Friday, April 25, 2008

Sandy Beaches, Turquoise Blue Waters and Brain Drain

See, my faithful fans, I promised I would get better at the blogging thing and just look - a mere 14 days since my last post and I'm here to entertain you yet again. And here's what I have learned since my last musings. The sun and ocean rob you of your brain's power and ability to function. And I can prove it.

Aqua Rat had a birthday on April 4th. His parents were in town that weekend, so I planned his surprise birthday trip for this past weekend, the 17 - 21st. I kept him in the dark, giving him only a packing list and some tanning sessions, to hint at what was to come. We flew from Chicago to Charlotte, NC, Thursday morning, on the first leg of our flight. I think for a little while, he was worried we were actually going to be vacationing in Charlotte. Not that there's anything wrong with Charlotte, but it's not known to be a hot-bed of magical vacation activity. Once we landed in Charlotte, we had only a few minutes to change terminals and get to our gate. And from that point on, I was besieged with questions about where we were going. Finally we were in our departure concourse and passing gate D1. "Are we going to San Juan?" Aqua Rat asked, as we passed the display listing D1's destination. "Nope," I said. Gate D3: "Are we going to St. Thomas?" he asked again. "Nope," was the same answer. Gate D5: "Are we going to St. Maarten?" he asked for the last time. "Yup," I replied. "Really?!?!?" "Yup." "Where is that?" After confirming for him that it was deep in the Caribbean, we boarded our flight and were off.

I could pepper you with all the cliches about turquoise waters, sandy, golden beaches and lovely resorts (which would all be true), but instead I'll just say you should go see it for yourself. It is absolutely amazing there. We had a great time, the food was fantastic, the weather even better and we're back home, wishing we'd had 3 more days and put on more sunscreen (although we are both quite brown).

The funny story, and the purpose of my blog, began on our trip home. We had an overnight layover in Charlotte, heading back. That means that we went through customs there. Keep in mind, it was late (8:45 p.m., roughly), I was tired and very hungry. I just wanted to get to the hotel, order room service and snuggle in for the night. But we have a blond, southern gent asking us all kinds of questions. Like, "Where are 'yall coming in from tonight?" To which I think, "Well dumbass, it says right there on my entry form that I've just returned from St. Maarten. And I'm sure you have a schedule of arrivals somewhere on your desk, so why are you asking me where the hell I'm coming in from?" But I don't say these things. Instead I answer his question. He asks how the trip was? Did we like it there? Are we ready to head back to our work week?

And then he asks me what I do for a living. "I'm in sales," I spout off. "Really? What do you sell?" Uhhhh - crap. What DO I sell? I have total brain freeze! For the life of me, I can't remember what my job is or if I even actually have one. Then out of my mouth pops, "Dental equipment." Now for those of you that know me, you will remember that once upon a time, I did sell dental equipment, but that hasn't been a part of my life for going on 5 years now. Why in God's name I answered dental equipment, I'll never know, but by this point I'm in now and I can't back out. If I backtrack and say, "Oh wait, I forgot, I don't do that anymore," he's going to have the drug sniffing dogs up my behind faster that you can say fried pickles and they'll be tossing my shorts and swimsuits hither and yon as they search our bags. So I just stick with it. But now he's curious. What kind of dental equipment? I find myself prattling off a description of ShadeVision, which I loved and sold for several years. He seems satisfied with that and turns and asks Aqua Rat what he does and low and behold he answers correctly and we're off, on our way down the hall.

We get out of earshot and Aqua Rat looses it. "Dental Equipment?! DENTAL EQUIPMENT?!? Since WHEN?" So for the rest of the night, I was gently ribbed about losing my mind and forgetting what I spend more hours a week than not doing. Questions were lobbed at me like, "Do you think you'll forget you have a boyfriend? Or a dog? Or where you live?" All very funny.

So what I have determined, is that the sun and sandy beaches, while lovely and alluring, steal brain cells. Far more cells than those your high school science teacher warned you about loosing to alcohol. Somehow, while laying by the pool and/or frolicking in the Caribbean Ocean, my brain just started to drift off, like the puffy clouds occasionally floating over my head. By the next morning, I seemed to have come back to my senses (I'm attributing it to the apple pie I had the night before at the hotel), but I have a feeling that this is one story I won't live down anytime soon. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

There's something to be said for Old Geezers

I'm a bad blogger. I know I said that before (actually, in my last blog, which was over a month ago), but it's true. But before you write me off, hear me out. Two things have contributed to my non-blogginess.

1. I've been working my butt off! I've been putting in some really long hours and weeks. It's paid off (I finished the 1st quarter of the year at 150% of goal), but other things suffered, including my blogging.

2. Nothing really funny/crazy/blog-worthy has been happening to me/us. Until this weekend. (cue orchestra for segue music)

As some of you know, last Friday was Aqua Rat's 36th birthday. Not only that, but his parents and sister came in starting on Thursday to help us celebrate. And not only that, but Aqua Rat and his family had planned a surprise 65th birthday for his mother, in Milwaukee on Saturday (her birthday is a little later in the month). Not only did they pull off the surprise, but there were over 60 people at the party! (I was only a small part of that, picking and ordering the cake).

This group of 60+ people was comprised of friends, family, old tennis buddies and the like. I was the background girl - helping with the logistics and photography, so that the family could mingle with the guests. I'd had Aqua Rat help me out, by creating a family tree flow chart weeks earlier (thank goodness), so I was able to navigate the crowd and introduce myself on my own pretty well.

I was taking "crowd" photos so AR's mother could remember who'd attended, when these two older gentleman and the far table stopped me to inquire about who I was. They asked how I knew AR's mom and when I said I was AR's girlfriend, one of them (I think his name is Herb) said, "Who the hell is that?!" After a death stare from his wife, she set him straight. That only incited more questions and now from the both of them in tandem.

"What's your name?" "How old are you?" "Where do you live?" "What do you do?" "Where do your parents live?" What do they do?" "Do you have siblings?" "Where do they live and what do they do?" And then finally, "Did AR give you that gorgeous pearl ring on your finger?" He hadn't. It was a $20 special from Express (it does look pretty real though). That wasn't good enough for them. "Are you two going to get engaged?" Ahhhh - now I was buying time trying to come up with a reasonable answer, since I wasn't expecting that question. I suggested that maybe that was a question for AR, since the boy typically asks the girl and I one who loves surprises.

Still not good enough. "We think he's a damn lucky guy and he better hop on it and propose to you before you get away," said Herb. The second one pipes up, "We're not getting any younger and we don't know how much longer we'll be on this earth, so we want to see a wedding and we want another dinner. How does June sound?" "June of 2009?", I asked. Nope. This year was all that would do for them. And they said they were determined to get AR over there and set it straight with him. Oh boy.

By this time I was sweating profusely and starting to feel like I was at Abu Ghraib. I would sing like a canary, if only I knew what would stop the interrogation. I made my exit and headed over to Aqua Rat. I didn't think that this weekend would be an opportune time for the Two Tennis Geezers (as I'd now named them) to strike up that conversation with him, so I suggested they were long winded and if he didn't want to get caught by them and trapped for the rest of the night, he should steer clear. I thought for sure I had averted certain disaster.

But I'm sure you can see what happened next coming at you like a freight train. I looked over and there was Aqua Rat - caught in their clutches, his eyes as wide as saucers! Needless to say, it appeared that he got an earful and came back to our table a bit dazed. I didn't inquire as to the specifics, but his comment was, "Wow! What did you do to those old guys? They're in love with you!"

Well, by the end of the night I felt pretty good. I'd navigated the family meet and greet pretty well I thought and we'd managed to surprise his mom to pieces (Unbelievable!). And now I had my own Milwaukee fan club, albeit only two memebers deep. I just hope they're around one of these days for my wedding. :)