Category Archives: job

Don’t Let the Cobwebs Gather in Your Elbows

Juneau, Alaska. Check.

Miami, Florida. Check.

Boston, Massachusetts. Check.

Restart…

“We want you both to come work for us.” That’s how the story began.

Girls, pack your cat nip. We’re going back to Alaska. Someone hit the reset button.

Sometimes, it takes you six years to figure out what you prefer in life. Sometimes you take wrong exits off the highway before you figure out your GPS has given you faulty directions and you have to get back on the highway. And sometimes, you have to go out there and see other places so you can extend your family and have more experiences in life.

We’re Off…Like Cats Looking for the Open Can of Tuna!

Once we fired off the confetti cannon and made our decision to go, we quickly packed up our three furry kids, dropped off the two lizards to the nieces and selected some creature comforts to get us through a couple of months of Alaska living. We will be back to Boston in November to remote work and pack up our house, then go back to Alaska in March for the next summer season.

Packing for a second household is interesting. Which garlic crusher do you take? What about cutting boards, one or three? Are we going to need the blender? Better take the mini food processor. Do you think we should take the Learn Spanish DVDs so we have something to do? How many pairs of jeans are you taking? Don’t forget the favorite cat toys. And whatever happens, don’t forget the cat treats. Better pack a Keurig and a bubbler (Sodastream, as I love my bubbly water.)

One would think, if you forgot something, just go to the store when you get there. Right? That’s the thought of 99% of everyone who is traveling to new locations. Except where we’re going, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

We’ll be spending most of our year in Hoonah, Alaska. Population 750 give or take. About 3 miles of paved road and 150 miles of dirt logging roads. Ever see that show, “Alaska Bush People” back when they were in Alaska? Yeah, well, they lived in Hoonah. And no, they were not really living in the wilderness. Talk about fake news.

Hoonah is the largest Tlingit community in Alaska and is located on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska. It’s about 40 miles west of Juneau or a 20 minute flight. It also has the largest concentration of coastal brown bears in the world, although I have yet to see one. Lots of bear poop on the road, lots of poop.

(What is a coastal brown bear? Apparently, those in the know, decided to make a different class from the typical grizzly bear and classify the coastal brown bear. As I understand it, the coastal brown bear found mainly on Chichagof and Admiralty Islands eat mainly salmon and are therefore bigger in nature, therefore you get a different type of bear. )

Back to the story…

Anyhow, there’s no mall, no Walmart, no Target, no Walgreens, no Kohl’s. There’s a hardware store and small grocery store, whose motto is, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” The other day I was desperate for a pair of plain old regular scissors for home. You know the kind with the orange handle? Went to the hardware store. Found them. $16.

I’ve ordered some things from Amazon, you know I’m a Prime member and all. An electric throw blanket. I thought I’d pick one up at Costco in Juneau, WHEN I FLEW OVER TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING, but they didn’t have them. Normally, Prime is next day delivery or two days, right? Here….it’s two weeks. My blanket should be here by September 27th.

Please Keep Your Claws Inside the Carrier at All Times.

Traveling with the cats is always an experience.

Liggy, our 20-22 year old is a pro. She’s been from Alaska to Miami to Boston. And now she’s gone back to Alaska.

Monkey and Taku, well…they’re a little unimpressed at the whole process. They joined us in Miami, so they’ve only done one journey with us. A flight to Boston. Needless to say, as soon as the carriers come out, all hell breaks loose.

Monkey sings the song of her people, which sounds more like someone who has just eaten a meal that hasn’t agreed with their system and their bowels are about to explode.

Taku silently glares at us. Placing what are undoubtedly triple strength, unorthodox feline hexes on our souls, cursing us into damnation. No snuggles for you.

We break up the flight, overnighting in Seattle as a cross country, to Alaska flight is too long to be stuck in a kennel. Going from Boston to Hoonah is a three flight journey, even with non-stop flights. The upside was once we got to the Seattle hotel and blocked access to behind the beds, the girls decided there was safety in numbers! STICK TOGETHER! Normally, they don’t hang out together….

Cats snuggled in at Seattle hotel, safety in numbers.

When we travel, the two youngest go underneath in the traveling pet cargo area. Which I told them was a disco for pets. I’m not sure they believed me entirely. I did tell them to go easy on ordering the Alaskan beer and mimosas on the flight as altitude can sometimes do crazy things with your alcohol consumption. Liggy travels as my carry on and goes under the seat, she’s a first class pet. Of course at her age, she should be.

However, when we got to Juneau and loaded up into our final plane, Liggy’s eyes were as big as golfballs as she was loaded into the back of our little plane. At least we were all together on this one, everyone was seated in the same compartment. I could turn around, look past the cargo net and see the three girls. Hang on everyone, here we go. One more flight. At least Monkey wasn’t serenading us. If only because Taku had her muttering out the unorthodox feline hex as well. Bonding at it’s finest.

Welcome to Hoonah-lulu

Ah, what a relief.

Not that we finally arrived after traveling for two days, with three cats and five pieces of luggage. One of which was the cat’s suitcase, I kid you not.

But we arrived back where we’re supposed to be.

A good friend greeted us with open arms at the airport, we dropped our stuff at the house, got the girls situated so they could find hiding spots inside the house, then we drove 2 miles of paved road to the grocery store.

It felt like a giant scratchy coat had been shed and cast aside.

I could finally breathe.

I was lighter.

I wasn’t stressed about having to drive down the Boston highway with 14,839 crazy drivers, making left hand turns from right hand lanes. Or taking 90 minutes to go 16 miles. Or swerving lanes as they text on their cell phones.

All of the frustrations of my previous job slid off like waves on a fine sand beach. No longer my issue. Not my problem.

The next day we went into work, doing what we know best…cruise tourism. People are excited about the future. Excited about the possibilities. Excited about the potential. There’s talking, laughing and sharing ideas. There’s big ideas, big plans and things are happening.

There’s no time to sit back. It’s time to jump in and see how we can help. What can we do? Where do we start? It may be the countdown to the end of the 2019 season, but the 2020 season is already in planning and new projects are unwrapping faster than birthday gifts.

It’s thrilling to be back.

Wait, did I mention the view from work?

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10259330_715172081854832_8992840686047184098_nWhat happened to nice?

I wouldn’t even bother to say society needs a good dose of Miss Manners, Emily Post and a decent wrap on the knuckles with a ruler.  (except, I just did) Honestly, I think the concept of being nice or even remotely polite has gone along the way of the chicken trying to cross the damn road.

Forget the road, that chicken is trying to survive to  see another day of cracked corn and hope that little old couple comes down to feed them if they’re lucky…so it doesn’t have to cross the road!

Society has given up on the concept of NICE.  It’s better off walking in the ditch.  Not worth the effort.  Why even bother?

It’s short attention spans, loud volumes, fast paced environments, in the NOW technology, constantly walking up my ass at the grocery store and honking your damn (insert whatever model car here) horn before the light even turns green because I may be color blind and not realize the change in brightness indicates I should remove my foot from the brake…..these are some of the things that has led us down this path of….. fuck off behavior.

Seriously.

Laura Ingalls would be appalled.

Jack Hannah would say animals behave better.

Charlie Brown would say even Lucy, when she removes the football, is a kinder person.

What the hell has happened to being nice?  I don’t mean you have to be overly polite, like you’re trying to win the Nobel Peace Prize or hoping to be crowned Miss America and need to over compensate for your lack of not knowing the answer to your random question on politics, world peace or child labor.  Nor am I suggesting you pretend you’re up for an Academy Award and have to buy your way to the winners circle….enjoying this person’s company and clinking glasses with that person say they “really like you.”

That’s not it at all.

But. Damn, people.

Get a clue.

Get some common sense at least.

Maybe that’s what it is.  No common sense.  Can you get a pill at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for Common Sense deficiency?  If you made it a dummy pill – and labeled it would people automatically gain common sense just by thinking they were enhancing their common sense?

At work recently they’ve adopted a campaign.  A be kind to your co-worker campaign – it’s a nice place to work campaign.  I don’t know, maybe employees are getting beat up in the parking lot after work for their lunch money.   They want us to be friendly.  You know…..hold the elevator for people…..don’t hide behind plants….say hello….because after all “smiles are contagious.”

Yeah well so’s herpes.

You can get herpes from a friendly environment.

Thanks.

Every time I see a stranger, they greet me.  It’s like a secret email has gone out, “We don’t work among strangers.  We work among F R I E N D S.  If you see a stranger, don’t point and scream….just say hello!”

Are you shitting me?

I’m an Only Child.  I prefer strangers, they don’t bother me.  (Unless they want to kidnap you, then you have a problem.)  Strangers are usually quiet, unless they are my old upstairs neighbor but you know that already and that’s not a stranger, that was a neighbor.  Anyhow, most strangers are Q U I E T.

Now. At work. I can’t go to the bathroom without everyone I pass greeting me.  It’s like I’m on a parade.   You would think I’m running for a governmental office.  I’m hoping the next installment to this campaign will be confetti cannons.  Those of you who know me, know my love of confetti….and confetti cannons.

The first day it happened I was walking down the hallway and everyone I passed was “Hi-ing” and “Hello-ing” me.  About the third person that greeted me….I started to wonder what the hell was going on.  I mean it’s a big company, but have I EVER met any of these people?  Who the hell are these people?  Am I loosing my mind?  We don’t even work in the same department….

Tell me.

Now when I leave my padded desk area is it required I be on campaign mode?  Is this the goal? Should I automatically turn on the Queen’s wave (which, if you didn’t already know…it’s wrist, wrist, wrist….elbow, elbow, elbow) and royal co-worker charm?

What if I am NOT in THE MOOD? Can I help it if I have an “at rest bitch face” when in deep contemplative thought or just not wanting to be bothered?  No amount of my Happy Camper pills are going to help and certainly you don’t want me eating pea soup if it’s one of those types of days.

Perhaps I need to fashion a board around my neck that says, “In a mobile time out.”

The other day a group of us were walking between the buildings, coming back from a meeting.  We knew everyone in our group – safety in numbers.  A single person was heading towards us.  The single greeted us.  Most of us kind of did a soft response back hello….”who the hell are these people.”

I asked the loudest in my little gang of responders…..”did you know that person?”

No…not really, I mean they kind of looked familiar but I don’t know them.

Okay, it’s not just me.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

Strangers and Pixie Dust

Please note: All names have been changed to protect the guilty. Don’t worry, I still love you.

Strangers.

They’re everywhere.

We grew up being told not to talk to them and look what happens! We grow up and start talking to them.  Just throw that spray can called CAUTION right out the window.  While you’re at it, you might as well dump COMMON SENSE down the drain and flush SELF PRESERVATION right down the toilette with your daily dump.

I mean really, it’s quite obvious.  Mr. Rodgers kicks the bucket and we’re all going to Hell in a hand basket.  Talking to strangers as if they’re as common as the pickles on our plate.  Really?  Do you know who handled that pickle?  I think not.

The Beaver would be horrified as would Big Bird if they had any inkling the kind of people we were associating with on a daily basis.  Next time you’re on line at the grocery – take a gander at your local strangers.

Creepers.

Yet, we’re addicted.

It’s no different than being told, “don’t touch that!” You simply can’t help yourself so you do it. Just to see what happens. Nine times out of ten – nothing exciting occurs. But that tenth time- yowzers!

They come in all shapes and sizes.

There are ones you wouldn’t touch with a four foot pole, while riding past them on your Orange County Chopper while going to work.

There are others you certainly wouldn’t mind being trapped on a desert island for several days with before help arrived.

Lastly there are others you routinely have to pick your lower mandible up off the floor by and can’t help but think one thing: WTF is wrong with you?!

This past week I was sailing on a cruise liner for work and had such an encounter. Seemed harmless enough at first. Similar to if a mosquito landed on you and you had no clue what it was until it poked it’s giant beak into your virgin skin to suck your blood to give itself life. THEN, you realize….this is a problem.

SMACK…..no, that’s not the sound of you ending the life of the blood-sucking mosquito.  That’s the sound of you thinking….WTF have I gotten myself into and who the hell is going to get me out of this?

Nobody.  Buck up and carry on.  You are in it.  Now get out of it.

It happened at the Martini Bar.

Enter the swaggering Johnny Boy who saunters up to me and begins to chat me up at the bar.

Great.

First thing I notice?

This man has a beak on him that I don’t think he could get inside a coffee mug if he tried.  It may be handy for dialing on iPhones.  Wow.  That’s quite the pointer you got there.  Does it act like a compass as well?  Or wait, do you do search and rescue missions?  That can’t be right, you don’t have a barrel of whiskey under your chin, but then again we aren’t in the Alps.  What the hell do I know, we’re in the Caribbean.

He begins to ask how my evening is going and how lovely I look in my dress.   Did I enjoy dinner.  Was I enjoying the cruise?  Oh the questions of common chat.

Shoot me.

Yatta.  Yatta.  Yatta.  Insert nice comments.

Then he hits me with, “So the guy you’re with….” nodding to the guy to my right…. “is that your husband?”

(Note:  said man in question is large bald man to my right)

I quietly pick up my velvet sledge hammer and casually position it above my head….ready, aim…release:

No, he’s my boss.  And that guy over there…..(and I point to a gentleman across the bar…(another larger muscled man) that’s my VP.  I’m surrounded by men who own me.  Sorry.

Blink.  Blink.  Bambi smile.  Blink.

>>>>  awkward moment goes here <<<<<

Oh, that’s too bad, the pointy nose man says.  Did I forget to mention he was baked to a crispy bacon color?  And wearing a lovely tank top by the way.  Oh yes, he was also a good stiff breeze into his Long Island Teas by now, which made the interaction all the more entertaining as we launched into Act Two:

Blink.  Blink.

He then turns to his other side and asks about the ladies sitting to our left side.

“Who are these lovely ladies?  From Sex in the City?”  Obviously, I am seeing my out approaching as quickly as the Lexington Avenue stop on the NY Metro when you’ve dozed off unexpectedly.  SNAP….got to go.

WHY, yes, aren’t they lovely ladies?  And you know what?  They’re also with me!  Don’t they look FABULOUS?

He had a name for each of the ladies and as he figured who was who, I was gathering my hand bag and martini….positioning my stilettos for lift off and preparing for a pole vault from my seated position.

He was simply amazed and at a loss for words as he approached my friend Bernice.  With the quickness of a forest mouse on crack, I hop from my bar stool and quickly join friends at the back of the bar.  Just a simple three steps away from Bernice, we’re anxiously watching the drama unfold.

From our vantage point, the Pointer was very interested.

From Bernice’s vantage point, it was quite a different engagement.

Pats on her purse.  Comments on her earrings.  Here a pat, there a comment, every where a pat ‘n comment.

Old McNose had a pat ‘n comment….e i e i o……and on this pat he had an drunken comment!  E I E I O.

Alas, we weren’t too concerned.

I, all 5’1 and filled with Pixie glitter was able to survive the brief moments of stranger commentary of The Nose.  The spectator crowd in the back figured Bernice could do the same…..and we were quite enjoying the several minutes of conversational exchange between strangers.   Actually hoping to snap a photo if possible.

Fact or fiction you decide:  It all came to a screeching halt and we were later discovered to our horror…. he wanted to sell her Boy Scout Popcorn but the deal was only good if she could trade with her stash  Ginsu Knives.  You know they cut through cans AND then tomatoes.   The Nose said he didn’t swing that way so the deal was off on the Ginsu Knives.but wait until I tell you about the Pocket Hoses he was ready to deal on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Flying Where?

What if, when birds are squawking in high places they aren’t talking to each other about the fabulous grub hole they found or singing love songs.  What if they’re really bitching cause they’re afraid of heights or are about to pee-their-feathers because they’re afraid to fly?  What if when they’re floating along on the water, they’re not feeling all peaceful and blissful but are really paralyzed with fear because they hate water and can’t swim?

I’m just saying.

What if?

Same could be said when you go to the animal park and those monkeys you see sitting together on a limb, combing one another’s hair.  They’re so cute.  Picking gnats and bugs out of each other’s fur.  What you don’t know is in their reality, the little fucker wouldn’t stop rubbing his head in the ant hill so his head is covered in fire ant bites and the parent is picking scabs off his scalp.

I’m just saying.

What if.?

You really think dogs are smelling each other’s asses to identify one another?  Hey Stan, how’s it hanging?  Oh, sorry.  They’re checking to see what they all  had for dinner.  Are you kidding me?  Max had Mighty Dog?  OMG! Fluffy had that fresh ground beef kibble from the new trendy doggie cafe on Madison Avenue!  The nerve!! That’s it!  When I go home I am going to eat my dinner and then promptly throw it up on the couch.  The new carpet.  The bedspread.  The new jacket mom just bought.  In dad’s car!  Then I’ll get the good stuff.

I’m just saying.

What if?

Life is full of What If moments.  Take for example yesterday at work.

I’m delighted.  This time next month, I will be in Auckland, New Zealand.  Don’t worry, I have already alerted the local authorities, they are preparing for my arrival.  (It is the ONLY place in the world I have received a speeding ticket….thank you.)

Since I haven’t had the opportunity to make travel arrangements through our work system, I asked the co-worker I am traveling….we’ll call him Calvin….to showed me how it’s done.   Yesterday afternoon Calvin and I booked his ticket to go from Miami to Auckland.

Things were going all fine and dandy.  We punched in the details.  Miami to Auckland and the date.  The various combinations came up on the screen.  We could pick everything from 14 days worth of traveling in a tin can to just about 35 hours in a tin can.

International travel these days offers so many amenities it is astonishing.  There were options to fly with circus animals, farm animals or domestic animals.  Another section included circus performers, ring leaders or classroom pranksters.  Meal service included selections for prison rations,  weight watchers cardboard, things confiscated by customs and forbidden fruits.

Better yet was the option to pre-select your TSA screening.  This I had no idea was possible.  Now you can sign up for a Pass Go card that allows you to skip the back handed,  gloved pat down and go straight to the private room strip search.  I mean who knew?   Did you want a glass of wine and a smoke with that?  If so, please acknowledge and your credit card will be charged an additional $25.00.  If you want to include the drug sniffing K9 that is an additional $500.

I confess to Calvin, I’m not the biggest fan of flying, but it’s the only way to get anywhere fast so I do it.  We choose a flight that has a short flight time.  The first flight is operated by Alaska Air to LAX.

Of course I’m delighted it’s Alaska Air.  And then the delight is immediately squashed by the thought of going through LAX international hell again.  That place, I swear, is operated by the Orcs, from Lord of the Rings.  The last time I went through….I experienced every level of Dante’s inferno as well.  Insanity.  They made me a stand by passenger, even though I was a full fare passenger with ticket in hand.  Took my carry on – made me check it.  Lost all of my luggage.

I.

Was.

NOT.

Happy.

The first helpful person I encountered was in Australia.  Where they said, “this happens all the time with LAX.”  Great.  Anything happens this time, I will politely excuse myself and reintroduce myself as the Honey Badger.

Back to the story.

Okay so we get to LAX and change planes.  Looking at the screen.  I swear it says we get on Asia Air.  Calvin says, “this looks like a good one.”  I’m thinking to myself……really?  Isn’t that a third world airline?  Do they even speak English?  I’m terrible with accents.  How am I going to understand the safety briefing?  Do they translate the announcements?  Do they have a drink cart?  Can I just have the drink cart?  Are the drinks free?  How much are the drinks?  Do they take American?

Then he says to me……

“It goes from LAX to NAN.”

..

.

.

.

.

Excuse me?

“NAN.”

NAN?

“NAN.   N. A. N.    NAN”

..

..

..

Where the hell is NAN?

“Well, I don’t know.”

>>Enter the Bambi stare.  blink. blink. blink. blink.<<

NAN?  I’ve never heard of NAN.

“Me either.”

?

I get out my phone and Google NAN.

Well, according to Google it says NAN stands for:  Nadi, the western portion of Fiji.

“Nadi?”

Nadi.  N. A. D. I.    Nadi.

>>blink. blink.<<

NADI!  Good god man!  We look at Calvin’s giant world map on his office wall.  Way down in the far right hand corner.  Way down further than all the other countries.   Way down past New Zealand.  Way down past the compass.  Past the mile marker.  Almost like a speck of tomato soup on the map…..is a tiny little blip of a smudge on the map.

Fiji.

But no Nadi.

I look at Calvin.

Calvin looks at me.

My upper lip breaks out into a sweat.

My throat goes dry.

My hands start to sweat as do my feet and my pits.

Cripes, I say, WHAT IF they don’t have a big enough runway for a jet?  That place is represented by a poppy seed!

Apparently You’re Broken

I have a complaint.

Why have I not heard about the fundraising effort to assist cashiers across America?  Di you know, they have all broken their arms.  Shocking news isn’t it?

You must be kidding me.  Seriously, you can’t lift the head of lettuce, chili pepper, bottle of shampoo and loaf of bread out of my basket?  The basket is on the conveyor belt.  It’s waist high!  No, you still can’t empty it?  What on earth is wrong with this customer service world?   It’s not like I’m carrying around 50 pounds of cement mix in my basket…..if I can carry it with one arm, you would think the cashiers would be able to lift each item out individually to ring them up.

WRONG.  It’s happened to me at Target and now at Whole Foods.

“Is this your basket?”

No, I’m standing here to ask you if you prefer your orange juice with or without pulp.

YES, it’s my basket.  Who else would it belong to?

“Oh well can you help me empty out the items?”

A look of disbelief crosses my face like a tumbleweed in a desert ghost town.

I start to empty out the items and she turns to start talking to the bagger guy.  Since the conveyor belt keeps moving forward I have to pile all of my items together.  This is ridiculous.  After I empty out my plethora of heavy items she turns to me and asks how I’m doing today.

The only reason I can figure why this has now become the norm (I’ve had this happen to me both at Target and today at Whole Foods) is someone has undoubtedly thrown their back out by lifting out a can of chickpeas or a 4-pack of toilette paper out of a basket sitting on the conveyor belt.

Cashiers don’t even have to enter numbers any longer except when multiple quantities or a produce item comes across their stand.  When I was a casher in high school, at the local grocery, we had to actually ring in items.  Imagine that.  Then I had to walk home without shoes, up hill and in the desert sun.

At Costco here in South Florida, they unload your cart for you.  THAT’S service.  Of course, their management probably figures after heaving that overladen cart around their football field of items you’re arms are fatigued and you need help.

My purchases are finally rung through and as I’m preparing to swipe my card for payment (cashiers don’t even have to do that any more shocking) the cashier points to the basket and says, “Can you put this on the floor for me?”

Gobsmacked.

Are you kidding me?  Seriously?  Are your arms painted onto your torso?  What happened to customer service?  Here, move over and let me ring up and bag my own groceries.  Oh wait, I can already do that.  In fact, I did just that earlier today at Ikea.

What is it exactly that we’re paying cashiers to do these days anyway?  Drag items across a scanner that rings up the item.  Wow.  Difficult.

Imagine the qualifications for the job:  able to keep right arm bent at elbow for hours while dragging items across scanning device and shoving item with left hand to the bagger for packaging.  Smiling and pleasant chatting is not required or expected.  Prefer individuals with sour personality and frown hanging down to their knee caps.  If you can sweat sheer exhaustion and boredom, you’re hired!

Few cashiers are pleasant.  Most are annoyed you are standing in front of them.  Very rarely do they even greet you or ask if you found everything.  They’re too busy discussing with their coworkers when their next smoke break is and if they can borrow a cigarette.  TRUE, happened last week at Target.  If one should actually thank you for shopping at their place of employment, pigs would fly.  Actually monkeys would probably shoot out of my butt if good customer service was normal at retail stores.

Even the girl at Barnes and Noble was annoyed today.  When you are angry at the world, try not to take it out on me.  If being nice to customers isn’t your thing, may I suggest a job change.  You probably want to stay away from people so I would look into office cleaning in the evenings, back-room stock person or counting beans in a basement somewhere.  Maybe you could pass as a sultry 900 number operator, there you could wear a headset and not even have to use your arms at all.  There’s a bonus!

Seriously, I think owners and managers alike should do their own version of Undercover Boss and experience first hand just how rude their front line staff can be to customers.  It isn’t even rude as it’s down right anti-customer service.

I’m thinking of starting a rating system.  If you provide great customer service, I will thank you and give you a high five.  Actually, we have stopped managers in stores and restaurants to compliment a particular employee.  Maybe I’ll just start telling the anti-service cashiers, I hope their day gets better……let them ponder that one.

 

AN ADDENDUM:

I would also like to comment at this time that The Public should learn some manners as well.  The woman in front of me at Whole Foods today…..her son, maybe 8 years old, nearly ran me down as he was obviously hopped up on sugar and decided to run back into the aisles like a fox chasing a hare.  No excuse me.  No I’m sorry.  No pardon me.  NOTHING.  Even the man behind me raised his eyebrows and shook his head.

I don’t care WHAT country you are from people.  It’s never okay not to be nice.  Running down a stranger is not acceptable, unless they have a mafia hit on them.

 

So. How You Liking Miami?

Over the last few days several people have asked me the same thing.  It’s always with hesitation they ask.

“So.”

l o n g        p a u s e      h e r e

“How you liking Miami?”

Then I swear they hold their breath and squint their eyes.  Waiting for me to sucker punch them or something.  It’s quite odd.

My response?

It’s fine.  Honestly, I have nothing to really compare it to logically.  It’s completely different from anything I’ve experienced in the last 18 years.  Below, I thought I’d take a moment or ten, to tell you what I think…..

First off.  It is the polar opposite of living in Juneau, Alaska.

  1. People here use umbrellas.  In Juneau, we use the hoods on our coats and tough it out.    A little rain never hurt anyone.
  2. However, the rain in Miami is a torrential downpour that floods streets and the car wipers don’t go fast enough.  Thunder, lightening and rivers…..30 minutes later and we’re done with the rain.  Out of Mother Nature’s system and moving on to better things.
  3. Lots of things I don’t need to see.  Such as that lady’s nipple, as she waited for the crosswalk signal.  Her bikini top was just a little off kilter.  Or that lady in front of me on my golf course walk, with the wrinkled and saggy skin…..with her short shorts tucked up on the sides under her thong (not kidding) so anyone behind her could see the loose bags of skin that used to be her butt cheeks…..but more like an overcooked potato skin….flopping around under her shorts.  She would have made a better impression keeping the shorts down and covering the cheeks.
  4. I’ve never seen so many BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Lexus and Cadillacs in one area.  So much so that I have forgotten what a Subaru looks like, let alone a pick up truck.
  5. If you are trying to grow an alien out of your stomach, hip or butt…..please, encase that in spandex, we all need to see that.  And it’s better if you can encase it in spandex that has horizontal stripes.  See below:
  6. One day I went to work in a new work outfit.  Gone are the jeans and hiking boots.  I now wear dresses, skirts and platform heels.  I texted my cousin and said, “I think I picked the wrong skirt it seems tight and short.”  Her reply, “you are in Miami it’s all about butts and boobs.”  Noted.
  7. The land of 18 languages.  Russian, French, Czech, Yiddish and oh yeah… Spanish.
  8. Hey!  It’s not all Asian food here!  What a break!
  9. It starts to drizzle and the traffic slows down from 80 mph to 40mph.  I’m the only one weaving in and out of traffic at that point.
  10. Whole cases of freshly cut fruit at the grocery stores.  Not to mention the celebrity sightings there too.
  11. Beaches without rocks.  A novelty.
  12. Sunshine.  Lots of sunshine.
  13. I can get a manicure for $15.00 and a full service pedicure for $20.  Seriously.  With a massaging recliner chair to boot.
  14. Costco…..easily twice the size of ours.  I can get my prescription, fresh flowers, produce, gas, eyeglasses AND funeral casket all in one place.

It has been interesting.  Yes, living in the suburbs of Miami definitely has it’s challenges.  The traffic is something fierce but you learn to work around it.  The people aren’t always the nicest but you deal with it.  For example if I start talking to people in the grocery or Costco people automatically know I’m not from here and it either gets them interested in where I’m from or causes them to choose another check out lane.

My job is great.  I love my job.  It’s tough.  Every day is a challenge and you don’t know what’s coming next.  I’ve never slept so good – all because I’m mentally drained by the time I get home at night.

Working for a giant company is definitely odd.  The closest thing I have to compare it to is working for the State of Alaska.  Huge machine and we’re only responsible for the left big toe portion.  I’ve met two of the presidents, which is very exciting.  One of which thought I brought a great conversation to the table!  Okay!  Believe it or not he is British and I actually got about every third word he said —- rather than my usual every sixth word.

I laugh a lot every day and yet there are still lots of things I need to learn.  When the VP says, “DO IT.”  I at first think, “really?  He can’t be serious.”  No, really, he is serious.  This is soooo backwards from what I’m used to that it takes me a bit to roll it around before I swallow and say, “okay, well if he’s serious, then hell yeah!  Let’s do this.”

Many times people have asked me, “what do you do on the weekends?”  I am here by myself and it makes people worry about my sanity and social life.  The first thing I tell people is this is the SECOND time I’ve packed up and moved somewhere I didn’t know anyone or anything.  How do you think I ended up in Alaska for 18 years?  I’m a Philly girl!  Come on!

Second thing I have to tell people:  I’m an only child.

I was taught to fend for myself since third grade.  True.  While others in this world need outside people to complete them….I am comfortable doing my own thing, on my own time at my own speed.  Often times people are dumbfounded when I tell them I do all kinds of things by myself.

I take myself out to dinner and not just fast food.  Sit down, order a glass of wine, salad, dinner etc.  When I walk up to the hostess stand I always tell them, “I am a giant party of one.”  The facial expression is priceless!  What a relief!

I have gone to movies and art museums by myself.

I have even gone to theatre productions by myself in major cities.

It’s no big deal to me.  I can do it.  Contrary to what is difficult to lots of people in this world…..I am very, very comfortable being with myself.  By myself.  I don’t need a giant circle of people to validate me or my actions.  Here I am….love me or not….it’s not my problem.

Yes, I have a small circle of friends, around this globe and they are what matters.  I don’t need a huge friend base of 200 people to make me feel valued or accomplished.  I’ve been doing this since I was 8 years old and I’m proud to say I’m quite independent.

So when people are astonished I can do this life in Miami, by myself, I am perplexed because to me, this is a huge adventure.  I may take myself on a 3 mile walk and enjoy my thoughts or music as I go.  Maybe I will drive to Barnes & Noble and get lost for a few hours in the shelves of books.  There’s a great movie out….maybe I will treat myself to snacks and a glass of wine then hit the movie.  I have signed up for Conversational Spanish at the college and have a GroupOn for pole dancing lessons – all on my own.  No big deal.

I go to the gym at work during the week – first thing in the morning.  Do my work, on the third floor of the 1080 building until 6:30 or 7:00 at night and head home.  At home I cook a nice healthy meal, watch some tv or read….play Words with Friends and then off off to bed.  Rewind and repeat the next day.

The complex I’m in has a pool, if I should choose to jump in, but that’s not for me yet.

Yes, there are massages and nail appointments.  My new hair stylist Greta is great!  I have been to the beach once in all my time here….go figure.  But have enjoyed my balcony and potted plants just as much.  I have my usual weekly chores and food shopping to get through.  Snore.

It all comes from how you were raised.  My mom made me a strong and very independent person – which I am proud to be in this world.  Yet there are times when I think, “what the hell?”  Those moments come from not having experienced this life style before and just having to get used to the flow of things.

When I moved to Alaska I had no clue what Xtra Tuffs were – and I have my second pair with me now.  My co-workers are often teaching me about local customs and flavors, which is fantastic.  “OH, you have to try this Cuban dessert.”

I truly enjoy my coworkers sharing their local knowledge – especially the Cuban side of things.  As it turns out, my great-great- great grandparents were from Cuba.  They owned a tobacco plantation.

So see, I’m not so foreign in this land after all!

Get Off My Ass…Unless You’re Buying Me Dinner.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Alaskans.

We.  Like. Our. Space.

That’s why we prefer to live in a state where there’s only 1.5 people per square mile.     Love that.  In my square mile I’d designate Liggy, our cat, as the .5 measurement.  (That’s correct, Eric can get his own square mile…mine is full.) Unfortunately, however, I’ve moved to Miami and the luxury of personal space went out the window along with owning sensible shoes.

Which, by the way, if you would have told me at this time last year I’d be wearing platform heels I would have laughed myself to the point of a side cramp.  Now, I have several pairs to choose from in the closet.  Not to mention the colors.  Yes.  The shoes I get the most complements on?  The hot pink Jessica Simpsons – thank you very much.

There was this one pair I drooled over in DSW.  They were vanilla colored, satin fabric, platforms that not only had a rhinestone on the front but feathers as well.  LOVED those shoes.  Went to try them on several times.

shoes

Then I thought to myself:

Self, when are you realistically going to wear these shoes?

I’d wear them to work?

No.

Performing art?

Maybe.

Grocery shopping?

Definitely.

No.  I didn’t buy them.  Sigh.

Anyway, back to the issue.  I wish the people of Miami would do me one little favor:

GET

OFF

MY

ASS!

I have never been anywhere in this short lifespan of mine that has had so many strangers trying to climb up my ass every single day.  Not only that but they’re pissy people at that!

It would be one thing if you were a smooth talking, good looking, sweet smelling suave and swanky personality that would cause me to swoon as soon as you grinned.  However you’re not anything close to making my knees buckle Miami…..

Driving down I-95.  Am I supposed to be impressed as your flashy Porsche flies past Norman like he’s standing still?  Probably.  And I am impressed.  I’d love to go for a ride in that!  Sexy and fast.  Sign me up.

However it’s the idiot in the Honda with the stupid loud muffler that’s trying to act like he’s all that AND a bag of chips….but when in reality he isn’t even the stale pickle on the plate.  Really?  You’re going to tail me and try to intimidate me?  Okay well I’m slowing down by at least 5 mph.  Oh yeah baby, that big rip of a scrape along the left side of your car door – that’s so hot.  Meeeeoooow,

No.

If you’re going to get that close, I hope you brushed your teeth.

Then there’s the cars that when you look in the rear view mirror you already know what’s coming next.  (It’s like watching a Heat game and you just know they’re going to win….the opposing team really shouldn’t have bothered to show up.)  Before you can change the radio station with the flick of your thumb on the steering wheel….no, Norman doesn’t have that ability….it’s just wishful thinking…..the car has climbed up over your back fender and is changing lanes just as fast.

Damn really?  And then the traffic slows down and you’re side by side with Mr. Slick Ass.

Sucker.

And the point of that was what exactly?

More than driving, the one thing that absolutely brings me to the edge of insanity in :15 seconds flat is personal space.  I have gotten to the point where anything inside my imaginary hula-hoop is MINE.  The hula-hoop is made of titanium and can’t be broken.  You step inside the hoop and you’re going to be in my way.

BACK  UP!

Enough already.  Do I have a sign on my forehead that reads, “newbie….transplant from Alaska” which gives you the permission to try and body check me at your convenience?  Oh, there wasn’t a sign, you’re just rude by nature?  Wow.  Your parents must be so proud!

Case in point:  tonight I stopped at Pet Smart.  Liggy, was in need of kitty treats, which I can only find at Pet Smart.  I stood in line.  My purse, which isn’t a suitcase by the way, was hitched over my forearm…..comfortably cradled in the crook of my left elbow.

This woman comes up and while there’s nobody standing near me for 3 miles….manages to walk into my purse as she’s going around me.

Really?

As she gets around to my right side, where I am holding another bag in my hand….from the grocery…she bangs into that as well.

OMG what am I?  Magnetic?  For pete’s sake….you have the entire front of the store yet you are drawn to me like freedom fighters to a noble cause.  Can you really not manage to give me a few inches to breathe?  Even the casher grimaced at me with an apologetic face.

The grocery stores are even worse.  Nobody has any concept of personal space.  I don’t just mean in the check out lane, where they push their cart all the way up to the handle bar of your cart the moment you turn your back.  I’m talking about walking down the wide main aisle of Target and it’s three across going one way….large and in charge.  And two coming directly at you.

Cue the Wild West Gunslinger Music….there’s going to be a shoot out.

It’s gotten so bad at Target that I will go out of my way to avoid certain areas because the people are going to drive me crazy before I can even get to the toilette paper.  You try and go around and it’s like they have crazy ESP.  Fake left, they go right.  Fake right, they go left.  Double back to go forward and they’re right there….quietly pondering what to have for dinner….steak or chicken…as they push the cart…down the middle of the expansive aisle.

The side aisles are the trenches of warfare.  Forget trying to make your way from one end to the other if there’s another person in the row.  The rule of “finders keepers” is definitely in play.  They won’t give you an inch to spare one square.  It’s a new game of ostrich….

“While I don’t have any available sand to stick my head in so I can ignore you….if I just plain out pretend I don’t see you then you can’t see me and life is good.  So fuck off and go around me because I own this universe.  Okay, I own this aisle!”

Okay, get over yourself and move your damn cart already.

Today I got on the elevator at lunch.  It was crowded.  The last guy on rather than turning around to face the door, decided to keep his back to the door and face the rest of us.  He was busy emailing.  Good grief people!!!  Save yourselves and release the smart technology for two minutes and join in the rest of society.  Buddy, you closely resemble an ass and if you had any idea, you would have been horrified, of this I am certain.

Yes, he finally turned around and in the process moved closer to me so his screen was nearly eye level with my eyeballs.  Do you really think I give a fuzzy hamster’s butt about the upcoming meeting regarding the 42-B template for designs of toilette flush handles?  No.  I.  Do.  Not.

Stop being so pretentious.  Stop trying to put your business in my face.

I. Don’t. Care.

While we’re on the topic of elevators and people and being pretentious and putting their business in my face….I want to discuss sweatpants.  Specifically the ones with words across the butt.

I have two observations.

1.  Whoever thought of this concept obviously didn’t think about including regulations  for appropriate wearage.

2.  Just because they fit doesn’t mean they look good on you.

Dear heaven above, save my eye balls from bloody ruptures if I have to see another butt going by that rolls so much I can’t even make out what the words are:  AGNES, NAGES, ANGLES, AGILES, ANGELS, LANGS…..

w. t. f.