I Love New Yorkers

3 04 2013

After spending more than seven hours in the Ft. Lauderdale airport on Monday, I found myself trying to check into a Fairm0nt Inn at 9:00 pm with my family in tow.

For a variety of reasons including cancelled flights and incompetent airline staff, I had been standing in lines for more than three hours straight.  My kids were actually holding up well with SAG, two old iPhones and a variety of kind-hearted strangers pitching in on entertainment duty.

We ended up at the back of the hotel check-in line which was dominated by families in the same boat as us, most of whom I had been developing relationships with throughout the evening, none of whom had kids as young as ours.

There was only one person at the front desk of the hotel and she was working as quickly as she could to check us in.  However, check-in for each of us with airline vouchers was taking about twice as long as a normal hotel check-in (which for some reason takes almost as long as a Space Shuttle launch.)

At one point, the front-desk clerk asked if there was anyone in line who already had a confirmed registration.  There was one couple, who she moved to the front and processed RELATIVELY quickly (okay, not quite as long as a Space Shuttle launch, and faster than each of us, but still silly slow.)

Despite the fact that we decided to take a cab to the hotel instead of waiting for the mini-van shuttle, we were still the end of the line of missed-flight refugees.  Each check in took so long, soon other vacationers and business travelers were queuing behind us.

Eventually, I heard the woman behind me, (Karen) talking on her cell-phone.  She had discretely called the hotel directly to ask that help be sent to assist at the front desk.  I started watching the women who was working solo behind the front desk and began to suspect she had actually answered the phone.  Was it possible she was actually the ONLY employee currently in the hotel?  And the two of them were chatting?

After Karen hung up, we got to talking.  Her husband then came in from outside, where he had been on the phone, discretely calling the Marriot head-quarters and seeing if THEY could do anything to help. (Their call-center, based in India, wasn’t actually able to provide any assistance – go figure.)

I was in love with this couple, who I soon discovered lived in New York.  These were people who saw the problem and tried to FIX IT without being rude to anyone.  Without complaining or being over-bearing, they just tried to make things happen.  Unfortunately, they failed.

I informed Karen that if they had confirmed reservations they could actually go to the front of the line.  She replied that she would never do that to me and my family.  She was empathetic to what all the missed-flight-refugees were experiencing, even if it was inconveniencing her.  We chatted about the awkward irony of the front-desk clerk answering her call and a variety of other things, as the line slowly inched forward.

Finally, there was just one more family in front of me, a mother traveling with her three teen-age daughters.  Their flight was suppose to have left at 6 pm, their rescheduled flight was at 6 am, it was now 9:40 pm, her kids had not eaten anything, and yet she had stepped in to show my kids pictures of dogs when she saw my patience wearing thin.

At this point the front desk clerk looked up and said, “If any of you have confirmed reservations you can step to the left.”  The SEVEN people in line behind me ALL moved to the left.  After more than 45 minutes my family was now LAST IN LINE, AGAIN.  And seven individual adults plus Karen-from-New-York’s family had moved in front of us.

Karen-from-New-York, was now at the front of the new line.  She turned and said to the rest of the confirmed reservations guests in line behind her, “I hope you don’t mind, but I think we should let her go first because she has been in line for hours at the airport and she has small kids.”

Three people immediately spoke up.

“We all have been in lines.”

“I have to work in the morning.”

“I have to be at work at 5 am.”

The anger and resistance from the group was palpable.  Even though they had been in line BEHIND ME to begin with not a single one was going along with Karen’s suggestion.

I started to shake and muttered, “I am going to cry.”  I bent down and told PJ, “Please go get your Dad and Little Dude.”

I wanted to tell him what was going on and walk away from the situation for a minute.

The woman in front of me with the three teenagers kept her head down and continued to fill out her paperwork.  I am sure she was afraid to get caught up in the brewing storm and just wanted to get her kids upstairs and into bed.

I said to the confirmed-reservations mob, “This woman’s flight was supposed to leave at 6 pm, they now have a flight at 6 am.  I think they deserve to go to their room.”

Now the line of confirmed reservations folks were on fire… “Why doesn’t this hotel have more help?  Why isn’t anyone doing anything about that?”

I pointed to my friend from New York and I said, “SHE did try to do something about it.  Almost 45 minutes ago, SHE called this hotel and asked for more assistance to be sent to the front desk.  She did that FOR YOU.  And HE called Marriot’s 800 line.  THEY actually did try to do something about it.”

Karen’s husband turned around and looked at the crowd and said, “So, you’re saying you have a problem with it??”

It was pure New York and I almost laughed except I was too tired and too in awe.   Let’s face it, I am not afraid of confrontation as illustrated here.  But that, well, it was confrontation on a level where I have just never gone.  But, in my humble opinion, was totally appropriate for the situation.

The group was momentarily silent – maybe they were in awe, too.

Maybe they were embarrassed.

I pointed at the three people who specifically said they had problems and said, “Well, HE has a problem with it.  And HE has a problem with it.  And SHE has a problem with it.”

By then my husband had arrived, and having no idea what was going on and just seeing me pointing at the strangers laughed and said, “Are you starting a fight?”

I explained to him that we were now at the END of the line, and every single person in the other line who had been behind us, all of whom had arrived at the hotel at least 25 or more minutes after we had already been in line, were now IN FRONT of us.  He just took the kids and moved away quietly.

A few more minutes went by, during which I faced forward trying not to cry and replaying the events of the afternoon and evening over in my head.  I contemplated why I wasn’t pushier at the airport to begin with, as more aggressive people ended up on earlier flights, making their connections.  I mulled over the decision I made to argue with the airport personal that it was NOT okay for my 3 and 4-year-olds to spend the night on the airport floor and insisting they give me a hotel voucher.  Maybe we should have slept at the airport, after all, the hotel voucher had now cost me $30 in cab fair and most importantly my faith in humanity.

I was lost in thought and my continued attempt to remain calm as the woman with three daughters finished up and the hotel employee began to deal with Karen’s family.

Almost immediately, she stepped back in front of me and told me I was next.

I said, “I don’t have confirmed reservation.”

She said, “I know.  You are next.”

I am not sure what Karen-from-New-York told her, if anything, but I was now back at the front of the line.

I made polite small talk with her as we filled out the paperwork and she gave me my keys.  I knew none of it was her fault.

Despite the pleasant exchange, I felt completely defeated   As I walked away with my head down, I heard the woman-who-goes-to-work-at-5-am say something about graciousness.  It took all the grace I had not to kick her in the shins.  It took all the grace I had not to stare her down while explaining I didn’t owe her anything as she was more than happy to cut in line in front of my children.   The only reason she hadn’t was Karen-from-New-York and the over-worked hotel staffer concluded it wasn’t the best policy.

Instead of joining my husband in one queen bed, I chose to wedge myself between my kids on the other bed.  They were too tired to argue about the fact that they were going to sleep without any dinner.  They were happy to snuggle in tight with me as I lay squished, vacillating between crying and laughing.

“So, you are saying you got a problem with that?”

I love New Yorkers.

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Not A Product Girl

10 01 2013

I am not a product girl.

I did recently invest in some fancy-pants product for Little Dude’s hair.  Holy big-bill, Adoptive Mama’s.  Apparently the first question on any adoption application should be, “Are you prepared to spend the equivalent of your child’s education fund on his/her hair product?”

It is really, really, really, really hard for me to invest $25 into a bottle of co-wash only to decide it doesn’t work that great.  On the other hand, I do like product experimentation.  I am a fan of “trial-size.”  Even better than trial-size is freebies-at-friends’-houses.  If I come to your house, I will NOT bring my own shampoo or any other hair stuff.  I will want to try yours… (free trial-size in your bathroom just waiting for me).

Here is an idea… maybe I should start knocking on the doors of our African-American neighbors and asking them if we can use their bathrooms.  Then I will quickly wash/style Little Dude’s hair while they wonder what the hell we could possible be doing in there….  Pretty sure this plan will not help us fulfill our other goals of developing more friendships with African-Americans.  Which is more important, friendships with people who look similar to my son, or how my son’s hair looks???  (Another important question for an Adoption Application perhaps?)

As I said, if I do stay at your house, I will show up empty handed when it comes to my hair, but I will be toting a big jar of “Angels on Bare Skin” by Lush. It is the only product that I am loyal to in my own beauty regime.  Please do not judge the product by the way my face looks in pictures.  I assure you, my wonderful combination of wrinkles and pimples is due to the fact that I often forget to wash my face post work-out.  What my face WOULD look like without this product… well, I don’t even want to think about it.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lush, they are a U.K. company and all of their products are made with fresh ingredients.  Unfortunately, their marketing is too hip for someone like me to understand.  And they refuse to use race or really, really specific descriptions to describe what their products are best for.  So, I recently bought an $8, teeny-tiny bottle of shampoo from them that will not do anything for Little Dude’s curls.  I have since discovered if you want to actually know if their products would be good for African curls, you need to go to the Customer Review part of their website (exhausting) or get a copy of their newspaper style catalog.  (Too much work for this Mama.  However, I can assure you, I did muster up the energy to send them a complaint email with some helpful suggestions for ways they could improve their marketing materials.  You are welcome, Lush executives, er, um, team-members.)

Despite being worn-out by Lush’s hip marketing, last week I decided to do my quarterly clean out of my shower.  Yup, four times a year, no matter how tired I feel, I muster the energy to throw away the dull razors, empty shampoo bottles and slivers of nasty soap that have accumulated in my bathroom.  When I am done, I feel like a super-organized, domestic goddess.

shelf

When I was clearing off my shelf, I was going to toss my empty “jar” (actually a cardboard canister because Lush loves the rain-forest) of Angels on Bare Skin.

two jars

You know the empty container that I was using to hold up the new, full container?  And then I realized, I just couldn’t do it.  I would miss Anthony too much.

Who is Anthony?  Well, another part of Lush’s pretentious enlightened corporate culture is that any product you purchase is adorned by a sticker featuring a portrait of the employee (who I am sure they refer to as a team-member) who made/packaged it.

For about six months I have been showering with a photo of Anthony.  And, what can I say?  Anthony really knows how to make a great skin cleanser.  Anthony inspires me.

this anthony

My newest jar of product was made/packaged by Leanna.  No disrespect to Leanna… she seems to be equally skilled in making product.  But somehow, she just doesn’t inspire me the way Anthony does.

this Leanne

Disclosure:  This post was not sponsored by Lush or by Anthony’s mother, although I am sure she is very proud of him.





DIY

16 09 2012

I have come to realize that the longest lines at any event we go to are at the face painting booths.  Sure, sometimes you can find a short line if there are LOTS of face painting booths at the same event.  Maybe you can drop a couple dollars in the jar at a not-for-profit or church booth and your kid will get a small flower on his or her cheek.  But usually, in our town, where there seems to be a bit of a face-painting monopoly, you have to wait in a very long line – often well over an hour – to get a beautiful design – but it is going to cost you $5 a piece.  And really, it just isn’t worth it.

Yesterday, we were at a Heritage Festival and between the men in coonskin caps, the traditional frontier toy making booths and the covered wagons, there was, of course, face-painting.  (Remember the face-painting episode on Little H0use 0n the Prairie?)  The lines were just too long and I really wanted to spend my cash on kettle corn.  So I promised the kids that if we skipped face-painting with only minimal amounts of no complaining, I would go to the store and buy supplies and paint their faces myself.  The wonderful thing about pre-schoolers is that they believe with all of their hearts that their parents can do anything and everything well.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha….

I was hoping for a kit with some stencils or directions but H0bby L0bby failed me again.  So in the end, it was just me, a bunch of brushes and some paints.  I guess a kit would not have been that helpful since Little Dude wanted “an apple tree with red and yellow apples.”  Yeah, I don’t think that is in many face-painting manuals.

So, I free-styled.

Sometimes it pays to be both cheap and impatient.





Excuse = Confession = Maybe You Will Also Find This Funny

17 08 2012

This is supposed to be a series about what I’ve been reading.  However, I have to interrupt my little series because I can’t stop laughing.

I feel the need to confess, in addition to reading, I do a little watching…. That is TV, Baby.  And while I am not proud of it, sometimes I just have to share.

This guy….

is clearly

this guy

While I noticed that weeks ago, as did probably everyone who watches Pr0ject Runway, it just didn’t seem like enough to base a blog post on.  But, as we learned last night, at least he is not a “one way monkey,” um, er “one trick pony.”

I know it is not nice to make fun of people who utter mixed up idioms, especially if English is their second language.

So, I am choosing to think that I am laughing with Dmitry, not at him.

Up until last night the funniest idiom mix up I had heard was when I tried to explain the concept of “Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians” to our friend Jean-Michele.  He was confused… but mostly because he thought I was saying, “Too many Sheep, not enough Indians.”

For the rest of the day I will try to keep my One Way Monkey in check while making sure the Sheep to Indian ratio is appropriate.





Shanti This

30 07 2012

Dear Fellow Yoga Classmate,

I don’t know if you noticed but this class is pretty crowded.

I have moved my mat closer to yours in order to make room for the people who are still filing in.  I can see that you are not inclined to move your mat over, despite having plenty of space on your other side.  I think it is because you have already “dropped in.”  You have gone deep within yourself.  And, really, isn’t that the point of yoga?

Well, here is the thing.  In yoga, the you-that-is-you, is also me.  By dropping into you, you do not get to be oblivious to me.  After all, I really am just you.

I would appreciate it if the you-that-is-you, would acknowledge the you-that-is-me by sliding your mat over just a little tiny bit.  That way the me-that-is-you does not have to continuously adjust every single thing I do for the entire class to accommodate the you-that-is-you.

I would like to spend this class getting over the fact that the you-that-is-you is so, well, you like.  If the you-that-is-you would scooch over now, it would help me reach a much more zen like frame of mind.  I could, in fact, forget all about the-you-that-is-you even if the-you-that-is-you is also me.  In reality, you are the part of me that I am most trying to forget.

You are the part of me that got here early, found my favorite place in the room then perched upon it as if I not only won the prize but was clearly the most deserving of the prize.  Nothing, and I mean, NOTHING will get in the way of the me-that-is-you reaching my peaceful place this hour, even if it means making a whole roomful of others (or should I say the me-that-is-others?) completely uncomfortable.

The 15 square feet of prime yoga-class real-estate that you are clinging to means nothing compared to the 46 feet on the end of the legs of the you-that-is-others who are sharing this space with you today.

Namaste, bitch.

Sincerely,

The you-that-is-me and sitting 8 inches to your right.





August 18th – Can’t Wait

23 07 2012

National Bad Poetry Day is August 18th.  But I can’t wait.  Here is the bad poetry I promised.  I made it italic so it would seem more artsy.

Wanna Be Buddhist Meets Wanna Be Poet

When I was a kid

We had invisible shields

Erecting one now

 

Drama can’t touch me

Peace and harmony will reign

I control my world

 

But we are all one

I cannot deflect your moods

Better strategy?

 

The pain you create

Flows through me, but keeps moving

My soul is still mine

 

My cats’ happy purrs

My kids’ giggles and laughter

My husband’s true smile

 

These things penetrate

I cannot hold them either

Grasping does not work

 

Breathing in and out

Observing without judgment

Finding peace within

I took this photo a few years ago in Scotland. I should call it an “image” and give it an artsy name to go with my poetry.





Sporting a Wedgie, Waiting for a Flood

2 06 2012

PJ outgrew her favorite pink overalls.  But she did NOT outgrow her desire to wear them.

On Wednesday, she donned them on a playdate and I could hardly stand to look at her.  The flood length cuffs didn’t bother me.   The fact that the torso portion of the overalls was significantly shorter than her actual torso on the other hand was driving me nuts.  How can THAT be comfortable?

So I begged her to let me turn them into a jumper.  When she agreed I thought, “Great, now I have to figure out how to sew a jumper.”

Lately, I have felt a strong need to be creative.  Unfortunately, I lack talent.  Fortunately, I have a easy-to-use sewing machine and an appreciative daughter.

Surprisingly, we are both pleased with the final product.

Prior to undergoing the knife.

The inserts are made from a valance I bought at Goodwill. I also bought the matching pillowcases and am slowly dismantling them and working that material into other projects.

Sibling rivalry determines that both kids must be in the picture.

If you like something, of course you have to compose a song while performing an interpretive dance.