Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Delta = the devil

So, generally I don't have problems with corporations. OK - maybe that isn't true. I don't believe in stepping foot into Best Buy (I was almost arrested there once for a loud and angry outburst. Thankfully I can outrun Minneapolis cops) and I have serious reservations whenever I step foot into Walmart, but that might have more to do with the clientele than the corporation itself. Delta has suddenly put itself squarely on my "list" actually almost above Best Buy because I have had to slightly forgive them based on the number of friends I have who work in their corporate office. Today I discovered there was a problem with a trip I took in May ACROSS the country to NYC. This is not an insignificant amount of mileage or time or money that I spent traveling. The idea was that it would be great to use Delta because I could get NWA miles but get the good fair that Delta was offering. Well, this seems great until Delta fails to send the mileage to NWA and low and behold has no record of ever having my NWA Frequent Flyer number. So I think to myself that this can't be too difficult, I call up NWA they tell me call Delta at such and such number and request a ticket receipt. Easy. So I call Delta and after sitting on hold while "Pete", who is obviously from or maybe even in India since he sounds like he is a thousand miles away and does not have an accent like any "Pete" I have ever known and there are three in my life right now, finds the reservation I get this information from him: "Mam, (first of all don't ever call me mam, I don't even know how to spell it since it is such an insult) all you have to do is write a letter to Delta requesting a ticket receipt and send with it a $20 check or money order and...." At that point I cut him off. "Excuse me "Pete" is it? Yeah, I am not paying $20 because Delta failed to send my mileage to NWA. Are you really asking me to pay $20 for your mistake? I have a receipt here on email that shows I supplied my frequent flyer number. Do you need to see that I did that?" His response was to again put me on hold and then come back with his annoying little voice and tell me there was nothing he could do about it and I would have to send the $20. At this point I was starting to get a little angry. For one thing this was cutting into my billable time at work and for another thing I could only understand about every third word coming out of "Pete's" mouth. I kindly and gently said "well gee 'Pete', thanks for nothing. Now please put me through to your supervisor." Again, the line went quiet. I said hello about ten times and finally his annoying voice came on the line saying he could do nothing to help me. Now I was getting mad and my voice was starting to elevate in volume a bit. "'Pete', I believe I need to speak to your Supervisor." Again, silence followed by about five "hellos" from my end of the line. Finally "Pete" informed me he would be transferring me to his Supervisor and she would help me. Click, hello? Line went dead as "Pete" found a way to cut me off completely.

So now, those of you who know me know my blood is absolutely boiling. I am ready to get in the car and drive to India to hang "Pete" up by his toes. Instead, I vow to never fly Delta again and pick up the phone to call Travelocity who I had made my reservation through. Again, I get a man who sounds like he is in India but his name is "Lucky". I think to myself, "ok, things are changing. I am about to get lucky" and even though it takes about six times to be sure he has my email address correct (l was not his strength and neither was T.) I was assured a ticket receipt was on its way. Alright NWA - let's see what you got.

Oh and one more thing - to see a HILARIOUS video about Delta and how terrible they are go to the link for Nathan's Daily Grind on the right and look for his Delta posting. It is great.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hoopfest 2006





So this one is a little late in coming because I was waiting on some pictures and then got caught up working my tail off at work, although many of my friends wouldn’t believe that I actually have been working my tail off since I am such a great multitasker. Anyway, crazy life aside, I wanted to share about one of my favorite weekends in the summer, Hoopfest weekend. Hoopfest is the world’s largest 3 on 3 street basketball tournament and happens to be in Spokane, Washington where my family lives. So my team went over there, after not practicing like we should have but ready for a good time anyway.

My team this year consisted of Erin of course, Tim or Tom depending on if you want him to be mad at you or not, and Sweet Pete. I am not sure that Pete really appreciates the nickname my family gave him but at least my big burley cousin stopped calling him Sweet PEA. (Btw – my family asked how you were doing this past weekend Sweet Pete. I told them you were well, hopefully that was ok. They asked about you too Tim. I told them you were so so. haha)

Our team name was a bit of a problem this year. It is hard to compare to Your Mom which was our name last year and really one wouldn’t want to try to recreate what happened last year because we would fail so at 1:00am with no options from my stupid, noncreative, nonhelpful teammates I filled in the name Keith and Kelly’s Team. Now Tim, Erin and Pete might have given me a significantly hard time about this but the large number of points that I received for being the cool aunt when Keith and Kelly got T-shirts that said Coach on the back far outweighed any negative feelings they might have caused me to have. SO THERE!

Game 1: Well, we started out the tournament playing as though we were underwater unfortunately. I don’t know what it was that that caused it but unfortunately we did not fair well and off to the loser’s bracket we went. The most unfortunate part of that is our second game was hours away. So we wandered around Hoopfest and took in the sites, watch a bit of basketball and had lunch. I suckered Pete and Tim into taking Keith and Kelly on the carousel. Those kids can seriously get anything they want.

Game 2: Game 2 was a completely different story from Game 1. Granted the team we played in the second game wasn’t as good as the first one but we came alive and played much better than the first game. Our second game was our first victory and was a lot of fun. I love to play basketball. I could play everyday and never get bored. However, I am also extremely competitive and in a situation like Hoopfest there are times when that has to be tucked aside in the spirit of sportsmanship and not letting the guys on the team get down because they are important, so when I can play hoops and win I am generally the happiest that I can get.

Game 3: So, the difficulty for me in Game #3 was that I knew that if we lost we would be done. You are guaranteed three games but only get two losses. A lot was hinging on the game. If we lost we wouldn’t play on Sunday. It was a close game but unfortunately we came up short at the very end of the game. It was hard fought – Tim and Pete played their hearts out against an unstoppable foe (seriously the guy was worthy of the title of foe. He was amazing) and Pete even took a fall that would have made me cry and sit out the rest of the game. It was an unfortunate loss but I think all in all we had a great weekend anyway.
And on the plus side – because we didn’t have to play on Sunday, Pete, Erin and Tim came out to Lake Coeur D’Alene where my family had a cabin for the week. We got to swim and hang out and that was actually really nice too. Especially seeing as it reached at least 90 degrees on the blacktop on Sunday.

So – here’s to next year. Now if only I could get a team that would practice…..

Friday, July 07, 2006

Heyo

My dad's best friend's wife's dad (seems odd and far removed but they are like an aunt and uncle to me) was a wonderful man who lived in a small town in central Iowa called Allison. I received an email today from my mom telling me he had passed away. In my second and third years of law school I would go down to Allison, bring dinner (although Heyo often insisted on taking me out and keeping the casserole for another time) and play cards with Heyo. One time he took me on the grand tour of the communities surrounding Allison. We went to this old museum that was awesome because you would find it nowhere else except in rural Iowa. I think it had one of the country's first tractors. He had a riding lawn mower that he used to mow the fields at the fairgrounds as his work. He loved that I understood the "farming" part of his life and we would sometimes go and look at cows. Sort of like kicking the tires of a car for a city person, this time spent examining an Angus deciding where its strengths and weaknesses were was a great bonding time for the both of us. I soon came to adore him and think of him as part of my family. After moving back to Washington I tried to keep in contact. I sent him cards on occasion and went and saw him every time I could when he was in Seattle. I had the joy of seeing him a few weeks ago when he was here. He had suffered a heart attack at home and had not been found for a few hours a few months ago and was moved to an assisted living home. He told me he hated it there. I told him he was missing the opportunities to find good card playing partners but he was so independent that the thought of staying there the rest of his life was difficult. I guess over the 4th of July he came down with pneumonia and he passed away late yesterday. Funny, I sent him a get well soon card yesterday. That seems a bit ironic. Hopefully when it arrives it will be looked at with love not as another idiotic act by me. Oh well.

Anyway, I will greatly miss my friend but I am glad he is on to a better place and he gets to be reunited with his one and only love, his wife, who passed away a number of years ago. I'll miss your wonderful smile Heyo!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day 2006

I think one of my favorite holidays is and always has been the 4th of July. It is a bit surprising actually because especially as a kid I have always been a bit of a chicken. The loud noises always made me a bit nervous and I was certain my dad was going to blow himself up. Unlike my “brother” Nathan, I wasn’t a pyromaniac and the thought of holding a firecracker until it was about ready to explode and then throwing it about made me wet my pants. (That activity stopped shortly after one jumped the fuse, blew up in his hand and he ended up with his hand in the dog’s water bowl.) I have had my hair light on fire from the sparks of a sparkler, watched in terror, certain the house was going to catch on fire, as my sister’s friends set off a spectacular fireworks display and played many a game of cow-pie baseball in the pasture. What is more American than a little fear, a little baseball and a lot of laughter?

This year, similar to last year, I was invited to spend the holiday with Uncle George, my adopted Uncle (Dear Uncle George – thanks for the sweatshirt. Love Kristin) out on his boat. This year was quite different than last year because he got a new boat (which he has decided to name Kristin Louise. Isn’t that nice of him?!) that had just arrived on July 3rd and wasn’t ready to take it out yet. Instead we spent a few hours in the afternoon hanging out on it in the marina and then went to a “block” party at his neighbor's house before returning to the boat for the Kirkland fireworks. We were joined by Leslie, George’s girlfriend, two friends of Erin’s, Monica and Amy, and a few friends of mine (and Erin's), Brandon, Becca, Linda (all the way from MN – YIPPEE!!!) and Pete who fit on the boat nicely seeing as he is a pirate. Actually, Erin’s parents stopped by for a bit too and many of George’s friends and neighbors stopped by to see the boat and watch the show. It was a lot of fun.

At the block party I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my favorite baseball player who rents the mother-in-law apartment from George’s neighbor but unfortunately he must have heard I was going to be there and stayed away. Gosh, it isn’t like you actually have to follow those restraining orders distance requirements! haha

Even though Jeremy Reed didn’t show up, we did have the pleasure of watching George, Leslie and Erin limbo, got to see George with his self-proclaimed “pimp stick”, watched some of the best dressed and good looking "old" men (the comment between Erin and I was that we both hope to have husbands even half that hot when we get older) learn to skateboard and almost kill themselves and watched Brandon and Becca show off their great dancing skills. It seemed a bit odd at first to have hired a DJ for the affair but actually it was pretty nice he was there and the food was incredible. You have to BBQ on the 4th but this was unlike any 4th of July BBQ I have been to lately. George’s neighbors are wonderful and welcomed the 6 strangers with open arms.

The fireworks display was definitely worth the price of admission. From where we were we could watch the shows on Lake Union, Elliot Bay, Bellevue and Kirkland. It actually got a bit overwhelming because I didn’t want to miss anything so I eventually had to pick a show and focus on it. Kirkland did not disappoint.

So, I could get all political here but I think I won’t – although I generally don’t pass up a chance to express my opinion about politics and how liberals need to get it figured out – but I will say this: I am excited about this next year for our country. It is sort of like the day after your birthday or January 1st. You may not feel any different but you know there is a clean slate in front of you. You can make any changes necessary, you can start something completely new, learn from and fix mistakes and continue to build on successes. As a politics junky that is sort of exciting. As Brandon and I commented last night, a lot can change in even a month, and while a normal human month is like three years in political terms because of its slow moving cogs, I think the next year will bring about some good changes in this country. On July 4, 2007 I look forward to seeing where this country has gone and to seeing the positive influence we have been on the world. My hope is that we will be able to look at the positives and see less of the negatives.

And therefore, as Erin wanted me to add: May you go out and let the pimp stick touch you all! (Just look out for the round toed heels.)

Signed “RRB” – at least in my dreams