My daughter and I just returned from a wonderful cruise to Bermuda on the Celebrity cruise ship Summit.  When I had requested a guest list earlier this year for my mom’s 75th birthday, she refused, and later presented my sister, myself and my daughter with cruise tickets.  What a treat!  The only contingency was that we were going to have to drive down to New Jersey;  Mom suffers from nerve damage and severe arthritis and was unable to fly with the scooter she required to get around.

No one can deny that my mother is incredibly generous.  And I am truly grateful for everything she does for us.  But I would be dishonest if I said she was easygoing.  Stubborn, in fact, is an understatement, but Mom has to be stubborn.  She lives with chronic pain and if she weren’t stubborn, I don’t know how she would continue.

Shortly after she decided we would drive to New Jersey, my mom bought a Caddy Fold-N-Drive Electric Scooter, which would have allowed her to board an airplane.  This subsequently negated the need to drive the 10 hours to Newark.  I wasn’t quite sure why this was in her plan, but I didn’t say a word.  I knew better.  We were driving, come hell or high water.

The most startling thing about this scooter is its reverse warning beep.  Actually, to call it a beep would be like calling our cruise ship a dingy.  The sound is more like an ear-piercing Lear jet screaming through the room at one second intervals.  People all around my mom backed away in shock, with their hands flying up to cover their ears.  I couldn’t blame them.  My ears were ringing and after the second day, I don’t believe they ever stopped.  Nevertheless, my mom seemed determined to avoid any opportunity presented to her to turn around with a nice, quiet U-turn, but seemed to back up every chance she got.  Unfortunately, my mom’s spatial sense has disintegrated significantly as she has aged and so, what could have been an only slightly deafening three-point turn, usually resulted in an 8 or 9 point turn.   Terrified people dashed out of their staterooms to see if the ship was on fire, or perhaps sinking.  Mom occasionally called, “Sorrryyyy!” with a dismissive wave of her hand, but usually ignored everyone.  I began to dread that beep like it was the plague.  But I must admit one benefit of the scooter “alarm”;  I always knew where my mom was, even if she was two floors away, I could detect the telltale, “BEEP!!!!  BEEEP!!!!!   BEEEEEEP!!!!”  When my sister and I enquired as to why the reverse beep was so incredibly loud, she informed us that it was “the law”.  Apparently there are scooter police out there and they are in cahoots with hearing aid and Nitrogen manufacturers.  You have been warned.

The night before we were leaving, the cruise line had requested that we leave our bags outside our rooms with tags on them that would facilitate a seamless disembarkation.  Mom made it clear that she was not in favour of putting our bags out in the hall and that she would put her bags on her scooter and disembark that way.  A seamless disembarkation was not in my foreseeable future.  I agreed that we could do this, despite the fact that this meant I would be dragging a suitcase and a carry-on, while wearing a backpack and carrying my purse, all while pushing my mom’s walker for her, as well.  The benefit was that people assumed I was actually using the walker out of need!  They bent over backwards to let me go ahead of them, opening doors and moving to make extra room for me in the elevator.  I briefly considered adding a slight limp to my routine, but I decided that this launched me from innocent purveyor of misunderstanding, into outright deceptor.  LOL!

The drawback was that all of the stateroom hallways were already narrow, but were now blocked with cleaning carts and bags of linens.  This necessitated my lifting of the walker, heaped with bags, above my head and over the carts.  When I finally made it to the elevator, breathless and weak, I was dismayed to discover that the mid-ship elevators were delegated for floors 1-3 … and we were on the 4th floor.  I glanced back and forth between the stairs and the next corridor, struggling to decide between the two evils.   Rock <ME> Hard Place.

Back to the corridor I went, calling back to my mother, that she should take the elevator up to the 5th floor and scoot through the Rendezvous Lounge, avoiding the stateroom corridor nightmare.  My mom relentlessly pursued me in her scooter, claiming that she, “Couldn’t hear me.”   Behind me, I heard her beeping at frequent intervals and, shortly after, my mom’s scooter became hopeless jammed between a cart and the corridor wall.  My sister remained to free her and I continued my mission to find a way off this ship, with my daughter quietly following behind.  Bless her heart.

Success!  We finally made it to the front of the ship and elevators that took us to the gangplank.  Five minutes later, my mom and my sister arrived and we were heading to our vehicle to begin our long trek home.

To quote Great Big Sea, I need home for a rest.