We drove the cars to Lot 3, the "Purple Lot," and caught the bus back to Terminal A. Mom and dad were already checked in, and waiting for us. Good deal.
We checked in without incident, and headed to the gate. Mom and dad both failed the scanner test, and were pulled aside "to have their landscapes surveyed."
Our flight to Atlanta was uneventful, with Vivian and I in 17A&B, and mom and dad behind us in 18A&B. During our 1.5 hour lay over, which went by pretty quickly, we grabbed some quick breakfast.
The flight from Atlanta to Vancouver was the only flight we didn't have seats together on, as when the travel agent booked them, there was an "airport hold" on all seating, and he couldn't choose seats for us.
As it turns out, this was a huge plane, and it was no where near full. I was in 18G, mom and dad were in 20F&G, and Vivian was in 43G. Before we departed, I moved to the seat behind me, putting me in the row in front of mom and dad, and Vivian came up and joined me. Why we all couldn't be seated like that to begin with is beyond me.
The flight from Atlanta to Vancouver was about 4.5 hours. We had two snacks along the way, and a movie with Kevin Costner in it played, but none of us watched it.
Mom and dad got whisked away on one of those airport cars, and Vivian and I met them about 45 minutes later after waiting through a rather long immigration line.
We probably should have stayed with them, and we probably would have gotten to go through with them. As it turned out, there were four cruise ships leaving today, and all close to the same time, which is what made the immigration line so long.
We found mom and dad at baggage claim, and they had already retrieved their bags. [Finger mark in the air] One for maintaining their independence.
A skycap came with a cart and took our 13 bags to the bus waiting to transfer us to the ship. We were the last four to board -- they were holding the bus for us. We had a little bit of drama getting all of the vouchers accounted for, but finally did and got on the bus.
At the port, we got off the bus, and into a line to board the ship. There were many winding lines, but we got taken to a "needs assistance" area, and only had about two people in front of us.
At this point, there were two guys from the ship pushing the wheel chairs that mom and dad were in. Vivian and I were looking for gay guys in the lines, and we started to see just a slew of them. I was getting pretty excited.
Then the guy pushing mom said, "There are three ships loading through here. One of them is a Celebrity Cruise, and this week, it's chartered as a gay cruise." Darn. That's where all the sisters were going.
We checked in, setting up our on board account, which included, for security purposes, the taking of a picture by a webcam the woman was holding in her hand and waving in the air.
Boarding the ship, we also took two photographs -- the kind you know they're going to have on display later for you to buy for $15 a piece. At least.
Just inside the entrance to the ship we were introduced to, by asking us to use, the hand sanitizers, which were all over the ship, and particularly at the entrance and exit to all areas serving food. You held your hands under them, and they automatically squirted an amount of dry wash liquid into your hands that smelled like pure alcohol.
"Please wash your hands often on the ship, especially before and after every meal," the greeter said.
I was thinking we had balcony rooms, but we had window rooms -- not those little round port windows, but big rectangular windows. We were in cabin 6012 and mom and dad were in 6015, with the two cabins between us being Uncle Dennis, Terry, and Cynda's and Terry's sister Lucille and husband's. We'd asked when we checked in if they'd checked in yet, and they hadn't.
We took about a half hour or 45 minutes to unpack, and then all went up for the "Welcome Aboard Lunch Buffet." There was no lack of food, and we all managed to find something we liked.
After lunch, dad went back to the room, and Vivian, me and mom went up by the pool to have a drink. Vivian and I each got a Bloody Mary, and mom had a nonalcoholic drink. Mom just dumped on us about how bad dad's attitude is. And I mean dumped.
At 4:30, we had to attend the mandatory emergency evacuation drill, better known on board as "Muster Call." There was a lot of drama about this in that dad said he "wasn't going to bother with that," and mom got pretty angry about it. Dad is in a very bad place emotionally, and evidently mom's about at the breaking point dealing with it.
Vivian and I stopped by their cabin at about 4:15, and only mom came out. "He's not coming," she said. We got up the stairs, and were turning the corner when he appeared behind us.
"Where's my life jacket," he said to mom once seeing us all with them on.
She turned around to him and just screamed at him, "It's in the cabin in the closet!"
"Jesus," he said as if he was absolutely appalled that she was yelling at him. "It's in the cabin," he repeated shaking his head.
"I'll go get it," I said. "Give me your cabin key." I gave him mine, and told them to go on to the muster station, that I'd catch up with them.
When I got back, Vivian was on the stairs, and they weren't anywhere to be seen. "Where'd they go?" I asked.
She nodded toward the landing leading to the lower floor, and said, "They needed a timeout. They're over there."
We took our places in Muster Station D, and waited for instruction.
They blew the ships emergency warning signal -- 7 short bursts and 1 long one. Of course they were incredibly loud, especially the one long one, and dad was shaking his head the whole time.
I have never seen so much negativity in all of my life. He has a negative comment to make about anything and everything. Anything that involves change is a major ordeal.
Almost everything evokes a shaking of the head, "Jesus Christopher!" (one of his favorite lines, and not in a prayerful way), or you having to repeat things two and three times, shouting, because he can't be bothered wearing the hearing aids he has. If there's any kind of loud noise, he acts like it's something someone is doing to personally upset him.
I just don't know someone can go through life like he does. Mom told us earlier that all he does is sit in his char, mostly sleeping, and when awake watches TV. He doesn't want to do anything else. This sounds like classic depression to me and Vivian, but he's not interested in admitting that to a doctor, much less seeking medication to address it.
I know the root of this depression is getting old, and not being able to do the things he used to do. What makes it hard on everyone is that he has an answer for everything, and refuses to seek help for anything.
Saddest things I heard him say or witnessed today:
- His saying that it's just as well that he can't go on the fishing trip with his brother, as, if he caught a fish, it would probably be so big that he couldn't reel it in." (He has been an avid fisherman all his life.)
- Mom said that he sits so much in his chair at home, that his body imprint is actually in the chair.
At a little after 5:00, we headed up to the pool area for the "Sailing Away Party." There was a band playing, and a BBQ Buffet set up along the side of the ship in that area.
The cruise director took the stage, and did a series of "the first one who can do or produce x will get a free gift." This ended up with a bunch of people on the stage, at which point they started the dance music creating an instant full dance floor.
The first song turned out to be The Electric Slide, and Vivian and I went up there and did it. After it was over, they tried to shepherd us into the middle of the dance floor to stay up there. We did for about two minutes, and then faded stage left.
Vivian and I walked to an upper deck to take some pictures as we were pulling away from the pier. On the way, we found Uncle Dennis et. al., took our pictures, and then told them where we were with mom and dad. Shortly after that, they came down and joined us.
(l-r: Vivian's arm, Uncle Dennis, Aunt Terri, mom and dad (seated), Lucille (Terri's sister), Cynda (my cousin), and Bob (Lucille's husband)
At 7:00, I left them to go to "The Champagne Bar," where, according to the ship's daily schedule, a "Friends of Dorothy Gathering" was to be held. I stayed there until 7:30, and no one else ever came. They were all on the Celebrity Cruise.
Actually, these two other guys walked by, they looked like a couple, and I think they were family, but they didn't stop. I'm not sure if I just misjudged them, or they had agreed on their way, "If no one else is there, or just ugly guys, keep walking."
I returned to the cabin, and everyone else returned from the Sailing Away party shortly after that.
I took a shower, and Vivian and I hit the sack pretty early -- it was around 8:30, I believe.
Vivian called to schedule a wake up call for 8AM, and once set, the voice said, "Your wake up call is set for 8 hours."
We couldn't decide if that mean in 8 hours or for 8 Hours AM. Since it wasn't critical that we be up early, we just left it, assuming it meant at 8:00AM.