Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rules of the Road

I have lived in several different states.  I have driven in several different cities each with their own particular brand of commuter hell.  I have driven under different and often severe conditions -- heavy, heavy traffic, construction, extreme weather (rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain, limited visibility, etc.).

My current situation has me on the road anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour each way to the office.  So, on a bad day, I've been in my car 2+ hours.  I think I'm a pretty damn good driver.  I'm considerate of my fellow Road Warriors.  I follow the minimum speed limit, I only use the left lane for passing and I follow the rules of merging.  And I don't use my phone while driving (which is Primary Offense in the state of Maryland:  http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/local/2013/12/18/4099575/)

During my daily drive I see all sorts of crazy, crazy stuff.  I see vehicles in the left lane doing anywhere from 10 to 15 mph UNDER the posted speed limit.  I see people texting.  I see people blatantly talking on their cell phones.  I see horribly aggressive drivers.  I see people who haven't secured the crap in the back of their pick-up trucks and now that stuff is flying all over the highway.

My daily commute has me merging onto several different major highways, minor highways and secondary roads.  Merging is probably one of the most common causes of driving accidents and I've seen the stupidity first hand.  People, let's follow a couple of basic rules and we can all merge together into one big, happy road trippin' family:

  • don't merge too early (you know who you are -- you're the driver who thinks he's cool and guns it and jerks the wheel to the left to get in the lane before everyone else.  Don't merge on the single white line; you should never cross a solid white line -- Driver 101).  
  • don't merge too late (you know who you are -- you're the driver who guns it and tries to get ahead of your fellow mergers; almost as if to say "haha!  look at all you suckers who did the right thing and merged properly!  I'm too cool for that!  I don't have to wait to merge!  I drive a big ass Suburban and can make my own rules!).  
  • if you have the opportunity to move over a lane and allow merging cars easier entry to the highway, please be a pal!  
  • remember the Zipper rule when in a merging situation -- it's every other car.  
  • don't be an ass.  If someone doesn't follow the Zipper rule, say a little prayer for them.  They are stupid and don't know any better.  Don't ride their ass the rest of your commute, don't honk at them, don't give them the finger.  
While we're at it, let's just remember a couple of safe driving tips that will help you get to your destination in one piece:  


  • No cell phones!
  • Use your blinkers / directionals, whatever you want to call it.  Just use it for God's sake.  Most of us are not mind readers.
  • Stay the hell out of the left lane if you are incapable of driving the Minimum speed.  This particularly applies to drivers who:
    • are over the age of 70
    • can't see over the steering wheel
    • are driving a Smart Car or any one of those other Clown Cars
    • are hauling shit -- a camper, a boat, a horse trailer, landscaping equipment, etc.  
  • who are intimidated by the 18-wheeler in the right lane next to them and are afraid to pass
Thank you and have a nice day!  Happy Driving!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lax Life / Laxer for Life

Yay!  Yay!  Yay!!  KJ finally had an official high school lacrosse game!  They lost by 1 but considering our girls have only been on the field two or three times, I'd say it was a success!  The weather has been so horrible and has totally wrecked the fields so they've mostly been in the gym conditioning and working on stick stills.  Some of the new girls were unsure about the hash marks, marking-up, etc.  KJ is definitely one of, if not the most, aggressive player on the team (shocker!) and definitely has great stick skills.  She still has a lot to learn but she really did great yesterday.  She had a couple of shots on goal, didn't score, but still took the shot nevertheless.  She played a little attack, she played a little defense as well.  She likes attack better.

I love the girls' uniforms and naturally my child has to coordinate her cleats and shoelaces.  She said they looked like a bunch of highlighters running around out there.

Unfortunately, Coach Stone couldn't be at the first game due to a family scheduling conflict but she asked Champ to help on the sidelines.  He warmed up the goalie and helped the assistant coach run the lines and was very vocal from the sidelines (shocker!).  I know it was killing him to keep quiet for most of the game and defer to the assistant coach but he did point out (rather loudly) to the ref that he awarded the ball to the wrong team.  Ref acknowledged he made a mistake, gave the ball to us and game on.

Being a little sassy and giving a lot of attitude on the field.  



Weak Week Coming Up

So this is my last week at the hotel and it's starting off kind of weird.  The last week is always hard -- trying to wrap things up, saying good-bye to co-workers, not being included in next week's stuff / schedule / etc.  I like my job very much but the commute is killing me and it has become not really worth it.  I've told KJ I'm going to be Super Mom and make her lunch every morning and drive her to school each day.  :-)

Cosmo had a busy weekend in Rockland.  He drove up to help clean out his mom's house and brought home a box of memories -- lots of photos and fun stuff.  On Sunday there was a mass for his mom which was nice and he got to spend some time with the twins.  And Fuji.

KJ's game Friday was cancelled due to weather and has been rescheduled for next week.  This week she has two lax games and a tailgate party and three nights worth of volleyball as well as a one-day tournament on Saturday.  She's going to be exhausted.

This weekend I started watching the new original series on Netflix, "Bloodlines."  I really liked it.  A lot of people on the internet said it was very slow moving and they couldn't get past episode 1 but I thought it was a lot like HBO's "True Detectives" in that it was a slow build.  And, of course, who doesn't love watching Kyle Chandler AKA Coach Taylor???



Friday, March 20, 2015

So Happy It's Friday

So, So Happy It's Friday!  It's been a lllloooooonnnnngggg week. KJ is supposed to have her very first official high school lax game today but it looks like this freaky Spring storm may cancel it.  They had a great scrimmage Tuesday afternoon and I know she's really looking forward to getting the season underway!  She played great -- a little attack, a little defense (she likes attack better) and, of course, Daddy's been warming up the goalie for the team.  I knew he couldn't stay away.  Lacrosse, to him, is like the Mafia.  It pulls him back in.  It's like crack.

Really looking forward to the weekend -- we have absolutely nothing to do!  No where to be, no games to sit at, no commitments.  Unfortunately, KJ does have a viewing to attend at some point this weekend.  One of the girls from her volleyball team's father passed away suddenly Wednesday night.  Very nice family and my heart just breaks for Jenna.  She's a very sweet, very quiet young lady and her parents were at every game, every event and always held hands.

I think it's time for Cosmo to stary looking for a new car.  He has my old Lexus (which has 250K+ miles on it!).  It's time to say good bye.  I loved driving the Lexus and hope he gets something similar.  We definitely need some type of SUV for our "stuff."  The Lexus got great gas mileage and I don't think we need to get a big rig or anything like that.  We're down to one kid so it's not like we're carpooling and doing a bunch of stuff like that.  We're beyond that.

Easter is fast approaching and I'm so glad the four of us (possibly 5 of us!) will all be together!  Last year T flew home but because of the limited number of direct flights from BWI to Memphis, she had to fly out early in the morning and didn't even have Easter dinner with us.  Matt and Kristen came for dinner so that was nice.  This year I think we're going to have brunch at the Gaylord or something.  IDK.  Cosmo is handling it.  Although I don't mind cooking, it will be nice to have someone else doing it.  And cleaning up!  :-)


We received some additional info about our cruise to Europe and couldn't be more excited!  Rome, Florence/Pisa, Cannes, Barcelona and Naples.  Whoop!  Whoop!  T and I have been to Rome, Florence and Pisa but I am SO looking forward to experiencing those cities with Cosmo!  This will be a different trip -- definitely more romantic than when I traveled with my high school freshman!












Monday, March 16, 2015

Hospitality



I love being in the Hospitality Industry.  I really do.  I love meeting new people, I love helping people and I love that every day is different -- it's not a typical 9 to 5 job.

When you work at a hotel, you see all types of people -- you see families traveling on vacation, you see people who rarely travel and have no idea how to handle reservations, you see professional men and women who travel for a living and barely make a blip on the radar.  They pack lightly, they check in early evening and are usually gone by breakfast.  They don't ask for much and don't require much hand-holding.  I did, however, have a client at a previous property who insisted she be personally walked to her guest room no matter what time she checked in (4 AM or 4 PM).  She also had other issues which we commonly refer to as Power Tripping.  Power Trippers like to use phrases such as "do you know how much my company spends here a year??" or "do you know who I am??"   Female Power Trippers are the worst.  Female guests are horribly nasty to female front desk associates.

Then, there are the people that are not nice no matter the situation.  Even if that situation is a result of their own actions or inability to prepare properly.  Today I had a client walk into the Sales Office at 8 AM and ask if she there was somewhere she could charge her phone.  Of course!  So I directed her to the Business Center which has a row outlets.  Turns out she didn't have the actual charger.  I then directed her to the Front Desk to see if we had any iPhone 5 chargers in the lost and found box.  We did not.  She carried on like a crazy lady and "could not believe that this hotel does not have spare iPhone 5 chargers."  Seriously?  It's a hotel.  Not an Apple store (which, by the way, is across the street at the mall.  Within walking distance).  She then went on to say that it is now 8:15 AM and the shuttle service was supposed to take her to the local office at 8 AM.  Which shuttle service?  Our van here at the hotel or an outside company?  She said it was the same company that dropped her off last night.  Okkkaaaaayyyy???  I offered to contact the shuttle service for her and find out where they were.  She did not know what the name of the shuttle company was, she did not know where she was going for her morning meeting and when I offered to call her contact at her local office, she did not even have a name.  When I asked her for her name, turns out she was a doctor of some type.  Seriously lady?  Who dresses you in the morning?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lax Season is Upon Us !!!


Excited for lacrosse season to officially begin!  Tomorrow KJ has her first scrimmage as a Damascus Hornet.  It's supposed to rain but that's OK.  Between Cosmo coaching and the both girls, I've sat through hundreds of rainy games -- lax, soccer, softball and even half-time at football game.when T danced.

The lax team had a fundraiser the other night at one of the local restaurants we had never been to before.  Cosmo was out of town but I went and had a great sandwich and then took her to volleyball practice.  The poor thing is just exhausted this week but she's been a trooper.  She's had lax practice every day this week after school until 5 PM and she's had volleyball practice from 8 to 10 PM three nights this week.  The nights she's had volleyball we don't walk in the door until 10:30 PM or so but she's gotten up pretty good every morning this week.  She takes after me -- the girl needs her sleep and likes her naps!

T had a successful Spring Break despite not leaving Oxford.  At the last minute she decided to forgo a trip to the beach so she could work with the local Boys & Girls club.  She said she had a lot of fun and the kids were pretty great!  One day she had little kids (pre-schoolers), the next was a little older (maybe 1st or 2nd grade) and they made cards to be delivered to the local veterans.  A couple of the kids made cards for T instead and they were so sweet!  The last day the kids were a little older (10-12).  Yesterday she spent the day in Amory with her pageant director and this weekend she and Pony Boy are heading to his hometown and then to the beach for a few days.



Monday, March 9, 2015

AC

Had a nice quick weekend get-away in Atlantic City for a v-ball tournament.  The last time I was in Atlantic City, I was pregnant with T-bone.  We were there for a security industry conference and I remember being bored out of my gourd because I couldn't really be in the casinos -- at that time they weren't smoke free and the secondhand smoke was horrendous!  Being pregnant I couldn't drink either so I remember we went to a female impersonator show at Bally's Park Place one night and I went to bed early while everyone else hit the casino.  We had a great room overlooking the ocean and the bathroom was spectacular.

This past weekend we stayed at the Sheraton which was incredibly convenient to the Convention Center.  We valet parked on Friday and didn't use the car again until the tournament was over on Sunday afternoon.  We literally just walked across the street at game time.  The Sheraton was a beautiful, art-deco hotel with Miss America memorabilia on display -- some previous winner's gowns, and crowns and they had an awesome display on the second floor from the "Show Us Your Shoes" Parades.  And of course, we were dorks and had our picture taken under the Bert Parks statue!

Margaret Gorman, 1922

Lee Meriwether, 1955

We had an easy drive Friday night and her Saturday wave was done by 1 PM.  We went to lunch with a couple of her teammates and their families and then KJ and I walked up and down the boardwalk while Cosmo hit the casino.  It was a beautiful, bright sun-shiny day and we even walked on the snow-covered beach for a bit.  We watched a group of high school boys and their wrestling coaches do a polar plunge in the ocean which was pretty funny.  The coach said they did it every year as a group right before states.  There's always something going on in AC ... NJ High School State Wrestling championships were going on and there was a HUGE dance competition at our hotel (think along the lines of Dance Moms -- big stage, massive lighting set-up, audio/visual, etc.).  Cosmo won about $100 playing slots and promptly spent his winnings on his girls at the Under Armour outlet!  Such a great dad!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Hubster

There are days that my husband drives me absolutely insane.  And not in a good way.  And I'm sure he can say the same about me.  Then, there are other days were I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful to have him in my life.  He takes such good care of me and the girls that sometimes I don't even notice it.  I've always said it's the little things that matter and he's very, very good at the little things!

He always makes sure our cars are in good shape, he always takes my car in for service or makes sure I have windshield wiper fluid, etc.  He always and I do mean ALWAYS takes KJ to/from volleyball practice so I don't have to sit there for 3 hours.  And he's been adjusting his schedule the last couple of weeks so he can get her home from lax practice.  He lets us sleep in on the weekends and either makes us breakfast or gets us bagels.  He gets KJ's lunch ready in the mornings because we are always in such a rush when we leave the house.  He drove me to the airport the other day in the snow because he was worried about me.  And yesterday, he waited at our interstate exit and followed me the rest of the way home on the back roads during our big snow storm.  It was very, very sweet.

He's a keeper!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gearing Up

Gearing up for another round of rough weather over the next couple of days.  Depending on where you live in the Metro DC area, you can get up to 10".  Of course, we fall right in that area.  It's all good.  The snow doesn't bother me one bit.  We're a snuggly family and love spending the day in our PJ's, relaxing, watching a good movie or reading a book.  KJ usually goes sledding with the neighborhood kids and we all pitch in and shovel the driveway.

Had such a great trip to Mississippi this past weekend!  Both my in/out flights were great and I had my luggage when I arrived!   My flight from BWI to MEM arrived more than 20 minutes early and was practically empty.  My "friend" Karen was working the Southwest counter in Memphis when I flew home Monday night and remembered me from this past summer.  Too funny!

Lots of new faces at this year's Miss Miss orientation, some familiar friendly faces, too!  It was nice seeing the girls and their parents again and we had a lot of fun at dinner Friday night.  This year's production should be great and the costumes looked super cute.

When I landed in Memphis Thursday night T, Pony Boy and I met Mel, Lou and the kids out for dinner.  What a hoot!  We laughed so much and got the kids really wound up.  That's what Aunt Valerie does best!  After we got to Oxford, T and I met Tana and Laney out for daiquiri's at Funky's and I spent the night in her dorm.  I was freezing cold but slept pretty good all things considered (meaning = considering I'm 45+ years old sleeping on a air mattress in a college dorm!).  Friday morning we had BBB and T got her nails done while I ran to Rebel Rags for a t-shirt for KJ.  We made it to Vicksburg in plenty of time for Friday night's meeting and Saturday she was at the YMCA for most of the day with her little ones learning their production numbers.  Thankfully T loves little kids.  There are almost 100 prince and princesses this year.


T's had a busy week and it's only Wednesday.  She had classes Monday morning, worked for a couple of hours, drove me to Memphis Monday afternoon, had Chapter meeting Monday night and on Tuesday she volunteered at the local iHop for National Pancake Day which benefit's one of Miss America's charities, the Children's Miracle Network.  The pic above is with a couple of other Ole Miss girls that will be competing with her in Vicksburg this summer.  France (left) is the current Miss University and Kristen (right) is Miss Southern Heartland.  Kendall, Carol and Ivey are Ole Miss girls who are local tittle holders as well.  After iHop, T attended a broadcast seminar/luncheon on behalf of one of her professors and from there she campaigned on campus for one of her sorority sisters who is running for something or other.  Next week is Spring Break and T did have plans to go to the beach but at the last minute the local Boys and Girls Club asked if she would speak to the kids each day so she decided that was more important.

KJ had lax try-outs this past weekend but we haven't heard if she's made JV or Varsity yet.  The weather is killing the season before it can even get under-way -- the fields are covered and they've had to do a lot of their practices and conditioning in the gym.  She was so excited to get her spirit wear the other day.  I made her try everything on and she said came out of her room and said, "I look like a big green bean!"  In a little nod to her daddy, she's wearing his old lax number, #17.  I'm so freaking proud!

She's still got volleyball going on.  This year's season seems to be going on a bit longer than last year's.  Her coaches sent out info about a Memorial Day weekend tournament.  Usually her season ends by April.


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