Ship Of Fools

I created grouchymuffin as a venue to discuss and document life with Angry Baby, the meanest infant ever sprung from the loins of a she-bear. As the site took off, I learned a stone cold hard fact about the internet, (particularly grouchymuffin’s readers,) you’re all ghouls, vengeful whores just love reading all about my misery.

Luckily, I’m a raging narcissist and the only thing I love more than pleasing fans, is collecting ad revenue. For years now, I’ve happily obliged and freely shared humiliations, obsessions, and victories… all in blood-dripping, gory detail.

Sept. 9-14, I went on a “family cruise,” with L4L, Angry Baby, and a large group of extended family, this is my tale of our time at sea.


Ship of Fools, A Vacation Summary By The Crib Keeper

My father is a no-nonsense man who has no time for your idea of fun. Chances are, if it brings joy, the old man is against it. Take bars for example, or Honky Tonks as the unwashed masses would call them. My dad hates bars, especially bars that play country music. Perhaps it’s his refined sense of snobbery, or maybe he simply hates rednecks, but rather than call a bar or a club just that, he calls all of them, “Honker Joints.” His visible distain as he spits out, “Honker Joint”, can’t be replicated in word form, so simply sub any 1980’s movie villain’s look of disgust, and it’s a close representation.

Last Week, I was trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of big fat party animals, the whole vessel was just one, giant, floating, HONKER JOINT.

All of this.

All of this.

Back in February, a group of relatives decided we were due a family cruise. Always up for a good time and reason to travel, we agreed to join the trip. I remember booking with the Travel Agent like it was yesterday, “Oh you’re going to have a BLAST, and not to worry about your little one, she’s going to be having a GREAT TIME IN CAMP CARNIVAL!”

Minutes after throwing cash at Carnival cruise lines, Triumph, the very ship we were to set sail on, caught fire and floated in the ocean for days. We were assured by our agent that the boat would be fully repaired, restored and UPGRADED in time for our family funfest.

Months of Carnival Triumph jokes from our friends passed, and then came the day we said Bon Voyage on our first full-fledged WITH THE KID vacation. As we drove to the cruise terminal, our spirits were sky-high: a week of relaxation and free child care sprinkled in with a zillion of our family members to assist in high-seas kid-wrangling. Add the fact that we snuck on several water bottles of pure grain alcohol, and we had all the makings for a fantastic voyage.

The littlest Honker.

The littlest Honker.

After a super-quick check-in process, we found ourselves on the boat and relaxed in our stateroom in no time. Sure, we were a little sweaty from all the hauling and hassle it took to get there, but we were done. All that was left on our “obligation list,” was the mandatory safety drill right before we set sail.

The drill, given the ship’s previous issues, was thorough and lasted for 45 minutes. Not a big deal if you’re the last drunk fool to be mustered up. Terrible if you’re married to an Eagle Scout, therefore always early to everything. By the time the last boozed up memaw arrived to the deck, we were stacked 5 people deep and Angry Baby decided to start playing with random stranger’s “stinky feet.”

As they dismissed our miserable mass of partiers in waiting, a sullen woman handed me a placard reminding me ALL PARENTS who wanted to utilize “Camp Carnival,” had to attend a MANDATORY one-hour meeting. That essentially was for dipwads who didn’t do their due-diligence prior to sailing and still needed to fill out the forms associated with allowing a kid to frolic in their “Camp.” For the better part of an hour, I watched idiots decipher easy to complete forms like they were calculus. To pass the precious wasted vaycay time, I perused the Camp Schedule. Come to find out, the “unlimited fun-time for kiddies,” was available to us that evening for a whopping 2 hours. Which, after the long check-in line of drunk parents with their side-eyeing youths, was more like 1.5 hours of kid-free living.

As the cruise progressed, Camp Carnival was open more, but only for 3 hours at a pass, then that sh*t closed so they could prep for future activities…hardly the “UNLIMITED TIME TO PLAY,” we were sold.

This is the part in my tale that I remind you, L4L and I adore Angry Baby. She’s a lot of fun and a veritable whirling dervish of activity. Though on this site I call her AB, in real life she’s morphed into the happiest and sweetest little sugarlumpkin I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing…except when she’s bored or unhappy. Boredom or frustration incite rage, which causes Angry Baby to channel her inner Joan Collins, just like her mother (Karma is a cruel mistress.)

But, enough about the questionable at best childcare options the ship offered, and the dead-eyed workers who apathetically interacted with me each time I collected my child, let’s get back to the ship…THE NEW AND IMPROVED CARNIVAL TRIUMPH!

For starters, they didn’t gut the ship, they merely replaced the floors, tore up the deck and added two outdoor poolside bars on the main deck where lovely lounging used to take place. I say poolside, but the reality is…the pools, all four of them on the ship, were glorified bathtubs, chock full o’ fattys named, “T-Bone and Skeezah.”

Maybe it’s because I’m lucky enough to have my own backyard oasis with pool that puts all of Triumph’s to shame, or perhaps having a kid has made me a germ-a-phobe, but we avoided the toxic waste and never visited the “pools.” Unfortunately, ALL deck space was centered around the cesspools.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound so bad, and many of you jealous sluts are throwing me shade for being a snob, but the reality is, being ass to ass crammed on a boat with a bevy of partying rednecks is pretty much the last place, this vodka swilling Morticia Addams of a mother wanted to be. I was in “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere,” Hell.

Every public space looked like this.

Every public space looked like this.

Luckily, I had a bevy of movies loaded to the laptop and a Bluetooth speaker that made it possible to blast both tunes and movies throughout the room. Add all that bootleg water bottle booze, and I was still hopeful that our cruise was gonna be jest fines.

Except that I forgot to mention something to you, darling reader.  On that first night, we retired to our stateroom for the evening to relax and enjoy the 2 square feet of boat that didn’t involve Charlene from Dallas taking her top off for an extra Jagerbombs.  As our little family of three entered the cabin, we were met with the sweltering sauna of a night in f*cking Manilla. THE AIR CONDITIONER WAS NOT WORKING.

Look, there are luxuries in this world, and then there are BOLD FACED NECESSITIES. Living in Texas, air-conditioning qualifies as life support. I phoned the powers at be, who then sent maintenance over to essentially tell us, “tuff sh*t, the boat cycles…sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold.” We fought the hot for all of our sailing, not one sheet was used the entire cruise.

Once the Air Conditioning in our room proved to be an ongoing struggle, I mentally quit that b*tch. Sadly, booze makes me a sweaty mess, so if I wanted to keep cool and drunk, I had to power-drink in the tiny (yet very refreshing!) shower.

Did I mention with 24/7 Honker service, the hallway outside our stateroom was a steady stream of drunken screams and wall-thuds at ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT. Our first night sleeping in sauna room was greeted at 3:00am by a drunk pepaw harassing the room across the hall from ours, the ONE ROOM ON THE SHIP who decided to taunt the Honkers with a “do not disturb,” sign.

“HAY! HAY! HAY YAWL!!! THIS ROOM SMELLS LIKE FARTS!” The first time he yelled this, I got out of bed and looked through the peep-hole to make sure this “fart smell,” wasn’t emanating from our room. Sure, enough he continued to scream about “THE FART ROOM,” while he banged on the poor people who merely wanted to sleep undisturbed. Luckily, drunkie lost his balance from yelling non-stop about FAAAAAAARTS, and he decided to move it along.

We settled into a nice little routine, breakfast with the whole family followed by activities centered around spending money or standing in line, all while inundated with Honkers in bikinis wearing “classy coverups.”

Let me take this moment in my diatribe against Carnival to state my view on bikinis: IF YOU ARE OVER 300 POUNDS, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF OREO COOKIES, STICK TO A ONE PIECE!!!

Lurleen, I get that you’re proud of your extra curves, and good for you…but I don’t need a working knowledge of your large and in charge anatomy. Speaking of tricks letting it all hang out, when did “formal cruise attire,” morph into, “dress as hookery as a hooker hooking during Fleet Week?” If I’m going to have to suffer through dog slop served like it’s classy and fancy cuisine at a 2-hour “formal dinner,” each night, I shouldn’t have to look at every lady’s clam shack and yam-buffet.

Dress to impress!

Dress to impress!

Day 4 the sea hags at Camp Carnival (actually, there were a few sweethearts) weren’t watching for a few minutes, and Angry Baby had a “mystery injury” that left her crying and “sad because she wanted mommy and daddy.” I picked her up ASAP and vowed not to return, which we held strong to. Of course, that same day was the moment Angry Baby decided she was done with cruising and “ready to go home.”

Thankfully, Granny, AKA my solid-gold Moms-in-law, was her usual awesome self and took the AB from us for several hours and evenings at a pass. The woman is magic, she can take a bored and furious little bean and turn her into a napping and laughing little cutie with the flick of her magic wand.

After a work-week of SOLID RAIN AND CLOUDS, standing in line with chain-smoking Cletus, sweating my ovz off in our shoddy stateroom, and fighting my way trough the tragic buffet lines, I’ve never been happier to smell Galveston Island.

I really could go on and on, but let’s face it…we knowingly booked a cruise with Carnival, AKA the “fun ships,” which translates to: cheap and crammed with a bunch of buffoons. Besides, after the year Carnival has had, the fact that no one had to wade through a river of sh*t and we never lost power, is a WIN in their eyes.

All for NONE.

All for NONE.

To all my family who joined us, of course we had a great time with all of you. While there were some genuinely FUN MOMENTS, like the time I sang, “Brandy (you’re a fine girl),” at karaoke with Nonnie and we ROCKED it, or when I hung with my bros while we did power-shots and drunk-watched a movie. BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THESE INTERNET GHOULS HAVE BLOODLUST IN THEIR EYES AND ONLY WANT TO HEAR ABOUT MY MISERY.

Everyone else, here’s the takeaway:

1. Don’t take a toddler on a cruise, all the trashy skanks will give you the death stare because you’re harshing their party mellow.

2. Camp Carnival is where the Dementors go when Azkaban is done with them.

3. F*CK CARNIVAL CRUISES, there’s plenty of BETTER WAYS to blow a coupla grand. For the same experience and a lot less money, I’m pretty sure there’s a biker bar near you just waiting to show you the same good time.

Finally, and most important,

4. Clayton had the biggest DECK on the ship.







Ship Of Fools — 6 Comments

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