Not so many pictures today. It always happens that I bring my camera and then completely forget I have it because I'm so darn busy looking around and experiencing everything.

First, I have to finish telling you about Day 2. Or really Night 2. Shaggy and Uncle Turkey took off after dinner with a challenge in hand - to find a location somewhere aboard the ship where a majority of us could sit down at one long table and play SPOONS. They returned a bit later, triumphant.

The little all-night pizza restaurant up top agreed to let us slide a bajillion little tables together with a long bench seat on one side and chairs on the other. And they provided the spoons. My stepmom brought two decks of cards along. So. After dinner, we all changed into comfortable-lunging-across-the-table clothes and headed up to the pizza place.

If you've never played Spoons: You set down one less spoon than the number of people sitting at the table (8 people = 7 spoons) and two decks of cards. Everyone starts with 4 cards.

The dealer starts by choosing a card from the deck and simultaneously discarding a card to his/her right (either the one chosen or one from his/her hand). The next person either keeps that card, passing one of theirs to the right, or passes it on. Repeat. Quickly. As fast as you can. You can never have more than 4 cards in your hand.

The goal is to get 4-of-a-kind and then QUIET-SNEAKY-like grab a spoon. The last person is left spoonless and they receive a letter next to their name on a sheet of paper. We spell out J-A-C-K-A-S-S. Once you're a full jackass, you're out of the game.

Now that you know the rules, let me set up how it is WE play...

When we're waiting for the dealer to get that first card, the entire bunch of us start banging our fists on the table, repeatedly, until the cards start reaching us. Then it's utter mayhem. The cards are flying. Some people are slow and get backed up, then pass a number of cards at once. Some are fast so always waiting.

The idea is to sneaaaaaaak that spoon once you get 4-of-a-kind. Once it's noticed that a spoon is gone, the entire table erupts and it's a grab-all mess of shrieking and throwing one's self across the table to fight for the last spoon. On occasion, spoons sprout wings and FLY through the air in the excitement. It's NOT safe to walk by while we're playing. Sometimes people flail about and fall out of chairs in the brouhaha. Mostly, we try not to pee our pants from laughing so hard. And if we start to notice that a few don't have any letters, we start targeting their spoons on purpose. We're a competitive bunch. <---- MASSIVE UNDERSTATEMENT.

That night as we played, we changed things up a little and everyone slid one seat to the right after every hand. That was interesting. It lasted one full revolution of the table and then we decided we all liked our original seats better. *laughing*

BabySis and Cousin Bubbles are some of the sneakiest players out there, many times managing to grab a spoon unnoticed and then continue dealing or passing cards for minutes on end before anyone notices. Boogers.

Halfway through the game, we noticed they were playing Disco music on the speakers. My family is known for breaking out into impromptu song/dance... usually to the YMCA. We sang - loudly (and umm, quite nicely I have to say) - giving the small after-hours pizza crowd rowdy renditions of Get Down Tonight and Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band. I SO wish I had video.

We all finally headed off to bed around 2:30AM. We were SUPPOSED to all get up and meet for breakfast in the dining room at 8:00AM. Umm, yeah. That didn't happen.

Day 3 - Nassau, Bahamas

8:30AM - Woke up and immediately freaked because we were LATE for our breakfast meet-up. Rolled the boys out of bed while brushing my teeth and yanking on jeans. I'd given up on trying for privacy while dressing, resorting instead to screeches of, "Close your eyes, I'm going NEKKID!" They learned quickly to squeeze their eyes shut while Mr. Clean just shook his head and laughed.

9:00AM - Started calling rooms to see who else might be late. No one answers. Damn.

9:05AM - Go up to Deck 11, where the buffet is and start locating other family members who were also late or FORGOT we were meeting for breakfast. Whew! Sweet relief. I settle on coffee, toast, and a box of Cheerios with skim milk. I manage the coffee and one bite of toast. Doodlebug eats the rest. I readjust my seasickness bracelets. They sort of HURT where they're pushing into my wrists and are causing a little swelling in my hands. The alternative is hurling. I leave them on.

9:30AM - We head down to Deck 1, in order to leave the boat and check out Nassau. We were supposed to meet up with my Dad, Stepmom, and BabySis, so we could go see the Pirate Museum but they're nowhere to be found.

9:35AM - Good Dog, it's HOT in Nassau!! I never for a moment believed it could be SO hot on an island. The breeze is like 100 degrees. Imagine getting into your car after it's been in the mall parking lot for hours on a summer day. Then turn on the air conditioning. You know that hot air that bursts out and roasts your face at the very beginning? Yeah, that's Nassau.

10:00AM - Nassau is still HOT. And I - with my EXPERT map skills - have managed to send us in the complete OPPOSITE direction of where we needed to go. By blocks. Lots of blocks. I blame it on the heat. It addled my sense of direction. Sweat got into my eye and the map blurred, ya know. Oops.

10:30AM - We reach the Pirate museum and are all excited. This is supposed to be really cool. Thirty-six dollars and 15 minutes later, I'm scratching my head and looking around. That's it? SERIOUSLY?

10:45AM - Whew, Lordy, is it HOT. I keep looking down at my flip-flopped feet because TRULY, it feels like I'm walking on coals. Are my shoes STILL THERE? Have they MELTED? We head to the Straw Market. I know my Dad, Stepmom, and BabySis will be there somewhere. Plus, Doodlebug wants to find a key chain (his collection choice) and Shaggy wants a shot glass (ditto).

11:00AM - I've gone to Hell. Seriously. I thought it could not be hotter within a shaded space but IT IS. I have an overwhelming sense of respect and admiration for the CRAZY it takes the shop people to sit in the sweltering market. They all look cool as cucumbers and I am DYING. Truly, I'm going to DIE. Right there into a pile of straw hats.

11:15AM - I escape Straw Market hell and hit fresh HOT air. And look! There's Dad and everyone else. And also? My sisters GypsyRose and Pixie, and their families. Woo hoo!! We haven't had a chance to spend ANY time with them on this cruise.

11:45AM - Ooooh, I see it. I can't believe I'm seeing it. I rub my eyes to be sure it's not a heat-induced mirage. It's not. The words are right there. Doodlebug turns back, grabs my arm and says, "Look, Mom! It's a STARBUCKS!" He knows his Momma's heart.

12:15PM - I am enjoying a seriously good Iced Mocha w/ Hazelnut and a Toffee-Almond Bar. Oh YUM, YUM, YUM. I'm in heaven. And it's air-conditioned. Yippeeee!

12:30PM - My coffee and I continue having our little love-affair as we all head back toward the ship. In the little shops around the customs exit, I find a charm for my bracelet -- a sea turtle.

Here's the ship, at the pier:

1:00PM - Home, sweet, home. I collapse on the bed and wonder why I didn't wear something slightly less clean because now my cleanest pants had a one-time-use of four and a half hours. Bummer. And also? I think I dropped 20 pounds in sweat because they are now falling off my hips. Falling. Off.

1:30PM - Change clothes while muttering about the decidedly strong smell of BOY, which has liberally infiltrated our cabin.

2:00PM - Head up to Johnny Rockets, where they have burger, shakes, and endless fries/onion rings. Find out they also have dancing waiters/waitresses when the entire staff breaks out a line-dancing-singing rendition of Last Dance by Donna Summers. It's quite entertaining. My chicken club sandwich comes out and is HUGE. I eat half and take the rest for Doodlebug, who is downstairs swimming in the saltwater pool with other family members.

3:00PM - Poolside Sexy-Man-Legs Contest. I beg and plead but no matter what I do, Mr. Clean will NOT go up and show his sexy legs to the poolside panel of judges. Which stinks. Because he SO would have whooped them all. He has truly great legs. It's moments like this I wonder how on earth I ended up with a shy guy. *laughing*

4:15PM - BINGO! Again! I really want to win some Bingo money. Really. REALLY. Want to win. I go alone to meet BabySis because Mr. Clean, Shaggy, and Doodlebug didn't want to come with me, but she's not there yet. I start chatting it up with a woman from Pittsburgh. She's funny. We go in and buy our cards and then I head to the back tables/bench seating and she sits on a row at the front. Alone. It bothers me. BabySis finally arrives and when she goes up to get her cards, I insist the woman come back and sit with us. She agrees.

4:30PM - Other family members start trickling in to play. Within five minutes we've gone from two to THIRTEEN. The poor woman from Pittsburgh, though she was warned we were a big clan, is rather astounded. I can see it in her eyes. She's wondering how the heck to escape unnoticed. I assure her we don't bite. Much. Doodlebug and Shaggy have both come along to play (well, with an adult since they are too young) and Mr. Clean even shows up.

Shaggy insists he wants to pay for his own set of cards. I explain gambling to him and that most likely he'll be wasting his money. He doesn't care. He KNOWS he'll win. I figure it's as good a time as any for a lesson and let him give me his cash in order to purchase the cards.

The boys (and some other family members) are reminded they may not sit on the chairs if their swim shorts are still damp. They are. Shaggy sprints off to the room to change. I encourage Doodlebug to do the same but he's being stubborn. Finally, he relents and takes off to do the same. I figure he'll run into Shaggy at some point, so all is well.

Shaggy returns. Alone. I turn to Mr. Clean and tell him, "Ten minutes and then we launch a search party." Ten minutes go by. No Doodlebug. Mr. Clean leaves to go find the child. Two second later, Doodlebug breezes in and says, "I got LOST! It was kinda fun, though."

Of course, now this means Mr. Clean is wandering around looking for someone who's no longer missing. He shows up about five minutes later, though, so he didn't miss the beginning of Bingo just yet.

5:30PM - None of us has even come CLOSE to winning. Booo. Hiss. Shaggy is defeated and annoyed and thinks gambling is GIANT. Waste. Of. Time. I am patting myself on the back for a lesson well taught. It'll be a long time before he shells out money like that again. I take a peel-off ticket (another $5 won) to the casino and cash it in.

5:45PM - A little wandering and shopping on Deck 5. We run into a bunch of other family members doing the same. Papa is there in his wheelchair and Doodlebug starts whizzing him around the place. He LOVES pushing Papa around and I love my boys spending so much time with him during the trip. Amazingly, I'm having so much fun, I FORGET to buy coffee. I have officially whipped my addiction. (don't worry, it came back with a vengeance the minute I got home)

7:00PM - We're back at the room taking a nap before dinner. Doodlebug heads out to check himself in to the Kiddo Adventure area - basically a giant playroom with Wii and games and other kids his age. He's hoping to find a friend he made earlier, who is from India.

8:00PM - Wake up. Doodlebug is back. We all get dressed for dinner and head up to the dining room.

8:30PM - Dinner. Shaggy runs around with his camera, taking video of everyone. Aunt SuzyQ tells him she better not find any video of her eating on the "Boob Tube" (YouTube). We fall out of our chairs laughing. It's a running joke that the only pictures anyone has of Aunt SuzyQ is either of her with food in her mouth or sleeping. It's true. I don't know how it keeps happening but it's true.

Dinner is amazing. The head waiter checks on us again -- he's truly awesome and really went out of his way to rearrange everything so we could all sit together at two long tables.

I notice lightning outside the dining room window. I mention that I think we may be listing slightly to the left. No one believes me. They think I am DRUNK or CRAZY. But I feel it.

9:30PM - Seriously. We are rocking side-to-side and I'm the only one who seems to notice. My abs are getting a workout from trying to stay upright. FINALLY, a few others start to agree that yes, we are moving a little. Yes! I am NOT CRAZY!

10:00PM - We all head out to one of the decks to watch the lightning. So cool. And a little freaky. It's CLOSE. I'm extremely thankful for the bracelets because otherwise, I think dinner might have reappeared.

10:15PM - We've lost Doodlebug AGAIN. Mr. Clean states, "It's not like he can get very far." Umm, not helping. He was last seen pushing Papa in his wheelchair, with Shaggy right there next to him. I ASSUMED he would go with Shaggy after that but.... nope... there's Shaggy headed down some stairs. Alone. Cousin Bubbles and Mr. Bubbles show up on deck. They tell us they saw Doodlebug with my Dad and Stepmom. Two minutes later, THEY show up. Alone. They don't know WHERE he is. Mr. Clean heads out to find him and returns a few minutes later. Shaggy had dropped him off with Cousin Tippy Toes and her fiance. They're playing Bingo.

10:30PM - Casino time! I have yet to hit the casino and am really looking forward to it.

10:35PM - It's PAINFULLY clear that I am in all-out-balls-to-the-wall Cooler mode. I can't win a THING and anyone I sit/stand next to immediately starts losing. But darn it, I KNOW a specific slot machine is about to hit pay dirt. I talk Mr. Clean into putting some money in but apparently I didn't stand far enough away. Nothing. ARGH! I've never had such crap luck in a casino in my life.

11:00PM - Drinking. We've moved to the bar. I'm served a cranberry and vodka that sears the skin from my throat. I have more cranberry added to it and it's STILL wayyyyyyy too strong. Three sips and I'm feeling that ship rocking to and fro like never before. We sit and chat for a little while - Mr. Clean, myself, Daddy, M-Mom (my stepmom), Aunt Silly, Aunt SuzyQ, and BabySis. Shaggy shows up, looking bummed. He admits he was really hoping to meet some girl on the cruise and there are None. To. Be. Found. I feel for the kiddo.

1:00AM - We head off to bed after lots of hugs. My original ten members of the family are slated to leave butt-crack early in order to make our flight. I'm SO looking forward to a 6:00AM wake-up call. Woo hoo. Can you feel the excitement?

5:00AM - The alarm goes off. Apparently Mr. Clean's cell phone reset itself once back in Miami. It had been an hour off the entire time we were out to sea, so we'd set the alarm accordingly. I want to DIE. But first, I'd like some coffee to go with my death, please.

6:00AM - Breakfast in the dining room. Coffee and a croissant with honey. Finally, I've managed to down a little breakfast. We meet up with everyone else and head off the boat.

9:00AM - Miami Airport. Where we realize they've pushed our flight back an HOUR. Instead of 11:20AM , it's now 12:55PM. Oh. My. Lord. We spend the next three hours alternately sleeping on the floor, playing Gin Rummy, and eating corn dog bites (because it's the breakfast of champions!). Starbucks is there and I am So Very Thankful.

1:00PM - It's apparent that our pilot is really Racer X. Mr. Clean and I spend the next two hours singing "Go go speed racer" under our breaths as we fly. We hit the ground and errrrrrrrrrrr, the pilot hits the turn with a squeal. Less than two minutes later we're at the gate and getting off the plane. Talk about expedience!

All-in-all, it was a GREAT trip. We didn't get to spend as much CLOSE family time together as we usually do at our lake house but it was loads of fun anyhow. And we all had our own bathrooms! (as opposed to sharing the one at the lake house) Snorkeling together was TONS more fun than swimming in the lake, too. I can't wait to go snorkeling again. The most important thing, though, was that Papa had a BLAST. He said, "Next time it has to be a longer trip."

And though I'm home and still feeling the boat rocking to and fro, and though I'm thoroughly exhausted.... I already miss my family and wish we'd had a few more days.
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2 Responses
  1. Bubbles Says:

    Spoons night.... the "trying not to pee your pants laughing" skill was one that defeated me... I "think" (know) I laughed too hard at one point... so fun.

  2. dragonfly Says:

    OMG... that's hilarious! I'm SO buying you a Piddle Prize now.