Thelma and Louise Internacional — Part IV

Thursday, 5/5

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Breakfast for the birds

Boo hoo, it’s our last full day in paradise!

While enjoying my coffee on the balcony this morning, I shared a mushy banana (and peel) for the birds and agouti. AA wondered if the guests below us were sitting on their balconies seeing random stuff dropping from the sky. The birds seemed to like the banana but the peel sat out there for most of the morning.

We were planning to meet up with everyone for the 11:30 dolphin show, so we hopped the resort shuttle to check out the breakfast buffet at Maya Caribe which was the one closest to the Dolphins. For the first time, we had to give our resort bracelet numbers to the hostess. AA discovered that her number was 10666, so she was basically 10SATAN all week! While we were once again seated very far from the food, we agreed that the breakfast buffet at Caribe was the best one! It had the largest food selection of all the buffets we’d tried.

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Band aids from the staff at Maya Caribe

Since I was hobbling around with flip flop blisters (stupid winter feet!), we stopped at the Caribe lobby to see if they had a gift shop where I could buy band aids. The staff asked how many I needed and handed me 4 children’s band aids. Sweet! You have to love a resort that hands out something at no charge!

We headed over to the Caribe pool area to grab beach towels and slather ourselves with sunscreen before meeting up with everyone for the 11:30 dolphin show. Though we arrived early at Dolphinaris, all of the front row seats were completely filled. We all ended up standing to watch the dolphin show which was AWESOME!  Dolphins racing back and forth in their pool (we had no idea they were so fast), jumping several feet into the air, “walking” across the pool, snuggling with their handlers. Adorable!  After the show, we headed over to the Riviera Maya sign so we could all take pictures with it like the tourists we were.

Following the dolphin show and pictures, the plan was group snorkeling. AA and I were considering snorkeling, but decided at the last minute that we would just hang out on a lounge chair on the beach. A few minutes after we got settled in a chair, the crew showed up to say that all of the gear was in use, so they weren’t able to snorkel either. We packed up our stuff to move to a group of beach chairs that could accommodate all of us.  Everyone dropped their bags and headed out into the ocean [AA:  sea…the Caribbean Sea]. AA and I joined them. AA went into the water willingly! Those who know her know that she does not like touching nature, nor nature touching her! The water was WARM and crystal clear. The sand was very soft with no shells or rocks where we were.  We bobbed around in the water for a while, and were watching a guy riding a jet pack (and showing off). Just as we were making our way out of the water, someone noticed a stingray swimming near us. Of course, we had to all stop and get pictures of both the stingray and the schools of fish we could see swimming. Picture six people, in less than knee-deep water, all with cameras stretched out in front of them, circling the stingray.  LOL! AA later sat in the water to try to get more underwater pics of the fish and got smacked in the face with a small wave, reminding her why she usually keeps nature at a safe distance. I headed back to my chair to begin packing up my stuff as we were going to grab lunch together. I missed AA falling as she tried to make her way out of the water. [AA note: There was a surprise ditch in the sand. Left step, right step into ditch, SPLAT face first in the water! Wondering how many tourists got to see the flailing. It was sooooo not graceful.  Nature 2, AA 0]

Our group grabbed lunch at the Mariachi Grill in Maya Colonial and got to see two more beautiful hawks – Cappuccino and Matrix.  We even got to touch Matrix! His feathers were so soft!

After lunch, AA and I headed down towards the pier. I parked myself in a lounge chair to grab some more sun and give my knee a rest, while AA took a long walk down a short pier to get a few (hundred) pictures.

Since we were still sunburnt, we headed back to our resort pool to sit in the shade for the late afternoon.  A number of the wedding crew were gathering for dinner around 7. Since we were still at the pool at that time, we opted to grab dinner a little later.  On our last evening there, we finally learned that the resorts had dinner buffets  – we were never really hungry at dinner time so had not paid attention to dinner options – so we planned to visit Hacienda Buffet for our first and last buffet dinner! As we sat down to enjoy our plates of food, I commented that we are always seated as far from the buffets as possible. Are they worried that I’m going to eat all the food? Maybe they don’t want us in anyone’s vacation pics? And then we noticed that “Santa” had a front row seat close to the buffet! I guess THAT’s how you get priority seating. Harumph!

Following dinner, we head up to the lobby to pre-check out. This should save us some time in the morning.  We head back to our room to sadly begin packing for our return to normal life. As I’m moaning and groaning in the bathroom trying to de-suit myself for a shower, AA says “I’ve lost my prescription glasses!” While I’m showering, she’s checking her bags, the bedside table, the desk, the closet, and the balcony. As I’m wrapping up in the bathroom, AA asks if I’m dressed yet and can open the bathroom doors. Uh oh … what happened in the time I was showering? As I open the bathroom doors and she tells me that she found her glasses …

On her face …

The entire time … [AA note: I have literally become my grandmother!]

 

Note: AA co-authored and contributed pictures for this post.

Thelma and Louise Internacional — Part III

Wednesday, 5/4

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My favorite comb. This is the one I didn’t bring along. (Yes, I had two.)

Also known as the day I realized that I couldn’t find my favorite comb. I had just used it the day before to get ready for the wedding, but it was nowhere to be found! I checked the bathroom, my toiletry bag, the bedroom area, the desk area, in the closets, and under the beds. Nope, it vanished in 12 hours!  [AA note:  See, things just DISAPPEAR! It’s been happening to me since we checked in. Are we in/near the Bermuda Triangle?!?!]

It was our first full day at the resort without having to be anywhere at any time. Since we both woke up a little crispy from too much sun and not enough sunscreen the day before, we agreed that we’d stay out of the sun for the majority of the day and spend the day touring the resort property.  There were five resorts within our Barcelo “campus” and you could go anywhere on the property to enjoy the pools and buffets at each resort.  We needed fuel for that so we headed off to breakfast where we came across a buffet that had a full sized cow statue within it! Unfortunately, that buffet was closed so we ended up at the Mirador buffet right next door. That doesn’t mean that AA didn’t return to get a photo!  And again, we are seated as faaaaaaaaar from the food as possible.

AA was delighted to return to the table with her four glasses of beverages (2 OJ, 2 white moo) and an assortment of breakfast foods. What sat at the top of her plate? Why two alphabet letters!  AA in fried potatoes that she discovered at the kids buffet!

During breakfast, a small child was seated on the same side of the restaurant as us. A kind adult at that table thought it was a good idea to provide the small child with a piece of silverware. The darling child continued to bang that silverware on a plate throughout our entire breakfast. Why do parents take small children to an all-inclusive resort?

Following breakfast, we made our way to the gift shop because I wanted to see if I could purchase spray on sunscreen to cover the areas of my back that I could not reach. All prices in the gift shop were noted in pesos (but of course, because we’re in Mexico!). At that point, I didn’t care how much I was paying for it. I didn’t want to get any more burnt than I already was!

We headed back to our room to drop off my purchase and change into comfy shoes before heading out on our AA Adventure. As we were making our way along the walkway, I noticed something in the grass area. “Hey AA, is that another bingo item?” Yes, it was a large iguana!

We headed to the main lobby to catch the shuttle bus to tour the properties but weren’t sure where to wait. There was a man sitting outside on the bench and AA asked him if he was waiting for the shuttle. He replied “I speak French.” So AA replies “Oh, OK……………Bon Jour!…………..Croissant!” and we sat down to wait for the shuttle and chuckle at our impressive language skills. The resort shuttle is a double-decker bus, so we head to the top level for a birds-eye view and to be able to take photos.

First stop is Plaza Mexicana. It’s a strip of outdoor kiosks with souvenirs. I immediately see and purchase something that would be a good birthday gift for a friend at the first fiosk.

As we walk around, we come upon an outdoor church area :  Capilla Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. AA immediately ventures into the church area to take a few (hundred) pictures while I continue to wander around more of the souvenir stands. One gentleman invited me “to come in, don’t be shy.” (Come in?  In where?  This is turning into a bad Lifetime movie!)  Also located in the shopping area was a full size horse statue in front of a store selling cowboy boots and related gear.

We popped into another souvenir store and one of us (not me) came out with a few magnet souvenirs. One of those souvenirs may have been a cat sized sombrero for a cat named Bingo. Our next stop was a convenience store to grab something to drink. AA was excited to finally see a can of Pepsi after being told there was no Mountain Dew available (there are NO Pepsi products at the resort) but was told that the cans were warm. Um, you can buy them now and refrigerate when we get back to the room! [AA note: I was going thru Mountain Dew withdrawal, clearly I was not thinking logically!] We rested on a bench before wandering across the street to Maya Mall.  AA noticed a tattoo shop near our bench and asked jokingly if we should get tattoos while we were there. I (in my typical #BitchDesk fashion) responded “Yes, let’s get them on top of our painful sunburned backs!” <laugh>

The first thing you notice as you enter Maya Mall is a carousel. AA was interested in riding the carousel but the sign stated NO ADULTS. Boooooo!  Age Discrimination!  The mall contained a bunch of higher end stores that we didn’t visit. We did pop into Strikers Sports Bar and Bowling Center. While I visited the ladies room, AA made her way over to check out the mini golf (and Swarm check in, of course!).  After soaking up the indoor AC, we continued our exploration.  We meander through what turns out to be the entry to another hotel/resort on the property – Maya Caribe.  AA:  What’s over this way? Ooooooh! More cool Mayan statues (pic pic pic)…and another fountain pool with metal sculptures (pic pic pic)….and hey, over there’s another outdoor seating area (pic pic pic).

 

We headed back outside to check out Pirate’s Island Water Park and discovered the surf ride. We sat for a bit watching one child, one adult parent (Speedo Dad!), and one surf employee have a blast riding the waves, as we watched the dark storm clouds roll in.

Though the storm was rolling in, AA climbed the steps of the pirate ship to get pictures from above.  In addition to the surf ride, there were a lot of water slides and things for kids to climb. Since the sky was threatening a storm, we hopped on the shuttle to return to our resort. We immediately changed our minds when we saw that we were near Dolphinaris (the on-campus dolphin aquarium) and hopped off at the next stop. It wasn’t around the time of their daily show, but one of the trainers was out in the pool area with about five dolphin. We were treated to a few dolphin tricks while we were there. Since we were at that end of the resort property, we headed toward the beach to check out the pier from a distance. By this time, the storm had rolled in, so we grabbed a few chairs to sit out the storm under cover.We grabbed the next shuttle back “home” then had a late lunch in the Coral Grill in our resort. AA was hungry for some chocolate ice cream and returns to the table with a sad bowl of mostly-melted ice cream. “Your ice cream needs some immodium!”

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Our highest day of steps walked

It was Day 3 of being at the resort and we figured we had done a TON of walking. Since I had my phone with me for all of that time, I did a quick check of my Samsung S Health app and discovered that we had walked over 10,000 steps for the prior two days. We knew a lot of those steps were back and forth between room/pool/buffets so we opened the app to track how many steps it was from lobby area to our room. It was over 1,000 steps!

By now the sun was beginning to set so we thought it was safe to suit up and head down to the beach. AA was kind enough to NOT record my moaning in the bathroom while I changed into my suit and aggravated my sunburn with every move. [AA note: Seriously, if you only heard the sounds, it would have been hard to tell WHAT was going on in there!]  We headed down to the beach. I grabbed a lounge chair to rest my knee while AA headed down to the water to take a few (hundred) pictures.

After sitting there for a while, I noticed that there was no breeze that evening, which then had me notice a few bugs flying around. Holy shit, is that a mosquito? Where’s my effing bug spray? Spritz, spritz, spritz, smack! By now, AA has stocked up her camera with more pictures and begins to head back to my lounge chair. She stops and aims her camera up

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AA was taking a photo of the sunset over the trees, NOT the flying bags!

and I ask if she was taking pictures of the bats flying around. Yes, you read that correctly – BATS FLYING AROUND. Just as I say this to her, a bat flies down right in front of her face.  I also mention the lack of wind and mosquitos, and next thing you know, we’re high-tailing it back to the room.

As we walk back to our room, we discover that we have been walking the LONG way from the beach/pool to our room! Of course we find a shorter route near the end of our vacation!

Oh, and I STILL haven’t found my comb!

Note: AA co-authored and contributed pictures for this post.

Thelma and Louise Internacional — Part II

Tuesday, 5/3

Woooo, it’s wedding day! But not until later in the evening.

We start our morning sitting out on our balcony enjoying a smoke (AA) and coffee (me). The birds are singing so loudly I mention that our balcony is like living INSIDE the Aviary. No complaints, for sure! While we were sitting outside, AA notices a rodent-looking animal – “Is that a rat?!” I assure her that it is not because it does not have a long tail. A quick photo upload with the caption “What is this animal?” brings us an answer that it

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The “rodent” spotted from our balcony room on Tuesday morning.

is probably an agouti, a rodent species that is related to guinea pigs except they are larger and have longer, bunny-like legs. At one point, we had sighted two agouti, and then one was surrounded by five large birds forming a circle. It was hard to tell who was the hunter was who was the prey. Way to start our morning with a nature show!

 

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“Turn right at the jaguar” — our landmark for giving directions

This morning, we planned to check out a different breakfast buffet. We were told to walk out a separate entrance of our building (heading towards the beach) then take a right at the jaguar statue, and a breakfast buffet was supposed to be close. Once we get to said breakfast buffet area, we discover that it’s lunch only and not yet serving food for the day. We make our way through the pool area and head back into another resort area. The search for the breakfast buffet is almost like my experience walking from one end of Las Vegas Boulevard to the Statue of Liberty. She looks close, but she’s really 12 large blocks away!  We pick up our pace because we think the buffet ends soon. As we’re walking, we see a palm tree disguised as ET.

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Palm tree disguised as ET

We must be getting delirious from the hunger!  At last, we find the buffet restaurant and are ready to swim the moat to get inside since we can’t find the entrance! Food! We finally found food! Once inside, we learn that we have a little more time to grab breakfast, so we fill our plates quickly with what buffet food is still available while schlepping back and forth from our table which was literally as far from the food as possible.

After breakfast, we decide to walk along the beach to head back to our room to change into our pool attire. Again, it is just UNBELIEVABLE how beautiful this place is.  Once sunscreened and suited up, with pool bags packed, we head back to the main resort so we can check in with Apple Vacations to confirm our transportation back to the airport. While at the main building, we explore the carts selling brightly colored souvenirs. Since we were headed directly to the pool, we didn’t stop to buy anything.

We make it to the pool area and find our group. AA wants to do a photo tour/explore of the enormous pool area, so I volunteer to go along. We head into Bubble Oasis (large Jacuzzi section of the pool) and grab seats along the side. AA takes a few (hundred) pictures

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“Bubble Oasis” I cannot confirm or deny if I am FB official with a jet in this section of the pool.

and suggests moving on to the next area. I agree, because any longer in Bubble Oasis and I will be FB official with the water jet. We float under a bridge to the rock wall area of the pool. AA would have liked to get a photo under the rocky waterfall, but some people were parked there and not moving. (Waterfall hogs!) We continue to make our way around the pool area and stop at each of the water features/fountains to take pictures. As we head back to where we started, we stop at the swim up Coco Bar in the pool for a drink. We meet up with some of our group who are still hanging around drinking in the pool. Oh, and we also spotted Santa Claus on his vacation!!

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We found Santa in the pool!

By now, it’s time to grab a late lunch to hold us over until the evening reception. We head to the lunch buffet near our building “just past the Jaguar”.  As we start our trek, we pass a braid-your-hair stand located on the beach. AA asks me if I’d like to get my hair “Bo Derek’d.” I pause at her question and she quickly answers her own question “Nevermind, we’re only here three more days!” (We’d need at LEAST a week for some poor soul to Bo Derek my entire head of super-thick long hair.)  Earlier while in the pool, someone mentions that resort staff walk through the open air buffets with a hawk/eagle/falcon on their wrist to keep the other birds away. AA adds this sighting to her bingo card….which now includes hawks, iguanas, and sea turtles! Soon after we’re shown to our table, AA spots a man with a bird walking thru the seating area. She immediately takes off with her camera.

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Her name was Bruha (meaning witch) and she was on duty in the open-air lunch buffet.

After our late lunch, we head back to our room to get showered and dressed for the wedding. It’s around 530p and is still 90* with 125% humidity. There’s no way I’m doing anything with my hair but putting it in a French braid! We both discover that we might be a little crispy from being in the sun and in the pool all day….there are a lot of OW and OUCH while we are getting ready. AA keeps trying to check her face for sunburn in the flat screen tv mounted on the wall. It is NOT a mirror! [AA comment:  That TV was totally where a mirror should be over the desk/table!]  We give ourselves enough time to get up to the main building SLOWLY, without sweating through our wedding-wear, to meet all the wedding guests. As we step on to the elevator, I see the front of a man coming up the stairs in a banana hammock. As AA looks out the elevator, she has the pleasure of seeing the back of said man. Turns out his banana hammock was a THONG! This was NOT on AA’s bingo card of items to see in Mexico or anywhere else for that matter!  We walk slowly without any exertion (it’s so freaking humid!) towards the Lobby Bar. Thank goodness the bar was air conditioned!  As we’re waiting for the shuttle to arrive, AA is taking pictures

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Lady in lower left hand corner may have been sunbathing topless

(shocking!) from the balcony and notices an older, larger woman is topless on the beach. Another bonus item on the bingo card? Finally, our shuttle arrives, and we are off to the wedding site at the other end of the resort property!

The beach is set up beautifully for the ceremony and the weather was perfect as the sun was setting. The Mayans are dressed in their customary headdresses and make-up.

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The Mayans are ready to begin the ceremony

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The uninvited speedo-wearing wedding guest

As we await the ceremony to begin, a number of wedding guests notice a man wearing a speedo taking photos of the wedding setting. He sticks around for almost the entire ceremony. How’s that for a bonus guest in all your wedding pics? LOL!

The ceremony is a reasonably quick one with the groom in a linen shirt, khaki pants and bare feet while the bride is wearing flip-flops under her semi-traditional gown. Guest attire was casual with shorts and button down shirts on the men and casual sundresses on the women – and a lot of bare feet!

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The Bride and The Groom

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“Is that a dragon on your belt or are you just happy to see me?”

As the ceremony begins, those of us in the front row are trying to figure out if the Mayans performing the ceremony are wearing anything under their Mayan attire.

As we giggle at the male and female bare asses, AA also wonders if they are resort workers by day….and if you get to be a Mayan Wedding Performer if you’ve done your day job really well or really, really poorly.  While we didn’t understand a lot of the ceremony, it was still moving. I think AA’s eyes may have leaked jusssssst a bit and BB and the soon to be Mrs. BB looked soooooo happy. While the bride and groom took care of photos following the ceremony, wedding guests enjoyed a cocktail hour on the beach with a fun Mariachi band.

The Mariachi Band

The Mariachi Band

The reception continues on the beach. Mr. and Mrs. Big Baldy enter to Let’s Go Crazy by Prince!  The father of the bride gives a lovely toast before dinner.  Guests are served Surf and Turf, except AA who is supposed to be served a cheese pizza. By the time dinner arrives, it is dark and we all notice that her cheese pizza is awfully lumpy! Cell phone flashlights to the rescue! She has been served a Hawaiian – ham and pineapple – pizza.

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This isn’t a cheese pizza!

Oops, don’t tell the groom! That doesn’t work as the groom ends up making the rounds to each table to chat with guests. He takes one looks at AA’s pizza in the dark and says “what is THAT?” AA responds with “It’s all good!” but we can see the look on the groom’s face. Groom:  But they brought you your French fries, right?  AA: It’s all good BB! (there were never any fries).  Seriously, the last thing the groom needs to worry about are any inconsequential snafus, that really were NOT a problem.  IT’S ALL GOOD.

Following dinner is dancing. The groom tries many times to get AA and me up on the dance floor, but unfortunately, I didn’t feel comfortable dancing with my swollen cankles and grannie knee. We were enjoying our front row seats to everyone else dancing! The bride and groom looked like they had a wonderful evening dancing and mingling with all the guests. Finally, the last song is played and the groom announces that the shuttle is here to take everyone back to the resort. He expects all of us, including me and AA, to meet in the Lobby Bar for the after party. By now, we’re sun tired and sunburnt. Everyone crams into the shuttle to head back.  AA and I really don’t want to go to the bar, but don’t want to let BB down, so we hatch our escape plan on the shuttle.  We’re going to break away from the group so AA “can have a cigarette” then stealth our way thru the main lobby, past the Lobby Bar’s glass walls and into an elevator to make our getaway unnoticed. Fortunately, no one sees us slinking thru the lobby like the worst ninjas ever and we are able to take our tired, sunburnt bodies back to our room to go to bed.

Big Baldy was on cloud nine all through the day’s festivities and truly happy to be married to the love of his life.  It was a beautiful wedding and we were both touched to be included in the celebration of their special day. We are both SO happy for Big Baldy! Our BB is all growed-up!

Note: AA co-authored and contributed pictures for this post.

Thelma and Louise go Internacional! – Part 1

 

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We started our “Thelma and Louise” titles when we carpooled to our OBX vacation in September 2014. We’re not sure who of us is Thelma and who is Louise, and unfortunately, we haven’t run into our own Brad Pitt yet.

We were invited to Big Baldy’s destination wedding in Riveria Maya, Mexico. There was no way we could miss BB’s wedding to the love of his life! So Thelma and Louise figured they could share costs and room together. AA wasn’t a fan of the 7 AM charter flight (4 AM to airport, what?!?!), so I volunteered to use my stockpiled Southwest points to fly us to Cancun at a more reasonable hour. A flight to Cancun at a reasonable hour and only $75 each; Bonus!

 

Day 1 – Monday 5/2

Vampire Boy didn’t mind waking at 7 to drive AA and me to airport. That’s only because he then had use of the car for the week we were gone….and my house….thank gawd his girlfriend lives in another state! #boomchickawowwow

We get to the airport in plenty of time (curbside drop off is da’ bomb!) and get our bags checked and scanned through security.

Since it’s been a while since AA has flown and I knew she was itching to look out the window, I offered her the window seat. She may have squealed like a kid and pulled out her camera for a few (million) pictures. Did I mention that she was also transporting the bride’s wedding ring? Yes, AA had to play “fetch the wedding band” Mission-Impossible-style from Big Baldy’s house the weekend before we left.

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We maaaaaay have had a little fun taking pictures of the ring’s adventure to get to its wedding!

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Row 2 BMI to CUN

We arrive in Baltimore and have just enough time to grab something to eat/drink before we’re ready to board our flight to Cancun. We were quite excited to find ourselves with Row 2 all to ourselves! AA again snagged the window seat and set herself up to get another few (million) pictures. About halfway through our flight to Cancun, I went to take a drink of my Dr. Pepper that I had carried on in my water bottle. Not thinking about cabin pressure, I flipped up the straw and the Dr. Pepper came ejaculating out of straw – all over me, in my hair, running down the side of my face, and had spurted so high it was on the overhead bulkhead! After 10 minutes of giggling and cleaning myself up, we still couldn’t figure out if it hit the guy sitting in the seat behind me. So much for me saving this outfit for the trip home!

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But this is a TOTALLY different sky than the once from PIT to BWI!

We arrive in Cancun, breeze through immigration, and then customs. We had heard that there could be a two-hour wait. Thank goodness the airport was empty on a Monday afternoon! As we try to make our way through the airport to find our transportation to the resort, we are stopped by a woman who appears that she can direct us to our transportation. She welcomes us to Cancun and leads us to her counter where we think she’s part of our resort/transportation. Instead, she starts the sell on excursions while we’re here. She can offer us an ATV tour for half the published price. As she’s obtaining information from us for our “free breakfast” at a different resort, she asks if we’re girlfriends. We aren’t quiiiiiite sure what she’s getting at (not that’s there’s ANYTHING wrong with that) and both reply “we came for a friend’s wedding.” Then she asks if we’re “legally single.” Um, what? Like you’ll admit if you’re ILLEGALLY single? Is that even a thing???? In any case, she has our personal information, that we’re “legally single,” and is offering us “free” breakfast and a “free” taxi ride to the other resort. She just needs a $20 deposit from each of us to hold our spot. Um, no thank you. We state that we’ve just arrived and are meeting a group of people. We don’t know what any of the plans are so we’re hesitant to book anything until we talk with everyone else. Her face clearly shows disappointment and she finally directs us outside to where we can find our shuttle driver to the resort. It was comforting to learn later that half the wedding guests also got suckered in for the sales pitch….although NONE of them were asked if they were “legally single”.

 

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Corona: Proud sponsors of Cancun Airport

 

As we head outside, the thickness of the air and the heat smacks us in the face. AA notices that the airport tower is sponsored by Corona.  We track down our Apple transportation representative who tells us our shuttle should be ready in a few minutes. It turns out that we are the only two passengers on the shuttle……The Shuttle of Death. Our shuttle driver did not seem to notice other cars on the road and it felt like we were travelling at the speed of light. At one spot, we thought we were turning (hey, that guardrail looks close!) but our driver was just trying to push his way into another lane, almost taking out a small car in doing so!

 

 

We finally arrive at the resort and it is absolutely PARADISE! Sunshine, blue skies, clear water, palm trees, 125% humidity, and a 90* day – BEAUTIFUL! We are able to check in fairly quickly and ask for directions on where to find lunch. The front desk gives us directions to the lunch buffet, and of course, we got lost immediately! A kind employee escorted us to the elevator to find the buffet and we immediately head over to fill up our plates with lunch. We both ordered sodas and they also filled our water glasses. Do we drink the water? Other tables are drinking their water. Does that mean it’s OK?  What about the ice in our sodas? We weren’t prepared for this kind of pressure! We don’t want to get sick on our first day here!

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Our courtyard fountain

Following our late lunch, we head to check our room. We quickly unpack, AA already starts losing her belongings (an ongoing theme all week), and we change into our swim suits. We made it as far as the adult pool, and it was heavenly.  The water was still warm after 7p, but they were already turning off fountains and clearing up the area.  Since the sun was setting, we decided to head down to the beach. Fortunately, there was a decent wind so we were (I was!) hoping that the wind would keep any bugs (zika mosquitos!) away. Is there anything more calming that sitting next to the ocean (sorry AA, Caribbean Sea!) and listening to the surf in the dark?

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It’s the Caribbean Sea, not the ocean

Since we had had a long travel day, we headed back to the room and laughed that we may have gotten Montezuma’s Revenge AND Zika all in the first few hours of our adventure. I grabbed a shower, and then I crawled into my freshly made bed. We could get used to living in this paradise!

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To be continued …

Note: AA co-authored and contributed pictures for this post.

Mother’s Day

What the kids greeted me with when I got home on Mother’s Day.

What I went out and bought myself for Mother’s Day.

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After comparison shopping between Lowe’s and Walmart, I bought the better model at Lowe’s since it had a Honda engine. My previous Craftsman POS mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine from Sears won’t start again this year (it must be year 10 for this!). An online friend had recommended buying one with a Honda engine, so we’ll see how this one works out.

I already effed up a bracket that secures the mower blade. As darkness was falling quickly on Sunday evening, Dumdum (me) didn’t tighten that bolt prior to my attempt to use it.

I used a vacation day today to celebrate Lineman’s birthday. I ended up rethinking my original plan for his birthday so I spent the morning reviewing the mower manual, tightening the blade, and basically enjoying a weekday day off. Since I chipped out some of the bracket, I ordered a replacement piece. At least I was able to get my small back yard mowed until the mower started making odd noises again. I’ll replace the bracket when it arrives and attempt the front yard again.

One of these days I’ll learn that my lack of patience ends up costing me more in the end!

Shit Week and Hard Decisions!

What is it about the month of March?

If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I had some car issues on Tuesday. (Allow me to mention here that the car passed inspection on the prior Friday the 13th!) On my way to work Tuesday morning, as I stepped on the gas to accelerate up a hill, my transmission slipped into neutral. My first thought (after OH SHIT!) was what the hell was that and why did it happen? The car sat in my parking lot and I had hoped that it would settle/improve for the ride home.

No such luck!

The ride home Tuesday night was more of the same. The car slipped into neutral numerous times on the way home. So many times that I actually called the ex-husband to ask him to show me where my transmission fluid was so I could check it. I stopped at his place of work, we checked the fluid (it was fine), and I continued my commute home. The car slipped out of gear two more times on the short drive home.

On Wednesday, I drove to the park n ride to take the trolley to work. I called my normal garage as soon as I got there and explained the problem. They told me I could bring the car by on Thursday. I was able to leave work early on Wednesday to get the car to the garage. The car slipped out of gear so many times that I ended up driving most of the way in first gear!

I get the “bad news call” from my garage at 3 PM on Thursday. They tell my that my transmission is bad. My options are either to get a rebuilt transmission for $3,000 that would come with a 3 year/100,000 mile warranty OR go with a used transmission that would come with a 30 day guarantee. Dilemma #1!

I place a call to another garage who specializes in transmissions. The owner talks me into a second opinion. My plan is to have my car towed there for them to evaluate.

Moving on to Friday. I go into work early because I want to leave early. I meet the tow truck driver and watch my baby get loaded onto a flatbed. This sounds weird, but it made me really sad to see my car loaded on the flatbed!

My poor baby!

Moving on to today, Saturday. I have appointments at two car dealerships. I’m interested in a Toyota RAV4 and a Hyuandi Elantra. While I am at the Toyota dealership, the transmission garage calls to say that he thinks I need a new solenoid and the work would be $450. Dilemma #2! What to do, what to do? I tell him to go ahead with the work, hoping that it will allow me to physically drive the car to a dealership for evaluation to trade it in.

I test drove both the RAV4 and the Elantra. Each has options that I really like. The monthly price difference is around $100 (with the RAV4 being more expensive). Toyota would give me a decent trade in sight unseen. Hyuandi wants to evaluate the vehicle.

Transmission garage says work should be done on Monday. I’m hoping to pick up my car after work and drive it to both dealerships to see what the trade in offers will be. I’m hoping for the trade to be enough of a down payment but I’m prepared to throw some cash as well if I need to. I have a payment figure in my head that I would be comfortable with. I’d love to drive an SUV again, but the car is roomy, has more features, gets great gas mileage, and isn’t as expensive. Dilemma #3!

Smart me thinks I should be careful and go with the lower payment and get the car. Impulsive me wants to go with the SUV. And they’re both so pretty!

Should I flip a coin? Draw straws? Throw pictures in a hat? It’s been ages since I’ve had to make such a large financial decision. I need some level-headed opinions to talk me through this!

They’re both SO pretty!

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Blogging 101– Assignment #1: Introduce Yourself

Apologies to anyone who already reads my blog (there’s maybe three of you, [laugh]), but I signed up to participating in Blogging 101. While I’ve had my blog for a few years now, I haven’t given it much attention nor have I posted on a regular basis. Now that writing is a large part of my new work position, I wanted to stretch my comfort zone and gain some practice as well as ideas. So if you’re still reading, buckle up and enjoy the read while I try to complete our assigned projects!

Assignment #1 is to introduce yourself. If you’ve explored my blog at all, you know that I do already have an “About Me” page. This re-post is to complete the first assignment.

Who am I?

I am The Bitch Desk, like the Help Desk, only bitchier!  I am the happily divorced mom of Vampire Boy and Social Diva.  Separated in 2001 and divorce finalized in 2006, I’ve had many experiences (both good and bad) over the years.  Thanks to the Social Diva who makes friends with everyone, I have enjoyed becoming more social as I get older.

Why “The Bitch Desk?”

As you know, many companies have an IT “Help Desk.” As I had been with my prior department for almost 30 years (yikes, I’m getting old!), my telephone constantly rang with co-workers calling with questions. After a particularly busy day of a ringing phone and answering questions, I hung up the phone saying “Thank you for calling The Bitch Desk” and a twitter handle was born. I’ve recently transferred departments so I’ve lost my “Help Desk-like” persona at work. I’m now that gal who has to ask all the questions!

Why A Blog?

I decided to create a blog mostly to get thoughts out of my head or to share funny stories about what the kids have done/are doing. I balance between sharing thoughts here on my blog and in a private journal that I started last year. Sadly, I haven’t been successful with keeping either outlet up to date.

Why participate in Blogging 101? To learn more about WordPress, what people like to read, and sometimes just to get my thoughts written down.  Also, one of my resolutions for 2015 is to also write privately, so I will also be journaling thoughts I don’t wish to share in a public forum.

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

2014: The Year in Review

Holy crap, we’re through another year! I can’t believe we’re starting 2015 already. I couldn’t decide whether to post something here publically (well, with a password) or whether I should just write privately in the journal I attempted (key word “attempted”) to start last year. I figure I’ll post some thoughts here and document the “less suitable for public” ones elsewhere.

When I sit down to think about it, 2014 was a roller coaster year of ups and downs.

Highs from the year: 

I had a great vacation on The Rock Boat. FM and I were not dating at the time of this trip but we were cabin mates. He stupidly twisted his ankle two weeks prior to the trip, so we ended up spending a good bit of time together attending shows. Post-Boat, we discussed the challenges of our relationship and chose to give it another chance. By summer, however, things had severely fallen apart and I finally ended it in August.

I GOT A NEW JOB! While it’s been an adjustment to be the “new girl,” I’ve adjusted into my new role in my new department. (I do still absolutely hate working until 5 PM though!)

Vampire Boy finished his freshman year at college. He didn’t do as well as his parents had hoped, but at least he wasn’t thrown out of school.

Social Diva went to Colorado for two weeks in June to visit her friend who used to live here. Social Diva had not been on a plane, yet alone travelled alone, but her dad and I sprung for direct flights for her to do both this year! The girls had so much fun visiting that they’re already planning for a longer visit next summer.

Road trips to see my favorite bands! Melodime at Jammin’ Java over Easter weekend, four Red Wanting Blue shows (one each in Ohio, Pittsburgh, DC, and Cleveland), and ending the year at a New Year’s show at Jammin’ Java by Melodime, Steve Everett, and Paul Pfaw. So many TRB peeps traveled to Virginia for this! I was also able to make a number of shows by my favorite bands here in Pittsburgh.

A “Happy Birthday” phone call from a former boyfriend (which happens every year) was followed up two weeks later by a “I’m going through some things, can you meet and talk with me over dinner?” We had remained friends over the years, but the more we talked though his situation, the more I wanted to talk with him.

Another great OBX vacation with friends! (Even with the relationship drama.)

Conference in Chicago and Social Diva went with me. She enjoyed wandering and exploring Chicago (both with me and on her own).

Lows from the year:

Relationship issues. While I tried my best to leave past transgressions in the past, I continued to have trust issues. Renewed communication with the man from my past ended up throwing my world upside down.

Disintegration of friend circle. Our fun circle of people who made plans to hang out on the weekends has disintegrated as has the social site that introduced us in the first place. In addition, I feel like I’ve lost some friends thanks to the break up. Everyone claims they don’t take sides, but based on conversations and observations, I don’t believe this.

Relationships with dads who are divorcing and have custody quarrels are certainly challenging. I’ve been to this rodeo before and hope that I can maintain my sanity and the relationship! I think my photo may be listed next to “Been there, done that!”

It’s funny how one moment you think you have your day, your week, your month, or your year mapped out, and the next thing you know, everything has changed! My hope is to keep my sanity for whatever challenges 2015 throws my way. Here’s wishing you a longer list of highs and a happy and healthy 2015 filled with new fun and adventures!

Happy New Year!

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