Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paradise Lost

It's deceptively sunny out today -- just Mother Nature's way of smacking around those of us who came home from paradise to find forecasts of snow for the coming week.

I was prepared for colder weather after our week in Turks & Caicos where even the harshest breeze is but a carress and the one shower we got was just another fun way to get wet.

I've needed this weekend to get my mind wrapped back around our ordinary lives. I'm not quite there yet. Vacation was blissful. While we had plans to meet up with some good friends, we never made it off the resort property until it was time to go.

As you know, I sometimes fret that Alison is growing up too fast and that I'm not ready for her teenage years. So while she wants to be a teen and wear grown up clothes and heeled sandals, I noticed that she'd packed her two Allahs for the trip. They kept her company on the flights as well as in her bed. So I guess I have a little more time.

Some fun stuff from the trip:

Jeff's brother James works for a company that does some work with the U.S. military and as such, there's a list of countries he can't visit. We were joking about that and Alison didn't understand why he was limited. We explained that some countries aren't friendly to the U.S. and might think James would be a good target for kidnapping or even torture. She pondered this a while and then said, "Cool."

Later, at the airport as we were coming through customs, she pulled me aside rather urgently and asked if Japan was a country Uncle James could visit. "What?" I said, distracted by trying to find where to go next and wondering if she was going to suggest our next travel destination.

"Are the Japanese after Uncle James, too?" she asked, looking furtively behind us and pushing me along.

"No," I said. "Why?"

"Oh, good," she said. "That guy back there keeps checking him out."

I refrained from offering any other suggestions for why that might be.


Alison found a tee-shirt for Gary that she had to have one year for a Christmas present, I think. It says something like "Beneath this shirt is the world's coolest Grandpa."

Gary wore it one day as he dutifully trod around the resort under doctor's orders to get his back in shape after a fall at home. Apparently it made him the hit of the island with women of all ages stopping him to comment.

I'm pretty sure he'll be wearing that shirt a little more often...


We snorkled twice and the first time at a reef just minutes down the beach, Alison terrified herself thinking a shark attack might be imminent. Later, when paddleboarding with me, she saw what I'm sure was a rock and had another little episode. She apologized later for me having to row us both to shore while she lay paralyzed and explained that it's OK to be afraid, it's how to deal with your fear that she needs to think about.

A day or so later, we went out on a boat to a reef farther from our home beach, and I'd gotten chilly and had to pee so I left the water early, only to find the boat bathroom wasn't working. It's one thing to pee in the sea and quite another to get back in the water knowing everyone who sees you get back in knows why you're in the water. It was a long ride to shore.

But anyway, I was sitting there with my legs crossed and I heard a family talk about the two sharks they'd seen. Alison was still in the water with her father. As more people got back on the boat, there was more shark talk.

I was hoping against hope that Alison would be back in the boat before she got wind of this. I could just see Jeff having to tow her back in. The only question in my mind was whether she'd be comatose or screaming.

So she gets back on board and Jen tells Jeff about the sharks, which he hadn't seen. I breathe a sigh of relief. Then Alison comes trotting up to me and says she saw them too. I was so shocked I forgot my bladder was about to break loose.

"What did you do when you saw them? I asked.

"Well, I was following this blue fish and was a little away from Dad when I looked down and there they were below me," she said. "I started to freak out a little bit but then I just said, 'Swim away. Just swim away.' So I just went back to Dad and headed straight for the boat."

Love her.


Jen, Peter and I were true to our workout routines, though Jen took her run to the beach. Peter and I were sometimes in the gym together and just like last time, he offered up some ideas for me. One because I was apparently neglecting my triceps and another form of ab torture. Peter is pretty buff so his advice is good.

I'd show you a picture of how buff he is but my arms apparently were too sore to snap any pictures of him...


Alison, Jen and I indulged in massages -- a luxury Alison is ready to add into her ordinary life. Ali also befriended most of the housekeeping staff -- in part because she's a friendly girl but also because she wanted to add to her collection of trial sized bath products. Her haul sent our luggage over the weight limit. Seriously. The chocolate croissants have likely sent me over mine as well, but given the coming snowfall, it's still sweater weather and thus, hide-able.


We got back late Thursday and spent most of Friday slowly doing laundry and Saturday chores. At one point, Ali texted Jenna to find she was having boy trouble so we invited her over. They chattered away, we saw the Croods -- inspired by an unexpected gift from Jasheway left in Ali's bedroom. They were on fish duty and apparently had screened the movie in addition to getting our mail and keeping the lone survivor swimming in Ali's tank.

This morning, the girls cracked into my limited make-up supplies and gave themselves mustaches after they decided they didn't like whatever they'd tried first.

On the way home, Jenna was telling us about her friend who'd been sick but was now on intermission. We don't know who she was talking about but are hoping for the best for her.

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