I’m finally posting the vacation blog. There were a zillion pictures to look through to find the ones I wanted. I had to sort through nine zillion photos The Bandit took of all the stray dogs in the Caribbean and every single pigeon he saw.
Here we go…
I write this at 30,000 feet crammed into a dinky airline seat, crowded on one side by Sassy who hasn’t stopped talking in nine days and hemmed in on the other by an old man who snores and hogs the arm rest. He also may or may not have tuberculosis. I’m so ready to go home. I miss the Idiot dog, my giant, fuzzy, orange cat and my own bed. Sigh.
A cruise trip to the Caribbean over Thanksgiving, that was the proposal.
Last Friday ten members of my family climbed onto airplanes and jetted our way across the country to Florida and a Princess cruise ship. Clearly, we took everything we own with us. Sassy insisted on bringing two jeans jackets. To the
Caribbean. No amount of arguing with her could convince her to leave them at home.We spent one night in a Fort Lauderdale hotel that I’m fairly certain has either been on Cops:Broward County or Law and Order:Shit That Could Happen to You. The hotel had been specifically chosen due to it’s close proximity to the pier and because it advertised a restaurant. Nuh huh, nope. When Jethro checked us in he informed us of the sad demise of the restaurant which had apparently been torn down by the health department. Not really, but based on the state of repair for the rest of the place, my guess is probably not too far off the mark. Additionally, all the men on the staff seemed to be wearing “wife-beater” undershirts as their uniform. We had no mode of transportation, so we started the long search for a restaurant. We turned our feet to the right out of the parking lot and peered off in to the distance. Surely left would have been a better choice because, even after vetoing it and walking further, trudging for at least two miles, we came back to a Kentucky Fried Chicken. It had started to rain and we were very tired. Honestly, I don’t think we cared anymore.
Saturday found us on the boat. We got mini-suites on the Emerald Deck that were very lovely. Ours had a comfy queen bed and a bunk bed for the kids. A balcony off the back was big enough for four chairs and a table. We even had a bath tub and a walk in closet.
Day One: no sunburn
Our first stop was at the island of Grand Cayman. We split from our group and boarded another ship – this one run by pirates. My kids, especially The
Bandit, had been looking forward to this particular excursion. My Honey and I laughed with glee as the pirates rounded up all the children on board and made them scrub the deck with old brushes. We laughed harder when they doused them with a bucket of water. Oh what joy! But the tables were turned, don’t you know. The pirates took me and one other lady to make examples of when the children got their revenge. We were lashed to the main mast and ice water was poured on us from above during an extensive interrogation. My Honey has the whole thing on video. You can see the camera shaking with his laughter, the jerk. His words of sympathy were limited to, “Seeing your wife tortured by pirates, priceless.” We walked the plank and swam in the gorgeous sea then lunched at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant and resisted buying $149.00 shirts. The afternoon my family swam in the ocean and I took a nap on Seven Mile Beach.
Day Two: no sunburn. Winning!
Roatan, Honduras was next. We shopped on the pier then loaded six of us plus a driver and “tour guide” into the world’s smallest minivan. The island itself was lush and fragrant when we weren’t driving through a dirty, depressing town. We went to a monkey farm! Adorable White-faced Capuchin monkeys were everywhere. Ava will try to tell you monkeys are not cute but I’m here to tell you that these monkeys were adorable. Quite tame, they happily climbed on your shoulders and, once to my particular glee, sat on My Honey’s head. I was expecting them to have course hair, but no, it was smooth and silky, their palms and long fingers soft and gentle. We also held a lemur – fuzzy and brown like a kitten, and fed deer, macaws, parrots and toucans. It was like being in the movie Rio. The beach on Roatan was like glass, very small waves – nothing like you’d expect growing up near the Pacific Ocean. We just floated in the teal blue water and enjoyed a relaxing soak.
Day Three: no sunburn. I’m on a roll.
Belize. Charmingly the only English speaking country in Central America. Well, it’s island-English which means you have to listen really carefully and
pick out the words you understand, but it sounds lyrical. Our cab driver, Jason, (Hi, I’m Jason, mon.)drove us in his car through the coastal jungle to the Mayan temples of Altun Ha. There are still distinct pyramids remaining in the area. It was easy to imagine Mayans gathering around and celebrating the Sun God or good harvest or sacrificing annoying children. My imagination ran wild. We scrambled to the tops, slipping on the moss and stones, which was like doing a thousand lunges. My fat little legs quivered like jelly. I seriously considered just rolling down the grassy side in lieu of climbing back down. Ultimately, I only fell down three
times which I consider a win. We vetoed the beach that day – primarily because we were exhausted.
Day Four: no sunburn. Wahoo. Maybe the curse is lifted.
Cozumel started off exciting. We went to an absolutely gorgeous resort to swim with dolphins. There were only eight people in our little group not counting the trainer and the actual dolphin. His name was Louis – the dolphin not the trainer. I don’t remember the trainer’s name. He was unimportant. Lewis was beautiful and funny and very charming as dolphins go. We all got the opportunity to pet him repeatedly and learned the hand signals to kiss him on the snout and get kissed on the cheek, dance with him and hold him while rubbing his belly. Even more exciting, we got to ride his belly while he swam upside down and then ride a boogie board while he pushed us by the feet. I might be in love with Louis. We also got to pet and feed manatees. They feel exactly like elephants, which we learned are their closest cousins. Then we walked over to the beach where I took another nap in the shade. It was a beautiful and relaxing day. We shopped on the huge pier and had lunch at Three Amigos, a fun restaurant styled after the movie. I have no idea when I got sunburned but I did. Massively. On my left arm. Oddly the right arm was not burned, or rather not to the delightful shade of magenta that my left arm was. We had lobster for dinner – Caribbean turkey. All in all, it was a lovely Thanksgiving.
Day Five: deep fried arm. The charm was broken.
Best line of the vacation by The Bandit to his sister: “You’re not the boss of me, Sassy. You don’t even speak French.”
Most annoying behavior as exhibited by Sassy: She tried out every single accent she heard on the ship which is A LOT because the crew is from everywhere on the globe. At any given moment she sounded like a Cockney Phillipino who grew up with Russian as a second language. I never knew what the hell she was saying.
Hey, quick question. Is water supposed to pour OUT of the dishwasher? Yeah, I didn’t think so either, so when it did tonight, I freaked out a little.
I had just loaded the dishwasher completely full with breakfast dishes and the evenings dinner dishes (stuffed shells and Italian sausage – YUM!), turned it on and commenced to wipe down the kitchen counters. I discovered the impending flood when the water seeped into my fuzzy socks.
My Honey came running, drawn by my mournful wails. “Please God, please let it be a simple plumbing problem and
not a broken dishwasher. It’s so young with so much life left to live. Oh the horror!”
The above histrionics are only slightly exaggerated.
I mopped up the water while My Honey went out for his tool belt. I wandered helplessly around the fringes of the kitchen while he disassembled the full racks and the front kick plate. I murmured helpful, sympathetic words in his general direction and stopped frequently to pat the dishwasher like you’d pat a person in the emergency room awaiting blood work.
My Honey made those unhelpful noises repair people and dentists make while they try to determine the trouble. “Yep, there’s a leak.” You’ll be proud of me when I tell you I didn’t hit him.
The mystery was we couldn’t tell where the water was coming from, but as best as we could deduce, it wasn’t coming from the dishwasher. That was both good and bad. If not from the dishwasher then from where?
We laid on our stomachs with our heads together on the kitchen rug and stared at the pool of water on the foor under the dishwasher with flashlights. We didn’t speak, just stared at the water and willed it to tell us where it came from. I’m sure this is exactly how real plumbers to it. Plumbers like my father and brother. When I worked for my father as his indentured servant I don’t recall this actual procedure, but a lot of that time is a blur due to lack of sleep and a near constant hangover (mine not his).
Well, I’m here to admit that My Honey and I are not Water Whisperers. I’m not even a water suggester.
I suggested that perhaps the water had leaked over from under the sink. Perhaps there was a problem with the garbage disposal or the drain. Ahoy! Isn’t that what you say when you’re on a sea of water? Ahoy, there’s the leak!
There was also scary mold all over the back of the cabinet. And bugs. And a scary amount of water we could see dripping down the back of the cabinet between the brick wall and the several thousand dollars worth of three year old kitchen cabinets.
I have an incredible urge to fling myself on the floor and wail uncontrollably. If you recall, we had a massive plumbing issue just last year involving Army men and a toilet (here, here, here, and here). My Bother the Plumber is booked solid until Monday. My Honey plans to get started on the excavation to make it faster when My Brother gets here.
I was informed that the dinner dishes, the ones that I’d just loaded lovingly, and with a high level of organizational skill, loaded into the dishwasher will now have to be washed in the bathtub. I hope My Honey plans to eat out for the next week.
Guess what I learned today. Apparently I’ve been eating tons of health food and I didn’t even know it. I’ll bet you have, too.
According to a Wall Street Journal report I read in the Las Vegas airport today, Congress considers pizza to be a vegetable. And they’re not talking about one of those crazy pizzas with all the bell peppers and onions and crap. They actually consider the tomato paste to be the vegetable. Well, at least this is the case for school lunches and their nutritional requirements.
So if pizza is a vegetable then it just goes to follow that it then becomes health food. I have no reason to distrust Congress in this matter. I’m 100% confident that they have only our best interests in mind.
Ava was already under the impression that pizza was a vegetable so when I texted her she wasn’t nearly as excited as I was. I haven’t been able to notify Kelli yet, but I have every reason to believe that she will be just as thrilled.
I’m going to talk to Ava about bypassing the vegetable & fruit juice diet she has planned for us this week and trying out an all pizza diet instead. I really don’t want her trying to put a slice of pizza in a juicer.
I’m back. Back from the crystal blue water of the Caribbean. Back from the land of dessert 24 hours a day. Back from never cooking or washing the dishes.
Back to the 9-5 hell hole. Back to piles and piles of laundry. Back to bills and groceries and an empty gas tank.
I have a long post written about the trip but I’m waiting for photographic proof. I’ll post it in a day or so. I wrote it during the 18 hour epic day of travel on Saturday. It started at 7:00am EST and ended at 11:18pm AZ time. I’m really proud of the fact that no one, either of my own family or a complete stranger, was slaughtered. It certainly wasn’t because I didn’t consider it several times throughout the day. Man, there are some really obnoxious people out in this world and I believe they congregate in airports. Perhaps that is their meeting location. How horrifying would it be if we discovered they had an actual club? Maybe we ought to consider infiltrating such a club because that can’t go unchecked. We need to make a stand to protect the sanity of those of us on the edge.
A woman and her ten-ish year old daughter sat in front of me on the plane ride from Fort Lauderdale to Las Vegas. Soon after they were joined in their row by a hip young man in his mid-twenties. He had a short ponytail and wore a Jimi Hendrix shirt.
The trip from Florida to Nevada is five hours and I’m quite certain that guy had no idea he would be discussing American Girl dolls all that time. Seriously. The woman was obsessed. She literally talked about nothing else than American Girl dolls. Somewhere over Lousianna, the man was glassy eyed and itchy. By Albuquerque, I think he was ready to chew himself out of his seatbelt.
“We just love American Girl dolls,” she would intone. She told him about all the clothes, highchairs, car seats, cribs, and hair accessories. It was mind boggling. “We just love American Girl dolls.”
Why he didn’t just blurt out, “You know what I love? Guitars and girls with huge tits.”
We need to start checking into this club. The membership rolls must be huge.
Well, I’ve almost made it through Amylynn’s vacation – almost. Here are a few of the things that helped me make it without her. Obviously, I was off yesterday for Thanksgiving but I also took today off so I was able to annoy the girl who lives at my house – that always makes me happy!
1. Soft Claws - I forgot to tell everyone about this incredible product and was reminded of it by a guest yesterday. When we first got our kitten last year, I was at wits end trying to keep him from ruining my furniture – anyone with a cat knows how that goes. In desperation, I consulted the Internet and found this invention. These are plastic nails that you glue to your cats claws. Ricky doesn’t mind them at
all and the work like a charm! They come in a rainbow of colors but we put the clear ones on our cat because he’s very elegant kitty.
2. Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead - Kelli and I watched a documentary about juice fasting. We’re going to spring this on Amylynn when she gets back from the cruise. The man in the movie lost 98 lbs in 60 days and he got super healthy. Here’s to feeling great and losing weight – chink!!!!
3. Pumpkin Pie - My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the Pumpkin Pie. I know that’s not original but I don’t care. In fact, I’m eating a left over piece right now while I’m writing. My aunt makes the best pumpkin pie in the world – admit it, you’re jealous. I wonder if we can juice pie?
4. Vampire Babies - The 4th installment of the Twilight movies is out. Since I have a pre-teen in my house, I had to go see it. Truth be told, I really wanted to go because I knew Bella Swan was going to have a half human/half vampire baby. The entire birth scene was extremely squirm worthy. But the big payoff was a vampire baby – awwww so cute.
5. Nova’s Brian Greene - You all thought I watched Nova to become smarter,
but no! I watch Nova because of Brian Greene. Nerdy boy scientist didn’t look like this when I was in school. Actually, nerdy boy scientists looked a lot like nerdy computer boys – picture Bill Gates. I’m certain I don’t need to say more . . .
Here’s how I figure out what my holiday budget is going to be each year. I buy everything I want for my family and friends, including decorations and party needs, and save all of the receipts. When I’m done, I add up all of the receipts – and tadaa! – my budget.
This always makes Ed angry.
For some reason, he thinks this is not a budget. He says a budget is an itemized summary of estimated or intended expenditures for a given period along with proposals for financing them. What?! What does all of that mean? Where does he get this stuff?
But, trying to be a good little budgeter I said the items were gifts and the given period was the holidays and my proposal for financing them was the same as last year, he’d pay the bills when they came in. See – I can budget.
For some reason, that made Ed angry.
I’m not good with a budget. In fact, I’m bad with a budget. Budgets always seem to prevent you from getting all of the stuff you need. What good is a budget if you are left unhappy? Life is too short for that and I want to be happy. Happy during the holidays! Therefore, I refuse to be hemmed in or constrained by a holiday budget.
But don’t tell Ed.
Sometimes, when I’m supposed to be working, I worry about stuff. Usually, I worry about important stuff – like world hunger, world peace, when the heck Jax is going to take his shirt off this season on SOA, you know important stuff like that.
For some reason, today, I’ve decided to worry about what other people are worried about – so I called my sister.
I asked her what she was worried about. She said she wasn’t worried about anything in particular but now that I called to ask, she was now worried about why I was worried about what she was worried about. It serves me right for being concerned. I hung up.
Next, I asked one of my co-workers what they were worried about today. She immediately launched into her worry that it’s only 32 days, 12 hours and 46 minutes until Christmas. She’s worried she won’t be ready in time. Geeeeez, now I’m worried about that too. Note to self, don’t talk to coworkers.
I texted the girl who lives at my house and asked her what she was worried about. Following standard protocol, she didn’t answer the question but told me that I should be worried about texting her in class because I know she can’t get texts and I’m going to get her into trouble – again. Sorry about that, girl who lives at my house.
I’d ask Amylynn what she’s worried about but everyone knows she abandoned me to go on some horrible Caribbean cruise. Her father told her not to drown and I’ve been worried about that since she left.
I thought I’d contact the White house and see what they are worried about over there. There’d have to be a lot of worrisome issues on their minds – right? I mean, as a nation, we’ve got some troubles. I told the receptionist that I’d like to speak to the president and she asked me why. I told her that I wanted to discuss his worries. I was certain she’d go find him because I’ll bet most people call there to discuss THEIR worries and not his. Somehow, we got disconnected.
There must be a problem with the governmet phones because something like that happened yesterday when I called NASA. Now I’m worried about that.
As readers of this blog know, I watch the science program NOVA while I’m running on the treadmill and you also know that the Sisters have applied for the space program. Because I am certain they are going to take us – how can they not - I’ve been trying to come up with ideas of what to do with our spare time while in space. Also, the space program gets less and less publicity as the years go by and I think the Sisters can change that once we’re involved. Ed is certain that if the Quill Sisters go into space there will be publicity - he snickered when he said that, I wonder why . . .
So, I’m watching Nova last night and the topic of discussion is something called the “Multiverse”. Now you smarties out there might make the connection between the Multiverse and our Universe but I had no idea what a Multiverse was until that moment. I did not know that there is a theory that we are not the only Universe but that there are many, hence the Multiverse. Essentially, there are some scientist who believe that the Big Bang didn’t happen once but multiple times.
Anyway, the show goes on to say that if there are countless Multiverses it stands to reason that eventually a universe just like ours and a planet just like ours would exist but more importantly – there would be a person on Earth #2 that would be exactly like me. That got my attention. I’m surprised that didn’t get NASA’s attention.
Just imagine, we go find Earth #2 and for a LARGE fee, we bring You #2 back and you make her do all of the the things you don’t want to do. It’s a gold mine!
Oddly, I called NASA about this little money making idea, thinking it would help us get hired, after all the country is in big trouble financially and you won’t believe this – they hung up on me! The receptionist must have been busy or something . . . I’ll just call back later.
Before anyone gets excited, let me explain the above photo. After the demise of the evil Muammar Gaddafi, Amylynn and I went on the Internet to look up photos of his clothes for which we have already admitted a weakness. Admittedly, this happened in the airport on our way home from New Mexico (Hi Uncle Ken!) and we were a tad bored. Anyway, we came across this photo.
At first, we thought it had to have been photo shopped. Just look at it closely - Muammar appears to have been added since he is standing in front of the other two men on either side of him. Also, look at what everyone else is wearing – suits. Suits and ties. Dark businesslike suits, ties and shiny shoes. I know what you’re saying – “Muammar is wearing a suit as well. It may be WHITE and he may have accessorized with a robe but surely Ava, you see it’s a suit.” Now, look at everyone else again – they are all looking to the left, but not Muammar, noooooo, he’s looking to the right.
He’s wondering when the bus is coming. He’s wondering how he got involved in this event to begin with. He’s thinking he’s glad he wore his sunglasses because maybe he’ll go unnoticed and can slip away soon. Where is that bus!
He’s definitely thinking he’s never attending the G8 Summit again with such poor dressers. You know this is exactly what he’s thinking.
Every-time Amylynn and I want to laugh, we pull up this photo. We’ve looked at it so many times that we’re surprised the FBI hasn’t shown up to interview us about it.
Feel free to send us your silly photos – we especially like anything that may cause the authorities to become interested in you.
Oh. My. Word. Do you realize how close it is to Thanksgiving? You know, right after that is Christmas. That’s quite alarming, don’t you think? It gets faster every year. How does that happen? Are we getting closer and closer to all the black holes or something? We think Ava needs to get back on PBS and pay better attention. While we ponder the deeper things, we found these things to amuse us.
1. Names of minerals.A UofA professor recently had a newly discovered mineral named after himself – Bobdownsite. Oh, we so totally want that. We can think of so many amazing things we’d lend our names to. Minerals not so much, but how about new cupcakes recipes? If it must be something natural then how about The Quill Diamond? OR, how about a hurricane? Not a benign-blows-out-at-sea-and-doesn’t-do-any-real-damage hurricane either. You’d understand if you ever went out to lunch with us. Which brings us to…
2. Waitstaff with a sense of humor. Every once in a while, the Sisters encounter a waitperson that can hold their own with us. One that can take our crazy substitutions, teasing, fifty mile-an-hour zingers, and general wackiness. We encountered one such jewel this week. Adela was her name and she hung in there like a trooper. For once, the Sisters were sure that we left a restaurant without a server quitting or throwing them-self on a steak knife in the walk-in.
3. Pedicures. Are you familiar with the sound Homer Simpson makes when he eats donuts? That’s the same sound you should make when you’re getting a great pedicure. And at the end – you have pretty toes. And the best part isn’t the reflexology massage or the kneading of your calf muscles or even the pretty paint. The best part is you didn’t have to fold yourself in half in order to smear paint all over your cuticles.
4. Bradley Cooper. People magazine has named him the sexiest man alive for 2011 and the Sisters are not of a mind to dispute them. He’s ridiculously pretty with great hair and piercing eyes. He speaks French. He’s very funny. You’d know this if you saw The Hangover and if you didn’t go to Netflix right away. You know what we want for Christmas? Bradley Cooper delivering our red pandas. Get on it, Santa.
5. Husbands Who Rescue You at the Grocery Store When You Lock Your Keys in the Trunk. At the end of a long work day, one of the Sisters stopped at the grocery store for a few needed items. All went well until the very end – sometimes that’s just the way it is. After opening the trunk, the Sister threw her keys in because she had no pockets. She has done this before (No, Ed, she won’t do it again. Really, just stop already). After loading up the groceries, she closed the trunk and took the cart back to its cart corral home. Walking back to the car, it started to dawn on her that perhaps, just maybe, she’d left her keys in the trunk. She had. Luckily, she had not locked her purse in the trunk because she had her crappy Sprint cell phone in there. One quick call to the husband resulted in a “less then 10 minute later” rescue. May I point out, this would not have happened if the Sister had not been driving herself around and we all know that’s never good – SEE?