Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trip Tales, part 4

Okay so the next day we went to go to Castaway Cay. We got up early, hustled down to breakfast. And my mother-in-law told me that she had set us up an appointment for a pedicure.( I don't like pedicures; I think they’re creepy. I really don't want a stranger rubbing on my feet, and I can paint my own toenails, thank you very much. I also think they are insulting and demoralizing to the person who does them. Like I think they're so far beneath me that it's okay to let them scrub my dirty feet. Now, I know it's their job and that they chose that job, but I still don't want to make someone do something so gross. My feet are clean but they're calloused and we should probably take a belt sander to those bad boys.)

 The afternoon before when she said that she needed to spend some money and suggested going to get a pedi, I said, “No, thank you.” I said we were going to the beach on Castaway Cay the next day and that I was going snorkeling. So… she made the appointment for 3:00 in the afternoon.

My husband said that we would enjoy the morning on the beach, do a little snorkeling, eat lunch, and be back in plenty of time for the appointment. No, no, no, that wasn't okay with me. They had hammocks on the beach and a contained children's area, and I planned to spend the entire morning taking advantage of those. And then I wanted to snorkel after lunch and keep playing on the beach until the boat blew its horn that we had to get back on or get left behind. I wanted my toes in the sand for as many hours as possible, and that would exfoliate my feet plenty.

After we sprayed everyone down with sunscreen, we got off the boat and walked the half-mile to the beaches. The mother-in-law rode the tram, looked around, got back on the tram, and got back on the boat. I don't think she was on the island for more than 15 minutes. Now, with the however many thousand people were on the ship now on the beach, it looked like one of those Discovery Channel videos of when the walruses are crowding over the rocks on the shoreline, only more lily white. We walked through the area where you could buy souvenirs and tried to find somewhere with hammocks close enough to the water to be able to supervise the children as they swim. But once we found a spot, where the hammocks were still a good 100 feet away from the water, we realized that you had to rent the floats, and the rental shack was probably a half-mile down the beach. So we forgot the hammocks and got in the water with the kids. It was fun, fish swam around our legs, and we had a great time.

 We spent more time swimming than we had planned, so I found some towels and headed over to the kids play area. It had splash pad and a real dead whale! Now, one may ask why we're letting our children play on a dead whale, but it had been dead for at least 100 years. Some explorer found the skeletal remains of a huge sperm whale, and when Disney bought the island, they reburied the excavation and made it into an attraction so the children could excavate the bones! It was really cool.

We got lunch, took our time, and I drew all over our picnic table with the water that had dripped off my cup. People stopped and watched; someone even took pictures; but I was just being my regular ADD self. My husband and I walked around a little more and then he said, "It's time to go pick up the kids so you can make it back in time for your appointment!" I told him I didn't want to. I told him I didn't get to snorkel. I told him that I said yesterday I didn't want a pedicure. He said too bad. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to cry. This was the one and only thing I wanted to do the whole trip. He said his mom didn't want to get lost on the ship again and have to have an employee take her back to her room (and that right there was the real reason she included me in the appointment). He said it wouldn't be as awful as I thought. I almost refused. Almost.

But she did pay for this trip. And my husband thinks we should do anything she wants because she pays for stuff (and she's scary). So, basically, we're whores.

So we gathered up the kids, then went back to get their shoes, then went back again to get their hats and sunglasses, then went back to get the shoes that they put down what they were getting their sunglasses, took a few more pictures and got on the tram to go back to the ship.

Capt. Hook and Mr. Smee were outside the ship taking pictures, antagonizing the little boys who were getting pictures made with them by pretending to steal their shoes and throw them in the water. Everyone could tell it was a joke, but my little boy was really worried and didn't understand why Capt. Hook was being such a meanie. He wouldn't even get close to him.

The husband took the kids to the pool while I went to shower and get dressed. That alone made me worry because it was hard enough to keep an eye on all of them when both of us were there. This appointment bothered me to almost an irrational level. I felt completely under the weight of the poverty that most of the cruise line workers come from and the riches that the cruise line customers have. Most Americans consider themselves to be middle class, but our poverty level income is higher than the average income of 90% of the world. As I got ready, I cried like I was being forced into prostitution, I prayed some more, I almost called the spa and canceled, and I finally got myself together and went to the appointment.

Pedicures are supposed to be fun, right? Or, at least relaxing? But, when you're are sitting with someone who bothers you so much, whose voice sounds like an old southern version of Fran Drescher, you're embarrassed by the wealth that is being flaunted, and you don't like people touching you, it makes you even more tense than when you started.

The lady who did my feet was from Jamaica and has three kids. She had to leave those three children behind with family because there was no work on the island. When she said that, that was the only time her big Disney smile cracked. The flash of pain was only there for a second, but it was unmistakable. I told her that my church was heading to Jamaica this summer for a mission trip.

When she asked why I don't take care of my feet I told her I didn't have time. That I worked and taught my kids and volunteered helping others. We didn’t ever do this kind of thing, but my MIL wanted to take us. I think I confused her more than anything. I asked her how long they work on the ship she said they have different contract amounts so they could contract for however long they wanted to work. I asked what their hours were per day. 8 AM to 10 PM, with a short lunch break and a short dinner break. She works 14 hours a day scrubbing people's feet so her children can eat… and I had to gall to think that I work hard.

She did a great job. The lady next to her did a great job on my mother-in-law. And then the desk girl brought the ticket for my mother-in-law to sign to pay for the two pedicures. They were $70 each. She tipped six dollars.


I asked her why, and she said that she accidentally over-tipped the girl yesterday, so under-tipping today would even it out. Six dollars on the $140 ticket. And she thought that was fair. As she started to walk out, I told her I wanted to ask the ladies one more thing. I asked them what the standard tip was and they looked at me like I had just asked him to share national security secrets. I told them that I wasn't going to get offended or anything, I just didn't know what the industry standard was; that I was pretty sure that it was higher than six. One of them nodded, and she said standard was $15-$20. I told them I would make sure they got it before the day was over.

But I also knew that I could not let my mother-in-law know that I was bringing them “extra” tips or she would end up trying to even it out by gypping someone else out of theirs, too.  I went up to the room, got $10 each, and took it back to the girl at the desk. I explained what it was for and that I didn't want it on our room’s record; just to get the money straight to the two ladies that did our feet. So, at least they got a fair amount.

I'm pretty sure that that's not how a day at the beach is supposed to go.

I'm also pretty sure that most people won't understand how I felt and will think I was just being an ungrateful bitch. Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. Once again -- you are a Saint!!! How do you deal with her?! She lives in Crazyland.

    So very sorry you didn't get to snorkel -- :-(


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