Stephanie & Roy's 8th Anniversary-2024
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When you're severely disabled you frequently have to think outside the box and relationships are no exception. In our case it was really outside the box because we have a 39 year age difference. Predictably, a lot of people were opposed but here we are 8 years later, our relationship is thriving, and we're still honeymooning like a couple of star struck teenagers.

It was our first cruise and what a cruise it was, over 2 weeks in Hawaii and Mexico. It wasn't just the two of us. We also took four of our daughters, Stephanie's grandmother and our daughter's caregiver, a total of 8 people and 3 cabins. We had 3 in wheelchairs, 2 toddlers and the caregiver was seasick the entire time. Never a dull moment.

Our ship was huge and everything about it exceeded our expectations.
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Even with the toddlers and wheelchairs there was still plenty of time for romance and we took full advantage of that too!
The food was fabulous and we took full advantage of both the formal restaurants and the buffet.
Check out Stephanie yanking on that tie! She's ready for romance!
Cruising with 3 wheelchairs was interesting. Security checkpoints turned into chaos so I used that to our advantage when Grandma left her passport on the ship when we went ashore. I waited until our chaos was at its worst and handed the security officer a pile of 7 passports. It worked. She assumed Grandma's passport was in the pile and waived us through.

Nobody told us we couldn't go ashore on a tender with a 400 pound wheelchair. Those poor guys lifted that wheelchair by hand and never complained!

You don't suppose Stephanie let her disability interfere with any of the onboard competitions do you. Much to the delight of everybody watching, Stephanie competed in the cornhole  competition by throwing the beanbags backwards.
No trip to Hawaii would be complete without visiting Pearl Harbor so our children can see, first hand, the cost of freedom.
Our cruise also included Mexico. I love Mexico. Wish we could have stayed longer.

Did I mention romance? Stephanie is giving me the, I love you signal.

The buffet is in the center of the ship with seating on both sides. We frequently ended up on opposite sides but the crew caught on very quickly and were a great help.

One time I was on the phone to a DHS caseworker back in Oregon who just happened to hear a couple of crew members telling me they couldn't find Stephanie. The DHS worker thought Stephanie was lost at sea and within minutes government officials were calling and raising the alarm. There were over 3,000 passengers on the ship so getting a photo with the captain wasn't likely but the following night an opportunity arose and I quickly moved in and tried to introduce Stephanie. Without missing a beat, he said, "I already know who she is." Sorry about that, Captain.
Our hotel in Las Vegas. It was huge! Unfortunately, it wasn't very wheelchair friendly. Lesson learned, next time we'll stay in a smaller hotel.

We did purchase an airline approved travel wheelchair for Stephanie and that made a big difference. Flying with a 400 pound wheelchair is a recipe for a broken chair.
Of course, there was more romance, on the gondola boat rides at our hotel...

It's still the middle of winter and short sleeve weather.
More romance at the top of the giant Ferris Wheel. It's taller than our 50 story hotel.
We found an awesome restaurant with an entire page of vegan options on their menu. We loved it.

Somebody tried to kidnap Stephanie! We got separated on our first night for a few minutes while searching for vegan food options. A young man immediately approached Stephanie, gave her a crisp, brand new $20 bill, and tried to get her to accompany him to "enjoy some food together."
It was January and warm enough to enjoy the pool and hot tub.
Of course the toddlers were adrenaline fueled the entire time. Fortunately, there was a children's area on the ship and Faith loved it which gave us more time alone. There were only 6 kids on the entire ship of 3,000 passengers in the 3 to 7 age range so Faith got a lot of personal attention.
We had some airline tickets that had to be used before they expired
so we also took a Trip to Las Vegas.
One night our waiter gave Stephanie a child's menu. We just rolled with it and said to the waiter, "The child's menu isn't necessary but we would like you to serenade us to celebrate our 8th anniversary." We all had a great laugh and the serenade was awesome.
How about a little dancing, wheelchair style?
With a little boost from Stephanie's wheelchair, our 6-year-old daughter, Faith, won the giant Jenga contest.
Including the drive to San Francisco, our trip lasted almost three weeks.