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Category Archives: road warrior

A portion of a day in the life….

So I’m sitting in my hotel room, eating  take out on the bed ( I envision the nodding and murmurs -“been there done that “from fellow road warriors out there) and while thankful for another days work… very damn glad that it’s over for the day anyway.

Being out on the road has its pros and cons, as all jobs do, but one of the most enjoyable is the ability to become a complete slob in your hotel room after work.  Each and every morning ( or evening) depending on one’s shift, ya gotta put on that smiley face, dress in what the various companies that I work for call “professional casual”,( which is somewhere between being really comfortable ie: no jeans or sweat pants, and having to wear clothes your Mother would deem appropriate for Sunday-go-to meetin-day) and shlep (I was in NJ way too long this year) out to meet the world.

Getting back to ones hotel it’s Kattie bar-the -door…pj’s and sweatshirts are the norm, perhaps a pair of fuzzy slippers for the tired feet, off goes the makeup,up goes the hair in a pony tail and out comes whatever was meal was closest, cheapish  and portable that could be brought back to “the sanctuary”.  Reruns of Seinfield, which never bore, or a Fox news recap (over and over)  or if feeling particularly brain dead, watching the weather channel and their redundant forecasts or tales of THIS COULD HAPPEN IN (insert whatever town you happen to be in), where one can watch houses be blown or washed away…repeatedly are entertainment choices.  So much to watch so little time before I fall asleep.  ( well it was a 10 hour damn day)

Forgot napkins, well there are wash cloths available.  Need salt and pepper? Borrow them from the front desk, they always have some there.  Forgot desert?, There is always extra yogurt, banana  or even a cinnamon bun squirreled away from the “free morning breakfast”.  No prep or dish-washing necessary.  Life is good ( not all the time cheap if you don’t want to eat burgers every night) but all in all it’s good.

So while I’m re-nuking desert, I thought I’d just share for a moment….

We were just in NJ and I thought  folks might enjoy some of  of the burning questions that I had to answer from the folks that I met.

In an effort to provide insight to all of those inquisitive minds yet, in the interest of time saving, ( surely there is something good to watch on TV) only the answers will be provided here.

1. ” Why yes I’ll have dessert.  The canolli please.” (alternate answer, ” Yes I’ll have the cheese cake” or  Yes I’ll have the taramisu”

2.  “Why no, I’m not from around here, and I love your accent too.”

3. “Pawleys Island, South Carolina”

4.  “No, that’s not near Appalachia”

5.  “Yes our property taxes are quite a bit lower than yours”

6,  “No, our suburbs aren’t in the middle of nowhere.”

7.  “Yes we have sidewalks and streetlights”

8.  “Yes, we even have sewer systems”

9.  “Yes,  we’re allowed to turn left in South Carolina”

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I think there were more answers, however that ding you heard was the mini microwave reheating my cinnamon bun…. and dang, Jerry is on…Where in the hell are my slippers..?  Poke me with a fork I’m done for the day..

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in road warrior, Southern Humor, Uncategorized

 

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Did I tell you about the time I spent five weeks in New Jersey?

Did I tell you about the time I spent five weeks in Hackensack NJ?  No… Hum, perhaps I blocked it out of my memory.   No just kidding, well maybe not sorta.

Let me just say a few things about spending five weeks in NJ…. wait, let me give that a little more structure.  Let me say just a few things about spending five weeks in NJ in the middle of winter…and remembering what they use to tell us at Girl Scout Camp… “if you can’t say something nice..etc”…

1.  Snow.   Way too much of it..for my taste that is.  Thank goodness they know how to drive around in it, unlike those of us from south of the Mason Dixon line, or nothing would ever get done up there for weeks on end.

2. And speaking of driving…I now have a deeper understanding of why our seasonal  Snow-Birds drive the way that they do…Self  Preservation.  This whole thing that they do, all turns being  made from the right hand lane… well, it’s true.  I don’t know who designed their roadways, but there must be something really mind altering in the water..or the designer is a distant relative of Salvador Dali…

3.  Little family owned Italian and/or Spanish Restaurants… Oh My God.   I shall never look at Olive Garden/Carrabbas again without shaking my head at the mockery of it all, now that I have seen The Real Deal I understand the meaning of “knowledge is power” .   The fresh bread brought warm to the table, the first bite a crunch then the savory chewiness and the deep rich aroma of yeast…. then there are  the olive oils –  dark green emulsions for dipping, with freshly ground black  pepper or finely  chopped oregano leaves  or lightly browned garlic bits.  Swoon time.   And the family sized appetizer trays loaded with softly sauteed shrimp scampi, clams casino with lightly toasted bread crumbs for a touch of bite and crispy battered calamari with homemade marinara  dipping sauce – and another platter of fresh rigati pasta lightly coated with more of the marinara then dusted with fresh Parmesan.   Who needs entrees. ” We do… We do”… we all shout…Flavorful veal scaloppini  with a finesse of fresh parsley or baked and stuffed Maine Lobster, or bowls of fresh bow tie pasta with chunks of onions, fresh tomato and Italian Sausage, and again from our waiter, who dancing  in a table-side performance applies an ample amount of fresh ground Parmesan  with a twist of his wrist,  a personal  flourish.  Bravo, Bravo…  Tip him more than 20% was the cry from the table.  These people Know how to eat…..

4.  Christmas decorations….Every house had um up….. and not in a small way either.  They were gaudy, bright, lively and beautiful.  Twinkle lights, fat colorful bulbs and hanging strands of faux white icicles hung from eaves, trees and fence tops.  Big green wreaths adorned almost every door and the bigger the red  bow the better, so it seemed.    From the colorful Santa’s  with their sleighs, to the cheerful over inflated Frosty the Snowmen, there was definitely celebration in the air.  The solemn nativity scenes in practically every front  yard left no doubt either as to what the real celebration was all about.  Wrapping  it all in layers of white, made the neighborhoods true wonderlands through  which one could slowly drive all the while oohing and ahhing..

5.  An opportunity to refill one’s soul with pride in one’s country cannot be missed either.  To share that experience with my son  and the hundreds other folks willing to brave the cold winds and choppy waters was more than worth the entire trip.  Words cannot describe and I won’t attempt to here by any means.  Suffice to say  despite all the problems that we face, I would not want to be living in any other country but ours.

6.  I could go on about the friendly people I got to know, co-workers which have been added to my road family.  It is always a joy to find folks with the same sense of humor, stoic outlook on life and an ability to go with the flow of things, even when sometime the going gets a little tentative.   The whole “lets not sweat the small stuff” can turn a crap day into a copacetic one, of course having the attitude of “what goes round comes round” helps as well.

7.  So I guess the bottom line is the big question, “would you go back”.  Well there is a lot I didn’t get to see, restaurants  at which I didn’t dine, museums still unexplored,  solemn locations like the WTC site where I wished to pay my respects, .. so yes… I’ll go back… just please… Let it not be in the middle of Winter…..

PS.  I forgot to tell you about the Canolli…Good Grief… That is a whole other delicious tale. 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in humor, road warrior, Southern Humor, travel

 

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Crepe Soles

They are molded into sterner stuff.  Layers upon layers of softness pressurized  into something solid and strong.  The ensuing flexibility  which is created belies the strength of their makeup.  We come to depend on them when weariness saps our  lives.  They become like an old friend…comfortable, reliable, enduring… and there when we need a cushion from the reality of our suffering.

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I have spent a lot of time with healthcare professionals lately, especially LPN’s and RN’s…. I watch them as they come and go to work and from the exterior they look as any other employee might look; dressed in their work clothes, toting their backpacks and lunches, most with smiles for their fellow healthcare  warriors at the start of each shift.  Nothing paints their exterior any different, but it is the makeup of their natures that is so very unique.  The crinkled worry lines, the oft time sadness and frustration in their eyes, the walls that they must build to stove off the emotional heart-strings  which sing at their doorsteps on a daily basis……… How do they learn to cope?

They watch people at their worst,  patients crying in  torment  with pain of their own or friends and family members raging at whatever powers that be, over the inequity of the suffering of a loved one.  These professionals weave and watch, follow progress and lapses, their slow and steady words of encouragement no less  vital than their quick reactions in the face of crisis…….How do they not whither under the strain?

Daytime hours in a hospital are when everyone is in hustle and bustle mode.  Doctors making rounds, procedures being done, well-intentioned family and friends coming and going.  There is always an underlying hum of anxiety in the air, an undercurrent of worry mixed with powerful emotions.  Angst often shows itself in startling ways, from a woman sitting alone at a cafeteria table, cell phone in hand, crying to someone..” She’s going fast, what will I do?”  to  the family huddled in the waiting room, faces solemn, eyes not wanting to meet in fear of breaking the dam …. hands being held with whispers of prayers for salvation………How do they steal themselves from these waves of sadness?

At night the quiet resounds off the walls.  The beeps of the machines, steady and routine, signaling all is well.  Crepe soles walk the halls, checking a temperature here and blood pressure there. Overworked, understaffed and often under appreciated.  Waiting room sofas become cots for the worried weary and the warriors continue their watch over the ones that are in pain ever vigilant even through their own fatigue…… How do they not succumb under the pressure?

I have watched them and have come to know them.  They are the same in each hospital that I visit.  I have sat in their  waiting rooms and worked out of their break rooms and I have seen these  Medical Warriors in action.  They are a marvel, one and all, and I am glad that they do what they do… because it is for us that they continue in this service to the sick.   They are our Crepe Souls.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2010 in road warrior

 

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Biding my time…

Sometimes when working on the road, things get discombobulated, appointments don’t show up when they are supposed to and it therefore leaves one with time to kill, doing nothing.. Well “nothing” is such a misnomer, since  with the ever-expanding World Wide Web,  there are millions of pages to be explored and plundered.  Of course that being the case, most of us just visit and revisit the same old sites..go ahead admit you do that too…but I digress….

With all the vast information out there, I tend to like reading the local news, but local news from the places I have visited, or will be visiting.  Reading the news for the Bigger Cities across the country makes one appreciate the location in which one actually resides.

There seems to be a lot of major problems; robbery,  murders, hit and runs, and domestic disturbances just about everywhere else away from where I live.  We tend to get things in our local paper such as, “Man throws Girlfriend out of house…. they were good friends.”  where as,  in places like BigCitywithLotsofTraffic, Ga, their headlines normally reads  ” Man shoots, stabs, hits, strangles Girlfriend before throwing her out of house… they were good friends”

In other big cities, like SprawlinglandofMickey, Fla you find other interesting headlines which really capture ones attention.  Take the Bear.  No really…please someone needs to take the Bear, cause if you read the story  “Black Bear burglarized home, makes off with Pork Roast” , well that just makes you wonder what the world is coming to… right?  I’m thinking to myself while reading, wonder if they caught him red- handed, or sticky-pawed  with bar-b-que sauce,  and tried to handcuff him..the article didn’t say.

Then right under that headline, a story from  Acoastaltownverytouristy, Fla,  “Jellyfish attacking swimmers”. Well gee, most of our South Carolina  Jellyfish just blob  around in the surf and if you happen to run into one it can be painful.  Evidently down in Fla they have hoards of them  (perhaps armed with switchblades and Sat. night specials) reeking havoc on the population.   Are they slithering or blobbing up on the shore, to attack folks?  … again the story was vague on the details of the actual attack.

Moving to the Carolina’s in Abigcitywheretheysayya’ll, I came across  “Man Sitting on Tracks, Killed by Train”.. Yes, that is very sad, ( I concur) however, when I read the headline, two thoughts crossed my mind; the first being  “Duh”  and the second  “What in the world does one expect?”  It’s a track for TRAINS….  I may be callous, but I mean… really…

So for now I will continue to roam the WWW searching for great local news… opps wait… here comes one of my appointments…better late than never..

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in road warrior, Southern Humor

 

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Pithy left the room, but now she’s.. back

What was I thinking?  Either not much or on the flip side a lot, with the qualifier that I was so busy didn’t have time to relay the information.  Hey, that later concept works for me…

As I wind down this case in the Midwest and before I begin the trek back home for a brief breather, it’s time to ramble on a bit, cause as I say, you know how “we” are….

1.  There is no Beach music in the Mid-west either.  Those that follow my tales know that I discovered the lack there of out West, and evidently somewhere perhaps either in Tennessee or Illinois I again crossed that line.  Real shame, folks out here don’t know what they are missing.

2.Playing tourist has it’s pitfalls.  Knowing what I know about tourism, I really try and research places before I shell out money to explore.  Alas sometimes the research is spot on and sometimes, well lets just say, the magic of marketing can be a double edge sword.  Case in point:

Some museums are just old dusty buildings with really nothing worthwhile worth seeing. Being brought up in a family business of running hotels, trust me, I know old ( like late 1800’s) dusty (read: borderline nasty/funky) buildings.  When I was young, a hotel just like that was my playground and the corridors, clanking elevators and murky basement rooms were fun to explore.  Perhaps that is what the museum that we visited here had in mind.  Hubby was stoic as we wandered around, trying to figure out what we were supposed to be looking at.  Other than empty rooms,a large beetle collection, an old pipe organ a,  empty bank vaults and lots of dust bunnies, it was pretty much a loss leader.  There were things for kids to climb on and crawl through, but if you can visualize what a never cleaned  100 year old McDonald’s playground ( minus the bright colors)  would look like, well you get my drift.   All I will say, is that their marketing folks made a brilliant brochure which made me conclude we had been suckered just like the rest of the glassy eyed and lighter wallet-ed folks wandering around the place with us.

3.  Zoos are cool.

a. Well, Zoos are cool if you don’t have walk forever to find the animals.

b. Zoos are cool if the animals would decide to rest/sleep up closer to the fences so you could actually make out their shapes.

c. Camouflage coloring on big cats really work. ( now where IS that cheetah ?)

d. Monkeys are always cool to watch…. as are Chimps and lemurs.

e.  Pink flamingos just stand around and look pink.

f.  Elephants look at you with expressions of  “Don’t you have anything better to do?”

g.  Trams at zoos are the best.

4.  Historic Monuments can be very impressive.  Beautifully kept grounds and a tribute to the American Way West.  The place of beginnings made one feel proud to be an American.  A sign of our times however, is the tight security in place to prevent someone from thinking they might be setting an example by blowing up a part of our history.  It didn’t slow down the visitors much and the pride of country and our perseverance not to flinch in the face of terrorism could be felt in the air.

5. Historic Farms with wildlife preserves and CLYDESDALE’S! are the best.  Not that I am prejudice or anything, however,  preserves that have trams that actually take you TO the animals are wonderful. Riding thru sloping hills, within their home territory, they watched us watch them with as much un-interest  in our presence as could be mustered.  Deer, Elk, Zebra and other exotics, but for us it was the Long Horns that stole that show.  One could only imaging them in herds back when the cattle drives crossed hundreds of miles.  Then there are the horses.  Love them, always have and always will, small ones, medium ones, large ones-they are all beautiful.  Then there are the giant size ones and well they are just tremendous.  Their towering profiles and their majestic structure belie the softness of their velvety hide and with their deep brown eyes they look into your soul and very quickly they steal your heart..or at least they did mine.

As everywhere I go, I try to feast on what I can.  We don’t get a lot of time on this earth and the more we can explore and get a taste of life in the here and now ,  the less chance there may be for us to have to admit to the regrets of  “the wish I had of”s” in our futures.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in road warrior, Southern Humor, travel

 

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Of Uncle Sam and Vineyards.

Finally, back on the road for a while, phew. Tis been a long summer me thinks and “Stir Crazy” does not aptly describe the past  many weeks, however, that was then and this is now, so we won’t beat that dead horse.  We are in moving on mode and this is a good thing.

And Now…. featuring the mid-west for a month or so.

Leaving the hot, muggy, humid coast of S.C, we drove over five states and now are enjoying the hot, not quite as muggy- somewhat less humid playground of Missouri.  Up through SC, over cloud entrenched mountains of both NC and Tenn to the bluegrass of Ky, what I want to know is when did all these winery’s crop up.  I had no clue, guess I really do need to get out more.  The winning vineyard  name on a billboard, “Purple Toad Winery”, don’t know about you but I’m gonna have to get me some of that… just because.

Our trek was along what seemed to be a pretty conservative Interstate system: several were the billboards showing Uncle Sam pointing his finger with the message, ” I want YOU to vote them out, November 2nd”.  Since these are my sentiments exactly, I was able to smile, nod and whisper “Yep” under my breath a great deal during the jaunt to our destination.  We passed thru the Land of Bib Overalls and into the farmlands of Illinois.  Corn and Soy stretching for as far as the eyes can see.  I kept thinking to myself, is this the area where they filmed the movie “Twister” as the farm houses, barns and silos all looked Hollywood picture perfect from a distance?  You could close your eyes and with an imagination snapshot, visualize the cow blowing by your car window.  (If you haven’t see the movie, never mind)

Yes, since you are curious, I have seen the Arch and the Stadium  and entrance to the Zoo, but only at 65 mph, so details hopefully will follow soon. Now however, since work between play is involved, I guess I best get to doing some of that.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2010 in road warrior, Southern Humor, travel

 

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One little Indian..on the road

I just got back from South Florida.  No, really…I did.  Yes, I know I am supposed to extol all the wondrous things that I discover while I am actually ON the road, but you know what? – this is where you shake your head and your brain responds “No what?   Well, sometimes it’s better to go through something and reflect back than waste time attempting to find something on which to extol.  I do believe that is the case for this last road trip.  Not that there wasn’t a lot of really cool things that could have been explored while out there on the road, but sometimes, you just can’t see the forest for the trees, or in this case, the sand & beach for the concrete.  When one practically lives on top of a beach, the allure is somewhat less than powerful so we found ourselves looking for something to “do” that we  normally didn’t have such ready access to…. and….Yes, we found it.  A casino.  Now don’t roll your eyes and give us that old Southern  Baptist “tsk-tsk, you will go straight to hell” commentary.  I figure that when in Roam (little play on words, did you like it?)  do as the Romans.  So that is what we did.

Now I’m not a gambler, but way back in my ancestry I’ve been told there was an Indian Princess who was like my great (4 or 5 or more times) grandmother.  “Wait”.  you say,  “an Indian Princess”, you say?  ” Well yes, ” I say knowingly, ” that is the rumor”.  “Why are we talking about Indians”, you think to yourself.  Hold on I’m getting to that.

Now before I go any further I have to do a  sidebar commentary in regards to one of my brother-n-laws (legal minded federal agent/retired) who always proposes – whenever this subject comes up –  a very philosophical point of view.  That view goes something like this . Have you ever noticed that when ever anyone says they have Indian blood in their ancestry, that they are Always descended from an Indian Princess?  Never is it proposed that perhaps the said “Princess” could have possibly been just a wanton little Indian “ho”  with a tendency to invite any old cowboy or horse soldier that may have  happened by, into her tepee?  Food for thought there, I must agree.  Said brother-in-law also comments that if the former rather than the latter was true that there was just a heck of a lot of Indian Royalty around in this country way back when.     But I digress..

So we found a casino.  “Indians”, you say, “what about the Indians?”  Well, duh, we are in South Florida and the Seminoles have these casinos, yada yada… .  And you nod, “ok.”  May I go on now?  Perhaps it was ancestral karma that swayed us or again perhaps we were just bored…anyway, out we headed to try our luck.

The casino looms large over the Florida Turnpike, reaching out like the Statue of Liberty.  “Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor… I will make try to make them less tired, less hungry, but gee sorry,  that poor thing… well….”  I didn’t see it exactly,  but I know that was etched on the building somewhere.

We drove in and got the valet parking, as if planning to be carrying huge bags of money out later and walking through a parking lot would just be so , like, UN-cool.  “Sure”, you think and you would be correct in your assessment of the situation.  For in a huge smoke filled room, with big arrowed signs pointing to a mythical Non-Smoking Slots area, we came, we saw and we lost.  Just like the rest of the fools there.  I mean, really,  I came knowing I would lose, (I play the SC lottery for goodness sake as my way of supporting the school system) so that wasn’t a big surprise.   Let me just extol the one thing I noticed about the casino in which we gambled; actually more than one thing.  First, this definitely is not Las Vegas and second,  this definitely isn’t the MGM Grand.  I think in the future that if I am going to throw my money down the drain at least I want to be where there is glitter, razz-a-ma-taz, sparkly lights, great music in the background and at least the offer of  a free soda,  while I  am faithfully feeding my dollar bills into the maws of the all-knowing, sarcastically evil,  ever winking machines.

We didn’t stay long…just long enough to wander around , play some games we didn’t understand, win a little in a short period of time and un-win it in an even shorter period, eat some pretend Cuban food (prepared by Indians) and in general be a “stranger in a strange land”, just like all the rest of the tourists that were there.

I guess the moral of this escapade was that I came, I saw and  I conquered left, not a richer person for sure,  but secure in the knowledge that I was, because of the legacy of that Princess/Ho in my genealogical thread that gave her “all”,  still supporting my Indian heritage.  I’m very good minded about those things, don’t ‘cha think?

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in humor, road warrior

 

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