Friday, July 31, 2009

Driving to Duck

I am remiss. I am back.

Let me tell you a story you're all familiar with. It's an oldie, but goodie and it's called, "Family Vacation." You've all done it, you all know what it means. And you all know what happens. In fact, I went to my doctor two days before I left and he asked what I was doing the coming weekend. Here's how our conversation went:

Me: I'm leaving on Saturday for a family vacation. Everyone's flying in.
Doc: Ohhhh....this is when everyone regresses back to their most annoying teenage self.
Me: Actually we intentionally never progressed to make the transition easier.

Point is, he got it. Say family vacation and everyone gets it. Whatever.

Mom, Dad, me, Kristin and her 2 year old daughter Aviva all flew together to Norfolk, VA where we then collected a rental mini-van and began our hour and a half drive to the beach.

About 30 minutes in we realized that the windshield wipers had been running for a while.

"Dad? You wanna turn off the windshield wipers?"

Turns out he did. He just couldn't. Everyone in the car tried to get them off to no avail. OK, fine.

Next thing we noticed was that it was getting steadily warmer. And by warmer I mean SCALDING HOT. Tempers were rising and sweat was running. Voices started getting louder as we shouted for dad to roll down the windows.

Nope. No dice. The electrical system was down and we couldn't get windows down. At that point we started talking about how we were going to die (oh and by the way we're in bumper to bumper traffic and not moving AT ALL) in this heat box. Aviva meanwhile is passed out asleep, probably unconscious.

I tried to push open the back windows that didn't seem to be operated by electricity, but I couldn't get 'em. Kristin came busting back over me and shoved them open.

Shauri: "Wow, you're strong. You'd definitely live in a survival of the fittest situation."

Kristin: (scoffing) "Well I know I'd beat you."

Ouch. True, but ouch.

I won't tell the whole story, but I will say that there was a lot of conversation with Budget rent a car about solutions, a lot of anger and sweat and finally when Aviva woke up about an hour of screaming. I repeat, screaming. Kristin told us the only solution was to sing the farmer in the dell, which I swear we did going through every single animal that ever existed AND THEN my mom started going through the first ones again.

It was a long and painful journey, but not surprisingly, these horrible (in the moment) moments, are the ones that live on as our favorite stories to recount. All I can say is, wait until you hear about the return trip.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Difference Between Men and Women

I was on facebook a couple of days ago and I saw a guy-friend (sorry Kev-- had to post your pic to make a point) had posted a picture of himself holding his cute little nephew. His nephew looked just like him and was all kinds of adorable. And did I mention he was HOLDING the baby? Big deal, right? Wrong.

Underneath this picture several girls had commented. Most of them were in the same vein as this first comment:

"Have. Mercy. Is THAT what our boys are gonna look like?? Just WATCH how not mad I'll be."

I have to admit, I secretly thought her comment was kind of clever and cute...yeah...sorry. But anyway, the point is that the first thought that came to her mind was this: Cute boy holding cute boy. We could make cute babies together.
(I have to admit my first thought was, why do they both have that shark haircut? Yeah, I'm single.)

So I thought about this.

And here's what I think. If any guy saw a picture of a girl holding a little baby and looking all cuddly with it, what would HE think? I'll tell you.


Because he would think, that girl is baby crazy. She must want to get married and tie me down and make me have kids right away. FEAR.

And here's the thing. He's right. Cause look at that girl's comment. But why OH we think so differently?

The difference between men and women: Babies.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Angry Skies

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you'll remember a couple of experiences I had with Northwest Airlines trying to get to Australia. 7 layovers ring any bells? No customer service? Cancelling a flight and not re-booking? Yeah--anger...

Gina Valenti recently sent me a link to the perfect response to a bad encounter with our not so friendly skies. The target of this video is United Airlines, but I think it applies to all the major carriers. It may possibly be the place where customer service is at it's all time worst.

I now want to write my own music video about my experience. I wish I could sing. Or write music. And that I had 3 muchachos to help.

Anyway, check it out. Pretty funny. And remember, don't make musicians angry.


And then to be fair (and take another small jab at United) check out what REAL customer service looks like courtesy of Southwest Airlines. Bravo, SWA, Bravo.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Terrifying Elephant Puppet

This is a little bit funny. At the time it was a whole heck of a lot of funny, but I'm not sure my writing can do it justice.

A few posts ago you may have read about my niece's strong response to puppets. "Terrifying." Apparently this all came about from an episode of Hannah Montana in which a terrifying puppet chased people around. Or something like that.

I have an elephant puppet that I got in Bali. It's got a wooden head, and I will admit that it times it does look like it's eyes are glowing red.

Keely asked to see my puppet and when I showed it to her, I kid you not, I have NEVER seen a kid run so fast in my life. She flew up the stairs, and I gave valiant chase, but had no hope of catching her. I was also laughing hysterically at her response. Not because I'm mean, but simply because I have never seen that unnatural fear-associated strength in anyone except myself when I literally picked up the girl in front of me at a haunted house and hurled her across the bridge so i could get out of the way of the chainsaw-wielding psycho chasing me. Deep breath.

Anyway, I followed her up the stairs with the puppet, and couldn't find her. The door to our mudroom was closed and Kristin said she went running in there. I opened the door thinking she had gone out to the garage. I called her name and heard a muffled response.

She was in the pantry with the door closed. I told her to come out and she replied "Do you still have the puppet?" I did. I told her, "No." She said, "I think you're tricking me." She held the door handle tight and only allowed Max to wriggle in with her for protection.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why it would be better to lock yourself in a dark closet alone when you're scared, but to each her own.

She did eventually conquer her fear of this puppet and now asks for it regularly. I asked her to pose with it and show the camera how it made her feel. I think we have a pretty accurate re-enactment.

Max was never scared, but did want to try to be. Not sure he has a career in acting like his cousin.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The mailbag

You may or may not remember the " experiment" I started last year with the intention of gathering good stories to entertain you people with. It hasn't gotten much airtime lately because I ignore it about 99.9% of the time, and grew tired of meeting these people. True, I only met 3, but you may remember some of the stories associated with them. Like the guy who walked me around the block for a date. And then thought we had a great time. Right...

So, while I'm not here to tell you that I decided to get back on the horse simply to keep you, the reader, entertained, I can tell you that some of the emails are plenty entertaining without me even needing to meet them in person. And I figured the least I could do was share the wealth. (Micah complained that I never share my awesome "dating" stories anymore. I hope this is close enough for you.)

Allow me to share one of my favorite characters from this week's mailbag.

First, let me tell you his username: Moneyman. Now I realize this could mean a number of things, much like the Seinfeld episode I watched with Abram last night about Kramer and the "A**man" license plate. Seinfeld thought it meant the guy looked for a certain, er, physical trait in his women, Kramer figured the guy was a proctologist. As usual, Kramer was as wise as he is anti-semitic. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) A**man was a doctor. Point being, moneyman can only go one of two ways. Either the guy wants you to know he makes a butt-load of money (lame) OR he works for the US treasury.

Turns out it's the first. This was the body of his message:

I have read your profile and we are extremely compatible. I am a very responsible person, trustworthy, funny, affectionate, great lover, and extremely optimistic person. I am a professional businessman who owns my own companies and am looking for a soul mate to spend and share my life with and be a part of my empire I have built. I am a little older but have a lot to offer such as; nice house on golf course, many trips throughout the world each year, great lifestyle, and a very loving and honest person. Since i am not on this service much please call me any night before 1am at 616 -xxx-xxxx. Look forward to talking to you. Steve

First. "Great lover?" Really? Do you believe someone who has to advertise it? And is it something I want you to tell me in a random first email? Maybe.

Second. "be a part of my EMPIRE I have built?" Is he Darth Vader? Cause that's the only emperor I know who can legitimately claim he built an empire. And my niece and nephew will fully back that up. I have always wanted to be an empress...but c'mon.

Third. Is this a resume? I love the checklist of things he has to offer. Just throw in "a reasonable salary and great medical benefits" with the great lifestyle and trips throughout the world, and I might sign up.

Finally. Call me before 1am any night? Is this a 1-900 phone service?

I don't know people. There's some nuts out there. I have some girlfriends who recently bought in to the current dating guru who says to "approach dating like a job" and have been networking their little hearts out for referrals, and spending x amount of time a day on online dating sites to increase their number of contacts and chances for marriage, and I'll say it's been working for them. Maybe this resume style formatting is the new (and hopefully final) frontier. They seem to be having good luck--maybe moneybags will find the right gal too. One who wants to share in his empire and travel with him through galaxies on the Deathstar. Me? Not so much.


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