Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kentucky Trip

Just got back from the big CAR TRIP to Kentucky! Duane bid on a car on e-bay, but his top bid didn't meet the reserve price, so the auction kind of "sputtered out". He contacted the seller to see if they could work something out, but the guy said that someone else was interested.

Duane left it at "well, if the other deal doesn't work out, call me and we'll talk". The other deal DID fall through, and the guy was eager to get rid of the car, so Duane got a pretty good deal on it. It's a 1978 Buick Riviera, and is black and gray, and REALLY, REALLY big!

So, we flew to Kentucky to pay for, and get the car, and then drove it back to Minnesota...QUITE the long journey, but actually quite fun. The inside of the car is HUGE, with leather seats, and, considering that it's almost 30 years old, in REALLY good condition (see interior photo attached)!

We weren't sure how it would do on the way back, but, except for the engine coolant boiling over because the car only had HALF the antifreeze it was supposed to have, and the glitch in which the wipers started flapping crazily, and then whirring and "thumping" at the base of the window until the fuse was removed, it all went very smoothly. We met some LOVELY mechanics along the way (SHOUT OUT to the guys at Firestone in Indianapolis, Indiana....THANKS for your help!).

On the way back, we stopped in Galena, Illinois for a few days. LOVELY town, and we stayed at a FABULOUS bed and breakfast, but it rained most of the time we were there. The shops were great, and the old buildings and architecture were amazing. I took about 200 photos! I highly recommend the Admiral's Park Avenue B&B. Sharon is a hoot, the beds are REALLY comfortable, and the breakfasts are delightful! I also recommend eating at Fried Green Tomatoes, an upscale DELICIOUS Italian restaurant on Main Street...the garlic bread and salad before the meal are TO DIE FOR!

After one day and two nights (we got in REALLY late on Saturday night after driving through Kentucky, Indiana, and most of Illinois), we continued the drive back to Eagan. We went through Greeley, IA and Strawberry Point, IA so that Duane could see the places that his aunt and uncle and cousin used to live. Got some GREAT photos in both towns, and we ate at a cafe in Strawberry Point called "The Franklin Hotel Coffee Shop". The food was GREAT, but the service wasn't. Didn't take that long, but, by Twin Cities standards, that place wouldn't stay in business a week!

Drove back over some flooded creeks and rivers, but nothing nearly as bad a Minnesota City, and the other parts of South Eastern Minnesota that were recently deluged with rain and floods. My heart goes out to them...what a mess!

I had some reservations about going on this trip...wasn't sure AT ALL that the car would make it, and really wasn't sure WHY Duane wanted another car anyway, but, it's a REALLY NICE car, and we had some REALLY great together time, and it was REALLY great to get out of the cities for awhile!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hate the Mall!

Was actually contemplating NOT quitting the job at the mall this week, but, after several "incidents" have decided that I can't WAIT to get the heck out of there.

First incident, a very nice woman came in as soon as we opened on Monday and needed FOUR custom gift baskets made up to be delivered around the city. Fine...no problem, except that I work alone for the first hour of the morning, and no one was there to help the OTHER customers that came in the store. NONE of the basket making supplies that I needed were stocked (fill, ribbon, etc.), and I couldn't go to the back room, and leave the floor "unmanned", to get the stuff I needed.

Luckily, Bobbi came in early, and was willing to start early to take care of the other people that came in, and free me up to spend the next hour and a half making, shrink wrapping, addressing, and couriering them out.

Second incident, and the one that REALLY made me ready to quit IMMEDIATELY, was a $@#!& (rhymes with "witch") of an old biddy that came in. Robin and David and the girls stopped in, and were JUST getting ready to go, when Abigail gave me a hug. I was standing near the salsa display, and her hand bumped a jar of salsa and sent it crashing to the floor, where it broke and made a lovely mess.

Abigail is going through a "doesn't handle embarassment very well" phase, and burst into tears. As I'm trying to calm her down, aformentioned $@#!& says "I think HE did it" (referring to me). My back was to her, and I remained focused on Abigail. A few seconds later, $@#!& says "sir, you should turn around and look at this" (referring to the mess). After thinking "butt out...this doesn't concern you", and continuing to focus on Abigail, she says AGAIN "sir, you should take care of this" (or something similarly NOT HER CONCERN, and EQUALLY annoying).

I turned around to see that, YES, there was a jar of salsa broken on the floor. She looked fine, and didn't seem to be splattered or anything, so I went back to Abigail, who was still hysterically crying into Robin's stomach. APPARENTLY, over-priviledged, self-absorbed, biddy wasn't used to not being fawned over, and made a big deal of, so went to Helga (my co-worker), and said something to the effect of "he should be more concerned about his customers, and not worry about a crying child" (among other whiny, "holier than thou" things that I won't go into detail about now)...ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!! What PLANET is she from...the world of "I'm an old crochety woman, who's had her way for WAY too long, and didn't have someone "slap me down" in my formative years to keep me from becoming such a HAG" land??!!

David, the brother-in-law, came over a minute or two later, and said that the $@#!& was "ragging on me" to Helga. I looked at him, and said, "do I seem concerned at all?", which I wasn't (what are they going to do...fire me?!) and saw them calmly out the door.

I'M SURE the hoity toity, rich HAG will be calling corporate to report my "insensitivity to her candy purchasing needs", but, as I mentioned earlier, I DON'T GIVE A RIP. People like that SO annoy me! TRUST ME...if I HAD turned around to talk to her, I probably would have been fired on the spot...the things that I THOUGHT of saying to her were NOT exactly "customer service" friendly... That whole "the customer is always right" BULLSHIT is for the birds. My new motto is "if they're stupid and annoying, let them know that they are stupid and annoying, and REALLY should be focusing their purchasing dollars in another direction" (like education, therapy, or some sort of etiquette classes)(which is ALSO why I need to get out of retail...before I get slapped or arrested by the "customer service" police...).

I CAN'T WAIT to end this STUPID job....I'm REALLY not enjoying it...AT ALL...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bridge Collapse

What a CRAZY last few days this has been! That a 40 year old bridge can just DROP into the river is UNBELIEVALBE (as is watching the video of the bridge actually falling...check out CNN's website for the video)!

We're all fine. Robin had been across the bridge a COUPLE OF TIMES earlier in the day, but was with the family at the mall when it dropped. Duane WAS downtown at a business dinner (which I THANKFULLY didn't know about until later!), but he was on the other side of downtown.

I was working at the mall, and only got bits and pieces from various customers as they came into the store. My first call of the evening came from the manager of the store, who had left to go home about 30 minutes earlier. She doesn't take that route, so was fine. My dad called a little while later to let me know that HE had heard the news from a cousin in San Diego!

I left a couple of messages for Robin and Dave, and for Duane, but only got voice mail. Being a worrier, I started getting a little nervous...especially when no one returned my calls. Finally dad called back to say that he had been in touch with Robin and Dave, and, a few minutes later they stopped in the store. What a relief!

Didn't hear from Duane until about 9:45, and by then I was a little freaked out. I was pretty sure he was just "out and about". but it's not like him to be out all evening, and not to return my call fairly quickly...oy! Had I known he was actually DOWNTOWN at the time, I would TOTALLY have freaked.

Have had some LOVELY calls from old friends checking up on me. Dianne in Birmingham, Pat in Nebraska, Shellie in Des Moines, George in Tingley, Kelly in Seattle, mom and dad...nice to know that people are concerned!

Pray for the people that were NOT so fortunate. Several families, and lots of lives were altered by this HORRIBLE calamity. I can't help but wonder if our "no new taxes" governor is quite as smug these days. Turning down the big transporation bill last year certainly seems like a mistake now...!!!!