Monday, December 31, 2012

Out with 2012 - here comes lucky 13

Well, its the end of the year and I am very happy.  This last month has capped off a year that I am happy to see behind me.

On my way home from the office today I passed a sign that made me smile first and then made me think.  It was outside a party supply store - "The end of the world was cancelled - its time to party"

I have to say I was a tad disappointed when nothing happened on Dec 21st.  Not that I wanted the world to end or anything.  I haven't found a boyfriend yet and I am thinking I might like to have one before the world ends.  I just wanted a little something,  I would have wished for just a change - perhaps like the whole human race sprouts wings at midnight.  Would have made for an interesting morning.

I am just happy December is over. 

I woke up December 1st hit by a nasty, nasty cold bug that hung on all month.  This was capped off by a nasty, nasty bout of flu that hit me boxing day and stayed with me until this morning.  I think I lost about 25 pounds (which I am sure will find its way home by mid January).

After a lovely Christmas eve with my favorite wee ones (their parents also showed up - they were driving).  It is so much fun with them.  This year, they were just as excited to watch me open the chocolates and scarf they got me.  I was so wrapped up in making jewellry with Rae, building a tool box out of foam with Lex and playing flying connect 4 with Xavier that I forgot to take pictures.  The only down side was dinner.  My attempt at a new dish each family meal was again a complete failure.  I am done with Yams.  Twice now it has failed.  However, no one was rushed to emergency this time so perhaps not a complete failure.

Boxing day I awoke feeling not quite right but headed off to the store anyway to check out a laptop.  As I was standing there listening to the salesman tell me all about the coolness of a combo laptop and touch pad when all of a sudden I knew that if I did not leave at right that moment I was going to puke on his shoes.  Short story - I spent the next three days laying on the couch with a giant bowl throwing-up even sips of water and sending text messages to my oldest daughter letting her know where my Will was and what to do with the china when I died.

It was a rough month. 

I am actually looking forward to lucky 13.  I am not making any resolutions.  No need to.  Traditionally, 13 has been a very lucky number for me.  On roulette, I usually hit it every once in a while.  I went into labour with my youngest on the 13th.  My first divorce was final on the 13th.  So you see, all I need to do is wait for my luck to change.  I am even willing to bet that I will have at least one good road trip where everything goes right.  2013 is gonna be a good one.

My goals for the coming year - less work, more play.  Oh yeah, win at least 1mil so play comes easier.

Happy New Year to all my friends and family.  It's a lucky year ahead!

Stay tuned

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Rose, A Bloom and a Shattered Dream

For about 5 years I have had a secret crush on a man I have known professionally for quite some time now.  No one knew about it until......I attended a function with friends and he happened to be there.  Still, I said nothing.  However, it turns out I am a bit of an idiot where this man is involved and unbeknownst to me, I turned into a teenage girl - complete with giggling and running away as soon as I came close to speaking with him outside of the confines of work.  My friends, after wondering if I had in fact just had an aneurysm, figured it out.  "You have a crush on him!!!  OMG!!! Why didn't you say so???"  These words were yelled out loud for all to hear.  Wonder why I never mentioned it.

That was last year.  Fast forward to another function last week.  I refused to behave as I did last time and face the ridicule of my friends.  I would stand and face him and behave like an adult or die trying.  With wine glass in hand, I sat down beside him and started a conversation.  I was cool.  I was calm.  I laughed in all the right places.  20 minutes later I was done.  My dream had died and I was gently tapping my friend (out of his line of sight) to get me outta here. 

He was the rose and his bloom fell off the stem and along with it my girlish crush.  Not exactly sure what happened.  It might be that he just started to speak and that was it.  It might be that the fantasy of my dream was much better than the reality.  I felt deflated.  What the hell is wrong with me that I am destined to spend my life alone except for the house full of cats and rocking chairs?  Can't be that I am too picky - let us not forget I have been married twice - to men who, kindly put, were not the sharpest knives in the drawer.  I wasn't picky then.  Perhaps the term now should be persnickety.  I have let my old age creep in and take over.  Pretty soon I will be carrying hard candies in my sweater and rolled up kleenex in my sleeve.  Nice image.

On the upside, I had a date with my favorite wee man on Friday night.  We watched a movie and ate junk food.  The following morning we went shopping downtown as he had $4 that was burning a hole in his pocket and he simply HAD to go to the dollar store.  Afterwards we picked up his sisters so they could help me decorate the tree in time for the Santa parade on Sunday.  I have attached a photo of the tree for you.  It appears to be leaning a little south and is somewhat bottom heavy. 

We never made it to the parade.  It was raining and the thought of sitting on a sidewalk in the rain was not appealing so we went to a movie instead.  Turns out it stopped raining moments after we set foot in the theatre.

After the movie the real fun began.  I raced the children home as I had a very short time to get to the airport for a quick trip to Edmonton (is there any other kind?).  I arrived at the airport at 6pm for my 7:30 flight.

I was still waiting for my flight at 8:15 when the fire alarm in the airport went off followed by the announcement "Please be aware the fire alarm has been activated somewhere in the terminal.  We will keep you informed."  Oddly, we all just sat there doing nothing.  This act was repeated 4 more times.  During that time frame, Air Canada also announced that we would now be delayed until 8:45pm.  At 9:10pm they again announced the delay with the additional info "we are searching for pilots for your flight.  We will keep you posted."  Hmm, what the heck happened to our pilots?  Was this the new Air Canada and I had inadvertently been booked on a seat sale where the first to board also gets to fly the plane?  At 10:15pm another announcement was made - "We have located pilots from another flight who will be making their way to our gate to ensure we make it to Edmonton.  They live in the area so should be here soon." 

The waiting area was about to revolt.  I was hungry.  I went in search of food.  Most places were closed by this time but I did manage to find a sandwich place in the international area (which apparently I was not supposed to be in).  For $16.90 I was able to purchase a chicken salad sandwich and a cup of grapes. 

Fast forward...I landed in Edmonton shortly after 1am - in a blizzard.  My cab driver took me to the wrong hotel and left before we figured it out.  My next cabbie got me to the right hotel just moments before the clock struck 2am.  I no longer had feeling in my feet.

My alarm was set for 6:30am so that I could be in my meeting for 8am.

The day whizzed by with the help of 4 cups of tea and 3 diet cokes (I hate pop but needed the caffiene).  Round about 3:30pm, I was asked "don't you have to be at the airport?"  "Yep, but I don't have to leave until 3pm as my flight is at 5pm".  Turns out my laptop did not change time with the zone change.  Try getting a cab in Edmonton after a blizzard drops 6" of snow on the ground.  Once again I was to play OJ through the airport. 

It would not be as simple as getting a cab, getting to the airport, get through security and board my plane.  I got the cab, I made it to the airport with 20 minutes to spare....that is happened.  The cabbie broke my briefcase.  He lifted it from the trunk by the rolling handle rather than the regular handles.  I love this briefcase.  It was a birthday gift from my dad and his wife.  It is beautiful black leather and it is on wheels.  It goes with me everywhere and is so much easier than hefting a big bulky thing weighted down with reports, binders and laptop through airports.  I was so pissed off that my voice went up a number of octaves and I threatened to punch him right in his ovaries.  This was after he offered to relieve me of my US cash before heading through customs on my way to Vancouver.  I had asked him where he thought Vancouver was.  He was not exactly sure but figured I needed my passport to get there.  How long have you been in Canada I asked.  25 years.  He deserved to be punched.

Needless to say, with my voice raised it caught the attention of the Edmonton airport cop on duty.  He made me calm down or face the consequences.  He assured me it would not be worth being charged with battery and he was pretty sure the cabbie did not have any ovaries.

I made it to my gate with what should have been seconds to spare.  Turns out those seconds were the equivalent of 2 hours.  They were out of deicing fluid.  Of course they were.

I crawled through my front door - almost on my hands and knees at 9:30pm last night.  On the brightside, my brother was able to fix my briefcase.  Only good thing of the whole trip.

I am off to Campbell River tomorrow for 2 days.  Becoming a Walmart Greeter is looking better and better.

Here is my tree.

Not sure who's head is in the picture.  Kids don't believe in decorating the back side.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Real Test of Survival

Is Target right after they open for Black Friday shoppers.

Here is my tale of survival.

I crossed the border without incident in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 22nd.  That in itself was oddly disconcerting.  As I drove away I was left wondering what just happened.  No border guard ordered me out of my vehicle, inspected my underwear for weapons or grilled me on my intentions.  I was confused.  This was a new experience for me.  I made my way to the Spa to enjoy a massage and to kill a few hours before check-in at the hotel where my shopping experiences would begin at 10pm that evening.

Mid afternoon I made my way to my hotel in Burlington just an hour or so from the Border and checked in.  I settled in and went in search of food.  It was not to be had.  It was the US Thanksgiving holiday and the streets were dark.  I ended up having a dinner of candy dispenser junk food.  Stale junk food.

I left my hotel at 9:30pm and started to make my way as per the directions of the desk clerk - "the outlet mall you seek is about 15 minutes down the road on the right hand side - you can't miss it".  I headed out the doors into the dark, windy and rainy night in search of the outlet mall armed with a list and the sizes of my grandchildren.

After driving for about 12minutes I noticed the bright lights of Target and people going in to the store.  I thought this was the outlet mall and Target was part of it.  I found a parking spot and ran towards the store as the rain was coming down sideways and the wind was almost knocking me over.

I was deceived right from the start.  There was no line up of people so I thought I was doing pretty good......until I actually stepped more that 3 feet into the store.  It was utter maddness.  I had never experienced anything like this before.  I felt the walls closing in around me as screaming children, angry husbands and demanding women were pushing and shoving and in a hurry with their baskets and buggy's overflowing with goods.

Since there were no baskets left, I grabbed a couple of gift bags off the shelf and started to wade into the fray as I headed to the children's department in search of deals.  I must admit, it was pretty good.  The deals on kids clothes were quite remarkable.  As were the deals I found on household items (I cannot mention them here as those reading might be the recipients of those deals).  However, after about 30 minutes I could not go on any longer.  I had only made it to one corner of the store and I had to leave.  The experience was sucking the life right out of me and I had to escape.  Having gotten totally disoriented and quite frankly, a little frightened, I tried to make my way to the check-out counter.  I had no idea where it was so I stopped the first clerk I found and he took me to the end of an aisle and told me this is where the line started.  It was aisle 33C. 

As I began my winding journey through Target's maze of aisles in search of a check out, I mentioned aloud that I suppose I could handle the wait through 33 aisles.  The lady in front of me laughed.  She said I was in section C and still had to wade through the aisles in Sections B & A before I could make my escape.  OMG!!! Was she kidding?  Was it going to be worth it?

We started a pool.  You could get in for a loony.  We were betting on the time I would be at the front of the line and headed to my car.  It began at 10:40pm.  As we wound our way up and down each aisle I continued my shopping.  I got wrapping paper, christmas candy, a book, some make-up and a few other odds and ends.  THEN we arrived in the booze aisle.  We had been in line for about an hour.  Someone grabbed a bottle and cracked it open.  It got passed down the line.  I grabbed a bottle of water and drank it in almost one fell swoop.  Another 15 minutes and we made it to the hard liquor aisle.  A bottle of vodka found its way down the aisle as well as a bottle of orange juice,  These avid, industrious shoppers were mixing the drink right in their mouths before passing it along.  We were a pretty happy bunch by the time we made it to aisle 25B.  However, after the bottle of water I had to pee.  I had no idea where the bathroom was and no way was I going to start this line all over again if I left it now.  Plus, I would lose my loony.  I had to hold it in and do the pee pee dance the rest of the way.

A guy tried to cut in line - first about 10 people ahead of me and when that did not work, behind me.  Women are mean.  I thought this group of rather overly "healthy", rubenesque women were going to snap him like a twig.  I wonder what happened to him.

I lost the pool.  I had figured I would be at the front of the line by midnight.  I made it to my car by 1:20am.  I spent $248 and had 6 bags of goodies. 

Turns out, I was not at the outlet mall.  After asking questions as to it's location, I headed south in search of the elusive bastion of deals.  I went about a block when I noticed a sign that said MALL (turns out the upper portion of the sign was burnt out otherwise I might have noticed this was also NOT the outlet mall).  I pulled in and right away noticed MACY's.  Cool.

Things were not as wacky here.  I think the longest I waited in line was about 10 min.  People were more refined here.  There was no pushing and shoving.  No yelling and name calling.  I found some more good deals. 

I headed back to my hotel about 2:30 in the morning having given up on the outlet mall.  I was exhausted and hungry.  I would try again in the morning when it was light out and I could actually see where I was going.

I was woken up at about 10:45am by the sounds of knocking on the door by housekeeping.  Holy crap!  I slept in.  I had only 15 minutes to check out or my card would be charged for an extra night.  I was racing around in a bit of a daze packing and brushing my teeth and hair at the same time.  By the way, do not try this at home.  I almost lost my left eyeball. 

I found the elusive outlet mall first try.  Turns out I was so close the night before - less than a block.  I found a couple of my best deals at this mall,  It was so cool (again, cannot say what I got lest those who will be in reciept of said deals is reading this).  After a few more hours of shopping I was done.  I had no more energy and my credit and debit cards were almost on fire from the number of times they had been swiped,

Late afternoon and I was on my way to the Spa/Casino again where I was to meet up with my aunt and cousin for dinner.  It was great and we had a real nice visit.  We had a nice evening and met again for my birthday breakfast before I headed to the border.  After a brief stop at the Duty Free store for my bottle of Bailey's, I drove right up to the guard.  Again confusion ensued.  He askd where I had been and for how long before letting me pass right through.  What on earth was going on?  What was happening?  Had the world gone nuts in the last 48 hours?  How come I was not subject to my usual security checks?  It must of been because of my birthday.  I am sure that my next crossing attempt will make up for it and I will be back where I normally am being searched and patted down.  All will once again be right with the world.

I was home by noon exhausted but pleased with my purchases.

I am such a party animal that I spent my birthday napping on the couch and sharing a chinese food dinner with my brother before  heading to bed at 9pm.

I was a good wee holiday but remind me to NEVER see the inside of a Target store on black friday again.

I still have two days of holiday left.  I plan on doing laundry and buying groceries and finding hiding places for my purchases which right now are piled up in the hallway and my bedroom so deep that I can barely move.  However, they have to be hidden before the wee ones come over next weekend.  It is the Santa parade again and time for help putting up my tree.

I will keep you posted on the happenings of the annual santa time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Learned a valuable lesson

Well, I returned safe and sound from another week long trek across the country.  It took me 2 days to warm up from my time in the prairies. 

Toronto was wierdly warm.  Winnipeg was cold and snowy.  Regina was cold, clear and snowy.  I was cold, cranky & freezing with a perpetually runny nose.  When I arrived at each of my meetings I was met with scorn and derision as I shivered through each one.  It turns out it was not even the cold season yet and I was what they considered a wuss.  Is it really my fault that I have become aclimatized to the wet and rain of the west coast?  I do not even own winter boots or coat.  However, I have three trench coats and enough umbrellas to cover my entire family.

I considered this trip a success.  Aside from the standard searches in the airports, I made every flight - and they were on time.  The only issue came on my flight from Toronto to Winnipeg.

First let me say that I do accept full responsiblity for what happened.  This is where I learned my lesson.  Keep my mouth shut.

I made my way to my seat on the plane and found myself sitting next to a Rabbi.  He was in the middle seat and I had the window.  He asked me to trade places.  I said no as this was my only flight with a window seat and I wanted to be in it.  This started the discussion.  I cannot prove that the next 2 hours was a result of my refusal to change seats but I have my suspicions.

Was I aware of how the Jews were treated during world war 2?  Did I know that the oil that burned for 8 days came about just because the original oil was unclean?  Do I know what the 7 sins are?  Do I understand what it means to live Kosher?  Do I pray on a regular basis?  Do I go to church?  It went on for quite sometime with me just smiling and nodding.  Round about when he began on the promised land and what is happening in the middle east, I think I snapped.  I said "isn't it so sad that the number one cause of death on the planet happens to be religion? "

Picture a 60ish full orthodox Rabbi pulling out a prayer robe and his prayer book and go all red in the face before turning to me and exclaiming "Surely you are not accusing my people of causing the misfortune of everyone on the planet due to our religion! Because let me tell you young lady (liked that part) we have faced persecution throughout history and survived."  On the upside, I finally got to put my earphones on and watch a little TV but not before the flight attendent asked if either of us wanted to change seats.   OY Vey!
I really did not mean to start a religious battle in row 13, seat F.  I just made a little comment.

It took me 2 days to warm up and refresh from an exhausting trip but I was good as gold by Sunday so I headed out to meet a friend I had not seen in a long time so that we could enjoy a nice long lunch. Back to the office on Monday to try to cram in everything I had to do before taking time for a wee break.

I am now officially off on holiday until next Wednesday.  I am going to do Black Friday again this year.  I have my hotel in Burlington reserved and plan to arrive mid afternoon on Thursday.  I have a map of a nearby outlet mall, printed off some coupons and will be ready to go by 10pm that night when they open.  The following night I will be back at the Silver Reef.  I plan on spending my birthday on Saturday enjoying a full body massage and facial (assuming of course I did no blow everything on Friday).  I will return home Saturday night in time to order in a birthday dinner of chinese food which, if my brother behaves and does not mention my age, I shall share with him.  I had also planned on purchasing one cupcake and putting a candle in it while singing happy birthday to me but decided that was rather pathetic.  Instead I am going to order a whole cake.

I will then take a couple of extra days off to recover from I hope will be a whopper of a black friday blow-out.  I will keep you posted on what happens.

By the way, in case anyone was wondering what happened to my coffee date a few weeks never happened.  He cancelled.  This was not my fault.  He "apparently" got into a car accident.  Still not my fault.

Stay tuned.  I will keep you posted as to what happens on my wee holiday

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I will never know if I lose my mind

Because I live each day with little pieces of my mind dribbling down the side of my neck and soon it will be all gone.

So, it has been pretty busy lately.

I decided to forgo dealing with the insurance company when I went out to my car, parked on the street, to find yet again, that some nimrod has no idea how to park.  She (I know it was a she and a discredit to my gender), came in too close, took out my side mirror and left a nice deep gash of blue and red paint along the side.  When I mentioned this to my brother, he took a look and for the first time let me know that he too has trouble parking as he was pleased to note that the red and blue gash covered up his incident with the post in the garage quite nicely.  Yeesh

 Last weekend I had Christmas.  Ok, perhaps you are thinking the mind is already lost but in fact, my family tries to get together each year before the grown-ups head off to spend the cold months staying warm in Mexico.  We had a nice dinner, lots of laughs and exchanged gifts.

We exchange names and have a $30 limit (at least that is what I thought).  My older brother had my name this year and thankfully, he is married to a wonderful woman who shops for him and signs his name.  Thank you again Angie for the spa certificate.  The $30 came into play as we all watched in wonderment as the baby of the family got spoiled.  I now have to revamp my thinking from believing that the first born was their favorite to the youngest.  The $30 limit doesn't count for him.  I want Dad to draw my name next year and I want a bike :)

After returning from the Christmas on the island, I had to pack up and make my way to the Okanagan.  It was a whirlwind 2 day adventure where I flew into Kelowna, picked up a rental car and made my way to Penticton and Kamloops before returning to Kelowna for one last meeting and the flight home. 

After my usual pat down at 8am in the airport, I made my way to my seat.  I was settled in nicely for the 1 hour flight when I was served apple juice as my beverage of choice.  We hit an air pocket.  I wore my juice.  I wore my juice while wearing my very best power suit.  They didn't go together as well as one might wish.  Upon landing, I raced to the ladies room with my suitcase to change.  I had packed one suit, two tops, nightie, two undies and my toothbrush and make-up along with my travel home comfort clothes.  Well, I thought I had packed 2 tops and my nightie.  Turns out there were still on my bed.  I had a choice - change into my comfort travel clothes or appear at the meeting in stained and sticky ones.  Either way I would lose my power.  Oy Vey.  I decided on the comfort travel clothese because there were clean and I could explain my loss of power.  With dirty, stained and sticky clothes I would just look like a slob who cannot hold onto a glass of juice.

After that meeting, the plan was for me to drive to Kamloops from Penticton and meet up with my oldest friend (that doesn't look right - she's not my OLDEST actually but she is my longest?  that doesn't look right either - sorry Brenda) for dinner or dessert - depending on the time I arrived.  Turns out 18 wheelers - every single one of them in BC, found out that I was on the road and in a hurry and decided to work against me.  What should have been perhaps 2 1/2 to 3 hours at the most turned into a 4 1/2 hour drive in the pouring rain.  I missed dessert - dinner too for that matter.

Up the next morning and off to the first appointment.  All fine and dandy.  Back to Kelowna for one more and the flight home in time to give out candy to the wee ones.  Holy crap on a cracker - the big rigs were back.  I had to pull over and contact my appointment and let them know that at this rate I could only give them 30 minutes or I would miss my flight. 

I arrived at the airport with 10 minutes to spare.  I parked the rental car, ran inside and took off my coat to put in my suitcase and hand it over to the luggage lady before commencing to AVIS to return my car.  Oh oh.  My car keys were in the pocket of my jacket.  Thank goodness that the Kelowna airport is small.  I won't repeat what I overheard the handlers say about me because I am too much of a lady.  I got the keys back, paid my bill and  was very red faced as I sprinted like OJ only to have my plane be late and I had to sit in the waiting room where I was sure everyone knew how stupid I was.  It might have been me that made the plane late if they had to dig around for my suitcase.

I was privy to one last exciting event in Kelowna that caused me a bit of concern.  The Tin Man, wearing his captains hat and identification, passed in front of me to board the plane.  My pilot was the Tin Man.  He has no heart.  Could this day get any worse?  Seems so.  It was so windy, rainy and miserable that turbulance made it a rollercoaster ride from hell all the way home.  I had to pee.  They wouldn't let me up.  The lady beside me spilled her bottle of water all over my legs.  I forgot my credit card in the car service on the way home.

I had tried to get home in time for the tricker treaters.  I love when they come around.  I was expecting a big crowd as I ran out of candy  last year by 7pm.  No one came.  The storm kept them away.  I now have $40 worth of candy sitting on my kitchen table.  I have decided to just buy bigger pants as I am determined not to waste $40.

Stay tuned - off to Toronto, Winnipeg and Regina on the 11th.  Yeeha - the life of a jetsetter.  I need to nap now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Awoke to the sound of laughter

I think that my limited number of Yoga classes has already had an effect on me.  I can report that on the nights I go to class, I sleep like a bear in hibernation.  I have also begun to notice other side effects - I feel better and my head is clearer - except when I sleep.  When I am asleep on those nights after class, my brain is alive with activity. 

Last night I was actually awaken by the sound of loud, rambunctious laughter.  It was me.  And I actually remember the dream that made me laugh out loud.

My youngest brother used to have a pair of red velvet suspender shorts that mother used to dress him in.  He looked like a doll (contrary to what I am sure my older brother is about to say - he was not 25 years old when he wore them).  We also used to have a doorway between the family room, dining room and living room and we used to hang his jolly jumper in that doorway so that he could bounce away for hours on end.  My big brother and I used to take his legs and pull him as far as the jumper would go and then release him to watch him bounce between rooms (swear on a stack - he loved it).

Well, in my dream, we were all lined up wearing the same red velvet suspender shorts only this time instead of being 18months old, we were all the age we are now.  We were waiting for Dad to finish hanging the jolly jumper up.  For some reason the back part of the house where the family room used to be was cut off and wide open to the great outdoors.  Dave was first.  We pulled his legs back as far as we could and shot him from the living room, through the dining room and straight out the back of the family room over the trees where he landed on the trampoline in the neighbors yard.  His red velvet shorts shining in the bright sunlight.  I was laughing so hard.  That's what woke me up.  Yoga has freed my mind to go places in my sleep that would get me locked up in the rubber room had I thought that aloud in my waking hours.  I might have to hide from my brother for a few days however since I have now made that public.  Ah well.  It was worth it.

On another note, I got new glasses recently.  Not sure I like them.  They seem a bit off but I am not sure what it is that is making them seem 'off'.  They are certainly a lot lighter than my old pair and so don't hurt my nose by mid-day.

Wearing my fancy new specs, I went for a bike ride (old fashioned peddle, not electric this time) to Granville Island market to treat myself to some fresh scallops and crab for my thanksgiving dinner.  It was a beautiful day on the water as I peddled around the sea wall in my pink and white helmut.  I parked my bike just outside the market and started to make my way indoors as I was undoing the strap on my helmut.  I heard a lot of noise but was still trying to get my ponytail out of the helmut and straighten my glasses which got caught in the strap when "whap".  What the heck was that?  Turns out the noise I heard was a crowd of people telling me to move and a lot of laughter.  It seems I walked into the middle of some sort of "fish toss" and I got smacked in the cheek with the fin of a malcontent salmon. 

I felt like an idiot.  How did I not see that coming?  I now know what seems "off" with my new glasses.  They don't work.  With my old specs I am pretty sure I would have seen a salmon flying through the air in my direction.   To my family and friends with whom I share the roadways, you might want to detour when you see me coming until I get used to these things.

My favorite wee man is having his 10th birthday party this weekend.  His wishlist?  He wants a Nerfgun and cash.  Seems he and his friends go to the park and have nerf fights.  Not being familiar with nerfguns, I went on line to look them up.  Holy crap on a cracker - 50 bucks for something that looks like it was designed by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek fame) or a Scientologist (Tom Cruise fame).  Oh well, he is worth it.  I will head to Toys R Us after work and scope them out. 

Since my weekend plans changed and I happen to now be free on Sunday, I agreed to a lunch date with the friend of a friends husband.  Not sure what made me say yes.  Might be low blood sugar.  Might blame it on the Yoga.  Dating is hard work - you have to take a shower, shave your legs, wax your chin, pull on your big girl pants, find your mascara and then go make small talk while you try to figure out if a) he is a drug dealer, b) an alcoholic gun collector, c) stalker, d) derranged spy or just plain odd.  How much fun am I going to have on Sunday????  Perhaps with my new specs, I won't even see him and run him over with my car or bike.

Well, will keep you posted. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yoga Farts....and more

A couple of weeks ago, the owners of our rental townhouse came by to check the place out since we moved in.  They were so pleased to have a couple of responsible adults (?) move in that they asked what they could do to make us happy to stay for a long time.  I wanted new wood floors, a stove and a plumber for the main bathroom.  My brother asked for a gazebo and hot tub on the roof.  The plumber came on Monday.

I have had a brand new toilet installed by what appeared to be a 15 year old boy.  He took the time to explain to me the difference between the oval seat we used to have and the round one on the newly installed masterpiece.  He tried to tell me it had to do with the amount of water used but I secretly knew that it actually had everything to do with the size of my butt.  A rounded seat should hold more while the oval seat left some of my left cheek actually hangin in the bathtub.  In anycase, I no longer have to use the plunger 5 times a week and it truly is a masterpiece and the centrepiece of my bathroom.  This is one of the best benefits of being a renter - broken toilet, call someone and care not a fig about the cost.

So, last night I attended my very first YOGA class.  Does everyone else know that YOGA can cause intestinal distress that will manifest itself in the form of farts?   This was very startling news to me.  My cousin Tracy warned me and told me to be prepared to squeeze my butt cheeks into my floor mat at the first sign I was about to let loose.  When I expressed my concern, my older brother offered the advice that when I began to let the tooting begin, to turn to the person on the mat next to me and announce rather loudly to QUIT PULLING MY FINGER".  However, after attending the class, I recognized that would never work.  These were a group very serious hippies.

I am kinda proud of myself.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  I only toppled over once.  My biggest problem is actually today.  I hurt.  And of all places to hurt, it is my left butt cheek (the same one that used to hang over my toilet seat).  Not sure what I did exactly but it turns out there are some muscles hidden beneath my old lady fat.  Who knew? 

I have to admit that I slept like a drug induced baby last night (we all know real babies don't sleep like babies unless they are drugged).  I think I will sign up for a 10 class pass and see if I ever graduate from the beginners stage.

I have checked into my Salsa classes.  Turns out I missed this session so have to wait until November.  Might be a good idea.  Otherwise, it would have been - Yoga Monday, Tuesday Salsa, Wednesday Emergency.

On another note, I don't know why I was complaining about my difficulties in meeting men.  I had plenty of opportunity to introduce myself to a whole group of them gathered right outside my door this morning.

Just as I was opening my front door to head to work, I heard lots of shouting, plenty of swearing, sounds of a scuffle and warnings to drop the knife.  I love street theatre.  The guy with the knife was kinda cute.  Too bad he ran away when he saw me.  I am trying not to take it personally.  I happen to look pretty cute today.

Well, Thanksgiving is coming up and I have been requested to cook a ham.  Not sure who for or who requested it yet but we shall see.  I am looking forward to the long weekend.

Stay tuned. I am sure more crap will be happening soon

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crappity Crap Crap...and then more crap

So, since we last met a lot has happened from being caught on the street (well bushes) in my nightgown at 6:45am to cranky and just plain mean cab drivers, to Mr. & Mrs. I ate a lot of garlic last night and thought it would be fun to sit next to you on the plane, to Air Canada (need I say more?) to the members of parliament who can't figure out a crossword puzzle on their own time.

So, I arrived home on a sunny Sunday afternoon to see signs all over my street saying that for the rest of the week, starting Monday, I could not park there.  There was no exact time given so I believed that I could park overnight and just move it when I went to work in the morning.  Seems a lot of folks on my street thought the same thing.  Round about 6:30am, through my open bedroom window, I heard that sickening sound that every driver knows - the sound of a winch on a tow truck lifting your wheels off the ground.  I bolted from my bed and grabbed the car keys I keep on a hook by the door and ran outside.  I almost melted with relief when I discovered it was not my vehicle - yet.  I quickly hopped into the drivers seat and figured I would just move it quickly and quietly into my parking garage.  Turns out everyone and their dog also decided to park there and I could not get into my assigned spot.  I had to tour the neighborhood looking for a place to rest my behemouth of a car until I left for work in about 90 minutes.  I felt lucky and found a spot just a block and a 1/2 away.  I parked and as soon as I swung my legs out and they hit pavement it dawned on me.  In my rush I was barefoot and looking down, still in my nightie.  My pink satin nighty no less.  I had no choice, I had to make a dash for it back to my house.  How many people would really be on the street at that time of day?  Turns out everyone within a ten mile radius who owns a dog is out at that time of day.  I did the only thing I could - I kept my head down and bobbed in and out of the shrubbery as I hastily made my way home.  By the time I made it back I had to spend 10 minutes just picking leaves and flower crap off me.  Great way to start the week.

Fast forward now to Ottawa.  The problem with going east is that your whole day is shot to hell.  I left my house on Sunday at 8:30am.  After my usual body search and drug testing of my laptop, I got on the plane at 10:am.  I arrived at my hotel in downtown Ottawa at 7:30pm (eastern idiot time).  The cab driver held my luggage hostage after his machine would not take my credit card.  I tried to explain to him that it was the machine and not my card as the reader kept stating "Error - host connection".  He said, and I will use direct quotes here "You are wasting my time.  Not my machine.  You might be deadbeat.  I have been using this all day no problem."  If you know me at all you will most likely know the type of response I came back with. 

After suggesting alternate locations for his machine, some of which would require surgery for removal, the Bellman opened the cab door, understood the issue and said he would pay my fare while I checked in if it still didn't work, if the cabbie would get out of the car and try his machine out in the open one more time.  Well, it worked.  However, there was further interaction even after he got paid:

Dumbass cabbie - "You are great waste of time.  I could have had 3 fares in the amount of time you wasted.  You woman too much trouble than you are worth"

Me:  "well, aren't you just a bundle of joy.  Your mother must be so proud of you."

DAC: " F*** Off

Bellman: " Please leave the area at once.  We have recorded your vehicle registration and you are now banned from any pick-ups or drop offs to our hotel."

DAC: &^&*(^&*^&*^&*(^

Bellman:  "Please, let me help you and accept my apologies on behalf of the Westin hotel and the country in general."

Me:  smile

I raced to my room to change so that I could attend the opening reception to the conference where I was to mix and mingle with all my peeps.  I was starving and very late.  I made my way to the shortest line, which happened to be the pasta bar.  I don't know what it was but it tasted good.  My shirt thought so too.  5 minutes into my entrance and I was forced to return to my room to change.  yeesh!

Overall the conference was fine and the folks at the hotel treated me very nicely - even when I locked myself out 3 times.  Turns out, you cannot put your room card anywhere near your blackberry or it will erase itself.  I am a slow learner.

I had some time off so made my way to the parliament buildings (I have a couple of pics for you).  They are really very beautiful - even with the protestors and the police presence.  After going though the first screening I made my way to the House of Commons to watch some of the action.  You must go through a second set of scanning machines and they take your purse and phone away from you.  I warned the guard that I had $6 in there and it better be there when I return because one of my coins was a brand new toonie and I was saving that for gum.  I got an extra pat down.  Not sure if he just liked me or if he thought I was mouthy.  Guess I will never know.

I have to say, I was thoroughly disgusted.  There were only a few members present along with the Speaker of House.  Of those present, one woman was reading a newspaper, 2 were doing crosswords, one was knitting and three were using their handheld devices.  People just got up and left as others were speaking.  Our tax dollars at work.  Managed to enjoy myself anyway.

On the final night of the conference, we were treated to a dress-up affair at the Museum of Natural History (I think that was the name).  We hopped on buses and 10 minutes later we pulled up to our venue and hurried inside out of the cold.  I was puzzled at first that all the signage was french first instead of the standard english then french.  Then I looked out the window and saw the backside of the Parliament buildings.  It dawned on me then that I was not in Kansas anymore.  I didn't have a visitors visa or my passport with me and yet somehow, I landed in Quebec.  It was very surreal.  I thought I would never actually be allowed into that province given my rather vocal opinions on separation issues.  Ahh well, it was a very nice evening and the museum is really something worth seeing.  Just don't wear heels like I did otherwise you will find yourself sitting in the lap of Tecumseh (?) in the middle of an exhibit with everyone laughing.

I made it back to the airport for my flight home.  After obtaining my self-service baggage tags, I was directed by an Air Canada employee to the line to drop off my suitcase.  There were only 3 people working.  I stood there long enough to read 2 full chapters in my book and answer about 6 emails.  I finally made it to the front and over to a young woman standing under a sign that says "Baggage Drop Off".  I gave her my boarding pass and as I was hefting my bag onto the moving beltway, she shut it down.

AirCanada dumbass:  "I am sorry, you need to go to that other line"

ME:  " Scuse me?  You are baggage drop off yes?  I was directed here"

ACDA:  "I am just helping out because it is a long line"

ME: "I am well aware of the length of the line to which I was directed to wait so that I might end up at your booth for BAGGAGE DROP OFF"

ACDA:  "Please go to the other line.  I have other people to assist"

ME:  "I need you to assist me.  Please take my bag.  My plane is boarding in 10 minutes"

ACDA: she walked away

In the end, after waiting some more to drop off my bag, I could be seen flying like OJ through the airport to arrive just in time to be amongst the last to board my flight.  After all that, you would think that they could leave on time.  Personally, I think they were just waiting until the air inside the cabin was nice and ripe before taxing down the runway.  As I mentioned earlier, I was seated beside the lovely garlic and farts couple.  I spent a lot of time in the aisle and the bathroom for the next 5 1/2 hours.

Which brings me to today.  I have a real love/hate relationship with IT as many of you are aware.  I have been with this company 1 year now and I am on my third blackberry and second laptop.  I spent the majority of my day dealing, in equal parts, with our head office IT department and Rogers - providers of my blackberry service.  It is now 5:45 and I gave up.  I just simply do not care anymore.  I think at one point I was actually crying to Rogers (like they care) as I tried, valiantly I might add, to get this new BB to work.  All to no avail.  I am BB less this weekend and will probably suffer severe anxiety and depression along with cold sweats and heart palpatations.  You will know if I survived the weekend by my next posting.

Parliment hill

View from Quebec

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What if ???

A middle aged woman falls out of her truck in an empty parking lot and there is no one there to hear her fall, does she still make a sound?
Short answer - yep!  Loud and long.

Now that I have given you the ending of my tale, let me take you back to the beginning of my weekend.

Friday afternoon found me at the lawyers office finishing up the requirements for the sale of the house and helping to pack a few boxes for a lazy soon to be finalized, ex-husband.  I said I would come back Saturday morning to help (stress the word -"help") clean and get it ready for the new owners the following day.

Early morning I recieved a phone call to pick him up at his hotel as he left his car at the pub the night before.  Afterwards, we headed to the house to clean and pack up the last of the items to go to storage until he moved to his new home at the end of the month.  After 4 hours of me on my hands and knees cleaning the fridge, stove, washer, dryer, both bathrooms, floors and cupboards I started to wonder where he had gotten to.  He was supposed to be making a dump run - 2 hours earlier.  My cell phone rang.

Him (AKA Dumb Ass) - Hey Holly, how's it going?
Me:  Almost done.  You just need to clean the top cupboards as I can't get up there to clean.  Are you on your way back?
DA:  Well......I just stopped for a beer and then I have to meet a friend in Delta at 4:30 so it will be a couple of hours.
Me:  ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?  I am busting my hump cleaning YOUR HOUSE and you are off sitting in an air conditioned pub enjoying yourself.  What the hell is wrong with you?  Do I look like your cleaning maid?  I am outta here.  You, my friend, are completely on your own.  Oh, and by the way, this is going to cost you more than you can possibly figure.

I packed up the rest of the stuff that the kids were taking and left.  I was so angry that I was physically shaking.  I was hot, sweaty, sticky and cranky.  I managed to make my way to my eldest child's house without driving off the road and unloaded what was now theirs as far as I was concerned.  They offered me a glass of wine, a shower and dinner while I calmed down.  (anyone still wondering why this is my EX-husband?)

After a couple of hours of relaxing with the family, I made my way home.  However, I first had to stop at the store.  I pulled into the underground lot, reached in to the back seat to get my re-usable bag and opened my door.  Even today I could not tell you what happened.  However, next thing I knew, I was on my hands and knees on the parking lot floor clutching the handle of my bag.  The rest of the bag was around my steering wheel and my floor mat was half hanging out.

Turns out, when you fall in an empty parking lot, you still make an awful lot of noise. 

Just for those keeping score, within a 6 day period, I have sustained a smashed up shin, bruised thighs (one is huge and beautifully colored - the bruise, not my thigh), banged and scraped elbow and now we can add two bruised knees and the palm of my left hand is swollen while my right is simply sore.  On the upside for those of you keeping track, NOTHING IS BROKEN.  This a big breakthrough for me.  I am thinking my bone strengthening drugs must be working.  If this had happened last year, I would be in a body cast by now for sure.

I never made it in to the store.

Well, the new owners get possession at noon today and tomorrow I am officially "unemcumbered" and can proceed with my divorce online.  For a couple of hundred bucks, I can file for divorce on the internet.  How cool is that?  This of course, pre-supposes that I can operate the system and not accidently remarry the man instead. 

I figured out the other day that while we have been married for 26 years, we actually only lived together for 11 of them.  This includes the multiple times I moved back in to give it another try.  I am either a complete idiot or the laziest person alive.   I will go with lazy.

Ah well, yesterday was the final straw.  I will be divorced for my Christmas present and will be holding a divorce celebration - PARTY TIME.  How does Vegas sound?  My cousin Barb is in and understands the rule of the sock on the door (I would use a tie but I don't own one).

I am off to Ottawa at the end of the week for another road trip.  My attempts to see good ol' Stephen Harper while there have been thwarted.  However, that will not affect my mood at the conference.  I will keep you posted on what I am sure will be an eventful event.  Another upside I just thought of, since I obviously will not be able to wear a dress during my time there, I do not have to shave my legs.  How cool is that?  There is a silver lining to having a banged up body.

Today's  plan is to first disconnect the phone, then watch my saved TV shows for a couple of hours and then clean my own house.  Yeeha - the exciting life of a single woman in Vancouver.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My cousin was right

I messed up my Karma by stating that the band Trooper was looking kinda old.  I spent Friday night at the PNE to watch Trooper.  I had a great time with plenty of flashbacks (or maybe hot flashes, hard to say).  The music was fabulous but I noticed that while I felt very much like the 17 year old that loved them, they kinda reminded me of my granddad.  I made mention of it on facebook and was warned I had messed with my Karma by my cousin Tracy.  She was right.

Ten minutes left in the rental of my electric bike on the last day of my vacation and without warning it happened.  A fence jumped out in front of me cutting me off and causing me to crash with a 140 pound bike landing on top of me.  I tore up my shin, took paint off the fence and think I may have broken my baby finger.  However, the white carpi pants I happened to be wearing stayed perfectly clean.  My bike friend, Cammie, was somewhat amazed that my pants stayed white and that crap really does just happen to me.

I bravely got back on the bike and we headed back to home base.  After dropping Cammie off at home, I limped into the house to tell my tale of woe to my brother.  I told it much better and I was a hero in the tale where I swerved out of the way of a small kitten thereby hitting the fence in my effort to protect her and her brothers. 

Not sure he actually bought it after my spazz out and threats to kick his cat off the roof for crapping on my bed again this weekend.  However, that is irrelevant.  I am sticking to it and no one can actually prove me wrong as my biking partner was behind me and could not actually see what happened until I fell.

As penance for my heroic tale, I sat down to ice my leg and watch Eat, Pray Love.  I have to say, I wasn't really looking forward to it but decided to check it out as a number of people said it was worth watching.  The caveat being "for someone like you".  Never quite knew how to take that - until now.

Don't get me wrong, I feel truly blessed.  I have an incredible family, wonderful friends and happy and healthy children and grandchildren.  However, I do feel like I am searching for something.  I have no idea what it might be but I am feeling like I have this hole that needs to be filled with something.  Might need pie.  I have a confused mind.  All I really know is that I do not want to arrive at the pearly gates and find myself pleading with St. Peter for just 10 more minutes at my desk so I can finish that last report.

My plan to begin the fall is to do polar opposites and see which way my brain tugs me.  I am going to sign up for Yoga and Salsa.  By combining the slow and meditative with the fast and loose, perhaps my mind will pick a direction for me to seek out in my search.  For the life of me, I really have no idea what is missing but I do aim to find out.  I wonder if I will know it when I see it or if, like the bike crash, I won't even recognize a fence when I see it and will crash and burn.  (by the way, will not be wearing a dress or shaving my legs anytime soon - the gash is black and blue and growing).

Maybe I need to get married again - no wait, I just bought new towels and bedding so that's out.  Isn't that the only reason to get married - new sheets and towels?  Maybe I need to travel half-way around the world and eat my way across Europe and then while I am there, I can solve the Euro crisis.  Nah, sounds too much like work.  Maybe what I really need is to chuck it all in and move to some cheap carribbean island and braid peoples hair for the rest of my life.  While I can certainly live without doing the hair bit, I actually think the rest of it sounds mighty appealing. 

Well, only hours remain in my all too brief holiday.  My plan was to start the fall with a scrubbed house, clean clothes and shaved legs.  However, my leg is sore, swollen and bruised so that actually gets me out of everything.  Besides, summer still has a couple of weeks left.  I will do it next weekend and wear pants for a couple of weeks.  Who am I trying to impress anyway?

Stay tuned.  I head to Ottawa on the 15th.  Perhaps I will find that missing piece in the parliment buildings.  Perhaps I am destined to run this country one day.  Can't be any worse than those who came before and certainly better than good old Stephen.  Who, by the way, wouldn't take an appointment with me.  I tried.  I figured since I would be there anyway, what was the worse that could happen?  All he could do would be to say no.  You don't get if you don't ask right?  Wonder what the penalty is for storming the halls of parliment univited?  We might just find out.  Perhaps I should give a heads up that I might need bail money.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 5 of the fun and excitement

Gotta love vacations - usually. Mostly.

After 5 days of fun, relaxation and sunshine, I need a nap.

I have been hit upon by a racist bigot, picked upon by a surly border guard, insulted by hotel clerks and scammed (attempted) by a pimple faced electronics salesman (boy) and credit card got demagnatized.

I included the bigot/racist because even though it was Friday morning in my office, my brain was actually already on vacation.

I have always had 2 rules in business - no crying and no hugging.  I am adding a 3rd - no kissing.

Within minutes of meeting this man, I was treated to a litany of his vision of the world.  For example, did I know that the Jewish folk own most of the planet, the Asains live to taken over the planet and Richmond (I had trouble following the path he was taking at that point) and how the East Indians are secretly working with the Afganistan people to take over the middle east which is why they kill their women (Oy Vey). After trying really hard to keep my breakfast down, it got worse. I begged off to attend a conference call and stuck my hand out with a smile and a "nice to meet you" when it happened. He grabbed my hand and pulled me in and hugged me and before I knew it, he had planted a big wet one on me and whispered in my ear "next time I am in town, we should meet for a little dinner and dancing." I spent a lot of time in the bathroom washing my hands and face. I left work early. I figured I had earned the right to begin my vaca a little early.

Day 1 - Picked up my favorite wee people at 9am and headed to the Go-Karts where we were to meet my brother Dave and my sister-in-law Angie for some fun and excitement. After a wee mix up over whether or not we were meeting there or if I was picking them up, we signed the waver and suited up to wait our turn on the track. The kids picked out their helmuts and with very little encouragement from their uncle, began to head butt one another like three little bobble heads. Xavier hit the road first with Lexi and I in the car behind him. Try as I might, the little cheat would not let us pass him. He bobbed and weaved all over the track which led to a bit of a pile up and one very cranky rider.  The second race, with Rae and I this time following him, he got a little more cocky and while doing his best to keep us from passing, he took out an amber safety cone and a rubber tire on the side of the track. Ha! Sometimes Nanna's are not so sweet as I took a bit of pleasure in the fact that he wasn't quite so cocky any longer.

Afterwards, we all made our way to spend the afternoon at the PNE. Even though it was crowded, we had a pretty good time. The horse races were not running on Saturday so the kids couldn't indulge in their well honed gambling skills. It was a very long day which extended well into the night with kids hopped up on sugar and excitement.

Day 2 - Saw me down $30 before lunch. I had promised to pay the kids to help me clean out the garage. (My newly minted Realtor daughter sold our house within 15 days of listing). I don't recall naming an exact figure, however, all three of the kids agreed it should be $10 each. After the work we headed to the dollar store to spend their big bucks before it literally burned a hole in their pockets. As their poor little heads almost spun right off their shoulders, I sat back and decided that I should probably make an appointment with my doctor for a brain scan. The girls had decided on costume jewellry and oh lord, plastic recorders so that they could make me insane. Thankfully, those recorders broke after only 3 hours. Those were a very long 3 hours.

Day 3 - Took the wee ones home by noon on Monday and returned home to clean the house. As I was surveying my surroundings and massaging a sore shoulder, I decided not to wait another day. I was looking forward to a massage, facial and manicure and a couple of days out of blackberry reach. I quickly called the hotel and spa to see if I could change my reservation by a day and just before I headed to the border I ran into Mr. Lube for a quick oil and filter change. Things started to go wrong pretty quickly.

Mr. Lube Guy: Your belt is broken.
Me: What belt?
MLG: This one here. It will be ok for short trips in the city but any long trips your steering will be affected.
Me: Hmm, can I just have a regular oil and filter change please? I will look after the belt later (It looked perfectly fine to me and I have 3 brothers and a father who can take a look).
MLG: Do you want better gas mileage?
Me: Who doesn't?
MLG: I can make it so
Me: How?
MLG: For an additional $12, I can boost your milage.
Me: For $12, I can buy more gas. Please just change the oil and filter, I am in a bit of a hurry.

Here is where it really started to go wrong.

Surly US border guard: Where are you headed?
Me: Silver Reef Spa and Casino
SUBG How long will you be there?
Me: 2 days
SUBG: Why?
Me: Huh?
SUBG: Why are you going to a Casino for 2 days?
Me: I am on vacation and will be having 3 spa treatments.
SUBG: What's in the box in the back?
Me: Car supplies. Tool kit, window fluid and the like.
SUBG: Open the back of your car. Wait - don't get out, just pop the back latch from where you are.
Me: Sorry, this is an older vehicle and must be opened manually.
SUBG: Fine. Keep your hands out of your pockets. (how does one open a door with her hands in her pocket anyway?)
SUBG: Open the box. Fine. Where is your suitcase if you are really planning on spending 2 days in the United States?
Me: Backseat. (I go to open the back door)
SUBG: Please get back in your vehicle and pull to the side for a full inspection.
Me: Oy Vey (silently)

After having my underwear pawed over, I made my way to the hotel to check-in where things got weird. I have attached a picture of my "present". It seems I arrived on 55+ mondays. I was presented with this "present" and told if I wear it for the rest of the evening then I would be entitled to all the perks of this special day. I recieved a coupon for a discount for dinner and could win prizes on the casino floor. I AM NOT 55 years old. What the hell is wrong with the world?  However, my mama didn'tn raise no dummy so I took my coupon and my present and headed to my room to unpack before heading to the casino floor where I planned on winning my retirement fund. I will be working a very long time.   My present was a jelly ring that when turned on lit up so much it almost caused siezures.  I have attached a picture for your enjoyment.

Day 4: Ahh, there is nothing quite like the feeling of a full body massage and a facial. After enjoying a morning of utter relaxation, I hopped in my car and headed out for some shopping. I was in search of a laptop. Here is where the pimply faced salesboy comes in. Granted, I was standing there looking somewhat akin to the deer in the headlights so perhaps I had it coming. I might as well have had a giant banner around my neck saying "I am without small child to help me with my technology needs so please, sell me something, anything, because I will buy whatever you tell me I need". HA - fooled him, I am too cheap to buy whatever he wants to sell me. Turns out, the prices really were not that much better than home with the added bonus of not being able to return it as easy. Besides, by the time this kid was done, he had me spending almost $900 because apparently I needed a laptop with supercalifragalisticexpealidosious extras. THEN, since I am a Canadian (and therefore not too bright), I needed an extra warrenty to cover all US bought electronics. Hmmm, I am blonde and therefore dumb. I headed into the shoe store next in order to pick up my mood. I left depressed. I have fat, flat feet and they had nothing I could both enter and exit a room whilst staying upright. I was going to go to Victoria's Secret next for new (unpawed) undies but by that time I thought why bother. I couldn't stand being depressed again if none of the lacey stuff fit.

Day 5 - Check-out time.  Seems I somehow demagnatized my credit card in the last few days.  However, they offered to take a cheque since I have been there before.  Nice.  Good thing I did not purchase the laptop as planned since I had put all my extra cash on my card to pay for it and my hotel.  It would have been a bit sticky otherwise.
Having bought nothing but a massage, facial and manicure, I packed up and left the hotel for home. I was so distracted that I drove right past the duty free store where I had meant to buy my bottle of Bailey's before crossing the border.  Bummer

Newly Armed Canadian Border Guard: Where do you live?
Me: Vancouver
NACBG: How long have you been away and where did you go?
Me: 2 days - Silver Reef Spa and Casino
NACBG: Did you enjoy yourself and are you bringing any goods back?
Me: Yes and No
NACBG: Thank you, have a nice day.

The last few days of my holiday will find me back at the PNE to see Trooper (shades of yesteryear), shopping and cleaning the house getting ready for a return to fall and a normal routine. I lead such an exciting life.

I tried to include photo's of the Go-Karts but for some reason they wouldn't load.  Trust me, they were pretty cool.

Kids enjoying the Xtreme riders at the PNE. 

All 3 are big enough to ride the swings themselves

My 55+ special ring.  Too cool for words

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Exhausting weekend

And now my butt hurts.

It was a busy weekend.  However, it was punctuated with a bit of "hurry up and wait".

Early Saturday morning - 8am to be exact - (which is an ungodly hour on a Saturday) found me behind the steering wheel of my friend Heather's car as we barrelled down the freeway to the border with her mother whose freshly printed passport was just itching to be utilized.  Record time was made in our efforts to beat the rush to the cheap milk on the other side.

That was a pipe dream.  After racing to the border we sat in the line up for about 2 1/2 hours.  The signs on the highway specifically said  50 minutes approximate wait time.  IT WAS A BALD FACED LIE!!!! 

After inching our way through to the surly border guard, we raced to the nearest Burger King in order to a) let Holly's bladder have some respite and b) feed Heather whose "I am starving to death" were heard for the preceeding 30 minutes from the back seat.  After scarfing down burgers, we made our way to Bellis Fair mall for some shopping.  Nothing to really write home about.  No real sales.  It is a mall just like any other (until Black Friday - then it is a zoo).  However, I did make a couple of purchases - cheap Polysporin, a paperback and two sweaters (2 for $24).  The sweaters are where it got interesting. 

I made my purchases and was provided with a bag and off I went to continue along the mall in search of deals.  After about 30 minutes, I decided it was a little cool and so I would wear the white sweater.  As I took it out of the bag, price tag still entact, I noticed that there was blue ink on the bottom.  Off I headed back to the store to exchange it.  Holy Schnikies!  This broad would never make it as a Canadian.  I almost blew a gasket. 

Me:  " As you recall, I purchased this sweater about 30 minutes ago.  I just took it out of the bag to wear and noticed this ink.  I would like to exchange it please."  (I was very polite as any good Canadian is)

Saleswoman:  "How do I know you did not do this yourself?  This is not something we would do"

Me:  "What?  Why on earth would I put ink on a sweater that I am about to wear?  I never took it out of the bag until just now.  I do not even have a pen with me."

Salesclerk:  "Well, we did not do it so it must have been you when you left the store"

Me:  "Are you freaking serious?  Are you saying you are not exchanging my sweater?  Because if that is the case, I will just call Mastercard right now and cancel the sale and tell them you stole my card."

Salesbroad:  "Smirk"

Me:  "You think I am kidding?  I am about to get real loud here, so your choice.  I am not asking for my $12 back - just an exchange.  What the hell is wrong with you?"

I got my sweater.  Surprisingly, as mad as I was, I actually felt better than I had all day.  The wait at the border had made me slightly cranky and I had not yelled at anyone is a very long time. 

After a quick shop at Trader Joes for cheap cheese and milk, we headed back to the border and home.  It had been a long day but we made it through the border in about an hour after professionally smuggling our goods across.  Having an 86 year old woman in the car seems to make smuggling easier :)  Might use her again.

Sunday found my friend Cammie and I renting some electric bicycles.  That was so much fun!  They top out at about 30km an hour.  For about 2 1/2hrs we whipped around Kitsilano and the westend having the best time.  I really want one of these.  However, after almost 2 hours my battery started to die and I had to assist with peddling to get back to base and a new battery.  Once recharged, we spent the next half hour racing at top speed up and down alleys.  Did I mention I really want one of these things?

I have attached a couple of pictures.  They are really cool.

I am off as of noon on Friday for some R&R until September 3rd.  My plans are to go Go-Karting with brother and sister-in-law and grandkids on Saturday, PNE on Sunday with kids and then Monday-Wednesday a wee spa vaca across the line before returning home to lay on the couch for the remaining 5 days.  Should be fun.

Stay tuned

Cammie learns the kickstand

Barely reaches the ground

Poster child who needs a girdle

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Head in the Clouds

Lately I seem to be operating with my head a bit in the clouds.  I am losing my car, walking into lamp posts and Wednesday forgetting a regulatory hearing that I was adjudicating.  Thankfully, they could not start without me so after a fast dash downtown in record time, I arrived only 20 minutes late.  Just in time to find the guy guilty.

After leaving the hearing I raced down to the parkade as I had to get back to the office in a hurry.  Well, we all know THAT did not happen.  I searched and searched for my car and it was nowhere to be found.  After sometimes secretly wishing someone would steal it, NOW WAS NOT THE TIME.  I was feeling somewhat sickened and thinking perhaps it was time to call the police and report it when I noticed a sign on the wall that did not look familiar to me.  I pulled out my parking ticket and looked at the wall again.  Not sure how this happened but I was in the wrong parkade.  With my head planted firmly in the clouds, I had not paid attention to the fact that I got on the wrong elevator, left the building and went into the parkade across the street (BTW, I had never, ever, been in that other parkade before).   Holy crap, I need a holiday.

I thought I would have a bit of a holiday this long weekend.  I would have my favorite wee people on the planet with me.

I picked them up on Saturday after lunch just as the temperatures started to hit 31.  After blasting the air conditioner in my car all the way home, I realized that I had no groceries in my house.  I turned around and went to the bank machine to get some cash to shop and the machine ate my card.  I am on a long weekend now with hot and sticky children, no groceries and no bank card.  What's a girl to do but go back home and beg her brother to lend her enough money to make it through the weekend.  His price?  Take him grocery shopping with us.

It was nice and cool inside Safeway as the kids drew the attention of other shoppers while they debated the merits of Fruitloops, Cocoa Puffs and Mini Wheats.  The deal was they all had to agree on one cereal.  Finally an older gentleman, visiting Canada from England, helped them decide.  He told them Mini Wheats would make them poop regular.  We got Cocoa Puffs. 

After spending 45 minutes in the store, we made our way to the checkout where the kids are now nose to nose with the chocolate bars.  I was hearing "Nannagramma, can we have?, Can you buy?, Can I buy for me?" when the woman behind me piped up with "oh, how nice, you have all your grandchildren with you."  At that point my brother started to laugh and said "yep, I am having fun with grandma here".  And the woman stated "Well, I don't think this is your grandmother, more likely your mother."

At that point, I heard the laughter behind me but all I was seeing were the brightly coloured stars floating in front of my eyes.  OMG - I look like I am old enough to be his mother?  Brother, very wisely moved out of my reach at that point but the laughter did not subside until much, much later.

After the crappy shopping trip, the kids and I made our way to Granville Island waterpark.  The walk there was filled with "how much farther, it's so hot out, my feet hurt and can we get ice cream when we get there".  However, it was worth it once we arrived and set up camp in the shade.  The kids feet miraculously healed and they ran off to hit the water slide.  Lexi was so excited because maybe, just maybe, this year she was big enough to ride it on her own.  I waited with baited breath - would she measure up?  They measured her and she just made it - literally. I think her ponytail was the thing that made her just tall enough.  And she was off.    After landing upsidedown at the bottom, I lifted her out and her first words (after she stopped choking) were "I am big now.  Let me down.  I need to go again."  I have attached pictures of all three. 

It was time to leave and no one wanted to walk home so off to the bus stop we went when Lexi started to jump around doing the pee pee dance.  I learned from past experience and when we headed into Starbucks so she could use the facilities, I told her to cry right out loud.  I only had enough cash on me for the bus so I could not purchase anything in order for her to use the facilities.  She did not want to cooperate but she did do something much better to ensure she could use the bathroom.  "Nanna, I don't have to just go pee.  I need to poop really really bad."  Surprisingly, no one stopped us as we made our way to the front of the line for the ladies room.  After 10 minutes in there with me waiting on the other side of the door, everyone in line was privy to the following " Nanna, you should come in here and see this.  My poop is green."  It was a proud moment as I remarked to those still waiting "Betcha your kids don't have green poop.  My grandchildren are super special".

That night we made our way to my roof top at exactly 10pm for the final night of the Symphony of Fire fireworks display.  While we can't see anything low from my roof, we do have a fabulous vantage point for all the rest.  The kids had a great day and were in bed and sound asleep by midnight.  I dragged myself off thinking that they would sleep in after such a full day.  They had 3 fans pointing at them and were cool in just their underwear and a sheet.

I was wrong.  I was awoken to sounds of children arguing, slapping and jumping.  My brother, whose room is right below where they were in the living room, was not a happy camper.  (Serves him right for the shopping experience.)  I dragged myself out of bed and made my way upstairs where I recognized that it was going to be a very long day - 7am and they woke up already cranky.

We hustled out of the house by 11am to make our way downtown to my friend Heather's place to spend the afternoon in her pool.  Unfortunately, this was also Pride weekend and the parade was getting started.  Heather lives just off the parade route and they use her neighborhood as the staging area where everyone gets ready for their turn to hit the streets.  I tried to skirt the area but much of it was blocked off and it made passing through a little tenuous for little kids.  There is an awful lot of nudity in the parade.  Finally, I just decided to bulldoze my way through and try to keep the kids occupied so perhaps they might not notice.  I am naive.  As we passed by one group of people setting up their float, I feel a tug on the bottom of my dress.  I look down and poor Lexi looks concerned.  "Nannagramma, that girl forgot her t-shirt and she only has circles on her boobies."  Rae - " maybe she is poor Lex and doesn't have money for a t-shirt".  Lexi - "she is going to get a sunburn".  Rae - "maybe her mom put sunscreen on her".  I just kept walking.

We spent almost three hours with Heather -  swimming and eating ice cream.  The kids had a blast and we were the only ones in the pool.  It was over 30 outside and this was a great way to stay cool and wear the kids out.  I think my plan worked too well.  At the 2 1/2 hour mark, they were squabbling and basically just floating in the water with no energy to even swim to the side.  That is until I said it was time to go.  Then they had all the energy in the world as they begged for more time.  That energy subsided again as we walked the 3 blocks to the bus ride home.  "Are we ever going to get there?  It's so hot.  Carry me.  My legs itch.  My feet hurt." 

As we came through the front door, I just wanted to collapse.  Instead the little pishers got their second wind.  In the stuffiness of the house, I soundly got my can kicked at Spongebob Square Pants monopoly.  I am pretty sure they cheat.  The house was still too hot.  No one was comfortable.  I decided we needed to be some place cool.  After a quick dinner of hotdogs, off we went to the movies.  We saw Iceage, Continental Divide in 3D.  While it was a pretty good movie, I am not too sure it was $54 worth of good.  One adult and 3 kids = $54 PLUS 3 kids packs (drink, popcorn and chocolate) = $92.45.  However, what made it worth it was that by the time we got home at 10pm, the house had cooled off enough to be bareable. 

All three kids were sound asleep by 11:30pm and slept right through until 9:30 the next morning.  I was up at 7:30 as my brother dropped something on the floor just outside my door causing me to sit bolt upright.  Personally, I think he did it on purpose.

I took the kids home Monday afternoon and returned with the intention of having a wee nap myself.  It was too hot to sleep so I layed on the couch watching the Olympics till bedtime.

I am taking some time off at the end of the month.  I think that in order to maintain my simple sanity, I need some alone time.  Perhaps just locking myself in my room - no phone or laptop - and sleeping for 3 days, might just do the trick.  perhaps I will no longer get comments from hairdressers and complete strangers about how old I look.  Perhaps I will just drink myself into oblivion so I just don't care.

Ah well, wait and see.




Sunday, July 29, 2012

50 year old Groupie

I hit the road last week for a 4 day Island run.  I started in Victoria and made my way up the island until Saturday morning when I hopped on the ferry in Nanaimo to head home.

I will get back to the Groupie issue in a moment.

This road trip was a pleasant mix of business and pleasure.  It made for a nice change. 

I had the opportunity to visit with multiple family members.  First, I started with my cousin Brandi.  She is a supremo stylist and cut my hair with no comments from the peanut gallery regarding my age and employment status.  She did a great job as she knows me and my limitations.  I cannot make my left hand work.  I have had many a black eye whilst trying to blow dry my hair and style it at the same time.  I don't know why but quite often while working the brush while holding the dryer, I have poked myself in the eyeball.  She gave me a style that will work just by hanging my head out the window on my way to work and letting the wind do its stuff.

I was able to spend the evening visiting with some favorite Aunts and Uncles - just visiting and telling stories.  My uncle seemed to think that perhaps I have a bit of a mean streak when it comes to having a bit of fun with my children.  Remember my previous story about how I ensured my daughter never forgets mother's day again.

I rarely get mad but I always get even.  However, as I was recounting my story of ensuring they never forgot mother's day again, it reminded me that I don't just have fun with the kids when I get even.  Actually no one is totally safe.

There is no point in wasting energy getting mad.  Waste that energy on plotting revenge instead.  It is much more satisfying.

A few years ago a woman I worked with really pissed me off.  Doesn't matter what happened.  Suffice to say that I had to plot my revenge.  It took a few weeks to plan.  That was part of the fun. 

My youngest brother used to work for the National Research Centre - a federal government agency.  He had access to official letterhead and envelopes.  (remember when people got mail?)  I had overheard a conversation she had with another co-worker about how she had entered menopause and had multiple symptoms.  Hmmmmm, got the old brain juices going.

I got hold of some letterhead and decided to write a letter inviting this person to join, on recommendation of her doctor, in a blind study of a new drug for middle aged women entering menopause.  I provided a phone number for her to call for more information and had my brother mail it from his place of work.  It was his direct line.  I also provided him with a list of questions to ask when she called.

And I knew she would call.  I had mentioned that she would recieve a small stipend for her participation.  I paid attention whenever she was speaking with anyone with suripitious eavesdropping.  I was able to make a pretty detailed list of questions ranging from the benign to the extremely personal. 

She discussed the letter with a co-worker.  I knew when she was going to call the number in the letter.  I sat at my desk across the office and watched her make the call.  My brother played the part perfectly.

Picture this:

"National research centre.  My name is ________ (He used his bosses name).

"Hello, my name is S__________.  I recieved the letter inviting me to take part in some menopause research."

"I am glad you called.  I just need to ask you some questions before I can verify your eligibility.  Some of these questions will be personal.  I hope you are ok with that but you understand with the nature of the study, it requires certain personal information."

"I am ok with that.  If anything can help with these symptoms, I am game."

After a number of simple questions such as name, rank and serial numbers, he moved in for the kill.  Meanwhile, I was now under the desk trying hard not to laugh out loud and blow it before it finished playing out.  Keep in mind, this person was very excited about getting money and being part of this drug trial.

"Ok, now on to the personal questions.  How many sexual partners have you had in your lifetime?"

After a quick look around the office to see who was listening, she answered. "8"

"that's fine.  Now, how long have you been married to the same partner?"

"22 years"

"How many children do you have and what are their ages?"

"2 - 13 and 15"

"Very nice.  Now I need to ask you about your sexual history.  How often do you and your spouse engage in sexual intercourse?"

"2 or 3 times a week"

"really?  That's a lot" (he almost broke character)  " I only have a couple more questions before we are done and can then verify your eligibility."

"Great.  By the way, how much is the stipend?"

"It's not huge.  It is just meant to cover your travel and time expenditures.  The stipend is $100 for every day you have to come to UBC for testing which is once per week for the first 2 months and then twice per week for the second two months."

"That's fabulous"

"Are you and your spouse engaging in unprotected sex?"

"Yes - because we are married"

"Are your sexual proclivities on the mundane side or are they more rambunctious and outside the so called "normal" spectre?"

"really?  You need to know this?"

"We believe that a woman's sexual activities bare some relation to menopausal symptoms"

"Oh, ok.  Well, then some of both" 

Keep in mind, I am stunned she is still on the phone and answering these questions.  I am now biting the leg of my chair to keep from laughing.

Now for my favorite question and the one I was waiting for.  I had learned, in my eavesdropping, that she almost killed her husband one night during sex when her necklace fell down his throat while she was on top and he started to choke.

"During these sexual encounters, have you ever physically caused your spouse pain and agony?"

The conversation stopped for a moment and I could see her eyes taking in the room.

"Wait a minute.  What's this really about?  Who is this?"  Holly!!!!!  Has anyone seen Holly?  Where the hell is she?  I am going to kill you when I find you!"  She found me by my laughter and threw a stapler at me.  It was soooo worth it.  I had warned her but she didn't listen so she had only herself to blame.  Another good thing came out of this.  I got a promotion because my boss could not believe all the work I went through and everyone else paid heed to my newly revealed super-powers.

When I got home that night, Kris and I had a good laugh over dinner.  He could not believe she kept answering the questions.  He was having trouble asking them but liked my plan so much that it only cost me $50 for his role. 

Don't mess with Nanna.

After a wonderful evening gossiping with my aunt, I headed out to a week of speed meetings - 6 in three and a half days.  Nothing much happened - all went as it should be except for one weird incident.

I came out of my hotel room on Thursday morning to find a book on my doorstep.  I looked around to see if everyone got one.  I was the only one.  I opened the cover and inside was a little note "for the lady in 322.  It was our synchronized breaks that got me."  It was signed by the author.  Hmm, I had gone out to my balcony a few times in the evening (twice in my nightie).  I hadn't seen anyone else.  Seems I had someone watching me.  It felt kind of odd.  The book was very interesting though.  It was about some British Columbia history.

Friday found me enjoying lunch, ocean side, with my Dad and Joyce.  Yummy.  We had a very nice visit before I was off to meet with my brother and sister-in-law.  I can count on Angie to add some excitement to my life.

Here comes the reference to my being a 50 year old groupie.

After a fabulous dinner we made our way to a reunion concert of a band called Steelback.  They were pretty well known back in the 70's and early 80's out west.  As we settled in to our seats and the concert began, I was transported back in time.  The days of big hair, highwaisted jeans and the smell of a  sweat soaked gymnasium.  That is until I opened my eyes and was greeted by the sight of balding, middle-aged musicians.  However, I felt a rush of my heartbeat as they could still rock out to the memories of my youth.  I was able to overlook the hair by realizing I too was no longer the girl of my youth.  It did not stop me from jumping up to dance and giggle and laugh like the groupie I was. 

Angie's friend (car race night) was a part of the band.  He is a pretty good bass player.  Saw him in a whole new light - the light of a groupie.  We had a wee bit of a visit before he had to get back on stage.  All in all, a very good night.  I had a great time.  Before I knew it, it was saturday morning and I was making my way to the ferry for the ride home.

A very full week awaits.  I need a real holiday.  I hope to take at least one day off with the long weekend and have the kids.  Time to go to Playland.

Stay tuned and remember - don't piss off the Nannagramma or you may find yourself on the recieving end of some diabolical plan to even the playing field.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One of my dumber ideas

So there I was sitting on my couch getting ready to watch a whole marathon of one of my favorite shows "Burn Notice" when I received a phone call from my favorite wee man.

"Hi Nanna, its me Xavier.  Um, I was um, wondering if you would um, like to take us to the fireworks.  Dad's still on crutches and can't go so mom said you might take us.  Is that ok?  We can come early and play at your house."

How is a Nannagramma supposed to say no to that?  "But of course.  Pack your bags and be ready in 2 hours and ya'll can sleep over". 

I pushed my lazy ass off the couch and got dressed.  I picked the wee ones up and we came back to my house to play lacross, dress-up, monopoly and play-doh.  After dinner, we set off to walk to the train station to make our way downtown for the Canada Day fireworks at Canada Place.  So did 200,000 other people.

We wandered around and found what we thought was a pretty good spot to set up our wee portable stools.  We waited.  The children got hungry while we waited some more.  The wind kicked up off the water and the kids got hungrier.  Even though we had a big dinner prior to leaving the house, the idea of being so close to the ice cream and popcorn vendors got their tummy's growling.  We ate ice cream and popcorn while huddled together as the night got colder.  FINALLY - the fireworks began.....behind us on the otherside of the building.  However, we did manage to catch anything that was up high. 

Lexi had to pee.  RIGHT NOW NANNA!  There were no washrooms as I ran helter skelter through the throng trying to beg and cajole shop vendors into letting her use the facilities.  Finally a woman in a souvenir shop let her use the staff washroom when Lex started to cry.  I told her she should have started crying earlier.

When we entered the fray again Rae said she wanted to go home.  She was tired and cold.  We saw exactly 3 minutes of fireworks as we made our way to the train station.  Moving through the mob was difficult and Xavier hurt his leg and was limping along.  By the time we made it to Waterfront train station the fireworks were over and the body of people was moving enmasse around us.  As we approached the front door of the station we were stopped and told the station was closed and we would have to back-track 8 blocks to the other station.  The roads were also blocked so our bus option became confusing.  Where were we to catch it now if we couldn't make it to the train station?  I had an idea. Ok, perhaps not my brightest but it seemed simply brilliant at the time.

It was now just after 11pm and the city was crowded.  The other side of the street, one block down, the buses were still running.  I thought "what we if hopped on our bus going in the opposite direction and then ride it all the way around?" This will allow us to avoid fighting the mob in an effort to try to figure out where the other bus stops were re-located to and the kids would be able to sit and get warm.  Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself as our bus came pretty quickly. 

We were at the back of the bus chatting and watching the people on the streets.  We headed farther away from our intended desitination but I was not worried as I knew it would make the loop and take us home to within 2 blocks of my house.  Then is happened.  I felt it first - the engine stopped running.  Then the driver came back and I realized we were the only ones left on the bus.  "Where are you people headed?", the bus driver asked.  "False creek - 6th and Heather please", I responded.  "Well, ma'am, you need to get off the bus." he said.  "WHAT???  It is 11:30pm and the kids just want to go home.  What do you mean we have to get off the bus?"  "Well, ma'am, I am actually heading into the yard and going home myself so you will have to wait for the next bus."  I responded with, "Well, first of all, quit calling me ma'am.  And secondly, I want you to call mission control and ensure that another bus will be coming and when it will be here.  I have no idea where we are and there is no one else around and so help me, if you leave us stranded here I will make it my mission in life to hunt you down and ensure that even your family dog pays for making me miserable."

He called mission control.  Another bus was to be by - the last of the night - in 11 minutes.  The kids and I waited, alone and in the dark, playing "jump off the bus stop bench until someone gets hurt" for another 25 minutes.  Everyone was real cheery by then.  Suffice to say, we wandered through the front door of the house at 12:30am.  Rae summed up the evening with "well, that was certainly an interesting adventure I never want to do again.  Can we watch cartoons now?"

I returned the children to the parents at 3pm the following afternoon after first being woken at 8am by having a play-doh ice cream sundae shoved in my face followed by a trip to the movie theatre to watch Madagascar 3 (great movie by the way).  The kids were nice and cranky by the time I dropped them off.

To end on an up beat, this afternoon at exactly 3pm, my cell phone rang and I looked down to see who was on call display.  To my surprise I see it is Panagopolous pizza.  My first thought is "holy crap, they are calling to confirm my order since someone obviously stole my information and is ordering pizza."  Imagine my surprise when instead I hear " Good Afternoon, this is Panago pizza calling.  We noticed that we have not heard from you in quite awhile and we are wondering if we have done something to cause you to discontinue using our service.  We would like to make up for any issues that may have caused you to discontinue ordering pizza from Panago by offering you a $10 gift certificate to use the next time you call.  We look forward to hearing from you."

Gotta say, that has never happened before.  Also brought to my attention that I now know the real reason for my winter weight gain - obviously I was ordering a lot of pizza.  What a great marketing idea.  I can hardly wait to hear from Las Vegas.  I can imagine the call - "Hello, this is Las Vegas calling.  We noticed that you have not enjoyed our unique deposit service in quite sometime.  We would love for you to return and enjoy the many benefits of always knowing where your money is going.  Here is $25 towards your first $100 deposit at our craps table."  I would be on the next flight - if only to re-visit my last deposit.

Stay tuned.  I am sure as the summer warms up, so will my life.