Just another Road Kill Friday

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.


Hi YA Neighbor!

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.

Don’t touch my light house!

I truly didn’t realize that puzzles were sort of a personal thing. I guess I WAS being territorial. But you see Brian is gone 40 plus hours a week and we are staying in a hotel so one of my “projects” is keeping a puzzle going on the kitchen bar.
There’s a certain rhythm to putting a puzzle together. Maybe it is like the way some people eat oreos or animal crackers-do you just pop them in your mouth? Do you eat all the lions or tigers first? Or do you bite off one limb at a time?
For me, a puzzle must be done methodically. First you dump all the pieces out and separate by color groups, all the sky together, the brown rocks or leaves etc. You separate out the edge pieces to make the border. Then you begin with some area of the puzzle that’s not too hard nor too easy to get the ball rolling. The thing you DON’T do however, is put together the interesting, colorful focal point of the puzzle, until you are ready, that is.
It’s the climax of the puzzle experience…the reward you get for patiently fitting together 100 pieces of blue sky or water. So you keep those pieces off in a group, separate and safe, until the time is right.
Brian, I guess, wasn’t aware of puzzle etiquette, my little rules for how puzzle picture development takes place. That wasn’t taught in engineering school obviously. I know this because last Saturday while he was supposedly working from his laptop in the kitchen, he was surreptitiously PUTTING THE LIGHTHOUSE TOGETHER!
WHAT?????? When I saw the “damage” to my precious puzzle I asked. “You put the light house together when I wasn’t looking? ” He thought he was helping out, being a team player in the game of puzzle-ing. HE was puzzled by my negative reaction. Well honey, I don’t mind your helping out with some of the sky or water but please….don’t touch my light house!

OMG I really need some new glasses.

I knew that it was harder to read the road signs. It was more evident, being out of town, since I NEEDED to read the signs to figure out where I was going. I knew also, that I was not always seeing the loose hair on the bathroom floor and crumbs on the counter tops.
When I saw on facebook that my niece was attending an online baby shower. I thought that was unusual and hadn’t heard of anyone skyping their baby shower. The final sign for me however, was when the recipe I was using to prepare dinner called for one package of small NOODIES. What???? Nudies????  Oh N O O D L E S.

Now I see that you can download an app that’s a reader on your phone.  You can use it instead of glasses….yeah sure. Now Brian did download a flashlight app, a blood pressure app and a level….all that is pretty high tech to me.  But glasses?  How does that work while you are driving?  Uh, it takes texting and driving to a whole new “level” now doesn’t it.

So I finally went to the mall, to a reputable optical company and made a new friend. Thanks Sandy for my great new specs and your encouragement. I had my friends on facebook vote for the best look and I’m even stylin’ with some Rx sunglasses!

So, I think I will stick with using my phone for a million other things but not for my driving eyes!

Here is the facebook voted choice for the new frames.

Bnkrupt 5

I don’t know about you but if I had declared bankruptcy five times I don’t think I would choose that description for my vanity tag. Maybe N33d Mny or 2Broke4Bills or something less disparaging but I did see that on a car yesterday at a local breakfast spot.  But then, I have seen many noteworthy things during my 54 days in northern Illinois.

One shocking thing that I saw, and took pictures of, but won’t publish here, was several possibly inebriated gentlemen running and cavorting  across a frozen lake last Saturday.  True, the temperatures have been low enough to freeze the surface of the lake but just how deep might that ice be? These guys were 6 ft tall and 180 pounds or so.  But then I’m a Florida gal and just looking at somebody walking on what was WATER not long ago, was worthy of a few clicks on my phone camera

Doesn't everybody need a vacuum cleaner buddy?

An interesting thrift store find.

I also spotted this little treasure while working at the thrift shop yesterday.  Now here’s a find for sure.  We all need one of these little cuties to hide our ugly vacuum cleaner. I’m surprised that the original owner was willing to part with it. If they spot this blog, they could hurry on in to Share Stuff and buy it back. After all, the proceeds go to a very worthy cause.

Now I would never want to be a geographic snob because I bet if my Illinois friends take a trip to central Florida where I live, they will see some blog worthy sights too.  In fact, I’m positive!

Funny stories of a not so funny disease.

As I put out the call for folks to share some of their “out of their comfort zone” stories, I have heard from several folks with their amusing tidbits. There is 42 year old Beth who had been insisting for years that her blonde hair was indeed natural. After her chemo treatments and her pretty blonde hair grew back, she was pleased to prove her case!
By far the most hilarious story is from a local gal who endures the northern Illinois wind. It seems that she was getting out of her car in the church parking lot when a gust of wind took her wig and carried it into the hands of a gentleman getting out of his car also. She said that it went at him like a furry frisbee! His quick reflexes helped him out. Betty said that she bet catching the hairy thing wasn’t as awkward as handing it back to the horrified bald lady. She is still laughing!

And then there is this:

“I was reading a thread this morning and it reminded me of when I went roller skating with my kids.  I was totally bald and wore a scarf and hat.  One of the rules at the rink was “no head coverings of any sort”.  I talked to the manager.. a kid about 22, and asked him if I could wear my hat and he said yes but I had to fill out a form with my name, address and phone number (go figure), I’m a pretty good skater and was having a great time.. my scarf was flowing, I was skating backwards without falling and racing my kids.

An announcement was made:

“Please clear the skating floor.  We’d like to dedicate this next song to Mary Stevermer who is battling cancer.  Mary, if you would stand in the circle and skate.”  I protested, but the announcer (the 22 year old kid) was pretty positive and forceful so I played along.

The song was :”HAIR”.Surprised

I was there with members of my kids school.. so they all got on the rink when I signalled them.  It was an odd moment on my journey.


Thanks Mary!

Open mouth…..you know what comes next!

I make every effort to run my words through the “think about this before you say it” filter. Proverbs is full of scriptures about using your head more and your mouth less. There is also that expression of having two ears and one mouth, meaning you should listen twice as much as you talk. But it’s only a matter of time for most of us, before we make that faux pas and we want Calgon to take us away….or Southwest airlines, depending on the size of the offense.
So it started off as a nice enough morning at the thrift store. I was working in the intake section where the items get dropped off. We greet those nice generous people, help them carry in their donations and offer them a receipt for tax purposes. When I walked out to help the gentleman, he explained that he had a lot of clothes and they were still on hangers. You know…… that should have been a clue but we get all kinds of stuff,  from stores even, so I didn’t see it coming. He was with another man and two ladies, still seated in the vehicle. So in my best conversational cheery voice I said, “wow! you guys are really making room in your closet to go out to do some shopping today huh?” Now of course in hindsight, I realize that if they were going to buy more clothes, they would HAVE KEPT THOSE HANGERS!
“No, my mother passed away recently and these are her clothes.” Oh my!  I recovered and explained how these clothes would go to folks who really need them and they would serve a great purpose and all that. You know, Solomon hadn’t met me when he wrote Proverbs. But that scripture that says “where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable?” Yeah, he wrote that for me.

My Elite Taxi

Taking a taxi is my second mode of transportation these days. The company I use is “Elite”.  I think they call it that because their vehicles don’t have any dents or sections of rust and are clean on the inside and out. Well, as clean as a vehicle can be with snow, salt and ash on the roads much of the time.
I always get the driver, Randy.  He’s very prompt and professional. I’ve gotten to know about his 15 year old daughter, when she got her latest glasses and how he drops by his house for a sandwich in between calls.
I could count on one hand the times before Illinois that I have been in a taxi. There was London where they drive on the “wrong” side of the road and you can’t watch because your brain puts a strain on your adrenal glands, then there was the driver in Paris who zoomed us around those traffic circles like a madman and wore a suit but hadn’t bathed, and now…… Randy. So my vote goes to this Rockford guy, service with a smile, safe driving AND he showers too. Yes there is something to be said for the small town taxi, Elite that is.

I will need a million quarters.

The hotel laundry room is an interesting place. There’s rarely anyone in there, except for the occasional soda machine or garbage can visitor. It could be partly because it costs $2 in quarters to wash and $2 in quarters to dry a load. Now for that $2 you get 45 minutes of dryer time but if you set the temperature too low and the clothes aren’t done, there’s no “five extra minutes for a quarter” option. So you’d better plan well to get those clothes dry or you have to hang them all over your room. Yes, I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.
Our room is pretty small anyway so when Brian came home from work and had to wade through a jungle of shirts, bras, blouses and dress pants hanging in the doorways, he thought he had entered some Moroccon den.
Yesterday there were two repairmen working on the two broken dryers. There are only four dryers total so that’s a 50% failure rate in the dryer department.
I heard the repairman say to the other one that the two newer dryers get used the most that causes an extra build up of moisture (and other technical jargon) in the older dryers. If they would get used more evenly it would help a lot.
So, being helpful and full of bright ideas, (not nosey as Brian likes to point out) I told the repairmen that if management would drop the price of using the old dryers, then more people WOULD use them!  VOILA, problem solved!! I’m so helpful around here, they should give me a discount!

Manuel and I have developed a nice relationship.

Manuel is the kindly older gentleman who does the maintenance in the hotel. He is always busy taking out trash or vacuuming or making repairs. Manuel does not speak English however, and I know little Spanish so I use a lot of universal sign language and he responds with Spanish words I’ve never heard before. It’s worked pretty well for us, that is until last Monday. That was the day that we moved from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor.
You see, our room had a lazy boy chair in it. (not the real name brand one but a cheap, vinyl recliner that we called Lazy Boy). When we saw that our new room had a plain old motel chair in it, we asked if we could swap them.
So Manuel came to the room with a dolly and a smile and proceeded to attempt to load the chair onto the dolly. It was heavy and awkward but we got it loaded and moved to the door but the door was too narrow. So after more unloading and grunting, we got it onto the elevator and moved to the 3rd floor.
Manuel kept saying something to me in Spanish and pointing as we struggled to get the chair in place. I just didn’t get what he meant. My two years of high school Spanish were seriously failing me at this moment.
Then it dawned on me. This is what he was trying to say in his language. “Stupid lady, hold the bottom of the foot stool part of the chair because it keeps popping out to recline and that’s why we can’t get it moved where we are trying to put it!!!” He only used a couple words but I figured out what he was saying.
Now he smiles and waves each time he sees me…..I bet I know what he’s thinking though.