No Tickets to Paradise

15 02 2013

I’ve never been on a cruise; it really isn’t something I feel I’ve missed out on by not being on one.  And in the light of the numerous issues on recent cruises that have hit the news media, I am not certain I really have missed out on either.  As the most recent news wave about the Triumph and what individuals have endured during their cruise unfolds, I have to give pause about the lawsuits that many people are calling frivolous.  Seeing the videos and images from passengers, I can’t really say that I blame them for suing Carnival – and I am typically a very anti-lawsuit type of person.

I try to imagine saving up for a holiday cruise, whether for my husband I, or for our whole family, I would still be socking money away for a few months to afford such a trip.  For us, a trip is never just a trip.  Putting our pets into boarding averages about $1000 a week.  And the average cost is $50 a day per person for a cruise, so let’s say it’s a five-day cruise for my family.  At a minimum, I’m looking $2000, not including spending money, travel to the port, etc.  Even at a generous saving rate, we’re talking six months of saving money for this trip to avoid disruption to our income.  At this point, we’ve burnt our vacation hours from work for this trip, and six months of savings to go on the Triumph.

Now let’s see – we’ve had a few beautiful days on this tropical cruise.  And just as we’re winding down to return to reality, the boat engine catches fire.  My family is in no danger, but I have to calm my children as the boat lists and tilts.  Power cuts out and chaos ensues.  Anyone who has ever watched the movie the Titanic would likely be on edge, much less a child in an unfamiliar place with this kind of drama.  And imagining enduring this from Sunday through Thursday – I can’t.

Add to this the spoiled food, lack of air conditioning, and lack of communication with the outside world to know that there will be any type of resolution outside of what I am told by the cruise ship employees.  At this point, I’m seething.  I know I would be angry, scared and emotionally traumatized.  And I’ve not even begun to factor in the health risks.

Human waste, streaming down walls of rooms and onto mattresses where people sleep.  Human waste seeping onto the floors – we’re told to a depth that passengers had to “wade” through it to get to the cafeteria areas?  Human waste.  That amounts to urine, feces, vomit and bodily fluids.  All contaminants that could transfer diseases not limited to HIV/AIDs, Hepatitis.  And even waste being inhaled is dangerous – the methane and ammonia gases to name a few – can cause death to brain cells and cause motor issues and long-term breathing troubles.  And of course the moisture forming molds and fungi being inhaled.  Simply put, the potential health issues are endless and could take months to fully present themselves.

Now, after this five days of hell, yes hell, the cruise ship is finally tugged to shore and the company has offered to refund the $1000 for the cruise cost.  And give me $500 for my trouble.  And paying my way home and any nights’ stay in hotels until I get home.  And vouchers for another cruise should I ever dare to set foot on their ship again.

I’ve no idea what types of health issues are lurking in our bodies, I’ve incurred an additional $1000 for the boarding costs, an additional $100 for the long-term parking costs, and an additional week of missed work that is unpaid.  So my $1000 refund for the cruise costs reimburses my additional boarding costs, and between the four members of my family we have $2000 to cover the lost week of work for my husband and I and our parking costs.

So in the end – we barely break even.  And we still have yet to look at the potential health issues and any emotional issues that require attention for our children.  If I don’t sue, I kiss goodbye any rights to later hold Carnival accountable for health issues.

And I still never got a vacation.

Yeah, I would sue.


Buy you books and buy you books and what do you do? You eat them!

13 01 2013

No, I don’t suffer from bibliophagy, let me be clear on that.  I just remember that rhyme as being one my father used to always say when I would ask for him to buy me books as a child.  I’ve always loved books!

I spent a good bit of time yesterday helping my daughter sort through her shelves of books for what books I would be willing to allow her to get rid of.  Even in reading that sentence, I feel slightly guilty of being overbearing.  But books are things of which I am so very fond and the idea of throwing any away is just so difficult to fathom. Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye, My Warrior Queen

24 12 2012

It’s such a solemn day, and it shouldn’t be.  I should be excited, as I usually am on the eve of Christmas – my favourite holiday.  But instead, I’m sitting here mourning the loss of my dear bird, my friend, my warrior queen. Read the rest of this entry »

To Have That Minute Back

8 11 2012

He’s still here, despite his entire absence   Almost every day, I’ve a conversation with him.  I tell him about the girls’ latest accomplishments, my frustrations with their teenage behaviours, my irritations with our household budgets and finances…pretty much everything.  When he was still here, it was a weekly thing – our thing.  He called me almost every Sunday from the moment we were apart until we were truly apart.  We’d talk about his travels, relationship aggravations, politics and share the latest jokes we’d heard (though he was by far better than I with delivery and timing). Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe I Should Change the Battery in My Watch

1 11 2012

Twelve years ago today, my boss, the VP for the company, asked me to walk with him to see the VP of HR.  It was almost the holidays – was I getting a raise, a promotion, written up, terminated?  Every imaginable emotion and fear entered my mind.  We got into Mike’s office and they shut the door and I sat down.  I didn’t know what was about to happen, and I couldn’t have imagined it if I had tried. Read the rest of this entry »

Sun of the Earth

25 10 2012

Tonight we had a patient come in with his daughter and three grandchildren, his, not hers.  And while he’d an appointment, she did not.  No matter, in her mind though, for the world, you see, revolves about her.  And being that we are a serving organization, with a focus on comforting people, we worked her in.  This was actually a bit more involved than “the doctor will see you now” because working her in involved a late night run to another office to retrieve her records and the babysitting of those fine young children of hers.  (The latter statement is, of course, rife with sarcasm.)

From the start, they were unruly heathens who’d quite obviously never felt the sting of a bare hand or heard the ominous sound of a belt flying through the belt loops, much less the firm and steady voice of their parent disciplining them.  What they knew of punishment was the tried and true method of writing.  Yes, writing.  Think Bart Simpson in the opening scene, but multiply that by a few hundred.  A few hundred for each unacceptable action and within a few hours the children were into the four-digits.  It didn’t cease their ambivalent behaviour at all though, they seemed to just roll with their ever increasing tab.  At one point the youngest child quipped whatever to her mother’s threat of even more sentences, but it never appeared to strike the frazzled woman that her method just wasn’t working. Read the rest of this entry »

The end of an era

20 04 2012

This evening was quite frustrating and joyful – all in one.  That wonderfully frantic experience that you dreadfully celebrate; pushing down your pleasure to force the scowl lines on your face to dramatically reveal themselves.

As I’ve related in several recent outbursts here, the situation with The Boy is just growing out of control.  As a positive though, my daughter is becoming less influenced by him and thereby is less under his thumb.  I have begun to witness the slight rays of sunlight peering out of the dark clouds, accented by triumphant stomping of feet.  It really is beautiful.

Tonight however, this evening I should say, I noticed she was wearing a different necklace than the usual ownership pendant of his that typically hangs about her neck.  I should note that first she asked me if she could come outside and get some fresh air with me, quite a contradiction seeing as I was having a cigarette and secondly she very rarely wants to stand on the stoop while I do so.  But no problem, I consented.  And then I commented on the changed necklace, jokingly, and asked her if she was playing musical necklaces.  (Yes, I am very aware in hindsight of how very devoid of humour that remark was.)  At which point, she began to cry and confessed she was going to dump him.  When I say cry, it wasn’t a heartbreaking wretch of a cry, more of a pitiful whimper with a few tears rolling down her cheeks. Read the rest of this entry »