Wednesday, December 17, 2008
From there we took off for Soho - it's only my favoritest place in the whole world (well, at least it's my favoritest place in NY, if not the east coast). We made our way over to La Esquina (otherwise known as the Corner Deli) and had their fabulous roasted corn and fish tacos. Josh, ever the moaner and groaner, would not eat a bite of his corn, so I finished off not one, but two servings and definitely had my fill of corn till next season. From there we walked down to Rice to Riches and had some cheesecake and cookies & cream rice pudding. This was Brad's first trip to the famed rice pudding shop and I think he quite liked it (which is shocking cause Josh gets the groaning and moaning precisely from him when it comes to trying new things). Josh, still groaning and moaning, had no rice pudding whatsoever. After we stuffed ourselves silly at RTR, we walked over to Uniqlo so Brad could get a hat, scarf and gloves cause it was not particularly warm that day. Even with the newly purchased warmth, it was too cold, so we decided to just hop on the subway and head back to the bus.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
For many years now we've been going out to Winchester to have Thanksgiving dinner with our friends and former babysitters, the Purvis family. These folks are straight sent from heaven. When we were absurdly young, clueless, and in need of quality child care, the Purvis family (yes, all 4 of them) came to the rescue. Kelly, the daughter, worked at the daycare Josh went to and when we asked around for someone who might be available one evening to babysit she was all in. We really liked her and her family (she was 19 at the time) and so we called her again and again to help us out. When we discovered we would need someone who would pick-up our kid and watch him till later in the evening, Debbie, the mom, stepped in to help. These folks helped us raise Josh and were just like family to us for the whole 3 years we lived in Winchester. Even after we moved away, we continued to go out to visit them for Thanksgiving (among other times during the year). THIS was always nice and enjoyable, never awkward or uncomfortable, and something anyone would want to do again.
This year my mom wanted to come for Thanksgiving with her new husband, who we've met all of once. Not to completely poo-poo the guy - he seems nice enough, but we just don't know him at all. Compound this with the fact that my mom doesn't even know him. This time last year she was screaming at us all about how everyone on the Internet is a "liar - all liars", and how dating sites are just formulas for disaster. Fast forward 6 months and she'd run off and married the first guy she met on an Internet dating site - pretty much site unseen. She dragged him around to her friends and family (Katie and I excluded) and then decided that was ample opportunity for everyone to "approve", so she took the leap like a complete child. I'll stop this rant here and continue on with my Thanksgiving story.
So she calls and says she wants to come and I said that was fine if she wanted to, but it wasn't necessary (cause we're very happy just going to Winchester). I've spent the bulk of my life going out for Thanksgiving, so she suggested we do that - her treat. I looked up a few places and decided on Clyde's in Ashburn, and that was that. There was some momentary moaning and groaning on the part of everyone here in my house because it's just not fun. It's not fun to deal with people in your house that you don't know. It's not fun to deal with my mom who is just a strange bird to begin with, but then coupled with her draped over this guy we don't know is extremely awkward. It's difficult to describe the level of discomfort that exists when they're here. At least when it was just my mom I could deal with just her. Generally she's nice to your face, it's over the phone that she's so unbearable. I did my best to make conversation about whatever I thought I might have in common with the new guy, but as it turns out there isn't really anything. He mentioned that he wanted to go visit places now that he's retired, so I thought that would be a fun topic. It wasn't. The only places he wants to go are places he's already been to, and all of said places are in this country. The funniest part of the entire conversation was when he suggested my mom get on an unpressurized, unheated military plane to Hawaii. She was clearly shocked by this suggestion, and my comment to her was "Travelocity.com." I was beginning to think he might be relatively tolerable until the day they left and he started to tell a "joke" which wasn't a joke at all. Brad, in quick thinking, stopped him, and later told me what he was going to say (which he'd apparently told Brad the night before). I honestly wish he would've said it in front of me so I could've thrown him out good and proper. I have no patience for stupidity, racism, redneckism, or anything that could be construed as a threat to our national security. Makes me wanna take him up 123 and drop him at Langley next time they're in town.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I've been a big fan of DanActive, pretty much every since it came out. I told my friends all about it and how great it seems to work. I generally chug a little yellow bottle of vanilla yogurt daily and never get sick. Unfortunately, in my flurry of travels and work and soccer and whatever, I neglected to pick up DanActive on my last several trips to the grocery store. I probably went about a month without it and now I am paying the price.
Each time I have to fly anywhere I get a little hack. I attribute this to the dry, recirculated air in the plane. Generally, after about 24 hours the hack is gone and everything is fine. This is what I thought was going to be the case on my trip to Boston-ish last week, but apparently the hack turned in to full blown nastiness. It took several days for me to come to terms with the fact that there was still something sitting in my chest. I came home and started waking up with a sore throat each morning, so I turned up the humidifier (which hadn't been turned up nearly enough). The end of the week came and the sore throat went away, but the hack did not. Saturday came and went and nothing awful happened, but on Sunday it all let loose. After lunch and grocery shopping I came home and took a little nap on the couch. When I woke up I was sure that the 8 pack of DanActive I'd just purchased would not be able to save me. I worked yesterday, albeit from home. I'm pretty productive like that, and as long as I can sit here in my sweats with a big cup of tea I believe life will go on. Today, my boss is gone off for his holiday vacation, and I am most definitely not going to take this affliction and pass it around the office. It wouldn't be nice, and it's completely unnecessary. Instead I'll be here, probably napping, popping some pills and catching up on my TIVO.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Did I write this blog just to ramble on pointlessly? Actually, no.
So, today a new movie came out - Twilight. It's based on a book (or maybe a couple of books from the series) targeted at teenage girls. For this reason I haven't read the books, and I'm writing this blog instead of watching the movie (unlike alot of other people I know). I've seen several ads for the movie, so my interest has been piqued for awhile. Yesterday I read a review in the Post that was pretty positive for the flick over all. Today I took Sharon out to lunch (my assistant) and she told me about how her daughter is all gung-ho to go see the movie this evening. Then she told me how her daughter never reads, but was completely obsessed with the book series over the summer and how after her daughter finished the books she picked them up and read them too. Ok, so clearly I'll have to read the books. Seeing how I NEVER get to the movies, I probably won't get to see this in the theatre, but after reading the books I won't want to watch the movie anyway.
I'm generally opposed to books targeted at teenage girls, but for the sake of the vampire theme I'm gonna go ahead and take the leap. I have a feeling that I'll end up with plenty of folks to discuss them with (not unlike the Harry Potter following).
Most recently I've been to Boston-ish. The trip was planned for Worcester, MA, but thanks to a handy hockey practice scheduled in, I managed to make it around a bit of Boston with a good friend. I was super thrilled by this addition to my trip (which would've been totally lame otherwise). I spent a couple of hours the morning I arrived walking around Quincy Market and the north side of Boston. I had real good italian food and real good italian pastries. The north side is a really great part of town with narrow roads and lots of very old buildings - very old European feel. This is the part of town where you'll find the Freedom Trail along with all the italian goodness you can handle. After my jaunt around town we headed across a bridge to somewhere and went to hockey practice (for a whole hour thanks to SU not having it's own rink and having to rent ice time from public joints - cushy job, I know).
The trip before that took me to Texas.... yes, again. There I watched the election results from the privacy of my hotel room while I had a great turkey sandwich and amazing chocolate chip cookies. This was pretty much the highlight of my trip. Sad, but true. There were a couple of meetings I attended, but they weren't blog worthy.
This puts us back to late October when I took my first-ever trip to Wisconsin. I've wanted to go to Wisconsin for quite some time, and I was thrilled to actually go and see what there was to see. Unfortunately, my trip took me to the dead center of the state and so there wasn't a whole lot to see and do there. Fortunately, the folks I worked with there were hilarious and quite possibly the most entertaining group I've come across at a convention. After 2 days in Stevens Point I was ready to head home and made it back just in time for trick-or-treating.
I know, the exciting travel is almost too much for you to handle - well hang on, there's still more to come!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Now, perhaps I'm wrong, and niave and whatever else you'd like to call me - but I believe that our government keeps tabs on folks, especially those in public office. I believe that the CIA has a file on me - and I haven't broken any law outside of an occasional traffic violation (and I've been free and clear of those for 2 years now). Keeping this in mind, I can't believe that any person holding a public office at the national level hasn't been checked over. This doesn't mean that they keep their noses clean. Did Gary Condit have Chaundra Levy knocked off... well, we'll probably never know. Do senators and congressmen break the law and d0 really stupid stuff - of course they do. However, I don't believe that any of them, not a one, is a threat to our national security.
This belief continues on to our presidential candidates. Honestly folks, do you think that "undercover terrorists" taking the form of presidential candidates are going to walk right past the CIA, FBI and whatever else is housed over in Langley? Do you think the secret service covering a candidate is standing idly by while he has meetings with Osama Bin Laden? It seems to me that there are alot of folks out there who believe this. There are entire organizations whose entire goal is not to promote one candidate or the other, but rather to smear one candidate or the other, and frankly their tactics and suggestions are not only outrageous, they're abhorrent.
I'm not sure how you feel, but for me, my vote is won and potentially swayed by telling me about what a candidate is going to do for this country. I'm generally only disgusted by smear campaigns and for the extreme cases where the only message is hate I just hit the delete button. You want to change my mind and win my vote? I suggest you start telling me about what your candidates plans are to make this country a better place. How is that guy gonna solve our problems and make the US a place our kids might actually want to live in? I don't care what you think about the other guy - and I'm entirely uninterested in whatever muck you've raked up on him. That only proves you've got far too much time on your hands which would undoubtedly be better spent finding better ways to solve our energy crisis, keep folks from losing their homes and jobs, and putting a halt on the enormous problem that is global warming and the loss of acres and acres of wildlife habitat.
That's what I want to know about, that's what folks should be talking about and frankly anyone who wants to sit around and sling mud all day can stick it where the sun don't shine.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I've got a great job, don't get me wrong. I love the people in my office, the organization I work for, the mission we support, and so on and so forth. The negative aspects are few and far between. Recently, an issue has come up that is just completely incomprehensible to me - on several different levels. People, possible an entire organization of people, are apparently running a covert operation to try and undermine my program. On the flip side of that - constituents of mine, who, in an attempt to block this potential undermining scheme are WAY overstepping their boundaries with yet other organizations (with which my organization is partnered). I realize this is all pretty confusing since I'm not naming names, but stick with me here.
So, the overstepping organization thinks that I (and/or my organization as a whole) should be backing them in their overstepping. We blatantly disagree and have told the organizations that have been overstepped upon what our stance is - as well as the actual oversteppers. Unfortunately, it seems that the undermining organization is continuing to press their undermining agenda, thus forcing us to come across (at least in some situations) as agreeing with and joining with the overstepping organization. It's a very tough spot.
In my position, I'm between a rock and a hard place. While I want to support the overstepping organization because we are partners and have the same goals, I cannot stand by and allow this blatant misuse of assumed power (power that does not actually exist - AT ALL). It's just wrong, and it's not my place or their place to do so (hence the term "overstepping"). On the flip side, if the undermining organization is actually playing by the rules, and not undermining my program after all (which I would honestly find hard to believe considering the circumstances) then we've done them a HUGE disservice and frankly there could be legal action taken (which would be an extreme case, but don't put it past them).
The next couple of months will be quite interesting where this issue is concerned. I'll be doing alot of travelling and may run in to this precise quandary - right in my face where I may be called upon to act in some sort of "overstepping" capacity (or at least that's my perception of what my potential action could be). I'd rather not be grouped with the oversteppers, so the thought of this makes me pretty ill, but I'd also rather not have a situation where my program is being undermined.
Just thinking about all this nonsense gives me a headache. Makes me long for the days where all I had to deal with were mindless ADs, non-compliant kids, and the occasional raging coach. Sad, but true...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Now, oddly enough, I came to be the primary provider of information on the subject of this certain type of "medication" simply because I took the time to learn about it many years ago. This might have been because I was in a pharm class at the time, or it might have been just because I was interested to know how the drug worked. Regardless, I found myself spewing information regarding the topic and action of said drug. Inevitably it was me who employed the drug website to find a pharmacy who had it in stock and then me who also drove the getaway car to pick the stuff up.
Upon getting in the car after an oh-so-brief trip in to Rite-Aid, I snatched up the package to read all about what she bought. There wasn't alot of new information, but I did learn a few new interesting things.
- This product will this stop your normal process from occurring (which is primarily why it works - no new news there)
- This product may stop the process from escalating if the normal process has already occurred.
- This product may also stop the process which has already escalated from escalating further if said process has not already taken up shop in the shed.
Good stuff, I know.
Other interesting tid-bits...
- This product contains lactose (so in our theory it could be problematic for those who are lactose intolerant)
This part was particularly hilarious because we then got in to a discussion about what you'd do if you were to have an allergic reaction to said minuscule ingredient. Anaphalaxis was mentioned, severe gastrointestinal upset, hives, oh, and an itchy nose (which is my reaction to a certain ingredient present in many types of chewing gum). Yes, we decided that it would be truly unfortunate if your pill made your nose itch.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Don't get me wrong - we walk the dog. We put him on the leash and take him out around the block and around the neighborhood in general (and on very nice days where there's nothing else going on we take him around the lake out back). It is a nice option to have though, the backyard, when one doesn't have the time or the energy to take the dog out for a decent walk.
Ben has been quite content with the back yard. There are a couple of bush-type things, a couple of trees, a nice brick patio area with a walkway out to the gate and some grassy spots on either side. Ample room for a medium-sized Shar Pei to do his business and jump around like a horse when he so chooses. Generally, when he's had enough of the business, or the running and jumping, or barking at whatever walks past the other side of the fence, he just sits down by the door and waits for us to come and open it up. I guess at some point he decided he'd had quite enough of this sitting and waiting and wanted to take matters in to his own hands - or paws as the case might be.
Back in the spring, we had to put Ben out back for quite some time while we had a bunch of kids over for Josh's birthday. Ben is just fine and dandy with us, and with the general visitor, but he tends to disrespect kids (because he was severely disrespected by the children of his previous owner), so we feel it's best to avoid any sort of "incident" and just ban him from things like birthday parties. It was on this occasion that he put his nails, and then foot, and then leg, and then head, and then entire body through our sliding screen door. From what I've garnered, replacing the screen isn't the most difficult thing in the world to do - so no harm, no foul on the dog's end.
Fast forward to August (I'm pretty sure it was August). I was doing some laundry and Ben came down with me and this is generally the time that I let him out back and then go to see if he's ready to come back in as soon as I'm done. I must've been side tracked and forgot about him because about 10 minutes later I noticed a ruckus of sorts coming from the basement. I went down to find the door wide open and Ben jumping around like a horse in the rec room. I found this quite odd, but figured he'd jumped up on the door and accidentally flipped the lever to open the door. It occurred to me at that point that the door was quite perfect for a dog to open without even really trying. I shut the door, apologized to Ben and got on with my day. The next day, Ben went out back again and within 5 minutes he was standing in the living room. At this point I decided it was no longer an accident - the dog knew precisely how to open the door, and would no longer stand for extended waits on the patio.
So, this process has continued over the past month - me looking and waiting and looking and booking. All of this brings me to today where I finally booked my very last flight for this fall's travel season (we won't worry about the winter/spring until the new year - or at least later in this year). I noticed back in the summer that there'd be a good chance I'd achieve premiere frequent flyer status this year. I don't travel so much that it's a guarantee, so some well laid plans may have been needed. Thankfully it all worked out, so I didn't have to send myself on a 4 leg trip to Houston or anything ridiculous like that, and I was still able to ensure that I'll be sitting pretty for the coming year with United.
Yep, I'm super excited to have reached this frequent flyer milestone. I never really gave much thought to the potential perks or need for any sort of frequent flyer status. You fly, you collect your miles, you cash them in periodically for things like a free flight or an upgrade to first, but really, what else is there?
Oh, there's so much there! When I realized this was going to be a reality I logged on to my Mileage Plus account to read all about what I'd get once I achieved this oh-so-sought-after level. For starters - no bag fees! For second, complimentary upgrades! For thirdsies - always sitting in the part of the plane with the most leg room (which non-premiere level folks have to pay a nice fee each way for). The list goes on and on from there, but I thought those 3 were really fantastic perks. Plus, United informed me that with my achievement I'll be entered in to their current Premier level contest to win a 2 week trip to London for two! Yes, I know, I should stop dreaming (this will be filed away with my plans for when I win the lottery).
I'm all booked up for my fall (and yes, it's a little crazy at times). I'm looking forward to my visit to Middle-of-nowhere, Indiana next week to kick things off right :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So, after emailing with a couple of different folks over at Gally, and not getting anywhere I decided to just sit on it for awhile and see what happened. Perhaps they did not have all the information they needed to pass along quality info to me. I decided yesterday that I needed to know, sooner rather than later, what the deal was going to be for next weekend. I emailed the guy who'd I'd last spoken to and asked that he follow up with me regarding the dates and times. Again, no response. Gosh, this sure does sound like a DSF job - little to no information given to the folks who are supposed to be serving a purpose.
Later in the day I got an email from Jon - who'd initially asked me if I was available - telling me I needed to call Barry (former boss and guy who manages to orchestrate these things better than anyone else cause he bothers to pick up the phone). I called on my way home and he laid it all out on the table for me (sans exact dates and times, but at least noted that he didn't have the info, but would put me in touch with the guy who did). I've since emailed that guy, Keith, and hopefully I'll know what the hell is going on before the end of this week.
In related news - Barry was able to tell me my spot is secured for Taipei a year from now, and he even went over the current roster of medical staff he's got lined up. Even more importantly, he was able to give me a timeline of events leading up to the Taipei trip including team assignments and possible training camp. I'll have a good 15 days of leave to use by the time this rolls around, but I theorized I might only need to use 10 of those days. Turns out, I'll probably be using all 15 thanks to a weeks worth of pre-games training camp in LA. I'm not bothered by this - I just need to know the facts, the dates, and my role.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
We watched, and cheered and then the Olympics were over and we honestly didn't give it another moment of thought until this week. On the second day of school, Josh came home and announced to Brad that his P.E. teacher's son, Justin, had competed in the Olympics and she shared her story of going to China and watching the Olympics with Josh's class that day. We met both of Josh's P.E. teachers when we volunteered for field day back in May, so I was pretty sure I knew who he was talking about. This was very exciting for Josh as we made a point for him to watch as many different events and learn about different sports while the opportunity was there. I sent him back to school making sure that he remembered who Michael Phelps was and how many gold medals he won in the event that his teacher gave a pop quiz on the Olympics.
When I went to fetch Josh after school on Friday I saw Mrs. Spring out on Kiss & Ride duty and overheard her talking to another mom about her time in China and Justin's experience at the Olympics. The PTA, of course, has been harping to get him to come in to the school and talk to the kids. Hopefully that'll happen. What a neat connection.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Now, on to the next volunteer opportunity. Got an email today that there will be some Team USA tryouts towards the end of the month at the place where I used to work, and they'd like for me to come and be the ATC servicing the tryouts. I'm happy to do this for the most part, and I'm accustomed to volunteering - at least for this organization. I then get an email asking what my hourly rate is so they can figure up what to pay me for doing this. Pay? I'm gonna get paid? Well this is pretty damn exciting! On the one hand I'm certainly not going to turn down any pay (especially considering that I still haven't been paid for the last time I did something at my old job), but at the same time I'm not sure I'm supposed to get paid for this supposed volunteer position I'm in. We'll be heading off to Taipei a year from now and I can assure you that I won't be paid for that time (but I've had 2 years notice on this trip and have had ample time to save up vacation days so last year's debacle will be avoided).
I guess it's not the organization who will be paying me but rather the facility. Maybe that makes sense. I've got no beef taking money from them if they need to hire someone to work this tryout. I'd just like to fully understand why, all of a sudden, I'm being paid to work with an organization I've always volunteered for.
Monday, September 1, 2008
My job at these things is to basically sit around and wait for someone to get hurt. So, as one might imagine that leaves alot of room for boredom. I picked up the t-shirt sales job right off the bat and did that for the last couple of seasons. I also watched as M meticulously managed the site, organized the field marshalls, refs, and kept the score up to date on the bracket boards in addition to calling each score in to automated score keeper. Even though I didn't do much in this aspect of things, I inevitably watched and learned. Who knew all that watching and learning would pay off here at the fall tourney.
I showed up at 8am on Saturday morning, and introduced myself to the guy standing at the pavilion at the site I was assigned to (different from my previous site assignments). I asked if he was the site coordinator and he said "oh no, I'm just here to set up." So another lady comes and I asked, are you the site coordinator? "Nope, I'm just here to sell t-shirts." This went on with everyone agreeing that a different lady, well call her "L" was supposed to be the site coordinator. L did not show up to site coordinate that entire day. She was there, I saw her, but she did not do the job. Wanna know who did the job? Me, I did the job. The lady assigned to the t-shirts, she did the job as well. When the t-shirt lady went to get some lunch 5 hours later, a dad showed up and I told him the story, so he stayed around to help until the t-shirt lady came back. Good thing we didn't have any serious injuries. I can't very well be 300 yards away dealing with a broken arm while also site managing from the main pavilion.
When I showed up at 8am on Sunday morning, L was there and managing the situation along with several other parents. This is the way it's supposed to be. She thanked me for my help on Saturday, and inevitably on Sunday as well. While this lady was there, she still lacked the fervor and meticulousness of M, who was always on top of things, ensuring that nothing was left undone. At the end of the day on Sunday I was still the one taking the game reports, updating the score brackets and calling them in to the automated score keeper.
Friday, August 29, 2008
The "old" NATA logo was pretty glorious as far as I could tell. You didn't have to read all about ATCs to figure out that we were medical professionals. Instead, you could just take a quick look at our logo and figure it out (or at least that's how it came off to me). That logo is classy and classic. It doesn't look like we're stuck in 1972 with a porn star moustache. It looks as though we're an established profession with a long, respectable history. Does the AMA have to revamp it's logo to show that they're "moving in to the new millennium"? Hell no! They're the effing AMA - they're old and established and respected. If people can't figure out that they're not stuck in 1972, well then they should get a clue. This is pretty much the way I view it on the NATA side as well.
Over the past several years we've made great strides as a profession to get the recognition we deserve. ATCs have been recognized as health care professionals on numerous fronts and in turn have started working as health care professionals on numerous fronts. No more will you only find your ATCs at a college or high school. Now you find them caring for factory workers, the military, physical rehabilitation clinics and every place in between.
So, this begs the question - "why do we need a new logo to bring us in to the new millennium?" I really don't know... The "old" logo was fine, and respectable. Why have we now been reduced to cartoonish drawings and big bold fonts that jump and down and scream "look at me, look at me, I'm an obnoxious idiot moving in to the new millennium"?
The saddest part of this entire issue is that we, as a membership, voted on this new logo. The massive downside to this "democratic process" is that all of the options we were given all screamed the same ridiculous line. None of them were classy, nor were they classic. In 20 years this logo is going to look as 1972 as a porn star moustache.
Friday, August 22, 2008
First: Josh will be starting back to school. Second grade this year, and I just can't believe it. What the hell happened? How did he get so big?
Second: The fall soccer season starts. Yet another season where I've had to go out and buy the kid new cleats. Again, what the hell happened? How did he get so big? Thankfully I've managed to skirt the task of also buying a new ball and new shin guards (the ball I bought for the spring season still looks new and the shin guards still fit). I did have to shell out $12 for some new Umbros as well - a former pair now sport a nice hip high slit up the side.
Third: Let the travel season begin. I discovered last year that the fall is a crazy busy time for my job with a bazillion conventions going on in October and November. My proposed trip count through the end of the year stands at 7 (which isn't too bad). I've got a few other things going on, but some are within close driving distance, and our big leadership meeting in December will be here in my office instead of Dallas. I've tried to broaden my scope, but I still am heavy on the eastern side of the continent. I'll be seeing both northern and southern Texas, Massachusetts, Indiana, New Jersey, Georgia and New York among other places not really worth mentioning.
Forth: The incessant wedding attending. How many weddings can one family attend and/or participate in over a 12 month period? I think we're putting this one to the test, but there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. Forgoing the recap of the past 12 months, we're looking forward to attending Nick & Amy's wedding (Brad's cousin and soon to be wife) in Wheeling, WV in just a couple of weeks. Thankfully we're not participating in any portion of this, so we'll be free to come and go as we please and I'm particularly looking forward to getting together with Jason (my good friend from college) and his fam who live just up in Pittsburgh. Fast forward from there to December when Katie and Bekir will be having their wedding up in Warren, NJ. Clearly I'm pretty involved in this one, as are Brad and Josh. This will be the first (and hopefully the last) wedding where we're ALL in it. I'm having a good time helping Katie with planning and such, and am looking forward to all of the festivities and cultural experiences that will come with the event.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Night 1 - Dinner with Mary and Lauree: We waited and waited and waited and waited, and finally they brought the check (20 minutes after we'd been long finished).
Day 2 - Lunch with Nikki and Rene: There was no check to pay. They'd mentioned to me that we needed to pay before 1:30 cause the cashier would close - still, no check. So finally I head up to the guy and tell him what we had so that I can pay him before he leaves. Mission accomplished.
Day 3 - Lunch with Workshop Attendees (all 6 of them): Again, they bring me no check. I even noted to the guy "I'm picking up the tab for these folks, so bring me the check." No check. We have our meeting - 1:30 comes and goes, and I ask again about the check. They tell me I can't pay it now cause the register is closed and won't open again until 6pm - and still they give me no check. I say, "ok, I'm coming back at 6pm to pay the bill."
I'm sorry, these people are entirely too nonchalant about the check. The ferry system should count it's lucky stars that I'm a good person cause most folks would just walk away with 9 free lunches at this point (including the 3 from the previous day that I made a point to pay).
Day 3 - Dinner time: We had an all convention dinner, but I got up and walked up to the register to pay the guy for the lunches from earlier. I explained the situation and how I needed to pay and he looks a bit perplexed, but then says "you know what, don't worry about it." I said, "no, I'm worried about it. That's 6 lunches. I'd like to pay for it so I don't feel like a crook." He sits down and says, "well you're a good person," adds up the bill and I pay... finally.
Hauling your own booze on board is allowed, but consumption of said booze is a bit more difficult. To start, you may only bring aboard your own booze if you have a stateroom, and you can only drink said booze in your stateroom. Without a room, you must leave any alcoholic beverages with the purser and they will hold it for you. Thankfully, in our group there plenty of folks with rooms, so those without simply passed their stash off to those of us with accommodations. My group boarded with a moderately sized cooler full of chilled wine - ready to go at a moments notice. Unfortunately this cooler didn't belong to us, but we certainly had our share.
Shortly after departing Bellingham I was wandering the halls, when I happened by a room with the door wide open and folks having a pretty good time inside. I walked right by and then thought I knew the folks, so I back tracked. Sure enough, there sat a room packed full of folks with my convention - including Stacy, who I'd met just a bit earlier. They'd popped the cork on a couple of different bottles and were sipping away. I joined them for a bit and then went off to find some dinner (see Grouch Tent Guy Saga posting). Later that night I happened by again and there was the group, sipping away. This was becoming a trend, and I'll say that I definitely couldn't complain.
The next night folks got bored in the bar and Nikki decided to invite everyone over to our room. Unfortunately this wasn't to be as Rene had conked right out, so company in our "suite" was out of the question.
Where should we go?
What should we do?
Oh right, there's Stacy's room!
We tracked Stacy down, got her key, grabbed our wine, and headed for our party.
This cycle continued until the evening of the last day when we ran out of wine, and inevitably out of time to party. We were bonded by the trip as a whole, but none more than those of us who attended the wine parties in Stacy's room.
Rewind back to June of 2007 where I made the decision to hold the workshop on the boat. The decision was two-fold - a) we'd have a nice captive audience, and b) who wouldn't want to come to this convention? I looked up the District Coordinator for NWD and it was a gal by the name of Rene Bibaud. I needed this person to be the primary planner of this workshop. Being relatively new to the job I didn't know Rene, nor had I ever heard of her. Turns out, she's a bit of a celebrity. My assistant, Sharon, noted, "you don't know RENE?!?!," to which I replied, "nope, should I know her?" Well, yes, clearly I should seeing as how she's the Jump Rope Goddess of the World. Upon checking out her website, and doing a little reading it became apparent to me that I should know, and would know, Rene.
Thankfully Rene was all about having the workshop on the boat, and even though there were numerous planning snafus along the way, she did a good job of putting it together. To kick off our workshop session, Rene put on a little show for our session attendees.... and anyone else who happened to be on the boat at the time. If these folks didn't know about her before, well, they knew about her now. She jumped and twirled and skipped and hopped and threw random strangers in to tandem jumps and had a little Japanese girl doing double dutch on a whim as well as one 61 year old fellow who was celebrating his birthday.I'd venture our session had an audience of about 50+ folks out on the aft deck of the ship, and all were quite entertained and amazed.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
So Nikki and I approach the counter and tell the lady we are interested in visiting the bridge. She immediately shakes her head no and starts in to this lengthy explanation of how they don't generally allow this and it would be difficult to do and there's this process and so on and so forth, all the while shaking her head no. I was a bit confused cause this was opposite of the information I received earlier from the security guy. I mention to her that the security guy said it shouldn't be problem and she all but snaps at me, "you've heard our policies and procedures, so that's what you need to do." "Okaaaaaaay...," was all we had to say and we walked away. She was clearly disgruntled, and even though she did outline a process in which we would have to gather our group, have each of them produce their boarding pass, picture ID and a written statement noting their reasons for wanting to visit the bridge before we would even be considered, she shook her head in a "no" manner the entire time. Nikki and I relayed this info to the other folks who were interested, and decided perhaps we'd try for it a bit later in the day.
Later in the day I was in the hall reading a bulletin board about the Alaska Gold Rush when the guy from the gift shop happened by. I say "hi," and he stopped to chat for a moment. I mentioned that we wanted to come up and see him, but that the lady downstairs was less than friendly about it. He said, "oh, that must be Mary," and noted that she's often unfriendly and less than helpful. We discussed possible times to visit, but it wasn't looking good as the afternoon and evening held some tricky maneuvers. We decided it probably wouldn't happen, but it was much better coming from him in a reasonable manner instead of the stupid lady who just didn't want to let us through. We probably would've been able to go up, had she not been so contrary in the morning.
Anyway, that was by far the most disgruntling experience of the entire trip, so I can't really complain. There's always next time :)
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thankfully the train station in Bellingham, where the bus dropped us off, is adjacent to the ferry depot where we needed to catch the boat. We had an absurd number of bags with us, but between the two of us we managed to make it through the parking lot and in to the ferry depot to meet up with our workshop folks and get our tickets squared away for boarding.