Vacation was wonderful and eventful just like most of my life. 

We drove from Texas to Louisiana to leave out of New Orleans for our Norwegian cruise on Sunday.  We caravanned with my Mom, Dad, Uncle D and Aunt D.  More family – Uncle J, Aunt L and Cousin S w/her kids – K and J were already there or arriving later.  We had a total of 15 members of my family on this cruise with us – 9 adults and 6 kids total.  The drive was fine, uneventful, but long – 4 kids, Hun and I stuck in The Beast (a Suburban) for an 8+ hour drive is….challenging.  But, we survived with little bickering – high on the excitement and adrenaline of a new adventure.

Our original plan was to drive the kids over the Mississippi River by way of the Huey P. Long Bridge – one so they could experience the bridge itself and two, so we could take a round-about way to the cruise terminal.  We wanted to be able to approach the cruise ship from the opposite side of the river so the kids could get their first view of the ship from an aerial perspective.  We had this goal in mind because the kids’ questions regarding the cruise told us they had no idea what the word “big” meant when attempting to describe the ship to them.  No amount of looking through the photos of my Mom and Dad’s previous 15 cruises conveyed the colossal size of these ships.

However, strike one happened when we drove to the bridge only to discover it was closed for construction the weekend we set sail.  Drat!  Detoured around, only to come to the cruise terminals from the backside where the 2 ships that were in port were positioned behind buildings.  As we’re exiting (and stuck in traffic for all 4000+ other passengers attempting to board), I noticed the smoke stacks of the Carnival Ship sticking up above the 4 and 5 story buildings and barely able to be seen between bridge supports.  Gasps of disbelief came from the back of The Beast as exclamations of wonder were heard about the size.  Hun and I just grinned at each other – that knowing grin often passed between parents who knew all along the kids would love their surprise.

Once we were finally on the ship, fears of falling overboard and drowning by Monkey fell away as she finally (FINALLY!) realized that she couldn’t just walk off the boat like she can on The Mistress or other ski boats owned by the family. Our cabins were found and luggage stowed, while kids begged to see the rest of the ship.  The kids couldn’t contain their excitement enough to stay with us long enough to explore the ship as a family – we finally had to set them free to explore on their own as it just wasn’t “cool” to be seen with us “old” people.  When we finally saw them again – they had already found the ice cream bar and were chowing down on their first of many, many cones.

Once we finally convinced the kids to try out both the Kids Crew and Teen Crew programs on board – that they weren’t “day care” programs – we hardly saw them the rest of the trip except for planned shore excursions.  We even let them roam on their own – after all – how much trouble could they get in?  Until Monday night rolled around that is.  Hun and I were attempting to go to bed when we heard a knock on our cabin door.  Rowdy was standing there, hand held out, and with a quiet voice stated, “I think I broke my thumb.”  That’s right, around 24 hours into our cruise, Rowdy needed to go to the infirmary.  Hun took him down and was back with the report that they don’t “think” it’s broken, but let’s send you to the hospital in Belize on Wednesday when we dock – an ambulance will be waiting for us – just in case.

Great.  Just great.  After doing a little calculating, this is our 3rd vacation where Rowdy has gotten hurt in some form or fashion.  We’ve only had 4 vacations as a family – and I’m not sure the 4th one counts since it was a stay-cation when our a/c went out.

Nothing we can do about the injury on our first stop – Costa Maya, Mexico – which is beautiful by the way.  We’re told the nearest hospital is a 4 hour ambulance ride from the cruise ship terminal.  Kept the hand/thumb wrapped and attempted to keep Rowdy out of the swimming pool with little success.  Finally gave up the fight on Tuesday night – simply because we were losing the battle.

We opted to skip the planned trip to the hospital in Belize because of the unknown – unknown country, unknown customs, unknown cost, unknown amount of waiting, unknown everything.  Rowdy insisted his injury wasn’t severe enough to worry about, so with the on-board physician’s okay after a 2nd examination, we decided we would keep it wrapped, iced, and pain relievers flowing until back on our own home soil.  Now that we’re home, we’ve already seen our pediatrician, scheduled an appointment with a hand specialist (as the thumb is still swollen – 7 days later) and poised for another hurry up and wait scenario.

The rest of the family was supportive – calling Rowdy Klutz, Thumbs and other suitable nick-names – and the vacation continued…..

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