"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Was that a dream?

Here I sit, on the couch by my sweet Alex.  If I wasn’t crazy itchy and crispy from a sunburn then I might not believe that this last week was real.  It almost seems like a dream. 

I have a few photos from my phone, but they will really just be proof that we were actually at The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The good photos will arrive on a CD in about a month.  You see, Honeywell had photographers everywhere, taking photos of all events.  We have a few prints from those photographers, but I will anxiously await the arrival of the CD so that I can share them with you all. 

I actually took my laptop with us, but found that I was way to busy enjoying myself to sit down and tell you all about it.  Now, where do I begin?  My instinct is to just jump in and try to cover all the emotions and experiences of the week, but I think that I best stick with the basics right now.  Chances are that as the next few weeks go by I will relive some of our experiences and find other ways to share with you about our time at The Breakers. 

Our flight arrived in PBI airport on Sunday afternoon and we were greeted by an event staffer holding a Honeywell sign.  We waited for our luggage to hit the conveyor belt and it was loaded onto a charter bus for us.  We boarded the bus with the other guests who had arrived and made the 20 minute drive through West Palm Beach to the The Breakers.  Our luggage was delivered to our room while we checked in.  It was lots of fun to roam the grounds because there was so much to take in. 

The Breakers is an AMAZING resort filled with beautiful architecture, bricked pathways, palm trees, exotic gardens, manicured lawns, swimming pools, beach side cafes, long stretches of unbelievably gorgeous beach and blue ocean as far as the eye can see.  

I suppose I should mention that there were open bars everywhere.  I mean, everywhere.  If there was a Honeywell event, there was an open bar.  Multiple open bars scattered everywhere.  I’m not much of a drinker, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I’m a huge fan of whiskey sours.  Yum. 

Sunday night there was a reception and dinner on the pool deck.  Fancy buffets, open bars, cigar rollers, caricature artists, exotic birds and lots of people… all within a stone’s throw to the ocean. 

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Again, I wish I had some of the photographers photos to share with you, but these will have to suffice for now. 

As the first evening went on, Drew and I snuck down to the beach and sat under the stars.  The waves rolled in, the night was beautiful and it was simply wonderful.  When we went back to our room we found that the bed had been turned down and a box of chocolates had been left on the pillow. 

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Monday morning was the business meeting.  The ballroom was set up for the ACS president to speak and I felt truly and honestly proud of my husband.  ACS is a division of Honeywell and from that division approximately 250 salesmen were given the honor of the president’s club.  According to the given statistics, that means that my Drew is among the top 2%.  I really felt such pride in how hard he was worked and to be sitting among the people in that room.  GO Drew!  After the business matters, Jean-Michel Cousteau was the guest speaker.  Yes, that would be the son of the famous Jacques Cousteau.  He spoke for an hour about his life, his passion, the ocean and our responsibility to know, appreciate and care for the ocean.  He was quite interesting.  Let me tell you one thing, it is terribly difficult for me to sit still for a 2 hour meeting.  I guess I don’t ever really sit still that long and to have to sit politely and pay attention for 2 hours was a challenge!  The biggest incentive was that I knew that was the only real business for the entire week. 

After the meeting we were free.  Beach day! 

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Want to know how cool I am?  Cool enough to lay on the beach, people watch, read a book, bask in the sun, play in the ocean and… kayak!  Oh, yes.  This girl went kayaking in the Atlantic ocean!  A big goal of mine for this trip was to step out of my comfort zone.  Okay, the entire trip was out of my comfort zone, but I was ready to push myself.  I’m not going to lie, I really really enjoyed the kayaking.  A lot.  It was amazing! 

Back to the room, showered and dressed up for our formal evening. 

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I was being silly, but I have to post this one so you can see my super hot (and more suited for sitting than walking) high heels. 

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How hot is he? 

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And as a pair? 

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The formal night was fun, mainly for the people watching and fancy food.  And the bar.  Whiskey sour, please.  When we finally went back to the room, we found this award waiting. 

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Yeah, my husband is a rock star. 

Tuesday… catamaran.  Big catamaran.  It was about 1500 square feet and tons of fun.  We lathered each other up in sunscreen, boarded the bus, enjoyed the sights on the way to Sailfish Marina and then got on the boat. 

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We sailed out into the ocean for about an hour and a half, then anchored in the inter coastal and… went snorkeling.  Oh yes, out of Mandy’s comfort zone again.  I was more than willing to get in the water, less than willing to put on the mask and snorkel.  Once I tried it (to which Drew laughed hysterically), I found that the fear of not being able to breath was outweighed by the amazing sights in the artificial reef.  Oh, how I wish I had a camera with me out there.  I really and truly enjoyed it.  Since I didn’t have a camera to prove I was out there, I took a picture of the snorkeling gear once we were back on board.  You will just have to believe me that I actually used that equipment! 

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We were served lunch and drinks, enjoyed the sights and then finally docked to head back to the resort.  Perhaps (or definitely) we should have reapplied sun screen while we were on the water.  Ouch. 

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That night we had dinner at a ridiculously fancy Italian restaurant with about 100 other people.  It was a trick.  In Arkansas, Italian food is noodles.  At Trivani in West Palm Beach it was four courses of interesting concoctions served by waiters in tuxedos who topped off your wine glass every time you took a sip!  I’m not going to lie, I was wishing for some buffalo wings and iced tea.  As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one.  Even so, it was a pretty awesome experience. 

Back in the room… a chocolate replica of The Breakers resort. 

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Wednesday was spa day.  I was miserably suffering through my sun burn and, while he didn’t whine like I did, Drew was suffering, too.  We had lunch outside at a beach cafe and then headed for our massages.  I was nervous about it, but my masseuse was very helpful.  She sprayed something on my burn and was mindful of my burn during the massage.  It was lovely and relaxing.  We spent the rest of the day just taking it easy and resolving to schedule our events differently if we ever have the privilege to go back to The Breakers… more beach time and less sun burn. 

That night was Casino night.  Another fancy dinner and the most delicious lobster mac & cheese that you can imagine.  Oh, there might have also been a couple of whiskey sours involved.  Drew played cards and I played the part of the supportive wife (I’m not much for poker).  At the end of the evening we cashed in our chips for raffle tickets, in hopes of winning one of the iPads in the stash of goodies.  We didn’t win, but it was still fun. 

Back in the room, we found Swarovski crystal sea horses and a note.  

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Thursday morning we had breakfast in the ballroom, as usual, checked out of our room and then spent the next couple of hours sitting on one of the patios and soaking up the last few moments of the experience before the bus took us to the airport. 

So, there are the basics.  We had an amazing time and it’s sort of depressing to be back in the dreary cool weather of Northwest Arkansas in April.  Rain, sun, wind, clouds, drizzle, 70 degrees, 30 degrees?  It’s anybody’s guess what the weather will be like here today, tomorrow or the next day.  I am, however, very happy to be back here with Alex.  Last night I dreamed about being back in Florida… then I woke up in Arkansas.  Ah, reality. 

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