Rushville Republican


April 19, 2013

Stuart: Cursing, make that cruising toward a cruise

RUSHVILLE — We took a cruise for our spring break vacation this year. It worked out just as I hoped it would; a ship far out in the ocean was the only place I could run and hide from my co-workers’ mockery of my NCAA basketball tournament bracket.

In other ways, the cruise didn’t work out just as I hoped it would. For example, even though we chose a Carnival boat, there were no mishaps with engines that led to drifting at sea for days without working toilets. Darn it. Just think of the hilarious columns I could’ve written from an experience like THAT.

Actually, the main reason we chose to cruise was that this is the last year we felt we could ever hope to persuade No. 3 son, age 17, to go on spring break with his family. And cruising was the carrot that made that happen. Thus our goal was achieved of vacationing as a family. Although in No. 3’s case, this only meant that, each evening, he’d join us in the dining room for a meal, where we got a precious 33 minutes (maximum) of “quality time” with him. This consisted mainly of trying to get more than one-word answers from him about how he spent his day, and repeatedly saying “No” when he asked if he could leave before dessert.

You’ll not that I didn’t refer to the meal we gathered for each evening as “supper.” On a cruise, it’s kind of hard to know when you’re eating the last meal of any particular day, because you might, maybe, perhaps find yourself a mite peckish a bit after that repast and find yourself gorging on some of the other foodstuffs positioned a strategic six steps apart from bow to stern.

At least, that’s how the edibles were stationed on the “Lido” Deck. Every deck on our ship, the Carnival Liberty, has a poetic name like that: “The Promenade Deck”; “The Riviera Deck”; “The Empress Deck”; “The Verandah Deck.” And so on. Except for Deck 6, the deck our rooms were on. It has a most prosaic, mundane name, “The Upper Deck.” This left me feeling flat on a couple of levels. First of all, with seven more decks above it, how can it be the “Upper” deck? Also, The kids felt like I had gone all skinflint on them, buying just the cheapest accommodations available, which it what always happens when I take them to sporting events and buy seats in the furthest reaches from the action (as in, the upper deck).

We started the vacation off with that most delightful of rituals, the treasured 12-hour, white-knuckle drive on the U.S. Interstate Highway System. Yes, yes, kids, you’re right. . .I went all skinflint on ya, and didn’t fly us down to Miami. But wasn’t it worth it to hear some of my colorful language when encountering drivers going 187 miles an hour while simultaneously talking on cellular devices, tailgating me, changing lanes as often as they blinked, and making obscene gestures at me for “slowing them down?”

The only thing better was the 70 minutes it took us to travel a five mile stretch of interstate 95. We were stuck in a monster backup on Good Friday which we ultimately discovered was caused by a multi-car crack-up; probably, I’m not saying I know for sure, but prahhhh-bably caused by every one of the drivers of the multi-cars involved driving in the manner described above.

My knuckles got so white that we eventually had to stop for the night a couple hours short of Miami. I chose a hotel as close as I could find to Stuart, Fla., which I thought would really tickle my kids’ fancy. They gave me that perfunctory and obviously phony “Cool” response that teenagers give when they’re completely unimpressed by something. Their meals at the Chili’s restaurant next to the hotel generated 144 times more excitement from them.

No. 5 son got to enjoy his birthday waking up in that “Stuart” hotel, which meant he got a bunch of cool presents just before embarking on the final two hour drive to Miami. His favorite gift , by far, was the new word he learned, a name I called this one guy who was driving in the manner described three paragraphs above.



Text Only
  • Spying ways to have vacation fun I have a neighbor named John Campbell, and I am suddenly EXTREMELY suspicious of him.It all started with our summer vacation to Maryland. We made several excursions into Washington, D.C. from our “base camp” in Annapolis. In fact, of the five days we

    July 29, 2014

  • I expect them to do nothing Which crisis is at the top of the list this week? Is it the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, the fighting in Gaza, the emergence of ISIS as a deadly power in the Middle East, the intentional shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 which killed nearl

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    July 29, 2014

  • There's something about Maryland My family unit has just returned from a death march – oops, make that, “vacation” – in Annapolis, Maryland. In spite of constant 96-degree temps (though it dropped as low as 95.7 at night), and the stifling humidity, we had lots of dolgurn fun. Mainl

    July 22, 2014

  • Learning to say goodbye From as far back as I can remember, saying hello has been a part of nearly each day.During my youth, it was used when I met new people my parents introduced me to and was frequently followed by a handshake. I couldn’t count the number of times I used

    July 18, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 15, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 15, 2014

  • Soothing '60's Surf Sounds I’m sitting in my home office enjoying a serenade of rhythmic pulsations emanating from the outside wall. It’s coming from our water spigot. No. 5 son (age 13) and his buddies are using it to fill water balloons. 1,500 water balloons to be exact. 1,5

    July 15, 2014

  • Soccer-stopping Storm a Lousy Treat What a great way to spend a Saturday morning in July: I’m sitting in my car with rain cascading on the roof, lightning skittering all over the sky, and thunder sockin’ it to the atmosphere with such force that I feel a rumbling in my bum.I’m staring

    July 8, 2014

  • Only in America - Top 10 As we move into the glorious months of summer, I thought you might be amused by reading the Top Ten List of what Canadians supposedly think of how things are going in this country. It’s a lot like David Letterman’s “top ten list.”Number 10: Only in A

    July 8, 2014