Tag Archives: Alan

I reserved a hotel room – and almost left with a television?

4 Jan

2015 Pithypants.com

Alan and I spend Christmas apart each year, so we celebrate on New Year’s Eve instead. Depending on the timing, we like to make a long weekend of it and get away. This year he had his kids for the weekend, so we needed to limit our celebration to just Thursday night. Add to the equation the fact that some dumbass thought it would be a good idea to schedule the Cotton Bowl (in which our beloved Spartans were playing) on New Year’s Eve, so we a bit perplexed about how to celebrate.

What to do, what to do?

Actually, I decided this was the perfect set-up for an easy Christmas present. Since neither of us own a television, and since every bar that might broadcast the game was likely to have either a cover charge or be filled with rowdy party goers, the answer was clear: STAYCATION.

I did a bit of searching and found that – much to my surprise – most hotels in the DC area were running serious discounts on New Year’s Eve. Apparently we don’t have quite the same draw as Times Square. (Who knew?) PERFECT.

So when we wrapped work Thursday afternoon, we checked into a hotel for the night. We took a quick walk to a nearby grocery store for some wine and nibbles, then returned to the hotel for a swim and a spell in the steam room before the game. As 8pm approached, we donned his-and-her Spartan shirts and settled in to watch what would be a very disappointing game. (If you are the only person in the US who didn’t watch it, Alabama throttled the Spartans, 38-0.)

Needless to say, I was asleep LONG before the clock struck midnight.

The next day we made our way downstairs for breakfast, which was included with our stay. It was a leisurely meal, the kind with multiple coffee refills.

Alan had an omelette, and as he stood by that station of the buffet, I could hear him chatting with the chef.

“Where are you visiting from?” the chef asked.

“We’re local,” Alan explained, “We just don’t have a television and wanted to see the Cotton Bowl last night.”

“Oh,” was all the guy said as he handed Alan his plate.

Back at our table, once Alan sat down, I said, “I bet they’re all scratching their heads right now.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they’re thinking, ‘How can you afford to stay here if you can’t afford a television?'”

We then proceeded to debate the idea and eventually decided that my interpretation of the conversation was crazy, because pretty much everyone in the United States who wants a television, has a television. Right?

Later, as we were wrapping up our meal, the waiter stopped by to drop off the check. I peeked. The total was outrageous.

“Sorry,” I said, “This should be comped for us. We had the bed and breakfast package.”

“Oh,” he said, “I’m sorry. I got confused! When he,” pointing to Alan, “said you were local, I thought you just came here for breakfast.”

“No,” I explained. “We spent the night here so we could watch the Cotton Bowl. We don’t have a television at home and wanted to watch the Spartans play.”

He looked at me, and I could see his wheels turning. Then, after a short pause, he said, “You know, I have an extra television. I’ve been thinking of getting rid of it…”

I stopped him, not sure where he was going with it. “Oh no – we don’t have a television by choice! We don’t want one.”

Silence.

He didn’t know what to make of us.

After some consideration, he tried a different angle. “You know you can jailbreak your phone so you can watch television on it? There are videos on YouTube that show you how. People used to pay me to do that for them, but now anyone can figure it out on YouTube. You know YouTube?”

We assured him we did, and only after we asked enough questions to satisfy him, did he walk away to adjust our check.

I turned to Alan. “Wait. Exactly what was on offer there? Do you think he was about to try to sell us a television?”

Alan nodded. “Oh definitely. And even worse? He thinks we don’t even know what YouTube is.”

Sigh. So much for a creative Christmas present. Maybe next year I’ll just get Alan a television. I happen to know where I can get a good deal on one…

Star Wars vs. Matilda?

29 Dec

Unlike most of the world, I don’t give two shits about Star Wars. I’ve seen the original three movies, but none of the sequels. Any movie or book that features a made-up creature (like a unicorn, a dragon or a wookie) doesn’t interest me much. Unless it’s Harry Potter – then all bets are off.

Alan is in the other camp and was excited for the new Star Wars release. He didn’t have any firm plans to see it, but by the opening weekend he was concerned that if he didn’t see it soon, someone would spoil it for him on Facebook. So as we made our plans that Saturday morning, he informed me he’d be heading to the theater that night.

“I think you probably needed to buy tickets already,” I told him.

“Nah,” he said. “It’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? I saw pictures of people still lined up at the Uptown yesterday.”

“Worst case, I’ll drive out of the city a bit. There’s a huge theater in Manassas that is almost always empty.”

Still dubious, I decided to not push it: Not my problem.

I also decided to look around for something to entertain myself since it was officially Day One of my nine-day break from work. A quick cruise around the internet and I found that there were still tickets available at the Kennedy Center for “Matilda” that night. A perfect way to end an all-day “Me Party” (my sister’s term for when you do things you love to do by yourself without worrying about pleasing anyone else).

So I arrived at the theater, relaxed from a day that included yoga and a massage. While waiting for the show to start, I snapped a quick photo of the stage, intending to text it to Alan with a “guess where I am?” caption. No sooner than I’d heard the shutter click than an usher was standing in the aisle, shouting down at me that photography was NOT allowed inside the Opera House. (To be fair, I’ve seen enough productions there I should know that, but I’d totally blanked.)

“My apologies,” I told her, somewhat mortified.

Instead of accepting the apology and moving on, she continued her lecture so that everyone within a ten row radius could hear it. I wanted to melt into my seat and disappear. OK, lady. Got it. Don’t you have people to usher? PS: there is someone behind you taking a photo RIGHT NOW – if you’d stop lecturing me, you could actually stop another photo from being taken.

At long last, the show started. Spoiler alert: It was a disappointment. Mind you, the last performance I’d seen at the Kennedy Center was Book of Mormon this summer, so it’s likely that anything would have fallen short in its wake. And it probably didn’t help that children comprised half the cast, which yielded a lot more shouting than singing. It had potential, and I can see where it would’ve been a great book – it just didn’t translate well to the stage.

When intermission rolled around, I went out to the lobby to text my illicit photo to Alan. When I turned my phone on, however, I was greeted by this picture from him:

Fire! Fire!

While he was, in fact, in possession of a ticket to see Star Wars (score one for his confidence, zero for my pessimism) he was unable to get there because his car was blocked by fire trucks, apparently dealing with a small fire up the hill from his place. Huge bummer. Apparently the Force was not with him.

To make him feel better, I sent him this photo, saying, “I got yelled at taking for taking this.”

Kennedy Center

As I took my seat and waited for the intermission to end, I eavesdropped on two couples sitting below me, who were clearly season ticket holders.

“This show is horrible,” the man said to his wife. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s opening night and they haven’t worked things out or what, but it’s hurting my ears.”

“And those strobe lights,” the other man chirped.

“Thanks for reminding me!” the woman said. “I’m going to send them a complaint. Those lights are triggering a headache. I can just feel it coming on.”

“I hate their British accents,” said the original complainer.

He didn’t get a chance to say any more because the flights flicked and one of the characters took the stage, standing in front of the curtain with the house lights still up. “Folks,” he said, addressing the audience directly, “there are a few things that have happened up here that I need to apologize for…”

“Here we go!” the complainer behind me said, with an excitement that then shifted to disappointment when he realized that the apology was part of the show and NOT an attempt to make amends for the first act.

 

The show might have been a disappointment, but at least it DID entertain me – which is more than Alan can say about Star Wars. As best I can tell, the only person who was satisfied with their evening was the usher who got to bust me.

Glad I could help.

 

It’s not a logic class, dude.

30 Nov

Image Source: https://yoga.com/media/cache/7c/3d/7c3d9c452c8811e8e438fbf84430c76a.jpg

I finished Thanksgiving weekend with a yoga nidra workshop. Here’s the conversation Alan and I had when I told him I was going:

“Yoga nidra? What kind of yoga is that?”

“Yogic sleep,” I told him.

“So you just go there and take a nap?”

“Kind of. Except you’re really not supposed to fall asleep. If you do it right, you get super-relaxed but don’t actually fall asleep. But some people do.”

“Hmmm.”

“They even snore sometimes.”

“Hmmm.”

“It allegedly provides the same benefits as eight hours of sleep.”

“Hmmm – wait. How is that even possible?”

“I don’t know.”

“I mean, isn’t the PRIMARY benefit of sleep, rest? So how would 90 minutes of yoga nidra provide you with eight hours of rest? It’s mathematically impossible.”

“It’s not a math class. And besides, I said ‘allegedly.'”

“I’m not buying it.”

“Who cares? It’s very relaxing.”

“Why do they offer it in the evening?”

“So you can relax more.”

“But then how do you go to sleep when you get home?”

“You’re just so relaxed, it’s easy to fall asleep.”

“But you’ve just allegedly gotten the equivalent of EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP, right? Therefore it stands to reason that it should be hard to fall asleep.”

“Nope.”

“What do you mean, nope? This makes NO SENSE.”

“Namaste.”

“Gah!!!”

 

 

Birthday Roadtrip: Passing Time in Asheville

11 Nov

Pisgah Forest - Near Asheville

Alan’s company requires that he submit his vacation dates for the upcoming year each January. In fact, there’s even a two hour conference call that everyone on his team attends to “battle out” any dates they’re all interested in before submitting requests to their manager.

As a result, any spontaneity to seize a TravelZoo deal is effectively squashed – and yet you better not book your vacation until you know your dates are approved or you might have to eat those airline tickets. While his firm is otherwise generous and generally a good employer, I find this approach to vacation vexing.

All of this is backstory to explain why we took a random vacation the last week of October. When Alan had submitted his dates last January, he thought it would be fun to take a trip for my birthday. (Very sweet of him.) As the date grew closer, we realized we needed to figure out what to do with the time.

I would’ve loved to go to Greece or somewhere in South America, but we went to Hawaii earlier this year so we couldn’t justify an additional long-haul flight. (Ah the joy of environmental guilt!) Instead, I suggested that we do a roadtrip and find something within an eight hour drive of DC to explore. After lots of Googling and rejected ideas, we landed on Asheville, North Carolina, as our destination.

Asheville is one of those towns that seems to show up on all the top city lists – Best Places to Retire, Healthiest Cities, Best Places to Raise a Family, etc. Granted, I’m not interested in retiring or raising children, but when a town you’ve never heard of takes the prize in a bunch of different categories, it’s time to investigate.

We planned to leave on Sunday and take our sweet time heading down the Blue Ridge, breaking the drive into two days and poking into wineries or whatever other off-road curiosities grabbed our attention. But we were both doggedly sick the week before, so we pushed our departure back a day and just made a beeline for Asheville.

(Note to self: the next time we drive down, we need to make time to detour to see the Natural Bridge, the oddly placed D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, the stuffed skin of “Sorrel” the horse at VMI, and State Street in Bristol – where we can stand with one foot in Virginia and one in Tennessee.)

As it was, we arrived Asheville late Monday afternoon, following a truly gorgeous seven hour drive. I think Alan got sick of me pointing out every brilliant red maple along the way, which is fair since we were surrounded by rolling hills (or mountains) covered with impressive color the whole way down.

During the drive, I noticed MANY fields sporting three large crosses. On the way home, I was sufficiently curious about them to google for more information. Here’s what I learned from this website:

Those sets of crosses were all put up by the same man, Bernard Coffindaffer, a once-wealthy West Virginia businessman. He spent more than $2.5 million putting them up after a vision following open heart surgery told him to start building “crosses of mercy.” The first trio was built north of Charleston, WV, and eventually some 1,800 were planted across 29 states. Coffindaffer’s crosses are two pale blue ones and a yellow one, painted these colors to represent the colors of the sky and the light of the sun over Jerusalem. The crosses are treated with a saline solution and built to last 35 years. Coffindaffer eventually went broke, and died in October, 1993, after more than ten years of building. 

Fascinating, right? In the pre-google days, I would’ve seen them, said, “Why are there three crosses?” And Alan would’ve said, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit?” And I would’ve said, “There would only be two crosses then because ghosts don’t need crosses. Duh.” And Alan would’ve gotten annoyed with me. And we never would’ve known about Bernard Coffindaffer, who should be famous on the basis of his last name alone.

Anyway, I’ll spare you a blow-by-blow of what we did and just share a couple of the highlights:

  • Sierra Nevada Brewery – tours book up two months in advance, but it’s still a great place to chill by a fire pit or play cornhole with a brew in hand if the weather is nice
  • Waterfalls – lots of great hiking, pretty views and waterfalls 20 minutes south of the city; we followed signs to Looking Glass Falls and ended up driving the Blue Ridge Parkway after
  • The Biltmore – yeah, it’s touristy (hell, it’s the reason Asheville is even on the map) and it’s pricey, but it’s definitely worth it; where else will you see a 250+ room home AND get a wine tasting that samples 20 different pours?

We returned to DC on Friday. Having been surrounded by beautiful color for the entire week, we were somewhat numb to it as we drove north. Without the constant narration of the foliage to distract us, the drive passed more slowly. To liven it up, I turned to Alan and asked, “Who was your favorite elementary school teacher and why?”

Without moving his eyes off the road or considering the question, he said, “I’m not really interested in answering that right now.”

I’m not used to people opting out of my activities, so I was momentarily stunned. “What the hell kind of response is that?” I asked. “You’re ‘not interested in answering?'”

“That’s right,” he responded, not bothering to elaborate, though I could see the corners of his mouth twitching as if he were proud of himself.

“It’s not like you have anything better to do,” I pushed him. “I’m just trying to find ways to pass the time.”

He considered that for a long minute, then said, “Well, the time is passing whether or not we discuss our favorite teachers. It’s what time does.”

For some reason, I couldn’t stop laughing. And he was right – the time managed to pass just fine on its own. Just like the previous year had. And the year before that.

A good reminder on my birthday.

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What Katie Couric DIDN’T show us…

9 Jun

Time for Ye Annual Colonoscopy. Which always gives me flashbacks to Katie Couric being heralded for being so brave and broadcasting hers. She makes it look simple – which the actual procedure is. What she didn’t spend much time on (and why the procedure has a bad rap) is the prep.

The face of excitement.

The face of excitement.

Since I’ve ranted about the entire experience before, I won’t bore you with a redundant entry. Instead, I’ll just share a few quick updates and observations from this year’s scope. Note: this post may be a bit too much information for you if colons (and their functions) make you squeamish, so you may want to skip it. I consider it a Public Service Announcement for people who must also undergo this procedure.

First – surely they can do better than the 3 Liter jug of GoLytely they prescribe as part of the prep. In fact, I happen to KNOW they can, because about 10 minutes after I started drinking it on Monday night, I had multiple people ask why my doctor hadn’t prescribed the new 1 Liter option that apparently everyone but me is using. My short answer: because he is a sadist. My more considered answer: I probably earned it because I ate an entire bag of popcorn before my last colonoscopy.

Second – I finally figured out a method that makes the prep a wee bit less traumatic. I took the entire jug, a tumbler of ice and a lemon lime Vitamin Water to the loo with me. I normally would NEVER advocate eating/drinking in a bathroom (unless you are in the bathtub with a book), but this method both reduced the amount of wiping needed and the constant “I’m about to shit my pants” feeling that are hallmarks of the prep.

Ready for it? The trick is to sit ON the toilet while pounding the GoLytely so it can just shoot through you. Break it up with a few sips of Vitamin Water so you don’t throw up from the horrible taste, and VOILA – you will be done with the GoLytely in one hour and out of the bathroom in 90 minutes. Using this method, I was actually able to crawl into bed and get six hours of sleep before the second round of GoLytely hit.

Also: I draw a face on the jug so I can feel as if I have a companion there in the trenches with me. It happens to be my enemy, but a companion nonetheless. I think the word is “frenemy.”

GoLytely Face - (c) 2015 pithypants.com

Third – because I am too cheap to take a cab, or too hell-bent to get my 10,000 steps in, or too stubborn in general – I decided it was a good idea to WALK the 1.25 miles to my appointment. This, only three hours after completing the GoLytely. Let’s just agree: probably not the wisest decision. I arrived at the office making a beeline for the bathroom before even checking in. It was my way of playing, “Guess What I’m Here For” with the other patients in the waiting room.

Fourth – turns out, doctors don’t find it funny when you quip, “Guess I’ve flatlined” when they remove your heart monitor and the bleeps turn into one long BLEEEEEEEEP.

Fifth – if I were a nurse, I’d want to work in the recovery room. Because people coming out of anesthesia must say some pretty hilarious stuff. I can’t remember the FIRST things to come out of my mouth after they woke me, but I do remember some of my early sentences being, “Tell me, did I make a big mess in there?” and “Remind me, do I need to fart or something so you can spring me from this joint?” And I really wasn’t trying to be funny. I can only imagine what’s on “best of” reel.

Sixth – everyone should have a sister like Alicia. I went to bed relatively early on Monday night, having completed the first half of the prep and hoping to sleep as much as possible before Round Two commenced at 4am. When I woke at 4am, I found that she had filled my Facebook Feed with anything funny she could find on the topic of colonoscopies – just so I’d have some early morning entertainment to get me to the finish line. Example:

Someecards.com

Finally – everyone should have a partner as awesome as Alan. Not only was he there to collect me and whisk me home at the end of the procedure (helping me navigate since I couldn’t quite walk straight), he showed up with two juices and a box of chocolate bon bons for me to snack on immediately since he knew I’d be thirsty and starving.

Even better – as we walked up the sidewalk to my building and I said, “Um, I think I might be leaking – can you see anything on my skirt,” he just said, “Here – let me walk behind you,” instead of directly answering the question on the table. That’s a keeper, folks!

Poked, prodded and probed – all in all, I’d still say I’m a pretty lucky lady.