30 April, 2008

Countdown has begun...

My mother arrives in T-minus ... 23 hours and counting. Which means what children?

If you guess C freaking out, you win a year's supply of turtle wax!! Now you may be wondering why on earth I'm wasting time posting this entry in my blog when I've got TVs to dust behind, baseboards to damp mop and the tops of doorways to check for dust, and that's a perfectly valid question.

Answer: I hired a cleaning service. That's right, I've finally succumbed to the fact that I will never keep a house clean enough for my mother. Last time she came to visit I stayed up until 4am cleaning the night before and she STILL found dust behind the TV. I just can't win. So I've given up. I can't work 12-15 hour days, travel as much as I do and still find time to damp mop the baseboards without a little help from Merry Maids, so that's what I'm going to do.

Now you might think that this would dramatically decrease my stress level, and you'd be right except for one, minor detail. My mother will be here to take care of me while I'm getting my wisdom teeth out (And lest you all think me the most ungrateful daughter on the PLANET, I'm thrilled that she's coming, and very thankful that she'll be taking care of me, and I can't wait to spend time with her, it's just the 24 hours leading up to her arrival that turn me into a completely insane person.). That means my mother will be cooking for me. In my kitchen. Which means that she'll see my kitchen. All of it. That means my fridge, cupboards and pantry have to all be organized within an inch of their lives. And my fridge must contain numerous healthy foods, and nothing in the way of candy or sweets of any kind. Which means...I need to get back to organizing now. And she's going to be helping me with some financial issues....which means that my filing has to be done...and in order...and my shredding...and...and...there's gotta be something I'm forgetting, I just know it. And I probably won't figure it out until I'm picking her up at baggage claim. I'm screwed...

If everyone could keep their fingers crossed for the first maternal visit without a fight, I'd appreciate it. Oh God...22.5hrs and counting...it may not be enough time.

29 April, 2008

Top 5 Things I Learned in Mexico

Okay, some of you have already seen this, but I came across it while trying to find something in my e-mail inbox, and thought it deserved a repost...enjoy!

Here are the Top 5 things the State Department doesn't teach you before they send you to Mexico:

1.) The first thing to look for upon flagging down a taxi is SEAT BELTS. Only your higher-end taxi's have seat belts, and it's worth the extra 5 pesos (approximately $0.50) with the insane drivers in Mexico. Number of car crashes I've been in so far while in taxis? 3. Mind you, you don't stop for a car crash, you just shout and shake your fists at one another and then keep driving at 160km/h (approximately 100mph).

2.) Just because your taxi driver is belting out the words to Creedence Clearwater Revival's version of "Proud Mary" does NOT mean that he speaks English (when he starts belting out the full on lyrics to Spice Girls songs, it STILL doesn't mean he speaks a word of English.) You can try, but he'll just keep groovin' to the music and tell you what he wants, what he really, REALLY wants.

3.) Buy mosquito repellent once you arrive in Mexico. American mosquito repellent apparently only repels American mosquitoes...those Mexican buggers just bite straight on through. Also, it's helpful to learn the Spanish word for "mosquito." It's "mosquito" (She finds out only after 20 minutes of attempting to mime a small insect biting her leg. Embarassing? Nooooo....)

4.) Food is much better (by both the 'tastiness' and 'doesn't make you violently ill' factors) in Mexico City than anywhere else.
--- SIDENOTE: After two weeks in Monterrey, I desperate missed good food Food that actually tasted and looked like food. I fervently feel that neither ketchup nor marinara sauce should be brown. RED 43 all the way baby! Food coloring ROCKS!

5.) Pet stores in Mexico have both tigers and miniature ponies. That's right, in the cage right next to the beagle and giant schnauzer puppies is a small tiger. In the (somewhat larger, though not nearly large enough) cage next to the small tiger is a miniature pony (approximately the size of a small Great Dane). For a small fee, they'll bring them out and let you take your picture with them both. You can also ride the miniature pony, though I don't recommend it...he looks like he's had just about enough of overweight Mexican men waving their sombrero's around their heads and shouting out "YEE-HOW" at the top of their lungs. Yes, that's right, I said "YEE-HOW" not "YEE-HAW." There's a difference, and it's amusing.

And the runner up, leaving me great sympathy for those who chose to follow God's call to "get thee to a nunnery" (or wait, was that Hamlet...I constantly get the two confused.) ...There's a chain of restaurants here run exclusively by nuns, dressed up in the full habits doing all the cooking, serving and cleaning. Now don't you feel better about your job? At least on a day when it's 37 degrees Centigrade (approximately 99 degrees Fahrenheit), with 100% humidity and not a cloud in the sky, a breeze through the air, or a shady tree in sight, you're not dressed up in a full-on habit (made of what appears to be black wool), cooking over a massively hot stove, in a kitchen that meets no one's fire and safety codes, with no ventilation, and customers screaming for their gorditas.

28 April, 2008

Apparently it's quote week...

Looks like I'm just going to be posting things that make me laugh this week (which, in advance of getting my wisdom teeth removed on Friday, is probably not really a bad idea for me...), so please enjoy this little gem from How I Met Your Mother:

Marshall: So, I'm reading this, and I gotta say, I think this might be a little over my head. For one thing, I'm fairly certain that if these contracts aren't executed precisely, we will be at war with Portugal!

Barney: Forget that, that's a Tuesday for me!

27 April, 2008

White House Correspondents' Dinner

Apparently today's quote day for me, so here are some particularly funny quotes from Craig Ferguson's speech at the 2008 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner:

"Glasgow, if you don't know, if you imagine the movie Braveheart set in Detroit in the 1970's, it'll give you a fair idea of what the town is like. Lots of violence and polyester. It's like a medieval version of Starsky and Hutch."

-- I've been to both Glasgow and Detroit, the man's not wrong!

"Here's what I love about al-Qaeda...there's a phrase you don't hear everyday...al-Qaeda tried to take a religious war to Scotland. You're 1,000 years too late!!! And you don't have a soccer team!!! Go home!!"

-- Yes, because that's what's wrong with terrorists...they don't have organized sports.

"Belgium...they're the Canada of France! There, I said it!"

-- Ah Canada and France, the butt of every joke, even jokes about Belgium...

"I'm a late night television show guy, I make up crap that isn't true, and then I say it on TV, I'm like Fox News, I'm not a journalist!"

-- You've gotta love any joke about Fox News!

"I want to talk tonight about the respect I have for the American Media, you guys. It's your task to watch the government, to make sure they don't exceed their power. Well done on that, by the way, the last eight years."

-- Got a point there Craig, where's Ed Murrow when you need him?

"Donald [Rumsfeld] isn't here tonight, he's off writing his book, which apparently starts off rather well, but then has no end in sight."

-- Bah dum dum, ching! He thought the jabs would end when he left office...sorry Donny, no such luck.

"Tonight though, we mark the end of an era. George W. Bush leaves in eight months. The Vice President is already moving out of his residence...it takes longer than you think to pack up a dungeon."

-- Plus the moat and fire-breathing dragons...

"I remember eight years ago when you said you were gonna return dignity to the White House...by the way, you were fantastic on Deal or No Deal."

-- Between the current president, and all the current candidates' appearances on the WWE RAW, we may just have to accept the fact that we're going to be screwed on that one for at least the next eight years...

Old School TV Quote of the Day:

Life...does it ever get easy?

Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Liar.

26 April, 2008

Politics...

Okay, I'm going to try not to do this too much, mainly because I think EVERYONE ELSE IN THE FREE WORLD is doing this too much, but I have to take a moment to talk about the race for the White House. I know that four years ago, everyone was amazed at how early election talk started, but I feel like it's even earlier this time around. I mean, I'm trying to think back right now to a time before they started talking about the 2008 election, and I'm struggling to come up with something! I know they were doing it this time last year...they may even have been doing it two years ago! I honestly can't remember! I'm beyond sick of it already, and we don't even have a Democratic nominee! It's not even time for the convention yet!

It feels a little like Christmas (bear with me here, I have a point, I swear). You know how every year it seems that stores start putting out the Christmas decorations earlier and earlier? When we were kids, they came out right after Thanksgiving. Then it was a little before Thanksgiving, then it was right after Halloween...now if I walk into Wal-mart on October 15th (which I of course try never to do), and I just know I'm going to find a decorated tree somewhere in that damn store. Election season seems to get earlier and earlier every year, except that unlike Christmas, we don't get a pile of gifts under the tree when we wake up on November 4th. Well, unless you're a lobbyist.

All this has basically been a giant rant, and an excuse for me to include my favorite new catch-phrase from The Daily Show in my blog -- "Indecision 2008: The Long Flat Seemingly Endless Bataan Death March to The White House." Once again, I heart Jon Stewart.

24 April, 2008

There's Something About Airports...

Maybe it's just that it's good people watching, maybe no one is at their best when being strip searched by TSA, maybe it's something about stressing over whether or not you're going to make your flight, but there's just something about airports. I've been spending a good amount of quality time in them this month, and I can't help but marvel at the sheer stupidity of some travelers. For your reading pleasure, CW5H2O is proud to present...Airport Bloopers, April 2008 Edition.

-- Overheard in line for check-in at United:
55 yr old male, boastful: Yeah, I travel all the time, it's kind of what I do. It takes me away from home a lot, but I get the frequent flyer miles to make up for it.
35 yr old woman, attractive but bored: Uh-huh.
Man: I mean, I must have half the gadgets in the Sky Mall catalog. I'm kind of a gadget guy.
Woman: Uh-huh.
Man, slightly desperate: You know, that's where I got this matching luggage! Sky Mall!
Woman: Uh-huh.
(Man is called to the front counter for check-in)
Man: WHAT DO YOU MEAN I NEED MY ID TO TRAVEL?? SINCE WHEN??

-- Overheard in line for security:
80 yr old woman, angry: Of course I have liquids in my carry-on, what sort of an idiot do you take me for? I know what you people do with checked luggage, you think I want bodily fluids in my shampoo? No thank you!
Haggard TSA Officer: Ma'am, you can't take any liquids over 3oz in your carry-on luggage.
Woman: Of course I can, it fits!
TSA Officer: I can see that Ma'am, but those are the regulations.
Woman: Since when?
TSA Officer: Since about two years ago ma'am.
Woman: Well I've been flying from here to Texas once a month for the last two years and this has never happened to me before! Let me speak to your supervisor!
TSA Officer: Actually, this happens to you every time Mrs. Grayson.
Woman: How do you know my name?
TSA Officer: Because we did this just last week Mrs. Grayson.
Woman: I demand to speak to your supervisor! This is impudence! Young people today.....

-- Overheard in line for security:
TSA Officer: Ma'am, you need a boarding pass to get through security.
Perfectly normal looking 40yr old woman: Oh no, I just want to fly to Richmond.
TSA Officer: Okay, but you're still going to need to get a boarding pass and check your luggage.
Woman, confused: But it's just two hours away driving.
TSA Officer: Yes, but you're trying to fly. You need a ticket.
Woman, becoming irate: No, it's two hours away by car, that means it's less than 30 minutes away flying. It's the 30 minute rule.
TSA Officer, confused: The 30 minute rule?
Woman: Yes, you know, the one that says that for any flight lasting less than 30 minutes in duration, you don't need to buy a ticket, you can just get on the plane.
TSA Officer, flabbergasted: I'm sorry Ma'am, but there's no such rule.
Woman: What do you mean?
TSA Officer: I mean there's no such thing as the 30 minute rule.
Woman: But...Well then how do I get to Richmond?
TSA Officer: Well, you could drive. I hear it's only two hours away.

--In line for security:
TSA Officer standing over unconscious man who has just passed out on the floor: Sir, I'm going to need you to get up, you're holding up the rest of the line.

-- Overheard at the gate:
Overdressed 22yr old girl...silver strappy 4 inch heels: Yes, I'd like an upgrade to first class.
Gate Agent: Sure, would you like to use your miles or a voucher?
Girl, confused: No, I just want an upgrade to first class.
Gate Agent: Yes, I understood that, but how would you like to pay for it.
Girl: Pay for it? The last time I flew there was a man at the counter and he just gave it to me.
Gate Agent: Well I'm not going to do that.
Girl, angry: Are you saying that I have to sleep with EVERY airline person to get upgraded??

-- This last one isn't a dialog piece, I just spent about an hour in the Ft. Lauderdale airport entertaining myself by trying figure out whether the person sitting next to me was a man or a woman. S/he looked like a dead ringer for Steven Cojocaru, that fashion guy from Entertainment Tonight (You don't even want to know how long it took me to find that guy's name). This wo/man was dressed in very unisex clothing (cargo pants and an untucked button-down beige shirt with crocs), but had shoulder-length blond hair. S/he had a very deep, gravely voice. S/he was wearing a man's watch, but a necklace with a little silver heart on it. His/her phone conversations seemed very feminine, lots of 'nurturing' type comments. We got on the plane and I STILL couldn't figure this whole thing out!!

23 April, 2008

I'm HOME!!

Okay, a short one b/c I have way too much stuff to do, but I'm back in DC, home. Funny to think that, especially when I'm moving this summer, but it really is home for me now. I think people can have multiple "homes" and I've got Toledo, Indy, Pentwater and DC for now. :) It struck me getting into the taxi and driving out of the airport...I was looking out at the rolling hills of Northern Virginia, and I just grinned...I've only been away for 10 days this trip, but it feels like longer because of the multiple trips back and forth this month. The thought came unbidden...I'm home.

Why is it that when I feel I've really hit my stride, found my groove in work and with my friends, that I'm moving? It's what I signed on for, a life on the move, I get that, but there's a part of me that wishes that we all had just a couple more months together...it seems like it's all coming down to the wire so fast, and I don't know if I'm going to be ready to say good-bye when it comes. I guess this is part of what being a grown-up is all about. Sometimes, being a grown-up isn't all it's cracked up to be.

20 April, 2008

Hello from Sunny South Florida!!

I've decided to take advantage of the business center in my fabulous Doubletree Hilton Hotel (that's right, I choose my hotels based on whether or not they give free homemade, hot chocolate chip cookies upon arrival, what of it?) on a lazy Sunday afternoon! I'm sitting in the business center overlooking the intercostal, and watching all the yachts float lazily by (are you sensing a theme for the day?). I'll be leaving in a bit to go and relax by the pool so I'll keep this short, but I wanted to post the link to my number one choice for my new apartment, and see what everyone thought!

www.sunriseharbor.net

Any opinions? This place is great, and my actual apartment would have an ocean view, as well as a view of those fabulous yachts I mentioned earlier. Anyone want to sign up to be the first visitor? Did I mention that there's free valet parking for all visitors? And TWO pools? And a wine cellar? And a billiard room? And TWO spas within walking distance?

In other South Florida news, my family, predictably, is driving me batty. I'm going to do a full on Exorcist twist before this whole thing is over, I just know it. Okay, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out...it'll all be fine...guess picking a place within walking distance of two spas really was a smart move, eh?

I'll post pictures of the place as soon as I get home and can upload them onto my computer. For now, I'm signing off from the business center, wishing you all a wonderful rest of your weekend! Hasta pronto!

12 April, 2008

Girly Weekend!

It's been a great weekend so far...very girly. First, it was girls' night with T...we ordered Chinese food (from PF Chang's a bit of a splurge), then poured ourselves a few glasses of wine and watched The Philadelphia Story. I'd like to point out that it's not Philadelphia, the depressing movie with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington dying. This is the AMAZING, FABULOUS old 1940's movie with Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart...if you've never seen it, that's a travesty, and something you must remedy immediately. After getting our fill of romantic comedy, we moved on to The Monster Squad, a hysterical 1987 super cheesy monster flick about Dracula raising a gang to take over the world...best viewed after consumption of a bottle of wine, but a definite must see. :) At this point, it's later than I've been awake since...well...last girls' night, so of course we decided to start planning our upcoming Vegas trip, which will include shopping, spa day, shopping, cirque du soleil, shopping, sunning ourselves by the pool, shopping, a bit of gambling, and if we have time, a bit of shopping. :) It's going to be a great trip, and I can't wait!!

Saturday (today if I finish this post in time!) I spent on the hunt for a wedding dress for M! We went to a few interesting places (not, NOT David's Bridal A, I promise!), but finally wound up finding a bunch of really pretty dresses, so she's got some decisions to make! I've done this a few times now, with a few different people, and I'm always amazed at how different people gravitate towards different things. M and her mom asked me today if all this experience helping other people pick out their wedding dresses had given me the perfect idea of what I'd want for my own wedding dress, and I was actually a bit shocked to realize that it HADN'T! I have no idea what I'll want when that day eventually comes around, but for now, I'm happy to help my friends, the people I care about, pick out the most important dress they'll ever buy (and likely one of the most expensive, of course!).

Sunday (today if I DON'T finish this post in time!) I'm packing for my third (and hopefully final) trip to Florida before the move. Hopefully when I come back, I'll be able to post pictures of my new house! Fingers crossed!



(Hey look! I finished in time! Go me!)

10 April, 2008

the sunny south part II

Two down, one to go! I just got back from the conference in Miami, which was GREAT...we got to stay in a super swanky hotel, with a 46-inch flat screen plasma TV, a walk-in closet, whirlpool tub and in-room massages...it also had a pool on the roof, where we could go after the conference was over and before dinner, and we got served free cocktails from the floating bar...talk about luxury! And the best part of it was, we got the government rate, so it was actual affordable for real people, and didn't cost the tax-payers any more than if we'd stayed at the Holiday Inn!

I didn't get one of the in-room massages. Not, of course, because I don't like massages, and those of you who know me well can attest that I LOVE massages, but because the concept of an in-room massage kind of creeps me out. Am I alone here? I mean, I get that in reality it's not all that different than going to a spa, you're still alone in the room with your massage therapist, but there's something about being alone in the room you sleep in, without anyone else around that just "gives me the wiggins." (to quote my favorite guilty pleasure show of all time.)



And now that we've established that I'm a total TV nerd (someday I'll post something about my extensive, some might say obsessive, collection of TV shows on DVD), I think it's time for me to go to bed...g'night everyone!

06 April, 2008

Starting to stress....

Good news first: I just got back from NJ, and had a great time at Beth's baby shower! Baby Maddie is going to be spoiled rotten by all the people in her life, but that's okay, she deserves it! The drive to NJ was better than I thought it'd be, and can I just say, thank GOD for the EZ Pass? Whoever invented those things should be given a medal, it made the trip 1,000 times easier than the last time I made the trek.

Bad news: I'm starting to get stressed out about the move. Like an IDIOT I hadn't even begun to think about silly little things like security deposits and 1st and last month's rent...do people still do that? I hope not, but if so, I'm screwed...I can manage the security deposit without too much problem, but 1st and last month's rent? Forget about it...I'm a government employee living in Washington D.C., I don't exactly have thousands of dollars on hand to toss around. Now could I have if I'd thought ahead? Yes, perhaps, but that bridge is smoldering in ruins behind me, so it's time to start looking at Plan B...I probably can't put 1st and last month's rent on a credit card...Plan C anyone? I'll figure something out...not like I've got a choice, right? Hope everyone's weekends went well!

05 April, 2008

Doogie Flashback

Okay, so I'm getting up early in the AM to drive to NJ for Beth's Baby Shower, but I just watched Monday's episode of HIMYM, and I just have to say, the last two minutes were the best thing I've seen on TV in forever...I heart Neil Patrick Harris, and I love the homage to Doogie Howser M.D. ... one of my favorite childhood shows of ALL TIME! Doogie of course, one of the first offical bloggers :).



Have a great weekend everyone!

03 April, 2008

the sunny south

So I just got back from Sunny South Florida, where I spent the last few days getting to know the area and meeting some of the people I'm going to be working with for the next couple years. I'm going down for a full-on house-hunting trip on the 13th, but I've gotta say, dealing with trying to find my way around a whole new town, much less where I should live, is really intimidating.

Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful to leave our nation's rainy, cold capitol for 85 degrees and sunny, but the whole idea of starting over again...I guess it's what I signed on for, but will there be some point when it stops being intimidating every time? I guess that's what comes from being from a family that only moved ONCE in my entire life. I'm sure I'll find a great place, meet new people, make new friends and settle in, but for now, it all just seems like a lot. Of course, the upshot is that I won't have to deal with snow, sleet and hail as much anymore! I got back from the trip today and walked outside, and it was HAILING!!! In that sense, I can't wait to move.