Friday, May 25, 2007

Caribbean Clash – Jamaica vs. Turks & Caicos

I’d say that I was trying to write a compare and contrast piece, but as my lebanese English 102 professor succinctly stated, “You have no idea what a compare and contrast piece is.” No, I don’t, and thanks for the pep-talk!

Comparing Jamaica with Turks & Caicos is a little unfair to both islands. Jamaica is the third largest single island (behind Cuba and Dominican Republic/Haiti) in the Caribbean with roughly 4,250 square miles and a population of just under 3,000,000. Jamaica’s mountains rise from its watery marshes like Bob Marley in my Uprising poster.

Turks & Caicos consists of 8 main islands and at least 20 smaller ones and has a total population of less than 30,000. Providenciales (Provo), the main tourist island, is roughly 38 square miles and accounts for approximately two-thirds of the T&C population. If there aren’t any trees in the way, you can see the ocean on both sides of the island from the third floor of any resort.

We’ve been to Jamaica once, Turks & Caicos twice. They’re really two unique places that you have to see, touch, hear, smell and taste to fully appreciate.

I will say right off the bat that the Jamaica trip had a lot of things going against it before we even left our house that the island just could not control. As I’ve said before, it was the first time that Leah and I left Jack at the same time for an extended period, so we carried some emotional and mental baggage with us that didn’t show up on the airline’s scales. Honestly, three days before the trip, I still wasn’t convinced that we were going. This lowered my “psyched-up” factor, which is HUGE before you take any trip.

This is not meant to encourage you to visit one place over the other, or to discourage you from visiting either place, I just thought it would be fun to try and prove my EH102 professor wrong. I know that it’s supposed to be in paragraph format, but I’m using the mano a mano style for this one. Let’s start from the start.

Air Travel: Delta serves both islands direct from Atlanta. It’s a shade over 2 hours to Provo and about 2 hours and 45 minutes to Jamaica. Depending on the plane, you could have entertainment on your way to either destination. We watched TV shows and a really interesting piece on the Apple iPod on the way down to Jamaica, but no such entertainment on the way back. About 20 minutes in to the return flight I wished that I had gotten the video iPod and downloaded the entire first season of The Office. Due to the shorter duration of the flight to Provo, you probably have less of a chance to watch a movie during the flight. Even if a movie is playing on the Provo flight, the cabin staff is scurrying around like workers at a Mexican restaurant trying to fill drink orders, pass out snacks, and collect trash. If you go to Provo, this is the last time that you’ll see anyone rush to do anything until you get back on the plane for the return flight. It’s also the last time that you’ll understand every word of a sentence. Advantage: Push.

Airports: In Jamaica, you exit the plane to a covered jet way that leads to an air-conditioned hall that winds its way to immigration where at least 23 people await to process your arrival. The only roadblock for us was that we didn’t complete our immigration forms correctly and were ordered against a wall and made to complete the bottom portion before actually going to immigration. Had this been The Amazing Race, Karly would have LLLLLOOOOSSSSTTT it. She still LOST it a little, but it could have been much worse had 4 international flights landed at the same time and there were 1,000 people that got ahead of us. Alas, ours was apparently the only international flight to arrive at that time, so only a few people got ahead of us. A few if them smirked as they passed. Form completing nerds.

It still didn’t take 15 minutes to get through immigration and then down to the baggage area. There was no air-conditioning in the baggage area and, for the first time, the heat and humidity let us know that we were in a tropical area. The baggage handlers were a little slow, but our minds were too occupied by the talk of rainy forecasts, so we really didn’t notice much else around us…except the large woman’s really, really short gray cotton workout shorts and half of her saggy cottage cheese ass hanging out of them. I still haven’t forgiven Brandon for pointing that out to me. Nor will I any time soon.

After baggage claim, we walked to the Couples lounge where we had our first Red Stripe. We were only there for a few minutes before we were told that there was a bus ready to take us to the resort. I could have waited on the next one and enjoyed the Red Stripe, but off we went.

In Provo, you exit the plane on one of those ladders that Home Depot puts right in front of whatever it is that I went to their store to get. You race, on a hot tarmac, the other 1,500 people from the other airplanes that all landed within 5 minutes of each other to a very small immigration room. Four islanders, who have place to go, staff the Immigration Office in Provo. Remember, the island is 38 square miles. For them to host a marathon it would have to be an out and back course plus a little. Anyway, the immigration workers are not in a hurry to get you processed. Baggage claim is actually only one carousel. There is no lounge at the airport, nor do I remember being overly cool as the herd moved through the airport from one pen to the next. Even if there were a lounge, you would not want to stay there any longer than necessary. Advantage: Jamaica.

Travel to the Resort: This is the most perilous part of any trip outside of the U.S., because everyone else drives on the wrong side of the road. Someone reading this knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that’s been taken out because they looked left-right-left instead of right-left-right when crossing a street in a foreign land. Islanders are, universally, tailgaters, speeders and – well, they’re not lawbreakers, because there are no traffic laws. You get the idea. The roads in Jamaica are more developed than those in Provo. You’re prone to hit a pothole or two in Provo. The roads in Jamaica, while far from being jammed with traffic, do get more usage than those in Provo. Prom King even let Katie drive a rental car in Provo (having taken out all possible forms of insurance, of course). He would not have done that in Jamaica. There’s an eerie confidence among Jamaicans sharing the street – pedestrians, cyclists, animals and other drivers – that the other person knows what he’s doing and isn’t going to hit them.

The ride to Negril was about 90 minutes, give or take a Red Stripe. You could drive three laps of Provo in that time. The scenery in Jamaica is very nice; from the Caribbean waters on one side to the majestic mountains on the other. Along the way, you get an idea of how many Jamaicans live day to day. In short, they just do. Shantytowns and lean-tos dot the mountainside, while goats, cows and mules graze at roadside. Uniformed school children crowded the sidewalk in front of the local snack shop, like Tarrant kids used to do at Kessler’s Pharmacy. It’s really a remarkable ride.

Provo’s highest point is about 42 feet above sea level, so the drive doesn’t offer much variety. This is resort specific, I’m sure, but Couples provided a medium-large, air-conditioned bus for our 90-minute ride. Ocean Club sent a beat-up 15-passenger van with the windows permanently rolled down. I’m sure that transport to the Grace Bay Club might be nicer – and we could have paid for the car service to take us to OC - but the ride to Ocean Club is 15 minutes TOPS. The ride's lack of scenery is atoned by its brevity. And brevity is appreciated, especially on leaving day. The quietest time of the Jamaica trip was the 90 minute bus ride back to the airport. I’m not sure that any one said a word, even the bus driver. He could neither confirm nor deny that the Lucea clock was really meant for St. Lucia. Advantage: Push

The Sounds:
Music: I don’t care who you are or where you’re from or where you went to school, you know Bob Marley. You may not know that he was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, but you know One Love. You may not know that he was one of the most influential socio-political leaders of his time, but you know Redemption Song. You may not know that he squired at least 11 kids with 9 different women, that his son Rohan played defensive back for the Miami Hurricanes (but you may know that Rohan is loosely married to Lauryn Hill), that his son Ziggy continues to make reggae melody, you may not even know his name, but you know his music.

I don’t know how you measure the influence that one man’s life had on the development, culture, political climate, and overall existence of an island, but there’s little doubt that Jamaica would not be the same place today were it not for Bob Marley.

With the exception of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Marley’s music is everywhere on the island. For those in Alabama, the presence of Marley equals that of Bear Bryant in Tuscaloosa. I don’t know who Jamaica’s main rival is, but I wonder if they walk around screaming, “BOB’S DEAD” every time they see a t-shirt with his face on it.

Provo doesn’t boast such a rich musical history. In fact, I don’t really remember hearing a lot of music in Provo. Why clutter the beauty of the island by drowning your senses with sound? Aside from the occasional Shaggy (It wasn’t me) and the island anthem (Welcome to the islands, to the Turks and the Caicos Islands), you really don’t hear much music unless you bring your own. Sorry Boo, A Boy Named Sue – as good as it is – doesn’t really compare. Musical Advantage: Jamaica.

Dialect: Having a shared ancestry, Jamaicans and Turks and Caicosans have a similar dialect. While English is their native language, it’s not the same English that we speak.

Jamaicans have also blended English, French, and Spanish with ancient African and added a little “don’t let the master know what we’re saying” to develop Patois. Like most languages, it’s easier for us Americans to interpret in written form. It’s also the reason some reggae lyrics don’t make sense to us. That and we’ve never smoked mary jane for 6 months straight and then wrote a song about an oppression fighting water bong…at least I haven’t.

As stated elsewhere, Coke is something you snort in Jamaica, while pop is a carbonated beverage. Incidentally, Diet Coca-Cola in Jamaica is Coca-Cola Light. I like picking up those little morsels of local knowledge when I visit different places.

The folks of Provo may have a special language, too, but they have a hard enough time communicating with us in English. Their accents are very, very thick, and they tend to mumble…exactly the way that you would expect a time irrelevant islander to speak. In fact, in Provo, if the islanders look at you at all, it’s almost like you’re on exhibit….kind of the way the old gorilla at the zoo looks at people that pass his habitat. It’s like they’re studying you, but not in a scary way. Tourists are still new to them. It’s been within our lifetimes that T&C discovered that it could make some serious money just being the quiet, small Caribbean isle that it is. Dialect Advantage: Push.

Nature Sounds: Had I been able to get my hands on that crow-like bird that was screaming just off our Couples balcony at 4:15 in the morning, I would have kilt it dead. You don’t hear much else in the way of natural sounds in Jamaica. The waves are non-existent, so the seas are quiet. There wasn’t a real breeze bringing the leaves of the Royal Palms to life. Save the music and the crow, it was really quiet.

Provo doesn’t have mountains to block the winds, so the breezes carry sounds across the island. The waves, while not even large when compared to the Gulf of Mexico waves we’re used to, still “crash” to shore and provide perfect rhythm, almost pendulous, that is music to any true beach lover’s ears. Nature Sounds Advantage: Provo.

Overall Sound Advantage: Jamaica

The Sights: Refer back to the “travel to the Resort” section for other items, but the nature sites on the islands are the same, but different, especially once you get to the resort. This is where Jamaica will take a hit in my analysis due to the lack of sunshine. I’m sure that Jamaica’s water, sea creatures, and corral burst with color when hit by the sun’s rays, but under a dreary, overcast sky, it didn’t look much different than the Gulf of Mexico. The sunsets were blocked by clouds, robbing us (at least me) on one of my favorite island past times…sitting in a chair next to Brian or Brandon, drinking and cold one, debating Alabama’s record for the upcoming football season, and awaiting the final “flash” on direct sunlight for the day. I knew that Brian and I would be friends when, on our first trip to Provo, as the final flash moment approached on our first evening there, Brian knew to be quiet and just watch. The girls always want to pose for pictures at sunset. I’d rather just watch.

The waters in Provo are the bluest and clearest that I’ve ever seen. On a skiff ride, we stopped in water that we thought was about 8 feet deep. Once we jumped in – being careful not to land on the corral below - and started snorkeling, we realized that we were in 20 feet of water easily. There was no way we would have landed on the corral below when we jumped in to the water. It was at least 15 feet from the surface, and the water’s high salt content doesn’t allow you to go that deep. I saw glimpses of that when we parasailed in Jamaica, but the lack of sun really hurt. I’m not even going to bring up that, if you’re lucky, you get to swim with a dolphin named JoJo in Turks. Advantage: Provo.

Local Drinks: I don’t care who you are or where you’re from or where you went to school, you know Red Stripe. You may not know that it’s brewed and bottled in Jamaica, but you know that it comes in a squatty brown bottle and is about $8.99 a six-pack. You should also know that it’s very, very tasty.

In our first trip to Provo, we drank Kalik (the Beer of the Bahamas) and Corona (the beer of Missouri…not really, but if I have to tell you where it’s from…). On our second trip, we were greeted with a “sorry” when I ordered a Kalik. “Turks Head, now” was the response from Lee Forbes, bartender extraordinaire at Ocean Club. Turks Head was good, but it was a little heavy for my taste. Don’t think that I didn’t drink it, because I did and I would again, but it’s no Red Stripe.

I mentioned the Bob Marley shot in an earlier post, but the bartenders at Couples Negril also make a drink called Purple Rain…or Purple Haze…or Purple something. Anyway, it’s purple and taste, some say, like baby aspirin. They were yummy-yummy in my tummy.

Jamaica also boasts of some of the regions best coffee “farms” (plantations? fields?) Whatever they’re called, they produce a dark coffee that is very, very good. I brought some home with me and made a small pot Monday morning. The first few sips were just as good as I remembered, and then Jack found my thermos and poured the rest of it on the carpet in our bedroom. It was at that moment that I wished that I had sprung for the $5 half pound bag instead of being such a cheap a$$ and taking a single serve pack from our room. Advantage: Jamaica

Wow. This is getting really long (4 pages) and close to 2,800 words. (Off and on for four days, for those wondering how long this has taken me to write). I’m going to wrap it up now:

Overall Winner of the Caribbean Clash: Push.

The islands are just too different and wonderful in their own rights to choose one over the other. Some people may prefer the reggae sounds and style of Jamaica while others might prefer the small, laid back, close down at sunset style of Turks and Caicos. Visit them both and decide for yourself.

I would encourage you to do what we did, and that is travel with friends who make the good times great and the not so good times enjoyable. A bad day at the beach with friends is better than a good day anywhere else....even if they do cheat at spades.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jamaica me soggy...

Disclaimer: Everyone that I’ve talked to since our return from Jamaica has listened to my story and then said, “So we shouldn’t go to Jamaica?” That’s not at all what I’m saying. We had bad weather. We had delayed flights. We were in the small minority of people sans a tat. It was the first time that Leah and I had left Jack for an extended period of time, so we had all that to deal with. Still I had a great time and I would go back to Jamaica. I’d encourage all of you to go to Jamaica. There, on with a quick report.

At 3:50AM on Tuesday, three separate alarms sounded in our bedroom. My wristwatch, cell phone, and radio alarm were all set. I wanted time to get ready, double check that we packed every thing, and give Leah’s dad – who was nice enough to be at our house at 5:15 to see us off and keep Jack that morning - last minute instructions on how to use the TV.

At 5:30 AM, I, metaphorically speaking, ripped off the band-aid by rushing Leah to the car before she could wake up enough to feel bad about leaving Jack for 6 days. We were in the car and on the way to the airport.

Because there wasn’t any traffic that early, we were at the airport at 5:54 AM. We decided to use Air Valet as our anniversary present to each other. I hope that didn’t void my “One Night of Fun” coupon. I should have read the fine print before agreeing to use the valet. Too late now. We were at the Delta counter at 5:56. At 5:59, we were all checked in and I felt kind of like a dork for being that early and that prepared. I can’t begin to imagine what Leah was thinking. We sat and watched a couple make-out on the airport bench, and then Karly and Brandon rolled in about 15 – 20 minutes later. They’re so much cooler than me.

The flight from Birmingham to Atlanta was, as always, uneventful and refreshment free. I hate that flight. And I feel like the time change robs me of an hour of my life. We were only in ATL long enough to make a couple of phone calls, spend more than we should at the snack shop, and see some Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleaders while they stretched and waited for their flight to Honolulu. Unlike the married Delta workers, I didn’t chat them up or ask if they had boyfriends. I just stared at them, like a little kid in a candy store – or a dirty old man. Whichever. Then we were on the plane and on our way to SUNNY JAMAICA.

Or maybe not.

That little girl from The Crow that said, “It can’t rain all the time”, I bet she’s never been to Jamaica in May. “You don’t come to Jamaica in May”, said the kind man that took our bags to the bus. After playing an exhausting game of “here-a-tip, there-a-tip, everywhere-a-tip-tip” we got on the bus. Our driver, Malik, pointed out some Montego Bay attractions, like the Hip Strip and the Cool Runnings bar. Within 10 minutes we were out of the city and on the road to Negril. “That clock was meant for St. Lucia, but it ended up in the city of Lucea instead”, Malik offered about 45 minutes in to the trip. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I appreciated the effort.

About an hour in to the drive, we pulled over for a stretch break. And a potty break. And a Red Stripe. Me, I’ll eat local cuisine off a grill made from an old oil drum and a stolen section of fencing, so I bought some jerk chicken from the little shack next to the place. Good eats. I got another Red Stripe and got back on the bus. Malik pointed out Sandy Beach (any guesses why it’s called that?) and told us what color uniforms the boys and girls wore at the local schools. Boys always wear “kahh-key”. I liked Malik, and I think that gave him $10 for the effort. I may have, inadvertently, slipped him the reciept from the ATL snack shop, though.

The check-in at Couples couldn’t have been easier. Herbert passed out cold towels and gave some knucks instead of a handshake. Some women gave Karly and Leah the room keys and some other stuff that we summarily ignored, and we were off to the rooms. Christopher took our bags to room “A, tree, oh, SEVEN”. He showed us around and then stood there. Sorry Christopher, my brochure said that you could be fired for accepting a gratuity. I couldn’t live with myself if you ended up on the streets selling mangos. Out you go.

Did I mention that it was overcast or sprinkling rain? It was. So, what do you do when it’s overcast or sprinkling rain? You participate in activities at the swim up bar. We were not alone at the bar, and it didn’t take long for someone that had been there a while to ask if we had tried the Bob Marley. I quickly lied and said, “Yes”. The man either didn’t believe me or didn’t care because within a couple of minutes there was a little martini glass filled with a layer of red drink, a layer of green drink, and a layer of yellow drink. Quite interesting, really, but you don’t just get to look at it. You’re supposed to suck it through a straw, which Brandon did. I shot mine. That red stuff – Aftershock. Tasty, but I went back to the Red Stripe.

The rain stopped but the clouds stayed behind. There was no beautiful sunset on night one (or two, three, four, or five). No single day was a total washout, but the only rain-free day was Saturday. Leah and I, somehow, managed to get a little sunburned.

Let’s see, what else…lots – I MEAN LOTS – of tattoos. Wow. I never thought that I was in the minority of people when it came to tattoos, but from looking around Couples, there are a lot more people with a tattoo than there are without. Some of the tattoos almost looked homemade, like the guy with KAK on his left chest. It looked like he did that with a wood-burning tool in third grade. Or Freddy Kruger was the tattoo artist. One or the other.

I’m going to stop about the actual trip, because I’m working on a Jamaica v. Turks & Caicos comparison article that will come out in a couple of days. It will have more details about the island; it’s music, drink, food, and funtivities.

The flight back was delayed for 90 minutes due to a thunderstorm over Montego Bay. We were supposed to leave at 3:40, instead we left at 5:10. Well over half of the people missed their connecting flights in Atlanta and most had to wait until the next morning to fly home. If they didn’t miss their flight home because the flight to Atlanta was late, they missed it because a set of golf clubs got lodged in the baggage conveyor and not a single piece of luggage came out of the chute for about 10 minutes. Aggravating.

We were supposed to be in Atlanta for almost four hors, but because of the various delays and baggage malfunctions, we were only there long enough to go through immigration and customs, security screening once again, get on the train to the correct concourse, go to Chili’s and get an order to go, and then go to the gate. It was quite a rush. I hardly had time to forget my credit card on the counter at Chili’s.

That’s right. In the rush to get to the gate, either left it lying on the bar at Chili’s or dropped in on the floor when I went to put it back in my pocket. I had our carry on bag, the bag of food, and my drink in my hands and I simply lost my card. It was used twice Sunday night at two different gas stations, and according to the issuer, has been denied at least three times since Monday morning. Nice.

Still, given all that happened or, in the case of sunshine, didn’t happen, I’d go back to Jamaica today. It’s a beautiful island with wonderful people and food. And rain in May.

A big thank you to Brandon and Karly for inviting us to join them on their third trip to Negril. Their other two trips were also in May, but it didn’t rain. We were just unlucky this time. Also, a belated happy 8th anniversary to you!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Less than 24 hours!!!

This time tomorrow, we'll probably be sardined in the Immigration and Customs area of Montego Bay International Airport that hasn't been expanded since 1964. The employees will be moving on island time, which is to say that they won't be in a hurry to get us through the line and on the way to FUNTIVITIES at the resort. It'll be all good, though. A bad day in Jamaica is better than a good day at work...unless you're the Chief Bikini Inspector at South Beach. I don't know. I just felt the need to talk a little.

Needless to say, this will be the only post this week. OHHHH, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers. One day, your children will understand Mother's Day and let you sleep past 6:30. I tried to let Leah sleep late yesterday, but Jack was having none of it. He stayed in the living room with me until Emily Yeung came on (he's not impressed with Emily Yeung), but then he tried to get to the bedroom where mommy was sleeping. After about 10 minutes of him screaming at me to let him by I relented, figuring that him going in to the bedroom couldn't be less relaxing than him sitting outside the door crying.

OHHHHH, Katie. I went to lunch with my mom after church yesterday. We went to some little meat and three across from their church. It was decent - not as good as Joel's, but then again...anyway, a couple from my mom and dad's Sunday school class joined us for lunch. (Why? Because my mom invited them thinking that they wouldn't come. Why'd she invite them any way? Why couldn't WE just have lunch on Mother's Day? My mom is one of those mothers that doesn't like Mother's Day....because EVERY DAY SHOULD BE MOTHER'S DAY...well, you know, she's right...but every day is not Mother's Day, it's just when I make an effort, you don't have to appreciate it, but at least be receptive...don't ruin it for the rest of us...has it been an hour already? Thanks Doc. These sessions are helping me a lot. Same time next week?)

Any way, the conversation included this line that made me think of Katie:

We go to Golden Corral now. We used to go to Barnhill's, but it's REALLY gone down hill lately.

Things I'm looking forward to in Jamaica: Conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, conch strips, fried conch, roasted conch, conch stew, conch salsa, and conch.

That's all that I have time for today. Have a great week and we'll see you again next week!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Just a quick note. You guys know that I went to the doctor last week for my sore right ankle. I had x-rays and everything. Well, on doctor's orders, I haven't run in a week and I've been taking Aleve (which might be eating a hole in my stomach). The office just called me about the x-rays, and they relayed the following:

The x-ray tech says that your x-ray isn't abnormal, but it isn't normal either. The x-ray show density, which is to say swelling, in the area where you describe having the most pain. It doesn't appear to be traumatic. It is probably quite possibly congenital, but it could be traumatic caused by the continued exercise.

So, I really don't know any more now than I did a week ago. I'll keep taking an NSAID, ice, and lay off the running until we get back from Jamaica. Then if running still hurts, I'll go for an MRI.

Brandon, I really just think that it's the shoes. I shouldn't have bought the GT 2110 because they were on sale.

While I'm here, one more quick story. We were at Parisian this past Sunday. I was trying on a button down shirt (over my Ed t-shirt) when the sales lady walked over and asked if she could help us with anything. I said that I was just trying to decide between the medium and the large. It went something like this:

Sales lady: What size is the one that you have on now?

Me: This is the medium.

Sales lady: Really? Those must run big.

Me: Thanks?

Sales lady: No, I mean, there's no way that I thought that you'd fit in to a medium.

Me: Thanks?

Sales lady: I mean, I mean...what a cute little boy. What's his name?

She then proceeded to tell us that her son and daughter-in-law were getting old and need to hurry up if they wanted to have kids. I didn't ask, but I'm sure that they're both probably pushing 26.

We let her check us out just to show that we weren't offended. It was a fun watching a fish out of water suffocate.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Eight years...

Yesterday (May 7, 2007) evening at 5:15 I asked Leah what we were doing eight years ago at that very moment. She correctly replied that we were standing at the Seaside Pavilion wondering what the wedding planner had available as a back-up location for our wedding. The weather was quite awful. Cloudy and cool with about a 30 mph wind and looking like it could just rain frogs at any minute. I was really concerned about the back-up location, because I knew it wasn't going to be big enough. Although we had invited a few hundred people, we had only planned (and rented chairs for) about 80 people that we thought would make the trip - and that number included some people that we weren't really sure about but planned for any way. I think the final headcount was about 120. I knew the planners didn't have an indoor space to accommodate 120 people (this was before they built the church in Seaside). Where were these people going to sit? Who were we going to ask to not come? How do you even go about that? How much was Seaside going to charge us when they realize that we had underestimated the number of guests by about 50%? I was hoping that Leah's dad brought some more shares of AT&T stock down to pay for the overage charge. Alas, it didn't come to that.

After a dreary Friday evening, we couldn't have asked for a better Saturday. Our wedding started at 5PM. During our three minute ceremony, I said 'I do' about four times. In my defense, Brother Brandon told me to say 'I do' when he paused. Well, while speaking to me, he paused four times. Don't tell me to do something if you don't want it done. The ceremony was over by 5:03PM, I think, which was a huge relief to the 40 or so people that had to sit on the wooden stairs in the blaring evening sun. Did we eat dinner at Bud & Ally's that night? I think that we did, because we saw Meagan and Michelle. That may have been Sunday night. Anyhoo. We stayed in Seaside (Honeymoom cottage #12) for a few days while everyone else went home. I fainted at Red Bar on Tuesday night...not from the alcohol but from a day of hanging out in the sun and drinking about 6 ounces of water all day. That was fun. Leah still has pictures of me in the ambulance if any of you are interested.

Eight years. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long. I guess Kermit the Frog was right when he said, "time's fun when you're having flies."

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Well, that was really about a waste of time. The doctor said, "it's either tendonitis or a stress fracture." I came to those same conclusions when I self-diagnosed myself using an article from a 2003 Runners' World magazine.

Anyhoo, Doc said to take NSAIDs, stay off of it for two weeks, and elevate and ice at night. That's about all. I'm just going to shut up about running.

I'm just going to shut up period.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Injury Bug - The Director's Cut

If this is the first time that you're readying this, the post may not make sense to you because it's disjointed and reads like it was written at two different times. I wrote part of this on the fly earlier this morning and now I'm going to SUPPLEMENT. I don't know why I screamed that in my Jesse Jackson voice, but it made it more fun. Anyway, I'm not sure why I felt the need to explain. I mean, you're reading this, so how picky are you with your choice of literature in the first place?

I really have a lot on my mind that I'd like to write about, unfortunately I have a 10:30 meeting this morning and it's 10:05. I'll hurry for five minutes, then I got to quit.

1. Two weeks to Jamaica!!! I've been trying to find a "Two Weeks to Better Abs" program that includes Twix bars. There is no such plan. Just as well, I'd hate for my six-pack abs to cause so many newlyweds to stumble right out of the gate.

1. Part two: I wonder, if I did 6,000 crunches a day every day for the next two weeks, if you could see a ripple in my abs. Probably not. I read some where that your body fat has to be less than 2% for your ab muscles to show. So much for having my abs on the cover of Men's Health by the time I'm 40. And yes, I am that vain.

I hope that I'm outside unloading the bags when the room assignments are discussed at the front desk. I'll leave the "oh, it is a problem, mon" to Leah and Karly.

We went to Target last night. I bought playing cards, because that was my job.

I'm excited about:

Red Stripes, the cliff jumping, the sunset cruise, the smoothies, the Red Stripes, the sun, the sand, the flag that you raise when you need another Red Stripe, the water, the sounds, the van driver (SHOTGUN!!!), the van driver stopping for Red Stripes, the plants, the locals, the Red Stripes, and the Red Stripes. Odd, I haven't seen 'conch' anything on the menus. No conch fritters, conch chowder, conch salad. Maybe it's implied that they have those things because they're an island in the Caribbean.

I'm not excited about missing Jack. He's such a good boy. I know that I'm going to miss him, but I'm going to fight through it!

2. Brandon and I are, quite literally, limping in to this vacation. He has a strained hamstring, I have a strained ankle (I think). It's been bothering me for about a month, whenever I flex - or extend - my when you put on socks, it hurts along the top and front of my ankle bone. Like most of my injuries, it doesn't hurt when I run. Well, not after the first half mile or so it doesn't hurt. I have a doctor's appointment today (the making of which was another ordeal) wherein I expect to be told to ice, take NSAIDs, and don't run. I just hope that my ankle is better before I go snorkeling.

2. Part Two: On our last trip to Turks & Caicos, Boo Tapas, a/k/a Prom King, tried to snorkel with a sore ankle. It didn't work too well. He tried it with fins, which actually puts more pressure and strain on the ankle, and he tried it without fins. Snorkeling without fins is like walking through a crowded bar. You're kind of at the mercy of the current, and you're always afraid you're going to be pinned up against something - or somebody - that you'd rather not be pinned against.

When I called to make the appointment, the appointment taking person asked, "Is this a physical or a follow-up visit?"

Well, it's neither. I'm a return patient, but this is a new condition, and while I'm overdue for my annual physical that's not why I called. The appointment person said, "I'll have to connect you with the doctor's office. The first appointment that I see is in September." And that, my friends, is why I don't recommend anyone to the facility that I'm forced to use. The medical care is great, unless you have a problem and need to actually receive the medical care.

The appointment lady transferred me to the doctor's office where I pressed 4 to make an appointment, 3 to select my physician, and 2 to enter my last name, only to be told that the line was busy so I should call again later and disconnected.

Call who? The physical or follow-up lady?

After about 30 minutes of internal phone database searching, I found the back office number for my physician, who's on vacation until the day we leave for Jamaica. His back-up is seeing me today, so I'm sure that my health insurance provider will deny the visit because the physician that I'm seeing isn't my PCP. I better call them to make sure it's okay.

It's okay. Deborah said that I could see the back-up.

Time's almost up...

3. Gossip on's flirting. Tom's confident in his relationship with Katie. I'm sure he is, what with that ironclad contract and all. Their "intimate" relationship is about as real as my superhero powers.

3. Part two: Katie's flirting with her co-star. Continuing to kiss his mouth (That's an Ernest T. Bass line for you Andy fans) after the director says cut. She's been seen touching his arm the way girls do "accidentally" when they like a boy. He's been seen throwing stuff at her and putting paper in her hair, so they're definitely TLA, or at least FWBs.

Is there one living, breathing person that believes Suri was made the old fashion way?

One minute over. Gotta run.

Okay, that's really all this time, except to tell Marsha that building a home is an awful, awful, awful, awful experience. It's not disturbing, but it's awful. It's awful and everyone that you let see the house during construction will just make it a more awfuler, awfuler, awfuler experience. One little thing that I will say is that, if there's a debate about whether to spend the money to do something now, if it's something that can't be changed later, go ahead and do it during construction. Paint colors, door handles, light fixtures can all be changed later, but you can't easily put a door where you didn't put one during construction because you didn't want to pay $350 to have one installed. Leah actually did a better job of that than me when our house was "built" two years ago. I wish now that I had put an exterior door in the garage. Spend your money on things that can't be changed, and then spend what's left over on other stuffs. Or Red Stripes.