Saturday, June 28, 2014

Everybody's working for the weekend.

So, a week in the office, and at home every night.  I feel like a new woman.

I am caught up on expenses, I still have a metric ton of documentation, but what's a girl to do?

Meanwhile, it's Saturday.

We're going to a Craft Beer Festival this afternoon.  I'm the Designated Driver.  My liver thanks me in advance.  As does my husband.

And of course, there's groceries to buy, clothes to wash.

Then it's time to pack.  This time, I'm traveling to see Mom, Henry and Laura.

All good.  All good.

ae

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Avant et Après - avec des images.

So,  I've been busy.

Last night, I got my hair cut.

This is before:

Cousin Itt.

Happy Traveler, Phoenix AZ

Here's after:


A late night, blurry selfie.


Yes, that's right.  SENIOR Training Manager. With a desk and everything. How may I help you?

The pics don't even do the cut justice - it looks amazeballs.  I love it.

Now, the other thing that's been going on is a little competitive swag giving.

When I was in Raleigh last week, I emailed my CAT dealer there and we ended up going to lunch, then spent a few hours working at his office.  He gave me some hats, because I love them.  And because clearly, he loves me. 

Here's me in his hat:

Selfies are awkward.  Nice hotel room, though.


It's a great hat - the other is a CAT hat in camo.  But the dealer brand (Gregory Poole) makes this one extra special.

After I received it, I messaged another of my dealers to tell him he didn't need to bother sending me a hat (like he's promised for the last six months to do) because his competitor one state away gave me the hookup.

I received message back that read, "Check your mail soon".  Bwahahahahahahahaaa!

Well, today...

I got this:

The hat looks good with business attire.  I think I might wear it with shorts going forward.

I sent this pic to my Raleigh guy, and he said he felt used (he was messing with me).  I assured him I like the dealer hat the very best, but you have to admit, I can rock the pink like a champ.

I sent it to the Columbia guy (the one who sent it) and heard nothing.  Maybe he feels used, too.  Good!

The takeaway from all of this, really, is that I'm happy.

And that's good.  Really good.

ae

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

It's time for a haircut.

I got it cut about three months ago, just before the funeral.  But three months is a long time for my hair.  Because, frankly, I have a lot of hair.

Or, do I?

What I've noticed recently is that I seem to be shedding pretty copiously.  I'm seeing some scalp. I looked it up, and apparently, severe stress can cause you to lose hair.  It'll come back, once the stress ends.

((Crickets))

So, anyway.  I was at the Farmers Market on Sunday, and I saw this woman with a great haircut, and she seemed to have hair similar to mine in terms of texture, curl, etc.  So I stopped her and asked who does her hair.  I got the name of the stylist, but didn't get the hair owner's name.  But I called the stylist, and tomorrow, 6PM, I'm getting a haircut.  She said she herself has curly hair and has experience with a range of textures and types.

So naturally, I went on Pinterest to see if I could find a few pictures for inspiration:





Which is all well and good, but it's important to remember that what we're starting with is:



Full disclosure - I took this selfie for my girlfriend Connie, whose son had been invited to a Fairies and Gnomes party.  I believe this was my attempt at Troll Face.   Naaaaaaaaiiiiiiled it!

Connie offered to use the pic on the front of the kid's birthday card.  The inside would read "Your Mom's a Whore".  Connie and I share contempt for kids theme parties that put the onus on the attendee.  Which is to say, the attendee's parents.


Look, what I'm trying to say is, I'm not a celebrity.  My hair is thinner than I'm used to, it's too long, and I also need to lose some (a lot of) weight,  I'm not saying a celebrity hairstyle is going fix anything, but it might help me feel a little less overwhelmed.

I'll post pics.  Unless it's a disaster.

Sincerely,

Not Vanessa Hudgens*


*I'm not even sure who she is or why she's a celebrity**.  Who's tragically un-hip now?

**Ah, OK she was in High School Musical. Great.  So I want my hair to look like a Disney star's.


 How's this look for a summer, windblown, beachy 'do?




Monday, June 23, 2014

Learning Curve

So, I've learned a few things in the last three months or so.  Allow me to share:

Grief isn't a tunnel - you don't just plunge in on side, power through and come out the other side tired but "better".   Grief is more like an obstacle course.  And that course may contain tunnels, but also barbed wire hurdles, monkey bars and other exhausting, hard things.

You cannot outrun grief.  Like most obstacle courses, some parts are going to be easier to get through than others, but you may find yourself at the rope climbing station just looking up at it and thinking, "Nope, no fucking way".




You would be surprised at who shows up and when on this obstacle course to help you. That's the weirdest part to me.  I'll be staring up at this damn rope, and someone I don't know all that well walks up with a ladder - they tell me they've done this course and they know how to help me.

Like any other sporting event, proper preparation is key.  Getting enough rest, eating right, and stretching are critical - so is hydration.  Surrounding yourself with the support team is also a good way to make your obstacle course smoother.  Massages and pedicures can help you recover from especially tough days on the course.

It's helpful to remember that even the shittiest obstacle course ends.  That's not to say that the occasional obstacle won't just pop up in daily life, but the grueling "Tough Griever" type stuff will end.

Speaking of insane courses - I have friends who do the Tough Mudder - they willingly pay to run through things called "The Arctic Enema", "The Dong Dangler", and "Electric Eel".

Because, apparently - they think it's fun.

Here's my idea of mud fun:



Happy rope climbing, everyone!

ae

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ummmm.

I fly a lot.  We've established that, yes?

Well, on about 40% of my flights, there's at least one Unaccompanied Minor, or what they call in the biz, an UM.

This is a kid who is between the ages of 5-12 who is traveling without an adult.

Now, I understand the temptation of putting your kid on a flight to go see Gammy and Poppy without taking them there yourself.  In theory, I'm on board with that. And in practice, I am LITERALLY ON BOARD with that.

But you need to make sure that before you do that, your kid can handle it.

Enter, Lena.

Yesterday, I flew out of Raleigh.  There were delays.  A storm came through, and we hung out in the airport for about an hour longer than intended.

So, when we finally boarded the plane, I was ready.  Beyond ready.   I boarded 19th, meaning on Southwest, I had my pick of seats.  I chose to get close to the front, on an aisle.  One row ahead of me, at the window was a small, female UM.  I'd clock her at age six.  Blonde, wearing lots of sparkly things, and very "spirited".

A business traveler, a guy my age, ended up in the aisle seat with her, nobody in the middle.  She announced to her seatmate the intention to sleep as soon as they took off and could he wake her when they got to Nashville.  He seemed fine/relieved with this arrangement. He put in earbuds and started to work/relax.

Then, she got chatty.  She told him her name was Lena, for today.  She told him his name was Bob for this flight.  Then as soon as we're pulling out to taxi, she announces she needs to use the bathroom and needs Bob to push the call button.  He explains that nobody is going anywhere for a few minutes, but to shut her up, turns the call light on and off immediately. She explains she's been holding it since North Carolina.  Wait...we're IN North Carolina.

Finally, once we're airborne Lena flags down the female flight attendant named Erin and says she needs to use the bathroom.  Erin takes her up there, and then she bounces back to her seat a few minutes later. She tries to chat with Bob, who reminds her that she had planned to sleep.   That shuts her up for about 30 seconds.

The flight attendant comes by to take drink orders.  Lena first renames Erin and tells her for the remainder of their trip, she will be Lexi.  Then she dithers for a minute on her drink order, but settles on hot chocolate - because that's not a complete pain in the ass for everyone involved.  Of course, it's too hot, and first she wants a straw to drink it with, then she wants an ice cube for it.  Then she wants pretzels, and then she needs to pee again.  And then, she'd like a gingerale.  And then she wants to know why we're taking so long to get there.

By the end of our ONE HOUR FLIGHT, Lena is banging her seatback, and my seatmate who is trying to relax is getting his tray table shoved into him repeatedly by this tiny terror.

We land, and Lena is impatient with how long it's taking the jetbridge to connect with the plane.  Although, this is not her stop.  She's going to Kansas.  As we're getting ready to jump off, she asks Bob to hit her call button to let the flight attendant know she's bored.  And then she fusses at Bob because he has the nerve to have rested a corner of his briefcase on her Unicorn Pillow Pet.

Then she turns around, looks at me and my seatmate and demands to know "Who's back there!?"

Bob says, "I love children, but I can never eat a whole one."  I replied, "Bob needs a drink."

So Mom and Dad - if you're planning on sending your little angel on an incredible journey, please:

- Have them pee before they get on the plane.  Seriously.  Bush league.

- Remind them that the other passengers are not there to entertain them.

- Send plenty of books, or electronic devices or whatever to keep them occupied.

- Explain that flight attendants have several hundred people they're working for, not just your precious angel, and that complicated drink orders are a pain in the ass.

- Give them a free pass to use their call button ONCE, and explain that some people have gone their whole lives without ever using it.

- Make sure they know how to say "please" and "thank you".  Lena never ONCE said either.  Same with "excuse me".

- Set the expectation that while you adore them and think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread, they are not the center of everyone's universe.

- Show them how annoying it is if someone behind them is kicking their seat, or someone in front of them keeps banging their seatback.

- Consider UPS and FedEx as alternatives.

Don't you love it when those of us without kids give parenting advice?

ae



Friday, June 20, 2014

No. Mas.

I'm heading home today.  I'm excited.  In less than 12 hours, I'll be home.  HOME.

And this weekend, I'm working on nesting.  I'm going to put up curtains!  I'm going to put up laundry.  I'm going to hang pictures!

I'm going to cook healthy meals, and head to the Y, and I'm going to sleep, and deep condition my hair.




Holy shit, I'm excited.

In other news, Good Housekeeping is touting the virtues of Nashville in this month's issue.  Ergo, our reign as an "it" city is over.  We're still a big deal, but we're not tragically hip.

The fact that I read Good Housekeeping should tell you I am certainly not tragically hip.  But I do know better than to use the Good Housekeeping recipe for Hot Chicken.  Come the hell on people.



More importantly, my days of eating hot chicken are long over.  My tongue can't handle that nonsense.  I have indigestion by thinking about onion rings.

Bottom line - I'm going home to a trendy destination and I'll be there for a bit.

Wheeeeeee!

ae

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On a pogo stick...

I am so very tired.  I ended up hitting snooze to a ridiculous degree this morning.  I made it to the customer site on time, and it was beautiful.

Night before last, I dreamed I was a contestant on The Price is Right.

I was terrible.  First, it required a physical exam, and they very nearly didn't pass me.

Then, I was the last one called to "COME ON DOOOOOOOWWWWWN!"

And finally, I made my one and only bid, and I said, "$100,000".  I don't know what I was bidding on, but clearly, that's never a good bid:

I hope it's Plinko!

Anyhoo, I woke up exhausted.

So tonight, after I get done with my customer, I have a plan.

Light dinner.

Hotel swimming pool.

Shower, wash my hair.

HGTV.

BED.

I don't like to brag, but that's a hot, hot way to spend a night.

ae

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Funny little things...

We get a weekly email from our CEO, which I have lampooned here before.

This line actually came from this week's email:


I think it goes without saying that in addition to our once every other year worldwide employee surveying initiative, the 40+ doors of WHS management team, including mine, are open every day (always figuratively not always literally – please knock) for you to give feedback and express your opinions in a less formal way.      


I laughed.  I appreciate that he had to spell out for us the actual logistics of an open-door policy.

Here's something else that made me laugh this week:




This is an ad I found in the In Flight magazine on Southwest.   It's for a franchise opportunity - a chain of waxing salons called...wait for it... LunchBox.

I'll actually steal a copy of it on my next flight.

Today was Nashville Pride - I went with some friends, and I had a blast.  I didn't take any pictures, but there were tons of cute puppies - many of them dressed better than me.

For dinner I made some killer pasta with a white wine/lemon/chicken spinach/tomato sauce.

And tomorrow is Father's Day.  My fabulous sister-in-law gave me a Red Stripe t-shirt, and I wore it today in memory of Dad.  Then, as I was sitting outside this afternoon, a bird flew over and crapped on it.

If I were looking for a sign that Dad is watching over me... that might be the funniest sign ever.

ae

Monday, June 9, 2014

Seventeen Things I Want To Share - #11 Will Blow Your Mindhole!

1.  If I see a greeting card that's perfect, I go ahead and buy it - even if the person for whom I've picked it doesn't have a birthday for months.

2.  I keep a small stash of birthday cards in my glove box - because you never know...

3. I keep a pair of tweezers in my car for quick eyebrow touchups - the mirror and lighting are perfect!



4. If you're nice to the woman at the customer service counter at the airport, she has the power to put you in a nicer hotel.  Attitude is the difference between Hyatt and Red Roof Inn.

5. I keep stamps and blank notecards with me so that I can send out a thank you note at the drop of a hat.

6. You're one of the women wearing the wrong size bra.  Go to Dillard's, they'll hook you up (and in).

7. Always be up to do/try something different.  Demolition Derby, Pride Parades, Boy Scout Eagle Ceremonies, Rock Climbing Walls and Middle School Talent Shows are excellent for expanding horizons.

8. Have a go-to drink at bars. Something unfussy but cultured.  I like club soda with lime.



9.  Drinking club soda with lime makes you an excellent Designated Driver, which ultimately gets you invited more often.  And that one time you do want to get loaded, your pals will be glad to get you home.

10. Improv is generally more fun for the people playing than the people watching.

11.  While it's fun to know a second language, if you bust it out for the wrong people, you end up looking like a stuffed shirt.  They'll figure out you're not, eventually - but why make them work.  Henceforth, New Orleans is not the venue to trot out your snooty college minor.






12. If you aren't watching Squidbillies, Robot Chicken, and Drunk History; you should be.



13.  Avoid taking a purse whenever possible.  Not only does it get in the way, it slows you down in a security line.  Also, people will want you to hold their crap for them.

14. Life is too short to wear boring toenail polish colors.  OPI's Dating a Royal is a great rut-buster!



15. There's nothing wrong with heavy-pedaling your Southern accent if you want to lull people into the false sense that you're docile.  The element of surprise cannot be underestimated.



16.  Always have one clean joke you can lean on.  Have lots of dirty ones.  They're generally funnier.

17.  The curative properties of crappy TV and Mad Magazine when you're sick are not documented in medical journals, but cannot be denied.





Saturday, June 7, 2014

I scream

I'm craving the hell out of ice cream.  Or cake, or a bag of Pepperidge Farm Brussels.

Milanos aren't as good.  Sorry.

I'm trying to get off sugar, and it's not easy.  At all.

It sucks, but I have to do it.

That's not to say I'll never have ice cream again.

Just, not right now.

Right now I will watch the hockey game, and eat some grapes.  That I can do.

Tomorrow, I'm going to WalMart and picking up a curtain for the front room, and possibly a large mirror to go over the mantle.

And I think that may be about it.

Unless you want me to tell you about other cookies I have loved.

Hello, Sweet Thing!





You look good enough to eat.

Can't spell Mallomars without Mmmmmmmm.

I'd better get the grapes.

ae

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Phabulous Phoenix

I went to Phoenix this week.  It was warm.  More to the point, it was beyond warm.

I had fun though.

I got to drive a huge pick-up truck.  It was ridonk.

My hotel was crazy nice.  I spent a few hours by the pool.

My customers were also crazy nice, and we ate lunch at a country club on a golf course.  I'm fancy. I ate a turkey/brie wrap.

And then, I saw this:


I'm sure it's Good Witch, but it looks like G.D. Witch to me, and that's hilarious.

As I was leaving the customer's offices, I saw this little fella:


Not so little, I guess.  He was a big handsome bunny.  We stared at each other for awhile, he let me take his portrait here, and I went on my way.  I went and bought a book on birds of North America, Western Edition.

Then I had dinner in a little bistro.  Cheese.  And bread. And some charcuterie.  It was delicious.  And my waiter, Frankie, was very friendly and nice.  I watched a couple to my right on an awkward date.  There were parents and a teen daughter to my left.  The Mom recognized me from somewhere.    Or, thought she did.

I did not order the souffle.  I wanted to.

Then, I drove to the airport and red-eyed to Detroit.

Where I bought myself a little something cute.


The one on the bottom.  It's brass.  For me.  Because I'm brassy.



And then I got on the second plane, came to Nashville and got home.

I showered, then slept.  Had terrible, frustrating dreams - and some trouble falling asleep.  I kept having that falling feeling and would jolt awake.

I got a good three hours.

I woke up, had a healthy lunch and did email for the rest of the afternoon.  It was pretty chill.

Now I'm blogging, working laundry and generally trying to shake it all off to get tomorrow under my belt.

I'm OK, you're OK.

ae


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rando

So, I'm at the airport waiting to get on a flight to Salt Lake City (which was delayed), and from there, to Phoenix, AZ (if I can make my connection).  A little last minute travel engagement.  Have bag, have AMEX, will travel. I should probably do a little research on the customer.

I spent literally my entire day yesterday catching up on expense reports.  An activity I despise, and because I delay it, I end up hating it more when it piles up and I have EIGHT reports to do.

I was coming to the gate and I passed a couple.  She was saying to him, "Guess what I drank this morning?"

Well, it's still pretty early - it was about 6:10 at that point, so who knows?  I never did hear what it was - we kept walking our separate ways.  But now I'm curious.  I'm betting it wasn't battery acid. She wouldn't have been able to articulate very well.

My futon is coming along nicely.  When I'm ready to share, I'll post a nice picture of it - but I have managed to put some throw pillows on it.  I have a good eye for that sort of thing.

Let's see.  This weekend, I don't have any plans.  No family visits, no weddings, no nothing.  I'm stoked.  It's sad that I'm plotting my weekend at 7AM on a Tuesday, but it's all I have at this point.

I mean, seriously - my expenses are up to date; I don't have any timesheets.

I guess I could answer a few emails, wait on my elusive flight to Salt Lake City.

And you know what that means?  I can cross Utah off my list.

Feet on the ground, and it counts.  That's the rule I follow.

ae