(Un)Season’s Greetings

I’ve never been one to jump the gun by celebrating one holiday well before the arrival of another.

Christmas before Thanksgiving especially comes to mind.

Or worse, Christmas before Halloween.

I’ve always groaned about the tactless “half and half” aisles that retail stores seem so fond of. You know, one side of the aisle stocked with Halloween costumes…directly across from the Christmas wreaths.

In September.

But this morning, I awoke with fierce determination.

The ground outside was just the right consistency from the sprinklers.

This would inevitably mean a lot less time and effort required for aggressively whacking Christmassy deer, trains, and polar bears into the stubborn, clay-like soil with a mallet in front of all my neighbors.

After all, nothing says Christmas cheer like the sound of a mallet penetrating the earth.

The weather was another selling point. Miserably gray, but unseasonably warm. And with the forecast from here on out predicting storms, storms, and more storms…how could I possibly resist this golden opportunity?

As I hauled out heaps of mangled décor and tangled extension cords onto the front lawn, I noticed my poor firefighter neighbor looking on apprehensively.

And rightfully so.

Last year, he witnessed firsthand what happens when a determined caffeine buzzed crazed girl with a mallet and dozens of Christmas decorations gets down to business moments before sunset.

Then a few days later, he also happened to observe us accidentally plowing right over the candy cane path markers with our truck. In our own driveway.

Last week, I discovered a business card by my front door for Christmas Light Installation by Local Firefighters!

Coincidence? I think not.

So what if it’s a tad bit early in the season to be decorating?

Big deal.

A little light never hurt anyone.

Unless that source of “light” happens to be lightning. Or a malfunctioning power outlet. In which case, yeah, electrocution probably does hurt.

And it’s not very festive.


Happy (early) Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night!

This was the lucky pardoned turkey. He 's now determined to spread some serious holiday cheer.

This was the “lucky” pardoned turkey. He ‘s now being forced to spread holiday cheer.


The Unfunny One

Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

 But today is a gift.

That is why it is called the present.

In a world full of inhumanity, illness, and injustice, sometimes it’s downright challenging to be grateful for all that is good.

But I truly believe that’s when it’s especially important to put forth all the effort you can muster toward finding reason to smile.

Nobody is 100% happy, 100% of the time. It’s not humanly possible.

But you can choose to wallow in your misery or can choose to find the good, sometimes even humor, in whatever situation life throws your way.

Don’t get me wrong, some things are only funny in retrospect. And some things are never funny at all. But no matter what, always look for the good in life. Sometimes you really have to search hard, but it’s always there.

The challenges you face in life may serve as a test, and may well impart priceless lessons of wisdom. Sometimes, just sometimes, the trials and tribulations in life can turn out to be unexpected blessings. So always have hope.

Life is full of hardship and grief, of struggle and defeat, but also of happiness and hope.

You thought I was kidding about finding humor in unexpected places, didn't you?

You thought I was kidding about finding humor in unexpected places, didn’t you?

Hotel Hostility

Oh, the joys of travelling. What’s not to love about a quick getaway?

I mean, aside from the hassle of going to the airport and inevitably receiving a rather unsettling pat-down for setting off the metal detector, only to then discover your flight has been delayed indefinitely.

Fun, right?

With the flight already booked, finding a decent hotel is usually the easy part. Or so I had thought.

A thorough scan of area hotels pretty well settles which hotel I’ll be staying at, based on price and ratings. I would’ve booked right then and there, but then life intervened.

As usual.

I can’t help feeling like I’ve been seriously bamboozled.

A whopping 32% price increase overnight? And all the other hotels in the area had followed suit. Still, I proceeded with the reservation. The location was the most ideal, and the other options weren’t any more promising.

Even so, I’ve got a tad bit of hard feelings about the whole ordeal.

So, I’ve devised a plan to get my money’s worth.

After carefully perusing the hotel’s website, I’ve taken note of all the available amenities. And by all, I mean ALL.

In addition to utilizing every toiletry and object in the room that will be provided for my comfort, I fully intend to capitalize on the rest of the hotel’s offerings.

There are the typical features nearly every hotel room boasts. Then there are some that are more baffling, verbatim from the hotel website:

-Waterpik showerheads (isn’t that some sort of toothbrush company?)

-Clean and Fresh beds (as opposed to the standard filth other hotels offer, I suppose?)

-Ergonomic desk chair (does it spin? Please tell me it spins!)

-Fluffy towels (as opposed to the threadbare variety?)

Complimentary high speed internet will ensure I can spend every moment in the hotel “connected” while a big screen HD TV will spare my eyes the misery of a substandard channel surfing experience.

All rooms are equipped with coffee makers and a few packs of complimentary coffee, but I’ll be sure to drink only the coffee in the hotel lobby and pack the in-room coffee, cream, and sugar. Maybe even the paper cups too, for good measure.

The complimentary hot breakfast is definitely an asset, too. So I’ll plan to arrive early and attempt to eat an entire day’s worth of food in one lump sum (breakfast lasts a generous three hours, so I think this is doable).

After all, I can work some of it off later in the conveniently located Fitness Room.

I’ll probably need to do some time in there anyway to keep my energy level up, because utilizing all the hotel’s amenities will likely leave very little time for sleep.

But that’s nothing a snooze on the 2 ½ hour flight back home the next day won’t remedy.

Now for the biggest perk: Service animals allowed!

Let me just clarify something. Under normal circumstances, I don’t require any such assistance. I’m in perfectly good condition.

However, for the joy of adding to the inconvenience factor, this would certainly make things more interesting.

I don’t even particularly love animals, but it’s the principle of the matter at stake here.

The way I see it, there are two options:

1. Travel with someone who requires a service animal, preferably a companion with a horse-sized dog

2. Wait to see if the latest spider bite on my leg flares up to the usual debilitating swollen mess of a limb that typically afflicts me after being bitten, then proceed to secure my new best friend for this trip. (This is my preferred method, as I already have a name picked out for my horse-dog friend.)

As an added benefit, this dog will help me utilize even more of the hotel’s features.

Vengeance (Vengie, for short) might like to take a few laps in the pool, then dry off with the “fluffy towels” after a nice soak in the tub.

And the complimentary printing services might come in handy, too. I’ll print extra boarding passes, in case Vengie eats the first few copies.

After a busy day of using and abusing every last amenity offered, I’ll settle down in my room with yet another cup of coffee while spinning in the ergonomic desk chair while watching high-quality television on a mammoth crystal-clear screen.

When the next round of caffeine kicks in, I envision finishing off the night by using the extra rolls of toilet paper and the hangers in the closet to create a mummy.

Then I’d set the mummy up in the middle of the room with the ironing board so that it’ll appear to be doing something productive.

I hope the service dog won’t attack it.

Oh, but I really should at least lay down in that bed for a few minutes. Otherwise, I definitely won’t get my full money’s worth.

I wonder if Tylenol is complementary, too?

Good God. I’m exhausted already, and my trip is still several weeks away.

You know, I have this nagging feeling I’ve lost sight of the purpose of any of this.

Perhaps I should start planning a pre-getaway getaway ASAP …

Now that's what I call a travel companion.

Now that’s what I call a travel companion.

Threading the Needle

Fasting and physicals both start with the notorious “f” sound. The very same “f” that starts off fabulous words such as failure and faint.

Sounds so promising, doesn’t it?

I don’t like doctors.

I don’t like physicals.

I especially don’t like blood.

Or perhaps more specifically, I don’t like the blood work that’s part of a rather unfortunate package deal with the aforementioned physical.

And the requisite fasting before the blood work? That right there is my worst nightmare.

Well, that, along with passing out from loss of blood.

It’s not the needles that freak me out. It’s the fact that my body protests riots whenever it’s forced to part with five vials worth of blood.

And for the record, passing out sucks.

But back to the whole fasting nonsense.

No food or drink for eight hours prior to having blood drawn? What’s up with that?

Right around the three hour mark, I typically start exhibiting signs of feral beastly hunger so intense that this vegetarian becomes pathologically unpleasant while getting dangerously close to resorting to cannibalism.

But seeing as how cannibalism is frowned upon in most parts of the world, that’s probably not the way to go.

So anyway, no food or drink prior to the sadistic practice of drawing blood is truly a hardship for me.

But according to the doctor, in addition to water, I can also enjoy a nice cup of black coffee.

Yeah, no thanks. I’d rather be a zombie.

Given my track record of passing out every time I have blood drawn, going solo is simply not an option for me.

As I’m getting ready to head out to my impending doom, my husband is forced to monitor me closely.

“Hey! What are you doing? Are you actually eating that toothpaste!?!”

“Maybe I am!”

“Come on. Spit it out. NOW!”

As we drive toward the blood work lab, a similar conversation ensues.

“What are you doing with that Do Not Eat packet?”

This time, he doesn’t bother waiting for a response before snatching it out of my hand.

Maybe I can enjoy that as a treat after the blood work.

By this point, I’m seriously contemplating eating the wrapper off my water bottle; just yanking that sucker right off and chomping away like an uncouth mule grazing in a pasture.

We arrive 15 minutes before the lab opens, so I have more than enough time for a quick trip to the restroom.

But I’m clearly not moving fast enough for my husband’s liking.

“What’s taking you so long? You’d better not be eating the toilet paper!

Ha! Like I’d really do that.

I desperately scan the contents of the trash.

But it’s early in the morning. The trashcan is practically empty, with the exception of a used tissue and an empty bottle of Victoria’s Secret lotion.

We eventually enter the dreaded lab and get down to business.

It’s over fairly quickly, actually.

Holy crap! I didn’t pass out this time, even after all three huge vials are filled.

Of course, this is solely due to the fact that I’m laying flat across the table like roadkill instead of sitting in the chair like a normal human being.

But whatever. It worked.

After a few minutes, the room is no longer spinning. I peel myself off the table with as much dignity as I can muster as my husband guides me out the door like a stumbling drunk.

We stop at the first store we come across, which happens to be 7-11. We go in and grab a few munchies.

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-11.

I devour a Family Size bag of popcorn in ten minutes, tops.

It’s a huge victory, overall. I didn’t pass out, and I didn’t starve to death.

Perhaps more importantly, I didn’t resort to inhaling yet another Do Not Eat packet.

Things are about to get ugly...

Things are about to get ugly…