May 15, 2006 

I just went on my honeymoon.  Seven and a half years late, but a honeymoon no less.  My wonderful husband surprised me with a trip to a quaint little spa, Aventura Spa Palace in Mexico.  It’s a nice little place just about an hour and a half south of Cancun.  A little place that has about 1266 rooms, that is.  And really it wasn’t a surprise.  It started as one but since I am not the type to enjoy surprises (for me or from me), I forced him to tell me by withholding sex and I got the information quickly!

He gave me about a month to prepare.  A month.  A month to do everything possible to become hot. And prepare I did.  I decided this trip would be the perfect time for me to branch out a bit fashion-wise.  I wanted to wear something cute, sexy and totally not Carolyn but after looking through my closet I realized I have nothing cute, sexy and totally not Carolyn.  As a matter of fact, everything I have is conservative, not even remotely sexy and totally Carolyn. Ew.   

The search for CS&TNC clothing started with a bang and ended with a whine.  Just after trying on my first pair of Levis ‘short’ shorts.  Imagine two water balloons being rubbed together.  This is the sound of my thighs touching. Trust me, it was not pretty.

Finally the light over my head went off and I decided it was time to take my ‘diet’ seriously.  After all, I’d have to fit into my bathing suit because there was no way in hell I was going to buy a new one.  

The motivator worked and I lost 10 lbs prior to the trip.  I had wanted to lose 14 but it’s not quite safe to do so in only a month.  I worked out like a kid locked in a candy store and actually, it was kind of fun again.  I also discovered the secret to losing weight.  Now I’m going to share this with all of you.  I’m not even going to charge you for this, though I’m sure I could write a book on it and make millions, because it truly works.  Just remember, when all of you reach that seemingly impossible ‘goal weight’ (after you’ve changed the number at least 299 times), it was ME, Carolyn Aspenson who gave you the secret to eternal thinness. Are you ready?  The simple and most easy way to lose weight and keep it off is to stop stuffing so much food into our mouths!  Honest to God, it works.  I cut back my calories and the weight seemed to almost melt off.  Sure, I suffered a bit from time to time, but it was worth it.  And I’m still cutting back on the calories.  After spending a few days journaling what I actually ate throughout a normal day, I could understand why my butt was growing faster than the speed of light!  I cut the dreaded (but never to be told because it’s too darn embarrassing) calorie number to 1200 a day and combined with a bit of exercise, the weight came off and the bikini went on.   

This sudden discovery and success prompted me to again seek out CS&TNC clothing.  It still wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but I did have some minor success.  A few cute outfits and a few standard issue Carolyn outfits would work just fine.  I didn’t try on any more shorts though.  The first experience was far too traumatizing so I opted for the ever-safe Capri pants instead. When it doubt, think Capri, that’s my motto.  

It amazed me that the almost month until the trip lasted the length of high school and the actual six days and five nights lasted only the length of a half day at school.  How does that happen? More importantly, why?  It’s some cruel joke the powers that be (not the ones who handle the soaps, but the ones that handle all of us) play on us to make their lives more interesting.  Make the waiting last forever and the fun pass by in a flash.  After about three weeks of waiting I looked in the mirror one morning and the reflection of a watch pot stared back at me.  I even had steam coming out of me!  I just wanted to go, plain and simple.  And finally, we went.  

We flew first class since my husband is a Platinum flyer with Delta.  That means he flies entirely too much.  It was a short flight; only about 2.5 hours so unfortunately we didn’t have any spectacular airplane food. Damn it. During the flight I tried to glance over my husband’s rather large shoulder to see the view. All I could see below me were clouds. How was I supposed to know we were only four miles from outer space?  I’ll be honest, once I found that out I started looking for UFO’s and flying aliens but they’re obviously too fast for my eyes.  I thought I saw Miss Gulch from the Wizard of Oz riding her bike through the sky with Dorothy’s little dog, but my husband said that’s impossible.  She can’t fly that high up.  But I did hear the “Da dada dada da. Da dada dada da.” I know I did.  

In what seemed like two days instead of two hours we finally arrived in Mexico.  I knew I was there the minute I got off the plane and the heat and humidity hit me.  Let me tell you, I could not live in that intense humidity. My hair would be one big, blond ball of frizz. Probably I’d end up with an electric cord coming out of my ass in hopes of offering an explanation for my electrified looking hair. It wouldn’t be good.  Hair issues aside, I was absolutely shocked when I got off the plane.  

I am not an overly prejudice person.  Let’s face it; we’re all prejudice to some degree. And if you know someone that say she or he isn’t, make them walk alone through a dark alley at night with four whites/blacks/Hispanics/Arabs/what-have-you hanging out next to a garbage bin, smoking cigarettes and staring at him or her.  Then ask if they’re prejudice or not.  Take your pick.  I know I would feel cause for concern if it were me in that alley, no matter what their nationality.  So like I said, I’m not overly prejudice.  People in general, regardless of race cause me to feel prejudice.  Attitudes, ethics, values, etc. cause me to feel prejudice, therefore I’ve never really felt anything negative toward the Hispanic population because honestly, they are hard workers and to me that says a lot.  Now, would I stop on the side of the road to see if any day workers felt like striking up a bit of conversation? Perhaps go to Starbucks for a grande non-fat no-whip two-pump mocha?  Not on your life. Just because someone is a hard worker doesn’t mean they don’t have it in them to rape and/or mutilate someone who pulls up in her Volvo and starts to chat.  White or whatever, it’s a risk I will not take.  But what shocked me when we got to Mexico was how incredibly nice the people are. They’re helpful. They’re friendly.  They all say Buenos Nochas or Buenos Diaz (did I spell that right? I can’t seem to find it online anywhere!).  I was utterly amazed. The Atlanta airport is full of people and not one single person said a word to me except “Do you have your passport?”  Gotta love the friendliness of America.  

So now we know Mexico is humid and full of friendly souls.  What I didn’t think about was how damaged it would still be from Wilma and Emily.  (Remember them? Hurricanes?)  Trees were down everywhere. Buildings or rather what was left of buildings were shattered and splayed all over.  It was heartbreaking. But there they are, every person we talked to, smiling and happy and friendly. I personally would have still been bitching my head off if my house had blown a mile away and I had to live under a palm leaf roof and hang my clothes out to dry right next to the road.  But hey, I’m a snob and apparently there are none of the likes of me living in Mexico.  Visiting yes, living, no.  I must admit, our resort was repaired and in wonderful shape and I was relieved.  Call me selfish but it was my honeymoon! 

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing the resort is.   

As with most resorts, we were initially ‘kidnapped’ into a ‘presentation about the resort so we could tell all of our friends about the place and they’d want to come too”.  Okay, we knew that was a bunch of po-dunk, but for spending the mere hour and a half with the tour guide, we’d be compensated for our time with a free T-shirt, beach bag and $150 in palace money. Why not?  I knew my husband was going to love this.  He’s in sales and he’s good. So whenever someone tries to sell him something he plays with them, making it virtually impossible for a positive close.  I’m not big on this whole thing but I don’t think he can help himself. It’s the competitive “I’m much better at this than you” side of him.  I know this side well; it’s come out many, many times.   

The gist of this whole ‘tour’ is to get you to buy what effectively is a timeshare in the resort.  The problem with it is you’re paying all of this money (which they will gladly finance for you on your very own resort credit card, by the way!) monthly and for each trip you still have to pay over $2000 to come.  We paid less than that so there was simply no value in us paying $55,000 with whatever the percentage was down and close to $900 a month.  Who buys these things?  Seriously, they’d sold almost 100 of them in a week and I was completely shocked.  They ran us up and down the features and benefits and my husband had a retort for each.  He could do the math in his head faster than the woman could on her calculator (I love that about him. The math wiz!) and finally she gave up.  Then comes “Jack” (pronounced with a French accent, not the American way) and he dropped the price down considerably.  I think my husband got him to $19,500.  After what seemed like most of the day with him, we flat out told him we wanted to think about it.  With the idea we could leave, get our stuff and not come back.   They didn’t like that idea. So in came the last TO (turn over) and she spoke so fast all I caught was the price reduction to $7,500.  That’s they’re cost, by the way.  Amazing. 

What was funny about the whole this is these people apparently think I’m an idiot.  I continued to tell them I don’t make the decision.  It’s his money, not mine, etc.   (Though we all know none of that is true!) But they didn’t care.  They kept asking me the questions that required a “yes” (“Wouldn’t you like to come here once a year to get away from the kids?”  “ Isn’t this place lovely?”).  I gladly gave them they’re yes answers knowing fully we had no intention to buy.  Heck, I was in sales for 14 years, I know how this stuff works. Finally I played the “pissed off” wife and after almost THREE hours (yes, you read that right) they let us leave. My husband had a great time with the whole thing but honestly after the quoted hour and a half, I was over it all.  I came close to smacking the woman the last time she looked at me but instead I got up, told my husband I was done and he played the “I have to do what my wife says” card and we were free!  

Never, ever get sucked into those things regardless of what they’re offering you.  Time is much more valuable than a beach bag and a T-shirt.  

We did decide to put the palace money to good use.  They’ve got an awesome spa with beyond expensive services, of course.  We booked a couple’s hot stone massage in a private hut with champagne, fruit and nuts, a whirlpool, steam shower, sauna, foot massage and facial.  It was lovely.  But this is where the fun stuff starts.  

I’m not one for being touched by other people.  It gives me the hee-bee-gee-bees but I’ll do it. I’ve had a few massages before and I lived through them, even almost enjoyed them so I figured, why not?  Since they had all the extras in this private hut, I assumed bringing my bathing suit was a must.  

You know what assuming does, don’t you?  

We get to the hut and two very friendly ladies meet us.  One is nice and trim and rather attractive and the other is a bit on the heavy side, sans anything close to attractive.  I knew she was mine right then.  They lead us into the locker room area where I so naively assumed I’d change into my bathing suit.  Nope.  Instead they gave me this larger than life thong thingy to cover my lower feminine love tools.  Excuse me, I think they forgot my something to cover the top half.  Apparently not.  My husband was given what I considered to be a very humorous and bad copy of a European men’s thong.  Loved it! His little guys (figuratively, not literally!) were hanging around for all of us to enjoy.   

And there’s me, with my boobs hanging out.  

I personally don’t like anyone to see my boobs even while they’re covered, let alone hanging out for all to gawk.  My husband said these women didn’t care.  So what? That wasn’t the point!  I cared.  When is he going to learn it’s never about everyone else and it’s always about me?  

Needless to say, I was beyond nervous.  Past embarrassed and close to humiliated even.  But, being the wild and crazy girl that I am (NOT!) I decided to let loose (after all, my boobs were hanging out) and go with the flow.  We were given robes at that point and I felt saved.  The robes stayed on through the foot massage.  While in the sauna and steam room they were off. I expected to have them put back on but apparently my naivety fooled me again.  The robes were tossed to the side and off to the Jacuzzi tub we went.   With my boobs hanging out.   

At that point, everything I said to my husband ended with “with my boobs hanging out.”

“How do you like this special water with my boobs hanging out honey?”

“How long are we in this tub with my boobs hanging out honey?”

“Would you like some more nuts with my boobs hanging out?”

“Am I going to have to walk around like this the whole time we’re here with my boobs hanging out?” 

Let me tell you, it was not easy for me.  My husband found it quite hilarious and even went as far as to say he wouldn’t care if he was naked.  Again, it’s not about him!  It’s about ME!  When is he going to figure that out?  

I sucked it up like a trooper and actually enjoyed the massage.  Of course I had the less than attractive gal and my husband got the hottie.  She rubbed him down just a little bit too close to the parts I own and though I’m sure he liked it, I simply chose not to watch.  My masseuse did get a little close to parts unknown but I think the fact that I flinched myself off the table made her realize she’d gone too far and she didn’t try that again!  

Two and a half hours later we headed to our pedicure.  When we first arrived at the resort a man in a Harley shirt, cut offs and a bandana on his head came out of the spa with his wife/girlfriend and she told us he’d had his first pedicure.  One of these things is not like the other.  Harley man, pedicure.  It wasn’t a fit but boy did he enjoy the whole thing.  Jack said to him, “You got a pedicure?”  His response, as he looked at his toes and pointed them (yes, pointed) in our direction, “Yeah! Can you believe it?”  Um, no.  I can’t.  It was just too funny! Anyway, this made my husband decide he wanted a pedicure too.  I’ve never had one because frankly, the thought of small Asian women rubbing my feet conjures up images I just don’t want to deal with, thank you very much.  But since we were in Mexico, the chances of a small Asian woman giving me the rubdown were slim to none so I went for it.  It was quick and painless and about 10 minutes later my toes looked better than ever!  I think I’ve found a new  addiction.  Today I plan to search the major metropolitan Atlanta area for a salon owned by someone other than a small Asian girl!  

Not only did we hit the spa and the pool, we also spent a few hours in Tulum, a Mayan Indian city, or what’s left of it that is.  It was amazing.  The Maya’s were incredibly advanced.  The evidence of math and astronomy from their ancestors baffled  me.  And they didn’t even have calculators and telescopes.  Wow.   

I think the Mayans knew what they were doing.  To worship their Gods they offered sacrifices.  They’re children.  I’m wondering if that wasn’t such a bad idea?  After all, aren’t there times when you’d like to sacrifice your kids?  Or your neighbor’s kids? Or the kid who sits on the bus and makes fun of your kid?  I can see it now.  

“Don’t you talk back to me young lady or you’ll be the sacrifice at church this week!”  

 I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head at this point, but then our tour guide explained how they sacrificed…apparently they gave them some type of drug, then placed them on a rock and slammed down a big rock onto their spine, paralyzing them.  Then it was off to the alter  where their beating heart was cut out (obviously they were still alive) and given to the Gods as the sacrifice. 

Ew.  I don’t think I’m going to threaten my kids with that after all. I’ll stick with groundings and no video game time.  Not that either of those have ever worked.  

This was a little guy we met in Tulum.  These creatures are everywhere in Mexico.  Apparently they make for great meat and taste like chicken.  Our tour guide told us they’re measured by their ‘taco’ size.  This one is a 10 taco Iguana!   

We also went to Xacaret, which is a little bit of everything from snorkeling to scuba diving to hanging out at the beach, walking around a Mayan city, visiting a Mexican cemetery and hanging out with some pretty cool animals.

We did the snorkeling thing through the clearest water I’ve ever seen.  The coral reefs were beautiful and sometimes surprising.  I’d be snorkeling along trying to find Nemo and “WHAM!” my leg pounds into a reef.   I came home with five new bruises from our snorkeling adventure. Our cameras weren’t waterproof so you can’t see any pictures of the underwater stuff, sorry.  

We also went scuba diving.  It was my first time and it felt a bit odd.  The mask and the snorkel felt fine when we snorkeled but when scuba diving they felt a bit foreign on my face and it made me a bit nervous.  Plus that whole “there are sharks in the ocean” thing kind of stressed me out a bit.  I did see some amazing fish and things that were alive but looked like rocks or weeds.  Those were creepy and interesting at the same time.  The guide gave us a few things to touch but my thought is, if I can’t figure out what it is, I shouldn’t touch it.  Aren’t we taught that at an early age? Jack touched and he’s still alive so I guess it would have been okay, but I’m just not that much of a risk taker.  

The rest of the time we simply hung out together, ate some great food (fresh donuts, yummy!) and bonded.  It was our first time alone together on a trip since a year after we were married and we’d only gone away for a weekend then.  This trip was most certainly needed.  My husband and I get along wonderfully. We have what I consider to be a solid foundation and I’m hopeful that will remain and we’ll be the old couple walking down the street sharing a walker in 40 or 50 years.  We just don’t get to spend a whole lot of time together, alone.  After the kids go to bed doesn’t count.   

When it was time to leave, I truly didn’t want to.  It’s not that I didn’t  miss my kids and my pets (can’t leave them out, they’ll be offended) but I was enjoying not having to cook, no laundry, no whining, free drinks, lots of sun and my husband so much I didn’t want it all to end.  Once we got home the real world kicked back in right away; whining, fighting, you name it.  It all happened within an hour of pulling into our driveway.  

I guess the easy life can’t last forever, but those six days went by in a flash.


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