The good news--we're all safely home.
The bad news--the ground is still swaying.
Since I'm out of here again tomorrow (I'm using the word "here" in the sense of the state of Utah, not "here" as in Jake's hospital room, which I'll be out of tonight once Chris comes up to take the night shift) I thought I'd better post at least a little about our trip.
Oh, and no need to worry about the hospital. It's his normal inpatient stay. He's starting on the last third of his treatment protocol, scheduled to end in mid-October. He had a CT and MRI yesterday and everything looks good. Still no sign of the tumor, just a little thickening in the sinus area which is an effect of the radiation. So all is well and good.
Back to our vacation. In no particular order, here's what comes to mind.
1. Lines: Lots and lots of lines. Especially the first day when 3600 people are all trying to get on a ship the size of a village through one small gangway door. That night at dinner, Chris asked, "What time exactly did we board?" Jake's answer: "Define board."
2. Humor: The only way to cope with 3600 people all wanting to be roughly the same place at the same time. Also a nice benefit of being together for any length of time. I think it always surprises Matt and Jake how funny their parents can be. Or maybe they were laughing at us.
3. Nassau, Bahamas: Hot. Sticky. And the hair braiders charge by the braid.
4. St. Thomas: Good snorkeling (or so Chris, Matt, and Emma report.) Jake and I stayed on board, put Spencer in Camp Carnival, and enjoyed the relatively empty ship. A pool almost to ourselves, going down the waterslide without waiting in line, not so much noise while reading . . . a nice day for everyone.
5. St. Maarten/St. Martin: Chris and I left the kids on board (Emma and Spencer safely squared away at Camp Carnival) and went on an island tour. It's split between the Netherlands and France and I particularly enjoyed the hour we spent wandering around the French capitol, Marigot. A wonderful old cemetery with above-ground crypts and lots of conch shells marking the graves of the less wealthy. Some of the dates went back to the days of sugar cane plantations in the 1800s. Also, you just know that a French town, no matter where it's located, will have wonderful pastry.
6. Dining: Summed up in two words--good and lots. My children are now wandering around the house wondering where there 24 hour soft serve ice cream and pizza are. We had our own table in the dining room for dinner and I could have lived off the warm chocolate melting cake alone. The true measure of success? Jake gained 7 pounds.
7. Overheard onboard: Matt and Jake each found themselves the target of some unsolicited comments. As Jake walked through the corridor one night, he saw an irate woman banging on a stubbornly-shut cabin door. As Jake walked past, she turned to him and said, "Don't ever get married when you're older."
As for Matt, he wore his My Chemical Romance t-shirt (with the band members as skeletons on a black background) and caught the eye of some teenage girls who felt compelled to give him a hug . . . oh, wait. That's a different story. Same shirt, though. A small boy came up to him shyly and said, "I like your shirt" and then scurried back to his dad, to whom he said, "When I grow up I want to be like him--kind of cool and kind of creepy."
And now, of course, the fun ends. Laundry, Chris travelling, school starting in less than two weeks . . . oh, wait! School starting is the beginning of MY fun.
Aaahhh, I can hardly wait :)