Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Miami sucks

It's been a while since my last confession...I mean post.

I went to Miami on business a couple of weeks ago. The business part of it was fine; good actually. I had to speak in front of people some and I did so without fainting. I also drove around Miami by myself and didn't cause any accidents. Miami drivers like to honk their horns a lot though, for no apparent reason.

It was hot there. I'm not talking a little warm, I'm talking walk outside at 10 a.m. and you melt. Miserable. I only saw the ocean when I was driving over the causeways to get to my hotel even though my hotel was on the beach.

I should have known it was going to be a bad experience when I first got to the hotel--one that claims every room has an ocean view. The desk clerk gave me my room key and told me I had a lovely view of the island. (We were staying on Key Biscayne.)
I got on the elevator to go to the 8th floor. It stopped on 4 and the doors didn't open. It hung there for about 10 minutes after I pushed the emergency button. The doors opened and I switched elevators. I got to my room and neither one of the key cards worked. Back down stairs, luggage in tow, for a new key. During the whole trip only one of my keys worked. My lovely view of the island turned out to be the front parking lot of the hotel with some palm trees.

I was to leave Miami at 8 p.m. Friday. I proudly walked into the airport around 6 p.m. after returning the rental car, a nightmare of it's own because of all the airport construction. The car return place had to be about 20 minutes from the airport it seemed.

I found my gate, which was conveniently located right beside the only smoking area in the airport (and it was an outdoor smoking area rather than a closed off room). Around 7:45 p.m. I looked up from my Suduko game and thought, hmm, shouldn't they be boarding my flight now? The gate in front of me, which I thought was mine, was empty. I got up and walked around a bit and realized my gate was downstairs!
I made it there in time to get on the shuttle to take us to the plane.

The shuttle was packed full of people, standing room only. A couple with a young baby was in front of me and did not realize the meaning of personal space. I think the man stepped on my foot about 10 times and rummaged in his bag so much I could have identified everything in it.

The bus driver said we'd have to wait on the bus until the pilot ok'd everything. He didn't. The bus driver took us back to the terminal and said maintenance was working on an intercom system problem. Back at the gate three other American Airline flights had also been delayed.

8:30--flight still delayed.
By this time I'd met a fellow passenger, a woman from Miami who was flying to my city to visit family. She was perfectly nice but petrified of flying; the last time she'd flown was in the 70s on an American Airline that had terrible turbulance.
To calm herself she'd had a few drinks earlier, thinking the buzz would last her through the two hour flight to my city. She was not drunk or beligerent at all, but talkative. I learned a lot about her as we sat and waited for the 1/2 hour updates saying they were still working on the plane.

Finally at 11:30 p.m. the flight was cancelled (the other delayed flights had since taken off). AA arranged for rooms for everyone, my new-found friend cancelled her trip and went home. We were instructed to pick up our luggage at baggage claim and come back in the morning for a 6:20 a.m. US Air flight, which had a three hour layover in another city.

Walking to baggage claim I was immediately struck by the emptiness of the airport (it's a huge international airport--where are all the people?), and all of the vendors that were closed. I fell in with some fellow passengers--a troop of senior girl scouts and their moms who were on their way home from a cruise and a nice lady from Bogata who spoke no English and followed me around like I knew what the hell was going on.

We waited at baggage claim for awhile--nothing was happening. One of the girl scout mom's asked the baggage claim attendant where our luggage was. The woman didn't know. I went up to ask and the woman, who was standing there cutting up handmade signs, said, "Ma'am, if there are other people on your flight you should all come up here at the same time because it's inconvenient for me to tell you all one by one the same thing--your luggage will be at your final destination."
Me: Uh, you REALLY do not want to talk to me about being inconvenienced right now. I just want to know where my luggage is. Where is your supervisor?
Her: She's not here and if she was she'd tell you the same thing--it will be at your final destination and if not you can file a claim at your final destination.

So, around 12:30, with no luggage, we got the shuttle to our hotel. After calling home and having a mini-breakdown over the whole thing I went to sleep for a couple of hours. I caught the 6:20 a.m. flight and the captain was nice enough to tell us our luggage from the cancelled flight made it on board. I breathed a sign of relief.
I sat through the 3 hour layover in a city less than 2 hours from home and was happy to be in the same state.

When I arrived at my final destination my luggage did not. The baggage clerk in my city was so nice--she said the luggage would be on the next flight because the one I was on was over it's weight limit. They delivered it to my house that evening.
I will never ever fly American Airlines or visit Miami again.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

The incontinent Fridge

I bought something and paid more for it because of the brand name today.

Our appliances started staging a coup several months ago. Initially it was the Fridge. It started with funny noises once in awhile. The Hubby gave it a good vacuuming (retrieving enough fur to make another animal which could have been a dog/cat) and it was fine for awhile. Then it started peeing on the floor once it awhile. The incontinence turned into a daily event and lately it was like two or three times a day. Last week the dryer saw all the attention the Fridge was getting and decided hot air wasn’t necessary to dry clothes. The Fridge kept peeing on the floor, the dryer wasn’t drying; the washer, despite its broken knob and pieced together hoses, was working just fine.

By the grace of a good friend telling us her neighbor had a washer and dryer she’d sell us for $10 each (and then she didn’t even take the money) today I got a new-to-me set and can wash and dry clothes again.

The Fridge’s accidents remained a problem so we went to the local big-box home center and scouted out a replacement. I don’t know anything about appliances. The Fridge we had came with the trailer we had, purchased in 1994. I thought it was cool at the time because it could be black or white with a removable panel.

So we’re in the store looking at new Fridges—they all look alike. We walk around opening the doors like the Holy Grail’s inside or something. The only requirement we really had was that the Hubby wanted water and ice in the door and he wanted a side-by-side. I’d always thought I wanted a Fridge with the freezer on the bottom, mainly because that’s the type of setup my Maw-Maw had when I was little and it was the only one I’d ever seen like that. My Mom recently got one like that and I realized what a pain it was and nixed the idea. So we looked at side-by-sides. Hmm, all look alike, 25 cubic feet, 26 cubic feet, look the same. I had no idea my current incontinent Fridge was so small at a mere 18.5 cubic feet, it always looked normal to me.

It finally came down to a Frigidaire or a Roper for $100 less. I don’t know the name Roper. Of course the salesperson wasn’t very helpful, just told us the Frigidaire was better made. They looked the same. But, since I didn’t know what to look for I relied on the brand name I recognized and got the Frigidaire. It will be delivered Tuesday.

The Hubby stood in front of the old one this evening with a glass held to the door; he was practicing for ice and water dispensing. I console myself for buying the name because I didn’t by the really high-end units. What exactly does a refrigerator that costs $2,500 do? I swear, aside from the sleek black or stainless steel exteriors (which show finger prints horribly) I couldn’t find that much more on the elite fridges compared to the one I bought. They don’t cook the food for you or shop for it; they aren’t self-fillable. I don’t get it!

Deep thoughts…

Well, I guess they aren’t really deep, but they are thoughts.

Because of some unfortunate and potentially detrimental things going on with The Hubby’s job right now the other night we had a conversation about starting our own business. You’d think after all my years interviewing retailers I’d have better sense than to even think about opening my own store, but the seed has been planted. (Feel free to talk me out of this!)

It wouldn’t be for a couple of years, but I have to admit there is some excitement to the thought. I think I’m aware of a lot of the drawbacks, but the romance of creating your own vision and bringing it to fruition is intoxicating—and if I could make money at it and not work for the man, even better.

I have an idea of the type of store I’d like, down to the building, product and what I’d like to do with it. The Hubby could totally be the business mind of it all.
(Non sequitor—ok, the commercial about not smoking pot is on TV right now—it’s the one with the guy and the girl sitting there with the girl that’s just flat. Her friend says this is how she’s been since she started smoking pot; she doesn’t want to do anything. What a crock of shit. Ok, maybe it’s just her timing. Don’t smoke pot in the middle of the day because yes it could make you lethargic, but a little night time indulgence while you’re watching West Wing doesn’t make you not want to do anything. Also, smoking ganga doesn’t mean the next step is shooting heroine or building a meth lab in your garage.)

Back to the deep thoughts—so I’m very interested in the idea of starting my own store. I know it would have to be a high-end store; I know the product categories I’d carry; and it would be that horrible word—eclectic, in style because I don’t do traditional and I don’t do modern. I would have in-store events, a Web site, blog, use direct mail, be involved in community events, offer a few spiffs to my employees and have fun. : ) I know, way over-simplified, but it could happen.

After the camping trip with the Girl I also had the idea that I might like to be a Girl Scout troop leader or at least an assistant. I’m at most of her meetings as it is now, and I know I could do a better job that the leader she had this year. I don’t really know what’s holding me back, perhaps the responsibility of it, but in reality it’s just two nights a month for the most part. The Girl has acted a bit differently toward me since we went camping. She’s always been affectionate, but in the last year or so not as spontaneously affectionate as she once was, at least with me. But since the camping trip she will come up and sit on my lap or hug on me or just sit by me, something that used to be reserved for The Hubby.