Beating the Winter Blues With a Big Stick

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January 19th 2018
Published: January 20th 2018
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"Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the road and accommodations". ~

Happy New Year to family & friends including my talented fellow travel bloggers (I appreciate you wasting your precious time reading my blogs! (For those that do, I thank you for your charity work!) I wasn't going to do a blog this trip as I wasn't sure we'd partake in as many adventures i.e. diving, snorkeling, zip lining, para-sailing, swimming in lagoons, visiting coastal towns etc. etc., this time with all that's going on but upon telling some friends this, they balked so here it is.

The Land of Beautiful Beaches, Colorful Waters And Margaritas!)

We're coming to you live from Playa del Carmen Mexico where I'm back to my old stomping grounds for both work and leisure. We arrived nice and early this morning (Friday Jan. 19th) and happy to report no little ding-dong kicked the bejezzus out of the back of my seat. My last flight here in August 3 young male teens sat behind me. One guy talked the entire time about his favorite movie scenes. Then he'd act them out in crazy voices. My eyes nearly rolled right out of my head. Then we had Nurse Ratchet (evil nurse from the movie One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) running amok telling everyone off & terrorizing the passengers. (If you haven't read that doozy of a blog then I'll link it at the end of this blog). Flights are the real social experiment I tell you.

So other than I saved Air Canada's 'butt' on the flight here and my Mom ended up in the cockpit of the plane wearing the pilot's hat, nothing happened at all...Yep, regular day at the office. Alright since you seem to want to know what happened here goes...

So almost close to landing I summoned the stewardess and ask her why we just were handed a customs form but no immigration form. She was like,."Oh we only hand out one form". I reply, "No you have to hand out an immigration card or you will have 300 folks on this plane in chaos once they step foot into the airport". I have flown this route many times so I know the procedures like the back of my hand.

So after a period of time she returns and says, "You were right and Air Canada is indebted to you. (In my mind I was saying damn right you are indebted to me). How did this major practice fall through the cracks on such a big flight with so many staff? It would've caused hours of delays for passengers. Anyhow, I was delivered a drink on the house and thought that's fine...whatever. (Should've asked for a free flight).

We get off the plane and we had requested a wheelchair for Mom as the lineups can be long and it wasn't there yet. So we stand around and shoot the you-know-what till I hear the stewardess from earlier tell me that Mom is in the cockpit. Cockpit? HUH? Sure as all get out Mom is not only in there, she's sitting in the pilot's seat wearing his hat. And they are showing her how to use the instruments? What a way to start off our trip.

So along with me on this adventure is Mom (AKA the pilot), my youngest gal Ava, and Jar of Mustard (for those of you that don't know that's my nickname for my friend Martha). The rest of the family is home holding the fort. Mom has always enjoyed coming with us and she thrives here. Further we have a really good time together. I gotta keep an eye on her with the tequila though...(I mark the bottle every night to make sure she's not into the sauce 😊 Hahaha. For those of you who don't know my Mom all that well, she actually never drinks. Never has, never will, even through the worst of times. We (her kids) do enough for her so she doesn't need to bother! We like to tease her about it though. Or hide empty tequila bottles around her while she naps and takes pictures! OK only twice!! Mom gets a kick out of it though. You need a sense of humor to be in this family. Hey Mom you might want to sleep with one eye open 😊

So here we are in 2018. Blech. Last Monday, January 15th was coined "Blue Monday"- the most depressing day of the year. What bozo thought that naming a special depressing day was a good idea, as if we are all idiots and don't know it's depressing? Holidays are over, we're back into a dull routine, no egg nog is flowing, house looks empty after the tree is put away, everyone is miserable trudging the snow-filled streets, and then you get hit with credit card debt from going hog-wild at Christmas. Yeah I think we get it. (Thank God I had the common sense to get us out of Dodge this week.)

And further it's been cold...It was so cold. How cold was it you dare ask? You know I'm a sucker for those jokes! I've already used "It was so cold people were giving each other the mitten instead of the finger" Hmm, what can I use now? How about this one. "It's so cold I chipped my tooth on my soup". Or this one. "It's so cold Richard Simmons is actually wearing pants". Badda bing badda boom. (Don't know who Richard Simmons is then google him!) Please leave some coins in the tip jar.

My New Year's Resolutions: To Stop Lying to Myself About Making Lifestyle Changes 😊

So did you make any New Year's resolutions like:

1. Drink less.
2. Eat less.
3. Exercise more.
4. Enjoy life.

(Hard to enjoy life if you follow the first 3.)

January seems to me to be the worst darn time to start denying yourself the good things in life. So everybody lift a glass of cheer and have that dang cheeseburger for god sake.

I have a few resolutions and goals for 2018. They are a tall order. First I'd love to hold onto a chap stick for at least 6 months.; I have no idea where those suckers go. Well I do - my girls have sticky fingers. Or they disappear and I find them in my jacket pockets, rolling around under my car seat, or under my bed. Also at the top of my list is to finally get Oprah to adopt me. I swear she's drawing up the papers as I type. I also resolve to stop licking frozen flagpoles (I did that in grade 1. How embarrassing to be pulled away from a pole in front of your peers.) I also ahem, resolve to eat only white snow. (Gotta stay hydrated in the new year however you do it). I am also committed to driving by my gym at least twice a week to pay my respects. And I resolve to find a luckier store to buy my lottery tickets. And to all of you reading, I promise to write better blogs. You are welcome. (Hey just trying to make you laugh after that stupid Blue Monday nonsence.)

So, the holidays/or thereafter wouldn't be complete if I didn't end up having some mishap (and I'm really not clumsy I just think it's called being stretched thin by the time it's all over.) One Christmas I slipped off my slippery heels (that I knew they were slippery but hey, they matched my shiny top so I insisted on wearing them) and bashed my face on a table while trying not to drop a tray of glasses. Had a nice shiner for 2 weeks. Everywhere we went people glared at Al assuming he'd socked me in the eye. Another year Al rewarded me with a pedicure as a Christmas gift and he accidentally left a sharp pedicurey-thingie in my blanket which somehow pierced my ankle and shot blood all over the darn place. OMG. This year while I went to take a soak in my bath, I opened my body wash that somehow had been turned upside down (blame my kids), and the soap exploded into my eye (not a small amount either -half the bleeping botttle.) Holy crap Batman. I was blinded, and in pain, and trying to even open my eye to flush it was torture. I couldn't see, had to drag myself out of my sunken tub while blind, stumble to my phone in my bedroom and with one eye typed Lara, HELP ME MY EYE. So she alerts Al who is peacefully watching the hockey game, and both of them rush in to help me. Al got his contact lens solution and spent half an hour flushing my eye. What a stupid fiasco that was. For three days I looked like a pirate. My eye was bloodshot, swollen, painful, gritty & once again I got to enjoy the stares of many people. Ahoy matey.


Life sure changed in the 5 months since Dad passed away and Mom moved into town and close by us. We had some trying times since the move to say the least ey Mom & Cin? I should write a guide book on moving provinces after the death of a family member. Talk about a headache. I would point out in said book about what to expect with the endless paperwork, tying up of an estate, and finding out the provincial and federal governments do not talk or share vital information. Add in getting Mom registered as an Ontario resident and spending hours at the Driver's Bureau getting her ID established. (Talk about a slice of life hanging around there.The strange things you see and hear. Even weirdos feel good leaving there as there is someone worse off than them. 😞

Dad had passed away in Quebec, but was fully alive in Ontario (or federally) apparently even after numerous phone calls and sending in proof. It really takes a lot of patience (which I'm not known for) to call the same government office numerous times to report his death and it doesn't translate. I will confess a few extra glasses of wine were consumed during the fall trying to sort it all out.

As many of you know from experience, it's a very tough thing losing a parent. They seem immortal to us don't they? There's no GPS to navigate this life change. While it was nowhere as shocking as my brother Bill's sudden death, it was still a big hit. And while we knew Dad was failing, it really hits you when it's final. No amount of preparing helps. I thank God for my family and friends who are there during these rough journeys in life. No-one gets off easy. It happens to everyone. I am grateful we had him as long as we did. But to say we miss his whistling, his singing, his storytelling, his humor & his presence would be a vast understatement. Simply miss him in every single way on every single day.

Things have not been easy, and what I learned through all of this is you can't be everything to everybody all the time. I was focused on Mom, focused on my kids, focused on work, grieving and I will admit I dropped the ball for a few special people in my life. It was not a shining moment, and one that I feel terrible about. I was just trying to keep my head above the water. However, I have recently tried to rectify this. Sometimes we all just need to walk in each other's shoes for a bit. Mine are a size 5, so good luck with that. All this to say, I appreciate their understanding and may 2018 bring a lot of peace and healing.

However, back to Mom being a trooper. Thank you Mom for being made of really good stuff to guide us on this new path. Thanks to my wonderful sister Cin for taking up hearth and home with Mom, for cooking for her and making her laugh every day. There is a special spot at the bar in Heaven for you girl! In a 100 years though and I hope we go together to this bar in the sky! We all are so grateful that you & Mom have made such a home together. You're too young yet for the title of 'Golden Girls' but I can see it happening!

So this trip is very welcomed. It will be a trip with different elements. We are staying in one of my company's listed oceanfront condos, and one I have never stayed in before. To get my super-duper comped rate I will be doing some major interior decorating on this trip. I spent a few weeks purchasing decor items, and then harangued Al to bubble-wrap them and squeeze it into our suitcases. I found some blown glass vases/table top decor from Italy at a used-store place for $10 that would go for $50 brand new. (I know because I research this stuff, so I can brag about it in my blog). Insert proud smiley face. So brand new decor throughout should really make things vibrant. I will have some upgrades done by the staff here was well. I get to give the orders! Yahooo! Not like I don't do that at home 😊 but just saying I get to give extra orders. However, I am a very nice boss if I say so myself. I try to be very generous to the staff here who I greatly respect. They fall all over themselves to help me and I so appreciate it and don't take it for granted. Plus I carry extra pesos as a way to show my gratitude. I'm like the pied piper around here!

Once these gals go home, Al will be joining me with our friends Sue & Cory. I can't wait. I don't mean I can't wait for Mom and the family to go sirree Bob. I mean I can't wait to share our experiences in Playa and the area with them. They love music like we do, they like to eat and drink (I am referring to coffee that is...ahem. Hahaha) and they just like to have fun, see and do things, so those are my kind of vacation people! See you soon mi amigos! Beer will be chilled and margs will be ready to go once Jaime drops you off!

While Sue & Cory lounge themselves silly & sip cervezas on the beach (insert beer bottle!), Al and I will then stage and take photos of this new condo for my company's websites. These condos are beautiful, but some owners have not updated the decor in a while, so it's worth it to spend some money on jazzing up the place for future rentals. I will post some before and after shots once Al and I are done working our magic (for those interested!) I realize I quite enjoy this decorating/staging business. I really enjoy shopping for decor on someone else's dime too! However, I don't like being fried on the penthouse rooftops in mid-July in Mexico (when I'm cracking how hot is it jokes) while trying to stage the photo shoot. No I do not like it then. No I do not like green eggs and ham. 😉

When we last did our photo shoot in July, I had to leave Al on the rooftop alone to take the pics as it was 45 friggin' Celsius and my face peeled right off & I thought I was having heat stroke. I had to keep escaping to the a/c and cold beverages. No I did not say margaritas...(Well between you & me, maybe I had just one. Sshh don't tell Al!). I had to hide it so Al didn't know what I was up to while he was hopscotching around the hot roof burning his heels off. I have to say that Al has become a master at photos, as well as photo shopping. He can take out wrinkles in a bed spread (I wish he could do that for me in my photos ;( and he can brighten up a room, or enhance the color of the ocean that isn't showing up the way it really is. The Caribbean Sea is the most vital part of the photos, especially when advertising an oceanfront condo. Last summer a few days of bad weather blew in some algae just on the day the condo was open to shoot, and he really had to work around the algae in the photos. Not easy. Not only is Al handsome, he's quite handy. 😊 (You reading this Al? (Wahoo extra brownie points!)

So while I sit here overlooking the ocean while sipping my first margarita (and not my last - yeehaw!) I can't tell you how peaceful and zen-like it feels to be back here with all that crap behind us. I SO appreciate this journey here. Returning to old friends such as our fantastic driver Jaime who always has big hugs for us at the airport (and a cooler full of cold bevvies), to our wonderful condo manager Edith who has become a great friend to me. To all the people at the restaurants & bars we frequent who know exactly what drink or food item I'm going to order! Gotta love that! To the staff at our condo: the guys on the beach who provide us guests with our loungers and umbrellas, to the staff who sweep the corridors, who cut down the coconuts so us guests don't get knocked out while walking around, to the guys who water the outdoor plants and clean the pool. From the security guards who help me with groceries and who work the overnight shifts (I bring them food all the time and they are so appreciative) to the fruit ladies on the beach who have fresh fruit chopped up ready to go. I salute them all. To me the locals really make our experience memorable. Not to discount the tropical warm weather, palm trees, turquoise waters., music on the beach, to-die-for food and drinks and A1 accommodations which are beyond compare (I love working for you Tonya @Playa Beach Getaways!!! 😊 xo

I look forward to sunny warm days, swaying palm trees, music lingering in the air, the lights of Cozumel Island flickering in the night sky that we enjoy from our balcony...I look forward to fresh seafood, to exotic drinks, to swaying in the hammock after those exotic drinks (hiccup), taking walks on the beach with Mom, sipping coffee on the balcony while the beach comes alive, snuggling with Ava in the morning (miss you my other 2 gals), making new friends, eating fresh fruit from the open-air markets, buying fresh tropical flowers for the condo, and to sunrises and sunsets.

I plan on appreciating every single second of this adventure. I plan on raising a glass to my brother Bill and now to Dad who both ride on my shoulder every day. To remembering these two very vital and wonderful men who shaped my life. Who made me who I am, for better or worse. (Please don't send in what you think my 'worse' attributes are OK? I know them well thank you very much!) But feel free to send compliments if you must 😉

I'll try not to be too annoying while sharing my adventures here. Especially to those back in the great white North. I can't guarantee this, but I will try!

Signing off from 'al cielo' (heaven),

Sal and the "Spice Girls"! (AKA Mom, Martha, & Ava) Fired off this blog & didn't have time for a spell check, security check, rain check, no check at all. Read at your own risk. For the doozy of a trip here in August, here it is.

Additional photos below
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20th January 2018

I never read blogs..,
But I read yours almost all the time! Through years of reading your blog, I started coming to Playa del Carmen last year with friends, coming back this winter for two weeks because I loved it so much! I met some amazing people, ATV’d through the jungle, caught up with the coolest animals (including the most amazing two monkeys hanging out outside my balcony), swam in ceynotes, scuba and snorkel in incredible locations, dolphins, motor bikes and meetings on the beach. What a wonderful, magical place you are in. I love your blog, you are a remarkable writer and I look forward to seeing this shared love of Playa through your clever, funny words! ¡que tengas un maravilloso día! ¡te lo mereces! (Have an amazing day, you deserve it)
20th January 2018

I Never Read Blogs...
Thanks Derrick for the compliments - not sure I am deserving of it! (But keep it coming...HAHAHA). There's so much more to Playa that it takes years to explore. Like visiting the coastal sea towns like Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Tulum each in its own right magical and known for its own culture/things to do. You must get to the colorful town of Valladolid known for its ancient catherdrals and close to ancient Mayan ruins. Merida is beautiful as well. We spent a week on Isla Mujeres and it's breathtaking with its cliffs, turquoise waters and turtle/sea life conservation reserve. Enjoy yourself but I really don't think I have to tell you that!!! :)
21st January 2018

Just wanna have fun
Another breathless read from the gal from the frozen North who comes to tropical Playa del Carmen to do what she does best. Like mother like daughter? One wonders what your Mum was getting into when she was young!
22nd January 2018

Just wanna have fun
Yes Dave girls just wanna have fun. I'll have to keep a close eye on my mom - or is it the other way around? HUM? Always nice to hear from you Dave!
22nd January 2018

Great Blog
Nicely written and funny...loved it! Sounds like Joan is looking for a date for a wedding no matter where they are from! tee hee hee. Enjoy your holidays ladies!
22nd January 2018

Great Blog
You know Mom quite well Manon. She's very friendly!!!

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