Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Know I’m Gonna Get Blamed For This

I’ve spent enough nights in hotels (and not in a good way!) to pretty much know exactly what to expect when I walk into a room. That way, if anything is out of place, I know it immediately.

I have a ritual of sorts whenever I walk into a hotel room. First I check for unwanted visitors. I heard a story about a friend of a friend of a friend that walked into his hotel room at the end of a work day and someone was hiding in the room. Supposedly this intruder beat the crap out of him and robbed him. Well, tell me a story like this and it sticks with me. Every time now that I walk into a hotel room alone, I have to do the sweep first. That’s looking in the closet, on the other side of the bed and even in the shower to make sure I’m alone in there. Last night, I did that.

Then, I unpack. The first thing out of my bag will be my disinfectant wipes. I wipe down the room from the remote control (huge eww!), the telephone, the buttons on the TV and the a/c, the door handle and lock, the bathroom fixtures, toilet handle, light switches, desk top and the top of the night table. Yes, anal retentive. Then, I unpack my clothes and put them in the drawers or hang them in the closet.

Then I’m ready to go get dinner!

Last night, I went through my routines. However, before I even started, something was terribly wrong with my room!

Every hotel room, be it a Motel 6 or the Hilton, will have some kind of cookie cutter pictures hanging on the walls. That’s what was missing in my room; the pictures. These are usually bolted to the walls (yes, even at the Hilton) to ensure no one packs them as extra items in their suitcases. So, now I have no pictures and some really bad patch jobs on the bolt holes where pictures used to hang.

When I left for dinner last night, I stopped by the front desk. I told them about the missing pictures and that I was afraid I was going to be blamed for stealing the bad art! I was assured that maintenance had removed the pictures as some of the rooms are going through an upgrade which will include a paint job and new pictures on the wall. Whew!

I’m still checking my bill carefully on Friday. I have a feeling that somehow, this will still be my fault!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Met New Friends!

Friday night, July 25th, Ron and I went to dinner with friends of ours, David and Edna. We had reservations at our favorite place, Jackalope's. Jackalope's has some great tables outside, overlooking the marina. However, the outside was all filled up so we were seated inside. We had one of the two tables in the back corner, that had full windows on two sides so we still had a great view of the lake and marina with none of the flies outside.

I was sitting with my back to the other table in this back corner. They were much further into their meal than we were, and after we ordered, they had the dessert tray at their table picking out their dessert. Who can resist a tray full of scrumptious desserts? And, we all know how I love to talk to strangers, so I did what I do naturally. I turned around and butted into their business!

There were three people at the table behind us. There was Tammy, who is about our age, and her parents, Jim and Judy who I am guessing are in their mid 80s. The four of us tossed around the pros and cons of all the desserts on the tray, (I always vote for the cheesecake, just in case you wanted to know!).

We started talking table to table and found out the three of them were there celebrating Tammy's birthday! Ok, anyone that knows me knows how much I love birthdays! How could I stop myself from breaking out into song? I started a loud (and probably not good) rendition of "happy birthday". I guess I was infectious since the two other tables closest to us joined in with the singing! C'mon Tammy girl! This day only comes once a year! Enjoy the adulation of perfect strangers!

So that started it. I am a nosey person and I like strangers. We kibitzed over their dessert and then they gave their commentary on our dinner choices. (which were one rack of lamb, two lobster pastas and one pork loin with apple chutney) We just had a nice time interjecting opinions and comments throughout the evening with these people.

It really was a fun evening not only with David and Edna but with our neighboring table as well. After our dessert was served (yes I got the cherry cheesecake!) Tammy and company were getting ready to leave. We were all talking and decided that we should do this again! Introductions finally went around and we decided that we are going to meet up again on the 25th of next month! So, on August 25th, we have a reservation for all of us to sit at one table and enjoy a meal together!

See what I get for talking to strangers? We get dinner reservations at my favorite restaurant and hopefully a great new tradition of dinner with new and old friends. It doesn't get much better than that!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Christmas in July

Yesterday was July 25th.

In honor of this auspicious day, one of the local radio stations here, WDOK 102.1 FM celebrated Christmas in July.

I'm not much for listening to the radio. The only time I listen is in the car. And, in the car, I'm a channel flipper. I listen to a song on this station then if I don't like the next song or if it's time for a commercial, I move on to the next station.

I was flipping through the Cleveland stations yesterday and I came across the song, "I'll Be Home For Christmas". As one living away from home for awhile, that one always makes me cry. I'm wondering what the heck is going on that this song is playing now. So, while I'm not one for Christmas carols, I decided to listen a little longer to see if someone just f-ed up or if that song was playing on purpose.

Sure enough, when the crew started talking after the song, it was time for the intro into the weather. The DJ that was introducing the weather girl and he started with "wow! way to go! You are the only weather forecaster in the area to get last night's weather correct!"

To which the weather caster replied "Yeah, no one else saw this blizzard coming. It hit fast and it hit hard. The current temperature is 20 degrees with it expected to drop tonight to below zero. And, don't bother checking with the TV, I'm telling you now, ALL SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED!" I was howling in the car!

So, it was a Christmas in July gag. But, I gotta tell you, I gotta give out props to WDOK. They kept with it all day as Christmas songs were still playing on my way home from work last night.

Then again, this is the same channel that plays nothing but Christmas carols from Thanksgiving day to Christmas day. I haven't listened to the radio this morning, but I'm hoping it was just a Christmas in July prank and not that they are starting the carols earlier than Thanksgiving this year.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Here's Another One

Yes, one more thing on the list of things I'm afraid of. And, taking a page from the blog book of my brother Michael, I must post pics!

I just got done doing an audit this week. The ladies room at this facility has like six or seven stalls. It's a large bathroom. The last stall scares the crap out of me, no pun intended!

Here's a picture of the toilet.

It's a pretty basic toilet. There is a thingie on the wall with a tube that comes down and under the toilet seat. It looks pretty harmless, right? Well, let's look a little closer at this one, shall we?

What the hell is that little tube coming from under the lid and what is it doing going up my ass? Is there a camera on the end of that thing? Is there a knife in there to do an ass biopsy or something? None of the other stalls have the little thingie pointing up like this.
Yes, this scares me. I refused to pee in here.
If you think I'm scared, you should see the other people in the bathroom as I'm taking flash pictures in this stall.
Yeah, well, whatever. It needed doing. This needed to get out to the public. This almost deserves it's own "that's just wrong" page. Just one more thing to scare me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fish Update!

It’s been at least a couple of weeks since I’ve updated on the fish tank and I thought I was due!

Awhile back, we were down to one male silver molly. We started with black mollys, silver mollys and dalmatian mollys. He was our lone survivor out of all of them. Eventually I thought he was lonely and needed a girlfriend. We searched and searched and if we found any silver mollys at all, they were boys not girls. Finally, we found four little girls that we thought our male would love. We were excitedly awaiting babies!

When you buy the mollys they are very young. It takes a few months for them to mature and we were waiting patiently, as was our male. We were finally rewarded a couple of weekends ago with our first sighting of tiny silver molly babies! It seems that when our platys have babies, the babies are very good at hiding. Our first sightings of the platys are when the babies are about ½ inch long or so. These mollys were tinier than that! And they were everywhere. That didn’t last long as we spent that first weekend watching all of our other fish feeding on the babies. The first one was is hard to watch. After that, it got to be "oops, there went another one". We had to lose about 40 or 50 babies that first weekend.

I don’t want to do breeder tanks. I want nature to take its course and what survives was meant to survive. So far that has kept our tank in some sort of check (as well as keeping our angel fish, the biggest baby eater, fat and happy!) as we end up with maybe one baby per hatching or whatever you call it.

That might have changed. While the molly babies are very brave and out into the middle of the tank to get eaten easily, somehow a bunch of them have survived. We now have at least eight babies in the tank right now! And they are fast little suckers and getting bigger every day. We’ve watched other fish chase them but so far, these new babies are winning.

All of that fish loving must have been too much on our original male as he curled up under a rock and died before we noticed the first babies. What a way to go though, huh? We did get one male along with the four females so now the girls won’t be lonely.

Recently, we’ve been talking about more fish. I kind of want to try to put more angel fish in there as I think our one angel needs a companion. Ron’s not so sure about that idea. We put a lot of money into angel fish that didn’t last a week. Luckily, I was on travel that week so I didn’t have to see Ron take all of those fish out of the tank.

We’ll see what happens. For now, the tank is still bringing us a lot of enjoyment. At least enough enjoyment right now to make it worth cleaning all of the poop out of the tank! Once that joy is gone, you can bet the tank will be gone, baby fish or no baby fish.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That's Just Wrong, Page 15

There is a side story about taking Ron to the ER last night.

You have no privacy at the ER. You are put in a room with two or three stations with curtains separating each station. In our room was another gentleman, a few years older than us, also there for a Workman’s Comp issue. He and Ron got to be fast friends, swapping injury war stories back and forth. Unfortunately, in our three stations room was a mother with a two year old little girl.

The little girl was just cute as a button. Unfortunately, her mom wasn’t. Again, with no privacy in the ER, we heard her story. As the story went, her two year old had a difficult night sleeping the night before. With a night full of coughing, hacking and congestion, I guess that 7:00 pm the following night was the perfect time to take this baby to the ER to get that checked. Perhaps her pediatrician was busy all day for a sick baby. Yes, there is sarcasm here. This mother was FAR from a candidate for Mother of the Year.

We sat and listened to her yell at and berate this baby for hours. From "shut up" "be quiet" "stop crying, there’s nothing wrong with you" "stop acting up" yeah, you get the picture. That was all also coupled with quite a "SMACK" sound we heard. And then those awful words "you want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about." My heart just went out to that little girl. She wasn’t bad at all. She was two, sick, and bored in the ER. I think with all that into consideration, she was perfect. It was her mom that was the problem with all of the yelling.

They took the little girl for a chest x-ray and then pretty much discharged her with a prescription for antibiotics. Then the horror really hit home. Suddenly mom informed the nurse who was signing them out that her water just broke. Holy crap, she’s procreated again? Some little child was coming into a very unfair world.

Now I know that with this information you could make the argument that mom wasn’t having the best of days either. She was probably tired, cranky and uncomfortable. I tried to think of that as well. Regardless, there was no reason to treat her child the way she was treating her.

You know, just because you CAN get pregnant, doesn’t mean you should. You have to pass a test to drive a car. You have to pass a test to be able to cut someone’s hair. Unfortunately, there is no test to say someone is fit to be a parent. That’s just wrong.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

He'll Do Anything To Get Out Of Shopping

The plan for tonight was to head out to dinner after work followed by an exciting trip to Sam's Club and maybe the grocery store as well. Yes, we are wild and crazy people over here.

Ron got a late service call so I actually got home before he did. I asked him to call me on his way home and then we could decide on where to meet up for dinner.

I did get a phone call but it sure came with a change of plans. Ron was on his way home but he needed a ride to the hospital, not to a restaurant. Oh crap!

I wanted him to pull over and I'd go pick him up but he said he had cut his finger and he could make it home on his own. Fine. I'll just play chauffeur to the hospital. I grabbed our books, a cold soda and waited for him by the door. Good thing I grabbed the books. Have you been to the ER lately? Holy crap. Makes me afraid to have a heart attack. but, I digress.

On the way to our neighborhood hospital, I found out the story. He was lifting a floor tile to see if there were some coax cables running under the floor. (don't be too impressed, I just asked him again what he was doing! I never would have used the word "coax" in a sentence of my own free will.) Anyway, he lifted the one tile which was very heavy. Unfortunately, the tile slipped out of his hand and smashed his finger between two tiles. Something had to give and it wasn't going to be the steel tiles. Unfortunately, it was his finger that had to give.

The security guard at his client's office did a good patch job wrapping up his finger. It got him home with no more blood on his pants. This is where I took over and to the hospital we went.

The wait was horrendous. I couldn't believe so many people were in the ER at 5:30 in the evening. And to be honest, not many of them looked like they needed an ER.

The final score was three stitches, one dressing and 30 antibiotics. Since his finger actually got smashed and not just cut, it sort of exploded. Unfortunately, they didn't deem him worthy of something for pain. So, right now, the Lidocain is starting to wear off and he is feeling the pain.

So, send your get well wishes to Ron. Poor guy is not having a good week!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Me And My Big Mouth

Friday night Ron and I went to one of our favorite Friday night dinner places. Yes, Popeye's Chicken, up on the Turnpike!

Since this is a rest stop, there are actually about five places you could choose to order dinner from, and then common seating in the middle where you could sit and enjoy your food.

Ron and I picked up or chicken dinners and grabbed a table. As I love Popeye's spicy chicken, before my meal was over, I was heading back up to the counter for a soda refill. There was a gentleman just getting his food from the Popeye's counter and heading to the soda machine. I waited for him to get his soda and said hi just to be friendly. He looked at me with this huge grin on his face and told me a story.

He said he was from Indiana and he and his wife were just returning from a trip to New York. (I don't know if it was the state or the city, but I digress.) He told me that he had purchased some scratch off tickets in New York and had just scratched them off while he was waiting on his dinner. He told me he just won $1500!! He had a grin that a plastic surgeon couldn't have taken off his face, he grabbed his soda and went to find a table.

I am a very empathetic person, so I am thrilled for him! The more I think of it, the more I want to tell him to turn his butt around, he's only about 2-1/2 hours from the state of New York, he should go and turn that ticket in! So, now I grab my refilled soda and heading back to our table I see this guy sitting in the next table from ours. On my way to our table, I had to stop at his.

I apologized for interrupting his dinner with his wife and I offered my congratulations again on his good fortune. Before I could say anything else, he got a wide eyed look on his face and said "um, she doesn't know yet!" OOPS!

So, to the fellow at Popeye's Chicken at the Turnpike rest stop: Sorry for ruining your secret! I guess now you have to share it with your wife thanks to me and my big mouth!

Monday, July 07, 2008

For Once, I Knew The Answer

Sunday, Ron and I went to the local grocery store for restocking. When we were about 1/3 of the way through the store, I decided I should pull out my list to make sure I didn’t forget anything. This was a lesson in pulling out the list sooner than 1/3 of the way through.

On the list was potatoes and of course, that is way in the front of the store. So, Ron kept going while I ran back for a bag of spuds. I take my spud buying very seriously. Once you decide on which price you are willing to pay for potatoes, the sniff test begins. I will pick up each bag, put my nose up to it and sniff. My sister Barb taught me this trick years ago, and I still abide by it.

So, I start smelling bags of potatoes. When I finally find one I like, I grab it and go to put it in the cart. Suddenly behind me is a kid, who in my estimation is 18 or 19 years old. Very shyly, he tells me that he’s never bought potatoes before and was wondering why I was smelling them. Aha! Time for me to pass along the knowledge torch!

I told him that a bag of potatoes should smell like good fresh dirt. He got that look on his face like I am nothing more than another crazy adult over 30 and he said "No, really. What are you smelling in the potatoes?"

I explained to him that since the potatoes came from the dirt, a good bag of spuds will smell like that good clean dirt. If a potato is going bad in the bag, you will sure smell it. In my opinion, once one goes bad, they all will go bad quickly.

I must have sold him on the idea because he then picked up a small bag of potatoes, brought it to his nose and gave it a good strong whiff. I asked him what it smelled like. He smiled and said "dirt"! I told him that he chose well then and that was a good bag of potatoes!

I know I’ve stopped people in the store before when they were picking out something I was unfamiliar with. One thing that comes to mind is pineapple. No matter who is buying it, they all have their own way of judging ripeness. But, I digress. For once it was my turn to impart a little wisdom to the younger shoppers.

So there is my tip for the day. If it smells like dirt – buy it!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What’s In A Name?

The 21st of this month is my five year anniversary at this job. You would think that after five years at a job, the company I worked for would know my name, wouldn’t you?

Yesterday afternoon, my boss called me. He stated that the corporate office contacted him about how to spell my name. Hello? Have I not been here for the last five years? So, since he said he wasn’t sure, he called me to verify. Now, it’s not my last name they are having trouble with (and yes, it’s a doozy in and of itself). They wanted help with my FIRST name.

Five years. Valued employee, huh?

It’s Been A Good Week For Visitors

I have been very lucky this week!

Tuesday night, my brother Jim came to Ohio to spend a few days with us. If that wasn’t great enough, Mary Jane and her grandson, my great-nephew, Evan came over for family fun time Tuesday night as well! Now, Evan is six and full of energy and spunk and fun. He’s also way above me in just about anything that has to do with technology. I was apprehensive, but excited, to play Wii with him! He did let me know that his Wii is better because he has a large screen HD TV and I don't, but he'd try to make do with what we had.

The first thing you do the first time you play Wii is you have to make a Mii. A Mii is a little icon version of yourself to represent yourself in the game. You can customize it from the size and placement of your eyebrows to a mole on your face to what hair style and color, eye shape, nose shape, just everything! So, Evan made his Mii and actually, it looks remarkably like him. So cute!

Well, Evan and I played a quick game of Mario Brothers (my games are always quick when I’m playing Mario Brothers! I suck at it, that’s why!) Then, we bowled a game. In spite of my previous 297 game, Evan gave me a run for my money at bowling and I was lucky enough to beat him. Just by a few pins, but I beat him! It’s hard to get too excited over about winning – against a six year old!

After that, Evan and Uncle Jim were going to play some Wii. Now, Jim has never played Wii before, so Evan was going to show him how. The first thing to do is it make a Mii for Uncle Jim. With Evan at the controls, he made an Uncle Jim Mii aptly named UJ. Now, this was all Evan’s doing. He picked the features, and even chose to put a hat on UJ since Jim almost always wears a baseball cap. Cool that Evan noticed that.

Then, he got to the body shape of the Mii. There are two parts to this. How tall is your Mii and how wide is your Mii. Evan made UJ as tall as it would go. But, as far as wide goes, Evan left UJ just where the Mii was – skinny as a rail! We asked Evan if that’s really what UJ looked like and Evan very seriously said “Sure! UJ is very tall!” How awesome is that?! Through the eyes of a six year old!

I think Evan is our resident Wii expert. He kicked UJ’s butt while playing tennis. The kid has an impossible to return power serve! Then they switched to baseball.

In baseball, one person will pitch while the other bats. When you’re batting, you bat for all the players of your team coming up to the plate. When you’re pitching, you only pitch and the computer takes care of the players in the outfield.

When pitching, the pitch comes as fast as you can throw your arm. If you throw slowly, the pitch will stay in the 60s in regards to mph. Should you put some force behind that throw, your pitches will go up into the 90s! We gave UJ the basics about throwing your arm and he started the game against Evan. Evan promptly had to admonish UJ to not pitch over 86 mph as that was as fast as he could hit a ball! (and he wasn’t kidding!) If the pitch speed went over 86 mph, UJ got an earful from Evan! If it was below 86 mph, Evan swung and if it went into play, fine. If it went foul or he missed it, he took it in stride as part of the game. As long as it was thrown in his range! You should have heard him yelling respectfully at UJ to slow it down! Too funny. I should have run up and gotten my camera but I was having too much fun watching this to leave the game.

So, this was our fun Tuesday night. After dinner, Grandma and Evan packed it up and headed for Elyria and Ron, Jim and I sat around the table shooting the breeze for a few hours. It was nice to just sit and talk and catch up and laugh and giggle and bullshit for the evening.

Last night after dinner, Jim and Ron took over the Wii! The guys played all evening until Jim had to leave for Erie. When Ron came upstairs, he said his arm was a little Wii sore after all that playing! I can only imagine how Jim feels after his first night of playing!

So, we had a great time with our visitors. Now, it’s peace and quiet for the holiday weekend I think. I know I could use a little R & R.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Puffs Of Air – Activated

I am home safe and sound from vacation. We had a great time (aside from me cheating at Yahtzee, right Maura?!!) and even got to see quite a few sights in Florida. Aside from the heat which got the best of me on Saturday, I have no complaints.

I do have a good story about coming home on Sunday morning.

I did have an early flight on Sunday morning so I am with little sleep and a lot of sadness that vacation is over. Maura dropped me off at the Tampa airport then she headed back to Kissimmee. Meanwhile, I made my way through the airport and over to security. Did I mention I was half asleep?

I am in the security line to get through x-ray. One by one, we hand our boarding passes and our drivers licenses over to the security guard, and he tells us which x-ray line to get into for the next step. The closer I get to the guard, I more I hear a female computerized voice saying “puffs of air – activated” followed by a few sounds like “puff, puff, puff, puff”. At first I am blaming lack of sleep. But sure enough, every couple of minutes, there it is again, “puffs of air – activated.” Finally, I see x-ray line number six starts with this phone booth like contraption. People walk into this phone booth; you hear “puffs of air – activated” then the “puff, puff, puff, puff” while you see the person’s hair flying every which way and their clothes billowing like crazy. A minute or so goes by and the front of the phone booth contraption opens and the person walks forward to the actual x-ray.

Being the nosey person I am I had to ask about this. When it’s finally my turn to hand over my boarding pass and license for inspection, I asked the guard what’s with the puffs of air. He tells me that the air puffs will reveal any explosives on the person. Being na├»ve about so many things, I looked at him in wide-eyed wonder and said something like WOW! He asked me if I’d like to try it! Proving that I wouldn’t make a good terrorist, I said “Sure!” (Then again, if I said no at this point, would he have made me go through a full body cavity search? I wasn’t taking any chances!) So, he tells me to wait in line number six.

I wait for a few people to go through the phone booth and it’s finally my turn. My shoes and my laptop are already on the belt being x-rayed. I step into the phone booth, put my feet in the little painted feet on the floor and wait. Suddenly, I hear it. “Puffs of air – activated” followed by “puff, puff, puff, puff”.

My hair goes flying, my shirt flies up and I can’t do anything but start to giggle! The more I giggle, the harder I start to laugh. Since laughter is contagious, when the phone booth finally opened to let me out, I am laughing so hard that this caused the security guard outside of the phone booth to start laughing too.

I showed him my boarding pass and while he’s inspecting it, I thank him. He asked what I was thanking him for and of course I told him because that was the most fun I’ve had at six in the morning in a LONG time! So, he got a laugh out of it and I sure got a laugh out of it and everyone found out that I’d make a terrible terrorist. No poker face.

The flight home was uneventful except for the landing. Once we were getting down to the altitude of lowering the landing gear, the weather was really rough. I was starting to look for the airsick bag when he finally put the plane down. We were all safe and sound, but it was a heck of a final descent into Cleveland.

I got to finish my vacation over Mike and Mary Jane’s house, who were hosting an early 4th of July party.

The house was full of their kids and spouses and of course, their grandkids. Aside from a few showers that insisted on coming through, it was a great party. Then again, with this bunch, how can it be anything but a good party!

So, that was vacation. Now I am ready for the next one!