Monday, June 28, 2010

Incredibly flawed vacation

Let me preface this post with saying that we extremely blessed. Even though we have had a rough few months, we see how fortunate we really are. We have our health and great family and friends. Chris has a well paying job that he loves and we are extremely financial secure at our young age. We are able to live in a beautiful home and travel whenever we please. However, this vacation has had a few more downs than our usual ups.

Our journey started of later than planned to our favorite vacation spot. Our original flight time was scheduled for 7:00 a.m. This would ensure us a full day on the beach. We were notified after booking that the departure time had been moved back two hours still giving us plenty of time outside. The day of our flight however, the plane experienced some technical difficulties, thankfully before we left the house and without anyone on the flight, and would inevitably push our flight back six hours from the original flight time. We finally were on our way to Mexico to soak up the sun and lay on the beach for six glorious days. Our flight was late, but we were still happy to check in to our five-star, all-inclusive hotel.

After the f
light we were escorted to our shuttle where we ended up waiting 30+ minutes to board. We were crammed into a 10 passenger van like sardines, where Chris didn't even have his own seat, and scurried away to our individual destinations. Next time we will book direct transportation. Then Tropical Storm Alex hit. The poor driver could barely drive in normal conditions, let alone in the torrential down pour. We made it to our hotel in one piece. Upon arrival were greeted with champagne and friendly faces. We were able to upgrade to an ocean view suite and were whisked away to our room.

It was an ocean view if you stood at the correct angle and tilted your head 45 degrees while singing "Freedom" by George Michael. Oh wait. That is in another part of the story. You did have to be a contortionist to see the ocean view without being on the balcony. We promptly unpacked, ordered room service and settled in for the night. I decided a nice, relaxing jacuzzi bath was just what I needed after a long trip. I soon discovered that there was very little hot water escaping the faucet. It took an hour to fill up the tub. Our room service was an hour instead of the promised twenty-five minutes. The food arrived soggy, but we didn't mind since we were starving. Also, we had to call to and remind the front desk to push the two beds together to make a gargantuan bed. (They were booked in all of the single-bed rooms.)

All of this was acceptable. However, at 10:30 p.m. our lovely neighbors decided it was party time. Our suites shared a door which did not help the noise cancellation that was much needed. After being up since 5 a.m. I was ready to sleep. Words cannot express how loud the music was. Let's just say that I have been to many rock concerts and the noise level was the same. We made it through George Michael's "Freedom," bad techno, 50 cent's "In da club," and Green Day before I begged Chris to call the front desk. Chris, in his naivete, thought that the best idea would be to go bang on the neighbors door and ask them to turn down the music. I informed him this would not be the best idea seeing how they were probably plastered drunk and more likely than not, one of them was a "mean drunk." (In his very sheltered life, he has not had much experience with drunk people, let alone angry ones.) After informing the hotel management, they sent up a security officer who politely informed the wanna-be-club-starters that people were trying to sleep and they needed to turn down their music. At this point Captain Cool-dude started shouting, "REAUHLLY? I'MA PAYIN' LIKA SHEVENTY MILLION DOLLAS A NIGHT?" The security officer remained calm and explained again that their neighbors were trying to sleep and the music level was unacceptable. Mister McCoolster was like, "REAUHLLY? Who complained? These folks? The people with all the food?" (We had a peephole we were looking through and there is a secret box that you can have room service deliver your food and where you can leave it when you are finished instead of just outside in the hall, which can get pretty gross in this hot climate.) The kind and considerate neighbors continued their harassment of the officer a little while longer and then they all filed back into their room and slammed the door in his face. They then turned their music up even louder.

At this point I didn't feel comfortable staying there and just wanted to change rooms. We visited the front desk, now at 11:45 p.m. and requested to be moved. They obliged and sent for a bellboy to retrieve our luggage. Our new room was a down-grade. Small shower since the previous room was a 6-shower head luxury palace. The DVD player had no compatible remote with it which would have come in handy. However, no loud neighbors, the hot water worked and if you are on the patio you could see the ocean.

We woke up to more of Tropical Storm Alex. Sunday we spent most of the day inside. Room service took longer each time and sometimes they would never even show up and we would have to call and make our requests again. Needless to say, the service is less than five star. The food, which was one of the selling points, since most all-inclusive resorts have horrible food, wa
s promised to be the best. It is probably the best out of all-inclusive standards, but not enough to convince me to book there again.

Monday was a beautiful day outside and Chris decided to brave the sun. This is his usually attitude to the sun, but for some reason he loves tropical, beach locations. We had a fun time relaxing and being pampered. Everyone was outside since it rained non stop Saturday and Sunday. After coming inside to get cleaned up for dinner, we realized that he should have reapplied sunscreen. His burn got worse during the day and I knew that on Tuesday I would be flying solo outside. Exactly what you want to do on a romantic getaway with your husband.

Tuesday was absolutely gorgeous. Chris ventured outside for a short time, but did not want his sunburn to get worse. After lunch, he started feeling pretty crummy. We later found out that we had the dreadful Montezuma's R
evenge! It lasted the rest of the trip for him. Poor thing! I, on the other hand, who always has stomach issues, didn't get sick once! Amazing.

Wednesday I decided to stay outside the entire day. We had a delicious breakfast and before we left I got some fresh squeezed orange juice. When I took my first drink, there was some sort of plastic wrap that I almost swallowed. I took it out and examined it and placed it on my plate. I wasn't grossed out, which was odd for those who know me. However, one of the hostesses saw what had happened and rushed over to our table and with a very concerned look on my face, she asked if I was OK. I replied that I was, but she insisted on taking my plate away. I figured that maybe she was embarrassed that someone let the Saran Wrap fall into pitcher after setting it out for everyone. We got up to leave and we were promptly confronted by the morning manager. He starting apologizing profusely even though we said over and over again how everything was fine and it wasn't a big deal. He continued to state that it was "ridiculous" and that he was going to have to fire the person responsible. I thought that it was a little "ridiculous" the big deal they were making out of this. Out of all the things that happened, this was not the most ridiculous. He wanted to prepare us a nice Mexican platter and a fruit juice
spread. This being a buffet restaurant, I didn't understand. He wanted us to come back at 1:00 p.m. For some odd reason, Chris and I forgot to show up. He called us at 1:30 p.m. and asked Chris (since I was outside enjoying the beautiful weather on our last day), "Do you know who this is?" and Chris responded with, "No...", "It's me, Jose!" (the manager from the buffet),"Did you forget about something?" Obviously, this guy was not going to let this go. We agreed to see him in the morning before we left.

We went back to the rest
aurant the next morning, but thankfully Jose didn't remember us. We decided to take the ferry over to Cozumel while we had time before our flight left. We walked the few blocks to the ferry, bought our tickets and took the hour ride over to Cozumel. Chris unfortunately got sick due to a combination of no AC, extremely rough waters and a killer headache he already had. We realized that we would have to take the immediate returning ferry if we were going to make it back to the hotel in time for our flight! So I stepped off the ferry, took a picture of Cozumel and got back on the boat.

We made it back to the hotel in time and drenched in sweat and headed to the airport.

We were so glad to be back in the USA.

Culmination of misfortune

Let's just say 2010 has proven to be a difficult year. Yes, things could always be worse, but for someone who has had their fair share of heartache and strife, I (Loyce) thought that 2010 would bring nothing but beatitude. However, it has turned out to be quite the opposite. I usually try to stay positive because, after all, even on my worst days many people have hardships that I could never imagine living with. All that being said, I would like to share with you all who choose to read this some of the misfortune that we have faced. Maybe you can find comfort in our story or realize that bad things happen to good people. Each event in and of itself would not be catastrophic, but layer them and, well, you have a recipe for a mental and/or nervous breakdown. I have taken the attitude that Chris has possessed over the years: "Oh, well. There is nothing we can do about it now. Worrying yourself will only make you sick." I think this is probably the best approach. Maybe you will agree.

In January, shortly after we learned of the earthquake that struck Haiti, I received news that our sponsor child from Port-au-Price was reported as a casualty. This was devastating news. Even though I has never met the child face-to-face, we were linked. We exchanged letters consistently for years and James would have been 6 on February 20, 2010. Sympathy words and cards were sent from the organization we were sponsoring through, but very few words can console your grieving heart. At the same time I felt as though I had no right to grieve this child's death that I had never met face to face. I constantly asked myself whether or not I sent enough letters and showed him enough love. [Thankfully, in early May, we received information that James was in fact alive and doing well with his family. They were able to seek shelter. They lost their home/farm and his school and church were destroyed. This news was AMAZING. I have even received one letter from him with a sweet drawing which made my heart smile.]

At the end of January/beginning of February, Chris and I learned that we were expecting. This was a joyous occasion and one we wanted to celebrate with family. We waited a few weeks before telling close family and friends. Everyone we told seemed to be as happy as we were. This confirmed my earlier belief that 2010 would be one filled with blessings (a truth I am still holding on to even in the midst of turmoil). Pregnancy suited me well. I was happy and already planning the nursery just a few weeks in. Things really couldn't have been better. I had many visits to the doctor since we believed I had an early miscarriage in December. I knew that this would be the one. We would welcome our little bundle of joy in October right before our fourth anniversary. Timing couldn't have been better. I made the decision to not go back to teaching in the fall. Soon after our news Chris received a generous raise that would allow me to stay at home with no worries. Blessings were literally falling all around us. However, my mental status changed when I woke up one morning in March bleeding. I knew then that something was terribly wrong. All the symptoms had vanished. No nausea. No tenderness. No peace. Just a void. I will spare you all the details, however the next four days were horrific. Try to imagine someone ripping your insides out and taking along your joy, hopefulness, happiness and peace. I was broken. Confused. Angry. Depressed. Vengeful. Envious. Self-loathing. Doubtful. Just plain pitiful. Again, no words, kind gestures, thoughts, cards, or food could help numb the pain. However, I turned to the only thing that could bring me peace. God. I went through a Bible study called Shiloh from the Watermark Church. I met some courageous ladies during my journey to healing. I can say now that I know something good will come out of this experience and I would not trade this burden with anyone. It is my load to bear with some amazing help that can only come from one source. This event, as difficult and heart wrenching as it has been, has brought Chris and I closer together.

After this blow we were able to celebrate with a purchase of a new car for me. My first new car mind you. I waited for this particular car. A Toyota Highlander has been a dream car/SUV for me. Ask anyone who knows me well. They will concur. However before reaching 3,000 miles in my first brand new car I was in a wreck on 635. Thankfully I was not injured severely and my car is repairable. I know what you are thinking. No, it was not my fault. I am actually a really good driver even though I am a woman. Any damage a car of mine has taken has never been my fault. It has either been parked or backed into or both. This, however, was not the case this time. I was heading east on the 635 bridge from 75 when a car in front of me slowed to a stop. (I later learned that he ran out of gas). I had enough time to slow down and try to get in the next lane. (The ramp has two lanes and I was in the far left. Also, the ramp does not have a shoulder where the gentleman could have pulled over out of the way of traffic). Just as there was an opening I heard a horrible screeching sound. I was jolted two car spaces ahead barely missing Mr. Genius in front of me who decided it would be a bright idea to get out of his car and stand behind it. Needless to say, my brand new car didn't possess a bumper anymore. The boy-genius who hit my car and gave me a pretty painful case of whiplash tried to convince me to take my car to his body shop so he could "take care of [my] damages on the house." Really, you think? Yea, I better not have to pay anything. However, I have heard this song and dance before and asked for his insurance. At first he tried to show me insurance for a 2006 BMW that was expired. I looked at the insurance and back at his 2004 Toyota Corolla and laughed. I then requested the correct and current insurance. After some searching, he finally found the correct information. Again he tried to convince me with all his mental acuity that there was no need to involve his insurance. This worried me that perhaps he was not covered, so I verified his insurance before leaving the scene of the accident in the tow truck. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but unfortunately for this guy he will be paying for not only my car repairs but my medical bills for a while.

You are probably thinking, "Well, that has to be it. This is enough suffering. End of story, right?" Wrong. In the middle of April we lost a great man. Russell V. Dargel. A man of virtue. Probably one of the strongest workers I have ever met. Chris' grandfather. He died at the age of 90. He was a legend in boating and an amazing carpenter. Would have given Noah and Jesus a run for their money. If you would like to read more about his amazing legacy: or . This loss, even though granddaddy lived an amazing life, was just one blow too many. His death has resulted in the heart-wrenching fact of needing to have round-the-clock care for his wife.

Unfortunately while wrapping up the school year I found out that my current employer would be shutting down the school - forcing myself and numerous others to look for teaching jobs in an already saturated job market. After a years of searching and finally securing a teaching position, this was not news I was excited to hear about.

Like I said: each of these events by themselves would not necessarily be too much for one person to handle. Death happens. Miscarriages happen more than most people realize. Material things rust and are destroyed. However within a short five month time span it can wear a person down.

There you have it. Our lives since January summed up in a nice, neat blog.

Oh yea, and I had to stand in line for 8 hours for the iPhone 4 that I already pre-ordered. That whomped.