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Friday, June 10, 2011

Neglectful Me

I have been neglectful...I know. 

Work has been crazy nuts for me the past few weeks and my baby has been neglected. For my followers, I am truly sorry! 

This summer is shaping up to be travel filled for me. I wish it was vacation travel but with the prices of gas, we won't be doing our 2 week camping/driving trip. I am soooo bummed about that. We have vacation planned as far as when we are taking it, just no definitive plans on where or what we are going to be doing. 

This makes me sad. 

You know what it is like when planning a vacation. You collect brochures and read them front to back to find the cool things to see or do. You read as much as you can about the area that you are visiting and make plans. It's all about the anticipation and excitement. 

My work travels will be bringing me to Albuquerque, Dallas, Richmond at the very least. I get to cross New Mexico off the list of states I have yet to travel to. YAY!

In the last 10 years, I have been to nearly every state in the United States. At the end of summer, I will be missing Alaska, Vermont, Mississippi and Maryland. I will get to these states one of these days, it is inevitable.

What are your travel plans for this summer? Is the price of gas going to keep you home?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tina's Taxi Trials

Sitting in my room on the 12th floor of the Hilton, I reflect on my day.

Oh, it started out innocently enough. Early rise at 4:30 am for my flight, got to see hubs before I schlepped to the airport. Even got COFFEE! I was feeling like this day would be great.

Oh silly, silly me. What was I smoking in my sleep?

Storms raging in Chicago, flights delayed. Sitting on the tarmac, on a plane for 90 minutes. A wonderful joyous day!

I made the decision to not rent a car once I arrive in Chicago. I have come to resent that decision. In fact, I feel like punching myself over it since I can't find anyone to do it for me.

The cab ride started out just fabulous. I had to spell where I wanted to go. Then he asked me what cross street it was on. HELLO! I have no freaking clue! Sorry, didn't think I needed to bring my Tom-Tom with me for a cab ride.

Doodly-doodly-doo, free and easy down the road I go...HAH!

We arrive at my clients place and I hand the cabbie my credit card. For some reason he rubs it on a napkin. My antennas on the bitch crown start twitching. hmmm.

Read error.

"No work." Cabbie says.

No shit I think. I know it's not my card. Hand him another.
Wipe on his napkin.

Read error.
"No work, you have to pay in cash."

Um...I don't have any cash. Well, I do. But I think he is doing something to make my card not work.
He argues with me. Tells me he is going to drive me to a cash machine.

Yeah okay. Let's get right on THAT. NOT.

I take my card out again. Wipe it on my shirt sleeve. Hand it back.

"So you know, I have taken pictures of your ID, cab number, the fees and know my rights as a patron of your cab."

He replies "I have never had a fare like you. Why you argue? Machine no work. You pay cash."

"Well today was your lucky day then. I told you when I got in that I would not pay in cash. Period. You took me. So, I suggest you scan my card."

Big sigh, look of disgust. "Ok, it won't worrrkk, it broken."

Swiiiipppppe....ding! Jackpot!

BTW~cabbie-ass, I am a heck of a tipper if you help me with my bag (or even offer). Today, the only thing you got was an argument with the Queen B. And I won. And I like winning.

Ohhhhh, but it didn't end there! After a great day at work...I have to take another cab back to the hotel....oh happy, happy, freaking joy joy.

It's raining, it's late, I am already pissed but I put a smile on my face and am as nice as a peach pie in Georgia. Okay, sweet like a rhubarb pie in Minnesota. That's always a bit tart no matter how much sugar you have in it.

Tolerate the smell of nasty butt. What the heck died in here? Seriously, this cab smells!

Get to the hotel. He has this fancy schmancy computer where he has to manually type in the numbers. This is where it gets good.

Try#1: type number in. Miss a number. Card denied. No shit.

Tell him that he missed the 5 at the end.

Try#2: type number in. Miss the 5. AGAIN. Card denied. Really? Again.

Tell him that he missed the 5 again. He has the cajones to argue with me. He asks for cash. WTH is it with them and cash? I mean I get it but do you really want to piss a tired, petite blonde from Minnesota off? Minnesota nice? Up yours. It should be Minnesota Smackdown.

I tell him just please type it in AGAIN. I tell him to stop so I can verify the number. It is right. Hit enter.

Holy hannah! It worked. Imagine that.


Note to self: rent a car in Chicago. Driving would have been better than the headache I got.
And to think I forgot to shine my Queen B crown today. I didn't think it would need to come out.

All in a day's work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Road Trip ~ Part Tres

You are probably thinking that we have already had our fill of eating. Sorry, to disappoint you but no.

Our girl road trips are filled with eating what we want, when we want. Since we both like the same things, it helps in selecting our restaurants. I promised DD that we would have sushi for dinner before the show.

As the skunk girl was the highlight of our trip to the Mall of America so we decided to head to the hotel so we could get changed into our "casino clothes and faces". Which means, out of the jeans into dresses, heels and more makeup and bigger hair than is allowed at the MOA! 

I have a confession, in all my 40+ years I have never, ever worn false eyelashes! Nope, never. We bought some for the was funny just watching us put them on! All thumbs! BUT OMG!!!! They looked amazing! 

When you stay at a hotel, you should be able to ask the desk person for recommendations for restaurants. Right? That's what I thought. So I asked.

"Any good sushi places?"

"Um, let's see. There's Red Lobster down the road."

I don't know about you, but I have never seen sushi at Red Lobster except in the lobster tank. A lot of good that was!

We ended up at Osaka Seafood Steakhouse. Wasn't sure if the half price sushi menu is a good sign or not. On a Saturday? Weird.
It ended up being really good. I can't tell you all what we ordered but one of them was a BMW roll.

Off to Trans Siberian Orchestra later.

BTW~ I am going to Chicago in the morning. So TSO may have to wait!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Road Trip...Part Deux

Part deux~ It just sounds cooler saying it like that!

Sorry it has taken me forever to get back here and finish our adventures. It has been a crazy week. Had to prepare for the Rapture THAT NEVER happened! *rolling my eyes*

After stopping at the outlet mall and scoring(!) on the BBW stuff, we moseyed on down through St. Paul towards the Mall of America.

Can anyone tell me why the heck the speed limit is only 45 on that stretch? I didn't think so. It is so dumb! And really any of you who think I was going 45? You would be WRONG! Sorry, but you would be. My foot is made of lead. It's cute though. No hammer toes for this chick!

All the shopping anticipation made us hungry. AGAIN. My dear daughter sees the frozen yogurt shop and she waxes all nostalgic about the frozen yogurt in NYC. (Snot!)

"Can we get some?" Dumb question of the day. Sorry kid, but did you really think I could pass up a cup of cold, creamy deliciousness and even pass it off as good for you?

So this is our lunch for the day. The one on the left. It's mine. You can tell by the hot fudge. Total deliciousness. Be jealous. Be very jealous.
Don't judge. Calories on girls weekends don't count. Well, okay, maybe it's just that I don't count them. If I don't count them, they don't exist. I like that logic. 

Our goal at the mall wasn't necessarily shopping, shopping. It was more of a browsing, window shopping trip. Which is fine because usually we can't find ANYTHING at the MOA anyway. Of course, that is when we have money to spend. This day, we found a lot that we could have bought. Willpower. It sucks sometimes. 

People watching is the best at the MOA. For some reason though, the weirdos were not as numerous as I thought they would be. And you know how I like to make fun of people! The disappointment didn't last too long. 

We were walking past the Microsoft store. Side note: this store is like the Apple store only less cool. I digress. 

I turn to my left and what do I see? An animal...not a cute puppy or a sleek black lab guide dog. Nope. Can you guess? You won't be able to. A human skunk! Oh and her friend the mouse (to the right).

Now, at first I thought this was for the store and they had some weird game going on. I didn't think that Microsoft would be that UNCOOL. No, it wasn't the skunk was seen later, ambling through the crowds. Maybe this was a know what skunks do when they lift their tails? 

They spray vile smelling substances out of their butt. Just saying...don't get too close!

Gotta run, gotta get ready for dinner...SUSHI and Trans Siberian Orchestra...well not really but that will be my next post. I promise not to be gone so long next time. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Road Trip ~ Part One

What a weekend!

As you may have read last week, (if you didn't...why not? You need to start here then come back.) we were road tripping!

There are a few prerequisites to one of our girl road trips.

1. No guys allowed. No sons, husbands or boyfriends (especially DB boyfriends).
2. Comfy shoes are a must. The Mall of America is huge. You don't need a blister to ruin your shopping.
3. No diets allowed. We eat what we want, when we want, and puke if you want to keep eating. No, we are not bulimic! So be quiet. Don't say that you don't wish you could do this.
5. NO DRAMA. We are women. This can take an inordinate amount of effort at times.

Our Saturday started out early. We were both up at 6:30 am. Normally we leave really, really, really early. We are usually on the road by 6. However, we had to stop at the outlet mall on the way and that doesn't open until 10 am. And in the world of shopping, timing is everything!

We stopped at Tobies for breakfast. Healthy? Not so much. Good? EXTREMELY!

For the record. We each ate one...the custard one? We saved that for our 1:30 am snack when we got out of the casino. So we weren't huge piggies.

Next stop. Outlet Mall.

Bath & Bodyworks. Seriously, if you don't have an outlet B& don't know what you are missing. 50-75% off lotions, sprays, candles. Yes, please and thank you. We spent $53. Of course, we had to add up the real cost of what we bought.

Just in case. Just in case I have to justify the charge to my dear hubby.

"But honey, if we would have gone to the normal store, it would have been $143. It was a bargain!"

Next up...Mall of America. This will have to wait. I have to work. To pay for my road trip.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Road Trip Planning

While the boys are away, the girls will play.

My daughter and I are planning a road trip to Minneapolis this weekend. It works out well because the boys are taking part in the the Minnesota ritual we call Opening Day of Fishing. It's a state holiday around here. So while they are off trying to catch fish for us to eat, we will be off to enjoy some mother-daughter bonding.

Shopping, music, eating, laughing and hopefully no drama!

We have tickets to the Trans Siberian Orchestra "Beethoven Last Night Tour" on Saturday night. We have only experienced them on YouTube so this will be fun. We are both so looking forward to it. My beloved daughter played the violin and sadly gave it up. :(

We are debating on shopping or museums during the may just be where the wind takes us. We have two full days to get on each other's nerves. We both will need a dose of patience!

Best part? The hotel is free by using my hotel frequent stay points. Woot! More money for shopping and eating! This is one of the best perks of traveling for work. I get to rack up the points. Unlike others I know (you know who you are!) that rack them up but don't use them. It's really a shame. I do get a rush out of it.

So, stay tuned for stories of the road trip, we always end up with some good ones!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hotel Love~Updated

Is it cheating if I say I am in love with a hotel? Will my husband get jealous? I guess it won't be a problem if nobody tells shhhh.

I have never stayed in a place that evoked this type of response. Seriously.

It started out a little shaky because I swore, SWORE, that I completed the reservation process and got a confirmation number. BUT. Always a but, I didn't write the confirmation number down and just thought an email would come. No email, no problem. Didn't even think about it.

I get to the Cambria Suites in Madison and give the gentleman my name. Nope. No reservation. Dang it. I just know that I will get nailed for a full rate. Pass my AAA card to them, hoping I don't have to haggle. I am good at haggling though, bring it on!

The front desk staff, AMAZING. To make sure that I wasn't total blonde and accidentally made a reservation for another Cambria, they connected me with the toll free number. Who wants to be charged for a room that I didn't use?

"No, no reservations for you in Wisconsin."

Whew. Explain THAT mix up to my boss. No thank you. Although he would be cool about it, I don't like admitting to be a blonde. He would have ammo for months!

So, room rate for a king suite...drum roll please.....

$89!! Happy dance all the way to my room. Walk into the room and I am in love. The colors I love, golden yellow, burgundy accents, and Bath and Body Works products. A vessel sink in the bathroom. AND they have room service, a restaurant, a sundry shop, pool, fitness center, a bar. The room is so nice though that I order room service. That and American Idol is on tonight, don't want to miss that.

I ordered the Chicken Picatta...$10. It came with broccoli, mashed potatoes and gravy. It was better than a sitting in a chain restaraunt AGAIN.

So, if you are ever in the Madison area, you need to check this place out. I will do an update on the bed tomorrow. After all, the bed is really important. Initial thoughts seems wonderful.

So to the staff at Cambria Suites in Madison...YOU ROCK! I can see why you are number 4 in the state of Wisconsin in hotels. I see number one in your future.

Did I say I was in love?

I promised an update and realized that I didn't deliver. How dare me? It must have been because the bed was soooooo comfy that my brain just didn't register it all properly.

Yes, the bed was THAT good. I wish I could have blamed my lapse on that, but sadly I can't. I am just a blonde. Plain and simple. And blondes can forget things. I can't blame it on the fact that I was just too glad to come home and crawl into my woefully inadequate bed next to a snoring husband. It was the blondeness.

So, you have to check out the Cambria Suites if you are ever traveling. You will thank me for it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Today's Trials

Remember how I said that GPS units can be wrong? I was proven right today.

Why would it direct you to turn off the main road to go down a side street in a town? I have it set to fastest route. You would think that all these turns would take longer. Not to mention the houses and cars on the side of the street...

What did I do? I followed "Bonnie". When I looked to the left, I saw the main road. Hmmm. What's going on? Come to a busy cross road and turn left towards the main road, ignoring Bonnie. Just like my husband tries to ignore me. Yes, I am a backseat driver, I admit it. So I ignored her.

It was the right thing to do. I got to see where the restaurants were and surprise! The hotel was on this main road. Unreal. No wonder I have a headache.

I am in a small Wisconsin town and there aren't a ton of choices for eating. So I went to the Applebee's. When did they start putting celery in their Crispy Orange Chicken? No peas but mushy weird looking celery. I am not a celery racist but this stuff was white. I have never seen white, transparent celery. I was afraid to eat it. So, I pushed it off to the side. What do you think? Would you have eaten it?

It was disappointing. 

Off Again

Off to Milwaukee in the morning.

It was a surprise trip sprung at the last minute. As you know, I am a preparer and I don't have time to prepare for this trip. And it pisses me off.

Running to the store at 11:30 pm is not what I want to be doing. I want to be sleeping, dreaming of a nice easy day in the office tomorrow. HAH! I wonder what I did to Karma this week?

On the plus side. I need to look at this a a mile run. I get 4 more segments, 3000 more miles towards Gold Medallion, which I covet. As Silver Medallion on Delta I get treated just like a non-frequent traveler. Except that I get to check my bags for free. Never any upgrades available anymore. I know, shut up, right?

Maybe I will see some more strange people, get jacket flap slapped or have my neck used as a shelf. All possibilities.

Stay tuned, this is sure to be a trial!

Monday, May 2, 2011

GPS Can't Be Wrong? Can It?

You've seen the stories. People following their GPS as if it is the be all, end all of navigation thinking it is smart to follow Austin Powers' voice or some stranger named Bonnie into strange places. And bad things happen to them.

Please be aware. GPS units cannot:

  •  tell you when you are driving into areas that require you to be packing heat just to make it out alive.
  • substitute for common sense. HELLO! If you are directed to turn off a tar road to a dirt trail...maybe you should listen to your gut instinct and NOT GO THERE. Recalculate...
  • Know all the roads everywhere. Even updating them regularly doesn't guarantee it is right. Sometimes, I think the mapmakers like to mess with us. Turn right at the next intersection, go 1 block. Turn right again. Repeat. Continue on the roadway...didn't I just go past that Starbucks? Or is there really one on every corner?
Few more tips:

  • If traveling to Canada, make sure that you have a GPS unit that has maps for that. Yep, there's a map for that. I made the mistake of assuming that my new Tom-Tom had the Canadian maps loaded just like my first one. Boy was I wrong. Unfortunately for me, I didn't figure this out until I drove over the border and got about 10 miles out! See my next tip.
  • Make sure you have a map printed out with instructions on where you are going. Just in case. (See above).
  • Double check your address!! I got lost in Pittsburgh because I had avenue instead of street. Who would've thought that there was a street and avenue with the same name in the same city? But then I have heard that PA is really bad with GPS. Again, those mapmakers messing with us. 
I just don't want anyone driving off the edge of the Grand Canyon because they thought they could take a short cut!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Travel Trials

There's nothing like going on a trip and not having to cook, clean and do all those other motherly and wifely duties. Making someone else make the bed, clean the shower and cook my meals is like a little slice of heaven. It also allows me to appreciate my home and family even more.

It was a good week. I spent time with 2 of my coworkers so my meals weren't spent with my Kindle. Although, there is something to be said about alone time! Travels were smooth. I only wish I could say the same for my patience today. Let it be known (no, the whine isn't coming out but the wine will be later!) that I was up at 2:45 home time. I always use home time because thats where I will end up at the end of the day and it does matter. :)

It seems like the d-bags were out in full force today. Remember how I mentioned I hate seat grabbers? I swear I had a sign attached to my chest saying "Grab my seat" and I am not talking about my nicely rounded rear-end. DH would hunt you down. Not only did I have to deal with them, I got a special treat! One of my most favorite type of traveler...the business dude, felt that he could use the back of my seat for a freaking shelf while he fiddled with putting his shit in the overhead bin. To top it all off, he graced me with jacket-flap slaps. If I want to be slapped, I want something out of it...Hello douche...I do not want to smell your nasty jacket or have your briefcase resting at the base of my neck.

Glare at the guy until I hope to see his skin melt off.

"Oh, I'm sorry, am I bothering you?"

"No, I just like being used as a shelf and whipping post, thanks." Asshole.

So then the deaf guy in front of me with his music. The lady next to him put up with it longer. She told him that it was giving her a headache. (I resorted to my own headphones, no music, just sweet silence)

"Oh, was it loud?"

No shit Sherlock, you want Watson to give you a clue? You want it in a bag of rocks coming at your head? Enough said.

Then the guy who insisted on unpacking shit from his bag before putting it in the overhead bin (it would have fit under the seat so he didn't have to HOLD THE REST OF THE PLANE UP! Rinse, repeat when deplaning occurs. I know Karma will kick his ass later today. I just have a feeling.

So back to home sweet home. Wonder if I can ask my hubby to take me out for dinner? Wishful thinking maybe? Thanks to my DH, he ordered glorious weather for my return. Unfortunately, he didn't look at the expiration date. It expires tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Favorite Part of Traveling? Dessert!

Yes, I like my desserts. Chocolate cake, cheesecake, tiramisu, ice cream, you name it, I will eat it. I love dessert! For me, one of the best things about traveling for work is that I usually eat alone and can hide my dessert addiction from others.

It is much easier when my family isn't around to order dessert. I just can't seem to justify my sweet tooth with them around (other than my dear son) and usually forget about dessert. Besides, have you seen the price on these desserts? "Really dear, it's a need. I need dessert to keep my energy up." I know, it never works.

So what do I do when on the road? Get a smaller entrée and then splurge on dessert. Or as I did last trip, skip dinner altogether and get Dairy Queen instead! Shhhhh, don't tell my hubby.

How it looks at the restaurant
This week I am traveling with coworkers so we hit Olive Garden for their all you can eat soup, salad and breadsticks. Oh, and dessert! The best kind? The kind that you can get to go and eat as you are surfing the net. Tonight I got the Triple Chocolate Strata...heaven on a plate.

Unfortunately, it never looks like this when you get it to go. But thankfully it tastes just as delicious.

I am not going to be a glutton. I will only eat half tonight. Unless I sleep eat. Then all bets are off.

One of these days I will have to start exercising again. It will catch up with me. Did I mention that I walked 2 miles tonight? I did! And I have witnesses. Can I justify the other half of that dessert? What's that? The chocolate cream is calling out to me.

What is your splurge when you go out to eat?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kudos to Kara the Flight Attendant

Today, despite the way I felt, flying wasn't bad. I was fortunate enough not to get delayed, luggage wasn't lost and my head didn't explode like I thought it would. All in all, a good day. Oh and the freaks were out in force in Detroit! But that is a topic for tomorrow...

I am sure you have seen the white-knuckle flyer who is really nervous and may have even laughed at them. I admit, I have too. Flying is not a big deal to me but to some people it is. And there is nothing wrong with them.

I had a little bit of trepidation this morning when the door was starting to close and a passenger came rushing up the aisle. Panicked.This poor woman was in total anxiety attack. My heart went out to her. I have to give major kudos to Kara, the flight attendant on a Delta flight operated by Pinnacle. She was amazing with the passenger. She was calming, put her arm around the passenger and talked her down from the peak. She did what it took to take care of this woman and helped her to get off the plane without causing a big commotion and calling attention to the passenger.

I cannot imagine what may have caused this woman's anxiety but I am glad that Kara was able to help her. So, the next time you think that the flight attendant is just a glorified waitress in the sky, remember the other things that they do for the traveling public. They are not just there to keep you buckled in their seat and pass out drinks and snacks.They are there for your safety.

Put yourself in their shoes. Their lives are not as glamorous as you may think. If you think you are inconvenienced when you encounter weather, think about how it affects them if they miss their flight too. One missed flight could mean their whole schedule gets messed up. They live out of a suitcase and have to deal with more flights in a day than you and then have to put on a smile and handle passengers of all kinds.

So next time you are flying and are handed your drink and snack, look up, smile and say thank you. That anxious woman could be your mother, daughter, grandmother. Wouldn't you like a Kara to be there for them?

Have you seen other examples of kindness like this on a flight?

Traveling Sick

It would happen. I have been home for weeks and been relatively healthy. Book a flight, get ready to travel and I get hit with whatever my son had. Right after I blog about the coughing, hacking passengers. Karma, I tell you, karma.

The good news is that at least you know I carry hand sanitizer with me, know enough not to cough into my hands and will do my best not to share my germs with fellow travelers.

The bad news? My sinuses are killing me. If you have ever flown with a stuffed head, you will know why this is bad news. My ears are bubbling, my teeth hurt and I am not looking forward to getting on PRESSURIZED planes. I have a connection so I have 2 take offs and landings. That is the part that is going to suck. Did I say that I am prone to nose bleeds when I fly and have a sinus infection? Yeah. At least I have learned my lesson and now fly with lots of Kleenex.

The first time that happened, we were taking off and we had just started the climb and I felt my nose start to run. Grab the one Kleenex I had balled up in my purse and wipe. Blood! And it was running freely, with one Kleenex. Of course, you can't get up, I was in the middle of the plane and really couldn't do anything other than pray and hope that it would finally stop. It did. I thought it was a fluke. It wasn't.

Second time? Wasn't so lucky. I ended up with no kleenex and had to use one of the worthless airline napkins that for some reason I saved. ESP? Doubtful.

Boy I love flying. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

I hope you and yours, whether near or far, can spend time together to celebrate the reason for Easter. 
I will be back this week with more stories of my travelin' trials. 

Off to Pennsylvania in the morning!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things I HAVE to have on a Trip

Traveling frequently really makes you learn what you need and what you don't need when on the road. I started out packing everything I may possibly need. Now, I have to be able to carry it on the plane without some Sassy Stew giving me sass. I try very hard to not let that happen!

There are certain things that I cannot and will not go on a trip without having in my possession.

  • My smartphone. I have a Droid and I love my Droid. I don't know how I functioned without it. And yes, it has a pink case (like my blogger friend Masshole Mommy...I like pink check her blog out by clicking on the link). At least it's pink for now. I can track my flights, check in, keep my reservations at my fingertips, text, email. And the all important Facebook.
  • My Kindle. I had vacillated over asking for this at Christmas time. What the heck was I thinking? I LOVE MY KINDLE! I can read a murder mystery, business book or anything I want without having to pack 3 or 4 books. I tend to read a lot and was spending upwards of $20 a trip on books. The only thing I don't like is that you can't have it on while the plane is taking off and landing. And if you were wondering, it has a PINK case on it! 

  • My laptop. Even though I can do almost everything on my smartphone, I still need my laptop. I need it for work mostly but sometimes the Facebook app just doesn't cut the mustard. 
  • My Tom-Tom. I can follow a map pretty good but I really would just rather have some funny voice tell me where to go and how to get there. Austin Powers anyone? Groovy, baaaa-by! 
  • My makeup. Yes, I am one of THOSE women. I do not go anywhere without my makeup on. I am picky about my makeup. I have had my luggage lost for 48 hours and had to go buy drugstore brand. I thought my skin was going to commit suicide over that. I am a BareMinerals girl. 
So if you see me trying to get 3 bags on a plane....shhhh! I promise to only put my 18" rollerbag in the overhead bin. I know my laptop bag and purse will go under the seat in front of me.It's just one teeny little rule I break.

Off to pack for next week!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Assaulted by a Booger

My son has been sick for almost two weeks. I have been waiting for the next person to be afflicted. As I am sitting at my computer willing myself not to be sick, even though I can feel my chest tightening, throat getting scratchy, it reminded me of all the people who I have sat next to on a plane and felt like fumigating right then and there.

You've seen them. They cough and hack without covering their mouths. Or they cough into their hand. Seriously dude, you are grabbing the seat backs, trays and overhead bin doors after using your hand as a spit shield!

They make a real cool thing that you can carry with you. It's called hand sanitizer. They make it in liquid form, sprayable form, handy little wipes and they all work to protect us from YOUR germs.

Now, before you get all "ohhh...she's a germaphobe!", I need to make it clear. I am not a germaphobe. I don't buy antibacterial soap. In fact, I go out of my way to NOT buy it. I think that is why there are so many strains of bacteria that are resistant.

I do not get a paper towel to turn the faucet off, I use my elbow. I don't make my kids wash their hands before we eat.

What I do require is that they cough into their elbow instead of their hand. Make sure that they wash their hands after blowing their nose or going to the bathroom. Oh and for full disclosure...I will sometimes cut up veggies on the same cutting board as chicken. GASP!

I never really thought of this until the one day I was flying from San Diego to Minneapolis. I was deplaning and reached up to open the overhead bin. (Cue mystery music here. DUH-DUH-DUH)

As I opened the bin, I felt a gooey spot. If you have ever flown, there should be NO gooey spots on the latch! Pull my hand away and gaze in was a BOOGER!!! 
Twentieth Century Fox 1984
Ewwwwwww!!!! So what do I do? I shriek in utter horror and do what anyone would do. I wiped it on the back of the seat. 

I know, it was wrong of me but you have to understand, it was gross. It was someone else's booger and I was in grossed-out panic mode! GETITOFFGETITOFFGETITOFF!

All I really want to do is punch the person who did it. Whoever you are, you just got lucky, very lucky that I didn't know who you were!

And no, I am not a mysophobe either.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Did It!

I know, I said I was going to do it last night. I really was, but I chickened out again. But, tonight, I did it.

I told DH that I was going to be gone next week.It happened while we were cleaning the kitchen.

I kind of insinuated that I had already  mentioned this trip to him last month. I did, just in a general way with no details. I can get away with this because like most men, he only hears about half of what I say. So I tend to use that to my advantage whenever I can.

"Don't you remember me saying that I had to go to Pennsylvania at the end of the month?" I ask.
His reply? "No, I don't."
"Well, this is an important client so it is a bit longer of a trip.I leave late Monday morning and come back on Friday early afternoon."

Grunt of disgust.

I quickly change the topic to the delicious dessert I have chilling in the fridge. Food is always a good distraction.

I am a bit flabbergasted. I was expecting a bit more of a response.

Don't get me wrong. I would rather have this reaction. I just wasn't expecting it. He does that sometimes, surprises me. I love that about him. After 26 years together, he can still surprise me.

So, my next task is to start on the laundry, pack my bag, go grocery shopping, cook the meals. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

Typical Work Day~ On the Road

Even though I look forward to going on the road for work, I dread the first day. This is the day that I travel.

Most of the time I have to take the dreaded 5:30 am flight. Which means that I have to be up at 3:30 am to get myself presentable and get enough coffee in me to be able to function. You would NOT want to see me sulking towards you in the airport if I didn't.

Did I mention that I usually cannot sleep the night before a trip? Yeah, that's an issue too. I am so worried about my alarm not going off that I don't stay asleep.

I dread the first day on a trip. There is the worry that the flight will get delayed. Even worse? The flight getting cancelled. This completely throws a wrench in the cogs. Unfortunately, the clients seem to think that we plan delays and cancellations just to piss them off mess with them. Try being the one to have to call you and tell you that we won't be there as planned and having to rearrange all of the hotel, car, plane reservations! Contrary to popular belief, I do have feelings and do not like being yelled at.

I have been trying to travel out the day before I have to be somewhere but that doesn't always work either. And if you have read my recent posts, there are extenuating circumstances surrounding me going earlier than needed.

If I am really, really lucky, I get to go to my clients and work a half day (or more).

I wish my day would end with a luxury hotel chain, in a Jacuzzi suite. No such luck, that only happens in my dreams. It usually means unpacking, ironing all my clothes for the week, switching on the news until I can't take it any more...

Then lying in the dark room, unable to sleep. Yes, the alarm worries are keeping me up again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing for a Business Trip ~ Update

I chickened out yesterday.

I know. Putting off the inevitable wasn't good but DH was in such a good mood that I really didn't want to ruin it. 

See. I am a good wife that way. Or so I keep telling myself.

Today is the day. He will be home in 45 minutes.

I will tell him after dinner. When we are still all around the table and the kids are there.

I just have to know when to pick the right time...and end with the line "It could be worse. I could be pregnant."

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Preparing for a Business Trip

There's plane tickets to buy. Hotels to book. Cars to rent. Talking to the client to arrange for meeting times.

Then there's the moment when I have to tell my husband I am going on another trip. This is the part that I dread the most. It used to be breaking the news to my then 5 year old it's my 43 year old husband.

In fact, I hate having to tell him about the next trip so much, that I leave in 7 days and I haven't told him yet. The ticket has been bought and on the credit card statement for a month, but he still has no clue.

Today is the day. I can't wait any longer to tell him. I feel like a little kid waiting for Daddy to come home and tell him that I made Mommy angry. And I do not like feeling this way.

Why do I feel this way?

Because I know how he will react. This isn't just an overnight trip this time. It is a Monday to Friday trip, which don't come very often. But he will get pissed (yup) that it will be so long, then he will whine because he will have to deal with the son's schedule, worry about dinner...blah, blah, blah. It's all about avoidance for me. Avoid it as long as I can!

So what do I do? I overcompensate. I plan and cook all the meals for the week, make sure all the laundry is done, lists of what to warm up on each day, schedules posted of when to pick son up. Then, with son in sports, arrange for someone to bring him home after the late night track meet. All to make it easier on him.

Okay, who am I kidding? Wearing myself out like that, really makes it easier on me because then I don't have to listen to the whining. It just makes it easier to enjoy the restaurant meals and the housekeepers cleaning my room when I am traveling.

I always get the feeling that I am alone with all my planning and preparation before I leave. If you plan like I do, please let me know...I want to know that I am not the only crazy wife out there. We can compare war stories!

Wish me luck... Armageddon occurs in T -10 hours.....

***Side note: My DH is great at helping out with laundry, dishes etc...He just doesn't like being a "single dad" during the week when he has to get up early for work and all that. And yes, he does count on me to keep the household running smoothly without him having to think too much.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What?!? You can hear MY music?

Yes, I can. I can hear your music. I don't want to, but I do.

You have seen the people with their little white ear buds bopping there heads to the invisible beat. They are everywhere, buses, trains, stores, and my favorite...planes. I swear they just grow into the ears of people. I am thinking they have an ear cleaning app so they don't have to remove them.

Did I say invisible beat? I must have been dreaming because I can hear that "beat" over the sound of the engines.

No, I don't have supersonic hearing. But, my husband does this irritating cute thing where he "clicks" his eardrums and I can hear it across the room.Even my kids know that I have poor hearing. Especially when they are yelling "mom....Mom...MOMMMMMM!"

I digress....

What is it with me? I seem to attract the dipshit that has the earbuds on and they have cranked up the volume to epic levels. Its like sitting next to a TV where the volume goes up for each commercial but just stays there for 3 minutes. Then bliss...that quiet period between songs. The bliss is rudely interrupted by another song. And it's never any good music. Its gotta be the rap or some alternative-crack-smoking-black-haired screaming shit with an impossibly loud bass beat.

We refer to that in our house as Anger Music.

Just hearing it, makes me angry.

And yes, if I am sitting right next to you...I will tolerate it for a while. I am hopeful that you will have the realization that you are encroaching on my personal airspace with unwanted sound waves. But be warned. There will be a split second that it puts me over the edge and...

I WILL tell you and I WILL ask you to turn it down. I will do it nicely but firmly. Even though I want to rip them out of your ears and strangle you with the cord. I will refrain from that. 

It really makes me angry if you are sitting 2, 3 or 4 rows away and I can still hear it. YOU are harder for me to get to...those karma daggers are being shot your way with as much karmic power as I can muster up. I just feel sorry for the people sitting closer to you.

So if you are already freakin' deaf from listening to that crap...get to an audiologist. Your fellow passengers will appreciate it.

Now, where did I put my noise cancelling ear buds?

Travel Poll Results the travel poll. I asked readers where they would rather go. Here are the winners.


Stay tuned for my Rant of the Day...

Minneapple Turned Rotten

Let's just say my work trip to Minneapolis turned into a huge disappointment. It wasn't the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy job like I thought.

What was supposed to be a quick trip with a simple software upgrade turned into 2 days from Hades and the worst part? I didn't get to Ikea. I was also expecting to take a trip to the Mall of America for some people watching but that too was just a blur as I drove past. Actually, I slowed down and cried a little as I drove past it but I can't tell if it was from the stress of the day or because I was sad I couldn't go shoe shopping.

The drive down on Wednesday wasn't too bad, save for the rain. The other drivers on the road were actually pretty courteous. There were not rants from me and no bad words being tossed out at the other drivers. I did have to throw one of my looks at someone as I passed them for the third time but all in all the drive was good. The worst part of that drive was the fact that I drank 2 large cups of coffee before leaving home. In true fashion, I like to see how long I can go before I HAVE to stop. Made it almost all the way there! Then I stopped for a Diet Coke and Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Yes, for breakfast. Don't judge.

I won't bore you with the details of the sh**-storm I had at work for two days...but let's just say that I stopped at the Dairy Queen on my way home and had a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Waffle Bowl Sundae...THAT should tell you what kind of 2 days I had. And yes, I ate the whole thing. And no, I did NOT have something healthy to eat first...that would have delayed my satisfaction longer.

Rush hour is always interesting. You see people driving with their heads up their butts, people eating, picking their noses and of course on their cell phones; sometimes you see them doing all!

Last night, there was this wimpy guy who thought he was cool. (You can just tell by the way he sits in his car) He was driving a silver Saturn wagon type thing in the fast lane. Managing to make my life even more miserable than it was. He was insisting on going slower than he should, speeding way up, slowing down, speeding up. It was making me nauseous up, down, up down...and I could't pass him because of the slow people in the slow lane. Go figure. This displays the ineptness. I had my cruise control on by this time so I know it wasn't me!

At one point he had to be going 80 mph. Because I was going the speed limit like a good little girl.

And yes, the Dirty Fairy visited me again! This time, it wasn't bad but still...more to come on that.

Home sweet home!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Minne-apple

Bright and early tomorrow, I head to Minneapolis. By bright and early I mean on the road at or around 6 am. Yuck. The good thing about this trip is that it should be an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy of a work trip. I know I will regret saying that on Thursday when all I want to do is get home.

I won't be able to people watch at the airport this trip but I will assure you that the drivers on the road will do their share to thoroughly annoy entertain me on the way there.  There are many ways they can manage this:

  • Drive slowly in the passing lane.
  • Pass me and then go in front of me and slow down so I have to then pass them. Rinse and repeat.
  • Ride my tail so close that I think our cars will mate and make little mutant Subyotas.

So, I will need to make sure I get a good night's rest and put on my patient cap for the drive. Sadly, I think I misplaced that when I cleaned my office. 

Hoping the snow will be gone this time....
A trip to Minneapolis is not complete for me without a foray to the Mall of America and Ikea. And I get to do it by myself! The MOA is always a good place to people watch. I am kicking myself for deleting the picture of the girl with the dog collar and leash being led around by her boyfriend. Now THAT was a sight to see. It always amazes me what people do. It makes me seem really normal. 

So here's to getting some good stories for you tomorrow!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Airport Pet Peeve

If you haven't noticed a pattern here...I have a LOT of pet peeves when I travel. And it is not because I am intolerant, quite the contrary. I have become waaaaayyyyy more tolerant of people than I used to be. Maybe it's because I finally learned that dumb people don't know they are dumb and no matter what I hope for, dumb people breed dumb people and it just can't be helped. Maybe it's ignorance...

It may be a little thing but it's something that drives me crazy....

The rows of seats in the airports...the ones that are all attached together? Yeah, those ones. The ones that when a portly person plops their largess down on the opposite end and sends you flying into the ceiling? Those ones. Well, besides being catapulted into the ceiling, I cannot stand fidgeters!

Don't get me wrong, I am a fidgeter myself and I fidget all day long. Some days, it's the only exercise I get! But when I fidget, I fidget in private so that it doesn't annoy anyone else. The feeling of my seat shaking because you cannot control your's nearly as bad as being a seat grabber. If you are a fidgeter...please go sit in a different row if you just cannot contain yourself long enough to not annoy me. If you don't, you run the risk of having daggers bore through your soul...Granted they are only the invisible kind and you may not know they are being thrown but you will get up and wonder to yourself..."why do I feel so weird?" Don't worry, it's just the side effects of my karma daggers.

Don't worry, strangers aren't the only ones prone to my DH is a wiggler too...he shakes the whole couch while we watch TV because he has untreated ADD and can't sit still. So, I dagger away and when I realize the armor is on stealth mode...I get up and move. 

So, if you see me playing musical chairs with invisible people at the airport, ask yourself one little question:

"Am I a fidgeter?"

If you can answer yes to that question...admitting you have a problem is the first step! 

I actually get to go somewhere this week! A business sanctioned trip the Mall of America and much better can it get? Oh yeah...I could be in Hawaii like some OTHER people I work unfair is that?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pet Peeve of a Frequent Traveler

I can put up with a lot when I am traveling.

Long security lines, infrequent travelers who don't know the rules of the liquids you can and cannot carry on the plane. I can even put up with the idiots who don't take their parkas off and try to get through security...HELLO! Whatcha got hiding under there, buddy? Yup, ain't gonna let you through with THAT...

The one thing that I cannot stand is the "seat grabber". NO! I am not referring to someone who grabs your a**!!! Although that would rank right up there too. Although, I think that is reserved to elementary school shenanigans (I love that just sounds No, this is the person who has to grab your seat as they :

  • Walk past your seat
  • Get up from behind you
  • Go to sit down behind you
  • Readjust themeselves...a million freakin' times
Really...seriously sh**head! Do you not see my head resting there? Did I mention that it is resting ON MY SEAT? I really would like to have my hair back...they can do wonders with transplants, they should be able to reimplant the chunk YOU JUST PULLED OUT OF THE TOP OF MY HEAD! Please and thank you.

I can (partly...and that is stretching it) understand it if you need an extra amount of leverage to get up but could you at least warn me? There is nothing like having your body yanked back by your hair as someone grabs your seat while you are trying to sleep! Whoa, did the plane just crash? Nah, that was just you trying to  flip my seat backwards!

What's worse is when someone does this several times during a flight to go to the bathroom...they need to take cues from that crazy lady astronaut and maybe wear diapers....just saying! 

And being the nice person that I am, you will just get the most evil evil-eye I can muster. Even though I really just want to punch you in the face until you poop your pants! Happy Travels!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lost Purse

I have traveled a lot over the last 10 years for work and have learned a ton of things. 
  • stick with one color scheme  so you don't have to have 3 pairs of shoes
  • put liquids in a ziploc bag in your suitcase so they don't explode
  • always bring an extra days worth of clothes...just in case
  • don't forget your purse on the plane
What was that last one? Don't forget your purse on the plane...I thought I was smart and traveling light. Key word: THOUGHT! I carried on my overnight bag and instead of a purse, I took my wallet...heck one night in New Orleans...I didn't need much. This was a month after 9/11 occurred and my first month on the job and first time meeting the local sales rep. Talk about nerve wracking already!

The sales rep picked me up at the airport and we head downtown to meet a client...all the while hearing how the last demo was a disaster and this is our last I get out of the car, go to the backseat to grab my bag, I reach for my wallet in my overnight's not there! Girls, you know how that feels? It's like a part of you died! OMG!!! I go into full panic mode...seriously, this was worse than losing my cell phone in Maui a few years back. No money, no credit cards, no the hell am I gonna get checked into my hotel, eat and GET HOME THE NEXT DAY?!?!?!!? Hyperventilating, near tears (NEVER let them see you cry!) and so sick I almost puke.

We walk into the clients office. I calmly ask for a phone book, look up the airport and dial the number, choking the barf back as I do this. They put me in touch with the NWA desk (I miss them, btw) and I explain what happened, give them my contact information and they tell me that they will call me back after they check if it was turned in. The plane has already turned around to go back to MSP! Damn.

I managed to hold it together to do the product demonstration (whew!!) and when we finished, my phone rang.....duh-duh-duh-duh..(my version of suspense. I have no rhythm at all)

Someone had turned it in and I could pick it up at the airport. Praise the Lord and Amen!

I got my wallet back, we got the sale and I had a great meal of boiled crawfish in New Orleans! And I earned the nickname "Queen of Calm"...If they only knew!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I haven't been able to post any pictures of my recent travels...mainly because their HASN'T BEEN ANY! So I have resorted to rehashing previous trials and tribulations of my traveling family...but when I start traveling can bet I will be using this!

I just wanted to tell you about a website and app. FreakJet......Yuppers, they have an app for the IPhone...Alas, for us Droid lovers...the Droid app doesn't exist yet. BUT... the guys at FreakJet promise me that they are working on it! (I will hold them to that promise!!!!). And it is because of this promise that I am writing this today! No pressure....

You have probably gotten emailed pictures about the people you see at WalMart...well, this site is for the people you see in airports or traveling....Take it from me, you see some very interesting people when you travel! (Read: freaky people)

So do me a favor and check out their site:
FreakJet on the Web

Check out (and of course download) their app:
FreakJet App at ITunes

Follow them on Twitter:

And most importantly...tell them that @MsTravelTina sent you!

Florida Travel Trials

If you look closely at the right..You can see my son behind the feathers
After I had been subjected to thousands of miles and multiple nights in states all over the country, we decided to finally cash in on those hard earned points and take our kids to Florida. Now, we aren't dumb people. Although, if you ask our kids, they might say that we need to be institutionalized for our stupidity at times.

We book our trip for Spring Break (not college spring break...I told you we weren't dumb!) in the middle of April thinking that it will be warmer than spring in Minnesota. We split our time between the overcrowded, commercialized Orlando and the laid-back, easy going Clearwater Beach areas. Focus, Tina, focus!

The day we planned to go to Discovery Cove, we roll out of bed, go down for the free breakfast (Embassy Suites~best free breakfast...EVER!) and popped our head out the door to see just how spectacularly warm it was. You know that first cold day in winter when it is sunny, blue skies? It looks like a gorgeous winter day....And you step outside BAM!!!  Only to be hit with -40 degrees in your face? Yes that was 40 BELOW ZERO! wasn't QUITE that cold in Florida but it felt that way. It was only 40 degrees!

And we chose THIS day to spend the entire time in the water? At that point we felt as stupid as our kids thought we were. So, back to our room to get our parkas. Not really, but I wish we would have!

The real point of this story really is what happens next and it has nothing to do with Discovery Cove. We had to be there at 8:00 to check in so we thawed out a bit, put the heat on in the car (IN FLORIDA! UGH!). We take the exit and get to the stoplight...we stop. And we wait....and we wait.....and we wait....and still, we wait some more. 

We start looking at each other wondering what the heck is going on. There are no cars coming from any direction...and yet we wait. Seriously folks, we sat there for nearly 5 min. Now, if you knew my hubby, he is a "follow the rules" sort of guy to the nth degree! The kids are whining (I know...a first for them!) "let's just go! There aren't any cars!"

Vacillating back and forth...we finally decide...FORGET IT! And as we start turning...the light turns green! 

WTH! I just know that on a Sunday morning there was some jackass in traffic control sitting in his little office, with his little button just messing with us! He was sitting there laughing his fat butt off trying to see how long it would take for us to finally just take off....Well, I hope he had fun with his little button because next time I am in Florida...I am coming after him to show him what he can do with his little button!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gotta Find the Burros! ~ Custer State Park

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, Custer State Park in South Dakota is one of our super fave places to go. Buffalos are number one on our "must find" list but the burros rank a very, very close second! We will drive through the park yelling (quietly) "Donk-ayyyyy!" Think of Shrek when you read this..."c'mere Donkey"..."Oh Donkeyyyyyy, where are you, Donkey?!?!" Yes, I will take full credit for planting THAT in your head today! Face it, you know have this uncontrollable urge to watch all of the Shrek movies!

Warning: The following WILL cause you to learn at least one useless point of trivia for the day....

The burros in the park are the offspring of animals that were brought in to bring visitors to the top of Harney Peak. When this practice ended, they let them go inside the park and they have thrived and provided entertainment for the masses. When in Custer, we put hundreds of miles driving the Wildlife loop looking for...Wildlife! DUH! The burros are always in the same area but they tend to hide out waayyyyy off in the distance but if they are hungry, they are right on the road looking for handouts. Now, the park service rules are that you should not feed them and I ALWAYS follow the rules............

Oops, sorry. I had to lift myself up off the floor. I was laughing so hard that I fell off my chair! There is a saying in our family....rules are made to be broken! But you should really listen to the park rangers. That disclaimer being stated, we do break the rule (I know..surprise, surprise, surprise!)...after all, the burros are really, really persistent. But...we don't do the cookies, crackers etc. You can go to any of the grocery stores in Custer and get a big bag of carrots to feed them (4 bags? Maybe someone has done that before, nope, wasn't me...just saying!). Just stay away from the sweets and salty stuff! If they aren't good for you, they certainly are not good for them! Can you imagine an overweight donkey? Ah. It would just be another fat ass!

My son is going to kill me! (nice teeth, btw!)

The babies are adorable and they look like their mommies!

Just be careful. They are still wild!

Hello, gimme carrots...cookies...I don't care....just hand it over! If you don't, I'ma gonna eat your car!

Hey, anything in here? Hellooo...I am standing right here...don't you see me?


No, we cannot bring him home!

Still, NO....I don't care how cute he is!

All gone? Cripes, I am leaving...don't come back until you bring carrots!

Just writing about this makes me want to back again. Honey....yoo-hoo! You said you didn't know what you wanted to do this weekend? Thinking road trip? 9 hours in the car really isn't THAT bad is it?

Have you ever taken an 9 hour (one way) road trip just for the heck of it? Let me know about it!

Vote for me!!! Please...pretty please

New posting coming soon....(couple of hours) but can you take the time to click on the button

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Thanks! It is much appreciated! Happy Monday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Custer State Park

Custer State Park is tops on our list when we go to South Dakota. Is it for the history? Nope? Is it for the vast,wide open spaces? Nuh-huh...The scenic views? Sadly, you are wrong again. If you said the abundant wildlife you would be correct-o-mundo! Whoa, I just channeled Fonzie there for a minute! Must have came from the cute little note that DH left me yesterday. He drew out (eye) (heart) (ewe) just like they did in a Happy Days episode. This was when we were like 2 btw...

Anyway, back to Custer. It is the animals in the park that draw us back. Yeah, we have animals in Minnesota but none as exotic as a buffalo, burros and cantelope. No, I didn't spell that know how kids sometimes can't say the right names for things and because its just so darn cute, you perpetuate it into all of eternity? That's what we did with the cantelope/antelope thing. We have so many of those special words. It's like a twin-language thing...a Famguage...there I go again..oh brother!

We each have a fave animal...but we all love the buffalo. The big, smelly, huffing bison. We go in search of the herd, stopping at the ranger stations for news of sightings. At The State Game Lodge you can make reservations for an open Jeep ride in search of the buffalo. We haven't done this because we have been lucky to find the herds ourselves and get up close. And I mean CLOSE! Not, the best picture because it was taken out the window but it gives you a sense of how close it was!

Tell me, how scary is that??? And we always seem to go when they are in rut...looking for the ladies to woo! Ohh...did I mention the babies? How cute is this??!?!
The mother lode when you are on the "hunt" for the buffalo!
 Mommy and baby!
 Big boy!!
I didn't get to the cantelope or the burros....the burros are good for a posting by themselves...well, maybe two postings. We will have to see! Please feel free to comment or ask questions!