Nine to Five

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“The dog is the god of frolic.” Henry Ward Beecher

We all went to Mexico this year, everybody from the salon, like we did two years ago for my birthday. Jody, her husband, me and Brian, Mel and Don, Francie and Steve, Cheryl and her husband, and Cathy, who roomed with Jody’s sister, Dani. We all stayed at the Ocean Maya Royale.

When I was going to turn 50 two years ago, Francie had an idea.

“Why don’t we all put $40.00 a week away and all of us go on vacation to Mexico for your birthday,” said Francie.

“Sure, let’s go,” I said.

That’s what we did. We went to Riviera Maya and had a great time. All except for Francie’s husband, Steve, who didn’t go with us that year.

“He asked me why I wanted to go to Mexico in the middle of January when there was snow to ski on,” said Francie. “Are you crazy, that’s a silly question, if you ask me. You go honey. I’m going to Mexico. He took one of my daughters and I took the other one.”

Last year Brian and I went to Mexico alone. It was his fiftieth, just me and him. This year we all went together again, this time including Steve.

The water at Ocean Maya Royale was rough in January and a lot of seaweed got churned up on the beach. It was the first time we’ve gone to the ocean and I haven’t gone in, because it was ugly. Brian and I spent our days at the pool.

Every morning we had breakfast early and were at the pool by nine. We stayed there until five o’clock. That’s how we did our vacation, nine to five. We had drinks during the day and whenever we needed to cool off we went into the pool. Then we’d go right back to our chairs.

Except one day when I was floating and Don and Greg had an idea. They started pushing my floatie across the pool to each other, until some guy finally asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“Away from these two idiots,” I said. “I’m tired of being played catch with.”

There was a lot of day drinking. People started drinking the first thing in the morning, mimosas, bloody marys, margaritas. Not me. I could only do a couple of froufrou drinks if I wanted to be up and running and have fun at night. Cheryl and Greg were great day drinkers. Dani powerhouse day-drank. She started at eleven. Powerhouse drinking is two-handed drinking.

A kid from Minnesota cracked us up one day at the pool. One of the bronzed Mexican kids working at the pool joked with him, “Why are you wearing a white t-shirt with pink nipples on it?” He was bare-chested. It was because he was so pale, as white as drywall.

There was a boatload of entertainment. The Magic Mike dance was a small Mexican dancer doing a routine and then you had to copy it. One night the Mexican Beatles hit the stage. Another night was Karaoke Night, which was horrible. One Mexican kid sang Sweet Caroline, “Toching hands, toching me, toching you.” There was a duo who just could not sing. We listened to some of it, but then my ears started to bleed. It was bad.

The lusty couple was bad entertainment, too, but we couldn’t keep our eyes off them. He was gray-haired, a big belly, and 60-something. She was in her late 20s, not great looking, and wore a thong over a cottage cheese butt. They entertained themselves at the pool, pulling their chairs up the lip of the tiles, and putting on a sexual show.

She sat on top of him, straddling him, facing him. It was gross. We were horrified, but couldn’t stop watching. We were in the water once when they decided to take a dip.

“Watch out, grossness has entered the pool,” Brian warned everybody.

There were foam parties at the pool, when everybody was in the water, and they brought out a blowing machine that blew bubbles everywhere. Everyone got covered by them. It was like a giant bubble bath.

Other times we had live music and they threw balloons in the water, twisty balloons, and floaties.

One day Brian and Rich went out in a fishing boat. Somebody had told them they had been catching 50, 60 fish. It was five hundred dollars for the excursion. Brian came back with two fish. Rich came back with no fish.

We left the resort a couple of times to eat at Coco Cabanas. One of Rich’s friends had told him about it. On the way I thought, looking around, we’re going to be kidnapped and held for ransom.

But, once we got there, they had the best salsa, best food, fajitas, brick oven pizza, and the best margaritas. According to somebody the secret ingredient in the margaritas was infused pot. They were great margaritas, infused or not. Nobody was feeling bad. There were hammocks in the back that you could lay around and swing in after dinner. We all did that.

I fed their dog, who was a strange mix of Dachshund and Labrador. He liked the pizza crusts. But they caught me and told me not to feed her table scraps.

There was a little earthquake one night. Francie and Steve were up and felt the rumbling. Cheryl had a 12-hour flu and it woke her up. “Oh, my God, why is the bed shaking,” she wondered. The next night we got a text from Jody’s brother that there was a tsunami watch for Cancun. “We’re all going to die,” we thought, so we went out drinking.

They called off the watch but we kept drinking.

We love Mexico. You get the most bang for your buck there, but we’ve been thinking of trying someplace new, like Costa Rica or Jamaica. I would love to go to Amsterdam. I wonder what the weather in January is like there?

Maybe sometime in the summertime might be better.

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