Thursday, July 30, 2015

The dreaded Angies List

You all know my disdain of Angie's list as a business.
We are only seen now because we pay  $400 a month to be seen.
You can have reviews up the wazoo but if I didn't pay them you would not see them. 
They would bury us. That sounds fair to their members doesn't it?
They don't keep up with your license, your worker comp or anything as she states on her commercials. It's all smoke and mirrors.  I wouldn't join them for anything.
Okay, maybe if you paid me 12 million but no other good reason to be a member.

Last week I received an email saying my payment was late and to contact them. 
What? You automatically deduct these payments from my account monthly. 
How is it that I could be late?
I immediately pulled up my bank information online.
I saw that they took out a payment. I picked up the phone and called them. 
Of course, I could only leave a message. I did so....twice.
Then 2 days later as I was paying some bills I opened my account online. 
I saw that they took out 2 more payments of the same amount.   3 days in a row they hit me.
They have now taken over one thousand dollars so that is enough to notice don't you think?  

I called them right away and they told me it was the 3rd party who does all their ACH debits who did this. (ACH debits are the payments that are taken out automatically from my checking account.)   I told them I didn't really care who did it, when will they refund me?  Oh no later than August 8th. You take over $1,000 from me and I have to wait for my money?  I think that is all kinds of wrong. If my payment had indeed been late they don't wait a week or 2 until I get my affairs in order do they?

I got an email Wednesday telling me that checks would be cut and mailed no later than August 6th isn't that wonderful?
By the time, I receive this check it will be 3 weeks since they took this money from me.
They wrote it in such a way as if to say that we all should  be so pleased that it's early. 
I guess they think I will be thanking them. 
Instead when my contract is up in October I will no longer be renewing. They are dreadful in every way to work with and I honestly don't like their sleazy tactics.  

I had heard they were losing members and if this is true I would not be surprised. There are free services out there for reviews and as far as reviews go they are no better or worse. You must take reviews with a grain of salt anyways.
Currently, all of ours are great but someday there will be a nut who has a cross hair and it won't be fair or correct and what can you do? Nothing. Comes with the territory. Most people are rational when they read these and  you just have to learn to live with it. 

One of our favorite reviews is the lady who only gave us 4 stars because while the work was perfect in her words, the fact that we weren't plumbers bothered her so much she couldn't give us 5 stars. I mean, we worked in her bathrooms so for heavens sake we should be plumbers then. I guess when we install her counter tops she expects us to be chefs too.
So while it wasn't a perfect score, the job we were hired to do she thought was excellent. 
Most people can read that and see clearly who the nut job is. 

So next time you are looking for a contractor, ask friends and family or neighbors who they have used. Best is word of mouth. Then look online at yelp and others that are free to you.
Don't pay to join something, it's honestly not worth your time or money, you're just buying Angie a bigger house.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beach Time Part Deux

I arrived at my hometown on Thursday night.
I do not drive well in the dark. Old lady syndrome I guess.  So I was hell bent on getting there before dark.
My speed on the turnpike proved that. Thankfully no tickets.
Driving also makes me tired. That worries Rick and me actually.
So it was important I got there before dark.

I worked until 2 and then I left. Rick took over the office for 1 1/2 days. 
He called me on Friday afternoon and again on Monday to tell me he can't do this job and he hated it.  Yep, buddy so do I. 
I came back to work being unable to hit a link and go to the associated page. It tells me to download it. I can't make that go away. He insists he did nothing.
All kinds of things on the computer are messed up. We need Rick to go into other people's homes and leave my office computer alone.

Friday morning I met my sister Jennifer and two friends at the beach. (Jennifer still lives there)
 It was Discover Presque Isle days so it was going to be very crowded and we didn't want to deal with the crowds. So we picked a beach that is not the best because we knew there would be few families and people. But still nice. Our cute lifeguard was missing. 

It was perfect beach weather. We got there at 10 am. We put down our stakes and began laughing immediately. Of course when Katie asked me if I wanted a cocktail I said at 10 am? But by 10:10a I had succumbed to peer pressure.  By the way Katie, I know you are reading this, my sister adored you!!

I did not ask for permission to put Katie and Laura's faces here. So I only have my cute little sister. Yes, she is 42 but she's my little sister. And again it won't go upright no matter what I try. 
Trust me she's cute as hell....just upside down in all photos. 

 This is our corner of a cooler of yummy treats and alcohol. 

All this beautiful warm weather and yet when you go to my parents house it is hotter than hell. 
The house is closed up like a fortress. My father is dressed like it's winter and he sits in his chair with an electric blanket. We all were melting and my mom turned on the air and he had a fit. So she turned it off again. He would have been happy with the heat on. 

I was sitting and talking to Dad and he dozed off. He woke up a few minutes later and he turned and looked at me and said, 'You're still here?"  and he laughed like crazy. I said, "yes, I'm stalking you old man" He just cracks up. He has moments of great clarity like that one where he sounds like he always did and busts my chops. Then at other times he seems vacant. He is so tiny now. More of a weight loss since I last saw him. I took him out to lunch on Saturday and he just wouldn't eat much. Says he isn't hungry. I asked my mom what he weighs and she would only say, less than she does. I am guessing 115lbs. Scary thin now. He ate 1/2 a sandwich and he was very full and wanted to go home. He is antsy and with the exception of church and walmart he really doesn't wish to leave his home.

Saturday night my sister Stephanie flew in from Washington state with her daughter. It was her daughters birthday so we arrived at the airport with birthday balloons. She got a kick out of that. Jennifer and I were sitting in the airport and the gate agent yelled that the flight was delayed by 10 minutes. Jennifer and I laughed because the airport is so small she could just yell this to all of us in the waiting area. Too funny. No need for a stinkin' intercom.

Sunday night Jennifer and Stephanie stayed at my hotel room and we had a slumber party. 
I, of course, fell asleep on the sofa. They woke me with cameras flashing. I woke up and we stayed up until 2 am. I got up at 6 am and began to quietly make coffee.
I wanted to hit the road no later than noon. I ended up leaving at 1:36p.

I was so tired at a rest stop on the PA turnpike I stopped and parked for a bit. I put my seat back away from the wheel and fell asleep. I had nodded off on the road and that scared me.
So a nap was in order.

I slept for an hour. An elderly man knocked on the window and asked if I was okay. Apparently the way I was leaning against the door he thought something had happened to me. I thought that was very nice of him. Besides a human alarm clock was good because I needed to get moving. 

I got out of the car and thanked him.  He was so sweet. I told him I just got very, very sleepy and felt it was good to pull off and sleep instead of trying to drive through it. He and his wife had stopped to get coffee. They thought because I was slumped against the door I could be ill or worse. How thoughtful of them.  So we three went inside to the Starbucks. I bought them their coffee and pound cake for being so thoughtful and my way of a thank you.  We said our goodbyes and with coffee in hand I hit the road again. 

I got home Monday just around 8p. Which is still very good time.  
Rick made me a nice dinner and I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't want to eat. So I picked at it. After I cleaned up, I sat down with Rick and I was sharing stories of my trip and next thing I know it was 5:30a Tuesday morning and Izzy is licking my hand.

I apparently fell asleep sitting upright on the sofa. Rick tried to wake me, but I wouldn't budge. He said he gently knocked me over and then put a blanket on me. I slept that way all night in my clothes. I was shocked. I guess I was tired. I know I was tired of having to be here or there and all the running around. 

It's always good to come home and back to my routine....for a little while. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Beach

I grew spending my summers in a bathing suit, in and on the water. 
I was fortunate to have grown up in an area where that was possible.

I grew up in a suburb called Fairview. All my friends and I spent our summer at the beach.
My friend Nanette's parents had a home in a development that was on the water. 
So we would meet there and walk down the path to the beach. There were bonfires and just laying on our blankets and doing what kids did in the early 70's hanging out on the beach.
All so very innocent.

When I got older we would ride our bikes into the city to Presque Isle state park. Now my parents wouldn't let me ride my bike there. They thought it was too far (10 miles) and too busy traffic wise. But they let me ride my bike to Cathy's house. And from there we rode our bike to the beach. Cathy's mom thought it was fine. 

The state park is free. I believe it to be over 3,000 acres and I probably should have googled that before I typed this. (I'll let you do that) It is 11 miles of sandy beaches, lagoons, walking trails, concessions stand at the beach as well as cute life guards etc. When you're a kid, those cute lifeguards were 'da bomb'   Everything you want the beach to be. It's a gem in a city that is not so gem like.

We'd ride our bikes to the beach in our bikini's. What the hell were we thinking? Sometimes I'd have a t-shirt on but sometimes I didn't. I remember a time riding with my girlfriends, and we were heading to our favorite beach at that time, which was beach 6.  A car full of boys our age drove by and they smacked us on the ass. I fell off my bike. I was only in my bathing suit so when I fell on the pavement I had a bad gravel/pavement burn down the side of my right leg.  OUCH.  But I sure couldn't go home and tell my parents since I wasn't suppose to be down there in the first place. So as far as they knew, I fell in Cathy's driveway. 

One day we were on the beach and we saw the guys from a band we loved. It was Donnie Iris. He was in a band called the Jaggerz. They had a couple of hits, two, being, Ah Leah, and The Rapper. They were a regional band and I believe from Pittsburgh. Now Donnie wasn't cute but to us he was a rock 'n roll star so we were giggly goofy girls who weren't old enough to drive a car. But they thought we were older and we went along. Of course, the band talked to us and asked if we were going to the show. They said if we went to the door and said our names they would be sure to have us get in. I am sure they had no idea how young we really were. 
So of course we didn't tell them. Cathy told them we were 18 when he asked her how old she was. We looked it and sure played along. We were "swooning" 

Oooh, I knew my father wouldn't let me go but I sure was gonna try. And right I was, I wasn't allowed to go. None of us were. We were 15, I wouldn't let my daughter go either. But trust me when I say I wasn't happy. We were all so stupid to tell our parents we could get in for free. 
Our parents knew what we didn't know and of course they wouldn't let us go. You don't get in for free for nothing.  Kids today aren't that naive but boy we sure were.

This place is my favorite place. It has everything for 4 seasons. Once you leave what I feel is a dirty depressed city and you enter this park you are swept away. I have spent my life traveling to beaches and none are any better. Each beach is numbered and each has its own personality and differences. One is great for the wind so you'll see the windsurfers and professional kite flyers. One has a lot of picnic tables and is more family friendly etc.

I love winter there too. I used to cross country ski there in winter. The animals were so close to you on the trails when skiing and that to me was cool. Of course, my husband loves the fishing there most of all. The lagoons and the bay were his favorite spots for his fishing.

There is a lot of history there of course as well. Monuments to Commodore Perry and the battle of Lake Erie. Along with the tall ship Niagara. A little bit of everything there for everyone and it's free. Doesn't get any better than that. I know there are a lot of bird sanctuaries and bird groups. Not a fan of the bird so never did partake in those sorts of things but knew it was a big deal down there and used to see all the bird watchers in their groups. 

There is a working lighthouse on Presque Isle.  As you'd drive by sometimes you'd see the family who lived there outside. I used to tell my parents how cool it would be to live there. Then as I got older I used to tell my friends the same thing. I was always fascinated by this damn thing. Then it was no longer lived in and just used for some offices for the park etc. I so wanted to see the inside of this place. But there was never a tour so it was just always something I had pictures of, pen and ink drawings hanging in my home or I could walk by on the beach to view.

This past week while in my hometown to visit my family I got to tour the lighthouse.
My sister from the west coast was in town with only 1 of her children. The youngest one is 12, Sophie,  she wanted to see all the things her mom did when she was a kid. So we took a drive out to Fairview to show her the house we all grew up in. The big tree in the front that her mom planted from a science project in school. We took her to ax murder hollow where her mom had told her the story of her big sister Peggy scaring the bejeebers out of her. Sophie loved that story. We showed her the schools her mom went to and that too was fun for her. But her favorite part was the beach. 

We stopped and got ice cream at Sara's, which is an institution in these parts.
We showed her the house boats on the bay and then as we were driving by the lighthouse we saw they were having tours.  I squealed the brakes and we 3 went in.  I was like a little kid, something I have always wanted to do is finally happening. 

The tour was going to begin in a few minutes so we could walk around the house while waiting for the tour to begin. The tour took us up the top of the tower. As we were walking around commenting on how damn small the room were a woman came into the room we were in. We saw her sitting at a table earlier signing copies of a book in the room that was now a gift shop
As I pointed something out to my sister, this woman jumped in and said, "That's right it is 5 bricks thick" She then introduced herself to us and shook our hands and told us she lived in this house from 1956 to 1965. She had great stories.  Her father was thrilled to get this opportunity for the hunting and fishing at the time that was allowed on the park. She said he came home and told her mother that they could live there for $25 a month. Her mother said yes. They moved in and her mother learned there was no running water in the house. 

Now to me that would have been the end of my idea of living in the lighthouse. 
But they lived that way for a year. She had some great tales to share!
Finally, our tour was ready. 

We climbed these narrow steps up a spiral staircase to the very top. 
We were told how men and women who lived in this house would climb these every 3 hours with buckets of oil to keep the light burning. 1 trip up and 1 trip down was enough for me.
Today, of course, this is not done by oil. It is modernized.  Those steps were a killer. They were so very narrow. One of the women in the group was a large woman and she got up just the first couple and we all had to back down. She couldn't fit width-wise as it turned the first bend. I felt badly for her. 

The steps were so narrow that you had to walk on the side that was wide for your foot to fit. One side was like only a piece and the other side was wider. But coming down I still put my foot sideways and held on for dear life. The steps for me were also very high from one step to another. I am short so that was an issue. My niece of 12 has longer legs so she was laughing at me.  We got a fun history lesson up there. Sophie got to see Canada across the lake. She got a kick about that. This kid doing the tour took to Sophie being that she was the youngest there and really pointed things out to her specifically. She asked so many questions. The young man doing the tour mentioned how a young man walked across the frozen lake to Ontario and how three years later someone swam to Long Beach Ontario from beach 10 and that beach was later named after him. All the way home she kept asking us questions about it. I knew the kid who walked across the frozen lake he was my friends older brother. But I did not know the person who swam across lake Erie. She drove us crazy for awhile with all the questions. Then telling her grandma (mom ) about the thickness of the lighthouse and how it was built that way to withstand the winters and winds.  But I was also thrilled that she was so interested in something I was so happy doing. 

This gal is a gymnast and she is tumbling constantly. She did it as you see below even at the lighthouse.

 These were the harrowing steps to the top of the light house. Note how they are wide on one side and so narrow and short on the other.

Views from the top of the lighthouse. 

 This was from one of the windows as we were going up. This out building was the oil shed. It was used to store the oil for the light. 
This is Sara's at the entrance to the park. Yum!
 Of course I had an orange sherbet vanilla twist in a dish. soft serve orange sherbet!
That skinny little girl above ate curly fries, hot dog, huge cone and then flipped around the park and I supposed burned it off. Damn, to be young again!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wine Yoga

Barbara, from the blog Baby Blogging Boomer.sent me this and I laughed out loud.
Gee, I leave such a good and accurate impression. 

I showed a friend who said, "I'll buy you the wine Margaret IF I can video tape you doing this." 
I sent her the year and brand of favorite wine. :-)


See you all when I return from my hometown.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekly Random Updates

I found this statement along with a photo of Jenny McCarthy's new pink hair very funny.
"Now that her hair is taken care of, McCarthy can get back to spreading dangerous misinformation about public health and contributing to outbreaks of previously eradicated diseases among children. And she'll look fabulous doing it."

My husband drove all the way to Quantico yesterday to work on a job and realized he didn't have his wallet with him when they wouldn't allow him to enter without the proper ID. He called the office bitching a fit that we had to reschedule this. After he had his hissy fit I said, "you do know you are yelling and no one did this to you, you did this to yourself."

His response? "I know, but I can't yell at me. If I bitch to you, you'll yell at me."  And then he burst into laughter.  Idiot.

My diva dog is losing hair at the rate of Shih Tzu a day. We don't know why this is happening. Along with the hair loss, she is limping sporadically. Like when she first gets up after a nap. 
She sure isn't sore when it comes time to swim every afternoon, but I think we need to see what is going on here. Too late to be blowing her coat. I furminate her daily. I vacuum 2 x a day unless being lazy then only 1. I have tumble weeds of hair - no exaggeration here. It's scary. I fear I may have a hairless dog soon.  I am taking her to the vet under protest from Rick on Tuesday morning. He thinks I worry needlessly. When she looks like a bald Labrador then he may think it's a good time to go to the Vet. When her leg falls off and not before.  Can too many cooked carrots make her shed like this? That is the only thing she gets as a treat these days. 

I told a customer this morning that we will not change the color of their toilet. Told them no one will do that due to the standing water. It will not look good nor last at all. He still insists.  He went on and on. He said then only the outer part and leave the inside white.  "
I am an interior designer and my client wants it gray, they insist!" He shouted into the phone.
Fine then buy a damn Kohler gray toilet, they sell them in 2 shades of gray.
 I also explained if done, it would need to be in place, not transported and all the reasons why.
I asked if the commode  was in NoVa. He said no, in DC. 
I said we do not service DC or MD only NoVA.. He went bat shit crazy on me at 7:30a this morning. Apparently he has heard NO for 2 days. He has also heard NO to servicing the District. (yes, most won't service that area unless based in that area) He then demanded to speak to the owner. I told him the owner was working in a government area where he can't use his phone this morning but by early afternoon he will call me for messages and I can certainly have him call you then. Will that work for you? He made a dramatically loud sigh that made me almost laugh and he said,"Fine."
Let Rick deal with that hot mess I don't get paid enough (or paid), so he can deal with this unhappy male interior designer having a massive hissy fit.

I got the worst haircut ever 3 weeks ago. I had a good cry upon coming home. After that I have been wearing a baseball cap the majority of the time. I am going up north as I mentioned here to see family I haven't seen in some time. I also am dealing with some medical issues that rear there head from time to time and that has caused a great deal of swelling. I wear a size 10 pants. My 12's are tight when this happens. Not from eating or at least I'd feel better knowing that I ate myself into a 12. But from swelling. My hands, face, body, the whole gamut is swollen. My feet look like Barney Rubble feet. My ankle bones have gone MIA.  While there is pain with this and a plethora of other ailments that come with this it's the vanity shit that bugs me. Because I am a shallow shit. I have had this illness for a long time now. I am used to the pain, the shittiness of it all. But honestly the vanity of it really gets to me. I saw a neighbor who moved and she said, 'Oh my your face is puffy were you drinking last night?"  Now that is a hurtful thing to say if I were drinking. But no, my face is swollen and you can't see my cheekbones because of my illness. (bitch) Thankfully that shut her up and she moved on to something about her kids. Because she didn't care enough to ask how I was feeling it just was a question to me to let me know she thought I look like shit. Aren't people nice?

I told my sister when I pick her up at the airport I will be the naked one in the baseball cap. 
My clothes don't fit and my hair looks like shit.  She never missed a beat and said, "Okay it's been awhile since I've seen you but that will certainly help me, I don't think you'll need to hold up a placard."
Ah, ya gotta love my sister.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Late Late Night Last Night.

I have really grown to like this man's show. I think the Carpooling segments are very fun segments and this one I enjoyed.  Last night he carpooled with Rod Stewart, so I really liked this one. C'mon who doesn't love Rod Stewart - with the Faces or without, he is one of my favs.

Garden and Liquor.

We have had a very cool and rainy summer. Cool for us. Only in the 80's and wet.
 It seems like it rains every day. I am sure there have been days where it hasn't rained, it just doesn't feel like it. 

But all this rain has made my veggies grow like crazy. My deck is overwhelmed in veggies. Tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts. I've never had tomato plants so high and so many tomatoes. 

Here are some of the poblanos that I picked one day. I get these every few days. Over the weekend we stuffed them with prosciutto and cheese and grilled them. Oh, my were they good. My tomatoes are out of this world. The big ones we have stuffed with chicken salad, topped with cheese and baked. We are in tomato heaven right now. Mmm.....yummy.

My jalapenos are terrific too. I love hot and spicy and boy this are both. They are thick walled too. I'm impressed with our veggies this year. I wish I had a back 40 to really grow things.

I had so many cherry tomatoes I made this which  I saw on a blog. I took them to a party over the 4th. But instead of just putting them in a container I put them in a melon 'cause it looked cuter and that's how I roll. Seriously it was a bloody mary in a bite. I loved 'em..

We had a very small seedless watermelon.
We saw a thing on Rachel Ray where they made it look like a frog. We did that, like this below.
Only instead of fruit we put in the marinated cherry tomatoes along with the liquor.

We then followed the recipe for the Bloody Mary Bites. We filled this frog with them after they marinated for several hours. I put the dipping seasoning into 2 limes that I had hollowed out.  I then put them along with the toothpicks, in front of the frog on a platter. These were a huge hit. 
We, of course, doubled the recipe because we had that many cherry tomatoes. 

At first when this was on the table everyone crinkled up their nose and said, "What's that?"
But as soon as you say, Bloody Mary bites, try one - everybody of course did just that. 
They were a huge hit and were the first thing to be emptied. Everyone kept asking for the recipe. Thank you blogger friend!

Here is the recipe - don't say I don't give you anything. ( I doubled this)

1 pt cherry tomatoes
2 Tbs. Franks hot pepper sauce
1 cup pepper vodka
2 tbs lemon pepper seasoning
2 tbs celery salt.

Gently poke a few holes in each cherry tomato and drop them into a bowl or jar. Add the Franks hot pepper sauce and pepper vodka to cover. Let them marinate in this for about 2 hours prior to serving. To serve - Combine the lemon pepper seasoning and celery salt. Using cocktail picks dip the marinated tomato into the seasoning salt and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I was talking to someone dear to me recently about marriage.
I am of the opinion that marriage is not hard.
Hard is trying to feed your family without a job or making minimum wage.
Hard is being falsely imprisoned.
Hard is being a caregiver to an elderly parent while raising your own family
Hard is dealing with a disease for you or your child.
Hard is dealing with the loss of a child or loved one.
Those are just some hard things.
Marriage shouldn't be one of them.

I've asked Rick if he thinks marriage is hard and he said, "It's up and downs but that's life. If it were hard it wouldn't be the right marriage for me."  I'll go with that answer.

Yes, it is a roller coaster of highs and lows and the in-betweens. Even that to me is not hard.
I am of the opinion that if it's hard and that difficult someone isn't doing something right. 
Or it's not a right fit or something needs work. I don't feel my marriage is hard.It's not even difficult.
Oh hell, he can bug the shit out of me and vice versa. But that too shall pass and we normally laugh about it.
I felt that way about most of my roommates from time to time. No real difference in marriage except I am crazy nuts in love with him and I don't want a new roommate. 

Someone I love is there, in that negative marriage space.
Nothing is working. It's time, she knows it, but can't do it for whatever reason.
It's painful to watch as an outsider. I wish I could shelter her but it's all too late.
The pain is on her face and body. The pain is in her words and her movement.
The sadness has shaped her view. The sadness had affected her children.
It all needs to have an uplift and a change. She has tried, She has bent and rolled over and all of that to keep peace. She has done it all. He only has yelled, complained, screamed, bullied, guilt and manipulates.
It's so awlful. Rick wants to "knock" some sense into this man. No, you can't do that Rick.
It wouldn't work anyway.. He thinks it's everyone else's issues that cause the fear, the pain, the new indifference. It's not, it's him. He caused the alienation of his children and lack of respect from them by his behavior. He caused the demise of it all. But to him, he's a victim. He's a bully. He's full of rage and anger and wakes up this way. He will walk into a family warm situation and put water on that fire immediately. Causing fear and pain and for everyone to disperse. 

That got me thinking of what she can do for herself to renew, to think clearly, to see what needs to be done.
The blogger, Blogaratti, wrote something about things that will most certainly help when you are feeling down, overwhelmed, whatever.
Personally, ice cream and wine weren't listed and frankly I think they belong in there with music and books. But perhaps that is only me and those I know. I know, what the hell company do I keep?

As must as this is difficult to witness, it's much worse for those involved. I know that, yet, I want to help.
Logically I know I can't. But emotionally I want to. Ever been there?

Monday, July 13, 2015


I told you last week that we use Amazon Prime for work and with that we get all their "netflix" type shows.
It still frustrates us because it is not user-friendly like Netflix but really enjoying their shows.
This one slayed us. 

Unfortunately, this is only 6 episodes, so we binged on them Saturday night.
My God it was funny. And truthful in a way you don't normally see. Truthful about  the aging, the sex, the pregnancy, the family issues. 

Because the lead man is American in London there are a lot of references to America that are so spot on how the rest of the world sees us and it's funny. The lead female is Irish. She tends to see the dark in everything and this lover of hers, the American, sees the light in earnest in everything. So the comedy ensues. 

If you are someone who only likes PG-13 at best, then this is not for you.
It is an adult real comedy of 2015 and it has some language and topics that may make some offended or squirmish. 

And thank God for my husband and cc because I have such a difficult time with accents and there were times I had no idea what she just said so Rick would repeat and then he just turned on the CC. So it's not just for the hard of hearing I learned. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Travel 2

After my job was no longer flying to another city to work life settled in a bit more.
I started in reservations, now I was at the ticket counter. Oh boy, the doozies you deal with in those departments.

In reservations, you were asked silly questions like where you'd be picked up. Really? how about the airport?

At the ticket counter, you were just abused because everything that happened including their parking spot was your fault. I was called names, I had things thrown at me and I had people ask me, "Do you know who I am?"   I think they had dementia. 
Being the little wench that I am even if I did know who they were, I always said no.  It was a practice we all did at the counter. If you are going to throw that around I am going to really make you angry and tell you I have no idea who you are or how important you were. That bothers those types more than anything, even losing their luggage. 

One time the mayor's wife said that to Jim at the USAir ticket counter. I was closing up the counter at my airline because our last flight had just left. I heard her say those words to him and I thought, "'oooh she is not saying that to Jim"  Jim is like my husband and wouldn't say something nice or smile while saying anything like I would.  I turned to watch what was happening over at USAir and he said, "No I don't should I? Do you know who I am?"  She huffed and said nothing else. He proceeded to finish what he was doing for her and she walked away all mad. Jim looked over at me and winked. He knew damn well who she was and so did I but I loved that he said it. I wouldn't have had the guts.

But the best thing about working in the travel industry was the travel. You see this was before terrorists, people dressing terribly inappropriate for travel and when people still had manners. Imagine that for a minute. Real food, high costs to fly, people dressed well, people were polite, and best of all it was a real treat to fly somewhere. One saved for it. It wasn't easily accessible to everyone as it is today. 
Yes, those were the good ole days.

I always flew what was called non-rev (non-revenue).  Flying non-rev meant you got a seat when there were empty seats on the plane. Flying non-rev in those days also meant dressing in appropriate business attire. For women that meant skirts and stockings, suits etc. For men, it was always a jacket and tie and absolutely for both no jeans. Funny isn't it? Last trip I saw people in pj's and slippers and bed head. 

Sometimes if I had a few days free I would just look and see which flights had openings. I would just go somewhere. Explore alone or with a co-worker and come home. We all worked shift work so when someone wanted to have a long succession of days off and it wasn't vacation time you worked someone else's shift. So for example, I had Thursday & Friday off. So Kathy may ask me if she could work my shift, even if it meant she was working a double shift. That way I owed her. That also gave me many days off so I could go somewhere. I would ask which days she wanted me to work for her and if I agreed then we would switch. That way she would get everyone she worked for owning her days and then she could literally take 7 days off in succssion without asking for time off. We all did this and we all did all the time. 

Because I was from this city everyone wanted the holidays off. I always volunteered to work their holidays. I got extra pay and they got to fly home to see their loved ones. I worked one Christmas 5:30a - 2pm. I got home just in time for the big dinner with the family and didn't miss a thing really. I made double time and my friend got to be with her family in another state. 

Jay, who worked in operations, loved Bruce Springsteen. He got tickets for 4 of us and we flew to see him.We all got our schedules worked out so we could fly to New York to see him and fly home that night. It was great. There really wasn't much that I didn't do during those couple of decades. I had a ball. Want to go skiing? We flew to Aspen. I don't even ski. But I had a ball. Want to get some great BBQ? We went to Memphis, ate well and went to hear some great blues. February and you need a tan? How about the Netherlands Antilles? Sure why not.
 Flew to Maine once for a lobster dinner with friends and I don't even eat seafood. But we had a wonderful time. We took a ferry to an island where the restaurant was located. It was gorgeous! 

You could fly to the Caribbean for free but standing in line to get through customs in that heat in heels, panty hose and all those clothes was never fun. But I would just remind myself that all those folks in shorts and comfy shoes had to pay and I didn't. In fact, I probably was even in first class. I think I flew 2 or 3 times in over 25 years in coach. I was oh so spoiled.

As I mentioned I was working for a regional carrier in my hometown. It was bought out by a larger carrier called Piedmont Airlines. At that point in time they were a big company based in Winston-Salem. All of our flights connected to their hubs. 

One day we were told of their inaugural flight to Denver. The flights were not booked so a bunch of us who had that day off decided to fly to Denver for the day. There were 5 of us. Two pilots, Jay from operations, me and another woman from the ticket counter. We boarded in the morning. They were serving mimosa's in first class for the inaugural flight.
We landed in Denver and the first thing I recall looking out the window was, "Where are the mountains."  Having never flown into Denver before I was expecting to see the mountains. It looked like a vast wasteland to me and I was so surprised. We rented a car, we got maps, yes before a GPS, and took off for parts unknown. We asked people things to see and do and we did them. We had a fabulous late lunch and then flew home.

I was living with my sister at the time and I was dating a man who lived in Huntsville Alabama. 
I really thought my sister would love his roommate. I watched all the flights to see how they were booking. My boyfriends roommate was going to be in Washington DC for the weekend. My sister and he had been talking on the phone, it was now time for them to meet. I watched the flights and saw which ones were not fully booked. I spoke to the captain and co-caption flying that route and asked if I could just get (sneak) my sister on the plane. We worked it out. She flew to DC and met her future husband. Can't do that anymore. 

They had a great weekend and she came home and said how much she liked him and on and on. The next few trips she paid for and went to his hometown and then I believe Nashville. Sure enough she did indeed like him. They have been married now since 1987 

In my life I have no regrets of anything I've done, only what I didn't do.
One of those was flying more to Europe. I spent weekends in the Caribbean, visiting friends around the country and Canada. I was perpetually tan because if I had down time I would go to St. Kitts, Martinique, you name an island and I've probably been there. Why I never went to Europe is crazy. At the beginning, it was because I didn't have the money. While I could fly for free in the US and Canada, it cost about $50 to $100 to go to Europe or Hawaii. I was working 2 jobs and that wasn't feasible.  Hell I went to Aruba with $150 in my pocket and came home with change. 
I didn't pay to fly there nor did I pay to stay in a hotel because I was with a travel agent friend who got her rooms comped. So yes, me not forking over a few bucks for Europe was damn stupid. Normally that amount was my spending money, not the money to fly there. I kept thinking there was time. There never is, is there?

By the time I reached my 3-year goal of working in the GDS (computer systems) of the airlines, I was now making money. And yet, I still didn't go. Dumb ole Margaret
I was so fortunate to do all the things I got to do and I must say I appreciated it then too.
I knew how lucky I was. I had my dream job by this time and I got to travel when I wanted.

A woman I worked with in Ohio had just returned from a long weekend in Jamaica at a Sandals resort. She raved about the first class treatment and what fun she and her boyfriend had there.
I looked into it, but it was couples only. I wasn't dating anyone. Rick was just my friend living in another city and he was dating a bevy of bimbos but none in a committed relationship so I asked if he wanted to go there with me. I explained it was couples only so we had to pretend we were a couple. 

He bought himself a ticket to Montego Bay and I said to my friends at the Eastern Airlines ticket counter that my friend was traveling with me and could they please let him sit upfront in first with me. They said as long as he is dressed appropriately we'll do it. So I told Rick that he had to wear nice pants, a jacket and tie. He asked, "If I don't will you sit in coach with me?"  I laughed and said, "not on your life."

 So he wore a jacket and tie. We had a ball, laughing and drinking in first. He told the flight attendant I was his wife and we were on our honeymoon, she said, "no she's not." 
Then he said, " would you believe she is my girlfriend?"  She said, "NOPE."  
I told him they know me, they can see I'm an employee you numbnut, you can't tell them stories. Save it for the resort.

We had to pretend we were a couple to stay there so we did. Looking back on all this is funny to me. It's not like they saw our sleeping arrangements. We were a boy and a girl and that was the only requirement at that time. So when we met couples who asked how we met we told them. We never lied. No one asked if we were a proper couple. We just didn't say anything about it. 

While I could fly free here I had to pay to stay at this 5 star resort. I had to pay $35 a day. 
Rick sucked that down in bacon and booze by noon so this was a steal for us. 
This resort is all-inclusive, no tipping of any kind, no money out of your pocket once you are there. All meals at all the restaurants, all the booze, all the toys, boats etc. All inclusive. 
We only stayed for 4 days, a quick weekend getaway. We spent $140 and were treated 1st class all the way. Want a bottle to take to your room, sure no problem mon. Never another cent. We watched a couple renew their vows there one afternoon. It was beautiful. Rick turned to me and said, "this would be a really great place to get married wouldn't it?"

Never in a million years did I think that I would get married there to my buddy Rick 6 years later.
Never in a million years did I think I would date him so that alone is pretty funny looking back.

Traveling then was so civilized and different than how it is today. I miss traveling a great deal but then when I do get a chance to go somewhere it is so horrific. It saddens me in a way and yet, I have to say I am so glad that I spent my youth flying all over the place and experienced so many kinds of cities, people and food. I learned that no matter the beauty of an area, the people make it beautiful or not. I learned so much from travel. I think it is still a great thing for young people to do and experience. To open their minds. I have found those with a closed mind normally don't leave their small area.  
I also learned that while Dallas may not have been for me I sure did like Galveston, and Austin, but never got to San Antonio which I wanted to experience.

I don't get o fly every week now, but I still hope that I can cross one thing off my bucket list. That would be driving through New England in fall in my Winnebago with Rick and Izzy. Stopping for apples, driving through the Adirondacks, boating on lake George, having fresh maple sryup, and just taking pictures and enjoying all of the beauty surrounding us. That is what this old broad would do now. Then a trip to Positano before I die.  Wine, water and the Amalfi coast, how bad can that be?

Thursday, July 9, 2015


When I started my career in the travel industry I wanted a job. Period.  I knew what I wanted to do, but I also knew that I couldn't get out of school and start right where I wanted to be.
I knew I would have to work my way up to that position and I had a 3-year plan. I was determined to be working in the computer divisions in 3 yrs or less. 

3 months prior to graduation I was offered 2 jobs. 1 of the jobs was part-time at first and then moving to full time eventually. The position was in Dallas for American. I knew that it had the potential to go full time, but it was in Dallas. I did not want to live in Texas. I may have only been 20 something, but I knew me. I had been there. This was a nice place to visit but not for me to live. I am not saying anything bad about Dallas, it just wouldn't  work for me.

The other job was in my hometown where I also did NOT want to live. The job in Dallas was $2 more an hour but no benefits. The job in my hometown was full time, less money, but I could still live with my sister and keep my part time 2nd job. What is a girl to do? I'm broke and have school loans that want to be repaid now. I just needed a job. 

Being with a major carrier was a good thing to movin' on up I thought. Staying at a small regional carrier would be more difficult to get to where I wanted to be.   I so wanted to leave this small town but for Dallas?   I had to make a decision and I had to make it quickly or I wouldn't have either job. 
I actually  talked this over, out loud, which I needed, with a counselor at school. It helped me, but I hated my decision even though I knew it was the right one for that moment in time. I decided to take the job in my hometown. But I would have to fly to work for a year until they moved the entire headquarters to my hometown from Latrobe PA. I was hoping I'd be gone to bigger and better things by then.

I began my new job the first Monday after my graduation. I was all shiny, young, hopeful and naive. I would fly from my hometown to Pittsburgh and then on a very small 7 passenger piper Navajo plane to Latrobe PA to work. I did this every day for 1 year. 

Latrobe Pennsylvania is a very small town. Most known for the home of Arnold Palmer, or beer. 

I believe the population is less than 10,000 folks.  I guess I should have googled it first, but you get the idea.
The airport looked just like the airport on the television show Wings. There was even a lunch counter and an upstairs, exactly like the TV show. A cast of characters as well. Oh boy, was there ever a cast of characters.

When you work for a small airline everyone is young and so damn happy to be flying and/or working in the industry. The pilots are very young and new and trying to get all the hours they can accumulate so that they can move on up to the bigger planes and the bigger companies. This small regional airline flew small turbo props Embraer and the small Navajo I mentioned earlier. We called them starter planes. We were all starter employees too.

Because we are all in the same boat, with big dreams elsewhere, we all bonded. We all could fly for free on the major carriers as well so we all traveled together on days off and all became friends. One of the pilots was an older guy. His name was George. George was a hoot.

Now here I was in my 20's so at that time he seemed ancient to me. I think he may have been 40. I know he flew in Viet Nam during the war. He had war stories. I asked one of the younger pilots why he never left this small carrier. The younger pilot told me that George lives on acreage out in the boonies and likes it that way. He doesn't like the city. He just likes to fly. 

The younger pilots really looked up to him. While he appeared to be a real joker when it came time to flying he was as serious as you want your pilot to be're hung over.

One evening after I got home I went out with some friends. I stayed out so late that I had enough time to sleep for 2 hrs and get up and head to the airport. Oh I was feeling rough that day, really rough. I deserved it, but I wanted to crawl back in bed and not be flying or working hung over. 
File it all under, dumb things you do when you are under 25.

I saw George walk to the gate and wave to me. He chatted with the woman at the gate counter for a minute and then walked over to me. There were no passengers on this early morning flight that day. They came to just get me. He took one look at me and said, "oh my goodness what the hell happened to you Peg?"  I acted like I had no idea what he meant. I said, "Nothing why?" He laughed and said, "Hung over are we?"  
I said, "We? You better not be George!"  God did I look that bad? 
He laughed and we walked out to the plane. (oh the good ole days) I climbed the steps and he followed. 

I had my fake leather bag that looks like a briefcase crossed with a man's satchel. I had my work in there and my printouts from all the programming items I was to accomplish before work today. Thankfully I had finished everything before I went out that night. 

George and the copilot Warren both told me to sit behind them. I did as I was told. 
We chatted for a bit.  They asked about my evening and things like that. 
I really wasn't feeling well and George said, "lookin' green pretty one"  
Next thing I know they are doing things with the plane and laughing. 
I thought I was going to vomit or die. 
George says, "how did that feel?"   "Like Shit!" I replied.  They laughed. 
I would have said more but I thought I was going to vomit and talking isn't what you want to do when you have that feeling.
Damn, if George doesn't do it again.  It felt like the plane dropped and so did my stomach.
This time I quickly pulled out all my papers and vomited in my bag - twice. 
I yelled, "UNCLE"  and I hit George. They thought this was a damn hoot. 
I didn't enjoy being on a ride like this hung over - he was going to pay I promised myself.

By this time, we were in Latrobe air space and going to land. It was a very quick flight of about 30 minutes.They were laughing at me and I wanted to kill them. I got off the plane, threw my bag into the garbage and realized my nice wooden pen was in that bag. No way I was digging that out!

George yelled for me to have a nice day as I walked ahead of them. I flipped him the bird.
They were laughing so hard and loudly everyone was looking at them.  I wanted to kill him.  
He was so likable you couldn't stay mad for long.  

I went to work and grabbed my toothbrush out of my desk and immediately hit the bathroom. 
When I came back my boss asked what was going on.  I told her what George did. She laughed and said, "Sounds like George"

Yep, he gave me big ones all the time. After I broke my nose he made me laugh so hard on purpose and it hurt to smile. I made the mistake of telling him to stop it. Telling him to stop I realized only encouraged him.  He was always giving me a hard time, but we all loved him. 
He was fun, he was a very good pilot and he was funny like a great comedian.  

One day while having cocktails with him I asked him why he picked on me so much. He said, "Honestly because I can and I like you kid"   
"Gee, I would hate to see what you'd do to me if you didn't like me."  
He said, "I'd do the same thing I do to Rusty."   
And with that comment we both laughed. He was never nice to Rusty so I knew what he meant.
(Rusty was a mechanic who was not really liked by any of us)

When I broke my nose of course he was there front and center to harass me 
But that's for another day.  Did I write that story here? I may have to look that one up because I'm old now and forgetful.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

No Sharks

Going north in a few weeks to visit family.
I have a sister I haven't seen in too many years to count who lives out west.
She has 3 children that I barely know. She is coming with her youngest. 
I am really looking forward to seeing her.

I will be arriving a few days prior to her arrival to sneak into town to see friends. Once my family gets a hold of me I can't usually break free to see others. Because I stay at a hotel they will be none the wiser I hope. Small town you know.

I have a day planned with my sister Jennifer, my friends Katie and Laura to go to the beach. (my sister will never tell.)
This should be a day of bitching, laughing, drinking and cussing, 'cause that's what we do when we get together. With all the rain we've been having I need an ark, not sunscreen. 
I am hoping to get a full blown sun burn at this point for some semblance of color.
This video was something I saw on facebook about the beach being shark free in my hometown. 

Rick is going to be manning the office and that should prove detrimental to our business. 
He won't be nice if they are  rude. He will say what he wants to say vs. me saying what needs to be said and not what I would like to say. This falls under the category of what he doesn't understand, like bed making and dieting. I have shown this man hospital corners for over 28 yrs and he still can't do it. He can build the friggin' bed from near nothing, but make the bed? Not on your life. And dieting? He has never lasted more than 2 days - ever. And he has this type of logic, "oh it's only 1 piece of cake and it's small, it won't hurt"   No, this man can not diet.
Rick could never survive being female. With the dieting, the heels, the pain, the multi tasking he could never do and the attention to detail. All things a woman does to look nice it is all so out of his realm of comfortable. He loves women in heels and those that care for themselves, he will notice that and comment on that, but heaven forbid he is not comfortable. So no, it's a good thing he's 100% male. If he were female he would bring mu-mu's back in style because to him that would be comfort and heaven knows this man is all about his comfort as he asks for another piece of cake.