Oh, Yes I Did

Fried Stuff With Chocolate

“Can you point me in the direction of the pig races?” I asked the police officer standing next to the information booth.

Daisy and I were at the fair, and currently she was standing somewhere behind me, looking earnestly off into the distance, pretending she didn’t know me.

“Did you really just ask me that?” the police officer wanted to know. His eyes were crinkly and he sort of laughed but sort of didn’t.

“That’s what my friend said!” I said, pointing to Daisy who was sneaking a look at me but then whipped around with her arms crossed like she didn’t know me again. “But you are standing here next to this information booth and I thought you might know.”

He continued to almost but not really laugh at me, and then headed over to someone more knowledgeable that the three of us to ask where the pig races were. As I waited for him to amble back, I said to Daisy, “What is that smell? It’s awful, isn’t it? Gross.”

She hissed from the side of her mouth, her back still turned towards me, “Yes, and I told you not to ask him that. I can’t believe you asked a police officer about a pig race!”

I wanted to see it, although not as desperately as I wanted to see the monkey rodeo. I’d heard from Woney that the piggies run for Oreos, and how can you not love a pig that runs for Oreos? And then Capuchins wearing racing gear whilst riding dogs around a race track? Come on, that’s genius! I had a plan at the ready: we would see the monkey rodeo and we would top that off with the pig races, and while we were at it, we were going to eat corndogs as big as our heads and some roasted corn. Perhaps I would cap the night off with fried banana pudding on a stick and then take some boiled peanuts home for later. In the midst of all that, we’d wander around looking at the rides we used to ride and lament the fact that those rides now make us barf due to age-related motion sickness. We’d check out the cloggers and the guy who carves bears out of logs of wood with a chainsaw. If we did all of that without getting food poisoning or an injury, it would be the best night of our lives.

Barber Shop

Sand Sculpture Competition

Unfortunately, Daisy and I were having difficulty having the best night of our lives because we could not find the pig races. We walked around the fairgrounds multiple times looking for that race track, literally from one end to the other. We found the corndogs as big as our heads. We found the roasted corn. We found the clogging stage and the sweet shop. We found the giant potato on the back of an 18-wheeler that they drove up and down interstate. What we could not find were the pig races.

“What is that smell,” Daisy asked as we walked by the police officer again, wrinkling her nose. “My gosh, it’s terrible!”

“I know,” I said. “We’ve smelled this before. How do we keep ending up here?” I noticed the police officer eyeballing us, so we scuttled off quickly. We lurched around, a little lost. The fairgrounds were beginning to look the same what with the barnyard animals and tractors everywhere.

Tractor

Donkey?

I heart this donkey

“Let’s just go back to the monkey rodeo area. At least we’ll get to see that, and honestly, if I don’t get a good seat, I’ll whine.” Daisy, humoring me, agreed and off we trotted, passing the sewage-like area again.

“Man, that really smells bad,” I said. “What IS that?”

Once we arrived at the monkey rodeo area, and I have to tell you, it’s officially called the Banana Derby, I ran squealing over to Gilligan the monkey and dug a dollar out of my pocket to give him. In return, I received a crappy postcard and a handshake from Gilligan who, quite frankly, could not give a shit. He took my dollar, threw it into the bucket, snatched the postcard from its resting place and walked it over to me. He was not nearly as moved by the handshake as I was and stared off into the distance, dreaming of mango. The race, which we sat 30 minutes on the bleachers in advance for, lasted about three minutes. The crowd was packed in around the racing fence and cheered in a collective holler. It was the best three minutes of my life and even Daisy, who had originally questioned my desire to see the racing monkeys, was enamored, I could tell.

I want!

Capuchins

The team on the left won

Once the Banana Derby ended, the crowd shifted over to the next trailer, and much to my chagrin, I realized that the pig races were less than 100 feet from the monkey rodeo. Good grief. I don’t know why you people let me drive anywhere.

The pig races were much more exciting than the Banana Derby, and it turns out that piggies run for Oreos in California, not in Tennessee. In Tennessee, piggies run for cheez doodlez. So do ducks, goats, and baby piggies. See how fast they run? Not a clear shot in the bunch.

Goats, I think

Definitely pigs

Geese

Daisy and I had eaten the corndogs as big as our heads already, but after all the racing excitement, we realized we were far too full for roasted corn, fried desserts on sticks, or cotton candy. The sweet shop was going to soldier on without our money. The boiled peanut vendor would not see our faces at all. It was a sad moment to think of all the fair food we were going to leave behind, but we perked right up when the roasted corn vendor assured us he could wrap some up for us to take home. We collected our corn and walked tiredly to the exit gate, the same gate where I had nearly gotten arrested by a police officer, and the same gate that was near the awful smell.

We neared the pathway and Daisy said again, “How does anyone stand that smell? It’s the most gruesome thing I’ve ever experienced in my life!” We walked around the curve, into the foul odor, and down the same path we had traveled three times already. Just as we neared the exit, we heard an announcer, right in that curve, holler, “Pig Races Countdown begins now!” Yep. We’d missed the big race, the one where the piggies probably run for Oreos. Oh, we’d seen the little race, the redneck one, the one over by the monkeys and the giant potato. Three times we’d walked by this pig arena, three times we nearly threw up our corndogs because of the pig smell, and three times we didn’t even see the sign, didn’t understand that the eau de manure was the pig pen. Good grief, I don’t even know how Daisy stands me, do you?

Oink

Potato

Rooster?

I Am On A Budget. And I Have Some Addictions. These Are First World Problems. (Part Two)

So money is tight. I’ve told you that before. It’s okay, I’m not complaining. I’m learning actually. I’m pretty good at budgeting and stretching a dollar and I’ve always been the queen of planning. I view this era of my life as a challenge and as a growing process, so it isn’t bad.

Now that I have written the “rah, rah” section I will now begin the “huh, this is . . . fun” section.

Due to lack of funds (see above: Budget) and lack of dates (see entire blog: Single) I now occasionally find myself in the enviable position of having a Saturday night with absolutely nothing to do. Nothing. Not a thing. No thing. At all. Enviable, right? When that happens I’m not sure what to do with myself. Usually. However, lately I seem to have overbooked myself professionally and socially and so when I understood that I was going to have a weekend that did not include people in any format at all, I began to rejoice. Honestly, I was getting rather emotional and snippy as I had had no alone time in weeks.

Also, remember when I hired Ernesto, my house cleaner, and I was jazzed that he came every two weeks and folded my toilet paper ends into points? Remember how I loved him and swooned over his work? Well, I miss him (see above: Budget). My house does too.

These were my plans when I went to bed Friday night: to sleep as late as possible (7:00 a.m., baby! I am a sloth!), and to clean my miserable (miserable) wreck of a house. Do you think it is sad? Do you feel a little sorry for me? Don’t! It was marvelous!

Following is a list of what I accomplished:

Two carloads full of stuff were taken to Goodwill, some mine and some Kasi Starr’s. (There is another story here – tune in later for that episode.) By full, I mean there was room for me and that’s it. I could see out the front driver’s side windows and that’s it. It, I tell you.

The areas where one of the kitties vomited unspeakable things onto the carpet were shaved off with a razorblade. Gross. I’m currently not speaking to Murphy or Miss Kitty.

My garage is completely organized according to girl code. Boys, you have no dog in this fight. My garage is perfect. I do not need your advice about how to arrange my storage space according to your strict and non-negotiable standards of tool/garden object/car/cleaner areas.

The interior of my car was vacuumed and scrubbed.

The trunk of my car was emptied and vacuumed. I hope you guys caught that. The trunk. Of my car. That I have not really touched since April when I was laid off. Was cleaned out. It was sad a little. I had a whole life at that company and that whole life was stuffed into my trunk where I did not have to face it. But after I threw a whole bunch of that life away, I felt lighter somehow. Also, look at it!

Before

Before

After.  Ain't it beauty-ful?

After. Ain’t it beauty-ful?

I cut my thumb open with a vegetable peeler. Not only was I not cooking anything, but I had been whipping about a razorblade all morning with no ill results, yet the moment I washed the dishes, I nearly bled to death in the kitchen. It was a scary time.

I lost my car keys. How I did that in this spotless, completely organized house is beyond me. I don’t know how you guys stand me. Really. I can barely stand myself.

I organized my closet. And here, my friends, is Addiction, Part Two.

Wall One

Wall One

Wall Two

Wall Two

You see all that? Those are hoodies. I love them. I can never have too many. I am on the never-ending quest for the perfect one and despite what you see here, I have not yet found it. One of those hoodies was stolen from an ex-boyfriend. It was literally the only thing I kept from that relationship of one whole year and my whole heart. Two of them I stole from a guy I went on two dates with. Four of them I stole from Coach (you see how I’m his fake wife?). Martie recently purchased one that I covet and the minute she gives even a whiff of letting me borrow it, it will be mine. That gray one there in the middle, it’s my favorite. That Titan’s one has a matching scarf Madre knitted for me. That pink one is for sleeping. Madre tried to borrow the purple one for just a week or two and initially I said yes, but as she was trying to put it on, I kept pulling it off and not letting go and eventually she just gave up and stuck it back in my closet. Some of them are specifically for use in the gym. Some of them are for house cleaning. Some of them are for dates (as if). Some of them are to be paired with jeans on casual Friday. Some of them have matching socks and t-shirts although all of them look good with a lacy camisole. That one up there with the bleach stains? You should know that the zipper is broken meaning I have to wrangle it closed with pliers, and it is two sizes too big, yet I cannot seem to part with it. You want me to go on? No? Really?

What were we talking about? I think I got ever so slightly sidetracked with the hoodies and now have forgotten the entire point I was trying to make. But, uh, I’m on a budget (perhaps it was how you can have a no-money fun weekend? By cleaning?) and I have addictions and these are first world problems.

The end.

P.S. I also have a wrapping paper addiction and am on my second year of a three year wrapping paper purchase ban. I also seem to have great affection for the long sleeved t-shirt. If any of you forgot to buy me a birthday present and feel pretty bad about it, I could give you a few suggestions.

P.P.S. Also, pajamas.

No More

This post will be a bit of a deviation from the norm.  It isn’t happy.  It isn’t funny.  It is in no way heartwarming.  It is raw and honest, though, and it is my bloodletting.  You don’t want to read me whine? Then go away because there is nothing here for you.

I mentioned a meltdown I had a few weeks ago.  I had another one last week.  These were not my only two since losing my job.  Looking back over these last four months or so, I’ve had more meltdowns than I’ve been honest about.  Sure, I have been positive about good things happening for me, and yes, I do look for the good in my life.  I cannot deny that some very nice things have happened for me and that I have been carried through some troubles and that, of course, these are first world problems.  It does not mean that these last few months haven’t been rough on me, though, and honestly, I’ve had enough.  If I began to cry about them, right this instant, I’m not sure I would be able to stop.  I’m not being funny.  I’m dead serious.

Yes, I have a new job that many people would love to have.  I also make $10 grand less a year than I used to.  I’ve had to make big adjustments in every aspect of my life and while I can do it, I resent it.  I miss my people.  It is a visceral, deep ache, a true loss.  My friends will always be my friends but this is a big change.  I worked closely with a man who did a lot for me and whom I did a lot for, then I got left behind.  I had to leave my gym with my friends who worked out with me every day.  I was denied unemployment because of a glitch in the computer system that I am still trying to fight and thus spent more of my savings than I wanted.  I was uncertain on every level how I would survive.  I felt abandoned and alone and very, very sad a lot.  I was mad at myself for trusting humans, for putting my eggs in a basket that got thrown out a window.  I was mad at everyone around me who was making it, who didn’t suffer alone, who seemed to breeze through this with ease.  I know that is not fair or even a little true.  Didn’t change my anger. 

I briefly mentioned here a few posts ago that I was saving my squealing brakes for another story.  I’ll make it short.  About two months ago I needed new brakes.  I took my car to a reputable place, had to sit in the floor of the business for hours, propped up against the wall between the men’s and women’s bathrooms because they had no waiting room, and got cheated by at least $100 because I don’t know enough about brakes to know what a fair price is.

Coach fixed my toilet as promised and two days later it broke again.  It hasn’t worked right since April.    

A couple of weeks later, my check engine light came on and upon taking my car to the dealership, I learned that my catalytic converter had croaked.  Thank you, Ethanol.  It is another fix I will have to budget for before the end of the year.  I was smarter on that trip, declining to leave my car at the dealership so that I can shop around for a fair price before signing over the last of my savings to fix my exhaust system on a car that is only five years old.   

Last week, I bought a new deodorant and dropped it in my makeup bag which I take to the gym faithfully.  While I work my bags sit in my car, usually in the shade, but this day was particularly hot and I didn’t get my regular parking spot at work under my leafy tree.  That afternoon when I left, I thought I would touch up my powder and reached into my bag only to discover that my brand new deodorant had melted thoroughly and completely into a soup in the bottom of my bag.  There was not even a miniscule scrape of deodorant left in the container.  It was all floating around my eye brushes, my glittery eyeliner, my beloved mascara that makes my eyelashes look like caterpillars.  The air conditioner, which generally works very well, blew cool air onto the bag during the drive home, solidifying the soup back into deodorant which is now caked in big chunks on everything that was in that bag. 

The very next day, my blower motor for my car’s air conditioner died.  This was Friday.  Phranke and I did some research before making an appointment to repair my air conditioner (and may I say here that I am so, so thankful for her). Because I didn’t really know where I was going, I was a few minutes late for my appointment.  I began with an apology to the man behind the counter, yet it fell on deaf ears. He was intent on putting me in my place for being late which he did no less than three times, exactly as many times as I apologized for being late.  I finally just stopped talking to him altogether.  I merely handed over my keys and sat in silence while I waited.   The part is being ordered and hopefully by Wednesday I will have a working air conditioner.   

All day on Friday co-workers asked me if I was alright.  I was told that I looked tired, sad, like I had been crying, that my eyes were red, etc.  I have no makeup.  I am sad.  I am tired.  I only want to sit at my desk and do my job and not have to give an answer when someone is concerned for my well-being, because again, if I start crying I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop. 

So this is my bloodletting.  I don’t want to talk about it after I’ve written all this.  I don’t need anyone to check on me because I really am fine.  Again, first world problems.  I will live.  Yes, I have tried to be positive through all of this mess but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard and wasn’t scary and that I’m not still slightly resentful.  I resent the fact that I’m completely out of my comfort zone now.  I resent the fact that I make far less money than I used to.  I resent the fact that the benefits I worked so hard to achieve are no more and that I’m starting over from scratch, again, at forty.  I resent the fact that I’m doing it alone.  I resent the fact that the only fighting for me is done by me. 

I know that millions of people do this every day.  I know that millions of people are alone, even when their spouse is right next to them, or their brother, or their mother, or their best friends.  I don’t get to claim loneliness as my singular battle.  I don’t get to claim fear as mine alone.  I know that.  But this is my walk, my experience. I’m the one who feels my pain and my confusion and despite my having people around me who support me and love me, I feel it alone.  I walk it alone. 

Here is where I bring my spin on it, my flair.  I do know that somewhere during all of this mess, I learned something.  I do know that I have grown although I may have no idea how right now.  I do know that someone will come into my life who needs my wisdom and friendship because they are going through what I went through.  One day I will look back on all of this as a valuable experience.  But when I’m sitting in my sweltering car and the air craps out and I can’t even put the windows down for my drive to work because it’s raining buckets and I have no glitter on my eyelids to make me smile through the tears, I really can’t give a shit.

In conclusion, and this part wasn’t even planned for this post, I’d like to tell you that three hours ago my wallet was stolen.

No more.  I cannot take it.   

 

The Pink Dragon

Is everyone ready for the holidays?  I am.  You all know that my tree is up and my house is decorated and that Seamus is having a love affair with the tree.  I have gifts under there now and he still picks his way over them to wad himself up in the back under the pretty lights.  I think he has been very delicate as I have yet to find a shredded present. They are all still very much intact.

At work, we began gearing up for the holidays at work long about the day after Thanksgiving.  Just last week we had Goodie Day.  Goodie Day brought catered food from a local restaurant and assorted food contributions from everyone in the office.  The amount of food available was mind boggling.  We all stood in line, filled plates, ate well and then staggered around the office in a carb-induced stupor.  We were worthless and our billable rate plummeted for the rest of the day.  Lazy, yet festive.  We have also decorated the office with lots of standardized trees, ornaments, lights and whatnot that give us the assorted feelings of warm fuzzy and holiday cheer.  And finally, we have my desk: 

 

This is a glittery pink reindeer (or some such animal) that was given to me as a gag gift a few years ago and you know, I just can’t keep it to myself.  EVERYONE gets to experience the glam so I bring him to work for all to enjoy.  Isn’t he cute? 

Unfortunately, it seems that I’m the only one who thinks he’s cute.  Most everyone, when seeing him for the first time, says something along the lines of, “Oh . . . . isn’t that . . .  nice . . . .  Where did you find that thi- um, him?”  And then they grin weakly at him and tentatively reach out a hand to touch him which means that they will promptly and completely be covered in pink glitter and have to explain to their wives and husbands that it really was a hideous pink reindeer on a co-worker’s desk and no, they did not go to the Brass Stables for lunch!  Anyway.  I brought the reindeer in on a Monday and on that next Tuesday, I came in to find this:

 

Since then, Always Keith has renamed him The Pink Dragon and every day when I arrive at work, I have to search for him.  He and The Hulk hide him somewhere close by, usually near the men’s bathroom or in a break room.  My favorite was the day he was packed up in a box and delivered from the mailroom. 

 

Today I came in to find this:

 

Merry Christmas to you!  I’ll have a more serious post on Christmas Day, I’m hoping, but for now, safe travels to you all and happy gifting.  Presents are fun!

Smooches,  

Jimmie

Stuff I Lost, Part II & An Open Letter

Yes, I’ve lost more stuff.  I need no yelling from you.  What I do need, however, is the following: 

Pepto Bismol

Hairbrush

Comb

Dignity

Water hose

Support

Please send immediately. 

I haven’t talked about things I’ve lost in a while because I haven’t really lost anything of note.  I was lulled into a false sense of security and maturity since I’ve managed to keep hold of my possessions and personality for a few months now.  Yet I am nothing if not true to myself and so begins the story again. 

On Friday of last week, Freddie and I took off on a road trip.  Freddie has a younger sister, Sammie.  Sammie applied to and was accepted into Nanny School which is just about the coolest thing I have ever heard.  Turns out, though, that Nanny School is a long way from Nashville and Sammie, brave little soul that she is, needed a ride up north so that she could attend.  Freddie volunteered and then I volunteered and then three women wearing sparkly eyeliner and carrying teddy bears and extra pillows piled up into a vehicle and took off on the open road.  No how, no way could that ever be a recipe for disaster (or lost stuff). 

The day we left, we got very specific instructions from a co-worker on proper snack etiquette for road tripping.  First, you must stop at Sonic for jalapeno poppers.  Later, you must stop at a gas station for Ruffles.  Finally, you must stop at Wal-Greens for Twizzlers.  By the time you have consumed all that, you will have reached your destination.  She didn’t mention this next part but she should have.  By the time you reach your destination you will also have some intestinal disturbances that require immediate attention.  I’m writing that down for future reference. 

The drive up on Friday was very pleasant.  We stopped at a hotel for the night in Cincinnati.   I inadvertently flashed the nice security man with my full on matching underwear set when Freddie opened to door to receive extra pillows.  If any of you living in Ohio find my dignity, would you please send it back to me? 

Sammie and Freddie and I got up early on Saturday morning to finish our journey and in the interest of “saving time” I was fixing my hair in the reflection of the car window while they packed up the car.  I’m so nice.  Anyway, I put my hair stuff on top of the car for easy access, then buckled myself into the front seat after I was satisfied that my part was straight and my eyelashes looked okay and away we went.  With my stuff still on top of the car.  Sigh . . . I never learn. 

On Saturday night, after we had gotten Sammie all settled in to her adorable “dorm room”, Freddie and I headed for another hotel.  Due to a snafu in making hotel reservations, I almost had to sleep in the same bed as Freddie.  She’s great, really cute and nice and all that.  I’m sure Ian likes to sleep in the same bed as her lots.  But I don’t.  I prefer to snuggle with my own pillows, not my friends.  Freddie thinks I’m really cute and nice and all that but she doesn’t want to sleep with me either.  She wants to snuggle with her husband and her pillows, not her friends.  We managed to eventually secure a room suitable for two non-dating, non-related friends.  I’m writing down for future reference to always double check room reservations before 11:00 pm on the night of arrival.  I think that will be helpful. 

While I luff Freddie and enjoy her company, I was overjoyed to get home.  Until I noticed my tomato plant was on the brink of death due to dehydration.  I should know better than to ever leave my house for three days with my stuff lying around outside.  I ran around the side of the house to get my hose to perform CPR on my tomatoes and discovered my hose was missing.  So here is my first open letter on this here blog: 

Dear Shitweasel –

I understand that today’s economy is tight.  I realize that many people are struggling to make ends meet.  Sometimes we have to do things we prefer not to in order to find our way out of this mess we call “recession”.  Usually that means taking on a second job or even selling off things of value in order to pay the rent.  I myself have found that tightening the belt is helpful.  Your methods, in all honesty, leave something to be desired.

I don’t begrudge you the use of my water.  I’ve noticed you’ve been using it for a while now.  I even appreciate the new and various placements of my two water hoses every day when I come home from work. I’ve left those hoses out for you even, thinking that maybe your need is so great that you would come to harm without the water.

But now you’ve gone and pissed me off.  While you thought you were being helpful and friendly by curling up my one admittedly crappy hose into a perfect circle and placing it gently next to my water spigot, the fact that you stole my good hose with the snazzy sprayer on it has put you on my poop list. 

I’m now going to “Impart Wisdom” to you, my friend.  You reap what you sow, shitweasel!  Your stealing my hose will come back and bite you where the sun can’t get you.  I laugh now in anticipation of that!

Smooches,

Jimmie

And finally on Monday I ran a 5K and it was the worst one in my running history.  I ran with Jane who is always a blast but the race itself wasn’t great.  My time sucked and it was too late in the day and too hot.  Community support was lacking.  Water stations were only okay.  And while the offer of free beer after the race may appeal to some, the thought of it made me want to barf.  However, Jane and I looked adorable in our running gear. We were very festive and very patriotic and while we may have sweated like hogs, we sweated like stylish hogs.  Plus the race benefitted the organization Not Alone and we ran simultaneously with our service people in Afghanistan.  That in itself made it worth every drop of sweat, every cramp, every tear that would have fallen if I had had the energy or the water reserves. 

 

I really did have a very nice 4th of July weekend despite all my whining here.  Sammie, I send you well wishes for this journey.  Mostly I send them because you promised me to land a position for a single fabulously tall wealthy man whom you will give to me as the best present ever seeing as how he won’t want me to birth any children because he already has some.  I remember that. I’ve written it down.  See you soon! 

Photography by Carter Andrews at Music City Faces

 

I’m on a roll!

Let me begin by saying, iPod and Passkey: FOUND.  I know you were worried.  Not half as much as me, but again, it is my stuff.

I’m going to backtrack a bit.  I’m a devoted member to my gym, the YMCA.  The staff members are so friendly, the patrons are often just as helpful as the staff, and my friends go there.  One of them even teaches some classes and while I’m very certain she tries to kill or at the very least maim us (is that in the rule book for being an instructor?), she’s very good at what she does.  The sweet little old ladies who take the water aerobics classes and invade the locker room while I’m getting ready for work every morning are delicious.  They wear the best sparkly blue eye shadow and comment regularly on my choice of bra and panty and tuck their t-shirts so far into their own panties that the hem comes out the bottom of the leg holes. 

An aside here.  One of the little ladies pays particular attention to my lingerie sets.  That’s what she calls them, my lingerie.  She gets tickled when they match and normally they do.  I prefer it that way.  One day I had a particularly fetching set and she approached me about it. 

“Honey,” she says, “are you married?” 

“No ma’am,” I say.

“Well you should be because that would be enticing to a man.”

Right.

And another time, I was just not feeling it.  I had on stuff that didn’t match.  And she wandered over from her locker to check me out.  She eyeballed me and heaved a big sigh and the look on her face was just heartbreaking.  “I’m just so disappointed,” she breathed.  I felt horrible about that. She is precious and I love her.

You can see why I pay my monthly fee gladly for the privilege of being a member.

So with all of my joy and ecstatic happiness with my Y membership, imagine my dismay when I discovered that upon leaving my very expensive flat iron in the locker room one day, it was stolen, like within an hour of my leaving it.  And also my dismay when I left my yummy shampoo and conditioner behind and they, too, were stolen.  (See?  I lose a lot of shit.) 

Apparently I am not alone. I see notices on the community bulletin board asking for “The person who stole my size six silver strappy sandals” to return them and then a week later, another plea for the “very expensive, super awesome sandals that are MINE and not YOURS” and then again a week later a message urging said thief to “be happy with your lying, stealing conscious, you dirty filthy cow who stole my sandals!”  I’m assuming the sandals were never returned. 

Fast forward to the birthday Vegas trip where I enthusiastically encouraged my sister and myself to Run!  Yes, let’s exercise on Saturday morning in Sin City!  And I had my iPod and used the “Porn Star Dancing” song to motivate me the mile and a half I actually ran on the treadmill.  That was the last time I remember having it.

I was on a high after finding my checkbook.  So when Phranke suggested that I call the hotel we stayed in on the off chance my iPod had been left behind and turned in, I blew her off.  In what universe would I be lucky enough to actually recover all three of my missing items?  None, I tell you.  But she was insistent and asked me in ways like, “What did the hotel say when you called them?” Just like I would do to make it seem like it was my idea all along.  She’s a smart cookie, that one. 

Now I planned this trip for my sister’s birthday.  I planned it with a budget in mind and thus we could not afford the likes of the Bellagio or the Cosmopolitan.  Instead, we stayed at the Excalibur, one of the cheesiest hotels on the Vegas strip.  Yes, I chose it but was slightly sneery about it.  It was cheap, clean, smoker-friendly and smelled a bit like ass.  With a Febreeze overlay.  Like lots and lots of Febreeze overlay.  Kind of gross when you smell it in person.  But we reasoned that we were not going to limit ourselves to spending all of our time in that casino. We had things to see and do that did not involve castles and maidens and the Thunder from Down Under boys (sadly).    Needless to say, I’ve never thought of the Excalibur as the highest quality hotel on the strip.

With no hope at all, and with a laissez-faire attitude, I called customer service at Ye Olde Excalibur.  The polite person on the other end asked if I had lost my iPod in the casino or in my room.  I gave her my room number and date of checkout and much to my surprise, she said, “Yes, we have it right here.  Silver Nano with a black case?”  I nodded, realized that she could not see me, and then breathed in ecstasy my “Yeeeeessshh.”  She offered to send it FedEx the next day and within a couple of days, I had it back in my hot little hands.

What makes me laugh is this.  I leave things behind at the YMCA, a supposed Christian organization, and it gets stolen.  I leave things behind in Las Vegas, Sin City, where what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, in a hotel that I was slightly snotty about, and they get returned.  Oh the irony. 

And so I say this.  Excalibur, ye olde hotel that smells of ass and Febreeze, thank you for being the high quality hotel I did not give you credit for and for taking me down a peg or two and for making me eat crow.  May I never judge a book by its cover (or smell) again.  Pass the salt.