Sunday, June 27, 2010

On a Clear Day...You Can See Forever

Warning* This subject is NOT for those that don't fair well hearing about internal examinations.

I saved this blog for June as I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Steve's third colonoscopy appointment. My first experience with this procedure was in December and the reasoning "behind" sharing this with you is two fold:

A) I just have to and...
B) I think I just have to

With each passing year it seems that more inspections are needed on my aging body. The standard tests such as "shmears" and "boobagrams" have just become "routine" at this point. Once you hit the magic number of five oh you are a candidate for an examination that exceeds your expectations. When I accompanied Steve for his "first" ever viewing I followed him through every step complete with instructions. The prep for this exam is one of the highlights. Here's what you need to do:

1. Eat a light meal around noon the day before your appointment
2. Follow the directions on the laxative box
3. Drink 20 gallons of water
4. Wait

Wait for what? I think you know. A totally uncontrolled environment where your body no longer takes signals from your brain. Or in other words "the shit hits the fan". (A chemically enhanced production of violent flushing as a result of the consumption of man-made explosives). There is nothing quite like the feeling of this utter exuberance with the exception of standing at the lookout point on the edge of the Hoover Dam. Oh and just when you think you are're not. This "cleansing" becomes a part of your existance for the next 24 hours. And the point of all this vacuuming?.....your highway needs to be pristine because tomorrow you are about to become a televsion personality.

When Steve went for his appointment he was told that he could opt for the "viewing" with or without sedation. Since he didn't want to travel to the land of the "unknown" in pain he chose to take all the drugs he could get a hold of. My opinion on this option to sedate? Big chicken. I do sympathize with the fact that he has an aversion to items such as three foot long garden hoses being threaded through his intestines but what happened to "taking it like a man"? Personally, I think he was being a bit "anal" about the whole deal. As we pulled into the parking lot of the Clinic I noticed that the office was in a strip mall and unmarked. Somewhat comparable to those cool downtown clubs or restaurants that only are known by their addresses. Neither the Doctors name nor the Clinic name were posted on the outside door. Why? Well, think about this for a second. A dentist's office has a big neon tooth in the window. A general practitioner's office may have a large stethoscope sign. What would a doctor who performs colonoscopies have in his window?  Enough said. We made our way into the waiting room and Steve checked in. It seemed like only a minute had passed when the doctor cheerfully came out to call him. Why was he so happy? Would you be looking up people's butts all day?  What a shitty job.

I kissed my husband goodbye, wished him lots of luck and went to the conveniently located Winners across the street. Yes, I went shopping.  What else was I supposed to do while I was waiting? Overwhelmed by guilt and the new Spring Fashions I tried to focus but felt the need to rush to Steve's backside. I ran out of the store holding the only purchase I could manage... a cute little swimsuit for my collection.
When I returned....there was Steve, lying in a La-Z-Boy Recliner in a dark room - looking how shall we say.... a  bit "probed". You have to know that Steve is the epitomy of a gentleman. He never, I mean never releases any combustible noises from his body unless he is under the effects of drugs, falls asleep accidently or is with his "sports" buddies. Due to the process of this type of procedure by medical law you are allowed to pass as much air as you wish. And so, after spending a half hour of my time waiting for him to "deflate" (when I still could have been at Winners) we made our way to the parking lot to go for brunch. Everything checked out well and from that day forward for three years all I heard was this.... "it's your turn next when you hit 50 na na ne na na".

I anxiously awaited my next milestone birthday. So much so that a minute after I HIT the magic number, I booked my colonoscopy nine months in advance and called the clinic everyday to see if there was a cancellation. There are three things you may not know about me:

1. I like to organize things way ahead of time
2. I don't like waiting for the things that I have organized
3. I don't like sedation (comparable to my airplane shtick - I need to always be aware of what is going on at all times)

My "examination" was scheduled for March 22nd but my persistant badgering allowed me to be the lucky winner of a spot on December 16th. (more than likely because the receptionist could not deal with seeing my phone number come up on her call display anymore) 

Although I have had three children and dispensed any further thoughts of regaining my dignity I was fully psyched to enter the seedy world of Dr. Byrne's Live via satellite broadcast up my Wazoola. I was finally getting my first shot on being on THE VIEW.

The day prior to my big debut I left work around noon to begin the preparation. I had studied all the notes the clinic sent me on the how to's, when to's, don't do's and what to expect regarding the um.. poo poos.

Before I arrived home I stopped at the local Walmart to stock up on my colon necessity kit. Here's the list:

1. Picosalax

2. Lemon Jello (I bought 4 boxes)

3. 2 Campbell's Clear Chicken Broth in the gallon size boxes (any leftovers could be used in future recipes calling for chicken stock)

4. Popsicles in a clear flavour (I may as well have just eaten ice cubes)

5. Glamour Magazine

6. I contemplated purchasing War & Peace for the last few rounds in the front line bunker but opted for Danielle Steel's Five Days in Paris instead.

I set out my artillery on the kitchen table and was ready to report for duty. Suddenly I had a feeling of remorse sweep over me. How could I possibly go without solid food for over 24 hours? (I only do this once a year to cleanse the sins from my body on Yom Kippur...the colon sweep was a different matter) Seeing as I live to eat and not eat to live I became agitated at the thought of downing see-through items of food.

The instructions state that once the prep begins you must remain stationed near "home base". The process started at 14:00 hrs. The effects of the potion were scheduled to arrive at mission uncontrolled at 18:00 hrs. My brain was telling me to take advantage of an all-ya-can eat Jello fest. Only problem was the jello was still not set and firm. Have you ever tried just drinking it straight? In desperate times you do desperate things. It was now approaching the dinner hour. A huge chicken casserole was bubbling in the oven. The whole house was enveloped in the heavenly smell of baked cheese crusting beautifully over a mixture of chicken, mushrooms and sauce. While the boys chowed down on the meal I was pacing in circles with a white popscicle, ready to hibernate in the master washroom. The only issue was this....all systems were not GO. I waited patiently but nothing. The temptation to eat that casserole and throw away the clear foods grew closer and closer when suddenly my perserverance paid off. I bid a fond farewell to my family and sequestered myself with my reading material.....for the next 8 hours. Yes folks, at 3 a.m. I was still wondering what else could possibly be left inside my body. I was also recalling what the instructions said: Start preparing yourself at 2 p.m. the day before in order to ensure a restful nights sleep. LIES. What was restful about sitting on a porcelain bowl until the wee hours of the night? NOTHING.

After this type of grueling (toilet) training I felt strong enough to enlist with the Israeli Defence Forces. Perhaps after the cavity check at the clinic I will sign up for active doodie. Steve was prepared to drive me to the unmarked office. In the car, he was trying to be as supportive and positive as he could. I was trying to remain optimistic as well while picturing myself wolfing down a gigantic bagel from Kiva's Bakery afterwards....  rock salt, butter and poppyseeds getting stuck in my teeth...a big round taste of heaven. So worth the starvation diet and the 24 hours of purifying my guts.

Steve drove around the parking lot to find an END spot (to avoid dings in his doors) and I slowly walked towards the door with no name. The same doctor with the same sunny disposition called my name. As I stood up to go in Steve asked if he could come in and observe. Observe what? An eclipse of my moon? I figured like this....Steve is my husband, he has seen me at my best and at my worst and now he will know me "inside out". What's the harm in him co-hosting on The View? I had debated the option of sedation and came to the conclusion that I would try to go through this WITHOUT any drugs. If I couldn't take the pain, Dr. Behind could soup me up during the space probe. He went over the standard medical history with me and suggested he hook me up with meds. I said,"NO THANKS, let's just get this show on the road". I was instructed to lie down on the examination table on my left side. Steve was seated directly behind my behind. In front of my head was a large T.V. screen. Dr. B. was very calm as he yelled "lights, camera.......ACTION"!  He carefully began the antiques roadshow ....there were organs to the right and to the left. Lamaze breathing came into play as I watched a camera light up my DO NOT ENTER sign. Throughout the procedure I turned to see if Steve was fairing well. He now only had one thing on his mind.........competition. If his wife could go through this without any sedation he was now expected to do the same thing. Once Dr. B. completed his tour and went out the emergency EXIT sign I was relieved. The good news was I don't have to be on THE VIEW again for another four years. The bad news was I had to watch the entire show over again 2 weeks ago when "Steve the Competitor" managed to capture the coveted lead role in BraveFART.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mr. Wilson Lee

During the weekend that my dear husband was on his mini holiday in “Grease” I planned to spend some time with my dear mom. As you know she is in her twilight years but is full of vitality and loves to go out to "TRY" new places to eat. Please note “TRY” is the operative word here. The problem is this....once she finds a place she likes that restaurant now becomes the ONLY restaurant that's acceptable to her. It's a good thing that I talked her out of a career as a restaurant critic. Let me take you back to the days when Lichee Gardens was still on Elizabeth Street in downtown Toronto. Who remembers Lichee? Well, I grew up in that establishment. I believe my parents started going there in 1948 before my entrance into this world. Every Sunday night my father, mother, brother, sister and yours truly ( a toddler) made our way down to Lichee G.


Remember the blog that I described myself in the role of Elevator Operator in the back of the car amusing myself by opening and closing the windows? That's what I did en route (with my imaginary friends) to our chinese hangout every single week.

Okay, so we arrive at Lichee Gardens and were greeted by the hostess who knew us by name and also knew that my father would only sit at certain waiters tables. For the life of me I could not tell you any of my teachers names throughout school but ask me to name all our favorite chinese problem. There was Mr. Wilson, Kenny, George, Peter, Charles, and Mr. Lee. Here's a quick fact for you. Mr. Lee and Mr. Wilson was the same person. Confused? No they were not identical twins. No he didn't have multiple personalities or an alias. Mr. Lee was Mr. Wilson because his name was really Mr. Wilson Lee. I think my father just simply titled them ”Mr.” once he heard what their first or last names were. Let's continue. Once we were seated at Mr. Wilson Lee's table we didn't need to order. Why? Because Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee knew exactly what we would eat on a weekly basis. There was also another good thing about Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee. He had connections in the Chinese Food underground. When Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee disappeared past the large red double doors that led to the kitchen he emerged within 20 seconds bearing a plate of sizzling hot appetizers. This included 5 bowls of wonton soup laden with sliced pork, 10 egg rolls, 20 deep fried wontons, 20 pieces of bbq long lean spareribs and 10 mongolian beef skewers. Did 5 people really order that amount of food? The answer to that question is NO. Why did we receive that humongous PuPu platter? The answer is simple. At the end of the meal when all was said and done Mr. Wilson/ Mr. Lee was rewarded handsomely by my father. I figured his tip was definitely more than the total of the bill. If Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee's children are reading this blog're welcome. I believe my family paid for your university education by not ordering food.

Oh, I forgot to mention the “free” plate of assorted chinese cookies that Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee stole for us out of the kitchen. Almond cookies, Fortune cookies, chinese rice crispie squares and these really weird sesame coated jelly squares which my sister loved and I hated. My favorite end to the meal was this... I always made a gourmet chinese concoction from various leftover items on the table. Ingredients such as hot mustard, rice, sweet and sour sauce, onions, pieces of napkin, a doily, some pepper, soy sauce, toothpicks, a piece of silk flower and a splash of tea. I stirred it up with my chopstick and like clockwork EVERY SUNDAY got yelled at by my father when he discovered that I was making a mess for Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee to clean up. It used to drive him nuts but I was really cute so it didn't matter.

Unfortunately Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee set a precedent for all chinese food waiters worldwide. There was no one that could hold a candle to Wilson Lee. In fact, when Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee was off duty my father would spend the entire meal telling us that the food was not prepared in the same way. Only Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee was “tight” with the chef who ensured us that only the freshest ingredients were used. I started to believe that Mr. Wilson/ Mr. Lee was more than likely the waiter and the chef once he entered and exited those double red doors in lightening speed. As time passed, we followed Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee to all the new locations that Lichee Gardens had opened over the years. What I couldn't figure out is this....Mr. Wilson/ Mr. Lee looked really old to me when he was waiting tables in 1961. Some 25 years later he still looked the same. Ancient Chinese secret? Maybe.

The reason behind this story is this. My parents really only liked one restaurant back then too. All others paled in comparison. Lichee couldn't last forever and neither did Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee. The restaurant did close over a period of time and then one day a few years ago they reopened Lichee Gardens in a location north of the city. Once they opened this new Lichee G. it was all the rage. The only problem was my parents were their only regular patrons. My father was almost 97 when he passed away. One of his last outings was at his favorite restaurant... Lichee Gardens. Soon after the restaurant closed its doors so did an era of memories. My mom now visits the Paradise Chinese Restaurant...week after week because its the only restaurant that's “good“. The manager there knows when she pulls into her parking spot and she has a favorite waiter...his name is Mr. Raymond. Not sure if that's his last name or his first? Most importantly without my mom requesting it, Mr. Raymond brings her plum sauce that doesn't go with Dim Sum...but does it really matter?

When I invited her to join me for a Saturday night out on the town I was expecting to go to Paradise but was pleasantly surprised when she suggested an Italian place on Avenue Road. Where in the world did she come up with this place? Well you see, it was recommended by her hairdresser who went there for a family communion the week before. So my mom stated “If Pina says it's good it must be good”. To which I replied skeptically “what did she suggest you order”?

“Salmon”, my mother answered.

Hmm? In my opinion, ordering Salmon in an Italian eatery is like ordering a burger in a seafood joint. That's not to say you can't have great fish in any restaurant but why order something fishy when you can have pizza, pasta or cacciatore?

I know that my mom likes to have her last meal of the day early (somewhere between 2 p.m. & 2:05 p.m.). I knew that the restaurant opened at 5 p.m. which was the closest we could get to 2:00 p.m.

Strangely enough my mother opted for a 6 p.m. reservation. She emailed me the restaurant information~ yes email is the way she corresponds with me these days. Her instructions were to call her when I leave my house and I am on my way. Perfect...

I picked her up at 5 p.m. and when I arrived she was standing in her kitchen hallway ready to go. Keep in mind that the restaurant is only 10 minutes from her house. We decided that since the reservation was at 6 p.m. we could drive slowly, park slowly, walk slowly and get to the restaurant about 15 minutes early for our Rez.

After a brief photo shoot on my mother's veranda, we were seated in the restaurant at 5:20 p.m. (So much for the slowly part). Before we ordered, my mother quickly looked through the menu. Salmon was still taking first choice even though I tried to convince her to try one of the restaurant specialties. I decided the only way she may budge was to suggest "sharing". I will order the stuffed cannelloni in a mushroom sauce and my mother would order the salmon and grilled veggies. She agreed and we placed our drink and food order anxiously awaiting the arrival of the meal. The waiter brought the two dishes and placed them in front of us. I carefully divided the food and we dove in. Mine was a delight of cream, butter and cheese and my mother's piece of fish on a plate with a side of undercooked vegetables that my she would not attempt to eat. Once she tasted MY dish she was in heaven. So what about "Pina the Hairdresser's Salmon"? Let's put it this mother wasn't willing to swim upstream again for the "catch of the day".

After a lovely dessert of cheesecake and a really unique way of serving tea my mother seemed very happy with Pina's choice of restaurant. We paid our bill and made our way back to the car which was parked across the street in front of the famous Lobster Trap restaurant. My parents used to go there years ago. As my mother stood for a moment to reminisce about the good old days of lobster tails and lobster bisque she pointed out that she would never go back to Pina's restaurant again. How did I know that? Simple. She never asked for the waiter's name.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leapin Gizzards there was Sex in the City!

Just after I arrived home from Aruba there was an planned event that my friend and I were really looking forward to......The Premiere, YES Premiere..... of...... Sex and the City 2! We purchased tickets through the Baycrest Foundation (Baycrest is an Old Age Home/Hospital). Admission was $125 each and the proceeds went to Brain Research at the hospital (no tax receipt issued because I don't know why). With the price of these tickets we were both certain that our brains should be researched to see if we had any. Who pays that amount of money to see a movie? Only us and 500 other crazy women. We decided that the purpose of this evening was to get out, have fun and watch our favorite four women entertain us with their escapades through the most anticipated sequel since....  um....maybe the Star Wars Trilogy?

We both counted down the days until the Toronto Premiere while in New York my niece was preparing to go to the REAL deal. You see, when you live in New York, home of the inception of Sex and the City, there is a difference in what transpires when they premiere the movie in the Big Apple. Here's a comparison of what we experienced -TORONTO V.S. NEW YORK:

  • In Toronto we bought our tickets because of someone who knows my email address.

  • In NYC my niece was invited to attend the Premiere because of who she knows.

  • In Toronto we looked through our closets to choose an outfit for the evening.

  • In NYC my niece had a one-of-a-kind dress designed and tailored for her exclusively.

  • In Toronto you venture downtown in rush hour to find a parking spot in the underground.

  • In NYC you walk behind the entire cast of Sex and the City who are working the Red Carpet

  • In Toronto you need to arrive an hour and a half early to get a pair of good seats in the theatre

  • In NYC you can arrive fashionably late and sit two rows behind Sarah Jessica Parker.

  • In Toronto you are given free popcorn (we took 4 bags) and water for the movie.

  • In NYC you are given free range of all the glitz and glamour

  • In Toronto you get your picture taken with Jeanne Beker ( Host of Fashion Television)

  • In NYC you are photographed with THE STARS OF SEX AND THE CITY.

  • In Toronto you have to fight for your hors d'eouvres at the After Party

  • In NYC you have to fight for a moment to chat with SJP at the After Party.

And as theme song from SATC2 goes... " In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of"'s big, it's loud, it's crowded and it's the only place on earth that Sarah, Kim, Kristen and Cynthia would be.......whereas we still are waiting to have our heads examined for spending $250 to go see a movie. Would we do it again? UH a New York City minute we would.

So during the time I was "coming down" from the excitement of our big premiere night, Steve was planning a Food Network Show "EXPERIENCE". He decided it would be a wonderful idea for him and his buddy Jimmy to hop on their motorcyles and map out a U.S. three State tour shadowing the show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives that celebrity chef Guy Fieri hosts. The itinerary was as follows:

Leaving on a Friday they drove to Lansing, Michigan to a small town called Pottersville. What's so special about Pottersville? Well, let me tell you. It's home to Joe's Gizzard City Restaurant! Have you ever heard of Joe and his gizzards? Neither have I even though I watch the show religiously. Oh, and have YOU ever heard of a gizzard? I seem to recall this delicacy included in a Jewish dish that my mother used to make - it`s called Fricassee. A fricassee is a combination of gross chicken internal organs and limbs. Does this sound appetizing to you? Let me say that if you haven`t tried it you don't know what you`re missing in life. My favorite part of a fricassee are the chicken pippiks. Are you wondering what the hell a "pippik" is ? I will try to explain this to you in simple terms. A pippik is what we Jews refer to as a belly button, however do chickens have pippiks? Last time I looked at a chicken I didn't notice a pippik. Everyone has a yours an innie or an outie? I bet you are all looking at your pippiks right now. Are you confused yet? In some species such as fowl a gizzard is found in the intestinal portion or stomach. Still with me? How about your craving for pippiks?

It is three hundred and fifty miles from Toronto to Joe's Gizzard City Restaurant. My husband and his friend drove three hundred and fifty miles to eat deep fried pippiks. Ask me if this sounds like fun? Not only did the tour include gizzards, pizza and flytraps there was also a need to try the Triple D burger as well. It`s a half a pound of ground beef prepared on the grill topped with cheese and fixins. Is that all? No. I'm getting to the good part. Once the hamburger is prepared in a normal fashion they then take the whole sucker and dip in a sludgey batter. This concoction is then DEEP FRIED and stabbed with a knife through the centre. Similar to a reaction you will get after you eat it......the sensation of a knife stabbing through your heart from all the cholesterol running through your ateries. Yum. What else did they serve in this artery clogging zero star establishment?.....dessert of course! How did they prepare their desserts? Guess. Bingo....deep fried. Steve pondered over the deep fried cheesecake, deep fried Frinkie (which is really a fried twinkie) or the Gizzard City Gusher (deep fried ice cream sandwich with caramel sauce). After eating a plate of gizzards and a hamburger doused in oil and cheese he made an executive decision to skip dessert and save room for the next stop on the tour......good move since he was about to become a human Gizzard City Gusher.

Next stop - Ferndale, Michigan - The Fly Trap Restaurant. Their specialty? Red Chili Salmon Burgers. First of all.......I have been making really good salmon patties for years. Has anyone ever driven four hundred miles to ME for a salmon patty? Okay, now let`s continue. There was an issue of what else was consumed on this trip. The majority of the food was FRIED. DEEP DEEP DEEP FRIED. Is deep fried food good for you? Do I need to answer that? The two motorcylists had come across two issues during their Tour de Grease. One of which was "wind" and the other of which was "rain". During the trip they had encountered some nasty wet weather conditions throughout their ride. The wind was another story - resulting from the food I suspect. On the first leg of the tour they found themselves trapped under a bridge while their motorcyles sat below them.

As you all know me very well by idea of a holiday leans towards  a five star hotel, soft breezes, palm trees swaying, the sun kissing my hmm hmm's and of course good service and fine dining. I can't quite picture myself lying under a bridge. With that said, it is time to move on to the subject of men. I realize that this particular subject may require a separate blog that would be at least as long as WAR & PEACE so I will keep it simple. Here we go. And by the way I'm not going to sterotype ALL men, just the one I'm married to. Steve is the outdoorsey type. He walks around the exterior of the house with bare feet. This drives me INSANE. When I witness him doing this I ask "Steve are you planning on coming inside the house with those feet"? To which he replies "Yes, of course, you never say anything to the boys when they walk outside in their socks". How is that the same? Are their feet touching the ground outside? No, there are socks between their feet and the ground. What is my point here? I will tell you. Steve doesn't mind getting his feet wet or dirty for that matter. Whether it's on tour across the United States to eat fried crap or outside in the garden or driveway, he's just a simple man with simple tastes. They do say opposites attract. He scubas, I pool. He skydives, I fly enclosed. He fishes, I buy fish at Loblaws. He fixes things, I break things. He runs, I fall. He eats chocolate covered insects, I kill anything that crawls. He lies under a bridge, I lie on the lounge chair with an ice tea. Do we love each other? Yes. Do I know why? ..because he's Steve.

We now continue to Cleveland which is 150 miles from Ferndale, Michigan. Steve has now clocked about six hundred and fifty miles between home and his next meal. Geraci's Restaurant is famous for it's pie. Not apple pie or blueberry pie but PIZZA pie. The pizza is made with an assortment of meats. Pepperoni, bacon, ground meat, ham and mushrooms. Here's my question again. Why travel over six hundred miles for a pizza when there's 967-1111 delivery? Do you see a pattern here? The further away you travel from home the more apt you are to find junk food exactly like we have in Toronto. Duh.

Now that the two of these Nars were finishing "discovering" America it was finally time to hike their stuffed bellies back to Canada. The Google Map route veered them through another state, PENNSYLVANIA - this time  there were no plans to stop for a Triple D Tour restaurant but instead to a Walmart store. Reason for locating an all purpose sporting goods store? WIND. Real honest to goodness "Dorothy are we in Kansas?" type wind. Due to the extreme weather conditions the motorcyclists ran into a slight problem. They thought they were both prepared..... and in their handy dandy saddle-bags lay two rain gear suits that were made from water-proof fabric. The reality of these suits was they were good for shit.  These so-called rain suits were passable for a light drizzle but not twister type breezes. As soon as they donned them and sped across the interstate highways at excessive speeds the suits disintegrated blue shard by blue shard.  Basically, Steve rode through wind, sleet, hail and torrential rains in nothing more than a plastic table cloth. As the pieces of his suit ripped and flew off his body landing on Jimmy who was riding behind him, he knew he had no choice but to pull over and buy something more suitable for the balance of the gruelling ride back into my arms. He purchased an item called frog-wear. It resembles a hazmat suit. Now he could safely ride back to Toronto and also be comfortable coming in contact with hazardous materials or substances such as fried food.

I waited with baited breath to see him walk through our front door on Sunday night. One thousand miles of traveling, three unforgettable days of eating oil coated foods and two rainsuits later, he arrived. I was so happy to see him alive because to be quite honest, I really didn't want to date again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eat, Pray, Laugh and Tan?

Preparation A

It wasn't the usual chain of events leading up to our annual vacation. Steve wasn't able to go on our two week lay around the beach and eat ourselves into a coma holiday this year so I needed to find an alternative travel partner to get away with. Short of placing a personal ad in the newspaper I polled different people and ended up securing my niece who resides in NYC. She is married and seven months ago gave birth to an adorable baby boy. She was quite convincing with the idea that traveling with an infant would be a breeze. After all...what do infants do all day? Eat,sleep,poop and giggle?


For the most part that is true but babies do other things than giggle and poo. They scream like banshees and sometimes don't sleep when you want them to. Was this something new to me? No. I had three babies but I figured that while I was rearing them a part of my brain fizzled so badly that any memory of crying and pooping in DA pants went out the window. I do seem to remember keeping them inside in a dark room until they were human enough to go into society without disturbing anyone.

All in all this kid was an angel. What I did learn on this trip was that when a baby cries at 5 a.m. you are allowed to go back to sleep if you are not its mother. The issue was ...I couldn't. I was wide eyed and bushy tailed before the sun came up everyday. In fact, I watched them both sleep while I waited for movement. Its been twenty years since I heard anyone cry out in the middle of the night....ok maybe the cats make a few mew mews but this was different.

So my total sleep hours for the week coupled with the fact that I was back at work soon after the trip resulted in the tardy writing of this blog. My apologies and I missed you too so here you go....

Let's start with my flight to Aruba. I knew that I would somehow have to amuse myself for 5 + hours so Steve and YO downloaded some shows for me to watch on the plane. Oh and FYI I'm not a good flyer. I like to know what is about to transpire during the entire time I'm 35,000 ft in the air. I had to figure out whose arm I would dig my nails into during takeoff, landing and times of turbulence. On MY ideal flight I would be seated next to the pilot and near the flight recorder but instead I made my way into the body of the airplane hauling my brand new Louis Vuitton carry-on bag that weighed more than my checked luggage. Here's a list of what I NEED in my carry-on so you can understand:

1. Laptop

2. Laptop Charger

3. Phone Charger

4. Ipod Charger

5. Ipod

6. Main Makeup bag – assortment of items to make me look human

7. Secondary Makeup bag for a quick fix of lipstick so that I don’t have to pull out my Main Makeup bag

8. Pens

9. Prescription medications (which by the way I don’t need but I travel with “just in case” I get something

10. About a pound of roasted unsalted Almonds

11. About a half a pound of dried apricots

12. About a quarter of a pound of sour grape jellies (the ones with sugar which I brush off)

13. A pair of gold flip flops

14. Two pairs of sunglasses

15. One pair of glasses

16. One pair of sunglasses that are reading glasses which you can wear in the sun to read with

17. Kleenex

18. Package of Baby wipes

19. Some personal hygiene products

20. My small travel purse ( which contains $$$, Passport, loose change)

21. All the documentation that I have printed out regarding my booking over the past two months – which you don’t really need because they have it all online when you check in but I like to have Hard Copies of things just in case they don’t believe me.

22. Extra t-shirt ( don’t ask me why)

23. Hair accessories

24. Ear buds

25. Ear plugs

26. Brush

27. A Danielle Steel Novel (which I never got to read)

28. Sesame seed bagel with butter, sliced cheese, tomato and lettuce (which Steve made me and it got really soggy but when you’re starving who cares)

29. Fuji apple (sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice to avoid going brown but it did anyways)

30. Most important item? My blackberry which must remain OFF during the flight due to airline regulations.

As I approach (19C) which I hand picked when booking the flight I see that there is a gentleman in my aisle seat.

“Excuse me, I believe you're in the wrong seat” I say politely. He and his travel companion look at me and motion that 19C is the window seat. Um no. It's the aisle I explain. After two minutes of looking at seat diagrams and holding up the other passengers they finally figure out that I'm right and scoot over so I can park my butt and my obnoxious bag.

I didn't really want to start off on the wrong foot so I quickly turned on my airplane charm and introduced myself to my seat partners (19A and 19B). Lovely people from Trinidad. Mother and son duo. I noticed during the flight that the son (19B) never rose from his seat. I later discovered why.....

When he walked through to the terminal upon landing he was “shlepping” one leg after the other. “Schlepping” definition: yiddish word for dragging along. Oh G~d! I made a cripple who has a double leg shlep move seats for me! I thought for sure I would be struck down by lightening for that sin. I had to make it better in order to avoid a probable bad thing happening to me. I later approached his mom to apologize and she thought nothing of it. In fact she gave me that “are you for real” look. I'm happy to say that nothing happened as a result of my insisting a cripple move from 19C to 19B with the exception of a very strange occurrence that I have never before experienced on a flight. The Captain came on the speaker just before landing to inform us that international rules have changed and they are now required to spray the entire cabin with insecticide before landing. Excuse me? Was this a joke? In an instant the flight attendant swung open the two front drapes that separated the peasants from the first class cabin. He was armed with two spray cans in each hand and walked through the aisle spraying a soft mist of disgusting smelling raid-like crap that made everyone gasp for air. This was it! They were trying to gas me for not allowing the cripple to sit in 19C......the only thing was.....everyone else had to pay for my stupidity as well. Once they finished spraying and we finished coughing we were allowed to land. I honestly feel that this substance may have contributed to my onset of early menopause AND I have had symptoms of agent orange ever since they tried to kill us.

I had no problem finding my niece and the baby after we landed. They were standing at the luggage carousel waiting and off came my suitcase in a flash! We were whisked away to our hotel and as we were checking in the lobby lady handed us cold towels and champagne before the front desk assigned us our room. How totally 5 star was that?

We were told that we snared an Ocean Front room and both of us squealed with delight! Princesses united we made our way up to the fourth floor. Me with my light suitcase and heavy carry-on and her with her heavy suitcase, heavy carry-on, heavy diaper bag, heavy stroller and fairly light baby.

We needed to discover our new territory so off we went to find a local market for water. On our way we noticed a cool looking place next to our hotel for dinner. They advertised their specialty on a TV monitor outside the restaurant. “Stone cooking”. What that essentially means is this:

Food is prepared and placed RAW on an individual sized stinking hot stone. The stone then cooks your food. Nifty idea? Not really. Here's the situation....we arrive at the place...sit down.....order....and within two seconds a waitress descends upon us to drape RED life vest~like bibs over our heads. Immediate reaction? My niece laughs so hard she's crying on the garlic bread. This in turn makes me laugh to the point of Apnea which impedes on my ability to catch my breath. Plus we both are wondering why the hell we bothered getting dressed if we were going to be covered in red life vests during our meal? The meal arrived spewing hot smoke from the stone. Picture hot smoke, steam and chicken spew on a night we chose to sit on the patio in Aruba where it's 98 degrees. Needless to say wearing the red vest was minimal compared to what my hair transformed into after these underlying conditions.

While we were watching our breasts sizzle on the prehistoric stone we started to slice into the meat which was still raw. The concept was to cook it yourself which is not my idea of a holiday. As we slowly ate our self prepared chicken we noticed that it kept cooking. End of story? Stone dry breasts.


Dushi Bagels, Umbrella's that Consume and Lockdown in Room 468

As we walked through the main area in front of our hotel we scouted out the breakfast places for the duration of our stay. Our plan was to keep it cheap for our morning and lunch meals and blow it all on lavish dinners. Good idea since we were on a "princess" vacation and not in an all-inclusive hotel. We stumbled across the only bagel joint in Aruba and couldn't help but notice the name...... Dushi Bagel. ( Pronounced DOOSHIE ) Kind of a strange name for a bagel place but after researching this I found out that "Dushi" means "prettiest" in the language of the Arubians. If that's the case we were definitely looking the "dushiest" in our swimwear and coverups that day. So we made our way for the prettiest bagels in town and ordered our Dushi's. Two Bagels with a fried egg and melted cheese to be exact. After breaksfast we walked back to the hotel to stake our claim at the beach. Here's how it works. If you are an early riser you run out to the pool area, get your towels and set up your lounges in a prime spot. At an all-inclusive you do this by a Hyatt there is always a pool guy available to do this task for you....for a price. Tippity Tip Tip Tip. The good thing is....once you tip them the first time....they come running when they see you again the next day. One of us would run down early in the morning to grab our real estate for the day. On one particular morning I ran down without tip money by mistake. As I proceeded to try to open the GIANT umbrella myself it actually swallowed me up inside of it and trapped me. If I only had my 2 buck tip I would not have been consumed by an umbrella. I managed to back out from the bottom of the man-eating umbrella and made my way over to Juan the pool boy. "Can you please help" I asked? I think he must have witnessed the whole scene from the towel hut and was quite amused. I told him that I was Tipless today and would make up for it tomorrow......which of course I did because Juan didn't forget. He stragetically positioned himself to grab his 2 bucks the next day and the day after and the day after etc.

After a long day in the sun we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice seafood dinner at the Aqua Grill. My niece thought it would be a great idea to feed Baby G. in the restaurant BEFORE we ordered our meals. She dressed him up in a stunning crisp cotton Ralph Lauren jumpsuit and off we went looking like three dushi's from T.O. & NYC. Once we hit the restaurant we asked for a highchair. The result of this FEED THE BABY BEFORE WE EAT was this......- Mr. Lauren ralphed on his crisp jumpsuit and for the rest of the meal he tried to steal his mother's shrimps. How could you be mad at a face like this?


Ramp it up with Latin Music...

I noticed that traveling with a baby is like traveling with a disabled person. Everywhere you go must be wheelchair accessible due to the stroller issue. Instead of taking the stairs you are required to find a ramp or an elevator. On a few occasions I found myself sans stroller in the resort. I discovered secret  ways to get places so quickly by using the simple method of stair climbing. I actually started to miss stairs by day three. I wanted to run up and down stairs so badly I developed Stair Envy. I even found a cool set of stairs that led to our room and snuck up those when I came up from the pool alone on occasion. I had become a STAIR GAZER.

So our usual routine in the late afternoon would start with a bath for Baby G. My niece would go up early and give him a nice cleansing. She would then place him in a towel, fluff up his blonde locks and dress him in something spiffy for the evening. I got my turn to shower and then once I was ready I let her take her shower so I could watch Mr. Baby. By the way, he loves his Auntie D. For some reason I make him giggle. I am not sure if it is because I am funny or funny looking. The thought that was probably going through his little baby head was this....."when I landed on this G-d foresaken island I saw a blonde lady with straight flowing hair in the airport, she kissed me hello and a day after we got here there is another blonde lady who is staying with me with "medusa like" scary frizzy hair but she really is quite amusing and makes me laugh at her....where's the first lady? ".

My niece brought her ipod and speakers with all of baby G's favorite tunes loaded on it......this of course leads to dancing......all around the room in circles.....and if you stop dancing.....he starts we continue...dancing. Our reservation is at 7:30 p.m. at a Steakhouse tonight. Why a steakhouse when I don't eat red meat? My niece and the concierge were now bff's and they made these decisions behind my back.  I totally trusted them and concluded that I'm always bound to find a food that has feathers or gills in any restaurant. Baby G. was fed before our departure (smart move) and was tucked into his carseat with his foo foo. What is a foo foo you ask? No, it's not an item on a Chinese menu. A foo foo is a security blanket which is designed to comfort a baby when they are tired or cranky. A foo foo is a piece of fabric with magical powers. I have actually never had foo foos for any of my boys but now that I have witnessed this phenomenon I wished that I had giant foo foos back then. It works like this - Baby G cries, you throw the foo foo blanket at him and he puts his thumb in his mouth while snuggling the foo foo and settles down. HOW the FOO does that work? I'm thinking it has some sort of reverse catnip effect embedded inside of the fabric. Once you have touched a foo foo you will want one too too.

Off we go to El Goucho's Steakhouse......elevator, ramp and into the taxi.  Baby G. is sound asleep in the carseat which is hooked inside the stroller as we arrive. As we sit down at the table we notice the unthinkable. There are strolling musicians in the restaurant who are heading right towards our table. My niece starts waving her hands above her head as if a train is about to hit her on a railway track. The musicians slowly move past our table and try to perform for the other table next to niece is still waving like an air traffic controller on crack.......GO AWAY PEOPLE.....there is a sleeping baby here!
We ordered our meals.......steak for for me. I instruct her to quickly slice her meat when it arrived so that she is prepared for the worst case scenario. She follows my instructions. Just as she takes her first bite of mouth watering meat the stupid musicians BREAK OUT in the song VOLARE in the next room causing the crowd to cheer loudly and resulting yes.... in Baby G. getting up and wanting to do guess what? DANCE!

Our mission that evening was to eat, throw the baby back in the cab and make our way to our hotel in time for the season finale of Desperate Housewives. Ideally we would have around 30 minutes to arrive, go to our room and get the baby settled into bed. As we made our way to our room the key card failed on the double entrance door that separated our room from the suite next to us. Hmmmm....interesting. After being trapped outside of our room for what seemed like hours and me running up and down the side stairs (which I am obsessed with) to the lobby we managed to get a Hyatt repair guy to establish that our neighbours must have double locked the door from the INSIDE. Now who would do such an idiotic thing? Well, I'll tell you who....people who wanted us to move to another hotel probably. So what if the baby cried "a bit", does that make it okay for someone to intentionally want to lock us out? Well hell ya. We heard them try to do it again the next night but we were already safely tucked in our room. Did we get to see Desperate Housewives? Yes, barely. Did I get compensated for sitting in a hallway waiting to get into our 5 Star room? Of course. The front desk manager gave us a $50 food credit on our bill....which in Hyatt's terms translates to this: 2 eggs, sausage, a juice and some dry toast each. Yes folks $51 exactly to eat breakfast with black swans floating by us. Well? It was free.... and all we needed to do was sit in a hall.


Hot (fat) men - Cleopatra style and floaties

Steve was a bit concerned about me going away alone without him. He tends to be a little jealous sometimes but I assured him that he had nothing to worry about. I was in good company. A niece and a baby....we were safe from being approached by gigolos. On day four, I was lounging around the pool waiting for Baby G. to wake up from his morning nap when out of nowhere I felt the sun go behind a cloud. Or so I thought. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. I placed my hand over my eyes to see what was causing this darkness and before me stood a giant man who weighed give or take 450 lbs. He was instructing Juan the pool boy on how to set up THREE, yes three stacked chairs next to me so that he could easily slide himself on and off them throughout the day. I'm usually a social person but I had my eyes closed when the "friendly giant" struck up a conversation with me. My niece found this quite entertaining and for the first time in 4 days I wished that Baby G. would wake up and get me out of this scenario. I couldn't pay attention to anything he was saying because as he maneouvered onto his three stacked chairs I was picturing the Fairy Tale the Princess and the Pea. Remember that one? Needless to say, the baby took an extra long nap that day while I listened politely to his recollections of buffet food feasts. For the balance of our vacation we checked out where Juan prepared the three stacked chairs and ensured that we went North of there.

We spent quite a bit of time in the water because it was scorching hot in Aruba. Who goes there in May anyways? My niece was prepared with pool toys for the  baby, one of which was a floatie. Backtrack to day one for a second. We are armed with sunscreen, a scuba-like suit for the kid, tiny animal shaped bath toys and THE FLOATIE. The floatie was a gift from my niece's two best buddies who are referred to as "the guncles" which translates to gay uncles. The floatie had it's maiden voyage in Arizona when she went to visit her friend there and it seemed to work well. It was a really cool device that folds up and is easy to travel with. There are only two problems with it when you give us the responsibility of using it.
1. We had no idea you had to blow it up
2. Once we blew it up we had no idea how to deflate it.
End of story?  Babies don't float well without air and mother's don't cope well with 5 easy step instructions on how to store your floatie. It took every last ounce of restraint not to stab the living daylights out of the floatie in order to fit in back into the minsicule plastic bag from which it emerged. This was after my niece decided to waltz around the room wearing it on her head like a huge sombrero and freaking out the baby. Give me strength.

Not soon after my conversation with the next Biggest Loser contestant, Juan the pool boy appeared from the bushes with a beautiful arrangement of fruit on skewers followed by another pool guy who was holding a plant mister in his hand. Fruit followed by a cool shpritz of water. We both looked at each other and decided that we could very well be the next Real Housewives of Aruba.

In keeping in tune with our concierge line-up we had a reserved table at Madame Jeanettes for dinner that evening. I was really looking forward to trying this place as I heard it was quite popular. Last night we went to a nice Italian joint within walking distance of our hotel. Baby G. was in a great mood after his supper of parsnips, pears and gruel and we were hoping for a peaceful dining experience on the outdoor patio of this establishment. Once we hit our seats the waitress came over and poked her head in the stroller to goo goo gaa gaa at the baby. Why do people feel that this is necessary to do? If the baby is half asleep he won't be after some stranger sticks their head into the stroller to scare the shit out of him. I believe this type of behaviour should go with the same rules that apply in a fine china store. "YA BREAK IT YA BUY IT". So in turn IF YA WAKE IT YA TAKE IT  because you are a bumbling imbecile you are then required to care for the child for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the waitress left with our order in the nick of time and just before Baby G. screamed "lemme outta here"!!  For some reason I felt that I should be ordering a drink that night so my niece convinced me (the cheap drunk) to join her with a Sangria. Here's timeline of what transpired during that meal:
7:12 p.m. - cocktails arrive at the table (Baby G. also arrives on our lap)
7:13 p.m. - appetizer of Buffalo Mozzarella arrives (waitress convinced us to upgrade to the Buffalo cheese unbeknownst to us that it was $26 instead of $12 for regular Kraft mozzarella)
7:17 p.m.- Main course arrives
7:20 p.m. - Bill arrives
7:22 p.m. - depart restaurant
7:30 p.m. - I'm dancing drunk in the street
7:33 p.m. - I can't remember what I ate for dinner
Within 20 minutes we ate, drank and dropped over $120 on the meal. Impressive eh?

So on this night, we got very very lucky - Baby G. fell asleep in the taxi and stayed asleep while his mother and aunt stuffed their faces like we were going off to war.

We had a blast and thanked Baby G. for letting us finish our meal in OVER 20 minutes.
I'll have a number 57 with a side of Clooney

We were all sailing through the holiday without any major glitches until today. My nieces blackberry decided to stop functioning. Now I know what I would be like if my blackberry didn't work - I would rather have a front tooth pulled. We had an issue. How do you get tech support on a desert island? Thankfully she had her computer and I suggested she email Verizon to see if they could give her some assistance. After a day at pool and talking to some schizohrenic parrots who loved to whistle at us we were prepared for another wonderful meal at a Chinese joint in the Westin Hotel just down the street from our place.  As usual our evening had to be planned precisely due to another Season Finale.....Grey's Anatomy. Once we reached the hotel restaurant we couldn't help but notice how beautiful it was. I spotted a table near the fish tank so that Baby G. would be occupied by the sea life. They served both Chinese and Japanese food there.....I guess you could call it a CHAPENESE restaurant? A nice waitresss took our order and loved how cute our dinner companion was looking in his Lynrd Skynrd one piece outfit. When the meal arrived Lynrd, his mother and his aunt (me) were served by a waiter who looked kinda like a young George Clooney (more like a Jorge but still cute). We loved Jorge because he made a point of serving the Real Housewives of Aruba our food and then posed for pictures with us..a big improvement over the 3 stacker chair Michelin Man. So while we dined on Orange Chicken and Noodles, Lynrd found his mother's necklace more pleasing to his palate.

Once we left the restaurant we needed one more photo-op in the lobby of the Westin. Why the doorman felt that he needed to be in the shot I'm not sure but when you are a Real Housewife of Aruba it's rude not to pose with...... your fans! Once we finally got going we bee-lined it back to our hotel to get ready for what turned out to be the most riveting Season Finale of Grey's we've ever seen. During the last 10 minutes of the show (which were the best by the way) the phone rings and my niece answers it. "Hello Mrs. K., this is Verizon Tech Support, can I help you solve the issue of your phone not working"? To which my niece replies, "Thanks for getting back to me Brian but I have a little issue here, it's the Grey's Season Finale and you called me with the last ten minutes left in the show". I looked at her and said "did you just tell tech support to HOLD?" She then continues to let Brian the Verizon guy talk while she is not listening to a word he says. All I can hear is this "um what?" "um ya", Um what? Basically Brian was being ignored by Mrs. K. who was more interested in whether or not Dr. McDreamy would live or die. At that point did it even matter that she received this type of customer service on an island for her blackberry? No. Just as we started to give up hope ( like we almost did for Dr. Shepperd) the phone made a miraculous recovery and all was well on the island again.   


A Farewell to Mocktails, Babies in Burkas and The Last Supper

During the week we introduced Baby G. to the good life. We called it mocktail hour. Auntie D. went to the KaDushi Bar by the pool and had them whip up a couple of fruit smoothies to quench our thirst. Price for two smoothies? 18 bucks. Worth it? YES sir. They were seriously the best drinks we have ever had and Baby G. thought so too. He practically dove his entire body into the cup, shlurpping and guzzling his way through the sweetness of the fruit and loving the icy coolness against his sore teething gums.
Since we found this to be theraputic for all of us we made it a ritual of ordering these mocktails everyday without hesitation. My fear was what happens if Baby G. goes back to NYC and starts going into mocktail withdrawal? Is there rehab for smoothie addicts?  I wonder.

Coming into the final stretch of our vacation we needed to ensure that Baby G. had a taste of the ocean. He had already become accustomed to the pool and it was time for the big leagues now. My niece and I pretty much see eye to eye on most subjects so we found ourselves quite compatible on the trip. When it comes to the ocean we are both pretty narrow minded. If we can't see our feet we're usually quite squeamish on going into the water due to the possibility of coming in contact with gross sea creatures and seaweed. The issue was we could not leave Aruba without dipping into the beautiful blue waters with the baby so we ventured out to the beach a couple of times. On one occasion we started wading in slowly, barely got in a few feet when something touched our legs. Not knowing what it was attacking us the immediate reaction was to:

A) scream

B) jump

C) run out of the water while simultaneously yelling EW EW EW EW EW.

So maybe we are not cut out to be the next Jacques Cousteaus of the world but then again is he still alive or was he eaten by a shark? I seem to recall something inevitable happening to him along those lines. I mean really...if your career is to play with sharks, alligators or white tigers one day you are bound to become their appetizer...come on people.

Our ocean time was always short but we managed to dip the baby in enough times to ensure he was kosher via the salt water. Once we finished our two second ocean dip we prepared ourselves for lunch. While walking down to the pier for a bite we discovered that there was no sidewalk leading to the bar and grill located at the end of the pier. There was only one choice. Shlep (drag) the stroller through the sand. For the past 6 days I had not even seen the inside of a gym. Mostly because I was too tired to even lift my fork and also because I didn't want to miss a second with Baby G. After all, I was on this holiday to bond with the two of them right?

Let me tell you what's its like to drag a stroller through the sand backwards with a 14 pound baby strapped into the seat. Uh ya.... Its a helluva workout. Once we reached our destination we found ourselves seated in a crowded restaurant directly in the sun. Not good. We melted into small puddles within seconds so I asked to be moved. They allowed us to sit in the outdoor bar area even though we were underage.....I mean even though the baby was underage. It was loud, noisy and full of cruise ship passengers. Well this didn't stop him from enjoying the view and of course the loud reggae music led to...what else? DANCING! Once our lunch arrived Baby G. was given his first taste of fried heaven. We gave him a fry. Boy was this kid loving it. He danced, drank and scoffed down an entire french fry. Yes ONE Fry seemed to go a long way for this child. We finished, paid the bill and hoped that all this fun and excitement would tucker the little guy out BUT no...he wanted to be carried back to our hotel. The problem was he wasn't wearing enough sunscreen or his hat so we needed to come up with a solution. Thankfully Auntie D was smart and there was a large beach towel lining the stroller. Here's what you would have witnessed if you were there with us. Two Caucasian Jewish women running through the sand with a Taliban baby dressed in a light green burka.

We looked like we had kidnapped him off the streets of Kabul. We made it back to our 5 star shvitzing (sweating) like pigs. Boy, this business of stroller shlepping and baby snatching was hard work.

We needed a reward for this and tonight was the night we pulled out all the stops. My niece and her concierge buddy made arrangements for dinner at an exclusive restaurant nestled up on a hill. It overlooked the pristine aqua blue waters of the island. I believe it was called La Trattoria and it was right beside an old lighthouse. So picturesque. So beautiful. So dam crowded with a Wedding party! When we arrived Baby G. was sound asleep in his stroller. The Maitre D informed us that there would be a wait for a table so we ordered some drinks and soaked in the view. I had no idea what was on the menu or what the prices were but all that was going through my brain at the time was this.....even if the meal was $500 per person it would have been fine for the view alone. We both ordered the house special.... Lingiune with shrimps in a rose sauce.

The meal wasn't even that high priced even though this was one of the most breathtaking places on earth. On our way to the restaurant we noticed a tour bus parked outside the lighthouse. On it was written ~ Kuka Kanuka Tours: pronounced (cooka kanooka). We concluded that we were definitely three dushi kuka kanukas enjoying ourselves in paradise. Tomorrow it will be back to reality. My niece and Mr. Baby in NYC and me back in the T Dot.


Swans for breakfast, Can I "turndown" Chocolates and 19C

Luckily for the two of us we had our flight times pretty much synchronized. My niece's departure was within 20 minutes of mine.

Before we left our hotel we had a lovely breakfast by the pond while watching black swans float by us. Remembering back to my first honeymoon in 1981 in Maui there were always these types of birds and wildlife at Hyatt Hotels. The only catch with this type of Shangrila atmosphere is you PAY for it. As I told you before we had a minimal meal of eggs, toast and juice for a whopping 51 buckaroos! Was it worth it? Of course! Would we do it again? Not a chance... unless those stupid swans laid golden eggs. I almost forgot to mention the famous Hyatt "turndown" service in the evenings. I noticed that our room was always left out when the evening chambermaid was doing her rounds. An entire week went by before it dawned on me that we were missing out on "turndown" service. I approached the front desk lady ( who was starting recognize me by the way) and asked why we were not getting our beds turned down and fresh towels left in the washroom. Her answer was simple. "You didn't ask for it". HUH? I didn't ask for it? What do you mean didn't ask for it? Isn't it part of the Hyatt 5 Star ritual? She explained that "turndown" service must be requested by the guest. She also said that some guests prefer not to have the service as it can be "interruptive". Interruptive? We spent an entire week in a resort with a baby and she was worried that we would be interrupted by a chocolate and a clean towel? I requested the turndown service for our last night.  This is what we got. A couple of chocolates and our remote control on our bed....I guess in case we couldn't find it? And what did we do with our chocolates? We turned them down and went to sleep.

4:45 pm (Aruba Airport Terminal)

We hugged and kissed goodbye ... I watched as her American Airlines jet took off and moments later I was boarding my Air Canada flight. I spotted my crippled friend and was certain that I could redeem myself by offering him my pre-arranged 19C aisle seat. He declined as they had already made a request to sit in another row. Did this mean we were no longer BAFF's (best airplane friends forever)? No such thing. We chatted again a few days later when they called me at work to say hello.

I made my way to 19C and this time there was a large purse in my seat. I asked the pretty young lady in 19B if the bag belonged to her and she said NO. It seems that 19C always wants to be occupied by a human or inanimate object. I lifted the purse up and said “anyone here own this bag”???? belonged to the lady in 18C. I gather she felt that it would be a convenient place to store it during the flight or what?

I sat down once again with my big obnoxious carry-on, turned to my new BFF airplane friends in 19B and 19A and said..

"Hi...I'm Debi and you're stuck with me for the next 5 and half hours"

Lucky them.

*Post note to this Trip Story. I arrived home safely at 10:30 pm on Saturday night and woke up for work on Tuesday morning. I'm unsure of what transpired during the two days in between.