Friday, January 10, 2020

January 4, 2020 - Monkey Butlers and U-Shaped Driveways

The other day we dropped Stella off for a babysitting gig at our friends Allan and Jen’s place. They have a cool ranch style house with one of those awesome u-shaped driveways, in which you can drive in one end, proceed up to the house, then continue driving out the other side. And that reminded me of two dreams I’ve had since childhood that are yet to fulfilled. The first is living in a house with a u-shaped driveway, so I was simply insane with jealousy after seeing their place. The second dream is to have a monkey butler. As I kid I must have seen my first monkey butler on an episode of “I Love Lucy” or one of those other old black and white television series they made in the days when there were no crazy animal rights groups ruining everybody’s fun. The concept of a monkey butler immediately and permanently captured my imagination. If Ana and I retire to a catamaran then I guess I’ll have to give up on the first dream, as it really won’t make sense anymore, but I could still get that monkey butler, and in addition to his main task of pouring and serving gin & tonics, I will also instruct him on scrubbing the deck, keeping watch on the overnight runs, changing the masthead light when required (especially easy for a monkey), and maybe even docking if he’s a fast learner.

Today we again went for a lovely morning walk, but then did the unthinkable and played the Towel Game. What’s the Towel Game you ask? Well, at these resorts people will get up at the crack of dawn and run down to the beach to stake claim to the premium spots by laying towels and a bunch of other personal shit like books, flip flops, clothing, and Big Bubba cups down on lounge chairs. I absolutely hate this, because after gearing up the chairs, they usually go back to bed for a couple of hours, then have a leisurely breakfast, and don’t show up on the beach until 11am, by which time dummies like me have had to sit in the sand at the outer realm of the property because there’s no chairs left. One time at a resort, in my dreams, I went down to the beach at 7am and gathered up all the towels and claim items and threw all that junk all into a huge pile, then I made myself an amazing castle structure out of all those chairs and sat there on top like a king watching people come down to the beach and have synchronized heart attacks when they realize they had lost their spots and had to dig through a giant pile to find their stuff as I sat on my castle laughing. It was so much fun.

Anyway, today I decided (in my maturity) that the adage “if you can’t beat ‘em, join 'em” was never truer than it is with the Towel Game. I was considering playing the Towel Game on my own, so imagine my surprise when there was a slight knock on our door at 6:30 and both kids were standing there ready for the walk, and I was still in my skivvies. I threw on some shorts and we walked to the beach, grabbed six chairs in a premium spot and covered them with our gear, went for a big walk, then went back for breakfast. It didn’t feel as bad as I thought it would. And it sure was nice coming down to the beach and having chairs in a great spot instead of getting mad at all the Towel Game participants (which is everybody on the resort except for us) and scowling our way down to the end of the beach.

Noon came and Magnus, Stella and I had tacos at the poolside taqueria, just a nice light lunch. Then I joined Ana at the buffet an hour later for second lunch. The way I see it, it’s good to abuse your body occasionally to keep it strong…and keep it guessing. Next week I’ll be back to sensible meals, controlled food quantities, daily exercise, and drinking only after 6 pm on the weekends. So I enjoyed my second lunch in peace with the full support of my wife. Besides, we were starving after the big kayak ride we did together in the morning.

For dinner we went to the Italian a la carte restaurant, which was a bit risky as John has always claimed to hate Italian food, but I’m not sure what he considers Italian food because he loves spaghetti and meat balls, pizza, and I think I’ve seen him eating pasta lots of times. I think what he actually doesn’t like is too much cheese on food. So when his meal arrived, in the form of a chicken breast enveloped in thick, white, Cuban cheese, his face turned into Angry John. Magnus offered to swap him his beef dish, which helped, but then the second part of the meal arrived and there was a bunch of cheese on that too so he was pissed. But ours was not the only table with aggravated people, as Ana was giving us the play by play of a family in the far corner of the restaurant having a full-on familial meltdown. First there was some yelling at the table between the 14 year old boy and the dad. Then the mom was fighting with the dad. The son and 11 year old daughter then ran out, crying. The mom went after them and the dad stayed and ordered a triple whiskey. He looked quite happy for a few minutes, and I could definitely understand that. Then the mom came back and they fought a bit, then they both left, but they all returned shortly thereafter, with tear streaked faces, but determined to finish their meals and enjoy it as a family, Ha! No such luck. Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel, say “my family’s fucked today!” and hope for better tidings tomorrow. Sadly, we sat near them for breakfast the next day and they were still throwing eye daggers at each other. I felt like going over and giving each of them a hug, but I was too busy eating fresh papaya.

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