Saturday, November 26, 2005

Word Verification

I hate that I have to do it. But I'm totally fed up with the Spammenters. Word verification is now active. :|

Friday, November 18, 2005

Honeymoon Highlights

For the most part there was sex, tropical drinks, sunshine and sleep. But here are a few highlights for you to enjoy.

Alibi Loses Her Mind
I don’t like to fly. I get nervous. Mainly I get nervous when I’m packing and when I’m on my way to the airport. Once I’m at the airport and checked in, I can take deep breaths and relax and I’m fine. This is why I like to get to the airport the recommended 2 hours ahead of time. I need the chill time. My husband forgot this. He was taking his own sweet time. I was wigging out but trying not to show it. We live an hour away from the airport. Our flight was in an hour and forty minutes. You think “okay you got forty minutes to spare” but in my mind I’m thinking “we have to park, take the shuttle to the terminal, check our bags, go through security and I still need a ½ hour to chill out. WE’RE LATE!!!” My husband has gone to the bathroom yet again and I am sitting in the car waiting. So I started yelling at my car. Loudly. He’s still not coming. I’m holding the steering wheel in a death grip. Finally I start pounding the steering wheel and yell some more. I look over and Michael is standing outside the car looking frightened. I have now scared the crap out of my husband. I drive like 90 miles an hour and we get to the parking structure in ½ hour. As we wait for the shuttle I apologize and remind him of my flying needs. “Okay,” he says still a bit nervous and annoyed, “I understand and I’m sorry I took so long. But this is NOT a good way to start out our honeymoon.”

We Have Been Chosen!
Our honeymoon destination was the Gran Mayan resort in Nuevo Vallarta (outside Puerto Vallarta). My mom said it was nice. Really nice. She did say “really” so I should have heeded that. But I figured whatever, nice hotel, Mexico, on the beach. How good does it have to be? My parents had taken care of the accommodations so it was basically a free honeymoon. I wasn’t going to complain no matter what it was like. Well we told the cab driver we are at the Mayan Palace (wrong place) so he drove us there and we were like “damn, this place is pretty cool looking.” We start to pull our bags out the car and the bell man looks at our confirmation form and says, “oh no you are next door.” Great, we don’t get to stay at the cool place. Then he says “The Gran Mayan is the top, the best place.” Well why didn’t you say so!!! We get over to the Gran Mayan and damn skippy if that place wasn’t the nicest hotel I’ve ever seen. Better than the Four Seasons we stayed at for the 4th of July. You walk past the alabaster entry into a stone foyer and there are like eight 40 foot tall Mayan statues lining the entrance and a 40 foot fountain in front of you. Our jaws just fell open. Our room was really an apartment with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, bath and a balcony with a spectacular ocean view. Oh and the balcony had its own private wading pool! Michael started jumping up and down like a little kid. We giddily called my parents to thank them and Michael jokingly said, “Hey, you think next time you spring for decent hotel for us? Jeez!”

The first night we went to one of the restaurants on the resort. Since the regular tourist season hadn’t quite started the resort was maybe only at 20% capacity. We had a fabulous dinner with an awesome waiter. We shared a bottle of wine. That is I had a glass and Michael drank the rest. The wine and the service went to his head a little because he began talking about how great our waiter was and why can’t other people in service industries be nicer. Why are they so rude? This extended into a long diatribe on rude people, people with no morals, ethically challenged people, judgmental people, judgmental religious people, corrupt government officials, George Bush, unjust wars, crime, racism, apathy, general God-less-ness and a whole host of other peeves that my normally quiet husband has apparently been holding inside for quite some time. The conversation/speech was so long that it continued all the way back to the hotel and up the elevator to our room. I opened the door and Michael followed me in ranting about presidential misconduct the whole time. Now because the amount of alcohol he’d consumed and the fact that he’s got something of a sharp wit he was being outrageously funny and downright profane in his ranting. But I was cracking up the whole time so I just let him rant. Once we were in the room, his volume increased and the sound echoed off the stone tile floors of our room. But the walls were pretty thick so I didn’t concern myself. I took off my clothes and requested a massage from Rant Man which he happily obliged without even breaking his verbal stride. By now he was annoying himself. “My god somebody shut me up!” he’d yell and then proceed to harangue some other topic with obnoxious splendor. We’d been back in the room about 45 minutes when he got up to go get a drink of water. As he walked in to the kitchen I hear him yell back “WONDERFUL!!! The door is WIDE OPEN!!” He’d forgotten to close it and had been yelling at the top of his voice the whole time. I started laughing hysterically.

The next day we did a test. I stood all the way down the hall by the elevator. He stood in our room with the door open and said in a normal conversational voice, “honey can you here me?” With the stone hallways carrying his voice to me I heard him crystal clear. So anyone and everyone on that floor had to hear every word. I don’t know how someone didn’t come down the hall and punch him out. I suppose there weren’t many Republicans on that floor or they might have killed us. I guess we were lucky the hotel wasn’t at full capacity.

Lower Life Forms
The Gran Mayan is a timeshare. My parents have been doing the timeshare thing for years. It makes sense for them. They’re retired and they like to travel. Michael and I rarely travel. So as will happen when the Timeshare Uninitiated venture into foreign lands we were duped into sitting through the Sales Pitch. Well, they promised us 10% off all our meals…. and a free lunch… and a 500 peso gift card!!!! We weren’t going to buy anything and we told them that. Now my strategy with these things has always been to listen politely and agree with how nice everything is and then when they ask if I want in I just say “NO” repeatedly without any explanation. Michael’s strategy is to convince them that even though “we have money and could buy one right now! Today!” that we don’t need a time share. Now in the shark pool of timeshare sales, which one of us is bleeding? I could not believe he actually told them we have money. That we could write a check right there and pay for the biggest place they had but we simply have other plans for our money. Now all that is true of course but damn it, I didn’t want them to know that. Once they know, they are like pit bulls they won’t let go until all the blood has drained from your body and you stop quivering. So of course they kept coming at us with deal after deal. I mean they started out with the $40K deal and ended up with something in the neighborhood of $500 for pretty much the same thing. We were like WTF?! How does THAT work?! And they kept saying that we had to make a decision right there that minute because they were bound by Mexican Law (supposedly enforced by some red-coated Mexican "officials" who appeared to be drinking and watching tv in a nearby lounge) to only offer such amazing deals once and only once. If turned them down our names would go into a master computer and if we ever wanted to buy in later we be blacklisted to pay top dollar -- presumably $80K+. All of this was a load of crap and Michael told them that to their faces-- it was pretty funny to watch their expressions as the denied it. We could have gotten up and left of course but we were still holding out for the 500 peso gift card so we stuck it out. No less than 7 different sales guys tag teamed us for the four hour session (that was billed as 90 minutes) during which they offered us about 25 different time share deals. By the time we did get up and walk, Michael was livid. "Those bastards! Why did I tell them I have money? I should have told them that we are broke and that I'm unemployed and living off you!" I just kind of nodded and let him rant. It took me 2 days to calm him down. Thank god we remembered to close the door that night.

Michael Loses His Mind
Honeymoon. Sounds sweet doesn’t it? Well it isn’t always. Couples do fight. Even couples in love. Michael is a homebody. Although he enjoys a good vacation he really prefers to be home. So as the week wore on he was getting a bit homesick. But I think it was subconscious because it manifested itself in the form crabbiness. He pretty much started bitching about everything. The service, the people, (he still lauded our waiter from the first night but everyone else sucked). This wasn’t the righteous humorous rant of the first night. This was nitpicky bitching about stuff that really didn’t matter. Since I was pretty much having a good time I didn’t want to let him bring me down so I … well I tuned him out. I just nodded and smiled and pretended to listen. He caught on to this during a romantic dinner cruise on the fourth night. On the way back on the boat he pretty much called me out on it and I tried to deny it. But he kept pushing. So finally I just told him that it was all his bitching that was making me tune him out. “So I should just let people walk all over me?! You’re like everyone else. You let it all slide. You don’t stand up for yourself.” Now this is not even remotely true and he knows it. In fact, I can be a real bitch in the trenches. But I pick my battles. If the phone company or a credit card company is trying to screw us with excess fees I will clamp on like an alligator on a fisherman’s arm until I get my way. But if a Mexican busboy who barely speaks English can’t tell me the vineyard of what is quite obviously some common red table wine from a jug because he doesn’t know it and can’t understand me anyway I’m not gonna get ruffled. (That had happened earlier and Michael started complaining that people don’t care about their jobs and when he was a waiter for that brief two weeks back in the 80’s he’d memorized a whole wine list plus the day’s specials with all the ingredients and…yada-yada...) After that little argument we didn’t speak to each other pretty much the rest of the night. I did apologize to him before we went to bed but he pretended to be asleep. The next morning I apologized again just for good measure and he guiltily said that it had been all his fault (true ‘nuff) and how could he expect me to listen when he’d been acting like a jackass (again, true.) I promised to listen to him and not pretend to hear something when I hadn’t actually heard him or even been listening. We topped it all off with make-up sex and we were back to the sweet part of the Honeymoon.

Ahhhh…. I love being married.

Part 3: The Reception

Yes I'm dragging it out....

After the wedding everyone proceeded back to the hotel for the Reception. The Wedding Party actually went to the beach across the street where we took pictures. Even though this is Southern California it was still October so after about 10minutes of wind battering we decided that the hotel courtyard was a much more attractive spot. Of course when all your guests SEE you taking Wedding Party pictures you pretty much end up having all your guests IN the Wedding Party pictures. But I didn’t mind.

I was feeling pretty darn glorious and fabulously gracious so I proceeded to work the room like I’ve never worked a room before. I think I thanked Kerry (Carmen’s Boyfriend who video taped everything) like 10,000 times. I made sure to have a real conversation with every single soul and I didn’t even have to plaster a smile on my face once. The absence of alcohol in my system pretty much confirms for me that I was running on pure adrenaline.

My hubby was Mr. Cool Calm and Collected (at first) and just casually made the rounds. But his calm was merely a fa├žade. At one point during the cocktail hour I stepped aside to discuss the showing of the wedding video. I had given him two versions of the dvd. One with a “special feature” and one without. I told him he could play the “non-special” one during dinner after everyone had gotten their food. But I wanted to wait until the end of dinner to play the “Special” part. He said “no problem. I can just put the Special feature dvd in and pause it before the big finale comes on.” I just looked at him. Obviously I had just told I didn’t want to risk it starting before I was ready. He looked at my expression and then said, “or we can just hold off on the special dvd until you’re ready.” Thank you.

Why was it so special? Well the video consists of four photo montages set to four songs. The first song shows pictures of Michael growing up. The second pictures of me growing up and the third pictures of us together. A friend of mine had done 3 photo collages/albums with the same idea so I thought I’d take it a step further. The fourth song was a tribute to Michael’s late father. Michael knew about the first 3 parts (it was impossible to spend that much time on the computer without him finding out) but he didn’t know about the fourth part.

Well the wedding planner started the “non-special” dvd a bit too early and people were still getting their plates. Michael saw the first part with photos from his childhood and got really emotional especially seeing pics of his grandparents and the one photo of his dad that I put in that part. He had to go to the bathroom to compose himself he was so emotional. I started thinking maybe the tribute would overwhelm him and he’d be mad at me. But I had to risk it. When he came back and everyone was seated they restarted the video. Everyone enjoyed the first three parts.

Then came the big finale…. (drum role) I was handed a microphone and I stood up.
“Honey,” I said, “I just want you to know that I love you with all the love in my heart. But I know that’s not enough. I want you to have all the love in heaven and all the love on earth. I want you to be surrounded by all the love of the people here and all the love of those who couldn’t be here. And so this is my wedding gift to you.”

Right on cue they started the tribute and in the words of Michael’s Scottish cousins, “there were ne’ a dry eye in the ‘ouse.” Michael was crying and so was everyone else. At one point he turned to me and said, “I can’t believe you did all this for me. No one’s ever done anything like this for me. Thank you.” That’s when I finally relaxed.

We danced. We ate cake. We laughed like fools. And everyone had a fabulous time. I don’t think I ate one bite of my dinner and neither did Michael. In fact when we got back to our house later that night I cooked us dinner. Ah well, I was too busy to eat at the reception anyway. Michael was still a bit emotional and overcome but he was happy too. And we were both ready to start the honeymoon.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Wedding Chronicles - Part 2 of 3

(Sorry, been busy. I’m scraping a few minutes to write this.)

Part 2: The Wedding

6:30a I wake up promptly. Shower, shave my legs and other girly parts. I throw on clothes from day before because I forgot to pack pajamas and a robe. Carmen comes over from next door. We discover the hotel has no breakfast room service so we head down to the Continental Breakfast (not free) and load up plates of fruit and Danish.

7:30a We are back in the room and Carmen starts my make-up. Anne arrives, having had a rough morning on the other side of the hotel with my darling nephew. She works on getting my dress and jewelry together. I have no idea where my mother is. Considering her room is right down the hall, I wonder what’s taking her so long.

8:00a The photographer arrives and starts taking pictures. Every 3 minutes Carmen yells, “EAT!” because I keep yapping and forgetting to eat my breakfast. At about 8:15 Carmen heads back to her room to get dressed. I’m a bit flummoxed now because I’m basically alone with the photographers. I thought the bride was supposed to be surrounded by admirers all morning. What’s up wit dat? I call my parents room “uh, where are you?” I say to my mom. She sounds flustered. “Be there in a sec.”

8:45a The limo driver calls. He’s downstairs. “We’ll be down in 15 minutes,” I say. But I do not have my dress, shoes or even jewelry on. My mom looks at me like I’m crazy. Miraculously in 15 minutes I am dressed and we are indeed on our way down in the elevator. People in the hotel lobby stare admiringly. I feel like Princess Di or maybe J. Lo or Oprah… well I felt special, let’s just leave it at that.

We have the World’s Best Limo Driver – (WBLD). (Mental note: write a commendation letter to limo company.) In spite of the fact that he takes an alternate route to the church, other than one that I specified in the invitation, I like him. This however, turns out to be prescient on his part.

We arrive at the church at 9:30. Michael is not there. Nor for that matter is anyone else. It turns out that the main route (the one in my directions) to the church is blocked because a key road is closed. Everyone is now lost. My dad’s cell phone rings constantly as people call trying to get alternate directions. My mom, who has driven separately, is completely wigged out. I try to give her directions but I just get more stressed. The WBLD takes the cell phone and saves the day.

10:00a The wedding is supposed to be starting. Only a few people have made it. Michael is still not there. His groomsmen (who’d been specifically instructed not to leave him alone) arrive without him. Finally he calls, apparently he too has been fielding calls from lost guests for the last hour. 20 minutes later I’m told that he’s arrived. Guests are peeking in the little window in the door to the sanctuary. Anne tries to cover up the window with a paper towel. WBLD comes to the rescue and affixes the paper towel.

10:25a We’re waiting to allow a few more guests time to arrive. With nothing to obsess over my stress level spikes. I begin pacing. My dad tries to divert me by making small talk about the weather or something. Anne and Carmen comment on how often their boobs are popping out of their bridesmaids dresses. That conversation makes my conservative dad look as if he’d like to disappear into the sofa he’s sitting on. I’m still nervous. I try hopping up and down and swinging my arms to release energy. It doesn’t work. Suddenly I begin to feel nauseous. Carmen and Anne grab a trash can and hold it under my chin. I try to breathe slowly but to no avail. I begin to dry heave violently. My poor dad is shock. The girls try to get me to relax. Just when I’m about ready to hurl Carmen says, “so is Mike big in Germany?” I crack up laughing and the nausea is completely gone.

10:40a The wedding begins. It’s perfect. Everything! I walk down the aisle. All my friends and family are there. It’s amazing. Michael looks awesome. We steal glances at each other through the sermon. The Priest gives the best wedding homily I’ve ever heard. (Even afterward people comment on how awesome the sermon was. When does THAT ever happen?) The priest forgets to give us our “kiss the bride” cue, so we just do it anyway.

Miraculously, even though we started the wedding 40 minutes late, we arrive at the reception and it begins on time.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – The Reception. (Which I’ll get to some time this century hopefully.)