Day 5 Scandinavia – At Sea, But I Can’t See!

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Oh the joy of a day at sea.  No commitments other than the big decision to eat at the buffet or the dining room.  Oh, and don’t forget to mosey down to the espresso bar for that cappuccino.

We all slept in.  I’ve developed this habit of waking up as the sun rises.  I snap a quick sunrise shot and hop back into bed (if there is time).  Today, oh baby, there was time, and it felt good.  But the sunrise wasn’t that pretty today.  Kind of blah – which is exactly how I felt.  Maybe the sun needed to sleep in, also.  There was a little slip of a moon in the sky, but you just can’t win at the Spectacular Sunrise Contest every day.   It still was nice, but I’m getting spoiled.  I rarely sleep late, but I didn’t get up until after 9:30 a.m.  George and Ellie were still dead to the world, but George eventually got up and we had lunch at the buffet.  I was hungry because we had missed breakfast.

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Ratatouille (french thick veggie stew) over roasted broccoli, seafood salad and cucumber/tomato salad with yogurt dressing. Probably 2 points? From the buffet and right to my stomach. I also ordered a fresh grilled fish fillet. They have a chef on-site who will cook steak, chicken, pork or fish to order.

When Ellie got up, she took off with friends, and checked in periodically with us.  While she flew from the pool to the Teen club and over to the card room, George and I had a wonderfully lazy day.  In the afternoon, I decided I had better get some exercise in and went to the Fitness Center.  George promised to meet me at a certain spot on one of the decks and at specified time and we would go to dinner together.

It’s hard watching George have difficulties keeping up.  It has to be very frustrating  for him, and I was feeling guilty for constantly nagging him to walk faster to keep up.  Yesterday in Copenhagen had been hard on him, and he genuinely needed a rest day to recover.  Tomorrow we start a rough few days.  Stockholm for two days, Tallinn, Estonia, and St. Petersburg, Russia for two days.  No rest in between.  I’m not sure how he is going to handle it.

He had spent the day resting, but had promised to get up and meet me.  That man does love the horizontal position; book in one hand and Facebook in the other.  Doze a little, read a little.  I have to work on earning my extra 500 calories so I can eat out in Stockholm tomorrow!  Off to the Fitness Center for two hours.  I came out on wobbly legs from trotting on the treadmill and elliptical machine.  I had also tried to do that airborne core torture rack thing.  I knew my core muscles (trendy vernacular for flabby stomach) were sore from working out the day before, but when I got situated on this horrible, horrible piece of (*^%** (censored)  equipment, and tried to lift my legs into the air – oh my god, pain shot from my forehead to my toes.  I was sure some demented fitness freak had assaulted me with a gutting knife.  I stopped, took deep breaths and told myself I could do five leg lifts.  I would have screamed, except there were 200 people in better shape than myself, sweating and looking happily fit around me.  I did three of these literally gut wrenching leg lifts and went back to the treadmill.  I’m sure if I looked up the inventor, he would be a descendent of Vlad the Impaler.

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Picture from the first day I tried this. It’s probably a good thing that my face wasn’t captured trying it with sore core muscles because the look of terror, horror and pain on my face would not be pretty.

I was so happy that it was time to meet George (I could quit), and ecstatic I had actually managed to get in  3 1/2 miles of steps, I practically danced out of there.  Feeling all warm and lovey for the man saving me from doing any more exercise, I thought I would give him a big kiss when we met.  Maybe that would circulate the water now lodged in his ankles!  He has sacrificed big time to make Ellie and I happy on this trip; it’s time to cheer him up.

George has a distinctive bald head, and is easy to spot.  Sure, there are a lot of bald guys on the ship, but I know my own husband of 36 years!  Across the deck near the pool, I saw him sitting in a chair with a group of other people.  How nice!  He’s making friends!

Feeling those occasional warm thoughts, I saw him look over towards me.  I waved, smiled gaily and did a little swivel with my hips to indicate a “Happy I am Married to You” dance.  This is probably also a good moment to explain that my eyesight isn’t very good.  I have continual problems with my eyes and always have a myriad of black “floaters” that resemble insects or Harry Potter Dementors flying across my vision.  I often jump, thinking something just ran across in front of me.  Nope, it was just one of my many permanent friends lodged in my eyeballs.  I had also been sweating, and some sweaty sunscreen got in my eyes, which was making them water and burn.

I’m waving gaily and doing my little wifey jig as I approach George.  His eyes seem to widen and a scowl comes across his face.  Okay, George is not a smiler, and he is pretty uptight.  But the people he is with all have their backs to me, and they can’t see me.  What is is problem?  He should be happy to see me!

You’ve probably guessed it by now, but as I got close and have my lips puckered to plant a smooch on his bald head, I realize it isn’t George.  This guy may have the same bald head shape, but his face looked like some Italian mafia godfather who recently retired from causing his business associates to disappear, and was finally taking his wife on that vacation he has promised her for the last 35 years.  And apparently I am not his type, because he is glaring at me.

I didn’t know what to do.  Tell him I thought he was my husband?  I can now see his wife is there, wondering why he is looking so upset.  Feeling like a total idiot, I smiled and nodded and walked right by him and tried to look like I was greeting somebody else.  I saw him again about two hours later and he again glared at me.  I hope they don’t have restraining orders for cruisers on the ship.  But geez, if I was going to hit on some cruiser guy, it definitely wouldn’t have been him.  Maybe the pool boy, but definitely not a totally bald old geezer without a sense of humor and who knows 25 ways to make a body disappear.

I was so rattled  I forgot my plan to appreciate George.  I’ll work on that tomorrow.  Actually, I won’t!  My old husband coot doesn’t want me, smooching or otherwise.  We went to the evening show, and he fell in love with the performer.  She is an incredibly talented pianist and singer, trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London.  She also is beautiful, and the dirty old man was dazzled by her.  Without a thought, he tossed his former love, Siri, out the window.  Never mind the real wife.  Usually, when a show gets over, George slowly walks up the steps of the auditorium, looking pained and tragic.  Last night, when she mentioned that she would be selling her CD at the top of the stairs by the ladies bathroom, and would love to hug anyone who bought one, he practically ran up the steps.

There wasn’t a lot I could say, having just tried to kiss an Italian mafia godfather, so I offered to take his picture with her.  You know what?  George can smile for a photo!  Especially when a stunning blonde is pressing up against him.

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He hasn’t been that jolly since he won $24 on a lottery ticket.  After she hugged him, he was all worn out from this second childhood puberty hormone rush, and had to go to bed.  Ellie was also tired from running all over the ship all day, so I said goodnight to them both and headed to the casino.  I’m happy to say that my original $20 big time gambling budget has now grown to $55.25!  Ah, the wild life of a buggy eyed grandma left alone in a ship’s casino.

Tomorrow is Stockholm, and we have a big day of museum events planned.  We are here for two days, so I’m hoping to see some nightlife in town and have a real authentic Swedish meal.  Ellie says she has a sore throat, oh I sure hope she isn’t getting sick!

Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. I work for a national weight-loss company and LOVE to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight and found a new career. For me, it is a dream job. How many people can say they love their job? I get to work together with people to help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. With Medicare looming in my near future, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

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