That Day I Finished Writing My First Novel

I keep a lot of things to myself.  No one outside my immediate family knew I was even writing a novel until after I'd already been working on it for two years.  It didn't feel real for a really long time so it didn't even seem worth mentioning and now that I'm done I still haven't really mentioned it.  I didn't post about it here until I'd been seriously working on it for nine months.  June 11th, 2014 at 12:15pm.  Three years (five if we're getting technical about it) 450 pages of double spaced Times New Roman and 106,585 words later I finished my novel.  Just the week before I had to quit working on it because I hated it so much.  I was so close to the end and I just wanted to be done with it already so I forced myself to keep opening up that word document.  On that day I went at it again and two hours later there was nothing left to type. 
Me and my manuscript
My first thought was Oh my gosh.  I think I just finished my novel.  I sat there staring at my screen for a few minutes while my eyes welled up with tears.  I sat with it for a while on my own.  It felt like the best way to really take it in and enjoy the incredible wave of happiness washing over me.  I thought about texting my mom or MJ but I decided I'd rather say it in person because it's not something you get the opportunity to say very often. Then I tweeted it because what else do you do in this day and age?  I was bursting.  I had to tell someone and it was my way of shouting it out to the world but at the same time still keeping it a wonderful secret to enjoy and savor for myself.  I got some really sweet replies from some of you that made me even more excited.

I didn't look at it for a few days after I finished but then tons of ideas started rolling in and the editing process began.  It was non stop.  I was jotting down notes in my phone and imagining different scenarios in my head constantly. Every time I looked at it I was frantically adding or changing something.   It was way easier then writing the thing in the first place.  I was really enjoying it and had a lot more fun with it than I had in a while.  That went on for a month until it got really exhausting and I needed it to stop.  I added 3,219 words and 14 pages by then when I have a feeling I probably need to trim it down.  I was so enmeshed that after a while I couldn't see what I was reading anymore.  I felt like I was changing things just to be changing them so I knew it was time to take a break.  I still hadn't made up my mind about letting anyone read it.

My parents were coming down that Saturday and I decided right then and there that I was going to FedEx Kinko's to print it out and I was going to let my mom read it.  I always knew that if I let anyone read it at all it would be her.  I had come to a nice resting point with the editing and I couldn't look at it anymore so it seemed like the right time to take a break.  I can get some feedback, regroup and then go over it again for more edits with a fresh eye.

It takes a while to print out that many pages so we were there for a bit and it was really special having my mom there.  At one point the lady doing the print job said, "So who's the author?" I got to raise my hand and say, "Me.  I wrote it,"  and that felt really good.  Thank goodness I told her double sided because when finished it was pretty thick.  It cost me $25 bucks! I planned to put it into a binder but it would have been a whole lot of pages to three hole punch and I didn't even have a binder that thick so it went into a box.  That stack of paper is a physical representation of  so much time and effort.  I wrote all of that?  It's really hard to believe.  I finally have something to show for all those years I've been tapping away at my computer.   I can officially say I have a manuscript now and it feels really strange because I never imagined myself to be a person that would ever get to say that.  
My shadow on the beaches of Playa Del Carmen, MX
I didn't know how to start writing a novel and then once I started I didn't know if I could finish.  For 2 1/2 years I essentially gave up.  Life got busy and I must be crazy to think I can actually write a novel anyway.  I put it aside but that desire to write kept on coming back.  That yearning to finish what I started would not go away so I dusted it off and committed myself to 15 pages a month for however long it took.  I didn't put too much pressure on myself which was helpful.  When I reached the minimum acceptable novel length word count I just focused on finishing the story and finishing it this year.  When it was finally done I didn't know if I'd ever print it out, then I didn't know if I'd let anyone read it and now I don't know if I'll ever publish.  I've been winging it every step of  the way. Going from the desire to write a novel to the act of spending three years actively trying to do it has been all about me loving to write and wanting to do it for myself.  With all honesty, I can truly say that finishing it was my ultimate goal and if I never do a thing with it I'll be okay. 

It's fiction.  It might not be any good but the story I've poured my heart and and soul into for three years is done and that alone makes me really happy because wishing I could write a novel got really old.  I wanted to do it.  There are many things in life I haven't got a shot in hell at accomplishing but deep down I knew that writing a novel was not one of those things.  I wasn't convinced I could do it but I had to try because there are some things in life that you know you have to do even if you don't believe that you can.  I wanted to accomplish at least one goal in my lifetime that I could be really be proud of.  This is that thing and I'm glad to finally be able to say I did it.  

Hello, Adorable

I'm that slow annoying person who can and will agonize over every decision big or small. It could be something as simple as what size to get in a shirt or what pill box to get but it's a rare thing for me to make a super quick decision. Unless it has to do with Pink. I always go with Pink. The last time I got to pick a lingerie item from Adore Me to review it took me almost a week so I was kind of glad to shift the burden to someone else when Adore Me contacted me about writing an unboxing review.  They pick, no over analyzing for me.

First of all, the box is adorable.  You can't open a box that says Hello, Adorable without smiling.

I'm also that person that hates not being in control of every little thing so I was really thrilled when I opened the box and found that I really loved what was inside.  MJ loved it too.  I'd just come home exhausted from work and was going through the mail. 

"Ooh.  Try it on for me."

"No, not now.  You'll see it later."

"C'mon, just try it on now.  I wanna see."

I wasn't feeling my most adorable, but I rolled my yes and put it on because if your husband is interested in seeing you in lingerie that's a good thing and so you might as well put on the darn lingerie. 

Adore Me is a membership-based e-commerce site with special prices offered to VIP members, but also offers a Pay-As-You-Go service for customers who don't want to commit.   They have a large selection of lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear.  They sent me the Desirae push up.  I don't own a single white bra or panty so it was perfect because I would have never picked it for myself and now I have something different.  I love the pink details because, pink.  The padding in the bra is just right and the panties are just enough to cover the booty without riding up yet still look sexy and  not even close to "granny panty" status as white panties can if not done right.

They done good.  Thank You, Adore Me!!  

My High School Reunion was Weird

My high school reunion was weird.  I'm not really sure what I expected but that's the best way to describe it.

I had mixed feelings about whether or not I wanted to go.  I was a cheerleader for three years but I didn't build a network of friends out of high school, or college for that matter, and there is only one friend I'm still in touch with outside of Facebook who I already knew wasn't going to be there.  The 10 year reunion is all about who got fat, who got married, how the popular kids turned out or who made it big but 20 years later nobody cares about that stuff anymore.  By now we know that life happens and keeping your head above water and being content is sometimes as good as it gets and that's totally okay.  The stuff you cared about in high school is almost totally irrelevant and the stuff you wondered about even 10 years later feels a little juvenile.

To go or not to go?  My thought process was this.  I'm here, I have a cute husband, I haven't made a total mess of my life.  Might as well go.  My life actually was a total mess 10 years ago and I still went to that reunion. 

I bought the tickets, put it on my calendar and then mentally checked out.  I didn't submit a biography.  I gave myself hardly any time to get ready and by the time it rolled around I kind of wished I wasn't going at all.  I got off work at 5:00pm, I needed to be there at 7:00pm and at least an hour of that was to be drive time.  I rushed home, rushed into the shower, rushed to do my hair, rushed to do my make up.  Threw on a dress.  Forgot to put on a necklace.  Rushed out the door.  Forgot my camera.  It's a miracle I had the foresight to get my toes done last week but I had to have MJ slap a clear coat on my nails.  On the way there.  While I was driving.  Yeah, that was interesting for both of us.

Turns out I probably could have come in anything and it wouldn't have mattered.  The dress code on the flyer said "cocktail casual."  I don't even know what that is.  It also said "cash bar only" as in cash paper money no credit cards.  Weird.  

There were a few people that didn't want to pay to come inside including an old cheer buddy, J.  They showed up at the hotel to meet for drinks before hand and I can't say that I blame them.  I almost wished I'd thought of it myself because tickets were ridiculously overpriced.  $75 per person and that's times two for me because I wasn't going to make MJ pay for such shenanigans.  I was really glad J came over and said hi.  We keep up on Facebook and I always really liked  her.  We spent a few minutes catching up before everyone started to go inside.  She was a fun girl then and she still is.  It's too bad we don't "really" keep in touch.   She tried to speak to this other couple whom neither one of us recognized and was totally ignored.  She'd mentioned it to me and I gave her a you weren't kidding look with my eyes when they did it again. She just side eyed her and looked at the guy but wouldn't speak and there was no word or acknowledgement from the guy.  Either he had no idea who she was, she was mean to him in high school or they have no social skills. More weirdness. 

We signed in, got our obligatory name badges, and went inside.  People were wearing everything from jeans and maxi dresses to cocktail dresses.  I start to wish I'd gone casual instead of cocktail and felt a little bad for vetoing MJ's polo shirt request.  I made him wear a button up.  The room was small and there were only a few tables so I already knew the turnout was going to be low.  There was a booklet on the tables with class biographies but hardly any profiles in it. 

There was a picture area set up where we took cheesy prom like photos against a black textured backdrop.  I actually liked the pictures of us but I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with 1 8x10, 1 5x7 and 4 wallets for $40.  I know that we graduated before the digital age but now that we are in it, what's with the old fashioned picture packages?

We heard that dinner was ready so we went out to the Mexican food buffet to fix our $75 fajitas and then sat down in the still mostly empty room and started to eat while I wondered if anybody else I knew was coming.  There were familiar faces but nobody I was actually friends with.  I was closest to my cheer friends and gymnastics friends but none of them showed up.   Where are you? I send a message via Facebook to the one friend I was really hoping to see.  She replied that things got busy and she couldn't make it which is a total waste because I know she bought her tickets and there are no refunds.  We did cheer leading and gymnastics together and triple dated to senior prom.  We were Freshman year college roommates, she lives about 1 1/2 hours away and yet I haven't seen her in 10 years since our last reunion.  Why didn't we stay in touch?  I've asked myself that question many times over the years but I don't have a concrete answer.  Why didn't I stay in touch with anybody?  Some of those people I see on Facebook don't live that far away but when high school is over some stay in touch and most of us drift.  It's just what happens.

I remembered everyone who sat at our table (and vice versa) including the guy voted class "Most Wanted."  He brought along our class yearbook which I have sitting at home, but haven't looked at in forever.  I didn't even remember that two of us were on prom court together. I was impressed that they'd traveled out of state to come. We had some interesting catching up conversations.  
28 out of  a graduating class of 300 something
We took an awkward class photo.  It was an oh my gosh this is really happening kind of moment as the photographer cajoled us into gathering around.  They gave away really weird prizes for things like most kids (6) most tattoos (29) and longest married (17) based on so called ballots we filled out.  Now that I'm thinking about it why was it a ballot?  It was more like an info sheet but I guess in some roundabout we we were voting for ourselves even if we didn't know it.  One of the prizes, which is what looked like a fish bowl full of rocks, cracked when tattoo guy, whom I didn't recognize claimed his prize.  It is announced that he will receive a free beer to match the one in his hand.

After that we were left to our own devices.  The music got louder so I looked around for the DJ and saw an iPod hooked up to a speaker.  I guess $75 per person really doesn't go very far.  I spotted a girl that I did Girl Scouts with in elementary school and hesitated before approaching her.  We lost touch after she stayed in girl scouts and I quit in middle school.  I don't think we spoke a word in high school so would it be weird for me to talk to her now what would technically be over 20 years later?  Maybe a little, but I said hello anyway.  We caught up a little and I chatted with a friend she's kept up with all these years but someone whom I only knew in passing in high school.  I ended up in a really good conversation with three other girls two of which I remembered.  We all had really interesting stories about how we met our spouse/fiance.  The dance floor mostly sat empty.  I doubted this thing would last all the way until midnight and was surprised that we stayed until just past 11:00pm. 

It was interesting to see how people have aged or not aged over time.  So where do you live?  Here.  What are you doing?  I work.  Kids?  No, but we travel a lot.  Polite inquiries along with the obligatory I can't believe it's been 20 years because really, none of us can.  Where does the time go?  How is that I am as old as I am?  How is it that my peers are old enough to have teenagers almost the same age we were 20 years ago?  Sometimes I feel it, but most of the time I don't feel like the old person I thought people in their 30's to be when I was in high school. 

The organizers from our class did the best they could with what they have to work with and have already said that the 30 year reunion will not be professionally organized.  It will be a happy hour somewhere instead which makes much more sense considering the turn out is likely to be even less...or maybe it will be better if it's free.

A few days later I got this e mail with all of the candid pics from the reunion.  I found our gallery and all I could do is shake my head and laugh.  Out of all of the random pictures taken throughout the night I'm only in two that were taken while we were all doing the group photo.  I'm glad I went (and according to MJ he did not have a terrible time) but It's almost like I wasn't even there.  Just like high school.

Are all high school reunions this weird?  Or just mine?

The Food

Oh my gosh the food.  They don't call it Gourmet Inclusive for nothing.  We ate a lot and it was amazing and expensive enough to deserve it's very own post. For breakfast everyday we went to Flavours which is buffet style.  They are also open for lunch and dinner.  We ate the same thing everyday so I should have taken at least one picture.  Egg white omelet made to order and a slice of french toast.  One day I had some cereal just because I haven't eaten cereal in years and most days at least one of us had a mimosa or other such fruity spiked drink.  
The only two restaurants that required reservations were Arezzo and Tsuki.  We made reservations with the concierge the very first day at each for the adults only nights which are Monday and Thursday.   

Most of our lunches were eaten at either the Olive Tree or Oriola Beach Grill.  They were close so it was easy access from the beach.  They both had outdoor seating so we could roll up in sandy beach duds then go right back to the beach.  
Italian // Arezzo
The Azul Fives website is very specific about dress codes for each place.  No flip flops, shorts or tank tops for for dinner but we saw other people dressed more casually then the rules so we only followed it the first day and for the two restaurants that required reservations. We never got dressed until dinner anyways so that worked out.  If we were going to Flavours I'd wear shorts but if we went to Olive Tree I'd throw on a skirt.
Japanese // Tsuki
The all inclusive fee is pricey and I'm not 100% sure that we ate the cost per day every single day but between drinks and meals I'm sure we came pretty close and the amount we didn't eat up paid for peace of mind.  The restaurants were expensive and we heard that the buffet prices were anywhere between $25-40 something per person depending on the meal.  We didn't leave the resort and even if we did there wasn't really any place nearby to eat or get groceries.  It was really nice not to have to nickel and dime my way through meals and had we been paying that's exactly what I would have been doing.  I would have agonized over every meal choice and passed on extras like desserts and appetizers even if I wanted them.  Every time the waiter asked if I wanted more wine I usually said yes and when you are on vacation it's so nice not to worry about stuff like that.  I truly got to be on vacation from everything including money worries.  We had a fun game of adding up the cost of each meal just to see how much we'd be spending and every time we sat down for dinner at restaurant it was at least $150.00.  With drinks and all we lost count.  The portions were small and when I say small I mean closer to what a person actually needs and not the supersized portions that are served in most American restaurants.  However, if I had to pay $20 bucks on the spot for those tiny correctly portioned kabobs and 15 french fries I would not have been happy.

There was a fully stocked mini bar in the room and we only drank one beer.  We were doing so much drinking outside the room that we didn't have room for anything else.
So fancy.  Super calorific.  Definitely off my meal plan.  Way off.  We only went to the gym twice and didn't skip a single meal.  I'm always worried about overeating on vacation but I tried to push those negative oh my gosh how much weight am I gaining thoughts away.  I paid for it.  I wanted to enjoy it; and so I did.  

Playa Del Carmen Day 1-2

Swimming With the Fishes and Bikini Bull Riding

So here's the part where I tell you why I may never go into the ocean ever again.

The second day there we went into the ocean on the Azul Fives side.  There was a lot of rock to get through that was kind of painful on the feet before you got to the soft sandy part but once you got there it was fine.  Water shoes would have totally solved that problem.  The water feels like room temperature bath water.  It was perfect.  The next day we went out in front of the neighboring resort because there was a nice cut out of water with soft sand and no rocks to get past.  I had a ball frolicking in the water with MJ until I learned the truth.  There are fish in the sea.  This is a big deal for me because I'm scared of fish.  Not because I think they will bite me or hurt me but because like spiders or bugs, they gross me out even though MJ says they won't touch me.  I believe him but I'm still scared.  It's a phobia and I can't help it.  Those first two days I didn't see any and I've always been under the impression that they don't hang out much in shallow waters so I usually don't worry about it too much.  MJ tried to tell me there were fish but I told him to shut up because I didn't see any, I was having fun and I figured he was just trying to scare me.  Ignorance was bliss.  After we had our fun on the 2nd day I noticed a flash of silver in the water.  "Are those fish?" I asked MJ pointing.  When he said yes I immediately took off for land because I was surrounded by a giant school of fish.  I chipped my pedicure and almost fell down running through them trying to get out of there.  Oh my gosh, it was awful.  I was so creeped out that I didn't go back in until Friday and only because we wanted to get some pictures in the water.

I tip toed ever so cautiously step by step until I got to waist deep but I wouldn't go any further and I was constantly on alert looking for fish.  Then MJ has to go and make things even worse by telling me that we were swimming with fish every time we we went in the water.  At home in Coronado, Oahu, Maui.  He says he saw them with his own eyes.  I'm not sure why I didn't, but I really wish he hadn't said that. I kind of wish he had just lied so I would think this was an isolated incident.

We walked on one of the piers and I shuddered when I saw this school of fish.  The water here is further out and deeper but that's what I was surrounded by that day I ran off.  Then we saw a crab on the beach missing it's front legs and I got even more freaked out.  I know it sounds silly to say I didn't know there are fish in the sea.  I know it's their water not mine so it's my problem but beach vacations may never be the same for me again.  Who knows what will happen when we go to Kauai next year.  MJ plans to break me of this phobia but I'm not so sure.  So that's my sad fish story.  My innocence is lost.  I feel like a child who just found out something scary; like that mom and dad have sex or something and now I don't know how I'm going to handle the information.

MJ got up super early to get a beach bed that day.  Like, 6am early because it's first come first serve and that's how early people show up.  He said he'd be back but around 7am when he still hadn't shown up I felt bad and got up to get dressed so he wouldn't be by himself.  We can always sleep more on the beach.  He ended up coming back just as I was leaving so we put out more stuff to hold our spot, went to breakfast and then we got to enjoy the beach bed all day. 

Our last day there was also the Fourth of July.   They had a Bar B Q set up on the beach, red white and blue decorations and the staff running around in patriotic costumes.  For obvious reasons I spent most of my time in the Pool.  It was my very first time at a swim up bar.  It's just like a regular one except nobody asked me for any money.  They even put out mixed nuts when you sat down.  I'm that person who can go through ten plus napkins eating pizza.  If I even take a bite of MJ's food I'll probably need a napkin even though he won't need one for that entire meal.  I wanted one to wipe my hands every time I grabbed some nuts but it would have felt weird asking for one while sitting in a body of water so I didn't.    

They also had a mechanical bull for the 4th.  Every time I see one of these suckers in a bar I want to ride but it's never the right time.  I'm either wearing a skirt, I haven't had enough to drink or I'm just too scared of looking like a fool.  If you can't ride a bull in a bikini on a Mexico vacation then when can you?  So I said to hell with it and gave it a try.  I have really strong thighs and I was doing pretty good at staying on until the guy increased the speed trying to kick me off.  My only injury was from my left knee digging into the hard plastic around the horns.  It bled a little but it didn't hurt much.  I can't sue because I signed a liability release waiver that probably said I couldn't sue even if I broke my neck.
His last volleyball game
Lazy Pool River
We went to dinner at Flavours and then watched the fire dancer show that night.  I didn't want our time there to end!  We had sooooo much fun.  It was one of the most relaxing vacations of my life.  Every day we'd see the same people.  The Steve Klubek look alike and his blonde family (In case anybody wants to know he's the Diamond Resort owner who went on the Apprentice twice and the dad looked like a buff version of him).  The two volleyball girls and their friends.  The family with the two tall skinny teens that took family pictures on the beach and the sixteen year old girl on vacation with her Nana (who incidentally killed it at Karaoke.  The girl, not the Nana). Alex and the rest of the activity guys running around all day convincing people that they need to play Bocce Ball or do cooking lessons.  People we didn't know had become part of the landscape of our day to day routine while we were there.  One by one we watched them disappear and then one day so did we because as much as we wish vacation could go on forever it doesn't and we all have to go home.

We can't stay but we get to keep the memories and as always I have this blog to remind me when they start to fade; which they will because I have the worst memory.  The traveling part sucked there and back.  We did an overnight flight there and a super early morning flight on the way back with two lay overs both ways so I felt like death warmed over.  MJ was fine of course, but as I mentioned earlier I don't do suffering very well.  I also managed to get a UTI which luckily didn't present itself until we landed in LA.  I spent the next hour googling my symptoms and then had to go to urgent care the next day so that was fun.

And getting back to the whole fish debacle.  Since then I've had two people tell me that they got nicked or bitten by a fish so if anybody wants to lie or reassure me that it would probably never happen to me feel free to do so.  The success of my next beach vacation depends on it.

The Food // Gourmet Inclusive

Eat. Beach. Drink. Repeat. Karaoke.

Wednesday was another picture perfect day much like the ones that came before it.  Eat.  Beach.  Drink.  Repeat.  That about sums it up.  We'd roll out of bed around 9:30am, go to breakfast at Flavours then hit the beach.  We actually started out in the lazy pool area.  We missed the breeze and the view and at one point I had a random worm on my leg so we switched over to the main pool.  MJ played volleyball again (of course).  I felt lazy so I got him to take a walk with me; this time in the other direction.  We relaxed the day away breaking for lunch until it was time to get ready for dinner.  The days are longer there so we didn't stay for sunset the way we did in Hawaii but we were always one of the last ones there.
It doesn't get much better then this!!!!
On Wednesday I discovered a Rosato wine on the menu and on Thursday I found  champagne 
On our walk
There were lots of families at Azul Fives. Whenever I see a traveling family I imagine that they must be rich.  I look at these kids traveling to Hawaii or Mexico and think how lucky they are to get to have these amazing family vacations and on their parents dime.  I couldn't even imagine such trips at that age.  I mean, I know it's all relative and I don't know their finances but I do know that when I was a kid my parents couldn't afford to take us on expensive trips.  Most of our vacations required spending a really long time in the car and mostly, to visit family.  We piled in and drove nine hours to San Jose and days cross country to Michigan.  It actually traumatized me.  I remember crying whenever my Dad got on the freeway because I thought we were going to be in the car for five days.  Looking back, I still can't believe we did that but I know why.  Airfare is expensive.  Hotels are expensive.  Amusement park tickets are expensive.  They took us on short trips to Rosarito, Mexico and Palomar Mountain but anything beyond that was just too much money when you have to multiply it by four or five.  I think of how much it costs for MJ and I alone to take a trip and I'm pretty sure that if we had kids we wouldn't be and they would have to wait until they grow up and can afford to go on their own just like we did.

Sing it!!!!
I was so pumped when I found out it was Karaoke night that I was the first person to sign up.  I consider myself a shy introvert but if there is Karaoke going on I'm all over it.  It's yet another thing about myself that is totally at odds with my personality.  I think I was meant to be a singer but genetically something went wrong so there is a singer trapped inside of the body of someone who can't sing.   I did two songs but I wanted to do more.  I went 80's with Heaven is a place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle and I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany.  I know, I'm really cool.  There were actually some really good singers that night.  I was not one of them.  As usual MJ will not participate.  He sits there and watches me with a mildly amused look on his face which is fine as long as he's not laughing.


We really lucked out on the weather.  It's rainy season there but we only caught one day of rain.  One perfectly wonderful day that we got to spend sleeping in even later then our usual 9:30, ordering room service and watching our two English TV channels in bed.  We went to the gym around 4ish for our 2nd and last work out of the trip before dinner.  Our reservations at the Japanese restaurant weren't until 7:30pm so we went to Sea Olive for a pre dinner snack and drinks.  
Yes, more wine

MJ spent a year in Korea.  He learned how to eat with chopsticks out of necessities but I still have to ask for a fork.  It would take me forever to eat a meal using only chopsticks.  That night in the Zky Bar they had a really good break dancing group perform.  It was another great show at the end of another great vacation day.

Day 7

Eat as Much as Possible Wearing as Little as Possible

Breakfast Appointment

I don't think we've ever had a vacation with zero plans.  There were a few day excursions in mind but we figured we'd limit it to one or two at the most so we could fully enjoy the resort and get our money's worth.  Once we got there we didn't feel like doing a day excursion.  We thought about taking a cab ride into town where they have shops and little restaurants but when it came right down to it we didn't even want to do that.

First of all, I'd have to put on clothes and in my opinion it was much to hot and humid to wear clothes during the day and I couldn't be too far away from water or else I'd melt.  There was a wedding there every day but Monday.  I saw brides in full on wedding gowns and men in full on suits and I was thinking, uh uh.  It's waaaaayyy to hot for clothes let alone all that.  I'd be sweating my buns off.  I couldn't even wear make up (not that I wanted to).  I brought my whole make up bag to Hawaii and didn't touch it so this time I just bought some basics in a small bag and didn't use any of it.  It's just too humid.  Secondly, by day three we'd gotten pretty good at relaxing the days away and were really liking the idea of not having any plans or commitments beyond the beach.  I didn't even want to book a spa appointment.  Thirdly, I really didn't want to spend a lot of money.  Our only expenses were food at the airport, driver tip there and back and the cost to launder our travel outfits.  It made me feel better about the all inclusive fee and it was nice not to come home to a big vacation bill.  The decision was unanimous.  Our mission would be to eat and drink as much as possible while wearing as little clothing as possible.  Normally, I'd say that makes zero sense but the awesome thing about vacation is that normal rules need not apply.    

MJ kept trying to convince me to try volleyball but I was too chicken.  There were some good players and I know it's all in good fun but I didn't want to be that person that sucks.  Alex came around asking for Bocce Ball players.  I didn't know how to play that either but it's a lot less physical and since I wasn't doing anything but laying around I gave it a try.  It was pretty fun and I didn't even suck that bad. 

Lunch Appointment

After our appointment with Lunch MJ spotted an open beach bed so we got all of our stuff and moved over.  The beach bed is what happens when a hammock makes babies with a bed and it is truly wonderful.  If you push your foot against the rope it swings back and forth every so gently.  We spent the rest of our beach day in the beach bed until it was time to get ready for dinner.

I'm always struck by how hard everyone in the hospitality industry works.  The hours suck, it's hot, the work is very physical and yet everyone had an Hola and a smile for us.  The activity people literally work morning 'til night.  We saw them first thing on the beach playing  games then at night there they are again running around promoting their show and encouraging people to join in.  I know it's their job and all, but they did it well.  Between all the activities and shows I felt like they really cared about entertaining us and wanting us to have a good time. 

Can you just see us getting darker and darker with each passing day?  No sunburn, but we're STILL peeling two weeks later.

My beach body stud muffin.  It was really hot out there and so is HE!!!

Look at him go!!
It was back to the beach next day where we switched from the ocean to the pool.  MJ kept killing it in Volleyball.  They were always excited to see him show up.  By this time I had started calling two teenage girls "the volleyball girls" because they were really good-one of them is on their high school volleyball team and they showed up every to play every day.  I called the rest of their friends "the volleyball crew" because they always played too.

While he did that I did water aerobics.  I've always thought of it as something for old ladies but it's actually a pretty good work out.  My arms and legs were noodles by the time we were done!!  I can't swim but after many sessions with MJ over multiple vacations I finally learned how to swim on my back.  I could never do it before but something just clicked this time.  It seemed so easy that I wondered why I couldn't get it before.  I still can't sit and float on my back but I can kick my arms and legs and stay up.  Laying back in the water and looking up at the sky is so relaxing.  If you toss me into the deep end I will still die but it's nice to finally learn how to do something besides doggy paddle.

When the 2:00pm game rolled around he finally got me to try volleyball.  If I'd known they pick teams at the beginning I don't think I would have.  It felt like being in middle school all over again where you don't want to be picked last.  That was an awkward start, but I was not picked last.  Maybe they were hoping I was as good as my husband.  Sadly, that is not the case.  I did get the ball over the net on a volley but then I somehow managed to fall on my face. I haven't attempted the game of volleyball since what, high school?  Maybe even longer ago then that.  I don't know how to play.  I didn't even know if I could serve the ball so when it was my turn  I was just thinking please, please let me get this ball over the net so I don't look like a total idiot.  I took my best shot and it just barely skimmed the net which worked because the other team couldn't relay it and we got a point.  MJ couldn't stand to watch and not be playing so shortly after we switched sides he tagged himself into the game.  By this time I had already fallen down twice so I happily went off to the showers and then sat my butt down in a lounge chair and ordered a drink.

Victory is Mine
On our way to dinner we played checkers.  I've never played on a giant board before.  MJ underestimated my skill and I won.  I'm always ridiculously excited when I beat him at anything because it doesn't happen as much as I'd like.  I beat him at Scrabble on the plane ride there too. I was on a roll.

Day 5-6

Off The Grid

The Cancun heat hits you immediately.  It's hot! I was so excited when the driver held up a sign with our name on it.  I've always wanted that to happen.  It was very welcoming and a good start to our trip.  It took us about 35 minutes to get from the airport to Playa Del Carmen.  Our hotel is off the beaten path.  There are no signs; just a long curvy roads with jungle on either side of it.  If Azul Fives hadn't gotten such great reviews on Trip Advisor I would have been really worried.  I would have been even more worried if we'd had to try to find this hidden place on our own.  We went to lunch to kill time until our room was ready but what I really wanted to do was rip my clothes off because I was being suffocated by my own clothing.  It's the kind of humidity that makes your skin feel moist.  I'm not used to that at all.

Countless military men and women including my husband have survived exercising in 100+ heat wearing long sleeved military fatigues, boots and gear in dangerous countries.  "How did you do it?" I asked MJ.  "Well, there is nothing you can do about it so you just get used to it."  All week I saw staff working hard in pants and long sleeves in the hot sun and I felt so bad for them.  I was wearing yoga pants and a T shirt on vacation so what I really needed to do was just get over it, but I don't do discomfort very well.
We never did get around to drinking that champagne-we brought it home. 
Our room was gorgeous.  The first thing I did was take those awful clothes off.  The hard cold tile floor felt amazing under my hot sweaty feet.  We had to get used to sleeping in a double when we've been sleeping in a King for the last four years but it was fine.  I don't complain too much about having to be closer to MJ.

Our first day there started with lunch, check in, shower and an impromptu nap.  MJ collapsed on one of the beds and I went down on the other one. 

When we woke up we went to the main pool area.  "Seriously?"  That's the first thing I said when I saw the turquoise water glimmering in the sunshine.  It was positively stunning.  MJ got in the pool but I was feeling too out of sorts and freshly showered to deal with chlorine.  We didn't stay for very long before going back to the hotel and changing for dinner.  After that we went to the Zky Bar where they have something fun every night at 9:30pm.  Saturday was Michael Jackson night.  I honestly, wasn't expecting that much but I was blown away by the dance performance.  They did about six choreographed routines to Michael Jackson songs and it was really good.

We were totally off the grid for the entire week. They had Wi-fi plans but I would feel ridiculous paying for Wi-Fi just so I could peruse Instagram or post a status update.  I'm on vacation.  The whole point is to get away.  No phones, no social media, no web surfing, no blogging and very limited TV channels in the English language. I only missed it for about five minutes when we checked in and were welcomed with blue champagne and a cold wet towel that I couldn't Instagram but  after that I was glad not to have it.  Every single day we were really in the moment with each other and our surroundings without the added distraction of time sucking mindless web browsing that takes up so much time at home.  Instead of Instagram it was InstaLife and that's ALWAYS a good thing.

Later on during the week at dinner there was a group of four ladies who got seated near us.  All four had their heads bent into their phones.  One of them had her phone clutched her in her hand and I don't think she put it down even once until their first course appeared and then it wasn't too long before she picked it up again.  It was kind of sad to watch.  It made me really glad that I did not have Wi Fi and very aware of how ridiculous it is to be so absorbed in your phone when there are so many beautiful and wonderful things going on right in front of your face.

We went to the gym first, then to breakfast and finally hit the beach.  I couldn't wait to get into that gorgeous ocean, but that wouldn't last for too long.  More on that later.   We discovered the Iguanas on our way over.  They are harmless (so I'm told) but I was still scared because I'm scared of everything.  There was one facing us about a foot away from the path we had to walk down and MJ practically had to drag me along to get me to walk past it.  I got used to them after a while-sort of.  There are spider monkeys on the property too.  We kept looking, but never saw any.

One of many activities they had going on all day every day was Salsa lessons.  They promised us a free coconut drink for participating so we were in.

Sorry about the under boob.  Sometimes that happens at the beach
They had water polo once a day and beach volley ball twice a day at 11:00am and 4:00pm.  MJ played water polo twice and Beach Volleyball every single day we were there; sometimes twice a day.  He's good at everything.  He loves organized sports and it was good exercise.  

Meanwhile, I mostly laid on the beach with drinks in my hand.  They'd come around to ask if we needed anything and nine times out of ten I said yes, because why not?  I did get up and do a 30 minute walk way down the beach by by myself.    My feet were digging in the sand with every step making it a pretty good leg work out.  I had my iTunes and a spectacular view.  I also saw an old naked guy.  It was one of the best walks I've ever had in my life!! And not because of the naked guy.  I was so sweaty I had to jump in the pool shower to cool off...and then it was more relaxing.

This was our favorite show watching spot.  There were only two but we usually got there early enough to snag one.
That night they had a magic show.  I was randomly selected out of the audience to think of a famous singer in my head. Okay, Justin Timberlake.  He opened up the manilla envelope that he was holding in his hand the whole time and inside was a picture of Justin Timberlake.  I still don't know how did it.   Is it magic or are people (me) just that predictable?  I'll call it magic.

Cancun Day 3-4