A Ziggy day is one where it only rains under your umbrella. I had one of those days yesterday. The kids were late getting ready for school. Their rooms were disasters, even though the housekeeper was coming to clean that day. I got them to school and then ran a few errands in preparation for my trip to Tampa, Florida that afternoon. WineGuy kindly offered to have me bring the kids to his office immediately after school so I could make the 160-mile drive in some daylight. In the end, that turned out to be a blessing, although it likely was a burden to him.
The key errand of the morning was a trip to Costco in lieu of my weekly trip to the grocery store. My list of seven items turned into an entire cart of stuff: enough produce to feed the local zoo, meat, bread, books, holiday gifts, b-day gifts, you name it. I hauled everything home, unpacked it and put it away.
Then I jumped on the computer and posted “Prison Talk” because I am NOT going to miss one day during NaBloPoMo. [Not even today, when I am posting, during my lunch break, from the Apple Store in International Plaza in Tampa.] The housekeeper kept asking me, “Are you packed yet?” No, but I finally got around to it … after Mr. Hillbilly appeared at my front door again, for the 5th day in a row. He is so stealthy. I told him, “Put the swale in the middle and fix my yard, too.” He said, “I’ll put my own swale on my own yard b/c I’m not going to pay to fix your yard,” which turns out to be in violation of code, too, but not cited. We discussed putting the swale in the middle, but that I needed a price. I needed that price last week, but he didn’t get one. Suddenly, he’s ready to call his dirt-guy and graders lickety-split to get a bid and let’s get this done. “No, I’m leaving for Tampa this afternoon, and I have work to do.” Yes, jerk-face, some people actually work for a living and some people actually raise their own kids. “I’ll have a figure for you in an hour. Can you give me your high limit, and I’ll work with that?” he countered. “No, I’m not giving you a decision today.” And, I finally, gently told him off: “You’ve been building this house for 18 months. Not once during that time did you bother to introduce yourselves or talk with us about arranging the swale on the property line. You went ahead and finalized your landscaping and got the county to sign off on it, even though you knew you were in violation of code. Your contractor screwed up. I caught it, and now you’re rushing me. You’re going to have to wait until I get back. On Saturday. Maybe late in the afternoon.” With that, I bid him adieu, ran inside and packed my things.
I get to school and pick up the boys. We drive downtown to Wine Guy’s office. He’s just finished with patients, so he’s ready to take the crew. I kiss everyone goodbye and drive off. Into rush-hour and construction traffic in my town. The first route out of Dodge was bumper-to-bumper traffic. I turned around and chose another route out of town. It moved, but the normally 20-minute ride to the interstate took 30 minutes in heavy traffic. That was the overriding feature of the drive to Tampa: heavy traffic. I hit rush-hour in the next suburban area north for about 30 minutes. Smooth sailing up to the next urban area. More heavy traffic for another 20 minutes. Smooth sailing across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge — beautiful at night and less stressful driving because you can’t see the water. [I have this thing about driving across causeways. That’s another post.] Smooth sailing until 3 miles from my exit in Tampa. Traffic crawled, but at least I didn’t sit there for long. I navigated my way towards the hotel and nearly had a nervous breakdown: deja vu from taking the Florida Bar exam here 19 years ago. Staying in the hotel next door to the one where I stayed when I first took the Bar. Woogawoogawooga (how else you describe the willies?). I called my BFF and left her a message where I was.
My hotel was just down the street. I parked and checked in. Or, at least I tried to. The agency coordinating travel arrangements for this continuing legal education course insisted I make hotel reservations through them. They mixed up my room request. I was tired, crabby, and in no mood for a crummy room. The clerk and I reached a truce, and I went up to my room. It has a nice view. Of Tampa International Airport.
I called home to check in with the family. No answer. The call went to digital voice mail, which we do not use. Uh oh, problems with the phone. Dial WineGuy’s beeper. He called me back, and he was in a foul mood. Phone, Internet, and cable TV were out. Caput. The kids’ rooms were trashed. He growled, “Can’t you get them to clean their rooms?” Frankly, no unless I threaten them. I said nothing. He complained that Moose was coughing badly, nearly croupy, and he didn’t know how to use the new humidifier or the nebulizer. Hello? You do not need an engineering degree to use a humidifier. I told him how to fill it. However, you do need an engineering degree to use the nebulizer, partly because the I have different mask kits and partly because I have the components in 4 different places. That, I admit, was a tactical error. WineGuy was not interested in hearing how to work the neb or having Wizard put it together. We grumped at each other for 2 short minutes and said goodbye.
The next call was to Comcast. My experience was decidedly not Comcastic. It was nearly reminiscent of my dealings with FPL in an earlier post. When I finally got through to someone with a pulse, he told me the earliest service appointment was in three days. NFW! I ripped his ears off and demanded to speak with a supervisor. No supervisor was available, but one called me back a few minutes later. He arranged for an “all-day” appointment today, which meant someone would have to be home all day. I’ll be surprised if they show up; they didn’t the last time I had an all-day appointment. I’m still waiting for Comcast to call my cell phone, so that I can beep WineGuy to tell him they’re coming. I also called the local Technical Operations Supervisor, whom I got to know well during the months of digital cable mess. I may ring him again today. The last call I made was to WineGuy to tell him Comcast was coming out. He said Moose was doing better, and WineGuy sounded better, too. At least I would be able to sleep.
My BFF called me back to chat about Tampa hotels and bar exams. We had a good laugh and called it a night. One of these days, I’m going to post about her and how much she means to me. Maybe around Thanksgiving time. A hot bath, a book, and bed. I slept OK and had room service for breakfast. It’s one of those little indulgences to which I treat myself when I travel alone.
The wonderful people at this Apple Store welcomed my poaching this iMac for nearly an hour. Thanks, Apple folks!