Just for kicks - my husband and I created personal avatars...


Relaxation... At Last

There is nothing more refreshing than to come home from a vacation and feel like you actually had a vacation. My husband and I had the most amazing time on this trip with our friends!

The basics of our trip went as follows:

Day 1 - Meet friends at the airport, go to the resort near the bay, get cleaned up and walk down the street to an AMAZING Italian restaurant for a long dinner (complete with espresso and Tiramisu for dessert), check out an EXTREMELY expensive car on the way back to the resort (see Chad below), then get a good night sleep.

Day 2 - Have breakfast around the corner at a French pastry shoppe (mmm, quiche), head back to the resort and relax by the pool until it's time to go to the ship (Kathy & Chad below). Get some Pina Coladas as soon as we board the ship, followed by a couple's massage... then a 2-hour soak in the hot tub with our friends before dinner. Head to our cabin to be gently rocked to sleep by the swaying of the ship.

Day 3 - Take a trolley into Key West where Kathy & Chad had honeymooned (they gave us the grand tour) - Kermit's Key Lime shop where we bought cookies and salsa, the boardwalk where you can get any kind of fresh seafood you want from the boats docked, the Hemmingway House where we all got to baby some 6-toed kitties, stroll down the street to the Green Parrot Bar for a cold beer, then have lunch at a restaurant that serves BEST Mojitos I have ever enjoyed (and every dish came with fried plantains).Go back to the ship, spend time swimming in the salt-water pool, take a soak in the hot tub with some cold beverages, put on formal wear, enjoy a 5-course meal, wander to the cigar bar where Pedro (an incredible flamenco guitarist) serenaded us while we enjoyed some smooth smokes and drinks. Head to our cabin to be gently rocked to sleep by the swaying of the ship.

Day 4 - Sleep in until about 11AM... meet friends for breakfast on board the ship, disembark to do a little shopping in Cozumel, catch a bus to a jungle preserve, ride ATVs through the jungle for a few hours (and get COVERED in dirt), head back to the ship to clean up, meet friends by the pool for pizza and beer, go mini-golfing as the ship leaves port, spend a little money in the casino, go to a Park West Galleries Art Auction and see original pieces by modern artists (as well as Rembrant, Picasso, and Dali), go to dinner, then explore the ship. Head to our cabin to be gently rocked to sleep by the swaying of the ship (seeing a pattern?).

Day 5 - Catch a ferry from the ship into the docks at Belize, hop on a bus and take a ride deep into the jungle, hike around for a little while then grab some safety gear and climb a tree, take a Zip Line Tour around the jungle for a couple of hours, rappel down to the jungle floor and walk to have a home-cooked lunch of chicken on a bed of coconut-milk rice, take a nap on the short bus ride back to the docks, do a little gift hunting for the nieces and nephews, ride the ferry back to the ship. Go to the arcade for a little while, swim in the pool, eat a fresh crepe, soak in the hot tub, play chess in the safari lounge at the back of the ship, go to dinner, head up to the cigar bar for after-dinner drinks. Head to our cabin as listed above.

Day 6 - Meet up with our friends in the theater, catch a ferry to the docks at Playa Del Carmen, ride a bus to the Coba Mayan Ruins, hike all over the site for several hours (take pictures, climb ruins, relax in the shade), ride back to Playa Del Carmen, wander and haggle at the shops in the city (bought an amazing piece of Obsidian for $20), run into an old friend while waiting to catch the ferry back to the ship (small world).Watch the coast of Playa Del Carmen fade on the horizon (see below), meet up with everyone at the pool, swim for while, play some at the casino, get into our formal outfits, enjoy a 5-course meal, go to the top deck and boogie in the disco (I have video), move the group to the cigar bar and listen to Pedro play again... and after his regular set there were only 3 in the lounge so Pedro sat at our table and played some extra tunes for us. Head back to cabin as above.

Day 7 - Sleep until noon, get up and have some lunch, do a little on-board shopping to bring back a "Thank You" for our pet-sitter, head into the safari lounge to play chess, move to the schooner bar for drinks and to claim a Gyro-pool Table (Gyroscopic so you can play at sea), eventually meet up with all of our friends (Kathy & Chad, and dinner friends Allison & Chris), get some pairs games going at the table, relax between games in a nearby window seat with a Bellini and watch the ocean, listen to Pedro play one last time, go to dinner (Key Lime Pie for dessert, YAY), go up to the cigar bar for drinks and smokes. Head to our cabin to be gently rocked to sleep by the swaying of the ship one last time...
What an amazing vacation!


The Best of March - Horror Stories From Advertising

Excessive drinking becomes a way of life when one works for my former company. Many employees are currently battling the demons caused by that place with alcohol. I can't blame any of them...

So the company recently renovated their lobby - I imagine to keep up their image for when clients come to visit. I've seen the changes, and it is impressive for people coming in the front doors to see nice furniture, designer flooring, and a 2-story water feature... but each my friends who still work there have all said, "There goes my raise for the next 5 years."

At a cost of just over $100,000 - you're damn right! You can figure that with an average of 55 non-manager employees, that's over $1,800 per person (managers get a separate bonus each year). Yes - it's an investment in the future... but maybe if the agency invested in their employees there would be even MORE money to go around.

I busted my ass at the agency for 3 years with no raise - only empty promises from that evil bloodhound-faced bitch I refer to as The Boss. In my former department, only 2 out of 11 people had received a raise since 2005. The two people were the eldest members of the team who were both hard workers, but no more so than anyone else.

One afternoon the group of us decided to go to the bar after work to decompress. I soon learned that one employee who had been a personal friend of The Boss was only offered a raise when she turned in her 3-week notice. Apparently, in her 13 years with the agency, she had only received 2 raises! WTFO? How desperate do you to be to allow any company to do that to you?

Anyway - back to the drinking problems. The company tried to boost morale last year with an over-the-top summer picnic as well as a trip to Denver to watch the Rockies play (again - forget raises - apparently people really want crappy seats to a baseball game and a disorganized picnic). Woowoo! I think the managers know they drive their employees to drink - because they provided excessive amounts of alcohol at the company picnic and on the bus to and from the Rockies game.

Look! I'm crushing a Dodgers player like Zeus would from Mt. Olympus!!!

Is there anything wrong with providing alcohol? No - unless the managers knowingly let drunk people drive themselves home from said events where the company provided the drinkage.

On the bus ride home from the Rockies game there were 50+ dehydrated employees hitting the alcohol. Some had just a beer, but there were a few others who took it past the point of being appropriate. I had my camera with me that day (I started taking my camera to all company events for blackmail purposes). I have pictures of several ladies pouring beer on each other for a wet t-shirt contest. I have pictures of some gals trying to smother a married male manager with cleavage. I have pictures of a gal who took her pants off because her clothes were soaked with alcohol and quote "They were feeling itchy". I would say about 15 of the people on that field trip were belligerently drunk by the time the bus got back to the office.

To be fair - the owner of the company expressed great concern about the welfare of the drunken people. He offered to pay for taxis for anyone who felt they had too much to drink. HOWEVER, one of the managers trumped him. The manager asked each of the drunk people if they were good to drive home. Many of the employees said they would have some water in the lunchroom at the office and would be fine to drive, a few caught a ride home with a co-worker and said they would get their vehicle the following day.

Two employees were so drunk they were incoherent. Both of them drove home. Thank God they didn't kill anyone or the company would be out-of-business from liability suits!