Vacation Foibles and Follies – Part Tres – Diaper Fiasco

You’ll be glad to know that this is the last in the Vacation series.  And this is gonna be short b/c if I have to relive that awful trip home, I might just kill myself.  So the long and  somewhat short of it is……after an absolutely lovely vacation at Lifestyles……..

Caitie and Hazel enjoying the pool

Caitie and Hazel enjoying the pool

Hazel and Leah swapped shades at VIP Lounge

Hazel and Leah swapped shades at VIP Lounge

Boarding the golf cart to go to dinner

Boarding the golf cart to go to dinner

………we, unfortunately had to come back to the states.

We arrived at Puerto Plata airport for the return trip waaaay too early.  We stood around and waited in lines to check baggage and go through security and customs. On the way to the gate we totally ignored the reggae band that we were so happy to see when we had arrived in the DR a week ago.  At the gate, we were glad to see that our plane was in, but for some reason, we weren’t boarding on time.  And there seemed to be all kinds of activity on the tarmac around our plane. But being the optimist that I am, I just figured that Dominican airport personnel were being extra thorough about the condition of our plane.

However……….an hour after boarding time, it was revealed that someone on the previous flight had flushed a diaper down the toilet and literally knocked out both lavatories on the plane.  Who in the world thinks that it is OK to flush a loaded diaper down an airplane toilet?  I am seriously worried for that poopy baby’s parents b/c obviously, they don’t have any brain cells.

FAA says that you need at least one operating lavatory on a plane even though all of us  promised the captain that we would “hold it” for the entire flight and we were OK with no functioning bathrooms.  So – while we waited for the repairs, Jet Blue gave out food vouchers to the airport restaurant.  That was really nice until the airport restaurant (yes – there was only one restaurant open) announced that they had run out of food!  Just about the time that announcement was made, Jet Blue told everyone that we all were getting free RT tix in the amount of what we had paid for our DR tix.  That made the “no more food” issue a little easier to swallow (pun intended).  I have to say that Jet Blue did a good job of restitution for the stressful delay.

All told, we waited almost 7 hours for one airplane lav to be fixed so we could take off.  It was pretty awful with a 2 year old in tow.  This picture describes it perfectly……..

Going insane!

Going insane!

And, I apologize for Leah’s hair in that picture, but that just goes to show you what a horrendous day it was.  Anyway……we finally took off,  made it to JFK, breezed through customs (at midnight), got the shuttle to the car and got home about 5:30 AM the next day. Hazel fell asleep in the car around 5:00 AM.  Tough day.

I really can’t believe that a flushed diaper impacted our vacation so drastically.  And that is exactly why we all need a vacation to recuperate from our vacation.

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Vacation Foibles and Follies – I’m Pretty Sure We Hit a Guy

So – picking off where we left off from the last post……..

We’re at the Hilton Airport at JFK……..We all get a great night’s sleep after totally wiping out the bar and snacks at the Executive Lounge at the HIlton.  We awake early and chow down on some pretty decent breakfast at the Lounge, attempt to wipe all of Hazel’s (and Caitie’s…..she’s a bit messy) sticky fingerprints off of every piece of furniture in the Lounge before getting our shuttle to the airport.

At the airport, we get through security (despite the fact that Hazel has “thickener” in her Nemo sippy cup because she still can’t quite manage thin liquids with her repaired esophagus……the thickener needs to be “tested” by our illustrious TSA crew).  We make it through Customs OK even though the officer gives us the obligatory dirty look (WTF?).  We board the airplane and, as we walk down the aisle, I try desperately  to pass Hazel off on anyone who looks interested.  A young couple almost took the bait, but Hazel kinda scowled at them…… and that cut the deal.  Really?  Who could resist this??

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So – we get to our seats and Hazel pretty much lets us know that it is basically her nap time.  Fair enough.  I get cranky too when I need a nap.  But – this child does not nap ANYWHERE BUT HER CRIB!  THe best we can do is humor her and hope she eventually passes out.  We start with teaching her how the seat belt buckles work (duh…..she already knows this from flying scads of times before).  Hazel insists on buckling and un-buckling her belt a million times.  Teddy Bear is in and out of his seat belt a gazzilion times too and for God’s sake……he won’t sit up straight!  Damn these teddy bears…….can’t they make them smarter than a 2 year old??!  Screaming and fussing ensues and OMG!……we haven’t even taken off yet!  We are still waiting for people to be seated!  We profusely apologize to the entire aircraft for what we know will be a long flight with a stubborn 2 year old and her uncooperative teddy bear.

Soon the Flight takes off; Hazel is a pistol and insists on laying on the floor for the entire flight which totally ruins her white pants (note to Mom Leah – never dress your kid in white unless it is for her confirmation or wedding).  BUT – Hazel is happy rolling around on the grimy, bacteria infested airplane floor, so we throw food at her, so that she stays there and maybe falls asleep (which doesn’t work).

After a 3.5 hour flight that seems like 8, we land safely at Puerto Plata Airport in the Dominican Republic (well…..not that safely since Hazel rolled under the seat in front of her).  We clumsily gather our belongings (which against our better judgement includes Hazel), exit the aircraft, and try to get the feeling back into our legs.  The adorable Dominican Republic reggae band comprised of a bunch of really old Dominicans strumming really old guitars and singing really badly greets us as we walk to baggage claim and we tip them way too much.

We get our luggage and look for the limo guy to take us to Lifestyles Vacations Holiday Resort.  Bingo!  There he is and he helps us  with our luggage and off we go!  There is whiskey, beer and champagne in the limo so we take advantage! Who cares if there are no seat belts or restraining devices in this large car?  Hazel is ready to wander about after being confined to the floor of the airplane for 3.5 hours. BTW – that is not me getting out of the limo in the picture below, but that is the Lifestyles  limo…..and let’s just pretend that it is me…….a girl can dream……

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OK….the funny stuff stops here………the roadways in the DR are absolutely treacherous!  Not because of the terrain but because of the lunatic drivers.  Motorcycles and scooters are the main modes of transportation in the DR and they just weave in, out, and around traffic.  There are no regulations.  There may be a cow in the middle of the road and everyone just cuts in front of everyone else to avoid the bovine (which is OK with me cuz I am an animal lover).  But the motorcyclists and bicyclists just go wherever they want and try to squeeze in wherever possible……passing on the left, right, and everywhere in between.  It is not uncommon to see 3 people squeezed onto a very small scooter with one of them holding a laundry basket of belongings dangerously weaving in and out of traffic.

So – we are in the limo enjoying our champagne and trying to corral Hazel and glad that we are not on a scooter.  Hazel and Teddy are ecstatic that there are no seat belts.  We enjoy a couple of toasts in the car.  I couldn’t get a picture of Hazel toasting in the car, because the ride was ridiculously crazy, but here is a picture of how Hazel toasts with her Nemo cup…..I have no idea what is in the cup……

Hazel toasting with her Nemo cup

Hazel toasting with her Nemo cup

Anyway – we are riding contentedly in our limo, champagne glasses overflowing and toasting like fools, when all of a sudden we hear a sickening thud.  The limo kinda slows down and I turn to the family and exclaim half-drunkedly, “Crap…….I’m pretty sure we just hit a guy!”  Sure enough – we look out the rear of the limo and see a poor bicyclist struggling to get up off the roadway and attempting to right himself while bystanders run to his aid.  Thank God he has a helmet on!  The thud was alarmingly loud and the cyclist definitely looks shaken.  What to do?  We are suspecting this is a common occurrence.  We look (way up) to the front of the limo to the driver for some acknowledgement as to what just happened and see that he is looking in his rear view mirror but is not making any effort to stop.  Then we double check at the rear of the limo to see that the bicyclist has somewhat regained his composure and is attempting to get back on his bike with the help of bystanders.  But – we feel really bad that our limo hit this dude and we just don’t know what to do as foreigners in a limo.  The solution – keep drinking champagne!  Problem solved!

And that was our illustrious beginning to a wonderful vacation!  Other than mowing down a bicyclist, drinking a bunch of champagne in the limo, and holding onto Hazel (and Teddy) for dear life during this crazy ride, we make it to the resort! Muy bien and gracias!

At the resort!

At the resort!

Vacation Foibles and Follies – Part Uno-Passport Hell

Have you ever had to deal with our illustrious majorly inefficient Passport Office? That agency has to be the most inept, frustrating, government agency in existence.  One of these days, I’m gonna go to the US Capitol and throw a major hissy fit about the US Passport Office.  Hopefully, our government, in retaliation will deport me to a country that has a more efficient passport agency (like, maybe Madagascar……although I hear the Madagascar movie is pretty good, so yeah – I might like it there).

I’m not gonna go into a bunch of detail here, but suffice it to say that we started the quest to obtain a name change on a passport in early May and, because of extreme ineptness with the Passport Office, ended up having to go to Philadelphia to pick up said passport on August 2nd…… 22 hours before departing the country. Yep it was a pretty close call that truly jeopardized our long-awaited vacation. And this was just a name change on an existing passport!

There is no detergent in the world (I don’t care what Tide claims) that can get those armpit stains out of my shirts after sweating out this passport fiasco.  Actually – my wonderful husband called our Congressman and said something like, “Hey, man…..can you help us out here with this passport problem cuz my wife is a sweaty mess resulting in really gross armpit odor, and I really can’t take it much more so we need to get this passport STAT!”  Our Congressman felt bad for my hubby and took immediate action.  The Congressman probably has the same sweaty predicament with his wife and felt sorry for us.  I’m happy to report that our Congressman helped a great deal!  I am def voting for this guy in the next election.

Anyway – I’m gonna impart some tips to you readers and you might want to jot these down.  I’m an educator by profession, so this is the lesson:

1) the US Passport Office refuses to talk in person to any common citizen even though our tax dollars pay for this agency.  Now – there’s value for your dollar!

2) the US Passport Office is in cahoots with the US Postal Service because the Passport Office will only communicate with you through snail mail, even in this age of technology.  That’s our government for ya!

3) But – in those snail mailings, the Passport Office provides a phone number AND a link for you to track the progress of your passport. Well – that is hopeful news!

4) No it’s not…. because when you call the number, you get a recording that says that the US Passport Office cannot help you over the phone

5) And, unfortunately when you try the tracking number link, it tells you that you will be notified via US Mail if there is a problem with your passport.  This causes you to wait anxiously by your mailbox every day….to the point where the postal worker is extremely frightened to deliver mail to your mailbox.  But – they do have that motto – “through sleet, snow, rain, hail, and delirious crazy-ass customers the mail will be delivered,” or something like that. (And I just want to mention that our own mail deliverer is a gem even though we often get torn up mail that says “sorry guys, but this piece of mail got effed up in our automated stamping machine”).

But – there is some good news in that – if you are 2 weeks away from your trip, the Passport Office assigns a caseworker to your passport issue and that caseworker can call you by phone and will do the following:

1)  give you a bunch of totally incorrect information

2) not answer your return phone calls

3) get sick and leave your case to some other totally incapable person in our Passport Office

4) get thrown off your case because she was so damn awful (and by that time, you’ve got those horrendous armpit stains that have ruined all of your shirts and you STILL don’t have a passport!)

There will be a pop quiz on this lesson.

So – I know you are wondering what the hell happened with the passport and how did I get those atrocious armpit stains out of my shirt……

We got the passport in Philly; ended up in a shitload of traffic to our hotel next to JFK airport.  But – got upgraded at the hotel to the Executive Floor (really?? didn’t they know we had a cranky 2-year old in tow??), got free snacks, drinks, and breakfast in the Executive Lounge, and got to the Dominican Republic for an exquisite vacation! Still working on the stains.

Here’s a teaser for the next post – I’m pretty sure our limo in the DR ran down a guy.

I’m Not Dead

Hey readers – don’t panic…… I haven’t died!  I know you were probably worried sick because you haven’t heard from me for awhile. I don’t blame you…..I’d be about out of my mind with anxiety, too.  After all, you’d have to find something else to do with that precious 3 minutes of your time that you normally spend reading my sorry ass blog if I wasn’t around anymore.  Yeah….you might have to do something else much less satisfying like, say – adopt a pet, volunteer at your local hospital, or clean up litter in your neighborhood park.

Well, the reason why I haven’t blogged lately is because I’m lazy.  There – I said it.  I called myself out.  I’m an apathetic jerk who went on vacation to a foreign country with limited wi-fi and just didn’t bother to blog a damn thing.  But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about blog topics because so much crazy crap has happened to me over the past 2 weeks and I am so anxious to share it all with you.  

But real quick…..as promised in my last blog from July 30, here are the pics I told you about. I went ahead and labeled them for you since I didn’t want to overburden you with the onus thing. Go ahead and re-read that July 30th blog to refresh your memory.  I’m just kidding……who in their right mind wants to take the time to re-read something, right?

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Crazy dog, Crosby “booger-kissing” Hazel

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Just a pretty adorable pic of Hazel……she’s probably trying to think of signing me something that will totally confuse me and then she can baby laugh right in my face.

OK….now that that obligation is over (don’t you just hate when you have to write the same word twice back -to -back like I just did?  I swear – the English language is ridic).  Anyway – stay tuned, because I’m back from my 3rd world country vacay and I’ve got blog material that you’re not gonna believe!