Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Survival Guide - Lower Your Expectations

We had our Thanksgiving meal early this year. I was all ready to sit down and write a post about how disappointed I was with our gathering, then my guilt kicked in. Instead, I have decided that from now on, I am not going to expect the perfect Norman Rockwell-ish results. I am a pessimist by nature; I feel that I can always be pleasantly surprised.

I am not going to whine about the fact that my Mom accidentally popped an Ambien instead of her blood pressure medication right before I arrived. I won’t grumble about how I had to clean Mom’s kitchen before I could even think about setting out the food me and my siblings brought for dinner. I refuse to attack my Dad’s character because we had to debate the functionality (or lack thereof) of their electrical system before he would let me plug in a power strip needed for the warming plates and crock pots soon to arrive. I can’t explain to you the number of times my Mom asked me which platters she should bring out for all the food. I don’t think she understood that we were to serve ourselves warm food for a change. Our typical is cold food served out of impeccable silver platters. I have given up even trying to figure out how my youngest sibling is such a Princess that she cannot even be bothered to take her own dish to the kitchen.

It’s not worth it.

My Parents are elderly, I need to understand what that means. I need to forgive their transgressions. I commit to stop stressing about family gatherings. Rather, I will from this moment on suggest that any future caucuses happen in a restaurant setting. We function well in a confined space and predetermined time frame.

Life is too short. Enjoy your family. If you cannot do it honestly, it is my true belief that this is the exact reason alcohol or (in my Mom’s case) pharmaceuticals were invented.

Happy 2009 Holiday Season!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hot Flash


The beginning of my trip was most intriguing. I had not visited Istanbul in over twenty years. I had nothing but excitement flowing through my system. My flights to Istanbul were uneventful. Other than being exhausted from flying, waiting and arriving I was perfectly fine. I was ready for my three week family reunion.

Once I landed, I shut my brain off to English. My flight landed with six other airlines so the passport line was rather crowded. While waiting and snaking my way through the line I was cognizant of the voice in the background. It was in English and the woman kept repeating “Ma’am, ma’am, excuse me.” Since I speak the native language, I was sure this voice was not directed at me. Soon after that thought, the voice was now tapping me on the shoulder. I turned around to see the woman who was sporting a surgical mask asking me to follow her. I replied in English and asked her if she was talking to me, she nodded.

I followed her out of the passport line and towards what was labeled the first aid desk. There I was greeted with two more women also wearing surgical masks and gloves. I regained my senses and asked them in Turkish why I was summoned.

Wicked H: What seems to be the problem?

First Aid Attendant (FAA): Ma’am, you look very ill!

Wicked H: I do?

FAA: You look as though you have a high fever, you must sit down.

Wicked H: Oh! Oh, no. I am not ill, I am having a hot flash.

FAA: I doubt it. You may have Swine Flu!

Wicked H: What? I promise you that I don’t.

FAA: (a thermometer has now been placed in my ear)

Wicked H: Seriously, menopause. Am I saying the word correctly? That is the reason my face is so red.

FAA: (my temperature is 37.5 C)

Wicked H: (having been raised in the states and being jet lagged, I have no idea if 37.5 is good or not - trying not to appear panicked) Look I am 47 and it is quite warm in this building, I am simply having a hot flash. You must believe me.

Needless to say, I begged them to let me through. Turns out 37.5 is very close to normal. Thank goodness. On the plus side by the time I made it out to the luggage carousel, my two bags were the only ones left. My poor cousin was trying to get an official to check on me as I dragged myself into the terminal. It was a wonderful reunion.

More to come soon....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Appointments Not Necessarily Honored

I followed all the rules by making an appointment to pick up a rental car once I handed my vehicle over to be repaired; my appointment was for 9:30 am. When I arrived at the repair shop, I realized that Monday mornings was their busiest day of the week. Imagine my dismay when I entered the waiting room to find 12 others dealing with vehicle woes. No worries. I figured since it was apparent that many of the other patrons were walk ins and I had an appointment, surely I would be served first. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I patiently waited for two other rental customers to be processes and then the Diva with a Tude was being helped. Like the rest of us, Diva was none too pleased to be there. Who knows how her vehicle was damaged, does it really matter? Diva was being processed regularly until they asked her what type of vehicle she wanted to rent. She replied that she would need to see them as she was unfamiliar with makes and models. The rental car agent must have recently attended a training session in customer service because she made every effort to please the Diva. After a parade of six vehicles, each one needing to be washed and vacuumed before Diva could inspect and then reject them, I snapped.

An entire hour had lapsed and I could no longer sit patiently while the Diva needed to see the entire fleet of cars. I stood up and approached the rental car podium:

Wicked H: What was the purpose of my making an appointment?

Rental Car Agent (RCA): We will be with you as soon as we can.

Wicked H: I have a better idea; why not give me one of the Diva’s 6 rejects. In fact, you all could serve me and the next 5 customers in the time it will take the Diva to make up her mind.

RCA: (Flustered, not knowing how to respond to me – deer in headlights look)

Wicked H: Did this woman have an appointment?

Diva: (hand on hip, ready to make a dangerous comment)

RCA #2: (appearing from thin air) Ms. Wicked, your vehicle is ready. Please step outside with me so we can do a quick inspection.

Luckily RCA #2 was on her game, she brought all my prepared paperwork outside and while I was comfortable seated in my rental car I completed the signatures and was on my way.

For all I know, Diva with a Tude is still trying to decide what vehicle will suit her needs. Gah!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day


Our veterans were more than soldiers. They were, and still are heroes.

Veterans Day
By Taylor Weinman

Representing the red white and blue
The colors of our flag stand out proud and true.

The white stars on blue background with red and white stripes
Remind me of these veterans, who all risked their lives.

Just so the people of the U.S. could all live in peace and be free
These are the heroes that represent you and me.

They stood up strongly, united as one,
And kept up the fighting until they were done.

And although some have fallen, and lost their lives in war,
We pray for each one of them.

And now that their souls live on forever more,
Above in God's hands.

They watch over our nation,
And give us strength to triumph over others with strong anticipation.

So every year, when this day comes by,
Think of all the veterans that while fighting, had to die.

And remember that they were people
With fire and passion embedded inside.

They die for this country,
So remember and honor them with pride.

Monday, November 02, 2009

When You Wish Upon a Star


While on my trip to Istanbul, I was shopping for souvenirs. Because of all the tourists, most of the shop keepers can greet their customers in several languages. This particular shop keeper greeted me in English. I went about my business picking out my treasures and when it was time to settle up I spoke to him in Turkish. Our conversation went something like this:

Wicked H: How much are the real prices?

Shop Keeper (SK): Oh? I thought you were a tourist, for you I’ll of course lower the prices.

Wicked H: Technically I am a tourist but my roots are here.

SK: Really? Is your spouse a Turk as well?

Wicked H: Not married.

SK: Well in that case may I make a proposal? I am 35 and ready to start a family. When will we be leaving for America?

Wicked H: Really? Well first of all I am too old to make babies. Also, if we do get married, I prefer to stay here.

SK: Oh….in that case, please accept this starfish as a gift. You know something to remember me by.

Wicked H: your generosity will not be forgotten. You are indeed very kind.

I am not sure but I may be engaged.