Happy Birthday to Me!!

I’m up early this morning to get my birthday presents from the hubby (and also because this baby boy kicks me in the bladder consistently starting around 5 a.m.). It’s a big day planned today (I’m off work)…with the delivery of some new furniture and a dishwasher. I’ve also got meetings with Cook’s Pest Control and Travis (painter extraordinaire).

Wouldn’t you know last night we were sitting upstairs watching Big Brother when I turned to Hubs and said, “Do you smell something burning?” He said, “Yes, did you forget to turn the stove off?” Not having used the stove, I said no, but we went downstairs anyway. The burning smell was coming from the dishwasher! I had run one last load, but it turns out, all of that will make it’s way to the sink this morning to be washed again. Not sure if it was food or plastic or what, but the heating coils were a-smoking! Thankfully, that horrible dishwasher will make it’s way to appliance heaven today as we welcome a new team member to the kitchen!

It should be a very (exciting day).

Looking back through old social media (TimeHop App), I have to laugh to look at what was posted. I was ecstatic to get a pair of Tory Burch and Coach shoes (still in the closet rotation today), and now I’m thrilled about a new dishwasher and the fact that I ordered some decor for the baby’s nursery. 🙂 Times have certainly changed, as it’s hard to get too excited about clothing when everything has an elastic waistband! Just kidding, I still love clothes and want to be an adorable pregnant person, but finding the cute stuff is like looking for a needle in a haystack when all the local haystacks are 45 minutes apart or online!

What hasn’t changed this year is how aware I am of my blessings. We are in a new home that is soon to be filled with the squeals of a baby boy who will carry the heavy names of two of the most important men in mine and Hubby’s lives. We are surrounded and lifted up by love and support from friends and family (more important now than ever as we have no idea what we are doing).

I read an old birthday blog this morning and this was posted in it:

Like I said, I am so blessed and couldn’t be more aware of it as I turn 25. I know Pop would be proud of the people I’ve chosen to surround myself with. This would be his 82nd birthday (if I’ve done my math correctly…and don’t assume that I have).

On our last birthday of the 20th century, Pop wrote me a letter. (Yes. A pen and ink letter on wide-ruled paper.) I’ve carried this letter with me since the day he gave it to me and I’ve used it, like a Bible, when I have needed words of wisdom or advice.

At 13 he said to me, in this letter, “The next eight years will be tough ones for you as you will make decisions during this time that will affect you for the rest of your life.” Boy was he right, but the other words he provided helped me in dealing with that. Here are some of the things he said:

– Hold fast to your faith in God, no matter what. That faith will get you through some very rough waters and God will always be there to help if you ask.
– Your mom is a great lady…It takes real love to be able to guide children in the right path.
– Although popularity and acceptance are desirable, you must maintain your own style and adhere to your own standards.
– Keep a positive attitude toward learning. Maintain a high level of curiosity and purpose. Question things that strike you wrong and use the vast resources you have (internet) to verify what you think.
– Stand up for what you believe is right, but if you find you are wrong, don’t be afraid to change.
– Family is important.

Possibly, the most important lesson he gave me in this letter, though I go back to a lot of them often, is this: “Remember where you come from. It will help you immeasurably in deciding where you want to go.”

What a bright and knowledgeable man my Pop was. It was as if he knew, at the end of the 20th century, that I would need these words long after he was gone and that, at 13, I might not be patient enough to hear them. He gave them to me long hand so that I can carry them with me always. As I said, he wrote this letter to me on September 18th, 1999. He died February 21, 2001…just one year, four months and a few days after he wrote this.

I feel so incredibly blessed (and I know I say that a lot) to share my birthday with him and hope that he is always proud of the things I am doing. He may have an urge to nag once in a while, but, in the end, hopefully sees that I’m getting where I should be based on the heartfelt advice he gave me over 12 year ago.

Happy Birthday, Pop.

All these words still ring happily in my heart, but more so now as I close the first year without my Nana on this earth. Since I wasn’t blogging at the time, you may not know she passed away very close to my birthday last year, but I was extremely lucky to spend an unusual afternoon with her in her last few weeks where she was incredibly (comparatively) lucid and present. It was such a blessing, one I’ll always cherish. At one point during our visit she said to a nurse, “Thanks for being patient with me.” Though the quote is out of context here and wasn’t spoken to me, the words ring in my ears often as patience isn’t a strong virtue of mine. And when I feel myself growing frustrated, I sometimes say replay them.

Going back to Pop’s letter, two pieces of advice stick out now more than ever.

First, he said “Hold fast to your faith in God, no matter what. That faith will get you through some very rough waters and God will always be there to help if you ask.” Y’all, I prayed so much for the safety of this baby I’m carrying in the month leading up to us discovering we were bringing a baby into the world. I still pray now, but at that time I was praying for guidance on buying a house and for knowing where we should settle. When I found out I was pregnant, I prayed to know how to nurture the baby and that it would grow and be safe. We were terrified in the beginning something would happen–because we were so shocked it happened so quickly. When the contract on the sale of our house fell through after we’d bought the new one, I prayed that it would sell quickly and to someone who would enjoy it as much as we had. I prayed every morning in my car that it would all work out. I asked for a lot of help and while the results weren’t always what I wanted or caused a little stress, it has all worked out. All that’s a little heavy, I know, but it’s a strange feeling to be responsible for growing another life. It’s not at all like the movies!

Pop also wrote in his letter, after telling me what a great lady my own mother is, “It takes real love to be able to guide children in the right path.” I believe at the time this advice was meant more as a suggestion to a teenage me to go easy on my mother and to understand how difficult it can be to, first, raise children, and second, raise them on your own. But, who knows, he might have been providing insight to me about how to be a good mother myself…like don’t try too hard or be too tough. He put a lot of thought into the letter he wrote and it is one of my most prized possessions. I am always in awe of how timeless the advice is and how each and every word resonates in a new way each time I read it.

I have no idea what kind of mother I will be and, according to Pop, I won’t learn everything I need to know until I have grandchildren of my own, but know that I already love this baby and that it doesn’t stand a chance against all the love everyone else already feels for it too.

This has already been such an amazing week and it’s going to be a great birthday. Hubby says the theme is “comfort” and he couldn’t be more right. Not only did he get me some very relaxing gifts (a bath pillow, a hammock pillow, new North Face pants, and a massage Giftcard), we are nesting and I have two days off from work (a four day weekend). Plus, we are having a big family dinner at my Mom’s on Sunday.

Y’all I really couldn’t be more thankful.


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Boy, oh BOY!

Ps. How strange is it that my last post is about a juice cleanse and now I’m posting about baby gender. What a time warp!

Ok, for reals this time…

I was completely shocked. T and I both really thought it would be a girl. Only a few people said, late in the game, that it would be a boy. But the doc and ultrasound tech said there was no question. So funny!

I am thrilled though. We are thrilled! We are naming the baby after both of our grandfathers (my Pop’s first name and carrying on middle name lineage of the men in Tanner’s family). And, especially this week of our shared birthday, it just seemed such a fitting tribute. We’ve had the name picked out forever in case of a boy and it was no question when we found out today. It will be a big name for a little boy, but I know he already deserves it. 🙂

Time to get planning!

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It’s a…

Just kidding! We don’t know yet! Welcome back to the blog! 🙂

I’m sitting here in my car waiting to go into the doctor’s office as I chug water to ensure I will be prepared to offer a “sample” to the doctor. I swear, that the most stressful part of every appointment. 🙂

I know I haven’t blogged in a long time, in over a year, I think because I have draft blogs sitting in the queue that outline our Aruba trip we took last summer. I usually do that when we travel so I can keep an accurate account of what we did on vacation, but hold them to post until we return so Facebook robbers don’t know we are out of town. It’s a goo idea in theory until you realize a year later you haven’t posted them, or anything else (and you spend hours on social media ranting about how horrible air travel is on your way home).

Anyway, those of you who know me, know we have a lot going on. We went to Europe, sold our house, bought a new one, moved and got pregnant all in just a few short months. Okay, so it wasn’t as simple as portrayed there–except the getting pregnant part–but I’ll spare you the stressful details.

I’m waiting to go into the doctor now to find out what Baby Harris will be. T and I, and almost everyone else we know, think the baby is a girl. I think this so much that I’ll be shocked if they say it is a boy. Old wives tales are pretty evenly split on what the gender will be. I mean, practically 50/50 on all the ones that aren’t totally insane. I don’t care one iota either way, but am ready to know. (Hear that Baby H?! Cooperate today, please!) I have to get this nursery underway already, it literally is a completely empty room. We found out we were pregnant before I had time to fill it with stuff (a blessing I guess).

Glad this is happening this week as my birthday is Thursday and we are closing in on the end of the first year since we lost Nana. This week, now more than ever, binds my memories to those two people I loved so much. I carry them both with me always, but it is with a little bit of longing that (I know) will never go away. This is a happy activity to alleviate some of that longing. I’m nervous because I feel like I’m meeting our kid for the first time today. I know it’s in there, but today it gets a bit of an identity beyond just “baby.” That’s pretty exciting.

Stay tuned if you’re interested!

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Aruba: Day 5

Today is finally the day we start some activities! Snorkeling.

We began the day as normal with cereal and yogurt. We finished up our milk today, so will have to find some more to help us limp through the week. We will probably do a regular breakfast on Friday morning.

When we finished breakfast, we gathered our stuff for the beach/pool and went down to the concierge to check in for our excursion and find out its pick up time. It was about 20 minutes to 9a and our pick up wasn’t until 1:25p, so we went to the beach for an hour or so…sunned, swam and watched the birds fish. When we got super hot and ready for some shade (and a drink) we went up to the adults only serenity pool. We made some shade and had some drinks and then headed up to the room for lunch.

We had bologna and cheese and chips with pretzel snacks for dessert. I’m so mad we bought mustard as I was smart enough to ask for mayonnaise packets. Three have gotten us this far in the week already. I wish I had done that with the mustard too. Bub says I need to just let that $3.50 go. But I’m struggling. Haha. The Marriott system is a well oiled machine and it is tough to beat it…even with your best attempts.

We rested in the room for about an hour before our snorkeling adventure and just as we were leaving, the tidy crew showed up!

We got on a little van that took us down the beach a bit to the pier. We checked in and waited to load the big catamaran. There were probably 40 or so people on the boat. We took a short ride out to Catalina Bay where the water was fairly warm and calm. The boat dropped anchor for about 45 minutes and we just swam around and looked at fish. It was only about eight feet deep so ou could see the bottom pretty easily, but also get down there to see something cool. We saw a lot of the same fish, not a lot of variety, but I did see a starfish on the ocean floor AND I swam down and touched it. The crew found a small octopus and brought it aboard to show everyone and then someone found a sand dollar.

After getting back on the boat, we went to the shipwreck. It’s a boat from WW2 that was sunk to avoid capture. Supposedly you could see it from the ocean surface (without having to dive down), but the depth was 60 feet and the water was very, very choppy. Bub and I both got a little freaked out so decided to swim back to the boat and hang on the catamaran nets until it was time to head back. We had a blast, but were not super comfortable not being able to see beneath us and with swimming against the current.

We went with Red Sail Sports. The crew was pretty fun and for snacks they served chicken empanadas and some sort of curry croquette with mustard. Pretty yummy! Here is their Trip Advisor page.

When we got back, we stopped and made reservations for Que Pasa and went up to shower.

The food at Que Pasa was delicious. Bub had the Wahoo Special that was served medium rare on a mango, orange, pineapple and cilantro salsa with a side of mashed potatoes. I had the “Pincho Que Pasa” which was marinated beef skewers served with a peanut sauce over rice. As an appetizer we shared a spicy Thai soup (shrimp broth, coconut milk, etc.). For dessert we shared the banana fritters which were bananas fried in a cinnamon batter and served with vanilla ice cream. I was stuffed when we left.

We took a cab back home and are now resting full and quietly. Bub isn’t asleep in the couch yet, but I’m already in bed about to be snuggled in with a book (feeling a little mild vertigo due to the rocking boat all afternoon…usually not a problem for me, but maybe it will lull me to sleep). Tomorrow we make our second attempt at an island tour and then spend the afternoon at the beach or pool trying to decide where to eat dinner tomorrow.

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Aruba: Day 4

Ready for a little variety, we decided to head into town after breakfast to shop the malls. We had Corn flakes and guava yogurt for breakfast, showered and headed off.

We stopped at the concierge desk to make a reservation for a sunset cruise tonight, but, alas…nothing was available…we continue the trend of pushing all of our activities to the end of our trip. We WERE able to schedule dinner at Madam Jeannet’s for tonight, but had to push the cruise to Thursday night, which works out ok because it’s our last night and we are going to finish it up by having dinner on the beach. Tomorrow, we will do the afternoon snorkel tour.

We went down to the Renaissance Mall and to shop around the local places near the port. We got a Christmas ornament and a sarong for mom. I kept want to call it a salong and Bub kept calling it a so-right.

We had lunch at a place called Mojitos. It was a Cuban place. We shared an appetizer of beef empanadas and for lunch I had a Cuban sandwich and Bub had a steak sandwich. It was very blustery up there (the restaurant was on the second story of the mall) so hard to eat without holding onto your hair and your napkin!

Then we went to the mall closer to our hotel. I was disappointed I didn’t really find anything I wanted to buy. Bub said I had found plenty (David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Tiffany’s, etc.) so I reworded that I hadn’t found anything I could buy. 🙂

After we walked from the mall down the beach back to our hotel, we made our way to our room to change into our swimsuits and cool off before heading to the pool. It was a bit overcast today, even sprinkling a bit…but it’s not so overcast we feel super safe taking Bub to the ocean this afternoon. 🙂 Especially since we’ll will be snorkeling tomorrow afternoon.

We found some seats in the shade (for T) and sun (for me) and headed for the lazy river. After two passes, we were kind of done with that as it was more bumper to bumper people most with abrasive accents and attitudes to match so we made our way back it to the regular pool to play a bit. We alternated between swimming and sunning/shading and had one round of drinks during happy hour. We might’ve gone for two rounds but Bub was running out of shade and we had a 6p dinner reservation.

We went back to the room around 4p and just rested.

Not too shabby a view…they did tell us it was “ocean view” but we don’t mind…it’s there at some point.

We watched a little bit of Mighty Ducks on the tv because we are trying to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers and needed to get out of the sun and heat. 🙂 When that ended (with a duck victory…yeah, Disney) we went to find a cab. It was a short but harrowing ride to dinner as we (it appeared to us) almost hit a few dogs on the way (though the cab driver assured us “They live the crazy life and know to get out of the way.”)

Madam Janette’s is a great place.


The ambiance is awesome (minus the flies). We were seated in a garden patio area with gravel walkways. To start our meal we ordered some wine and they brought out some garlic bread and butter with pickled onions. Weird, I know, but they were delicious (though not great for the breath). Dinner was amazing. Apparently it was the “White Asparagus Festival” so a lot of the meals came with that. I ordered lobster ravioli (an appetizer) as my dinner. I assumed it would be big enough for a meal, but when I asked the waiter how big they were he said, “This big!” and made a cup with his hand. I couldn’t quite figure out the sizing so I asked if I could have three. Bub had “Tournedos a la ‘Ramon'” which was two beef tournedos wrapped in bacon, topped with sautéed onions and sauce Béarnaise. It came with white asparagus and a side of au gratin potatoes (made with cream and butter). My ravioli was stuffed with lobster, mushrooms, spinach and ricotta cheese, sautéed in sage butter and sprinkled with Reggiano. It was topped with tiny tomato squares and some onions and a swirly pattern of balsamic. They were big enough I would have been fine with two…but T ate half of the third and I nibbled off his plate some too.

After dinner we went to a casino! I’ve NEVER gambled before so I was super nervous. I don’t mind to lose money when I get something nice in return (a massage, a handbag, some shoes, etc.), and I like to find money or get money, but losing it just for fun, makes me nervous. We went to Excelsior Casino (in the Holiday Inn…so pretty low stress) and played three card poker on a $5 minimum table. Bub set me up with $100. We did pretty good to start then he emptied his pot. I gave him some of my chips (since they really were all his chips anyway) and he hit it big! He made his money back plus some! We set that to the side so he could at least break even. I played a little more and pulled my chips when I had one $25 chip and a $1 chip left. We gave the $1 chip to the dealer lady and cashed out. It was so fun! Especially because of the low risk for me…plus, I made $25! Haha. Me and Bub make a pretty good team. Plus, that was a good game to play because me not knowing what I was doing didn’t mess anyone else up (like it could in Blackjack or something).

After we cashed out, we walked back to the hotel. We stopped at the store in the lobby and I got an ice cream sandwich, Bub got a Diet Coke for breakfast tomorrow and now we are CHILLING! We snorkel tomorrow afternoon and are probably going to eat at Que Pasa. They have a ton of banana-themed things on their menu.

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Aruba: Day 3

What I’ll call day 2 of our vacation was pretty relaxing. The only real stress of the day was keeping Bub covered in sunscreen so he wouldn’t burn more than the day before. I set a timer on my watch to go off every hour so he could get reapplied. It worked for a few hours, but then we got distracted by drink specials and swimming and playing.

We had corn flakes, soy milk and guava yogurt for breakfast. We started the day at the pool; while there, a couple offered us their float tubes since they were leaving. We came up to the room for lunch (more bologna and cheese) then took our new tubes down to the beach to swim around. After some beach time we went towards the lazy river, but decided to sit in the shade. We found an unattended umbrella and two lounge chairs. Score, we thought. It turns out those chairs were right in the crosswinds from where the breeze between the two buildings met. It was like hurricane central and we quickly realized why the seats were empty, but we stuck it out anyways.

Around 5p, we came up to the room for a snack (pretzel sticks and cheese) and showers.

We had decided on Madam Jeanette’s for dinner but unfortunately they aren’t open on Sunday. So we decided on The Old Cunucu House Restaurant instead. Here is the website for the restaurant.

It was a quaint little house, and old farmhouse I think. And we basically just sat on the front patio.
20130602-211539.jpg For our appetizer, we had Arubian mezze which included two fish cakes, one cheese pastechi (a Gouda cheese turnover), fried calamari and meatballs with a creole sauce for dipping.

For the main course, I originally ordered the Keeshi Yena (the house specialty…similar to a chicken pot pie and made with gouda cheese, chicken, onion, peppers, celery, green olives, raisins and cashews), but it was sold out. Instead I had some pumpkin soup and the “Palm Beach Seafood” which was basically a seafood stew (shrimp, mussels, scallops, lobster, etc.). Bub had the catch of the day, grouper, pan fried. It came with a side of rice and vegetables (carrots, green beans and Brussels sprouts). Mine had the same sides. We took photos but it was a dimly lit restaurant (as we were on the porch) so they didn’t come out great on the iTouch so we had to take with the camera (so they will be uploaded later when we get home). It was a wonderfully delicious meal and very reasonably priced.

We took a cab to the restaurant that cost $10 ($12 with a tip). The restaurant called us a cab to get home. The driver of this cab, a young lady (maybe 30) asked if we’d had the iguana soup (it wasn’t on the menu) and told us it had healing powers…they fed it to her daughter who was only six months old but running already and gave it to her dad who’d had a stroke and he was all better. She also said she ate it because she was bulimic, but we don’t know if she really meant bulimic or something else. It was awkward so we just let her talk. When we arrived at the hotel she said something about a deal then said, “Usually it’s $7, but tonight it’s $10.” We paid her $12 but decided it wasn’t much of a deal.

After the weirdo cab ride, we walked down the beach a ways and then around the resort some. We only got asked to buy G twice and I had to resist the urge to ask, “Is G the same thing as elephant butt?!” both times. (If you don’t get the reference, you can go back and read the blogs about Barbados from March of last year.)

Now we are doing more of the same as last night. I’m blogging and Bub is sleeping on the couch. I think the Balashi beer (Aruba’s beer) might have NyQuill in it! 🙂

Tomorrow we plan to putter around in the morning and then venture into town to walk through the malls again while they’re open to give us a break from pool/beach sun (there are three very close by…and I just can’t help myself!). We will probably stay away from Louis Vuitton, but I want to see the street vendors and maybe get my hair braided (just kidding). But we need to find an ornament and some other goodies to bring home. I’d be ecstatic if I could find some guava cheese! We wish our tour of the island hadn’t been pushed back so far in the week but I think we will take a sunset cruise tomorrow night before dinner to give us something else to do for a little variety. Then we tour the island Tuesday and take a snorkel cruise on Wednesday.

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Aruba: Days 1 and 2

We finally made it to Aruba. That sentence is weighted two ways…1) we wanted to come here for our honeymoon, then for our second anniversary, but couldn’t get it through the timeshare when we were able to come; and 2) our travel getting here this time didn’t go exactly as planned…

Our flight out of Knoxville was scheduled for 9:20a. We left the house at 7:30a and arrived at the airport at 8a EXACTLY as planned. We checked in, grabbed breakfast and…that’s where it all fell apart.

Bub got a call on his cell phone and answered it, when he realized it was automated, he hung up. A call came through again about 10 minutes later, after we made it to our gate (huge airport, I know) so he answered and listened. The flight was delayed an hour. Ugh. Still not a huge deal, but made us cut it a little closer to our layover in Charlotte. We were annoyed, but still fine.


A few minutes later, the flight was pushed back to 11:30a. Our flight in Charlotte was to leave at 11:30a. Obviously a problem. They called us up to the counter, and gave us our options. You can still go through Charlotte, but then you’ll go to Miami instead of straight to Aruba as you will have already missed the last flight out of Charlotte to Aruba until tomorrow. They usually leave in the morning before noon. (We know, that is why we booked the 9:20a flight.) Ugh 2. Of course I ask how sure we are the plane coming to get us will get here in time for us to make the new Charlotte flight. Not sure…another plane was coming but the one coming to get us hadn’t even left DC yet due to mechanical issues. Not looking good. What’s the other option? Leave the next day. Boo!

A few minutes later another attendant comes on and says, the plane for Charlotte will arrive by 11:30a and leave on time (the new time), but I have six seats on a flight leaving here for Charlotte in about 15 minutes. At this point, I hopped over a child and slid to the front of the line around the side of the counter before people could make their way up. I got us on that flight, and was assured our luggage would make it all the way to Aruba, despite the new travel arrangements. Fine, whatever, just get us to Charlotte so we are at least starting our vacation.

On the plane to Charlotte we had no problems and even had the nicest flight attendant ever! At first Bub was in the window seat at the very front of the plane and i was in then back by the bathrooms. a very nice man, Bub thinks and air marshall, traded seats with me so we could sit together at the very front! We had a pretty short layover in Charlotte and boarded the plane to Miami (things were looking up even though we were headed to a state we hadn’t planed to be in). The layover in Miami was going to be about three hours (boo 2), but don’t worry, we had some stress to help us kill time.

Having flown to the Caribbean before we knew that you’re supposed to check your luggage at the international airport if you don’t check it all the way through, which most of the time you can’t because you have to change airlines. We were SUPPOSED to fly all the way through with US Airways, but they had our last leg of the flight switched to American due to the screw up BUT when we left Knoxville they said your luggage will get to Aruba. I had my doubts. The attendant had retagged it by hand when it was moved from the first delayed Charlotte flight to the second later, but still on time, Charlotte flight. I watched her write CTL, MIA, AUA on both tags. I watched her go down the jet bridge with the tags and come up without them. When I boarded the plane I asked, “So our luggage was switched over right?” She nodded and said yes.

When we landed in Miami, we didn’t see the Aruba flight we were supposed to be on listed on any of the boards and our tickets were US Airways tickets for an American Airlines flight. I had more doubts. I stopped to ask someone at a ticket desk what we should do and she was more confused than us. She sent us to the check in counter. We walked past every check in counter in that terminal (probably 50 and the length of four football fields) and didn’t find an American one so we walked all the way back to one of the first ten counters for US Airways. We told them what happened and they weren’t sure what was up and told us to go to the American gate check in all the way in another terminal. Luckily, I had a moment of panic and decided we should go check for our luggage at baggage claim, since we hadn’t really been told where it was going to end up.

No luggage. I went to the lost baggage area (my lease favorite place) and told them what happened. She took my tag receipts and scanned them and said that they hadn’t been checked in and likely they were on their way to Aruba or would come the next day on the original flight pattern, but delayed. When I started to well up with tears, she decided to go look for them (clutch my pearls, I nearly kissed her). She came back and said, “They’re back there. They were going to transfer them to American…they didn’t have these tags on them, they had new ones…that’s why it wouldn’t scan.” Then she did the most customer service oriented thing I’ve ever experienced in an airport…she asked us if we wanted her to pull them, give them to us, let us take them and re-check them with American ourselves to ensure they were on the same plane as us (as best we could after you watch them go through those tiny doors). Of course we said yes and thanked her profusely. Then we began the almost two mile trek (probably not an exaggeration) to the American counter. We checked our luggage, went through security and began to search for food. We found a Cuban place, had ham croquettes, pork, black beans and rice and a guava pastry. Then we waited.

We were supposed to board the flight out at 6p but a terminally ill marine coming back to Miami after meeting the president was arriving on the plane we were flying out on. There were legion veterans and an active soldier plus about five police and several American Airlines employees. He came off the plane in a wheelchair through two rows of passengers and all those service men clapping. It was pretty cool to see. Obviously. They drove him to baggage claim in a security cart with flags on it escorted by a bike cop. All that made us a little delayed leaving. We boarded at 6:30p. The fight was about 3 hours 40 minutes (and about a half hour longer than I was prepared to amuse myself for). We were FINALLY wheels down in Aruba at 9:40p. Six hours and an extra plane ride and city later than we had planned.

The benefit of this was that customs was a breeze, there were no lines. No hassle with luggage. No taxi lines and no lines for hotel check in. We checked in around 10:30p and then went to find a burger. We ate at Champions in the Marriott then made our way to bed.

The next day…

We were supposed to do an island tour that was picking us up at 8:45a so we set an alarm the first day of vacation. We got up, went down to the front desk and found out that our tour wasn’t coming. We were the only two booked and he had, apparently, been trying to call for two days to let me know they wanted to reschedule. So we got up early for nothing on a morning we really would have enjoyed sleeping in, but nonetheless, we rescheduled the tour to Tuesday morning.

We went in search of food and ate breakfast at a bagel place. Then we walked around a bit and made our way back to the hotel to go to the beach. We sat on the beach, drank fruity drinks and swam until we felt we needed to find some shade. We then went to the pool, found some shade, ordered more drinks and made friends with some LSU fans. We hung with them a bit then went to buy bread, bologna and cheese and chips for lunches. We came up to the room, made a poor man’s lunch and fiddled around for a bit and then went back down to the pool briefly. We then showered and got dressed for dinner. We decided to stay away from the more suggested restaurants with it being Saturday night since we assumed everything would be slammed so we decided to try an Indian restaurant called Taj Mahal. It got pretty good reviews on trip advisor so we went for it.

We got nervous when we went to get a cab and no one knew where the restaurant was. Someone finally figured out (after we told them) that it was downtown near where the cruise ships come in. I happened to see it as our cab driver drove around aimlessly. Still not a good sign.

We walked in and there was one guy sitting at a table. He looked like he might work there but didn’t speak to us. We were really confused. It took a full 30 seconds for someone to greet us…so long that we almost left. Seriously, Bub was at the door. We seated ourselves and waited about three minutes for menus. At this point we were debating leaving even more, but I really wanted to try it. The waitress came over and brought us menus and water. A few minutes later she came back and asked if we wanted anything else to drink. Bub ordered a spiced salty drink from her and she said, “You ever had it? You won’t like it.” He was pretty taken aback. She pretty much refused to serve it to him! We decided to stick it out due to the comedy of errors that was occurring. I HAD read on Trip Advisor that the food was good but the service was not outstanding. So far they were right about the service part.

We chose our food items, an appetizer, two dishes and naan and rice. She didn’t come back until she brought our appetizer. She brought out two sauces and the tea Bub had ordered. She was right, he didn’t like it. It was a mix of black salt, cumin seeds, and some other stuff…meant to help with digestion. Sort of like a detox drink. I thought it was weird, but not horrible….though I wouldn’t want to sip it with dinner.

I will say, our food was good. We did like it. The waitress grew on us and us on her, but we were the only two people there besides someone we couldn’t see but could hear…a man, I’m pretty sure, who may or may not have been choking. But since the waitress didn’t seem worried, we tried to ignore it.

We walked around a bit after dinner at the mall (even went in Louis Vuitton…I looked at the bag and when the lady told me the price and asked if I wanted to try it on, Bub said, “I don’t think she does….” You can bet $1800 he was right) then caught a cab back to the hotel.

Now we are just relaxing (read: I’m blogging in bed and Bub is asleep on the couch….I’ll wake him up shortly). Tomorrow is more of the same as today, except I have to do a better job putting sunscreen on T. His shoulders and face are a bit red even though I thought I was very diligent. I need to determine a better combo of water resistant and non-pore clogging sunscreen for him. Good practice for when we have kids!

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