A Day with Mum and Dad

May 16, 2008 -

John Heald

Today, I took Mum and Dad to a big American style shopping mall called Bluewater. It’s about 45 miles from where they live and they never get to go there very much and I wanted to treat them to a special day out………………..so armed to the teeth with credit cards, I went shopping…………..which as you know, next to flying and the French, is something I dislike with a huge dollop of passion……………can you imagine a place where I had all three at the same time……………shopping…………on  Air France.

Anyway, back to today and as I said I headed to this big mall with my credit card ready to spoil Mum and Dad.

In the mid-1970s, shortly after credit cards first were introduced in the UK, just one in ten people had one. Today, the average British citizen has two per person and in North America that average is 3 per person………..we are living in a world of credit.
As a result, the economy, we are told, is teetering on the brink of reccesion and little old ladies are having to sell their cats for medical experiments to be able to pay for the mortgage.

But there’s a darker side to credit cards. A sinister underbelly that is rarely talked about. I’m talking about the misery of not having the right one.

We’ve all been there. Dinner is over, the bill has arrived and everyone is chucking their plastic onto the table. It’s a sea of platinum and gold. Someone has produced something with a Wells Fargo stagecoach on the front while someone else has one made of real gold with their name written in diamonds. And then it’s your turn and all you’ve got is your booger shade of green American Express card .”……………..bugger.
The day was very successful and we had a nice time and my snot coloured credit card helped buy some clothes for Mum and some books on trains and buses for Dad. They will have been married 50 years this year. In fact, their anniversary will be the same day as the naming ceremony of the Carnival Splendor and I am hoping that they will be able to come and share their special day by witnessing the christening of our spectacular new Fun Ship.
My sister Sue Drip (the one with the broken ankle………….cost me a fortune to get her boss to run over her foot) and I used to go shopping every Saturday with Mum and Dad and those memories came flooding back today from when I was 12 and Sue Drip was 8……….obviously, if Mum and Dad went out shopping………………so did we.

Today however, things are different as 12 is the new 17 and families ………….including friends of mine seem quite happy to leave kids of that age home alone.

If I’d been left at home alone when I was 11, I’d have been dead of hunger or electrocution within the hour. Come to think of it, if I were left at home alone now at the age of 43 nothing much will have changed………I cannot cook and still have no idea where electricity comes from.

We might like to think of an 11-year-old as some newborn foal, all slimy and incapable with wobbly legs, but it’s not that long ago that 11-year-olds were skilled in the art of chimney cleaning and pickpocketry……………………. and nothing’s changed.

Today, most 11-year-olds can  hot-wire a car, outrun the police, fight an entire army of aliens, drink a bottle of vodka without being sick and operate a digital satellite transceiver and speak a language all of their own. I called Alan the other day and his 11 -year -old son answered. I asked him how he was spending his Saturday and he told me he was playing with his wee………………..it took me a few moments to realise that he had not in fact urinated in a plastic cup and was now filling his water pistol with it but was in fact playing with his Wii thingy game thingy.
Let’s change
Of course for the wonderful older folks being on a cruise ship is also a blessing and some as we may have mentioned before actually live…………on the ships. Their is of course the famous Cunarder “Bee” who has lived on board the Queen Elizabeth 2 for many years. I wonder what she will do once the ship retires to Dubai……………I will try and find out.

I spoke to Kerry Stables our Director of Production Entertainment today about one of the new shows she has produced for the Carnival Splendor called “The Beat”…………here is what she said.

Just to let you know I went and watched a run of the Splendor shows yesterday, and the cast are simply amazing!! They ran all of ‘The Beat’ and I have to say I am very excited, it is so much fun and some of the best choreography I have seen. With a mixture of George (GREAT partner work!!!!!) Joan, Mic and new choreographer Alexandra Ferdinand it is very diverse! The fact that I got excited and they were just in the studio dancing to midi tracks, makes me feel confident that when we get it on stage with lights, scenery and costumes we will have another great show, and so different from Vroom! Warning, it is going to be very taxing on the dancers bodies, they do not stop!

Wow………….I can’t wait to see the show and of course I will tell you all about it as soon as I do.
Yesterday evening I had two long conference calls. The first was about the naming ceremony and plans for this great event are coming along well and I will share them with you as soon as I can.

The second call was to finalize the charity we will be working with in New Orleans for the pre 2009 Bloggers Cruise. Again, this is in the early planning stages but I hope soon to tell all of you who we are planning to help with what will be a great cause and what is going to happen very soon.
Back to the 12 year olds…………….Of course, the benchmark for what 12 year olds are today was set many years ago by the movie Home Alone starring the Macocky Culkin…………..whatever happened to him?
I remember watching that movie and thinking how I would have loved to have been left Home Alone at Xmas. Now I may not have stopped Joe Pesci from breaking into my house by building booby traps and land mines out of legos, bubble gum and an old toilet roll but it would have been heaven for me, and for 12 year olds today it would be heaven for them as well.
Imagine………….being 12……………….and being Home Alone at Christmas.

No old ladies with camel breath queuing up to kiss you on the mouth. No Brussel Sprouts. No need to wait until Christmas morning to play with your new X-Box game, and no need to worry that someone might want to watch television instead.
No need to open presents which you know are sweaters. No being dragged off to church on Christmas Eve. Putting your feet on the furniture, watching the Playboy Channel, eating what you want, where you want, with your fingers, while slouching, and with your elbows on the table, and safe and comfortable in the knowledge that if you want to fart you can …………without fear or trepidation of a close encounter with the back of Mum’s hand.

Kids are so different today and as I saw bunches of 12 year olds happily mincing around the mall in packs I remembered that I had never been allowed to do that when I was 12. This reminded me of the ship and what a wonderful safe environment it is for kids today and how from the moment they walk up the gangway 12 year olds immediateley want to disown their parents and meet up with other 12 year olds to hang out in our Circle C Club and listen to Fergi, Limp Cookie and Jay Zee Hammer.
Certainly, most 12-year-olds are far better able to fend for themselves on the ship than most 80-year-olds and on the rare occasion housekeeping has been called to clear up a puddle on the promenade deck it won’t have been the 12 year old that didn’t make it in time.

Nope……….things are different these days and unlike me who at the age of 12 had a family holiday hanging on Mum and Dad’s coattails, they can today have the run of a cruise ship…………lucky buggers.
So, it was a day for memories as I spent the day with Mum and Dad and remembering when I was 12 years old…………………..and that I have the best Mum and Dad in the world. I have a lot in common with my Dad including the fact that when we have been sitting in the car for a long time, when we get out we make little noises with our bottoms. As I mentioned, when I was 12 that would have warranted the back of my leg turning red but today after 1 hour in the car,when we both got out we sang a duet together………………and we all laughed.
Your Friends
John and Heidi and Mum and Dad

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.