Saturday, November 28, 2009

My First and Perhaps Last Black Friday

I woke up with a startle on Friday morning at 3:30am. My sister had the unpleasant duty to wake me up and, without my hearing aids in, I almost smacked her not knowing who the hell was trying to get me up at this ungodly hour. Then I realize that I chose this. So we hopped in the car and were on our way with hot coffee in our hands and anxious anticipation in our minds. How many people would be there? Would the rain drive them away? Would the deals really be worth it? Could we possibly get hurt by a stampede? While the parking lot of Kohl's and Target didn't seem to be overly crowded, we quickly saw the lines out the door waiting for the grand opening and our jaws dropped. People were lined up around the building and then some! Some people put real clothes on, some stayed in their pajamas, some appeared to have not slept all night, others looked fresh as a daisy. And then there was "that guy". He was over 6'5" and I guess when the tag says one size fits all, they didn't exclude that the Snuggie he was wearing would be the perfect fit. Now, he didn't wear it as seen on tv, he wore it more like a cape a la The Lord Of The Rings. We are rookies, but we knew to stay away from Snuggie-man. The doors opened to Kohls and we made our way inside. We didn't know what we wanted, but we just knew we wanted it to be cheap. Turns out they did have some great deals but I'm not so sure the stuff I got would not have been available all day and at a time ending in "pm". But I digress. So, with parcels in hand we stood in the longest line I've ever been in. We met some interesting folks and I did some "man on the street" style interviews of them to get the best tricks of the trade. One woman had been doing this for 7 years and when she finished telling us all about how to do it right, she remembered something else she wanted and so she dumped all her stuff on her 90 year old grandmother also in line and sprinted off. She was back in a flash and Nanna didn't seem to mind, but we were worried about her for a minute. So, my grand total at Kohl's? $40. But I did save $40 on the stuff I bought so I figured I was a winner. Then we went off to Target which seemed promising given the seemingly hundreds of available cashiers. However, once we perused the store and picked up our goodies, that line was worst than them all and moved painfully slow. Now, Target is where people were getting nasty. Having a cart was ideal for waiting in line, but not so good in navigating the electronics section which was where the magic was happening. People were lined up for the 5 available alarm clocks at rock bottom prices and if you stepped in the wrong spot and assumed you had the rights to one of them, they were gonna kick your ass to Tallahassee. So, what did I get at Target? Well, quite a few things actually but none of them were on sale and none of them would be unavailable on a different day and different time. So now it was 6:30am and we couldn't take anymore. We refueled and headed home. Then we decided that since BJs was open at 7am, let's head over there. Okay, so here I did find some bargains (but again not doorbusters just general bargains going on all weekend) I spent more money here than anywhere (Kristin and Helen can stop nodding their heads in disapproval now) but I loved what I got! We were out of there and in the car again and I turned to my sister and said, okay, what shall we have for lunch? She kindly informed me that it was a bit early for lunch and as I looked at the clock I realized that while I had been up and shopping for the past 6 hours, it was only 9:30am and the next thing on my shopping list was a nice long nap!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stuffed Turkey

Today is a day where we spend time with loved ones and give thanks. But let's be honest, aren't we really in this for the food? Could there be nothing better than every comfort food you could possibly crave being put out on the same table and you have license to just eat anything you want? From the stuffing to the pumpkin pie, it's a carb-loaded sugar fest of epic proportions. But this year I will try to show some restraint. I will sample a little bit of everything, but I can't go hog wild as I may have in years past. I've been working too hard with my workouts and training to lose it all over some sausage stuffing. In fact, this week I had my most recent fit assessment and I'm happy to say that I lost another 13 lbs since my last test and a bunch of inches. In fact, I lost about a foot of inches from my neck, shoulders, chest, arms, waist, hips, and thighs. That's crazy! How can a person lose all those inches and not instantly be skinny? It just means that i have so much further to go, but I'm committed so I'll do it damnit! So, my posting today is more of a public declaration that the only thing that I hope to be stuffed this year is the turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Wheels On The Truck Go Round And Round

So, I was trying to get a bunch of stuff done during my day off yesterday and I am so glad I did because it turned out that there was more than I had expected to get done in store for me. I began with a "quick" oil change which turned into a not-so-quick procedure as they convinced me, once again, that I needed to have a transmission fluid flush service. I swear, these companies are fear-driven sales models because if they tell me that I need to do it and that if I don't I'll face the "consequences", I sign right up. Okay, so I shake that off and continue on to getting an inspection sticker. My friend Helen is always nervous I'm going to forget so she'll be happy to know that I got this taken care of. Well, I tried anyways.

Franky came in from the garage at my neighborhood Sunoco and told me that I had failed my inspection. What? I've never failed anything in my life, how could this be? Well, it turns out that my front tires are about as bad as they get. They were worn down and had little traction. He told me I was one snowfall away from sliding right off the road. Um......does this ring any bells anyone? Yeah, I was slipping and sliding right off the road last year and when I asked my car dealer if there was anything wrong with my tires, they told me they were fine!!! What the hell were they trying to do, make sure I slammed into a guardrail? So, I ordered two new tires and then spent some time in the waiting room. Wait, should I really call this a waiting room? It was a chair that had some sort of blanket over it to cover up whatever pitiful state the actual chair was in. The ambiance was an ice cream freezer and a rack filled with foul looking "pastries" and a full wall of soda.

But it probably wouldn't surprise you to hear that I had some major entertainment in the form of the patrons who visited the Sunoco that fine afternoon. First we had a "little person" who I couldn't fully understand as she had a speech impediment which made it difficult for the guy behind the counter to provide the directions she was looking for. On her way out she asked me if I had any toothpaste. Wierd? Yes. Hysterical? Also yes. Then a guy named Omar came in and he seemed like a regular. He proceeded to buy $100 worth of scratch tickets. Every time he would win $10 he would buy another one of the same value. His theory, as he explained it to me, was that if he kept playing the same card he would win and he didn't want to leave the winning ticket behind. I asked him how long he had been playing these scratch tickets and he said "a long time". I said, have you ever won anything? He said he'd never won more than $20 at a time. After a long pause I couldn't help but put my manager hat on and I asked him if he thought he might want to try a different approach? He looked at me like I was nuts and I knew I had crossed the line so I shut up and read my book.

Then this guy came in who also seemed to be a regular, picked up a few scratch tickets and then sat in the back corner on a stool I hadn't seen before. Okay, then he fell asleep. I feel like he mentioned at some point that he didn't have to go to work until 3 and it was just before 2 at this point. People came and went, he slept. I read more of my book, he slept. Omar bought more tickets, he slept. I paid my bill and left and I'm not convinced he's still not there. So, if you care about me, please smack me upside the head if I ever end up being the girl who goes to Sunoco and takes a nap between shifts. I could think of nothing I would want to do less. I proceeded to get a bunch more errands done after my tires were installed and let me tell you something, these tires kick ass and it feels like a new car!!! So, all in all not a bad day and any day I can have some good people watching and a run in with a wackadoo, I'm a happy girl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Please Remain Seated Until The Aircraft Has Come To A Complete Stop

As many of you know, I recently traveled the friendly skies as I went to Berlin and back a couple of weeks ago. It was an amazing trip and I had a wonderful time. That is if I forget the “delightful” people I had to deal with on the planes and all the airports I had to go through to get there. Here’s the thing, we all want to get on the plane and get settled in our seats but does getting to your seat 1 whole minute before me warrant being a complete turd and sacrificing your humanity? Honestly, the rudeness exhibited by my dear fellow passengers was truly astonishing. So, boarding was one thing, but it was the departure from the aircraft that really got my blood boiling. So, the plane lands, the lights go on and that friendly little ding sends the passengers into a frenzied motion of unclicking their seatbelts and lunging for the exit door. Nobody makes eye contact because if you do, you might feel compelled to show some manners. That’s right, they just keep their eyes looking forward as they rush past me, knocking me with their obnoxious carry on bags and leaving me to wait like a game of frogger to enter the rat race. And I give up. I simply sit down and wait it out because nothing is worth lowering myself to the point where I will knock into someone and stop the almighty surge of people while I grab my bag from the bin (exhibiting caution as my items ALWAYS shift during flight), give my seat an extra look to make sure I haven’t left my ipod behind, and leave when I am good and ready. This works out well most of the time, the only problem is when another person is sitting next to me and is like an Olympian runner at the starting line, waiting to sprint to the door. So, it’s really not the flying time, the boredom of a long flight, the cramped seats that wears me out when I travel, it’s the exhaustion I feel from the disappointment when I see fellow human beings forget for a second that they don’t get a prize just because they’re first out the door.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Blind Side

Okay, so you know how there are certain movies that just make you cry your eyes out? One of the ones that always does that to me is Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock. Well, I think she may have done it again with her new movie, The Blind Side. It's the true story of a high school student who went from homeless to the first round NFL draft pick in 2009 all because of a fiery mom who took him in as her own son. Every time I see the previews for this movie, I start crying. So, I kind of figure that this will be messier than an unexpected re-watch of Stepmom or Steel Magnolias. You know, those movies that you catch halfway through but you just can't walk away until you see the gut-wrenching ending? You know what's going to happen but you can't stop but put yourself through the pain all over again. Now, I think this movie ends up more inspirational than depressing but if the previews are any indication, pass the tissues because this is gonna get messy before it's over. What's your favorite tearjerker? My top three picks: Hope Floats, Stepmom, I Am Sam. Oh god, I'm getting misty-eyed just thinking about them, I have to go now......

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's In An Hour?

So, this weekend we gained an hour back in our lives and while we will lose it once again in the Spring, I am grateful for the time we have together now. I'm grateful for the extra hour I get to sleep. I'm grateful for one less hour's worth of guilt I feel for lazing about my house before I start to get to work picking it up. I'm grateful for that little bit of excitement I feel when I look at a clock that I haven't changed yet and I realize I have another hour more! I'm grateful for the exhilerating feeling of being "early" when I would have otherwise been an hour late. I'm grateful for this hour and I will savor it until it is ripped from my hands on that terrible Spring day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So, I went to the doctor today who informed me that I have a patellar subluxation which basically means my kneecap is in the wrong place which explains why I've been saying for the past few weeks, "hey, I think my kneecap is in the wrong place." so, I've got a knee brace and some new exercises to focus on with my trainer and I hope to straighten this out. The good news is that he remarked that my quads are really strong and he could tell I had been focusing on them in the gym. that's right Dr. Patel, my quads rule!!! It's a pretty frequent injury and is often fixed on it's own with ice, advil, strengthened leg muscles and avoiding painful activities. Worst case scenario, I might need surgery, but I'll take the next 3 months to do everything I can to avoid it. Lord knows, I don't need another surgerical notch on my belt.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Spooktacular Evening

So, on Friday night I had an interesting experience. I went to support some of my colleagues as they hosted a huge halloween event for the area au pairs. When I got there I was greeted warmly and when I asked what I could do to help, I was put right to work. They put me front and center at the check-in table where I helped to welcome over 300 people to this Halloween shindig. Was this a well thought out plan though? I think not. For the next two hours I sat there struggling to do my assigned task. Why you ask? Because I personally think that placing a hearing impaired person at the door of a big event with over 300 non-native english speaking people who tend to be a bit soft spoken and are wearing masks is not perhaps the most efficient way to get the party started! At a certain point I gave up and just threw the clipboard at people and said, find your own name. Ah, just another day in the life of yours truly. Honestly, weren't there some balloons I could have been blowing up or some chips and dip I could have put out?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Is It

This afternoon I finally saw the Michael Jackson movie, This Is It. It's currently in limited release for 2 weeks and with my upcoming travel I figured it was now or never. I've always been a fan of Michael Jackson's music and videos, but never really had much of an opinion of him as a person. The thing is that after watching this movie, I don't care to weigh in on all the other stuff, but I do think that this movie gives you a rare glimpse at a true artist at work. The realization that he died before the much anticipated tour started was not far from my mind as I watched this film document the final rehearsals. The dancers, singers and musicians were all tearful as they talked about their good fortune to be a part of this production and they practiced each number with meticulous detail. They were overcome with emotion and not because they were interviewed after he died, these interviews were simply during the rehearsals. They were so excited because they felt that they had landed the opportunity of a lifetime. He was an absolute perfectionist and he had incredible vision, I can understand how in awe they must have been seeing him practice his craft in front of them. This was going to be an incredible concert, but I suppose now more people will see him perform than ever would have been able to attend one of the many sold out performances that were scheduled. I remember seeing an Oprah show recently where she said something that really resonated with me as I watched the film today. She said that watching his commitment and passion for his work makes you want to do the same in your own work. I agree with her.

There were people of all ages, races, and backgrounds watching the movie today and at the end of it, everyone broke out in applause. I know he made some strange choices during his life and I know that his untimely passing was partly his own fault. I also know that this man was a musical genius and he leaves behind quite a musical legacy. I, for one, was grateful to have had this opportunity to see a glimpse of him in his element.

To catch a glimpse of what I'm talking about, check out the trailer: