The crazy

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Uhoh. I think the crazy is seeping in again.

Let me start this story over (lest my family consider having me committed):

So (and that’s better already, that I’m starting this wacky tale with “So”), Rite-Aid stores here have these machines outside of them called the Pepsi Dream Machine. Basically, they are gigantic machines that you can put aluminum cans and plastic drink bottles in. For this, you are rewarded with points (the cans are recycled). You can use the points on things. I don’t really know what things – discounts to stuff, maybe. Ideally, Pepsi discounts.

Anyway, I love points. I love every single point I have earned on, I love the Bookmooch points on my account, and I mourn the points I lost when Sploofus folded (over a BILLION!). Gene says that you can get me to do anything if you tie it to points (or “magic beans”, as he calls them). And now, I want these points that I can use on things.

Here are some ideas I have had on getting more cans/bottles so I can get more points so I can use the points on things:

1) Fish empty Pepsi cans/plastic bottles out of our recycling bin (our recycling bin is at least up to my waist). I wonder if they take Coke cans as well?

2) Surreptitiously squirrel away empty cans/bottles from the recycling bin at work (same size as bin at home, but always always full). Problem: New coworkers do not yet know I am batshit crazy so I run the risk of them figuring this out earlier than I am comfortable. Further problem: how to hide that many cans/bottles?

3) Convince The Almighty D to let me have the empty cans from old employer, where they already know I’m out of my mind. The upside is that it will lead to one of my favorite things: spending time w/ D. (Which reminds me…).

So, there is my tale of woe. Please don’t tell Gene I’m thinking of any of this. He thinks he did better this time on the “Marrying a nutbar” scale and I can’t stand to disabuse him of the notion.

It’s never too early…

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to start making plans for 2011!

Next year, I want the following things to happen:

1) I want to pay off our credit card (fingers crossed that no ONE keeps that from happening…!) and start saving to replace the Murano in a few years. Here, Mini Mini Mini!

2) I want to go home to Indiana sometime in the summer and visit Muncie again and maybe even go to Cedar Point in Ohio.

3) I want to spend Thanksgiving ’11 in Las Vegas. Actually, I wanted to spend Thanksgiving ’10 there, but Gene has to work. For fuck’s sake, people always say, “You don’t have kids, you could go to Paris on a whim! You could have cocktails on Saturday mornings!” Ehh on Paris (okay, people don’t say that to me, but I’ve read it), hooray on cocktails (although it was at least 12 noon before I started my first mojito last weekend). I can’t think of any other American city that couldn’t give less of a crap about holidays, so Vegas it is.

4) I want to go under the knife in ’11. It’s no big deal, I just have to wait to be FMLA eligible at the new job so I can get paid. Yes, I know I’m telling everyone this on the blog and not on the phone/in person. And no, I’m not having my chest done. Geeeeez.

5) I want to read even more than I do now, including finishing the rest of the million books I have received on as well as Half Price Books. (This weekend is the Cheesecake City Public Library’s used book sale and I am very very very tempted to go. Because I need more books!)

6) I want to get my Certified Payroll Professional certification in Fall 2011. I don’t know what this will mean for my job other than it will make me extra desirable and hopefully promotable. Plus, the employer’s paying. Yay!

So, those are my plans.

i love wednesdays

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While I still like Friday the best (the weekend has barely started and it’s so full of promise and fun and sleeping and skeeball and cocktails and movies and reading and shopping and la la la), I think Wednesdays are pretty great.

1) The grocery store ad changes on Wednesday mornings. What will be on sale? A wonderful Buy 2, Get 3 Free deal on Pepsi products? (crossing fingers!) Triple coupons? The possibilities are freaking endless!

2) New badges on Will they be for games that I love? New games? Games I hate? And what about the “Personal Badge”, the badge that the player gets to choose. Will I play a game I like or an easy one just to polish off the badge? Again, possibilities. Endless.

3) I wear jeans to work on Wednesdays. Technically I could wear them 5 days a week but I decided not to go totally off the rails, so I wear them on Wednesdays and Fridays.

4) At the end of Wednesday, I know that most likely the most stressful part of my week is over. All the clients with a Friday pay date process no later than Wednesday so the rest of the week is catch up and much less stressful.

5) And finally, there’s the age old joke, “Why do they call it hump day when most people get it on the weekend?” Ba-dum-bum. Thank you, I’ll be here all week!

American style shopping…

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I forgot to tell you…while in Berlin, I went to the grocery store with our friend’s wife. While we were there she pointed out to me the “foreign” section of the store and the half a shelf of “American” food.

They did an excellent job of pegging us, BTW. Here is what we Americans eat:

1) Hot dog relish (that looked nothing like the relish one buys in America)

2) Duncan Hines cake mixes (brownie mixes?)

3) Campbell’s clam chowder

So, yum. Eat up!

European Tour: the part that takes place in Europe!

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So anyway, eventually we got to Berlin. Gene’s best friend met us in baggage claim. We arrived around 10 AM and we stayed awake as long as possible…by which I mean we were passed the eff out by approximately 3 pm. Yes, that’s the wrong thing to do but I suck at time changes. And it was a truly awesome nap, by the way. Shortly after the nap, I informed Gene that I would be replacing our yellow quilt at home with a mostly identical setup of the bed we slept in there.

“Okay,” he said.

“I…don’t remember ASKING, sweetie,” I said.

Anyway, here’s the deal. I’m writing a lot about the getting to Europe stuff and other minutiae because our trip wasn’t about seeing the tourist sites (because there are none. Checkpoint Charlie is now literally in the middle of a fancy shopping area. You can get your picture taken with a guy in an Army uniform. I guess Charlie was a real guy. Hmm). Our trip was about hanging out with our friends and their children (our godchildren, in a “in case of emergency” way, not in a “attending your Confirmation” way) and trying to not look like Asshole Americans, trying to order food.

One day, the group of us went to a fancy multi-floor department store (seriously, click on the link and check out the picture of the food hall….yummmmm). Hanging out there for hours was the only thing that I didn’t do that I would have liked to. The place was like Nordstrom on steroids with a 4 star restaurant instead of a food court. Two words: chocolate mousse. I also learned that in public bathrooms you have to tip the attendant for opening the stall door. Maybe it was just the ladies room at the store – either way, I gave her about 3x more than people typically give but it was worth every cent.

Other adventures: went to godson’s preschool to pick up a few times, went to goddaughter’s swim class (entire class in German…), used the video camera to take video of goddaughter’s first haircut (at the kiddie hair salon in the fancy department store, with me sweating bullets that I wouldn’t work the camera correctly, and promising to pay for a reshoot), got lost in the forest behind our friends’ house (a leashless dog park type place, but heavily wooded). Considered giving a German hobo 100 euro in exchange for his hobo dog (poor puppy, cuddled under a blanket next to the human hobo). Ate at a McDonald’s but had to share a table w/ two teenage boys, debated making a MILF joke (but didn’t). Got lost trying to find the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin but did manage two find two (count ’em, two) gay fetish nightclubs, located within a block from each other. Saw the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his younger son out a window. (Seriously, Berlin wants a tourist trap to bring in some euro? I think a booth called “Have your picture taken dangling your child/spouse/etc out the window of the Adlon” would be awesome!).

And then, by…oh, let’s say Wednesday, I ended up with the traditional souvenir: a cold. (BTW, know what’s fun? congestion + a steamy swimming pool + German toilet paper in lieu of tissues). (Feeling better now, hooray!)

For my grande finale in Berlin, I door dinged the car next to us at the airport. Luckily for me, someone was in the car to see. Impressively, she did not get out of the car and yell at me in the language of her choice.

And this brings us to Amsterdam. Yeah, we had fun plans, but the aforementioned cold put a damper on things. Thanks to an in-hotel magazine about things to do in Amsterdam, I did learn (sorry for the TMI) that sex and a BJ (sorry) would run a person approximately 50 euro and that a pre-rolled joint would be around 8 euro. Beyond that, Amsterdam is big into adopting homeless dogs, practicing English and not big into selling Chapstick and frisking me in case I was wearing a bra with an underwire from the Al Qaeda collection. Next time we go to Europe, I am definitely advocating we spend some time in Amsterdam. And next time, I’m packing less clothes and better tissues. (My plan is to be able to pack for an entire week in a roll aboard suitcase).

(ha ha ha ha ha, yeah, I know).

European Tour: more yammering

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As I mentioned awhile ago, the trip from Cheesecake City to Berlin had two layovers: Thirty-three minutes in Ohio and an hour in Paris. A rep from Delta told me “No stopping, no shopping” for the Ohio layover. The flight to Ohio actually got there a little early -YAY!- although I did not stop or shop, not even for Toblerone bars the size of tree trunks. Instead, I people watched and tried to guess who was American and who was French.

(It was easy. Fanny packs = American. Dressed like a philosophy professor = French).

(Gene did, however, have to remind me at least once that I was not allowed to spot check passports during the flight. It was a SURVEY, dammit).

The flight to Paris lasted approximately 11 years, during which Gene slept (thanks to sleeping pills that really needed to work better!) and I read (a book called She’s Come Undone, which was awful. Left it in Berlin with strict instructions to read the book or burn the book, I didn’t care which). The plane did not have individual video monitors (jerks!), instead favoring the “monitor every ten rows” approach, which was fine since

A) the movies were The Karate Kid and The Bounty Hunter and

B) the monitor closest to our row was having a seizure and was turned off and

C) the philosophy professor (seriously – grown man in red pants and truly crazy hair) in front of me kept politely leaning into the aisle, blocking my view and

D) come to think of it, my earphones didn’t work anyway.

European Tour: the pre-aftermath

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So anyway. Our trip to Germany. We were invited to visit all the way back at Christmas 2009, and we’d planned to go over the summer, but as I remarked, it is fraking expensive to go in the summer. Plus, I had the old job bankruptcy problem and then the new job and blah blah blah.

It was huge, getting to take a week off from the new job. It was madness at work – one of the payroll partners was transferring all of their clients to our software – so we were crazy busy for weeks. And we still are – I am hopeful that things will calm down by the end of October, just in time for Year End.

About a week before we left, I told Gene that some of my coworkers were not thrilled I was going to be gone during such a busy time (seriously – some of them worked many many hours over the last two weekends). He said I should arrange for lunch to be delivered. The more I thought about it, everyone in the office would be helping our department during this time and that would be a LOT of money, even for pizza or something, so instead I had two dozen cupcakes delivered.

(Big hit, phew!)

Vacation: Briefly, w/ bullet points

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  • Walked in the door about an hour ago.
  • Been awake mostly since midnight Cheesecake City time.
  • Hella tired.
  • Got frisked in by airport security/TSA in Cheesecake City Airport n’ Bait Shop, and airports in Cincinnati and Berlin. Honestly, I may have been frisked in Paris as well but it was around 6 AM Paris time, which is more or less midnight Eastern time and I’d just rolled out of an all night flight.
  • Wonderful trip although Berlin is not the friendliest city in all of Europe. We spent Saturday night in Amsterdam and they were fabulous. Next time I want to spend more time there and at least see the Anne Frank House (arriving at 8:30 PM and leaving at 5:30 AM does not make for a touristy time).
  • Souvenirs from the trip: chocolates for coworkers and assorted other people (self), one authentic German head cold. Currently cannot hear well out of one ear. Wahh.
  • So glad to be home!