Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Call Me Crazy, Call Me a Wuss... I Don't Care!

Yesterday morning I woke up to bright, sunny skies and a slight breeze- a pretty typical morning. I was a little bummed to not be able to enjoy it, WAY too many errands and things to cross off my to do list was on my docket. However, as the day went on the clouds started to roll in, the breeze picked up and moisture filled the air. Suddenly I found myself putting on long sleeves and socks, turning off fans, closing windows and burrowing under a fleece blanket. I popped onto Accuweather.com sure to see that the temp had dropped somewhere in the 60's. I mean I'm from St. Louis and spent 8 years in Chicago where 99% of the winter is well below freezing and full of that fluffy white stuff you call snow!! Well, it was 75... with a Real Feel of 72. WTH??

I felt vindicated by seeing several St. Thomas friends post on Facebook about how chilly it is- at least it wasn't just me! Many of those back home called us crazy and said our blood had thinned and it got me thinking. You always hear that your blood thins in warmer weather but does it? And, if so, why? What else makes your blood thin? Well, it's not all in our head folks- living on this island DOES make your blood thinner- for several reasons!

* Climate: a warm climate means more water needs to be carried in your blood and when you sweat more water is lost. More electrolytes are needed in warmer weather, again, lost through perspiration. Body activity is higher in warmer temps, your blood needs to be thinner to be carried through your body.

* Diet: foods high in Omega-3 actually thin your blood- fish is the main source of this. Seeing we live on an ocean or two, I'm guessing a lot of us eat our fair share of seafood. I know I do! Lots of herbs and spices are high in salicylates which also thin your blood. What down here is NOT seasoned with all sorts of spices??

* Alcohol: Bottom line is booze thins the blood. We all know how much of that is consumed here... which leads to:

* Popping Pills: I'm sure we've all seen the Bayer commercial where some guy has a heart attack and was saved because he popped an aspirin? Well, that's because aspirin thins the blood which is key during a heart attack. Know what else does? Iburprofen (Advil) and Naproxen (Aleve) which I'm guessing most of us reach for during those head throbbing hangovers. (Sidenote: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) does not thin your blood)

So there you have it folks. Call me crazy, call me a wuss- I don't care because I have science on my side :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who's the Fat Kid in the Mirror?? Oh Wait... That's Me!

Recently I went to Miami to freelance on an event and one of our evening events was a dinner cruise. The boat I was on was covered in mirrors- almost to the point of being creepy. Anyways, I happened to head down one of the stairwells, flanked by wall-to-wall mirrors, looked up and came face to face with a fat person. Correction: I was looking at a fat me! Sure I've noticed a bit of, um, extra weight in pictures or my clothes fitting a big snug but THIS was a big wake up call.

Several months back I wrote a post about the Island Fifteen, likening it to the Freshman Fifteen that so many of us were lucky to experience in college. It's a very vicious cycle of eating and drinking on this island and it's amazing how quickly it catches up to you here. Most of us work in the service industry which means we work odd hours and eat whatever/whenever is convenient. Then we head out for drinks after work and get up to do this all over again tomorrow.

There's a lot of 'I'll be better tomorrow' and 'no more being bad' promises but then something comes up, you fall off the proverbial wagon and vow to start again next Monday. That's the biggest problem here- there's always SOMETHING going on. Be it a boat trip, a visitor or a party of some sort- there's always a reason to slip up. Even when there's NOT a reason it happens. I routinely bring healthy food to work but once I get here it never sounds appealing and I end up ordering something not so good for me.

I've tried lots of crazy things since being down here to try and get back on the 'good' path. Let's see, there's been the Fruit Flush. Three days of disgusting, icky whey protein shakes and nothing but fruit. There was the 14 cleanse/detox which actually just lowered my alcohol tolerance and caused a very, very large hangover after the first time out. I did the Power90 Meal/Exercise Plan. Then there was the 11-day diet generator that requires you pick a large list of foods and it generates combos for you to eat. Let me tell you- eating shrimp and scrambled eggs for breakfast really isn't that bad, however, eating green veggies and frozen yogurt for dinner sucks. It probably won't come as a shock to any of you that these just didn't work.

So now what? Well, I'm going back to what I know works. Last night I sucked it up and rejoined Weight Watchers. 7 years ago I lost 30 lbs on the program. While I don't need to lose nearly that much (although I wouldn't care if I did!) I know it works. I know what I can and can't eat, what I can and can't drink (no more beer). I didn't exercise the first time around but I figure it certainly can't HURT seeing that I'm sure my metabolism has changed ever so slightly over the better part of a decade! Besides, I recently joined the gym AND have 8 Tuff Miles to train for again.

I know I need to be patient- it took me a year to put this on and it isn't going to magically disappear. There isn't a quick fix and I'm in this for the long haul! So if any of you on STT catch me drinking a beer, please take it away and replace it with a vodka/soda :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Thanksgiving ABC's

Happy Gobble Gobble Day everyone! I hope that you all have a great day and get to spend it with friends and family over wonderful food and great drinks! Let's not forget what we are thankful for this year!!

Ability: to change, to adapt, to learn, to love, to forgive

Boat Trips: for good times and seeing more of the world (even if we tend to see Jost over and over)

Coke Zero: hey, I don't drink coffee but I certainly need my caffeine!

Dot Com Shopping: without it I'd be naked. Although Tim would argue we'd be rich!

Everday: if I wake up it means I'm alive and that's a great start! (Thank you, Julie, for that one!)

Friends, Family & Fun: This one was easy!! Without the first two I couldn't have the third.

Grandparents: we miss you all!!

Health: kind of self explanatory....

Iphone: for keeping me connected and entertained

Jagermeister: NOT! I'm on day 106 without it...

Kisses: from Tim, from Laddie. Who cares? :)

Laughter: for putting a smile on my face

Music: it's amazing how one song can trigger a memory, put a smile on your face or change your mood

Necessary Evils: for knowing which ones and when to use!

Ocean: growing up in the midwest I never had the privilege of living around water and to do so is amazing.

Parents: for the love and support they give us. Thanks Mom, Dad, Mike, Yvonne & Peggy!

Quiet: none of which I had today or this blog would have been posted earlier :)

Risk & Reward: I find that one is usually worth the other.

Sleep: glad to get much more than I used to when I worked in an office and had a commute!

Tim: thanks honey for everything you do, I love you!

University of Missouri- Go Tigers!!!

Vodka: not gonna lie, it's very nice after (or during) a long day!

Work: love, love, love what I do and who I do it with!

eXercise: kind of a stretch but I love the feeling after a good workout. I should do it more often... good thing training for 8 Tuff Miles starts ASAP!!

Youth: while I may not be one I feel like one and you're only as old as you feel, right?

Zinfandel: and all other varities of fermented grapes (thanks, Amanda, for that one!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

For Your Viewing Pleasure... Or Not!

I knew moving here I'd face not getting to see live, professional/college sporting events and I was honestly okay with that. I was pleasantly surprised to find out St. Thomas hosts a pretty decent NCAA preseason basketball tourney- Paradise Jams. What I wasn't prepared for was not having the OPTION to watch my teams on TV!

Living the last 8 years in Chicago I got used to having to go to bars to watch the Cardinals during baseball season or Mizzou and the Rams during football season. Heck, I even looked forward to being forced out in a bar if it a) had a fantastic bloody mary bar or b) was The Spread for a Mizzou game. (Sidenote: if Mizzou HAD joined the Big 10 I may have gone ballistic to know that, after 8 years of suffering through crappy Big 10 games, Chicago would be getting Mizzou games delivered live to their family rooms!) However, there's a difference when you go out and STILL can't see your games!!

So what brought this about, you ask? Picture a couple- Tiger fans- wanting to go enjoy the Mizzou/Colorado football game with another couple- dirty Buffalo fans-after learning that Fox Sports Net is carrying the game! Due dilligence is done to determine that Direct TV in the VI's affiliate station is Channel 654- Fox Sports Net Florida. Yea!! Decision is made to go to Saloon to check out the game because we know they have Direct TV. Being the smart people we are we call first to just double check and make sure they'll carry it. To our surprise, they weren't going to be able to show the game. Okay, no problem, there's still a handful of places we could go! So we call Shipwreck. Um, nope- they weren't able to get it either. So now I'm confused- the channel listing for Direct TV IN ST. THOMAS has Fox Sports Net Florida on Channel 654 which has the MU/Colorado game on at 7 PM yet no one that has Direct TV can get it? Huh? Last resort we call Hooters- they get EVERYTHING- they can't get channel 654. Super last resort we call Woody's on St. John- I mean they fly the Mizzou flag, surely they'll show the game. Guess what? If Caribbean Saloon can't get the game then neither can they :( What the hell? PS- the Tigers absolutely embarrassed Colorado right out of the Big XII that game winning 26-0 and saying sianara to them and their silly Buffalo. Enjoy the PAC 10 suckers! (Can you tell I'm still bitter about that 5th down game in 1990? It didn't help that it was repeated on ESPN like ninety times this week.)

The very next day Tim and I go out to watch some football at Carribbean Saloon. Guess whose game is blacked out? That's right - the Rams/Lions game. (To be fair I really didn't need to watch that 44-6 buttkicking) Apparently, the NFL Network blocks one game a week and, for some reason, it's usually Detroit. Now I know normally your home game is blacked out due to local market television but our local market is New York. Bizarre!

Well, I guess it could always be worse. I could be a Cubs fan...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

Thank you, Bon Jovi, for my excellent title. While I'm sure someone more important than him actually coined the phrase, I prefer to give him my props. So, who says you can't go home? But what if you don't know where home is?

According to the Scrabble dictionary, which is the only dictionary I've used in recent times, 'home' is referred to as ones place of residence. Okay- that's pretty basic. Wikipedia says 'home' is a place of residence or refuge. It is usually a place where ones family can rest and store personal property. Hmm... I'm sensing a trend here. It goes on to say that 'home can also be a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort. Ding ding ding! Bingo- that hits it on the head! So that being said, can one have multiple homes?

For the last decade or so I've always considered myself to have at least two homes. In college it was Columbia and St. Louis. When I moved to Chicago it was there and St. Louis. When we moved here it became St. Thomas, St. Louis and Chicago. Although we technically don't have a Scrabble-defined home in Chicago (well, one that we could enter without being maced and violating our tenants lease) I still considered it to be home. Besides, that property makes us pay IL taxes!! I had spent the last 8 years there, Tim 10, and we had built a life. Yet when we moved to the islands and had to determine where we would come back to we decided go 'home' to St. Louis. Technically we have a residence in Missouri, I mean, our storage unit stores all of our personal property! Moving here and knowing we were never returning to Chicago was a big decision for us. For those of you who have read the blog from the beginning you know how quickly that decision was made. For those of you who have not- just go read the first post. Had we made the right one? Well, after our first visit 'home' to both Chicago and St. Louis I think we have an answer: home is where your heart is and our hearts reside with the Saints- Thomas and Louis.

Don't get me wrong Chicago, I loved visiting but that's the key word- I felt like a visitor, not someone returning home. Chicago is a very transient city- lots of people move there after college and move home (or to the 'burbs) when they are ready to start a family. And, let's be honest, if you move to the 'burbs you may as well be in another state anyways. That being said, we've had a lot of friends take the plunge and leave the city so our core group of friends has changed quite a bit. While we got to see nearly everybody (thanks guys for coming out to Fernandos, The Boundary and Casa Bonita!) there were quite a few people who I thought would have made the effort that just didn't. And that sucked. It certainly helped put things in perspective- we had officially moved out of Chicago, physically and emotionally. Maybe part of the problem was that we had so much fun on Friday night when we got there we were drained for the rest of the trip!!

On the other hand, going to St. Louis, I couldn't get enough time there. I extended my stay three times! I was originally supposed to fly out the 8th but changed that about a month before the trip. Then I changed it to the 11th on the 7th and the 12th on the 9th. Thank you lord for AA not charging change fees on Frequent Flier tickets!! And I still feel like I didn't get to spend enough time with friends and family. I thought about where we'd want to live when we get back. I thought about all the fun times we'll have with friends and family. And while I'm not ready to do it anytime soon- I'm excited to know that we made the right decision in moving 'home' to St. Louis after our crazy island adventure.

And as for that crazy island? Man, it was good to get home... :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

One Week and Counting!!

Exactly one week from right now my plane should (and I stress SHOULD) be landing in Chicago!!! We booked our trip quite awhile ago and I'm surprised that it is actually here. So much to do before we leave and even more to do while we are there! I have a feeling I'm going to need a vacation from our vacation when we get back! Thank goodness two days after we return to the rock we have Lauren's Birthday Boat Trip!! Although I'm guessing that isn't going to be exactly relaxing...

We have lots of plans in Chicago, Indy, St. Louis and CoMo. What exactly we are doing while we are in each place is still up in the air! We know we get into Chicago the 27th. We know we HAVE to be in STL by the Cards/Cinci game on Friday, September 3rd. Somewhere between those two we will head to Indy to see Matt, Becky & Allison and to meet our new niece, Abby. Tim flies out of St. Louis on the 8th and I on the 10th. Looking forward to some good quality time with friends and family on the trip.

I have ridiculously long shopping list and I think our 'places we need to eat list' is starting to rival it! Who knew we'd miss Taco Bell, Olive Garden and White Castle so much? And don't kid yourself- there's a lot more on there: Imo's, Cici's Pizza, Fernandos, etc. Also ridiculously long? My to-do list before we leave- lots of planning, laundry, packing and loose ends to tie up!

So not my most exciting post but that's okay! See all of you in Chicago/Indy/St. Louis/CoMo soon!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When Paradise Isn't

For the most part, living on St. Thomas IS paradise. To steal a quote from a friend (Krisinta Ciolino- she moved to Aspen at the same time we moved here): My life is your vacation. I love that! So what, you ask, could make living here not so poetic? Well, it's been a rough few weeks on the rock.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, on July 12th, a teenage tourist was caught in gang crossfire and killed. Here is a link to an article http://www.aolnews.com/crime/article/gang-shootout-kills-teen-tourist-on-us-virgin-islands/19551521 . To sum it up, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The shootout was in retaliation for a murder that was committed in broad daylight at the mall. That murder was a retaliation for another murder. It's a vicious cycle. The crime rate on STT and gang violence is out of control. We've had 47 murders to date. While that doesn't seem high, based on our population it would be the equivalent of 4500 people being murdered thus far in 2010 in Chicago. Before the murders at the mall, crime had stayed pretty much out of my mind with the exception of what I read in the police blotter. I know where not to go and what to stay away from. I've generally felt safe. Do I still feel safe here? Yes. Why does this not get cleaned up? Because I moved to the one location more corrupt than Illinois! Who would have thought that was possible??
This past week we had more than 20 inches of rain. That's not a typo: 2-0. I've never, ever seen anything like it! We had 7 alone on Tuesday. It's affected both Tim and I's jobs. Tuesday the course was closed- you can see why below. That river on the left? That's actually the 12th fairway! The pond in the front? The pathway between 12 & 16 (not to be confused with the pond that is ACTUALLY on 16 as a water hazard). Surprisingly, the course was open Wednesday.... until about 3 o'clock when the next wave of rain came :(

Me? Let's see, Monday night our Wine Tasting was rained out. Tuesday, we had to close early which sucked because there was a late ship in. Wednesday we had to close before our sunset party even started because (a) the band wouldn't be able to play without being electrocuted and (b) it was pouring AGAIN. Tuesday, our office flooded. This is Julie trying hard to shop-vac the water out. Too bad it was coming in twice as fast as we could suck up. Finally we just moved anything that might get water damage to a higher shelf and went home :(


The first pic below was a storm coming our way shortly before I was supposed to leave for work on Tuesday. Lucky me! The next picture is the street when I went in at 1 PM- a main road through Havensight. When I left work the road was completely closed and impassable. The third picture, well- have you ever heard the saying 'shit runs downhill'? Look closely at the harbor and it should bring that saying to life. It's not supposed to be that color. Whenever it rains torrentially here, everything from the top of the mountain to the bottom is washed out to sea. Unless you are up to date on Hepititis and Tetnus shots it's recommended to stay out of the water for a few days!
Wednesday night we, both having been sent home from work, were sitting on the couch watching TV when, all of the sudden, the house moved. As in for 5 seconds for so the ground below us was rumbling. It was like a big truck had driven down the road and shook our house except we don't live on a road that would accommodate a big truck! We heard our neighbors ask each other if they felt that and kind of looked at each other. About 10 minutes later someone posted on FB that it was an earthquake. What??! Sure enough- 4.5 at 8:04PM on July 21st we had an earthquake!
What's funny about all of these things is that, through it all, none of them made big news in the US. The tourist shooting made the internet but I never saw it on TV. I only had one friend email me about it. It wasn't until the rain was past us that it picked up enough wind speed to be named Tropical Storm Bonnie. THEN people were all over it. There was no damage in the earthquake so no reason for a news report- it wasn't even in our local paper online! So it makes me chuckle that 45 minutes after the earthquake struck Haiti my mom was all over the phone making sure we were okay. After educating her on where we are in relation to Haiti we hung up. Point is, my mom is very vigilant about calling to make sure we are okay yet three major happenings and she hears NOTHING on it. Since she heard nothing on any of these things, I figure no one else has!
Oh, and if all those things aren't enough to lead me to believe that the world is ending I had the kiss of death Thursday: our repairman was 15 minutes early. This. Never. Happens.
So, see? It's not all fun and games down here. It's just that my FB posts will never show otherwise :)






Friday, July 23, 2010

A Few Late Additions..

It's rare for me to re-open a post but, as I worked this week, I thought of a few more rules of restaurant/bar etiquette that need to be shared:

* Have You Made Up Your Mind or Not?: Don't flag me down as I'm running with food in my hands as if you have an urgent need to have me come over, ask if you're ready and then sit there while you ponder. Same thing goes for the bar- don't approach it if you don't know what you're ordering (slight forgiveness if you have a question). There are likely people behind you (and one in front of you- me!) that will not appreciate your hemming and hawing. Time is money people!

* Que Pasa?: Please don't speak to each other in a foreign language while I'm standing in front of you taking your order when you've just spoken to me in perfect English. It's just rude and makes me uncomfortable. Kind of like when I'm getting my nails done and the technicians are all speaking to each other in their language- are they talking about me??

*Watch Where You Stand: If the large number of servers getting drinks doesn't tip you off to the fact you are likely at the server bar then does the BIG SIGN ABOVE IT???

That is all :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just a Little Lesson!

Trust me, I'm truly enjoying being out of Corporate America. Truly. However, there are things I would like to let people know about the restaurant/bar industry that maybe they've forgotten (because let's be honest- 90% of us have spent at least SOME time in it)- namely a little etiquette. To be fair- I spend most of my time behind the bar vs. waiting tables but I feel that I give 100% fairness to both. I'm also not gonna lie, I've been guilty myself. So here goes, in no particular order:

* Order Where You Stay: Unless you plan on sitting at the bar don't you DARE order a drink at the bar and then sit at one of my tables. Really? You couldn't wait to the 15 seconds it will take me to walk across the room to get your order? You do this then don't expect service out of me. I make my living on tips. If you order from someone else and give them that tip, what do I owe you? Nothing. Should you be ordering more drinks and dinner this will be forgiven. Oh- but don't play the 'I didn't know you had table service' game. I don't buy it.

* Take The Menu: Please don't let me offer you a menu, you say 'no thanks' just to have you ask me what I have to eat and/or drink. What?!?

* I'm Not an Animal: Don't clap, whistle or wave at me. I see you. I know you need something. I'm getting there. This goes quadruple for if you are doing these actions while I'm AT another table.

* I'M Your Waitress: This means ME. I understand if I'm slammed and you see someone else I work with walk by and you may grab them. Okay. However, if I was JUST at your table and you 'needed' NOTHING, now is not the time to grab the first person you see to get something. Please also don't look confused when you ask me for your check and your waitress is 5'10'' and blonde and I tell you I will let your server know- clearly we are not the same person.

* Push In Your Chairs!: You wouldn't get up from your dining room table and walk away without pushing in your chairs so why do you think it's okay to do so in a restaurant? Your moms would be so disappointed!

* It's Not An Insult: Ah- the autograt. Without it, Tim & I would be destitute. Without it, some days it might not be worth going to work for me (Costa ships, hello?!). With it, I'm a happy camper. It's impossible to 'read' a table. I've tried. I've tried the experiment of 'maybe they'll be super duper tippers' and failed (family of 8 from St. Louis with the Mizzou visor? Even though you aren't reading this, I'm looking at you! Really? $5 on $41 after I spent 20 minutes talking Tigers?!?) So please, please, please don't be offended. If you normally tip 20% and you get gratted at 15%, add it in! This is our livliehood, not a game and it's NOTHING personal. When you ask me if tip is included and I reply, 'Yes- but just 15%' that's a hint! Who really only tips 15% these days anyways? (Dad- should I be looking at you? Please tell me no!)

* Either You're Ready or You're Not: Do people not remember hide-and-seek? Ready or not, here I come? Then the seeker came to find the hiders? If you SWEAR you are ready to order then hem and haw over the menu I may kick you.

* When You Assume: If you mean a virgin pina colada, then say it. You're at a bar- I serve drinks with alcohol. If you mean sauce on the side, then say it. Just because YOU always get your wings with their sauce on the side doesn't mean I know that. It's not on the menu that way! Good thing to remember? If you assume- you make an ASS out of U and ME.

* I'm Not in it for the Exercise: Yes, waiting tables/bartending is a great way to keep moving. It doesn't mean for you to order things one by one by one.

I've always had the stance, since my first industry job, that everyone should have to wait tables for a day. Doing it 15 years after I first did has only reinforced my stance. I'm super lucky to work with an amazing group of people. We watch out for each other, can complain to each other and can laugh about all the things that happen to us. I welcome all the comments I know this will draw out of other industry folk. Well, the few I have that read this blog!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not So Much

I know I've talked a lot about things I miss from home in these posts- to the point where even I didn't realize there were things I DON'T miss. Well, a recent trip to Chicago* made me aware that there are definitely things, outside of the obvious (weather, etc.), I don't miss! Who knew?

- Sales Tax: I kind of forgot that sales tax exists to be honest. If a soda is $1.49, it's a $1.49 down here. On the other hand, I bought a Sprite Zero in the Newark Airport that was advertised as $1.89 and cost me $2.04. Not a big deal but kind of annoying as I had $2.00 in my hand! It's very nice to not have to add that extra percentage to whatever I buy. Kind of makes paying ridiculous prices from groceries a little bit better.

- Grafitti: Strange, I know, but true. As I was riding the 'L' from O'Hare to Becky's place I seem to have forgotten how much tagging goes on in Chicago. There were colorful marks EVERYWHERE! Granted, some of the tags aren't that bad- almost pretty- but, for the most part, they suck. I forgot how many times we called 311 to have our building sandblasted. As I stood at the bus stop the following day, the city workers were cleaning tags off the structure. I can only recall seeing one tag down here on island and I just noticed it recently. I hope that it stays the only one!

- Paying for Parking: Ugh. I didn't even have a car but seeing those little payboxes everywhere made me remember how much the City of Chicago screws car owners. Places that previously didn't even have meters now have payboxes at them and that's just the beginning. The other day I got to delete my email from the city reminding me that my City Sticker is coming due. What a racket. You mean you want me to pay $100/year to have the 'right' to then pay a paybox or garage? Oh- if I can FIND a spot? And if we had lived in a residential zoned area then we'd have to pay even more for the right to park in front of our own house. That's larceny and I don't miss it!

- Drink Prices: Yikes! I forgot how much drinks cost! It's sad the Illinois law states that if you serve a drink at a certain price during the day it has to sell at that price all day because happy hour is a wonderful thing! Especially places that have all day or late night happy hours! Cheers!(Thank god we don't live in Alaska where friends who worked there last summer said if you charge a price on a day it has to be that price all week!)

- Lack of Bud Light: While I may miss draft beer I don't miss it enough to be forced to drink Miller products. (I'm exempting Coors Light here b/c it's not that bad) I still remember to this day one of my first nights out in Chicago, at Hye Bar, asking for a Bud Light and being told they don't serve AB products. As a native St. Louisan that is basically blasphemy and I was floored! I kind of felt that way again when I tried to order a Bud Light and got shot down. The Southern doesn't even serve Coors Light though and I was forced to drink Miller Light :( Although I do admit the Vortex bottle isn't half bad.

Wrigleyville: Maybe I just hit it on a bad day but it made me feel very, very old. Granted, I'm guessing my soberness did not help my impression. Most everyone in Wrigleyville for the Cubs/Sox game had come directly from the Blackhawks parade and was HAMMERED. Maybe I'm a fairweather Wrigleyville fan and only like it on Cards/Cubs game days? I don't know. All I do know is I wanted out and I never thought I'd be saying that.

McDonalds: True, we have McDonalds on the island but I haven't had it since before we moved. That's 7 months with no golden arches meals. I passed plenty in the airport and in the Chi but never felt the urge to go see if I like it. I think part of it is I want to see how long I can live without it. I mean, I've made it 7 months- I don't think I've ever gone this long without it before- do I ever really need it again? At least until we have kids that can be bribed with Happy Meals I mean.

Extreme Temperature Changes: It was 88 and humid (I heard the Cubs announcer say it was 'oppressive heat' and laughed because I thought it was quite pleasant!) on Friday but Saturday it was rainy and 60. Luckily I packed a pair of jeans and had a hoodie! I don't miss the days of using the AC and the heat in same day!!

While I did discover these things that I don't miss, some of the conveniences I do were made more obvious. My showers were amazing. I'd say they worth the price of my ticket... well, almost. It was very nice to have hot water, pressure and not have to turn it off and on! It was nice to have central air and be able to blow dry my hair without sweating AND to wear my hair down!

One thing that I found odd is I didn't feel as if Chicago is home anymore :( I guess not having a house there is a big part of it and we have a bunch of friends who have moved or are in the process of moving out of Chicago. It was a weird feeling and I don't know how I feel about it. It makes me wonder if I'll feel like St. Louis is home when we visit this summer or if the VI is home home. Things that make you go hmmm....

*Disclaimer: This was a very last minute (as in booked Tuesday and left Thursday) and very quick (as in got in close to midnight Thursday and left at 4:45 AM Sunday) trip. I told only one person in Chicago I was coming b/c I knew it would be impossible to see everybody. That is what August is for :) We will be in Chicago 8/27 - 9/1 and can't wait to see one and all!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Say What??

Even I can admit that when I go on vacation maybe I'm not thinking 100% of the time. I cannot say, however, I was prepared for all the things that come out of tourist's mouths. So as you read this, file it away for your next vacation. When you're tempted to ask/say any of the below- remember this post and DON'T DO IT!

- Do you work here? One of my friends used to tell people that he lost his wallet and is just working to make enough money to get home. Another one tells them that he missed the cruise ship and is trying to make money to fly to the next port and catch it there. Yes, I work here. I'm wearing a shirt that matches the bar name- that should be your first clue. Common sense- is it too much to ask for?

- Do you live here? Seriously- I cannot tell you how many times this question was asked. Um, where do you think I live? Tim likes to tell people that, no, he does not. Rather he takes the tunnel from Puerto Rico (or Miami) everyday. You have no idea how many people exclaim, "I had NO idea there was a tunnel, that's so cool!" I actually once had a guy point at the houses on the hills and ask if people lived in them. No, dude, it's just decor for you to look at from up here. Of course people live in them- they are HOUSES!

- Oh! We didn't expect you to speak English! Are you kidding me? #1 we are IN the US; I understand that the West Indian dialect may not SOUND like English but it is. I swear. #2 what do I LOOK like I speak??

- Do you take American money? I reiterate- we are IN the US. This may also go along with the couple that was dumbfounded we don't accept Canadian money and asked me multiple times to be sure. They only had $8 in American currency and no credit cards, I'm not sure how they made it through the rest of their vacation.

- Is it expensive to live here? or How much do you pay to live here? or Do you make enough money to live? I have no idea what your idea of expensive is. I'm also not getting in your pockets asking what you do and how much you make. Why do you think it's okay to do the same thing to me? I know you are just curious but let's have a little respect.

- Do you have to drive the golf cart on the left side of the path too? The course here is JUST like courses in the US- the path is kind of a one way type of deal. There is no left or right so, technically, yes, you have to drive on the LEFT side of the one way path. To be fair, we can tell the difference between tourists and locals by the way the go around the round-abouts (left vs. right) but it's not a life or death choice.

Miscellaneous Quotes (these are specific to STT and to us or our friends so you'd likely never ask them but they are so absurd it tells you just how far some people's minds drift on vacation)

- If no one lives on the island, why did they build such a pretty beach? This one was to Tim who was pointing out Hans Lolick. It is an island that you can see from the 14th hole on the course and owned by a resort company. As he was explaining that the resort company is selling it because it is only zoned for residential the man interrupted and asked the above question. Tim was dumbfounded.

- It's closer to get to the beach by from up here right? I work 700 feet above St. Thomas. The beach is at ground level. You do the math.

- The cat is attacking the dinosaur!! Again, this one is from Tim. It's pretty well known that we have iguanas running all over the island. The course also has a 'course cat' named Paris who hangs out on the back 9 (I think his owner lives somewhere in the condos). One day Paris decided the iguanas were too much for him and, I guess, showed them who was boss. The poor tourists watching this were very distressed and called the clubhouse to report it.

- How do the cruise ships find St. Thomas if it's always floating? I cannot remember who told me they were asked this so I apologize for not giving credit but it HAD to go in here!!

Don't get me wrong- I'm not really complaining. I find most of these to be very humorous and my livliehood is in the tourists. I sometimes just wonder what people are thinking!! If any of my STT followers have more to add, comment away!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Six Months Already? Where Has the Time Gone?

Today is our 6 month anniversay of arriving in St. Thomas and I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by. Lucky for us we are truly enjoying this experience. I'm not going to lie- I have my moments when I really, really want to go home but they generally pass quickly. I couldn't do this life forever but I'm certainly doing my best to enjoy every minute of the time we have here.

A lot has happened in the six months we've been down here. Here's a quick rundown by numbers!

* 390 (approximate number of Jager shots consumed)

We are the Jager capital of the world. Seriously. I'm not kidding. We consume more Jager per capita than anywhere else in the world. I actually heard the other night that the heiress to the Jager fortune came to visit the island and was extremely shocked and disgusted at the way people drink her alcohol- as shots vs. an after-dinner sipping drink. Anyways, I came up with this number by taking the number of weeks we have been here (26) x the average number of days/nights per week spent out with friends (5) x average number of shots on said nights (3). Oh, and did I mention bars don't believe in 1.5 ounce shots? They are 3 ounces so I guess technically you should multiply that number by 2...Yikes, that's roughly 12 bottles!

* 264 (the estimated number of songs I was unaware were 'reggae')

Were you aware you can turn ANY song into a reggae one? I was not but I certainly am now! This also includes all variations of Christmas songs!

* 168 (the number of beers won by Tim in Monday Madness)

Monday Madness is a 9 hole game at the course where you play with a partner and a crazy rule every week. For example: play only with even numbered clubs or your opponents get to pick which ball, you or your partner's, has to be played. Everytime you win you get a case of beer, I'll let you do the math...

* 130 (the number of minutes I waited in line at K-Mart on Black Friday)

To be fair, based on amount of time I spend in a normal line at K-Mart, this really isn't too bad. What WAS bad about it is that I got in line at 10:15 AM and got up to the counter at 12:25 PM with a TV in my cart that was on special until 12:00 noon. This was only a few weeks after we got on island and my patience and tolerance weren't quite what they are now. When I was denied I, ahem, politely explained that I was in line long before noon and that she better get a manager over to resolve this issue as she was going to see it for the 12 people behind me who also had said TV in her cart. Surprisingly, problem solved!

* 26 (number of eBay items purchased since 11/7/2009)

We rely on eBay these days for just about everything. Heck, I just bought a Salad Spinner!! This number does not include the multiple purchases from Express.com, OldNavy.com and VictoriasSecret.com

* 23 (number of followers of this Blog)

Hey- I know a lot of you read this on FB but please, please, please become a follower :) Sorry for shameless plug!

* 17 (the number of visitors we have had so far)

We have been incredibly lucky to have had many of our closest friends come check out our new island paradise. I include my 3 friends who have visited St. John but since I got to see them they count. The more the merrier!! We've come a long way from when Tiffany came to visit 5 days after we got on island and knew zero, zilch, nothing about ANYTHING!

* 12 (the number of Jimmy Dean D-Lites in one box)

This may seem odd but, seeing they are a staple in my diet, a big part of our life. Tim and I were walking around Pricesmart shopping for our Superbowl party bickering about how he wanted to buy commercial grade chicken legs when I turned the corner to find them. It was like when the light shines on something with angels going 'ahhhh' on TV- that's how I felt. Immediately Tim could buy whatever he wanted because my life was complete- a CostCo favorite of mine had made on island. To this day, they are still there. Thank you Lord!

* 10 (the number of times our cars have had work done on them)

Seriously, Romeo our car guy is on my speed dial. There are only three people IN my speed dial: my mom, Tim and my car guy. This number includes today as I have to have my back wheels replaced. Who knew that tires too big for your wheel wells that are constantly scraping would eventually split in two? Well, I guess we did but it was just a matter of time...

* 9 (the number of W2's we had to track down for our 2009 taxes)

What. A. Pain. In. The. Butt. Some were extremely easy (thank you Abbott for being normal and having a portal to just print), some were extremely hard (comes as no surprise, it was our government funded unemployment ones). This would be the reason that we had to file an extension and I'm dropping our tax stuff off to our accountant this afternoon.

* 8 (the number of islands we have visited)

Okay, I'm not including St. Thomas in this one. Still, I think 8 islands in 6 months isn't a bad number. Plus we've been to at least 2 multiple times... sometimes multiple times in one week! We've hit Vieques, Culebra, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, St. John, Virgin Gorda, Marina Cay and Sandy Spit. Must get to Water Island soon...

* 7 (the number in dollars a gallon of milk costs)

Hence why we now drink Silk Light Soy Milk at a bargain basement price of $4.99/gallon

* 3 (the number of times we have had to have our cistern filled)

Driest winter on record. Go figure. Couldn't be easy on us and rain like it normally does could it?

* 1 (the number of live sporting events seen since moving)

Yep, one drawback is no football, no baseball, no nothing. We were lucky enough to go see Paradise Jams and watch Tennessee (before they lost most of their good players to gun charges) play Purdue (before they lost their key player to injury) AND I got my picture with Gene Kady- the owner of the world's BEST combover!

* Countless (the number of times a day I realize how lucky we are)

Cheesy, I know, but it's so true. We're so lucky to have had amazing support from friends and family back home, have made incredible friends here and to have each other. Here's to the next year on the rock!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Shopper's Paradise? Not So Much!

Those of you that know me know that I love, love, love shopping. Of any kind. I don't care if it's clothes or groceries, I love it! While this may be music to Tim's ears it saddens me- I'm tired of shopping.

Shopping on the island just isn't the same as shopping at home. For one, I miss the convenience of going to one grocery store for my groceries. I never imagined that I'd have to go 3 or 4 places just to complete my shopping list. I have to go to one place for produce, one place for decent deals on staple items, one place I only trust for canned goods and then there's PriceSmart (our version of Costco). Then there's trying to hit all these places at the right time to avoid standing in 3 or 4 very, very long and slow lines. Planning the trip is almost as important as the trip itself. This island could make a killing if it got a PeaPod to do it for you... maybe I'll look into franchising that!

Then there's the matter of clothes. For someone who worked 4 (yes, 4) miles from an outlet mall, gettting used to not having 'real' stores is still something I'm adjusting to. I used to be able to leave the office and hop in my car to hit Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Outlet AND the Bed, Bath and Beyond Outlet all in under an hour over lunch. Go another 8 miles and I could hit the Coach Outlet and J Crew Factory Store too! That required me to drive a bit faster though and know exactly what I was going to get. I lived in Chicago which had amazing shopping- so many boutiques in so many neighborhoods. I could hit one a week and never run out! Now I have K-Mart. Just K-Mart.... and I just can't bring myself to buy clothes there.

That leads me into something that was another passion of mine in my downtime at work- online shopping! I love eBay and before I moved here it was just a casual thing. Now eBay is our savior and quite possibly an addiction. We order everything from clothes to make up to kitchen gadgets these days. Right now I am anxiously awaiting delivery of a salad spinner! It's sad but it's cheaper on there than it is to go to K-Mart, even with the cost of shipping! We use Drugstore.com for items like razorblades and vitamins and stuff because it's so much cheaper. Talk about planning though- their shipping time to the VI is 21-45 days and it's usually much closer to the 45! I shop on OldNavy.com and Express.com and VictoriasSecret.com like it's my job. I search the clearance items and hope that everything will fit because it's probably cheaper to just keep the $5 skirt than it is to pay to ship it back! What I would give to just be able to try something on again! Then there are stores that don't ship here- Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Kohl's are a few that come to mind. I think I may make it my mission to get them to change that policy!

So those of you that have visited and had to do some stateside shopping for us- thank you. For those of you still to come, keep your eyes peeled for our lists :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seasonal Concepts

No- I'm not talking about the furniture store (I actually think it's out of business) but rather how much the word 'season' means down here. Before I moved here season meant one thing- Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall. Okay, maybe two things- there are definitive sports seasons that I was a fan of: Baseball Season, Football Season and College Basketball Season. Now the word season defines our lives. How, you ask? Let me tell you.

Tourist season pretty much drives all of the other meanings of season so I'll start there. It's basically November-ish through May-ish. I use the 'ish' because everyone has an idea of when it begins/ends. Some say it begins when hurricane season ends (November 1) and goes until it starts (June 1). Some say it begins right before/after Thanksgiving and goes until May 1. Some say it's December - April or when Carnival ends. Regardless of everyone's varying definitions of season everyone can agree on one thing- when it ends, it affects just about everything.

It effects work- ships just don't come in as often. They switch their course or come every other week. Less ships = less work on an island that 100% revolves around the Cruise Ship industry. For me at Paradise Point, we don't even open when there are zero ships in- that happens even during season. I foresee more days off in my future!

We've had lots of different types of friends: work friends, friends that lived out of town and friends you saw almost every week. For the first time ever we have 'seasonal friends'. These are our friends who come at the beginning of season, work and go somewhere else at the end of season (probably that location's season) but come back at the beginning of next season. Lots of people have started leaving island and there are many more to take off over the next month. We are lucky that most everyone we work with sticks around AND a few people we thought were leaving island have decided to stay (yeah Potter & Kate!) but there are plenty of people we will miss until they return next season!

One positive aspect of season is many place's rates go down. Better deals at the golf course, hotels, flights, etc. So all of you who keep saying 'We're coming, we're coming' (Benos I'm looking at you) start looking at flights! I'll do my best to not have it hurricane during your visit.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Easter Bunny Brings Puppies?

Whatever happened to an Easter Basket or eggs? This year the Easter Bunny brought me a puppy. Well, technically the Easter Bunny would be Tim but still, I thought only Santa Claus brought people puppies.

Saturday afternoon I get a text from Tim to check my email, his text says he's kind of serious. What was the email, you ask? It was a picture of this little guy and one sentence, 'Do we need a puppy?' Excuse me? No! We do NOT need a puppy was my exact text response. Then one a few seconds later, 'Well, he is really cute....' Needless to say, Tim walks in the house with a crate and the cutest puppy EVER. I immediately name him Jack since he looks like a Jack Russell, we were assured he was not. Tim thinks it is weird to name him after my dad and just calls him puppy.

Where did he come from? Someone abandoned him, along with his mom and four siblings, at a dumpster :( Someone took him to one of the vets who plays golf at the course and brought him there on Saturday. Hence, Tim taking him home. He's roughly 7-8 weeks old and his brothers and sisters were already adopted (well, one had to be put down) but he had to have his tail amputated so he couldn't be given away yet. How can be people so cruel?? Still, we do not need a puppy! As much as I would LOVE to have one there are several factors not allowing us to: our lease, our time, our much-loved-dog Laddie who, for some reason, is terrified and runs away everytime Jack (or as Tim now calls him- Buddy) pounces up to her.

So now we've volunteered to try and get him adopted. I put a few posts on FB and decided to take him to Easter Dinner at Tara's. Tara also happens to live with our boss, Murray, who happens to have a thing for taking in dogs as I learn before dinner :) Tara and Jess took a picture with Jack and emailed it off to Murray. After waiting an hour they called him and Murray said yes! Jack has a home! We enjoyed a great dinner with great friends and a beautiful sunset. Another successful holiday in our new home :)




Jack will likely get a new name in a few hours. We've spent a great day together- mostly it's been him sleeping or peeing on the floor. He drug Laddie's toys across the family room- quite impressive since they are twice as big as he is! He's quite the sunggler too- he loves to be right up burrowed in your arm. Then he wakes up and tries to eat your fingers... or chin. Tara and Murray are going to love him! Thanks guys, we owe you!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Driving In My Car Beep Beep!

Okay, so I've never considered myself a great driver. I failed my first driving test because I was so concerned with backing out of my space correctly that I didn't realize how much I had cut the wheel. Did you know that if your driving tester has to stop you from having an accident then you automatically fail? I learned the heard way. I've had my share of accidents ranging from rear-ending someone about 3 days after I got my license (passed the second time with FLYING colors) to backing over an Asian bicyclist. Disclaimer on the bicyclist: what kind of moron bikes in Chicago dressed in all black with no reflectors on her bike in the rain at 11 PM at night? Although I technically was at fault for hitting her it was TOTALLY her fault. Moving on...

So I get I'm not the best which is why I was pleasantly suprised to hear one of our visiting friends comment that I'm a good driver and how well I know my way around the island. Thanks, Lauren!! Anyways, despite the kind words, I'm not sure if it has anything to do with how well I drive vs. how BAD everyone on this island does! I lived in Chicago the last 8 years- I learned how to drive defensively. What I did there doesn't hold a candle to what I do here.

For starters, we drive on the left here but in American cars with the wheel also on the left. I haven't quite figured out why but I'm guessing it has something to do with being a former British territory? Driving on the left side of the road from the left side of the car leaves perspective on the 'center line' a bit cloudy. I use quotes b/c 75% of our roads don't HAVE a center line. Unfortunate since 75% of our roads also have pretty steep cliffs off the left.

Driving while talking on your cell phone? Ticket. Driving without a seatbelt? Ticket. Driving with a beer in your hand? Move right along! Since the drinking age is 18, we get no federal funding for roads. You Chicagoans think you have pothole problems? Think again! Some of these can swallow your car, literally. There is good reason we all travel with cans of Fix-A-Flat in our glove compartment.

Growing up in St. Louis I was used to left turns and right turns. Moving to Chicago after college I learned hard left/right and soft left/right turns at 6-way intersections. Moving here I learned the meaning of really, really hard turns. As in turns that are at least 270 degrees. No joke. You HAVE to be in two lanes- either the ones you are turning OUT of or the ones you are turning INTO. Bizarre!

Since I didn't have to take the driving test down here, rather I surrendered my license and $40 plus 5 hours of my time, I have no idea if they actually teach you how to signal before your turn with the actual indicators. My guess is no because nobody does it! Instead, people just (a) stop and turn causing me to slam on my breaks because why would I assume the car in front of me is going to just randomly stop? or (b) hang their hand out the window. I don't mean when they want to turn. No, that would be too easy to identify. They just hang it out the entire time they are driving and give a flip of the wrist or a finger or whatever to let me know they are turning. I hang my hand out the window all the time but not to signal- I wonder if I really screw with people behind me?

So while my driving may not have gotten better, my navigational skills certainly have. The island only has 5 main roads and none of them are named. They have numbers but no one, I repeat- no one, has any idea what they are. Directions are given based on landmarks and I use the word 'landmark' loosely. Here are a few of the main landmarks:

- The Hometown (gas station on north side)
- The Castle (actually a castle, not really sure if it's a restaurant or what)
- The Stop-Sign-Everyone-Blows (no explanation necessary, you don't know it's there you ain't stopping)
- The 270 Degree Turn
- The Post Office (automatically defaults to the one in Frenchtown. Not sure why.)

Once we learned these I felt good getting around on the island and giving directions on the island! It's still kind of surreal to me that I can't tell people to turn left at Ashland & Fullerton but rather go up Mafoli, turn right at the Castle, pass the hometown, stay to the right at the stop sign everyone blows and turn into Estate Harmony in order to get them to our house.

Island driving is quite interesting and I'm glad to know that people from Chicago think we have it down pat :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Island Weather

Weather has always fascinated me. I love thunderstorms. I loved when the meteorologists cut into the shows to give me the update and radar. (I say 'loved' because down here our 'local' news is out of NYC and, no offense, I just don't care about their weather.) I know- it's weird. I remember when I was little, my mom telling me a story of how it was raining in the front yard but not that back. That blew my 7-year old mind and, thinking it was the coolest story ever, told all my friends. They, as 7-year olds, also thought it was super cool. Something I've discovered on the island is this 'front yard, back yard' thing happens all the time!

The island is only 13 miles long by 4 miles wide yet the weather when I am at home can be totally different than the weather downtown. When I'm at work it'll be sunny but I look to the North side of the island and tell that it's pouring on Tim at work. It can be cloudy at my house but, as I look off the deck, completely sunny over on St. John. Totally bizarre to me that fronts can be that tiny! It is pretty cool to see them move across the ocean though.

Take as evidence these two pictures taken Monday from my deck. The first one is looking left and the other one is looking right. Drastic difference, right?
Now, all my friends dealing with winter weather and just wanting Spring to get here, please don't kill me when I say this. Sometimes I just want a stormy day! Maybe it's a day when I'm not feeling good or tired and don't want to feel bad if I skip doing something outside or maybe had a bit too much fun at a Princess Party the night before... Regardless, not having seasons is weird enough to me. Besides, rain = more water in my cistern which = a shower without turning the water on and off :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mold, Mold EVERYWHERE :(

We had been warned before moving here that living on the northside = a ridiculous amount of mold. I had NO idea what 'ridiculous amount' actually meant.

For an anal clean freak like me, using cleaning supplies and having the house smell bleachy-fresh is actually very soothing. Problem #1- because our septic tank has leeches in it we can not use bleach or any cleaning products containing bleach. Boo. So I went out and bought some Mr. Clean with Febreeze in it (smells AMAZING) and some of those 'natural' cleaners. Problem #2- none of those kill mold. I've gotten good with cleaning things with a toothbrush and good old fashioned elbow grease but it's certainly not very fun. And damn that mold grows quick!

This leads me to Problem #3- mold grows on EVERYTHING. About a month ago I pulled out a black purse that was now suddenly mutliple shades of black and green and white- I nearly fainted. Luckily, with some scrubbing and OxiClean it's back to it's old self... for now. A couple weeks ago I pulled out a pair of capris that must have been put back on the hanger damp as they now have stripes of mold down the front. I have yet to decide if it's better to throw these away. The day before Superbowl, as I was getting the house party-ready, I picked up Tim's hat that had fallen off the mirror. I only hope this picture can do it justice:



I have yet to actually get this one to come clean :(


So that's the latest island adventure for us: mold. If anyone has any non-bleach ideas I'd welcome them with open arms. And, mom, I know you are reading this and freaking out since I'm allergic to mold. Don't worry, my lungs haven't collasped... yet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Here!! It's Here!!

Some of you may think I'm weird for saying this but I love to do laundry. I love the satisfaction of having everything clean. Of everything smelling fresh. Of an empty laundry basket. Then we moved here and laundry wasn't quite that simple and I hate laundry.

At home, our washer and dryer was on the third floor of our condo. Easy, accessible and ours. When we signed our lease we were told a washer and dryer would be delivered but it could be 8-12 weeks so we had to get creative. No longer was laundry a quick trip up the stairs but rather a three step process that has driven me to dread dirty clothes

1. Clothes that can be washed and dried were bagged up once a week and Tim would sneak laundry in at the golf course

2. Clothes that can't be dried are hand washed in the sink and let out to dry on the back deck (and sometimes got re-rinsed in an afternoon rainstorm and had to be blowdried to be ready for work) on a drying rack (that has had to be superglued back together a few times due to strong winds sending it slamming into things)



3. Sheets and towels had to be taken to a place I don't think I've ever really been- the laundrymat.

Yeah... the laundrymat. Luckily I found a very clean one with bright lights and not a lot of shady people. I'm not sure what it costs to go to the laundrymat in the states but holy crap is it expensive here! Thank god the bill changer works for 10's! I was a disaster the first time I went- couldn't figure out how to put quarters in the single load washers, how to close the double load washers and how to select the dryer. It got better and I got a system but it still took hours out of my day and I was not happy. Plus, people looked at me weird when I'd throw Laddie's toys in with our towels and they'd go round and round in the dryer. I guess seeing a stuffed animal pressed against the glass of a dryer isn't something they see everyday...

Today everything changed when a big present finally arrived- the washer/dryer! No more hording quarters! No more sneaking around at the golf course! No more laying clothes on the counter and scrubbing with a brush! It's European and an all in one- the instruction manual is currently my reading material of choice. I'm so excited I'm not sure what to do first- sheets? towels? clothes? Yes, I know, I'm weird... but at least I won't get weird looks when I wash Laddie's toys. However, she may just sit in front of it and watch like a TV until they are done! I think I'm getting my love of laundry back already!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Laddie Update

**TECHNICAL NOTE: I HAVE ADDED AN EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION LINK ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE. ENTER YOUR EMAIL AND ANYTIME A NEW POST (AND ONLY WHEN A NEW POST) IS CREATED, YOU WILL RECEIVE AN EMAIL NOTIFICATION. I'M HOPING THIS WORKS, I HAVEN'T SEEN IT COME THROUGH ON MY TEST EMAIL YET THOUGH**

It's funny- whenever I talk to certain people one of the first questions they ask is 'How is Laddie?' Some people were shocked that we brought her with us to St. Thomas but how could we leave her behind? She's nine years old and Tim has had her since she was 6 months old- I can't imagine her NOT being with us. When Tim and I used to visit the Anti-Cruelty Society (why I'm not sure- to torture ourselves maybe? There were several times we almost came home with a second puppy!) I never understood the tags that said 'Reason for Being Given Up: Moving, Can't Take With.' Would you move into an adult-only community and give your kids up? Likely not. That is how I feel about Laddie.

So to answer everyone's questions- Laddie is doing great. She is adjusting to her new surroundings well- too well in some cases. She was sleeping on two pillows and a blanket so Tim and I felt bad and would let her into bed with us. It got to the point that no sooner had Tim gotten in the shower that she was in his spot- laying on his pillow like she was a people (I really think she thinks she is). Recently we were able to find a doggie bed at PriceSmart but she still jumps into bed and we don't have the heart to kick her out. We are such pushovers...

She's finally starting to shed- not a good thing for us but likely fantastic for her (with the exception of now it is very obvious when she is on the couch if we are gone)! She's not a big fan of the bugs and has licked away patches of hair 'scratching' at bug bites :( Every time I go to put Cortisone on her she just licks that off too. I'm thinking I can put it on, wrap her legs in paper towels and tape them in place. If that doesn't work- next stop is the cone... but then her doggie friend, Rue, would make fun of her! I'm hoping the former works first.

She's getting used to us giving her a bath and even clipping her nails but we haven't quite gotten to brushing her teeth. God how I miss PetSmart. That was the best $26.99 I spent a month. Drop her off and pick her up in three hours clean, clipped and with a cute bandana that she finally stopped fighting and wore just to appease us. Not so much the case anymore...
Laddie still has her quirks. She's terrified of the vaccuum- even though what we now own is just basically a stick. She carries her stuffed animals around in her mouth and shakes them like she's caught something (speaking of, I am looking forward to Buxton bringing me a sewing kit so I can sew the Tiger's head back on). She still loves cheese and can hear any type of wrapper- American, BabyBel, String- being opened from any part of the house and will come running. She knows that when the TV goes off, it's time for bed and runs ahead of us. And, for some reason, she finds it fun to kick her (full) food bowl around the room and into the corner. I caught this picture the other day when she kicked it too far and had a dilemma. Apparently not much of a dilemma to her, she just stuck her head between the barstool legs and ate away.

So to all of you who wondered- she's doing just fine. And for those of you that didn't- I'm sorry this post may have been boring but now you know :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

Okay, so I know a lot of you think that it's always sunny in St. Thomas and life's a beach but it's just not always true. When a cold front comes through- watch out. And when a cold front stalls over the island, as one has right now, it's downright miserable!

The Good: Tim and I are both off. On the same day. At the same time AND want to do the same thing: golf!

The Bad: The cold front started to come through on Thursday at 11 AM. How can I pinpoint this so exact? Well, Tim and I happened to be on the 5th hole at the golf course. We decided that if we were paying customers we'd likely stay out but since it's free we headed in to the clubhouse. Good thing we did- in the hour and a half that we hung out having lunch we got an inch and a half of rain! That was enough to make the call to turn the course cart path only and where's the fun in that? We went home, took a rainy day nap and then both went to work at night where it proceeded to rain cats and dogs.

The Good: It was cool enough to sleep with the windows open.

The Bad: It was so windy it made it hard to sleep AND the roosters kept waking me up (see FB post 1/15).

The Good: A daytrip to St. John on Friday with my friend, Tara. We had planned to take the 8 AM ferry over, hike, have lunch, hit the beach with my new snorkel gear (Thanks AMS for the Dick's Sporting Goods giftcard!) and go to Happy Hour at Woody's.

The Bad: When I woke up at 7:30 it was still rainy and windy as hell. The Accuweather ap on my phone said the winds were only 13 MPH. Crap- if what we had was 13 MPH I will hate to see this place in a hurricane!! We decided to postpone and take the 10AM ferry, assuming that it would clear up like it normally does. Negative on that plan as well :( So instead of having a fun day on St. John I spent it running errands in the rain which is just not fun. I've shown you all multiple pictures of the great view from my deck so I feel it's only fair to show you what it's like when it's crappy, check out the video:

video

The Good: Later that night I met the girls out for sushi and drinks. Before meeting them I was able to treat myself to a long, hot shower. (In case I haven't explained before all of our water is collected from rainwater on our roof that runs into a cistern below our house. We have to be very conservative with water because it's stupid expensive to have a water truck come refill it. My normal shower consists of getting wet then turning the water off while I suds up. Turning it on to rinse and off again to shave. Then on once more to do a final rinse.)

The Bad: I wore jeans, tennis shoes and a long-sleeved hoodie. No joke. It may have been 73 and I know everyone back home would have whipped out the shorts and flip-flops but I was sporting full fledged fall gear!


The Good: It was bright and sunny at the golf course this morning!

The Bad: Not so much at my house... or the beaches. It's amazing how it can be bright and sunny on one side of the island and a disaster on the other.

Things looked hopeful as the sky began to clear when I was running the remainder of my errands. No sooner did I get home and put away things did it start to rain. So here I am, with a list of chores to do in the house as soon as this post is done :( I know you folks with cold and snow feel no sympathy but try- just a little, please? :)








Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Island Fifteen

Does everyone remember the dreaded 'Freshman Fifteen'? I'm beginning to think there is also an 'Island Fifteen'.

The similarities are definitely there- weight gain brought on by drinking and eating not-so-good-for-you food at all hours of the day/night. To be fair I can't blame this ALL on the Island. I have to put some of the blame on the unemployed time in Chicago when we were going out to eat and drink much more often than when we had jobs and routines. I mean, it was hard to find an excuse when a friend would call wanting to go out any night of the week since we didn't exactly have to get up the next day...

I also can't say there really has been an 'Island Fifteen' because we don't own a scale but things are fitting a bit differently for sure! Thank god I work in a job where I run my butt off for 5-8 hours at a time or I probably wouldn't fit in any of my clothes!

This week I decided to do a 7-day cleanse I saw on Yahoo. It's not your normal starve-yourself- and-get-bitchy cleanses (I did one of those once, bad idea!) but just a back to basics with lots of veggies, grilled chicken and seafood and little carbs after mid-day. Oh- and no drinking... Apparently, in addition to empty calories, drinking causes you to want to eat crap after you do it and the following day. Who knew? :) I made it all of four hours before cheating on the drinking. I was golfing and it was beautiful- who wouldn't drink a beer? Besides, I burned the calories while golfing! Yesterday was a non-stop day at work and I rewarded myself with a few drinks after. Seeing that I never had time to eat my lunch salad (and forogt the chicken that was supposed to go on it) and ran for 9 hours behind the bar I feel that evened out.

Antoher thing I've decided to do is 8 Tuff Miles on February 27th, a 10K across St. John. ( http://www.8tuffmiles.com ) It's not just any 10K, 8 Tuff Miles reaches elevations equivalent of the Empire State Building. It's likely going to kick my butt yet it forces me into the gym to prepare! I'm going to do it with some girls from work and some other friends- should be a blast. Plus, you get a T-Shirt and you all know I'm a sucker for things with a shirt!

So that's it for now- getting back to the way things used to be by eating healthy, working out and drinking vodka b/c it's low in calories :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wow- where has the time gone? I cannot believe we have been down here for nearly two months- not to mention through three major holidays!

This was the first year in my ENTIRE life that I have not woken up at my parents. That didn't hit me until mid-day at the bar and it kind of weirded me out. I'm 30 years old and have always been at 'home'! Even as recent as last year I made my mom wait until I went to bed to put out the Christmas gifts. Now I'm long past believing in Santa but there's something magical about going to sleep when the tree has nothing under it and waking up when it's got all sorts of fun wrapped presents underneath it! This year was also the first year we opened gifts on Christmas Eve :( I cannot say I want either of those things to become tradition. Laddie didn't seem to mind though, she loves opening her presents regardless of the day!
Tim and I were lucky enough to both be off NYE night and New Years Day and we made plans to go to Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Foxy's is known for their New Year's Eve Party- it's ranked in the Top Ten in the world- so we were really looking forward to it. Then Wednesday came along and it rained ALL day and ALL night and was still raining Thursday morning. Oh- and while I know anyone in the Midwest reading this will curse me for saying this but- it was cold! I was beginning to get concerned that our trip to Jost was going to be a washout. Lo and behold though right before we had to leave to catch the ferry the sun started to come out. We got off the ferry, cleared Customs (which was in a tent by the way, they were not open to me taking a picture) and headed to meet our friends. We had a great night but, to be honest, I'm not sure WHAT makes the party in the Top Ten! Maybe it's the hundreds of yachts and boats, or the fact that it's on an island and outdoors under the stars (and full moon this year!) but it kind of seemed like any other bar. What made my night was getting to talk to our Chicago friends that we've spent the last 8 NYE's with when we got home. Granted it was 4 AM our time and we were a little... tired... but it was so great to talk to them!

So that's it for 2009. I can't wait to see what 2010 is going to bring. Right now I know a few sets of visitors that it's bringing and I CANNOT WAIT to see you all!! As you can see- Tim and Laddie are resting up for all the fun to be had!