All Good Things…

Monday Mantra

All Good Things…

There is no Monday like the Monday after a cruise.

I must book my next cruise… I must book my next cruise… I must book my next cruise…

Boom. I knock the bedside phone to the floor and yet that shrill tone continues. My God! Maybe it’s an emergency! I’m leaping out of bed and running to the closet to grab my life jacket when reality hits me. That piercing sound is just my alarm clock telling me, rather insistently, that I’m back from my cruise and need to return to work today.

It’s coming back to me now. Yesterday’s disembarkation. The airport and the plane filled with toddlers, each one dragging a miniature rollerboard behind them. Cute, until I can’t fit my Travelpro carry-on into the overhead because little pink suitcases with Mickey Mouse luggage tags and Cinderella images are taking up half the space while the rest is filled with disassembled strollers and car seats. A little boy with a squawking Buzz Lightyear action figure is across the aisle and I vow to smash it to pieces if it’s still squawking when we reach cruising altitude. Behind me, a little blond girl is having a major, major meltdown.

Now, groggy with sleep, I shuffle into the bathroom and am greeted not by little jewel-like bottles of luxury toiletries perfectly arranged on the vanity but a 32-oz. bottle of Pantene, purchased at BJs Wholesale along with a 20-roll pack of toilet paper, a multi-pack of tuna in water and a bottle of more Advil than I’ll ever need. I flush the toilet and there is no terrifying vacuum explosion like there is aboard ship. I’m saddened.

Where the hell is my butler? Oh, that’s right… I’m home. And Wilson the Butler won’t be delivering my coffee each morning asking—nearly begging—me to give him my ironing or laundry. If only you would ask for laundry now, Wilson, if only….

I walk to the subway and descend to the platform. There’s an announcement over the loudspeaker and it’s not our cruise director’s theatrical voice.

I arrive at the office and find that nothing says “vacation’s over” like an e-mail bearing the subject line, and I quote, “Big Effin’ Problem.” It’s the first thing I see once the PC that was inoperable prior to my departure and still inoperable upon my return, is up and running by late morning. I address the “Big Effin’ Problem” before stopping for a lunch that I actually have to pay for. And where, may I ask, is the wine??

There is no elaborate dinner menu with goat cheese stuffed things, exotic soups, pastas, duck, lobster or filet mignon awaiting me when I arrive home that night. Instead, Michael places a bowl of egg salad with light mayo in the center of the table while he heats a can of soup. I’ll bet we won’t even have intermezzo. Or wine.

No question I’m home. Michael’s in his recliner and I’m on the couch. He’s watching a rerun of Law & Order on the television and I’m on my computer… meticulously researching ships and itineraries for our next cruise.

— Judi Cuervo

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.