I do apologize for the length of this post, but there is really no shorter way to paint you this picture. So this past weekend me and my sister traveled from Connecticut to Iowa to visit our grandparents. Because the airport in Dubuque, where they live, is smaller than most town’s local Target Super Center, we decided to fly into Chicago and rent a car to finish out the trek. Our flight got in around 11pm so we thought it best to stay in a hotel along the way. Though I do take full responsibility for the troubles outlined below, I just want to make it clear that I booked a hotel-with the mind frame of “ok we are going to get there after midnight and leave first thing to get to grandpas so let’s just go with whatever is the cheapest. Worst.Decision.Ever. In fact, as a result of this hasty decision, I have lost all future booking privileges while traveling with my sister.
Ok, so let me start by saying that I’ve been known to stay in some sketchy establishments. There was that time in Ireland where me and Stef stayed in the most sketchy “bed and breakfast” ever. Literally, I was nervous one of us (or both of us) were going to be kidnapped by the guys from New Castle in the room next to us. And then there was that time I was on a business trip in Santa Barbara and my flight got cancelled and instead of going back to the four-star hotel I was at originally, my at-the-time-boss thought it was fine if I bunked up at a motel in the ghetto right by the airport. Surprisingly, no one knocked on my door looking for crack.
Anyways, I degrees…this was much worse. Here we are in Rockland, IL, and things are looking pretty good. We see a Holiday Inn and Marriott, followed by a Kohls, Longhorn Steakhouse, and my personal fave-Starbucks. There was tons of stores and I could tell we were on the main drag. Cool. A few miles go by and more and more space lies between stores, the lights are dimmer-clearly we are driving into the depths of hell. I should have know better since the main light to the hotel was barely on. It was kind of flickering like a motel light would in a horror movie right before he main character gets murdered. But hey, what were we going to do-we did have a $42 reservation. So we go in.
The guy at the front desk was nice enough, but let’s remember, you don’t have to be smart to be nice. After standing at the front desk for approximately 15 minutes while he tried to figure out how run my credit card, we finally got our room key. Room 205, which ironically was in the basement. This was an obvious sign that we were walking even deeper into the depths of hell. This level smelled. It went from smoke, to mold, to another smell that I can’t really really describe, probably because my senses were being numbed at this point. You know, part of the body’s defense when it begins going into shock-I’m pretty sure that’s what was happening here. Finally, after walking by numerous doors with dogs barking in a frigid hallway we made it to our room. Phew!
Just kidding. This too only added insult to injury. There was caked on mildew on the faucet sink. So bad, in fact, that I literally felt it was a better option to not wash my hands at all than touch the sink, or the water that may (or may not) come out of it. There was cigarette ash all around the bathroom (in our supposed non-smoking room), and literally shit stains in the toilet. All of that aside, all we wanted to do was go to sleep. With a Nalgene 3/4 full of water, we figured we had enough to get through the night for the two of us if we rationed properly. So we slipped into pj’s and turned down the sheets. This is when shit got real. There was no sheet on the bed. Seriously. No.Sheet.On.The.Bed. OK, no that’s not completely fair. There was a sheet…but we had the option to sleep between the sheet and the disease-ridden comforter, or the sheet and the disease ridden mattress. Either way, I was not willing to take the risk. I’m sorry…the second I left the hotel I thought “shit I should have taken pictures!”, but seriously, I was in survival mode and the only thing I could think about was getting out alive…so you’ll have to use your imagination here…even if you think you’re letting it go wild, you’re probably not far off from what we encountered.
We couldn’t stay there. So I did what anyone would do, we put on our shoes and my sister pulled around the car while I pulled a Jo Anne. If you’re unfamiliar what this means, Jo Anne is our mom, and in the right situation, gets really angry and does something magical that results in her getting her way. It all started in a nail salon circa year 2000, but we’ll leave that story for another time. Anyways, I walked up to the front desk, rolling suitcase in hand and told the clerk we are leaving and never coming back. Though he looked extremely confused, he was nice about it, which didn’t give me the opportunity to get as angry as I wanted to, however, given the situation, you’ve gotta think this is not the first time this happened.
10 minutes later we ended up in a clean, newly renovated room at the Hilton, which we were very pleased with. Ironically, outside of our fourth floor window was a huge dumpster which we probably would have ended up in if we didn’t make the move.
I bought my first “new” car a few years ago and I’m pretty much obsessed with it. My sister openly makes fun of it and says it’s ugly and looks like a spaceship, but I don’t really care because this spaceship gets the job done. I bought a Honda Fit, and it’s amazing. I can fold the seats down and toss my dogs in there without getting fur on the seats, I can fold the seats up and 4-5 Rubbermaid bins in the back seat, I can put my bike in the back without having to remove the front wheel, and best of all I get about 40 miles to the gallon. For me, it’s great. Then a few a weeks ago, all my walls came crashing down around me. I was going about my business, I was doing fine (Jewel reference J), and a coworkers informs me that I’m driving what was rated the most unsafe car of the year. Great. Thanks for ruining my day, pal.
So I do what any girl would do in this situation – I called my dad. I guess I thought maybe he would sympathize with his eldest child and, you know, want me to be safe and not die. I thought he’d, I don’t know, give me his car or buy me a big (safe) Hummer or something. I thought wrong. “Are you seriously concerned with this?” he asks me…uh yea I’m concerned, a person with my luck (and by luck, I mean driving record) should not be driving around in a death box. “What, are you thinking about buying a new car or something?” he follows up with. Well, the thought crossed my mind!! “Just don’t get into an accident”. Great. Thanks for the advice pops. Before you said that getting into an accident was on the to-do list, but I’ll cross it off now. I proceed to tell him why my car was so unsafe and how if get into an accident apparently the steering panel is going to come into my car and smash my legs into a million little pieces. “I’m a runner dad, I can’t live my life from a wheelchair. I’ll DIE!”. It was at that point that he responded “Erin, you are ridiculous”. And hung up on me.
Nice to know I have a strong support system.
Have you ever met someone so dumb that you are literally embarrassed to be be sharing a country with them? I had an experience recently that really made me wonder about people.
After a couple years of going without, I decided to get cable, and after about a month of having cable in my living room and becoming completely addicted, I decided to go for the gold and add cable to my bedroom as well. Now this shouldn’t have been an issue as a cable line was already run in my bedroom and a tv in my basement, but unfortunately it wasn’t working. So I called Cox Communications to see if I could get some over-the-phone help. The first girl I talked to was not part of their tech team, but tried to assist me so I wouldn’t have to sit on hold. Although she was unsuccessful, she was very nice and I found our conversation quite pleasant. The next person I talked to really made me think twice about my fellow Americans. For lack of a better way to get across how utterly retarded this woman was, I’m just going to give you a play by play of our conversation:
Me: Hi, I’m having some problems getting my cable to work, can you help me?
Cox Woman (CW): I’ll try. Whats the phone number on your account?
CW: I’m sorry that number doesn’t come up.
Me: Can you look me up by my address?
CW: What is your address?
Me: (tell her my address), Street, City, Connecticut.
CW: Do you mean Rhode Island?
Me: No, Connecticut.
CW: I don’t see Connecticut on my list. Are you sure you don’t mean Rhode Island?
Me: No, I definitely live in Connecticut.
CW: Hmm…I’m not sure…pause…Connecticut? Where is that? Is it near Ohio?
Me: Are you serious?
Me: Connecticut is on the East Coast….It’s part of New England…..It’s bordered by MA, RI, and NY….
I was so completely dumbfounded by this conversation I literally told her I would call back another time. I mean seriously, do you really think she would be able to help me with, well, anything?! The woman doesn’t even know that CT is a state! Welp, you can’t win ’em all, hopefully she’s beautiful because no one’s gonna marry this chick for her brains!!
Over the past couple months I’ve been throwing the idea of getting a pet around. I think I’m mature enough for this added responsibility and I finally landed on the perfect pet for me: Paul. Paul McNibbler, the hamster. You see, I had a hamster once, Nibbles, who lived a long and happy life. He had a number of hobbies: nibbling his way out of his cage, filling his cheeks with 3 weeks’ worth of food, and of course getting loose in moving cars. Anyways, I figured that Paul would be the ideal pet for me because it would really fit right into my lifestyle. Being a solitary animal, I could leave him alone for hours, or day if needed, I could fit him just about anywhere, and best of all, he’s got an expiration date. I’m 27 now, but by the time I’m 30, ready to buy a house and (god willing) have a family, I’ll be pet free. BOOM. DONE.
Oh, and the best part: Casual Fridays With Paul. CFWP is something that my team at work decided would probably be a great idea where Paul could come into the office on Fridays, dressed to the 9’s of course, and make his ‘rounds’ in his hamster ball. You know, just ‘roll through’ to make sure everything is running smoothly. Oh, and of course he would bring some office cheer. Most likely, he would spice up the Friday afternoons when he unavoidably would get loose the office and we all would be on a rampant hamster hunt.
Anyways, I moved recently and have kind of backed away from the thought of any new responsibilities, which is ironic because I feel like it was as soon as I gave up on this dream, it just came true without me even trying. (Never give up on your dreams, kids!) There was I sitting in my living room, watching the Wonder Years, and enjoying a pizza, when a baby opossum pops up in the middle of my living room. WHAT? SERIOUSLY? Yes, this is serious, as serious as a heart attack, which, by the way, I almost had.
I called my land lord, who set up an appointment with animal control, and ran upstairs to my neighbor, who I have known for approximately 5 minutes and probably thinks I’m crazy to come down and assist in the situation. Lucky for me, he was nice enough to come down and help me out with the situation. Between the two of (and by “between the two of us” I mean my neighbor was on the front line in the living room, while I nervously stood behind the barrier in the kitchen) we were able to get the cutesy baby opossum out the door.
The little guy didn’t even get out the door and I already missed him. A new paul was sitting there, given to me for free, and what do I do? I shoo him out the door. What kind of a pet-mother am I? I have thrown away the hopes of having a rodent-pet, I have thrown away the hope for Casual Fridays With Paul, and I have destroyed my confidence in myself as far as pet-owning goes.
As an aside: no animals were hurt in the making of this story. Paul was able to make it out alive, where he will be reunited with the rest of his opossum family, and after a thorough investigation of my apartment and the grounds around by the animal control guys, there were no more baby or mommy opossums found.
Please stay tuned for a follow up story about all the lesser known facts about opossums – they are actually a lot more interesting than you may have thought.
Like most girls, I don’t think I could ever have enough accessories. In fact, even with the overflowing amount that I have now and the equal mounds that my mom and sister have that they let me borrow occasionally, I still have moments where I literally have NOTHING that matches! Luckily there is the accessory mecca land, a refreshing oasis that provides only the lasted and greatest in outfit toppers: Charming Charlie. If you don’t know what Charming Charlie is, just picture Claire’s, The Icing, Francesca’s Collections, Forever 21-accessories, H&M accessories, and Charlotte Russe-accessories throwing up everywhere. No seriously – it has the color coordination of H&M, the price point of the Icing/Claire’s, and the ‘on trend’ perfection of Forever and Charlotte. It’s everything a girl could ask for, right? WRONG.
I do have one MAJOR issue with Charming Charlie. I’m signed up for their email, just as I’m signed up for with all my other stores like The Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, and Old Navy. I use these to make the time pass while I’m drinking my morning coffee or while I’m winding down watching TV at night. I basically use “window shopping” (clearly I’m using that term loosely here) the same way most educated adults would use reading a newspaper or book, but this is only because I don’t read. OK, lets be clear here, its not that I can’t read, its that I choose not to. I have been reading the same damn book on my family vacation for the past 3 summers, and I think I’m only halfway through. It’s pathetic really.
Anyways, I digress, back to the important issue here: Charming Charlie’s email list. I get the email every damn day. I want to go to their website and see their 2 for $20 scarves, their tantalizing TEAL accessories, and their cross body bags. I want to throw my money into the endless cycle of trendy accessories that will be nothing but a fashion faux pas next season, but can I? NOOOOOOOOOO…… Why? because they don’t have a damn website! It’s 2013 people, almost 2014 and you don’t have a website? Is this real life? Jenna Marbles runs a freaking YouTube channel single handedly, and she has an online store! You’re trying to tell me that with 250+ stores nation wide you couldn’t hire a team to run an online store?? You’ve been “a thing” for 10 years now! Get it together.
Furthermore, if you’re going to dick us around with these “deals” that are “in store only” (which is pretty much a pointless thing to stipulate because that’s actually the only way that you can make purchases), lets have it be a better deal. If I actually have to drive to the store, park half a mile away, walk in, purchase approximately 12 items more than i intended to, I’m going to need a deeper discount, ya know what I mean?
Charming Charlie, I hope that you read this post and that you understand your inconsideration for today’s online shoppers!
This past weekend I got a more-than-healthy helping of all my favorite things in life: Running, Fresh Air, Beautiful Scenery, Comradery, and Competition, and got to do it with an amazing group. And now I’m back…Reality Bites. I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of an amazing group called The Marathongs to compete in a crazy race called Reach The Beach. Reach The Beach is unique because it’s the LONGEST (in distance) relay race in the whole entire country. Holler!!
The longest relay race in the nation? Yep! 204 miles through the White Mountains in NH, starting at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH, and ending at New England’s Jersey Shore: Hampton Beach. The goal is to complete the 204 miles within 24 hours among your team of 2 – 12 people. Our team, The Marathongs, came in 87th out of 480 teams, averaging about an 8 minute pace. Each team member has three legs along the way, giving a little bit of rest in between, but little to no sleep. Everyone on the team ran somewhere between 15 – 24 miles over their three legs. Basically, it was awesome!
Our team comes from all over: West Haven, Ellington, Vernon, and Glastonbury CT, Buffalo, NY, New York City, Boston, MA, and Newport, RI. There were some (super boring) super serious teams, but many dressed up. Our major competition was “The Kilts”, “The Lumberjacks”, who, by the way, ran in jorts – no kidding, and “The Cropdusters”. Most of the teams had really great names. It was really an awesome experience as all the teams were supportive of each other – all with the same crazy goal of running 204 miles and “reaching the beach”.
I think from here, the best way to show our journey is through pictures and videos.
Goofing around before the race, getting our wiggle on!
The MarathonG boys’ dance. Get it boys!!
Who says white girls can’t dance??
It was the longest 24 hours of my life…but surprisingly to most, I’m saying that in the best way possible. Things that happened on Friday afternoon seemed like they happened 2 weeks ago by Saturday night. I dont know if it was the lack of sleep, the overexertion, or the amount of things that happened, but it was truly an experience I will never forget and I’m already counting down the days until the MarathonGs run Reach the Beach in 2014.
So I’m already extremely spoiled where I work, as we get breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and snacks provided to us for free. Eat your heart out corporate America- my job is better than yours!! Wait, if you think u hate me already, every summer we get a steak and lobster dinner provided as a summer treat. This is the ultimate “summer eats” as we get steak, lobster, baked potatoes, salad, fruit, corn on the cob…you name it, we’ve got it!! It’s actually quite amazing.
Anyways I just wanted to take a moment to share this with all you “brown-naggers” out there that aren’t so lucky!
About a month ago a few friends and I made our way to the Jonathan Edwards Wine Festival, which was of course at Jonathan Edwards Winery. The wine festival was so much fun!! For $20 you get a glass and a tasting ticket which was good for a variety of different wines. At the festival there was live music, a wine-themed arts and crafts fair, and tons of great food. We walked around for a while, saw the sights, got delicious caprese sandwiches from the food truck, had lots of wine, and finished off our day with some fresh oysters from the Behan Family Farm. Though it was a HOT HOT day, it was lovely inside the tent. The live music was fantastic and we had a wonderful time relaxing!
Address: 74 Chester Main Rd North Stonington, CT 06359
Cost For Tasting: I’m not sure how expensive the tasting is, but the Wine Festival was $20, which included live music, and the tasting. food was extra, but it was delicious, and I found it quite worth it.
Ranking: 8 – I feel like I’d really have to go back for just a tasting to get a feel for the vineyard in a more laid back setting. The festival was awesome, and I enjoyed the wine but I wasn’t able to get a feed for the inside of the winery. I’d definitely like to go back again!
The Connecticut Valley Winery was the third stop on our 3 stop wine tour a few weeks ago. The tasting station was pretty busy, and we had already done a couple earlier in the day, so we decided to just get a bottle of wine and enjoy it with our snacks.
Address: 1480 Litchfield Turnpike New Hartford, CT 06057
Cost For Tasting: $8, however we just purchased a bottle for about $14.
Ranking: 6 – wine was good, however the tasting room was small and there was limited seating outside. It also seemed that there was a large banquet area. So, it may be a nice place for a wedding reception or large party, but for a small intimate setting..ehh…
Tastings are offered on Saturday and Sunday from 12–5 pm. During Wine Trail Season (May–November), tastings are offered Thursday–Sunday from 12–5 pm. We chose one of their red wines: Black Tie Cabernet Francm which as stated on their website, is “an elegant and sophisticated red table wine, robust with a dry, silky finish”.
Last night at work I had a conversation with one of my co-workers about my morning run the next day. The conversation went a little like this:
Me: So I’ll be running by your house tomorrow.
Co-worker: Oh yea? What time?
Me: Early…I’ll probably pass your place around 5:25AM
Me: What, are you going to come out and cheer for me? haha I would die if you were standing out there with a sign or something.
End of story. Now this particular co-worker is a bit on the unpredictable side. Nothing that he does, or doesn’t do, really surprises me. He’s a rolling stone of sorts. So this morning I was running with one of my girlfriends and as we were coming close to my coworker’s house I was telling her the story. We rounded the corner, and to my surprise, a small sign low to the ground caught my eye.
This was surprising, even to me! But it absolutely put some pep in my step! I have a great appreciation for thoughtful little surprises like this – it will not be forgotten!