Tag Archives: Traditions

You Never Know

So Life took a sharp right turn the minute I got off the Celebrity Century on December 17th 2009. Over the last month, I hosted the Social Fresh Social Media Cruise on the Carnival Destiny, I was one of the first on the Oasis of the Seas (interviewed in the Miami Herald for Live Tweeting from the Inaugural), and completed a 5-day cruise to Jamaica and Grand Cayman on the Celebrity Century in which I taught other agents Social Media basics. It had been an almost perfect end to an incredible year. I was looking forward to getting home and spending time with the family. As soon as I got off the Celebrity Century, it all changed. I received a call from my Dad telling me that Mike, my brother, had fallen asleep behind the wheel of his truck and ran into a huge tree at 7:00 AM.

He crushed both ankles, lacerated his liver and spleen, and his head went partially through the windshield. He was not wearing a seatbelt. He’s very lucky to have lived through the crash. He had to be cut out of the truck and airlifted to the Charlotte Medical Center. I rushed to the airport and got on an earlier flight home. By the time I got on the flight home, all I knew was that he had been airlifted and that his legs were in very bad shape. Once I got to the Hospital, my brother was asleep on the bed with cuts all over his head and his legs covered in bandages. The Doctors were not sure if there was enough bone structure left to attempt to fix his ankles. My brother did not look anything like himself thanks to all the cuts and swollen head from the impact with the windshield. As of now, it was my worse day ever and I couldn’t even imagine being my brother.

Mike & JoJo at the Zoo a few weeks before the wreck

It is now Tuesday, December 22, 2009. Mike went through 4.5 hours of surgery yesterday and the doctors were positive about the results. They were able to get all the bones in the correct placement and now it is up to Mike’s body to heal properly. After surgery his heart rate remained extremely high, he was running a fever and of course was in excruciating pain. They moved him back into the Trauma Intensive Care Unit so that they could keep a closer eye on his situation. They got his Heart Rate and Fever back down by Midnight. Today, he is in full recovery mode with a slight possibility to be back home on Christmas Eve. Mike has two beautiful daughters and a wonderful wife. Him being home for Christmas would make for a very special Christmas.

I share all this because I’ve shared all my good times of 2009 here on my blog, CruiseSource.us. The reality is that times are not always good. I wanted to explain why I had not gotten to my final reviews of the Celebrity Century, and to let you know that they are coming soon. Although it has been a tough week, I am truly blessed as we have had tons of prayers and well wishes from all of our friends online and offline. As you head into the Holiday Season and into the New Year, please remember how quickly loved ones can be taken from you or how fast things can dramatically change in your life. Going through this experience has given our family time to reflect about all the good times spent on family vacations and other shared life-experiences. At the end, all we have are memories. Having lots of memories from beach trips, sports, and other lifetime experiences has made this ordeal a little more bearable… I’m personally going in to 2010 living by the quote: dream like you are going to live forever; live like you are going to die today. Make it a point to spend more time with loved ones in 2010. Don’t keep putting off that family trip to Disney, Europe, cruise vacation, or whatever is on your list to do next. You never know when life may take a sharp turn on you.

Hold me to living 2010 to the fullest, subscribe to CruiseSource.us to remind you to check back in.

Leave a comment about what you’re not going to put off in 2010.



Filed under Caribbean, Celebrity, Family, Social Media, Travel Reviews

How Does Santa Customize Christmas for you?

So this is one of my few off topic(cruising) blog posts. But it is Christmas and if there is any time of year I feel that it is OK for me to be off topic it is this week.

Anyone else notice that Santa Claus customizes Christmas for each family. That must take a massive database to be able to know exactly how each family wants their gifts to be left out for the kids. For my family, this customization lead to a lively debate as to how we should have Santa leave the gifts for our kids.

My wife says that my family is strange because my parents requested that Santa take all of our gifts out of the boxes and to have them set up, ready to play. One half of the living room had my toys and my brother’s gifts were on the other side…they were all assembled, batteries in, and ready to go. When we came down the stairs, we could see all of our gifts at once. We would go from one toy to the next with such excitement. Automatically when we would come to the living room we would focus on one toy…I would sprint to that toy and start playing. Then after a few minutes I would get curious and move on to the next toy. After a couple of hours of playing with the toys from Santa, we would then unwrap the gifts from my parents.

My wife’s parents requested that Santa wrap all of the gifts and put them under the tree. The big gifts like bikes were to be left unwrapped. When the kids came down stairs their initial excitement was to look at the all the wrapped presents Santa left under the tree. They would proceed to unwrap all of the gifts which are still in the boxes that the Elves package them in. Those packages were eerily similar to the packaging at Toys R Us. As they opened gifts, her Dad would assemble the toys. The first toy would actually get played with 2 hours into the process.

So when it came to our first Christmas, I think my wife assumed that Santa was like Centex Homes with very little customization. Santa delivered the presents the same way to ever home. And then when I told her how Santa set up all of our gifts so that when we came downstairs we would go from gift to gift playing with all of them. She said we were odd and that Santa was just too lazy to wrap our gifts.

Needless to say due to oddness of my family’s Christmas Traditions, Santa wraps our kids presents. I like how my parents chose to have Santa do our Christmas…as the parent I would rather not have to do the assembly in the morning, it takes away from time in which I could actually be playing with the kids. And once I have the first toy ready to go, then the kids play with that toy while I put Also when I was little Santa did not leave behind any boxes…the toys feel bought when Santa leaves them in the boxes.

So I am now curious…was my family odd? Did Santa wrap your gifts or did he set them up for you? Or does Santa offer other options for Customization that I am unaware?

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Filed under Family, Uncategorized