Monday, February 27, 2006

Damn Chick Lit!

I'm currently reading (scratch that...listening to) Jennifer Weiner's "Little Earthquakes". It is a "chick lit" book - a book written by a woman, for women, dealing with "women's issues"*. I suppose the name comes from the same folks that gave us "chick flick" - a movie in which no heterosexual man would be caught deal, unless he is wanting to get laid.

Anyway - I normally don't read this genre of book. I usually find the stereotypes annoying and the topics depressing. Guess what? This one is no different.

This book is about four women, each a mom, with a story about their motherhood. All depressing. One lost their child at 10 months; one's husband lost his job; one's husband is famous and never around; the other one has a meddling mother-in-law. Why must we make motherhood so depressing, folks? Why must the Mommy Guilt prevail? Please make it stop!

Anway - I came into work today and started snapping at co-workers. I was just plain mean! I realized that this meanness stemmed from being in a bad mood from this damn book!

Don't get me wrong, I don't only read Dave Barry books and live in a Pollyanna world where nothing bad every happens. I read books about serious topics, many of them sad, depressing, scary, angry. I read a wide variety of books. But this chick lit book disturbs me.

Then I started wondering why I keep listening to it. Why I don't just eject the CD, put it away and be done? The reason is...I keep hoping it gets better. I keep hoping that the husband gets another job, the missing husband comes back and gets involved; the mother-in-law tones it down. I guess the story wouldn't be as good without some obstacles to overcome, but jeez!

Anyway, I'm still listening...hoping that things get better for these folks. But I just might need some Dave Barry after this...

* I used quotes here because I believe that "women's issues" are men's issues too, and vice versa. Why the need to specify? But that's a rant for another time...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Mother's Little Helper

I just had lunch with a good friend today. She owns a small business that she has been growing, slowly, over the past five years or so. She's someone that I really think is brave, confident, positive and who can do no wrong.

Today she told me she's been seeing a therapist. No big deal, in my book. We all need to bounce our thoughts and emotions off someone else, to validate them. This is healthy. Actually I think she already told me this last time we went to lunch.

Then she told me, in hushed tones, that she had asked for some anti-depression drugs. This sort of shocked me, because this friend is one of the most upbeat, happy people I know. Well, I guess she is in public, at least.

I tried not to look as shocked as I was. It's really not that uncommon anymore, but it still shocks me when someone I know believes that they need drugs to solve their problems. What really bothered me next was when she told me that she finally asked her therapist for the meds when she had a day where she was so down that she didn't want to get out of bed. And didn't, until 1:00pm. She just didn't want to face anyone. My thought was, "Doesn't everyone have days like that?!" Isn't that what a Mental Health Day is for?

Then I had mixed feelings:

Was she looking for an easy solution to a normal problem? Or was this just a little help she needed to face her "down days"? Was there something wrong with me, that I'm not on mood elevation drugs?

In the past year or two, I've had no less than six (that's a 6!) friends tell me that they take some sort of drug to change their mood. I've also had a few friends that have turned to legal drugs (aka alcohol) to help them with their problems. My mindset has always been that if you can't handle your problems on your own (meaning without drugs or alcohol), you're just not trying hard enough*.

So I am just naive to think that most people don't need chemical help to get through the week? Has life gotten that complex and stressful that we all need to medicate ourselves to get out of bed in the morning? What about the message this sends to our kids? Even without the meds, is social pressure to be better, stronger, faster too much for our brains to handle?

Damn, this whole post depresses me. I think I'll go have a drink and take a nap.

*Yeah, I know this belief doesn't fit my personality. I don't know where it comes from. Freud would have a field day with me, that's for sure.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Empty Nester

I'm now officially an Empty Nester. I've kicked my little ones out of the nest, and they are on their own. I wish them the best of luck.

No, I'm not talking about kids, I'm talking about my Poker Ladies!

Last fall, I took a Poker class. Texas Hold 'Em to be specifc. Loving Husband and I had gotten the bug like most people, from watching Celebrity Poker Showdown, where washed-up actors and actresses played Poker to (hopefully) get 10 more minutes of fame. We started up a home game with some folks and thought we were plenty good. I saw the class and thought, "Hmmm....a way to get an edge up on everyone. I'm in!" I'm sneaky that way...

The class was awesome. After the three weeks were over, some of the other ladies in the class and I exchanged phone numbers. I thought I would never hear from them again. I thought wrong. Now granted, I like to play Poker. I need practice. But these ladies were Bad (notice the capital "B"). But, being the closet teacher that I am, I took it as a challenge to myself to teach them well and make them bar-worthy*.

Let's just say it was an uphill battle. These ladies were Aggressive-Passive players. They would hold a Queen-seven down to the river, then wonder why they didn't win. Or they would hold pocket Jacks down to the river without betting. I began wondering if playing with these ladies would ruin my game. But, they got better! They actually started betting. They quit asking "who's first?". And tonight was my last night with them. I very politically-correctly weaseled out on them (I used the "quality time with my son" excuse).

And they are okay with it. They know I want to venture off and play in bar tournaments and beat the pants off macho assholes that think they know how to bluff. They even volunteered to come cheer me on (I quickly squelched this idea...I don't need that kind of pressure!).

So my little birdies have flown from the nest. They plan on getting together without me later this month. Someone will have to buy poker chips...and cards for that matter. It's a bittersweet moment, but I think we have just outgrown each other.

Fly, fly away...

*bar-worthy = able to play Texas Hold 'Em in a free bar tournament without looking foolish. Oh and did I mention that I was the youngest in this group by about 20 years (I'm 40)?. They are all single and really want an excuse to go to the bars and meet single men. Gotta love that!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In a Holding Pattern...

I'm in a holding pattern in several facets of my life and it's starting to drive me crazy. I realized this earlier this week. I came home from work Monday in a sour mood and was trying to figure out why. I realized that it's because there are several things that have been "in a holding pattern" - not completed. Some of these items have follow-up tasks that just can't be done until the original item is done. Since I'm a child of the Franklin Planner, I love checking things off as "Done". Having these items pending for so long is making me crabby.

Investment House
I bought an investment house about six months ago. My partner/rehabber claimed that he could have it ready to sell in six weeks. Guess what? It was just completed last month. We've had some independent realtors trying to sell it, but they've done a crappy job. The latest idea is to list it on MLS. I just want to get it sold and see what the final revenue/expense breakout is. This is my first real estate deal and I want to see the entire process before I decide if it's something I want to do again. I know one thing. This partner/rehabber won't be involved next time.
Status: Waiting for Sale

Second Adoption
We have gotten almost all the paperwork done to apply for another adoption. The problem? We have one form - ONE FORM! - that needs to be completed before we can send everything off to the agency and go into wait mode. Right now the ball is still officially in our court and it's annoying. And the one form is measurements of our house. Not even anything exciting or interesting, like a criminal background check. This one especially sucks, because we went and told bunches of people about six months ago, so everyone (very nicely, I might add) asks us "what's the status?". And I have to tell them about the one form, and that we have no idea when we will be traveling. That seems so far away right now.
Status: Waiting on one fucking form.

Assignment at New Company
I've been working as a consultant at a large telcom firm. They are spinning off one of their divisions and I am going with it, as a consultant. This is highly exciting. However, at the present moment, we are still at the Mothership Headquarters, combined with all the mother company employees. Plus my new department is spread across two buildings and multiple floors. It's hard to "pop by" someone's cube when they are a 10 minute walk away in another building. The good news is that we are moving to our new building in less than two weeks. We will all be on the same floor, in close proximity. That will make the new assignment "real" and will make work so much easier.
Status: Waiting for building move.

Back Pain
To make matters all that more complicated, during all this stuff my lower back has started hurting. And hurting. And hurting. I say "lower back", which is the true problem (officially a sublaxation of my L5 disc, for the record), but it manifests itself in my hip. Which makes sitting for longer than, oh, 20 minutes, pretty unbearable. As mentioned above, I work at a desk, in a cube. Yes, I have occasional meetings where I get up from my desk and go into a conference room and... sit some more. And fidget, because my back/hip starts to hurt.

Lest you think I am whining over sore muscles, sublaxation means that a bone (in this case a disc) has moved from its normal position and is somewhere else. It's only a millimeter or so off, but that's enough to throw everything out of whack, and cause pain. The best way to describe the pain (when I forget to get up every 20 minutes and walk around) is that it feels like a white-hot pointy rod is being driven through my body, starting at the front, soft part of my groin, and continuing through to the back, just below my pelvic bone.

And so you don't think I'm just complaining and not doing anything about it, I have been going to my chiropractor for 9 months for this. And believe it or not, there's been progress. But it's getting old. I do 20 minutes of stretching every morning, I walk every night, and then do about 20 minutes of therapy exercises before going to bed. It's a lot of time and trouble and I'm sick of it. Also, there are some trips that I have been eyeing for this year that involve mountain biking, kayaking and/or camping. With how I feel now, this trips would just not be any fun.
Status: Still hurts. No end in sight.

In Summary
Thanks for letting me bitch about this. Hopefully by putting it down on paper (keyboard?), I will work to get these items out of "holding pattern" and in to the "complete" category.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happiness is...

Happiness is...
Your department moving to a brand-new building!

Unhappiness is...
Your cube is right outside the Director's office. No more blog surfing for me.

Happiness is...
Getting a company laptop!

Unhappiness is...
Laptop is used, weighs ten pounds and has a battery life of 20 minutes.

Happiness is...
Having a half-day off from work to spend with Goofy Junior because daycare is closed for President's Day!

Unhappiness is...
Having to put a full day's work into 4 hours in the afternoon.

Happiness is...
Going to the chiropractor's office and having her adjust your aching back. Ah!

Unhappiness is...
Having your 2-1/2 year old running around the chiropractor's office while you are trying to relax and get adjusted. Then he's quiet as a lamb once you get to the car.

Happiness is...
Taking Goofy Junior to the library on President's Day. Where there are paper and glue activities (make Lincoln's log cabin, trace Washington's face, etc.) * Score!

Unhappiness is...
The two Dora the Explorer videos that you put on hold last week for Junior are still not ready for pickup. And you just returned the ones you had checked out. Doh!

* I'm not kidding. These were the actual activities. I don't think I could have made up something funnier!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It's Fun to Travel - Final Part (I promise!)

Okay, I've drug this out enough. This last part is not even all that exciting. But here goes...

So we get a foot of snow overnight Saturday in Virginia. We are diligently checking the United flight schedule online. No change. Still scheduled to leave on-time at 8:30am. Either they don't update their site or they are unconcerned with the weather. At this point, after calculating how early we would have to get up to make an 8:30am flight (after snowy drive to airport, rental car return, checking bags, etc.), I was actually rooting for a delay. To no avail. At 5:30am on Sunday, things still showed "on-time".

So we packed up and went out to the rental car. Which was covered in a foot of snow! Doh! We forgot to allow time to scrape the car off. This took a while! As we headed out onto the roads to the airport, we noticed hardly another car in sight. As we got closer to the airport, there was a bit more traffic, but it was extremely light.

We got to the airport, expecting to see a delay. No delay! I was starting to get very impressed with Dulles Airport...that they could look a foot of snow in the face and say, "no problemo". We checked in and went to our gate. Once at our gate, there was a slight delay. Our plane was coming in from New York, who had gotten two feet of snow. This made sense, and it was only a twenty minute delay. No problemo. We had time to grab some greasy McDonald's breakfast.

After our plane arrived, there was a slight problem. They had shoveled snow up against the jetway and could not move it. And the airplane could not get close enough to dock with the jetway. They moved us down a gate.

Then another problem. I don't remember what it was this time...maybe the baggage dudes couldn't get the carts out to the plane. Something like that. They decided to move us to another terminal. At least we are still progressing towards getting on the plane. No problemo.

We grabed our carry-ons and strolled over to the other terminal. Here we were told that another gate change was needed. We moved several gates down and actually were able to get on the plane. We had to walk down stairs onto the tarmack and walk to the plane, but hey, no problemo! We had a plane and we were on it. It was about 9:30am at this point.

Then we waited darn near an hour for the de-icing crew to come and spray us down. We gladly waited, though, as this was a more safety-oriented delay. We took to the air around 11:00am, to some cheers and clapping from the passengers. We were on our way!

Unforunately, our baggage wasn't. Once we all got back to KC, the normally-bored-on-a-Sunday-morning baggage claim lady was met with an entire plane of passengers missing their checked baggage. We got in line, filled out the requisite form and were told that someone "would call us". We racked our brains thinking of what we needed for work the next day that was in our bags. We came up with 1)contact solution and 2)mascara. Both easily replaceable with a trip to the drugstore. No worries. But I felt sorry for the business folks that were arriving in KC for work meetings. Most the travelers that Sunday were wearing jeans and tennis shoes or boots, and had checked their suits and skirts. These were the folks that were most up in arms about the delay. I tried to put myself in their situation. I was painful. They were probably looking at a shopping trip in a foreign city on short notice. Ugh.

Our baggage finally showed up on our doorstep Monday night. It was nice to have it show up one day late, as we didn't feel the "push" to unpack and do laundry Sunday night. We couldn't! Not that I want to lose my baggage ever again, but it was a nice break.

So that's my trip report. I'm back into the daily grind now. I actually matched two numbers on the Powerball drawing yesterday. This nets me absolutely zero. But that's my excitement for today. Yawn.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's Fun to Travel! Part Two

Okay, finally I can finish posting about my trip. My entire experience was tainted by the fact that, after we all got back from this "fire up the troops" company meeting - complete with new CEO - a key person from our company was fired. A good friend no less. For no apparent reason. And officially, not actually fired. Sort of the "go find some other work to do in the company and if you can't, then look for another company". How rude! Needless to say, this has sent some ripples of uncertainty through the company and definitely put out our troop's "fire".

So, with that off my chest, here's the rest of my trip report...

So Friday night, Loving Husband flew into Virginia, as did male-friend-who-is-too-mature-to-call-boyfriend of co-worker, and we headed down to Georgetown. Based on the advice from a co-worker who lives in Virginia (hereafter known as "Idiot") , we avoided the parking headache and took the Metro. Now I love the Metro - don't get me wrong. But it's not the fastest way to get anywhere. Since by the time we left the hotel we were starving, this was not a good thing. Also, the Metro stop that aforementioned Idiot said was supposed to be "a few blocks" away from the pizza place (Pizza Paradiso, if you're curious), was not. Twenty minutes and a potty stop later, we decided to hail a cab. It was TWELVE blocks away. To me, twelve does not equal "a few". Idiot.

So we get there and guess what? Thirty minute wait. Gads! The dudes diligently waited while co-worker C. and I rushed down to H&M to do some quick shoppping. What a wonderful store! Vintage-looking clothing at fractions of the price of real. Anyway, once we got a table, and got gourmet pizza and beer, and we were happy. They had some wonderful beer on the menu, and I got to try an Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout. I like dark beer. The more opaque, coffee and chocolately-tasting, the better. And this one did not disappoint.

The next day, Saturday, we decided to head to downtown D.C. C. wanted to see the Smithsonian stuff and we wanted to take in the Holocaust Museum. Loving Husband's folks lived in D.C. for about five years while we were in college, so we have seen everything in the Smithsonian. Most places more than once. Along with assorted childhood homes of presidents and battlefields. The only stuff we haven't seen is the new stuff (new meaning "within the last fifteen years"), which included the Holocaust Museum and the Spy Museum. We intended to take in both.

We decided on the Holocaust Museum first, due to its somber nature. We figured we'd be horrified first, then go to the Spy Museum and see the lighter "James Bond" stuff. Well, due to the above-mentioned slowness of Metro travel, as well as impending weather, as well as stopping at Kohl's on the way to buy hats and scarfes for the impending weather, we didn't make it to the Spy Museum. We just ran out of time. And steam.

So, the Holocaust Museum. How can I describe it? I was actually a bit frightened to go through it. There's some horrible stuff that happened, and they don't pull any punches in describing and showing it to you. But I felt like it was my civic (human?) duty to see the horror, to appreciate the magnitude of what happened. The Holocaust Museum is not something someone can say they "enjoyed", but I'm definitely glad I endured it. It was enlightening, if nothing else. I can say that I've never been in a more quiet museum. Even with the ocassional sobbing from some visitors.

So we rolled out of the Museum around 4:00pm and decided to head back to the hotel. At this point it was raining and starting to get colder. I still didn't think it looked like it would snow. Silly girl! We had reservations at Two Quail at 8:30pm that night for our anniversary, so we wanted to get back, rest up and clean up before heading there.

On the way back to the hotel, the snow started. Big, fluffy flakes that quickly accumulated. By the time we got to the car (parked in the Metro parking lot), it was covered. By the time we got back to the hotel, there was enough snow to make it slippery to drive. While I still wanted to brave the elements and go to Two Quail (being a December baby, I learned to drive in the snow, and don't mind it), I conceded that we could probably find someplace equally nice out in the Fairfax area. And it probably wouldn't be crowded since Virginians get the hell off the roads when it snows. The streets were eerily empty! We chose M&S Grill at Reston Town Center. It was a short drive to it, there was indeed hardly anyone there, and the dinner was wonderful. As a bonus, they sat us near the bar, so we got to peek at the Olympics on the multiple TVs. Then back at the hotel, we went outside and made snowballs with the nice sticky snow. A perfect anniversary celebration, if you ask me.

This is a lot already, so I guess there will be a Part Three. Stay tuned!

Goofy's Latest Reads

I promise I will continue my trip report, but since I have limited time this morning, I’ll do a quick book review.

Here’s what I’ve been reading/listening to lately:

NOTE: As an afterthought, I have ranked these books in 1, 2, 3 order. If you decide to pick one of these books up, pick up #1 first, etc.

“Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson
I borrowed this audiotape from Cagey, oh about 6 months ago. It’s about a group of shipwreck divers that discover a sunken German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey. It sounded good, but I kept thinking, “it’s going to be a dry story about scuba divers and WWII history...yawn”. After finishing it, I was kicking myself for now listening sooner. This story grabbed me from the very first line and held me until the end. I can’t remember a boring part, even with bits of history sprinkled in (not my favorite topic). I actually learned something from this book, and it’s a true story, so the guys in the story are still around, discovering new sunken bits of history. Very cool!
Rank: #1

“S is for Silence” by Sue Grafton
This was a great book! The Kinsey Milhone “ABC” series has gotten a little dry lately, and I’m thinking Grafton knew that. With this book, she departed from the story revolving around Kinsey (the main character – a female private eye). While Kinsey is still in the book, Grafton uses the scenario of a cold case, and flashbacks to show the reader what really happened as Kinsey uncovers it, many years later. Even if you’ve never picked up a Grafton book, you will understand what’s going on, and will probably enjoy this book (if you enjoy a good mystery, with lots of red herrings).
Rank: #2

“The Pleasure of My Own Company” by Steve Martin (in process)
I’ve read all of Steve Martin’s books. Yes, I’m talking about the “King Tut”/”Cheaper by the Dozen” comedian. He is actually an awesome writer, although his books tend to be rather dark. I personally think this is cool. If he wrote comedy ala Dave Barry…yawn. Anyway, I’m on disc 1 of 4 of this audiobook, but it’s very good so far. It’s about a single guy who has some sort of obsessive/compulsive disorder, although he’s very smart and knows about his OCD. Martin puts you inside this guy’s mind as he tries to meet a girl he’s attracted to. She’s a realtor that is selling an apartment across the street. Since he can’t step off curbs, he must travel around the block, to a driveway, then back again, in order to “nonchalantly” run into the gal. He foreshadows that he will tell us what happened in this guy’s life to put him in this state, but for now, you have to accept this guy as he is. And you actually start to like him and understand him. Stay tuned on this one, but it’s looking good so far.
Rank: #3

Next up:
“Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal” by Christopher Moore
If you haven’t read a Christopher Moore book, you need to. “Fluke” and “The Stupidest Angel” are especially good. They are laugh-out-loud funny and clever all at the same time. This is Moore’s latest book, and promises to lampoon religion. This book promises to be controversial and funny…what more could you ask?

So, what had YOU been reading lately? Was it good? Bad? So-so?

Monday, February 13, 2006


I'm calling a "timeout" from the travel post to do this meme. I thought it was a fun one. Thanks, Average Jane!

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Unfortunately, my Palm doesn't go back this far, so I'm relying on mind power (never a good thing). Ten years ago, I would have just completed my 30th birthday. If I remember right, I played volleyball the night of my birthday, then we went out with my team (and the team that beat us!) and I successfully downed 7 shots. I say successfully because I did not thrown them back up and I remember the majority of the night. Success! Also, Loving Husband and I would have completed our 5th wedding anniversary. I don't think we did anything special. For 10th, we had a big party, invited lots of friends, watched our wedding video and laughed until we cried. I also would have been working at an Internet training company. Yes, folks, I actually taught people how to use the Internet. Seems laughable now. That company ended up running out of money and closing, but it was fun while it lasted.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
I went back to my Palm on this one. One year ago, this week, I was:
1. Looking forward to the Survivor premiere
2. Taking Goofy Junior to tumbling class (which I HIGHLY recommend for tots - he is SO coordinated, and I give credit to the tumbling class)
3. Playing racquetball (badly) with my friend Eric
4. Preparing for Wino Book Club (a book-club-slash-wine-tasting...big fun! I think the book was "Time Traveler's Wife")
5. Playing volleyball (something I don't do anymore and miss horribly!)

Five snacks you enjoy:
1) Krispy Kreme - Raspberry Filled Donuts
2) Lamar's - Chocolate Longjohn Donuts (unfilled)
3) Whole Foods - Pain au Chocolat
4) Caramel apples with additional topping (heath bar, nuts, chocolate, etc.)
5) Panera - Cinnamon Crunch bagel

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
PLEASE NOTE: I know lots of songs by heart, but would cause mass public deafness if ever sang them in public.
These are the ones I like the most.
1) Every Step of the Way, Steve Walsh
2) Kiss Me Deadly, Lita Ford
3) One Week, Bare Naked Ladies
4) American Idiot, Green Day (and just about every other GD song)
5) Cowboy, Kid Rock

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire :
1) travel
2) invest
3) travel more
4) have a huge party and invite all friends (and have Average Jane's band play!)
5) give to charities that I support

Five bad habits:
1) Eating until I can't move
2) Avoiding things that I don't want to deal with
3) Wasting time surfing blogs
4) Not paying attention to my checking account balance
5) Checking email obsessively (thank God I don't own a Blackberry!)

Five things you like doing:
1) playing computer games
2) playing sports
3) reading
4) exploring
5) doing something I've never done before

Five things you would never wear again:
1) my husband's jeans
2) my dark purple boots (with fringe!) from high school
3) my entire purple wardrobe from high school (no, I'm not kidding)
4) my gold and black lame short-short skirt and short jacket with fur trim (impulse purchase for New Year's several years ago)
5) anything lace

Five favorite toys:
1) Mountain bike
2) iPod Shuffle
3) Rollerblades
4) Xbox
5) Magic 8 ball (even though it's more of an advisor sometimes than a toy)

So now you know a little more about me. Anything surprise you???

It's Fun to Travel! Part One

As mentioned previously, I headed out Wednesday night for Virginia for business. The flight out was easy. Through pure luck, I ended up sitting next to Dorothy on the plane, who evily tempted me with an Us gossip rag, rather than my more uptight Fortune magazine. I caved in quickly and we discussed how much money celebrities pay to be stay in shape (the lowest figure was $35K a year). We landed, met up with C. and V., our other travel buds, and headed to the rental car lot. At Dulles, all the rental car lots are off-site, which means a long, tedious ride on the shuttle. I managed to somehow get TWO upgrades instead of ONE and was prompted accused of "batting my eyelashes" at the rental car dude. I'll never tell...although it did come in handy to have the full-size car when we got the foot of snow. And it made some awesome donuts in the hotel parking lot! But I'm getting ahead of myself now.

We had a co-worker with us, V., that we agreed to drop at his sister's house in Centreville - not too far away. I figured we could small talk for a few minutes, then head out to the interesting bar I had found in close proximity to the airport for some (late) dinner and some well-deserved adult bevs. I didn't count on a 30 minute conversation, then another 20 minutes of everyone getting on shoes and coats to join us. We didn't mind them joining us, but at this point, stomach-time was 9:00PM and we were starving. We finally made it to the Irish bar where the "LIVE MUSIC" was a bad mix of Pearl Jam and Talking Heads, all so loud that we had to wait between sets to get any sort of visiting in. The bar food was good and the Guiness was on tap, so all was not lost.

Then the first of many navigational adventures began. As we headed out from the bar, V.'s brother-in-law said "follow us until you get to 66 Hwy, then you can take that to your hotel". Good plan! Unfortunately, we never found 66, even with three sets (albeit very TIRED sets) of eyes looking. When we again reached Centreville, we turned around and tried to improvise. Having assured my traveling companions that I was very comfortable driving and navigating, I felt my pride take a hit. Virginia is a bitch to navigate in! Seems like they assume that no one drives at night and all the street signs are in tiny print, with no warning signs like "Goofy Street Ahead 1 Mile". They might have been there, but it was too dark to see them. It had also been, oh, at least fifteen years since I'd been to that part of Virginia. Anyway, after about 45 minutes, we managed to find the Fair Oaks Mall (something I DID remember) and called the hotel and a very nice lady talked us in. I swore I heard some giggling on her end, though.

Here's where things get goofy - when I got to my hotel room, I scoped it out (very nice!), then started unpacking and took a pee. The toilet didn't flush! Uh-oh. I pulled open the water! Not a drop. Having had some experience with fussy toilets, I decided to fill up the tank with water from the ice bucket. Then I flushed again. You guessed it...nothing. So no more peeing until morning. I then noticed that the room was a bit chilly, so I punched the button to turn up the heat. Then again. And again. You guessed it...nothing. No heat. It was chilly, but not too bad. I wasn't changing rooms at 2AM, nor did I want to give up my room on the top floor (wonderful view!). I put on sweats and long undershirt and jumped into bed. It was like camping at 14 stories.

The next morning I saw my two traveling companions off to the office (they had meetings) and decided to get the lay of the land. I grabbed a map from the hotel and drove in a big square and got my bearings. Or so I thought. I ended up getting lost several more times over the weekend. Drat! I've driven in Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and found tiny off-the-beaten-path wineries in Napa Valley, but Virginia just had my number. I managed to find the largest wine store I have ever seen and went in and browsed for a while before deciding on a wine. Then I got back, changed into my business costume, and went to the office.

I went in and got the office tour. As I popped in to say "hi" to our new CEO, he said, "well, there's our employee of the month". He's a funny jokester, so I laughed heartily and said, "yeah, right..that's me!" and blew it off. Come to find out that instead of walking through wine stores, I should been checking my email. Doh! I WAS the employee of the month. I told him later and he had a good laugh, but I'm sure he thought I was nuts at the time. Anyway, no boring blogging about business, but I will say that the next year for our little company should be very, very interesting. We just got some venture capital funding, new leadership, and we are putting on the gas for growth. I hope I can keep up!

That night we all met at a pool hall (seems wrong to call it that, it was a very nice, large place with excellent food) and did some "team building" (aka drinking, eating, playing pool, being obnoxious). It was fun. I showed one of my co-workers wives how to play pool and she promptly kicked our asses. "Those that can't do, teach" came into play here. My friend Cagey (who happens to be our company President's wife) showed up and we got to visit a bit, but she had to "meet and greet" and do the social thing. This time, we had WRITTEN DIRECTIONS that we used to get to the place, that when reversed, took us somewhere else. Fucking Virginia.

More later...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Goofy Travel

I'm leaving for a business trip today at 5:00pm. This is a totally weird time to leave on a trip. I am used to leaving either first thing in the morning on a weekday, or on a Sunday afternoon - not on a Wednesday afternoon. As such, I promptly forgot to say "goodbye" to Loving Husband this morning as he left for work (in all fairness, he forgot too), and didn't really mention it to Goofy Junior until driving him to school.

I'm going to Virginia for a business trip. Have I mentioned that I love, love, love, love to travel? And I love, love, love traveling for business (just 1 less "love" there). Sick, I know, but I love exploring new areas, meeting new people, discovering the little "quirks" of each part of the country.

Also, since I'm obsessive about being organized, I have a folder with: maps, directions to office in VA, directions to hotel, directions to tourist spots that I want to visit, along with hours of operation, cost, etc. Let's just say I have information about more places that I could get to in a week!

You'd think I was organized, right? Ha! Think again...

My schedule today is: work until noon, leave the office, grab lunch to eat on the way home, get maps copied, and buy a suitcase, get home, hope that tile guy has finished work so I can pay him and make him leave, change clothes, pack, rush frantically to airport. This is typical Goofy travel, of course. LH is coming up Friday night to meet me for the weekend. A few days ago, we realized that we have one small suitcase and one mondo-large suitcase. Since he's just coming up for Fri/Sat/Sun, he doesn't need the mondo suitcase. Nor do I, since I am freakishly obsessed with packing light. Plus that mondo suitcase would give me a hernia.

So...buying a new suitcase. Three hours before my flight leaves. I'll probably end up with some hot pink off-brand piece of crap.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Car Seat Conversations - Part Two

Tonight, we were driving home from an event where Goofy Junior decided that the stage was his and his alone, and climbed up and started running in circles, while the main speaker was speaking. He was totally hamming it up. I was embarrassed and proud at the same time. Weird feeling. Anyway...

Junior: Turn on the light!

Me: Why do you want the light on?


Me: What do you want to see???


Reads like a bad joke, eh? All true, my friends...all true. We turned on the light and tried not to giggle too loud.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Car Seat Conversations

Goofy Junior (holding up tiny stuffed bear): This is my Bay-bee.

Me: Yes, it's your baby bear.

GJ: No, it's not a BEAR, it's a Bay-bee.

Me: It's a baby AND a bear....a baby bear!

GJ (more whiny now): No, it's not a BEAR. It's a Bay-bee.

Me: Well, okay. I guess the tail threw me off.

GJ (turns bear over and examines its butt): That's a tail?

Me: Yes, your baby has a tail.
(I hold up my thumb and wiggle it around like a tail wagging.)

GJ: I have a tail.

Me: You do?! Where?

GJ (shaking his head "no"): I don't have a tail right now.

Me: Oh, so you'll have one later on?

GJ: Yeah, I'll have a tail later.

Me: Oh, okay, thanks for clearing that up.

GJ: (holding up tiny stuffed bear): This is my Bay-bee.

Me: (sigh)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Life is Too Short...

Maybe it's the fact that it's the New Year and I've been in 2006 Goal-Setting Mode. (since I'm a Capricorn, this is serious stuff for me, folks!) Or maybe it's the fact that 4 days before the New Year, I had a milestone birthday that begins with '4' and ends in '0'. I've morphed into this new attitude where life is just too short for a lot of things.

Oh and look...I've made a list!

Life is too short for....

Bad Books
I'm stealing Cagey's wonderful "Theory of 100 Pages". If you don't care what happens after the first 100 pages, put the book down and step away. There are too many good books out there waiting for my attention.

Bad Food
Not that I eat at McDonald's anyway, but I'm going to start not eating anything that isn't great. I'm talking 'bout you, Sonic! You and your fucking soggy tator tots!

Stupid People
They're fucking everywhere, aren't they?! Just say no to the Schmoes.

I'm hiring a housecleaner this year. I just wish I could find one that did laundry - that's my least favorite thing. I'd rather clean a toilet than do the laundry. Yes, I'm a Lazy Ass, what about it?

House Improvement Projects
I'm hiring a painter. I just painted my entryway and realized two things - 1) I don't get as much satisfaction painting as I do doing other things; and 2) It takes way longer than I thought to get a room painted.

Lack of Focus
When I focus on goals, they get done. When I don't, they don't. Duh! It took me 40 years to figure this out? What a dope I am.

People with No Sense of Humor
What happened to these people to make them so serious?! Give them a hearty dose of Leno and make them snap out of it! Please!

OCD Moms
Moms that want to control every aspect of their kid's existance. No TV, no candy, no junk food, no processed food....NO FUN! I shudder to think what will happen to these kids when the apron strings loosen and they are out on their own. Lindsey Lohan, anyone?

Not Showing the Love
Kiss your husband and your kidlings every night. Every night, people. I don't care if you are furious at them. Shit happens and life is short.