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Thursday, February 25, 2010

How To Make A Six Year Old (And Her Tired Mommy) Smile For Days...




Been busy, busy.

It's that time of year again - holidays, holidays.

Oh,


and a birthday.

Ro turned six. Her official birthday was Februar
y 4, but I returned from Miami on February second, so I did not even give it a thought until I returned, which delayed the birthday process.

On Feb. 8 I made her a little celebration in her classroom with some mini cupcakes.


I brought sister So and cousin Yo over to celebrate.
Yes, it was, Ro, So and Yo.


The class made her a book of birthday wishes for her. There were many wishes for her to somehow acquire much Polly Pockets. That was poor wishing on their part since I have a mobile nine month old who has perfected his pincer grasp and his fine motor skills have him pincing small objects and placing them in his mouth. So Polly Pockets are vetoed.



That was the easy part, but now I had to plan a birthday party for her outside of school.


LET THE HEART PALPITATIONS
COMMENCE!!!


First, I hate parties in my house, and Ro is a winter baby, so where would I have a party.

Second, I did not exactly have the energy a
t the time to find art projects and activities to do with kids for one and a half hours.

Then, I was trying to find a Sunday, but...

..... every Sunday until March 7 was filled with other birthdays, Community concerts (Uncle Moishy), Purim - our upcoming holiday...

It looked like I had to wait to March 7 to make the party and now we are getting close to Passover, a holiday for which we are required to clean our homes of things made from grains, including all cake and snacks that 15 girls munch on during parties in places you won't know about.

So I absolutely refused to have this party in my house.

I called a local community center to see how mu
ch it would cost to rent a room. The price was so high, for just a room (I still had to provide the activities) that it made sense to go somewhere else that provided entertainment as well. But the bowling alley that So had her birthday at, is sadly gone. The local pottery place - shut down. Someone else was making a birthday two weeks earlier for the same girls at an indoor inflatable climbing place...


And then my sister-in-law called.

She would be honored as a "woman of valor" and guess when the luncheon is?

MARCH SEVENTH!!!

So, I asked he
r,

"Does this mean I have to go?"

To which she replied,

"If you love me you do."

Of course I was joking. Absolutely I am going.

But when the heck do I make Ro a party?

And then it came to me,

SATURDAY NIGHT!

See, we can't really make the same sort of birthdays on a Saturday, because that is our Sabbath and we don't drive. People who live far, wouldn't be able to come. We can't really do many activities either. So I had to wait until sundown, which was about 6 PM and give myself time to set up.


So I called the birthday for 7 - 8:30 Pm and it became a...

wear your pajamas,

bring your pillow
and
favorite stuffed animal

Tinkerbell themed,
undernighter.

And, because I went with this theme, it became a "
movie" party, which took all the stress away and I was singing my brilliant praises (even though part of me thinks "movie" parties are cop-outs).

But it's 7 friggin' Pm at night and they are 13 five and six year olds and throw in a couple of 3 year olds all hyped up on
sugar and salt, and what else can you do?

And because I made this party a bit easier on myself, I decided with the energy I had spared to make my own cake, which seemed like a bright idea at first.

Then I realized I had to make Tinkerbell!

I now bring you my cake making process...













Good Enough!!!


And Saturday night arrived.

Did I say we were showing a Tinkerbell Movie?

I mean,

WE WERE SHOWING A TINKERBELL MOVIE!!!



Our concession stand! Your choice of popcorn, chips, or pretzels.


Our Movie screen, aka - a big white wall.



Our, seating, laying, drop your snacks all over the blankets, area.



And (sadly) time to cut into THAT cake.

I don't really care if it was a cop-out. It was probably the most affordable, low maintenance, enjoyable party I ever made.

And more importantly,
it didn't kill me.

And even better than that,
Ro had the sweetest, most beautiful smile on her face for days after.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Miami 2010 is Yesterday






The race was over. All that I worked for, all that I trained for had culminated into these few final moments of celebration.

I kept imagining while I was running the last few miles (and feeling very hot) that I would get to the hotel, remove my stinky socks and sneakers and jump into the pool in my running clothes.

Of course, by the time I made it back to the hotel, my body had much time to cool off and the sweat that sat on my skin was causing me to feel quite cold and all I wanted to do now was get a hot coffee from the Starbucks in the lobby and sit in that really deep jacuzzi tub in my room.

That is what I did. I actually drank my skinny cinnamon dolce latte while in the tub and I almost passed out from overheating.

As time was passing, my muscles were feeling more and more worn out and it was getting hard for me to walk.
I am pretty sure that my gate made me look like I just got off a horse.

It was already time for the post - race v
ictory dinner in the hotel. However, when we arrived, all of the hot dogs and hamburgers were gone and because they rushed to bring out more, the burgers were seriously undercooked and quite raw in the center and I lost my appetite. I figured we would just order food later from somewhere (which we did). But first, I very intelligently made the decision to take a walk on the boardwalk (because running 13.1 miles that morning was not enough to keep me from making my legs move).

We had time to bask in the warmth and sun of Miami, because I made plans to stay until Monday night, taking into consideration that post-race I would be too sore to get my act together to fly home and sit in one tight spot for 3 hours on an a$$ that felt like it had taken a serious beating.

The wind was beginning to pick up and it was obvious that rain was on its way, but we took advantage of the fact that it was still pleasant enough to be outside.



WE WENT BI
RD WATCHING


I like birds in Miami. They are just more "tropical" than birds in Chicago and they sing better.




We checked out the pool at the "Fontainebleu" hotel and decided that this is where we would go swimming the next day. (Well, we shall see how that idea turns out.)



And we took Bam to the beach. This was a better view for him than last year. Last year we took the older three kids to Miami and Bam's only view was a bit murky and that of a placenta and uterus. Yes, I was 7 months pregnant with him last year, this time.

And then we had to return to the hotel for the 5 PM massage I booked.

THE WORST MASSAGE I HAVE EVER RECEIVED IN MY LIFE!!!

I am not one who usually pays for spa massages. I do have a serious need for massages due to some neck and upper back issues. However, I discovered that if I go to a "massage therapist" at my Chiropractor's office, then my insurance pays for it.

But every so often, I treat myself. And I figured, after 13.1 miles of running, now was the time, if any.

When I booked the appointment (from Chicago) I ascertained that this particular massage was deep tissue and would be good for a post- half marathon run. I was also told that I could tell the attendant to focus on the areas that were in most need of massage.

1. That was so NOT deep tissue. It felt like a feather was floating over me.

2. After I told her I just ran the marathon and my legs and hips and back were in most need of massage, she still decided to follow her stupid routine.
Uh, lady - my arms really do not need ten minutes each and the last fifteen minutes that you spent on my scalp was a bit excessive, don't u think.

3. They told me after the massage that 18 friggin' % gratuity was added to the already astronomical price.

When I did a double take and said,
"huh, 18% gratuity is added???"

the receptionist said,
"oh yes, but you could give her more if you want to."

HELL NO!!!

The only good that came from that massage is that I fell asleep.

You can ask my husband, if Orah is pissed about spending money on a spa massage, then YOU KNOW that massage SUCKED!!!

After the massage I realized I was walking worse than before the massage and my legs were so sore, especially my right hip and glutes area.

I went back to my room and Bam was napping and Hun was laptopping so I took a book and went to the lobby. Only, the Eden Roc does not really have a "lobby" per se. It is actually a bar. And really annoying music plays in this lobby/bar. And at this time of night, a waitress is rearranging the furniture for the nighttime influx of idiots who should really go find a better bar. And then the lights dimmed and I could no longer see my book. And I was getting really hungry, because, funny thing, I ran 13.1 miles and had nothing since than, other than half a granola bar, a baked potato and half a hot dog and a bite of raw meat.

So I went back to my room, hoping Bam was awake and he was not. It also began pouring at this point and I no longer felt the need to go out to eat with the baby when I could just send Hun out into a small Hurricane. I also needed Hun to buy some zip lock bags so I could ice myself.

Hun went to retrieve food (poor thing) and my bags and I think I inhaled the food before he made it all the way in the door. He graciously filled my bags with ice from the hotel ice machine and I had about 6 bags of ice all over me and under me. And after icing and getting cold all over again, I decided to take another hot bath while praying that the pain would go away.

I was worried that I would wake up feeling worse the next morning, but it actually was much better. Which is good, because my plan to have a really lovely, last day in Miami went to hell, so at least I could justify staying another day by the sheer fact that I could not have physically walked through the airport the day before.

It was raining that morning, but the sun came out and it looked hopeful. We were planning on swimming at some point, so I packed but left all swim items and extra clothing in an easily accessible bag, being that we had to check out. Our flight was not until 7PM.

We had been trying all weekend to see Hun's Grandparents (he saw them on Friday but it was not great timing, and I was not with him).

Try getting together with two lovely 90 something year olds (K"H)
It's too early
It's too late
It's too hot
It's too cold
It's too far
I'm waiting for the mail to come.......

They were originally going to hang at the pool with us like they did last year, but ..... the rain.

We went to "Tasti De-lite" Cafe, which we did many times the previous year.

I will just say this. I love, love, love their food, but the place is tiny. They have outdoor seating, and when we arrived, Hun's Grandparents already had tables under umbrellas all dried off and ready for us (the rain had stopped at this point) so I had to sit there.

Our food was not even out yet and it began to rain again, although the rain was light and the Umbrellas did a great job at keeping us completely dry and out of harm. There was no place to sit inside anyway.

The drinks came and the rain began to pick up, and then the wind.

Now Hun and his Grandfather were sitting against the cafe wall, but my back was open to the elements and the wind began to cause the rain to hit my back. And it was starting to come down hard.

We actually had to go inside for cover, but when I say tiny, I mean TINY. Not only was there no where to sit, there was no where to stand.

They apparently have a small upstairs as well and we were told that a table for four was being cleaned up. I was all ready to go upstairs, but then we asked how many steps there were.

21!

And Hun's Grandparents were not about to climb 21 steps.

So I asked one owner if he could politely ask the table of four young people who did not have food yet, only drinks if they would be willing to move upstairs.

The owner said he would ask, but only when the table was all clean and ready.

Well he disappeared and the table was ready and the other owner refused to ask them.

SO I DID!

It was a young guy and woman (maybe in their later 30's). They had two teenagers with them. I assumed they were one family, but I have no idea. But they all looked young enough to climb 21 steps.

"Excuse me, I don't mean to be a bother, but is there any way you would be willing to take a freshly clean table for four upstairs? I would have no problem going up, but my Grandparents can not climb the steps."

The woman looked at me like she was about to say yes, and then she looked across at the guy, and then he looked at me like I asked him to run 13.1 miles for an amazing cause.

He responded,
"I'll tell you what, why don't I give you one of our tables (a table that fits 2) and you can all gather around it?"

"Oh really, you want to move this table for 2 over into the tiny aisle that goes from the door to the back of the cafe and have two 90 year olds and my husband, myself AND a stroller with a baby in it gather around it?"

He looked at me and finally realized he was a SHIThead, but then he didn't really care.

So I responded,

"Never mind, I can see it would be a BURDEN for you"

The woman actually looked like she was sorry. She gave a look like she had to leave it to him to make the decision.

I was curious and asked where she was from.

They were from Baltimore, but she was originally from Chicago.

Well this just got interesting...

She told me her maiden name, and that her parents lived in a certain Condo building that I was familiar with, but I could not place her name.

Then she told me her sister is a principal at a specific day school, and then I knew exactly who she was.

And because her husband, or whoever he was did not already have enough lack of care and consideration, he said,

"Mrs. W. (the principal) would have gone upstairs for you."

And then he began laughing.

And then I asked him,
"Where are you from originally"

"New Jersey."

Well that about sums that up.

So I coughed into my hand, "cough - shithead - cough".

And the rain had died down and some guy re-wiped our table and we went outside for another try.

And then the rain began again and kicked our asses this time and we went back in, just as shithead was leaving (they never even got food, just drinks). At this point, as he let the door swing closed on me and the soaking wet stroller with the baby in it, he said,
"you can have our table now".

Thanks for nothing $%%$ *&@#$@ (*&^%!!!!

And then the flooding began.

We got in just in time, while shithead had to walk a block in the rain without rain gear to retrieve his car.

But then he is not too bright.

When we left, I was bright enough to make rain coats out of huge garbage bags from the cafe for everyone to wear. Because I am caring and considerate.

And when I say flooding, I mean flooding. Some guy walked into the cafe with his pants rolled up and his shoes in his hands. And because of the very intimate setting in the cafe, we all got to admire his feet.

We left and drove Hun's Grandparents home, and then we decided to take a boat ride.


video


Remember, the unexpected, free upgrade we got from a full sized car, to a minivan?

Well thank G-d we did have the minivan. If I only captured video of the motorcycles and mopeds we saw maneuvering these streets...

And we could hardly see where we were going because the "defogger" was not working in the van.

We returned to the hotel, and the rain was now consistent. By this time we had to rearrange our luggage and actually head out and return the car. So much for our last day in Miami. At least we got a fabulous dining experience and a boat ride out of it.

We arrived at the car return shortly after 5 PM.

Remember the "warning" I received, that I would be charged a percentage of another day if I did not return the car at 3:30 (the time I picked it up). I was about to negotiate over that, or just adamantly refuse to pay it. But the guy who took the car back, pre-empted me by telling me that he was supposed to charge me because the car was not there at 3:30, but he would waive that fee.

I think they can smell my negotiating tactics on me and just give it to me without the hassle.

So I also added,

"and the defogger was not working all day and we couldn't see out the window."

"No problem, I'll remove 15 bucks for that."

The car that I reserved via "Hotwire" for an original total price of 120.00 for the entire 5 day weekend, ended up costing 60.00 dollars. HALF THE PRICE!!!

The flight home was pretty uneventful .... well, except for one moment.

I was not allowed to get the stroller, gate tickets until we were boarding. We were the last seats on the plane, so we were in group 1 to board. As soon as I removed Bam from the stroller, just before boarding, I could smell it.

Oh, and then I could see it.

All down his leg and up his back.

So I carried him across my arms on his belly like I was playing that airplane game with him all the way down the aisle of the longest plane ever.

I took the closet bathroom in the back before take off and had to practically give him a bath in the basin (that they tell you to wipe down in consideration for the next person - hopefully I did not leave anything behind).

I could hear the flight attendant on the phone outside, probably talking to the captain, that she was just waiting on one passenger who was in the bathroom cleaning up a baby.

So Bam's explosion held up the plane, but like I said in a previous post, bombs in the nether region on planes might do that.

And we were off to Chicago.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Race Is L - I - C - K - E - D !!!!



Sleep escaped me. I mean, Bam coughing (oh di
d I mention the obnoxious cough he came down with in Miami) and Hun's snoring aside, I just could not get a good night's sleep.

I set my phone to go off at 3:45, but of course I w
as already awake before then. By the way, to the makers of LG phones - do you have to make the LCD screens so friggin' bright. I swear my eyeballs were burning.

I got my running gear on and makeup. Oh, y
es, I put on makeup before a 13.1 mile run. I mean, how crappy do I have to look? Truth be told though, I probably looked worse with the makeup, seeing as I put it on in the dark. I did not want to wake Hun and Bam, because I am a kind and considerate wife and mother. So I also got down on the extremely cold tile floor near the bathroom area (away from the carpeted sleeping quarters) to do my stretching, so as not to wake the family. That woke the rest of me up as soon as I sat down.

I double checked that all the baby gear and formula and clothing was all in place for Bam, as Hun was to get him ready at 6 something and get to the spectator shuttle by 7:30. I would already be running by then.

I ate a banana and a granola bar and drank a full
16 oz bottle of water as I waited in the lobby with the other members of "Team Lifeline" just before 4:30 when we would board the shuttle to the start line.





A whole bunch of us Chicago to Miami marathoners at 4:30 AM
Don't we look bright eyed and bushy tailed?


My feelings at this point, and pretty much all the way through the end of the race, were neutral. I can't really explain it. I was not nervous. I was not overly excited. I was not scared. I was not anxious. I just ...... was.

I embarked the shuttle and arrived outside the arena and walked casually along with my friend Rayli as if I was goin
g ..... anywhere. I could have been walking into a mall, or a concert, it did not matter what exactly I was about to do, there was no noticeable emotion to make any distinction to me between running a half marathon and walking upstairs to take a shower.

We exited the shuttle and noticed all the lines in front of porta potties and then we came up with the brilliant idea to run across the street to the "Holiday Inn" and use a proper, working, fl
ushable toilet. And obviously many before us had the same idea because that bathroom stench was just the same as a porta potty. But at least I did not have to worry about accidentally glancing down a hole and seeing way more than I needed to.

I went with Rayli to check in her gear (which was nice of me, considering I specifically brought nothing with me because
I did not want to spend time at gear check) and then we had to find our starting corrals.

We went looking for corral "J" but saw no one else from "Team Lifeline" and then finally noticed the entire team at the start line. A picture of the entire team was about to be taken and we showed up just in time to be hardly seen on the far right end, but we are in the shot nonetheless.

If you look all the way to your left and find the black and white "White Sox" hat, then you have found me. It's like playing "Where's Waldo"...

So

Friday, February 12, 2010

In The Meantime, Lick This



Sorry!

I owe you
all the final lick.

But race day will have to wait

(hopefully by Monday)

because I have been working on this -



My sweet Ro has turned 6, and she is having the most awesome birthday party this weekend.

I have managed to put together something that did not cause me heart palpitations and will not stress me out. So with the energy not expended, I made a cake.

And if you can tell who the character is, depicted, then my cake is....












....GOOD ENOUGH!!!

But more on this fine piece of art (ahem, ahem) after the weekend, as well.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Friday Is Licked And So Is Saturday, Just One More Lick Away



Friday morning was all about me sleeping late. Bam was accommodating. My three kids who were almost 1200 miles away were MORE than accommodating ............. just by NOT
being there.

I had no one to get up and make sure they were dressed, fed, with teeth and hair brushed, in cold weather gear, waiting at the door without killing someone or breaking something by 8 AM. Those few extra hours in the morning, I believe is what they refer to as ...



...VACACIONES

(which is actually how it's said in Miami where more people speak Spanish per Capita)

It was also heavenly bliss.

When Bam woke up, my lovely Hun took care of him while I ironed Hun's brand new "wrinkle free" white dress shirts.

(why do they call those things wrinkle free?)

Then we ate breakfast on our balcony, overlooking this -



Then I turned around and had another most beautiful view -



He loved rolling around on the floor near the open balcony door with fresh Ocean breezes kissing his nose and tickling his toes.

(HE TOLD ME SO!)

At about 11 AM, Hun, Bam and I went off to the pool where we sat and gabbed with some f
riends.

And then Hun went off to make that conference call. The one he said he needed to make at 12:30, and it would only take 15 minutes.

45 minutes later, my supposed food source (Hun, that is) was still MIA and I was HUNGRY LIKE A WOLF.

It took him another hour to get to the pizza place, get the CORRECT order and get back to the pool, at which time I seriously stuffed my face.

And alas, we were nearing Sundown, which means the Sabbath was upon us. So I headed to my rain shower which as of now, only exists in Vacaciones Heaven, and I had a nice hot one.

Hun was actually with Bam, visiting his Grandparents. Another "conference" that he was sure would only take 30 min
utes. But traffic and needy Grandparents make it more like, an hour and 15. And if you don't know about Hun by now, he has no concept of time and space.

Because I was dressed with hair blown straight (why I bothered in a City that has the highest humidity level ever, I don't know) it was up to Hun to get Bam bathed, and the simplest way to do that was to take him under that glorious "rain
" shower.

I had no idea how Bam would react, he has never showered before. I thought that water cascading over his head continuously might cause him to erupt in tears, but I was wrong.

He looooooooooooooved that "rain" shower just as much as his Mommy did. And his plump ASSets, looked so cute hanging over Hun's arm. It's just a damn shame that it would have been highly inappropriate for me to take a picture.

Sabbath is all about rest and relaxation and the camaraderie that was the "Team Lifeline" gathering during meals an
d hang time.

In the early afternoon, Saturday, I spent time by the pool with friends talking about such things that included words such as,
"Laser"
"Weed whacking"

"Brazilian"

I will just end this by saying, it's a good thing that Hun was NOT within earshot.


I took a late nap and woke up just in time for the Sab
bath to end at 7 PM.

At 8 PM, we all got together in the dining room for a Pre-race pasta party.

We were egged on by VERY LOUD cowbells.

We were stirred up by words from families who
benefit from "Chai Lifeline's" services.

We were motivated by words from our Token professional marathoner and "Team Lifeline" on hand trainer -
Toby Tanser.

He pretty much told us it was going to be 90% humidity during the run and we should drink.



YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY - HUMIDITY!!! Just what I trained for in 32 degree, VERY DRY, weather in Chicago for 12 weeks.

The camaraderie was amaaaazing.

The pasta ....



....eh, NOT SO MUCH
!

(I did not then go back to my room and eat cold pizza leftover from Friday... Mmmm, Mmmm
, not me.)


A Chicago Contingency at the pasta party.

Hi Rayli!






That would be a swarm of people around the pasta table.


I actually felt a migraine coming on. I wonder if it had something to do with the cowbells.

So I took myself two Tylenol and high tailed it off to bed. I had to ATTEMPT to get some sleep, RACE DAY is upon us at 4 AM.

One more "lick" my friends, and all my work and training will culminate in just a few hours.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Many "Licks" Does It Take To Get To The "Center" Of The Mrathon



This is the hour in which I would be running, but alas, it seems I now have some time on my hands. So what excuse do I have not to blog?

A week ago, at this time, I was on an airplane with my husband and Bam flying to Miami. Also on the same plane - my friend Rayli.

I was on my way for a weekend of inspiration and camaraderie with about 250 people all running on behalf of an organization called "Chai Lifeline" in the ING Miami Marathons.

(Chai Lifeline is an organization that provides
a plethora of services to sick and disabled children and their families...)

We arrived in Miami after 2 PM and invited Rayli to continue with us to the car rental since we were all going to the same hotel for the weekend.

Getting the car took an eternity because a line of 6 people were waiting for one employee. This was seriously cutting into my pool and beach time, but what was I to do. Rayli was hanging out w
ith Bam outside in the fresh air while Hun and I were signing our lives away for a car. I got a great deal on "Hotwire" for a full size car from Thursday until Monday. The total would be 120.00 for 5 days. Of course, then we got a "Triple A" discount bringing the total down to 115.00, which broken down is roughly 23.00 a day (it was 16.00 a day and this price includes taxes and other crap). Then they tried to sell us the extra insurance (which if you don't know by now is a total scam, because your own car insurance is good enough), but I was curious how much. 19.00 a day??? That's more than the rental.

Anyway, we went outside to get our car, and I was only slightly nervous that after offering Rayli a ride, would we be able to get the luggage and baby stroller in the full sized car with Rayli? We might have to put Rayli on the roof, but we shall manage. But just then, we were offered a free upgrade (the word upgrade is all relative) because the recent Toyota recall had diminished their car collection and no full size cars were available. So we got ourselves a sweet............



Minivan!

A Toyota Sienna, to be more specific,
which is great because that is what I drive at home and who doesn't want to keep driving a "Mom" car on vacay in Florida, even though they left 3 out of 4 kids home in Chicago? But now Rayli had a secure seat inside and the Toyota Sienna would be helpful later as well, but that story comes after the race.

It was now after 3:30 (I know this, because we were also informed that if our car was returned at 3:30 on Monday as o
pposed to our planned - 5 PM, we would not be charged a percentage of another day .... whatever, that won't happen)

We arrived at the hotel about
4 pm to check in.

Hun was parking the car after the luggage was unloaded and I waited online behind Rayli to check in.

Rayli asked the really hot Latin lo
oking hotel employee if her room had a King? It did not. He asked her if she wanted to wait so he can find one with a King, but she opted to get to the room, and off she went.

When it was my turn with Miguel, yes, I called him by his first name, because I wanted me a sweet room, I asked if I had a King bed. He told me I did not. I asked him if he would look for one because I did not want two beds and a crib taking up an entire room.
I also asked if I could get a room in the newly renovated "Ocean Tower" overlooking the Ocean (which would normally cost extra, but we had a group rate - so I figured, I'd try). I also asked him where he was from and told him I really liked his HOT AS HELL accent. Yes - I was totally flirting.

If you must know, Miguel is from Portugal. He then asked me if I was from the States?

"Yes."

"You should go to Spain, Portugal and Italy."

Just then, Hun showed up and I turned to Hun and said,

"Miguel says we should go to Spain, Portugal
and Italy. Let's get on that right away."

Miguel had to check 3 different floors, but he fo
und it. I got me a sweet room in the "Ocean Tower", King bed and huge balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I also asked him to please have a crib sent up to our room.

Hun and I had absolutely nothing to eat all day. I usually have sandwiches and fruit in my carry on but for some reason, we were rushing and neither of us ate all day. We spent the next hour unp
acking a bit, freshening up and figuring out where to get some GOOD food. When we were ready to leave, the crib had still not arrived, so I called down to request it again. At the same time, after exploring my hotel room and noticing there was no refrigeration (even a mini bar - however there was an empty cabinet that was obviously supposed to house the minibar) I needed to request that as well. I already knew that the hotel charges for refrigerators, but I am Orah - and I do my best to get out of paying for things that should not require payment. I was also armed with the knowledge that all my friends in the other tower had refrigerators in their room already that they were not paying for.

I called down and spoke to Dominique (she was no Miguel, so I just had to be matter of fact with her).

"Hi, Dominique, I requested a crib and it has not arrived yet."

"Oh, I will make sure that comes up as soon as possible."

"Oh, thank you so much, I appreciate that Dominique."

"Anything else I can do for you today Mrs. F.?"

"Actually, I noticed the empty cabinet that should have a fridge and my friend in the other tower has a fridge and I coul
d really use one."

"Well we can have one brought up, but just so you know, a fridge is $15.00 a day for the first 3 days and then no charge."

(a fridge is almost as much as my car rental. Unless I can drive a fridge, uh .... big fat no to that price.)

"Well Dominique, I have a baby and things such as formula and baby food that requires refrigeration, and I would really appreciate if you could waive that fee for me."

"Uh, okay ... I will waive the fee, but just so you know, for future reference, a fridge is $15.00 a day for the first 3 days then no charge."

(Yes - I heard you the first time, overpriced, nic
kel and diming hotel employee)

"Well thank you Dominique, I appreciate it."

Free car upgrade - check

Free room upgrade - check

Free refrigerator - check

Do you think I could get a really good meal for fr
ee? Hmmm, we shall see.

We went to "Grill Time"

YUUUUMMMMMMEEEEEE!!

However, I did not take into account when we arrived, that some schools were still on Winter break and I might need reservations. When we arrived, I was asked if we had reservations, the place was packed from wall to wall and people were waiting for tables. So with a growling stomach and lump in my throat, I answered,

"No."

"I am sorry, there is no way I can s
eat you."

(put on the charm Orah.)

"Is there anything we can do about this, we just arrived from Chicago and have not eaten all day and drove all the way h
ere from the "Eden Roc", maybe we can figure something out???"

"Well, if you want to eat at the bar - you can do that..."

Hell yeah I'll eat at the bar. It was just the two of us and Bam. We had a lovely, and might I add, romantic corner where Bam sat in his stroller happily and Hun and I dined with the same great service as anyone at the tables. In fact, the manager felt bad for us and offered us our choice of complimentary glasses of white or red wine. I took white! We also got free dessert - so I guess I can get free food as well. At least some free food.




Notice my huge glass of FREE wine. Oh, and the diet coke was also free.


And the company - PRICELESS!

I can still taste that meal, it was so yum.

We left the restaurant and spotted the oddest scene in the next parking lot. Two bulky, biker looking guys were feeding approximately 20 stray cats and also three raccoons. So of course I made Hun pull over so I could get out and take a picture.

When I pulled out my camera, one of the biker guys said,

"you can take all the pictures you want of the cats, just none of me."

Of course, that statement had my mind making up all sorts of stories about this guy and what he might be hiding from.



Of course, this one picture I have (stupid FULL memory card) does not even capture the scene. There were another 20 cats off to the side eating at the obviously, exclusive "Feline" party. And these 3 raccoons could not get into the "VIC" section (that's Very Important Cat - for those who could not figure it out). They just looked a little pathetic and desperate, and eerie with those nocturnal glowing eyes.

We continued on to "Publix" for some essential weekend groceries and returned to the hotel.

I was a bit miffed at the fact that my baby was now asleep (after he unloaded something so nasty that needed to be changed in the back of the van in the Publix lot (another reason the van and its folded down back seats came in handy), and yet there was still no crib in the room four hours after I initially
requested it.

So I made a little phone call.

"Hello Mrs. F. this is Dominique, how can I help you?"

"Hi, I need to put my baby to sleep, but it seems no one has delivered the crib that I asked for while we were out for the past three hours."

"Well, when was that requested?"

"Four hours ago, when I checked in .... oh, and then again an hour later before we left for supper."

"Well I will have someone bring that up now."

"Thank you."

For nothing, wench.

So we waited, and in the meantime, noticed a message left on the hotel phone.

It was from "Audrey" at the front desk. She wanted to know if we received the fridge and THE CRIB."

After another 20 minutes and still no crib, I called down again.

"Hello Mrs. F. this is Dominique, how may I help you?"

"Dominique, my baby really needs a crib and this has been taking a long time."

"Oh, Mrs. F. our runner is very busy and there are other people waiting for things before you."

"Uh, Dominique, you may refer to people who have requested things in the last 20 minutes or hour, but I am waiting for a crib I requested at 4 PM and it is now 8:20 PM and if it takes your "runner" over 4 hours to get every one their requests and needs met, than I think you need to have a little talkie talk with your "runner"."

"Well, who did you put the request in with?"

"When I checked in, and then actually, I believe with you, and I know the request was put in because someone named Audrey left a message on our phone asking if we received the fridge and THE CRIB, a loong time ago."

"I will call Audrey and get back to you."

"Please do that."

And 2 minutes later, my room phone rings.

"Hello Mrs. F. it's Dominique. I see that the order was put in, but for some reason it was closed. I don't know why that was. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Is there anything I can do to compensate for the inconvenience?"

"Uh ....."

YES! But I can think of so many things....

"How about I give you 25.00 dollars credit towards your stay?"

"o .... kay...."

"I also see you have an Internet charge today..."

(I totally thought I would be without Internet, but Hun needs to work...)

"Yes..."

"I went ahead and adjusted that charge for you."

"Thank you."

So, 25.00 back in my pocket, as well as another 15.00 for the Internet charge.

The crib was late, but not a bad day for upgrades, freebies and refunds.

Oh, and that rain shower, shower head in the bathroom, and really deep jacuzzi tub,

I LOVE YOU!!!

And that was day one in Miami, more or less.

Did you think I could possibly post it all in one day?

That's jut not the way I roll.

Just a few more "licks" to race day.