Most good things come to an end…

25 Apr

…and marvelous milestone birthday cruises are no exception!  And notice how I didn’t say ‘All’ in the title because I don’t buy into that one for a second!

Now where did we leave off…?  Ah, yes, our last two days at sea onboard the Celebrity Solstice.  Unfortunately, that means some good and some bad news, so let’s start with the good.  The hottest day of the week was definitely that Friday, so it made for a perfect day of lounging and sunning poolside.

Basking 🙂

Looks like we weren't the only ones who got the memo about it being an ideal pool day...

From now on, I want a live Caribbean band playing every time I lay by the pool 🙂

And remember earlier this week when I said how the best thing about days ‘at sea’ is that your biggest decision is when to flip over to avoid looking like a one-sided lobster?  Yeah, still true.  Today’s big decision was whether to return to our poolside posts after lunch or get off our butts.  And since Mom had been wanting to learn how to play Bocce, it seemed only logical to choose the latter…at least for a little while!  Did I mention that the ship had a full lawn?!

Getting the ball rolling...Ha! Pun intended.

Now for those of you who’ve never played Bocce, well, you really should because it’s alot of fun!  We generally play on the hard sand of the beach, but as we learned during this afternoon, grass is just as good!  There are 9 total balls- 8 large, heavy ones in two different colors, and 1 smaller one.

A game can be between two players, or two teams of two, three, or four. To start, the smaller ball (the jack) from one end of the court to the other.  Then, players/teams take turns ‘bowling’ (either rolling or underhanded throwing) the large balls in attempts to get closest to the jack until all 8 balls are used.  Keep in mind that players can knock either the jack or an opponent’s ball away to get closer to the jack.  The player/team with the closest ball to the jack is the only team that can score points in any frame- one point for each ball that’s closer to the jack than the closest ball of the other team. The length of a game varies, but is usually somewhere between 13-21 points.

We teamed up Guys vs. Dolls...So who's your money on?

BAZINGA! 🙂 In my best Freddie Mercury, 'Weeee are the chammmmpions, my friend...' 🙂

But to show that there were no hard feelings, we let the boys take us to a nice dinner…in the form of our second formal night!

Cleaning up nicely 🙂

Unfortunately, things took a southward turn shortly after this, making our final day of vacation a bit of a bummer…During the night, John woke up violently ill to his stomach…an illness that chose to rear its ugly head repeatedly until the sun came up…and until it went down again the next night. 😦  Luckily, there’s an infirmary onboard with a doctor who was able to give him a good shot of meds and some pills to keep in the room with him.  Needless to say, my handsome husband’s last day of celebration was spent solo in ‘ship-ordered quarantine’ in our stateroom with me bringing him ginger ales, toast, watermelon cubes and chicken soup- all while trying not to get sick myself!  (Which, btw, I thankfully DIDN’T catch his stomach bug, but I DID catch one helluva sinus infection and two ear infections that began to show themselves the day we got home, but that’s another story…*sigh*)

So what does one do on a couples’ vacation when faced with a solo day?  Well she plays the third wheel (and occasional photographer!) to her parents, of course!  😉

Working on getting in the (somewhat chillier than bathwater) pool 🙂

All good now

OK, it still doesn't hurt to warm up in a hot tub!

Our last dinner on the Solstice definitely wasn't the same :(. But to show how awesome our waiter was, he even sent John a piece of that night's specialty cheesecake to the room in case he felt well enough to eat it!

So there you have it- our FABULOUS 30th birthday celebration vacation week floating around the Caribbean!  Ahhh…it almost makes it worth turning 30 on a more regular basis! Ha!  But alas, we’re home again now…a little bit browner, a little bit heavier and much more relaxed!  The one thing that stands out the most to me about the whole thing?  Just how great a relationship we really have with my parents.  To consider them your best friends is just an awesome, awesome feeling…And there’s no one else on the planet with whom we’d rather have gone on this adventure!

But before I go, I have two more items that I promised you yesterday…First, an animal tale.  A few days ago, John and his brother went fishing down on the Cooper River.  And yes, he had some catches!

Is my husband not the cutest thing you've ever seen?!

*Swoon* 🙂

But that’s not the story!  While they were tootling along in the boat, they saw an alligator in the distance, but as they continued in his direction, he didn’t budge.  Soon, they were upon the alligator and he just stayed there, floating on top of the water, blinking occasionally.  And we’re not talking a small gator, but like an 8 footer…


So they continued on up the creek, but shortly ended up passing back by the same spot…And the alligator was still there.  Upon closer inspection, John noticed something unusual about the gator’s mouth- someone had wrapped duct tape around his snout and he was unable to open his mouth at all.  Judging by how lethargic he was being (for those of you non-Lowcountry-boaters, gators are a very common site, but normally when you get anywhere near them, they dip under the water and swim away), he probably hadn’t eaten a quite some time. 😦

It might be tough to see, but the gator is swimming straight toward the camera with green duct tape from nostrils to eyes around his mouth 😦

At this point, John calls me to help him determine a gameplan, which was ultimately to call DNR.  Well, not only did it take him nearly 10 different agency numbers before he finally got an answer (at a remote Wando branch office), but after telling them the situation, all they could say was ‘That’s a sad story, but the alligator would likely be gone by the time someone could get there.  Oh well.’  John immediately called me back in disbelief and frustration…then almost immediately said ‘Gotta go.  I’ll call you back.’

Well, about 20 minutes later, he calls me back.  ‘I did it myself.  I cut the tape off his mouth!  Mark drove the boat to nose me up to the gator and I slowly took out my Skele-tool, reached over the side and cut through all three layers of the tape on one side before he went under!’

At this point- as I’m freaking out at the thought of my husband sharing breathing air with this reptile!- the gator resurfaces.  While the tape is indeed cut, it’s not gone.  ‘Call you right back,’ he whispered.  Oh Lord.  Then, after another 10 minutes, he calls again.  The alligator had slowly approached the boat, then stopped and stared, as if he knew John was there to help him.  And John reached back down to the water level and peeled the remaining tape off, just like that.  The gator then thrashed around, went under and swam away…Never to be seen again, at least on that day’s fishing trip.

This story just touches me on so many levels…As an animal lover, the thought of that poor alligator slowly starving to death at the hands of someone’s sick cruelty brought tears to my eyes.  As a Lowcountry citizen, our DNR’s lack of response makes my blood boil.  But as a wife, the compassion and bravery that my husband showed that day is just so inspiring and heartwarming. He saved that alligator’s life…Wow.

OK, so that’s it- now you’re really all up to speed.  Well, almost.  We have lots more adventures going on this spring and can’t wait to share them with you!  For starters, we’re officially in Countdown Mode until our BFFs, Sam and Chuck, get home from Tel Aviv- the 4 of us will be heading to Vegas next month to officially kickoff our summer!  Can. Not. Wait.

Beyond that, it’s a little too early to let the cat out of the bag, but I will say that we have a new business venture taking shape that we’re SO excited about!  It’s still in the early stages at this point- you know, all that fun stuff like dealing with attorneys, realtors, suppliers…But it also means going to some pretty cool places to work with some pretty cool ‘masters of the trade’ so that we, ourselves, can be masters by opening day! 🙂  So…John’s in Hawaii this week and I’m headed to NYC later this week, followed by Chicago for Mother’s Day (and yep, I’m taking Mom along with me- what a great way to celebrate her day, right?!)!

Don’t worry, we’ll keep you all posted on all the latest and greatest right here at Thomas, Party of 4, so stay tuned!  And thanks for tagging along on our Caribbean adventure- Happy Easter! 🙂

~Family makes the world go 'round...'

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