So I have been collecting an odd assortment of items to discuss, none of them long enough to make an entire blog so here’s a bunch of random nonsense.  Enjoy!

shopping bags

When did it become acceptable etiquette to wear your pajamas in public?  At all times of the day or night?  I can’t remember where exactly we were but driving down a street at about 4pm we passed not one, not two but 3 individuals all wearing pajama bottoms while walking on the sidewalk.  It’s 4pm… I don’t care if you work night shift or just had surgery which should probably render you incapable of walking down the sidewalk put on a pair of pants, shorts, skirt, ANYTHING but your Betty Boop PJ pants.

Teagan informed me that Dawson is afraid of ostriches.  Luckily we don’t have any free roaming ostriches in suburbia.  When Dawson has ever been close to an ostrich I have no idea – other than at the zoo where they are at least 100 yards or more away.  Sadly the fear of ostriches doesn’t have a “phobia” name at this time as it so rare.  Dawson’s other known fear is Escalaphobia – fear of escalators – and it is fairly common.  Teagan has Astraphobia – fear of thunderstorms.

Back to questionable fashion sense. And I borrowed this from someone’s post on Facebook.  If your belly hangs over the front of your bikini bottoms – you need a one piece. You’re welcome!

Only in a country song can you get the words “can’t” and “ain’t” to rhyme.  But that is mostly dependent on the level of twang the singer has.

Also only in a country song can you hear the words “chew tobacco chew tobacco chew tobacco – spit.”

On the musical side of things — what is wrong with the radio stations in Ohio? Typically radio stations follow a “format.” You know like pop, rock, hard rock, classic rock, country…. Whatever. However every radio station we listened to in Ohio sounded like someone’s eclectic iPod set on shuffle. On one station we heard 80’s (Don’t You by Simple Minds), Pop (Starships by Nikki Minaj) and Classic Rock (China Grove by the Doobie Brothers) all on one station. Not necessarily complaining because that sounds like it could be my iPod, but it was just a little odd.

I live in a suburban area that is somewhat unique due to our geographical location – wedged between a fairly large metropolitan city and miles and miles of farmland.  I realized this the other night at a sporting event where I was amazed at the fact that the parents showing up were a mix between the Real Housewives of Chicago and Duck Dynasty (with a little bit of Honey Boo Boo here & there).   Yes there was a man dressed entirely in camouflage with a “Si” beard parking his 1984 rusted Chevy pick up right next to Barbie McSuburb driving her Lexus SUV trying carefully not to chip her manicure while balancing her kid’s soccer ball and her Coach purse but not once putting down her IPhone she was loudly talking on graphically describing to some poor soul on the other end the horrors of her recent mani/pedi.

Does anyone else crack up when you hear “Holly Holy” by Neil Diamond because you think of Kevin James and Here Comes the Boom.  “It really builds at the end.”  OK maybe just me.

“I blame Reality TV” – that’s my new favorite phrase at work.   (See Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo and Real Housewives of _______  references above).

Ok and while I’m on the topic of Reality TV – What happened to TLC?  It’s supposed to be The Learning Channel implying that you will learn something by watching. Now it is home to Honey Boo Boo which is a spin-off of Toddlers and Tiera’s.  If you’re not ready to “redneckognize” you can tune in to multiple shows about Gypsies, Amish and Little People.  As much as I dislike the reality TV mentioned above TLC is home to What Not to Wear – which I think more people should watch (see above ref PJ’s and bikinis).

Why is the standard snooze button set at 9 minutes?  Is it to improve subtraction skills?  Because instead of snooze being 5 minutes or 10 minutes where I can easily gauge that I need to set my alarm 10 or 5 minutes ahead of when I need to actually get out of bed thereby allowing me to hit snooze once or twice.  Now I have to figure out 9 minutes.  Which is even harder when you’re groggy in the morning and trying to remember if you hit snooze once or twice and trying to figure out if you’re at 9 or 18 minutes behind.

And finally….. my favorite.  SPORTS!!  Why do professional athletes feel the need to pound their chest or puff out their chest and make comments about how great they are when they make a basket, complete a pass or score?  Mostly I’m dogging on the NBA players if you really want to know.  Ok – yes you’re team was down three points and you just sunk a three-point shot to tie the game…. 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter not like with final seconds ticking away.  Yay you!  But really isn’t it a bit much to fist bump your chest and repeat “Who’s the Man?” four or five times?  Here’s a tip:  that’s what you’re paid to do — make baskets.  Next time I go to the bank and the teller deposits my check I’d really like to see her jump up on the counter and pound her chest a few times like Tarzan and yell “I GOT THIS!! WHO’S GOT THIS?? I GOT THIS!!”

OK….. it has been brought to my attention (I love my children) that I wear my pajamas to the bus stop in the morning.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  Technically it’s just across the street at the neighbor’s house – does that count as “in public?”




Beach Blanket Blog-O Part III


Greetings from the Beach…. The final chapter

About the “Coach” & Dave’s Future Occupation

On our first night here we went to the sports bar across the street and the guys sitting at the bar were all locals (or at least local now).  They were all retired and arguing about taxis until the Preakness came on TV then they started arguing about horse racing.  It’s kind of like going to the Hardee’s at home any morning of the week when the retiree’s gather for breakfast, men at one table and women at another table. Anyway, one of the more animated of the bunch caught my attention. “Coach.”  That’s the only name anyone calls him.  He owns a condo at the complex we’re staying in and runs the beach service (Coach’s Beach Rentals – $20 a day for 2 chaise lounges and an umbrella) for our condo and the one on either side.  But everyone here just loves him.  One guy was introducing Coach to his wife and kids – he had worked for him several years ago hauling beach chairs and talked about how Coach had changed his whole life.  He seems like quite a guy.  So I’ve decided that when Dave retires, he can start “Chief’s Beach Service” at whatever condo we end up at, changing people’s lives one beach chair & umbrella at a time.  Then spend the afternoon at the bar stirring up stuff with the rest of the retiree’s.  It sounds a LOT better than mornings at Hardees!

AMAZING Things about the Beach and Vacation

So on Friday while waiting for our dinner I asked everyone for a general consensus to come up with the Top 10 AMAZING things we’ve seen at the beach this trip.  We had a lot of time to think about it because of our poor choice of restaurant for the evening.  So here is our list (not necessarily in any particular order):

  1. At the coffee shop we saw a lady who had a nanny.  She had one child.  He was about 4.  Really?? You need a nanny?  Not twins or triplets or even 2 kids but one 4-year-old and she required a nanny.  His name was Thomas — she said his name at least 15 times when we were in the coffee shop.
  2. There were a lot of body parts that had been paid for.
  3. Bikini’s should not be made in a size larger than an 8.  Maybe a 10.  Probably an 8.  I mean you can buy the “Mom-kini” like I have.  It’s technically two pieces but it covers the muffin top and all other areas that should be covered so that people in public don’t make fun of you.
  4. “I think the lady at the table next to us is a hooker.”   (We were waiting a long time for dinner, the salad took 45 min to get to us so we had a lot of down time while making this list)  You make the call: she had a really bad blonde dye job, candy apple red glossy lipstick, skin-tight black leather pants (it’s Florida and its 93 degrees with 100% humidity) and a glittery tank top that every time she moved her hot pink lacy bra popped out.  Oh yeah …. And she left the table several times to go take phone calls.
  5. Totally opposite from number 4: While we were visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore we noticed that there were signs for the Perdido Methodist Church.  We thought it was a just a church picnic until the group proceeded to the water and started hosting baptism’s in the ocean.  I thought it a bit odd at first until I researched the Perdido Methodist Church and found out that they offer Sunday services at their main church building and at the Flora-Bama Lounge.  “Bible study on the 3rd floor above the main bar.”  If you’ve read Jimmy Buffett’s books you know about the Flora-Bama.
  6. Dave likes to name fellow travelers while were on vacation:  Marlboro Marge, Roid-Rage Randy, Plastic Patty etc…
  7. There is something odd about country music blaring while you’re eating seafood.  I’m not sure what it is, but it just seemed out-of-place.  (Again we waited for a long time for our food).
  8. There was the lady (Marlboro Marge) who was giving us some restaurant ideas as she owned a condo at our complex and spent a lot of time down there, she was suggesting the “Flora-Bama Yacht Club.”  She was talking about the band that was playing there and she had taken her granddaughter who was about Teagan’s age.  In her conversation she casually mentioned she let her granddaughter drink two pina coladas.  Was she joking?  Were they ‘virgin’ pina coladas??  I still don’t know.  She just kept talking like it was perfectly normal to give a 10-year-old pina coladas.
  9. Making fun of the geeky family gathered on the balcony gawking at the Fire Department when Tattoo Tommy called 911 because he thought a guy was out in the water waving for help.  They were rubbernecking so badly that the fire department even yelled up to the family “It’s Ok it’s just a guy kayaking!”  Oh wait – we were the geeky family!
  10. When the manager tells the hostess “Seat them with the new girl.”  Turn around and walk out of the restaurant. Or don’t and write an entire blog entry while waiting for your food.

Overall it really was a fun vacation. And I’m looking forward to future adventures like this one.  After all it’s all about what you make of it – and if you’re like us you can find fun around every corner.




Beach Blanket Blog-O Part II


Greetings from the Beach Part II………

So we made it to the beach and Saturday was beautiful.  There was sun and sand and two great pools.  We ate at the bar across the street which bragged having “the best chicken wings on the key.”  Given that it is an 8 mile long island…. I will give them that.  I mean it’s hard to mess up chicken wings (unless you’re Hooters) but these weren’t spectacular or extraordinary, just wings – which was OK for a quick easy dinner.

Sunday morning brought a dark sky and rain.  Rain is Ok because you’re still at the beach, on vacation and hundreds of miles away from work problems and a house that needs re-painted and two very loving but needy dogs (thanks B for taking on the love puppies).  Dave decided several beach goers didn’t have a smartphone with a Weather Channel app as they seemed completely surprised by the rain when it hit.  My thought was that they were just that stupid because all you had to do was look due east and see the approaching downpour and dark sky.  Thunder and lightning might have been a clue too.  Anyway as the storm approached the lights flickered a few times.  No big deal.  Then the power went off and stayed off.  OK, still not a huge deal… I mean this is a place where they prepare for hurricanes surely a small storm wouldn’t keep the power out too long.  And there was the excitement of fire trucks as the fire alarm at the condo next to us went off.  An hour later, still not power.  Three hours later, still no power.  Teagan and I decided to venture out to see if the front desk had any information.  The elevator worked so we tip toed on it, held our breath and headed down hoping not to get stuck.  Several families were in the lobby but the front desk staff had decided to go ahead and take their lunch break so we waited.

This is when I met the family with a bigger black cloud over their vacation than I have luckily ever had.  There was a lot of commotion going on around a white minivan parked on the side of the building.  A man went out to meet with his family members and then quickly got in the car and gunned it out of the parking space and took it on 2 wheels around the corner to a different parking space out front.  I saw the windshield had been shattered.  More than likely by the flying chairs and chaise lounges from the condo next door as they were scattered all over the place.  The reckless minivan driver stomped into the front lobby to be met by his hysterical wife screaming at him “Can we just go home now?!?!  It’s bad enough we were stuck in the elevator for two @#$%^* hours now the &@%^*@ van’s windshield is broken.”  All we needed was a camera crew from TLC and we had a reality TV show!  Stompy McStomperson ignored his wife and headed to the elevator and got on with her still yelling at him as they got on.  An ever helpful/nosey condo guest then whispered to me that they had gotten stuck in the elevator for 2 hours and the emergency button didn’t work and they finally called 911 from their cell phone to get help.  I smiled and nodded…. Why tell Mrs. Kravitz that the emergency button in the elevator is hard-wired to dial 911?  Either way, supposedly 911 told them they would get to them eventually (LOL…. I am sooooo moving down here).  Eventually the generator at the condo kicked on and the elevators worked and they got off to find their broken windshield.

Finally the front desk clerk appeared and told us she had talked to the power company who told them they had no idea when the power would be back on because lightning had struck a substation and it was on fire (PS that’s where the one engine for the island was located thus the delay in elevator rescue).  After hearing the elevator story Teagan decided we should take the stairs, at the 4th floor she declared the elevators were now safe again.  Feeling pretty good about my intact Blazer and not getting stuck in the elevator we went to the indoor pool until the power came back on several hours later.  We haven’t seen Stompy or his wife since then and the van is gone so I’m assuming she won her argument and they went home.

So with power restored we resumed our vacation.  As I’m sitting out on the balcony on day five I’ve noticed that vacations kind of have their own little rhythm.  Every morning Dave and I watch the beach from the balcony – every morning one family member from a family (usually the dad) drags a cart full of umbrellas, chairs, boogie boards, shovels, buckets and towels out to the beach and stakes out a spot; about 9-10 am the families start straggling  out to the designated spot; depending on the age of the kids they volley back and forth between beach and pool until lunchtime; some bring their lunch outside some go inside to eat; they pack up their stuff between 5 and 6 and head in to go out to eat; then come back out at dusk with flashlights to look for sand crabs.  The only variation to this daily routine is sometimes at night they come out dressed in khaki shorts and white shirts and attempt to take pictures of squirmy kids before looking for sand crabs.

And the new thing I’ve noticed is the “keeping up the Joneses” going on at the beach.  If Family A has an umbrella the next day Family B has a pop up canopy then the next day the Family A has a pop up canopy bearing their favorite college team logo, then the next day the Family B brings a baby pool for the kids to sit in so Family A gets a bigger baby pool.  By Friday poor dad has to make 2 trips to the beach to set up this huge 10 x 12 living space complete with chairs, pools, chaise lounges, coolers, and battery operated fans.  One day I’m waiting to see a generator powered 60” flat screen TV, but so far no one has thought of it.

Maybe there will be a Part III tomorrow.  I haven’t gotten a chance to discuss the guy who runs the beach service here – “Coach.”  He’s a character!  And I’m having a new issue as a mom; the teenage girls who are gawking at Dawson.  Not a fan of bikini clad girls following him around and calling him “hot” when they think were out of earshot!!  Of course now we have to get a new door so his head and ego fit through.

(Note:  Dave suggested that some elevator emergency buttons call the non-emergency line, and based on the fact the FD has only one engine for the whole island there is more than likely only one dispatcher working and that one person may not have been answering non-emergency lines — he’s so smart!)

Beach Blanket Blog-O

greetings Greetings From the Beach….. It’s always fun to share a few little vacation bits, especially since it always seems like our vacations are more like adventures and not just your average vacation.  In all reality I’m sure they aren’t really any different than other peoples vacations, but some things that have happened on past vacations make me wonder if there isn’t really a dark cloud looming over us during trips.  This trip I finally found the one family that has a darker cloud than ours.  I’ll get to that one later….. First let me start by saying that I used to be a planner.  USED TO BE.  I got tired of Dave’s relentless teasing after our first few trips together.  I would have hotels booked (even just ones we might stop at overnight while driving) phone numbers to all sorts of things we might need, a folder filled with maps and reservation numbers and an itinerary.  I blame my mother — I love her — but I blame her.  Where do you think I learned all these things?  She’s a planner – except when she is now forced to travel with us and “fly by the seat of our pants.”  Now I just get in the car and go – my folder replaced by an IPhone (thank GOD for IPhones and travel apps). One thing Dave hated about “the folder” was that I would plan where we would stop when we driving.  His argument was what if he didn’t feel like driving that far or what if he felt like going 40 miles further.  That was the first part of my “plan” I gave up.  We now just drive until he feels like stopping and then we find a hotel.  This concept has actually failed more times than it has been successful.  There have been hotels with bug issues, once in Chattanooga the hotel had an armed security guard (we kept driving) and my personal favorite which has happened the last several trips … no vacancy due to a youth sporting event in the area.  This will come in to play shortly… So we left Indiana – an exciting 12 hour drive ahead of us.  Things were going fairly smoothly.  We made it through Louisville without backed up or stopped traffic (I think that’s a first).  Every black Dodge Charger Dawson saw he named “Dom” — we saw Fast & Furious 6 before we left.  One “Dom” passed us like we were standing still and most people know Dave’s average speed is 80 (+) so I’m not sure how fast he may have been going — and no it wasn’t a police charger.  We went through an odd assortment of radio stations – Dawson changing his mind from 80’s to Pop to Rock – basically anything but Country.  When he was sleeping Dave got to hear his new favorite song by Blake Shelton, “Boy’s ‘Round Here,” (Red-red-red-red-red-redneck).  Teagan finished her 400 page doodle book before we got to Tennessee.  We got stuck in traffic in Nashville — it doesn’t matter what time you go through Nashville you always get stuck in traffic.  I’m guessing that’s why it’s the capital of Country Music, you can write an entire country song while sitting in traffic.  Just south of Nashville we decided we were hungry and wanted to stop.  I checked I-Exit and advised what was coming up at the exits just south of Nashville.  There were several exits with multiple options from fast food to sit down dinners – chicken, burgers, tacos… you name it. Dave wanted barbecue. He had seen several signs for Memphis while sitting for hours (ok maybe 30 minutes) in bumper to bumper traffic and decided he wanted to get some good Memphis BBQ.  Problem number 1…. we weren’t actually that close to Memphis, it’s 3 hours from Nashville.  Problem number 2…. my I-Exit app doesn’t always have info on the Mom & Pop places along the road, mostly just chain restaurants.  So we were passing exit after exit filled with Micky D’s, Taco Bell’s, Burger Kings and Cracker Barrel’s.  Then I glanced over at an “at this exit” sign and saw what I thought said “Backyard Barbeque.”  We shot over 3 lanes of traffic and cut off 2 “Dom’s” and semi to get to the exit only to find out it was “Backyard Burgers.”  Oops.  So still travelling and now in a very sparsely populated part of Tennessee our dinner option was now reduced to an Arby’s at a Loves Truck Stop. “Look at the bright side honey you can get an ArbyQ.”  I need to work on my comedic timing as that was not well received.  After stopping at Arby’s the very next exit had a small sign advertising “Bob’s BBQ.”  No I can’t make this stuff up. Back in the car and over the Alabama State Line, bellies full of yummy truck stop Arby’s — it was getting late and time to stop.  Again pulling out my handy-dandy IPhone and checking the IExit app I started naming off exits to stop.  I was happy to stop in and around Huntsville, but Dave thought we could go ahead and get closer to Birmingham.  So we kept driving.  We found an exit north of Birmingham with about six hotels.  We started at the Comfort Suites.  The parking lot looked full but you never know.  Nope no vacancy…. and a family pulled in as we were leaving in a minivan plastered with “my kid plays for ______ softball” stickers on the back.  Not a good sign. There was a place called Full Moon BBQ next door – I have found no less than 10 BBQ spots since the great Arby’s incident.  Travelling down the line of hotels we were met with more softball bedazzled minivans and finally at the Holiday Inn I walked inside to a “WELCOME CLASS OF ’84” sign.  Really …. class of ’84??? Its 2013 — who celebrates a 29 year class reunion??  Maybe the Fighting Fultondale Wildcats of 1984 just sucked at math.  But those crazy Wildcats booked their hotel ahead of time.  The front desk lady told me there was another Holiday Inn, 15 min south at exit 255. Ahhhh good ole exit 255.  Home of the Drury Inn I fell in love with 2 years ago after the LaQuinta failed to honor their advertised rate.  Yep the Drury was full, and the Best Western.  I never did see the damn Holiday Inn she told me about.  And we were told by the guy at the Comfort Suites that he had called the LaQuinta for another weary traveler about 15 minutes ago and they had rooms available.  Two years ago I vowed never to stay at a LaQuinta but they were the only thing available for a 20 mile radius.  Travel tip:  there’s a reason they are the only hotel available.  All they had available was a smoking room.  It’s OK we’ll take it.  I didn’t even argue the price because at this point we were desperate.  The elevator was frightening like it hadn’t been inspected since the Wildcats had graduated.  The whole hotel was run down.  We slept with the window open — the lovely sound of the nearby interstate to sleep by — because the beds smelled like ashtrays.  Dawson sprayed 1/2 his bottle of cologne on his pillow to try to make it smell better.  Teagan and I put coconut scented lotion under our noses to try to disarm the smoke and cologne.  We woke up early, brushed our teeth and put the disgusting LaQuinta in the past.  And I will again declare, never to stay at a LaQuinta ever again!! Now on our final route to the beach, less than 5 hours away!!  Nothing really exciting happening because if you’ve ever driven through the great state of Alabama there is absolutely nothing south of Montgomery except pine forests.  Pine forests and BBQ shacks at old Shell gas stations that don’t even sell gas anymore.  Dave saw every sign for BBQ…. Bob’s, Hog Rock, Moe’s, Kendall’s… you name it.  And at first he liked my phone’s SIRI because she reminded him when he needed to turn.  But when he zigged in stead of zagged and she started yelling at him to turn here, turn there, no go back he suddenly didn’t like SIRI anymore.  I think he missed the map folder. But we made it.  Mostly in one piece.  As we were rounding the corner at the beach there is this little ramshackle yellow building called “The Reef” with several signs posted and as we passed it Teagan said “Look Dad!! Hawaiian BBQ!”  I love that little girl. Anyway more to come later…… Beach Blanket Blog-o part II…… and the explanation of the family who has worse travel luck than we do!