process of removing it managed to rip apart part of the ceiling. Now I'm more livid. Ken noticed how some of the trim work was freshly gouged, too. Not to mention a few other issues. Any joy I felt over the new floors was quickly ripped from me. We are now in the process of getting to the douchebag who did the work to have restitution made. You know, I can live with most of it, but the fact that he left a window wide open (did I mention it was the window closest to the thermostat?) in the middle of December with the heat blasting I can't. Those five days (if not longer) of heating are going to cost more than an average winter month of heating. It's inexcusable.

I really let that get to me bad this weekend. What's terrible is I just got home from one of the best vacations I've ever had and suddenly that was all gone. I've managed to calm down quite a bit now and was just looking over vacation pictures. For those who weren't aware, Ken and I took our first cruise. Cruises were something I was never really interested in. Too many preconceived notions on my part, I'm sure. But Ken's wanted to go on one for years, so he finally booked one. We sailed on the Norwegian Pearl out of Miami. You know, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I mean, I had some ideas about what I thought cruising was about, but I really had nothing to base it on. Most of what I thought, however, is how it really is. Lots of food, lots of annoying, entitled passengers, embarrassing entertainment and even more embarrassing activities. Seriously, I had a very strong aversion to a lot of the passengers on the boat. It seemed like there was a disproportionate number of people who wanted to do nothing but crab. We tried going to some of the entertainment on board only to walk out of some of them before even the half way point. I had no interest in the lowest common denominator games and activities that took place at the pool. Our cruise director (Shona) was annoying as all get out. She was very phony. Sweet, nice, but really, really phony. Over the top phony. I bet they'd love her as an activities director at a nursing home, though. So, to recap, I hated the passengers, I hated the entertainment, I hated the activities, but I had the best time. Honestly. I wanted to try to take a relaxing vacation. All my vacations tend to be ones where I'm constantly on the go. This one was so not like that. I laid out almost every day, either up on deck or out at the beach when we were docked. I got a lot of reading done. A ton. I brought ten trade paperbacks with me as well as a couple dozen comics and I got everything but one book read. I went to the gym almost every single day. And most of those days, I went twice. Me, someone who has never set foot in a gym before. And I ate. And ate. And ate. I ate a lot on board. I tried to watch what I was eating, but when there are so many bad choices out there waiting to be made, it's hard to be good. I did have one dining mishap. One of the nights we went to the Asian restaurant on board. I wanted sushi and Ken wanted Chinese. I looked over the menu and decided that I liked everything I saw, so I wanted one of each of the items I saw. The waitress told me that each order was 8 rolls. I asked if I could get one of each. I meant one roll, but she thought I meant one order. I nearly shit my pants when my dinner came.

I gave it the old college try and attempted to finish it all. But I failed miserably. I think I must have had about 80 or 90 pieces of sushi on my plate(s). They were delicious, but I think I'm done with sushi for a while.

Even with all the sushi I ate, I was surprised what the scale told me when I got home. Even though I spent quite a bit of time on the treadmill, I still ate like it was my last meal every meal. I knew I was going to do some serious damage to myself. The story my friend Holly tells about how her husband gained 17 pounds on their cruise was constantly on my mind. With every bite of hummus or chicken or cereal or cake or sushi. Did I mention that they turned the buffet restaurant into a chocolate buffet one night? (It was sushi night, in fact! And there's always room for chocolate buffet, trust me.) Anyway, I gained weight on the cruise, but it certainly wasn't what I was expecting. I "allowed" myself five pounds. I feared it was going to be ten. The reality was 1.2. And I'm already down 1.0 since coming home.

I really can't wait to go on my next cruise. It was just the restful oasis I needed.

The one thing the cruise did to me was to screw me up about what time of year it is. It's the middle of December, less than two weeks from Christmas, and I'm lost. Laying out on the beach with temps in the high 80s will fuck up a Northern boy like myself. I feel like I don't have any time for Christmas this year. I've barely started my shopping. I haven't filled out a single Christmas card. There are no decorations of any sort in my house. It might as well be the middle of March. Something that didn't help matters at all was the day we got off the boat. We had a couple of hours to kill between disembarkation and the flight home. We rented a car to get us from Miami to Fort Lauderdale (where we flew out of) and decided to go poke around the mall and maybe get something to eat. Keep in mind that Christmas is the furthest thing from our minds. We get to the mall right around lunchtime on a Saturday afternoon, park and then start poking around. About fifteen minutes in I saw a Christmas tree. I turned to Ken and said "It's two weeks before Christmas and we're at the mall! What were we thinking?" The sick thing was, it could have been a random Tuesday afternoon in July. The mall was NOT busy. I don't know if this is typical for Florida or what, but it's not for New York. I would wager that there would be more people in my local mall two hours before opening on a Saturday than there were in the Galleria in Fort Lauderdale at lunchtime two Saturdays before Christmas. Insane.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work. I'm kind of looking forward to getting back into the swing of my usual routine. I've enjoyed all this time off and I'm sad it's coming to an end, but I'm craving stability right now in a big way.


wcs said...

I have the same misgivings about cruising that you did/do. It's good that you could kind of isolate yourself from the bad parts and make it a good experience. I can't stand being annoyed, and being cooped up on a boat with annoying passengers, crew, and entertainment would kill it for me. The only thing worse would be if there were kids, too.

(F)redddy said...

I can't think of when I laughed harder than I did at the picture of your sushi dinner. I hope the cost of meals was included in the cruise and you didn't have to pay for each roll. That, my friend, was comedy gold.

Kimichi Tsuzuku said...

We loved our cruise around Hawaii on NCL enough to book one to Bermuda this summer.

I thought the entertainment was decent, not top-rate but enjoyable and simply avoided any of the silly stuff the cruise director hosted.

If you can afford the extra price-tag I'd really recommend the Hawaii cruise because you spend the least amount of time on a ship and lots of time exploring the islands. The one drawback was getting out there 'cause I cannot sleep on planes and it was a red-eye there and back. I ended up buying more novels to read because I finished so many on the Chicago to Honolulu flight. I wouldn't recommend that flight. Honolulu to SF was much better.

Now we're going to Bermuda out of NYC which will save us the plane trip but on the other hand, it will be 4 days at sea. With casinos, which I have no interest in.

It also sounds like you should book a cruise with some friends so at least you can all sit around and be snarky.