My husband and I just returned from a weeklong vacation in the Caribbean.

We were on a boat — a big boat filled with approximately 4,500 people. We had an awesome time, of course. We were forced to relax for seven consecutive days. We did not have access to cell phones or Internet (none that we could afford), so we had to learn to just ... sit ... still.

Cruise ships make relaxing pretty easy. Everything is pretty much done for you. Beds are made and rooms are tidied by the ship staff. Food is prepared and laid out in lavish buffets. Waiters wander from deck chair to deck chair, taking orders for and delivering fruity drinks topped with paper parasols.

Our first day at sea, hubby and I set up camp in a corner of the upper lido deck. Newly purchased books sat beside us, ready to be opened and devoured. We adjusted ourselves in our deck chairs, facing the sun.

Although my body was at rest, my mind was anything but. Thoughts darted about like the hummingbirds in my mom’s backyard, never alighting on any one thing. My heart thumped in my chest, my overly active mind battling to relax.

I sighed mightily, picked up my book and began to read. At some point, I fell asleep. When I woke, the sun was lower in the sky and I was hungry.

On Day 2, we spent another day at sea. My hubby found a dodge ball tournament up on the “sky court” and I spent more time in the sun on the lido deck. My mind gradually began to relax and I stopped reaching for my useless cell phone.

By the time we returned to Galveston on Sunday, my hubby and I were in complete “laid back” mode. We hit the breakfast buffet one last time before we debarked. As we chewed our all-you-can-eat bacon and made-to-order omelet, I had a little talk with the hubs.

“Honey, remember last year when we got back from vacation? Remember how we were both so depressed? Let’s try really hard to make sure that doesn’t happen this time, OK?”

He agreed. We left the ship with smiles in place.

Unfortunately, I forgot to have a talk with the universe. Although we made vows to stay chipper and happy post-vacation, we’ve been challenged. First, the alternator went out in his car. Then, we found ants had infested our kitchen pantry ... again.

This morning, he took off with my car keys and I was late to work. On top of it all, I am being tormented by the “souvenirs” I got on the island of Roatan a week ago — more than 30 vicious mosquito bites that won’t go away.

I don’t know about my hubby, but I, for one, am no longer relaxed.

But the memories of the days and nights of vacation leisure still linger. I can still feel the slow rocking of the ship and an ocean breeze across my face. I can still taste the fruity cocktail on my tongue. I can tap into that ultimate state of relaxation.

All I need to do is just … sit … still.

Contact Kristi Johnson at or (254) 501-7548

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