“Walmart” of the sky

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It’s been a month since the last vacation. In the scheme of things that isn’t a whole lot of time, but I gotta say that taking a vacation once a month is kind of feeling nice. I wish it could happen again next month.

Anyway, I have flown two different airlines in roughly the last five weeks and it is interesting to see how they have handled (or are handling) the pandemic a year from it’s start. Yesterday’s trip was less fabulous than the first trip. Now, I have flown other airlines, but there are two that I fly that I have liked in the past and those are the two I tend to check first when looking for flights, Alaska and Southwest.

About a month ago, I was on Alaska. The plane are newer, and feel more spacious, even if they may not actually be. The crews were friendly but not overly friendly. The planes felt clean, given the current situation, and the flights were directly to the destination (going and returning). The service inside the cabin was good. Alaska served nearly their full complimentary menu, so a light snack and beverage of choice was available.

Yesterday, I flew on Southwest Airlines. Southwest took a direct flight to Phoenix and routed it through Denver. This notification came just four days after purchasing the tickets. So, a roughly three hour flight turned into an all day affair. I wasn’t real pleased about it, but what can you do once you have already purchased the tickets? The first leg of yesterday’s trip wasn’t too crowded. But the crew wasn’t very friendly and the plane didn’t feel all that clean. It probably was, but it likely also has something to do with the fact that Southwest’s fleet is aging. Also a surprise, the in-flight service. The voice over the intercom announced they would be service iced water and a snack.

That’s it. Essentially, you are getting “bread and water” for flying with us. They, of course, told us this was because of the “current situation in the world.”

The water was a plastic cup with ice and water in it. It wasn’t even bottled water! Wow! So, apparently it is safer to serve an open cup of water in the era of airborne viruses. Go figure!

I asked a buddy who works for Southwest about it, as I was a little taken aback for the lack of services considering the experience just a month prior on a different airline. His response, “Anything to save a buck. We’re basically the Walmart of the sky, so you can’t expect much.”

I guess that is probably about right. It was a cheap flight. The second flight was much more crowded, the “empty middle seat” for social distancing was not a thing on this flight, and the plane didn’t feel any cleaner than the first one.

All in all, it was just a flight to a destination but I have come to expect a little more than what we got yesterday, even for a discount airline.

Am I spoiled or have they set us up to expect more? I am not sure.

Rover

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NASA has done it again. They have pulled off a scientific and technological feat that is astounding, really. I watched the thing unfold and the landing appears to have gone flawlessly, even though the actual testing of this event was theoretical and computer modeling.

That’s all pretty cool stuff. But it raises some questions for me.

The first one has to do with the way it is powered.

It isn’t solar this time. It’s basically a small nuclear reactor. So, if there is technology to use this kind of thing in space and if there is technology to use something even bigger on our military naval vessels, why aren’t we using this technology to power our homes? Our schools? Our hospitals, stadiums, cities, our cars, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it be better than the options we have now?

The second question comes back to the “search for life.”

Proof of life only has to be a single cell microbe of something. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they can define it as “living.” Of course it would be hailed as an incredible scientific discovery and lauded for all time. It will raise other questions too.

What gets me on this one is that a small single cell microbe will declared as “living” but a human embryos and fetuses are still seen as “not living.” Human, multicellular organisms on earth aren’t considered life by a bunch of people up here on this ball of dirt, thus they don’t see any problem with destroying that life. How wrong and misguided is that? It astounds me.

Anyway, a robot on another planet (again) is pretty cool. I am sure it will help answer some questions, but not all of them.

They really know

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Some people just really know how to push your buttons. Some people just really know how to make you feel lower than low. Some people just don’t show you any appreciation or love. Some of those people are people you just know, maybe they’re coworkers or acquaintances. But sometimes they are people that are supposedly close to you.

Step-kids.

Yesterday was the beginning of my 49th trip around the sun. It was a quiet day since the day before we were blanketed with about 9″ of snow (and the ensuing compact snow and ice on the roads). So, much of the day was spent watching tv, taking a nap, playing video games, and eating food.

Lots of people on social media, family and friends alike, issued wishes of cheer and congratulations on the day. That felt good.

Only two of the nine children (our six kids and three spouses/significant others) managed to communicate with me. MY daughter and the second oldest of the step-kids. That doesn’t feel nice.

They sure know how make me feel like crap…

Sticky situation

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Warning labels can only go so far. Warning labels exist because people are stupid. Warning labels can’t possibly tell you all the things you are NOT supposed to do because the label isn’t big enough, the packaging would be horrendous, and no one can think of all the stupid stuff you shouldn’t do. Truth be told, if you see something stupid on the warning label it is because someone actually did it. No kidding.

People still need to use common sense. I realize the stuff is in short supply these days, but we really really gotta have people think before they do stuff.

So, I am sure by now you have heard the Gorilla Glue incident. I don’t know about you, but I have been glued to it since I heard about it. I have read every story I can get a hold of. The tears of laughter just spray from my eyes because I can’t believe the ridiculousness of it all.

If you haven’t of it, good job not paying attention to what is going on in the world! Ignorance is bliss, so they say.

Anyway, I think the lesson here is that you can get into a pretty sticky situation if you let your vanity get in the way of common sense. You’re going to get stuck with something you didn’t expect. And once the consequences hit, you’re probably going to come unglued.

All right, I’ll stop.

It isn’t nice to make fun of stupid people. But it sure it fun!

Minty eye

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There is some danger in brushing your teeth. I know this isn’t probably widely talked about, but your toothbrush and toothpaste container may have it out for you if you’re not careful.

I was brushing my teeth a couple days back (yes, I brush them every day. Gross. Don’t make it sound like it is an occasional thing…) and I had something happen to me that I haven’t had happen in 48+ years. It was surprising to say the least and it STUNG LIKE HELL (like heat cream in the jock strap kind of sting!).

Here’s how it went down:

Minding my own business and going through my morning routine. Picked up the toothbrush, picked up the tube of toothpaste, and proceeded to carefully apply said paste to brush. I have done this a lot, so I don’t take a lot of particular care in application but I always try to make sure there isn’t a bunch of leftover hanging out of the tube when I close the lid (no one like the toothpaste crust on the outside of the nozzle). As the toothpaste reached the last few bristles of the brush, the bristles caught the edge of the tube opening…

Catapult!

Picture the films of back in the day when they used catapults to throw big rocks over the walls of castles and forts and whatnot. Only this time the catapult was flinging toothpaste.

In less than the blink of an eye (I literally watched the white glob fly at me) minty-fresh, teeth-whitening Colgate landed in the corner of my eye.

There was no Matrix effect for me to dodge it. There was no time to blink. There was no time to flinch.

“Eye, meet toothpaste. It’ll be staying for a while, and it will be uncomfortable, so buckle up for this ride.”

Stinging, blinking profusely, scrunched face, I tried to complete the job of brushing my teeth. It was tough. It took 23 minutes for the stinging to go away.

So yeah, if you want to sniff my minty eye some time let me know.

Wink wink, blink blink, wink wink.

Smoke alarm

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First night home from vacation and a loud noise interrupts the peace. A loud, piercing, and from a dead sleep, shrieking noise. Dazed and confused but somewhat aware of what all the racket was about, I hoped outta bed and threw on some clothes.

On the way out the bedroom door, the youngest man-child in the family was apologizing for having set off the fire alarms (the whole house is wired so when one goes off, they all go off). He was making corn dogs in the middle of the night, to be precise that would be of the 12:30ish AM variety of the middle of the night.

So, after waving a pillow profusely over my head at the fire alarm so that air would move and it would no longer detect smoke, I tossed the pillow on the couch and gave him a rather irritated look.

So, what they hell?

What is with teens and late teens staying up all hours of the night and causing the old people in the house to lose sleep because they make so much racket? Talking to friends, playing video games, making food, dropping things, knocking stuff over, and everything else that you can think of that makes noise…all to our dissatisfaction and loss of sleep. Can’t you just be like “normal” people and go to bed at a civilized hour?

Yeah, yeah, it’s probably our fault some how.

I’ll tell you what though, nothing is more frustrating that waking up to the fire alarm because the non-adults can’t monitor their food while everyone else is sleeping.

Good night.

Worst ever

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There are a lot of lists out there for lots of different things: best, worst, most visited, most traveled, highly valued, etc etc etc. I am not going to jump into that trend because quite frankly the news media outlets do that crap just to generate clicks. I am not much of a bandwagoner so I will avoid that trend.

But, I am going to give a “worst ever” item. The list is only one item, so it won’t take long to read.

So, here we go…the three worst words to see or hear:

“Vacation is over.”

I was standing in the shower and I realized that I don’t like hearing or seeing those words in that order!

I have about 24 hours left of vacation and it has been a very relaxing and restful time away. I don’t want it to end. I just want it to keep on going.

Today’s post will be short and I am going to get off of here and go soak up as much of this vacation as I have left.

See ya next week.

Surprising

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There are some fruits that I can’t stand. Many of them I developed an aversion to when I was younger and have avoided them ever since. It’s probably because of texture or because of flavor, but I decided way back when that I didn’t like them and have maintained that stance since then.

Yesterday, I was surprised. I had a grapefruit I actually liked. Normally the fruit is kinda nasty to me, so the fact that I even tried it was surprising.

Interestingly, I liked it enough to try it again today and I still liked it.

Now, this is probably an anomaly since they are so sweet. I don’t know exactly the variety, but they look like a traditional pink grapefruit. I have no idea why it is so sweet, but the grapefruit I pulled off the tree in my parents’ yard in Palm Springs is just downright tasty. I have now decided that I would eat at least a half of grapefruit every morning while I am here. It is almost like candy…except supposedly better for me.

I doubt this will change my outlook on them when I return home though. I will probably avoid them like before.

But for a short time, I am going to enjoy the surprising treat.

Just like home

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I don’t want it to be just like home.

Vacation. When you leave home for vacation, especially when you live in the Northwest where it is cold and wet all the time, you want to leave for a place that will be warm and sunny. Whatever happens, you want the weather to be different than what you had at home.

Palm Springs hasn’t delivered yet, and the forecast says it won’t the rest of the week either. Last week it was in the 80’s.

Yesterday, the first day here, it was cold, wet, and windy. It was actually stormy. Today, the sun is out to some degree but the dark heavy clouds are zipping my at a high rate of speed since the wind is blowing harder than the blower at the end of a car wash.

Disappointing, to say the least. I was expecting some warm weather down here. Not so much.

Guess there really will be time to relax since I’ll be stuck inside.

Bummer.

Grumpy pants

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OK, I’ll admit it. I’m feeling a little like a grumpy pants today. Did I wake up on the “wrong side of the bed”? Nope. Just feeling grumpy. Not sure why. Just am.

Do you have days like this? Where all you want to do is scream from the top of your lungs, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Yep. Today is one of those days for me.

Not that anyone is really bothering me, per se, but there is much to do at work and I don’t want to do it. There is much to do at home and I don’t want to do it.

I would prefer not to have anyone call me, see me, email me, message me, talk to me, look at me.

Actually, now that I think about it…I kinda feel like Bernie Sanders looked yesterday at the inauguration. Not that he was actually grumpy (at least not that I have heard), just that he didn’t look like he was all that pleased or excited to be there. He was probably just cold, but the image and all the memes being generated kind of says it all.

(Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

Just leave me alone and all will be good. Just let me hang out in my grumpy pants and be me.

That is all.