Friday, 6 January 2012

The Spice of Life (continued)

A brief continuation of our trip to Africa...

Is he sleeping?

After three glorious days in Zanzibar (aka the Spice Island), Josh and I hopped two charter flights to the Serengeti. I say “two” rather loosely, because our second plane made about 4 alternate stops before landing at our final destination. Of course we managed to take off during a rare rainstorm, which made it feel more like we were flying in a giant yo-yo than a Cessna. Needless to say, I kept an eye on the very calm blonde kid sitting next to me. I figured, if he wasn’t worried I shouldn’t be either. And yes, the little blonde kid, with his eight years of experience, was correct in his composure, because in the end we landed safe and sound.

Our stay in the Serengeti consisted of two days on safari, which included a private guide that toted us around in some kind of Explorer (I don't remember the make, but I suppose it's not essential to the story). While en route to spot game and observe the wildlife, we got the most impressive lessons on nature, trees, animals and, most notably, natural selection.

Hiding from the boys, no doubt!
It seemed that no matter where we went, we saw a variety of antelope from Gazelles to Hartebeests to Impalas. On one side of the road we’d discover a bachelorette herd (a group of female antelope) and on the other side we’d inevitably spot a bachelor herd (a gawking group of male antelope). The set-up was not too unlike an eighth-grade dance. Boys and girls on opposite sides of the room, please. Within in each bachelorette herd was a dominant alpha male. However, if a random bachelor got the urge, he could fight the alpha male for dominance over his ladies. This is how nature ensures only the strongest genes are passed on—and as in all species, it gives men a reason to fight. 

Lilac-breasted Roller
In addition to seeing antelope aplenty, we observed an array of exotic birds, from the beautiful lilac-breasted rollers to scavenger birds like vultures, as well as giraffes, zebras, baboons and cheetahs. But of course, nothing compares to the sight of the “Big 5 Game”. They are amongst the most sought after (and often the most rare to find). These animals include lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos. Fortunately, we saw them all because our guide was the MacGyver of the Serengeti—helping other safari mobiles out of the mud, testing wet ground for stability and locating game nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Rollin' around in the grass
When it comes to animals, I don’t like to play favorites, but I have to say the lions were the most intriguing to watch. (Out of 1,000 pictures, about 500 are of lions!) The first pride we spotted was situated high up on a rock formation. It was once again a scene from The Lion King brought to life. At the top of the food chain, the lions were the most composed, confident, suave animals in the Serengeti. I could write a blog on them alone.

I actually thought about how I might be able to board the plane with a cub in my suitcase. Would our landlord approve of a pet lion? Well, we didn’t leave with any animals, but we did leave with newfound knowledge, stunning photos and unforgettable memories from the trip of a lifetime.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Spice of Life

Did you know that in Africa people really do say “Hakuna Matata”? I couldn’t believe it. I never thought Walt Disney invented the phrase, but I didn’t think people actually went around saying it! The first time we heard it used in context was when a porter showed us around our bungalow in Zanzibar. We thanked him and he replied by saying, “Hakuna Matata”! I think we were both a bit surprised and amused, because Josh just kind of giggled and I had a stupid grin on my face. For a moment I wanted to say, “Oh my God, I LOVE that movie!” but I exhibited restraint. In case you’re wondering, The Lion King was correct in saying it means “no worries” in Swahili. And while we’re on the subject, did you also know that “Simba” means “lion” in Swahili? (As you can see, I’m practically fluent!)

So how did we end up in Africa? After spending the former fall/winter season shivering our way through cold European cities, Josh and I decided we wanted to go someplace warm. We asked ourselves, “What’s the Caribbean of Europe?” and landed on Africa. Hot, exotic, adventurous… it was the perfect location.

Our first port of call was Zanzibar—a Tanzanian island off the coast of East Africa. Before I tell you about our little oasis, I feel inclined to comment on our journey to the resort. It was humbling to say the least. Not that people looked ill or unhappy, but there were kids riding in cow-drawn carriages and villagers stuffed into tiny, rickety buses. Houses were made of stone with no roofing, beds or furniture as far as I could see—and I could see because most of these houses were also missing four walls. They looked more like construction sites than actual homes. Admittedly, you can’t help but feel a bit guilty driving around in an air-conditioned cab with a personal escort. 

An hour into our ride and our driver announced that we were just five minutes away from the resort, but by this point the road was vacant. A few more paces up the street and still nothing. No signs, no ocean views, no gift shops and not a single person for miles. I started to feel like we were in an episode of the Sopranos. Finally, after passing a long patch of tall grass we came upon gates that were protected by two guards. The guards proceeded to have a brief exchange in Swahili with our driver, before waving us through to paradise.

I didn’t really have expectations of what the resort would look like. In fact, I barely looked at the website. We left most of the details up to the travel agent—not my preferred Type-A method of vacation planning, but I’m not complaining. No, not at all! The reception area of Breezes Resort was a sight in and of itself with wood carved-furniture, golden vases and ivory fabrics. It looked like a Persian palace and it literally took my breath away. 

After we had our debriefing and complimentary mango juice, we were escorted to the open-aired bar for lunch and got our first glimpse of the Indian Ocean. It was filter-clean and the mild waves gently crashed against a winding stretch of unspoiled white sand. When you looked at it, everything else in the world seemed to melt away. Our bungalow was just as stunning with a private patio, king-sized bed and Roman shower. Not to mention that everywhere you went you were greeted by lush green palm trees, tropical gardens and friendly staff that loved to say “Jambo!”  (“hello” in Swahili). 

One member of staff in particular happened to take a liking to us, and us to her. She was an incredibly attentive server (who made killer mojitos) and brought us complimentary breakfast when we slept in on our first morning. Later that evening we learned that she was part of the Maasai tribe, which made us both a bit giddy. We’d heard all about the Maasai—“a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania” (Wikipedia)—we’d seen pictures of them in their red-warrior robes and knew the odd bits about their culture, but never did we think we’d befriend one!

As the story goes, Dorah left (or perhaps escaped) her tribe to pursue a better life and education. Apparently it’s good to be a Maasai man, but it’s not so good to be a Maasai woman. Since we took a genuine interest in her culture, she would pop over to our sun loungers and tell us stories about her life and her people. It was like having our own personal beach professor.

Other than getting our lessons from Dorah, for three days we took advantage of all the resort had to offer. We took a private yoga class and got massages. We floated around on paddleboards, read by the ocean and ate dinner to the tune of live African music. Only once did we leave the premises and that was to visit Stone Town.

Stone Town is the main city in Zanzibar, and I’d heard tales of it being home to a great food market and lots of spices. As Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island, we decided this excursion couldn’t be missed. In hindsight, I would replace the word “excursion” with “experience”, because Stone Town was not what I’d expected. It’s interesting how we each have our own frame of reference that we base our expectations on. For example, I’ve been to loads of cities and markets before, so I thought I knew what Stone Town was all about. A few stalls filled with spices, fruits and homemade bracelets. Wood carvings and “I heart Zanzibar” T-shirts. But I guess I’d forgotten that outside the gated perimeter of Breezes Resort was an entirely different world. 

In Stone Town there was in fact a market, where we learned about the spices and the local fruits (like Jack fruit). From there we took a spin around the neighborhood to see the architecture and the shops. And for these reasons, it was unlike any other place I’d been. But here, our guide was not permitted to leave our sides. He hung close to us and kept a watchful eye out for his charges. We came to discover that outside the resort walls, Zanzibar is a pretty dangerous place (at least for tourists). It was an adventure nonetheless. And our adventure was punctuated with a real Maasai spotting. While eating lunch at Africa House, a very svelte man in full warrior regalia and arrows tucked into his belt, sauntered into the outdoor cafe. So yes, by now I was already BFF with a Maasai, but Dorah wore flowery cotton shirts and Nike sandals and worked at the hotel. This guy was the real deal. I was a little scared, a bit awe-struck and 100% jealous of his posture (wonder if he does Bikram?). He left as quickly as he came, but I’ll never forget the sight of him.

It felt like our time in Zanzibar came and went just as fast as the Maasai. While I didn’t want to leave Breezes Resort and our new friend, the private beach and fresh seafood, I was ready for the next phase of our adventure—safari in the Serengeti. But that’s a story for another day….

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

So here I am back at Starbucks nearly one year after The Great Internet Fiasco of 2010. It’s funny how “2010” seems like a lifetime ago, as I’m already in the process of making reservations for New Years 2012. (Let’s just say I’ll remember my passport this time.)

Last weekend I went to New Jersey for my college roommate’s wedding. While traveling via taxi to her home for pictures, the driver and I started talking about life. There’s no one more qualified to handle your personal affairs then a taxi driver (or bartender)—and I mean that with sincerity. We chatted about “the bigger picture” and doing things while you can. Carpe Diem and all that jazz. I told him about my new life in London and how sometimes I love it and other times I wish I were home. I told him that looking back on this past year I feel like I’ve been away forever, yet it’s only been 12 months. But is not 12 months a long time? I think another few minutes on the road and we would’ve defined the meaning of life.

During this deep conversation, with someone I’d just met, I ate my egg sandwich and watched the Jersey Turnpike blur by. It was the perfect metaphor for how I was feeling. There I was on my way to my friend’s wedding, remembering how nearly 8 years ago we said goodbye to Monmouth University on our rainy graduation day. My college experience was such a pivotal part of my life, something I’d been preparing for since I was 16, and now it’s just a distancing memory. As London will someday be, too. In the words of my cab driver, “It’s the days that go by slowly, but the years that go by so fast.”

I could go on and on about the irony of it all, but philosophy and time flying aside, there’s a wedding in Jersey to talk about! Of all the places in the world, I was ecstatic when our flight arrived at Newark Liberty airport. Not only because I was back in the Motherland, but also because we actually made it there alive. Before we left, our flight experienced technical difficulties, the luggage door couldn’t shut, our personal TVs were broken (causing us to miss the cartoon version of the safety procedures) and we saw a plane engulfed in flames as we lifted off the runway. It’s funny how fast a non-religious person remembers God.

But alas, we made it and I’ve come to love hearing, “Welcome home” at customs. It’s as if the security guards are even happy to see us. It was a breath of fresh air to be amongst old friends and family again. To be in a place where people knew our names. I felt like Norm walking into Cheers everywhere I went. Mostly because everywhere I went things were familiar. The NY-style pizza, the glittering city skyline, the Greek diners along the highway, the wacky 5 o’clock whistle on Z100. It’s those little pieces of your former life that you start to miss when you’re away. Those things that you take for granted or even those things that start to annoy you (please reference 5 o’clock whistle) that suddenly feel like a warm embrace when you go back home.

We did, however, bring a bit of London to the States in the form of our Bikram practice, dragging my dad along for the ride. Having never tried it in the US, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go. It was a great session and my dad was able to endure the 105-degree heat like a champ. One Bikram class and pizza pie later, and we were off to Kristen and Steve’s rehearsal followed by what we would consider a real Italian dinner. Though many would disagree, there’s no better place to find Italian food than North Jersey.

The following morning, I woke before the sun to get ready for the wedding. My mom did my makeup and drove me to a nearby salon for my hair appointment. While I love Jerseylicious, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the teased out up-do I left with. And by “not exactly thrilled” I mean red-faced and near tears, muttering something about alien antennas. The directions: pin half back, leave the rest in soft curls. The result: a feathery tease, jumbo “prom” curls and a bunch of random twists. I was ready for an interview at Area 51. The hair lasted through the 5-minute car ride and was quickly transformed into a simple down-do thanks to my mom’s deft fingers and crafty pick work.

In short, the wedding was beautiful. We danced until our feet hurt. Ate well. Fought over the plated cannolis. And partied like rock stars. After which we went home to catch the Mayweather/Ortiz Pay-Per-View fight. (Comments on this controversial fight are welcome below.)

By Sunday, I was holding back tears as we boarded our flight to London. Not that I was sad about returning, but I was sad about leaving home. When I first left New York on September 25, 2010, I was so excited I didn’t so much as shed a tear. These days, I depart fully aware of what I’m leaving behind. No longer taking things for granted. Not even that damn “Friday” chant on the radio. On the flip side, I still have one more year of adventure, vacations and summer Olympics to come. So now I look ahead to a fun-filled future. And this year, when things go awry, I will heed the words of my adopted home and try my best to “Keep Calm and Carry On."

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Final Savasana and Other Turkish Delights

noun: the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion. 
verb: to withdraw, retire, or draw back, especially for shelter or seclusion. 

When you live in a big city with noise, pollution, traffic and mass riots, there comes a point when you realize it’s time to surrender, wave the white flag and call in the troops. In Europe, this usually happens in August. It’s a glorious month when it’s almost expected that you’re going to take a break to recoup and rejuvenate before cold weather and grey skies roll around again. It’s a time to trade in the world of ergonomic chairs and water-cooler conversation for a sun lounger and foreign currency… and in our case, 8 days of hot, sweaty Bikram yoga. I know it sounds like a complete oxymoron that a vacation would include working out in intense heat, but this Turkish adventure was not only challenging and exciting, but also inspiring and deeply moving… not to mention, yogis sure do know how to party!

This story begins about two months ago when Josh and I decided to take Bikram a bit more seriously—which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a 26-posture yoga series practiced in 105-degree F (40-degree C) heat. While something always seemed to get in the way of a regular practice, the hopeful summer season (and my depressing abs) motivated us to get back on the mat. Within a week we were better for it—lighter, stronger and more flexible. So when we noticed that our studio was offering an “Adventurous Yogi” retreat in Turkey, we jumped at the chance!

After a short but luxurious stay in Istanbul, we hopped a flight to Dalaman, which is situated on the southwestern coast of Turkey. I’ll never forget the drive up to the retreat—partly because of the magnificence of the lush landscape and partly because we hugged the shoulder of a cliff the entire way. Upon safe arrival at Huzur Vadisi—a former olive-growing farmstead come yoga retreat center—we were fed lunch, shown to our yurt and had a “chill day”. Yes, life was good!

The following days continued as such, punctuated by trips to a Turkish Bath, boat ride in the Mediterranean and (faux) designer handbag shopping. In the evenings we shared family-style meals and hung out with new friends in the “tree house” until the wee hours of the morning. It was like one big, long sleep over with lots of stretching in between.

Now, I’m not usually one to wax lyrical, but I have to say that as the trip progressed, I discovered a new level of inner peace and tranquility. I’m not sure if it was the sun, the yoga or the fact that I didn’t have to do dishes for a whole week, but whatever it was I felt happy, uplifted and inspired. I think Clark Griswold (European Vacation) expressed my sentiments best when he said, “I want to write, I want to paint, I want to…  sculpt something massive!”

My senses just seemed to have popped right open. During my practice I started to notice that I didn’t just feel the strengthening of my muscles or the pulling of my joints, but also the fibers of the towel beneath my feet, the warm breeze hugging my skin and the fresh breath that filled my body. I saw color more vividly and heard the song of the cicadas as they crooned in unison while we moved from one pose to the next.

Yoga Platform
Our last class of the retreat, and second of the day, completely blew me away. While Bikram is typically a dialogue series, this particular class was set to a soundtrack of meditative music and we were instructed to practice using our intuition as opposed to our ears. I could feel the presence of my class and the emotions we were all experiencing, as we were moving with new bodies and heightened awareness. At the end of the class I laid in my final savasana (dead body pose) and let myself succumb to the hum of the music. On an average day, I usually struggle to keep my mind from wandering and spinning, but this time was different. I closed my eyes and, for the first time, allowed myself to just be...  

I woke up nearly 45 minutes later. Alone in the dark studio, while admittedly a bit scared and late for dinner, I knew that something powerful had just happened. In that final savasana I felt as though I’d connected myself to the universe. My body was glowing from the inside out, from my core to my fingertips, from my head to my toes. It was like waking up from a deep sleep and seeing things in a whole new light—even in the dark.

Thanks to everyone for an incredible time. It wouldn’t have been the same without you! In closing, I will leave you with my Top 10 Turkish Highlights:

     1.     The SCUBA mission to rescue our broken anchor
     2.     Dinner in Gocek… MEATBALLS!
     3.     Zumba lesson with Ashley on the yoga platform… ZUMBA!
     4.     Getting scrubbed at the Hamam (or Bath) by two burly Turkish men
     5.     Playing Grandma’s Footsteps (similar to Red Light Green Light) at 2am
     6.     Calling everyone “Bob”
     7.     Patrice and Leo’s magical treatments
     8.     Yoga everyday with two of the World’s Greatest Bikram Teachers (Thank you Michele and Mark!)
     9.     Dancing around the umbrella on the last night
     10.  Making friends with the coolest yogis around 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Six Years in the Making

On July 30th Josh and I celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary by traveling to Whitstable, a fishing and harbor town in Southeast England. Rearing for oysters, we stumbled into a lovely open-air restaurant along the sea and ordered one of everything on the menu. While we waited for our plates of oysters, crab and lobster, Josh asked, “If someone told you on our wedding day that six years later we’d be here, would you’ve believed it?”

NO! Six years ago I was a 24-year old Jersey girl who had never so much as been on a plane before. How would I have ever guessed I’d go from lifelong East Coaster to life as a Londoner? Oddly enough, I think it was two days after our wedding that I finally joined the 21st Century and got myself on my very first flight… an 11-hour journey to a paradise also know as Hawaii. I honestly believe it was that plane ride that set into motion a series of events that eventually lead to our departure from the “world as we knew it” to one of adventure, challenges and new experiences.

I remember waiting in the airport that day, not knowing how I was going to react when I boarded the plane. Was I going to chicken out, cry, grab onto the stewardess’s shoulders and beg her to “let me out of this tin can”? But right before our flight was called, “Danger Zone” (the Top Gun theme song) blared from the speakers and I felt a surge of adrenaline course through my landlocked veins. I was not only ready to fly, I wanted to pilot that flight! Forget Tom, there was a new Croes in town!

After that trip, we eventually went back to our everyday lives in Clifton, NJ, and back to our jobs and commutes. And while life may have gone back to normal, looking back I can now see that, together, we slowly began evolving into something new. Over the next few years we started new careers and took more planes to exotic places. We went skydiving and parasailing, wind surfing and rock climbing (indoors, but it still counts). We moved from Clifton to Hoboken (NJ) to Chelsea to the East Village (NYC) and ultimately to London.

So the answer again is no, that girl six years ago would not have guessed she’d end up on the other side of the world—blogging about it to her 15 loyal followers. Though on some level, I can see that we’ve been moving in this direction for some time now—I’d say about six years to be exact. And I can also say from my heart there’s no one I’d rather be moving with then my husband, Josh! Happy Anniversary!

Monday, 25 July 2011

I Love London

I realize that since moving to London things haven’t always been perfect. I like to think of it as, “moving pains”—a first cousin to “growing pains”. But what I’ve also discovered is that once you live in a place long enough, you get to know the ropes and those aches and pains slowly start to go away. It can then be said that in order to be part of a city you just have to know the rules, and every city plays by their own.

While we may still be learning, there are lots of amazing things we have had the pleasure of enjoying and experiencing as Londoners. Sometimes these amazing things just happen to get eclipsed by a robbery or hot water outage or rancid meat pie, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, just last week Josh and I went for a 6am, 3-mile run to Victoria Park (there’s a first time for everything) and when my endorphins kicked in, there was nothing in the world that could bring me down. Sunshine, green space, flowers, puppies… I was in the epicenter of serenity. This inspired me to think about all of the wonderful things in life, including the many reasons I Love London:

10.  Parks, parks and more parks—and let’s not forget frisbee in the park, BBQs in the park and random dogs who steal your soccer ball in the park.

9. Sunday Markets and market food, from scratch-made noodle dishes to Turkish pizza, green juices and fresh breads. Very European!

8. Historic events, like The Royal Wedding and the 2012 Summer Olympics. (With tickets to see the Olympic men’s soccer semifinals in Manchester!) 

7. Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race (and pre-post Boat Race activities).

6. Fenton’s Rink for curling—my new favorite sport.

5. Easy Jet—so long as you have a free weekend, a 56x46x25cm carry-on and your tickets printed in advance you can go just about anywhere!

4. 20(+)-day vacation policies.

3. Free Emergency Room services, discovered after nearly cutting off my fingertip in a mango dicing accident.

2. British reality TV, such as The Apprentice UK with Lord Sugar and The Only Way is Essex.

And lastly, but most importantly...

1.  The amazing people I have met and friends that I have made… thank you for showing us the many reasons to love London!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

For the Beckers

My brother- and sister-in-law, the Facebook famous Steve and Stacie Becker, were the latest guests to check in at Casa de Croes. Celebrating their first anniversary, they jumped across the pond for their (also first) European vacation. Following in the footsteps of Joe and Judi Stormer, the newlyweds toured London like no other (it must run in the family). From Heathrow to Bath with stops at Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey (site of the second biggest wedding this past year) and of course, Shoreditch, the Beckers saw it all… with 800 pictures to prove it. In honor of their impending anniversary, they also took the Eurostar to Paris were they “hopped on” and “hopped off” at nearly every attraction imaginable. Tres Bien!

Family Photo
It goes without saying that the planning and execution of the Becker trip was virtually flawless. But this wouldn’t be a proper “Life As A Londoner” blog, if I didn’t tell you about how Stacie and Steve’s visit also happened to coincide with our 4-week stint without hot water. Oh yes, 4 weeks, which, according to our management company, is “just how life is sometimes.”

When Josh’s parents were in town we noticed that there something wrong with the water. Perhaps too many showers per day or one too many dishes being washed. Or maybe after a long winter, the hot water decided to go on hiatus. Whatever the reason, our apartment called for a boiler strike. Oddly enough, someone I was working with at the time experienced the same problem. He said he just turned a knob here, flipped a switch there and voila! Well, if you saw our original boiler you would know that it was army green and dusty and looked like it had been erected in the 1960s. There were no knobs or switches or restart buttons. In fact, our first repairman (yes, first of five) told us he could barely look into the matter, because of the way the boiler was basically stuffed into a tiny closet. It’s also worth mentioning that before this repairman came to our flat and tinkered with our boiler, we were at least able to get hot water during the strike so long as the heat was on. In 70-80 degree weather this was less than ideal, but hey, hot water with heating is better then no hot water at all. As you might have guessed, after he left, the hot water stopped flowing altogether.

We were told a valve needed to be replaced and the order was going to be rushed. And when no one called us for a week and a half, we learned that the person in charge of receiving deliveries was out sick. By the time the new part was ready to be installed, Josh and I were leaving for NY. Fortunately, or so I thought at the time, I was able to schedule an appointment for the morning we returned from our trip. It was so nice to think that after an all-day plane ride, we’d finally be able to take a nice, long, hot shower. But 10am Monday morning came and went. After several calls, I once again learned that there was a scheduling muck-up as yet another person had called out sick. I seriously contemplated sending over a jumbo box of multi-vitamins.

While Josh and I have come to expect this kind of thing, what were our guests going to think? I mean, we were handling things just fine. We each took daily showers at the gym, which actually forced us to workout and has to this day kicked off a bit of a fitness high. But what were Stacie and Steve going to do? I didn’t think Fitness First offered guest passes for their bathroom facilities.

So we went back to the management company for another round of, “You better fix this!” - “We’re doing everything we can!” emails. And after visits from two more repairmen, our apartment was condemned! Turns out it wasn’t just a busted valve, but the entire boiler needed to be replaced.

With our landlord’s blessing—that is after several threats—we were granted permission to get a hotel room with compensation. Good, great, problem solved. Josh and I planned to hit the showers after our trip to the Abbey and Stacie and Steve were going to head over later that evening and spend the night there. In all truthfulness, I can’t complain about our shower/stay at the Holiday Inn Express on Old Street. Firm and soft pillows, labeled accordingly, coffee/tea service, free continental breakfast, and lots of movie channels.

We did, in fact, get the handicapped room, which was completely fine, as there was a functioning shower. But to give you a mental image of what this looked like, picture a bathroom with nothing more than a toilet and sink. Then imagine a showerhead affixed to the wall. No tub, door or curtain. Just a drain in the middle of the floor. Oh, and there was also a long red cord. Please note that if you should ever be in a similar situation, do not pull said cord, unless you’ve fallen and can’t get up. Curious Josh pulled it and subsequently alerted the front desk that room 304 was in distress. We had to call reception and cancel what was sure to be a visit from the manager on duty, followed by medical assistance and an ambulance.  

After our weekend stay in the Holiday Inn Express, the new boiler was finally installed by the fourth and fifth repairmen. We celebrated the end of Hot-Watergate by doing the dishes and taking more showers (as one should). And while our visits to the gym may have become less frequent, it feels quite luxurious to bathe without flip-flops.

Cheers to the Happy Couple
To Stacie and Steve I’d like to say thanks for coming, Happy 1st Anniversary and, every time you take a shower, I hope you think of us!