Ex-cruiser Blues

Ex-cruiser Blues

Greetings, all!  Mel apologizes for the long hiatus.  It turns out that UNPACKING is even less fun than PACKING.  Must be why they categorize a move as a “stressful, major life change.”  Humph.

We are all suffering from “post-cruisum” depression.  It turns out that depression is a natural response to any large degree of change, whether it be in a positive or a negative direction.  It doesn’t matter that, in the end, it will be for the better.  After all, we didn’t stop cruising because we had to, but rather because we chose to.  We decided it was the best decision for our kids and Mel’s career.  And our wallet, when we are old.  Of course, right now, Mel is thinking, “Eff the kids.  Eff the career.  Get me back on the water.  Omaha is LAME. So much beige.  Potholes.  Hostas EVERYWHERE.  Like, NOTHING BUT HOSTAS, like no other plant was ever invented.  HEEEELLLLPPP!”

Of course, the difference between her old and new life is pretty stark right now.  Her old self would be waking up at 10, doing her Jillian Michaels workout, jumping in for a swim because she overheated, homeschooling the children, making lunches, taking a nap, planning the next excursion, watching the sunset with a sundowner from the boat/dinghy/beach/friend’s boat/water, making dinner from cans and frozen meat, watching a DVD (usually Voyager), blogging, and going to bed.  Now her new self is waking up at 7 to get her kids up for school, driving them through rush-hour traffic through poorly-designed school drop-off zones, returning to her rental, arranging to meet the plumber/cable guy/carpet cleaner in order to fix all of things wrong in her “luxury townhome”, unpacking endless boxes of crap, organizing and then re-organizing once a new box is unpacked, assembling IKEA furniture for like, THREE HOURS, and getting the classic “Allen wrench blister”, filling out endless forms requesting documentation that she actually went to medical school and is not, in fact, a quack, noticing that the overly-touted giant trees of Omaha actually block out the overly-touted sun of Omaha for most of the day, picking up the kids through said school-related traffic jam, hearing about how wonderful their day was and not giving a shit because she is not quite right, cooking dinner and keeping tabs on her elderly cat while watching the super-nice neighbors walk their giant dogs, watching one of the 400 channels on the cable and being overwhelmed by the fact that Jimmy Fallon has a mustache now (Why? Oh Why?), and then falling asleep depressed (partially because she should not be depressed for having such “first-world problems”) on her brand-new, $3000, adjustable custom mattress.

Greg unintentionally made matters worse by choosing NOW OF ALL TIMES to switch this long-standing iPhone-using, AT&T family to Samsung Android, Verizon phones to punish Apple for its manipulative product development that included programmed obsolescence and back-engineering.  So Mel is now trying to change the intensity of her thumb presses and her hand movements to answer a call ON TOP OF EVERYTHING. 

Mel has great plans to provide a homeschool update, but so far she is very impressed with how much better the kids are dealing with all of this.  Allie already is getting calls every night from early admirers of her unlimited charisma, and Tommy has quickly identified potential friend candidates, blue hair a plus.  Mel is gratified that despite her guilt about only taking Tommy through the first four chapters of New Elementary Mathematics in Singapore Math, after a pretest that involved taking a PreAlgebra final from a school system he was never a part of, Tommy was placed into Honors Algebra.  She hopes that eventually they will get over that post-school exhaustion.

With all of this unpacking, the Burnetts are time-traveling once again.  When we started our cruising, we moved from focusing on the future to the present.  Right now, we are sad because we feel the present is painfully absent.  Who wants to live in the present when it consists of unpacking, organizing, and constantly adapting?  The past has taken over as Mel unpacks all of the memorabilia she stored before the trip: a jar of Allie’s baby teeth, souvenirs from distant vacations, kitchenware gifts from Mel’s late grandmother.  When you pack a small boat to go cruising, most mementos are left behind.  There just is not enough room for the past in a home designed to explore the present and the future.  Mel has mixed emotions about all of this.  Some days she wants to throw all of that crap in the trash and continue to look forward, and other days she knows that once that Midwest winter wraps its cold fingers around her toes, she is going to need some familiar objects to remind her that the world is indeed filled with gorgeous experiences, warm weather, and good times.

So these are the kind of things Mel thinks of when she is sad.  You haven’t really seen this part much.

Of course, nothing keeps the Burnetts down for long.  I mean, we survived the Fish Farm Disaster!  For example, to pop out of her depression, Mel is trying to retrain her brain.  She is trying to imagine every weekend as a new landfall.  Omaha has 900,000 people in the metro area and is packed with museums, shopping districts, colleges, performances, and a fantastic zoo.  It will take a while to explore all of that.  Right now of course, no exploring is happening because they have been stuck with house projects.  So there’s something familiar to help with the transition.  I mean, surely she will eventually get over all of the Omaha beige.  Plus, she has a lot of plans to spice up her future career at Creighton. 

To start addressing her ocean withdrawal, she bought an aqua hand towel.  Ah, there’s our color!  Also, the kids are rollicking around in their near-unlimited wi-fi.  Their adaptability is inspiring.  They will be fine.

So, in stolen moments when she is bored, Mel writes stanzas of this song:


Ex-cruiser blues

I used to have to hoard, but my storage space was scanty

Now I don’t have to stock up, but I have a giant pantry.

Oh ocean, can you hear me?


As I go through my possessions, I feel like such a fool

Why did I store all of this stuff? Hey, these suits are cool!

Oh ocean, do you miss me?


We are so far from the sea, and here the stars are dim

But our house can’t collide with the neighbors’, and our cat hunts bunnies again.

Oh ocean, do you need me?


Our new mailman hates us, but Amazon stockholders party,

“The Burnett’s are back!” they probably say, as they eat an expensive Smartie. (Rhyming is hard, people.)

Oh ocean, are you angry?


A year ago we were in cultured Greece, exploring ancient history,

Now we are back in Trump America, overwhelmed by our cable TV.

Oh ocean, can you forgive me?


We used to have to puzzle over all the Spanish pig butts,

Here in the land of cows, we again understand the meat cuts!

Oh ocean, do you love me?


Now I bring cilantro, basil, maple syrup, and bacon bits

From Trader Joe’s to my house, in only ten minutes

Oh ocean, will you wait for me?


I fill out forms so I can start my career up

So I can fill out more forms so my patients won’t throw up

Oh, ocean, you aren’t going to kick my ass again, are you?



Okay, so it’s still a work in progress.  Stay tuned.  Mel isn’t done with the salty stuff yet!

3 Responses

  1. Michael Robertson
    | Reply

    I love your song, nicely done. I understand mourning your cruising life, but you lived the dream, and that’s a lot more than many will ever be able to claim. Share that dream and all you gained from living it with the people of Omaha. You just might change a life.

    • Mel
      | Reply

      Beautifully put, thanks! Will do!

  2. Edie Webber
    | Reply

    It’s a rainy morning here and I have a different kind of melancholy. Our family had fun adventures too , not sailing around the world stuff, but fun. Now my boys are grown with their own bright futures to look forward to. My husband and I are part of their past. They have their new wife, new home, new career, even a new baby. They are making their own life and their own way, I am not a part of that. It often feels like a divorce. I know it’s natural and good, but it is painful nonetheless.
    We had so much fun together, that was the past. My present will be trying to share a part of their time and attention. My future? Who knows. Try to have as much fun as I can before time kicks my ass.
    My suggestion? Plan some more trips. Kidnap your family again. Enjoy their company and attention while you can. They move on very quickly.

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