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:
2. Laptop Charger
3. Phone Charger
4. Ipod Charger
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Dushi Bagels, Umbrella's that Consume and Lockdown in Room 468
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? ".
We ordered our meals.......steak for her.....fish 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!
Hot (fat) men - Cleopatra style and floaties
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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”???? .....it 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"
*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.