Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cuenca to Oregon to Cuenca


Brennie and I spent the last 2 weeks in Oregon visiting our son and daughter.  There are no words to describe the joy in seeing them.  

But, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!  Expensive!  I knew this up front.  It was no surprise.  I wasn’t shocked.  But, still it was shocking.  But that is not the subject of the rant.

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The return trip to Ecuador was ‘interesting’.  We had a real sucky itinerary to begin with  ..... and that is our fault.  For many reasons, we had trouble pulling together a feasible and reasonable flight plan.  Everything was a moving target.  Finally we just pulled the trigger (reservations had to be made) and we had our (less than perfect and very expensive) flights.

But then on the way back home to Cuenca ........ with our cobbled together POS flight plans ....... the wheels started coming off the cart.  

It started when Delta cancelled our flight from Detroit to Miami.  They pieced together a couple other flights to get us to Miami, but this left us less than an hour to gather our bags (checked, but not checked through), go to the LAN counter to get our boarding passes and  check the baggage, go through security, etc and be on our connecting flight to Quito.  As everyone knows, gathering the bags alone can take 30+ minutes and security can take another 30.

So, best case scenario, not likely to make it.  Possible, but not likely.  One can always hope ........ 

So, anyway, it turned out to be impossible, because our bags did not fly with us.  

So, according to the the folk at Delta Miami:
..... “Don’t worry about your bags.  Run to the gate.  Fly to Cuenca.  Fly without the bags.  We can have them to your house in Cuenca in a day or so.”  This seemed really, really hard to believe.  I suspect it was an intentional lie just to get us out of their hair.
..... “If the bags are not here, all you have to do is to put in claims for them.  Getting them on the planes to Ecuador (international flight) takes some extra paper work, but it shouldn’t take over 2 weeks.”  I am NOT making this up.
..... “Don’t even think about flying international without your bags.  Between TSA and us (Delta), you will just have to fly back here to Miami to eventually pick them up.”  Actually, I am not sure exactly how this went, but it was basically, wait for your bags, don’t fly without them, etc.

As it turns out, three of the bags arrived in Miami an hour after our LAN flight to Quito left.  The fourth apparently flew (for free) from Detroit to Atlanta to Minneapolis to Atlanta to Miami.  Not making this up.  The lost baggage guy in Miami traced it for us. This bag arrived in Miami hours later and with lots of frequent flyer miles.  

So, we 
- spent the lovely hot humid night in Miami at the Regency Hotel, 
- paid rebooking fees for the last available seats on our next 3 flights and 
- arrived home only 1 day later than we should have.  

How exciting.

Delta did give each of us a $6 food voucher for airport food.  This too is exciting.

But, this is not the topic of todays little rant either.

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Who are the Kardashians?

Why are they so important to Americans?

Are these people the latest representatives of American morals, values and ethics?

Why is it that everywhere I went, there were magazine cover stories on these people?

How could anyone possibly care what these people think or do?

Has any Kardashian at any time had a newsworthy thought or contributed any thing of any type to this world.

What is a Snooki?  Is a Snooki a Kardashian?  They seem to be cut from the same cloth.

Truly folks.  If the Kardashians are representative of what is ‘important’ in American culture ........... there is no polite way to end this thought.

Sad.  Desperate.

And THAT was the rant.

Life is sweet,

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Here is another take on the Delta Screwup and the night in Miami;
“Because of a small problem with a connecting flight, we were able to spend a glorious night in Miami soaking up the heat.  I was enjoying a cigar while enjoying a sauna-walk in the evening and walked up to an iced-latte-to-go place.  A complete stranger at the walk up window was there with his family.  We made small talk as best as I can in Spanish.  He and his family had just gotten back from the Dominican Republic and he had bought some Dominican cigars.  He gave me a couple cigars. (Remember, I was smoking a cigar.) When I smoked them later, I could reflect on the fact that the world has much kindness and generosity in it.  Every cloud has a silver lining.”

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Living in a Chemistry Experiment

The Brennie and I have been married for about 100 years (September ‘84).  
In most ways average, average, average ....... common as dirt.
Recently, the old girl has gone nuts, total bonkers, barking mad.
Back to this in a minute or two.  

We were as average as could be:
- teacher (me), program development in disabilities field (the newly crazy woman)
- two children, one of each gender
- always had a dog
- mini van / SUV
- summer vacation at rented house on lake .... same place every summer 
- bought my first Harley when in my 40’s
- every 2 - 4 years a major vacation (Disney World, Mexico, etc)
I mean we were average.

Well?  What does this have to do with my lunatic, wack job bride.

What does this have to do with ‘living in a chemistry experiment’?

Well, I’ll tell you what.  
If I could remember.  
When I started this, I had a transition in mind for ..... 
average --> nutbag -->  life in a chem lab.

If you are guessing that she has started cooking up batches of meth alongside the lasagna ...... WRONG.

So what HAS happened?

The Brennie has become some type of Ecuadorian Martha Stewart ...... that’s what!  
H*ll I don’t even recognize her any more!

A few minor examples before I get to the Mad Chemist part:
- I suggest that I go out and grab a pizza to go.  The Brennie goes to the kitchen and makes TWO pizzas from scratch (even the crust).
- A couple times a month she makes (2 again) quiches.  From scratch.
- She made curtains.
- Green smoothies (look it up)
- Making a braided rug.
- She just bought a LOT of different polka dot fabric (20 kinds?)  A quilt, maybe? 

She is in the kitchen all the time.

Right this very minute she has both the (new electric programable) pressure cooker and crock pot going .... I don’t even ask anymore.  
I have no idea what the plan is for today’s creations, because I know for a fact that we are going out to dinner.

By the way ....... little miss cuckoo bonkers doesn’t really eat leftovers.  
I am having to eat 5 times a day (hungry or not) just to keep food from going bad.
I am not sure why she did the whole pork thing (5 - 8 lbs) a couple weeks ago.
She is basically a vegetarian.  Maybe one small portion of meat,

Now ..... The Mad Chemist
She is into ..... I really don’t know what to call it.  
Live cultures?  
Fermented food?
- a batch of sauerkraut is busy bubbling away(?), fermenting(?) whatever.
- experimenting with creating sour dough cultures
- making her own yogurt
- she has ordered a BUNCH of cultures for some other stuff (again ..... I don’t ask)
- threatening to make cheese next

Braiding for a rug.
I have put a padlock on my closet
so she doesn't cut my clothes in strips.

A lot of food now includes .....
raw cold pressed coconut oil.
And, they don't just give that sh*t away!

A new crock for making sauerkraut.

The new fancy pressure cooker.
We could dine out for a month on what this baby cost.

Busy bubbling away.
Smells good.

Experimental sour dough bread.
Not bad.
I think she has ordered some new cultures (or something).

Sour dough starter?

Home made yogurt.

I'm a little scared.
Who is this woman?
But, she sure is cute.

Glad we don't drink.
If we did, I suspect she would have a still up and running.

Now, if I could just get her to do some ironing!

Life is sweet,