We're back... I'll post photos over the next few days but I felt it was important to get the story of our vacation out first. I feel the best way to tell it is through letters. This one is kind of long... but worth it:
Dear Cancun Weather,
Thank you so much for listening to my many prayers for sun… for just one week of sun. I didn’t even mind the 10 minute rain on Wednesday (which took away a lot of the humidity) or the afternoon thunderstorm on Friday. I will take what I can get. Oh, and I also greatly appreciated the breeze you had throughout the week so that the heat never got to be too much.
Dear Atlanta Weather,
You sucked before I left, you sucked while I was gone (snow… really?), and you suck again. At least you are consistent.
Here for a while,
PS – Please make spring come soon. This is ridiculous.
Dear Mexican Ocean,
Thank you for keeping your salt content low so my baby could dip his piggy toes in you and so that I could even go out in the ocean for the first time in 5 years.
But, then you ruined it all. Did you really need my husband’s glasses? I mean, I understand you wanted to check them out, but after you tore him off of his face, couldn’t you have given them back to him… you know, have them wash up on the shore?
Dear Royal Caribbean,
Overall, I’m impressed. I hadn’t been there in 8 years, and you didn’t even look like you had aged a day. Your lands were beautiful, the new beach was fabulous, and the rooms were nice. I even appreciated the crib for my baby (although you might want to look up the newest standards for cribs which recommend that the slats not be large enough for my baby’s legs and hands to fit through).
My husband enjoyed watching the kids paint their t-shirts (although we would like to put in a formal request for adult size t-shirts for next year) and painting his pottery. He was very impressed by your resident artists who “touched up” his pottery and made it look even better.
But, you really need to talk to your front desk staff. When my husband notified them that he was supposed to receive a FedEx package and that they should call him on his cell phone to let him know it arrived, someone should have told him that the front desk won’t call cell phones. Then, when my husband checked to see if his package had arrived and a different man at the front desk told him the package had come 10 minutes before but that they sent it back because money was due on it, someone, anyone should have shown some empathy in the fact that my husband had been waiting 3 days for his glasses and JUST missed them. This includes the manager; he might have showed a flicker of emotion about my husband’s plight. If anyone had cared, maybe I wouldn’t have these bad feelings lingering about you.
I might just need a banana monkey (or 2) before I can look at you again.
Annoyed in Atlanta,
PS – My husband would like you to figure out how to have high-speed Internet in the rooms by next year. Thanks!
Dear Lens Crafters – Branch in Cedar Park,
You rock – seriously. Thank you for picking out some cool glasses for my husband and going above and beyond to get them sent to Cancun ASAP. It wasn’t your fault that the package didn’t arrive until 2:00 PM on Thursday – you asked for it to arrive by 10:00 AM on Wednesday.
Ellen (wife of Brian)
I am writing you this letter on behalf of my husband because he is so angry with you that he doesn’t even know where to begin.
First off, you have to understand that he was an avid supporter of all things you do – the overnight mailing, your packing supplies, your customer service, and your ability to ship anything. He used to go on and on about how you can always trust FedEx… and now, he doesn’t know if he can use you again.
His first concern came when, after waiting 24 hours for an update on his glasses, the online status showed that his glasses were “delayed in Cancun customs” Wednesday morning but still showed a delivery date of 6:00 PM on Wednesday. He waited and waited, checking the Internet every hour, and finally, at 4:00 PM, when there was no change of status, he started calling FedEx.
After 3-4 phone calls, he found someone who could tell him that it was stuck in customs due to the fact that there was $80 in duties on the package and some other mysterious reasons that are only known to the Cancun airport security (who will also receive a letter from me for a whole different reason). After phone calls to the Cancun FedEx, the airport, and us, a customer service rep was able to get the package released AND had us set up a FedEx account so the money charge would be taken care of. We were assured it would arrive Thursday morning.
Please refer to the copy of the letter I sent to the Royal Caribbean (enclosed) to learn that this did not happen. It didn’t arrive on time, the FedEx account wasn’t charged, etc. The only redeeming factor was that you were able to send back the driver so we could receive the glasses at some point.
We will never use you again.
Ellen (on behalf of Brian)
Dear Mexican Airport Security (specifically the Saturday manager),
Phlbbt (that would be the sound of me sticking my tongue out at you).
Here is a quote, directly from the TSA website: “Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag.”
The only thing that stopped me from jumping you, El Jefe, when you decided to tell me what would be the appropriate amount of formula for my baby was my fear of Mexican prison… and that was it. If you want to reinforce the rules, then learn the rules. And don’t step between a mother and her ability to feed her child.
Dear Delta Airlines,
I’m about to say something I never thought I would say… I mean NEVER. US Airways is a better airline than you. Yes, I said it. The airline that is generally known as the worst in the United States is better when compared to you. And how is that? Well, first off, they are family friendly – you can skip long lines at check-in, get boarded first, and they have baby changing stations in the bathroom. You – none of the above.
And, I understand that the snow in Atlanta caused delays, but it didn’t cause mass chaos at the boarding gate (no lines, no zone boarding – seriously?) and it didn’t cause your dumb ticket agent to assign us the aisle in front of the exit row and it didn’t cause your equally dumb stewardess to not notice this FAA violation until we were in the air when she then decided that for landing we would need to switch with the row in front of us, and it didn’t cause your careless baggage crew to lose the cup holder and dent the handle on our brand new stroller. Nope, all of these things happened because… well… you suck. Kind of like the Atlanta weather.
And even though I know you will do nothing about these problems, I’m going to make on request – please stop thanking me for “choosing” you – I live in Atlanta… I have no choice.
Looking for other options,
Dear Atlanta Airport Security,
Where do I start? First, the obvious question, why do you and Memphis make EVERYONE re-check their luggage and go through security when entering the US from another country? Why did you make me wake my sleeping baby so that I could put the car seat and stroller through the security x-ray again? So, I go through security in Mexico, get checked at the gate before getting on the plane, and then I need to go through all the bull again? Are you trying to see if someone left me something on the plane that I want to smuggle in the US? Or do you just hate everyone who comes to Atlanta?
Next question, why would you put bad TSA agents (although I’m beginning to think this is redundant) on the Special Assistance line? You want them to “help” people with special needs? Do they do that by referring to them as “The Hulk” and getting in to people’s faces? Was it okay that I had to get in the face of a TSA agent while holding my baby since he decided to take on my husband (and if you saw my husband you would know that I’m the better option to pick a fight with)?
And your “manager”… come on. Having a back bone should be a requirement for that job.
And one last thing… I’m sure all your employees were cranky because Atlanta was such a cluster due to the snow storm… but I was cranky because I had been traveling for 13 hours due to the snow storm. And… your employees get paid for their discomfort – me… I paid you.
The next time I have to leave the country, I’m flying in to another airport and driving to Atlanta.
Dear Mom and Dad,
These letters might make it seem like I’m only complaining, but I’m not. I want to thank you for this vacation. It was wonderful to be somewhere warm and be able to spend time with my family. I really appreciate it!
Your favorite (sorry siblings, the truth hurts)
Dear Mr. Monkey Pants.
Thank you for being the BEST 5 month old in the world. You spent 13 hours traveling and had maybe 45 minutes of crank. You reminded your father and I that it wasn’t all bad.
Your mother (calling myself your mother never gets old)
Thank you for enjoying yourself in Cancun in spite of your trials and tribulations. I know it must have been difficult for you to be without sight from Monday to Thursday and to not be in contact with a job you just started. But, you didn’t let your mood impact anyone else AND you didn’t kill anyone.
I love you yesterday, today, and tomorrow,