I’m recovering from a bout of Vacationitis. You know the malady: you take a couple of weeks off from the routine and suddenly you don’t want to go back to the same old grind. The house seems foreign. The bills are evil ticking time bombs. The laundry sucks. Grocery shopping and food preparing are vile time consuming beasts!

Ahem.

You noticed, of course, that the hiatus was only supposed to be a week. It morphed into two because Mike took an extra week off (his parents were supposed to stay 2 weeks originally, but they never actually do; they arrive, traipse around for a couple of days, cruise, tap fingers for a couple of days, and hit the airport in order to get home before some imaginary timer dings. Hey, they’re retired, it shouldn’t be so difficult).

Anyway, with Mike’s extra week, we decided to continue the party. We spent several days hanging out on Oahu’s beaches and in the stores. I even bought a silly napkin holder that looks like Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Try saying that one fast. Or, you can call it a trigger fish and be done. 🙂

But back to the cruise. Brief report: fun but harried. If cruising is supposed to be relaxing, it fails. Or it did for me. I suppose if you were on a ship going to a destination you’d been to before, you may not worry about shore excursions and could spend your time by the pool.

However, since Mike and I have lived on this island for two years and not traveled to the others yet, we were into the excursions. They involved getting up early, showering in a cubicle that I spent a lot of time wondering how in the hell some of the fat people I saw on the ship managed to fit into, racing up to the buffet, elbowing your way into the omelet line, limiting yourself to one cup of coffee (no bathrooms on the buses), and then getting all your gear and yourself either to the dock or to the appointed meeting spot within the ship by the appointed time.

Then you spent several hours with a talkative bus driver who liked to give you the history of the island and tell bad jokes. By the time we hit Maui on the 6th day, I was sick to death of hearing about sugar cane. You want to know how sugar cane grows? I can tell you. Want to know how they harvest it? I can tell you that too. Want to know about sugar cane byproducts? Yep, I got you covered.

The inlaws were into the shows on board. Every retired couple on the ship seemed to plan their day around a) the buffet and b) the shows. I’d hear them in line, at their tables, in the elevators:

“The show starts at 8, so we have to be done with dinner by 7 so we can go back down to the room and rest.”

“What’s on tonight?”

“Hmm, says here that it’s the cruise director and his staff singing show tunes.”

“Oh, that does sound like fun.”

“Tomorrow night is the Newlywed Oldie Game in the Blue Hawaii lounge or a magician in the Stardust Theater.”

“Oh no, how do we choose?”

“Oh, wait, wait, the magician has two shows tomorrow night.”

“I hope it’s not too late though. You know I have to be in bed by ten.”

Etcetera.

Oh, and cruising isn’t cheap either. Whoa, dude, the price gouging! Excursions are overpriced, alcohol is ridiculously expensive, and they actually want you to tip the bar staff (though the cruise is advertised as tips included because they charge you a fee every day for that purpose). I was a bit disappointed with the drink pricing. I can buy decent wine for $10 a bottle in a store. So why should I be charged 3 to 4 times that amount for the same bottle on the ship? (I feel the same about restaurants, btw.)

But, this is a writing blog, not a travel blog, so I’ll close this post by pointing you to some of the things I’ve been busy catching up on the past couple of days:

Over at The Lipstick Chronicles, Sarah Strohmeyer has an excellent post on the Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarism brouhaha. While plagiarism is never justified, I agree with Sarah’s take on this kid as having been pushed too hard too soon.

The problem is that Kaavya’s a kid. She might even be a devious kid. Or not. The thing is, she’s a freshman at Harvard and she hasn’t written the book yet. And she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing even though she’s just been paid this obscene sum of money. So she turns to her inspiration, for lack of a better word, the chicklit books of Megan McCafferty, a Cosmopolitan editor with a heck of a lot of experience. According to McCafferty’s people, Kaavya ripped off no fewer than forty scenes from McCafferty in writing her own book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. First print run – 100,000.

Food for thought. Go read the post. 🙂

Also, if you love Miss Snark and have been lamenting the absence of the Snarkometer, there’s a new editor in town: Evil Editor dishes up query letter Rx with style and humor. I don’t know how long he’ll last when the Snarklings come to town and start pelting him with queries, but who knows, he may manage to stick around for a while.

For the rest of the week, I’ll write a trip report for each island and I’ll try to say something clever/interesting/entertaining about writing too. ::snort:: It’s good to be back. I think. 🙂

Aloha!