Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend 3-way: sticky fingers

I was standing in the server/copier/mail/supply room at work earlier this week, waiting for the copier to warm up. To bide my time until “power saver” mode disappeared, I checked out our office supplies, as per.

We don’t have anything special, really, just your run-of-the-mill boxes of pencils and pens, giant bundles of Postits, various types of letterhead, those ubiquitous metal black clips, about a billion rubber bands, etc., etc., etc.

But for some reason I always feel compelled to swipe one of those glossy, wrapped-up packages of yellow Postits. They tempt me.

But not as much as the giant box of paper towels in the kitchen does. I can’t seem to keep my home supplied with paper towels - they are chronically used up before I have time to restock.

And, yes, I admit it. I’ve taken both. But not very often.

I’m also going to freely admit to taking the “Highlights” and “Sunset” magazines that the publishers continually send to the office because they mistakenly think the office of my doctor-boss is a traditional doctor’s office, full of potential new subscribers.

Nope. Just me.

So what I want to know is do you pilfer from your workplace? Or former workplace? And if so, what is it that your secretive, sly, stealthy, sticky-fingers are lifting?

I realize that Ellie is at a bit of a disadvantage here, as her boss’ wife actually reads Me and You and Ellie, and she would be in a pickle if she admitted to leaving the Dutch with anything more than good vibes and a great buzz, but she’s had lots of former jobs. In fact, she’s even worked here before…

The only thing I pilfer from the Dutch is beer. But that's not really pilfering, because it's sanctioned. Encouraged, in fact, by both Peter and Martha. I also grabbed a couple of books of matches for our trip. So we can think fondly of the Tavern while lighting campfires. Awww.

My former corporate life is a different story entirely, though. I believe corporate supply rooms are just my supply rooms, with fancier names. Those sheets of Avery labels, manila folders, pens (just get the office manager to order the kind you want), mechanical pencils, post-its, highlighters. Sigh. I really really love office supplies, and I really really love supply rooms.

And I suppose technically I was pilfering ink and electricity, too, because I did all my printing at work, too. Of course I did. Christmas card labels, party invites to mail out, recipes, a story from the paper for Bill to read . . .

Now I do all my printing at the library. Where I have to pay for it. Hmmm. Maybe I can get Peter to install a printer at the Tavern...


Well, it's not nearly as fun to pilfer from the office when you are the one doing the supply ordering and managing the budget for a small school. I sure do love me some office supplies, though, and sometimes I decide that we neeeeeed stuff in the office, just so I can play with it. Like the label maker I picked up last week - why does anyone need a label maker when you can make labels of any size, shape or creed right there on your computer? But I had to have the label maker, and if I was not already spoken for, I would totally marry it and have its little organized babies.

I still have the black stapler that Ellie brought me from the supply room of her first NYC job, and I'm a notorious pen swiper. I've certainly pilfered a roll of toilet paper now and then when I got the 9-1-1 call from home that we were desperate. So I don't take much, but my biggest crime by far is the time that I claim as my own. I'm in constant contact with all my peeps throughout each work day, and the time I give to achieve that goal technically belongs to my employer.

Ah yes, time. I claim a lot of that as my own too. But who can be productive for 8 straight hours in front of a computer? Who, I ask you? Not me. Six is stretching it, so I get some personal stuff taken care of at work as well; I think everyone does.

But you forgot one other thing, Jacquie. You also sometimes take the good eats that are leftover from work, right? Well, I know you do, because even my family has been the recipient of half a tray of plundered meatballs. Thankyouverymuch.

As I mentioned, I don't take much from my current office, a stamp here and there, the pens that I do ask my colleague to order, a pack of Postits, etc. It's an office, that's all we've got.

I think restaurant jobs are the jobs that I pilfered the most from. There was an entire informal economy operating in Ocean City during the summers I lived there, with roommates and friends hooking up roommates and friends with cocktails, free appetizers, even full bags of Maryland blue crabs left outside in the alley. I guess we all knew it was wrong, but that minimum wage was hardly paying the rent, and we were always looking for free fun.

What I need now are friends that work for luxurious resorts, day spas, and hip concert venues....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Road Trip

Wait a second, what's this?

A pile of clean pots and pans and plates and glasses?

Westy's Big Blue sleeping bag airing out?

The coolers all clean and fresh?

A bag of flip-flops?

A box of Westy accoutrement, ready to be packed into Westy's nooks and crannies?

Beach chairs?

The excavating of what were once Westy -- but now are household -- but now are Westy again -- drawer items?

Lists . . .

. . . upon lists?

A packed shoe bucket? (Hey! Mistah left no room for my shoes).

A packed booze bucket?
Could it be????
You better believe it could be.
Road Trip!
Sunshine State, here we come.

And not a moment too soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lā makana

January 6 at 1:51pm via Facebook for Android:

"Begrudgingly leaving Hawaii."

January 6 at 2:07pm:

"Thinking about making a run for the ocean.."


January 6 at 2:10pm:

"It does not inspire confidence to be delayed while they try to fix the plane."


January 6 at 2:33pm:

"Ha! We're staying another night on united's dime! Aloha!"

January 6 at 4:52pm via Facebook Mobile:

"The opposite of flight 52"

The magic continues!

Hanging out in the departure gate of Keahole airport feels more like being at a neighborhood park or a swap meet than a boarding area. It's not quite clear whether or not you're actually going anywhere. It's Hawaii, everyone is just chilling and there's no need to rush. But the flight was supposed to leave at 1:20, and by the time I started playing with facebook on my phone we were already 30 minutes into the delay with nary a uniformed soul in sight.

The first announcements were vague, the plane needed repairs and they were working on it. That's a great feeling when you are getting set to fly on top of the pacific ocean for five hours.

When we were told that we were waiting for parts to be flown in from another island to fix our plane, I had a vivid clairvoyant vision of me and my kids wandering through the deserted corridors of LAX in the wee hours of the night. Everyone listening knew our fate, but human nature dictates that we wait politely to be told what comes next in these situations, right? Wrong. We didn't have to be anywhere until the following Monday, I wasn't having it. I knew I had to take action.

As I mentioned, there was nary a uniformed helper in sight. I asked the kids if they could handle hanging out with the luggage while I went to talk to someone. They grumbled their acknowledgement, and I hightailed it out of the secure area to the ticket counter. There were two like-minded people already there. A stuffy looking guy who was making a fuss, and a college student who told me that she'd been on standby for two days but she didn't really care, although she had already missed the first two days of the semester.

The stuffy guy talked to the agent for a while, then she walked away and he stewed. I asked him if he was rebooking for the next day, and he sort of hemmed and hawed weirdly, then said: "Well, I have to fly first class... and it's full for tomorrow." (pause) "You're probably not flying first class, so you should be okay."

Thanks, asshole!

To be fair, I did have a flower drawn on my bicep with a sharpie and mai tai on my breath. But still.

He only helped my cause though, because I knew he was being a pain and I was prepping myself to be the world's favorite distressed traveller*. I painted a worried look on my face as I made my approach. I explained that I was flying alone with my little children, and that I was really worried that this flight would not get us to LA in time to make our connection to San Diego. I asked if we could rebook for tomorrow. The friendly agent agreed that it was unlikely that we'd have a happy ending to this ominous travel tale, and said that there was plenty of space for us on tomorrow's flight. I gushed with gratitude and relief, and then asked the 20 million dollar question: "Will you help us with a hotel for tonight?" She furrowed and clucked and explained that because the flight was not cancelled, they could not give me a voucher. Oh, but I was meek. I was humble and submissive. "It's okay," I endured, "I'm sure we'll figure something out." "Thank you SO MUCH for everything you've done for us, you are so great. Ummmm, is there anything you can do? You know..... For The Children?"

She went in the back to talk to her manager....

I texted Bill "We're not coming home! Will call soon"

A few minutes later, my friend came back and announced that the elusive travel and accommodations voucher had been approved! I asked if I could go and fetch my kids, she advised me to stay while she made the calls just in case a line soon formed. Wise woman. It took a while to work everything out, and by the time I made it back through security with vouchers in hand, the kids had been sitting there alone for over an hour. And they were pissed. I swiftly revealed the result of my heroic mission, and was soon forgiven. My boy later told me that because I took so long, he just assumed that I had diarrhea.

*When the shuttle picked us up, the driver referred to us as the distressed travellers. We laughed and laughed and laughed all the way back to Kona.

We were shuttled back on down to Kona. To the same hotel where we had spent the previous night enjoying a luau. It was no Hilton, but it was right in town and it had a beach and a pool and a jacuzzi, and we were just stupid with happiness at our unlikely fortune.

The King Kamehameha Hotel

We enjoyed a swim, then got right into our aloha glad rags and hit the town

That's 'Ahu'ena Heiau behind them, rebuilt by Kamehamaha the Great as his temple to the god of peace and prosperity.

We were back at the Kona Sea Wall, where it all began! We had the chance to revisit the places we had intended to revisit before leaving, like the Donkey Balls store to pick up a gift for daddy.
And we enjoyed the absolute gift of another Big Island sunset.

and ice cream cone

And a backstage view of the luau entertainment

That night, my girl finally got a bed. She'd been such a good sport about sleeping on an air mattress or sofa for the duration of the trip. My boy and I shared the other bed, and he kicked me in the kidneys all night long. But it was worth it.

The next morning, we enjoyed the beach while a local outrigger club came in from the sea

And then we had a nice lunch before heading back to the airport

January 7 at 2:07pm via Facebook Mobile:
"Bonus day beverage"
January 7 at 2:28pm via Facebook for Android
"On de plane. Sigh."

January 8 at 11:32pm:

Thanks for coming along on my zen family love fest, kids!

E komo mai o Hawaii ....Welcome to Hawaii

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou ....Happy New Year

Mai ho`okaumaha problems

a hui hou Hawaii ? ....until we meet again, Hawaii?

and, yes... FINALLY...

Lā makana.... bonus day

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It’s no secret that I spent a good portion of last summer in the hospital. I blogged about it quite regularly.

But there are a few good hospital tales that I’ve yet to tell, and recently I’ve been thinking back to my very entertaining wheelchair outings. These almost daily, and sometimes twice daily, outings quite literally kept me sane.

And tan, I might add.

Don’t believe me?

Well just look at this. It was taken less than an hour before they carved me open and extracted little miss C -- 41 days after my hospital admission. Not bad.

So yay for wheelchairs, I say!

And although I had been in a wheelchair before – the other two times I gave birth, and during two earlier and blessedly briefer hospital admissions during this most recent pregnancy – I was no pro. I could not do wheelies, or jump up and down, or go up stairs, or anything really cool. Hell, I didn’t even really know how to operate a wheelchair.

My first outing in June is a case in point:

Look at my poor head leave the screen! Thank god for my helpful husband children!

I did manage to master the breaking function of the various wheelchairs I borrowed, but not much else. But seeing as I had to be wheeled around by someone else in order to leave the antenatal wing, I didn’t need to pay that much attention, I always had a driver.

But one day this lack of attention caused a bit of a problem.

My husband and I wheeled over to Letty’s Bean Shack for lunch (the only real option for food besides the hospital cafeteria) as we often did. We parked the wheelchair and ordered our lunch. We ate, and talked, and soaked up every bit of the fresh air and sunshine.

When I knew it’d been way longer than my allotted 30-minute sojourn time, I insisted that we head back up to my room.

I hauled my ever widening ass out of the plastic seat and started toward the exit. I waddled down the few steps and out the gate. But, but, where the hell was the wheelchair?

It was gone! Nowhere to be found. We looked up the street, we looked down the street, not there. We then crossed the street to see if someone had just wheeled it back to the hospital entrance – still no luck.

Shit, we lost the wheelchair! Wtf? How the hell are we going to get me back in my room without any of the nurses noticing? (My room was directly in front of the nurses’ station.)

Quietly, that’s how.

We calmly exited the elevator, walked silently past the nurses’ station, and very quickly into my room. Clicking the door shut behind us as fast as possible.

No one ever asked about it.

And we never said a word.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Smell of Chlorine

I love high school swim meets. I do. I loved them when I was in them, and now I love going to them.

I love the excitement and I love the energy and I love the swimmers' bodies.

Especially this kid's. The kid with the yellow on the side of his suit.

My fabulous godson Elliott, whose team was at New London High for an away meet. I mean, look at that back, wouldja?
And look at that form . . .

I love the high drama.

I love cheering madly during the races.

I love the goofiness of high school kids. High school swimming kids.
I love the final handshake.

It's very sportsmanlike.

I love the final cheer for the other team.

Have I mentioned the goofiness of high school kids?

High school kids are like a separate, foreign, highly-chlorinated, exceedingly goofy species to me.

They frighten me, and yet they draw me in. That's why I love them.

But what I love most about high school swim meets? Besides, of course, seeing my friend Jonny Mitchell?

Is hanging in the stands with my girl Nancy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A hui hou Hawaii?

No disclaimers, no apologies, just another chapter in the neverending story of my recent trip to Hawaii! I've got to hurry and finish before my tan has faded away, as the sun has become an elusive creep these days, even in San Diego.

part 1, part 2, part 3

The third and final leg of our trip brought us back over to the sunny side, where we splurged on a few days of luxury. The drive over from Hilo was rainy, but that was to be expected, what with it being a tropical rainforest and all.

It was so lush and green and gorgeous, I couldn't help snapping photos out the window while driving:

We made a pit stop at Akaka Falls.

Here we had the chance to see magnificent creatures in their natural habitats:

dorkus humungous

And there were some other fairly decent sights to see, if you're into wonders of nature and all that:

We made our way across the north end of the island, and then headed south into the beautiful Waikaloa resort area. But that didn't keep us from enjoying waterfalls:

The Hilton is huge and stunning. Some critics say that it's not authentic Hawaii, it's not real... and I get that, I do. But if you're at all interested in indulging in a fantasy of sights and sounds and smells, in a cornocopia of beauty and contentment, you might consider wrapping up your zen family lovefest here:

There were bridges to swim under

A perpetual a pile of sandy slippers

and slides and slides and slides and slides

As is the tradition in many a Hawaiian locale, each night when the sun begins its descent into the sparkling blue ocean, the trumpet of a conch shell announces the lighting of the tiki torches. The Hilton has a lovely, long, winding path that hugs the shoreline for the length of the ample property.

Here he's at the end of the path, which starts way over on the tip of land at the top of the photo. The kids delighted in watching the guy run along with his torch and light all the tikis each night. One evening, they planned ahead and waited for him at the start of the path, and then sprinted along behind him for the entire journey. And back.

When the sun went down, there was always some interesting activity to happen upon, like the projection of Up on a screen suspended between two palm trees by the pool.

By day, you can choose to navigate the hotel grounds by foot, by rail, or by water. This is the water tram, which was our fave when we were too lazy to hoof it.

Our balcony had a "partial" ocean view (I guess you couldn't quite see the entire ocean), and ongoing entertainment was provided by a pool of dolphins just below us:

yeah, I said dolphins

The end of the ocean path, which marked the turnaround point in my morning runs, was Buddha Point.

I think if I were the Buddha, I would very much enjoy this eternal view

We did manage to leave the resort every now and then. One of the world's top-rated beaches was just a few miles up the road. Here at Hapuna, the kids made a snow sand-man.

His name was Jeff. Naturally.
As the days trickled by, we had no choice but to turn our thoughts toward leaving. Bill went home ahead of us, he was unable to fake illness for longer than a day after the end of Christmas break. The kids and I had two nights on our own, and although we missed Daddy at every turn, we consoled ourselves with sunshine and sushi and swimming. We had to give back our snappy mustang convertible, but we were pretty smitten with the PT cruiser we secured for the last 48 hours.
And then suddenly it was the last of everything.. last sunset, last boat ride, last dolphin visit, last ice cream cone, last towel shack, last big slide... you get the point. On our last night, we headed back down to Kona for a requisite island tourist event, the luau.

We had a couple of hours on our last morning to take the goodbye tour around the hotel, pack ourselves up, and get ready to leave our happy island. The kids got the last of their waterslide bracelets, badges of courage that have yet to be removed even two weeks later.

We said mahalo and aloha to Hawaii, trying to keep our chins up as we trudged toward security in plenty of time for our afternoon flight to LAX and then on to home, where Bill and Moki would be waiting for us at 11:30 pm. We threw away all of our liquids, including sunscreen and that last longboard ale. We shoved sandwiches and snacks and anything else we could wedge into the carry on bags that we had lived out of for those wonderful ten days. After passing through security, we picked up bottled water and a couple of treats in which to drown our sorrows, (chocolate and mai tais as appropriate). We moped to our gate and waited to board.

And we waited.

And waited.

to be continued (!!!)....