-Written during our vacation in the Dominican Republic

Let me start off the story with the punchline. There are two men who work at this hotel right now who are laughing at the stupid American little bitch in room 1002.

Long time readers will recognize the title as an ode to The Man of the House, in which I exposed to the world my ineptitude in expunging a bat from the house.

There was a small lizard (like four inches at most) in our room about 30 minutes ago. I think it was a gecko, but I can’t be sure since it didn’t sophisticatedly sit up and try to sell me insurance. By the way, those commercials are complete bullshit.

Those little bitches are fast. As Meg bounced up and down on the bed, screeching endlessly in a stereotypical woman response, I unsuccessfully chased this thing up and down the length of our room in a stereotypical uncoordinated computer geek fashion. He finally settled under the center desk that holds our TV and fridge.

I begin to formulate my plan. I grab a flip flop in one hand and a ceramic mug in the other. I do some quick math and realize if I were to strike the lizard with the flip flop, we’d be left with lizard guts on the floor. I also realize that the speed at which I’d have to apply my complex mug trapping mechanism in order to catch the beast, I’d end up smashing the mug to bits on the tile floor. I come to realize that the outcome to any of my plans resulted in more work for the maid. I give a quick nod to Machiavelli and resume the hunt.

There were two things going on in my head. In all honesty, I wasn’t afraid or too creeped out by it. He was actually kinda cool looking, as much as I didn’t like the prospect of him rolling around in our clothes. The problem was, I was still jumpy. Any fast movement and I immediately jumped back. This threw the proverbial monkey wrench into my aforementioned plans of assault, which was why the beast was allowed to take me on Mr. Lizard’s Wild Ride. Let me also point out that, frustratingly, all of this accidental exercise has pretty much removed my buzz.

Eventually, he hops under the refrigerator. I get on my hands and knees and I can see his silhouette mocking me.

“Ok, I need you to help me.”
“No fucking way.”

And thus, my conundrum. I couldn’t very well move the fridge, lest he tear ass into another hiding spot. If Meg wasn’t going to catch him while I moved the fridge, I was going to need help.

“Hola, [random Spanish words]”
“DO… YOU… SPEAK… ENGLISH?”

Yes, I know loudly and slowly yelling words in English will not help someone who does not speak the language. Yes, I did it anyway. I’m not exactly enlightened.

“Yes. How can I help you?”
“Um… we have a lizard under our refrigerator and I need someone to come help me get it out.”

As the words seeped out of my mouth, I could feel my dignity drain from my body.

“A what?”

Ah shit. I don’t know Spanish for lizard.

“Um… lizard. Small animal. ANIMAL.”
“Ohh, lee-zurd. Ok, I will send someone over.”

She could have hung up the phone before she started laughing, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t have either.

Ten minutes later, two men arrive at the door with shit-eating grins on their faces. I thought about throwing on one of my Philly Mixed Martial Arts shirts on to look like more of a man, but at that point the only thing that could have saved me would be to open the door and raise the severed head of a bear that I killed with my bare hands.

One man has a broom and a pooper scooper. I try to feel better thinking I couldn’t get this done because I didn’t have the proper tools. Did you know your own head can call bullshit on itself?

They barely spoke English, so I explain through spastic gestures where the lee-zurd is. It was probably a good thing they didn’t speak English as it would be hard to verbally demean me further without speaking in a language I understand. Then again, now I look like an insane American wus as I point and grunt in the general direction of the fridge.

He does exactly what I wanted to do, except he has the benefit of a wingman. He pulls the fridge forward. In all honesty, I could and would have done that, if Meg was cooperating instead of giving our baby its first concussion. I think about explaining that she’s pregnant and that’s why she couldn’t help, but I realize that even if they could understand me, they probably already thought I lacked the necessary male genetalia to have caused the pregnancy in the first place.

The lizard takes off running. They push aside the curtains it hid under. Boom, he’s off to the races again, this time hiding under the other curtains. I reiterate, those friggin things are fast. At this point, I also wouldn’t have been surprised if the lizard looked up at me and said “Evermore”.

They finally see him in the track for our sliding glass doors. The man with the pooper scooper advances. I await his masterful use of the device in expunging the beast. Instead, he simply bends over and picks up the lizard with his hand.

I was wrong. They didn’t need to speak English to make me feel like more of a douche bag.

We thanked them as I sheepishly closed the door behind them. I make a mental note that when I get home, I’m taking another vacation to the woods to find a bear.

-Written during our vacation in the Dominican Republic

“Don’t drink the water.”

I was immediately hit with that advice from virtually every person I mentioned our vacation to. After enough iterations, I half expected battery acid to spew forth from the pipes.

Still, it sounded like good advice. Being an all inclusive resort, we were entitled to everything: food, drink, and most importantly alcohol (but that’s off topic for this particular blog). Included in that is bottled water.

In fact, let me reiterate that “entitled to” concept. Keep it in mind later when my questionable morals enter the picture.

Annoyingly, bottles of water were a bit more difficult to attain than I had previously anticipated. None of the bars and restaurants carry bottled water. Instead, they attempt to pour a glass of unconfirmed, allegedly clean water. Allegedly. They claim it’s clean. I don’t buy it, and when it comes to Meg and the Monkey, there’s no way I’m tempting fate.

The first night, we needed a bottle to brush our teeth. The on campus store sold them for a mere 15 pesos (like 50 cents), so we were in business. After that, however, I needed to figure out a better solution. Even with the Beer Fairy dropping off a few bottles, it wasn’t going to be enough.

This morning after breakfast, we headed back to the room. On the way, we passed a maid cart in the hallway. It’s driver was in one of the rooms, doing what maids do. Low and behold, there was a case of water on the bottom of her cart. Her abandoned, unwatched cart. The case was nearly full.

Suddenly, the cart found itself with three less bottles of water. We quickly made for the room and put them into our fridge.

Two minutes later, I made another assault on the maid’s cart. Shortly after, I had doubled our water stash.

So far, this has become a rather fun game. I nabbed one more bottle off another maid’s cart. At our special VIP dinner tonight, I hit up each bar on the way out and landed three more. That leaves us with a surplus for tonight. But I’m not content just yet. Tomorrow, I plan on taking our beach bag on a tour of each of the buildings on the campus (there are at least four different buildings) as I farm for water bottles.

Today’s total was 10 bottles. Tomorrow’s goal: Beat that.

-Written during our vacation in the Dominican Republic

“Why don’t you have a drink in your hand?”

I was greeted with this question by an overweight gentlemen wearing no shirt, a sweater’s worth of back hair, and a cowboy hat. I ran into this woolly mammoth first thing on the morning of our first full day here, in the front lobby.

I searched for a way to subtly remind him that it was only 9:00am (8:00am NJ time) when I realized something very important: He had a point.

And so it came to pass that I did two things this morning. I handed the chef the ingredients I wanted included in my omelette. Then I poured myself a beer.

Maybe I should elaborate a bit on the latter point. When I was young, studious pupil in school, I’d go up to a water fountain and get some water. Years later, I found that cruise ships replaced the concept of a water fountain with a self-serve soft ice cream stand. This morning, I walked past one such stand on the way to the self-serve keg that was positioned a few feet away. After the trio of nine year olds were finished with the tap, it was my turn and I was in business.

If you’re thinking the prospect of a 24 hour self-serve beer tap isn’t as cool as it sounds, trust me, it is. Oh, and don’t feel bad for Meg since she can’t drink; the ice cream station is a pregnant woman’s version of the Holy Grail or my version of, well, a self-serve beer tap.

Later on that day, I returned to our room. We have a small fridge in here that was empty when we first arrived. Not this time. A few bottles of water, some Pepsi, and some 7-Up now magically found residency in our fridge. In addition to them, three 22-ounce Presidente beers sat in proud display.

I wept silently. The magic Beer Fairy had visited. And it was good.

As we were telling people about Meg being pregnant, I was really surprised to see how many people asked if we were going to find out the gender of the baby. The majority wanted to know ahead of time. Brad described it as wanting to open his Christmas presents on Christmas Eve.

Early on, Meg and I both agreed that we didn’t want to know what the baby is. On one hand, it would be easier to plan things out. We could avoid having to a shitload of yellow and green gender-neutral outfits. Then again, we’d just end up with a shitload of blue or pink gender-specific outfits instead, and since current plans have us going the pregnancy route a few more times, it might be more worthwhile to have more neutral clothes.

After talking to so many people who said they’d want to know the gender, we couldn’t help but start to question ourselves. Our curiosity started to get the best of us, and the idea of having to wait another 20 weeks before finding out was starting to drive us insane.

And so, bright and early on Friday morning, we found ourselves sitting half asleep in the doctor’s office awaiting the big 20 week ultrasound.

Actually, that’s not accurate. I was half asleep, watching Good Morning America interview the chick from the crazy bride cutting her hair video. If you haven’t heard of this yet, do a quick google for it. It’s fake, which is pretty obvious when you watch it, but still mildly entertaining. I’ll take the high road and not make a derogatory wedding comment and move on with this post.

Meg, on the other hand, was far from asleep. She was pacing the waiting room uncomfortably. No, she wasn’t nervous. She was full of 32 ounces of water ingested over the course of about 10 minutes. Scientifically speaking, it has something to do with pushing the baby up to where it can be seen. Comically speaking, I thought she was going to piss her pants. I’m getting smart in my old age and tried to distract her from her misery instead of pointing out the obvious humor that third party observers can find in the situation.

They take Meg back to begin but leave me in the waiting room, reassuring me I’ll be able to come in later and see the ultrasound live. I resume my position in my chair and try to angle my head such that I won’t drool all over myself again when I drift off back to sleep.

Somewhere between 5 and 50 minutes pass (yes, I fell asleep again), the nurse hands me a towel to dry the spit off my sweatshirt (yes, I drooled again) and escorts me back to Meg’s room. She’s lying perfectly still on the table. She’s not covered in towels, so I assume they let her go to the bathroom and narrowly avoided a messy situation. Next to her is a big machine with lots of cool buttons. I reach for the ultrasound wand as my mind rapidly debates what I’m going to use it on first. I had barely settled on my own ass being the first avenue for testing my new found x-ray vision when it’s forcefully taken from me and I’m told to stand in the corner. First they take away the registry scanner and now the ultrasound wand; I am Jay’s inflamed sense of rejection.

Meg and I looked at each other with an uneasy glance. We both realized that neither of us had the kind of conviction in not finding out what the baby is that we expected to. The nurse slides around the wand and settles in on a view that made it pretty obvious what the baby was.

It’s a monkey. And it’s giving me the finger.

Look at the picture [Update: I need to re-add the picture to this entry, which will make it a lot funnier]. Round head, round pushed out lips… there’s even a white mark on the side that looks like a monkey’s ear. As for the hand, it’s either picking its nose or giving me the finger. Either way, you don’t need a DNA test to prove I’m the father.

I originally got yelled at for calling the kid a monkey. However, the term was quickly accepted by Meg, and now we use “the monkey” as a nice, gender-neutral substitute for saying “him” or “her”. The nurse didn’t even bother to look for the gender, since we didn’t ask her to. So at least it’s not like some random doctor knows; no one does, and that makes us feel a bit better.

The ultrasound itself is amazing. You can see the rib cage, each little vertebrae on the spine, and all four chambers of the heart. They apparently counted fingers and toes before I got in there.

“There’s the head. And there are the feet.”

The feet and head were touching. Great, the kid is going to be a porn star.

“There’s the rump.”
“The kid has a nice ass, just like the father.”

I even got a blank stare from the nurse who just happened to be walking by the door at the time. Not that I’m trying, but I seem to have an innate ability to make everyone baby-related that we come in contact with feel awkward. Meg realized that after dealing with me, there’s very little the child could say in public that would prove embarrassing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% happy that everything is going well and the baby is healthy. Though if there were any sort of issue, such as not being able to see clearly, we’d get to go back and do it again. I have to admit, it would have been cool to have to go back. But as of right now, this is the last time we get to see the kid until it’s actually born.

The rest of the pictures that we got to keep are in the gallery.