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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Honeymoon from Hell

Three years ago my wife and i got married. She and her mother planned out a beautiful wedding with the help of friends and family (and her dad's checkbook). Everything went off pretty much without a hitch and after a few hours we were married and looking forward to a week off with one another in a tropical location.

The night before we left we ended up sleeping outside because my "best man" had escorted the groomsmen to our wedding night accommodations to vandalize the place and steel our bed sheets. Luckily there was a hidden bed they didn't know about on the back porch where we were able to get a couple hours sleep before our plane left early in the a.m.

Our plane took off from McGhee Tyson at 6am and headed to Atlanta. After a short layover we were on our way to Tortola (British Virgin Island) by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico. In San Juan we changed from a 737 size jet to a twin turbo prop, overhead wing, crop duster that seated 10 or 12 people. I saw this as a plus because it made me think the island was exclusive and there would only be a dozen or so guests visiting that week (yes, I am sometimes optimistically stupid). We landed and parked beside Richard Branson's G5 (the island he owns is next door to Tortola) and then headed into the customs department of a grass roof building they called an airport.

After about an hour or so of getting through customs and waiting on our luggage we came to the realization that Yegi's bag that she checked was not on the plane (Strike 1). We filed a lost claim with the airline and told them where we would be so they could bring it to us when it showed up.

Our "all-inclusive" trip included a shuttle ride from the airport to the resort. Little did we know our "shuttle" was actually a long bed 1982 F-150 with three park benches screwed to the floor (Strike 2). Yegi and I hopped into the back "seat" right behind a 50 yr old guy wearing a pirate t-shirt and his 20 (maybe) yr old new wife. For the next hour as we prayed for our lives, not to puke, and that we were not going to the same place as the odd couple in front of us. We crossed the mountain range single lane road to the complete opposite side of the island with only one instance of local children yelling "White People Go Home!" (pretty sure they were talking to the red-headed pirates b/c it was the middle of the summer and we both look Mexican) (Strike 3). Two of three prayers were answered as us, captain jack sparrow, and his new wife all arrived safely at the Long Bay Beach Resort.

Things started to look very promising at this time. The front desk staff was super friendly and asked if there were any problems in transit. We told them about the missing bag and they said, "don't worry, we will take care of it". About that time a sweet Land Rover Defender rolled up and loaded us up to take us to our bungalow. As we pulled up to the room I could not believe how close we were to the water. Our beach side bungalow was actually right on the beach, up on stilts, with a hammock hanging over the sand...finally, paradise. We walked up the steps and into the room and that's when the record screeched to a halt and we thought we had ended up in a motel room from 1979 in Paradise Kentucky (Strike 4). I will say, I didn't really notice the de'cor. It was brought to my attention by my lovely new wife. I began to worry that she was not going to be happy (after all, she is from Farragut) but she took it in stride and said, "Oh well, its (moderately) clean, we've come this far, and we will probably spend most of our time out on the beach anyway."

We unpacked and realized that Yegi's carry on had the following items: 1 pair underwear (reluctantly packed b/c of my constant urging), ipod, hairbrush, magazines, 2 books, phone, candy, gum, and a long sleeve t-shirt. In contrast my carry on contained: 3 pair underwear, 3 pair socks, my Chaco's strapped to side, both our passports, $400 cash, Wallet, swim trunks, 2 extra t-shirt (one dark, one light), sunglasses, phone & charger, ipod & charger, travel documents, 3Liters H2O (pre-new liquid rules), and a utili-key (looks like a key but has a combo serrated knife blade, mini-phillips and flat screw driver, and can opener built in - can be used for many task but I carry it in case I have to sever a Jihadist head mid flight) that the TSA has not realized could be considered a weapon. As you can see this was before Yegi had adopted the Cole Family Motto of: "Always be prepared.", and yes, the boy scouts did steal that from us.

For the next couple days Yegi sat on the deck, read, and watched me swim in the ocean as she waited (and called the airline every hour or so) for her bag to arrive. During these two days we also checked around the island for womens' clothing stores. The problem with the clothing they sell on Tortola is that it is made for Tortolian women (large, black, big-breasted women) of which my wife is not (Strike 5). We ended up having to board a ferry for St. Thomas (American Island) to find a store that sold more appropriately sized attire. $300 dollars later we were back on Tortola and enjoying the crystal clear water and white sand. Then something happened to me that is so extremely rare it still confuses me as to how it happened...I got SUNBURNED! This wasn't a normal sunburn either. My skin turned straight up purple! It all happened in about 30 mins to an hour too. There must of been a solar flare on the sun that diverted all its radiation to the spot I was standing in the ocean. Either way I was now on the shaded deck for the next 3 days and had to sleep sitting up in bed or the chair next to it. What a great way to spend your honeymoon (Strike 6).

Yegi and I both love to eat good food and one of our favorite date activities is to go to a restraunt with good food and great service. The long bay beach resort has neither of these. For example, after being seated at the restaurant it may be a good 30-45 minutes before a server arrives to take your drink order. When they return 30 minutes later the ice in your glass will have turned to condensation on the luke-warm glass of water. It actually was so bad that it was easier for me to walk back to the server's area and retrieve what I needed as they sat and gave me evil looks. Some people will tell you that is just the "Island Mentality". F that, no wonder these lazy ass people are stuck on an island. They must be the ones left behind after all the motivated individuals swam or rowed their way off the beach (Strike 7).

Our "vacation" finally came to an end and we had a 6.45 am flight to San Juan the next morning. We called and scheduled our "shuttle" ride back to the airport (seriously considered stealing a car and driving myself). Luckily when the shuttle showed up at 4am it was not the pick-up but a dodge caravan with a friendly driver. We made it to the airport at 5 am only to find out that it didn't open until 6. Keeping with the status quo the airline representative was 25 minutes late to work and by the time she got there a line had formed out the door of the grass-roofed building. We checked in and paid another "departure tax" that was total BS and got to the gate at 6.45. A little over an hour later the same airline rep came into the gate area to notify the us that the pilots had overslept (i.e. were hungover) and were on their way in. This presented a problem because our connecting flight from San Juan to Houston was leaving at 8.30 and it was now 8am (Strike 8).

Needless to say we missed our next flight. The airline gave us a $20 food voucher since we were going to be in the airport until the next flight left at 4 pm. Not knowing you don't get change from a voucher we spent it all on $4 worth of McDonalds breakfast burrito's (San Juan version of the sausage biscuit) (Strike 9). We found a couple banks of chairs in an empty gate and went to watching The Office Season 2 on my laptop, each with an earphone in one ear. All of the sudden we heard a commotion and looked up to see this:

You can't even make this stuff up. A traveling bomba band complete with guy dressed up as a dragon/lizard/dinosaur and dancing girls/guys (I will subtract 1 Strike for this - Strike 8). After they left we checked on our flight only to realize it had been delayed until 6.45 and rerouted to Chicago instead of Houston which is semi-on-the-way home. The layover in Chicago was all of 30 minutes and that kind of scared us. Any delays and we would miss the last flight out of Chicago at 10pm.

We finally boarded our plane headed to Chicago and really started looking forward to getting home. As we got closer to O'hare the stewardess told us over the loudspeaker that there were storms in the vicinity that were causing delays and we were going to have to circle for a while until it came our turn to land (Stirke 9). Once we were on the ground she started telling all the connecting flight/gate numbers. When she got to Knoxville she said, "this flight is leaving now and you will need to schedule a departure for tomorrow morning"(Strike 10-20).

This is when Yegi got her first taste of my "don't tell me I can't do something mentality". I told her as soon as the door opened she was to forget her Southern & Iranian hospitality and do whatever it took to be the first one on the jetway. We weren't the first out but we passed that old lady they let off first before she was half-way up the ramp. I ran over to the departures listing on the wall and saw that our flight home was leaving from G47. We were in H9, how far could that be? We started running and yegi in her flip-flops began to lag behind. Yegi told me to run ahead without her and stop the plane and she would catch up (I was very proud of her for that statement). I ran as hard as I could (home alone style) for probably about 3/4 of a mile (G concourse is not beside H - damn yankees) and got to the gate just as they shut the door (Strike 21). By the time Yegi caught up I had sweet talked (told her I didn't want to spend another second in her God-forsaken city of Chicago) the desk attendant into hooking the jetway back up and letting us on the plane.

Landing in Knoxville was one of the happier days of my life. We picked up our bags and my friend Ben was waiting to take us back home. On the way back I asked Yegi if she wanted Ben to drop her off at her parents first and she reminded me that we were now going to be living in the same house...Oh, yeah.

Come June we will have been married for three years and together for eight. We have been on some more trips (good and bad) but none as eventful as the one to Tortola. One thing I've learned is that no matter how bad it gets its really not bad at all when you are with the one you love (Strike 0).-- If anyone makes fun of me for that last paragraph I will decapitate you with my utili-key.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Accardi - Italian for baby number 4

March 6, 2010 is the birth date of: Tom Arnold, DL Hugley, Alan Greenspan, Rob Reiner, Shaquille O'neal, and Cameron Accardi. Our friends Erin and Devon welcomed their little boy into the world after a long 9 months (he pushed it to the wire). Cameron is now the fourth child born (that I know of) in our group of friends in the last three months and the third boy! I am excited (and a bit worried) to see what the three (Riv, W, Cam) get into in the years to come.

Funny Story: Devon and Erin told us a story one night about a conversation they had had with one another early on in their pregnancy. Devon asked Erin what characteristics/features she would like their child to pick up from her. She told him a couple things and then returned the question to him. His response: Nothing, I want he/she (he/she because they didn't know yet, not because Cam is a hermaphrodite) to get everything from you. Well, as you can see, he's a dead ringer for Devo. We will have to wait it out to see whose personality he picks up.

Proud Pops.

Yegi holding baby Devon.

The pre-cursor to all these babies was a wedding between the parents. This is the second event that transpired this month between one of Yegi's best friends and her fiance'. Below is evidence that Carrie is finally off the market.
Rehersal Dinner.

Yegi and friends.

Me & Russ.

The wedding and Yegi's parental units.

I hate suits.

Will heard there were going to be a lot of gay guys at this wedding so he donned the pink shirt to show his support (and availability).

A couple weeks ago we got the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon with my extended (and constantly expanding) family, the Jenkins.
Carmen's kids with Austin or Eli (still can't tell which is which).

Wesley and River enjoying the sun.

and making weird faces...

concerned mom.

To finish things off here are a few pics of our growing boy.
People are beginning to say he looks more like me (yes, I know they are referring to his fat cheeks.)

Or maybe the fact that he is so oily that he gets a bath every night, just like his dad. I just don't have one of these sweet towels!

OshKoshBgosh I'm tired. I just laughed pretty hard writing that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


We are finally starting to get a hang of the whole parenting thing. River is growing like crazy and seems to look different every day I come home from work. Yegi and Emily are having a blast together with the boys on their "days off". There are more and more babies in our group of friends that are being born and even more to come. We have got to spend a lot more time with friends (in and out of the houses) than I had originally anticipated which has been a blessing. Below is a photo blog of the latest events.

New Momma's. Can you tell whose baby is whose?

These two have been dreaming of this day for a very long time.

Ah, Retirement...

Yegi's work friends stopped by to see the River man.

I'm in charge of bath time.

This cold air is making my hair grow, look at my arms!

All wrapped up and no place to go. Might as well bug out.

Getting lotionized. Not sure if that's a word.

Matt & Sarah brought dinner and holding relief.

Nama & Newcastle, hard to beat.

Sarah Beth and the little man. As you can see, he is very snuggley.

Sarah Beth & Jen (Elle Boutique) has a fashion show twice a year. I have now had the pleasure (dragged kicking and screaming) of attending three times in a row. I am not the only one though...see below.

My counterparts for this enjoyable evening also very happy to be in attendance. Nice purse Matt (far left). Looks like Scott (far right) is drowning away his sorrows. Actually the two in the middle were very happy to be there. This is their third year together as "partners". Wishing them the best of luck in Massachusetts!

The real reason we went was to support Cousin Jewels. This is her first year of the model rounds. Look at all that sass.

Young Life wives.

Sorry Julie, this just made me laugh.

Cousins! and a neat looking picture.

They just found out she is pregnant. Can you imagine how big she will get? Just kidding. At the time this picture was taken Cameron was just a couple days from his due date. He hasn't made an appearance yet but I'm calling March 4, 2010, say 10:28 p.m.

Part of the girls after the show. Two more babies coming soon. Best part of this picture is in the background: Megan W. is posing for someone taking pictures. Every time I see her I think of a story she and her sister told: Each year their family dresses up for a live Nativity scene in their front yard because their neighborhood has a competition for "Best Christmas Decorations". The competition lasts for hours as people from their neighborhood and the surrounding community (Atlanta) drive by and watch them. Megan always plays Mary and her sister who is a little taller plays Joseph. This just really makes me laugh.