My daughter and I just returned from a cruise from New England and Canada aboard the Brilliance of the Seas - or should I say from just Canada, since I already live in New England, and it seems strange to say I returned from a place in which I already live. I thought I would share a few amusing personal cruise episodes, things that my kids fondly refer to as "mom moments." People of a certain age prefer to call them “senior moments”.
I've always been a little clumsy and absent minded, but generally I'd say these missteps, mispronunciations, misreads, mistakes, brain freezes and blunders have increased with each new gray hair and wrinkle that appears. I think it started when I was about 40, when I decided to try eyeglasses with progressive lenses. I must have tripped over a hundred things just trying to get acclimated. Since then, I always blame the eyeglasses for every mom moment – or senior moment that comes my way.
I could write a book, but here are just a few "mom moments" from our most recent cruise.
The Elevator. So it would figure that on the first day just after embarkation, I would press the button for the elevator when the thing was already there beckoning in front of me with its doors wide open. Must be my glasses, I said aloud. My daughter immediately jotted this down as #1 in her notebook of mom's cruise moments.
Caution: Wet Floor. Most people watch where they're walking. Not me. I was looking around the Windjammer, admiring the room and figuring out which buffet food station to begin my grazing, and WHAM! I walked right into one of those tall, yellow cones in the middle of the floor marked in big black letters, "Caution: Wet Floor". Why they needed to place it there I don’t know. The floor wasn’t wet. Fortunately, just the cone fell over – and not me. The only thing that was bruised was my dignity. There could only be one possible explanation - must be my glasses.
The Jock. This wasn't a blunder of any kind, but just an unfortunate situation that adversely affected the rest of my cruise experience - and eyeglasses had nothing to do with it. I decided I was going to continue my daily at-home exercise regimen of 25 minutes on an exercise bike here in the ship's fitness center. I got on the bike, set the machine on automatic, set the tension to "it's so easy an ape could do it" and off I pedaled. I had a nice conversation with trainer, Six-Pack Steve, about workouts in general and how biking keeps my knee arthritis in check. OK, Steve wasn't his name, but the six-pack abs reference definitely fit. I finished my 25 minutes, left the gym and went about my day, returning to the room for a catnap before dinner. I woke up, and my knee had blown up like a balloon and I couldn't straighten it or bend it. I quickly raided my first aid bag, called for some ice, filled my handy Ziploc bags, and iced up the knee and limped off to dinner. With the help of some Jacuzzi time in the morning, some ice at night, a bottle of Advil and one of those stretchy knee braces, I was able to make my way around the ship and even in port, but just a lot slower. So ended my well-intentioned shipboard fitness plan.
I had never cruised at any time other than summer, and was not accustomed to so many older people. Make no mistake - I counted myself among them on this cruise, and by day 2, and I was beginning to feel and appear like the oldest of the old, folks ambling about the ship with canes and walkers. In other words, I fit right in.
As a side note, I was worried that 26-year-old daughter Jenn would feel out of place with this crowd. In fact, one gentleman, while waiting for the elevator, asked her “What’s a young thing like you doing on this ship?” To the contrary, she was very flattered being the youngest at the table every night. She wound up being the go-to person for advice on movies, science fiction, Facebook and the Internet.
The Juggling Act: Get me a job on a cruise ship, because I can juggle! Too lazy to wait for an elevator, I was making my way down a flight of stairs one afternoon with two cups of coffee and a plate of pastry. Hey, it was only one flight and my bum knee could certainly make the trip. The only problem was I had only two hands - the plate in one and the two cups - one on top of the other - in the other hand. No hand left to hold onto the rail. I was doing great until my heel caught on a step, and sent my cups wobbling back and forth and my hand sliding around feverishly in order to compensate. Had to be the eyeglasses. In the end, I saved the coffee and my wits. Better yet, I didn't fall.
Look Before Crossing. Something happened to me after I double-fractured my ankle on another vacation seven years ago. That's right - I was as clumsy then as I am now. I am a magnet for mishaps. Memories of a double ankle fracture on Cape Cod as well as a trip and fall, landing face first on a sidewalk in Savannah, Georgia, make stepping off sidewalks and traversing a street equivalent to walking on eggs. I don't want to risk breaking another ankle, nor do I want to fall down in the street and get run over. So, of course, there I was shopping with my daughter in Portland, Maine, last week, and while one side of my brain is concentrating on my footwork in navigating the sidewalk, the other side has failed to inform me of the approaching car. My daughter grabbed my arm and stopped me in my tracks. As I said before, it must be the eyeglasses.
Three things I have learned from this cruise: (1) Get the knee fixed. (2) I can't be trusted to travel alone, and (3) Lose the glasses and look into contact lenses.
For details of our cruise, read my review: Boston to New England/Canada Aboard Brilliance, Oct. 6, 2013