You may have seen the emails that went around last year of “things that make you say ‘hmmmmm'”. Questions like “so how does the snow plow guy get to work?” and “how do the deer know to cross the road at the yellow sign” do make you wonder??? Well I have run across several of those myself since I’ve been in northern Illinois. For example if your bait has to be dead in order to use it for fishing, does that mean you must bash in the little worm’s head before putting it on your hook? And if a hotel is designed primarily for sleeping (that IS why the focal point of the room is a bed right?) then why are the doors designed to bang at the deicbel level that can damage your eardrums?
Another one would be, who keeps magazines for 14 years? Then who keeps magazines for 14 years and then donates them to a thrift store? I’m thinking that latest DIET CRAZE is a bit past its prime by now. At least we can do the research and see how it failed miserably along with the 27 other diet plans for the year 1998. I noticed that the thrift store where I’m “working” one day a week, left this little jewel in the break room instead of putting it out for a possible purchase.
Last week I was in a local pet supermarket and saw a sign for a Rare Parakeet. I thought that was cool and wanted to see the price tag on that bird. Wow! It was on sale! To think I could be the owner of such a valuable fowl for just $19.99! That made me say “hmmmmm”.
Here is my favorite. The sign says to keep your dog on a leash to protect it from coyotes. If a coyote is around and your dog is in danger what does that say about YOU? Don’t you think that a dog could run quite a bit faster than a human? I say if a coyote is coming out of the woods for me, my dog is on his own. “Just meet me at the car Rover”, cause I’m sprinting for that “oh please DON’T BE LOCKED” bathroom that I saw across the walking trail.
So if you think I’m just being a Wise Guy you’re wrong…I’m being a Wise Man! generically speaking that is.
You may be too young to remember the Barbara Mandrell song that was the inspiration for my catchy title. Okay so the hotel life isn’t quite THAT bad. We don’t have a single bed but if you are used to a king sized bed, you may find that a measly ol’ queen bed feels like a single bed.
When you are making your arrangements to have a lengthy stay on the road, accommodations can be quite tricky. You may be a novice at it like we were or you may be boxed into what hotel your company has booked for you. If you have any control over the situation you will want to weigh the pros and cons of what is important to you. Keeping in mind cost, proximity to work location, smoking v. nonsmoking, full kitchen or just regular hotel fridge and microwave etc. Being aware of your priorities is vital. If you simply must have a king sized bed then you want to find an extended stay hotel to accommodate that.
One of my favorite quotes is “Knowledge is power”. (Francis Bacon) If you know what lies ahead, you’d be surprised at what amenities from home you can take with you that will make your stay more comfortable. So sleeping single OR double, getting those zzzzzs makes for a happy worker.
But I DO feel smarter anyway. I always thought those commercials were great. I haven’t seen any lately but the idea is that if you are smart enough to stay in one of their hotels, you feel smart enough to be a brain surgeon or lion tamer.
We have learned many things while doing this traveling and working routine. How to choose the hotel for a long term stay is one of them. Extended Stay hotels offer a full kitchen and that is a real benefit so that you can prepare your own food if you desire. Even if you like eating out, it gets tiresome and expensive. If you like quiet, as in, no kids or dogs jumping on your ceiling at all hours of the day and night, you will want to be on the top floor of the hotel. There is less traffic on the top floor because some people have fire phobias and don’t want to think about jumping out the window and some people want to be close to the ground floor for the convenience of access and less stairs. We have found this to be to our advantage because we LIKE taking the several flights of stairs for extra exercise. The elevator is always an option but if you have a room near the stairwell, you can park near that door and just plan on using the stairs and eliminate waiting for an elevator.
If you don’t like dogs or don’t want to hear them barking, choose a hotel that does not allow pets and that problem is solved. We have not found this to be an issue unless the owner leaves the dog. They are usually happy as long as the owner is with them. If you are not a smoker, keep in mind that many hotels now are completely non smoking so if YOUR hotel permits some smoking, that draws extra smokers to your particular location.
The obvious point of proximity to the workplace and shopping is a must. It’s important to balance out the two needs. If you get a hotel very close to the office to keep driving to a minimum but your bizspouse must drive 10 miles to buy groceries, then that is not a wise choice for your hotel. Often the recruiting company has negotiated better pricing for the accommodations for their hires. If that has not been mentioned, be sure to ask. Since hotels typically have to add the “tourist tax” onto your bill, if you stay for 30 consecutive days or more then the tax is removed from your bill. You are considered to be a permanent resident and not required to pay the Hotel Occupancy Tax. This really adds up at 12-18% depending on the state.
So you may not be a brain surgeon or a lion tamer but you too, can be smart about your hotel choice even if it isn’t a Holiday Inn Express. A little research can go a long way toward providing a comfortable stay while on the road. Happy Traveling!
When Brian told me that the guys were going to do a cook out for their lunch Friday my first thought was “oh good, I don’t have to pack his lunch”. Then he and his work buddy went to the store and bought some mushrooms and bell peppers for the kabobs they planned to skewer. Since the plant was closed for a spring holiday, the big honchos weren’t going to be around and it seemed a celebration of “cook out Friday” was in order.
The weather was gorgeous and the day was right for some male engineer bonding (is that an oxymoron?) at the office. They had some bonding all right but it wasn’t all male. When he came home, I asked how the cook out went and he said, “you will never guess what the meat was”…..okay, I’ll play. Since we are in the north and it’s farm country, how about some pheasant or wild turkey or some venison someone had in their freezer?
I was close, it was venison, but not from the guy’s freezer. No, it came from the front bumper of his car on his way to work that morning…..he just happened to have some knives and some knowledge of where to find the tenderloin of that deer that bounded across the road enjoying the spring weather. So Mr. Butcher cuts off the meat, leaves the rest with a nearby homeowner and off to the workplace he goes. “Hey fellas, I got us some fresh meat for our cook out today!!!” Thanks Mr. Butcher, what a team player. So the next time Brian says “office cook out” I will wonder just what it will be on the end of those skewers. I won’t be watching Bambi anytime soon though, I know that.
When you are forced to evacuate your hotel room for an ear piercing fire alarm at 3:30 a.m. all bets are off on beauty, vanity, make up and fashion. Let’s face it. You just want it to be a bad dream and are quickly evaluating exactly what you chose to sleep in that night.
I grabbed a very long coat and scarf and my purse. I figured the coat would cover my unmatched pajamas and the scarf would help with the cold in northern Illinois at 3:30 in the morning. Also if the hotel was truly on fire, I would have my wallet. Most of us who travel much have the cynical belief that a fire alarm does NOT indicate a fire, but merely a technical glitch of the heating system or a blankety blank, not so hilarious prankster, who thinks it is quite funny to empty a hotel in the middle of a cold night.
So now the fun begins. It is rare to even see the other hotel guests. We hear their doors slam shut from time to time and see other cars in the parking lot but we don’t often pass in the hall and seldom have conversation. So as we troop down the stairwell we get to see the other disgruntled guests who are more vocal about their displeasure than we are. We were quite sure we knew who the culprits were. The rowdy, drunks with raucous laughter in our hallway for the last hour was a clue that they would find pulling the alarm tab amusing.
At the bottom of the stairs several of us wait, finding solace from the shrill sound of the alarm and still shelter from the cold outside. As I look around I can’t help noticing the differences in the evacuation dress code. There is “Amir”, so skinny in his thermal underwear and coat. The thermals hug his narrow ankles that makes his size 12 black dress shoes look even longer and pointier. I hide my smile knowing I’m no goddess myself. Then there is “Butch” with his beer belly protruding from his Chicago Bears t-shirt and walking shorts. He doesn’t seem bothered by the cold and takes his unlit cigarette outside. My favorite though is “Eloise”, perfectly coiffed, though agitated, looking like she could apply some lipstick and step out for church.
If we could have deemed those 3 husky firemen who trooped through the stairwell with their own fine fashion statement of yellow coats, boots and helmets judges, surely they would have given the prettiest evacuee prize to Eloise. From now on, only matching pjs for me! Oh and yes indeed the fire alarm was caused by the rowdy drunks that thought it was funny to pull the alarm tab. Now why don’t hotels have that spewing ink on them like high schools…THAT would be a new fashion statement.
No one is looking right? You have an expense account or per diem money burning a hole in your dress pants pocket. You wife (boyfriend, mother, significant other, know it all sister-in-law, fill in blank________) isn’t around to “remind” you how you should be eating healthier and ‘don’t forget that New Year’s Resolution’ and “‘how’s your cholesterol numbers lining up with that fried butter appetizer huh?”
You’ve been enjoying that anonymity for a while now. But let’s face it. Eventually you are going to have to face the music and your doctor and go home. So maybe it’s time that you took stock of your daily food choices while you are on the road. ‘Knowledge is power’ is one of my favorite sayings. If we know how un-nutritious something is for us and we choose to eat it anyway, well at least we have made a choice.
It is no small task to maintain your healthy self while traveling. For the spouse of the business person, or as I like to say, “Biz Spouse” it’s almost like being on vacation. We all know what vacations do to our “eat healthy” resolve. With a new restaurant on every corner and regional tastes galore, you can easily fall into bad habits that last months instead of a week.
So the best defense is offense and that is how to form a plan. Before you leave your actual home, bring some of your favorite simple recipes with you. Bring the pan or utensil that allows that to happen. Do you have a Magic Bullet or Ninja blender that you think will be too much trouble to take along? Do you like to drink a smoothie for breakfast at home? Then you will on the road also. You will be glad that you brought it with you. Also be strategic about eating out. Set some parameters. Make salad, soup and veggies the main event during the week and leave the restaurant exploring for weekends. Here is a link to an interesting article that provides some knowledge for that power. Keep it real but have some fun!
One of the great joys of traveling around the country for work is getting to see events and landmarks that you probably would never see otherwise. Even though one of the museum attendants told us that some folks came from Atlanta, Georgia to see the sock monkey festival, I doubt that very many made the 1,000 mile trek to see some historical brown socks with red heels.
But if you are located for a few months, in a part of the country where you have never been, you are happy to visit the local museum and see unusual sights. I had no idea when we got the call to go to Rockford, that it was known for the sock monkey. The way it goes is that John Nelson immigrated to Rockford from Sweden in 1852. He was an inventor and started several factories in the town. He knew that there could be a better way to make a sock and was determined to invent a machine that would do it. So at the risk of losing everything, meaning that he sold his furniture company, and his wife had to take in laundry, it finally came together for him in 1870. Then an innovative knitter made a monkey out of those socks and….. the rest is history.
You may be surprised at what this five foot four white woman and a six foot six black man would have in common. But there are at least two things. We both get caught with our foot in our mouths (and that is quite a big one for him) and we both are spokesmen for Weight Watchers. He gets paid for it though and I don’t.
It doesn’t stop me however from being a happy vocalizer of the virtues of this time tested program. I’m now in my 17th year (after losing 50 pounds) of being a Weight Watchers lifetime member. If you aren’t familiar with what that exactly means, it is that once you have lost your desired weight and continued to attend meetings for six more weeks, you have arrived at the coveted status of “Lifetime”. As the name suggests, you are “IN” for life as a treasured member. It really is a great deal because you can attend meetings and get all of the updated materials for the rest of your life for free as long as you do two things. You must weigh in once each calendar month and be no more than two pounds above your goal.
If you don’t always make that monthly meeting, you can still pop back in at any time and just pay for one week. You never have to pay an initiation fee or registration fee. Weight Watchers has stayed true to their word and for the 40 years, yes 40, that I have attended off and on, this has not waivered. In this day when companies come and go and often forgo their “we will never let you down” mantra, it is refreshing to see a company that does do what it says it will.
I’m happy to say that I’ve been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for 17 years now and have not had to ever pay for being over goal, just paid to pop back in once in awhile. I admit that I have been tempted toward other weight loss plans that offer quick results but I always come back to the tried and true…steady as she goes….program that works consistently for millions of people around the world. You can visit a WW center anywhere and feel at home. Ah….Charles Barkley probably will never show up at my WW center but The Round Mound of Rebound has shown up on the court of the WW ball game….at least offering his name and prestige to a company that already had name recognition and much success under its belt.
Now if he can keep from saying every thing that he is thinking, he may set the example for more men of color to discover that Weight Watchers can help them get back into the “game of health”. Thanks Sir Charles. You may be saving a few lives and not even know it.