Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day four in Orlando

I made it to my destination safe and sound and before I start whining I'll be positive. Marilyn came and undid the deadbolt and I told Ana via hotel room phone and so that problem is solved. Upon hearing of my smartphone plight, Amy (bless her!!!) is coming to my rescue with a spare she has which she'll bring with her for tomorrow. She is going to BestBuy to get a sim card and putting $20 on it. I feel so much better having a phone for the trip home, especially for rendez-vousing with Marilyn next Wednesday who will unload the car for me and stay to get me organized again. She's an unpacking, laundry-starting, mail sorting star. I really have sincere gratitude for the people in my life. And Nancy volunteered to trade rooms with me if my room is closer to where we'll be working, but I'll do OK.

Ok, now that's out of the way. I hate Disney. I really do. It's a big machine. We're actually at a Disney resort which is so effing big. When you pull in to the "gated community" style gate, the security guard who looks at your photo ID says, "Welcome Home!" No, this is not my home. I have a home and this isn't it. Does anybody who hears that think "Oh yeah, I'm home!"

Then the fakely cheerful officious registration guy who is out of central casting. Photo ID again and you get a prisoner's bracelet to wear which doubles as your room key and you have to make up a PIN... I don't know for what, but I did.... then to the bell station, then back to my car... then wait for a bellperson.

Here I'll stop whining and say I got the most lovely bellwoman named Maria. She asked me what I did and I said "I'm a writer" which is the easiest explanation, and she said I should write about her life. I had to follow her in my car behind her golf cart, to parking, to unloading my car into her golf cart and then I had to get in the golf cart which was high, but I did it on the first try and away we went. I'll never find my car again... but then we went as far as the golf cart can go and I'm sweating and hot and puffing and now we're off on foot. The Iditarod takes less energy than getting to your room.

Meanwhile, I hear that she came here from Chile when she was 17 by herself. Has worked for Disney for 35 years. Served Princess Diana who she describes as "beautiful and humble." Married and had kids with a bad man (Hmmm... seems to be a lot of that going around) and when they were divorced, he got the kids because the judge was racist. The husband was Anglo and a drug addict and she was an immigrant. She fled Chile because of Pinochet who had burned her father's business and to answer my question she knew "very many people" who disappeared and were killed.

That was a coincidence because in the drive today I was thinking about that Jack Lemmon/Sissy Spacek movie (was it called Missing?) about that time period.

Her life had a happy ending... her kids want nothing to do with their bio-dad and have returned to her as adults and they are a happy family. She was just a beautiful person who offered to get me ice (I said yes, please) and she bought me a bottle of water... and yes, I tipped her appropriately and she earned every penny.

When I had to stop to rest in the trek to my room, she told me that she'd go put my stuff in my room and come back and push me in my walker. And she would have... but I made it OK and caught up with her.

So the moral of today is "I get by with a little help from my friends!"

Monday, February 27, 2017

Judy and Rob's New Dog

Here's Rob and Buddy who is a pug/lab mix and a 3-year old rescue dog.

Day 3 - My horrible, terrible, no good and whatever else day

I'm OK, the car is OK and I think I got up on the right side of the bed this morning, but evidently that's where it ended.

I got ready to go, looked at email, had a client email to call him and I wanted to get on my way so I packed up the car and then sat there still in my parking space and thought I don't want to drive and talk and so I'll call him now. Which I did. Put the phone down, got on my way, decided to call my landline voice mail and then stopped because the speed limit is 70 mph on I95 and people are zooming by and I want to concentrate on driving.

Later when I reached for something on the passenger seat, I heard a thud and realized my phone had fallen off the seat -- or so I thought.

Stopped for gas and couldn't find the phone on the floor... kept going and then when I stopped to use the restroom, I went around to the passenger side, thinking the phone had fallen between the seat and the passenger door, but no. I looked under the seat, in the back, etc. Gave up.

Stopped again later and did a more thorough search...lifted the carpet... nothing. I decided when I got to the hotel I'd ask if a maintenance man could go look for me. Which I did.

This guy was really nice, spent about 20 minutes looking while I sat in the lobby. I knew the longer the time went, the unlikelier it is that the phone was there. The front desk woman said she lost her phone in her car and her 4-year old found it by accident a week later so she went out and looked too. Nothing

The maintenance man then called my phone and said since it went to voice mail that it meant it was turned on. So he went back to the car and called again. Nothing.

I know the phone was in the car. I know I didn't take it into a restaurant, restroom, etc. It disappeared.

At this point, all I can think is that I had a fast food bag that had a hamburger box and a french fry box, no cup, maybe some napkins which I threw away at the gas station and maybe the phone fell in there and I threw the bag away. It seems so unlikely to me since I think I would have felt the weight of the bag and it also means that the phone somehow got put in that bag (which was leftover from yesterday, not even today's).

I am really discouraged about this.

But wait, there's more.

So I use the hotel room phone to call my landline and I have three messages from my cleaning woman to call her. Turns out I had asked Marilyn to be sure to lock my door (she had packed the car for me and went back inside) and she locked the deadbolt and Ana's key wouldn't work.

I called Ana and then called Marilyn asking her if she would go unlock the deadbolt.  And then tell me and I'll tell Ana.

But wait, there's more.

The phone call was from an ad agency I do some work with and they asked me to arrange a press conf at two big air shows. I wrote the Oshkosh one only to get a sort of impatient response that I'm the second person to ask him about this today and who's in charge? It made me look stupid. And my guy who asked me to do it had no idea so he was blindsided too.
But wait, there's more.

After telling myself it's "just things" I see a menu slid under my door. So I go get it, order a pizza and two cans of soda. It arrives in an OK time. I open the bag which I think is the soda and see there's garlic bread.. oh does that come with pizza? Then I take out a salad...oh does that come with pizza?
And then I see a foil dish of some kind of pasta, and I knew that didn't come with pizza and there's no soda. There's still a pizza box which I didn't look at and I called the place back and they were all apologetic and said they'd come back. Well they did, 20 minutes later and I just wanted to make the most of it... but by this time the pizza was cold... well, it wasn't hot and I ate one piece and that's allI wanted.

I arrive at my destination tomorrow. I have to say I have done this all but it is difficult sometimes to walk with the cane and pull a suitcase etc etc but I've done it so shouldn't I be getting a break somewhere about now?

Please send some positive vibes my way.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day Two - Florence, SC

Much easier day... only two predicaments with the car ... first one is when you shut it off, the two side mirrors automatically turn in. I had previously adjusted them so I know how to do it but that was doing nothing... finally I accidentallyfound a button that "unlocked" the mirrors for adjustment. Then when I put gas in the car, I knew it didn't have a locked gas tank, and when you press down on the little door it opens and there's no gas cap and I thought... this is great, but the damn gas would not go in and I didn't know if it was the car or the pump and I always feel I'm the only person on Planet Earth who is having trouble at a self-serve pump and again, just by accident, I found this little button near where you put the pump in that somehow allows the gas in so I did it.

Beautiful sunny day the whole way, some wildflowers growing, lots of flowering trees, only one major construction back up about 10 minutes from the hotel... it was bridge construction so three lanes narrowed to one and then all this construction and when I mentioned it in passing when I checked in the woman had no idea what I was talking about which reminds me of how many times locals can't give directions and/or are oblivious to something in their immediate surroundings.

Just reread that paragraph and I do sound like a crabby old lady, but it's true... come on, now... how many times have you asked for local directions and the person had no idea?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

In case I need another reason to feel 100 years old.. I remember these prices!

Day One -- Richmond VA

So my trip was not off to a fun start. Spring temps in NY. Marilyn came to help load the car (Ok, "help" is not quite accurate; she packed while I directed); the rental car guy Martin was really nice. Got one of those fancy modern touch screnn cars and I got all buckled in, adjusted the mirrors, and reached for an invisible gear shift... it's all touch screen and I felt like a fool.. oh yeah, trust me with this fancy car that I can't even figure out how to put in DRIVE. My mother always used to say at the beginning of a trip "Off we go like a herd of turtles" and that was me.

Figured out the car for the most part... why the hell can't you just turn on an airconditioner? This one was touch screen, but I've said that and just too  many choices of temp, speed, direction, blah blah. But I hit a brick wall (not literally) when it came time to eject the first CD out of my book on CD. Got to the CD portion of the touchscreen and nothing... kept pressing everything to no avail and I gave up.

After a while when my choices were local yokel Rush Limbaugh wannebees or Christian broadcasting I thought I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT so I could get back to my book.

Turns out the eject button is actually one of the radio buttons...so I felt triumphant. It reminded me of figuring out something on the computer -- where you've tried every obvious, logical thing to no avail so you do un-obvious, illogical things and one of them works.

Terrible storms, deluge of rain, bumper to bumper for miles... and then my reward was a spectacular huge rainbow. Since it was still raining and people were zoomiing by at 8o mph, I didn't want to risk photographing it... so I'll hold the memory in my head instead.

All is well, safe and sound.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Teddy's Playmates

This is Okie (the white dog) with whom Teddy plays in Central Park.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My far-flung friends

James the airline pilot says:

Was in Cadiz Spain today figured I'd send you a pic or two. Think Columbus left on his third voyage from here and it was a Phoenician sp outpost.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

My blood pressure rises...

got a health insurance bill which said I hadn't paid last month. I would give myself an A- in bill paying. I typically pay the day the bill arrives, but every six months or so, a bill goes unpaid for some reason.

I checked and I have the type of checkbook that makes a little carbon copy of the check which I staple to the bill. Wow, this is sounding old school even to me, but it works. So sure enough, I had paid the bill on January 24th.

So it's off to the lovely phone tree which makes me crazy... have been punished by them too many times... and finally when I get a REPRESENTATIVE after saying it nicely once only to hear, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you said. Please say it again" -- I screamed REPRESENTATIVE!!!!!!!

And I get this guy who goes through this stupid script when all I really want is to know if my check had somehow arrived... fially he concludes his little intro speech with  the scripted, "Patricia, how can I make your day better today?"

Oh buddy, don't start with me. Who writes these stupid lines?

I fill him in with what I think is an easy thing to solve... just see if my check has arrived. Instead I have to tell him three times when I mailed it while he (no doubt) counted on his fingers how many days had elapsed.

Was I aware that it takes seven to ten working days for a payment to be processed?

My fingers go through the phone and begin to wrap around his throat.

Oh, at one point, he said "Well, your payment is later" is this scolding type tone and I said, "Do not talk to me in that tone; I sent my check. You lost it." And then the flood of apologies, but I hate being scolded.

Ok, eventually, I just paid the late part with a credit card and I know some of you (BARBARA!!) are thinking I should do automatic withdrawals, but I resist that. I don't know. I think I'm just stubborn.

Then it was on to Verizon for the extended I can't activate my phone... call. They are always nice but it just makes me see red when you have to keep going over the same information. They are sending me a new sim card and the guy confirmed my address three times. Now he has it in front of him on his computer screen and I don't say it fast slurring it all together. I always say it very slowly... I don't even say East 87th St, I say East Eight Seven Street... and I say it all slowly... at the third ask for me to confirm, I just inhaled and said it again slowly.

When I lived on York Avenue, I used to tell cab drivers "88th and York" and often they would take me to "80th and York" and so I learned to say "eight eight and York." Ok, this is all more than anyone wants to know.

I don't know, maybe I *am* a crabby old lady.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Am getting jealous... here is Fran's spring...

More Spring in DC

Mary says:

I walked around the yard this afternoon, starting to clean out the pond and enjoying the sun.  Then I noticed my Japanese quince, a gift 20 years ago from Aunt Ginny, has started to bloom. I think it got above 70 today!

Mary says Milo is enjoying early spring

It's not quite as warm in NYC as it is in DC, but Milo is enjoying his time out on Mary's screened in porch...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

It's a real place

I was talking to David the other day and we got cut off due to cell service and later he said he was calling me from Bell Buckle, Tennessee... I thought he was just making up the name; in fact, I thought he said BELT Buckle... but as it turns out, it's a real place..

He adds: It really is a place - and this is downtown - along with a photo from inside the famous Bell Buckle Cafe where I had lunch today.

The Moon Pie festival is in June!

Sibling Love

This is Gwenyth giving some sibling love for her soon to be brother or sister...


I'm still a purist about using "literally" the old-fashioned way. No "my head literally exploded" for me... so I will properly say that Mary's Christmas cactus which just bloomed is LITERALLY a late bloomer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Teddy is disgusted at the news these days...

Being an Upper West Side Manahattan Democrat, Teddy is disgusted by the news these days and turns his back to the TV.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Here's a new one

I got an email, which I didn't know was spam or not, from TD Ameritrade, where I do have an account telling me my account had been compromised and to call this 800 number. I didn't trust it, but the email looked fairly legit (no spelling or grammar mistakes) so I called the number on the website. As it turned out, someone had tried to log in to my account and so they put a lock on it and I had to reset my user name and password.

This took about 30 minutes including a trip to India where I was transferred. I thought I was almost done when the Indian guy tells me "one more thing" -- and how I needed to have a "secret verbal password" --- I didn't know if he were kidding or not, but he wasn't... so my secret verbal password is for if I telephone TD Ameritrade. So I asked him if there was a secret handshake too and he actually had a sense of humor and invited me to India so he could teach me the secret handshake.

No doubt, in a few years when we look back at these security measures the same way we see 1980s style men's shoe size cell phones... I had never heard of a secret verbal password, but now I have one.

Adelyn Had a Birthday

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Teddy Sleeps the Sleep of the Innocents

Mean Girls

Got an email from my (so called) best friend taunting me and saying "Guess where we are." I looked at the photo and saw:

J'd know those cheesy biscuits anywhere... Fran and Mary slunk off to Red Lobster... and so I played the poor pitiful me card and said that I had just had a can of Progresso soup and a stale bagel which I had to toast to de-stale it.

Think there was any compassion? No.

Fran responds:

We have this gruel to eat. Yuk. Lobster, shrimp, salmon, mashed potatoes corn and green beans.  We are longing for a can of Progresso soup and a stale bagel....

As I said, MEAN GIRLS!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Teddy Got Boots

Teddy is set for his first outing in the snow with his new boots... here's how he got the boots yesterday, according to Barb:

Came home from bridge tonite and  took Teddy out.   Go across to Teddy Roosevelt Park right there on Columbus.  Walking around and I see a neighbor who lives on 81 closer to Amsterdam.  A young man with two shepherd like dogs that always says hello to us.  We stand there and the dogs play and he starts talking about the weather tomorrow and I say I am worried because I dont have boots for Teddy.  The long and short of it, he has a set of boots that dont fit his dog.  We walk to his house and now Teddy has boots.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Two from Fran

She says:

With 66° temps today, crocuses came out to play.

Meanwhile, Valentino says "crocus, schmocus" and continues hibernating. (The "jowls" are not flesh; rather jowls are his long hair draped over the edge of the box...

As for NYC, it's 60 degrees today and 6 inches of snow tomorrow. Sigh.