Tuesday, June 27, 2006

10 Second Rule

I've been on a roll this week!

Tonight for dinner, I chose Longhorn Steakhouse. Hey, I'm on an expense account. I believe my company needs to feed me well since they are making me be away from home.

So, picture this. I just started a new book, which is awesome by the way. Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag. But I digress. I have a good book, I have a raspberry margarita, which by the way is absolutely awesome, and I just ordered a steak. I am enjoying my ceasar salad, reading my book when the manager comes up to me. Here is the conversation that took place:

Manager: Hi, ma'am. I'm sorry to tell you, but we just dropped your steak on the floor.
Me: I don't want that one anymore.
Manager: Well . . . we didn't plan on serving it to you!
Me: Good! Because I really don't want that one.
Manager: I assure you, we'll cook you another steak. I'm just here to inform you that it will take another eight minutes for your dinner to come out.
Me: That's ok, as long as I don't have to eat the one off of the floor.
Manager: Would you like another raspberry margarita while you wait?
Me: Yes, please.

I didn't taste any sludge off of the floor, so I do think they made me a new one. At least that's the story I'm gonna stick with!

Did I mention that the raspberry margarita was really, really good?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cry Baby

You know, today has been one of those days.

It’s Monday so I was flying back to Topeka Kansas. I know Monday morning lines at the airport are jam packed with people, so I asked Ron if we could leave a little earlier than we did last week. I wanted to make sure I had enough time.

We left the house as I requested at 6:15 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. flight. Good thing I gave myself that extra 15 minutes as the road we take into the airport from the highway was closed due to construction. The detour took us way around and the traffic was thick with other travelers wondering what the heck happened to their commute.

When traveling for work, I carry my laptop onto the plane and check one bag of luggage. So it doesn’t matter if I check in on line or at the airport, since I’m checking a bag, I have to get in some line. Here is where I actually had a bright spot to my day. Ron drops me off right at the door to ticketing counter for Continental (what a great guy he is!). I looked in the door and there had to be 200 people in the zig zag line to get to the ticketing counter at Continental. That drives me crazy being in the middle of that! I see the curbside skycaps only have a few customers, so I decide to wait outside. Immediately, one of the skycaps calls me over.

In 30 seconds, he gives me my boarding pass and takes my luggage. People! Use the curbside skycaps! They are awesome! They saved me at least ½ hour waiting in that long ass line inside. They did in 30 seconds what 10 agents working the counters inside can’t do in ½ hour. Tip a couple of bucks and thank the heavens you’re done with this part. From here, it’s right on to the security line.

That part wasn’t so bad. It took me maybe 20 minutes to get through there, then the long walk to the “D” concourse for my flight. I was in plenty of time to make sure I had time to pee before my flight and even time to sit calmly and try to relax before my flight. All was going according to plan when suddenly . . . . a DOG in the concourse . . . walking to MY gate. Oh heavens, the woman with the dog was talking to the gate agent right by the gate MY flight was leaving from. This can’t be.

The dog looks to me like it’s a mutt of some sort, black and white and hairy, standing about knee high. The woman with the dog finishes talking to the gate agent and continues on to the ladies room. What do I do? I call Ron! I am half frantic about the dog being on my flight. He tries to calm me, but it wasn’t working too well. I saw no dog carrier or crate anywhere around. I had a feeling this dog was going to be loose in the plane.

I hang up with Ron and walk over to the gate agent. I ask about the dog and if it’s planning on being on my flight. She said yes, the dog was an aide dog, a hearing dog to be exact, and it would be traveling on my flight. I guess the look on my face made her question first if I was ok. I answered with a confident “not really” before the flood gate of tears started. She also tried to calm me and asked if I was worried because I was allergic. I replied no, I was just terrified. I believe that Continental has the best staff out there working for them, as I’ve written about them before, and this lady was no exception. She made sure that my seat and the dog’s seat weren’t close to each other. (I was in the back of the plane and the dog was in the front. Hmm.) She said she would make sure I got on the plane before the dog so that I wouldn’t have to walk by it. I agreed that would probably work. If I don’t have to see it, I should be ok.

They were getting ready to board the plane and I was allowed to be the FIRST person on the plane! Go me! Even before the Elite Travelers. Yes, being a cry baby does have its perks. I have been bumped up to the status of “persons requiring extra assistance down the jet way”. Yes, that’s me.

So I’m on the plane, strapped in, and now just have crashing to worry about. I don’t see the dog get on, and I don’t see the dog on the plane. I was going to be ok.

My next excitement was after I picked up my car rental, it really is an easy drive normally here to Topeka. It’s just over an hour’s drive, but almost a straight shot. I thought even I couldn’t get lost. Um, once again, I was wrong. I missed a turn. I was lost. Go figure. So, my drive ended up taking just over two hours instead of one. I guess it could have been worse. I did find my way back so all is well.

You’d think that would be the end of it, wouldn’t you? HA! I have one more. I finally find my way and pull into the parking lot. My thoughts are on making sure I grab my wallet out of the front seat and then go to the trunk to get my laptop bag. Hey! Something is wrong! I can’t get the key out of the ignition. Heck, I can’t make the key turn all the way to the “locked” position.

I remember having cars that had secret buttons you had to push in order to get the keys out. I thought maybe this was one of those. I tried pushing and pulling and twisting everything I could see. I did figure out that I can make the steering wheel go up and down but I still can’t get the key out of the ignition. Crap. I wasted 10 minutes out there before I finally just called Enterprise. I told them who I was and that I had just rented a car there this morning. I even told them the car I had was a Mazda 3. Then I dropped the bombshell that I was too much of an idiot to get the key out of the ignition. His response? “Ma’am, is the car is park?” He makes it sound so easy. Of COURSE the car is . . . . not . . . . in park. Dammit. My only excuse I could offer him is that I drive a standard so there IS no park on them. He said “that’s ok, ma’am. It happens all the time.”


I am afraid. When I get out of work, I am not going to go out to dinner or go shopping or anything else. I think it is right to the hotel for me and have something delivered for dinner. I think I’ll be much safer that way.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bad News/Good News/Weird News

The bad news is that our router went kaput.

Before you start thinking that I have advanced in my technical knowledge, the only reason I knew there was a problem was because I couldn't play Pogo when I got home Friday night. That did not make me happy. Poor Ron was on a mission to get my Pogo working.

Seems neither of our PCs could connect to the internet. Unplugging and rebooting everything would get us back online, but it would only last for about a minute. Then Ron took the router out of the equation and plugged the blue cord directly into a PC and everything worked fine. His diagnosis? Our router was dead.

My suggestion to run to K-mart at 11:00 p.m. was shot down with an alternate suggestion of buying a new router on Saturday. Well, it wasn't my vote but since I wouldn't know what to do with one if I held it in my hand, he won. Today, he did go buy us a router.

The good news is that since he had to buy a new router, Ron decided to upgrade us to wireless!! Ok, almost everyone I know is already on to this technology. But for me, this is just too much to hope for to be able to play Pogo downstairs! So, Ron hooked everything up and put the wireless card in his laptop and we were down in the diningroom surfing the net. Next step is to buy a wireless card for my laptop. Once that's done . . .

The weird news - a long time ago, my nephew Mike was boasting about sitting in the bathroom and still being able to surf the net. Well, that visual (heaven help me) has been stuck in my head ever since.

So Mike, beware. I'm taking one of the laptops into the bathroom and the next time I'm "getting busy", I'm sending you an e-mail giving you the play by play! One bad visual deserves another!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

That's Just Wrong, Pages 4 and 5

Yesterday was a bonus day. I was witness to not one but TWO valid entries into my future book titled "That's Just Wrong".

Page 4 - As I was driving back to the Kansas City Airport yesterday to come home, I passed a billboard. The billboard said: "Beef - it's what's for dinner". Where was this billboard? Next to a very large pasture....filled with cows. Think about it. That's just wrong!

Page 5 - I had time at the airport before my flight to grab lunch. Space in the airport is at a premium. They have a very small eating area next to this sandwich shop where they try to fit 20 people into a spot for six. There is no table for one, if you want to sit, you find an empty chair and sit.

As soon as one person stands up, another is right there to sit in that spot. There is no time to clean the tables so there are a lot of crumbs on the table. Not such a big deal, they wipe off with a napkin.

I was sitting there, enjoying my overpriced sandwich when a lady decides to sit across from me. She looked at the table and said "This table is filthy" and decided that she didn't want to put her sandwich on a "filthy" table (the sandwiches are fully wrapped and then in a bag) so she placed her lunch on the chair while she wiped a cleaner spot on the table. Now think about this. She didn't want to put her sandwich on a table where there are a few crumbs, instead opting to put her sandwich on a chair that has been covered by various asses throughout the day. C'mon lady, that's just wrong.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where's The Orkin Man When I Need Him?

Ok, this was not the best start to a day.

I’ve written previously that I have what I thought was an above average hotel room. When you walk in the door, you walk down a little hallway, maybe 10 feet long. Then, on the left is a little changing room with the sink, and closet. Beyond that is the bathroom with a toilet and shower.

Instead of turning left into that area, if you go straight into the room, there is a king sized bed on the left, a TV and dresser on the right. Farther in are a couch and coffee table on the left and a desk and chair on the right.

The back wall beyond all that is a sliding glass door that goes out onto a little patio that has two chairs and a table.

Like I said, I thought it was a bit above average. No refrigerator and no microwave, no free continental breakfast, but still not bad.

That’s what I thought . . . until this morning.

I had just finished dressing and had thrown my laptop bag over my shoulder and was ready to go into the hallway to the closet where my shoes spent the night. From there, I am out the door.

When suddenly . . .

I saw . . .

An uninvited guest in my room.

Yes, an uninvited and most unwanted guest in my room.

There was a cockroach on the floor in that hallway.

What’s a girl to do? He’s between me and my shoes. I don’t have my .357 on me, and worst of all, Ron is 700 miles away! I can’t jump over it (it may get me) I can't go out the other way because there IS no other way. I am stuck.

I grabbed my book and started to try to smash it. I say try because it took quite a few hits with a hardback book just to get it to slow down. Holy cripes this thing was ugly. Not the biggest one I’ve ever seen, this one was probably just an inch or so long. But that doesn’t matter. A freakin’ roach is a freakin’ roach. UGH.

I finally incapacitated it enough to be able to take a half of a tissue box, pick it up and flush it down the toilet. I flushed three times, just to make sure. Then I scrubbed my hands with hot soup and water a bunch of times and even had to soap up a rag and try to clean off the cooties from my book. Thank goodness it’s a library book! (Think about THAT next time you get a book from the library!) Now I’m shaking and want nothing more than to just go home. Now I’m afraid of my laptop bag, I’m afraid of my luggage bag, I was even afraid to put my shoes on. Ewww. How many more of his buddies were around?

As calmly as I could, I left my room, locked the door and headed down the elevator to the lobby. Very calmly and as quietly as I could so as not to disturb the breakfast eaters down there, I explained that I had just come from room 316 where I just had the misfortune of having to kill a roach. I requested that the room please be sprayed with something before I come back tonight.

The girl truly looked shocked that I said roach. She even asked if I was sure. Um, I think you only need to see one of those damn things in a lifetime to never forget what a roach looks like. Yes, I was sure. I should have brought my half box of tissue paper downstairs for her to see instead of flushing it. Ugh again.

She assured me that my room would be sprayed today. As compensation, she even gave me a coupon for a free breakfast.

Hmm. Kill a roach = free breakfast. Not even close.

Not a good start to the day. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket on my way back. After that start, the cosmos owe me one!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm Baaack, Part 2

I did forget one thing that happened yesterday that I meant to write in the last blog.

While I had little problems finding my way here from the airport, and from here to the hotel and back also was no problem, I did have problems finding my way through the building here.

Let me start by saying that this is the largest building I’ve ever worked in. Not stories wise, but square footage per floor wise. It’s only two stories high but jiminy crickets, it’s a long walk from the front door to where my office is.

And, the building is full of security. I pass security walking in, I have to show my badge everywhere. I went through two different badges yesterday while they determined what level of a security risk I am. HA! Anyway, it was decided that I had to fill out a form, include my next of kin, and it went out for approval. Today I will be taking a mugshot and getting a badge that shows that said mugshot for all to see. Am I lucky or what!

When I walked in yesterday, I was escorted up to my office. While we went to introduce me to security on work on the appropriate badges, I was escorted. I knew how to find the bathroom and the coffee room all by myself, but beyond that, I didn’t have a clue. When I went to leave last night, of course, I got lost. I found the correct stair well to go down to the first floor, but after that I was lost. I had to ask directions twice to find the dang front door! I really suck at directions!

By the time I found the front door, I was a little flustered. I was signing out at security and sort of jokingly asked the guard if there were any emergency buttons around the building that I could push next time I got lost leaving the building. He asked if I seriously got lost and I said YES! I even told him that I had to ask for help twice getting out of here!

He said the best he could do was “watch out for me”. I thought for sure a company e-mail may have gone through last night warning of a crazy auditor on the loose.

But I was wrong. When I got here this morning, I signed in and the security guard “helped” me find my way back here to my office! No one but me do these kinds of things happen to. So, I got to be escorted to my office this morning, and I was given his extension if I would like an escort back out of here tonight. He said he would come to my office and walk me out.

Now THAT’S service!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm Baaack!

Here I am, back in Topeka Kansas. I know y'all are jealous! Yes, I am in Topeka Kansas.

On the bad side - Kansas is flat, flat, flat. And, it's dang hot. I bet it got up to a million degrees today, or at least that's what it felt like.

On the good side - Kansans (is that a word?) are really nice people. People let you over in traffic. In the store, people held doors open and people took turns going down an aisle instead of pushing their way through. Nice change.

Starting at the beginning of today, poor Ron dragged his butt out of bed to take me to the airport at 6:30 a.m. I really figured that a Tuesday morning wouldn't be like a Monday morning at the airport. Wow, was I wrong! The airport was absolutely packed. Luckily I got through in time. It didn't matter much as my flight was delayed an hour this morning. I hate that part.

We finally took off headed for Kansas City Missouri. It's a two hour flight which is a long time to keep my butt plastered in a hard uncomfortable seat. (I know Mike, you have no sympathy for me on that one!) I slept through the first hour of the flight but the second hour the pilot was doing everything he could to keep me awake. The plane was rocking and rolling. We hit some really bad storms coming in here, but we landed safely anyway.

I found the rental car place ok and had them verify the directions I had to the highway. I was good to go. I found my audit site with little trouble! Now THAT never happens!

So, I worked hard today, never got to take a lunch, so I made sure I had a nice steak dinner tonight! Yes, I do love an expense account.

I have an above average hotel room. I have my work space all set up here, my clothes are ironed and in the closet. I can't be any more ready than this.

For now, it's been a long day and I'm pooped. If it wasn't a million degrees outside, I'd go sit out on my balcony and enjoy the night air. Instead I'm turning up the a/c, brushing my teeth and heading to bed.

This is my exciting life.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Some Days I Gotta Sing

This is another one of my secrets. I love to sing.

My house has all hard wood floors. With no carpeting in here, there are great accoustics through the house when you sing. I have a few favorite songs I like to belt out as I walk through the house. The theme song to Gilligan's Island is one favorite, probably tied with the Oscar Meyer weiner song.

Heaven help Ron, he never complains when I sing. He may laugh, but he never complains. By the way, did I mention that I have absolutely no talent whatsoever when it comes to singing? I couldn't buy an on-key note if my life depended on it.

Just a few minutes ago, I was walking through the house singing the Oscar Meyer weiner song, loudly. "OH I WISH I WERE AN OSCAR MEYER WEINER . . . THAT IS WHAT I'D TRULY LIKE TO BE EE EEEEE." I probably got done with that much of the song when this conversation took place in our home:

me: wow. how come not one of those notes could be on key?
ron: hmm. i was wondering the same thing.


Just for that, there will be an encore performance in about 10 minutes!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


For those that don't know, I drive a silver 2004 Honda Accord. It's a dime a dozen, common car.

Tonight, when I walked off site at the end of the work day, I was walking out with one of the ladies that works there. We were chatting a bit about what a nice day it was, etc. I knew the area in which I parked my car, and I walked over to that area. When I walked up to "my" car, I noticed a HUGE crack in the windshield. I went OFF. WHO could have cracked my windshield? HOW did it happen? WHY didn't anyone say anything? WHY do these things always happen to me?

Then I noticed . . .

The car I was yelling about . . .

Was a silver Toyota.


My car was down a few more spaces.

At first the lady that I walked out with was empathizing with my plight. Then, I couldn't have stopped her from laughing if I tried. There is no way to talk yourself out of a faux pas like that one.

I do like to leave my mark with new people that I meet.

I'm such a bonehead.


Life has been a whirlwind lately.

The roof has finally been completed! Last Friday part of the crew was onsite with the third order of material to finally finish the job. The good news is that it looks great. The bad news is that the dormers really stick out now showing that they need work. We need three new windows in the dormers and then the dormers need new siding to match the rest of the house. Ugh, it never ends. Hopefully by the time I post this, I will have pictures of the house with my new roof. If not, they will follow soon.

We have both been really busy with work. I know I pick on Ron for getting paid a lot of money to sit and play Pogo some days, but in truth, when he does work, he really works. Not the run of the mill service calls, but the getting called out at 2:30 a.m. to have to go to work, or the phone calls that go from noon to midnight as he’s trying to talk another customer engineer through the process of trying to fix a piece of equipment in a different state and even in a different time zone. That’s the hardest. Two o’clock in the afternoon for some people is dinner time for us. Oh well. Poor guy has had it tough lately. He sure has been making up for some of the easy days he's had.

As for me, I finished the audit that was close to my house that I was working on. Well, at least I finished the on site part of the job. The follow up never seems to end. This week I am helping out on another audit but this is short lived. Next week I am back on the road, probably for five to six weeks. The only good news I have to this part is Ron doesn’t have to take me to the airport at “oh-my-god-o’clock” for this trip. I leave at a much more reasonable time of 9:00 a.m. I can live with that. In case anyone is interested, I am heading to the party state of Kansas for this audit! Yep, no Hawaii or California or Arizona kind of states for me. I get Kansas. Woo Hoo!

If nothing else, I am hoping this Kansas trip kick starts some creative processes in me that will make for some interesting and exciting blogs. I know they can’t all be winners but bathroom humor and restaurant reviews will only take me so far. If I’m traveling, I have a feeling the next six weeks worth of blogs will be filled with stories of getting lost and of fighting with lost luggage or hotel personnel. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jim!

I am a terrible sister. This should have been posted on the proper day of June 6, 2006, not June 12, 2006.

But, I am following the family tradition of being late for important things. So, I’m sorry, Jim. Just because I didn’t post it until now doesn’t mean I don’t still love you.

Personally speaking, I believe we had a good time on Jim’s birthday. He was kind enough to bring Dad to Mike’s house that evening for a little family get together. Mike did the honors on the grill, and really made a feast. We enjoyed steaks, barbeque chicken legs, corn on the cob, grilled onions and mushrooms and an awesome pot of baked beans. A true feast fit for a birthday celebration. Dad thought the chocolate birthday cake was the best. I tried to take credit for it, but I think everyone knows my lack of culinary skill so other than Dad, no one bought that idea.

It was really a great evening. We got to sit outside in Mike’s yard and enjoy the weather, the food and all of the visiting wildlife that comes to visit the various feeders. The best part was being able to spend it together. We couldn’t have asked for much more.

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Welcome To The Family!

Welcome to the family, baby Grady Matthew! He is joining his big brother Evan and parents Mike and Jenny!

Grady was born this afternoon at a whopping 7lbs 9ozs. Mom and baby are doing fine!

Welcome to the family, Grady!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I am Worthless

It is now 4:51 a.m. Saturday morning. I still haven't been to bed yet.

My mind was still in overdrive when it was bedtime, so I was having trouble getting sleepy. I thought maybe a nice hot shower would relax me. I showered, crawled into bed and just ended up tossing and turning and tossing and turning. Poor Ron deserved a little better than that, so I thought I'd get up and go downstairs to try to relax a bit. I watched TV awhile and about 2:00 a.m. I was feeling like I could try again.

Back up the stairs (stopping to notice a HUGE spider web on the outside of the window over the steps!) and I curled up in bed. I was feeling ok, feeling like I was relaxing and maybe just at the verge of drifting to sleep. Then Ron's phone went off. He was called in to work. Grrr. Poor guy didn't get enough sleep yet and he has to get up, get dressed and is out the door.

Now I'm all alone.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my alone time. Some times, I crave it. However, 2:30 a.m. is NOT the time to be enjoying alone time. I thought if I turned the TV on in the bedroom, I could lay there and watch TV and drift off to sleep. No such luck. As if my mind wasn't busy with enough bad thoughts, now I'm thinking of the spider that lives in that web outside of the window on the steps. Then, I start to think . . . "what was that?? Was that the door opening downstairs?" Yes, I laid there, even with the TV on, hearing all real and imagined noises this house was making. I quit fighting it.

No, I'm not going downstairs to check out the noises. But I did come in here and put the TV on and started to play Pogo. What's a girl to do.

I was supposed to have an eye appointment at 9:00 a.m. I just called and left a message that I had an emergency and that I wasn't going to be able to keep my appointment. I don't think by 9:00 a.m. I'll be able to pry my eyes open with a crowbar.

Now, here I sit. Not awake, not asleep, afraid of the sounds of the house and the spider outside the window. The damn birds are singing but it's still dark outside.

I need one of two things. I need Ron to get home so I can feel safe again and go back to bed. Or, I need the sun to come up so that most of my monsters will go away and I can go to bed. Dang, I need to go to bed.