Honeymoon Kidnapping: A Tale as Old as Time

Today (9/9) my wife and I celebrate 5 remarkable years of wedded bliss.  I know for a fact that many of you have can coozy’s from our wedding that have the date right on there, yet I haven’t heard from many of you.  Weird.  But that’s okay, cause what I’d like to do is tell a story about our honeymoon.  The honeymoon in which my wife was kidnapped.

Ours was not terribly different from any other typical honeymoon; tropical, alcohol soaked tourism.  Jaimee and I spent time in a little tourist town in Costa Rica called Tamarindo and some time at a resort not too far from there as well.  One of the very best experiences I can say I have had was flying from tree to tree through the Costa Rican jungle on zip lines.  These can be found in the states now, as near to the Dayton area as Hocking HIlls, and from what I hear it’s pretty cool, but I can’t imagine it being any better than what we had in Central America.

It was twice that we decided to go on this type of excursion.  Before we left the States, Jaimee was apprehensive about this, but a friend of ours had done it and convinced her that a trip to Costa Rica without the zip lines wasn’t complete.  Frankly, I was very gung-ho about it, me being the adventurous sort, as you probably know.  In my mind’s eye I’d already pictured myself swaggering over to the line, grabbing it with one hand, my free arm wrapping itself around my lady and swinging off into the sunset.  I was swinging through the jungle with all the grace and animal magnetism of Johnny Weissmuller (look him up).

Instead, I was the guy who may have been a little too heavy, wearing a helmet that was a little too small, who barely had the trust of the line to hold him up as he scuttled from tree to tree the first three lines.  Graceful, I was not.  You wear these big hulking gloves, the only thing that keeps you from crashing into the tree a la George of the Jungle (it only happened to me once).  The gloves have large swathes of padding across the palm, spanning the area between the thumb and fingers.  When you take off from your platform, you have to keep one hand on your harness and the other on the line behind you.  To slow down, you pull down on the line behind you.  This is typically done as you approach the next landing area but could also be employed if you find yourself screaming down the line at an crazy scary pace (not that I’d know about that).

As I said, we did this type of thing twice.  By the end of the first one, we really loved it.  As I mentioned earlier, it hadn’t quite made it to the US yet.  Our guide told us that it was due to strict liability issues and the prohibitive cost of insurance.  With that in mind, we felt we should take advantage and go again.  This time was better in two ways.  First, we were already pros, obviously.  Second, we were in a smaller, private group.  This was significant because our “guide” was pretty loose on the rules.  For example, we came to a line that was about 1000 feet long, and when he sent Jaimee hurtling through the air he looked at me and the three others and said “watch this”.  He grabbed the line and started shaking it up and down.  You could hear Jaimee scream as the minor tremors reached her.  When he sent me down he did the same thing and let me tell you, those “minor tremors” turn into some large stomach churning ups and downs at about 700 feet away.  This dude also allowed Jaimee to turn her harness around, enabling her to go one stretch like Superman; hanging from the middle of her back, arms outstretched like she was flying.  I was too fat.

So, the rest of our days were really spent drinking and lounging around the pool.  It may not shock you to learn that we took advantage of the all inclusive portion of our stay.  On the Saturday of our trip I really wanted to watch some college football.  I was at the time working towards my MBA and had some homework to wrap up, so I stayed in the room that morning until it was done, at which time I turned on the TV and scoured the channels in search of the Ohio State game.  Successfully identifying the Costa Rican channel for ESPN, I marched down to the pool, armed with this knowledge and planted myself at the pool bar.  Instructing the bartender in my best broken espanol to get the television to ESPN, I was fortunate enough to be getting the New York feed, which ran the Ohio State game.  They were playing Penn State and that’s about all I remember.

My memory is spotty, I suspect because the Buckeyes played well, as every time they made a great play, I helped myself to a shot of tequila.  I’d say I used the same discretion in giving myself a shot as Tressel did giving out Buckeye stickers. For example, tackle for loss?  Shot.  Punt inside the 20?  Shot.  Don’t fall into the pool?  Shot.  You get the idea.  By the end of the third quarter I was smashed, trying to explain to a Venezuelan man who had never before seen American football, the rules of football.  Now, dead sober, think about how you would describe the rules of football to someone who had never ever seen it before.  Pretty tough, right?  Now imagine being smoked on beer and tequila and trying it with someone who barely speaks English.  If only someone had recorded that conversation.

At the conclusion of this “conversation”, a member of the staff helped me to my room.  We were set to leave the next morning, bright and early to return home, our resort transportation scheduled to take us to the airport at 6:30 or so the following morning.  It was kickoff Sunday in the NFL, so naturally I had my Bengals jersey laid out and ready to go.  It wasn’t until I woke up at 6 that all hell broke loose.

I woke up and realized it was time to go.  The shuttle was going to pick us up…any minute, really.  I bounced up and got my clothes on, Bengals jersey for the Sunday contest I was hoping to be able to watch during our layover in Houston.  I realized, very quickly, that Jaimee wasn’t there.  Not in the bathroom, not on the balcony, not outside our room.  Nowhere.  Frantic I tried looking everywhere I could.  Her clothes were still there, her passport still stowed away securely in the safe.  I couldn’t make any sense of it.

I had to call security.  Scared out of my mind, I called resort security to help me find my wife.  They rushed to our villa and I explained to them that our plane was to leave in a little more than an hour and my wife was missing.  Lots of people were looking, but no one had any idea.  It wasn’t long, however, before Jaimee came strolling up with the other couple we had befriended.  Turns out Jaimee had been down at the pool with these people.  But what the hell?  Why would she be down there so early?  It was 6pm…on Saturday.

So there you have it.  5 years ago (and a week or two, I guess), I got drunk and put to bed only to wake up and believe my wife had been taken.  It’s legit, too.  I had my Bengals jersey on and everything.  100% thought Jaimee was missing.  Scariest day of my life (to that point, anyway).  Every day since then has been a blessing, seeing as how I almost lost her.

And its with this story that I’d like to say how every day seems to bring a new adventure with our marriage and every day I hope when I wake up she’s still there.  We’ve tackled restaurants, work, children, and home improvements.  Each time we come out stronger, closer, and usually with a story to tell.  Next week we leave for Jamaica to celebrate the anniversary properly.  It’s likely that we’ll have more to share, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if every morning I wake up with her at my side.

I love you Jaimee.

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