Buffer

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

I made a mistake. I think (at least I think I think) I knew better, but I ignored my better instincts that told me I should do something that I did not.

I should have left a buffer day between returning from vacation and going back to work.

This getting home late and then getting up early for work stuff is terrible.

Of course, now I am on the second day back at work but I can now see that yesterday was a terrible day. There was just too much to do on the personal side of things to get caught up on time to work on the work side of things too. That cause stress…probably self-imposed stress, but stress nonetheless.

I think it is smart to include that buffer day. A day to catch up on home stuff, ease back into the regular schedule, and mentally prepare for what is to come once back at work. I didn’t do the buffer day because I was trying to be frugal with the vacation days. Not that I have to be, that’s just the way I am.

Anyway, regular schedule is back in full swing and I am not fully adjusted. But, it is what it is.

Retirement looks better and better, 20 years from now…

The road seems so long.

Travel day

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

The trip home will begin shortly and I don’t like using the app the write. So, I’ll update you on how the return home goes tomorrow.

I already know there will be a less comfortable trip based on an email I got a couple days ago…so there’s that to look forward to.

Catch ya tomorrow!

The worst bed

Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

I’ve done it folks! I think I have discovered the worst bed in Arizona.

This trip to Arizona hasn’t exactly been a relaxing one. As you may have read in a recent post, dividing time between two parts of your family who haven’t seen you (in person) for at least a year is a challenge to say the least. On top of that, they both want you to stay with them so they get a little time with you while the other part of the family isn’t around.

We started out at my sister-in-law’s house. Big, spacious, and pretty much a space that was just for us in the downstairs portion of the house. All the amenities and most importantly, a bed that was comfortable. Sure, it wasn’t home, but it was at least as good as a hotel.

Now, we are at my in-laws and they have a hide-a-bed to sleep on. This is the first time I have been to their place since they moved down here so I didn’t know what was in store for me. When I walked into the room and saw it folded out I knew I was in trouble. I could already see from the mattress that there was a curve in it and “the middle” would become a dreaded sleeping space. There isn’t the usual bar to sleep on, so there is that. But, the bed is too soft and the pillows too flat. It is killing my back and my neck. The neck issues I am having are now only amplified, which means ibuprofen every day and an unplanned trip to the chiropractor when I get home.

Sleep has been tough to come by.

So, if ever in AZ, don’t stay at my in-laws. You have been duly warned.

Tug-o-war

The tug-o-war is a struggle while on vacation. You are being pulled this way and that. You are torn between two sets of family who both have missed you, who have looked forward with anticipation to your arrival, and ultimately have planned out every waking moment of your visit.

Here in Arizona, there are two sets of relatives to visit – the inlaws and the sister-n-law’s family. When you only have a week during your vacation, your time has to be split between both and that is the challenge. How do you keep both happy and feel like you have spent enough time with both? In the end, someone is likely going to feel like they got the short end of the stick.

So, this vacation isn’t shaping up to be all that relaxing. It will be go go go the whole time and if it isn’t one it will be the other.

Yesterday’s adventure left out one family but it did have provide for a unique experience as there was a visit to a national park where wild horses roam free. There was a good chance the horses wouldn’t be spotted since they go where they please and one would never know where to find them unless you were in a helicopter looking for them.

Anyway, as it happens, we got very lucky and they were literally less than a hundred yards from us since they had come down to water at the river. A magnificent site they are! Kind of felt like the Old West for a moment. Just sitting there on the bank of the river, watching and listening as they did their thing. I am sure the horses probably feel the tug-o-war war between modern society and the quiet solitude of the wild, something they really have no control over.

Well, despite the push and pull of family obligations, this was a gratifying experience and I am thankful that I was lucky enough to catch this site on the very first visit.

“Walmart” of the sky

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.com

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.

Worst ever

Photo by Ann Nekr on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Zsu00f3fia Fehu00e9r on Pexels.com

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

Photo by P C on Pexels.com

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.

Wait times…

Photo by cheptu00e9 cormani on Pexels.com

“Wait times maybe be longer than usual due to higher than anticipated call volumes.”

We’re all familiar with that little phrase, right? We have all be stuck on hold with companies that play this over and over while you sit and wait for someone that isn’t a robot recording to pick up the actual phone and talk to you. In times of an emergency or in times when your system isn’t working as designed, I can see a legitimate reason for getting this message.

What is irritating is that you don’t have the ability to answer a high call volume should it happen or you have purposely caused your system to be overloaded because you caused it to be by your actions.

Case in point:

You send an email to all your subscribers with an offer to add something to their account for free for a limited time.

BUT, in order to take advantage of this offer you have to have your customers actually call you, thus clogging up your phone system.

NOT, make it available to be done on your website with a special code to make the discount apply when it would normally be done there in the first place.

Yeah, that’s good marketing!

Who came up with this idea? Why would you require an action be done over the phone when said action could be done on the website you have for doing said action? Makes no sense.

Irritating and takes advantage of your customer’s time.

Double

Photo by Rathaphon Nanthapreecha on Pexels.com

Double. More than double. But not for your pleasure.

A new licensing fee appeared on the renewal form for the car I drive most, a hybrid. It wasn’t there last year, but appeared this year and it more than doubled the cost of registering my vehicle. There was no mention of this fee anywhere in the media, that I can find, until after the fact that it was applied to people’s licensing fees. Surprise! The cost of registering your vehicle more than doubled!

The biggest kicker, I am paying a fee for something I don’t use, an electric vehicle charging station (and those this fee is supposedly going to build). Thus the word HYBRID, meaning it powers itself by using two different types of fuel.

I tell you, bigger government means bigger fees. Always. There is never an exception to this. Ever. The problem is that many times the fees aren’t actually used for the stated purpose, nor do they totally justify the collection of the fee in the first place.

Why is the government in charge of building charging stations for electric vehicles? Why is it that those not driving plug-in cars are paying a fee to plug in a car that won’t plug in?

The epitome of what is wrong with government. I mean there is a LOT wrong with our government, at many different levels, but this is just another fine example of why so many people dislike and don’t trust the government.