Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
I woke up at 6:10 to my phone alarm. Why 6:10? I don't really know. It was set that way so I left it there. I got up, got dressed, and left the stateroom in search of a cup of coffee and a pre-breakfast. I was hungover though the full effects weren't in place yet so I didn't actually know it. Ignorance is bliss.
The first thing I noticed was that the weather was bad. Overcast and rainy, not a good day to be traveling but it is what it is. The next thing I noticed was that we weren't in port yet and we didn't seem to be terribly close though I could see land - worst case I swim I guess. As I sat there eating my eggs, fried potato variant, and breakfast meat I also noticed that the boat didn't seem to be moving. At all.
Shortly the captain came on the PA and announced power had gone out overnight and we were running late. Whatever. Then when I left the dining room the men's bathroom was flooding the lobby. Whatever. Then when we all came back up to eat breakfast a bit later the AC had broken. Hmmm, not whatever. It was disgustingly hot and in theory they wanted you out of your room and waiting in the various lounge areas by 8:00. To be sure, that was fart-in-church material and we had nothing doing on that front. We basically took our time but did get to the lobby at maybe 9:00 or so.
Of course the lobby was a madhouse and we went out on the deck where it was hot because Florida is always hot. It crept up on 9:30 and they still hadn't let anyone off the boat yet despite 8:00 being the expected start time. Eventually Terren went to ask the desk a question and the guy basically told him to fuck it, just get off ASAP. While he was on line the debarking had begun, so we got in line, said fuck waiting, and we were off the boat in 15 minutes.
We were met by a passport line, then a luggage line, then a customs line, then a line to make people be in 4 lines in a row. But all in all it was smooth enough save for the fuck-face porters who just cut in line as if they owned the world. Did I mention the other day what a bunch of assholes our society is filled with? This also in light of the fact that nobody anywhere makes any concessions for people in wheelchairs. Are you for real?
Anyway we were out in relative short order and hopped in a taxi with no car seat and in the airport in less than 10 minutes where we quickly learned our flight had been canceled because of bad weather. In New Jersey. After some talking with the guy at the counter I decided that flying into JFK on a 1:00 was better than getting a hotel and hoping the next day was OK. Fuck that bro. My philosophy is to get as close as you can and let it work itself out.
Well at 3:45 we were stopped on the tarmac at JFK. At 4:00 we were still stopped and getting hot because the stupid fucking mechanical arm-ramp thing wasn't working and the plane had shut down which means no air circulation. Incredibly Julia handled it all well and had even napped for an hour on the flight despite the worst turbulence that I had ever personally experienced. And the landing was harsh because there were strong winds which you apparently thwart by hitting the runway at approximately 40,000 mph and hoping your landing gear doesn't disintegrate.
Nat is exhausted by now but I know we still have a fair amount of real estate to cover so my head is still in the game. It's all mental and if you start to let yourself slide then you can go downhill pretty fast. Thankfully that didn't happen, even after the lady at JFK told us we missed the Newark shuttle by about 2 seconds. Of course she was jabbering on the phone with a friend which might have had something to do with it but whatever, it would have been a perfect timing thing anyway and that was obviously not the order of the day. Oh I forgot to mention that we had to take a shuttle from the plane to get the luggage so that was actually yet another mechanized vehicle we rode in, so bring the tally up to 6.
So we are led over to a waiting area where we take turns chasing Julia around. She's happy, I'm happy. That's basically the way it goes because if she's unhappy the shit hits the fan. The shuttle is scheduled for 5:00 but 2 people tell us not to expect much more than 5:30 and at 5:25 a short hermit-like man shows up and says he's our driver and grumbles something about paying him now. He refuses to make eye contact.
So we get in and it's obvious he is paid to get from point A to point B as fast as humanly possible without killing anyone (or at least no passengers) and he does this well enough, but the constant slamming on the gas and brakes sends all of us lurching back and forth like bowling pins in a centrifuge. At several points Julia let's out a guttural scream of disapproval and at one point she just stares at me as if to ask me WTF we're putting her through. Fair enough, as this is hardly enjoyable for anyone let alone a kid. The fat people in the back of the shuttle manage to sleep through it all.
We get there in one piece and find my parents easily enough in terminal A. One more relatively pain-free car ride and we're home by 7:50 and I'm draining 2 cruise-size glasses of Syrah before bed and we all sleep like bricks that night. My total day at that point was 13 hours and 40 minutes. For Julia it was just about 12:15. Given that we did so much and she only napped an hour, she gets a gold star to be delivered at a future point in time.
Even with all of it, the delayed flight going there, the lack of things to do on the ship, the rain in Jamaica, and the adventure getting home, I want to do it again. While "it" may not be the exact same trip, I want to get out and be on an adventure of some kind. While we were sitting in the terminal waiting for the shuttle to Newark, I remarked that I was having fun with it all. Nat was kinda surprised I guess but having to stay on your toes and deal with whatever life throws at you can be kinda fun some days.
As Walter said, fuck it Dude let's go bowling.