Sunday, May 31, 2009

Glad He Didn't Talk Me Out of It

Our new NetBook(mini laptop) was an absolute godsend on our honeymoon.

While attempting to book our various awesome activities on Hawaii Active, I discovered that the website hard crashes my iPhone.

As in, a complete system freeze, that requires the simultaneous two-button push to reboot.

The 3lb., easy-to-carry, super-convenient laptop was perfect for the job.

And on the way home, in the middle of a 3.5 hour layover in Honolulu, we loaded up the laptop with Sopcast, and watched Major League Baseball -- live, in the airport.

It was worth every single penny.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hidden Fees

While waiting in line at the airport to check in, we were guided to the now-standard check-in machines. I had completely forgotten to check in online, so this was the route we had to take. When asked how many checked bags we had, we informed the lady that we had two.

"Two checked bags. That'll be $30 please."

$30 !? What the hell ?

Apparently, on Hawaiian Airlines, every single checked bag is considered "excess". So, to check in our one suitcase and one rolling duffel, we had to shell out $30, right there at the airport. Many fellow travelers were caught off-guard by this, causing long lines and much frustration. We were fortunate to have shown up early, as we arrived at the gate with only a few minutes to spare.

This is the reality of the post-bankruptcy airline industry, and recession-laced economy. They charged us $30 to check our bags. They charged us $15 to rent a portable entertainment system with movies and the like for the flight. And yet, stunningly, they did something that I have not seen in years on an airline: They served a free meal.

Now tell me, how does that make any sense ? Charge us for everything that we absolutely require, such as bringing our belongings with us, but then give us a free crappy meal as compensation ? Sorry, but that just doesn't make it alright. And the little breakfast burrito would have been nice, had it not been riddled with onions -- onions that I hate, and that give Danny horrendous heartburn.

We passed on the free meal, but did enjoy the muffin.

I'll take free checked bags over that muffin any day. But I know the airline industry isn't listening.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Talk Me Out of It !

When my good friend Ed told me that he had bought a NetBook (a mini-laptop), for traveling and convenience, I thought "Wow, what a great idea ! A nice-to-have, but a good one at that !"

I have an iPhone, which is great for looking up information, but is not always reliable. Some websites do not work on it (or crash it completely). It is very awkward to do even moderately complicated searches on it. And forget about any websites that happen to have Flash on them. A NetBook would solve all these problems, and in addition, would keep me safe from any issues that may happen when traveling with my work computer.

So, when Danny, my parents and I went to Fry's, I just happened to spot one of these. A NetBook, with decent processor speed and memory, a nice sized hard drive, and only three little pounds.

On. Sale.

And cheaper than the online price.

I grabbed Danny. "Talk me out of it," I begged. "We are going on our honeymoon tomorrow. I know I don't need one of these, but one would be so cool, and so convenient."

With a thoughtful look on his face, he replied, "You know, something like that would be really great for us."

He didn't talk me out of it, because it was a damned good idea.

We walked out of the store, with a nice little box in our cart, containing our new computer.

I can't wait to make good use of it. Something tells me I will.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Four straight days in the glorious Northern California sun, in downtown Monterey, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Oakland Zoo and the San Francisco Giants stadium, really takes a toll on one's energy level.

We are so wiped out right now, but for good reason; as our adventures were all in the company of my most awesome Canadian friends and family.

We are so honored and humbled by those who traveled great distances, from as far away as Canada, Huntington Beach, Redding and Reno, to witness us exchanging our vows.

We are truly blessed.

But now, it is time to rehydrate, and relax, as more adventures await us tomorrow, as we go wine tasting in Napa.

The best vacation is a busy one. And this most definitely qualifies.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Perfect Day

Our wedding day was nothing short of perfect.

The weather was absolutely beautiful, with the sun peeking out of the light clouds, basking the ocean waters with flecks of light, as the waves crashed against the rocks and lapped onto the light brown sand. The sounds of rustling leaves and calling seagulls permeated the waves moving onto the shore. It was pure nature, in its raw and most beautiful form, as the backdrop to our wedding.

The ceremony was moving and emotional, given most beautifully by the officiant. Our selection of recessional music, "Let's Get It Started" by Black Eyed Peas, elicited amused giggles from our friends and family who attended. And the reception dinner was nothing short of awesome -- food that was to die for, a cake that shocked even myself at its intricacy and beauty, and a guest appearance by some frolicky sea otters, swimming and playing in the Monterey Bay in full view of our party, which was seated beside the sweeping windows of the restaurant.

To everyone who attended, everything went beautifully. However, it was not without its crises beforehand.

The first issue was my dress. It is a unique and beautiful shape and design, however it had to be modified to fit my short 5'3" frame. On my third -- and supposedly final -- fitting, it was just not right. There was some material bunching up by my hip, that made it looked wrinkled. The seamstress promised to have it ready by the next day (Thursday), and I returned that day to retrieve it. However, it sill did not fit properly.

"Well," I told her, "You have to fix it today. We are leaving for Monterey tomorrow, and I need to take my dress tonight." She promised to make that possible.

Three hours, and five more try-ons later, and she finally fixed the issue to my satisfaction. I am not a seamstress, and do not understand what the hell the problem was, but this was a whole boatload of stress I did not need that day.

The second issue was dinner on Friday night. The plan was to gather my two sisters and their families, my parents, Danny's sister and her family, and us, and go to a nice Italian restaurant in Monterey. I made reservations, printed out Mapquest directions from the hotel (including the phone number for the restaurant), and handed them to each family unit. We all headed out in time for 7pm.

Everyone made it there, except my parents.

We tried calling them, to no avail. My dad, who has always been frugal and smart with money, had his phone off. A Canadian cell phone, receiving and making calls in the US, would rack up an astronomical bill. My father did have a U.S. pay-as-you-go phone, but had not yet put minutes on it. As a result, the parental units were unreachable. So we waited. And waited. And snacked on bread and appetizers.

One hour later, and Danny's sister and her family had to leave, as their baby started having a meltdown of extreme proportion. They took a very bored Daniel with them, leaving Danny and I and my two sisters waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more.

Finally, an hour and a half after the scheduled time, I received a call from my father.

He and my mother were at the wrong restaurant.

They had a GPS, and the printed directions from me, but even so, they ended up at the wrong restaurant.

As it turns out, my brother-in-law had mentioned this other restaurant as a place that he wanted to go sometime, and my parents had confused that with the place that we were supposed to go to that night. Over the phone, I gave them the address to the correct establishment, and finally, they made it there. Two hours after the scheduled time.

All was well in the world, when we finally had some most delicious and quite authentic Italian food in our stomachs, and when we met the very nice manager who was also Italian, with whom my dad had a spirited conversation in his native language.

And the final issue was the day of the wedding.

I had booked a nice spa pampering for my sisters, myself and Jacqueline, at a place called "Spa on the Plaza" in Monterey. On the wedding morning, my father dropped us all off at a Cannery Row hotel with a huge sign that said "Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa".

It was the wrong place.

And, because my father still hadn't added minutes to the phone, I had no way to contact him. The mix-up was completely was my fault; I had just assumed that it was the right place, because the names were so close. But they were, in fact, two different establishments.

We pleaded with the concierge to call us a taxi, and he did one better -- he drove us there himself. We gave him a hefty $40 tip for his kindness.

Once in the spa, and halfway through my hairdo, I also realized I had forgotten my hair clips. My most awesome husband-to-be was kind enough to bring them there. And if that wasn't enough stress for the day, my brother-in-law had taken the only van to go golfing, and left my parents with the car, which did not have enough room to transport us all.

So Danny and my other brother-in-law had to drive us around in separate cars from the spa, to lunch, and back to the hotel.

But it all worked out in the end. The day was as perfect as it possibly could have been.

After the reception, and walking back to the car, I said to Danny, "You know, all the stress and crises before our wedding was all worthwhile. It was worth it, because our day was perfect."

He agreed. It was perfect. Everything was perfect.

I am the happiest person in the world right now.

Even if the entire day had been a disaster, I'd still be ecstatic. At the end of the day, no matter what, I am married to the love of my life.

And that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Officially On Vacation !

This is the note I posted in my cube:

And those two figures holding up the margaritas and soaking up the Hawaiian sun will be us, in ten short days. Can't wait. :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Now Comes the Stress

Four days until The. Big. Day. Everything has been fine so far, we had done everything early, everything was taken care of.. now comes the stressful part.

The seating chart.

Our wedding reception is at a very nice oceanfront steakhouse. Which means, each table is not the same size, and many are odd-numbered. Trying to come up with a seating plan that puts people together who, either a) might either know each other or b) have something in common, has been the biggest pain in our rear end.

We got something workable.. but I have a feeling things are going to change.

I have a headache now.

Cinco de What ?

It's all over the news today to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Supposedly this big, important Mexican holiday, where everyone takes to the streets and drinks cervezas y margaritas, right ?

Hah ! Not. Danny's family has never celebrated this so-called holiday. He's never attended a march or done anything special. And the only time he has ever attended a Cinco de Mayo party was at the homes of his very good, very white, friends.

Cinco de Mayo ? More like Cinco de Stay Home. And that's exactly what we did.
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