07 October 2009

Race Weekend Vacation: The Non-NASCAR Edition

I don't want to bore you non-NASCAR fans with the race details of the vacation, so I tried to confine the NASCAR stuff to the NASCAR board on Rav. Here, I will try to present some anecdotes from the trip, some of which DID happen at the track.

On Friday, Mom had a very minor car accident. She managed to back into a guy at the McDonald's drive-thru. Now just think about that sentence for a minute. LOL. We went to get breakfast on the way to the track, but she didn't realise that she had passed the speaker because the speaker was before you got to menu (this makes sense to me, but not to Mom, apparently). So she put it in reverse and backed up LITERALLY no more than two feet. And we're not talking backing up going 40 MPH, folks. We're talking going slower than parking lot speed. Sure enough, BUMP! She hit the guy behind us. Meanwhile, the woman wants our order. So she placed our order and then went to talk to the guy. There was, as you can imagine, absolutely no damage to either vehicle, and we think the guy knew we was a tad too close anyway.

We had ordered two egg and cheese biscuits and a sausage biscuit. This gets put in as a sausage biscuit and two sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits with no sausage. Okay, fine, whatever. We go to the first window to pay but they suddenly have no record of the cheese. So they make Mom pay an extra 80 cents (40 cents per sandwich) for the cheese. We go to second window and get the food - no cheese on the egg biscuits. She tells us she'll put cheese on, but it'll be 80 cents plus tax. Mom's all "Lady, how much does cheese cost??? We already paid the first lady for the cheese!"

On Saturday and Sunday, we decided to go to Burger King for breakfast instead. I told Mom I liked their breakfast sandwiches better anyway. She told me she never thought I'd admit out loud that Tony was right about anything. (Okay, sorry, non-NASCAR people; there's a NASCAR reference that makes no sense to you.)

During the Saturday race, the drunken woman behind us spilled her beer. Of course, she didn't have the courtesy to tell us that she had spilled her beer all over the blanket we were sitting on (not because our butts need to be pampered that much, but because those metal benches were COLD that day) and that it was now on our bags under our seats. When I discovered it, I told Mom. Mom felt the blanket, figured out it was wet, and rolled it up so she could still use her half, leaving me to sit on the metal bench. Then I stood up to feel my butt to see if it was wet. Drunken woman behind us tapped me on the shoulder. "Your bottom isn't wet. It just feels cold." WTF??? How would you know? And would you care to explain why our blanket smells of beer? So for the rest of the weekend, that was a running joke. In the airport, I noticed I had something on my jacket. I asked Mom what she thought it was. She looked at it and went, "Don't worry about it; it just feels cold."

On Monday, Mom and I went thrift store shopping so I could get some new work clothes. A lot of the stores offer senior discounts, for which my mom is eligible. I got three pair of work pants and about 20 sweaters/blouses for $57, including one Christopher & Banks sweater! Part of the haul is a black and red fleece pullover, which my mom is going to embroider and make into a Scott Speed fleece for me. She and I designed it together Monday night, but we ran out of time to get 'er done.

As we were getting ready to leave one thrift store, Mom spotted a sweater that she just KNEW was a Christopher & Banks sweater behind the counter. She asked the cashier if she could she it. It was brand new and still had the original tags (marked $55) on it. She saw that it was marked $24.95 and balked. She and I both hate paying that much at a thrift store. We really don't care if it's something that's brand new and expensive; you're still buying it at a THRIFT STORE!!! The guy said, "If you buy it, you're not bringing it back on me, are you?" Mom promised him she wouldn't, and she just had a feeling that she was going to get a deal on the sweater. He rang it up at $6.95. Score!

When we got to Mom's bowling league on Monday afternoon, she went to take her bowling bag out of the back of the Windstar. Now, it's a heavy bag because she has two bowling balls in there. Somehow, as it was halfway out, it tipped but she couldn't get her thumb out of it. So she sliced her thumb open. I told her right then she needed stitches. Did she listen to me? No. I told her later when she got done bowling and it was still bleeding profusely that she needed stitches. Did she listen to me then? Nope. When she woke up Tuesday morning and it was still SPURTING blood, she decided that after she dropped me off at the airport, she'd go to the doctor's office. She now has five stitches because she nicked an artery, AND she was told she should have come in right away. Sometimes the daughter DOES know best. But she's all excited because when the doctor told her to come in any time on the 16th or after to get the stitches taken out, she said, "You know, I have a seam ripper at home," and he said, "If you can stomach it, go ahead and do it."

I found out over Monday's supper at Dixon's "Famous" Chili that my grandma doesn't know how to put gas in her car. I told her that her Christmas present from me would be that I would teach her. She informed me that she does not want that present for Christmas or any other occasion because John (her partner) does that for her. I asked her what her plan was if something happens to John. Mom laughed and said, "You're looking at her." I guess if something happens to both Mom and John at the same time, I'll have to fly to KCMO every few weeks to put gas in Grandma's car.

A note on Dixon's "Famous" Chili, the oldest family-owned restaurant in KCMO. It used to just be "Dixon's Chili" until President Truman went there while he was still in office and the press all went with him. It was one of Harry's favourite restaurants and continued to be so while and after he was in office. If you're ever in town, stop by. Not everyone likes their chili, but it's good. The default is all meat and no liquid in it, but you can add beans and you can get it "soupy." The condiments they have on the table are chili powder, vinegar, and a bottle of vinegar with chili peppers. I always get the all-you-can-eat tacos because I LOVE their tacos. They just use their chili meat and load it up with cheese. YUM!

02 October 2009

Trip Home: Day 1

The vacation got off to a rocky start, thanks to the HR Department at the hospital. No one knows why (yet), but for some reason, they decided that the only person who was authorised to pick up the paycheques for our department was Linda. Which would be fine if Linda hadn’t been laid off in APRIL. Since April, three people have been approved to pick up our department’s paycheques, and that’s gone swimmingly well. But today... major SNAFU.

Some people didn’t understand why I insisted on getting my paystub before I left since I have direct deposit, but my reasoning was that if the amount was wrong, I wanted to know now when I was still in the same time zone as HR and my boss. Not, you know, 6:00 a.m. tomorrow when I’m trying to buy my way into some driver’s hauler or something (ha ha, I’m joking... or am I? lol). But really. I’m getting ready to go halfway across the country for nearly a week. I think I’m not being unreasonable on wanting to verify (as much as I can) that my pay will be in order before I leave the campus. Finally got the paycheque. Whew.

Got to the airport safely and on time, compliments of my friend Sarah. She caught me up on her life, and I caught her up on The Strike That Wasn’t (at least not yet).

There were only about five people ahead of me in line at ticketing, which I kind of expected since I wasn’t travelling on a holiday weekend or anything like that. The funny part was when it came time to pay for my bag (a $20 charge; thank you, US Airways). I decided to write a cheque. I’ve been writing cheques more and more lately instead of using my debit card. I’ve found that doing so forces me to think more about how much I’m spending rather than just “swipe the card, swipe the card, swipe the card.” When I’m writing out the amount (twice, even, per purchase), I’m really more conscious of what’s leaving the banc account.

Well, apparently, I’m the only person ever in the history of the world who has written a cheque to pay for a bag. Three different people had to be consulted on how to process my cheque. The woman was really nice about and apologised profusely many times, so I finally said, “Look, I really don’t care how long it takes, as long as I get on my plane tonight.” I can kind of understand not knowing where the account number on the cheque is; I mean, if I’m not thinking about it, I get the routing number and the account number on the cheque mixed up. But it turned into a farce when she asked me which number on the cheque was the check number.

Made it through security with no problems. They didn’t even question the spindle. And I brought my big, long, purpleheart wood spindle, too! I had asked Sarah for advice on how to best pack it, and she said she always just puts it in her fiber in her carry-on. I questioned her a few times about getting it through security, and she said she’s even spun on planes. So I took the gamble, and she was right. Yay!

So far on the plane ride (I’m about two-thirds of the way to KCMO), I’ve finished a book I started this morning and I cranked out my personal statement for one of my PhD applications. I’m not saying it’s perfect right now, but at least I have a nice rough draft typed out and ready to ripped apart by my friend Kristi, who has graciously agreed to help proof, edit, troubleshoot, and constructively criticize my essays/personal statements/letters of interest.

I was assigned to the last row of the airplane, but I got bumped to Row Six. I really don’t care whether I’m in the front/back/etc. But I don’t much care for the woman who is next to me. She has no concept of personal space. She has bumped into me several times without saying “excuse me.” She keeps falling asleep and snoring... loudly... with her mouth open... and she has horrible breath... and she keeps aiming it at me. Every once in awhile, she’ll wake up and put her forehead on the back of the seat in front of her and then just sit like that for awhile. I really hate her.

Also, I have been up since 3:00 a.m. CDT and I am scheduled to land 10:24 p.m. CDT. So that may have something to do with my crabbiness. I woke up an hour and a half before my alarm was set to go off, and I couldn’t get back to sleep. Bah.

Update: She just woke up and she is SUCH a rude cow (sorry, I’ve been reading a LOT of Brit chick lit lately and this is an insult widely used). She decided to get up to use the restroom and just HAD to use the back of the seat in front of her for leverage, thus WAKING UP that passenger. And, again, didn’t even bother to say “excuse me.” I wish I had something I could put in her seat while she was away.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Race track for practice and qualifying, we’ll hit the Fan Walk (the area between the Cup garage and the NNS garage where drivers sometimes mingle with the fans, Hospitality Village, and Souvenir Alley. Then to Target so I can buy Mom and Dale a new cordless telephone/answering machine for Christmas. They get to have it now and set it up now, but they’ll open the box on Christmas Day as a reminder that it was their Christmas present.

Update: She must have found another seat. She just came and collected her belongings and left. SCORE!!!!!!!

Arrived airport. Luggage also arrived. About twenty feet from baggage claim, handle on suitcase broke. Yay.