From the category archives:

WORK SCHMERK

Y’all sick of my travel stories yet? Yeah, me too, trust me.

At this point, all I do is travel. This week, I was off to lovely Hot-lanta again. I was doomed from the start on this one. For starters, I missed my first flight by THIRTY SECONDS. That’s right, a mere fraction of a moment. Slid my passport (not that I need one for Atlanta but I look so cool when I whip it out, you know?) into the little machine at exactly 12:05, the clock turned to 12:06 as it processed my itinerary at which point the machine stuck it’s tongue out at me and said, “Too late loser!” This of course, is no ones fault but mine so I can’t really complain. What I didn’t need was Joe, the kindly security guy who I see every week at Terminal C in DFW who looked at my standby status and said, “Well, well, well….look at who didn’t make it on time today…” Thanks Joe, you are totally not getting that batch of homemade chocolate I was thinking about handing out over the holidays…

Here’s where it got tricky….went to the new gate to make sure I was on standby and that my upgrade request was in process and was told not only would I clear standby but would clear for First Class as well. HUZZAH!

Go hang out at Chili’s, watch some of the MJ Memorial service (which by the way, very touching indeed but in case you haven’t been watching the news, he is STILL DEAD today…move on people, move on…), go to the gate where I am told yes, I will still likely clear First Class but in the meantime, here is my boarding pass so I should kindly go take my seat and they will retrieve me for my rightful upgrade to the land of free food and wine.

Get to my seat and realize I am sitting next to a woman who has traveled from Mexico to DFW and is on her way to Atlanta with her two adorable children, age 3 and 11 months. “It’s okay” I tell her as she tries to shuffle things around without dropping the baby “I’m being upgraded to first class and you will have this row all to yourself!”

Famous last words.

Waited patiently for said upgrade which I don’t think I need to tell you never came through. The kids are starting to get restless at which point I tell her, “It’s really okay, I’m a Mom, I’ve been where you are….they can’t bother me.” She looked doubtful, I felt confident. That is, until they told us we had to hold at the gate for an hour due to bad weather in Atlanta. I can’t be positive, but I think the baby knew what the pilot said because at that exact moment she decided to begin howling. You could just see the pain on this woman’s face…and I have had this same expression. For some unknown reason, the baby started reaching for me and the Mom was trying to do damage control holding her back. The baby? Was having none of it. Again, I looked at the Mom and said, “Seriously, don’t worry about it, she’s not gonna bother me!”

What I didn’t know is that baby was out for blood.

Oh sure, she looked innocent enough. Probably one of the cutest babies I’ve seen in a while. However, the only thing that would make her happy was pulling my hair and being a Mom and knowing how stressful the whole plane thing can be, I let her. She calmed down after a while and we pulled back from the gate.

But then we got to the runway. And we got held again. For another hour. Mind you, I’m not complaining because given the choice of flying through rough weather and sitting next to Hair Pulling Baby? I’ll take the Hair Pulling Baby, thankyouverymuch. But what I didn’t know was hair pulling is apparently the gateway drug to another variation of torture, Claw Baby. Claw Baby was only happy when she was dragging her sharp little baby nails down my arm which greatly alarmed her mom. Again, I’m all about trying to maintain peace on the airplane so I said, “It’s okay, it doesn’t hurt that much and she’s not crying…don’t worry about it.” The squeals of glee from Claw Baby should have alarmed me but no, her cuteness was like Kryptonite is to Superman and I was totally defenseless to her spit bubble charms.

We finally took off and the mom and her kids all fell asleep. Claw Baby looked a little bit like this:

sleeping-angel

Possibly even cuter. Bless them, they had had a very long day, traveling since 7 am that morning and it was now 3:00. I settled into a really good book and enjoyed the silence. Claw Baby was asleep, looking like an angel when the guy next to me started talking really loudly and I was all, “OMG MAN…STOP TALKING….DO YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ME IF SHE WAKES UP????”

Wake up she did and this time, with a look of zealous glee she realized that if she grabbed the back part of my arm with her two tiny fingers and squeezed really hard, that was even more fun than clawing me and thus was born the scariest of all baby variations, Pinch Baby.

I was not fond of Pinch Baby at all.

So she pinched and she pinched and she pinched pinched pinched. And she laughed and she squealed, and then she pinched some more. And I gave the man next to me some really dirty looks.

We finally got to Atlanta and the mom asked me if I could hold Pinch Baby for just a minute while she gathered her stuff. Apprehensive, bruised and just worn flat out, I agreed even though I was fairly sure that the next iteration of this baby morphing would involve fire or at the very least blood, I put her on my lap. And you know what she did?

She grabbed my nose and pulled me down to her face and blew spit bubbles on my cheek and giggled.

And the world was good again.

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DJ Spin Me A Tune

by Mary Anne on February 24, 2009

I spent three days in Atlanta on sales calls last week. I’d tell you all about it but I’m still trying to bounce back from several things. Chief among them, my experience in the airport on Wednesday night. (Oh Atlanta? At some point we are going to need to have a very long conversation about your lack of clearly marked streets. I know we are in a recession but street signs have never been considered a luxury in my mind. Seriously. Think of it as a favor to the directionally challenged like me.)

Got to the airport two hours early for my flight. Could have caught the earlier flight but chose not to given the fact that the sky had opened and showered bright light down upon me when I was told I had been upgraded to first class on my return flight home. BOO-YAH!

The looming clouds in the sky should have been a sign I should get the heck out while I could….but no. I was too busy dancing the dance of the first class upgrade, imagining myself being catered to, well fed and rested upon my return home.

Flight. Choice. FAIL.

What was my first clue you ask? Well, the fact that there was no where to go and wait except for a tiny restaurant/bar with no seats for starters. Apparently, if you choose to fly American as I most often do being from Dallas, you get punished in Atlanta which is the hub for Delta. In this terminal there are two choices. First, Burger King which honestly I would have gladly chosen but it was closed and secondly, said tiny restaurant/bar…which was full. I finally found a place to wedge myself in and order a glass of wine. The man to my right was a nice guy, late fifties, very excited to tell me all about his mosquito killing products. To my left? Different story. Let me tell you, if ever find yourself sandwiched between a crazed DJ doing Jaeger bombs and a guy telling you about the latest in mosquito killing technology and can’t decide who to talk to? Choose the bug killer dude.

It all went well for the first hour or so. I learned more about killing mosquitoes than I ever have in my life and quietly read my book all the while counting how many Jaeger bombs this guy was going to throw back. (Lost count at five…) At some point during the second hour, the DJ (DJ Lou in case you were wondering) decided I was somehow interesting and started asking me a whole lot of questions about my sex life. I’m not sure if it was the wholesome pony tail or the velour track suit that screams “I Am Mommy” that started this line of questioning, but there it was. Still, there was exactly no where else to sit as all the flights were being canceled.

Proving that you should never utter the phrase, “I just don’t see how this can get any worse” the situation took at southward turn when DJ Lou ran out of Jaegermiester. Thankfully, they had tequilla on hand as well and he switched his liquor of choice. Still going strong with the sexual comments and questions, and now sweating profusely, I finally looked at him and asked what on earth he was thinking drinking like that and then asking me those questions.

“Well, for starters, the Valium I took earlier ain’t kicking in and you look like you can tell a dirty joke.”

Huh. DJ Lou had a point. I mean, I don’t know about the Valium and what not…but I can for sure throw out some of the raunchiest jokes ever heard and not bat an eye. But we weren’t done. DJ Lou wanted to spin for me and asked me what kind of tunes I liked in the tiny overcrowded bar. First answer: “Classical?” trying to throw him off. No go. Second answer: “Country?”. Still no go. Figuring out my age, DJ Lou chose to spin some 80′s tunes for me complete with the WHACKA WHACKA WHOOOO DJ sounds that I just don’t get because I haven’t been a club kid in a very, very long time.

As if this isn’t bad enough yet, all the rauchy LOUD sex questions combined with my personal DJ mix, at this point that I should tell you that DJ Lou was a big dude weighing in at at least 300 lbs. Starting to finally get a buzz on, he looked at me and said, “Hey Mamma…wanna earn some bucks tonight?” Not knowing where this might go, I immediately threw up in my chicken nugget basket and then took the bait.

Me: “Oh sure, I’m in need of a few bucks…what’s it gonna take?”
Him: “Just carry me to the plane if I pass out and I’ll pay you 20 bucks.”
Me: “Um…I’m pretty sure I can’t carry you…how about if I just kick you in the nuts when it’s time to go?”
Him: “Deal.”

Quite possibly could have been the easiest twenty bucks I’d ever make in my life. I didn’t get to kick him in the nuts (shame really) but we did race together to the jetway to make our flight an hour later. At which point I realized WE WERE ON THE SAME FLIGHT.

DJ Lou and I were seated pretty far apart on the plane and I finally made it home late that night having no more interesting run ins. The guy next to me on the flight fell asleep the minute we pulled back from the gate and I was so happy I wanted to hug him. Instead I just sat very still…listening to him snore, and thinking it might be the best sound I heard all day.

That upgrade? Totally wasn’t worth it.

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Today….

by Mary Anne on October 10, 2008

This is what I’m doing today. Care to join me?

Buried today making the world a better place by trying to convince people like you to buy things you don’t need. See you guys tomorrow!

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How To Make An Entrance

by Mary Anne on September 10, 2008

I went on a call this week, new agency for me, they haven’t done a whole lot of online advertising before so I had not been there before. I love new business calls, I really do. The chance to explain what my company does to a fresh set of ears can fuel my shallow sales ego for days on end.

I was lookin’ good….cute black and white dress, kicky red peep toe heels… I was ON. I walked from the parking garage to the meeting thinking, “Today is a great day.” Yeah well, not so much. Again, let’s refer back to the fact I work for a start up and sometimes you don’t get the hottest equipment in an effort to trim the bottom line. And I get that. But for one year, I have been lugging around this POS computer I call my “27 pound gray baby”. For the purposes of easy reading, let’s call her Bertha. Because she does weight 27 pounds, she is gray, and she sucks. They assure me a new computer is on the way lest I develop a work induced massive back injury from carrying Bertha around, rumor has it that the new beast, albeit lighter, will arrive Monday. Meh….we’ll see.

Anyheavy, Bertha was still my companion that day and and I walked into the skyscraper office building lugging her sorry ass on my back. I was confident, I was sure I had a great pitch to give, ready to set the world on fire.

I stepped out of the elevator in my stilletos, confident stride and attitude, check! What didn’t know is that that Bertha and the elevator had some communication on how to totally screw me over at some point because wouldn’t you know it, for the first time in my life, my heel got stuck in the crack between the elevator and floor. Not just a little stuck, a lot stuck. And I pitched forward like a mad woman. Two arms, one leg, full force forward, the other leg not moving due to the fact the heel was stuck firmly in the crack.

That’s when Bertha had her way with me. Bertha apparently did not want to leave the elevator and swung directly back into it. I’m still not really sure how it happened as it defies all laws of physics, but there you have it. Apparently her 27 pounds of torque far outweigh the power of my not disclosed body weight and I was summarily ripped back into the elevator. To the outside eye it would have looked like something from a horror show, girl gets out of elevator only to be ripped back in to the depths of hell by Freddy Krueger, but no, it was only Bertha extracting her last, great revenge on me. There was a girl there on her cell phone as the commotion ensued. She watched with a look somewhere between horror and confusion as I did a Fergie style one arm cartwheel back into the elevator and collapsed on the floor. As the doors closed behind me, the last thing I heard was her saying “OH. MY. GOD….”

I snapped out of it a few moments later and realized I actually was lying on the floor of a closed elevator, possibly with a broken hand. I took a moment, found both my shoes that had fallen off at some point during the commotion, stood up and pushed the button to let myself back out. The girl was still standing directly in front of the elevator with her mouth hanging open and I stepped out, very cautiously this time, and told her I was fine. And I’ll bet she never looks at a pair of stilletos the same way again.

We’re not quite done yet, because the agency was behind closed glass doors to the right of my little “incident”. I was really hoping I could cool my way out of this but no, EVERYONE in the lobby saw it too. One maintenance man, two employees and a cackling receptionist were waiting for me. The receptionist was actually on the phone saying, “you won’t believe what I just saw….” and trying to get her laughter in check when I walked in. That really helps a lot before a sales call, let me tell you.

The presentation went great, I was actually able to ignore the amazing pain in my hand and legs and get through it. Once I got back to my car, I started crying….of laughter. As embarrassing as this was, I’m so glad it happened because I laughed so hard I cried my makeup off. I laugh when I tell people about it and I laugh when I look at the back and blue that is the inside of my hand now. There is so much bad stuff in the world these days, I’m glad I was able to make a complete and total ass of myself. Cost of X-Ray: $100 Replacing fabulous shoes with now wobbly heel: $250 Having the belly laugh of the century over what a complete klutz I am: Priceless.

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Today? Hideous. Horrible. Awful. But enough about my hair.

I seriously have had one of the most crushing days in advertising I have had in 20 years. My entire Q4 just fell right out from underneath me. For Christmas, the children will now be receiving one Nutri Grain bar each and possibly should the situation turn, an eraser. But only if it gets a lot better.

But in true fashion, no pity party for me as the shit storm also hit Mr. C as well. He got off the bus with a litany of complaints.

Mr C’s List:
1.) Only got five minutes of recess and was therefore unable to “de-stress”. (his words, not mine). And yes, fourth grade can be a kick in the ass. This happened because:
*He had to spend 5 minutes in study hall for not doing his work because he was talking.
*He had to walk around the “thinking track” 5 times because they ran out of time to punish him yesterday for talking too much. (See a pattern developing?)

2) Only got 10 minutes of time at lunch to eat due to massive overcrowding problem. (Again his words) I’m picturing the line looking something like this:

(…and no, these aren’t my kids, nor are they your kids, they are Internet kids meaning I found them on google. I just love the WTF look going on with the two little girls…apparently they found out the cafeteria ran out of chocolate milk just like Mr. C did today. Or….they are afraid of what they are serving….sort of a crap shoot which one, but I’m leaning towards number two after looking at the food on the trays. I would be concerned as well. That mound with the brown stuff on it? I don’t think I want to know.)

3) Assigned seats at lunch due to above referenced over crowding problem and resulting mob mentality (translation, can’t keep hands to self and unable to stop yammering incessantly.)
4) Best friend made fun of his book cover because it had skulls AND ROSES on it. Authors note: Do not find best friends critique off base…what WAS The Man thinking when he bought that?
5) Got in trouble because everyone was talking to him and he kept answering them. Hey, he’s just being considerate. Important to note here that other children did not also get in trouble for talking. Was he talking to the little voices in his head caused by stress and massive overcrowding resulting in mob mentality? Possibly. (Again with the pattern that I see but he does not.)
6) Foot Pain.

Tomorrow may involve duct tape on his mouth and a podiatrist….just sayin’.

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