Friday, November 3, 2017

Cruising

Steve and I discovered cruising probably 14 years ago. We both cruised before that first cruise together. But when it came to our first cruise together, that was really when we got bit by the cruise bug. We booked it about 2 weeks before departure. There was little time to set expectations, so we just went...and had a great time. Like, a super, great, awesome, fabulous time. This is now our 10+ cruise (half on Royal Caribbean, and half on Disney). Times sure have changed from then until now. We used to have sex 2+ times a day while on the cruise...now, we sneak gropes under the covers. We would get day drunk, sleep it off, and then wake up sober and ready for round 2 in the evening. Now, we still get boozy with our unlimited drink packages, but naps are a thing of the past.

Seeing how this blog is about being a pilot wife, I’ll swing it back to the theme at hand. I’ve known Steve since 1999...that is nearly 19 years ago. It wasn’t until this trip that I knew why
Steve wanted to become a pilot.


Steve was in elementary school when he flew on his first flight. He took a family trip to Florida. Ever since that flight he knew he wanted to be a pilot. My interpretation of that trip is that he loved flight so much that he just needed it...the pilot blood began to flow through his veins. 

Not so much. 

Steve flies because he likes travel. “Sitting first class, flying to Paris.” My response was that he didn’t need to be a pilot to fly first class to Paris. He agreed. But, being an airline pilot makes it a hell of a lot easier. It’s a good thing he married a woman who likes to travel as well.

We were sitting on our balcony, beer in hand, overlooking ocean blue waters while discussing this.
Steve mentioned that in retirement he will fly some island hopper. He wasn’t serious. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t think he will fly after retirement. He knows a CA that actually built his own plane. And how about those pilots that are total aviation geeks and go to every air show they can. Steve hasn’t been to an airshow in years. If there are pilots that love to fly and can’t get enough of it, Steve isn’t one of them. He made sure to note that he doesn’t regret his line of work, and enjoys it. But, he made it clear that he doesn’t do what he does because he loves flying. It’s more that he likes the adventure of the destination.

Take one of his good friends, as another example, whose first experience on a flight was that everything was sunny above the clouds. (I would love to make this the title of my book, but it’s already taken.) And, it’s true. Above the clouds is the sun. Seems like an obvious statement, but if you really think about it, it can make you smile. Why not choose an occupation where seeing the sun is nearly guaranteed every time you work.


It happened to be raining when we were on the balcony having this discussion. It was a long day of visiting Atlantis in Nassau, so the kids were watching a movie in the cabin.  
the aquariums (if that is what they are called) were spectacular
Of course Steve went on all the water slides
It's always nice to have those talking moments where you learn more about your partner, even after knowing one another for nearly 19 years. When the rain cleared, Steve’s craving for Heineken on draft began to call. We headed up to Sky Bar. Why the hell not?

Steve and I were about ½ way through our first drink when I struck up a conversation with the solo guy next to me. Craig, from Fort Lauderdale. Turns out he wasn’t a guest on the cruise, but rather for work. He was a contractor. He was working on upgrading the internet system on the ship. Imagine a 7-day cruise as “work”. Nice, right?

Wrong...just another day on the job. He works on cruises and yachts. So, he is often traveling and at sea.

You can’t imaging how much Craig and Steve had in common, anything from feeling rushed to mow the grass and pay the bills in the few hours that you are home between trips. To the fact that you come home from a trip and your baby girl is now walking. Or, how about balancing time at home with your wife and your kids and your friends.

And then we got to talking about the women that marry men that are on the road all the time. The three of us all agreed that, well, we are pretty much awesome. We really are. We are supportive, loving, caring, ingenious, resourceful, capable, independent, selfless...the list could go on. These guys can't be on the road as much as they are, all while having a family at home, without a hard-working woman to care for house and family.

On another evening, Steve and I were enjoying some drinks in the Music Hall. It was a nice venue. During the day we would find our way to the pool table. 
At night Steve and I would find our way to the bar on the second floor. The bartenders were attentive and it was a quiet spot to talk. While sitting there, Steve told me how nice it was to be next to me at a bar. At this point in our life, we don't bar hop too much. So, Steve tends to frequent bars more without me than with me. And when he does go to a bar there is a 50/50 chance he is by himself. When he says stuff like that, it makes me sad. Of course, I love that he still digs me and appreciates my company. But, I hate to think of how alone the road can be for him. He is introverted, so I know he craves his alone time. But, it still makes me sad.

That pretty much wraps up my pilot thoughts from the cruise. Now, onto my other thoughts...

I love people watching. Seriously, perhaps one of my favorite things to do. I observe, and if the person/couple/family strike me so, I can create a whole world around them.

The first person that struck me so was an elderly man who was lounging on his pool chair. I was around the "current pool" where the kids were swimming in the warm water that pushed them around in a circle. 
I had a beer in my hand, of course, as I sat on the pool lounger and settled into the moment. The band was playing Bob Marley, and the elderly man across from me started to groove. His eyes were closed, his hands met in front of his chest, almost as if he was praying, and his longer finders were tapping with the rhythm. His head bobbed. He was feeling it. And it was awesome. His white tube socks were super white, so I knew they were new. His life was probably slow now, but it was like that groove transported him back to the day where he was young. If you follow this blog, I've made it known that I love Jamaica, and I love Jamaican people who seems just so happy and kind. And the music is top of my list. The combination of this awesome man and the great music really made a moment for me. Perhaps he will become a character in my book...

Another couple that spoke to me settled in front of us at the pool deck. It was later in the afternoon, so not too many people we there. The kids were in the large hot tub, which they frequented throughout the cruise. She was probably 25, and he was about the same age. No rings, so I got the sense they were a dating couple on vacation. The other sense I got, pretty much right away, was that they weren't in a good place. She seemed to be bossing him around, "go get towels," or "I need a drink." He got the towel and the drink. They seemed tense. And the whole time I kept asking myself why the hell they were tense about anything. I flash forwarded to when they were to have kids, and I saw more of the bossy behavior. Now, perhaps I'm totally wrong in playing out my story. For what it's worth, Steve took note of the couple as well. But, he thought the woman was mad at the guy because he was drunk. I didn't see him drunk, at all. We both saw the tension. 

I think that if you travel well as a couple, you can make it.

If a cruise stresses you out, add kids. Cici was a bear for a handful of hours each day on the cruise. 
Talk about stress. We know she is spirited, strong-willed, and feisty. But having that combination for hours EACH day, stresses a parent. Thankfully, at the end of the fits when the clouds cleared and Cici got back to her loving and sweet self, we are good. Steve and I are never tense with one another when Cici is throwing a fit. We, meaning Ben too, just try to ride out the fit with as little wake as possible. I get that not everyone has children, so not everyone will have the stress of children. But, if you are tense on a cruise, just you and your partner, perhaps the couple thing just isn't going to work out. Meanwhile, there are couples who can't keep their hands off one another. That's what I'm talking about.


So, there you have it...my thoughts about our cruise. Thanks for your patience with my week off. You'll hear from me again next Friday...back to our regularly scheduled program.


I want the filter from the ship's photographer to follow me around everywhere! 

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