Since I've not posted very often, I am going to take this time to post last month's VoiceboxX article about my less than enchanting honeymoon cruise.
My marriage to Harry didn't start off with so much as a bang but a snooze and a slide.
Four years ago this June, I was married and set sail on a beautiful tropical excursion.
This is the story of that horrifying experience, courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Immediately after our nuptials had commenced, cake had been eaten and confetti had been plucked from expensive up-do’s, Harry and I hopped back into our stretch limo and headed to the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Columbus airport to board our plane to THE Honeymoon destination of choice: Hawaii.
“Wow. We’ve got a long day of plane-switching ahead of us,” Harry said as we hungrily downed our packed dinner that my mother, the ex-wedding planner, had so thoughtfully packed for us. “Well, one of us better be alert!” And just like that, he was out. Snoring peacefully in the fetal position across the leather seat, Harry was probably dreaming of Klipsch speakers while I stared at his sleeping form. Any hope I may have had of a limousine-related romantic interlude was dashed as Harry drooled slightly onto the headrest.
For four hours I listened to easy rock stations while the limo driver eased the vehicle over the bumpy Ohio roads. Three times I attempted to wake my sleeping and newly minted husband but to no avail. Arriving four hours before the airport even opened, I had yet to catch even a small power nap and felt as if my contacts had been secretly switched with Tupperware bowls.
Finally, several hours and many coats of under-eye concealer later, we boarded a plane. And then another. And then another. I saw the airports of three major cities I hope never to return to and had eaten food that was questionable at best while running along beside my perky, well-slept husband.
Sixteen hours after we said our “I do’s” we boarded a very large, very white, very full cruise ship. The internationally eclectic group of crewmen and women were helpful in taking our luggage up to our room while we went in search of real, edible food that didn’t originate in an airport.
“Let’s go up here!” Harry said as he smiled and rushed up two flights of stairs. “No, wait. Let’s go down to that other place on the lower deck!” Flying past me at a speed usually reserved for road runners and Indy drivers, Harry bounced up and down the stairs.
I grabbed his collar. I was tired and more than a little cranky due to the loss of sleep, time and almost, at one point, my questionable airport lunch.
“JUST. PICK. ONE,” I said to him slowly and a little too loudly.
“Okay, okay,” he said, giving me a big hug. “Let’s not kill me on the first day of marriage…”
Getting on the glass elevator with twenty of our shipmates someone asked us where we lived. Feeling giddy I answered without thinking: “We’re from West Virginia! It’s our first cruise and we’re on our honeymoon! It’s been two days almost and we’ve yet to get any sleep!” I gushed.
Harry looked at me in horror as the rest of the elevator snickered.
After finding out that the “deluxe food” offered by the cruise ship was really a creative way of saying “crappy food”, Harry and I settled on a plain hotdog, a plain hamburger and a retreat to our suite. Stepping in to our cabin, I stared, transfixed at the sight in front of me: Twin beds.
Made up singly and separated with a large nightstand the beds mocked our new marital status. I looked at my husband blankly.
“I’ll fix it,” he said. It was four in the afternoon, Hawaii time, and I was barely conscious. Part of my less-functioning brain was certain that I’d wake tomorrow, snug in my Barboursville home and the other half was half hoping it was true.
“See? All better!” Harry had squished the beds together and striped them with the blue comforters.
“Thank you, husband darling. You may live to see tomorrow, after all.” I looked out at the dock through our window. “Then again, we have a balcony. So, maybe not…”
After eating our found fare and watching three re-runs of “King of Queens” (one subtitled in Vietnamese) I fell asleep for the first time in days. I awoke many hours later to find the ship moving and an intense need for the bathroom. Realizing a little too late that I’d yet to master my sea legs, I lurched hard against the second bed. Pausing, I held my breath, hoping I hadn’t woken Harry.
But he was gone.
Panicked, I looked around the darkened room.
That’s when I spotted it: A leg. It was poking from between the beds, straight up in the air like a fleshy flag. My sweet husband, who’d orchestrated the bed-fixing had managed not only to wedge himself into the crack, but to fall asleep there as well.
Leaning over to wake him, I paused.
Smiling, I thought of sweet revenge as I remembered the insomniac limo ride and my brand new husband sleeping like the dead while I remained uncomfortably alert for the entire drive.
“Sleep good,” I whispered as I patted his curled toes arched in the air.
Seven days, twenty-four episodes of “Kings of Queens”, and one unfortunate incident with a Swedish waitress later (“What? You no like your tuna steak? Ohhh! You like dessert!”) Harry and I ran from our Norwegian honeymoon cruise clutching our luggage, our stomachs and our marriage with sweaty palms.
Seasoned veterans will tell you that the first year of marriage is a trial by fire. If my first week of wedded bliss was any indication, I think they just might be right.
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