Thursday, February 2, 2017

Blah blah blah

 I headed to Dearborn Michigan this week and talk about a shock to the system! When I left Austin, it was 75 degrees. When I landed in Detroit, it was 19. That suuuuucccckkkksss  .. .

Usually I get the early morning flights, but I found a direct flight from Austin to Detroit leaving at about 1 PM and not only was it a direct flight, but it was also the least expensive flight available. It was kind of weird to not be getting up at 3 AM to get ready and out of the house before the children awoke for school, but I managed to adapt.  There was plenty of time to get the children ready and out the door, drink some coffee, fart around, and then get ready myself. I almost got a bit too complacent though, and in the end found myself running a bit late.

As the driver of the shuttle bus from the parking area to the Airport came up to my truck to help take my bags, he noticed the “My son is in the Navy” sticker on the back window and struck up a conversation with me.
“My son is in the Navy too!” he said, clearly beaming with a father’s pride. “Where is your son stationed?” he asked. Well, as it turns out, both of our sons are stationed in Virginia. No, I didn’t tell him my sons name as I figure he has enough shit to deal with without the possibility of someone giving him shit over what I am.

I received my first upgrade to First Class in quite some time and I don’t mind saying that it felt good to be in a comfortable seat with a bit more room! The man next to me kept looking at me and grinning, but I didn’t let it get to me. He has his life, and I have mine. One of the flight attendants went out of her way to tell me that she thought my shoes were cute, so there’s that I guess.

When it came time to board the Avis shuttle bus from the airport, I was surprised and grateful when the driver came back and started helping people, including me, to load their bags. The Avis drivers rarely do this these days. Not sure if it is an insurance thing, or a “driver don’t want to do the heavy lifting thing”, but since I was feeling old and tired, I was most grateful for the help.
As I said earlier, it was in the 70’s when I left Austin, so I was a little less than delighted to find it cold as hell, and snowing heavily as the driver dropped us off at the lot. I made my way to my car, made my typical walk around to be sure they weren’t giving me a car with damage that they were later going to try and pin on me, and then started to lift my bags into the hatchback.
“Hold on ma’am!” I heard a man say from behind me. I turned to see a young man in an Avis uniform, with a well-trimmed beard and no mustache, getting out of a car that he was parking behind me.
“Why don’t you go ahead and get in the car and out of the snow and I’ll put these in for you?” He asked politely. Honestly, I was exhausted and my leg was killing me (a bit more on that later) and so I was intensely grateful to him and told him as much.

Things went a little less smoothly at the Holiday Inn Express when I checked in. The clerk greeted me with kind words.
“Welcome to the Holiday Inn Express, and may I say that I like your dress?!” he said with a smile. Well, I wasn’t wearing a dress, but I figured that wasn’t really the point, so I thanked him with a smile. Once he had me all checked in, I made my way up to my room just to discover that neither key he had given me worked. Not much to be done about it, so I headed back down to the first floor, had him program the keys again, and then dragged my suitcase back to the room.

This time the key worked.  The heater however, didn’t  . . .

I tried the thermostat, noted that it was set to 75 but the room was at 60. Next I checked the wall unit and made sure it wasn’t meant to be operated from its own control panel, and then I made sure that it was plugged in. After all, I troubleshoot equipment for a living, and so I can work my own way through the basics. Having determined that it was nothing simple that I could address myself, I called the front desk.
“Guest services – how can I help you?” asked a cheerful voice.
“Yeah, my heater is dead and it’s just a bit too cold.” I replied. I began to tell him all of the things that I had checked but he interrupted me.
“Did you try to adjust it from the thermostat?” he asked in a somewhat condescending tone.
‘Well,’ I thought but didn’t say, ‘if you would have shut up long enough, I would have told you that!’
“Yes,” I told him. “I also . . .” Once again, he interrupted me.
“Did you see if you could operate it from the unit itself?” He asked.
“Yes, I tried both, the thermostat and the unit itself. The thermostat is set to 75 but . . .” I was going to say that the room was only at 60, thus proving the damned thing wasn’t working, but he interrupted me again.
“Ok, no problem. We will be glad to send someone up to look at it sir.” He said, still with that artificially cheerful tone in his voice.
“I’m not sure that there is any point to sending someone to look at it, as it is clearly dead.” I told him, and was about to ask him to simply give me another room when he interrupted me yet again!
“I understand. Hold on and we will have someone right up to look at it sir.”
Now I don’t typically get all wound around the axle about the “sir” thing. I know I don’t pass perfectly, so there is little point to getting upset about it. Given that he was talking to me on the phone and only had my voice to go on, I really couldn’t blame him. Still, I’d have to admit that it tweaked me just a bit, so there I sat fuming while I waited for someone to come do everything that I had already done.
 About five minutes later, I open the door after hearing a polite knock, and I allowed the young man to enter my room.
“The guy on the phone thinks I’m an idiot, doesn’t he?” I asked him with a laugh as he was looking at the thermostat.
“No, not at all!” he replied with the only answer he could have possibly given.  I then grinned as I watched him do everything that I had already done, and ultimately admit defeat.
“Yup, it’s lost its programming!” he told me. “I’m afraid that all we can do is move you to another room.”
“That’s pretty much what I thought myself.” I told him with a tired voice.
“I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you just wait here and I’ll go down and get you another room and bring you the keys?”
“That would be awesome – thank you!”
So the new keys AND the heater worked for the new room.

As is my usual habit, I opened my suitcase and made sure that I had a complete male outfit for work the following day. If I forget something important like, oh, say pants or shoes that are not high heels, I kind of want to know that before I wash all of my makeup off. I found that I hadn’t forgotten anything, and started to take my shoes off, just to discover that I couldn’t get my left shoe off. I pulled up my pant leg and realized that my left ankle was seriously swollen.  I’ve mentioned that I have Erythema Nodosum several times before, but this is by far the worst outbreak that I have ever had, and it has been going on for about a year now.  I wore pants specifically to hide the huge and ugly bumps on my legs, but the swelling of the ankle, far below the bumps, was a bit of a surprise! Sigh .  .

So the next day I completed my job pretty early in the afternoon and headed to the mall in boy mode to see a movie or two. I saw “Hidden Figures” and in my opinion, it was a great movie and I highly recommend it, especially if you have any geek or nerd in you. Any movie that can make you laugh AND make your eyes water a few times has got to be pretty well done.
I also watched the new “Resident Evil” movie. Honestly? Not that impressed with it.

When I was done with the movies, I figured “what the hell” and made my way through the malls “JC Penny” and “Macy’s” stores. I probably shouldn’t have done that. You never know what is going to trigger depression, but apparently for me, tonight, it was shopping.  Honestly I have little to be depressed about when I stop to consider things with my intellect, and yet I suddenly felt crushing depression. Not much of a man, definitely not much of a woman, walking alone as usual through a place that held nothing for me. Yeah, I know, I don’t really have any call to be depressed, and have a  life a WHOLE lot better than a hell of a lot of people, but logic really has nothing to do with depression. . .