Category Archives: New person in new area

Pardon Me, Where Was That?

It dawned on me today, I have no idea where I live.

No clue.

Heaven help me if someone were to ask me for directions. Wait, they already did. The conversation went as follows:

“So where are you guys living in Smalltown?”

Oh, we are near the Landing.

“What road is that?”

Blink. Blink. Blink.
Well, shit. I have no fucking idea what road.

I can’t blame it entirely on modern technology. You see, every day Elvis tells me what route to take to and from work. He doesn’t say street names. He just says things like, “In a quarter mile, turn left.” I have to read the GPS map to see the street names.

Even though I’m looking at the GPS, I’m not reading the street name. I’m looking at the line ahead and thinking, okay, I near to make a 90 degree left turn in 1/2 mile….or I need to curve to the right, but not really turn right in the next 30 seconds.

Sad, but true.

Even before I discovered Elvis, I can still quite honestly say, “I have no idea what road.”

Yes, I live in a development, well people want to know what street that’s off of.

It’s a two land road, just like all the others, right off the main highway, you know that one that goes North and South? Yes, but what is that? Is that Route 35? Route 21? Route 4?

I don’t know. We are at the fork in the road. Quite literally.

You know the spot. There’s a Walgreen’s, then a Costco, that Paws Wet Nose day care is across the street, which is next to Dave’s Supreme Body Building. The post office isn’t far from us. If you go down the road about a half mile and turn left there is a cute yellow house and a big Catholic church.

They ask, “Well it’s near the lake right?”

There’s a lake? Where? No, I don’t think we’re near the lake. We’re near the Landing, but not a lake.

Isn’t Donnelly Funeral Home near you?

What? I have no idea. There is a funeral home, across from the Post Office. It has a small parking lot and is next door to my chiropractor. Is that the one you’re talking about?

“No, I don’t think you’re near the lake.”

Well no shit, Sherlock.

Then they want to know the name of the development we’re in. Unfortunately, by this time in the conversation, my brain has exhausted itself trying to remember a street name. Now you want to know what the name of the development is? Dear Lord, I know it is a red sign with red flags. There are huge power lines that run along the side and there’s a bunch of trees. We get coyotes, turkeys and lots of frogs….at night mostly. Is there an area signed up for those three creatures?

You see, had you not been quizzing me about the streets, I could have very easily told you the name of the development.

This is when it dawned on me….I have no clue where we live.

The problem is, I grew lazy with street names. When I lived in Alaska, this is exactly how I gave directions for getting to our house:

At the McDonald’s intersection turn right.
Go down till you see Amerigas on the right and turn left at that light.
Take the first left past the Duck Pond.
Our house is the one that looks like Hanzel and Gretel live there.
We’re on the right.

People found our house every time.

Well, duh. Who can’t find a house if you identify what landmark is on the corner, versus those little tiny green street signs? If I’m not watching the GPS map that Elvis provides, it’s very likely I drive right past my turn….I can’t see those damn signs until they’re in my review mirror and even then it’s a nano-second visual.

And why are there NO street signs identifying the street you’re traveling on? Yeah, it’s all fine and dandy that I just passed Pilgrim Drive, Rock Avenue, Main Street, Columbus Drive….Broadway. But WHAT IS THIS STREET? No signage.

Heaven forbid you’d need to know. I’m at the corner of Repent Row and cute purple Cape Cod style house, you know the one with the lavender bushes along the white picket fence? Butts right up to a house with yellow, almost gold trim and dark blue siding. On Thursdays and alternate Saturdays they offer a miniature petting zoo for little kids… Oh YEAH! Nope. Not a clue.

To combat this, I’ve tried to call out my street names when Elvis advises me I’m going to be turning. Usually my drive home takes me the same way for the first half. I did pretty good today. The problem though….too many alphabet streets. Christ.

Left on A.
Right on G.
Right on K.
Left on C.

L M N O P….

Really, when did C get behind K?

I won’t even go into how many Commercial Roads, School Lanes, State Streets, Main Avenues and Quarry Drives there are around here. You would think they’re all connected. NOT.

To compound matters, there’s all the routes. Route 3, 7, 12, 21, 34, 73, 666, 102, 54. Seriously. Okay, there’s no Route 666, but somedays there may as well be and I’m on the People Mover Express.

This is also the reason I need Elvis to guide me, cause I have no clue where I’m actually going. And listening to the traffic report in the morning is utterly useless.

“We have a slow down on the 22 all the way back to 48 with the A Street artery cut off. Traffic is picking up on the 78 as you approach the curve but forget about the 127-South and 11-North, those are stand stills all the way back to Downtown Abby. Watch out for the accident on Commercial Drive as you come out of the 509 Exit ramp, the pigs are flying with chocolate covered bacon candy bars throughout the expressway heading west and the due north lanes are just clogged for the 2 right hand 33 westward lanes.”

Yeah, whatever. I think learning Japanese might be easier.

Today, strangely enough, I did pretty darn well on the first half of the drive. However, before I get to the roundabout, I start to pray to the roundabout fairy to get me safely over to “the second exit.” Those things are death traps. Want to give someone a punishment? Send them through these Boston roundabouts. Total and utter chaos. It’s like all of the sudden 4 year olds are behind the wheel. Forget they can’t reach the gas pedal….they have no idea where they’re going.

Once safely pass the guillotine that is the roundabout, I continue on my putt-putt of a drive and eventually have a EUREKA moment.

I know where I’m at! Well, I don’t actually know where I’m at…but I recognize enough to turn off Elvis and continue forth without guidance. It literally goes like this:

Stay to the right, go to the bottom of the hill where the weird boarded up house on stilts is at and go straight.
Continue straight past the fire house and house with unique brick pattern.
Veer to the left at the lovely purple house.
Ignore Elvis when he tells you to turn left after the old gas station, go straight.
Turn right past the big white church….you are homeward bound!

Yes, it’s true. this is how I know where to go. Visuals. Not words on a tiny sign.

The best part of my trip, is at the end when Elvis comes on and says, “You have reached your destination. Ahhh thank you, thank you very much.”

Whew, victory yet again! This production could not be possible without the contribution of Elvis and the Waze app on my iPhone. “Let’s rock and roll baby!”

Advertisements

Your Fingers In My Hair

One of the hardest things about moving to Miami is finding a hair stylist.    In Juneau, I had the same stylist for ten years and then he moved.  I was horrified.  It was as if suddenly God shouted there would be no more coffee or cheese on earth.

W H A T ?

Then I found a great new hair stylist who I used until my final day in Juneau.

Whew.

Fast forward to Miami and 40,000 salons, spas, hair cutters and strip malls offering quick cut services.  What to do?  Only one thing.  Try.  Try.  Try again.

So far, I’ve tried three salons.  The first was nice but too far away after a few visits.  The second was….honestly…..the stylist just didn’t listen.  I’d sit in the chair, tell her what I wanted and I swear she barely cut anything off my head.  Not to mention the color never stayed.  Lastly, it’s never a good thing when it looks like you’ve tried to behead me with the electric shaver.  Oh, I’m not kidding!  Big giant red cut across the the back of my neck.

In Juneau, my hair was my glory.  In Miami, it’s my struggle.

Needing to get another cut.  I was dreading having to go back to salon #2.

puffy dog

The stylist, I knew would cut off the equivalent of a gnat’s leg hair width of an amount and the end result would be my head would look like a giant q-tip.  

Yeah me – cause that’s the latest hot style!  Everyone loves that look!

Finally, due to my simple exasperation, my better half searched and found a place on line and I gave it a look.  My initial response was “are you kidding me?  Have you seen the pricing?”  A few visits and I could buy a new car…and we all know what kind of car I want.

As my hair continued to get pouffier, yes that’s a word, thank you.  I cancelled my standing appointment at the salon that doesn’t listen to me and made an appointment at the next salon attempt.  We’ll call this place, “Salon Oh La La.”

I walked in the front door and nearly turned around as I thought: oh no, this is not for me.  No.  No. No. No.  This can’t be right.  I’ve never been in such a salon.

No.  It’s not the mix of 4 different languages that make an impact on me:  Spanish, Russian, Jewish and Muslim.  That’s just a common, regular day in Aventura.  What stuns me is the 3 tiered, enormous, bigger than a VW Beetle, crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling….over a circular couch that could very well be in a porn film or posh advertisement with nearly naked men lounging on it.  Wait, in fact, I think there might be nearly naked people lounging on it.

Every square inch of space has someone in some form of processing.   There’s no waiting area, so I continue to stand in the middle of the chaos.

Well, this is awkward, as I wait to be attended to by the front desk.

My uncomfortableness is compounded as I don’t know where to look as there are people everywhere.  And, by the way….why do they have a money machine in here?

I have to yell my arrival to the woman at the front desk.  Yell.  Over.  The.  Noise.

I can only yell my name and appointment time to her as, unfortunately I have no idea who my appointment is with.  When they called me back to tell me my time (as I requested my appointment via their online system) the background noise from the salon was so loud I couldn’t hear who the name was of the stylist.

OH yes!  You’re with Suyera.

Great!  (WTF? I think silently to myself…what name did she say?)

A few minutes go by and this young guy comes up and introduces himself to me:  Hello.  I am Stoerj.  Nice to meet you.  Please, this way.

He is so quiet and I have barely understood anything of what he said.  Not that he has an accent but he is quiet.  OH MY.

We go to his station and he asks what I want to do.  I tell him I need his help.  That he is my third stylist and I am looking for someone to just do what needs to be done.  He says, “not to worry.”  Then he starts to look at my hair, which I wear naturally curly.

He looks at the back and says, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?”  No mistaking his dislike of my shortened buzzed cut at the nape of my neck.  “WHO DID THIS?”  He’s obviously quite upset.  “TERRIBLE!”  I continued to just let him go on and he continued to run his fingers through my giant mass of hair.

A few minutes later another gentleman joins us and my stylist introduces him as Joseph.  He and Joseph start to consult together over my hair – in Russian.  Joseph calls my stylist Sam.

Eureka!

I have a name!  Mental note to self.  SAM.

The two of them push my head to the left, to the right and to the front.  All of the sudden…. Sam’s voice goes up four octaves and his sentences start running together.  The only word I could understand was:

FUCK!

Again, he’s not happy about the shaved nape of my neck.

I’m thinking, it’s a good thing I didn’t ask him to do this again.

Joseph walks away and Sam says to me, “don’t worry, I will fix this mess in the back.  It will take a few visits, but it can be fixed.  They should have never done this.”  Little did he know, I wanted it like that.

We did color and high lights, low lights, mid lights, rough lights, sweet lights, edgy lights and I even had a cappuccino while I lighted and processed.

It was time for the wash out and he leads me over to the sinks.   A Russian girl comes out to shampoo me.  All I could think to myself was two things….

1.  Please, don’t wash off my eyebrows, I have to go to the store after this.

2.  I don’t think you need to shampoo down my neck.

No, I am not kidding.  She would hold my head up by placing her palm on the crown of my head and then shampoo down my neck.

DOWN

MY

NECK.

I wasn’t just a bird in a bird bath, I was a raccoon in a bird bath.  Water was going everywhere.  I thought at one point….if I start to squirt water of my mouth we’re going to be in trouble here.

My thought process went something like this for the shampoo session:

marilyn

Please don’t wash off my eyebrows.  Oh my god, is my mascara waterproof?

I bet I look like Marilyn Manson by now.  How is this water NOT going in my ears?  Is it necessary to wash my forehead?  Oh wait, time for the neck again.  Please don’t wash off my eyebrows.

Note to self:  Thank god I invested in the clear eyebrow sealer, thank you Bobbi Brown.

Back to Sam, we’re down to business.  He uses his index finger to push my head this way and that way.  The cutting starts normally enough.  It’s your typical hair cut.  Comb and cut.  Comb and cut.  He dries my hair and uses the flat iron.  It looks fantastic.  I love it.

Little did I know the best was yet to come.

Cue Edward Scissorhands.

images-2

I’m not kidding.

It starts with Sam pulling up sections of my hair with one hand……while he cuts wildly….as gravity pulls my hair back into place.

This occurs all over my entire head.

Step two:  He takes sections of my hair and twirls it around his finger.  These large twists of basically hair rope are cut into with his ridiculously fast scissors.   Again, all over my head.

Step three:  Get out the hair dryer.  Tilting my head to one side and then the other, with the hair dryer on….causing my hair to blow wildly….he cuts madly into the forced wind.

All I can do is keep my eyes closed and hope the scissors don’t nip my eyeballs or my ears.  He moves so fast and the sound of those scissors makes my upper lip break out into a sweat.  Talk about scaredy cat ….. I’m on the verge of scaredy cut.

Witcha….witcha….witcha….witcha….witcha…witcha…witcha… (sound of his scissors)

Not to meRollercoasterntion he leans into the chair while doing all of this so I’m also vibrating at the same time.  It’s like a getting a little massage.  No, actually, it’s like you’re going up that first big hill on a roller coaster.  That chug, chug, chug feeling, but at 100mph.

Or, I’m riding along in a POS car and it’s stuck between 2nd and 3rd gear and can’t get over it.  Goodness.

I’m somewhere between getting my hair cut and a Siegfried and Roy act.

The other thing is, when I open my eyes, it amazes me…his cutting draws an audience.

It truly is a performance.  I’ve never had people watch me with such jaw dropping (literally) anticipation.  Perhaps they too are worried about my eyes and ears.  Today when he threw back my hair and I opened my eyes there were four people standing around his station.

FOUR!

They said, “SAM! Beautiful work!”

He said, “Oh no!  She is beautiful!”

Even the woman and stylist in the station across from me yell over how great it looks.

A lady, his next client can’t stop exclaiming how wonderful it looks and wants to know if this is my natural color.  Seriously?  

Ok – who doesn’t want to go to a stylist that says this?  Who doesn’t want to go to a stylist that gets an audience when he cuts?  Is this what it’s like to be a rock star?

Joseph came back over and told Sam he did a great job.  They spoke more in Russian about my FUCKED UP area but we’ll be okay they reassured me.  HA!

hughes

I get the 360 review in the mirror and Sam walks me over to the reception counter so I can make my next appointment.  The receptionist hands me my bill and I realize I won’t be making my first car payment …. instead, I will upgrading to Hughes 500 helicopter payment.  Well shit.  But you know what.  It’s SO WORTH IT.

Now, I also see why they have the money machine in the lobby – tips are cash only.

Sam gives me a kiss and hands me his card with my next appointment on it.

Guess what.  His name is Assaf.

Apparently, I need to get my hearing checked.

Another Typical Day and I STILL Don’t Know Where to Look

I like people.

Wait.

No.

Scratch that.

That’s wrong.

I enjoy people watching.

They’re ridiculous.

What they are wearing.  What they are doing.  What they’re saying.  Truly the world is filled with the good, the bad, the funny and the down right idiotic.    Who said that was a good idea and why didn’t someone stop you? Gut instinct is not passé  but perhaps it needs more of a designer label before people begin to listen to it.

If you only knew what was going on inside my head, it would explain why there is a constant smell of a camp fire around me.  It’s hell’s calling card.  I’m on the fast track.

Friday, I was on my way into work.  I live north of Miami and work in the port.  (Don’t ask me why I chose this location.  I am now considering a closer location under an overpass by the Arena….I’m from Alaska and have a tent.  I hunt big game.  I’m not afraid.) When I moved, I shipped my car here.  You don’t see many of my car here.  And why are the Subaru an extinct species here?  Not that I drive one but good grief.  Odd.

Of course back home I only drove a total of 18 miles a day – round trip.  It took me maybe 15 minutes each way.  These lighted signs advising drivers it’s going to take 15 minutes to go 3 miles just about causes me to swallow my tongue each time I see the warning.  Certainly it has to be incorrect.

How can that be?

I won’t even go into discussion about the new….literally stop and basically turn left into I-95 traffic, forget about any sense about a practical merge lane from Ives Dairy.  While I am not an engineer….at least an actual on-ramp would have prevented that daily disaster.  It may be faster to actually get to the port by boat or even the blimp.  Has anyone considered this?  Is anyone thinking outside the box here?

Friday.

Back to Friday.

I finally get into the heart of town and make my turn by Will Call.

Which, by the way is that place open 24 hours?  Is it like the Miami version of a 7-11?  I have yet to go past there when there wasn’t some kind of drama unfolding.

A co-worker described it as a “rough around the edges” bar.  Well, Alaska has rough around the edges bars.  I’ve been in those local, rough around the edges bars.   I’m talking about the true local bars – not ones where the tourists go when visiting the Last Frontier.  Yes, they truly are ROUGH.

Don’t ask me the intersection location because, as we do in Alaska, it’s the “Will Call” intersection. Which as I am quickly learning here….people expect you to actually know the cross streets.  When I was asked recently which Costco I use,  I said the one in North Miami.  The lady rolled her eyes and said, “WHICH ONE?!”  I sweetly said in my friendly Alaska way, “The one in North Miami on Biscayne.”  When she wanted me to confirm the actual street address it was my turn to roll eyes and I took a stab in the dark and said, “Yes, that’s the one.”  Seriously, come on, I know there’s 4,000 Walgreen’s in Miami but Costco hasn’t become THAT popular.

As I wait to turn at Will Call I see to my left….coming down the stairs…. some oddly placed pink fabric, long black hair lots and lots of skin and what appeared to be fishnet stocking but could have been thigh high boots.  All I know….I thought to myself ….WTH is that?

Wow…..a hooker!

Note:  If she was working in an office that would have been one hell of an office.

Wow.

As I tried to pick my eyeballs up off the floor mats so I could get another glimpse of this lack of an outfit, I had my chance to turn right so I took it – to avoid the ever annoying honk of friendly Miamians.

Only to find two half naked men throwing punches AND CONNECTING those punches in the middle of the street.

My little car, Norman, was first in line to encounter these idiots.

OMG – NORMAN!  Get out of the way!  Horn was blaring, as much as Norman’s horn can blare.  If these guys fall and hit Norman he is going to get dented and I’m going to be pissed.

I get around them and then as luck would have it, they run up past me.  Still yelling and throwing punches.  Now more cars have joined the crowd due to the stop light.  Horns are  blaring…..why?

These idiots….instead of following what their gut indicators should be telling them, which is, fight or flight….keep running back AT each other.  They’re running back and forth across the street, around street poles, between cars …. like a woman trying to get the last pair of her most favorite shoes on sale at Nordstrom.  Good grief.

Commit.  Commit.  Commit.  Sharpen the elbows and commit.

Idiots, complete idiots these two.

One throws a punch and runs away.   The other runs after, catches up and throws a punch.  The other returns a punch and runs away.   It was the strangest mix of sissy girl fighting trying to be manly. Dana White would have been so disappointed.

Make a commitment!  Either stand your ground, be a man and fight like a man or accept defeat, put your dick between your legs and run away.

RUN THE OTHER WAY!

Miami, you’re killing me with laughter.