Monday, July 7, 2014

Living life out loud

    Vacation! It is the reason for all the long hours. There is no other reason to work so hard the rest of the year.
   We left rain soaked Washington on June 20th for the warmth of the Caribbean and sailed aboard the Norwegian Getaway on Saturday June, 22. As we left the harbor in Miami a lightning storm provided the fanfare! Sailing with Mandy and I was our youngest and my eldest daughters. With the four of us sharing a stateroom it was clear from the start that romance would be difficult if not impossible. We still managed to eke out some quality time but I am forced to admit this was mostly due to Mandy refusing to take no for an answer. I am blessed to have a wife of immense patience. I question often why she loves me the way she does but who am I to argue.
   The ship was beautiful and sparkled like a brand new penny. It was only our second cruise and our first aboard one of new large ships. I must admit that I prefer the smaller ships if only for the fact that they are less crowded. Aside from the crowd, the time spent at sea was of the highest caliber of quality. The food was excellent and the service was great. The ship's crew spared no expense making guests feel special. It took the entire week to explore the ship and at the end there were still things we hadn't seen. We spent our afternoons soaking up the warmth of the sun and cooling off in the pool. The water park on board was crowded with kids but the slides were worth the wait in line. We played basketball on the sports court and had a good time watching our 16 year old beat up on the boys by consistently sinking three pointers. We never made it to the rope course, the climbing wall, or the miniature golf course. We were excited to see the reggae band " Groove International" aboard the Getaway. They were the band aboard the Jewel last December. I was able to spend some time on stage and we had a great time getting to know them. 
   On Tuesday the 25th of June we docked at St. Maarten. We left the ship and boarded a water taxi for the far side of the bay. It cost us $30 dollars for 4 beach loungers and 2 umbrellas for the day. A bucket of Corona was 10 bucks. Blue sky, azure waters, a warm breeze, and ice cold beer made for a perfect day in paradise.
My eldest daughter bought a liter of Malibu Rum for $11 dollars and for another $10 dollars the locals kept her supplied with orange juice and ice the entire day. With a little help from Mandy she nearly finished off the bottle and we thought we might have to carry her back to the ship. The carribbean was the perfect backdrop for the picture below. What Hailey didn't realize was that while setting up for the photo the bottle was knocked over and partially filled with sea water. She never noticed the difference but Mandy and I got a good a chuckle out of it.

    We returned to the ship at 6pm sunburned and sticky sweet from a day spent sunbathing and swimming in the ocean. After we had all showered and rubbed in ample amounts of of aloe Vera we headed to "Taste" for a delicious meal before heading out to resume exploring the ship. It was late by the time we finally returned to our state room. I don't recall my head hitting the pillow that evening. When morning came we were already docked in St. Thomas. 
   We left the ship in St. Thomas and took a taxi to the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is called Meagan's Bay and the beach in St. Maarten paled in comparison. Most of the day was alcohol free until we returned to town and stopped at senior frogg's on our way back to the ship. It was a very relaxing day. Mandy and I left our mark on the beach. Mandy learned to snorkel. I would love to spend an entire week there.

   After St. Thomas, we had one final day at sea. Amanda and I were tired of the crowds and needed a little space from our daughters so we sought sollice at the vibe beach club onboard the ship. It was a small cover charge but we had our choice of the 75 padded lounge chairs as there were only a dozen people in the place. It was a day spent reading and drinking yummy raspberry mojito's from the private bar soaking in a private hot tub and enjoying the view of the ocean as it stretched out before us. It was by far our best sea day and the girls didn't mind having the run of the ship to themselves.

    Nassau was my least favorite port of call but ironically holds my favorite memory. We were caught in a rainstorm and were instantly soaked to the bone. Our scooter refused to start so we danced in the rain.
It is a memory I will never forget.
    There is so much more to talk about. We saw shows. We won a few bucks at the casino. We lived life out loud. We went to comedy clubs. We played in game shows. We danced.The important things have been said. It was an amazing vacation and one I will never forget. It was made perfect by having the love of my life by my side. 

   We left the ship at 10am Saturday June 29 and arrived home in Toutle WA. Sunday morning at 3am. We were exhausted yet fulfilled. Amanda was back at work Monday morning but we spent the 4th of July weekend camping with family and friends at our favorite lake. The water is still cold but we donned wet suits and water skied anyway. 
   Vacation is over. I am sitting at work wishing I could find the motivation to do something. I find my mind drifting off to a place filled with Palm trees and rum. My blood work came back undetectable. For the moment I am cancer free. Summer has just begun. Life is good.Y.O.L.O. Todd