Monday, November 27, 2006

My Bad. No, Really - My BAD

Some days I have more of Mom in me than I care to admit.

I got back to town on Wednesday afternoon and pretty much did nothing the rest of that day. Then, Thursday morning was spent making sure the house was presentable for company. Mostly, I just had to get rid of all of the mail that has accumulated on the table. I made three piles for the mail. One pile was the bills that had to be paid, one pile was for Ron’s stuff and one pile was for stuff to be thrown out. This worked in theory.

Last night, I sat down to pay all of the bills that were stacked in pile one. Ron was going through pile two to look for his expense check that was on the table so he could get a deposit ready to go into the bank. Poor guy looked and looked and looked. Guess what? No check.

So I helped him look. And we looked. And then we looked some more. His check wasn’t in my pile, it wasn’t in his pile and it wasn’t left on the dining room table. Only other option was that it was pile three – the pile that was thrown out.

Hey, when I pick up the table, I pick up the table.

Sorry, honey. My bad.

Week In Review

I know, I know. I was a slacker last week. With the holiday, there just wasn’t the time to sit and write a whole lot.

I had to travel to the audit site by myself last week. My other two associates decided against the trip for the short week for one reason or another. Other than getting lost heading to the hotel, there wasn’t much to note.

For the record, if the picture on the internet of the hotel is shown from one side of the road, that’s where it should be when I’m driving up to it. The internet showed my hotel to be on the right side of the street. However, when I was driving up and down, I was looking on that side, only to find out later, through a phone call to the hotel nonetheless, that the hotel was actually on the other side of the street. That’s a hard one to admit. And, it’s not like it was a dinky building, either. It was a 20 story high-rise in the middle of downtown (my room was on the 18th floor, thank you very much!) but somehow I still missed it. I shouldn’t be allowed out alone.

The work week went by quickly as I was only away for three days. Then the fun began!

Dad and Jim were nice enough to brave the crazy people and the traffic to head to our house on Thursday. Since they did all of that, I made sure they didn’t have to eat turkey. I know neither of the guys appreciates the delicate tastes of one of my favorite meals, so I decided to make one of their favorite meals. I got a half of a ham and cooked it up. It honestly turned out to be one of the best hams I ever made. A bottle of Bud Lite in with the ham was all it took. And, since we all know how good cabbage goes with ham, as a side dish, we had another family favorite, fried cabbage and noodles. Good eats at our house this holiday for sure.

Friday, Ron and I headed to Erie and had a day of visiting. Maura was in town with her husband for a fast weekend trip so we met up together at one of our old hangouts and had a nice lunch. I’m telling you, a lunch was not enough time to spend with my good friend. I miss her to death and the hug good bye was definitely difficult. But, at least a lunch visit was better than nothing.

After lunch, Ron and I even got to stop in and chit chat with Aunt Mary! She is still cute as the dickens for sure. Aunt Mary hugs are some of the best you can get. Unfortunately, we had just come from lunch with Maura so we had to decline the offer of pie. That’s just wrong on a lot of levels. No one should ever say no to pie. So, I took extra hugs instead and all was well with my world.

After a nice visit with Aunt Mary, we headed to see Dad before we left town. After spending more quality time with Dad and Jim, we finally hit the road home. I’m glad Ron was driving, since I not only hate to drive on good days, but with the holiday traffic mixed in, it would have made me a bit crazy. It was much better to just sit back and try to enjoy the scenery.

Saturday we had the chance to catch up with Mike, Mary Jane and their whole family. I’m telling you, even a month or so goes by in between seeing the kids and I can’t believe how many changes in them all. Evan and Isaiah are getting so big! Poor Isaiah though, had a heck of a cold and sure wasn’t up to par. Grady and Noah were the happy little babies mostly content in just watching all that was going on with everyone else. I even tried to pinch the little ones to get a little commotion going on, but they couldn’t be bothered. Life was good, no use in fussing.

Sunday was spent trying to relax and forget about the world for one day before I headed back to reality.

So it was a very busy weekend. It was great to see all of the family that I don’t get to see very often. That’s the best part of any holiday.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It Wasn't ME!

This is one for the record books! Mainly just because it wasn't ME this time!

Ron at this very moment is cooking us lunch. I'm upstairs watching my DVR and playing on the computer. What do I hear?? The smoke alarm right in the hallway outside of this room! Blaring for all it's worth. This is not a test. This is the real thing!

Ron yells up the steps and says "oops! Lunch is almost ready!" I reached up to the smoke alarm up here and took out the battery and said "I gotta blog about this!" So, here we are.

(Another smoke alarm just started going off! This is a TWO alarm lunch!)

Hey, it's not an unusual thing for a smoke alarm to go off while I'm cooking. Trust me, that's how I usually know the meal is ready to eat. But, in 3-1/2 years that Ron and I have lived together, this is the first time that HE set off the smoke alarms! Way to go honey!

I knew if he hung around me long enough I'd rub off on him. Welcome to my world honey! I'm proud of you!!

p.s. Lunch was turkey mignon, pierogis and corn. It was delicious!! Great job honey!

Friday, November 17, 2006

What's On Your Amazon Wish List?

I am a sucker for Not only do I do most of my Christmas shopping via people’s Amazon Wish Lists (thanks Jenny and JoBeth!) but I’m not afraid to indulge myself with a little Amazon goodness as well.

When the last Harry Potter book came out, I was able to pre order the book through That way, the day the book was released, it was delivered right to my door! It’s hard to beat a deal like that. The only bad thing about that was I was the first person I knew to read that book. There were a lot of exciting things happening in that book. As soon as I finished the book, all I wanted to do was talk about what happened in the book with someone. Anyone! That was hard. But, it was still worth the kick to have the book fresh off the presses without having to wait in any horrible lines.

There are few books I am that passionate about. Another one happens to be a series by Dean Koontz. The first book was named after the title character in the book; Odd Thomas. Yes, the guy’s name was Odd Thomas. The book really took me on a roller coaster ride. I remembered breaking down into absolute sobs at the end of the book. It was gut wrenching. That’s not always a good thing, but I thought the book was just so awesome, it was worth the cry.

Then came the follow up book, Forever Odd. Ron was nice enough to supply me with this one. It didn’t make me cry like the first, but I still thought it was an awesome book. Last night, I just found out that book number three, Brother Odd is due out on November 28th. How could I not know this???

I immediately pointed my browser to and once again pre-ordered the book. I know, I could have put it on my wish list and hoped someone bought it for me. I mean, after all, there is Christmas and my birthday coming up. But why take the chance that everyone would pass up this gem of a gift? No, I couldn’t leave it to chance. I dusted off my credit card and bought it myself. Now to only count the days until November 28th!

So as not to worry anyone, I still have a lot of other items listed on my Amazon Wish List. Please feel free to buy me that plasma flat screen television I have on there, another gem of a gift. I promise to act surprised and not to be disappointed!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

That's Just Wrong, Page 8

I’ve been thinking since yesterday if this story is blog-worthy. I know that not all blogs are winners; you should read some of the ones I’ve passed over on posting! The more I thought about this one however, the more I thought that what happened was just wrong.

There is a really nice cafeteria here on site. Breakfast (bagel and orange juice) can be had for about $1.50 and our lunches run around $3.00 each. And, they’re not bad. There are different areas that you go to for different sorts of items. It just so happened that the bagel I got for breakfast yesterday came from the same station from which I picked up my turkey and swiss sandwich for lunch.

The kid manning the counter at breakfast was talkative. That’s no big deal. I’m guessing he’s somewhere in the area of fresh out of high school. I ordered a bagel yesterday, toasted. While it’s toasting, we were chatting.

Every morning, the receptionist prints out name tags for us. She had our business cards, so our name tags have our name, then our company name, and the words “Audit Specialists” under our company name, which she got from our business cards. They are peal and stick labels that go right on our clothes.

While I’m waiting for my bagel to toast, the guy is reading my name tag. He commented that I’m an audit specialist (big whoop) and he kept saying my name over and over. Ok, I started to get a little freaked out. Finally, the bagel was ready, and I got to walk away.

Lunch time came and I wasn’t that hungry. All I wanted was a sandwich. Hence, why I got back in the same line at that counter, instead of one of the lines for some of the cooked food items. Big mistake. As soon as it was my turn and I got up to the counter, he said “hi, Ann Marie! I remember getting your breakfast for you this morning”! Ok, what do you say to that? It was the most perfectly toasted bagel I ever had, thank you??

While he was slapping together my turkey and swiss, he commented that he remembered my name because he had looked so carefully at my name tag that morning. After all, he can’t just look at a person’s face the whole time, he has to look other places. This guy actually said that! How was I supposed to take that? As an insult that he couldn’t look at my face for the two minutes it took to toast my bagel or as a compliment that he’d rather look at my boob for two minutes??

Either way, that was just wrong.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

See What's Playing

Last Saturday night, Ron and I went out with some friends of ours, David and Edna. We went for dinner and then to see a movie.

The movie was The Prestige. To be honest, this was not a movie I would have picked out, but majority ruled and that’s what we went to see. I am so glad we did! The movie was awesome! I wish I could write reviews more like other people, but I have no clue as to directors, producers, cinematography or anything like that. I know I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. Besides, looking at Hugh Jackman for two and a half hours is just a good thing!

This movie did have its share of twists and turns. Usually, my mind needs a little help grasping things like that. I usually need someone explaining some of the twists and turns before I’m up to speed and able to understand a movie! Sad, but true. However, this time, I GOT IT! I can’t believe it! I never get it. I never guess who done it, and I can never see something obvious coming. But not so this time.

After the movie, Edna and I made a stop in the ladies’ room. We’re standing there, washing our hands, when two other ladies in the room were discussing the movie we just saw and they totally didn’t get it. I know I have a big mouth and generally speaking, can’t keep it shut. They were going back and forth asking each other “why this” or “what was that” and I actually KNEW! So, of course, I had to start spouting off.

The four of us stood in that ladies’ room for what seemed like a long time, rehashing the movie. We could have picked a better room, but it was still fun! I never get to be the one to explain anything! The ladies left the room totally getting the movie. I left the room doing a happy dance because I knew the answers to their questions. Edna? Well, she pretty much just shook her head that I’d stand there so long talking to total strangers! Hey, what can I say? I never learned that do not talk to strangers rule.

So, if anyone goes to see The Prestige with Michael Caine and of course, Hugh Jackman, and you have any questions, call me. I got it!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Phone Call

Most of my days at work are spent arguing with people. Since I audit payments made, I am always arguing about money. On that topic, people tend to argue fiercely. No one wants to pay back money no matter what the reason.

Today was an exception.

I was in a meeting this morning. When I returned to my desk, I saw my work cell phone had a voice mail. Crap. Who wants to argue with me now? So I listened to the voicemail. Here is about how that voicemail sounded that was left on my phone.

“Uh, hi, Ann Marie. My name is Mike and I’m from XYZ Company. I am returning your call from oh . . . about a month ago. I’m not really sure what it is you wanted from me, so maybe you could give me a call today and refresh my memory. I’m in California, where by the way our weather is really lousy right now. It’s cold and rainy. But I guess you don’t want to hear about that. So, um, I know you needed something from me, I just don’t remember what. Again, this is Mike from XYZ Company, phone number 555-555-5555. Give me a call.”

Interesting, huh? I definitely had to call Mike back! Here is kinda how that went.


Mike: This is Mike.
Me: Hi, Mike. This is Ann Marie with ABC Company.
Mike: Oh, HI! Thanks for calling me back! Some weather, huh?
Me: Laughing. Well, Mike, to be honest, when you tell me you’re from California, I really have a hard time getting my sympathy juices working for you when I’m sitting here in Ohio. You wanna talk weather, we can talk weather!
Mike: Laughing. Yeah, I guess it’s hard for you to care it’s not perfect here, huh?
Me: No, sorry.
Mike: Um, I remember you left me a message awhile ago . . . do you remember why?
Me: Hmm. Was it at least in 2006?
Mike: YEAH!! I’m not that far behind on returning phone calls!
Me: Excellent! Well, hang on then, I’ll look it up! I must have it right here if it’s that current!
(me typing some keys, trying to find his issue in my laptop)
Me: Yep, here it is. I sent you a couple of faxes. I need you to sign one of them and fax it over to me. That’s it.
Mike: Yeah, I got your two faxes, I just wasn’t sure what to do with them.
Me: Sign it and fax it. Simple.
Mike: Yeah, that’s good. I can do that.
Me: Thanks
Mike: So, you’re in Ohio, huh?
Me: Yes, right on Lake Erie.
Mike: So, what are lake effect snows? You ever get any of them?
Me: Oh yeah, we get them. (I tried to explain them, although to be honest, I know what the end effect of a lake effect snow is, but I’m not sure I know exactly what causes it. So, I blabbered a bit about snow.)
Mike: I love snow. From where I’m at, I can see snow up on the mountains. It looks really cool. So pretty and all. You like the snow?
Me: Well, from where I am at, it’s a lot closer than just looking at it on the mountains. I have to shovel it, plow it, and brush it off my car. When it comes to that, it ain’t so pretty anymore!
Mike: Well, I really liked talking with you! Thanks for returning my call and helping me out with your faxes.
Me: Mike, the pleasure was all mine. In fact, I enjoyed our conversation SO much, I’m keeping your number! The next time I’m depressed, I’m calling you for a laugh!
Mike: YEAH! Please do! We can talk about the weather or something!

Ok, neither one of us are rocket scientists, but I liked the guy anyway. I still don’t feel sorry for his “bad” weather in California, but hey, if he signs that paper and faxes it back to be, it’s money in the bank. It’s hard for me to not like anyone that in effect hands over money to me.

All my phone calls should be that easy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Be On The Look Out

Look closely. Is it me, or does the artist's drawing of the rapist look familiar??

What Will They Think Of Me?

My skin seems to be dryer than normal when I stay in hotels. Whether it’s dirty air filters for all of the circulated air or just the ultra soft water in the showers, I have a hard time with my skin on the road.

One of my rituals before going to bed it taking the little bottle of complimentary body lotion and giving my hands, feet, arms and legs a good dose of some lotion. Last night, when I was done, I left the bottle of lotion on the night side table.

Remember, I have this terrible cold. I also put a lot of tissues on the night side table and some cough drops to get me through the night.

Here is what I saw in the morning on the night table in my hotel room before I left for work:

> Half empty bottle of hand lotion
> A ton of wadded up dirty tissues

Some things are just wrong to think about. The scenario going through my mind of what that could look like was just too much for me. I did not want housekeeping to say “ewww” or heaven forbid, booby trap my room in some way for leaving that “mess” for them. I definitely had to throw out my own tissues and put the lotion back in the bathroom before I left for work.

Too Good To Be True

Other than my cold still kicking my butt, not much to report from yesterday. Last night, I would have paid a drug dealer on the street for some cough syrup with codeine. I’m sure whoever was in the room next to me was not happy with me. I am betting I kept them awake most of the night as well. Sorry!

We did take a little ride around to look at a few other areas. We thought we were getting a good deal at the hotel we are staying at, but later found out about all of the hidden charges they forgot to mention when reservations were made.

For example:

You want to park a car? It’s going to cost $18.00 a day. We have two cars here.
You want high speed internet access? That will be another $9.95 per day.
You want the paper delivered in the morning? $0.75 per day. (Normally the USA Today is delivered for free when you’re a Hilton Honors member)
You want a warm cookie after work when you get back to the hotel? $1.00 per cookie. Again, most hotels offer this as a nice little perk, while supplies last, in the evenings.

Ok the cookie and the newspaper are little issues, but the parking and high speed internet is definitely adding up for two of us. I know it’s a company expense and not my expense, but the company is not exactly running in the black right now, so we are trying to do what we can to not cause the problem to get any worse.

Looks like next week it will be a new adventure of a new hotel. I have a feeling it’s not going to be anywhere near as awesome as this one. It was nice looking out the window and seeing the river across the street or just the hoopla of downtown activity. Then again, who needs those traffic problems early in the morning?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Life On The Road

Yesterday, my drive was mostly uneventful. Trying to cut down the miles on my car, I chose a more direct route down here other than the smart way of taking the freeway all the way. I drove part of the way on a two lane road and then part of the way on a road that wishes it was a two lane road before I finally got to the freeway.

The road that wishes it were a two lane road was CR601. Any road that has country road, aka CR in the road name, I should have figured wasn’t going to be a thoroughfare. I am darn happy I found the road since it had the smallest of signs announcing it.

The best part of this road was I got to drive through when all of the local Amish children happened to be walking to school. The atrocities of the recent shootings in Pennsylvania fresh in my mind, I looked at these innocent beautiful children and just wanted to cry. Most of them seemed so happy to see someone on the road with them, and they waved good morning to me! Ok, that was pretty cool. They are a testament to the “life goes on” theory I guess. It gave me warm fuzzies in my heart for the rest of my drive.

Believe it or not, I found my way to the audit site with only one missed turn. For me, this is a darn good day.

Our hotel is right smack in the middle of downtown. Now I got to tell you, I’ve stayed in some nice hotel rooms before but this one definitely has to be the best of the bunch so far. This is what I love about traveling! All of the rooms in this hotel are suites, not just rooms. This suite I swear is larger than some apartments I’ve had. I could live in this suite with no problem.

You walk in and there is a counter to the left with a microwave, a wet bar and a refrigerator. After that there is a little stone topped table with two chairs. I guess this is the kitchen area. There is an over stuffed chair and ottoman, a sofa and coffee table, a desk and chair and a television. That’s just my living area! Go to the right through some French doors and there are two double beds, a dresser with another TV. Then on the other side of this room is a dressing room, a closet and the bathroom. On the wall next to the beds in the bedroom and on the wall by the desk in the living area are huge picture windows. Did I mention I’m on the 10th floor overlooking downtown? I’m telling you this is way too cool!

When we got to the hotel last night about 6:00 pm, I was standing in the window sort of giggling at even being there. Right across the street from me is an office building. While I was standing in my window looking out, some guy in an office across from me but a couple of floors down was at his window looking up at me. Hey! What’s that about? He kept looking so I finally gave him something to look at. That should cure him of peeping into the hotel across the street for sure. Poor guy probably needs therapy about now. What the heck, he’s never going to see me again and I doubt he could pick me out of a line up anyway!

The only down side of the evening was dinner last night. After I unpacked and relaxed a bit, my boss and I met up for dinner. We got a couple of suggestions from the front desk on where to go for dinner and started walking. We headed for an Italian restaurant about three blocks away.

Nice place, even though it was kind of dark in there. It was really hard to read the menu. But I finally decided on wild mushroom stuffed ravioli in a mushroom sauce. Doesn’t that sound good? It was so awful, it was inedible. It was so salty that even I couldn’t eat it, and I love salt. The waitress wanted to know if I wanted it boxed up and I explained that there is no way I could eat it whether I took it with me or forced it down at the restaurant.

She apologized and sent the manager over. The manager offered to have another meal prepared for me. I didn’t want to start eating now that my boss was done eating, nor did I want to take it back to the hotel. He offered me free dessert which is an offer I usually jump at, but with the bad taste left in my mouth from dinner I didn’t think I could eat that either. So, he did take the offensive meal off of the bill and we called it a night. Oh well, here’s hoping tonight’s fare will be better.

All in all, aside from dinner, it was a good day. I’m still coughing and hacking and blowing my nose which I’m sure all around me are thrilled about. I keep swigging on my cough medicine and hoping for the best.

So much for day one. I’ve been told that I will be traveling for at least the next three months straight. If nothing else, this should be good for the blog. I do love to tell a good story.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Here We Go Again

It's Sunday night and I haven't started packing yet.

Yes, starting tomorrow, I am back on the road. Phht.

This time I am only heading about 2-1/2 hours to the south of me. I even get to stay in the same state, same time zone. The bad news is I have to drive all by myself. If anyone is going to start a pool on how many time I will get lost, I want in on it. I know I'll be lost at least once this week.

From my last post, I caught a bug. I've been trying my best to get as well as I can so that I can make this trip tomorrow. Ron has truly done his best to help out.

Yesterday is a blur as I spent most of it in bed. Ron woke me for lunch and then again for dinner. Yeah, exciting Saturday. The best part was lunch. Ron made some home made chicken noodle soup! I'm telling you, nothing sits better in your tummy when you're not feeling well than chicken noodle soup, especially home made. I know that played a huge part in my making any progress on my road to recovery.

Today he was nice enough to catch up on the laundry while I stayed wrapped up in blankets on the couch all day.

Now it's time to pack some clean clothes, and a bunch of tissues. I have a feeling there may be a few posts in the near future about my exciting life back on the road. Yeah, it could happen.

Stay tuned for the next post from wild and crazy Columbus!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ghosts That Go "Chirp" In The Night

I had a bad night last night. Some kind of bug decided to make its home with me for awhile and trust me, it took hold.

I woke just before 2:00 a.m. and was just miserable. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't swallow, my body hurt, I was tired and now I'm awake. Instead of laying there tossing and turning and waking Ron, I went down to the living room and planted myself on the recliner, wrapped up in my comforter. This wasn't too bad. I could make it through the night here.

Picture this. I have all of the lights off downstairs. It's very quiet. It's 2:00 in the morning for crying out loud. Then I hear it. "Chirp!" Naw, it was my imagination. A minute later, another "chirp". The first thing I did was grabbed my phone to see if it was chirping that I have a missed call. Nope. No one had wanted to talk to me. So, back to my chair. Sure enough, again, a chirp. Now it's coming to me, it sounds like a battery going on a smoke alarm. Ok, I can fix this. I just need to figure out which smoke alarm.

I have a thing about fire. I do the best I can with preventing it from happening. I have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers on every floor of my house. At least one of each. Overkill is better than not enough. I even enlisted the consulting services of Jeff in New York, a real live hero, a fireman, to decide where to put all of the smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

I started with looking at the alarm at the top of the basement steps. I grabbed the alarm, and pulled out the battery. I no sooner did that when I heard the chirp again. Crap. It sounded like it came from downstairs in the basement. The only smoke alarm down there, from what I was told when we got the house, was that alarm was powered by electricity. I didn't think there was even a battery in it.

Well here I am, freezing in my jammies standing barefoot in the basement in the middle of the night trying to figure out where the chirping is coming from. Now that I'm typing this, I really AM brave (or maybe stupid!) as I don't usually go in the basement alone after dark! Anyway, as I'm standing there, I hear the chirp and decide it really is coming from the smoke alarm that's supposedly electrically powered. I was able to figure out how to take it from the ceiling, and then I noticed a door on the back for a battery. It had a battery back up! That's the good news. The bad news is that since I didn't know it had a battery back up, this battery was never changed with the other smoke alarms. That battery had been in there since at least November 2003 when we moved into the house.

I brought the smoke alarm upstairs into the kitchen to try to figure out how to open the battery door. Using a trusty butter knife, I pried the door open and removed the battery.

Then it happened.

It chirped.

In my hand.

I had the battery in one hand, and the smoke alarm in the other, not hooked to anything and with NO battery installed. And it's still chirping at me. Ok, I did freak out a little bit. I pushed the reset button a couple of times and all that did was make it chirp again. The little red light on the front would flash every minute, which according to the directions on the back, meant it was powered on and working. In my hand, no electricity and no battery. Yet it had . . . power.

Was this something I should wake Ron for? I decided maybe this wasn't life threatening even if it was a ghostly encounter. I put the battery on the counter, then wrapped the smoke alarm in a couple of kitchen towels and then in my coat just for good measure. I was hoping it would at least muffle the sound and let me try to sleep.

So I turned on a few lights in the living room, turned the TV on and crawled back under my comforter where the rest of my night was a little quieter.