Archive for December, 2009

So, one of the joys in our life is that my in-laws are willing and able to puppy sit whenever we go out of town, saving us hundreds of dollars and making travel financially possible. This is a perk I cannot imagine living without.

The catch – because there always is one- is that they live in New Jersey, and we do not.  This, combined with my stepdaughter’s mother ALSO living in New Jersey, means I spend a ridiculous amount of time driving the New Jersey turnpike and flying in and out of Newark (for perspective: I live ten minutes from my local DC airport. Ten minutes. It is amazingly convenient;  I wish I got to actually use it.) I am blessed with many wonderful things in my life, not the least of which are my in-laws, my stepdaughter, and my stepdaughter’s family, but it strikes me as appropriately life-ironic that these gifts come with strings – and those strings pull me directly back to the Garden State.

ANYWAY, that is all to say that I was driving up to New Jersey last night so we could drop off the pup and  make our early AM flight out of Newark , and while the Boss was catching some sleep in the passenger seat, I started about 50 blog posts that I now can’t remember, which means that today you will get a post about my continued bitching regarding Newark, New Jersey, and probably travel in general. Let’s get started!

Let me be about the billionth person to complain about the current state of Airline suckitude. Here’s how I understand the buying and selling of services: if I give you money for a service – or say, you know: a seat on an airplane – I except to actually receive said service in exchange for the cash.  I mean, commerce literally does not get any more basic than that. Unless, of course, you fly United, where, upon arriving at the airport, I have been told “Yes I know you bought a ticket for this flight, but we’re out of space;  if you’d like, you can purchase an upgrade to guarantee a seat.” And, I mean:  No. Didn’t we all see that one Seinfeld?

My initial purchasing of the ticket guarantees me a seat, asshole. That’s the whole point of the reservation. You take my money, you save me a seat. You don’t take my money and then offer the opportunity to give you MORE money before I get a seat. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.

(I mean, apparently it is. I don’t know. It’s the airline’s world; I just live here).

I’ve mentioned it before (I think), but I think my background as a client satisfaction professional (which sounds like a euphemism but I promise is not) makes this whole situation that much harder to take. So many service industries have absolutely nailed how to make “positive profits” (where the customer gives you their money because they honestly feel they are getting something in return, and more often than not will recommend you to their friends) versus making “negative profits” (where the customer gives you their money because they have no choice and end up kind of hating you for it HELLO UNITED CAN YOU HEAR ME?).

I suppose this is the part of the blog post where I tell you that I’m working on like, 3 hours of sleep, I’ve been at Newark since 5am, I forgot my phone so am now faced with the lovely prospect of working remotely this week with no access to remote email or calls, I’m wearing the same socks I was yesterday, I wish I could shower but I can’t, and we just got bumped off the 6:30am flight and as such will be here until the 10:30 flight, at which point we will be shuttled to Chicago just in time for a blizzard to hit the Midwest and likely strand us there.

I mean, all I’m saying is–actually, I was about to apologize for being overly negative, but when I look back, I’m actually SO NOT WRONG about anything that I’m not going to. Lack of coffee not withstanding, the airlines suck.

(The Boss would like to interrupt here and point out that this entire post can legally be used as justification the purchase of our own plane.  When you’re married to a pilot, every solution looks like an SR-22)

(Wow, look at that. New Jersey and Newark didn’t even factor into this bitch fest. I knew you’d get me, NJ. Stockholm syndrome, here we come!)

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Two days ago was the fourth anniversary of my heart surgery. I celebrated the event better last year, having just completed an Ironman triathlon. Finishing that race was solid statement of health and vitality, a reminder of the drastic way illness changed my life for the better; certainly if I had never gotten sick, I would have never placed a premium on movement and forward motion. Somethings you don’t miss until they’re gone, I think.

This year I was a little less symbolic in my celebration, which is to say I completely forgot it was my heart-aversary. So instead of completing an athletic race (which is what I would usually do), or even working out at all, I stayed in the house,  snuggled on the couch with the Boss (while we mainlined the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica. I love TV seasons on DVD, btw), played with my puppy in the snow** (20 inches!),  and had some friends over for dinner. I didn’t realize I was celebrating at the time, but when I think back to a lovely day spent with my family, and a lovely evening spent sitting around the table with our friends, enjoying the home the Boss and I have built for ourselves*,  I realize I’ve come to a new way of celebrating health and being alive, which is to just… be that way. And I love it.

*We didn’t like, literally build it. Obviously.

**Obligatory puppy-in-snow picture:

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Mckenzie’s Good Friends

Mckenzie’s Good Friends

Originally uploaded by pescatello

My brother is spending the year teaching for Duke University in Rome (yeah, his life is pretty awesome), and as such will not be back in time to celebrate Christmas with the Lewis fam.

As I make my plans to travel home I realize we’ll be down one soldier for the Holiday. Cheers to you, C. Mck. You will be thoroughly missed!

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(subtitle to this post: “God, I will do anything to procrastinate, won’t I?”)

I remember this argument when the year 2001 came around: people arguing that it was the real start of the decade, not the 1999-2000 flip over moment etc. etc. (This argument was awesomely portrayed in the West Wing: when one character commented that the demarcation point between the old millennium and the new millennium was a “largely unresolvable issue,”  Toby replies: “Tough to resolve, yes;  you have to look at a calendar.” ANYWAY )

I love me some good semantic arguments, and I also love winning them. So, to that end, I feel compelled to share with you Linda’s slam dunk statement of fact regarding this:

The period from 2000-2009 is a decade. A decade is a period of ten years. If I said, “the 201st decade of the Gregorian Calendar,” then we could get into a charmingly nerdy argument about how there was no Year Zero, so the first decade went from 1 to 10, and the second decade went from 11 to 20, and so on and so forth, so the 201st decade would go from 2001 to 2010. A decade, however, is any period of ten years — ask the dictionary — and the decade to which we refer at this point is the ten-year period from 2000 to 2009. I know you will e-mail me anyway. You know who you are. But consider this your warning that it will change nothing.

This entire post should be footnoted with the fact that you really need to add the above link from Linda into your Google Reader. With the exception of the snippet I excerpted, the article linked to is not it’s best moment, but trust me, the NPR’s  “Monkey See” blog is an awesome daily read for all things TV/Movie/Book related.

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Here is my one sentence review of the latest Dan Brown* book:

I’ve dated men like this book: A decent enough way to kill time when lacking other options, but that doesn’t mean I’m glad that I did.

*The Boss and I have both now read this book, and we STILL can’t remember the name of it. Possibly because there is not a lot in there that is memorable. See above re ‘people I’ve dated’

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I love the movie “Christmas Vacation.” The Boss and I frequently discuss whether or not we’re trending more Todd and Margo or Griswold, and honestly I’m not sure how it’s going to end up, but I’m sure our neighbors roll their eyes mightily when we spandex up and head out for our weekend bike rides.

Ahem. Anyway.

Having just returned from what ended up being a logistically epic Thanksgiving, I am thrilled to be settled in tonight with an AMC showing of Christmas Vacation. I just spent the past week with my family (which included about 20 people when all were added up), my in laws and my other in laws (my step-daughter’s mother and her husband) (to be fair, we only saw them for an afternoon, but it was great to catch up) (I’m not saying that sarcastically, we all really get along) (that’s another blog post).

ANYWAY. I think this is my long way of saying, this Thanksgiving, I find myself thankful for my family, both ones of origin and of choice, and the perspective they give me in all things… even if it’s just a newfound appreciation of an classic Christmas story.

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