Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bon Voyage

Grammy and Papa leave early tomorrow morning to go on a cruise. Grammy, GG and I had our "farewell" lunch today. I think they will have a sounds like the folks they are going with are a fun crowd.

Cruises are fantastic in that every little detail is taken care of for you. There are lots of entertainment options, and you can pick and choose exactly what you want. Or you can just lay around and be a total bum for seven days.

M and I loved our honeymoon cruise. We went Royal Caribbean on the recommendation of some close friends, and it was fantastic. We saw an officer walking around doing a white glove test at 1 a.m. He was checking the tops of door frames and signs. Now that's detail.

When we first boarded, we noticed that the mats in the bottoms of the elevators had the day of the week on them. We laughed and thought, "How ridiculous." By midweek we'd look at each other, "What day is it?" Then we'd head to the elevators to find out. M was determined to "catch" them changing out the mats, but he never did. At 12:01 a.m. every day, they were changed.

I went to the on-board library every morning to get the one-page fax of the New York Times. Not to read the news, mind you, but because they included the NY Times Crossword puzzle, which, as all good puzzlers know, is the Holy Grail of crossword puzzles. My Papa got me addicted to doing crossword puzzles, and the cryptoquip, and he taught me all the little tools and tricks necessary to solve them. It's not often that I can solve the entire NY Times Crossword puzzle, even on Mondays when they're the easiest (they get progressively harder as the week goes on), but I'll be darned if I didn't solve them all the entire week of the cruise. I think it was because I was relaxed enough to let my brain actually work to its full capacity. It was free enough to do that whole association thing where it can jump from topic to topic and pull random references from thin air because it's not being encumbered by the normal absurdities of life (i.e. "I have to remember to stop and get milk on the way home. Did I put that bill in the mail? Is the oven off? When is the deadline for that project at work? How do I get my cat to quit yowling at 5 a.m. every day? Why do some men feel the need to have trucksticles?")

My Papa's Rules for Solving Crossword Puzzles:
1. You may not use a pencil. Pen only.
2. You must write in all capital letters.
3. You may not check off the clues as you fill in the answers. Only amateurs do that.
4. You cannot peek at the answers. Unless you're almost done and completely stuck. Then you can peek. But just at one, and just to get you going. Until you get stuck again.
5. It's best to find someone else to work the puzzle with, because while they're busy writing in the answer you just gave, you can move on to the next clue. Highly efficient this way. Also highly annoying to the writer, who doesn't get a chance to solve any clues herself because she's too busy writing for her Papa.

So, bon voyage to Grammy and Papa! Enjoy your cruise! Relax and rejuvenate! And remember, if you must get seasick...go aft!


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