Monday, June 30, 2014


I am sitting in my 2nd floor open office.
It is a loft type setting. 
I can hear my dog snoring on the first floor.
My goodness my delicate little flower is snoring like an enormous animal.
How can this cute little face make such a noise?

We dropped Izzy at her Saturday play date at day care and we headed to the farmers market. I love the farmers market early Saturday mornings. 
The majority of our food bill is veggies and fruit and then protein. 

We hit our local farmers market and went to work. The one farmer has the best damn peaches you have ever had. I haven't had a better peach even when visiting friends in Georgia. Seriously delicious peaches. 
We stocked up on all kinds of veggies and fruits and the last vendor did us in. 
It was Martins Angus Beef from Plains VA.  Rick saw these grass feed beef items and went nuts. Thankfully they had a square so we could use our debit card. 
Most of the vendors only take cash, which I find silly in the 21st century. 
I don't ever have cash on me so it is always a stop at the ATM before going to the farmers market.

We had the best damn Delmonico steak dinner Saturday night. 
Of course fresh grilled veggies that we just bought too but it was the steak. 
OMG, It was the best steak of my life.
Seriously before this steak, the best steak I ever had was at an Emeril Lagasse restaurant. 
I still think of that steak as the one to beat. This one did. And little ole Rick made it and it was far cheaper than my steak at Emeril's. What a difference real food makes. 
Both evenings had great wine too. It was a perfect ending to a day of hard work sipping wine and enjoying a meal on the patio. 

Then yesterday we stuffed the great tomatoes we got at the farmers market with chicken salad. We made it a bit different this time. He added one of our own jalapenos from our own little garden and it had just a tiny zing and it was great. Did those bad boys on the grill and topped them with cheese. Oh how I love that Rick must eat gluten free now. 
Normally that and a salad is my meal so it was great to only make one meal for us both.

After the farmers market Rick and I also went house hunting and looked at homes we can't afford.  You would think that would be depressing but it wasn't.  It was fun. 
The one we really really liked was the perfect size for us being that there are only 2 humans and 1 canine. It did have an elevator which Rick said, "Gee that is a great idea with my knees I'd add that as an add on!"  I was looking at the climate controlled wine cellar for my add on, we weren't on the same page. Then he said, "oh hell we'll do both!"
It was only 1.2 million. Ah, to dream. 
But we'd still have to add that pool. I mean if we're going to go for it, ya gotta get it all.

We spent way too  much time this weekend inside while it was just gorgeous outside.
But we finally tackled the 3rd floor - it had to be done damn it.
You see when we sold our lake home we brought everything back here.
It landed on the 3rd floor in one of the bedrooms. We have been ignoring it all.

While the home was sold with the majority of its furniture, we still had a lot of stuff we brought back here. We weeded through it all and it took me a total of 4 days. But this weekend it was finished. YIPEE. 

Rick worked on his garage because the community had an event where you could bring your hazardous materials like paints and other chemicals.  We piled up our car with chemicals from his job and gallons and gallons of old paint cans. We drove over to the high school where this was held and they had a super organized plan. We drove through the maze of orange tape, young people in goggles, aprons and gloves emptied our vehicle and then told us to move on. Simple as anything could be. It was tremendous.  That got Rick started and motivated to keep going on that damn garage. 

Oh he has weeks more to go but it was a great start.  Because of his Lyme he still tires so easily he does what he can while he can. I have attempted to help, but that garage is his domain and he said he would prefer to do it alone. Because it is his workshop he needs to put things where he needs them he tells me. So he got one area cleared out, reorganized and I just went through and cleaned it. Which of course he said he'd do but I know it would never be done because the man can live in squalor.

We may or may not be getting 4th of July company Thursday night. 
My niece was supposed to come but late yesterday she called to say her boyfriend may have to work. So I won't know until tonight.
I hope they come because the rest of my summer is pretty well booked. And I would seriously like to check out this boyfriend of hers that she is so over the moon about.
Is he worthy? That is what Rick keeps saying. He is so parental with her.

Don't know that I will have a chance to get back here.
So I am wishing  you all a wonderful and safe 4th.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


A friend sent me this of her dog sleeping in her smaller dogs bed.
This just cracks me up. I think he may need a bed like this one for himself ....only larger.
How damn cute is this?

Today is my sister Jennifer's birthday. She's my baby sis. 
But boy she's getting old :-) 

That's all I've got today people cuz I'm cranky.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Port-a Potty Anyone?

I've told you stories, many stories here on the blog, about my husbands bathroom issues.
Poor guy always needs to be near a bathroom.
Our first date I saw toilet paper under the seat as I was moving it forward and when asked why? he said, "well you just never know."  
That should have been my big sign.

But now he just makes me laugh. Who needs toilet paper on the boat? Who needs it in their car? Who does this? yea, Rick does.
There are several stories here on the blog about him needing a john while on the road.
He knows every porta potty location and the condition it is in, every hotel bathroom along route 50, which makes his wife question how he knows this.  He will tell me things as we drive by a hotel, a restaurant or a home depot,"They have very nice tile in that hotel bathroom. That restaurant has bad bathrooms, very dirty. That home depot has a great bathroom, very well kept.  Once on the way to IKEA he pointed out a ball field and the porta potties. He told me they were very clean and taken care of. I just laugh and shake my head. 
I have never ever used a porta potty other than at a concert ONCE and those were so gross I think I'd soil myself first than do that again.  

So today he text me this picture with the following caption:
"Looks like they were expecting me."

My first thought was, okay they left him a spot to park at the condo. That was nice. 
But then I saw the porta potty and I laughed.

He has issues to begin with and then you add in the 3 Lyme medications that give him, well, urgency shall we say, that imodium doesn't seem to work for.  And lucky him there was a porta potty next to his van.  The man does makes me laugh.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

As The World Turns in Lyme Land

Y'all know when I'm not around it is normally due to illness.
Same old, same old.

My body is fighting me again. I am so swollen. 
So so swollen. No rings, no shoes no clothes are fitting right now. 
My feet don't even fit in shoes. My pants are tight.
It has nothing to do with eating or weight gain, it's all just swollen and ugly and oh so very painful. Adrenals are the main issue. Sucks, painful and looks horrific. Yipee. Enough about me. It's all about Rick right now.

He is feeling better but as you all know this is a chronic illness and it will be going on for a long time. Thankfully the horrific side effects of all these medications are simmering down and his body is adjusting. Just not to nausea unfortunately.  
Why oh why can't pot be legal so he wouldn't have to deal with all this nausea. 
His moods are better but he's not his normal self. I miss that guy. Last night we laughed so hard we were both crying. He was actually like normal and cracking me up.
So he's somewhat back if we are laughing again around here....but not quite.

He saw the specialist yesterday.
He loved her, which helps if you ask me. So not only is she smart as a whip in regards to lyme but she's warm and funny too.  She was on the site and mentioned in some CDC info he read, as a leader in this field and that is how he picked her.  It was wonderful to know there was someone in this area that was so highly recommended and knowledgeable about this disease.

He is on these 3 meds currently for the next 6-8 months. 
Then they go to a different protocol. There will be several protocols apparently.
You see these little suckers that invade your body attack your organs 
(including your heart, hence why he was having palpitations)  
She told him that they protect themselves from all the antibiotics by making a mucus type shell over themselves to hide. The drugs can not penetrate them. So the dr. said she likes to do a every other day and weekends off. 
Just when the buggers think, "whew they're gone" and sluff off the lining they are hiding under then they hit 'em with the drugs. Then they stop the drugs because they have scurried and hid and then they hit 'em with the drugs a few days later when the suckers come out because they think it's safe. Crazy huh?

Three of Rick's favorite things from his visit were the following:
1. He now has a plan. He likes things in a linear fashion as do I so I get that.

2. When they were discussing his extreme nausea from all the medications she told him she wished she could give him marijuana but she can't prescribe it in this state and he can't go to DC because he doesn't live there. That shocked him that she was so forthright.  But he liked that she was open to it and not closed minded on all options for him to feel well.

3. The other thing was how well she understood his symptoms. 
She actually asked him if he had shortness of breath or felt as though he wasn't drawing in a full breath. YES! He thought he was going nuts. 
She then explained the why and how of all that fun stuff.
This  is called oxygen hungry. It causes you to not be able to breath well or take deep breathes. Honestly that is scary as shit to watch him try to breath. It's been a tough symptom.  He came home from walking the dog and I thought he was having a heart attack. He fell to the floor and he was trying so hard to breath and was giving me this blank stare. Scary shit is all I can say. And scary how these little buggers are so devious, strong and unrelenting.

The news he really hated hearing was that these buggers feed off sugar and gluten so she asked him to try to eliminate those from his diet. I thought he was going to cry. 
I was thrilled. I won't have to make 2 different meals all the time. 
He won't be eating cakes, cookies and the like while I watch him. Its all about me right?

He told the doctor, "My wife just made me the day before homemade Reese's peanut butter cups and they are friggin' amazing. REALLY? You are making me do this now? Can I eat those first?"   
The doctor laughed and said, "well you gotta live Rick" 

So he will finish those bad boys and then begin to eat like me. No fake chemical sugar like splenda etc either. So there goes his pop.  He drinks fresca and that is all chemical.
When he asked about drinking pop she asked, "you're from the east aren't you?"  
He realized he said POP and not soda like those around here say.
She laughed and said she was from Syracuse and she says pop too so it felt good to hear that. So they bonded over the word pop and now he can't drink it. She said if he must a couple here or there but not daily. I am thrilled to pieces about this information. Diet Pop is the worst thing you can put in your body. You might as well take drugs. It is that harmful. Aspartame is a chemical killer yet people ingest it daily AND they think they are taking in less sugar and it is good for a diet. It is the worst thing for a diet. 
(google it and add donald rumsfeld and dick cheney's name - amazing!)

It will cause weight gain. Silly silly people. So again I am thrilled to pieces he can't have all that crap anymore. No liquor either. Now that is going to be difficult for him.  
While he can have wine from time to time, like every 3 months or so from time to time. 
NO alcohol or beer at all. 
Giving up food would be easier for the poor guy. Good for him, but difficult for him.

But.... he is luckier than most. It was diagnosed. He is seeing someone who really knows how to combat this as well as one can. And she is 20 minutes away and that too is great for us. Now expensive you ask? Oh yea. A lot of this is not covered or we will just be reimbursed for some of it later. The office visit alone was $450 yesterday.  They don't take insurance as is the case with most around here. So that was fun. Thankfully the meds are covered. Whew.

In other news around the world. The plumber from the White House called and asked about having some work done in the W.House. He spoke to Rick and Rick text me that he will be calling to schedule. Wonder how that works? Clearance needed? At the very least a pat down? Do you take a check from the White house? do you bill the president when that isn't your policy? I imagine you do whatever the hell they want because we don't need the IRS on our asses now do we? No siree, we don't need audited.
Hell Rick said he'd do it free just to see the inside of the White House but then decided he prefers eating instead.

I did speak to the house engineer this morning and he was a damn hoot. You don't normally find those types to be funny. He joked about what they needed about Rick to allow him into the house. All of it having nothing to do with the work. Just normal clearance type stuff. But he joked about it and we had some fun banter which surprised me.

Then he asked if only 1 person would be coming. 
I said yes, unless you'll allow me to come too. He laughed. 
"Come on I voted for him twice and I have his health care does any of that count?" 
He chuckled and said, "It doesn't hurt but do you have any job to do when you get here?"
"Actually not in the sense of remodeling but I would love to chat with Michelle and tour the place."  He just laughed at me.  
Oh well so much for meeting the President or First Lady huh? 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Funnies

This one below is just too cute. 
This dog actually bobs his head to the music and is so not happy when the music stops. 
I call this one....Dog gettin' down with his bad self.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Observations for Thursday

Have you noticed that these men who play soccer in the world cup are just gorgeous?
Man, I don't enjoy soccer but the eye candy sure is nice. 

Have you ever noticed how there are always football players in the news for murder, beating of their wives or someone? Can you name a hockey player or baseball player doing this type thing? Do hockey players get it all out on the ice?  Sure maybe 1 or 2 but there are always football players in the news. 

Have you ever noticed how crazy female realtors are?  Oh I have!  You can read all the stories I have written here, like pulling up their skirts and open up their shirts!  

They can't negotiate themselves out of a bag. I have yet to meet one who can. 
They always have to tell me when they call our office that they are a realtor, they pause, like somehow that impresses me. Then they speak and you know they are certifiable and if not nuts, then just a bit simple.

I had a real nut job yesterday. As you know my husband fabricates countertops.

Solid surface countertops. Corian, Livingstone etc.
He does more commercial than residential but he does do some residential as well.

After this crazy call I googled the number. It was a realtor, I should have known! 

This is how the call went down.

“How much will it cost me and how long to get a new countertop?”

I said, “well that depends, what kind of surface and where do...….
Before I could get out more she said, “It doesn't matter just tell me how much!”

I said, “Well it would depend on what surface you choose as well as what edges etc….then as far as time that too would depend on what you choose and where..…."

“ JUST TELL ME 1 WEEK OR 2 WEEKS OR 3 WEEKS – JEEZ!” she was now yelling this at me.

“Ma’am it could take up to 3 weeks and it could range in price from XX a sq ft to XX a sq ft., it truly does vary on what you are choosing to do. Is this a kitchen? Bathroom?  Can you tell me if.....

“Never mind you’re just being snarky I’ll call someone else”

Typical realtor. 

You all do realize that if you want Corian for a bathroom it would be less than a kitchen but both would be more than if you chose Livingstone instead of Corian or another vendor. 
There are so many variables that I can't grasp how she doesn't get that. 

And while on the subject of crazy customers. Had a woman call to tell us that her tub that was refinished 1 1/2+ years ago was no longer looking great.  Now since this looks great for 18-20yrs this was a puzzler. So I sent Rick out there to view this when he was in that city. Wait for it......

She has never cleaned the tub during the last 1 year and 8 months with 4 people in the house using it.  Not once. 
She said to him as he scraped off soap film with his finger nail to show her what the issue was - you mean I have to wash it after this is done?

OH MY GOD. So Rick being nice asked, "remember the care and maintenance sheet I handed you and we went over together after the tub was finished? That told you what to clean it with and what not to use. Remember that discussion?  What made you think you couldn't clean it?"

She just shrugged apparently. Then asked him, "Well will you clean this?" 
He laughed and said for $XXX.00.  She said, "Never mind I guess we'll clean it."

He then proceeded to show her what to do and what to use and gave her another care and maintenance sheet. He cleaned a small area and it was gorgeous and shiny and she said, "yes! that's how it supposed to look. I thought if I had this refinishing done that was all that was needed"

Funny huh? Oh yes people are a hoot.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesdays Ramblings

My life has taken a bit of a turn since Rick's diagnosis.
Amazing how those teeny tiny little ticks can turn your world upside down.

He is over the hump. The first few weeks on meds cause die off.
That is like taking all your symptoms and a few extra and magnifying them.
He was a bear.  

Most folks when ill are quiet and want to be left alone. Or maybe that's just me.
But my big fella has to make everyone around him suffer too.
He becomes a completely different person, and not one I'm fond of.
I want to treat him like a lion - throw meat at him and run like hell in the opposite direction!

But Monday he turned a corner. He was able to stay awake past 8:30p.  He was now sleeping all night. That alone will make you a nicer person.  He wasn't nauseous the full day. 
He was feeling a bit better.  

Monday night he discovered that cannabis oil has a terrific effect on Lyme disease and Lyme co-infections. But here in VA he can't get that.  Would be better on his stomach and immune system than all these heavy antibiotics that is for sure. But now that he has felt a bit better the last two days he is optimistic that he won't need these meds more than a year. Time will tell.

He was feeling so nice on Tuesday that he surprised me with concert tickets at the Birchmere to see someone who I just love. (Hal Ketchum.)
He is a singer songwriter and while he is considered country and I have a love for all things rock 'n roll  and NOT country you wouldn't think I'd love him so. But I do.  

This was a big surprise as he just handed me the tickets and said, "we'll board the dog so we can stay out late and not worry about her and have a real date night."
I didn't say anything, I was just holding the tickets. I was actually speechless.
Then he added, "You okay? Margaret, this is a thank you for putting up with my cranky ass over the past month."  
I smiled and said, "Only 1 show?" 
That made him laugh. He knows he's been a real prick. I wish since he knows it he could control it while happening but apparently that isn't so easy for him.
I'll take it, it should be fun. It's not until August but I can't believe he found out he was here and even did this. A bit out of character for my Big Guy.

In other news.....
Did you hear that the US Patent office canceled the Washington Redskins name?
Here is what I read in Huff Post 
 "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name "Washington Redskins" on Wednesday on the grounds that the football team’s name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus in violation of federal trademark laws banning offensive or disparaging language.

I feel it's about time. I can't fathom any other group tolerating this kind of treatment.
I know it's been tradition for a very long time. But I can name a few other horrific crimes/treatments to other groups of people that were just the "thing" we did in the day. The time has passed on using humans as mascots.
Play nice. Change the name. It's a football team for heaven's sake. 
It shouldn't be a racial slur or a dehumanizing of a group of people. 
Besides haven't we as a country done enough to this group of people?

Having said that; is it wrong calling them Washington Ass Clowns Bilbo ?
I see where that too is a group of people and normally fat white guys. 
So that may not be so nice either. Damn.
Just thinking out loud. Got any suggestions?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Temperature Wars

I have always enjoyed things on the cooler side.
When I shared a room with my sister I used to open the window in winter just a tad because I can't sleep in a warm/hot room. That drove her crazy.  

Then I lived with another sister in my late 20's and our apartment had separate radiators in each and every room. I turned the ones in my bedroom off completely. She turned her bedroom up and it was like a sauna in there. The shared rooms we compromised. 
It all worked out well for us.

But suddenly I am not dealing so well with the cold. Oh trust me, I would rather be cold than hot any damn day of the week. But when I used to think 55 degrees was short wearing weather, now I'm a bit cold at 55.
I still believe the low 70's is perfection and we don't need anything over 80.

Now having said that my husband is on medication that makes his skin feel hot. 
He is on fire in ways that are not comfortable for him. I am walking around my house in fleece and long pants. It's 88 degrees with super high humidity and I'm freezing inside.

This morning at 4am my dog woke me up. She was panting like crazy and Rick had taken a sleeping pill so I figured I was taking out the dog.  I got up out of my big down comforter and began to shiver. By the time I got downstairs I thought I would find snow on the kitchen floor. 

Izzy and I took a walk around the neighborhood and while it was hot and humid it was better than being in my home.
When we returned home I was now wide awake. I turned on Cheers and put on fleece and wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa. I walked by the thermostat and it was at 66. 
Okay air conditioning at 66 is just too damn least for me.

When Rick woke up and came down stairs he said, "'s freezing down here"
YEAH, you noticed. 
He looked at the thermostat and said, "Why did you put it down so far?"

Rick programs the thermostat and I don't ever touch it.  He began to play around with it and found that what he had programmed for was weekly but once it hits the day it reverts back to that day. So now he has to go through the week individually to fix it. 

He looked at me dressed like it was -5 degrees Fahrenheit and laughed.
I told him I thought he was doing this because he was so damn hot now on these meds.  
I didn't want to complain since he was so uncomfortable and I could always add more clothes. He said, "Yes I am hot, but I'm not an Eskimo for heaven's sake. You should have said something. Is that why last night you put on socks and a sweatshirt?" 

"Ah yea and you said nothing about it being cold in here"

"Well it really wasn't to me then but it wasn't 66 then either."

Yesterday at work I wore leggings, socks, t shirt, fleece lined hoodie, baseball cap to keep my head warm. My poor fingers were frozen.  If I could type and write in gloves I would have worn them. A walk with Izzy in God awful humidity sounded better than living in my tundra.
so I would be outside and get hot and then come inside and need to add more layers.

It's another hot humid day and I imagine it will be like this until late fall. 
And Rick is on this medications for several more months. 
You will be able to spot us for sure.
He'll be the one in shorts and a t-shirt, I'll be next to him in a coat, hat and scarf. 

A Little Tip

I'm going to talk about a sensitive topic.
I know this topic can get people all riled up - tipping.
I also know most don't agree with me.

Tipping is a very American thing. It is not done in Europe even remotely as much as here.
I had a boss from Ireland that would get so upset about having to tip someone who wasn't a server.
The man who drives the hotel shuttle to the airport drove him bat shit crazy. 
He would say to me, "why are you tipping him to do his job?"   
I feel the exact same way as he does but if you said that out loud you are looked upon as a cheap bastard or worse. So I tip out of obligation when it is someone other than a server.  
He simply refused. 
One day he said to me, "Are your customers tipping you when you do your job well?" 
Excellent point. 

I hate tipping hairdressers. Here is how I feel about that. When I lived in Cleveland Ohio I went to a salon that had a sign that said, "No tipping. We are professionals, do you tip your dentist?"
EXACTLY what I used to say and it was actually a bit comforting to see it in large print on a sign.  I got a great color and cut and I never paid more than the cost of the services. 

I had a stylist who has since moved from this area. She became a friend. She traveled the world, lived in a beautiful home, drove a very expensive car and was single and childless. She carved a nice world for herself. She was happy and she was very good at what she did.  One night before leaving town we went out for drinks. Somehow it came out that she made 150K+ a year doing hair (some years more she said) and about 25K-30K of that was tips. 

Again why should someone who makes 125 a year be given tips? She is making a living wage.
Servers make $2.00/hr and depend on tipping to survive.
Does someone making 125K a year need to get tips?
She went to school and is a professional.  I agree with the sign, my dentist does a great job not making me feel pain so should I tip him? When my gyno warmers up her instruments should I tip her as a thank you? Not gonna happen from me anyway.

I don't tip baristas any more than I would tip the clerk at the grocery store who checks me out. Just because the barista makes my coffee my way for me and is pleasant, it is their damn job to do that exactly and with a smile. When the grocery check out girl asks me if I want paper or plastic and bags my groceries well I do not tip. Should I? 

In America we are expected to tip the people who deliver our paper, our mail person, our hair cutters, our taxi drivers, our drivers of any kind, anyone who touches our luggage during travel, the valet, the concierge. On a cruise you tip a good portion of your stay, it's crazy. Everyone expects tips. I do it, but I hate it.I feel obligated so most of these things I do.
So will they not be nice to me because I don't tip them for doing the job they were hired for? Oh well, I take my chances. 

So you can see when I tip sometimes it is not given in the spirit it should be given in. 
I honestly feel like my hairdresser, while good, should not get tips. 
I don't think the barista at Starbucks should get tips for doing her job anymore than the zit faced kid at the fryer giving me fries from McDonalds should get a tip. 
It. is. your. job.period. 

Now I have tipped those packing up my house on a hot and humid day to move me across the country. Normally I buy food and give them pop and water. When they have gone above and beyond I have been know to say a thank you with a $20 a piece. So I am not a total scrooge. But overall I hate that we are a society that requires us to tip every damn person we come across anymore. And more than that I hate that people get so upset if they aren't tipped if they are not a server.

I gave a customer something for free and worked my ass off calling other customers to move their appointments so that she could get this job done before closing. Should I have gotten a tip? In our society people seem to act like I should. No that is my damn job.

Now please understand that I feel strongly that servers should be tipped. As I said earlier they only make $2.00 an hour. We should just pay them a living wage but they don't so tipping is required. 

You would think since I hate tipping I would not tip well. It really is the exact opposite. 
I was a server so I am very generous there. I tip my hairdresser so she doesn't make my hair fall out. I tip her generously as well more than 20%. I tip the taxi driver who isn't going to kill me driving like a lunatic and isn't on the phone. This past weekend we took turns paying for the taxi's. My friend who makes 7 figures tips $1.00. That rather embarrasses me. I make far far far less and I tipped them all very generously. 

I remember when I went to travel school way back in the stone age we learned who to tip and what were acceptable amounts. (the maid, the valet, cruises, tour guides etc) And is there anything more annoying than a tour guide putting his hand out? I find that so offensive. I was on a tour bus either in NYC or Chicago when at the end of the tour the guide said you can tip me as you are leaving as she held out her hand.  I found that ballsy, let alone in bad taste. I hate hate hate being quilted into tipping. I should have had the balls to walk by and slap her hand on the way out like a high five and give her nothing. But chicken shit me didn't. 

My Grandmother owned a hotel or two in our tourist town where I grew up. 
In the summertime when a cleaning woman didn't show up at the hotel to work guess who my Grandmother called to help her out and to clean rooms? Yep, moi. 
I saw some disgusting things and disgusting people and nary a tip. (first time I had ever seen a condom too! Hanging from the bed post, used - that's another story for another day)

So imagine my surprise when at 18 yrs old I learned that people should be tipping their hotel maids. I came home from school and told my Grandmother,"hey I never got a tip" and she laughed. She said most don't do it but it is still your job to clean the rooms to the best of your ability so the next guest has a nice room. And she's right it was my job on any given day I was called. But you know what? I never even got paid. I got feed, but I didn't get paid. I was helping my grandmother out. Besides she spoiled me rotten in other ways. My parents would have had a fit if she paid me.

Am I really the only person in America who feels we tip too damn much for people who are just doing their job?

Have you been given a tip today?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


After I wrote yesterday about my waiter experience my husband asked me why Therese and I didn't go to yelp and do a review of the place. Hmm....

So I asked Therese if I did leave a review if she would mind. Being that she is a member of this club and has gone to them literally around the world I did not want to make her angry. She said, "go for it, that man needs to lose his job or at the very least be reprimanded"

So I left a review that was short and "sweet" I didn't think it needed too much detail.
The manager wrote back. Then he asked if he could call me.
We discussed. I told more because I didn't share it on yelp. He asked a lot of questions.
He said that they do indeed have a Gluten Free menu and he was appalled that when I asked it wasn't given to me. 
Honestly knowing that there was a GF Menu, well that just  makes me angrier.

He offered me a free dinner etc. However since I don't live in Chicago I won't be going anytime soon.  But I thanked him for the apology and listening.  He said that this man does not represent them well so he will no longer be representing them at all.
I assumed that to mean he was losing his job. (so why do i feel badly about that?)

He also called Therese to apologize to her. She text me immediately to let me know.
She is going again before she leaves Chicago for dinner.
So it will be interesting to see if that waiter is there.

So good ole yelp did help us. 
Bet that numbnut won't be doing that to anyone again.

In other news my poor hubby is struggling with his Lyme issues. The antibiotics all make him super sun sensitive. To the point where his left arm got burnt to a crisp from driving around town with 60SPF on. He got sun poisoning on his arm. 

He lathers up before he leaves the house, reapplies all day. His nose looks like it will fall off. 
I am going out to day to find zinc for his nose. He walked the dog with an umbrella and boy oh boy did he get ribbing from the neighbors. They called it his parasol. Well it is pretty funny to see this big guy walking down the street in 88 degree weather with an umbrella. Richard down the street was getting out of his car as the 3 of us walked by his house. 
He took one look at Rick and laughed, "Hey delicate boy what's with the parasol?"
Oh Rick is just loving this as you can imagine. Thankfully he gives as good as he gets.

His trip to the lake ended up being indoors. Even though he is slathered with SPF and keeps all clothes on, he said it feels like his skin is on fire if sun is on it even just a bit. So he fished very early mornings and evenings after the sun went down. He was miserable so ended up coming home early. 

Do you know that Lyme can be transmitted sexually? 
Great news huh? Damn. That's just what I wanted to hear.
You never hear how symptoms will make your life better or enhance my life, like a face lift or a boob lift or copious amounts of money.
If I find out wine and chocolate make your hair fall out or cause cancer that's it.
I just give up! What's a gal to do?
Honestly at this point all you can do is laugh.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Snarky Prick

I got to my room on Friday afternoon and got all settled in.
I had a great room. I had gotten up at 5AM and was so hungry by the time I got there.
I went downstairs and had a great salad and a class of Cabernet.
I sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender and we had some good laughs.

I went up stairs to my room. I had hours to wait for my friend coming in from California.
So I began to read and just appreciate the quiet of no phones, no dog that needed walking, just the sound of nothing.  I fell right to sleep.  I woke to the sound of my phone. It was a text telling me that she was on the train on her way to the hotel.  She'd be there by 5:30p Perfect timing. 

As I told you yesterday the hotel was fabulous. But in my room my windows were sprayed with the frosted look. How bad was the view that they felt they had to do this? I was dying to know what was out there. Funny huh?

 photo removed

I knew that my friend would probably be awake longer than me being that she was a few hours behind so me having a nap gave me the ability to stay up with her. 
You know, my old lady logic.

We hung out in the room getting caught up while she unpacked. We went down stairs to the lounge and had a few. We mingled with folks from around the world. Then we went to dinner. We talked and talked some more.  Years of catching up had to be done. And being done over wine was even better.

Saturday morning she slept until a bit past 9:30am. I haven't been able to do that since I was in my 20's. I was up at 3:30 central, fell back to sleep, awoke again at 4:30a, then feel back to sleep again until 6am. Now I was really awake. There was no way I was going to able to sleep anymore. To me I slept in until 7am my body clock time. I took a shower and got ready for my day. I made the coffee in my room. Yuk. I went downstairs and walked to the corner to Starbucks and read the paper there and drank a big ole cup of coffee.

Went back to the hotel and wondered what the hell will I do until she wakes up?
I was now a bit hungry but we said we would go to breakfast  the night before so i felt I should wait. By 9am I was wanting breakfast. I text her. No response. Finally at 9:30 she text me and says, she's up! YIPEE. We eat "breakfast" at lunch time.  Then we hit the streets.

We had a great time in Chicago.  I always do. Such a great city.

A couple of things happened in between our eating, drinking, shopping and laughing.

I had a hard time with the wifi there or getting my 4G as well. If I were in the lobby I was fine. If I was in my friends room it was fine. Just my room. The encased fortress I suppose.
I asked at the front desk if this was caused by what was behind the frosted window and he laughed along with me and said, "no"  and acted surprised. So he gave me 2,000 points for my inconvenience. I told him it wasn't a big deal I was just wondering. Well okay I can live with all this nice customer service. I wasn't complaining, just wondering, and I sure didn't expect that but it was a very nice gesture on their part.

We had tickets to a show at Second City and she really wanted me to go to the Metropolitan Club for dinner. She is a member of this club in Seattle and California etc. So I would be her guest here. It was atop the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) Before we left for the trip I went online and looked at the menu. 
They actually had a gluten free menu so I knew this ole Celiac Gal would be fine.
They also had a dress code. Men in coats but no ties necessary, business casual. No jeans, that kind of thing. Good excuse to wear my new dress. 

We got a bit behind in our day and we were rushing to get to our show.  We arrived and we realized that this show was not the main stage. I told her that I saw they were sold out at all shows. She told me she got us 2 seats. But what she got was not the main stage. I had a bad feeling. I have always only seen shows on the main stage and they have always been great entertainment. Normally we leave there having sore face muscles from laughing so hard. Not this time.  Awful with a capital A. We left at intermission. We went to dinner. At this point we were both starving so it worked out great except I just wasted $35 for an unfunny show.

We get to the top of the tower. We were seated right in front of the windows. 
It was a bit gray and cloudy by now but still a great view.
It was going well until our mean old waiter came to the table.
From the get go this old man had an attitude with us. He took a drink order and left.
My friend said to me, "Was that my imagination or was he a smug bastard?"
That made me laugh. "No, it wasn't just you Therese."

He came back with our drinks and he handed us menus. I told him I saw online that they offer a gluten free menu.  He then rolled his eyes. Yes, this old coot rolled his eyes at me while he said, "We don't offer that any longer so we'll just take the gluten out"
Now I wanted to ask how the hell he planned to do that but thought better of it.
Later Therese said, "I saw him roll his eyes at you, did you see that?"
She was shocked. I've had this before when i tell them I need gluten free or that I'm celiac.

When my friend said, "I can't decided between the steak (of some kind) or fish what would you recommend?"  He responded with a loud sigh and a snarky, "well it depends on how you order your steak are you someone who wants it dry and dead or Medium rare?"
She said, "I like medium rare" 
"Then get the steak"  he said

Now what a way to say that to a customer. So if she had said she wanted it medium or worse yet medium well he has just insulted her. Really was that necessary? He could have just said, "this steak is best medium rare so if you don't like your steak like that you may want to go for your 2nd choice."

It wasn't always WHAT he said but HOW he said the things he said to us.
My friend called him smug old fart. I called him snarky arrogant old coot.
Either way it's the same right?

I asked if I could get my meal not on a bed of risotto since it is gluten. 
I asked if I could get it on the garlic mashed potatoes instead. 
He again rolled his friggin' eyes and said NO. Just No. 
 Okay I did not want to eat another damn salad which is always my choice when out to eat. Then he says, "well we can make your risotto with gluten free pasta."  I said, "that will take awhile. I know how long risotto takes unless you have it already made."
He shrieked, "why would we have THAT made? of course we have to make it."
I said, "No that's okay I'll just take the meat and the vegetables that it comes with and leave out the risotto. 

We get out meal in record time. My veal was sitting on a bed of Parmesan risotto.
First of all there would not have been enough time to even make this with gluten free pasta.
Second of all I was pissed that he was giving me this. I told him I had Celiac Disease for petes sake. Jeez, do you give a kid peanuts who has a peanut allergy? WTH?
When he put the plate in front of me I said, "You gave me risotto."  
He says quickly, "yea we whipped some up JUST for you" as he turned around and left our table.

My friend looked at me and said, "They didn't just make this Peg."
"No shit. I know there wasn't enough time to do that and I'm not eating it, damn prick!"  
I wipped off my veal and put it on my bread plate, hoping I got enough ristotto off it. 
I gave my friend my risotto. 
I didn't get my veggies either.
But I sure as hell wasn't bringing it up to the waiter. I just didn't want to see his face again.

My friend got dessert. I thought there would be nothing there for me to have. 
But I got some coconut gelato with berries that was great. She ordered the tiramisu.
It came in a mason jar and she took one bite and crinkled up her nose.
She said, "This is awful Peg and it doesn't even taste like tiramisu, it just tastes awful"
She asked me if I wanted to taste it.
I laughed and said," gee thanks for the great offer but I think I'm glad I can't eat gluten. We both laughed.
At that moment the waiter walked by and heard her. 
He said, "Now what is wrong?"
She meekly said, "Oh I just didn't care for this and... before she could get out more he responses with - "Well it's a modern take on tiramisu, let me guess you want something else."(read that line with an attitude and tone) 
Now she's fired up.  She said to him, "now that was rude. Yes, I'd like what she's having."
He brings it to the table and says nothing to her. 
At that point I said to Therese that again it's not what he said but how he says it that was the issue. He could have said, "This is our modern version of the tiramisu. I'm sorry you didn't care for it may I bring you something else?"  
She didn't ask for anything free she paid for both of them.

The tip is already calculated in the tab. 20%. If I have good service I always tip more than 20% so I never understand why establishments would choose to do that. But in this case it was a damn good thing because there was no way he would have gotten that much from us.
This old coot needs to retire or find another job.

We both were so mad that we each wrote a review. 
They have contacted me to speak to them. I am sure Therese got the same. 

I do have to say that I get so incredibly sick (no pun intended) of people who make light of Celiac. It's real and it's awful and I sure as hell wouldn't choose this life if I didn't have to. Sadly there is a fad right now of gluten free this or that. So maybe this waiter thought I was being a fad type gal. But after a few times of him being an ass my friend spoke up and said, "She's got Celiac this isn't a fad for her" when he was being rather mean and snarky.  I told her to let it go. I'm used to this. I can't eat out anymore because I don't know what is in food that is made outside my home.
I don't want to be "one of those"
I have been feeling terribly for the last few days because I know I ingested things I shouldn't have without knowing.  Yes, it will pass but it does so much damage to me and that is what I can't make people understand who don't understand the disease.

I wish more people understood this disease so they wouldn't be so mean.
But bottom line is that this guy was just a snarky prick.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm home!

Here is what I want to say about my trip today - (tomorrow more)

To the Young Woman Who is Connected to her Phone - Just because you are wearing ear buds doesn't mean we can't hear you and your conversation. We heard you in the boarding area, on the plane, we heard you on the jetway, we heard you while waiting for your bags at the baggage carousel, we heard you laughing down the taxi ramp. We. All. Heard. You!

I wanted to punch you.

To the Gate Agent at Midway - there is a letter and there are numbers. 

Figure it out and stick with it!  
Flight to Dulles is at Gate B50. 10 minutes late, Attention Flight 123 to Dulles is now at Gate A4B, and when you got the giggles and told us over the PA that we had to move yet again while you laughed I wanted to punch you. The giggling made us all feel like you thought this was so damn funny making us go from gate a and gate b area. (and it was delayed 2 hrs to boot)

To the all the Taxi Drivers over the weekend. Take out the ear buds and stop talking on the phone. Just because you aren't holding the phone doesn't mean you are paying 100% attention to the road. The near misses proved that. You shouldn't be allowed to talk on the phone while you are driving people around your town.  

To the snarky waiter - you need to find a new job. You are too old and snarky. May be time to retire sir. You make a curmudgeon look sweet. The eye rolls, the sighing were most unprofessional and not so appreciated. I guess that is why this place puts the tip in the bill - otherwise you'd make nothing mister!

To the "L" Woman working at the airport that told me the wrong train stop to get off at.

You work for the "L" and you give us route maps to take the L yet you told 2 of us the wrong stops.  Not cool.  Was this just sick and twisted humor to amuse yourself at work? Or were you just clueless? 

To the Manager of Eon - If your website says you open at 1pm - you should be open at 1, not 4 o'clock. Just sayin'

To the Staff at my Hotel - YOU WERE ALL AWESOME!!!  I would recommend your hotel to everyone (JW Marriott - not to be confused with the Marriott on the Magnificent Mile) the food, the ambiance, the level of service was superb, the rooms perfection....(I could have done without the scale in the bathroom though) the food, the lounge, the people and oh the drinks. It was truly a great experience!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chicago Here I Come.

I'm leaving for Chicago Friday morning. 
YIPEE, a day off for me.
Wanna give me a ride to the airport? 
I hate taxi's around here.

Rick is off to the lake with the dog for a fishing weekend.
Hopefully he will feel good enough for that.

I am having a girls weekend. A friend from southern CA is going to Chicago for a conference which begins on Monday. We will play Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I then go back home Sunday night and she begins her conference.

Just the idea of no phones and no cranky people sounds delightful to me.
Then again I am going to the airport what the hell am I thinking? There will be more cranky ass people than ever all in one place. 

I don't normally fly Southwest. I have always been proud not to.
When you work for a GDS as I did, Southwest is not your friend. 
So it was ingrained in me my whole career. 
But I didn't want to fly to O'Hare and have that horrific trip from Rosemont Illinois (O'Hare) to downtown. So I bit the bullet and booked a SW flight and  will fly right into Midway which is in the city.   I hope I don't regret this booking, but it was the only carrier that went non stop from here to Midway. 

So nothing from me for awhile.
I'm sure there will be photo's and stories upon my return.
I love Chicago so I know this will be a great visit.  I really believe if the weather was better there everyone would want to live there. (2nd to Toronto for me)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Rick and I have a patio with full direct overhead sun.  
It is miserable to be on our patio in the summer, which is when you should be on your patio.
It's great for my tomatoes, peppers and flowers. For humans, not so much.

We have an umbrella on the table so we sit under there. But we have the sofa from the lake house at this home now and we threw it up against the garage to get a few minutes of shade from the overhang of the garage.  But now at this time of year there is only shade in the very early morning, you know when we're asleep.

We had our coffee out there a couple of weekends ago and Rick made breakfast on the grill.
It was great until the sun was completely overhead and we felt like we were melting.

So I looked into getting an enormous umbrella like we had at the lake house to cover us.
But my goodness since I last purchased them, they were much more expensive.

Rick got the bright idea of putting a gazebo out there. It was a whopping $40 more than an umbrella. He was convinced this was the answer. I felt it would make our deck look closed in and smaller.  I fought this battle and lost. Rick got his gazebo.

On Saturday while Rick had an ounce of energy. (this Lyme has sucked most of his energy)
he thought he would begin the next battle - putting this sucker together.
Because of his Lyme medications he has to be careful of the sun. We slathered him with 60+ and head out back. He was burnt like a lobster in mere minutes but with a few choice items of clothing and hats he managed to head back to the deck. 

The "directions"  said it would take an hour to put together. HA!
They give you a page that lists parts. No directions. Just a page of parts to look for along with a cheap, flimsy little wrench that I could bend with my hand. Useless. We had to use our own tools.

We then began to put this puzzle together. Now normally we are good at such things.
And if I'm not, we all know Rick is. But not this time.
Thankfully neighbors on both sides had left for the day because words were flying that we don't even normally say. 

By hour 2 we were feeling loopy. 
By hour 3 Rick stands up and proclaims that alcohol may help the situation.
He goes in for a beer. I said, "you shouldn't drink on these meds.
He said, "I shouldn't have to work either but I am."  We both laughed.  

We finally got this thing standing. literally we both said, "Ta Dah!"
We had so much more to do yet we were thrilled to get to this point after only 3 hours!!

After all of the pieces for the frame were in place I realized that 3 of the sides were backwards. That took the wind out of our sails and especially Rick's. 
He just said, "Aaah! Damn it Margaret!"
" 'Damn it Margaret' because I pointed it out? Or just overall damn it Margaret?"
He said, "BOTH!" 
"Well do you want to leave it like that?" 
"No." he says in a whine. "Let's just take it down and get it over with"
"Rick we'll be trying to erect this damn thing for weeks at this point."
To which Rick just laughs and grabs another beer.

So now we are into hour 4.  More beers and more swearing for my big guy and me.
At about the 4 1/2 hr mark we began to just laugh. 
We had no friggin' idea what we were doing. 
We kept going back to our patio table and looking at the page that came with the gazebo as though directions were just going to magically appear. 
Which would of course made us laugh some more because it was still a sheet of paper with only a list of parts. 

By hour 5 we were in full on laughter and giggle mode. We thought it was all done.
As I began to put on the screening that comes with it Rick sat and watched me struggling with this netting that is taller than me. He was enjoying watching me fight with this shit.
Finally I got it on 3 sides. When it got to the back part against the garage I realized that was still backwards. After a moment of perfectly selected swear words in Italian we decided to, how shall I say it in English?...."ah, just fuck it!"  
We just put the screening on the back side of the hook instead of the front. 
No one will tell unless they are staring at it and honestly I don't think they will then either.

Rick stated that if someone notices we will make them dismantled it and do it correctly before they can go home. That made me laugh too!  

Rick then said he had to be sure everything was level with his big trusty level before it was bolted into the patio. 
I said to Rick that "I don't need no stinking level let me just eye ball it"  
With his beer in one hand and his level in another he said, "Okay smart ass, let me measure and check all these and then you move it to where you think its correct and we'll see how good you are"
"Fine  I say, dare accepted."
I moved the 4 posts to where I thought each would be level.
I smile as I type this because I was dead on and while I thought I was going to be damn close I impressed myself.  
He went from post to post with his big blue level and just kept shaking his head. 
He never moved any of the posts. 
Then he put down his beer and did it all over again because it was sure he must have read this all wrong I couldn't have possibly done this without a level.

"HAH!  Didn't believe me did you?"

"No, I really didn't.  You always say you have no skills, now heres one."

"Oh and that is a great skill to have. I can see a career out of that. Tons of money!"

"Yea, it is a useless skill except of course when I need something level. But I am impressed Margaret."

I know you're all jealous of this skill aren't you?
Well at least I found one damn talent/skill before I died right?

Photo's to follow.
Here are the photo's to prove it.
Okay we're not done with putting the lights and other accessories out there to finish it off but you get the idea.  When completed I'll show ya'll again. My picture taking is far worse than my leveling skills because I made this look crooked.  The screening that is tied around the poles zips up on each side to keep the bugs out if you are so inclined to use it. 
And yes, I did make that table from wine crates.  $2.00 wine crates makes a cheap outdoor table!

 Okay these aren't of the gazebo but of my cherry tomato plants
 My jalapenos and I have poblanos as well.