It was our third cruise as a group and we guiltily referred to it as work--and it is, we have workshops--but the most important part is playing with a hundred best friends while the sun shines and the dolphins follow the ship--and all that.
I bring my family on this cruise, those who can be gotten. So I'd spent several weeks prodding to make sure that my children, nephew, in-laws, family friends all had their passports. They did.
I did not.
Somehow, I'd lost it--something discovered when I went to find it where I keep it in a drawer. ALWAYS keep it in a drawer. Well, always, but not this time. So, in the twenty-three hours between taking my daughter Chynna back to LA and the cruise itself, I sat in the Miami passport office.
That meant I never unpacked, so I had a huge bag full of clothing--except for makeup and underwear. I'd taken those items out, needing clean underwear, and using the makeup for the passport picture that still makes me look like I should be locked up. It did feel a bit ridiculous to have seven sweaters and no toothbrush or undies.
We get to the ship, and all is a little confusing, because the woman at check-in doesn't want to let me have as many children as I do, but she's finally convinced that I did procreate a lot, and we all get on the ship.
I should say that the great thing is the people we get to go with. Our Florida group is made up of a group that’s incredibly supportive, and better still, we have editors and agents on board we truly know and love--we love them even if they've rejected us or made us do the rewrites from hell several times over.
The ship is not the best ever, but who cares when you're all aboard? We started with the signature sail away drinks the first night, and somehow, argh! make it to karaoke and then the casino. Okay . . . even I, who love a good karaoke night, crawled swiftly into the casino. I love a good slot machine, too. And the slots even liked me back that night.
Key West, Blue Heaven, and meeting up with a musician friend at Hog's Breath, and back on the ship. Mexico where our favorite (group favorite) bar lurks, and our entire group, including our amazing agents and editors, wind up in ridiculous balloon hats and we take our traditional picture shot in one of the two bathtubs that sit facing the water. And it's amazing. Because in this world, people do matter. Getting to know one another lets authors know if they believe in an agent, and an agent know if they like what an author has to offer. Editors may hear the best story in the world when they're wearing balloon hats and eating tacos and imbibing in a few margaritas.
I had my nephew, niece-in-law, and two little ones on board. I did feel a bit like a character from "Sweet Home, Alabama." I was watching them with Auntie T and Uncle Stu when Stu, who had had a pacemaker, had a little bout. They had to head back to the infirmary, just when little Graham suddenly said, “I have to peepee, Auntie Heather,” and I looked around at the carriage and the bags and the baby . . . but we made it to los banos. We were to meet the others at the bar, and so we headed over. A baby! In a bar! Oh, two of them. But, at this bar, there were children all around. All wearing balloon hats.
It's the best time, really. I can't wait to do it again! Ole!