Monday, October 31, 2011

Hotel Amenities and wrist band blues

Even though it was a long day of flying, my lovely bride -who shall heretofore be known as Nightingale -- arranged our flight times so that we would arrive at the resort in time to actually make some use of it. We arrived late afternoon which gave us enough time to get a late lunch, take a swim in the pool and enjoy many a tropical drink.  Our only other option would be to arrive so late that we really would just have enough time to grab whatever grub we could scrounge up and then pass out for the night.

The downside to this was having to fly Spirit, an airline that charges for bags whether you check them or carry them on. In hindsight we should have checked them since the difference was $4 per bag, but Nightingale was afraid the airline would lose our bags and we'd have to go a few days without a change of underwear.  While the reflex might be to think: This is a problem on your honeymoon how? The truth is, it is a major pain to be without luggage when you are thousands of miles away from home.

When we got to the hotel, among the orientation info they gave us was something about sand mites. Nightingale panicked and wanted to buy all the bug spray in site. Of course bug spray and sun block are jacked up at the hotel store.

We opted to buy the bug spray but hold off on the sunscreen since Nightingale had some small tubes that didn't get confiscated at security -- remember the not checking our bags because we feared losing them? We thought we'd make it to the Kmart on the first or second night.

Wednesday we tried to book some activities but the ones we were interested in did not have enough other people interested so it wasn't worth the vendor's time to do them. We decided to go into town instead. We did find a shop that sold pearl bracelets at a ridiculously low price, at least according to Nightingale so I think we got some xmas shopping done. We failed to go to the Kmart or the duty free shop at this juncture.

We did go to the fancy restaurant at the resort, which was included in our all-inclusive package. It did not live up to its hype. We believe the service lacked because we were wearing those blue bracelets that said "we are part of the all-inclusive package."  Our waiter took our order and brought our food but never really checked up on us. We wanted more wine but got the impression that would require an order from the governor. 

After talking to other guests and putting two and two together, we figured out that there were several factors working against us.  First, it was off season, which means that there isn't a full staff to bring all the drunks their drinks in a timely manner and as such, you do risk becoming sober while waiting for the next round to arrive.

Second, the all inclusive package requires everyone to wear these wrist bands which apparently labeled us as non-tippers.  The thing about this is it is a self-fulfilling prophecy: you give bad service, you won't get a tip, and vice versa.  A real chicken and egg whocamefirst. 

To give you an example of how bad it was, Nightingale asked for some coffee with dessert.  Most places I've been to, be it a fancy bestro or a greasy spoon diner, the server will ask the other people at the table if they want coffee as well.  Because it takes just that much effort to bring two cups of coffee as one.  I thought about asking for one once he brought Nightingale hers but opted to behave myself this time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Learning Curve and Long Day of Travel

Well it's official: The months, weeks and days have dwindled down and now Icarus is married! My blogging was rather infrequent to begin with and now because of some events over the last year, or so, I've become even more inconsistent.

Because Mrs. Icarus had schedule issues with work and school, our original plan was to take a minimoon after our wedding followed by a longer honeymoon next spring.  the minimoon would have been a 3-4 day/night trip someplace warm, tropical and hopefully all inclusive.  Then in the spring, before starting her new job, we would go to Europe for a much longer vacation.  Ironically, because I changed jobs this summer, we didn't have the luxury of a lot of vacation time for me, so our plan got changed.
We went to the US Virgin Islands for our honeymoon because someone forgot to renew her passport in time to go anywhere else that didn't require a valid passport and a handwritten letter from those who signed the Patriot Act.  What was going to be a few days turned into a 5 day trip in the event we don't get to go anywhere else for awhile because of babies,or the economy, or babies, or future douchbag bosses. 

One part of the plan we did stick to was not leaving for our honeymoon right after our wedding.  From talking to others, we learned that having an extra day to just sleep in, relax and decompress was a good thing.  Unfortunately, we chilled out too much and didn't get to packing until late Monday night.  This made for some bad packing decisions.
Our airline charged for bags, both carryone ($46) or checked in ($50). Out of fear that a bag would get lost, Mrs Icarus decided that we should carry our bags on.  So we didn't pack things like sunscreen and bug spray which we can get rather cheaply and in bulk here in the midwest.

Tuesday we caught a very early flight with a layover in Ft. Lauderdale. We decided to kill some time in the only bar in our terminal -- probably in the entire airport -- and have some expensive cheeseburgers and beers. As luck would have it, a dude sat next to us and started chatting us up. Turns out Jason lives and works in the Virgin Islands. He is a bar tender at a bar called the Greenhouse.

When he found out we were married, he bought me a beer. MR I was still working on hers.I'm a cautious bystander, friendly but not too friendly. I figure if someone is trying to get to know me, it cannot be for any good reason.

Jason did give us some good advice. He told us about the Safari Bus, which is much cheaper than taxis. He also clued us in on the Good Morning/Afternoon/Night greeting that some locals seem to adhere to. It is probably more prevalent outside the resort we were at. He mentioned a K-mart but was distracted by something we didn't get the exact location. He actually was sitting a couple rows ahead of us on the airplane, chatting up his nearby seat mates before he passed out from sheer exhaustion.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Screens do more than just keep out the sun

Even though I'm getting married today, I thought I'd take a quick break to post an update since I have some time to kill. One of the projects I had to work on this summer at my mom's crapshack was to build some custom screens for her basement windows.

Cedar 1x2
 So with some of these (left) and one of these (below):
Miter Saw

These screens don't really serve any purpose except to make it a little harder to look inside the basement and make the outside look uniform.  Okay, I guess that is purpose enough.

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