It’s great to be back in print after the winter hiatus. Especially so I can share some things I’ve learned over these chilly winter months.
First, I learned we really do get by with a little help from our friends. The number of folks asking after my wife’s health both warmed and invigorated us. And we’re thrilled and thankful to report that after months of treatment, Bonnie has been declared cancer-free. Whew! And thank you all for your healing thoughts and concern. We love you.
Secondly…I learned that while I drink socially and love my Cosmos, I am not an alcoholic.
How? Because on our celebratory cruise out of Port Baltimore we bought the all-inclusive Royal Caribbean drink package, which cost almost as much as the cruise itself. We rationalized it would be easier to pay up front, order cocktails without thought to wallet and avoid a staggering bill at the end.
Well, it worked precisely as planned. The second we boarded the ship with our traveling companions, the four of us ordered the Drink of the Day in a souvenir glass, festooned with little umbrellas and an aquamarine liqueur that turned my tongue blue.
From there we enjoyed Bahama Mamas at the welcome party, top shelf martinis before dinner, wine with our food and more booze at the trivia contest. Nightcap anyone? Why not? It’s “free.”
By morning, there were breakfast Bloody Marys, then a second Bloody at the pool, an afternoon beer at the art auction and a magical cocktail convoy from drink to drink to drink through dinner, a show, and music in the lounge.
“Well, we’re certainly getting our money’s worth,” we joked, as we carried on, well-oiled and having a blast. As the casino slot machines consumed our quarters we consumed innumerable beverages and lurched off to our cabins—whether the ship itself was doing any lurching or not.
With our little all-inclusive EZ-Pass dangling from a lanyard around our necks, we could belly up to the bar day or night with impunity. Which we did, savoring mimosas, martinis, cosmos, 12-year old Scotch, mojitos, a rum swizzle, the occasional gimlet and a random chocolate martini or two. This march of the mixed drinks went on for four decadent days.
By day five I whispered to the waiter to hold the champagne and serve just the orange juice. A Diet Coke with lunch tasted amazing. Come happy hour we were back to ordering a round of vodka shots. It’s 5 pm, do you know where your liver is?
In unspoken accord, we all cut back, having just one drink prior to dinner and just one glass of wine with the meal. While we played trivia in the lounge that night, no further alcohol touched our lips.
Now I’m not saying we became members of the temperance union. However, over the next two days we paced ourselves, not letting the urge to score a financial coup on the drink package overtake our good sense. The ship’s special farewell drink was three ounces of no-name rum with two scoops of raspberry sherbet in a sippy cup. We just said no to that drug.
It was all oodles of fun, we got our money’s worth, and I thank Royal Caribbean for conclusively proving I do not have a drinking problem.
I also learned that booking an inside cabin can save money but not your sanity. Traveling overnight, from the Port of Baltimore to Cape Canaveral, I set the iPhone alarm clock for 7:30 a.m. and hunkered down for a night’s sleep at sea.
Windowless, we were in a quintessential black hole when the alarm rang. Bonnie and I popped up, turned on a light, and dressed to hit the deck, all set to knock on our companions’ cabin door and head for breakfast, I put my watch on. It had stopped at 3:40. Ugh, damn batteries. I grabbed Bonnie’s Swatch. It said 3:41. And the second hand was still sweeping. What the hell?
“Um, Bonnie, There’s a problem. The alarm went off, but I don’t think it’s morning.”
“How would we know in here? It’s like being in a dungeon,” she said.
I checked the phone. It read 7:42 a.m., GMT. It was morning alright, IN LONDON, at Picadilly Circus. In our sea cave it was still 3:42 a.m.
Apparently, even though we were cruising from Baltimore, USA to Florida, USA, we’d crossed into international waters and my too-smart phone changed to Greenwich Mean Time. Very mean. So, all dressed up with nowhere to go for five hours, we got back into bed in our clothes. Next time, at least a port hole.
And finally, I learned that somebody my age who parties like a twenty-something, drinks like a fish, and gluttons out on all that rich cruise ship food, comes home with gastritis. I’m lucky it wasn’t gout.
So now I’m on another kind of liquid diet, prepping for an endoscopy and colonoscopy. I certainly haven’t joined the anti-saloon league, and in fact, I can’t wait to taste the new Silvertini invented by Ginger at Mixx to celebrate CAMP Rehoboth’s 25th Anniversary.
But for now I have to say “cheers!” with that disgusting colonoscopy prep beverage. It sure could use a shot of no-name rum and a dollop of sherbet. Bottoms up!
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries, and her newest book Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach.