Category Archives: Random

Excuse me sir, do you have anything for the Dengue Fever?

Note: This post has been in the making for nine months, kinda like a baby except it wasn’t baking to perfection. I am just a Self-Proclaimed Procrastinator of the Universe.

As many of you may or may not know, I turned fifty last April. DH is and always has been Numero Uno in the birthday department. He makes it his job to be sure I have the perfect birthday every year.

For my fortieth, he gathered fifty of my closest friends and family and a big boat and we cruised around NY harbor to gaze at Lady Liberty under the stars. How can you outdo that one?

By taking your wife on a much needed vacation. When he asked what I wanted for my fiftieth I didn’t hesitate to ask for a tropical getaway. I was in dire need of a real, live vacation with palm trees, blue waters, and sand. Oh, and margaritas and rum punch. Lots and lots of margaritas and rum punch.

A drink boy would have been nice too, but I do have DH and he is totally nice to look at. Also, he likes to bring me drinks, so he would fit the bill.

Ahhh

THIS is what I was talking about

My DH does not like traveling so I knew he would be less than thrilled, but it was my birthday wish. And birthday wishes must be fulfilled. It’s a rule. You know, in my rulebook.

After much research and reading every travel site known to man, I chose Providenciales. One of the islands of Turks & Caicos. Also, it was highly recommended by some friends and from my research it is known to have some of the best beaches in the world.

Who am I to turn away from the best beaches in the world? I would keep my toes in the sand my entire life if I could, so going to the best of them was right up my alley.

Also, this body of mine was depleted of Vitamin D (true story). Too much sun is bad for you. Too little sun is bad for you. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

The Kid wanted to be a part of the festivities, so I chose a week in May after school got out and before she started summer activities. Three weeks before the rainy season begins there.

We rented a private cottage on a private stretch of beach. We could have gone to the other, more commercial side of the island, but in addition to needing a vacation I really needed peace and quiet.

Sadly, this is the only sun we would see for six days

Our private stretch of beach and cabana. This is the only sun we would see for six days

When we disembarked, the heat from the sun was enough to make your skin melt off and the sweat factor was set at 165%. We all arrived in jeans because when we left New York it was chilly. I almost had to resort to scissors to get them off.

Sadly, that was the last of the sun for a week. Just to give you an idea of what we were dealing with, it is said to rain six days a year in Turks & Caicos. We saw four of them.

This is why I don’t play the lottery. My luck is so bad, I would probably owe the lottery people money.

Did I mention the vegetation?

Did I mention the vegetation?

Now don’t get me wrong. Our vacation was very nice. Our little cottage was sweet. Private and quiet just like I wanted with lots of vegetation right outside our back door.

But along with vegetation comes bugs that were on an apocalyptic level. It felt more like we were in a scene out of “Them!” than paradise, so any dreams of sitting on our beach were quickly swept away with the first bite from a sand flea.

But I couldn’t really complain. I mean, we were in Turks & Caicos. Turks & Caicos, people.

Our beach umbrella turned rain umbrella

Our beach umbrella-turned-rain umbrella

Besides the fact that our beach umbrella was used to keep out the rain instead of the sun, we had a lovely time. We were together and healthy so that’s all that mattered.

Until the “healthy” no longer applied.

Let’s just say I used my fair share of toilet paper and my stomach was cramped up in a vice grip from Day Two until well after our vacation was over.

When something disguised as Typhoid or Dengue Fever or parasites hits you like a fast ball at a Yankees game, it could be a vacation wrecker. But who was I to let a little diarrhea keep me from enjoying my vacation?

18527747_1533950103306137_5883110691456930816_nI powered through. I put on my snorkeling gear and spent the better part of our week with the fishies. When you are in the sea, you can’t really feel the rain falling on you. Also, something about the lightness of the water eased my cramping.

Sucking it up, putting on a brave face, and drinking a margarita dammit!

Sucking it up, putting on a brave face, and drinking a margarita for the sake of humanity

Remember I wanted lots of margaritas and rum punch? I may not have had lots of either, but I insisted on ordering a cocktail with my dinner every night whether I was in the mood or not. I swore that is what I wanted to do on vacation and that is what did do dammit.

The obligatory vacation photo with feet

The obligatory vacation photo with feet

And I sat on my cabana and watched the sunless sunset and drank a glass of wine from the $30 bottle of swill we bought at the local grocer, because the cost of all things there is astronomical.

All whilst being bitten to death by mammoth sized tropical bugs. But hello? Private cabana on private beach. Bugs or no bugs. It had to be done. If even for ten minutes.

So, I must know. Does something happen to our stomachs when we age? I’m not talking about how it heads south.

That is more obvious than knowing mimosas go with breakfast.

But this same thing happened to me in Ireland a couple years ago. Hmm.

After having testing done of my stool (yes, that was as fun as it sounds) when we hit American soil, all things alarming were dismissed. It looks like it was just a good old fashioned case of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Yup, traveler’s diarrhea.

Swell.

In closing, when life gives you lemons, you add tequila. And Imodium. So, bring it on Monte. I’m ready for our next adventure.

It’s Balmy Around Here

Courtesy of practicallyprimal.com

Courtesy of practicallyprimal.com

Hi, my name is Mo and I have a lip balm addiction. I’m not really sure when it started. I do remember that it was a slow progression and built up speed. You know, like time. Or that old song “Beep Beep” by The Playmates. If you haven’t heard it, google it. You’ll see what I mean.

I only did it at night, before bed. You know, once in a while when my lips were actually chapped. Hence the words “Chap. Stick.”

Then it eventually turned into an every evening habit. And then after I brushed my teeth. Warning: the act of brushing one’s teeth causes the lips to feel dry. This is something they don’t teach you in middle school health class.

Suddenly, I was a full-blown, out-and-out lip balm addict.

And I’m not picky either. No. I don’t care if it comes in a tube, stick, tub, or barrel. Hell, it could be synthetic car oil, or WD-40. Whatever. As long as it gives me the fix I crave.

Just for the record, I have a large collection and wide range of lip balm.

Lip Balm

This isn’t the half of it

I have three forms of lip balm in my car. One of which is empty but I keep “just in case.” I’m thinking I may be able scrape some off the inside of the tube in case of an emergency. What? It could happen.

I have one in just about every room of my house. Two at work. Five in my pocketbook. In drawers in the kitchen. Drawers in my bedroom and bathroom. I have them in pockets of random articles of clothing. I have lip balm where you wouldn’t even think lip balm would belong. (Yes, I found one in the garage one time. Also, I dropped a stick down my shirt once. Does that count?)

So, this little habit of mine got me to thinking — and I’m wondering if it’s a conspiracy. Do the makers of these tiny little sticks of power add something to make us want more?

I had to find out, so I took to the interwebs. And in approximately eight seconds, I had my answer. Although there isn’t anything “addictive” in them per se (there are products that are drying; therefore, creating a viscous circle), there is such a thing as “compulsive application.”

I’m not sure I am completely satisfied with this answer, but I do know that there should be a picture of me next to that statement. I should be the poster child for Lip Balm Compulsive Applicators.

I slather that stuff on every few minutes at work. I go through a stick of lip balm every couple of weeks. My co-workers for sure think I’m insane, as I can’t get through a conversation without reaching for my stick of lip balm I keep within arms reach next to my computer monitor.

And if we’re at the water cooler or somewhere other than my desk? Well, have you ever had to interrupt your boss for lip balm? Not a good idea.

DH fills my Christmas stocking with these guys. And you wouldn’t believe my excitement over this. I’m like a kid getting a new bicycle except it’s better AND cheaper. It fits in my pocket. Also, I can’t get hurt.

The other day, I needed to run into the store and I didn’t feel like carrying my large bag. So, I grabbed my phone and wallet and started for the door. Then remembered that I might need lip balm.

And Poo Pouri but that’s a story for another time. If you haven’t tried it, you must. It works. I swear. This too, I carry with me everywhere I go. You’re welcome.

Anyway, I backed up and threw my phone and wallet back into my bag and lugged that thing around. I did this for lip balm. Lip balm. Does anyone else besides me see the insanity in this?

Yeah well, it’s too late for me, but please. Save yourselves if you can. Otherwise, I’ll see you at LBA –Lip Balm Anonymous. Surely, they must have a chapter around here somewhere. Right?Lip balm 2

 

Boujee is As Boujee Does…Or Not

“Boujee” according to Urban Dictionary:

“An abbreviation of the French “bourgeois.” A critical term used to describe people, things, and places that are definitively high-class. Something that is affected, inauthentic, gentrified, exclusive, and/or otherwise sheltered from the dirt and grime of the real world.”

The Kid and I recently visited a dear friend of mine (DFOM) and her step-daughter (Say-Say) who have a vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida.

We almost didn’t make it as there was a major snow storm (affectionately known as the “Bomb Cyclone”) heading our way the day of our departure. By the hair of our chinny-chin-chins, we were able to get on the last plane out of dodge a day earlier.

I still have anxiety over it.

I can’t say that Florida was much better in the temperature department. I mean, Iguanas falling out of trees because of the cold can’t be a good thing, right?IMG_9372

I’m just glad I’m not an iguana. I’m also glad I didn’t get hit by one.

My DFOM owns a beautiful home amongst the mucky-mucks. Something I am not quite accustomed to. The mucky mucks, I mean.

Well, the beautiful home, too.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a simple girl with a big mouth and a loud sense of humor who can belch with the best of them, and laughs when someone passes gas.

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Told you so.

I mean, come on! My favorite Christmas gift this year was the Potty Squatty. Need I say more?

In other words, I am not refined. I’m basically a twelve year old boy stuck in a middle aged body.

Irregardless, I took my fake Louise Vuitton bag and Dress Barn clothes and faked it for all it was worth.

And I stood out like a sore thumb.

Nothing against sore thumbs, but somehow these people can spot one a mile away. My Dress Barn special and unrefined attitude just don’t make the cut.

Go figure.

Anyway, enough about me and my uncultured ways. Let’s get on with the fun stuff. So, what did we do for six luxurious days?

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It looks like I ate a sour lemon, which was the look really. Remember Mrs. Howell?

Read it and weep because I made more offenses than if I farted to the tune of “Homage for Satan” in church.

Wednesday: Got into the airport after midnight. Saw DFOM and Say-Say and ran to their car while it was still moving. Was told I didn’t have any common sense by the nice police officer. Offense #1 by internal 12 year old boy even though external middle-aged body knew better.

Thursday: Turned on the news. Laughed at all the northerners who had hell freezing over on them. Made a drink in an adult sippy cup, bundled up in a long sleeved t-shirt, put on head gear so as not to receive brain trauma from falling iguanas, and hung out at the beach. Forgot to “slough” my heels which was Offense #2. Let’s just say, it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “well-heeled.”

You can get "dry" lemonade, but no wine, at High Tea

You can get “dry” lemonade, but no wine, at High Tea

Friday: Flagler Museum and High Tea. Offense #3: they don’t have wine at High Teas, so don’t ask. Especially when it is clear there is no bar.

Drove down the East coast version of Rodeo Drive called Worth Avenue. Laughed and laughed at all the ladies who spend way too much on face lifts and nail polish.

Oh, went to the Breakers, too. One of The Kid’s bucket list items was visiting the original Lilly Pulitzer store there. She’s boujee. Not sure where she came from.

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There goes my Mrs. Howell face again. I need to work on that. Notice the palm trees in the reflection of my glasses…nice, right? Yes, it was.

Saturday: Took a ride along the coastline in the convertible Bentley with the top down. Drove past all the richy-rich houses with Zillow turned on so we could faint with every price tag. 911 really should have been called.

Sat by the pool/beach (pool to the left of me, beach to the right) at one of the many country clubs DFOM belongs to. Got served by a really cute cabana boy who did pretty much anything we asked.

Tried to get Say-Say to ask him out, but she wouldn’t. Youth is wasted on the young. Offense # 4: Snorting while laughing is not looked upon kindly even though it’s a gift of mine.

Sunday: Spent the day on DFOM’s boat. IMG_9493Got driven around by a captain. Offense #5: saying “OMG YOU HAVE A CAPTAIN???!!!” out loud is not proper.

Monday: We slummed it by shopping at the little outlet center near DFOM’s home. Offense #6: there were no offenses made this day. I was in my element. “Slumming” it is what I do best. That, and snorting while I laugh.

Tuesday (day of departure): DFOM and Say-Say took us for brunch at one of their other country clubs, even though we didn’t bring a fancy hat. Offense #7, but really #6: Do not pile plates on top of each other when you are done eating. Also, do not push your plate to the side. Apparently, the rules here are different than at The Red Lobster.

Random photo of how The Kid's shoes match the comforter at the outlet center.

Random photo of how The Kid’s shoes match the comforter at the outlet center.

It seems I have much to learn.

Although, you know the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” In dog years, I am 350 years old. I should be dead, so I get a pass.

To sum things up, we basically spent six days on a Hollywood set, except this was real. Honestly, I kept looking for Alan Funt to tell me to look into the camera.

All in all, it was a great get-away with good friends and a much needed respite. This life may not be for me, but it is fun to visit. I’m not gonna lie.

If we receive an invitation to return next year, I’ll be sure to be more prepared. TJMaxx sells Ralph Lauren.

Is Ralph acceptable in Palm Beach? Asking for a friend.

 

The Making of a Blanket. Or How Knit To.

When I was a young girl, my mother taught me how to knit. Or she tried to. There’s only so much you can do when your daughter is a lefty and can’t do so much as wipe her own face with her right hand.

We got as far as the knit stitch. My mom had to cast on and off for every project I did. That is, if you want to call my fifteen 7″ x 1″ Barbie scarves a “project.”

I will say this though: My Barbies had the warmest necks this side of the Hudson.

But as quickly as my new hobby started, it stopped. That was it. Done by the tender age of ten.

Until I saw something on the inter-webs last October and decided it was time to revisit that old forty-year dead hobby of mine. Except I didn’t remember how. And even if I did, I would only be able to do the knit stitch.

I had a friend who I knew would be able to get me started. Also, I know you can learn how to do anything from building a car engine to how to clean your toilet with Coca-Cola on YouTube.

Long Live YouTube.

I called my mom who immediately packed up all her knitting accoutrements, from needles to patterns, and put them in the mail to me. I could almost hear her say, “Sucker!” Because what I was really doing was helping her clean out her junk room.

I’m on to you, mom.

Anyway, I was going to be THE knitting phenom. I was going to have this untapped talent. I would be able to make everything from blankets to sweaters with those little sheep patterns on them.

I’m not quite sure what gave me this impression. Maybe because I’m really good at coloring inside the lines. Or it could be because art class was one of the classes I didn’t cut in high school.

Who knows? But I was pretty sure I was going to be good. Even though I hadn’t held a pair of knitting needles in my hands since 1977.

It turns out I wasn’t a knitting phenom. It wasn’t a God-given talent. If that’s even a thing. But more on that in a minute.

So, what exactly gave me the inspiration, after nearly forty years, to pick up my (mom’s) knitting needles again?

It would be this:

My Inspiration

Evil, horrible liar.

It all started with an accidental peek at a chunky blanket I spied on Pinterest. Or Etsy. Okay, I’m not sure where I saw it. It just saw it. Somewhere. And “they” said it would only take 4-5 hours to make.

A piece of cake.

Like I said, I had an epiphany and was 110% sure I could do this and do this well.

Me. The girl who uses the side view mirror of her car to pick off random mailboxes. The girl who has more squirrels running around in her brain than all of the Connecticut backwoods combined.

Anyway, I just HAD to knit one for my daughter for Christmas, who happens to be away at college.

I thought she could snuggle and think of her dear mommy every time she used it.

Because that is precisely what eighteen year olds do. Right? Right?

That friend of mine cast on for me and taught me how to do the purl stitch. We started with thirty-two stitches. After three days, I managed to increase it to forty-one.

I don’t know so don’t ask.

After approximately seven rows in, I decided to rip it all out. Because chances are I would have increased in stitches even more and my blanket would resemble a trapezoid something or other (thank you, Google) then, well, a blanket.

Holier than thou

Hole-ier than thou

Also, I kept forgetting if I was supposed to be purling or knitting. So in addition to it being asymmetrical, it would be bumpy too. You know, kind of like my middle aged body.

Two words: not pretty.

Now of course I could only rip it out to the cast-on row, that first row, because I didn’t know how to cast on (yeah, I know..YouTube. Well, I forgot to look. Squirrel).

Then I decided to completely change the pattern. By accident, of course. The actual only decision-making was the act of choosing to take this project on. The rest just had a mind of its own.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that's where I went wrong.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that’s where I went wrong.

Somewhere in there, I realized I didn’t like the knitting needles I was using so I hit Amazon and got myself new ones. And then didn’t like them, so I went back to the originals.

So far I have increased stitches, ripped, changed the pattern by accident, and switched needles. Twice.

A blanket pattern that claimed it would only take a half day of daylight hours to knit was now my life’s job. And it took almost my whole life to make the thing. Okay, so two months.

Christmas was fast approaching and my anxiety level was increasing. Not to mention the tension in my shoulders and back. Where is it said knitting is therapeutic? Sure. If you like to be tortured. I know a bed made of nails that is more relaxing.

Anyway,  after hours and many weeks, this is the finished product. I, at least owe you a good laugh:

finished blanket

Not really sure what that line is, but this blanket is one of a kind. I like to call it Couture.

So, have I hung up my knitting needles? No. Because practice makes perfect, right?

We’ll see because I’m making all my nieces and nephews who are having babies, a baby blanket. Whether they like it or not. I apologize in advance, but you know, I’m an expert.

A Pointless Post About Dust

unknown-1“Where does dust come from?” This is a question that was rhetorically asked in a writing course I recently participated in. And because I am who I am, I remembered that I have always wondered that same thing myself.

I have a fairly large, dark wood coffee table in my living room. I love this table. Of course. I would not have chosen it to grace my living room and look at it every day if I didn’t. It has a big shiny surface. Which happens to be its only flaw.

Why is it a flaw? Because I can spend 5 minutes dusting the balls out of that thing and a mere few hours later? Dust. All over it.

And when the sun is coming through the windows just so (I love the sun coming through my windows, but only when no one is here, including myself), you can see it float down and land right on the surface of that newly dusted table and every single, ever-loving item in my house.

So, where does dust come from exactly? I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up. For all those who are like me and wander into strange places while thinking, or if you missed that day in fifth grade science class, here is where dust comes from. You’re welcome.

As taken from wiseGEEK (www.wisegeek.org):

“…it is largely made up of dead skin cells, fibers from clothing and other materials, pollen and dander, and tiny particles of dirt. Dust comes from objects in the environment, and from the people and animals that live in it.”

Upon further research, I found out that the average person loses about 40 dead skin cells every second. Most of that thin layer of white stuff you see building up on your furniture? It’s dead skin of you and whoever else lives in or visits your home.

So, basically you have little pieces of pretty much everyone you know in the air that you are breathing. Through your nostrils and into your lungs. That thought makes me want to go out and purchase one of those Walter White type masks. No offense.

maskwhite

I guess no one has has actually died from breathing in other people’s dead skin cells, so I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up (pardon the pun). I mean, I’ve survived the first forty-nine years of my life living this way. I think I can survive the next uh…forty-nine (it’s possible).

In the meantime, I believe I’ll be investing in some more Pledge. Oh, and can you do me a favor before coming over next time? Slather up with some body lotion, would you? Like, maybe bathe in it? I just really hate dusting.

The Getaway Part II – The Upgrade

If you missed Part I, click here and come back. I’ll wait…

Are you caught up? Now where was I? Oh right (ants on the sill in case you forgot).

So, surprisingly we weren’t upset. Typically this would be something that would set one or the other off. But we were here to have fun and enjoy each other’s company, so basically we would have laughed off a natural disaster. Well, maybe not a tsunami. Those things scare the hell out of me.

The 1950s girl looked at us in disbelief when we walked through the lobby door. I almost felt sorry for her sitting there in her poodle skirt. I just really wish she was wearing saddle shoes. I love saddle shoes. I actually had a pair in 1979. Let’s just say, they didn’t make me a lot of friends.

I let DH talk to her because I am not a fan of confrontation. So I went outside to take pictures of the parking lot. When I came back in I heard her say she was giving us the best room in the house. The one that typically costs $320 a night but we were getting at no additional cost. You know, for our troubles.

Mind you, there was not a room to be found on the Island of Long and so far, in the last fifteen minutes we were able to move to three separate rooms in one hotel with no problem. Just an observation.

Moving along.

We walked up the rusty, I mean rustic stairs for the second time and made a hard left to a locked gate at the end of the walkway that looked more like Leavenworth and less like our own private terrace.

Of course, we couldn’t make the key work so I stood there and watched over our bags while DH traipsed back to the lobby.

I tried desperately to avoid eye contact with our new neighbors who were sitting on the other side of their large plate glass window by keeping my gaze out over the parking lot. I was getting to know that parking lot pretty intimately. Just so you know, there were exactly 78 parking spots.

The broken key was just operator error, but I can only imagine the look of terror on 1950s girl’s face when DH walked in that lobby again. Maybe I should have gone with him. That could have been the entertainment for the night.

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Ignore the smoke stacks. What smoke stacks? I don’t see any smoke stacks.

When we got through the gate and turned the corner of the balcony, what to our wondering eyes should appear?

Water.

No, not the kind that gets stuck in a sink. But the kind where boats live. And docks. And seagulls. We had a view of the bay, and it was lovely.

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The Vanity/VCR/Alarm Clock All-In-One Station. Where else can you get one of these gems?

We turned to unlock the door to the “best room in the house.” And stepped into, umm, I’m not sure what we expected, but that room was not $320 a night for the decor.

It seemed all the lampshades had the same disease. And the carpet had seen more dirt than, well, earth. But we had water. A view of the water trumps all else. Pretty much most of the time.

Believe it or not, it was clean (except the carpet — just so you know, I didn’t take my shoes off). It actually smelled nice, and the hubs liked it. He is not a fan of hotels, so I’m still getting over the shock. Seriously. I needed a little bit of smelling salts to make me come to.

You can just barely make out the rain showerhead. I always wanted one of those.

It had a rain shower showerhead. I always wanted one of those. Too bad the next day was not “wash my hair” day.

It had an amazing updated bathroom. The shower was big enough for a foursome and the tile was new (observation #27 – only renovation in probably thirty years).

It looked nice even with the old coffee pot half filled with sludge water, that sat on top of a mini fridge that had probably been there since the Nixon administration (observation #28 – a fridge in the bathroom is weird, and so is a coffee pot especially since poo can splash out from the toilet into your coffee but I digress).

After we looked out over the water for a bit, we realized we had some time to kill before dinner. We thought we would go into town, grab a cocktail and mosey on to the restaurant.

What were our dinner plans, you ask? We had reservations on Fire Island. All I wanted was to have dinner looking out over the waves since I didn’t get to the ocean this past summer and I really needed my fix. The only place I found on the Internet was in a little section on Fire Island called “Cherry Grove.”

Which was a gay community unbeknownst to us (we found out quite accidentally). Not that it mattered, but DH, when we realized, quickly figured out why the nice lady who answered the phone hesitated when he said, “my WIFE and I are celebrating an anniversary…”

“So, how do you think we’ll get there,” asked DH, the sensible one who plans everything from vacation to which foot gets dressed in a sock first.

After doing a bit of research, I found that there aren’t any paved roads on Fire Island. No paved roads means no cars pretty much.

If left to my own devices, I would have thrown caution to the wind. But a little voice (DH’s) inside my head said we should probably check things out further.

So, I called a water taxi company. After the lady who answered the phone very exuberantly exclaimed, “OH MY GOD, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?” she told me that we would have to walk from the parking lot (Robert Moses parking lot — surely you’ve heard of it — it is right up the street from Jones Beach according to Google Maps) to the lighthouse.

See that lighthouse way bottom left corner? Robert Moses is to the left of that. WAY to the left.

See that lighthouse way bottom left corner? Robert Moses is to the left of that. WAY to the left.

“How long is that walk?” I ask. Her reply was “a half an hour.” Then we’d have to catch a water taxi from there that would take an hour, plus pay approximately $44 round trip.

Phew. This story is getting long. Maybe I should stop here and write Part III – Dinner and Beyond. Besides, I’m tired and I have to work tomorrow. Darn work, always gets in the way of a good story.

Stay tuned once more. Just once more, I promise.

 

The Getaway Part I

When DH and I got married twenty-four years ago, we didn’t have a formal honeymoon. We couldn’t afford one because four months earlier we decided to spend the money we saved for our wedding as a down payment on a house.

Good idea? I think so. A house lasts way more than a five hour wedding and is the smartest thing a young couple can do, but I digress. (FYI – we were lucky because our parents helped foot the bill for the reception, which was awesome by the way)

In other words, we were house poor.

After the last guest left our wedding reception, DH looked over at me and said, “wanna go to Cape Cod for a few days? We can use some of our wedding money to pay for it.”

Of course, who am I to turn down a spontaneous vacation? I am not a planner by nature so this fit my personality to a “T.”

We didn’t have the internet to help us, so we basically got up the next day, threw a packed suitcase in the trunk of our car, and with map in hand, drove the three hours or so it took to get to the Cape. We hoped there would be hotels with vacancies. If not, there was always the car.

The first night we chose a sketchy looking “hotel” that was right off the main road on the Cape. It was one of those one-level motor inns. I’m sure our little stay didn’t cost more than $50.

The floor was uneven (when I say “uneven” I mean there should have been a railing installed on the wall to hold on to so guests wouldn’t run the risk of falling and injuring themselves), the bedding…umm, let’s just say the Red Light District has seen better linens. And I believe I saw a cockroach scurry across the bathroom floor.

We got better at choosing places to stay each evening during the week, with ants replacing cockroaches. And polyester blend replacing plain, old polyester.

We laughed it off and filed the experience away in our memory banks under “Shit Not To Do.”

This past weekend was our anniversary. DH wanted to look at a motorcycle that was for sale on Long Island so we decided to turn it into an impromptu weekend getaway. This time we had about forty-eight hours to (somewhat) plan it out.

Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. We couldn’t find a single hotel room anywhere.

Except one. And we soon understood why. Suddenly the memory of that first night on our honeymoon came rushing back (what good is a memory bank when you only deposit but never withdrawal).

img_0557

The best part…this sign.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed the sign right away. It was a throw-back from another era.

Inside the tiny lobby, there were model cars of Thunderbirds and Corvettes. The furniture had a bit of an old, retro feel to it as well, and the clerk was dressed in a costume from the 1950s.

I looked at the girl and said, “oh, so this place is supposed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time on purpose.”

Yes.

Except we suspected that perhaps it was just an excuse to not do any kind of renovation at all. You know, since 1956.

After we checked in, she informed us that breakfast was from 7-10am. Awesome. We asked where it would be served.

“Oh, here. In the lobby,” she replied.

DH and I looked behind us. “Umm, here?” Yes, here. There probably was enough room for approximately 4.5 people to stand comfortably in the lobby but whatever works.

img_0539After we made our way up the “rustic” (aka RUSTY) set of stairs that led to the upper balcony, we located the door to our room and opened it with a real key.

The room was a bit old all right but no “retro” furniture to be found. Our suspicions were starting to prove correct.

img_6479Aside from the peeling paint on the wall and broken lampshades hanging above the bed, the sink in the bathroom was clogged and water stood to the rim.

DH called the nice 1950’s lady and she apologized and ran a new key up to us for the room two doors down.

Room #2 wasn’t perfect either, but surprisingly it smelled clean. And it was a place to lay our head for the night. This time around we were too old to have the option of sleeping in the car. So, it would have to do.

I walked over to the window to check out the view of the parking lot, and noticed two tiny ants crawling around on the sill. I gave them a little smack and decided I would keep that little tidbit under my hat. No need to upset the mister.

“What did you just hit?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing really. Just a little ant.”

That little ant turned into about 300 within five nanoseconds. Apparently I disturbed the nest when I tried to kill their brother.

Without giving it a second thought, we picked up our bags and headed for the lobby. When the 1950s girl saw us, she took a deep breath and said, “oh no, what’s the matter now?”

Stayed tuned for Part II — “The Upgrade.”

Hello, I’m Not Dead.

images-3I’m here, I’m here! I haven’t contracted the Bubonic plague or fallen off the Brooklyn Bridge (I did walk across the Brooklyn Bridge once so it could have happened). Nothing earth-shattering occurred to cause me to stop writing and communicating to all of you. I swear it.

So, what DID happen to me, then? I mean, it has been nearly a lifetime since I’ve last published a post (in case you are dying to know, that lifetime ago was August 8th).

I’m going to be straight with you, you know, shoot from the hip (do we know what that even means?):

I cannot chew gum and walk at the same time

That’s about it. After I went back to work full-time, I swear it was like someone took a sledge hammer to my life.

Or the proverbial Mac Truck drove right down the middle of me. Leaving my guts all over the sidewalk.

On that sidewalk are also dirty toilets, a sink full of dishes and two weeks’ worth of laundry. Never mind what that thing is growing inside my refrigerator. I suppose it could be The Kid’s science project, but I’m afraid to ask. Because I have a sneaking suspicion it isn’t. Call it intuition.

When I get home from work, and after I make dinner (yes, I do that. It takes the last hair of energy I have left but we do have to eat and take-out every night will only put about 50 pounds on me a minute. And besides they say it is bad for you and I can’t do that to my family. Although, so is my cooking, so…), I leave enough DNA on the couch I can actually be cloned. (Not a bad idea. I hope she does windows.)

June CleaverI have a lot of respect for women who can do it all…raise a family, keep the house in order, all that crap…while working at the same time. You are rock stars and make the rest of us look like slugs. Thank you for that.

I am here to say I have started to peel myself off the leather davenport, so worry no more. It took a couple of months, but I’ve devised a plan to get myself back among the living and do what I love most — write.

Who am I kidding? I’m not a planner. There is no plan. How about I just refer to it as “I’m Getting Off My Lazy Ass and Doing Something?” Works for me.

Writ'ers Block

Maybe this has been my problem all along?

I’m back and I’m on a mission. As soon as the blood finds it’s way to my brain and I actually know what I’m going to write about. I suppose I have also been in Writer’s Block Hell. It’s a place.

Next, I’ll tackle the toilets. Maybe. So what shall I name her? You know, my clone?

Passport Hell Part II

I left off by telling you that I was missing my “long form” birth certificate (if you missed it click here). How was I going to get it? I was going to have to beg, borrow and steal, that’s how. Or just write a check.

I was born in New Jersey. Which means that I had to apply to the State of New Jersey Vital Statistics. I applied on February 14 and had to pay $47 to get something that belongs to me. But I guess that’s my punishment for forgetting to put the original back in the safety box. Either that or that is some expensive paper right there.

After receiving emails informing me of my birth certificate’s every step (Confirmation, In Progress, Ready To Mail Out and Completed), I finally received it on March 18.

I now had 16 days until we leave for our trip. My laid-back, “eh, we have plenty of time” attitude turned into full-on panic. I looked online (thank you Internet for being born — just don’t lose your b.c.) and found the number for the nearest Passport Office, which happens to only be an hour away.

Everything was automated. And I was told by Roberta Robot to come in on March 25 at 9:30am for my appointment. Now, when they say “appointment” I pictured a nice lady in a business suit behind a desk with a bun in her hair and black rimmed glasses on her face. I would sit down at her desk and she would ask me questions that I may or may not be able to answer and we’d be done.

I’m not really sure what world I live in.

Just so you know, in order to get a Passport expedited, you have to pay an additional 60 bucks. So far I am $232+ in the hole. Add in my time and wear and tear on my car and fuhgetaboutit.

After waiting in line to get through the metal detector and finding out that I needed to fill out yet another form, I had to get in line #2. This line had one of those rope things you see when you want to catch a ride on Magic Mountain. Except without the magic. And the mountain.

There were three windows but only one was open. A family of seven was at the single window. I was pretty sure they were ready to bust out some wine and cheese because it looked like they were going to be there for a while.

I was sandwiched between two guys. One had so much dog hair on the back of his sweatshirt that I was afraid to inhale too deeply for fear of getting a hairball and the other was mumbling, “this is bullshit” to himself over and over again. I was half expecting him to go “postal” any minute.

After standing in line for 40 minutes, I was given a ticket with a number and had to go wait in the pen with the rest of the poor passport-less people. The only difference is, I already had a processing passport. So, I had a different number than most everyone else. I just had to show the powers that be my $47 birth certificate. Easy peasy.

I sat down at 10:17. My number was called at 11:11. I almost missed it because I was texting DH, bitching about my experience and that I had a fear of not hearing my number being called.

By chance I looked up from my phone and a guy behind one of the six out of twelve windows that was opened was staring at me. Glaring at me like I was a sixteen year old girl. I wish I could say I was flattered, but I wasn’t.

I gathered my crap and ran up before he gave my spot away. After explaining the whole deal, he said, “give me a few minutes to find your paperwork. Sit where I can see you.”

Even though it only took him a couple of minutes and I was sitting in a chair right outside of his little window like he told me to, he started looking around the room for me. I ran up again, before he gave up and moved on to the next soul.

Because the thought of starting over made me want to just throw in the towel. So what if I never leave the country ever again? Who cares if I never see the Eiffel Tower? Or the Taj Mahal? Or Tahiti?

I got out my check, ready to sign over the extra 60 buckaroos to get my passport lickety-split. “Oh, no. You don’t owe any money. We are so sorry.” Yes. He apologized to me. Why? In case you missed it, in Part I I mentioned that the birth certificate I originally sent did indeed have my parents’ names on it. See where I’m going with this?

So now I’m only out $172+ (the “+” is for the processing fee that I don’t remember the cost of). The guy behind one of the six out of twelve opened windows asked me if I wanted it overnighted. Believe it or not, I said no. Because it was going to cost $15 and I’m dirt cheap. He promised me it would be at my house in three business days. He was wrong.

It only took 22 hours. passport

So, it was precisely nine weeks from the start of a journey that should not have been as painful as it was or should not have taken more than a month.

Moral of the story? Make sure you have a passport. You don’t have to have current travel plans outside of the United States. Just have one. Getting a passport because you have to, last minute, is not a good idea. Or as fun as Magic Mountain.

Plus now, you can go to Tahiti.

Passport Hell Part I

I had a passport once long, long ago. I needed one to get to and from Germany. I was probably around 7 or 8. That passport expired around the same time I started to grow boobs and pop zits. And I never applied for a new one.

Until now. Why? Because I’m going to Canada in exactly 9 days. No, I didn’t wait until the last minute. I applied for it back in January, when we decided we would be taking this trip.

I swear my hair looked good in my mirror at home.

I swear my hair looked good in my mirror at home. Although my hair isn’t the biggest problem here.

I went to the local pharmacy and paid 15 bucks for the ugliest picture anyone could possibly have taken of me. An orangutan could have done a better job with his feet.

I meticulously filled out the paperwork, checked and double checked that I had all of the correct forms, proof of citizenship, a pint of my blood and first born. I crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s.

I trekked my ass down to the post office. No, not any post office. It had to be a special post office that processes passports. Luckily for me, there was one in the next town.

After forking over $110 plus a processing fee that I blocked out because what difference does it make? A passport could cost $5,000. If you need a passport, you need a passport. Does the government or world or whatever have us by the cajones or what?

Umm, what was I saying? Oh right…

After forking over some moola, and spending an exorbitant amount of time in line as well as with the man behind the counter, I felt a sense of relief rush through me. It was on its way. Done. Complete. Check. Now I just had to wait the four to six weeks it would take to come in the mail. This was on January 21st. I had plenty of time.

Or so I thought. On February 13th, I received an official looking letter from the State of Connecticut. This envelope was too small to fit a passport. Although with the way technology is these days, who knows? This envelope could contain a chip. To be planted in your ear. I could only hope. I ripped it open. Eager to find out what was inside.

“The evidence of U.S. citizenship or nationality you submitted is not acceptable…the full names of your parent(s) are not listed…”

WHAT? I made a panicked phone call to my mother. Because my mother is the all-knowing, keeper of everything go-to person (I’m not kidding either. If you want her number, let me know). “OH-MY-GOD-MOTHER-MY-PASSPORT-APPLICATION-GOT-REJECTED!!!” I screamed into her ear.

Here’s a little birth certificate lesson for all of you: Apparently there are TWO types…the long form and the short form.

My dear all-knowing mother keeps a copy of everything from the receipt of a pack of gum she bought at CVS in 1994 to…you got it, all of her children’s birth certificates.

After a quick discussion with her, we figured out that I sent the short form. But guess what? The short form DID have my parents’ names listed on it because she checked. You know, on her copy. The State of Connecticut is blind. And my mother is never wrong. Plus she can read. She is not blind.

Unimportant Note: In case you are wondering why I didn’t just send the long form, it’s because I don’t have it. It got lost in a move. Or I probably took it out of our fire-safe lock box for one reason or another and didn’t put it back. I’m betting on the latter.

Most people would have called the State of Connecticut Passport Agency and demanded an explanation. But alas! I am not most people. What did I do next? Stay tuned…this is compelling stuff here. You won’t want to miss it. Or maybe you will. You be the judge.