Friday, April 22, 2011

I Don't Care Who Died on What Cross, I Just Need Some Cash!

With today being Good Friday and all, B and I decided to go for fish and chips like good nonpracticing Catholics (and at least one of us not at all Catholic). This required cash because the place only accepts cash. Seriously. We were there today and the guy in front of us tried to charge his dinner. The cashier laughed at him. He thought it was a joke and then realized it wasn't and she was laughing AT him.  He then realized he had to leave and find an ATM in a rather rough side of town. Definitely no joke there.  Oh, but they do take checks. CHECKS! Who carries those anymore? The guy looked at her like she said they take blood samples as payment.

Anyway, I headed off to an ATM in a good neighborhood (yay to planning ahead) after I left the office.  Just as I pulled my card from the machine and turned around, an older lady in her 80s came in:

Lady: Is the credit union CLOSED?

As I turned toward the totally dark and obviously closed bank, I say:

Me: Yes, it appears that it is.
Lady: WHY?
Me: Good Friday?
Lady: What?
Lady: There is not even a sign posted.
Me: It is right there. 

I point to a large sign that says the credit union will be closed all day in observance of Good Friday.

Lady: Wait! It has been closed ALL DAY?
Me: I have no idea.

As I leave, I hear her muttering "That is just STUPID." She then walks in the rain to her car, gets in and THEN proceeds to put on a plastic hair protector.  As she is tying it under her chin, another car pulls up and a woman gets out.  The old lady rolls down her window and yells:


She may have also muttered something about Good Friday.  New lady says "I'm just here for the ATM..."

Interesting.  So was I. It seems the only person that wasn't was the older lady. Is she against the ATM? Does she not know how they work? What is is that she needs done by a teller that she cannot do herself at an ATM?

Maybe the old lady should go to the fish place. She would feel right at home at a place that only does actual cash transactions and nothing with those "newfangled" ATM things. I can just picture her walking in, seeing the long line and exclaiming "Is there a LINE? WHY? What does Good Friday have to do with FISH? ...stupid..."

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

European Vacation: First Stop Amsterdam - Yes, Please!

So B and I took our own little European vacation. We had been talking about it forever, trying to decide where to go, when to go.  We got the bug on our Rome honeymoon and have been discussing it ever since. Then we bought a house. Then we got a dog.  The European vacation kept getting put on the back burner.  But, with a little help from a year end bonus, we decided to make it a reality.  

So B started planning it on his own.  Since France is so close to England and so close to The Netherlands, he decided we should move about the European Union.  Progress was slow. Finding hotel rooms was slow.  Fate, however, stepped in and we received a brochure from a travel company that I travelled with in law school. They were offering a vacation for the exact time we were looking for and to four countries we wanted to see Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Belgium, Paris (France) and London (England). Sold!

So we left on April 2nd for an 8 hour journey across the pond where it was 6 hours later and the next day.  Can anyone successfully sleep on an airplane?  On our Italy trip we got majorly screwed up.  This time, we had to stay awake as our hotel room wasn't ready until 2:00 p.m.  First stop?  Some coffee and a bagel. Well, maybe tea.

How cute is that plate?  They spoke nearly perfect English with the slight misunderstanding between B and the waiter that resulted in his small water being served in a shot glass. Seriously.

One thing we immediately noticed were all of the bicycles.  We later learned that Amsterdam is second only to China for the amount of bicycles (average 4 per family).  There were bikes everywhere. They even had their own paths, which we found out by almost being mowed down by one.  You quickly learn where you need to walk when your life depends on it.

Of course we went to the Red Light District. We went during the day. Then it just seems dirty, touristy and normal. At night? The same but with glowing red lights. We saw a woman ask one of the girls behind the glass door "how much?" only to be told by the girl she only does men.  B was also a favorite of one knocking, pouting girl, but he was too busy planning his next photo op to pay her any mind.

This was the area surrounding our hotel.  We loved our hotel. It had free wi fi and we brought our iPad. That meant B could continuously use Google Earth to "find us" even though we were technically always in the same place.

Our hotel had twin beds. We could not even push them together. Somehow I still managed to have more room on that little bed than I do in our king size with all of the animals, including B.

The weather held up pretty good. Fall like with no rain.  Perfect for walking all around town and planning on when you could move there, abandon your car and live a life of biking around like a mad man and woman.

Aside from bikes, the best way to get around is the tram.  Although it nearly cost us our marriage, we finally figured out the payment system and the routes and all was a piece of cake after that. Except for the time we were nearly separated.  It was like out of the movies.  Picture this:

I realize we are at the end of the line and the only ones left. I insist that we must GET OFF NOW. B gets off, but as I am waving my pass to leave, the doors start to close. B is pushing his button, I am pushing mine and we are panicking as I start to drive away BY MYSELF ON A TRAM IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WHERE THEY SELL DRUGS AND SEX. I can still see B's face as I pull away looking like "Seriously?" while I shrug my shoulders and plan on how to get back to him. Where would this thing take me? Just as I got myself into a huge panic, the tram stopped at the next stop, four feet away.

Welcome to Europe!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poka to You, Poka to My Sanity

The building where I work houses a variety of different ethnic groups and we constantly hear a billion languages being spoken at once. This is particularly true on the floor my office is on as there is another business there that is quite large and employs a good number of people.  We will hear them in the hall on their quick 5 minute breaks speaking Chinese, Spanish, Russian and some other ones I probably could not identify.

So when I was in the bathroom yesterday, I was not surprised to hear two women speaking to each other in Russian.  However, I did not expect a voice from the stall next to me to demand from her stall that they entertain her by providing Russian words:

Russian ladies: {speaking Russian I do not understand}
Stall lady:  Say "Goodbye" in Russian!
Russian ladies: {more Russian}
Russian ladies: Poka
Stall lady:  GOODBYE, say it in Russian
Russian ladies: POKA
Stall lady: What?
Russian Ladies: POKA
Stall lady: Huh?
Russian Ladies: It is easy, poka, P-O-K-A
Stall lady; Poka?
Russian Ladies: Yes
Stall lady: Well then POKA
Russian Ladies: Poka to you

Poka indeed.  I am pretty sure their next word the said as going out the door was Russian for fool.*

*That's "durak" people. Spelled phonetically of course.
**The More you Know...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So You Will Never Guess Where I Have Been. No Really, You Won't.

Yes, I have been gone a while.  The last you heard, we rescued a new pup, Nevada, because we are insane.  You know what makes it even more insane? We were leaving the very next week for a 10 day European vacation.  Seriously.  Oh and I was sick. Twice.  Grrr.

Luckily for us, Nevada is an easygoing and adaptable dog.  Jersey went, as planned, to her favorite fun place, doggie daycare, where they also board.  Cool thing? They are not crated, but always free and someone spends the night there and the boarding dogs gets to sleep in bed with them. I wonder if Jersey tries to get under their covers too.  Anyhow, Nevada was underweight, without all of her shots, and without enough time to see her disposition with large groups of dogs. My brother was kind enough to house sit for us including watching Nevada and feeding the three cats.  Bonus - he even trained Nevada on certain things. If he could have crate trained her, I would have wept with joy, but I will take what I can get.

I will be back to talk about the vacation as I have many, many photos to download and then decide what to upload.  Nobody needs to look at 400 of my photos (or the 1300 B took). Yes, we have issues. Maybe we should be a traveling photography team. Sounds so exciting!

For now, satisfy yourselves with more pictures of Nevada and Jersey in the first couple of days.  After 10 days apart, they are readjusting to each other a bit, but I am sure (read: I hope) things settle down again soon.

Eyeing each other

So regal looking.

So aloof

Sharing the same toy

Sharing (or fighting over) another toy.

We missed these girls when we were gone.

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