April 25 was a busy day.  They get that way on the crossing home.  The ship schedules all kinds of parties, among which are three Mariners’ lunches, and ours falls today.  I schedule a couple of events, myself, to make sure the guests remember what we do for them, when they fill out their Comment Cards.  Tonight, 24 or so of us will be eating at Canaletto, all for the special 4*+ price of $5.  I will be pouring wine I bought on our Livorno wine tasting, and it should be very pleasant.

The guest talent show was today, too.  Harvey Cohen was in it, dancing to L’il Darling.  He used to dance on American Bandstand, back when we were all young.  The star of the show turned out to be a neighbor of ours on Deck 3.  She recited a very long poem, that she had written 20 years ago, when she took her first world cruise.  It was good, and she was better.  She still had it memorized, and it likely ran to three pages.  I’ll have to re-commit “The Raven” to memory.  I used to recite those three pages, but have lost most of them over the years.

Dinner at Canaletto was a lot of fun.  We drank twelve bottles of wine.  That always helps.  The entertainment was good, too, Island Magic, a steel band from Trinidad.   We’re on our way to the Caribbean, you see.  We had this nice pic of ourselves taken, while waiting for our guests to arrive.160425-003 Canaletto Elvon & Helen

On April 26, I did a bunch of paperwork, and even more packing.  It was the last Gala night, so we went back to our regular table to say goodbye to those very nice people.  May we meet again.  We skipped the Masked Ball.  There’s no point taking Elvon to such things and I had a big day on the morrow.

The next day, I went to the Pinnacle around 11:15 am  to meet with Tristan, the wine steward.  I only had about seven bottles of wine left, but with four from Michael and one from Alan and Lynn, I figured we would have enough.  Then the Healings arrived, God bless them.  They had each purchased a wine by the glass package and had about 125 glasses left between them.  That would do our whole lunch and then some, and it made life really easy on Tristan.  God bless you, Healings, we will think of you as we drink our own wine down, over the next couple of days.

“Show and Tech” went well enough, but only about four people spoke up. Next time I do this, we’re back to “Show and Tail.”  Everybody buys something animal-related and has a story to go with it.  It was still a delicious lunch and it’s always nice to see how well the group has bonded.

After lunch I went straight back to my desk and took more boarding pass information down.  Then I finalized and printed my letters, collated them with a comment card each, watched the Filipino Crew show, and delivered them.

Now that I had the last pictures, from the lunch, I started making screen savers on the USB drives Gene had given to me.  It took 5 minutes each, and 20 minutes for the special one for Norm Petersen, with all Dees fish on it.  I was popping USB drives in and out of my computer as I cycled through the shower, and got dressed for dinner.  I took a bunch of them out with me, and gave one to every DV passenger I met.  The rest will be picking them up at the desk, when they bring in their Comment Cards, or whenever I see them.  I will always have a few on me.

Chris Spano, the Librarian, and Mike Holt came to dinner, and we had a lot of laughs.   It was the last all-singing, all-dancing production show, and it was called The Midnight Hour.  It was their best.

April 28, two days before we were due to disembark, I was still making screen savers through morning ablutions and in-room breakfast, and I had enough to stock my desk with, by the time the time came.  There was a note in my door from Marcia, beginning what we called “The Case of the Squealing Pig”.  A bottle of wine had gone missing in the dining room last night.  Dan was having a party at a bigger table, beside his usual one.  His table is already DV people heavy, with Alan and Lynn and Bobbie at it.  He had added Michael and Marcia.  Marcia had given him a bottle of wine called “Squealing Pig”.  She had bought it at Matua, one of the wineries our tour went to in New Zealand.

Dan said he had brought it to the dining room, with his place cards, in the middle of the afternoon.  Come dinnertime, no one could find it.  I called both Marcia nad Dan for more info and took the case to Jacques, the Cellarmaster.  It was going to be trouble, because it spanned jurisdictions.  When Dan went to the dining room, there were no wine stewards on duty, so he had given it to a couple of dining stewards.  He did not know their names.  Jacques admonished me to interrogate Tom, the dining room manager, when I saw him at dinner, but allowed that he would make good on the bottle.

The desk was a madhouse, with many, many DV cruisers coming in with their evaluations, for a hug and a screen saver.  The evaluations are beautiful, by the way.

I met Jacques in the gym, and he was happy to report that he now knew where the Squealing Pig was.  The dining steward had taken it to his room for safekeeping and would be calling me to ask what to do with it.  I called Marcia and told her.  Then Dan called.  He had found the bottle in his cabin.  He must never have taken it to the dining room, when he took in the name tags.  He was pretty embarrassed, but, bless his heart, he had already called Jacques and owned up to it.  Case closed.  We’ll never know where the bottle in the Dining Room Steward’s room came from.  You can be pretty sure he didn’t steal it, as these guys are almost all Muslim, and they don’t drink.

The Yetkes and Healings hosted a small party in the Healings’ suite at 7:00 pm, and we were delighted to be invited.  It was nice and laid-back, full of martinis and left over wine, and the fabulous hors d’oeuvres that are there for the asking, when you live in a Neptune Suite.  We went on to have dinner at one of the two Yetke tables, and had more nice face-time with the Wescotts and Healings.  Terry Davies provided an excellent Piano Man show, with the music of Elton John and Billy Joel.

April 29, one day left. I was up bright and early and into my walking shoes for “On Deck for a Cause”.  Sadly, I have enough of my own people to walk for these days, and I had joined the Yetke, Wescott, Healing table group to walk for Roz Bricknell, an Australian lady, who has been at their table for years, and likely won’t be next year.  Cancer is so nasty.  I did a lot of the walk with Nicola, the IT Manager.  I like him a lot.  After about four rounds, I expected him to leave me in the dust, but he didn’t, he just left me to get to work.  I did another round with Rebecca, from Shorex.  Then she went to work, too.  I managed seven rounds, which is one more than I usually do, before I went to work.  Unlike the crew, I had done all I could, anyway.

I added a couple more boarding passes to my list accessed the Internet and went into business.   Won’t bore you with it, but it took most of the day.  I had a two hour break at one point, so I took Elvon to the gym, and finished packing.  I went back to the desk around five and did the late ones.

Once again, it was a wonderful experience and we finished it off with three days at Willie and Isabel Gray’s house, where the hospitality is always warm.  We got up at 5:20 am on May 4, crossed Alligator Alley in the fog, returned the rental car, shuttled to the airport and got there in time to catch the flight before the one we were booked on.  Good thing, than, because our 11:42 am flight wasn’t leaving until 1:20 pm, and would certainly miss its connection in Houston.  So we flew to Newark in the two middle seats of the second last row, and Newark to San Francisco, together in the very last row, where the seats do not recline at all, at all.

Susan met us and took us to Burlingame, where she had just traded my car for hers, I got into mine and we had a delightful dinner in a Burmese restaurant.  To keep our house clean for sale, we spent five days at Ruth’s.  At that point, she had other house guests coming in and we needed to clear out and all I wanted to do was get Elvon home to familiar surroundings he could function in.  So, we’re home.  It’s for sale.  We live very clean and leave whenever there is an Open House or a sowing.  The market is hot in our area, so we don’t expect this to take very long.  We are moving to Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa, and are both looking forward to it.  Another chapter opens.  Stay tuned.

If you are looking for a quick overview or our cruise around the world, Dee Wescott gave me what she uses for wallpaper when she’s out there:GWV 2016 b Wallpaper