Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mexican Honeymoon Memories

Well, our honeymoon to Mexico is officially behind us, but we have some incredible pictures and memories of our trip. Most of all, I think we stumbled upon many new insights on this 10-day experience of sun and fun. Here are just a few of our favorites:

1. Mike loves taking on the role of "cultural liaison" for the Roltgen family, but he is still working on honing his skills. I was just about ready to fire him when he secured a "taxi ride" for us in an unmarked SUV from a guy who looked like he could have been a Mexican drug lord in a former or current life.

2. The response "MUCHOS GRANDE" is not the appropriate answer to the question, "COMO ESTA?" You will get made fun of by Spanish-speaking hotel employees!

3. Before swimming in a particular cenote (which we learned is not pronounced "C-note"), we sought "permission" by attending a "Mayan purification ceremony." The four-year-old in our party threw up all over the ceremony area because the incense stunk! I think the Mayan medicine man was "cleansing" the area for hours after we left :) All you could see was a smoke cloud in the jungle over the ceremony area.

4. The Mayan medicine man predicted Mike and I will have 12 children. His exact words were, "Cheaper by the dozen, no?" GOOD LORD!

5. The ruins and stories of Chichen Itza were amazing. I can't even begin to describe the mathematical and logical genius behind the largest temple. Mike was fascinated and plans to bore his students with the information :) And somehow, our guide had a way of making the history of "human sacrifices" seem so ritualistic and embedded in the culture that it was hard to remember the atrocity of the entire situation. I definitely want to see Tulum and Coba on our next adventure!

6. Feeding the chinchillas outside your hotel room results in the entire chinchilla family stalking your balcony area for the remainder of the trip.

7. Mike is an incredible barterer, but he makes me want to disappear into the ground when he starts haggling! His general "rules of the road" are (a) never pay more than a third of the price they are asking, (b) walk away to prove you are serious about your price, (c) always have a digital watch from Walmart as a trading option, and (d) don't involve Tiff in any of the negotiations.

8. Cab, van, and bus drivers in Mexico seem to be either unaware of speed limits or it simply does not matter. They also love driving as fast as possible until about 3 feet before the speed bumps, screeching to a stop, and then slamming on the gas again. Note: There are speed bumps EVERYWHERE in Mexico...on back roads, highways, hotel lanes, etc.

9. There is no place like home! I think I've eaten two pounds of cheese, milk, ice cream, and yogurt today. I love Wisconsin dairy. No goat cheese for this girl!

10. I love love love love love my husband. Happy honeymoon sweetie!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Even Charlie Brown Wouldn't Want This Tree!

As you may know, Mike and I were drawn to each other for a number of reasons, but as we find out more and more every day, it was in large part due to our shared sense of frugality. In other words, we are cheap!

I will say, however, that Mike is not only the cheapest person I know, but he also uses statistics and advanced math to calculate even the most insignificant decisions. For example, he has all the local traffic light patterns memorized so he doesn't have to waste time or gas sitting at a red light. If the lights are not in his favor, he will take an alternate route. Of course, listening to his monologue about this traffic light drama is enough to drive a person crazy!

My husband's extreme fragality was particularly evidenced by his selection process of our Christmas tree. The discussion began with a detailed discussion of whether we would be "at home" the required number of days to make a Christmas tree "worth it." I was unaware that you had to physically be in your home a certain number of days staring mindlessly at your tree in order to consider it an appropriate and worthwhile expenditure.

Upon determining that we would be home the required number of days, he proceeded to go to Menard's. For those of you who don't know, Menard's never has been nor will be known for their Christmas trees. We would have been better off going inside the store and buying materials to build a tree!

So Mike spots the "perfect" Christmas tree with the longest needles you've ever seen in your life. Lo and behold, he can't believe his eyes.'s on the "clearance pile!" Mike asks the cashier if there's been some mistake. After all, who wouldn't want such a beauty of a tree? As it turns out, the cashier only stopped short of loading the tree for Mike. That's how happy Menard's was to get rid of our tree! Meanwhile, Mike was BEAMING about his $13 bargain.

Upon arrival at our house, Mike attempted to get the tree into the tree stand. Ironically, it had a little "trunk issue" in the fact that it was a crooked nightmare. Mike asked me to help with measuring, and I politely declined to be part of the entire operation. After a valiant battle, Mike was the winner as the tree made its debut as a stand-alone holiday decoration. As Mike spun the tree, I was waiting to say "STOP" when he got to the "good side." Five rotations later, Mike was still spinning, and we decided to call it a day.

The tree is starting to grow on me as the days go by. The Christmas lights help brighten it up and fill in holes. Most of our ornaments are for short-needle trees, so we have to pick up some of the longer hooks. For right now, the lights are simple and elegant. And best of all, it's our little $13 wonder tree!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Was Clearly Born in the Wrong Century

So the impetus for this blog came on Saturday night at "Game Club" with our Minnesota friends when I mentioned that it was quite clear that I was born in the wrong century. All the evidence points to this conclusion, and those who know me well would probably agree. So in true Dwight Schrute style, I present the FACTS!

FACT: I was literally the last person on Earth to give up my 35mm film camera. I do like my digital camera now, but I predicted years ago what would happen if I made the transition...I've had my camera for over two years now, and I've yet to develop a single photo. I just found my old camera the other day, but I reluctantly dusted it off and placed it gently in the box for Goodwill.

FACT: I have been trying to convince Mike that cell phones are a "want" rather than a "need." We are thinking about going back to the old "land line" or at least downsizing to one phone with a local plan.

FACT: I've always been so impressed that my grandma taught in a one-room school house. One of my nostalgic dreams is to set up a classroom where all different ages of kids are learning and working together. I've read about one-room schoolhouses that still exist in extremely rural areas. Since I don't anticipate a move anytime soon, my thought is to create a one-room schoolhouse in our home. Let's child per year for eight years, and I'll have a small crew of kiddos to teach!

FACT: I REFUSE with everything I have to get a GPS for my car. I understand that I might benefit from it since I have a "little" trouble with north, south, east, and west, but Mike is pushing pretty hard for it. I will stand my ground! What ever happened to map reading? What ever happened to getting lost and figuring it out? What ever happened to avoiding driving into lakes or onto imaginary ferries? No GPS for this girl.

FACT: I want to make my own soap, clothes, and food. I am curious about cloth diapers. I'd like to have a huge garden, so I can make all kinds of yummy food for winter. Staying at home would be my "dream job!"

And so I recognize these facts point to the undeniable truth...I was meant to be born in 1880! I apologize to my "modern friends" for my lack of pop culture knowledge, TV show trivia, and sense of direction, but what can you really expect from a nineteenth century hottie :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's time for BOOT CAMP!

Alright, I admit that I was doing so incredibly well with working out, eating healthy, and all that other good stuff up until the wedding day. And then it was all downhill from there. I hid the Halloween candy from myself once, but I managed to find it. I've been baking up a storm and making my husband very happy, but unfortunately, I've also been sampling the goodies. And to top it all off, tonight I had a #2 from McDonald's. SERIOUSLY!

Well, I'm here to announce to the world (or the six nice people who signed up to read my blog) that the "honeymoon" is officially over! Well, actually, the honeymoon starts in 48 days and counting. So I have until then to kick it in high gear, lose a few extra pounds, tone up, and be ready for the beach. WOO HOO! Let BOOT CAMP begin :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Man Who Makes Me Fire

I am married to the most wonderful man in the entire world. Now I know a lot of people say that, but seriously, Mike really is the MOST wonderful man of them all! Not only is he handsome, sweet, and funny, but he has a heart of gold that is admired by everyone in his life. He pushes me to be a better person every single day. He is the kind of person everyone wants to be around, and I'm the lucky girl who gets to spend forever with him! I can't wait to see him as a dad. He will be the best father our kids could ever ask for. And yes, I'm talking about a houseful of little ones running around. I can't wait!

I do have to mention that my husband was a bit leery of this blog concept. I had to reassure him that it was neither a "why men are stupid" discussion nor a "why did I ever say yes to this" sounding board! Now that's not to say I'll never post a sassy message about how my husband is driving me crazy, but it's certainly not my main purpose or intent.

Sometimes I get frustrated with Mike when he isn't as emotionlly connected as I'd like him to be or when I am looking for more depth and feedback from him. It's those times when he just looks at me with these sad puppy dog eyes as if to say, "I really have no ulterior motives or ill-will toward you. I honestly don't think about these things in the same way you do."

The most recent example of this happened last week. The temperatures have been steadily falling here in Wisconsin as we approach those oh-so-fun winter months. Mike has been excited to get our wood-burning fireplace going. He acts like a kid waiting for Christmas for the the day when it's finally cold enough to start a fire.

And then the "fire starting process" begins. This literally takes 30 minutes from start to the time when a nice fire is burning away. Secretly, I wondered how a person could spend 30 minutes on a task like starting a fire. How hard could it be?

When my sister was visiting last weekend, we decided to take matters into our own hands and try to get the fire started. Well, three newspapers and two catalogs later, we were still sitting with a cold stove and no sign of even a splinter of wood catching fire.

I suddenly realized that not only is starting a fire much more difficult than it looks but that my husband, who may struggle with the emotional side of things, is driven by an almost primal instinct to take care of me by "making fire," and that is his way of "connecting" with me. I felt really bad about my previous complaints. What is taking you so long to get that going? Why are you just sitting there staring at the fire?

Now I view our fireplace in a completely different way. I hugged my husband this past weekend and thanked him for getting the fire going and keeping me warm. A huge grin lit up his face, and I gave myself a few "wife points" for understanding my man. Now as long as I can assure him that fire starting is enough and hunting is not necessary to show his love...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My First Blog

WOW! I can't believe I, of all people, am setting up a blog on a Tuesday evening. Yes, this is the same girl who fought so hard to keep her film camera (despite extensive ridicule) in the digital age, refused to join Facebook for at least a year, and claimed to be "old school" in so many ways. And yet, here I am blogging. What's next? I shudder at the thought!

The first two months of marriage have been a roller coaster, and I feel time slipping away second by second, minute by minute. Ever since the wedding day, I've been overly aware of the passage of time. It's almost like that saying, "Today is the beginning of the rest of your life," and I am accutely conscious of that new reality.

During the father-daughter dance at our wedding, my dad said to me, "Time goes so fast kiddo. It seems like just yesterday that you were our little girl. I can't believe it's been 28 years. Enjoy every minute because before you know it, you'll be my age and wonder where it's all gone." My dad is a man of few words, but he truly spoke from the heart at that moment.

There are several reasons why I wanted to write this blog. The first, and most important, is that I want to remember this first year of marriage for the rest of my life. I want a record of my thoughts, joys, and frustrations to look back on, laugh about, and hopefully share with my children someday. The second is the idea that I have some interesting thoughts to share. Now whether anyone else finds them intriguing is another story entirely, but I've always had this dream of becoming a "writer," and this is probably as close as I'll ever get! Finally, I believe very strongly in the therupeutic power of the written word. I hope by working through issues on my blog, I can continue to be the kind of wife I promised to be in my wedding vows. The words of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib describe the kind of wife I try to be:

She is virtuous, and she is very fortunate; she is noble and tender-hearted. The happy soul-bride is loved by her Husband. She is beautiful, wise, and clever. That soul-bride is the beloved of her Husband Lord.