Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rock Star Treatment

Today, I got the rock star treatment!  I travel fairly regularly with my job, so I have gotten pretty good at the airport shuffle.  So when I found out last week that I needed to attend a meeting out of state today, I figured we would be traveling via the normal routine. Trying to find the least objectionable connecting flights, getting up at the crack of dawn and fighting long lines in security. However, this time was different.

Instead of flying a commercial flight, we got the VIP treatment on a chartered flight.  This was the first time I had ever flown this way.  The first indication that this trip was going to be different was the message I received with the details.  It said (and this is not a typo), "Your flight leaves at 9:15 am.  Arriving by 9 am should be fine."  I only have to be at the airport fifteen minutes before my flight? Sounds weird to me but I guess they know what they are talking about.

The pilot came in and introduced himself to us and since we were waiting for one other person, he told us to take our time and to let him know when we were ready.  What?  No ID checks?  No security shuffle?  No standing in line to get on the plane?   This is weird, but I like it!

When we landed it got a little weirder.  They told us a car would pick us up and they were right. But it wasn't the usual car service, it was a long, sleek, black limo that pulled directly up to the plane to pick us up! I had flashbacks to my high school days and felt like I was going to prom. As we were being drive to our meeting, it was odd to watch the reactions of the people driving past us (mainly, "yo, dude, check that out! Peace bro!").

I have to say that is was really nice to finish a meeting and within 30 minutes be back at the airport and on a plane headed home.  It took me longer to drive home from the airport (in a torrential downpour) than it did to fly halfway across the country!

If you ever have the chance to fly a charted plane, I highly recommend it.  Party on, like a Rock Star!

Monday, July 28, 2008

One of those days

I am not a morning person.  There are benefits to being one of those people who hate getting out of bed.  At home, everyone else is gone before I get up, so often I get the bathroom and the whole house to myself.  As long as I time it right, traffic is a breeze!

Today, however was one of those days.  You know what I mean, Mr Murphy must have been living in my back pocket today.  I had to get up early this morning because I had to be at work bright and early (ok, 8 am isn't that early but you get my drift) for a meeting that I was hosting.  I set two alarms just to be on the safe side and I begged Mr. Monkeygirl to make sure I get up on time.  Of course, last night was the night that my insomnia decided to come back.  I dosed up on Tylenol PM and finally fell asleep.  Maybe they should relabel this Tylenol AM since I could not wake up this morning to save my soul.  Mr. M gently made his plea for me to puh-lease get up or I would be late for work.  Despite all of his kind words of encouragement, he was only greeted by grunts from under the covers (sometimes, I wonder why he even puts up with me!).

I finally drag my happy butt out of bed and after some sort of miracle, I finally get my act together and head out the door.  Things are looking good so far. I'm leaving later than I really wanted to but, hey, I still have plenty of time to get to work before my meeting.  Then I hit my first snag.  Traffic is crawling!  I can't figure out why and I start to panic.  Can I go a different way?  How long can I sit here before I will be late?  Can I host a meeting from my car? As I run through my possible options, I spy the source of my morning anxiety. It's a school bus.  Huh? I'm pretty sure that school doesn't start for another two weeks.  Are they doing practice runs?  Why today, of all days?  Finally, the bus turns the corner and things start looking much better.

I make it to work with 5 minutes to spare.  I have just enough time to start my PC and grab a Diet Pepsi (Caffeine, I need caffeine...).  I'm waiting for my PC to finish booting up when I glance over and see the one thing that I fear the most.  The one thing that makes me break out in a cold sweat.  The one thing that makes me want to burst into tears.  It is the dreaded blue screen of death.  Some fatal error occurred and my PC was preparing to barf it's memory into some unknown space.  Now, this isn't something that you want to happen - ever.  But today is really NOT a good day for this.  I spent a good chunk of my weekend on a presentation for a meeting later this week.  I only saved it to my hard drive.  If I lost it, I was doomed!  Completely surprised, I lose my ability to censor and blurt out what I was thinking but in a career saving moment, am able to suppress the profanity.

Now my adrenaline was pumping and I'm trying to figure out what to do. Thankfully, the caffeine kicked in and I was able to recover gracefully to my near disaster.  For a completely different reason, I happened to e-mail the presentation to a couple of people last night so I wasn't totally hosed!  Since I had spent so much time on it, I practically had the entire thing memorized so we could continue with the meeting.  

The day didn't get much better from there.  Suffice it to say, I'm really glad to be home!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Have you ever had one of those days were you just really wanted to veg out on the couch and watch stupid movies?  Well today was one of those days for me. Of course, the operative word in the first sentence is wanted.  As much as I wanted to do nothing but catnap and snack all day, I had made previous commitments for today and I had a bunch of other cr*p that needed to get done, so I had to pass on the couch potato routine.

So now that it is nearly bedtime again, I'm finally ready to catch up on my daily dose of TV reality.  But no, Mother Nature is conspiring against me.  We are in the midst of some wicked storms, so the only thing I get to watch is the message that says "Attention - acquiring satellite signal".  In our part of the country, this is a fairly common occurence, so I should be used to this.  But today, this is especially annoying.

You see, we were supposed to have the latest and greatest thing to hit TV service installed this weekend.  TV service feed through our phone lines - or what I like to call Super-duper TV!  Ever since they announced that this service was coming to our area, Mr. Monkeygirl has been researching our options.  Checking out the packages, making passionate and complete sales pitches on what the benefits of Super-Duper TV would be for us.  (Dude, you don't need to sell me on this but I appreciate the effort!!) He knows all of the installation trucks in our area by sight and he gives me frequent updates on who just got the service and how close we are. 

Now, don't get me wrong, Mr. Monkeygirl is not a stalker or freakishly obsessive.  He works for the company that was going to install our service so he has the inside scoop on what is going on.  When our neighbor had super-duper TV installed a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Monkeygirl went into overdrive.  After following all of the proper steps and procedures, we were advised that we were qualified and could schedule the install.

Yesterday was supposed to be the big day.  Everything was set and the really nice guy arrived to start the process.  After a couple of hours and a couple of other really, nice techs coming by to visit, we got the news.  We were denied service because we are really farther away than we should be.  

Mr. Monkeygirl is not deterred, he has a plan to get us super-duper TV in the near future.  I hope he is right, because this "Attention" show is really boring.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dear "The Knot",

I know that planning a wedding is a big deal.  I know that many brides (and some grooms) feel that time flies when they are trying to plan their big day.  I know that sometimes the little things get lost in the shuffle of trying to coordinate what could be the biggest day of your life.  I know that sometimes I didn't really do things when I should even though your website would send me reminders of what I should be doing this month.  I put things off until the last minute.  I waited to make decisions until I absolutely was positive that I was making the right decision (my Mom says I inherited this trait from my Dad).  But, come on, this is ridiculous.

In today's offering from USPS, I got the assorted junk mail and a couple of bills. Mixed in the back of the pile of mail was a nice thick envelope addressed to me. There was a note printed on the envelope giving me a hint as to what wonderful offer waited for me inside.  "Enclosed find your free gift for becoming a member of The Knot". Curiosity got the best of me and I had to open it up since it was well past my wedding day. After all, my big day had come and gone almost 2 years ago. I thought that maybe it was a free copy of one of your other magazines, like The Nest, or please don't send this one to me, The Bump.  Nope, it was neither.  It was a free copy of the fall/winter guide to all things related to weddings for my region of the country. 

Three years ago when I was trying to plan my wedding, this would have been a great help and may have given me some ideas on what to do.  But now, well, it is just isn't very useful.  Don't get me wrong, I loved planning my wedding and in some sick, twisted way, it was actually kind of fun to stress out about how to win/plan a wedding from half way across the country (that is a story that is too long to post here) via the internet at a coffee shop, trying to pick a photographer who could capture our day without shooting the cliche shots that everyone has in the wedding album (oh, did I ever mention that I was a huge procrastinator and photographers book up well in advance, too?), trying to convince my friends that it would be "fun" to spend a day at my house helping me put together my invitations (I was determined to make my own invites - and thank you very much to all my 'make & take' friends who went along with my crazy ideas).  

All in all, I think I did pretty good on my own without having a guide to help me make the right choices. We had a blast, everyone had fun, the pictures were gorgeous, and the only mishap of the entire day was a slight miscommunication about who was supposed to provide the unity candle (thankfully, the chapel was conveniently located next door to a florist).  So, thanks for the offer but I don't think I will be planning another wedding any time soon.  Mr. Monkeygirl wouldn't approve!

Mrs. Monkeygirl

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two hundred ninety-six and counting....

No, it is not my age nor is it anywhere close to my weight.  This is day 296 of me surviving without Mr. Monkeygirl's DSLR.  Last year we took a great trip to Las Vegas with some friends and when we got home and tried to clean off the memory card, our Nikon D70 would no longer read any card we put in the camera.  No matter what we tried, nothing worked.

Being that I happen to be one of the world's best procrastinators (and I work much better when I am totally up against a deadline), I didn't do anything with the camera for months.  Finally, it dawned on me that my stepson - SkaterBoy - was getting dangerously close to making a commitment to attend his senior prom.  Oh no, I have earned a reputation among his friends as the official event photographer and I don't have a camera to use!  I finally got my brain cells together enough to remember to put the camera in the car so I could run it up to the local camera shop for repair.

To make a long story short, Camera Store #1 told me that my camera was unrepairable.  What? Broken thing-y in the whatchamacallit (no one could explain the description on the repair form).  So broken that it was "uneconomical" - no wait - it just plain could not be repaired at any cost.  Discouraged, I went home with the poor broken, mangled camera body cradled safely in my front seat.  In an effort to provide full disclosure, I did drop my camera earlier in the year but it worked fine for months without any issues.  The only tragedy from hitting the pavement was a small nick on the corner of the camera body.

Mr. Monkeygirl didn't like the answers we got from CS #1 (uh, hello, do you think I liked that answer?) so we called them back to quiz them further on our options.  We were told we had no other options for repair and that there was absolutely no one in the metro area that did repair work on these cameras.  Defeated, we started to look at our options.  Buy the "really nice" used D70 that CS #1 happened to find for us?  Suck it up and buy a new D80 (yikes!)?  Give up and vow to never take another picture again?

On a whim, Mr. Monkeygirl took our poor broken baby to Camera Store #2 just to see what they had to say.  Well, they have good news and bad news for us.  The Bad News? The camera is broken but it is only a bent pin in the card reader.  The Good News?  They had really good luck fixing these in the store.  A few minutes later, they were back with - uhm - good news and bad news.  The Bad News?  They couldn't fix the bent pin in the store.  The Good News? They didn't break it completely off and they had the name of a local repair shop that could take care of the problem.

Mr. Monkeygirl was now on a mission.  Thankfully, his employer likes to mess around with his schedule weekly so he has a little bit of free time in the mornings.  He makes the supreme sacrifice to get up early and heads off to what will probably become my favorite repair shop in the whole world.  They took one look at the camera and declare - it is fixable and for a relatively small fee! Yipeeeeee!!  

So, today is day 296 without what I affectionately call my "big girl camera".  We should be getting our baby (sorry SkaterBoy - we really do love you too!) back soon and I can't wait to take a picture to send to CS#1 letting them know that they are "number one" in my book!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where did you go Van Gogh?

Today I saw the best name for a pet that I have seen in a long time.  

It was a simple sign someone printed at home that read "LOST DOG" and had a picture of an adorable mixed breed looking loving into the camera lens.  I skimmed the sign quickly and was about to pull away when what I read finally sunk into my heat-stroked brain.  

The poor run away puppy's name is "Van Gogh".  Why did this particular name make me do a double take, stop the car and get out in the unbearable midwestern heat & humidity and send me into fits of laughter?  Because the pup is missing his right ear!

So if you are in the Westport area and you see a cute one-eared dog, now you know Van Gogh.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Conquering my NV envy

I have a problem.  

My Most Excellent Friend, Nik, has something that I want.  No, I don't want it, I need it.  I drool over it, I dream about it, I obsess about it in every free moment.  There are very few things in this world that a MEF won't do for you but I can't ask her for this.  What she has is very personal and not something you just ask for from a friend.  She has the most amazing blog and I want one.  I want to be just like her and I want one of the coolest blogs that anyone has ever read.

I told her once that I wanted to start a blog but that I was scared that I wouldn't be able to blog on her level.  Nik gave me the best piece of advice that I could have ever gotten.  She wisely said, "It's not about competition, it all about sharing!"  And with that one simple sentence, she started an obsession. 

I've started to create this blog several times and for one reason or another, I have chickened out (whining voice in my head - what if nobody reads it?).  Now is the time to do something about it.  I'm losing sleep over this and I need to get all of these ideas out of my head and onto the world wide web so that I can finally get some rest!  It only took me 3 months to work up the courage to create the blog.

Now, I only have to work up the courage to hit the publish button!