Bigly Bestest Beach Doggie

@thebiglybestestdoggie: Did you know there are beaches especially for doggies?!? It’s true! I got to go to one on our road trip, and it was so much fun! Look at all this soft sand! And that tasty ocean water! Oops, guess I wasn’t supposed to actually drink that…? Oh well. I had the best time ever at the doggie beach!

Ah, so this is what paradise looks like!

Ah, so this is what paradise looks like!

~Happy Tuesday, friends!~

Bigly Bestest Road Trippin’

@thebiglybestestdoggie: Just came back from my very first road trip! Momma and Daddy said I was a very good boy the whole time. Can’t wait to share my adventures with you all soon!

Traveling in style!

~Happy Tuesday, friends!~

I’ll Tell You Where to Go!

In need of a relaxing getaway?

Well, sorry.

I can’t exactly help you with that.

But I can help by giving you a dozen suggestions of where not to go!

Check out the names of these unique and bizarre-sounding towns in the USA!

zzyzx-ca

(Pronounced ZYE-zix, this town was clearly named by some smart-ass. Or the town drunk.)

cut-and-shoot-tx

(Well, this is Texas we’re talking about, after all. Don’t expect any cutesy names, like Compromise or Friendshipville. No time for that nonsense!)

slaughterville-ok

(As Texas’s neighbor to the north, this name lends itself beautifully to an obviously shared philosophy. But that’s pretty much where the beauty ends.)

frankenstein-mo

(This place must be a prime destination for Halloween! I wonder if visitors are greeted by Frankenstein himself? )

bat-cave-nc

(The Bat Cave really does exist! But while Batman himself is pretty cool, a cave full of bats is decidedly very uncool and downright creepy.)

spunky-puddle-oh

(I’ve never personally encountered a puddle with so much sass, but I suppose there is a first time for everything…)

humptulips-wa

(I’m not sure I want to know what inspired this creative name. Perhaps a very active rabbit with nothing better to do with its time? Speaking of which…)

rabbit-hash-kt

(I’m so confused. Are we talking hash, as in roadkill? Or hash, as in marijuana? And what the hell is a rabbit doing with marijuana?)

hell-mi

(Where did you go for your vacation? Oh, I just went to Hell for a few days. So good to be back on earth! I mean, home. It’s good to be home. Yeah…)

half-hell-nc

(Can’t commit to the full-blown Hell experience? Then go to Half Hell for a half-assed hellish nightmare!)

why-az

(Why, indeed? Or perhaps the real question here is actually…)

whynot

(That’s right. Why not go to Whynot? It’s such a fine name that two different states boast the claim to this grammatically-incorrect winner!)

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for planning your next trip.

I already know where I’m not going.

All I know is that if someone tells me to Go to Hell, I think I’ll have to pass.

~Happy Friday, everyone! Have a terrific weekend, and if you plan to travel anytime soon…well, I just hope you’re going someplace that is not on this list! ~

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.

The Journey to No Man’s Land

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson really whacked the nail on the head with that one, didn’t he? The mere experience of relocating to No Man’s Land is indeed a journey.  A journey that conjures up images of the treacherous voyage to Hell!

An unexpected job transfer has my family packing up and moving to a place with cows and cornfields, without the knowledge of where exactly we would live or even where the boys would go to school. We did manage to book a hotel for one week, so that’s a promising start.

Traveling as a family is notoriously dangerous territory, especially at the airport. We’re all hauling hefty carry-on bags, while I’m also loaded down with a large purse that could easily fit a small whale, and the zipper is about to bust right off the jam-packed suitcase.

When it’s time to check in the baggage, it’s discovered our suitcase is 15 pounds over the 50 pound weight limit. Paying $75 in overage fees? Not going to happen.

After 20 minutes of chaotic rearranging, the 9 year old now totes around a 45 pound carry-on of coloring books, shoes, bras, superhero action figures, underwear, crayons, and other random goodness.

Our sulking preteen child, hauling a backpack crammed with his nine pairs of Converse shoes and six electronic devices, sets of the metal detector.

A TSA agent glances at him, gives him a once-over with the wand, and sends him on through.

Guess which bag gets flagged in the x-ray scanner for search? That’s right, the 9 year old’s backpack with Batman and all the underwear.

“Is this your bag, sweetie?” the TSA agent asks. Seven different times. You know, because there’s the possibility it’s actually daddy’s bag, loaded with cocaine and explosives.

After confirmation that bag does in fact belong to the child in question, a search ensues.

Out comes underwear of every size, shape, and color.

Out come Batman, Hulk, and Captain America.

Out comes a dog-eared comic book with what appears to be teeth marks at the top left corner.

A shoe flies out, along with a handful of sea shells.

As the bewildered TSA agent continues rummaging through the bag, the child grabs his Hulk and Captain America action figures and engages them in a disturbingly intense battle, complete with self-generated sound effects. Hopefully from the mouth and not from his other end.

Then he turns to the TSA agent and asks, “My daddy said we can’t say the word ‘bomb’ at the airport. Why can’t we say the word ‘bomb?’ Is it like a nuke?”

The TSA agent is now frantically searching the backpack, puzzled by the odd looking Minecraft toys- tiny swords and a small plastic box labeled TNT.

She pulls out her walkie talkie and quietly asks for “assistance.”

The child is sent back through the metal detector, and he asks one last time, “So, why can’t I say the word ‘bomb?’ Have you ever seen a real nuke?”

After my husband’s brief detainment by the TSA, we are permitted to board the plane.

With the security fiasco behind us, one might think the rest of the trip ought to be smooth.

The three hour flight is mostly uneventful, until we are close to our destination.

“Good evening, passengers. A severe storm is preventing us from landing at this time, so we’ll be circling briefly until conditions improve,” the flight captain announces.

And so we circle. And circle. And circle.

A full hour passes before the captain’s voice booms through the aircraft again, notifying us that the plane is running out of fuel.

There’s none of that “fasten your seat belts and prepare for landing” nonsense as the plane plunges from 30,000 feet onto the runway in record time. Of course, we land at an airport that’s not even our intended destination.

Maybe we should have hung out at the airport with the TSA, discussing bombs and having our bags searched just a tad more thoroughly.

The Death Tube eventually makes its final descent into No Man’s Land and we all hustle off the plane like a pack of feral beasts.

The entire family is hungry, tired, and disgruntled enough to use nukes on each other.

But hey, there’s only a 10 minute ride to the rental car depot and another 30 minute ride to the hotel. We can do this!

I should know better by now.

As we drag our beaten and overloaded suitcases outside, the shuttle pulls up. Between the confused look on the young gum-chomping driver’s face and her abrupt curb-hopping stop, my gut tells me we probably should have waited for the next shuttle.

U-turn after U-turn, we are clearly going in circles. The driver stops on the side of the road and stares blankly out the window. It could easily be her first day on the job, or perhaps her goal is to ensure the boys hate us for the rest of our lives for dragging them out to live in the middle of nowhere.

A passenger marches up to the front of the bus.

“Why don’t you just follow the signs that say, “Rental cars, this way?’ ”he snarls.

A lightbulb seems to go off in the brilliant girl’s head, and within five minutes, we arrive at the rental car depot.

We are off in a nondescript rental car shortly after, rocketing down the freeway with a GPS that doesn’t seem entirely convinced itself which way we need to go. It’s tempting to enable the off-road option so we can plow straight through yards, cornfields, and lakes to get to the hotel faster.

Perhaps we should have.

We find ourselves at a complete standstill on a backed up and construction-heavy freeway. I glance out the window and notice a 1,000 foot drop into oblivion on one side of the road, and a concrete barrier on the other.

A sudden sensation of crunching metal jolts me from my drifting thoughts. It takes a minute to realize we had been rear-ended, and the same jerk who hit us is now trying to push our rental car out of his way so he can keep going.

The kids are screaming, my husband is screaming…or was that just me?

The police finally show up, after passing us twice on an adjacent freeway and then getting stuck in traffic, but at least we are back on the road again.

We arrive at the hotel after midnight, only to discover that we’ve been deemed a no-show and the staff had rebooked our room. There’s only one room left, with a double bed and a pullout sofa.

We enter the room and flip the light switch.

Holy crap! Had this room recently been the scene of a horror movie or satanic sacrifice?  I’m far too exhausted to determine whether it’s actually Heinz ketchup or blood splattered all over the wall.

Well, this will have to be dealt with. Tomorrow. Or rather, later today.

The boys are already asleep on the lumpy double bed, so my husband and I wander downstairs to the restaurant.

Who am I kidding? We’re practically galloping to the hotel bar.

A few lackluster drinks later, we head back to the room. At least the boys are managing to get some rest.

No Man’s Land, it’s me, Quirky Girl. It sure doesn’t seem like you want me here any more than I want to be here. You’d best bring me a better day tomorrow, or be prepared to face the wrath of my 9 year old and his imaginary nukes.