Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blogs I Love

I couldn't think of anything to write today so I thought I would tell you about my favorite blogs.

1. Whine & Cheez  This blog is written by my friend Kristi (she has a beautiful name) in Chicago.  She keeps you up to date on what's new with her adorable little girl, 2 huge dogs, and her witty husband...oh yeah, and her too.  She is funny, uncensored, and creative.  Her blog even got her discovered and now she writes a column for her town newspaper.

2. Benham Bears  A friend of mine since elementary school writes this great blog about her family.  Jami is very open about her faith and often writes some very touching posts.  Her 2 boys and little girl in the oven keep her on her toes and give her plenty of material.  I also love the way she writes...very fun to read.

3. Beth Wild Photography Beth is one of my very best friends (we have been friends since I was in Kindergarten) and this is the blog for her photography business.  If you ever need a good smile, go look at the babies she photographs....unless your heart is made of stone, it will do the trick.  She also posts pictures of the amazing vacations she takes with her family.  Her talent is unparalleled.

4. Nobody Puts Mama in a Corner  Mama Holli shares funny videos, updates on her family, great recipes, and fun crafts on her blog.  Holli is a blogging pro and is now my new mentor....I want lots of followers like her.  Her posts...unlike mine...are usually short and sweet.

5. The Pioneer Woman  If you are into blogging, I'm sure you have heard of her.  My favorite parts of her blog are Confessions and Cooking.  Ree lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, homeschools her 4 kids, is a published author, is a photographer, and cooks amazing dishes.  Her food is hearty, stick to your ribs food so her Marlboro Man will have energy to work all day. 

6. Hooked on Houses  I am Hooked on this blog.  Julia posts pictures of celebrity homes, homes from movies and TV, and bad MLS photos.  For someone like me (loves Real Estate, intrigued by celebrities, and nosey) this is the perfect blog.

What are some of your favorites?  As you can see, I am interested in all sorts of things but really just enjoy a talented writer who can make me laugh...or let me see the inside of Jennifer Aniston's house.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm in love...

As a salesperson, I am a firm believer that everything is negotiable.  Remember the Kate Spade handbag I was hoping to buy with the winnings from our weigh-in I talked about in this post?  Well, after the piss-poor showing at the weigh-in, there really wasn't a clear winner and so I have been looking for a Plan B to get this bag. 

I told Steve he technically owed it to me because of all of the work I did filling in as his assistant (I warned him he couldn't afford me, and he didn't listen) but he insisted that I owed him one more day of work.  After trying to hold out for about 2 weeks to see if he would cave, I finally decided I could handle one more day at his office if it got me this beautiful bag.  That was until we wandered into Coach... 

I wasn't intending to buy anything, but have been wanting a nice leather white bag for this summer and they had a beautiful one on sale.  Steve even agreed that it was a great deal and said I could get it...instead of the Kate Spade.  I DON'T THINK SO!  I told him I would just hold out for Kate if that was my option.  That's when the negotiating began. 

First rule of negotiation:  Never make the first offer.  I asked him how many days I would have to work to have both.  He said a week. thank you.  I countered with 1 more day.  He said 3 days, I said 2, he said OK, and I yelled "DEAL!" and then rushed back to Coach to buy the white bag.  Check her out:
So, Monday and Tuesday of this week, I went in to the office and made phone calls for Steve and his direct....the 2 longest days of my life.  I kept my eye on the prize and it helped me power through. 

Today, I headed over to the Galleria, walked in to Kate Spade, and bought her!
 Here comes the strip tease...
 Look at her!
 The inside is built just like my favorite Cole Haan bag.
She even matches the wallet I bought myself for Valentine's Day.
(Long story short, Steve didn't get me anything for our first Valentine's Day as a married couple and I was trying to figure out how to tell him I had just bought myself a Kate Spade wallet for no particular reason.  Perfect solution: I told him thank you very much for my new wallet...I love it!)

Knowing me, there will be a new bag I will be goal-setting for by this time next week.  We may have to turn Steve's golf room into a big closet to hold all of my bags and shoes. 

On my way out of the mall, I walked through Chanel just to day dream and drool a little.  My heart was racing.  Everything in that store is a true work of art.  Ahhh.....the small joys in life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Island Time: Let's wrap this thing up!

The last 2 days were very fun, yet nothing warrants it's own post, so we're gonna wrap this trip up now.

Our last full day we decided to go shopping Phillipsburg on the Dutch side.  They are known for having a lot of jewlery stores where you can get a great deal.  Really, the most impressive part of Phillipsburg was the water.  I don't think I have ever seen that color blue before.  Truly amazing.
I bought myself a blue topaz ring that is the same color as the kind of souviner. 
We wanted to take some pictures by the water but needed someone to take a group shot.  I found this guy:
But quickly determined he was not up for the job.

That night, Tom James hosted a farewell dinner on the beach.  They truly outdid themselves.  There were different types of food from the Caribbean including, my favorite, crab claws!  I ate so much crab, I think I was pregnant with a few by the end of dinner.

A few prom pictures before dinner:
The Lynn Sisters
On the beach.
Family Photo.  (Steve and I have adopted Buddy....It's a girl!)

After dinner, we hit the casino for a little bit where Steve lost some more money, (no one won!) and then all hung out and had a few more drinks.
I swear, you'd think we were triplets if you didn't know better.

I was begging the enitre trip to go to the Sunset Beach Bar by the airport.  This bar was featured on the travel channel as one of the most extreme airports.  The runway is less than 50 yards from the water and there is a beach in between.  The planes are so low as they land, and when they take off, the blast given off by the jets will literally knock people over who are on the beach.  Some people choose to "Ride the Fence" which means they hold on to the fence and practically fly because of the wind from the jets. 

Steve and I went to the airport early, checked our bags, and walked over to the bar.  Tons of little planes were taking off and landing yet only a few commercial jets landed while we were there.  Here's a fun fact about the St. Maarten airport, apparently commercial jets only take off a couple times throughout the day.  There were flights that left first thing in the morning, then the 2 hours we were at the bar not a single one left, and then when it was time for our flight to leave, there were about 4 or 5 leaving within an hour of eachother.  Not sure the logistics of this, but it definitely ruined my chance to ride the fence. 

Here are 2 of the planes landing:

There was one large private jet that left and blew some things into the water.  Also a group of 3 girls in sundresses were walking by the fence as it took off so their dresses were over their heads.  They had just been sitting at the bar watching planes take off and land so either a) they wanted the attention, or b) they are really dumb girls. 

Our flight was over an hour late since we had to wait on the jetway for the other 5 planes with the same departure time to leave.  In fact, every single one of the planes ended up being late and a good number of the Tom James travelers missed their connecting flights.  Travel tip:  If going to St. Maarten, leave yourself a healthy layover on your way home.

Our connecting flight from Miami to Houston was delayed an hour also.  Then as we were thinking it was time to board, they informed us that the bathroom was broken so we needed to switch planes and the new plane was on the opposite side of the airport (at the gate directly across from where we had just come in from St. Maarten).  Finally, at 2:30am, we crashed into our bed.

On a scale from 1-10, this trip ranked a solid 9.  Highly recommend this island.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Island Time: Our night in France...ish.

St. Maarten is divided up into two parts; the Dutch side and the French side.  Our hotel was on the Dutch side, but we were right on the boarder.  Aside from shopping, we did everything on the French side.  Especially the food!

After our day of horseback riding, we headed back to get ready for dinner.  Our plan was to take a cab to an area called Grand Case on the French side that has some great restaurants.  I love nothing more than getting an awesome cab driver, and this time, we hit the jackpot.  His name was Scotty and after growing up in St. Maarten, he decided to move to the states so he could join our military.  After serving, he returned to the island to relax.  He was full of great tips on where to go and insisted that we go to a great seafood restaurant called Fishpot.  Quite frankly, as long as they had escargot, I was a happy girl.  This restaurant had a tank of the biggest lobsters I have ever seen before. (Someone else has pictures of them which I will post as soon as I get a copy.)  3 of us shared a 6 lb lobster!  That's $125 worth of lobster people...with a $25 discount!  When they carried it out to see if we wanted it, the monster wrapped its tentacles around the back of the chair and started dragging it away.  Crazy...and delicious! 

During dinner Scotty showed up again to make sure we were enjoying our meal.  He really became our little tour guide after this and showed back up when we were done eating to tell us where we should go next.  We walked down the street to a place called Blue Martini (I don't think it's related to the one in Tampa) where they had live reggae music playing.  You'll never guess who the singer was.....Dread-I...the guy from the beach who insisted Steve was my dad.  He sang a lot of Bob Marley and I'm pretty sure I knew more of the verses than he did because he kept singing the same one over and over.  We danced for quite awhile and then the guys ended up in a pool competition with some locals.  Our team lost...shocking.

The two single men of the group decided to stay out and visit a few other local hang outs and us old married folks were ready to head back to the hotel.  Don't worry, we didn't have to look for a cab....Ole' Scotty was sitting at the end of the bar waiting until we were ready to go.  On the drive home, he decided it was open mic night and told us some of his best stand-up.  I asked him how he likes the nude beaches and he said he doesn't like to see his future.  Amen!  When he dumped us back at the Westin, we asked him to go back and keep an eye on the guys for us but they never saw him again...guess he was just looking out for us VIPs.  :)
Scotty and I

This stray dog was wandering around and had just had puppies.  What do you do in this situation after a few drinks....of course, you try to milk it.  I'm sorry puppy...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rainy with a chance of Meatballs

Last night was date night, as is every Wednesday night.  Since my last post about date night (Read About It Here if you Missed it), we have really been having a lot of fun with it.  We have tried several different happy hours, some we liked, some were busts...but we are having fun.

There is an Ikea right by our house and although neither or us are big fans of the store, their big display board says that Wednesday night is Rib Night.  I have always wanted to try their Swedish Meatballs, and when I saw the sign, I told Steve we should go.  He laughed it off and thought I was kidding, and I sort of was.  That was until Monday night's Chelsea Lately. 
In case you haven't noticed, I have a bit of an obsession with Miss Chelsea Handler.  Not in a break the first commandment of "Do not worship any other gods" sort of way.  Just a, I would like to hang out with her and find her hilariously entertaining and witty, sort of way.  On the show they were discussing Tiger Wood's new girlfriend and how she is 24.  Now, I am no one to talk about an age difference (that would be a little bit of pot calling the kettle black), but she was introduced to Tiger Woods by her father when she was 14 or 16....that is a tad creepy.  One of the comedians on the round table said that it would be less dangerous to introduce your daughter to an actual tiger.  hahahaha  What does this have to do with Ikea?  I'm getting there.  They were also saying that Elin bought a 17,000sq/ft home in Jupiter, FL and that they just picture her at the house making the kids put together a bunch of furniture from Ikea.  (get it...she's Swedish...Ikea's Swedish...)  Then they started talking about Ikea and Chelsea mentioned how much she liked the meatballs there.  Of course, this turned my desire to try them into absolutely-positively-have-to-try-these-things; besides if Chelsea liked them...then they must be awesome.  Told you...obsessed.
Upon looking at the ribs in the cafe, Steve decided rib night was overrated and he would try the meatballs as well.  It was only $3.99 for about 5,000 (OK really only about 10-12) meatballs, potatoes (or mac and cheese if you're Steve), and some cranberry sauce.  SCORE! 

I have to say, the meatballs were good, but I won't be returning just to eat them.  I only got about halfway through my meatballs and was stuffed.  Steve polished his off and then had a few of mine...big mistake.  Since we were there, we decided to walk through the store to burn off our meatballs.  I love how they set up little studio apartments throughout the store...made me miss living in the city.  Anyway, about halfway through the "rat maze" (they wind you through the store so you have to see everything and Steve was getting nervous...he felt like a rat and was not happy), Steve suddenly felt like he had swallowed a brick.  Ut-oh...the meatballs.  I felt fine though which is a good lesson learned: Know When to Say When. 

I ended up getting some new dish rags, a pillow (after much discussion over whether I'm a side sleeper or stomach sleeper...side sleeper it is), and some new plastic cutting boards.  It was nice to look at small desks too because I may end up with a home office depending on how my interview goes tomorrow. 

I definitely felt the effects of the meatballs this morning, but a good date night overall.

PS...Don't forget about the FOLLOW button!

Island Time: Giddy-Up

This morning all of the Tom James employees had to go to a meeting (I think they have to do a certain amount of meetings to call it a "business trip" for tax purposes).  Finally, a perk to not working for TJ anymore...I didn't have to go to the meeting!  After breakfast, Barb and I hit the beach.  While we were getting some sun, Buddy's 2 sisters, Jess and Julie, were walking on the beach and came to join us.  I think we waited until about 11 to have our first drink...self-control. 

When the meeting was over, Steve and I got ready to go HORSEBACK RIDING!  I was so excited...I LOVE riding and haven't gotten to in awhile.  I knew this would be more like trail riding, but we would get to take the horses swimming and it would still be a fun thing to do together. 

We got to the stables and checked in.  For a Caribbean island, it was in pretty good shape.  There were about 20 horses on the property and so, of course, I had to go pet them all.  While we were waiting for the other couple that was riding with us to show up, a huge truck arrived up to deliver some gravel.  After running over their front gate, it began it's very loud and very slow back-up onto the property.  There were 4 horses out front that were ready to go.  3 of them were completely relaxed during the delivery, one of them was jumping around, bucking, and losing it's shit.  It was so scared they had to move it to the back of the stables away from the truck to calm down.  Our guide came over to say hi and asked us about our riding experience.  Steve said he had only ridden a few times and that I used to take lessons and rode some in college.  At that, the guide decided that I should get the freaked out horse.  Of course I should!  ugh...I hope she calms down when we start moving. 
Getting his head in the game.
Quite the equestrian.

As they were putting me on Magic (aka Nervous Nelly), the other girl who was riding with us (for convenience we will call them George and Martha...yes, we rode with the Washington's), who is about 5'1" and weighs about 85 lbs, decided she wanted a bigger horse than the one they had picked for her.  I personally believe that as long as your feet aren't dragging on the ground and you aren't breaking the horse's back, the horse is big enough.  They were obviously a little concerned, but Martha insisted that she used to ride and it would be OK.  Steve got on his horse, Aztec, and while the 2 horses were enjoying some hay, his horse decided to be a bully and get Magic freaked out again.  She started jumping around a little and I thought...this is gonna be a long day. 

Finally we were all saddled up and our riding order went like this: guide, Martha, me, George, Steve.  Apparently Steve's horse keeps the rest going so they like him to be in the back.  I really didn't understand why they would break up the couples, but whatever.  I learned very quickly that Martha's "riding experience" entailed a short pony ride at a birthday party when she was 5.  The guide kept telling her to kick her horse because she needed to keep up with him (at this time we were on a road and I was praying no cars would come by for fear of how Magic would react).  We were barefoot and so the kicks generated from her toothpick legs, were completely ineffective.  Especially since she would only gently kick the horse once while also pulling back on the reins.  That horse didn't respect Martha from the start.  Since the kicks weren't working, the guide suggested she slap the horse on the neck with the reins.  She would barely tap the horse (for fear of hurting it) and wonder why it wouldn't go.  I was doing my best to give her tips...which was easy because my horse was about to run hers over...but she was completely unresponsive.  It became very clear how annoyed our guide was with his "super experienced, I need a bigger horse" rider. 
Action shot from aboard Aztec

The pretty beach we rode on.

Quite possibly the worst picture ever taken of me, ever.  It's the only one though so I had to post it.  Sure wish Steve had told me to quit slouching....gah.  (There's George in the background gracefully dismounting his horse.)

Another shot of the pretty water. 

We look so official.

We got out to the beach where we would swim with the horses and he took off 2 of the saddles (mine and Steve's)...I felt bad for the ones who weren't getting to cool off.  Steve decided he didn't care much about swimming the horse and would just sit this out.  Since I was alone, I told George and Martha they could go first.  George got on my horse, and Martha took Aztec.  The guide explained how we needed to stay in the sandy part, because there are rocks to the right and left, and then once we were out in the grass, they would be safe.  Then after sizing up the situation he decided it would just be best if he walked them out to the grass himself so there wouldn't be any injuries.  What he didn't expect was that Magic wanted nothing to do with this swimming nonsense and headed back to the shore.  Once she hit dry ground, she took off running and George was a sitting duck.  He had the reins so loose there was nothing to hold on to, and then next thing we knew....thud...George was laying on the beach.  I tried to see if he was OK but nothing makes me laugh harder than someone falling.  George got up and was clearly shaken and then started to put his shirt on.  I advised him to go rinse off since he looked like a giant snowman. 

The guide then threw me up on Magic and told me to just go for it and go out as far as I wanted.  He told Martha to go out with me and to stay close. 
Off to a good start.

You can see us right by Steve's finger (yes, he is a professional photographer)...that's about as far as we got.

By this point, Magic had had a very long day and was over this whole swimming thing.  She was not going out deep in the water no matter what I had to say about it.  I tried as hard as I could to show her who's boss, but with no saddle, on a wet slippery horse, and my wet slippery legs, it was a lost cause.  She seriously was not having it.  I now have a huge bruise on my leg to show for my efforts.  I decided it was time to put Magic out of her misery and just let her walk on the beach. 

On our way back.  BTW...the guy in his boxers is our guide.  I think I'm going to mail him a bathing suit.

She was very happy to have won this war.

We all got back on our horses and headed down the beach.  There were some people on the beach and I was praying no one wanted to come pet the big pretty white horse who was having a very rough day.  There was a couple sitting off to the left, a little bit in the bushes, and I worried they were naked since everyone around here seems to either be naked or swimming in their underwear.  I saw clothes on the woman and took a sigh of relief.  When I got up to them though, I noticed that the man had clearly missed the clothing memo.  For the love!

As we walked down the beach, I told Martha to kick her horse, hard, and to continue kicking until it started to move.  She listened and it would trot about 6 steps and she would panic and yank back on the reins.  This went on for awhile and I was picturing the chafing that was going on between my wet, salty legs and the leather saddle.  Magic was getting so irritated, she had buried her nose up Martha's horse's butt.  Martha's horse kept turning around to give Magic the stink eye and I knew that if something didn't change fast, there was gonna be a fight.  I tried to slow Magic down but she was determined to get the horse in front of her moving.  I finally consulted the guide (aka Boxer Bob) and he told me to pass Martha and come up front.  Magic couldn't have been happier.  She really was a good horse when I was riding her.  We had a little talk at the beginning and she knew I was boss...except when we were in the water apparently. 

Boxer Bob and I had a nice little chat as we rode back to the stable and at one point I turned around and saw Steve passing the other 2 horses and coming up behind me.  The 3 of us were having a great time, but I noticed Aztec getting comfy up in Magic's booty and asked Steve to back him off.  The guide agreed and said that they put him in the back normally because the other horses know that if they don't keep moving that Aztec will bite them.  Just as he's explaining this, Aztec opened his big horsey mouth and took the hugest bite out of poor Magic's butt.  Magic jumped and bucked and was PISSED.  Bob suggested that we keep our horses away from each other for the rest of the trip because Magic was out for revenge.  Luckily we were almost back to the stable and this experience was over.

We have checked this experience off the list just like we did cage diving with the Great White Sharks...except I think this was more dangerous.   

Wow...this post has become extremely long...if you've made it this far...thank you.  I will tell you about our evening out another time. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I said NO DOGS!

So a couple weeks ago our tenants called wanting to know if they could get a dog.  They claim they didn't realize the lease specified no pets even though I went over that section with great detail.  Given the fact that we just refinished the floors, I really don't want a dog in there scratching them and using the bathroom on them.

Steve and I discussed the situation and decided we would be nice and let them get the dog they had promised to get before they moved in under the conditions that they would pay a $500 pet deposit and would repair any damages caused by the pet before move-out.  She said she would get the check in the mail and asked if she could pay it in 2 parts.  Well, surprise, surprise, the check never came.  I called her to check on this and never got a call back. 

In the meantime, Dale went by the house to repair a few things and said they had already gotten the dog.  I was pretty angry and called her to see what was going on.  She said they were getting rid of the dog because it turns out she is allergic and the people who were taking it were coming the next day to get it. That was 2 weekends ago.

Dale went by the house again last week to finish things and said they still had the dog.  Now I am really upset and am wondering how to handle this.  I really don't like the idea of her lying about this to me...but I really hate liars in general so that would make sense.  I just now wonder if I can trust her at all.  I am wondering if I should call to see if she comes clean, or if I should just call her and tell her to get rid of the damn dog or send us the money.  Better yet, just get rid of the dog cause I don't feel like being nice anymore. 

Give me some advice.

Also, I really want more followers on this blog and know that more than 8 people read it, so do me a quick favor and take your mouse over to the FOLLOW button and click it.  Thanks friends!

Island Time: I didn't want to see that!

Day 2 started off with a delicious breakfast.  The hotel has a buffet every morning with everything you could possibly imagine, including eggs/omelets cooked to order.  Thankfully, Tom James gave us coupons for each morning we were there or we would have had to pay the $15 bill that came along with it.  Knowing me, I would have felt like I had to eat more because of how much it was...and no one wants to see the effects of that in a bathing suit. 

After breakfast, our friend Bill decided he wanted to rent a car and we could all go to another beach on the island called Orient Beach.  We were told there is great people watching there and if you bought a chair at a certain beach club, they gave you a free rum runner.  While Bill was renting the car, Jacques, Barb, Steve and myself decided we would sign up for the time share presentation so we could get the $100 hotel credit.  We really didn't want to give up an hour and a half of our day but the saleswoman told us that if we came at the end of the day, the presentation would be shorter because they want to go home.  Barb and I filled out the paperwork and when they asked for our occupations, we wrote "Trophy Wife."  Why they still let us take the tour with everything else we wrote on the application is beyond me; we clearly weren't serious. 

We piled in our rental Hyundai and headed to the beach.  The map we were given had landmarks written on it like, "go up the hill" "turn left at the wall" and my personal favorite, "turn right at the fruit ladies".  Needless to say, we had to make a few U-turns.  With all of the weaving roads and hills, I found myself completely car sick and wanted to kiss the ground when we got out of the car.  The beach was worth it though.

Once we found the place with the free drinks if you buy the chair, we settled in and ordered some more Presidente.  This beach had 2 parts.  The first part is where we were with the chairs for rent, waiters on the beach, and tons of ladies walking around selling the same dresses, necklaces, anklets, and hats.  The other side is the nude beach.  The men were very intrigued by the nude beach and really wanted to go check it out.  We walked down to the boarder of the beaches which is marked by a strip of large rocks.  Let me just tell you that the other side of the rocks is VERY bad. 

I tried to explain to the guys that the people who hang out on nude beaches are normally the type of people you do not want to see naked.  They didn't believe me.  Well, it seems that this beach has a minimum age limit of about 70 and I believe a minimum weight limit too.  I have always said that if people would just listen to me, their lives would be much better.  Well, once again, they had to learn the hard way.  As we walked down the beach (we only made it about 25 yards before having to turn around), the guys were giggling like 14 year olds and Barb and I felt like we were at the zoo observing nudists in their natural environment.  Since it was St. Patrick's Day, some of the women had 4 leaf clover stickers on their tatas and one 80 year old man had a green lay on.  At least they made an effort. 

There was a guy selling his reggae CD on the beach and he quickly lost his sale when he thought Steve and Barb were my parents.  No matter how many times we told him Steve and I were married and Barb was married to Jacques, he didn't believe me and said I was funny and guessed I got it from my parents.  Seriously????

We spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, laying out and swimming.  Here are some pictures:

When we got back to the hotel, we had our time share presentation which was going fine at first, but the guy tried to keep us for the entire 90 minutes, so Barb told them we were lied to and we got our $100 and got out in about an hour.  They actually had us roped in for a little bit but once they started talking numbers, Steve decided it didn't make sense.  That could have been an expensive afternoon.

Tom James hosted a dinner for us that night and had 3 different buffets.  A sushi bar, a custom pasta bar, and a custom taco/quesadilla bar.  Pretty delish. 

After dinner we went back to Jacques and Barb's room to enjoy the bottles we bought and had a lot of fun just chatting and laughing.  Pretty fun day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Island Time: I'm Baaaaaaaack!

Let me first get this out of the way by saying, "St. Maarten is AMAZING!!!!!!"  If you ever get the opportunity to go, GO!  If you get to stay at the Westin, even better!
Our flight left Houston International at 6:00am, which means Steve and I had to head to the airport at 4:15.  I choose to look somewhat presentable when I travel, which required a 3:45 wake-up, and since I couldn't fall asleep until 2:30, I was a very tired girl.  God Bless my iced venti green tea.

The flight to Miami was uneventful and when we got to Miami, the first people we ran into were our great friends, Jacques and Barb.  How lucky to not have to look for them!  We were all running on about the same amount of sleep, so naturally, we decided to have a quick drink while waiting for the plane to paradise.  It did the trick and I fell asleep on the plane for a little bit. 

Once we landed, Steve and I lucked out and our bags came out right away.  Ready to kick off this vacay the right way, we went into the airport store and bought a 40 of Presidente (a great beer made in the Dominican Republic).  As I was walking out of the airport with my bags and 40 in tow, one of the airport employees yelled, "Good for you girl!  I hope you finish the whole thing."  Guess it wasn't obvious we were sharing. 

With every sip Jacques would wipe off the mouth of the bottle with his dirty airport hand...I am offended that he thinks we have cooties.  Barb thought she would be helpful and rinse off the new cooties Jacques had put on the bottle by tipping it upside down...forgetting that beer fizzes when moved around excessively.  Next thing we know, beer is SPRAYING all over the van.  Jacques was drenched, the ceiling was soaked, and there was a puddle of delicious Presidente in the seat.  In an attempt at payback, Jacques got out of the van and proceeded to shake the bottle and try to spray Barb.  All this did was give Steve a nice beer bath, and add more destruction to this poor van.  5 minutes in a new country and they are already out of control.  I realized at this point who the adult was going to be on this trip.

The Westin is on the opposite side of the island from the airport so we braved the drive through several towns and very windy, hilly roads.  Can I just tell you how beautiful the water is?????  I have been to the Caribbean several times, yet this seemed more beautiful than I ever remembered.  We were greeted at the hotel with a delicious fruit drink by the most friendly staff I have ever had at a hotel, EVER!  Whenever you saw a Westin employee, no matter what they were doing, they would smile and say hello.

First things first, we ran to our room (which seemed like it was about 1/4 mile from the elevator), put on our suits, and headed out to the pool.  Half of the people who arrived that day were on a flight from Charlotte that got in an hour earlier.  Buddy was on that flight, so when I saw her out by the pool, I RAN over to give her a great big squeeze.  Next, Steve and I worked our way around the pool visiting with all of the fabulous Tom James peeps.  Even though we just saw them in January, it was so great to see them!  Always a little awkward to hug your former boss, boss' boss, etc in a bathing suit...but I powered through.  :) 

Steve and I ate dinner at the hotel bar that night which gave me a chance to interrogate the bartender about the island hotspots.  Steve played a little bit of black jack and I enjoyed the free drinks that come along with gambling.  After a bit too much to drink (on my part at least), we headed up to the room and were asleep before our heads hit the pillow. 

First day was a great success!  I think I love this place.
Westin St. Maarten - A Little Slice of Heaven

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You're gonna miss me....admit it!

I was hoping there would be Internet at the hotel in St. Maarten so I could rub my good time in all of your faces via my iPad, and there is...but you have to pay for it.  It is also only in the rooms, and I plan to spend as little time in the room as possible.  What will you do without the latest and greatest from the Tool Belt Chronicles for 5 days? 

I have thought about how to help you all so you won't be sent into withdrawals, and here are some of the ideas I had...

1.  Pay for Internet.  (Not sure my frugal husband will go for that one.)
2.  Write several posts with instructions on which day to read each one. (That is like giving you a bag of chips and telling you to eat just'll never be able to do it.)
3.  Stop worrying about how you will take it and just go enjoy my vacay.  (May sound a little selfish, but I'm just that kind of gal!)

In case you couldn't tell, I'm gonna go ahead and go with option 3.  To get you through the rest of the week and weekend, I suggest you just focus on the great material I will return with....remember Buddies Out West anyone???

If that doesn't help get you through, I suggest alcohol.  If you are pregnant or don't drink...surry...I got nothin'.  Hang in there.