Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vacation 2011: The Ups, the Downs and the Iguanas

There were many portents (yes, I am comparing my life to a Shakespearean tragedy) that our vacation in Puerto Rico might not meet my vision of the relaxing, fun-filled days of frolicking on the beach by day, watching the sunset by night as my two angels are on best behavior out of gratitude that their parents got them the hell out of this miserable Chicago weather. It became brutally clear to me that being a mother on vacation is eerily similar to being one every other day of the year. Except you are spending a lot more money causing a heightened level of annoyance when your children are not behaving and obsessing over whether they have enough sunscreen on. My children were deliciously delightful half the time during our sojourn, and complete miserable freaks the other half, leading me to believe they are Cybill with slightly fewer personalities.

Before this getaway even started, the following occurred:

Portent Number One: We were required to send a cashier's check via Priority US Mail to the condo we rented. Said check, per the USPS, arrived on a certain date, but the recipients confirmed it did not. I traced it, with the USPS insisting it had been delivered. It had, in fact, not. We cancelled the check, and I initiated an investigation with USPS. They said they would get back to me "within two business days." That was 47 business days ago.

Portent Number Two: We booked award tickets on United Airlines  (a company which incidentally can bite me) but could not get a direct flight for our return. I reluctantly booked a connection through DC. Exactly three hours after booking it, the direct opened up. I called United but was told I'd be charged $150 per ticket ($600 total for the mathematically challenged out there) because it was a "change of route." How exactly does our changing the route using miles cost United ANYTHING let alone $600? And kindly don't get me started on their baggage fees. I'd make a Friendly Skies witticism here but it's probably already been done ad nauseam.

Portent Number Three: I have never had a spray tan, but because I could have potentially starred in Powder II, I decided to try it. The gal with the hose asked whether I'd like light, medium-light, medium-dark or dark. Having never had a spray tan, I left it up to her discretion, directing only, "Just don't make me look ridiculous." Let's just say "ridiculous" must be subjective because I emerged from my session looking like the love child of a female oompa loompa and C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man.

 A few highlights of the trip:

There was a large, functional gong on each floor of the resort. This puzzled me deeply. It's as if the designer thought to himself (it wasn't a female I can tell you that), "Hmm... you know what's missing from this kid-infested venue? There simply isn't enough noise!" The gong just so happened to be right outside our door. What a pleasure it was for every passerby under the age of 14 to take a whack during all hours! So enjoyable was it I might go buy myself a gong as I miss the gonging disrupting my REM sleep on a regular basis since our return.

Puerto Rico might soon be taken over by iguanas in a mass revolt reminiscent of a B horror flick. The place is crawling (literally) with them: they are the size of large cats and seemingly have no fear of humans. I like an animal that is terrified of superior species as nature intended. But the iguana, in its ruthless quest for french fries and other food eaten by tiny tourists, JUMPED ONTO OUR LOUNGE CHAIR and perched itself atop our beach bag. (Interesting iguana trivia: they don't respond to the command "shoo shoo!" like a bird might.) The fact my husband missed that photo opp might be grounds for divorce. I wonder if anyone ever listed as the reason on a  divorce decree "Iguana dove onto our bag and my now estranged husband missed the shot." He did manage to get this one of Moxley about to possibly lose a nose or other facial extremity:

Halfway through the trip, Lulu informed me she wants her name to henceforth be "Flower." This is troubling on many levels, least of which is that there are only three possible destinies for a person with an affinity for the name Flower: a dope-smoking slacker, a cult member, and worst of all, a tree hugger. I don't need some smart ass teenager lecturing me about my carbon footprint and pestering me to buy locally grown organic food while living rent free in my home. At least if they are dope smokers they will be too busy stuffing their faces with Pringles and onion dip in a fit of the munchies to bother me too much and a cult member probably won't be in touch at all, rendering them fairly low maintenance. The Flower thing may or may not be related to fact the girls now only want to wear clothing items besieged by flowers.

I used to think parents who stuck their children in the Kids Club on vacation were assholes. Now my first and foremost concern when planning our next getaway is that they have one, preferably one that operates all day every day.

I suppose I could write about our joyous moments as well, but if I wanted to write joyous crap I'd be published in one of those Chicken Soup books or similar. I'll let some photos speak for that side of the trip:


  1. Before I saw the picture of the iguana, I was mentally picturing the little lizards they have in Florida. Then I saw the monster photo. One of those running wild near ME would make me lose my shit, let alone near my daughter! I think PR is off my list of vacation destinations now!

  2. First of all a kids club is a requirement for all my future family trips. We experienced three lovely hours of the kids zone during our recent trip to San Diego, which leads me to me next comment. San Diego, although not as tropical and exciting as PR, also does not have fucking iguanas the size of my children! Second, after my most recent trip with 3 children, there will be no future family trips. Third, there must be a third right? I've lost my train of thought.

  3. That picture of the iguana right next to Moxley - holy shit!!

    And sad but true, a family vacation is no vacation for the mom. Therefore I have renamed family vacations as a "change of scenery." Therefore I am not totally disappointed by my lack of relaxation.