Off the grid
Dave and I have just returned from a week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I was so busy with work the weeks leading up to the cruise, I forgot to check to see what my cell phone capabilities and internet connection would be while adrift at sea. Come to find out, we had a bit of connectivity one or two days but for the most part, we stayed away from internet. Wowee. I have to admit I felt a bit like Sandra Bullock's character in "Gravity" when she was disconnected in space. I almost felt like if I yelled, no one would be able to hear me. No Weebly? No facebook? "How will you function?" Dave asked me. "Well, it's my birthday, so you'll just have to entertain me", I quipped. And so it was.
What a lovely journey we had. Room service for breakfast each morning, then I was off to my Boot Camp workout class that hopefully allowed me to only gain 5 pounds instead of the typical cruising weight gain. I read John Grisham's new book "Sycamore Row" (true Grisham----loved every single word of it!) and the new "Allegiant" book in the "Divergent" series. Dave and I talked a good bit about our future and how much we love being married still, even after 21 years.
AND.....we interacted a good bit with the staff on the ship. I loved getting to know our cabin stewards, joking with our assistant waiter in the dining room, laughing with the casino dealers, and telling the ship's crew how much we appreciated the "extra" things they did.
Overall, being off the grid did wonders for my mental health but I missed the "connections" that come from blogging and talking to friends on facebook. We're in flight from Miami to Phoenix as I type this and I couldn't wait to say how much I missed everyone.
I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving.
Just for today, perhaps you might consider telling someone in customer service how much you appreciate them. They always hear the bad stuff but they really love hearing the good stuff too. It might just make your day as well.
Kids Say the Darndest Things
As the mom of three Labrador Retrievers, I can honestly say I don't know how hard it must be to navigate air travel with human children. I do know that people roll their eyes and heavy sigh at parents who can't seem to magically make their children be completely silent for a 6-hour flight (!!). "Really?" I want to ask these eye-rollers. "I can't get the chatty Cathy next to me who is 63 to stop telling me about her arthritis, why would we expect a 2-year old to stay silent for such a long flight?"
My L.A. to JFK flight yesterday was no different. A woman ("bless her heart" is what we say in the South) had a 3 1/2 year old and a five-year old. The five year old wanted to tell her mom every SINGLE thing she was seeing outside the window "Did you see that cloud?" "Wow, we are far up in the air" and "I can see houses on the ground" were all met with "Hmmm-mmmm" . Just like Dave responds to me sometimes. I get it.
As we approached New York City, the captain came on and said, "We have a few clouds that are keeping them from letting us land. It may take us a few minutes before they allow us to land. Just be patient." His comment was immediately met with the 3 1/2 year old singing, "Rain, rain go away, Come again some other day. All the people on the plane want to play". In perfect pitch, I might add. Smiles from even the grumpiest air travelers around him.
Mom tried to get both kids to believe "We'll be on the ground in just a few minutes." She didn't convince them....or us, for that matter.
Mom tried a different tact---she handed the 3 1/2 year old a puzzle book.
All was silent.....for about 60 seconds.
All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, we all heard (probably even the pilot) the 3 1/2 year old announce, "I just did Number 2!"
All eyes turned to the woman, who clearly wanted to shrink and disappear. I even heard a few "Ugh!"s from passengers.
Just then, the toddler piped up again, "Look! I just did Number 7 and Number 3. Easy!"
I am not lying when I tell you there was almost an audible sound of relief when we realized he was working on the numbered puzzles on the page.
I think it is just the nature of children to say what is on their minds....at all times.....in all places.
Just for today, why not appreciate the humor that is inherent in communication and miscommunication?
City Mouse, Country Mouse
Have you ever been at a restaurant or in a public place and you hear a group of people cackle, giggle, or chortle so loud, you can't help but look to see what could possibly be so funny? We were those people this weekend.
I spent the past weekend in Las Vegas with my two very best friends from college. Let me back up and say that we laughed our way through college, sometimes literally. They were both bridesmaids in Dave's and my wedding and I was in theirs. We don't see each other every month but sometimes even go a year or so without seeing one another. No matter what, though, when we get together, our stomachs ache from laughing so hard.
This weekend was no different. Not only can we break into fits of laughter from things we said or did 28 or 29 years ago, but we make our own new memories every time we get together.
We truly laughed 'til we cried, watching the youtube video "Worry about yourself" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A6Bu96ALOw . It's a must-watch.
We took a picture of all three of us inside a high-heeled shoe in the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, agreeing that we were now the three old ladies who lived in a shoe.
We drank a milkshake in an amazing place called Holstein's and cracked up when we realized our heads were right under the udders of the mascot cow.
This morning, the guy making our breakfast at Embassy Suites asked me how many pieces of bacon I wanted and, without pausing, I replied, "Eight but I suppose I should answer something more like '3'". Even the poor gentleman in front of us was laughing at how hard we were laughing at the brutal honesty.
We giggled like school kids at the whimsical antics of the Cirque show Mystere last night at Treasure Island.
Tears streamed down our faces from laughing so hard so many times this weekend, I need laughter recovery for a couple of days.
The truth is: I crave laughter like I crave sunshine and diet coke. I am so grateful to have lifelong friends with whom I can laugh to my heart's content.
Just for today, why not take a moment to giggle at something silly. You might just feel invigorated.
And for sure: "Worry about yo'self".
Truth in advertising...
Robin and Kelly are my two best friends from college. Throughout the 25 years since college, we have not talked on the phone every day, or even every week or month. They both have children with busy schedules and I have....L.N., M.E. and Rudy, who require much love and attention, too, even if they aren't involved in band, choir, or cheerleading. Despite the lapses between talks, when we get together (every year or so for sure), we pick up right where we left off, laughing and telling stories.
This weekend, we are going to Las Vegas to hang out for the weekend. I told them a month ago that I would take care of finding a hotel room. After all, I travel alot for work so my frequent stayer membership at a particular hotel chain should help us get a couple of extra amenities. "Great", they said. "The only thing I care about", Robin said, "is a nice pool so we can sit out by the pool and talk during the day." No problem.
When looking on the website for all the hotels in my preferred chain that are on or near the Strip, I found the one that said, "Voted #1 pool in Las Vegas". Sounds pretty good, right? I wasted no time in booking it. Did I mention I did this a month ago?
Yesterday, Robin emails me and says, "Their website says the pool is closed." Oh no, I said to myself. That cannot be because they have sent me confirmation emails this week saying "Welcome, Diamond member. We can't wait to have you stay at our beautiful property." Scanning that email, I looked for any sign that the "Voted #1 pool in Vegas" could be closing their pool. Nope. Must be a mistake. So, I called.
The lady who answered the phone must have been vying for the position of "most curt response of the year", because when I asked, "Your #1 rated pool in Las Vegas is open, right?" her reply was, "Nope." Hmmmm....that can't be, I tried to reason, as I wasn't given any indication of a closing. "For the winter", she expounded. Woman of few words, I muttered under my breath. "But that can't be", I countered, "it's 80 degrees there today." "Nope, closed", she helpfully explained. I again scoured my reservation and the welcome email, and once again saw nothing about a pool closing. But this time, I did see some fine print. "Oh there it must be", I thought. Nope (to copy the definitive conversation of the front desk lady), it's something else. The fine print let me know that there would be a $59 charge to the room for our stay for a resort fee. Well, that would make sense, maybe, if this was a RESORT WITH A POOL! (Oh dear, did I just shout that aloud? Yep!)
I called the VIP desk at the membership desk, and they offered me show tickets to a comedy club for the inconvenience of not having a pool. "Hmmmmm....do they happen to have a pool at the comedy club with lounge chairs in which we can sit?" "Nope", I think he answered.
In the end (and by that, I mean after talking to many managers and representatives over the course of the next 85 hours (okay, maybe it was only one hour), we are staying at another lovely property just off the Strip that has even said they will deliver a special 25-year reunion treat to our room (hmmmm....wonder if it will be Taco Cabana).
I said, "Thank you so much for that. That is really sweet. Can I just ask again, 'You do have a pool, correct?"
"Of course we do".
"Great. Is it open?"
"Of course it is."
"Is there a resort fee?"
"We're in", I said.
Just for today, perhaps we can be patient (this is so about me and not you) and know that things will work out better if we are truthful, honest, and a little bit kind.
There is beauty in the wait...
My mother used to say, "If everyone takes a limo to the dance when they are in 8th grade, what will make it special when you do it as a senior in high school?" Good words of advice when also applied to other teenage activities (insert your own at your own risk).
While I am not good at waiting, I see merit in the wait for communication purposes (if someone says something that angers you, count to 10 (or 462) before responding, for example).
So, after I ate a bit of Halloween candy last night (what's a girl supposed to do when we bought a bag of candy and only two trick-or-treaters showed up), today I went to a local outdoor mall in Tucson (absolutely beautiful weather so no way could I go into a piped-in-air-conditioning mall). As I entered Anthropologie (my new favorite clothing/eclectic home furnishings store), I was greeted with a delicious scent. Aahhhh...the smell of shopping (somehow, Dave doesn't enjoy my love for this scent). As I wandered to the back, I heard the beginning strains of ..... wait a minute.....what is that sound.....AARGH!! None other than "Jingle Bells".
The salesperson nearest me turned and asked, "Ma'am, did you need help?"
Oops, I guess I said that outloud.
"No thanks", I replied, and then I quickly left the store. I couldn't do it. Not on November 1st.
There are two whole months until Christmas. How can we already begin hearing Christmas music? Shouldn't we show a bit of restraint at least until the Halloween candy has cleared the shelves of the stores??
And what in the world must Thanksgiving think of this disrespect? Oh sure, you may argue, "But there are so many Christmas songs to be played and so little time." Au contraire, I argue. I think we should give Thanksgiving its due. Dave asked (when I complained about the outrage), "What Thanksgiving songs do you know?"
Well......how about all the great hits, "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" and "Five Little Turkeys"? Okay, well that might be the best case for my argument, but still!!
It's just wrong, wrong, wrong to hear Christmas songs on November 1st. Next thing we know, kids will be trick-or-treating while caroling. How about just waiting a few short weeks?
After all, there is beauty in the wait.....