Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nascar Country

One funny thing you see when living in the south, particularly Charlotte, is the number of Nascar driver wannabees. Now, I'm not just talking about speeding. I'm talking about bumper stickers. Driving to work this morning I saw this one car, the trunk and bumper completely covered in Nascar themed bumper stickers. It's like he was trying to make his little pontiac look a street worthy race car. He failed miserably. The icing on the cake was the chubby little man sitting behind the steering wheel, wife-beater shirt on, trucker's cap perched on the top of his head, cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth. Mardi Gras beads hanging in the window completed the picture. I laughed the rest of the way to work.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday, Monday (da da, da da da da)

Ah, Mondays. Usually, I hate 'em. But my boss is on vacation this whole week, so I was able to finally update this thing with details of my trip and pics and everything! Woo Hoo! I really need to get better about updating this thing daily. It's on my "to-do" list. Trust me.This weekend I had yet another baby-shower to go to, and yet another friend give birth. (No, not the same mom involved) I tell you, whatever Kool-aid they're drinking, I don't want any part of it. That's 3 of 4 close friends give birth this year. 3 of 6 that I know total. It's nuts! Well, some of them were girls too.I was so tired on Friday, the whole week was exhausting, that I fell asleep on the couch at 8pm, woke up at 11:30, went upstairs and got into bed and woke up at 10am on Saturday. Damn, that felt good. Really good.

Hump Days and Dress Codes

So, yesterday there's chatter around the office about a new dress code that was going to be implemented on July 5th. Now, I dress nicely for the office, and I truly hate being told what to wear or when to wear it. Check this out: Acceptable Attire: Women:• Slacks (chinos, khakis, dress slacks) • Dresses • Skirts • Blouses or sweaters • Polo/golf shirts are acceptable Memorial Day through Labor Day (permitted year round for personnel in manufacturing/ engineering/logistics) Men:• Trousers (chinos, khakis, dress slacks) • Socks • Dress shirts • Dress sweaters • Polo/golf shirts are acceptable Memorial Day through Labor Day (permitted year round for personnel in manufacturing/engineering/logistics) Unacceptable Attire: • Denim (shirts or pants) • Shirts without collars or shirts displaying advertisements, messages or writing (except for Lance messages) • Sweatshirts, flannel shirts • Tank tops • Any clothing that reveals bare backs, midriffs or shoulders (including sundresses) • Cropped pants (capris) • Shoes: sandals (open toes with no heels), thongs, sneakers, Dr. Scholls, flip-flops (plastic, rubber or leather) • Spandex leggings • Shorts of any kind (except with company approval) • Overalls • Sweat pants, jogging suits • Any clothing with spaghetti straps • Any revealing or provocative clothing • Lip, nose, or any earring(s) on a visible part of the body – excluding ears • Tee shirts And to top it all off, they took away casual friday! I love my jeans! No!The thing is, my department is in the plant, not the main office, and no one down here was sent this dress code so it's really up in the air as to whether or not we are included in it. The part I hate the most is the crop pants. Now, it's not like the ones I wear are the kind that end right below the knee. Mine go mid-calf. And I wear thongs (the shoes people, the shoes) but they have a heel and they're nice looking. They aren't the payless brand ya know? I have style. Man, I hate dress codes. So, yet another friend gave birth. I had one friend have a baby on Friday night, and then another yesterday. That's 5 out of 5, no more due that I know of. Well, there's one girl here at work that I know, but I rarely get the opportunity to speak to, so I don't think I need to count her, even though there will be a baby shower for her here in the breakroom. *sigh* Whatever is in the water here in Mecklenburgh county, I don't want a drop of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Day 4: Albuquerque to Scottsdale - the Home Stretch!

Another short driving day ahead of us, we get on the road early and head out of town. Just across the Arizona Border, we drive through the Petrified Forest National Park. We didn't do the drive through tour, but I was able to buy some cool jewlery in the gift shop. And I got a pic of one of the fallen trees outside of the visitors center. So, there's that anyway. Very cool. I got my friend a cross made out of petrified wood. I knew she'd be amused by that. Apparently petrified wood is over 180 million years old. And they're making crosses out of it. Heh. Anyways, we stopped at another really cool rest stop (several pics) south of Flagstaff. Some guy was just hanging out on a picnic table with his pet parrot. It was a beautiful bird, but one of the oddest sites I've ever seen at a rest stop. Or anywhere for that matter. We pulled into Scottsdale by 3:30pm. Sis's husband had made arrangements for us to stay at the Extended Stay there, once we found it. Let's just say, it's not the kind of place that you want to extend your stay. He was still staying at the Phoenician for one more night, so I got stuck at the Extended Stay while he and sis lived it up at the resort (15 pictures). Her husband came to stay at the Extended Stay on Sunday, they got me another room, and then woke me up first thing in the morning on Monday telling me to move my stuff out and into their room. They decided to go stay at the Westin for the rest of the week. I got the Extended stay for my last night. Fabulous. The Westin was nice though. We hung out by the pool for lunch, it was nice. Sunday afternoon, sis and I hit the mall. I got to experience my first half-yearly sale at Nordstrom. My credit card had a fabulous time! I found the same purse that sis has that I've been lusting over for several months now (along with it's matching wallet!) and some Born sandals for 40% off! I had much fun that day. We capped it off with Manicures and Pedicures. So nice... Monday we had all the paperwork and what not for the condo they were buying. That, and the walk through. It's a really nice place! But I only got pics of the outside, and they really don't tell much of a story. The paint job looked like it had been done by a five-year-old, so that night we went to Home Depot and picked out new colors. Their realtor hooked them up with a great painter, and he came at the end of the week and redid it all before they moved in. Sis came and picked me up at 7am on Tuesday (the 14th) and I spent the remainder of the day making my way back home. I finally opened the door of my apartment at 1am. I was so tired. But I managed to get to work before 9am, stayed until 5 (I normally work 8-4:30) and took a nice nap when I got home.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Day 3: Oklahoma City to Albuquerque

A bit of a later start to our day than we planned, but not much. We had a shorter day planned anyway. A family friend lived in Albuquerque so we would be stopping there for the night. The drive there from El Reno was beautiful. Texas was amazing. Click through the 10 pictures I took at the most amazing rest stop ever HERE . The most impressive thing was crossing the state border into New Mexico. Man, you know exactly where you are when you cross that border. Beautiful skyline and plant life. I wish I had remembered my freaking camera when we went out on the town in Albuquerque, the buildings were amazing. Truely "Pueblo" style. But let me describe dinner. We walk in, and the front dining room is completely empty. They lead us to this back room, through a hallway of the kitchen, that is lined with red leather booths and all dark wood. In the middle of this room are two old men. One looked like Don Ho's older brother, sitting at the piano, the other had bright white hair and was hunched over a guitar. I leaned over to my sister and said, jokingly, "Think we can get him to play 'Tiny Bubbles'?" heh. This man is so funny, because you can truly see how much he loves to play this music. But he can't sing too loud because he's supposed to be background mood music, ya know? So he's sort of singing from the back of his throat, eyes closed, totally into it. Just hilarious. How I got through the whole meal without laughing my ass off, I'll never know. But the icing on the cake was at the end of the meal, the music gets louder, and all of a sudden everyone is singing along. What, pray tell, are they singing? Tiny Bubbles! I couldn't hold it in anymore and sis and I looked at each other and just started laughing. It was hilarious. So we checked out 'Old Town' and saw some super old buldings, and lots of cool sites. Too bad I forgot my stupid camera at the hotel. Sheesh. We stayed at a Sleep Inn there, it was nice, but tiny as hell. The cats hated it. Need I say more?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Day 2 - Nashville to Oklahoma City

So we get on the road by 8am, and we're on our way to Memphis. All I wanted to do on this road trip was check out Graceland. Not because I'm an Elvis fan, but just because it's a part of cheesy road-trip Americana. So, in other words, why not? My grand plan is to buy the magnets of each state we go through, two of each, one for me and one for my mom. We both collect them. So we need to stop somewhere before we leave Tennessee. I saw a sign off the interstate for Loretta Lynn's Kitchen and of course, being the Coal Miner's Daughter Devotee that I am, we had to stop. Now, I'm not sure what Buffalos have to do with Loretta Lynn or Nashville, but, um, there it is. That's a pic of sis in front of it. They had all sorts of crap in the gift shop. It was amazing. A $10 mousepad with Loretta Lynn's face on it and $7 Reba McEntire placemats. And according to my sis (who stopped at every bathroom available along the way) the bathroom there was abominable. She was sure that if Loretta Lynn knew that the bathroom was in the state it was, she wouldn't want her name associated with it. I can only imagine... So, several hours later, we finally get to Memphis. And we're realizing that Oklahoma City is a long ways away. But we stop at Graceland anyway (There are several pics of it, click on...). We must have made a record stop there. I think we were there for all of 15 minutes. The bathrooms were nice. The King would be proud. We parked ($5, right next to the Heartbreak Hotel - gag) went to the bathroom, ran across the street and I took some pics of the gate, the wall out front and the house from the sidewalk. I was truly amazed at the zoom on my camera. Then we ran back to the car and left. We finally arrived in El Reno, Oklahoma late that night. We were on the road a good long while. I think we finally checked into the hotel around 9pm. We stayed at a Best Western, and it was the cheapest of the whole trip, but the nicest as well. It was right next to a Denny's (which wasn't the best food we had on the way) where I was able to talk our server into giving us a lime to go with the Corona we bought at the poor excuse for a convenience store next door. Some dumbass couldn't get his car alarm to turn off, so they were driving around in circles for a good long while before they finally got it to kick off. That was annoying for a while, then it finally stopped and we were able to relax. We were both exhausted from the long day on the road, and both fell asleep none too soon.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Day 1: Charlotte to Nashville

So it's Wednesday morning, and I got up at 6am so that I could shower, and do all the last minute stuff I needed to before my sister comes to pick me up. I got my new MP3 Player the night before and I spent all night loading it up with songs. Granted, I only got 532 songs on it (and they took up 1.73 GBs - I have to clean it up a bit, I should be able to fit twice that in that space) and I knew my sis wouldn't like half of what was on there, but hey, it's my MP3 player, and when I'm driving, I'll listen to whatever I please, right? Anyway, so she stayed at a friend's house in Charlotte last night, since her 3 cats and my 2 stood as much of a chance of getting along as a rat and a snake. Well, she called me about 5 different times in the morning to get directions to my place, and generally bitch about traffic and the ordeal she had getting her cats into their carriers. Gee, this trip is sounding better and better by the minute, right? Well, she finally arrives, I see I have about 2 inches of trunk space for my tiny suitcase and none for my purse. (It got to sit on my feet nearly the entire trip.) After a bit of rearranging, we leave. We get as far as the Circle K next door (at my request so I could buy some cigarettes for the trip where I knew they'd be cheap) and spend about 20 minutes gasing up, buying coffee (Ha! She said never to tell anyone that she drank gas station coffee, hee hee now the whole world knows!), buying bananas (yes, Circle K has fresh fruit) and then I realize that I'm bringing another "friend" on the trip. So after a quick trip to the rest room, we're back on the road. We make it about 3 miles when I make a quick stop to avoid ramming into the back of a garbage truck (which was stopped - stupidly, on a major road right after a sharp curve) when we hear the sound of falling litter. She had an open box of kitty litter and it had tipped over. So we stop at another gas station where we clean up the mess, vacuum the whole trunk, and re-rearrange the contents. Finally, we're back on the road. Finally. We make it to 40-W with no further incident, and pop in the Harry Potter. Since 40-W takes us all the way to Flagstaff, AZ, we really didn't need that triptik from AAA, but heck, you get all sorts of free booklets (which DID come in handy). I had prepared to listen to HP & The Goblet of Fire by almost reading all the books up to that point (I had 50 pages to go on #2, and brought along #3 - I'm a quick read, I had only started #1 Sunday night, and this was Wednesday morning). I actually quite enjoyed it. Anyway, just before we get to Chattanooga, TN we see a big, huge wreck in the mountains in the Eastbound lane. It was awful. A west-bound tractor-trailer had apparently been going too fast around the curves and overturned into the East lane. The tractor was still in the one of the West bound lanes, but the trailer was completely blocking the East bound lane. The cops hadn't even gotten there yet, but we saw that traffic was backed up a good ten miles already. Thank God we were going in the opposite direction at the time we were. It could have been much worse. We pulled into Nashville, our first planned stop, around 5 o'clock. I wanted to go all the way to Memphis, but sis was insistent on stopping in Nashville. Not like we went on the town or anything. We ate at the O'Charlies across the parking lot from our over-priced, craptastic hotel. But hey, they didn't care we had 3 cats and they had HBO. So my sis was able to watch 6FU (which she ended up watching all or parts of it about 4 times over the whole trip). I think it was, um, "ladies" night at O'Charlies . Sis and I felt a bit self-conscious since we were out together, but it wasn't completely obvious that we're sisters ya know. Anyway...we go back to the hotel, she watches TV and I finish HP #2 and make good headway on #3. Stayed tuned for Day #2....