Back from the Beach with Sand in my Brain

I’m back from the beach and at least 2 shades less pale than I was last week. Yay! For the first time in I can’t remember how many years I didn’t end up with any sunburn in random spots. So that’s pretty awesome. I’m usually the person with a burned splotch on the back of my arm or a white hand print on the back of my bright red thigh (true story).

Me and Potter starting our trip to OC

My plans were for me to go down on Saturday and meet my friend Lea for the first half of the week. So I loaded up my FJ, put Potter in his crate and hit the road.

After a delicious stop at Sonic for an Ocean Water and some tots, Potter was liberated from the crate for the last hour of the ride, where he very happily licked my window and watched traffic inch by.

Since Saturday to Tuesday was my “girly” half of the week, we made sure to have lots of wine on the beach, watch a bunch of chick flicks and enjoy a ton of ‘all you can eat’ seafood. It was pretty relaxing and uneventful, except for the wild horses of Assateague wandering on the beach a couple times each day.

Although everyone gets the warning paperwork when they pay for their beach pass, people still don’t realize that they should stay away from the horses.

Wild horse on the beach

Last year we watched as the horses stuck their heads in people’s food bags and threw the food all over the place. This year, Lea and I laughed our heads off as one of the horses made himself comfortable on someone’s beach blanket and then decided to pee, well, like a racehorse.

The next day, the sea air put another horse in an amorous mood and I’m sad to say I witnessed horse sex from way closer then I ever would have wanted. And no, I don’t have a picture of that. Lea tried to get her camera out in time and run over to take a picture, but I sat on my blanket and laughed so hard that I started crying.

Lea left on Tuesday, so Potter and I were on our own until Travis came down to the Ocean on Wednesday.

We took Potter for a walk on the beach one night and I really wish I had gotten a picture of how happy he was to be running around in the sand. It’s hard to believe that this is the same dog that was on the brink of death last month.

Potter in the FJ's side mirror

I did get this shot of him longingly looking out the window on our drive down to Assateague.

Pretty much the only difference between “girly” part of the week and the last part with Travis was that beer replaced wine, action movies replaced chick flicks and I ate even more ‘all you can eat’ seafood. Honestly, I’m surprised that crabs and shrimp didn’t chase me around on the beach to get revenge for me eating so many of their cousins.

Anyways, I’m back home even though my brain is a bit mushy right now. I’m looking forward to another day off before I head back into work and count the minutes until I’m back to being stressed out again.

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Visiting Vegas

Since I had a trip to Vegas planned, I knew that I’d be completing one of the tasks on my “Project Me” list pretty quickly. I’ve been to both Reno and Atlantic City a few times, but have never been to that brightly lit gambling mecca known as Vegas, baby!

It was an annual employee reward trip through work, but there was only one group event that we had to attend. The rest of the time we were free to roam wild and experience Vegas on our own. I brought my husband with me, so we explored together.

Instead of giving you a boring play-by-play of everything we did during the four days we were there, I’ll just give you my top highlights.

My shoe choice proves (once again) that I’m not a cool kid

The Vegas Strip is about 4 miles long — FOUR miles of snazzy buildings to look at and people to dodge (who stop directly in front of you to look at the snazzy buildings). So please tell me why 80% of the women are wearing 3+ inch heels to walk around?? I love sexy heels as much as the next girl, and even have a saucy gold pair that I’ve named my “Wonder Woman shoes” because they make me feel like I can take on the world. That doesn’t mean that I want to put them on to go and walk a few miles! The ladies who weren’t wearing their stripper shoes were wearing flip flops, which also aren’t considered distance walking shoes in my world. I wore a super cute pair of Saucony Bullet sneakers. Not quite “mom shoes” but definitely not as cute as the other girls. However, I’d prefer not to be whining and limping in pain after a few miles.

The Vegas Traffic Jam

Imagine that you’re walking a brisk pace down a sidewalk and the person in front of you comes to a complete stop for no particular reason. Now imagine that happening everywhere you go – that’s Vegas. Every block we were on or casino we visited had these people just waiting for us to come by so that they could run ahead of us and then throw on their brakes.

Most “OOOOOHHH” moment

This would have to be a tie of seeing the bright lights of the Vegas Strip at night (especially the Eiffel Tower) and checking out the inside of the Venetian. I knew that there was a canal that ran through the hotel with gondoliers, but that didn’t really prepare me for the fact that there was a FREAKING CANAL running through the hotel with GONDOLIERS???!!! The ceiling was high and curved, with clouds painted on it and lit to look like the sky. It was simply amazing. Travis and I had dinner at a little restaurant overlooking the canal and if I squinted my eyes while listening to the gondolier’s singing I could almost make myself believe that it was Italy.

Most “AWWWWWwww” moment

My husband and I purchased tickets to see the NitroCircus, a crazy stunt show where guys and gals on dirt bikes, BMX bikes, skateboards, scooters, wheelchairs, etc. do jumps, flips and tricks. To say that it was insane would be a massive understatement. The entire show was high energy with amazing tricks and 10 different attempts at World Records (some of which were successful). Well, the main daredevil rider, Travis Pastrana, interrupts the show to slide down the 8 story tall ramp on his knees. His long-time girlfriend, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins (a professional skateboarder also performing in the show) was standing there at the bottom. He called her the love of his life, pulled a ring out of his pocket and proposed. It was so unexpected and so sweet, especially when she grabbed his microphone to say “yes” and then covered him in kisses.

The Moment I Snapped

It was on our third day, which was our main day of sightseeing on the strip. I was a bit worn down from lack of sleep, the heat and those damn people who kept getting in my way. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

My husband and I had walked for a really, really long time and were about to enter a hotel through some of those revolving doors. When we entered our pizza slice of a door slot, the man in the slice in front of us must have had a brain-fart because he slowed down so much that he almost stopped walking. Something in me snapped – I had ENOUGH of people just stopping in front of me!! I grabbed the door and gave it a giant push, moving it so fast that the guy got a scared look on his face and jumped out just in time to not be taken around for another loop.

Travis and I looked at each other and just started quickly walking while I tried to hold in my giggles. I kept seeing that startled/frightened look on the man’s face and imagining him getting stuck in the revolving doors. Soon, I was laughing so hard that tears were running down my cheeks and Travis was pretending that he didn’t know me. In fact, I’m kind of snickering right now thinking about it.

We had a great time in Vegas but it’s probably good that we came home when we did. We gambled some and ended up about even. It would have been nice to be able to see one of the Cirque de Soleil shows, but I’m pretty happy with everything we did get a chance to do.

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A Rambling Post About Complainers*

Be warned, I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post. It started out being about how some people really can find anything to complain about, then turned into a reminder about how communicating with your customer makes for good customer service. I think I still have ‘vacation brain’ with my thoughts flitting around and just ending up on tasty frozen drinks.

Anyways, I was reminded yet again on this year’s cruise that some people are just never going to be happy. You can put someone on a beautiful ship and provide them with tons of delicious food available 24/7, fun entertainment and amazing weather. However, you’ll still have people who are going to find something to complain about.

In our case, there was an obnoxious guy whose complaining caught the attention of one of our new friends. He could figure out ways to complain about anything and wasn’t shy in sharing his thoughts with anyone around. Nothing was good enough for this guy, and one of the things that he was annoyed about was that our ship was late into a port.

Now, everyone was a bit put off that the ship was late, but you are traveling by boat so weather does sometimes play a factor in how long it takes to get places. (There was a rumor going around that we were delayed because the ship waited for a couple who was late coming back from Disney World, but does it really matter why we were late?) Anyways, you can deal with the news by bitching, complaining and stomping your feet because your excursion was cancelled. Or you can accept it and enjoy the rest of the afternoon laying around the pool and drinking fruity drinks. I’m obviously in the fruity drink category.

In fact, most everyone was in the fruity drink category (oh yeah, it’s a thing now). Yes, most excursions were cancelled that day because we were a couple hours late. However, the cruise director noted in his announcements that all money would be refunded automatically so that nobody had to waste their time standing in line at the excursions desk. So, why bother getting all worked up about it? Frankly, it was kind of a bonus that $64 was refunded to our credit card and we got some extra time lazing around in the sun.

Showing that they care about the guest experience**, the cruise line tried to nip any discontent in the bud by not only making refunds painless, but also by offering another [unfortunately more expensive] excursion option. This notably lightened the mood around the pool and everyone seemed fine with the change. I mean, you’re on vacation and not working, that’s pretty much just a whole suitcase full of rainbows and butterflies right there.

However, there is always going to be someone who isn’t happy. And for some reason they tend to be the loud people that we all try to ignore. I’m pretty sure it’s not just me that always seems to know a Debbie Downer-type of person who can turn winning a new car into something to whine about.

I’ve had people complain to me about the fit of their company-provided polo shirt, the menu choices at a free event, their options for a holiday gift, even the venue choice for a tropical company trip to the Bahamas. Yes, people complain about these things. And no matter what you do in life, there is SOMEONE out there that isn’t going to be happy.

It’s really hard for me to just ‘not care’ and go on my way, because as a marketing person I have this innate desire for everyone to be happy with what I’ve worked on. However, I’m trying really hard to stay over here on the positive side of the street. When I hear someone start complaining (and believe me, it can start from anything!) and I want to stick my fingers in my ears and sing “lalalala” at the top of my voice, I just smile at them and listen to what they have to say. Most times they just want someone to listen to them complain. Then I shrug it off, walk away… and take my frozen margarita with me.

* In hindsight, I guess this post is really just me complaining about complainers. lol

**See I told you I’d get around to a whole different point in this blog post…rambling, rambling, rambling…

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