Kansas Isn’t Where I Left It

Looking for any feedback to help me as I develop my writing skills. All comments, good and bad, are welcome.

Zany Traveler

Hilton HonorsMost people that know me know that I am a creature of habit, almost to the point of being somewhat obsessive about certain things.  One of those things is the hotels I stay at when I’m on the road. This is for two reasons. One being the points and rewards offered by the hotel groups and the other relates to the consistency and “perceived” cleanliness from hotel to hotel.  There is one brand that I try to stay at every week, if possible.  When not, I will choose another brand in the group.  I am in a different hotel at least weekly. Some weeks (like this week) I’m hitting three different hotels in less than five days.

There have been more than a couple of times when I get my room number confused with a different hotel on a different day. More often than not, this tends to happen at my…

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Kansas Isn’t Where I Left It

Hilton HonorsMost people that know me know that I am a creature of habit, almost to the point of being somewhat obsessive about certain things.  One of those things is the hotels I stay at when I’m on the road. This is for two reasons. One being the points and rewards offered by the hotel groups and the other relates to the consistency and “perceived” cleanliness from hotel to hotel.  There is one brand that I try to stay at every week, if possible.  When not, I will choose another brand in the group.  I am in a different hotel at least weekly. Some weeks (like this week) I’m hitting three different hotels in less than five days.

There have been more than a couple of times when I get my room number confused with a different hotel on a different day. More often than not, this tends to happen at my preferred brand simply because all of the hotels are set up and decorated similarly.  When this happens I will simply go to the desk and ask the clerk to remind me of my room number and/or give me a new key. I’m sure the young lad or lass thinks I’m nuts not to be able to remember my room, but who cares.
There are certain security procedures that the clerk should follow to make sure you are getting into the right room. The most important of which is asking for a photo ID.  I never paid much attention to the necessity of this requirement, often thinking what a hassle. That is, until I asked for a key to the wrong room.
Hotel HallwayThis happened at a hotel that I had actually stayed at several times. The previous week I was there but the room number was slightly different than the room I was currently assigned to (i.e.  312 vs 321).  It was mid week and I had already been in my room on this particular evening.  After work, I came in, changed clothes, and went out to dinner.  I came back and went to what I thought was my room.  I put my key-card in the slot – nothing happened.  I tried this several times getting the same result.  I figured I had demagnetized the key with my cell phone since this seems to happen at least once a week. (Why hasn’t someone figured out how to create a card that can’t be demagnetized by a cell phone)?
Anyway, I growled under my breath  because of the pain of going back to the desk to get a new card. I mean this really is a pain in the butt not to mention the lecture I get from the clerk occasionally!!  Well, I get to the desk and wait in line for what seems like an eternity. I tell the clerk my room number and she simply hands me a key. No questions asked!!!  I know better than to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I take the key and leave. I go back up to what I thought was my room and use the key-card to enter the room.
FeetI walk in and immediately realize this was not my room. I was flabbergasted. What I saw were two pairs of feet (attached to unclothed legs) sticking out of the end of the bed. I won’t go into further details about what I saw, but the feet were quite active.
I turned around and ran, slamming the door behind me. If they didn’t hear me when i came in, I know they heard me when I left because the door slammed hard enough to shake the walls.  Considering what they were up to, I’m don’t think they cared.
I went back to the front desk laughing so hard I could hardly walk.  When I told the clerk what happened and to please check my room number, she asked how was I so sure that wasn’t my room.  To which I replied, “well, when I went out to dinner I was pretty sure I didn’t leave two pairs of feet in my bed”.
Needless to say I always give my ID when I need a key regardless AND I always lock my door in case there is another “Joyce” staying in the same hotel.  How unfortunate would that be!!!Hotel Lobby

The Virtual Hangover – DWI – Dreaming While Intoxicated

Before I begin, let me state emphatically that I am not a drinker nor do I take drugs stronger than those prescribed by my doctor.

I have some of the most amazing dreams.  Always have and hope that I always will.  My dreams have spanned the gamut of totally insane, to solving every day dilemmas, to humorous, etc.  There are also many dreams that involve my friends and family that have passed on.  There are some days where I can remember my dreams more than others.  I have found that if I stop and reflect on my dreams immediately upon waking in the morning, the dream and its rich details are often cemented in my memory.

The Plane of Dreams

Our dreams lie of a vast plane in our minds and triggered by our senses as we sleep.

Several nights ago, my dreams had a much stronger side effect.  In my dream, I was back in college sitting in an English Lit class, I believe.  I was sitting in the back of the room, when for some reason, I chose to move to a different seat.  The seat I chose was next to two very handsome but troubled young men.  After I sat down, the man in the desk right in front of me asked me to hand him the bag of beer sitting beneath my desk.  I reached down and picked up the plastic grocery bag that contained about four glass bottles of some type of beer.

When I handed my classmate the bag of beer, he turned around and offered me a joint.  It was a tightly rolled cigarette looking object but filled with pot.  I strongly refused multiple times but I was thinking how interesting it would be to smoke it just to see the effects.  The man kept offering and I kept refusing thinking that he was probably a cop and I would get arrested.  He then offered a beer, which I accepted.  We toasted to some strange thing pertaining to English Literature and the dream ended.

The life of a traveler can be found on "cloud nine".  I just wish someone would tell me how to get there.  I keep getting lost.

The life of a traveler can be found on “cloud nine”.  I just wish someone would tell me how to get there. I keep getting lost.

The next thing I remember is my alarm going off. I rolled over to turn it off.  I lay in the bed thinking about my dream and realized how awful I felt.  My head felt like there was a war going on inside and my stomach was wrenching.  It has been over ten years since I had a hangover, but I swear this is exactly like what it felt like.

Is it possible to have a dream so realistic that it can cause physical side effects like hangover symptoms?  I am not sure what the scientific answer is, but on that particular morning I came to believe that it was possible that I had indeed experienced a virtual hangover that was the result of dreaming while intoxicated.  Go figure.

An Interesting Ride….1933 Plymouth Coupe….The Making of a Dream

Zany Traveler

Everyone has a dream —to retire wealthy, to meet someone famous, to spend the summer backpacking across Europe…  I could go on and on.  Some of these dreams are realistic whileothers are morThe Bodye for our fantasies.  My husband is not unlike everyone else; he has a dream.  His dream is to build a 1933 Plymouth Coupe from the ground up.  I’m not really sure how this dream came about.  It has been his dream longer than we have been together.  In fact, before we ever met, he had started working on his dream by purchasing the frame and body from a  man in Georgetown, Indiana.

From hearing him talk, he worked on the frame here and there through the years.  In my mind this is considered “tinkering”, but say that around him and he gets quite offended.  (Anyway, this is my blog so we will use my terminology –LOL). …

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The Art of Burning Water

TMomhere are quite a few things that must work in sync in order for a traveling mom to be successful.  One of the most important things is having a support system at home to help with the daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring thMom and Allie - The Early Yearse kids, etc.  My situation is no different. In the early years, when both my husband and I worked, my wonderful mother provided part of that support.

DSC_0915After our move to Florida my mother became very ill and my husband retired and took over these responsibilities. He never once complained. He seemed to relish his new role. It gave him the opportunity to work on his dream car and hang out with his other retired friends.

Throughout our marriage, he has often mentioned how he had once dreamed of becoming a chef.  Well, now he had the chance to become the head chef of our household.   I use the term chef very loosely as most of his meals seemed to consist of grilled sandwiches and hotdogs.  After a while, I threatened to never allow another hotdog in my house if I saw one on the table for dinner again.  Thus, the dinner experiments began.  Most of his experiments were quite tasty once you got past their appearance.

One evening I was on my way home from the office when I called to ask what he was cooking for dinner. He said he was going to “surprise” me. I should have immediately turned around and gone back to the office – anywhere but home.  How could I forget that the word “surprise” in the same sentence as dinner is never, ever, ever a good thing. It bears the same connotation as “mystery meat” did in the school cafeteria and often the same physical side effects.

Since I had not yet learned this lesson, I continued my trek home quite eager to see what he had been up to.  When I open the front door, I was instantly hit with the most pungent smell I had ever encountered.  My eyes burned and began watering. My nose, and even throat, were on fire.  They felt like I had been doused with kerosene.  This was all before I had shut the front door.  I thought maybe he made a mess in the oven and turned on the cleaning feature.DSC_0324

I heard him clanging around in the kitchen, so I knew that although the smell was horrific it wasn’t physically damaging.  I dropped everything and rushed into the kitchen to find out what in God’s name he was up to.  He was so excited, he had found the crock-pot and was making BBQ (with a side of paint thinner?).

There was no evidence in the kitchen of what he used to create this concoction so I had no alternative but to inspect the crock-pot for myself.  I was very hesitant to lift the lid not knowing if I was going to trigger some insane gas explosion all the while recalling in detail the true crime stories I’d seen where a spouse murders the other by lacing the dinner with poison. As you can see, by this point my imagination had gone way overboard.

Now if I thought the odor was bad when I walked in, I was in for a shock when I lifted the lid on the crock-pot.  The smell, the vapors were so dense, so powerful I nearly fainted.  It took at least a half hour with the lid off, all windows open and fans blowing for the odorous cloud to disperse enough to look inside the crock-pot without scalding my retinas.  When I did, I saw two “unidentified” circular “objects” bobbing and “floating” in about two gallons of a yet unknown liquid. This gave a new meaning to “UFO” (unidentified floating objects in Chuck’s case). There was no way I was going to eat this, absolutely no way!  Now what do you think I ate for dinner instead?  Yep, you guessed it a freaking hot dog!!!

Now Chuck seemed to take my refusal to eat his experiment quite well.  He ate it and survived. I chalked that up to the fact that he had likely grown immune to its side effects by being exposed to the vial odor for so long.  After dinner, we cleaned up the dishes together. We laughed about it like we do most things. I joked with him that after tonight I was afraid he wouldn’t be able to burn water properly, to which he so jovially agreed.

I didn’t pay attention to what he had done with the leftovers.  I should have taken charge of them to make sure they were safely destroyed since dangerous chemicals could be very hazardous to our environment.  I just assumed he’d get the hint. Nope — not even close!

The next night, I again called on my way home and again asked what we were having for dinner. After last night, I expected to hear pork chops, spaghetti, or something similar.  I nearly drove off the road when he matter-of-factually replied “leftovers”.  What the hell was he thinking!  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I was not eating that crap OR another hotdog for dinner.

I stopped by the grocery and picked up a few items to make a rather quick meal along with a mask to protect my senses from any further damage. To my dismay, I got home preparing for the worst.  When I opened the front door, there were no pungent vapors, no UFO’s in the crock-pot, just a bowl of BBQ on the table with the most mouthwatering aroma I had ever experienced in my house.

IMG_1921There was no way that BBQ came from the leftovers of his nuclear experiment.  I asked and asked again.  He stood by his story.  I looked in the garbage cans, inside and out, nothing.  My daughter swore he made the BBQ from leftovers – that she watched him and even tasted it.  If she was brave enough, how could I refuse. With reluctance, I grabbed a fork and took a couple slivers hoping and praying I was not eating my last meal.  When I finally garnished the nerve to take a bite, I literally crossed the gates of Heaven. This was the most amazing, succulent  BBQ I had EVER eaten.

Now, I am not a meat eater; however on this particular night I had a second helping and even took a small serving in my lunch the following day.  As we were cleaning the kitchen that night, I reached over and kissed him on the cheek and told him that he had successfully learned the art of burning water.

Walking Shoes vs. Sitting Shoes

The weekly life of a traveling consultant can become a bit too routine simply going from the airport to the client to the hotel.  Every now and then, the four walls of my home-away-from-home start to close in on me and I need to get out.  Depending on the city, I amuse myself in different ways.  In the larger cities, I am all about the shopping.  So much so, that I make sure I have enough room in my suitcase to bring home my wares.

Of all the places I’ve been recently, Atlanta is the best for shopping.  Several years ago, I took a trip to Lennox Square Mall to “window shop” one evening. I was strolling by the Michael Kors shop and saw the most strange yet amazing pair of shoes.  They were so strange that I had to go in to see them up close.  Of course the clerk saw a “live one” walk through the door and before I could say I was just browsing, the shoes were on my feet.  This guy was good.

IMG_1888I cannot describe how these shoes felt.  They were more amazing on my feet than they were in the window or on the shelf.  They were definitely calling out to me.  (Now if you have never experienced an object call your name, you should NEVER call yourself a shopper.) Hearing the call as you are shopping is a very religious experience.  These shoes were mine.  I was not leaving the store without them.  The only problem was the price.

Long ago, my husband and I made an agreement to never purchase any item over $100 without discussing it first. (Thank heavens for cell phones.)  I tell the clerk that I need to talk with my husband.  So I am prancing around the store in my dream shoes hoping and praying my hubby answers the phone, which he does.  I proceed to describe (with glee) the most amazing shoes of my life.  Not only are they close to being “one of a kind” (meaning they have not been seen on the feet of any of our friends) but they make me feel tall and beautiful (what pair of new shoes doesn’t).  I cringe as I get to the price but promise that I won’t make another purchase until I get home.  Of course, I conveniently left out the fact that I was leaving the next day.

Anyway, he agrees – as if he really had a choice.  The shoes are really mine.  I haven’t been this ecstatic since my first purchase of a Coach purse.  The clerk was on cloud nine.  I’m guessing because of the commission he’d receive.  I quickly completed the purchase and flew back to my hotel room.  I had to put them back on and “practice” my walk.

Finally, my excitement subsided and I was able to settle down for the night.  The next afternoon, I was heading home.  I carried my fabulous find on board the plane rather than trusting my new shoes to the trappings of the baggage handlers.  You do realize that this would be the day someone inspected my suitcase and kept these shoes as their souvenir; not to mention, how much I was looking forward to the envious looks from the less fortunate souls in the airport as I flaunted my Michael Kors bag.

I landed at my home airport, where my wonderful husband was waiting to pick me up as always.  After deplaning, I decide to give him the surprise of his night by strutting my stuff in my fabulous new shoes.  I sit down and put them on and start my “walk of shame”.

I’m walking pretty good, that is until is hit the ramp at the security line.  I literally hit the ramp.  I stumbled and fell flat on my ass!!  No only do I fall, but the inner workings of my purse and my computer bag emptied out.  The only people that can see me are the TSA agents and my fellow passengers as the step over me (you remember – the ones who were looking at my Michael Kors bag with envy).

I am laying on the floor contemplating on how I am going to get up.  Normally getting off of the floor is not hard to do at all; however, I happened to be wearing 6″ high platform wooden wedge shoes.  So not only did I have to stand up, I had to stand up with stilts attached to my feet.  Keep in mind that I didn’t practice this in the hotel room.

Evidently, I was on the floor a little too long because the TSA agent assumed that I was really hurt.  I look up the hall at him just as he tries to use his walkie-talkie.  The batteries must have been dead because he screams at the top of his lungs “Bring me a walkie-talkie that works! There’s a woman down!”  Now I was completely mortified.

I scramble awkwardly to my feet, cramming the contents of my purse and computer back together and stagger through the security line.  It was evident to anyone watching me, that I was the unfortunate soul he was talking about.

When I saw my husband, I was not strutting as the graceful ballerina that I had imagined.  He smiled and shook his head as he took in my disheveled appeared as he made one and only one comment “I knew that it had to be you causing all of this ruckus.”

He graciously helped me to the car where I took off my fabulous shoes and put them in the box where they remain to this day.  The only time they come out of the box is when we have guests over that have never heard the story.  Chuck begs like a little child for me to bring out the bag, box, and shoes and tell the story of how I learned the difference between walking shoes and sitting shoes.  These are definitely sitting shoes.IMG_1889