12-30-10 Thursday (Another Missed Flight?)

Next week Jim’s Mom, Ann, and stepdad, Morgan, come to town for a few days.  I’m not sure what Jim has planned for all of us.  I’ll spend some of this weekend and Monday cleaning up around the house in preparation.  After they leave, the guest room is reserved for Carl and Tim. 

image_thumbCarl & Tim will spend approximately 2 weeks with us while they prepare for another move.  Unfortunately they’ve decided that Charlotte isn’t right for them.  Be it that they missed friends/family too much, or not finding a job right away, or weather or whatever the reason, at this point, they are planning to return to Florida. 

The fantastic news of it all is that it’s back to Florida for them and not Texas or the like.  Although it’s something like 10 hours of driving, FL to NC is doable.

I received a card (below) from blog reader and friend, Steve



Is that not the best?  I was flattered that he thought of me and I absolutely needed a spirit lift. 

A couple of weeks ago I introduced my mom to a favorite chicken sandwich of mine.  The Wendy’s Chicken Club which features bacon and cheese on top of a breaded and fried REAL WHOLE chicken breast – not that processed shit.  Today we went to Wendy’s and enjoyed that sandwich along with their new yummy sea salt fries. 

For the hell of it we went to the Concord Mills mall and walked the loop.  We stopped into a couple of stores here and there but we were just there to enjoy the walk and crowd watching.  That reminds me… it’s Thursday and the mall was crowded.  Maybe it’s a popular vacation week?  It was strange.

Tonight I took Mom to the airport at 8:30 for a 9:40 boarding, take off at 10:10pm.  She already had a boarding pass in hand so we were going to utilize the curb side luggage check.  They closed at 8.  I was pretty nervous.  What if the lines were long again?  Damn!  There were no lines – phew.  We walked right up to an agent and presented Mom’s boarding pass.  He asked for the previous pass.  Huh?  We didn’t have one.  He said she missed the 9 o’clock flight.  WHAT?  I pointed out the boarding pass I just handed him shows otherwise.  He said, “Oh, they had you on the other flight but I see the pass, that’s why we check.”  Wow.  Really?  How could the computer print one thing and say something different?  Another PHEW for sure.

I walked Mom over to the security check point and there was absolutely no wait.  While I figured she’d just breeze right in and that we still had time, I just didn’t want to take the chance. 

I called my Dad to let him know that we were successful.  He told me that when he had gotten home the cat, Mustang, was dead!  Mustang had been having some problems here and there.  I thought that if mom hadn’t missed her flight she would have had one more day with him.  That’s silly in a way because it wouldn’t be any different but you know that’s how people think.  Dad feels it to be more of a religious perspective.  God made her miss her flight so that she wouldn’t have had Mustang die while she was napping or sleeping.  For sure she would have freaked out with a dead cat laying on the bed or something.

Dad said he’ll tell her on the way home from the airport.  I think she’s gonna be a mess tomorrow.

12-29-10 Wednesday (Bye Bye Airplane)

Missed flightThis morning is when Mom flies back to Florida… or so I thought.  We left the house an hour and a half before the flight.  It took a half hour to get there, leaving us an hour.   We stood in line for a while and them someone announced to move down to other lines if the flight was before 11am.  We moved.  Wasted time.  We stood in line and I realized that 2 lines were formed for 1 person.  We moved again.  The next line just as most only had 2 people ahead so no big deal.  We were next.  It was taking forever.  I was getting nervous.  3 “self check in” terminals were manned by one guy who mumbled something about being late and left.  Our line slammed to a halt.  The people at the terminals were holding their ID’s in their hand awaiting the final step. 

Eternity passes and we get someone else who was handling her own lines to come over and assist.  We’re up next.  I key in the info to the kiosk and the computer says it’s too late to check in.  I tell the woman.  I even cut ahead of some others who were waiting.  I felt kind of guilty but we kinda have an crisis.  She makes a call.  She says she’ll take us to someone who can help us.  She walks us to the Resolution Desk.  She puts us ahead of 2 people already in line and walks away.  Hmmmm.  Another employee tells us to get in line behind the others.  I tell her that we were put right here.  She walks away.  A guy comes over and says to get in line.  I tell him the same thing.  He asks who did that.  I point.  He walks over to the woman and I hear her saying “sorry, I never even looked.”  He walks back and tells us that we must get in line.  We comply.  We wait.

We finally get to speak to the woman who asks us which flight we’d like to take?  Huh?  It’s too late to get on this plane.  She says we should have been there at least 45 minutes prior.  I told her we were here an hour earlier than the flight.  She says sorry but holds firm to rebooking the flight.  We rebook for tomorrow evening.  I’m mad but then I realize I’m not working.  My mom isn’t working.  We didn’t screw anyone up so I guess “big deal?”  I guess I should have set aside more time?  Eventually I’ll laugh about it.

imageWhen will I learn to get names, employee numbers or the like of people I talk to on the phone?  When?  When will I learn to write down dates and times?  When? 

I called the Unemployment office last week with an inquiry.  I was told that something hadn’t been completed by a previous employer (it was mailed back blank) and that they’d send an email to someone requesting that they call the employer.  I didn’t write anything down.  Today I call to follow up and they tell me the same thing.  I told her I called last week and was already told that.  She said her records indicate my last call as November 22nd.  I’m very angry.

At the beginning of December I received an email from Comcast (our cable, internet, and phone provider in Florida) requesting I get a hold of them for something.  I went online and looked at my account.  I discovered a credit balance.  When we closed our account (2 frickin’ years ago) we were told “checks in the mail” sorta thing and then forgot about it. 

December 14th I call requesting a refund.  I‘m given a ticket #. 

December 21st I call to check on it and was told no one did anything with the ticket so he issued me a new ticket # stating it would be escalated. 

I call today and am told no one has viewed either ticket number and she’d forward this to a supervisor.  I ask for her employee number.  She gives me her name and extension number and says she’ll call me later with a status.  (as of 12-30-10, she never did!) I’m very angry.  She tells me that she’ll get it resolved and that it typically takes 6 weeks.  Excuse me?  6 weeks?  I told her that I’ll take that up with the final person who tells me it will take 6 weeks because it’s not going to fly with me.  You’ve had my money since August of 2008.  I want it back.  Now.

2 different companies, 2 different problems and it never ceases to amaze me how too many businesses don’t do what they say they will.

I have another story but I’ll refrain from sharing since it’s about a potential employer.  Let’s just say they got confused about applicants and it’s been going on for a few days.  It seems to get more “interesting” each day.  Just a comedy of errors.  Yeah, we’ll leave it at that for now.

12-28-10 Tuesday (Croissant Confusion)

For my Mom, yesterday was a lot of in bed time.  I went out and did the grocery shopping on my own.

Tomorrow Mom flies back to Florida.  We sorted out the photos I took while she was here.  She chose to have 80 of them printed.  Yes, 80.  We were pleasantly surprised when we walked into Walgreens and found that 4X6 prints were on sale for 9 cents a photo!  Usually it’s 29 cents!  $7.20 versus $23.20.  What a deal!

We ran a few more errands and then returned home to get her suitcases packed.

I also applied for 89 gazillion jobs today.  I took 3 or 4 or something like that assessments.  I hate assessments. 



I got to a questions about languages OTHER THAN ENGLISH that I can speak.  I don’t speak any other languages so I left it blank.  The system didn’t like that:


Ugh!  Facebook pal/Blog reader, Joellyn (Jodie) suggested:


So helpful… thanks!

Mom wanted steak for dinner so we suggested Cheddar’s.   We love their inexpensively flavorful and remarkably tender sirloin steak and knew mom would too.  We arrived, we were seated quickly.  We sat for a long time.  We had decided on our meals.  No server.  Jim got up, irately, and asked for a manager.  He waited.  A server popped over to the table so Jim gave up waiting for the manager and returned to the table.  The server seemed annoyed.  Throughout the meal she was too soft spoken as if it were a chore to help us and she was keeping calm.  Anyway, we gave our order and the manager showed up apologizing for the wait.  He said the server had been keying in a very large order.  I wondered why she was given another table so soon then?  The manager promised better service.  I explained that this has happened at that very same restaurant previously.  (click here to see that post)

As we awaited our meals my glass was empty for 2 1/2 minutes (why yes, I timed it).  That seems like a lot considering I should have been offered a refill when it was down to a 1/4 full.   The manager came with 3 warm croissants on a dish saying that steaks take a while to prepare and that this would hold us or something like that.  He offers appetizer plates, we accept and request more drinks.  A different server comes over with drinks and plates (we were nearly done with the croissants since it took so long to get plates). 

The meals come out, one of my side dishes was wrong but no big deal.  Broccoli instead of broccoli casserole.  She came back with the correct side rather quickly.  The check came and I spotted the charge for $1.79 for the croissants that we never ordered.  We look for the manager, finally get his attention and motion him over.  We showed him and he apologized that he’d take care of it.  He takes the bill and for another endless amount of time we sit, we wait.  I understand having to bill it out but maybe he should have removed it (comp it) immediately so as not to forget.  While we wait I wonder what’s taking so long?  Is it a dual key thing?  The president of the company and the manager have to sync up to remove an item?  The server came with the correct bill, handed it to us and stood there waiting for payment.  That made me uncomfortable.  On one hand I was happy she was speeding up the process so we wouldn’t have to wait for her to collect the check and bring change.  On the other hand it was uncomfortable. 

We’ve been to this place several times and love the food.  The service?  Oy. 

Right now: Wednesday – I’ve copy and pasted this blog entry to Cheddar’s corporate as a comment on their website.  I’ll keep ya posted.  In other news, Mom missed her flight.  I’ll type that story in for tomorrow’s (todays) blog.

12-26-10 Sunday (Itchy Angels)

Phew.  Christmas is over but there’s still another holiday to go. 

Several days prior, my Mom had mentioned wanting to go to the Mexican buffet she had been to on her previous visit.  The plans were to have lunch there today since she’ll be going home on Wednesday.  Mom spent the morning in bed so I bribed her to get showered and dressed by reminding her about our plans.  She agreed.  Meanwhile as she showered and dressed, Jim and I went to the mall to make a return.  It was about 1pm and the mall was pretty dead.

We picked up Mom and headed to the buffet.  We were seated, ordered drinks and then headed to the buffet.  Jim realized some key items (like fajitas) that we’ve enjoyed in the past were absent from the line-up.  He inquired, staff said no, mom already started filling her plate so we stayed.  Next time, we’ll check out before we order drinks or such.  What we ate, we enjoyed so to me it was no big deal.

Next we drove around looking at a couple of houses and then on to a young neighborhood with many homes under construction.  We were able to check these properties out since most had no doors.  Several had drywall up, some just framing.  Some were huge, others laid out oddly. 

Mom had an itch to make a snow angel.  She did it!

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Yes, I was just as shocked.

The drive around town was so pretty.  Everything covered in a blanket of snow.  Here’s a video of the drive:

Snowy drive up Sugar Creek.

Here’s some stills:

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2010-12-26 031Above: This one is of our backyard.

That’s all I got!

12-25-10 Saturday (A Little Roast)

Santa visited, filled our stockings so much that he had to move them to the hinges of the door because they were so friggin’ heavy.

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Mine was on another door.  Clea’s and Dasher’s stockings were light enough to stay on the mantle.

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Below: Clea’s catnip wouldn’t fit in the stocking.  Perhaps if she’s a good kitty next year she’ll get a bigger stocking.

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2010-12-25 014Above: look at our stuffed stockings!

Below: Dasher devours his bone.2010-12-25 0162010-12-25 017

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Our guests, Ruby and Little arrived.  We settled in to some yummy sausage dip she made along with some delicious chicken salad.  Great Hors d'oeuvres! 

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2010-12-25 020Above: Little in the rotisserie.  Just kidding.  That was the rib roast before it over cooked.  No, I don’t want to talk about it.

2010-12-25 021Above: Ruby.

2010-12-25 022Above: Ruby and Little.

2010-12-25 024Above: Ready to eat!

Dessert.  Mmmmmm.  Ruby’s HOMEMADE cheesecake.  Super smooth.  Super creamy.  Super delicious!

Dasher and Little played:

Dasher and Little play.

By the way, this was a late lunch type of time frame.  When Ruby departed it was early evening and it had just started to snow!

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The Playstation had a $20 special for the purchase of a 3 game pack.  Family Feud, Press Your Luck, The Price Is Right were included.  Jim and I enjoyed the games, Mom elected to sit them out and eventually retired to bed.

12-23-10 and 12-24-10

It’s been a busy few days yet I can’t think of anything that kept me from blogging.  Maybe a lack of interest, perhaps a lack of interesting topics or just that Mom and I didn’t really do much.

Thursday she made a lasagna for Friday’s (Christmas Eve) dinner.

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Below is a picture of Jim’s creativeness.  He apparently got tired of all the Christmas hats (there’s 2 more in the living room other than this photo) laying around so he “arranged” them before he left for work.  I was impressed.  He just hung them on candle holders and on vases in the living room. 

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Jim and I have a tradition of going out on Christmas Eve, going to the mall, eating junk food and just getting in everyone’s way.  Mom joined us this year.  We ate lunch at the food court, walked around, browsed and people watched.  People watching should be a sport.  I love it. 

We took Mom home so she could nap.  Jim and I went to another mall and did some more walking around and observing.  Below, I spotted these at Dillard’s.  The flatware is “Artimino Crystal”.  The salesperson said a place setting of 4 was $150.  Now it’s $100 and she said it would be $50 after the first of the year.  I think it’s being clearanced out.  We almost impulse bought it.  We resisted.

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We don’t need it anyway.  We need to scale back what we have!

After the mall we returned home to have lasagna.  Yum.  Unrelated:

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As we ate dinner, we put on the Yule log station on TV, lit the real fireplace and had dueling fireplaces as a result:

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12-22-10 Wednesday (Acuracy Is Extremly Important)

My employment applications continue.  I applied for Sprint off of a careerbuilder.com listing but wondered if it was bogus.  Here’s an excerpt of the instructions:


The second paragraph has at least 3 spelling errors.  I sincerely hope I didn’t get to some identity theft thing but it was all too elaborate in my opinion.  Spelling errors always seem to be a major giveaway to me.   I retraced my steps and it differs.  Careerbuilder vs. Sprint directly.  I think I’ll be fine.  I hope…

I dropped Mom off at a nail salon and continued on to Walmart for some Christmas dinner fixings.  Ruby will be joining us for Christmas dinner!  She’s going to bring HOMEMADE cheesecake, and a sausage dip appetizer.  She’s an excellent cook so I’m looking forward to it. 

Mom and I went to Bloom to check out their prime rib roasts.  I opted for no bone versus a standing rib roast so that it would fit well in the rotisserie.  I’ve been obsessing over it for a week.     We got it for $6.99 a pound without the bone.  It was on sale for $5.99 – bone in.  I’ve never made it and I don’t want to ruin it.  I’ve been doing research on how long to cook, what spices, tips/tricks, etc.  I came up with this website which seems to have a lot of information.  Some of it is conflicting with user comments, like salt or no salt.  I think I’ll salt.  Any suggestions?

12-19-10 Sunday (Buffet Pricing)

Well, I took the plunge and stepped on the scale this morning.  Naked.  Before eating.  189.6!  I’m 3 pounds shy of gaining all my weight back.  Terrible.  To celebrate we’ll go to a breakfast BUFFET this morning at Golden Corral.  I suck.

We’re back and much heavier than before.  At the buffet there was a whole lotta inappropriate spandex wearin’ goin’ on.  Jim said you need a license to drive, you should need a weight check prior to buying spandex.

While at the buffet, Mom saw a table with several kids.  My mom asked how much kids cost.  I replied, “Why?  You wanna buy one?”  (snort, snort)

We dropped by the house we liked.  The backyard is almost all pool and not much grass for the dog so we’re concerned about that.  We’d have to create more green space.  We’d also need to see the inside before anything else! 

I did some laundry.  Jim napped.  Mom napped.  I job hunted.  I applied for a few things.

Reused Resume

Snow update!  There is none.

I haven’t mentioned Carl and Tim lately.  They went “home” to Florida.  They decided to surprise everyone there so I had to keep it out of the blog.  Most of the time they just showed up at friends houses for the ultimate in surprise.  They’ll be back early January and then – well, we’re just not sure yet.

DIH - Animated Arrow 2008 on this day*: More awning related misadventures.  Jack related misadventures.  Water heater misadventures.  The RV continues to fall apart.

2009 on this day*: We emptied out storage units for our move to Charlotte, NC.  Dinner with Laurie and Pearl.  Awesome Christmas light displays.

*Clicking on the links will open NEW windows.

12-18-10 Saturday (International Foods Day)

For a Saturday, it’s really not all that exciting.  Mom was in bed for most of the day.  Jim and I, armed with a list set out to house shop and have lunch.  As we drove to the first house, it was lightly raining which turned into sleet and then into snow.  The snow flakes got bigger.  We decided to swap the BMW with the Jeep, just in case.

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Mom got to see it snow several times throughout the day so that was a plus for her but she went back to bed. 

Jim wanted to try a fun sounding French Bakery for lunch.  Amelie's.  When we arrived, the place was hoping.  We stood at a register in front of a display case and we were unsure of what we were supposed to do.  Order then sit?  Sit then someone takes the order?  Wait to be seated?  I asked at the counter.  The clerk seemed a little impatient.  I didn’t really get that warm fuzzy feeling.  “Does anything come with the sandwich?” I asked.  I was just given a simple “no”.  Not a “no, sorry.” or “No, but the sandwiches are big (which they weren’t)”.  We ordered and then walked around to find a table.  The place is a hodge-podge of different styles of tables and even more so was the maze of walls and rooms all strangely connected.  The decor reminded me of Bizaare Ave Café.  I liked the décor, don’t get me wrong. 

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My sandwich = Turkey and Bacon.  Roasted turkey, sliced bacon and cheddar cheese on a croissant with Herb de Provence mayonnaise. (Below)

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Jim’s = Roasted Turkey, Brie and a cranberry relish on a buttered baguette. (Below)

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We enjoyed the food and the interesting décor/ambiance.  We’d go back again.

Continuing with house hunting, we found another neighborhood we liked.  We’ll check that area frequently.

Since we had a light lunch, we were hungry early.  Mom joined us for dinner at Olive Garden.  I’m ashamed at what we ate.  Holy crap did we put away some food.  That’s all I’ll say.

After dinner, Jim looked up another house on the internet and we decided to go check out the neighborhood at night.  We knew the area is iffy but the house was deep inside the neighborhood.  It turned out the neighborhood seemed to have very well kept homes and seems like it could be perfect.  We’ll have to go look around at the house during the day.

Mom retired early, Jim and I watched TV.  See ya tomorrow.