30th flight, 1st cruise.

a few months ago

i got a call

from my bud, chrissy

who writes the storked! blog

over at glamour,

asking if we

wanted to join her

and her son, jack

on a free disney cruise.

while, i’m not

really a cruise

kind of guy, but

i agreed to go,

because i figured maddy

would love it,

and yeah.

it was free.

besides, i thought it

was pretty cool that

this was the

first cruise for

both of us.

oh.

and did i mention

it was free?

(i think i’ve now satisfied the fcc ).

all i had to

take care of was the

flight, food (when not on the ship),

and booze.

sounded like

a pretty good deal

to me, especially because

we were going to

escape the cold

of mn for sunny

orlando and

the bahamas.

so last wednesday

we went to

the airport,

round trip flight #30

for maddy,

and i watched

as one of my

dreams was finally realized.

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as we waited

for our flight,

madeline colored

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and i told her

that we were going

on an airplane,

and the next

day we’d be

on a boat.

she repeated,

“aaaaa boat.”

“aaaaa boat.”

“aaaaa boat.”

“aaaaa boat.”

over and over again,

and thanks to

aj, all i

could think about

was this song

(totally nsfw, nsfc, & nsfpwnsh)

anyway.

we got on the

flight and soon

enough we were in orlando.

met up with

chrissy and jack

and made our

way to the hotel

where we’d spend

a night before

heading out for

our cruise.

orlando was cold.

i mean, really cold.

in the thirties.

not what i expected,

but it was

still warmer than mn.

we got settled in,

the went out for

a late lunch.

maddy lost a shoe

somewhere along

the way, which sucked.

she usually yells, “uh oh”

when her shoe

pops off, but this

time she was

a little distracted

and failed to let

me know.

oh well.

after lunch

we all headed to

epcot and froze our

asses off while we

wandered around the park.

jack and maddy.

it was weird.

i was here a

few years ago with

liz,

when she was working

for disney and was

on a business trip.

we spent a couple

of days at the parks,

on the way to spaceship earth.

and talked about

how much our future

children would someday

love her

because she could

get them into

the parks for free.

i picked out these

ears for maddy

maddy with my choice for a hat.

but ultimately she

ended up with these:

maddy with her choice for a hat.

we caught up with

our friends, danielle

with danielle at epcot.

and her husband, robert

and walked with them

for a bit

before saying goodbye

to chrissy and jack

for the night.

maddy ran around

and made lots

of friends at the

bar while danielle, robert

and i had a drink

and talked.

we watched the fireworks,

before deciding it

was too cold

to be outside.

that night maddy

did a lot

of coloring

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while i enjoyed some room service.

thursday morning

we had breakfast

with some new friends,

and maddy went from scared

she was scared.

to skeptical

she was skeptical.

to acceptance

warming up.

in fewer than 30 mins.

after breakfast we

jumped in a van

and headed to port canaveral.

the kids

talked to each

other and chrissy

and i caught up

on everything

since the last time

we really had

a chance to talk.

as we pulled up to the

port, maddy started in with,

“aaaaa boat”

“aaaaa boat”

all over again,

and i couldn’t

help but laugh.

liz

always talked about

how disney had

efficiency down to

a science, and

she was right.

the check-in process

was way smoother

than i expected,

especially because i

didn’t have any of

my documents with me

(they had been sent to los angeles and we were already in mn when they arrived).

and we were given

a keycard, to be used

to charge

anything on the boat

(and one of the islands).

we arrived in our

room and found

a fruit and cheese plate,

and a bottle of

champagne waiting

for us.

our room.

awesome.

we got suited up

for our mandatory

life boat drill,

tall.

then headed to

a welcome party.

chrissy and jack.

watching.

the kids played on

the deck,

playing.

maddy did some dancing,

dancing.

swept the floor

with her streamers,

sweeping.

then stood on

her head for like,

15 minutes.

my kid is weird.

after the party

we headed

back to our rooms

so we could

get ready for dinner.

maddy said goodbye

to land

saying goodbye.

and watched the

sunset from my arms.

sunset.

we met up

with chrissy and jack

and went off to dinner.

maddy was exhausted

and fell asleep

during the 5 minutes

between ordering and

delivery of her food.

when the adult food

was delivered,

maddy was passed out

in my arms, so

our waiter offered to

cut my steak for me

cutting my steak.

then fed me

a couple of bites.

feeding me.

maddy woke up after

i had finished

my dessert and chrissy

and jack had

gone back to their room.

the waiter asked me

if he could bring

madeline another meal

to replace the

one she decided not

to eat when she

fell asleep.

that was awesome.

maddy ate the

second meal

dinner.

then we went to

the theater

for some live entertainment.

maddy doesn’t weigh

quite enough to

keep her seat in place

watching.

she need to gain a little weight.

she clapped along

to the program

and i thought long

and hard about

keeping my cynicism in

check for her.

(i did pretty well).

we were both

a little exhausted

after the performance,

we went back to

the room and

got a little bit of sleep.

friday morning we

woke up

to the sounds of

the boat docking.

first words out of

maddy’s mouth that morning?

you guessed it.

“aaaaa boat”

at least 12 times,

all without

so much as taking

a breath.

man this kid can talk.

we went out to

our deck

time for a trim.

morning.

and took in the

beautiful sights.

apparently we were

in the bahamas,

docked at the island

of nassau.

pretty cool.

first trip here for

both of us.

i cleaned maddy

up and we

met up with

chrissy and jack

for some breakfast.

breakfast.

drinking.

i didn’t bring a

stroller with me,

and madeline was less

than interested

in walking on her

own, so i got

a stroller

(available for free for everyone)

from guest services.

we got

off of the ship

me and kids.

chrissy and kids.

kids.

and wandered around

nassau for a bit.

police.

little lady (sorta).

later, we hopped in

a cab and

went over to

the atlantis resort.

the kids enjoyed

what turned out to

be a small

part of the aquarium

watching the fish.

watching the fish.

fish.

big fish.

tunnel.

maddy with shark.

before we went

out to the beach.

maddy on the beach.

running on the beach.

maddy apparently overheard

me when i told

chrissy how much

i wanted a

mobility scooter,

so when i turned

my head she

tried to steal

one for me.

grand theft mobility scooter.

(i love my kid).

maddy fell asleep

passed out.

as we toured

the rest of the aquarium

jellyfish.

jellyfish.

out.

and stayed asleep

as we had a

beer on the

steps in front of the fountain.

out.

we made it back

to the ship

before they took off

without us,

got cleaned up

and went to dinner.

maddy enjoyed all

of the theatrics

that happened in

the dining room,

enjoying dinner.

clapping.

and again, i found

myself checking

my cynical side

at the door.

our kids threw crayons

and food all over

the floor, and

unlike some places

i’ve been,

the waiters didn’t

seem to give a shit.

they just kept smiling,

which is a nice

thing for a

couple of self-concious

single parents with

naughty children

to see.

madeline decided that

she didn’t want to

go to sleep

all that early on

friday night,

so i took her to

to the 9th deck

to take in some

of the activities.

she spent a bunch

of time on my shoulders

party.

holding tight.

watching.

then finally got

down and started

drinking,

drinking.

dancing,

not watching the movie.

and running.

running.

we both had

a great night

staying up late

and laughing with

one another.

the next morning

we woke up to

grey skies and rain.

water.

and that meant

we weren’t getting off

of the boat.

the crew announced that

the outdoor activities had

been cancelled, and

soon after printed

and distributed a new list of

indoor itineraries for everyone.

we spent the

day running around our cabin

happy.

showing off.

and the

indoor play area

before getting tired

and passing out.

asleep with cookie.

that night

we had another

amazing dinner

and afterwards,

for the first time

on the cruise,

we put the kids

in the day/evening care

facility so we

could have a drink

and watch the football game.

maddy didn’t even say

goodbye as i was

handed a pager

(to be used in case of an emergency or to let you know when they kid was ready to go).

we met up with

some new friends

and spent the night

laughing and talking

about what it’s like

to watch our

children grow up.

picked maddy up

at 10:30 and

we walked around the

ship for a bit

before going back

to our room and sleeping.

when we woke up

on sunday morning

we were already

docked at port canaveral.

we had time to

grab some breakfast

before exiting the

ship and making

our way

back to orlando.

had a nice lunch

at one of the hotels,

and watched as our

kids played with

crayons and cars

and ate popcorn.

(or as maddy put it, “cockcorn”).

the flight home

was lots of fun.

madeline was

overly tired, which

translates to active

as hell.

thanks once again

to our frequent trips,

we were upgraded to

first class,

which pissed off

some dude wearing

a shirt promoting a

las vegas strip club.

wanted to tell the asshole

the same thing

i always think in

my head when someone

complains about my

baby’s behavior

before we’ve even

gotten on the flight…

“she flies all the time, and she’s usually pretty good, but i’m gonna make sure she cries the entire flight, just to piss you off.”

but i didn’t

think he should be

the first person

to actually hear

those words come out

of my mouth

because he looked

like he beats the

shit out of people

every morning just

to feel something.

so i sat

down with her

and tried

to entertain her

with color wonder markers

(love those things, crayola did not pay me to say that, fcc),

and the few toys

we carried with us.

all she wanted

to do was

run up and down

the aisles, knock

on the cockpit door

and talk to

all of the

other passengers

(while i was left to imagine us getting pounced on my an air marshal).

all of the passengers

were more than

happy to engage her,

everyone but the asshole

we’d already encountered.

whatever.

working to our advantage

was the fact that

there were

two very loud

adults in the back

of the first class

section, who shared

their life stories

at volumes more

appropriate for a

loud club.

the flight attendant

and a passenger

told me they were

happy to have

madeline on the flight

because it helped

distract them

from the loud people.

that was nice.

and by the time

the flight landed,

i was exhausted and

my back was

killing me,

and everyone in

first class

(except for you know who)

complimented madeline’s

wonderful behavior

and told me i

was doing a

great job.

what a great

way to end the trip.

so now what?

we’re back in

minnesota until wednesday morning

(oh shit…that’s tomorrow)

when we head down

to mexico with

liz’s

family for our

yearly trip.

can’t wait to get

down there.

maddy will be playing

with the family and

i’ll be sitting

on a swing

at my favorite bar

in the world,

drinking a pacifico or

seven and working

on finishing up

my book.

i couldn’t think

of a more appropriate

place to be.

and this morning

i started planning

maddy’s second

birthday party.

the only thing

set in stone so

far is that on

march 19th

we’re heading

to paris,

a place i haven’t

seen in almost

11 years.

we may do

a bit of traveling from

there, but no

matter what,

i think she’s gonna

have a nice birthday.

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