May 17, 2011

Dominican Republic vacation

It happened rather quickly. We needed some concentrated family time and after looking at our schedule for the next few months, we realized that the beginning of April was going to be our best bet for all of us to get away. Either that or wait until sometime in the fall. Not a good idea. Tim got online and started looking for location and tickets. We wanted somewhere south; somewhere warm; somewhere with a beach. We looked into Charleston, Outer Banks, Florida. The only problem with all of these: you still have cell service. I wanted somewhere far enough away that there would be no cells phones, texting, email, facebook, etc. We eventually thought of Dominican Republic. Tim and I have been there before - about 8 years ago. We loved it and have always wanted to take our kids to the Caribbean. Thus, that became our destination of choice.

We took a late flight out of Reagan; went straight to Miami. Since our flight out of Miami was early the next morning, we opted to spend the night in the airport. (Save a few bucks too.) That was one of the most miserable nights I have ever spent. It was freezing cold! Hard benches with no pillow. I tried to curl up in the seats, but I'm a bit big for a seat with arm rests on each side. And to top off the whole scenario, every 15 minutes on the dot this would come blaring over the P.A.: "The current local time is 3:15 a.m, 3:30 a.m, 3:45 a.m." and on and on ad nauseum! Like I said, miserable. I wish I had taken a picture of Tim, Angi, Marci, and Abel somewhere around 2:00 a.m. They were lying all together in a corner; smashed up against each other trying to stay warm. Poor Abe was freezing. He had given his hoodie to Angi and she had it wrapped around her feet! They looked so funny and pathetic. Conni and I probably looked about the same.

We made our flight the next morning with no problem and landed at Punta Cana around 11:00 a.m. It was fun to watch the kids faces as they observed different things at the airport. Like the fact that the whole airport has only a thatched roof on it - no windows at all! Like how 52 different locals offer to take your bags - almost pull them out of your hands - just to make a $1. Then of course the taxi ride to the resort. Crazy roads, crazy drivers. If it is smoother on the left side, then you drive over there. If it's easier to pass someone on the right on the shoulder, then that's fine - go for it! Whatever works the best for you. And everywhere are motorcycles. Seldom do they carry just one passenger. Usually 2, often 3, and a few times we saw 4 on one bike!

Here are a few pics of us on our resort. Hope you enjoy. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and you can almost feel the sun on your face, the sand on your toes. Suffice it to say that it was wonderful.

Marci and Conni got their hair done right off. It is so cheap there! Only $15 for Marci's hair! It took 2 hours to do. So nice for them - they didn't have to do anything to their hair other than wash it for several days! What's not to like?

Of course, with their hair done like this, this next pic was a necessary part of each day.

One of Conni's favorite things: fresh coconuts on the beach. $5.

Every evening, we had dinner reservations at a nice restaurant. It was fun to dress up and go enjoy a leisurely 4 course dinner.

In the water. We had unlimited use of the kayaks and catamarans. Conni and Marci would kayak out to the reef and take turns snorkeling. They loved it!

Conni bought a hat made of coconut leaves at a little shantytown bazaar. "Cheapy, cheapy price for you today! My price best price!" It was kind of fun bargaining back and forth with them.

One evening as we were chilling in the central area, listening to some cool, native music, they announced it was going to be karaoke night. We convinced Angi to sing. She sang one song by herself and then she and Tim sang "Unforgettable" by Natalie and Nat King Cole. A good oldie. The hilarious thing that happened before they sang was Tim tripping and almost wiping out as they went up on the stage! So funny!

One of the highlights for me was getting to visit a local mercado, or market. Amazing! The lack of sanitation was unbelievable. But notice the types of food. It's all whole, good-for-you foods. No premade stuff.

Conni's second braiding. This time with beads. It lasted for almost 3 weeks!

We had a great trip. Nice to share it with you, too. There's nothing quite like the Caribbean!

May 11, 2011

Cleaning is good, but sometimes you unearth undesirable things...

Every spring when the weather starts turning warm, the trees leaf out, and the birds start singing; I feel the urge to clean start coming on. Makes me want to turn everthing upside down and give it a thorough cleaning. Under the back deck is no exception.
Over the winter, a ton of leaves collect under our back deck. I hauled the stuff out from under there and proceeded to sweep and hose down the concrete. I'm not sure where all the stuff comes from, but at one point it looked like we were gearing up for a yard sale! Anyway, that's beside the point.  I got it looking all nice and tidy, put stuff in its proper place, and checked that one off my list.

The next day, Marci was doing something in the basement and spotted this little thing crawling between the sliding glass doors.

A little copperhead.  Isn't he adorable?
Just kidding. 
My fear was that, left unattended, this little poisonous thing would make his way into the house.
Abe and Conni got after it; knocked him onto the concrete.

Abe grabbed a handy golf club, (one of those things under the back deck) and bludgeoned it to death.

Battle waged, war won, mighty hunter's victory dance.

Some people might say that the moral of this story is that you just don't spring clean.  Too dangerous.  Too iffy.  I disagree. Go for it, all you spring cleaners.  Just be prepared for anything - even snakes!