Monday, December 31, 2012

Dear Stephanie- An Advice Column-esque Write Up, Complete With a FUCK YOU to 2012!

Well today is officially the last day of 2012.
And all I have to say to that fact is good fucking riddance.




Oh sure, some of you out there will be all like "Wait! 2012 was like my BEST YEAR EVAH! 2012 was the year I: got married/had a baby/bought my first house/got a new car/reunited with my family" etc etc. Well yippee skippy dippy for you. 

I'm happy for you, really I am. 


Now don't get me wrong, I accomplished a lot of shit in 2012, but seriously, it was painful and like trying to drunk swim in a river of molasses at times. (I've tried it before, so I know of what I speak.)

Work was a bitch and an uphill battle most of the time, construction on the purple box we purchased has been non-stop and we're still living with THIS in the goddamned kitchen area:


Oh ugly 80's fireplace wall, how I LOATHE thee.

2012 also represents the fact that I worked through another pretty big surgery removing a vital body part, I learned to live with not only my regularly "fussy" titanium-laced fused spine, but, just for good measure, I added a neck herniation to the mix.

I also somehow adjusted to being the mother of a high school daughter in Color Guard... which is actually a positive but damn if I didn't learn how to 
a) rearrange my life to her (odd) schedule 
(read- get LITTLE to no sleep) 
and 
b) come to terms with the thousands of dollars I spent pouring gas into my truck to haul her ass back and forth to all her events. (I'm pretty sure I work full time just to be able to afford my teenager.)

I also didn't get to write nearly as much as I'd intended. 




But so what really- I know I've got it good compared to the hundreds of thousands of job seekers in our country, I should just shut the fuck up right? 
Right.

So on that note, I'll stop my bitching and get to the real reason you're all still here- let's send out 2012 with a Smashing Resume Mockery send off, shall we? 

This will be a version similar to Dear Abby, but we'll call it "Dear Stephanie". These are actual emails sent to me directly, or just stupidly included in the job seekers' cover notes. Ready? Ready.
Or as DJ EZ Rock says here "HIT IT!"

"HI STEPHANIE MY NAME IS ERIKA I JUST RECEIVED YOU. IMA INTERESTIED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY BUT ONLY HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH ASPHALT COMPANIES. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO?"

Dear ERIKA,
I CAN ALMOST SPOT THE INCOMPLETE SENTENCES AND TYPOS YOU'VE SPRAYED ME WITH LIKE THOSE ASPHALT COVERED PARKING LOTS YOU HELP BUILD, BUT I TRUTHFULLY CAN'T GET PAST THE NOISE FROM YOU YELLING AT ME IN ALL CAPS TO HELP YOU. THAT IS ALL.


Yes, this is a pic of women laying asphalt. Leave it to the internetz to have this kind of shit for me to use.


"Dear Stephaanie,
I would be great full if I could meet with you. 
Sincerely,
Jay @bjay69@---"

Dear BJay69,
Does that email address stand for "blow job 69? or Big Jay 69? Because you've definitely intrigued me and I wholeheartedly agree that a meeting between the two of us would be "full of great" as you say. Hit me up on the Craigslist personal ads, yo!
Sincerely, 
Busty Recruiter Chick





"Dear Stephanie Recruiter,
Thanks for taking time to read through my lengthy resume. As you can see, I most recently worked for our wonderful company but got tired of working 40 hours a week so I quit. My husband seems to think this was a mistake, so I'm wanting to pursue a career with ______ Insurance again. Thanks for helping me get back into good hands.
Sincerely,
Lacey"

Dear Lacey,
Well you really BLEW THAT now didn't you? Good luck in divorce court.
Sincerely,
Stephanie Recruiter in Good Hands Land





"Hello Stephanie,
My name is Devin and attached is my most current resume. Just a little bit about myself: I am 26 years old and have a great work ethic. While most 26 year olds are out of work and hanging out on their parents sofas playing Call of Duty, I am not that guy!!!!! I do not hang out and wait till someone literally comes knocking on my door to offer me a job. No sirreee. I am a definite go getter. Times have been slow for me though. I do live with my parents and have found myself on their sofa playing Call of Duty more than I'd like to admit. I need something to fill in my days that I have free. When I have nothing to do that will make me money, I go a little CRAY CRAY if you know what I mean. ;0) I am one money hungry man and looking to just scoop it up. 
Thanks for listening to me, if you're still reading this.
Best!
Devin"

Dear Call of Duty Devin,
Please have your parents take you to get your meds adjusted and like STAT. I've got enough fucking CRAY CRAY in my office as it is, if you know what I mean, wink wink.
Sincerely,
Recruiter Steph/Unlicensed Mental Health Professional





"Dear Stefanie,
I am interested in the position you have posted online but i have a question. Since I'm a full time student I was wondering if you knew the hours that the job has available to work. I go to school 6 days a week and have been searching for a place that can adjust to my schedule. Below is my schedule so you can let me know if the position can accomodate me. Here's the hours I have available to work:
Monday 5:30 pm -7:00 pm
Tuesday 3:30 pm - 6:15 pm
Wednesday 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Thursday 3:30 pm - 4:25 pm
Friday 10:15 am - 2:15 pm
Saturday 11:00 am - 1:40 pm
Sunday- I don't want to work on Sundays. That's my only day off.
Oh and my semester ends shortly, so my schedule will be much different next semester. Thanks,
Allen"

Dear Allen,
Thanks for inquiring about the position I posted online. I sure would love to be able to help out an ambitious and flexible young person such as yourself but instead I'll just say FUCK YOU and your ridiculous parameters. 
Best!
Stephanie





"Dear Compassionate Hiring Manager,
I currently have a job that has nothing to do with insurance, but I assure you that I can learn, and fast! One of my life's mottos is "Safety first, be cautious, joyful and loving!"
Thanks so much for your consideration.
Wendy."

Dear Wendy,
Awww that's so sweet. I'm sorry to inform you that you cannot handle the job you are applying for. I'll also save you a lot of world lesson heartache now and simply say this: go play with puppies.
Sincerely,
Compassionate Recruiter Chick





"Hi, this is my resume and my clover letter and one listed reference. please look at it. all. if i'm good for you and the position, please say it to me. and email me back this mail or call me at the number i left on my resume.
-Charlie"


Dear Charlie,
I looked at it. 
All. 
I fear you would not be good for me OR the position in any capacity, so I will say it to you as you so clearly requested- YOU SUCK. I hope this mail method was acceptable to you, and furthermore, I will not be calling the number you left on your shitty resume.
PS I was expecting Clovers and Lucky Charms to be included... thanks for getting my hopes up for NOTHING.
Best of luck to you with your futile job hunt!
Stephanie






"Hi Stephanie,
Thanks for looking at my resume. I really appreciate it. I am a gifted and decisive proven leader that creates and maintains outstanding relationships. I look forward to improving your work environment with my presence.
Regards,
Preston"

Dear Preston,
Congratulations! You are this week's winner of the "Most Over-Blown Description of One's Qualifications" Award! This is a special endowment only bestowed upon the most deserving. And while I'm sure all of your great experience FOLDING CLOTHES AT THE GAP would come in handy at my house, your presence in my work environment would do anything BUT improve it.
Good luck Sunshine!
-Stephanie




"Dare Hiring Person:
I am looking for a part-time or full-time job that will help highlight my strong personality. I currently work as a volunteer at the Parks and Rexs and intend to graduate shortly.
Thanks for ur help,
Joe"

Dare Joe,
As it wasn't indicated on your resume, please send me the name of the school you will be graduating from shortly. I need to call them and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves for giving you a diploma in anything other than stupidity.
Oh, and you're very welcome for the help!
-A Concerned American Citizen





"Dear Stephanie,
I am excited to apply for the highest ranking position I could find listed with your office. I am a very fast learner, so please do not let my lack of experience in your industry disuade you. I ALWAYS finish all of my task. I do not like to leave any untask or activity unfinished, and I can mult-tit-task. I just recently stopped working and really need this job. 
Thanks,
Mariana"

Dear Mariana,
While I appreciate your incredible enthusiasm and interest in my highest ranking position far above your skillset, I think your short time at Jack In the Box speaks against your argument for never leaving any tasks unfinished. There are still fries to be fried. 
PS What is "mult-tit-task"ing? Is that some new way to fry fries? With your tits? Perhaps that's why you recently stopped working. You might want to look into that.
-Stephanie


There really are some things that can't be unseen huh? Sorry 'bout that. Had to do it.


"Dear Recruiter Person,
Hello i am sending this in response to the job posting i saw i feel i posses the characterhistics you are looking for from my previous employers i have gained a lot of costumer service experience and i am a very self motivated individual always thriving for the business i am interested in the job and will be looking forward to hearing from you thanks for yor time.
Paul"

Dear Paul,
Thank you for causing me to weep at my desk. You have been super helpful to me this morning, what with the whole "sending me into a spiral of self-questioning related to my particular career choice of being a recruiter over finishing my degree in English to become a teacher for sorry asses such as yourself" thing. I appreciate the reminder of why I actually drink at night.
Oh, and by the way, THERE ARE NO FUCKING COSTUMES IN INSURANCE. I felt you should know this for all the other insurance-related positions you're about to apply to and get turned down for.
Sincerely,
Alcoholic Recruiter Person




And that's it for now my little chickadees!
If you plan on ripping it up and drinking like a sieve like I will probably do tonight, please do it around people that love you, will only partially make fun of you, and will make sure you get your sweet ass safely to bed without hurting others. 


Oh and as far as 2013... I'm ready, BRING IT BITCH!



Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Funny's Broke

I don't tend to get terribly political or bring up current events on this blog.
Do I get lippy?
Yes.
But political or incredibly "debatey"?
No.

The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School (and let's not forget at the Oregon mall a few days before that) placed me in a funk that I've truthfully tried to override, but have failed... at least behind the lovely lavender walls of the little box I call home. 

I know myself well enough to restrict my television viewing during moments like these, as I tend to dissolve into a puddle of tears while squeezing and slobbering all over my appropriately concerned cat. 

Scrolling through Facebook posts has turned into drudgery and I've actually avoided it for days on end. (And as a quick side bar- to all my Facebook "friends" that put up ridiculous posts about inconsequential things such as "I've lost my phone! I think I might have to kill myself!!" I have this to say to you: FUCK YOU. Do you not even have one fucking OUNCE of SELF-AWARENESS to realize how asinine this is to the rest of the world right now? Who even GIVES A SHIT about how you lost your phone? Adults, and *more importantly* children have DIED. Just for the record: I'm still considering unfriending you.)

To the rest of the world it may appear as if I've gone on to function "normally" (whatever that is), but really, there's some kind of inner turmoil raging inside of me that has to get out. It's as if my "funny's" been broken over the past couple of weeks and I think it's because I have an opinion on this matter and I feel I must share it.

And by share it, I mean share it "here" - otherwise known as my blog domain I rightfully (or theoretically) own.

Even if my opinion is ultimately only read by the 3 people that follow me and the 204 other "fans" in France and the Czech Republic my blog stats keep quoting (wtf?), I feel that perhaps my "funny" will somehow magically become unbroken and I'll be able to make fun of people's resumes once again, in an effort to clean up the lack of employment in our country. That and maybe my point will be heard and somehow, just SOMEHOW, a movement will continue to be pushed in the direction I'm going to talk about.

Now... moving on ...
  

A writer friend of mine that I've affectionately nicknamed "Fog Lifter" posted a relevant article that's been circulating on Facebook, so I wanted to share it with you here, on my blog, in case you haven't seen it. Written by Liza Long, a mother to a special needs child, the article can be found here. Obviously her point is being driven home and hashed and re-hashed by bad journalists a-plenty on our nation's boob toobs day after day, but the concept of mental illness being a raging and widely ignored issue has finally bitten us in the ass. Our country's NEED to open up and run more capable mental health facilities has long been known by yours truly... starting with my several mentally ill (and mostly deceased) family members, then tripping over to my prior job with the State of Nevada Department of Family Services where I worked in a Mental Outpatient Health facility for children and teens... and now, finally, at my recruiter job of all places--- where I see boat loads of resumes from out of work mental health workers EVERY DAMN DAY.

Oodles of potential workers such as MFT's (Marriage & Family Therapists) and LCSW's (Licensed Clinical Social Workers)... Facility and Program Directors... all eligible, highly qualified peeps that should be able to be placed in QUALITY FACILITIES... instead of looking for jobs in insurance because they are starving. Do I call and talk to them? Of course I do! Not only because they are usually great individuals, but also because you never can tell... sometimes our prices can be so shocking to our customers, they can always use a good therapist to talk them off the cliff. (Just KIDDING. Or am I?)

This whole situation is sad to me on multiple levels, but I truly hope our country can turn it around and start meeting the needs of the mentally ill AND the workers that know how to take care of them.

Thanks to my readers (all 3 of you!) for letting me rant (as usual) and getting that off my chest. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some Christmas and Festivus presents to go wrap! 






Monday, December 10, 2012

The Truth About Resume Gap-o-sis

I had a very alarming discussion with a job seeker a few days ago that I wanted to share with you all here.

For all intensive purposes (and even though I can think of about 17 other foul names I'd love to use to identify her) we'll call this gal Desiree.

Desiree had applied to one of the positions I am currently running on a major job board that has some heavy competition as far as applications go. She had some moderately useful skills and experience listed on her 2 page resume, enough at least to pique my interest and want to give her a call to see what she sounds like. 

Yes, you read that right, I call people to see "what they sound like". 
Sometimes after my boss man has looked over a resume, he will even ask me specifically to call people to see what they sound like.
This is common recruiter/hiring manager-speak, because guess what? If you suck on the phone, you're going to suck in person AND you will be useless to us (for most positions I recruit for) if we make the mistake of hiring you.

First off, I should warn you that I was skeptical as to how my conversation with her would go, mainly because she hadn't worked since 2009. It's now the end of 2012... and she hadn't worked since 2009. Desiree has a severe case of what I like to call:
"Resume Gap-o-sis"

This is a sad little affliction that has plagued many a job seeker as of late... and 95% of the time, there's a cure for it. 
For example...
Been a stay-at-home mom or dad?
Been taking care of an elderly relative for awhile? Then LIST IT on your resume so we don't have to wonder if you've been eating bon-bons on the couch for years on end. K? K. 

So without further delay... my conversation with Desiree the Bitch. (Oops, did I say that? Why yes, yes I did.)


Me: Hi, this is Stephanie with _____ Insurance. I’d like to speak to Desiree please.

Desiree: This is her.

Me: Hi Desiree, I’m calling because you responded to my job posting up on _______.com. I have your resume in front of me and I wanted to chat with you for a moment, is this a good time for you?

Desiree: Yeah, it’s fine.

I’m already not liking her “tone”. It’s about 2:15 in the afternoon and she’s acting as if I’m putting her out, OR like I just woke her up. Which is highly possible given the fact that she hasn't worked in 3 years.

Me: So I read over everything and was intrigued by your previous insurance experience as it would appear to line up with the job criteria I outlined in our job posting. I do have a couple of questions for you though if you don’t mind?

Desiree: No, go ahead.

(Side note- she’s said all of nine words to me, NINE, and I already know I’m not going to be recommending her for this position. This chick’s personality on a scale of 1-10 was about a negative 2, with a tinge of "flat".)

Me- in my head: Since this conversation is essentially futile, I’m going to go ahead and start with the harder hitting questions, what the hell…

Me: So I noticed that your last job entry on your resume ended in 2009. What have you been doing since then?

Silence.

Me: Have you been doing any contract work? Or taking care of children or an older family member?

Again... crickets.

I just let the silence sit on top of us, like a brick-laden, uncomfortable weight, which I will do once in awhile, just to see how they handle me.

Finally, Desiree speaks up.

Desiree: Well I’ve been looking for a job. You people don’t know how hard it is to find a job nowadays.

“YOU people?” Oh MY. She didn’t just say that to me, did she? 
Why yes, I think she did.

Me (quickly looking her profile up on Facebook so I could get a face associated to the bitch I was talking to): Well Desiree, I see a lot of resumes all day long and I talk to a LOT of people out of work, so even though I’m PERSONALLY currently employed, I think I have a pretty good picture of what it’s like out there right now.

Desiree (getting even testier with me on the phone): Well I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. I spend hours and hours each day combing the job boards and submitting my resume to hundreds of jobs.


She’s telling me I’m just one out of hundreds she applied to? Stupid move. That certainly doesn't make me feel any better about calling her.

She’s also sporting a cowgirl hat in her Facebook profile picture, has her profile open and public for anyone to see, which allows me to read her unprecedented (and not to mention ethically questionable) activity on Facebook. I think little Miss Bitch has been spending hours and hours each day playing on Facebook, not "combing the job boards" as she says.

The journalist in me decided to play with her a little bit more, you know, for research and all.

Me: Well let me ask you some more questions Desiree, maybe I can help place you somewhere. Would that be alright?

Desiree: Yeah, I’ve got nothing better to do right now.

This just keeps getting better and better. 
Somehow I knew it would. 

At this point I'm thinking I need to keep her on the phone for a LOT longer than I originally anticipated as I think she might just hit on ALL the mistakes a job seeker can make, in one foul swoop.

Me: So let’s say you’ve got an irate customer on the phone with you. They’re ticked off because they were billed an extra $2.15 and you’re in charge of calming them down. It’s obviously not a problem that you’ve directly created for them, yet they are acting as if you are personally responsible for ruining their life. How do you handle that situation?

(I already know the answer to this question, (NOT WELL), but I ask a question of this manner to my *less than stellar* candidates I get on the phone just to pretend like I actually CARE what they’re going to say back to me. I don’t even pose this question to the GOOD candidates because if they’re handling ME well on the phone, I know they’ll handle one of our insured customers well too.)

Desiree: Well the first thing I’d do is tell them to calm down. And if they’re cussing at me, I’ll make it clear that I’ll not take such abuse and if they don’t stop, I’ll be forced to hang up the phone.

Me: Uh huh.

Profound, truly profound.

Still waiting for her to say more, I continue to scroll through her Facebook posts. I’m increasingly alarmed. I decide to Google map where she lived, let’s just see what kind of dump and/or mansion she lives in…

Desiree: Are you still there?

Me: Yes, I’m here. Is that all you’d do with them on the phone?

I drop myself into her street and spin my little guy in circles to get a feel for her neighborhood. She lives in a nice condo in a fairly good neighborhood in the same city I’m in. So somebody’s clearly supporting her annoying ass.

Desiree: Well, I guess I’d spend my time trying to unwind the 2 dollars and whatever you said, although I think that would kind of be a waste for my employer, don’t you think? I think it would be better if my employer just paid it for them instead of paying my hourly wage to try and figure it out. Don’t you think that would be the better route to go?

Me: Well that’s kind of the band-aid approach, plus we don’t make a habit out of paying for our customers insurance policies in general. While I get what you’re saying, the better thing to do is to do your best to keep the customer, starting with reassuring them that you’re going to figure out what happened and present them with the correct facts. Then ask your boss’s opinion about it all if necessary, and take it from there. 

(I know I need to get her off this question and get to her list of “demands” as I’m sure she has them if she’s been unemployed for so long.)

Me: So tell me Desiree, are you looking for part-time or full-time?

Desiree: Oh, definitely full-time. I can’t live on part-time.

Of course not.

Unless she’s not being completely forthcoming with me (which is highly probable) and she’s on disability or something, it’s been too long for her to be on unemployment. I would think that someone desperate for a job would be willing to take a part-time position, but what do I know right?
I’m just a person with a job.

Me: Okay, so I’m making notes on your resume here, you need full-time. What hourly wage do you need?
("Making notes on a resume I’m going to be shredding as soon as I hang up with you", I wanted to add. I'd do it sooner but she'd hear the shredder going.)

Desiree: Well that depends. You know, on where the job is. Where is this position that you called me about again?

Me: Well there are several, but none of them are full-time. They are part-time, up to 30 hours a week. I’m just wanting to get an idea from you so that I can make notes for future reference, in case I get a position that might be a good fit for you.

(Side bar- the smart thing for her to do at this point would have been to figure out that 30 hours isn’t THAT far off from 40 hours, and to ask me if any of the positions have the POSSIBILITY of becoming full-time. Did she though? Of course not.)

Desiree:  Well if it’s here in town where I am, then I need to make $60,000 a year. If it’s 20 miles away or more, then I need to make $65,000 a year.

Seriously.
SERIOUSLY?

Now I’ve got a VERY real picture of why this asshat isn’t employed. Her skill set in NO WAY mirrors this income level.

Me: Okay, what else do you want while I’m making notes?
(As long as we’re playing pretend here… may as well make it good!)

Desiree: Well I need medical, and dental. I really could use dental. And I want about 4 weeks off vacation a year as that’s what I had before. I think that’s fair.

Me: Well of course.

Desiree (oblivious to my sarcasm): Yeah, I think that about handles it. And I want to work independently. You know, like to have a boss that doesn’t hover or check in on me to see what I’m doing. That would be ideal.

Me: Yeah, it would, wouldn’t it?

(It’s hard to play on Facebook all day with somebody hovering over you, expecting you to work for that salary they’re paying you.)

Me: Well I think I have everything I need here Desiree. Thanks for talking to me today.

Desiree: So how long do you think before I get a call back? Because I’m tired of looking for a job. It’s getting really ridiculous.

Pffft, ummm... let's see, how about, like... NEVER? And dammit all Desiree, if only you’d handled me differently and tapered down your list of demands, I might have been able to help you..

Do I say this?
Of course not. I want to, but the risk of her stalking me is too strong. 

Me: Well it depends. I never know when our agents are going to be asking for my help with staff placement. Could be tomorrow, could be 6 months from now. It’s really hit and miss.

And when it comes to you, lovely Desiree, we clearly have a swing and a MISS.

Desiree: Oh. Well that’s disappointing.

You bet your bippy it is Sweet Cheeks.

Me (lying): Oh! My other line is ringing Desiree, I’ve got to go. Have a good rest of your day.

Desiree: Okay fine. BYE.
Click.
She actually hung up first!
IDIOT.

SHRED.

The moral of the story here my little chickadees is this... don't do ANY of the crap Desiree did. K? K.


Peace out!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Little Vacation Side Story- Part 2


Now onto the next part of my lovely story… the big Thanksgiving buffet dinner.
So it’s late on Turkey Day, like at least 8pm or so. We’d decided to eat at the Palms as we’d previously tried eating at the buffet and it was pretty darned good. Coming into the hotel, we passed the LONGEST LINE FROM HELL on our way up to the room. Right then and there we agreed to take shifts, hubs would wait in line downstairs first, then I would come down and stand in our “spot”, then hubs and daughter would join me when I got closer to the front. Here’s a shot from my spot in line once he’d already been waiting for about 40 minutes… the arrow indicates the final destination...

And I know what you're thinking... why yes, I am rather tall. I was wearing 4" heels and held the camera up high... I think I was scaring the poor balding man with the bad gold chain necklace in front of me the whole time I stood there. 

Our best estimation was that it would take about 1.5 hours total. But guess what? By the time we got to the front of the line, guess what I found? A lovely little sign in front of a different line with about 3 people in it that said “VIP and Hotel Guests Enter Here”.

Ummmm, what?
You’ve GOT to be kidding me. 
Steadying myself at the cash register, I asked one of the employees “So, that sign right there? Does that mean if we are staying in the hotel, we wouldn’t have needed to stand in the long line we just stood in forever?”
Cash register chick: “Yup.”

Oh. My. Freaking. Gawd.
I turned around to hubs and immediately started blaming him. 
“Did you hear that? If only YOU’D NOTICED THE SIGN YOU PASSED BY ON THE WAY TO STANDING IN THE LONG LINE, WE COULD HAVE ALREADY EATEN, A GOOD HOUR AGO.”  
Hubs: “ME??? What about YOU? YOU passed by that sign just as much as I did!”
Pffft.
Totally insignificant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Flash forward to the next day… woken by construction yet AGAIN.
“These guys SERIOUSLY SUCK!” I muttered under my breathe as I flew out of bed.

Hubs made another call to the front desk. This time they offered to move us to a different room as they still weren’t “communicating well with the Engineering department”. Ummmm, no. We don’t want to spend 2 hours of our day packing up our shit and then unpacking it in a different room when we are leaving the next day. Forget it man. 
Somehow he managed to pull another 2 room fees out of them, but still, hardly enough.

Now on with the day, first up, the Hoover Dam!

Back story: a good friend from high school had emailed me the week before we left to talk about all the different things we could do that were “family-oriented” in Vegas. In her email to me was a mention of the Hoover Dam, and how their 3 kids really liked it because it was suddenly acceptable to drop the word “Dam” here and there in casual conversation. 
“This is a great dam tour!” 
“That wall is DAM big!”
Etc. You get the idea.

Now, obviously, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve figured out that I swear like a sailor. As Miranda Lambert says in her song “Only Prettier” (seen here) “I’ve got the mouth of a sailor and yours is more like a Hallmark card…”

Yup, that’s me. Raised in a print shop and yacht clubs… I guess I’m the true byproduct of my initial surroundings. (And now being forced to read shitty resumes all day long... can you blame me? Hardly.)

That being said, the kid knows she’s allowed to cuss, but for some reason, chooses not to. (As a matter of fact, she once even apologized to me for texting the word “Biotch” to me one day.) I guess if reverse psychology has ever worked, my cussing and my daughter choosing not to would be a test case for an argument in FAVOR of that theory.

So while my sweet childhood friend thought she was being helpful in suggesting that Becky would be super excited to use the word “dam” at an unprecedented rate upon arrival of the massive site, I had to email her back and tell her that “unless they suddenly renamed it the Hoover Fuck Tour, I doubt she’ll be interested in unleashing the profanities.”

Once we finally got ourselves to said DAM, we were in for some kind of super brainy tour. I’ve been there before a couple of times, so I knew what it would be like. The part I was secretly most looking forward to was the part of the tour where they take you underground and then tell you about all the guys that died on the site and were actually BURIED ALIVE in the walls. Guess what? They are so “PC” now, they LEFT THAT PART OUT. I was SO upset they didn’t bring that up, I had to tell her myself.
The other thing they’ve done since I was previously there was build this magnificent bridge, pictured here:





We parked and walked out onto the west end of it. Not for the faint of heart for sure… standing there with traffic whizzing by you at 70 mph and a death drop on the other side of you, I can’t imagine the plethora of panic attacks on that narrow sidewalk over the massive gulch.

Here's a pic of said wall with dudes inside it:

I swear they are in there. The tour guide said so when I was 12. It has to be so. 

Once we headed back into town for the night, we knew we wanted to hit the strip some more. Surely there was more lunacy and debauchery to experience! The night was young!

Next up: the pirate show outside Treasure Island.


If you’ve been in Vegas at all in the last 20 years or so, you know of which I speak. There is a lagoon outside the hotel with a massive pirate ship planted at the back of it, pictured here:




A 15 minute show plays at the top of every hour once the sun goes down.
The last time I was there they had cool looking pirates dressed up in true Deppster/Jack Sparrow style, having swashbuckling fights while swinging from the elaborate rigging and the crow’s nest. It was actually a GREAT show. So I was kind of excited as we headed for it as seeing as how I am convinced I was a pirate in a past life, I LOVE me some pirates and big ships.

And then the show started.

With fluorescent lights flashing here and there with great aggression, what comes out on deck? A bunch of dressed up female strippers sporting hooker gear with some serious “international flair”.

Now, just to be clear here, I’m not a prude. As a matter of fact, as most of my very close friends know, far from it. But my mommy-like spidey senses kicked into gear and I knew immediately the show wasn’t going to be PG-13 or “family friendly” by any stretch of the imagination. Wanting to grab my daughter’s wrist and RUN, I instead leaned over to whisper into her ear to PLEASE, NOT RETAIN ANYTHING she was about to see or hear. Just then, a short Asian woman shoved her way past us with her 2 year old on her hip. There were children EVERYWHERE. I was suddenly worried for all of them.

Enter the token hot male and commence female hookers singing, dancing, and all but engaging in coitus on the ship’s deck.
                              
Seven cheek-flushing, all-the-males-in-the -audience-are-truly-riveted-and practically-drooling minutes later, another ship from across the way “sails in” (on a rail that runs down the street I’m supposing). Suddenly there are about 20 hot, (and obviously gay) males on board the other ship. And then out of the mouth of the lead hooker comes one of the most horrifying sentences I’ve ever heard:

“Hey there seaman! Why don’t you come park your rig in my cove?”

Okay, now I’m a SAILOR and have been since 4 years old, but seriously? I wanted to die. Daughter turns and glances at me with this look that says “REALLY MOM?”
Man.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart, Treasure Island. 
Thanks to you, my teenage daughter now knows at least 5 specific sex-type dances AND how to talk dirty to hot gay men. 

As soon as we could, we high tailed it to the Venetian to show her the beautiful inside illuminated sky that looks like this:



She dug that.
Then we passed these beautiful trees outside the Venetian, lit up in alternating blue and green colors:

OOOOO Blue!!!

AHHHH Green!!!

Then we hopped in the car and passed more neato stuff such as the Eiffel Tower that’s an exact 1/3rd replica of the real one:



Our next destination? Zip lining on Fremont Street. 
Or rather, the “Fremont Experience” as they call it.
And what an experience it was.

Touted online as one of the “funnest zip lining experiences” around, what the online reports failed to mention was the fact that you’d have several near death experiences before you were actually CLIPPED into the zip lining system and sent reeling down the steel cable line dangling hundreds of feet above certain death.

And here's why: the people on Fremont street were either hopped up on drugs or drunk beyond drunk (even for Vegas) or both.  
In a terribly skeevy and questionable neighborhood, a shitty band was playing random 70’s psychedelic crap while drag queens marched up and down hollering out at me insinuating that I “wanted a piece” of what they were offering. Ummm… not so much but thanks for thinking of me!

Once we got through the very disturbing crowd, we stood in line for another freaking hour, and then they WEIGHED us right before we signed the obligatory “I promise not to sue your asses should I plunge to a very asphalt-y death when the cable snaps” consent form. 

Now I don't know about any other women out there, but being weighed after eating and drinking in Vegas for a few days is NOT my idea of a pleasurable experience, by any stretch of the imagination. I knew I’d “partaken” a little bit too much, but I hardly thought the extra 10 lbs reflected on the magic number they bestowed me was warranted. (Turns out my daughter verified their scale was off because she had recently been weighed at the doctor's office and she said it was 10 lbs. too high. Phew!)

Grumpy and now forced to endure a shit load of cigarette smoke coming from our douchecanoe, lunatic-shenanigan-pulling line “buddies”, by the time they clipped us into our “strap diapers” at the top of the platform, I was seriously ready to go. Just get me the fuck out of here!

Here's the platform we stood on before they pushed us.



One push and we were all off, zinging along together, random strangers below snapping pics of our crotches and the soles of our shoes. Just like these poor folks that went right before us:

Whhheeeeeeeeeee!!!


On the verge of possibly plunging to my death for what seemed like an eternity, I decided while we were swinging along that we were decidedly safer UP THERE than down in the street below. 

The landing was anything but graceful and I was SURE all the discs that hadn’t yet herniated in my spinal region were now bulging with vulgarity. Hurriedly placing a short ladder underneath my dangling feet, one of the teenage helper dudes grabbed me by both my shoulders and asked "Are you okay ma'am?" Uh yeah, I'll be fine once you stop addressing me as a shaken 82 year old woman, thank you very much.

Narrowly escaping muggers, homeless muttering bums and alcohol reeking taxis, we found our car and quietly drove back to the hotel to crash for the night. 

We'd had enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our final day there, I suppose as a parting gift, Becky got a bad sore throat and I got... wait for it... the flu!! Running back and forth to the bathroom in between packing our bags seemed to be the ideal way to end a whirlwind trip to the Shitty Sin City.

Once we'd checked out of the stupid Palms and gotten our whopping $60 removed for our troubles, we drove through the industrial park-ish, run-down area of the famous Gold & Silver Pawn Store seen on the History Channel's "Pawn Stars". 

Contemplating going in with the hopes of seeing Chum or the Old Man, here's a pic I snapped of it as we pulled up to see the absolutely horrific line that wound around the building like a snake on crack:

For those of you that noticed, yes there's a crack in our windshield. Yes, we should fix that. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. Now stop focusing on the crack! Look at the massive line below the sign for goshsakes!

With the collective "condition" Becky and I were both in, we decided NOT to stand there for hours hoping to get in and look at the over priced junk in their cases. (Although hubs said I'd make a nice "Counter Babe" should they be filming that particular day. What's a Counter Babe you ask? A floozy wearing a low cut top pretending to be riveted by the stuff in the glass cases of course. At my age, and in my condition? I'll take that compliment, thank you very much!)

Onward and upward, time to go home. 
Enough of this crap.
Until we meet again Vegas... which will be like, never. 
EVER. (Said me and Taylor Swift.)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Little Vacation Side Story- Part 1

So how was everybody's Thanksgiving break? 
(I know it's been a week and most of you have already COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN about it and are on to the next holiday up to bat, but I'm overwhelmed lately and it took me something close to 2 eons to write this so forgive me and indulge me for a smidge of time, k? K.)


Did you all have a "staycation" or did you get to go somewhere, like me?

After what feels like hundreds of years of turning out fabulous turkey dinners (my husband makes the BEST turkeys, which are decidely from his Epic Brining Skills...) we decided to ditch the traditional crap and hit the road and head for Vegas of all places. Bring on the buffets! No cooking or entertaining for us! We were going to be fed AND entertained!

Backstory: My little family unit NEVER goes on vacation. 


And at the risk of sounding like Taylor Swift, I mean, like EVER.

We've been SAYING we're gonna do it for YEARS now, but have never executed anything other than mini trips to stupid Northern Nevada or Northern California where we visit family. That's it. 
Mainly because we are both workaholics AND we are rarely granted any time off of work, we have had to use the small amount of time we get off to visit with family before they blow a proverbial gasket and/or think we hate them. Or both.

But the kid's getting older now, and she bitches all the time about how she has "no life" and doesn't get to go out and experience everything her friends supposedly do, so trying not to be horrible failures as parents, we succumbed and booked a trip to Vegas. (Although I think taking your kid to Vegas in an effort to try and not be a bad parent is kind of an oxymoron, no? Irony- noted.)

Excitement level of the kid was pretty high, and so was the husband's from what I could tell. Me on the other hand?
Not so much.

See, I don't like Vegas. I've only been a handful of times in my life, but each time has been either awful or just kind of, meh. 

The other real reason I don't like going there is I flat out HATE Nevada. And I lived there for 12 years, in various cities, so I have a RIGHT to state my opinion. I don't like dirt OR dirtbags, and Nevada is overflowing with both. Sure there's great skiing and gambling, and fabulous scuzzy Harley riders every 10'. But I'm not into ANY of that. It's just not my cup of tea. 

I knew I needed to put my game face on though and at least PRETEND I was excited about going for the sake of my kid, so I did. I was Happy McJolly Pants until we got in the car that Wednesday-before-the-big-day morning and had to endure the horrible 5+ hour drive in bad traffic, with lunatic drivers, on the busiest travel day of the year. 

Ever ridden on a long trip with an engineer? If not, you're truly missing out. There's a LOT more entailed with driving than one might ever imagine. For example- did you know that you can save on gas mileage if you plan your route to include only right hand turns? No? Well now you know. If you can magically pull off this feat, I imagine you can save upwards of 2 cents, PER GALLON, depending of course if you can manage to NOT waste gallons of fuel going miles and miles in clockwise circles just trying to GET to your particular destination.

While this handy dandy tip was not unleashed upon me during this trip (thank GAWD he saves it for only when we are in our hometown, because THAT'S bad enough) he did decide to try to save gas mileage by engaging in several "engineer-esque" ways... such as just putting the ol' Mazda 3 in neutral (it's a stick) and coasting on the freeway whenever possible. This is fine and I'm all for fuel economy and saving the environment etc, but when you're in the fast lane, in bad traffic and 20' tall overblown trucks driven by men with uber small penises are bearing down on us? Not okay.

I timidly watched from the passenger side mirror as we were continually being tailgated until I finally turned into that bitchy, awful wife every man hates--- I started complaining about his driving habits. Not to Hyacinth "Bouquet's" level of complaining or nagging mind you, but admittedly, pretty bad. (Unfamiliar with Hyacinth's antics because you've never seen "Keeping Up Appearances on BBCA? You're totally missing out. Here's a link so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about: Hyacinth being a pill in the car.)

Anyhoo, between those kinds of issues and the way I seem to always screw up my land-based navigational duties for us (I kick ASS in nautical, sea-based navigation tasks just for the record, but my skills unfortunately do not translate to land), suffice it to say we will never try out for the Amazing Race because we would FAIL. 
EPICALLY. 

Upon arrival after said ridiculous drive, we pulled into the Palms Resort off Flamingo Rd. This fabulous establishment, co-owned by the lovely Adrienne Maloof of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and pictured here: 


was a rare treat for us as it seemed to embody the complete stylings of Max Headroom and a trashy 80's hooker. I was shocked at the decor. Here are a couple of shots I took so you can get an idea:

This is a picture taken just outside our room:

What exactly is this? I see flying spoonfuls of honey.

And here are shots of the oddest blinking light boxes ever stationed next to the elevators, complete with burned out bulbs:

Ahhh, the thrill of a hotel with such glitz and glamour... I can hardly take it.

Oh wait! It changes patterns! 

This experience is SO worth the price we paid. I could stay here and watch this dribble forever! Swoon!

Okay, not really.
So the bulk of the hotel was designed *oddly* (ahem) but the room itself was really nice. Here are some pics of that to give you an idea: 

Our room, complete with cool, orange suede headboards

Our massive bathroom

So not bad, right?
Imagine my surprise when I went to turn on the tub and the WATER CAME OUT OF THE CEILING. 
Don't believe me? Here's a pic of it first...

Sorry for crookedness, just tilt your head to the left and focus on the invisible stripper pole and you've got it!

Or, you can just watch this video of me starting it up and then running away like a scared child:

video


Silly no?
What fun it was... to a certain extent. I wonder if this is the latest thing in Beverly Hills too? Does Ms. Maloof have these installed in all of her bathrooms in her French Chateau that's currently for sale because of her divorce to Mr. Paul Nassif? Possibly.

I can tell you though that the housekeeper brain in me went mental over this situation... water was splashing EVERYWHERE. It was hitting the wallpaper, the window shades, the TV mounted on the counter above the tub, all over the floor and completely coating the glass shower door just to the right of the tub. All I could do is watch in absolute horror as half the water intended for the tub went all over the surrounding surfaces instead. Those poor housekeepers would be squeegee-ing the walls for HOURS. 
(Yes, I realize I have issues if I worry about things like that. Don't be judgedy. I hardly EVER relax.)

Anyway, once the tub was filled, I shooed the family members out so that I could TRY to unclench while they went to play on roller coasters I am forbidden from riding on due to my neck and spine issues. With everyone in their appropriate places, I settled in with a nice glass of wine and an endearing TV flick some of you might have heard of... "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". Not exactly a wild night out on the town that most people would have in Vegas eh?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fast forward 5.5 hours.

Scrape.
Scrape.
Bang bang bang!!
Scrape. 
Right by our heads.

WTF is that?
OMG I think the poor housekeepers are squeegee-ing something in the room next door. I bet water went EVERYWHERE in that suite too. 

Hubs and I were tossing and turning, trying to go back to sleep. It is, after all, 6:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.
SCRAPE.
Bang!
Seriously?
Kid snoring through it all (she could sleep through an atomic blast) we immediately start putting the pieces together. 

"Either they're doing construction on the room next door, or somebody's chopping up a body and trying to hide it in various locations in the room."
Clang of a bucket handle.
"Yup. One or the other."

Hubs calls the front desk to complain. 
They send a security guy up to find out what's going on.
Turns out that the engineering department was busy fixing the wall in the room next door where a picture had damaged it. (Read: a party got terribly out of hand in here, and now we have to spackle the hell out of it.) That wall happened to be right by our heads. How lovely. 

I wonder how Ms. Maloof would feel about them doing that to HER? On Thanksgiving no less? 
The one time we don't have to cook and entertain people?
I highly DOUBT that would go over well, what do you all think?

We asked to be comped something. They offered up one measily overnight room fee amounting to $20. Hubs protested, really? Then they said they'd put our names down for a free buffet breakfast the following day, we just had to be downstairs by 10am. Alright, whatever. You guys clearly suck and Stephanie will just have to unleash her venomous fury with her WORDS on REVIEW SITES later. 
Ahem.

So what the hell, we're up, let's start the day.
And a full day it was. 
We saw the Bellagio... which had, drum roll please... 

The world's largest mother-effing cornucopia!!

AND:

The coolest glass art EVER.

Just outside the Bellagio, you can see skeevy street characters, such as: 

Mario!


AND:

The Grinch! Otherwise known as Creepster McMolester in a costume.

These "kinds" of "characters" were placed all over the city so as you walked by them, you'd feel either sorry for them and put money in their pathetic handmade tip jar, or be scared out of your wits and would run for your life. We saw the saddest looking Hello Kitty EVER and I tried to take a pic but it didn't come out. Mainly because I was half running trying to get AWAY from sad (and also possibly murderous) Hello Kitty. 

The rest of our day was also filled with lots of wonderful, joyful things. We went to see the Siegfried & Roy animal "reserve" where they conveniently held dolphins AND various exotic cats (because as we all know, the two species go together...)

I swear it took everything in me not to climb in and play too!

How can anyone not love these creatures? They're SMILING at us... practically BEGGING us to get in and play!


Check out this stately character. Wowza!

Up next... the Shark Exhibit at Mandalay Bay...

I also love sharks. Yes, I know, I'm weird. But I fanatically luv them.  Would even voluntarily swim with them.
And have before.

This guy was in a tide pool where they let us touch him. Just as long as we promised not to poke out his 2 slimy eyeballs. So I behaved myself as I had no need to de-eyeball a ray that day. (That sounds like a new Dr. Suess book.)

Next up... we passed by a store I'll never go into:

Yes, I know... weird again right? I'll swim with dolphins and sharks and play with rays, but I won't go in a Kardashian store. What kind of GIRL am I? Ooo! I know! A COOL one. ;0)


Next up- the Luxor!
Here's a pic of the outside of the place so you have some reference, in case you've never been there of course...



And here's a shot of the inside "ceiling" of the place... believe me, it's certainly more breath-taking in person. 




But more to the point, currently inside the Luxor... the coolest effing thing ever... may I present to you...

The Titanic, 100 year anniversary exhibit. 
This? 
Was epic. 
EPIC PEOPLE.

Only available in various spots around the world, they were IN VEGAS, and we were IN VEGAS and bam! It was a MUST GO for Becky and I as we are HUGE Titanic fans. HUGE.

(Side bar: Hubs had decided to forego the tour because it was uber pricey, and instead went to go play on the slot machines he'd literally helped build at his previous job with International Gaming Technology. Sometimes all it takes is $7 and the allure of nostalgia to entertain my husband for an entire hour.)

They did not allow cameras inside and actually made us TURN OFF our cell phones. 
That was the most painful part for me. 
(That and of course reading about the incredible stories. That was also painful.)

They started off the tour by giving us these neat cards... everyone got a different one:


Here's the other side of the card:


I know you can't read it so here's what this particular one says (please keep in mind each one is different than the other, with over 2000 variations):

"Sailing from: Southampton 
Date: 10, April 1912
Passenger name: Mrs. Benjamin Peacock (a.k.a. Edith Nile)
Age: 26
From: Illogan, Cornwall, England
Accompanied by: Treasteall (daughter, 3 years) and Alfred E. (son, 9 months)
Class: 3rd
Traveling to: Elizabeth, New Jersey
Reason: Edith was traveling to America to join her husband, who worked as a mechanical engineer.
Passenger Fact: The family decided to immigrate, however, at the time they were due to sail Edith fell ill and her husband traveled alone. When Edith recovered, she and the children booked passage aboard Titanic."

So did y'all get that?
One of the founding members of the WOE club I've previously mentioned (which stands for "Wives of Engineers" that are driven crazy by their engineer husbands) left some cool town in England to try and meet her lovely (and alive) engineer husband in some schmucky town in New Joiy-zee. She got sick on her first attempt, but once she got better, she booked the trip with her little kids, sans hubs. Said engineer hubby was already there, k? K.

Now, the point of these cards was to walk through the exhibit, taking each room in and then at the very end, you look on a great memorial wall and search for the name of the passenger, listed on your card. 

You start by searching for their class. This particular card, (which was Becky's), was 3rd class. Then you look under both the "Saved" and "Lost" sections. Did Edith and her children live? I'll get to that in a minute.

First... the exhibit itself. 
In a word, breathtaking. 
It literally knocked the breathe out of us with each turn. 

They fashioned the first few rooms and areas to resemble rooms on the ship, and so, of course, we felt as if we were on the movie set, just waiting for Jack or Rose to come around the corner. The hallway down in the bowels of the great ship that resembled this shot were first:



They even had the sound of the engines running piping through this portion of the exhibit.

Then, more corners to turn, more artifacts under protective Plexi-glass to see and read about... and then bam! 
We turn the corner and come upon the grand staircase seen here:




We both gasped and had to retreat to the previous exhibit area to catch our breath and steady ourselves to go back in and take it all in. Think I'm being dramatic? Hardly.
If the exhibit comes anywhere even CLOSE to where you live or are vacationing, this is a MUST DO people. 

There is a piece of the hull of the great ship also freestanding towards the end, and of course the great memorial wall really got us. Did Edith and her small children make it? Sadly, they did not.

Possibly the coolest part of the tour was at the very end where there is a guest book where you can write your thoughts. I had finished jotting mine down and had just walked away while Becky was still crouched over hers... there was no one around her (as I looked before I sauntered off) and suddenly she felt something touch the back of her head. Now either I've been letting her watch too many ghost shows (which is highly possible) or the tales of the exhibit being haunted are true... as she came running up to me, freaked beyond belief, but also thrilled it happened to her as she digs stuff like that, just like her lunatic mother does. 

Moving on...

It's Thanksgiving dinner buffet time! 
And what a great story that and the rest of the trip is... but you'll have to wait until tomorrow when I will put up Part 2 of our interesting adventure. 

Until then, thanks for reading. 
And if you're still eating leftovers? 
Dude. 
It's time to throw them out.

Peace out my peeps!