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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!