The Makings of a Dinosaur

The other day I was reading in Cnet about the post laptop era – as evidenced by the crowd at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin Texas. The participants at at SXSW roamed the streets with their iPads and smartphones setting up meetings, arranging dinner dates and texting each other ad nauseam with barely a laptop in sight besides a MacBook Air.

After reading this article I realized that I have the makings of a real technical dinosaur. Not only do I not have an iPad or interactive smartphone, I have no intention of ever owning one.

When I worked back in the Pleistocene era, I was happy to have a desktop system and be incommunicado when I wasn’t in the office. A laptop in those days was considered a perk for the managerial types, but I always felt it was a perk not to have to take my work home every night. Times have sure changed and working stiffs are now glued to their Blackberrys and iPhones, not to mention that everybody carries a laptop back and forth to the office. Ball and chain.

But not me. I need a big screen now for my aging eyes. I haven’t even been able to get used to a touchpad, let alone a touch screen. I have a netbook but it’s so slow and frustrating that I switched to a powerful quad core laptop. If I ever buy another computer it’ll be as big a honking desktop system as I can afford. And don’t even get me started on trying to type on a virtual keyboard.

Sorry you interactive bleeding edge people, but I won’t be making the SXSW scene anytime soon. Just call me Laptopadon or Desktoposaurus.

Bunking In With Teddy

I admit there were times I wasn’t really all that confident we’d enjoy our recent Caribbean cruise as much as we normally do. Part of the problem was that we were going to have two year old  grandson Teddy sleeping in our cabin.

As I saw it there were a few problems with this arrangement:

(1) Teddy normally sleeps in his own room without the distraction of others – especially fun distractions like Nonna and Grandpa.

(2) Teddy is used to Mom or Dad being there when he wakes up. We weren’t sure how he’d react when they were not.

(2) Teddy gets up EARLY. 0530 is a common rising hour and – while I used to get up them when I was working at Unilever – it’s been a while since I’ve wanted to.

Anyhow we decided to give it a try but we had a backup plan. There was a second crib placed in his parents’ stateroom in case of emergency.

We began our little experiment in the hotel in Fort Lauderdale. The first night’s sleep ended with a cry of “EEE-YAW! Up!” precisely at 5:30 AM. Can you imagine having an alarm clock that worked like that? Not a pretty thing to contemplate.

As time progressed we went to a new mantra each day: “Daddy? Daddy? Mommy? Mommy? Nonna? Grandpa? Up. Walk.” Things were going pretty well until a time change moved everything back an hour. At 4:30 Nonna found herself  walking him around the ship watching the cleaning staff and finally wheeling him down to Plan B – his long suffering Daddy.

Another night after a day of missed naps, we found him up and ready to go at 1:30 AM. Any attempts to snuggle or return him to his crib got “No, no,no,no! Up! Walk! Nonna coming! Grandpa coming!” Time for Daddy to take over again.

Toward the end of the cruise Teddy was settling in nicely although still rising around 5:30 – but the last night he had another 2 AM incident. His Nonna told me later that as she wheeled him around the ship and got him asleep in his stroller she noticed other passengers just coming back to their cabins with drinks still in their hands. Good thing we weren’t among them I guess. Teddy went back to good old Daddy again that night and Dave got him to go back to sleep. Thank heavens.

So at the end of each day we managed all right, and a couple of good nights sleep at home has cured our exhaustion. And the two weeks of quality time we spent with this incredible little boy was worth every minute of lost sleep.

True Celebrities

Celebrity Cruises has a theme that they’ve used for years – that the guests on their ships are like celebrities in their own right. Slogans like “We treat you famously” or “Starring you” have been coined to get this point across.

I suppose the Celebrity marketeers believe this, but after our 10th Celebrity cruise (and 2nd on Celebrity Equinox) I’m convinced that the true celebrities are the wonderful crew members who serve us aboard the many ships. Those are the folks who keep us coming back to Celebrity.

A case in point would be Leandro, our waiter from our first Equinox cruise. He remembered us – especially our 2 year old grandson Teddy – so he greeted us warmly when we met him again. He was kind enough to let me get a photo of him with Dave and Teddy for our cruise scrapbook.

We met many others on the ship who also remembered Teddy as well – Melani from Mauritius, Albert from Honduras, Leonardo (our all time favorite sommelier) from the Philippines, Antonio from Portugal. During our last Equinox cruise, Antonio had given us a map of Lisbon that was kid friendly so that we could make the most of our day there. We were really happy to see him again.

Maria and I even managed to re-greet a really nice young man (Remzi from Turkey) that we had as an assistant waiter on a Med cruise in 2007.

This time we got to meet a bunch of new celebrities – Leo’s lovely wife Maria who was also aboard Equinox, Anne from France, Ephraim from Turkey, and our fabulous waiter team of Yalcin from Turkey and Alejandro from the Philippines.

We also enjoyed meeting two other nice ladies – Janet from Nicaragua and Samantha from Jamaica – and a tall handsome sommelier named Bojan from Serbia. Bojan loves little kids and came around every day to our table to cuddle our 6 month old granddaughter Veronica. He should make a great dad someday.

I know the cynics among us will assert that these people are paid to be nice and serve us during our cruise vacation. But there’s a huge difference between paid service and genuine unsolicited friendliness. We always get the latter from Celebrity Cruises’ multinational onboard staff. That ensures our loyalty far more than any sort of repeat cruiser program ever could. Here’s to the true Celebrity Celebrities.

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