Friday, December 23, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Memory As An Adult

My favorite Christmas memory is from a time when we had very, very little money.  We were planning on building a house on our 5 acre property and had moved out of our home that we were selling.  In the interim, we moved into my husband's Grandmother's house, who graciously opened her home to us during our "in between" time.

Ben had taken a new job so we could pay our bills after his previous employer had cut his salary by nearly 1/3 due to removing his on-call pay.  The new job was with a company that lacked training and organizational structure and he was let go near the end of his probationary status.  This was in October.  While he looked relentlessly for a new job, his loss was during a time of many cutbacks and a job was hard to find.  Our in between time turned into a longer period than we originally expected.  By the generosity of his Grandmother and my parents, we were able to make it through, bit by bit.

December came fast and our financial situation did not allow for a frivolous Christmas.  Fortunately, little one's list was limited.  She wanted Bernie and Pinky (two unicorns I had included in my stories that I told several nights before bed), pajamas and soap (yes, you read that right).  We collected pine cones from the yard and painted them to make Christmas trees for her dollhouse.  Then we painted more pine cones to decorate the tree with.  I bought a large bucket of plaster of paris and we made change holders molded from apples for Christmas gifts.  We also got some gifts for Grandmom and put them in a stocking (we found out Grandmom had never gotten a stocking).

On Christmas morning, we went downstairs and prepared to open our gifts.  We got Grandmom up (she was a late sleeper) and the look on her face when she saw her stocking was priceless.  She went through it ever so patiently, enjoying each item.  Little one opened her gifts, of which were few.  The last one she opened had the unicorns and the foam soap in it.  She went nuts!  She was over the moon about having foam soap.

My heart was fullest on that day and I often reflect on the generosity, love, patience, perseverance and kindness that really shined through during this time.  One of my coworkers gave us a gift card to IHOP.  At that time, I couldn't even remember the last time we had food from anywhere outside of our kitchen.  Another coworker encouraged me to apply for a job I had been looking for when I was nervous about making a change while Ben was out of work (I got the job).  Good things happen even in hard times, we just have to be open to seeing them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 9

Oh mercy, do I have another story for you about fun moments in travel!  On our weekend trip to D.C. (see Episode 6), we parked in a parking garage as suggested by the hotel where we were staying and left the car there for the weekend.  We planned to head out Monday morning to avoid the influx of traffic sure to be heading in on Memorial Day.  We headed to our car to leave around 9:30 a.m.  When we drove to the exit, there was a car directly in front of us next to an empty booth where someone was supposed to be collecting money.  The mechanical arm granting our freedom was in the down position.

We both got out of our cars and spoke to a couple that was sitting nearby, also apparently waiting to get out of the garage.  They had been there an hour and tried calling the parking garage company, speaking with the hotel staff and even the building manager that was on site but no one would/could open the gate.  They even called the police to no avail.  Fortunately, the other family called the police and managed to explain the situation in such a way that they came out and spoke to him in person which followed with a dispatch to the fire department (not sure if he used my term, "false imprisonment," but in my head, that's what made this ball start rolling).

To my surprise, the fire department was apparently located just around the corner and within 5 minutes, firefighters were literally walking into the parking garage with axes.  I was internally freaking out because, for some reason, when people show up carrying axes, it is then that I realize something is wrong.  They looked over the mechanical arm to figure out if dismantling it was an option.  If not, I am assuming, they would have axed it, literally.  While the firefighters were doing this, the building manager that had been so incredibly unhelpful an hour prior was suddenly agreeable to calling the parking garage company and getting the matter resolved that way.  The police officer took the man aside and seemed to explain to him that he had already missed that opportunity and instructed the firefighters to move forward with dismantling the arm.  This was delightful to witness because this guy was smug the first time he spoke with the police officer.  Seeing him not get his way and hearing the tone of voice the officer was a treat for me.

Within 5 minutes, we were free to go.  No one took our information.  I thought sure we would receive a bill from the parking garage in a week or two.

As predicted, a few weeks later, Ben and I received a letter in the mail from Washington, D.C.  Walking back to the house from the mailbox I thought, here it is.  When I opened it and found a $100 speeding ticket, you can imagine my surprise!  Upon researching online, we found out there is a specific six lane road (three lanes on each side) on the way in to D.C. that slows down to 35 for no reason other than a speed trap (this single one reportedly brought in $5 MILLION + within a single fiscal year).  Ben wrote a letter requesting the charges to be dropped for several reasons and, to my surprise, they dropped it (thank you internet)!

While the beginning of our trapped adventure had me on edge (there was no way anyone at work would believe me if I told them I couldn't make it to work on Tuesday because I was stuck in a parking garage in Washington, D.C. all day Monday), I rode away with a laugh and a smile because, like my job, you can't make this stuff up.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 8

Time shares are amazing!  Seriously, I love them.  Time shares, home away and VRBO have been super good to us over the years.  On one of our trips to Disney, we stayed at a time share with one of our friends.  We had been there for a good three or four days and all of us were pleasantly sleeping upstairs except for Ben, who was having trouble sleeping and decided to go downstairs to watch tv and drift off to sleep.  At an early hour of the morning, he was awoken by a loud knock at the door.

When he approached the door, he looked through the viewer and saw a police officer.  He said through the door, "I am opening the door. I have children sleeping upstairs."  Apparently, the officer had been called by the management company with a report of squatters in our condo.  Ben spoke with the officer and they went over to the management office to discuss the matter.  It was cleared up without further incident while the rest us slept through the entire situation.

While I am always concerned when Ben sleeps away from the bed (because it means he doesn't feel good), I can't explain how thankful I was that he was downstairs on that night.  The thought of a police officer coming upstairs and walking into a bedroom, possibly waking up the sleeping girls or any of us is not something I think about often because of the worry that comes with it.  I suppose this wouldn't be reflected on as a "fun moment" in travel but then when you realize that we were potentially squatters, you've got to find the laugh in there somewhere.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 7

We like to try to take day trips when little one has some time off just to have fun experiences as a family.  One spring break week, we decided a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium was in order.  I had purchased tickets at least two weeks (knowing me, it was probably three months) in advance of the day.  I was looking forward to this visit because I myself had wanted to go there for a long time and never had.  The whole weekend before the trip, it was all I talked about!

The morning of the scheduled trip, I woke up absolutely miserable.  Absolutely. Miserable.  Every common sense part of me was telling me to stay home.  Ben and little one could go without me but that other sense that had been wanting to go forever (when I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist) kept telling me to go!  The tickets were for this specific date alone so if we didn't go, money would be wasted.  I literally stood in front of the mirror and had a conversation with myself out loud.  It went something like this, "You are going to go to the aquarium and have a good time!  You are NOT going to ruin this for anyone else and you will put on a happy face.  You can rest when you get home, baby whiny pants!"  And that is what I did.

When we pulled into the parking garage, all I wanted to do was sleep in the car but I bucked up and kept moving.  We stopped in the cafeteria and had some lunch (complete with medicine).  We meandered through the aquarium and watched a dolphin show with a trainer named April or maybe it was a dolphin named April.  We sat in the splash zone.  We got splashed.  We had fun!  As horrible as I felt, I was so happy to have gone because it really was everything I had hoped it would be, not just the aquarium but also the family time.

When we got home, I hit the bed and believe I stayed there for three days, minus the trip to the doctor's office.  I think it was a sinus infection, like the mother of all sinus infections, and I probably shouldn't have gone back to work when I did but I felt like a major punk going to the aquarium then calling out the next few days.  Was it worth it?  Yes.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 6

Washington, DC.  Memorial Day weekend.  Nuff said.  Of course that is NOT how we roll on this here blog.  There's always the standard story of going to DC and seeing the sights that I will spare you with because who needs to hear all that again?

At the end of a very long, hot day filled with extra people visiting DC, we were hoping to get dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, right up the road from our hotel.  As we were walking to said restaurant, it started raining just enough to leave us pretty wet but not soaked by the time we got to the hostess stand.  We were told there would be a two hour wait which was just not an option for us.

As we stood in the doorway trying to figure out where to go, the fire alarm went off.  No one in the building was exiting but Ben was on exit patrol with our group.  The girls had separated from us to look in the gift shop so there was a moment of panic while we were standing in the doorway trying to figure out whether we needed to exit (it was raining harder now) or stay in the building.  The girls, having been trained for years to exit a building upon the first sound of an alarm, were standing outside in the rain next to a curb (see, public schools DO teach kids all kinds of things, like survival).  We managed to find a building with a small overhang a bit up the block and stood under it while looking for another place to eat.  Dad friend found a restaurant with no wait.  Ironically, it was a restaurant literally next door to our hotel.  We walked around the block to the restaurant, NOPA.

By the time we got there, we were completely drenched in our touristy clothing (read: t-shirts and shorts/capris/jeans), hair dripping wet.  We were greeted by a host wearing a suit.  He didn't bat an eye as he sat the six of us at a table near the entrance and center of the dining room.  We were greeted by a waiter also wearing a suit and a person that I refer to as the water boy who filled our glasses after every sip (not an exaggeration).

I was really uncomfortable upon being seated as the restaurant was quite fancy for our dress, even if we had been dry.  However, the waiter was fantastic - even getting information from the chef concerning a few dishes that we had questions about for dietary reasons.  Once I got over the initial shock of feeling out of place, I moved on to just enjoying the experience.

Each of us ordered something different and we all tried each other's items, all of which were impeccably delicious!  Little one had a side called potato air that she didn't share with anyone and I still think about that dish today.  She shares everything so it had to be good and I have considered driving over there just to try it.  The description is as follows, "Potato Air, Black Garlic Jus," something that sounds so incredibly simple but must be magical because I can't replicate it (of course, having not had a sampling, how could I?).

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and had dessert at their on site restaurant while the girls played in one of our two hotel rooms.  What had originally started as a potentially disastrous experience turned into yet another fun moment in travel.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 5

We had been planning a special trip for the end of the school year in 2013 to Kings Dominion.  When the time finally came, it was during a hurricane.  Sure, we could reschedule for another time but what fun would that have been?  We left as planned and headed over not knowing what we would run into.  When we got to the park, it was closed.  No problem, we headed over to the hotel, got changed into swimsuits and went for a swim in the indoor pool for the afternoon.  For dinner, we went to (take a guess) Dave and Buster's!  It wasn't in our plans but with the park closed, what else were we to do?

The next morning, we checked the website to see whether or not Kings Dominion would be open.  It was still raining but was expected to clear up in the afternoon.  There was no update so we headed down to breakfast with hopeful hearts.  When we called a bit later in the morning, the message stated that they would be open!  We headed out the door and got to the park shortly after opening.

There was no traffic and we parked so crazy close to the entrance.  When we crossed through the gates into the park, there was hardly anyone there.  It was still raining, more than a sprinkling but less than a shower so some rides were closed but the roller coasters, what we were there for, were open!  Ben and little one weaved through the corrals to get to the coasters with literally no wait.  As soon as they came off one, they went on another one or rode the same one again.  It's the closest we've ever been to a park open just for us and we enjoyed every moment of it!

In the early afternoon, the rain stopped and the people came.  It was a lot more crowded but we had gotten on every ride we wanted to and more already.  We were able to head back later in the afternoon having ridden more than would have ever been possible had we waited for a better weekend.  Where most people would have looked at a weekend trip during a hurricane as a disaster, we were able to see it for what it was, one of the best weekends we've ever had!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 4

One of the places we enjoy spending time is Dave & Buster's because they have good food and video games out the wahzoo to play.  We've been to Disney twice and on both trips, we made sure to schedule time at Dave & Buster's.

The first time we went there, the little one was around 4 years old.  The gaming was all about her.  We were walking around in the game area when a gentleman came up to us and chatted for just a moment before giving little one his game card and said, "Merry Christmas!"  We were floored but had no idea what was on the card.  The man looked like Santa - white hair and beard, round gold wire-rimmed glasses and a jolly laugh.  After we finished playing, we took our cards and the card he gave us to the prize counter.  It had over 10,000 tickets on it!

The second time we went, we were worn out from doing so much earlier in the week and had spent the day lounging around the house.  Tired and not feeling well but still wanting to do something, I talked Ben into going to Dave and Buster's.  We were seated right away and had a nice waiter that didn't rush us through our decision on what to have to eat.  It was nice to have time to talk together about our trip so far.  Shortly after placing our order and while the waiter was reloading our game cards, a lady came over and asked if we wanted our picture taken.  We agreed and it turned out wonderfully, especially considering how we were feeling earlier in the day.

I have this picture on my refrigerator and I look at it every day and smile.  It reminds me that time spent with family is always good even when you don't feel 100% and if you don't do things that might be uncomfortable, you lose out on some good memories.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 3

The fireworks at Epcot are spectacular and hands down the best fireworks I have ever seen.  When we travel to Disney, these fireworks are my number one draw.  I enjoy every single second that I get to see them so you know if I miss them voluntarily, it has to be a big deal.

As one of our Epcot days was winding down, we were just about to meander down to the fireworks show when Mom friend suggested that now would be a prime time to go see Soarin' because everyone would be at the fireworks.  I was immediately in - how many times do you get to see Soarin' without a line, even with the Fast Pass?  We had about 20 minutes before the rides were going to close so we hustled over as fast as our exhausted legs could take us.

15 minutes to go and there was a character meet and greet with several characters and only a few people in line.  Mom friend said we could do a quick stint there before hitting Soarin' so we altered our route to get there.  As we were standing in line, my daughter realized we hoodwinked her.  She said something like, "How much longer . . . wait . . . is this Soarin'?!?"  Mom friend and I couldn't get over the look on her face when she realized what was going on.  When she found out we were in line for character pictures, she wasn't happy but she tolerated the detour and moved it along by refusing to get her picture taken with a few characters (she was not into characters on this trip).

We sped through and made it up to the building where Soarin' was housed.  Of course, we had to go around the hall, down the stairs and though an entire weave of hallway (where the line normally would be) to the entry doors.  On the way down the stairs, Dad friend stumbled down a few of them but continued on his speedy pace and I lost it, slowing my roll due to hysterical laughter.  We managed to make it and got to sit in the top middle row with no one else in the section.

While we were "waiting to board," we hit up a conversation with the cast member and then talked it up a bit more with a few of the crew members inside, even getting a group picture with them!  When the ride ended, one of them came over to us and said that were going to do one more run since another family came in once this one had started and said we could stay and do it again if we wanted to.  Well, of course!  It was simply magical.

When we got out, the majority of the crowd was gone as the fireworks had finished.  We took our time leaving, noticing the little details at the end of the night that are usually missed.  Leaving the parking lot was super easy and we were soaring on cloud nine as we headed home with a memory of complete happiness (maybe minus the character pictures).

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 2

Who doesn't love Disney?  Boy do I have some stories to share with these trips!  When we go to Disney, we travel with one of our family friends.  We each rent our own cars so we can come and go with more flexibility.  On one occasion, we planned a special lunch at Sanaa to dine with an animal specialist.  Afterwards, our friends were heading over for a horseback ride to celebrate their daughter's birthday.

On said morning, their daughter accidently locked their rental car keys in the car.  Upon calling a company to get the doors unlocked, they were told the time they would arrive would be after we needed to leave to get to the lunch on time.  The Dad insisted that we go on without him to which we all refused.  Somehow, it was decided that they would all ride in our car, which seats five.  The trunk was open to the backseat so the Dad would ride, technically, in the trunk to get there.

For about half of the trip there, I worried about getting into a car accident or being pulled over but then realized if anything bad is going to happen, it is going to happen.  Worrying will not change the outcome.  Every time Ben hit the brake, the Dad would hem and haw in the back and throw himself around - he was having a blast!  When we pulled up to Sanaa, our friends said to use the valet parking (they had free valet parking with their plan).  As the valet workers came out to open the doors, they were quite surprised to see a grown man rolling out of the trunk but kept it professional. 

After lunch, they were going to have courtesy transportation to the horseback riding location but were told it would be at least 30 minutes before the transportation would arrive, which would make them late.  We insisted that we could take them where they needed to go and get there in time.  They agreed and when the valet brought up the car, they opened the trunk for the Dad and said, "Sir," while motioning to the trunk.  As we pulled away, we all had a good laugh.  I like to think we also brought a laugh to the valet crew.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel: Intro & Episode 1


One thing I love to do is travel. I enjoy going places outside of my normal routine and, depending on the location, I have been known to spend months making detailed plans from what time to leave the house to where we are going to have dinner on the last night.  I do this because it makes me happy.  For me, the time spent planning the trip is just as fun as the trip itself.  With that said, even with all the planning, unexpected things pop up that weren't expected.  This series of "Fun Moments in Travel" is meant to share with you, my readers, what has happened to us on our life travels in no particular order.

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 1

Recently, we took a trip to our annual family reunion and stayed at an absolutely beautiful cottage built in the 1920s.  Located next to a state park in the woods, the setting was perfect to retreat to after going out for day trips and attending the family reunion.  The porches (yes, plural) invited us to sit outside and enjoy our surroundings.

The first night there, Ben and I settled down in our bedroom and sleep came easy in the comfortable bed.  In the early morning hours, I awoke with quite a start from a solid sleep to the sound of something flying back and forth in the room.  Ben was still asleep.  I woke him up with, "Ben, it's a bat!"  "It's not a bat," he said wearily.  "Ben, it's a bat."  He hopped out of bed, turned on the light and exclaimed, "Oh my God!  It's a bat!"

I said, "I told you it was a bat," then I proceeded to giggle uncontrollably while pulling the covers over me with only my eyes peeping out when the bat flew by.  Ben pulled the quilt off the bed and attempted to capture the bat in the quilt.  I continued to giggle hysterically.

How no one else in the house woke up while this was going on continues to be a mystery because we were certainly not quiet while this was happening. Ben told me to leave the room so he could work on catching the bat without my incessant giggling under the covers.  I complied and ran out the door as the bat was flying in the opposite direction.  A few minutes later, Ben walked down the stairs with a pillowcase in hand, with a bat in it.  We went to the back porch and released the bat.  Since we were both wide awake at 3:00 or 3:30 in the morning, we decided it was a perfect time for coffee.

The room we were sleeping in had a door leading to the attic and there was a small gap at the bottom of the door.  Ben deduced that this is where the bat came from and stuffed a towel under the door.  We had no more bat shows the rest of the stay.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fitness: Let's do it!

Growing up, I wouldn't have described myself as athletic or physically active.  Considering that I took classes in ballet, tap and jazz and played softball growing up, you'd think I'd look back on that and think, "Dang, I was all kinds of athlete," instead, I think about how I did like ballet, tap and jazz but I don't think I was any good at it and what I remember most about softball was wearing jeans in the summer, literally picking dandelions in the outfield and wondering why I was there.

In high school, I was on the flag corps through the years (which I loved) and played field hockey for one season (which I hated).  I specifically remember the conversation with my mom about field hockey.  She agreed to buy all the necessary items required for it (also known as crap) so long as I hung in for the season to which I eagerly agreed.  Day one of practice, I realized my fault in this plan: the coaches didn't cut kids on JV no matter how much we (I) sucked.  Field hockey involved running - a lot of running, five days a week, in the heat.  When I look back on that season, I remember the following (ironically, none of them have to do with the game itself):
1.      The bitch that ran past me as I was giving it my all and said as often as possible, "Real hockey players sweat"
2.      The restraint used every time to NOT hit her with my field hockey stick while I was running
3.      I lost nine pounds that year the hard way because I ate and ate and ate that season and, let me tell you, it wasn't fruits and veggies
4.       My mom made me get on a scale to see how much I weighed because, even though she saw me eat basically nonstop when I wasn't sleeping, she thought I was anorexic
5.      I still thought I was fat

Moving on to college, there was the standard walk 5 - 10 miles a day to get to and from classes and work and the occasional tennis matches with my boyfriend (now known as my husband) to keep me going but I still didn't think of myself as physically fit or even active.

Fast forward and there we have marriage, a baby, moving (what felt like a lot) and working.  At the college where I worked, they had a fitness check we could do, if desired, so I went on over to check it out.  When I was on the treadmill, the girl asked me what brought me there.  I told her I had a baby and it was time to get back into shape.  "Aww," she said, "How old is your baby?"  I replied, "Seven years old."  It was hilarious to me but she didn't get the joke (to be fair, she was probably 18 or 19 years old with no thought of kids in the near future).  She said my heart wasn't as in shape as it should be and that I needed to be more active.  I totally agreed with her then probably went out to grab a milkshake, cheeseburger and fries for lunch.

Over the past five years, I've tried off and on to "get into shape."  There are things I like to do, like swimming, roller skating, walking, bowling and dancing, but there is nothing that I love to do or that I look forward to doing on a daily/regular basis.  I don't like to sweat and I sometimes spend more time than I should worrying about what people think of me if I do this or that.  This has held me back longer than it should have.

I made a new year's resolution to try at least twelve new things this year (sneak peak: I'm on number 14 right now; that blog will come at the end of the year).  These "things" could be anything, as long as it is new.  I don't "do" new year resolutions and I am one who likes to stay in the lines so this goal is quite a big deal for me.  I thought this resolution would help me to be less anxious with new experiences but I'm actually learning a lot more than that.

I've grown into the mindset that I do like to do physically active things that I don't have to be great at (or even good at); I am more interested in experiencing what I am doing than worrying about what people around me think or say about me (honestly, they are usually more worried about themselves than anyone else around them); my body is amazing.  I say I'm going to climb this rock wall and my body does it.  I say I'm going to participate in this stick work class and my body maneuvers like the novice lover of stick work should.  I'm learning to love my body for what it is and that is something I've apparently been working on my whole life.

Fitness is an important part of every life and for those out there that run your marathons, surf for hours on end, flip end over end from the diving board or whatever else it is that tickles your fancy, I give mad props and know I have no intentions to be at that level.  The difference now is that I simply don't want to be there, not that I can't be there.

Friday, July 29, 2016

When You've Gotta Go . . .

I don't make it a habit to discuss my bathroom visits but on a recent vacation, I ended up in the men's restroom not once but twice.  Now, in case you aren't aware, I'm a female married to a man and we have one child.  My normal bathroom usage is the ladies' restroom.  So how does one end up in the men's restroom not once but twice?  Well, there's always a story to that.

Let me take you on a five hour ride with two kids in the back seat about one hour in when you hear those words every parent dreads, "I need to go to the bathroom."  Of course, we aren't scheduled for a stop and, sad to say, we are in an area we don't hit regularly so we have no idea where to find a bathroom.  Google Maps on the smart phone to the rescue and 15 minutes later, we find a store and immediately look for the bathroom.  By this time, I have to go, too.  That coffee went through quick and the stress of locating a restroom shrunk my bladder even more.  Once in the store, we do a COMPLETE walk around looking for the bathroom.  We can't find it so then we look for an associate and get the instructions.  It's through a secret, unmarked doorway that the pharmacist has to unlock to gain access.  Once behind this door, realization hits - there is a single toilet ladies room and a single toilet men's room.  Both are vacant.  I, being the adult in this situation, allow the other girls (2 of them, one mine, one a family friend) priority access even though my animal instinct is to shove them out of the way with a quick, "Suck it up cupcakes," as I go in and lock the door.  The first one goes in.  I stand, I wait.  I look at the men's room.  I look at girl number two. She looks at me.  I look at the men's room again.  I ask her if she really needs to go.  She says no.  I ask her if she wants to use the men's room and I will stand guard. She says no.  Then, it happens.  I can't hold it anymore and I got into the filthy men's room, lock the door and pee for a good solid two minutes.  There's a knock on the door.  It's not the girls.  It's a man.  Damn it!  I tell him in my normal voice, "I'll be right out."  I open the door and there's a rather burly man there.  My head hangs low, "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to keep you waiting.  I had to go so bad."  He says, "No problem," and heads into the bathroom.  The girls see this interaction but make no comments.  It has never been spoken amongst us since.

A day or two later, we are at a park still on vacation.  It's warm and humid and we are walking around the place, checking out the nature trails.  We circle back to the water and the girls go swimming.  The Dads stick around the beach to watch the girls and I go with the other Mom to check out the gift shop. 

Sidebar: I've been to this place on vacation once a year for at least 10 years and have not once hit this gift shop.  So I have no knowledge of what I am walking into nor am I a shopping fiend.

We go in, buy some items and look around the visitor center.  There's some relics and photos from when the place was a functioning furnace.  While looking at these cool items, my eyes start to burn - the sun block and sweat have gotten into my eyes and I can't see anything.  I need to go to a bathroom and wash off my face.  I make out a blurry sign that says restrooms and head in and take a right.  I open the door to the bathroom and notice a urinal.  I think, "How nice, a family restroom," and head on in to the sink.  When I wash my face off and head back out, I notice the other Mom is no longer there.  I go back to looking at the history of the place we are visiting, thinking maybe she went back to the gift shop when she comes over to me.  She asks where I went because she went to the bathroom and I wasn't there.  I told her I went to the bathroom and walked her over to the bathroom I used.  The sign next to the door does not say family restroom.  It says men's room.

I have to fess up and tell other Mom about the bathroom incident from a few days before.  She laughs, I laugh.  How embarrassing!  Thankfully, no one was in the men's room when I walked in there and no one came in while I was in there and, fortunately, I haven't had any additional restroom errors since this vacation.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

For the Drivers that Text/Talk on the Phone While Driving: Tips for Improvement*

In my daily commute, I have noticed multiple acts of idiocy - people texting/talking on their phones while driving.  How do I notice these people?  Well, for one, I just drive when I am driving.  My phone is nowhere to be found because I am driving a vehicle that can kill myself or others if not operated properly.  I also notice when people pass me doing 70+ MPH (the road I commute on is 55 MPH for anyone reading this in an area outside of Sussex County, Delaware) only to slow down to below the speed limit moments later while I am rocking my cruise control.  Another giveaway is when the person is swerving here and there - one lane, the shoulder, the middle - wherever they seem to think is fit while they read or write while driving.  Another fun bonus is when the person behind me is so incredibly close to my bumper, they may as well have just hitched a ride with me then they fall way far back to irritate other people behind them.

I've decided that I'm over this cell phone usage thing.  We are Americans, are we not?  We can surely come up with WAY better things to do while driving than simply text/talk on the phone.  Here are some ideas:
1.      Portable coffee/espresso maker, complete with steamer.  Not only can you have THE freshest coffee while driving but you can impress your friends with your barista skills when you carpool!
2.      Portable urinal.  Let's be honest, if you are going to have coffee while driving, eventually you are going to need to relieve yourself.  Why not learn how to urinate in a portable urinal WHILE driving?
3.      Straight razor shaving.  Electric shaving while driving is so 1980s.  Let's really get retro and bring back straight razors!  One word of caution: this type of self-care requires mad driving skills because of those rumble strips on the side.  It's like shaving EXTREME!
4.      Ladies, let's not leave you out on the shaving.  How about getting those legs taken care of?  So many women cruise with their legs on the dash heading to the beach - let's get those suckers super smooth on the way there!  Of course, only one leg at a time on this - you need to be able to hit the brake for those traffic jams.
5.      For those of you who just need something to do with your hands (no, pervert - keep it clean), how about an etch-a-sketch challenge?  Sure, you need to use BOTH hands for this but who really needs to keep hands on the steering wheel?  Getting bored with a typical etch-a-sketch commute?  Make it EXTREME - you have 15 seconds. Draw the Eiffel Tower.  Go!
6.      Interior table tennis.  Sure, table tennis is awesome in itself but let's take it to the next level and really learn how to use that rearview mirror for what it was intended.
7.      Ladies have been applying makeup and styling their hair behind the wheel for decades.  Let's turn this up and master spray tanning while in motion.  We've got this!
8.      Let's make lunch! Bonus: If you happen to flip your car multiple times, you've literally made a tossed salad!  Deduction: You wrecked your car.
9.      We've all heard of Paint Nite.  How about Car Paint?  How many Rembrandts, Picassos, or Bob Ross' (happy trees) can you make?  Keep your work wall art fresh!
10.  So, you've done all of these already and survived?  Fair enough.  How about blindfolded driving?  Use your other senses to determine when the light is red, where the lines of the road are located and what animal you just hit because you are in the woods, genius, or are you? Maybe that was a COW.

*NOTE: All suggestions are obviously sarcastic and should not in any way be attempted.  If they seem ridiculous, it's because they are just like texting/talking on the phone while driving.  Knock it off and focus on the task at hand!