Saturday, July 30, 2016

No, I am NOT taking off my skirt!

So I bought a new skirt while I was in Indiana. It's a cute black skirt with little metallic plastic rings all over the front of it. It actually did occur to me as I was buying it that the back scatter machines at the airport would probably have a stroke with it and flag each ring as an "anomaly" requiring further attention. The thing is, most of the time I get to use the TSA pre-check line these days and get to just walk through the good old fashioned metal detector, and I figured that since the rings were plastic, it wouldn't matter.

I was wrong. 

Before heading through the metal detector, I took off my heels, because they will almost always set off the metal detector, and then I stepped through. I thought that I'd made it as it took the machine a moment, but it did eventually alarm and I was asked to step back out.
The TSA inspector took one look at my skirt and said "Yeah, it's probably the rings."  He continued to look me over and then continued "You might try taking off . . ." And here he hesitated so I chimed in and interrupted him.
"Uh no, I am not taking off the skirt!" I told him with a laugh. He laughed, and then started over.
"You might try taking off your bracelet." He completed his statement with a grin. "Or you could just step into the scanner and then get a pat down."

Ok, so I stepped into the damn back scatter scanner and then joined the TSA inspector running that machine in a good laugh as it flagged my entire skirt for further inspection. So yeah, I had the pleasure of a rather intimate pat down by a female TSA agent. 
I have to wonder about all of the stories that I hear about people being mistreated by the TSA because I've never really had a problem. Yeah, I got pulled aside for the dreaded "pat down", but they were very professional and the woman that performed the inspection was very thoughtful and concerned that I be aware of everything that she was going to do, and that I was all right with it. So yeah, an annoyance, but an understandable and minor one at most. I've always been polite to them, and they have always been polite to me.

It kind of pisses me off about the skirt though, because I like it but I don't want to go through that song and dance every time that I fly, so it probably won't get worn often.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Breakfast is from 10 Am to 6 AM

Yawn. As usual, I had to be up at oh dark thirty. For those of you that were never in the Army, that means Damn Early. It’s about 5 AM in the morning and I am in the downstairs bathroom putting on my makeup when I hear someone coming down the stairs. Most of my family knows all about me (except my youngest son) but I am still not eager to have them see me, and so I was a bit nervous as I peeked out the door to see my wife headed down the  stairs.
“What, are you crazy?” I asked her teasingly.
“Nah, I just couldn’t sleep.” She replied in a tired voice, and then made her way to the coffee pot. I thought about tossing in the towel and cleaning the makeup off, but I had most of it done, and I had an entire day to spend in airports ahead of me – I didn’t want to spend it all regretting a lost opportunity to be me for a bit, and so I carried on. Besides, I'd shaved my legs and painted my damn nails for this! 

When I was ready to go, and had my back pack on and my hand on my suitecase, we gave each other a brief kiss good bye. My wife is Five foot and two inches tall, and in heels I have to be about six foot, two or three, so I kind of giggled at how far down I had to bend to reach her.
“You’re kind of short you know? I’d ask you how I look but I’m afraid that you would give an honest opinion.” I told her with a grin. Yeah, that would have been her big chance to say something either uplifting or crushingly depressing, but all I got was the sound of crickets outside of the waiting door. Well, she didn’t say anything to make me crash and burn, so I guess I’ll take what I can get . . .

Having my face fried a few weeks ago (laser hair removal) has helped a bit and the damn beard shadow wasn’t as prominent, and so my confidence is perhaps a little higher. Not high, mind you, just higher than it was. I guess the improved attitude showed because I found people willing to engage with me in conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure they knew full well what I am, but when you exude contentedness instead of anxiety, people are a lot more inclined to strike up a conversation with you. I was sitting in the gate area of the Austin airport waiting for my flight to Chicago, when a family came and sat down across from me. The husband was looking a little frazzled as he spoke to his wife.
“Our flight has been delayed by about an hour. That’s not too bad.” He told her.
Of course I almost panicked, because I only had 50 minutes to catch my connection as it was, so an hour delay meant I was 100% sure to miss my connecting flight. I guess my panic was obvious as I frantically looked at the monitor above the gate, because the young man started laughing.
“No no, you’re all right. We are on that flight over there – not yours!” he said, while pointing at the gate next to mine.
I started laughing with relief.
“It was that obvious huh? I only have 50 minutes to catch my connection, so you scared the hell outta me!”

OK, speaking of only having 50 minutes to catch your connection (which by the time my flight landed turned out to actually be 35 minutes) if I ever wear four inch heels to Chicago O’Hair with such a short connection time again, would someone please slap the shit outta me? I looked up a map of the airport later and discovered that you just about literally could not have placed my landing and departing planes farther from each other and still remained within the confines of the airport. That was a LONG walk to make quickly in any shoes, let alone four or five inch stilettos.
By the time I got to my connecting flight, I was “perspiring” (a kind way of saying sweating like mad) and I probably smelled like a goat. None the less, the woman sitting next to me on the plane took the time to tell me that she thought my shoes were awesome. I’m pretty sure that was female speak for “Are you fucking crazy wearing those to the airport?”

At long last, I arrived in Indianapolis where I got my rental car and made the hour drive south to my hotel. I was checked in by a super cute young lady who had almost certainly never encountered anyone like me before. She was awesome, but clearly a nervous wreck. Among other signs that she was nervous . . .
“OK, we have breakfast every morning from 10 Am to 6 AM . . . “ she started off. I just looked at her for a second with my head cocked slightly to the side to show her that something didn’t compute.
“Oh! I mean from 6 AM to 10 AM!” she corrected herself with a nervous giggle.
“It’s OK,” I told her with a wink and then batted my eyes, “I have that effect on people sometimes. . . “
I suck at it, but I’d rather leave them with a giggle than to leave them nervous.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pull up, pull up!

I keep telling myself that I aint gonna do this anymore, that no woman in her right fricking mind would drag over a hundred pounds of tools, spares, and luggage through airports while wearing heels and a skirt. Then the next trip comes up and I have the chance to me for a few hours, and off I go!
I’ve never made it a secret that my voice does me no favors, so you wont be surprised to hear that when the parking shuttle bus driver asked the entire bus load of people which airlines they needed, I kept quiet at first, hoping that someone else would speak up and call out my airline so that I wouldn’t have to. Nope, apparently I was the only one on the bus taking American Airlines, so yeah, I had to yell it rather loudly. I'd swear that every head on the bus turned my way . . .
If you fly often enough, at some point you will hear the pilots going through their pre-flight checks. Somewhere in this process, you will often hear a artificial voice saying “Pull up . . . Pull up!” Presumably this is testing some sort of "you are about to crash into the ground and die" warning system. Anyway, as I was boarding the teeny tiny plane from DFW to Peoria IL the pilots were both standing at the door greeting passengers, and shortly after I walked by them I hear one of them laughingly tell the other “Pull up, pull up!”  I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or be offended. . .

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Didn't do myself any favors . . .

After a string of thefts from my yard, we installed security cameras all around our house. You might still get away with stealing something from my yard now, but the odds are real good that I am going to get a good look at you when you do. Anyway, it has become my habit to check the cameras when I am away from home, just to make me feel a little better, and to make sure that all is well with my family while I am away. Well, a week or so ago I took a trip to Broken Arrow Oklahoma, and there I am surfing through our camera footage that night when I see yours truly getting into the truck that very morning to leave.
That was a mistake. . .
See, here I am trying to fool myself into thinking that I am somewhat passable, and the video said not only no, but HELL no. I looked like a line backer with pretty hair. Not exactly the look that I was going for.
So, important note to self - do not look at the camera feeds if you're gonna be in it . . .

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I aint giving it back!

My customers have found out that I am now back to business as normal and my services seem to be in high demand all of the sudden. I am running my butt off, and that is not necessarily a bad thing as I have plenty of extra butt to loose these days. Sitting on my backside at the same customer for nine months has not done my weight or physical condition any favors. Anyway, this last week, I made the 7 hour drive from Austin to Broken Arrow OK where a good customer of mine had five instruments put aside for me to work on. I hope it is a sign of an improved economy, but apparently they have been extremely busy, and they are working their equipment to the failure point. 

I had to spend a good hour going through my closet looking for something that fit and looked at least modestly flattering. Nine months of sitting on my ass in a cubicle has gifted me with over 15 extra pounds. I’ve got rid of 5 of them by now but still have 10 more to go. Damn it.  I’ve also recently gone back for a touch up on my laser hair removal and now clearly recall why I stopped going - DAMN that shit HURTS!

Shortly after you cross the Texas/Oklahoma border on Highway 75, you encounter the Choctaw Casino.  You drive for miles and miles, and there is nothing, followed by more nothing, and then out of the blue is this freaking HUGE Casino in the middle of nowhere. This is about mid-way on my drive, and so I will often take a break here and go make a modest donation to the Choctaw Nation.  I put $10 into the slot machine, and on my second roll I won $50! Now I aint always the sharpest tool in the shed, but I wasn’t about to give them a chance to take that money back, so I cashed out right then and there, and headed north!

I’m off to Detroit this week, and then back for another week in Indiana to check in on our new guy and make sure all is well. See ya’!