More Info Coming Soon…..

…..and other items my intentions tell me to do, but sometimes never appear!

I realized yesterday that I hadn’t put together my Year End Recap.  I obviously will not make it by today, but I DO plan on doing something here this weekend.  So for my thousands of readers…….well, maybe that’s an overstatement…….stay tuned!

Message to Nancy G. – girl, just come clean and admit you’re not dead.  No need to try to get to me through bogus comments or fake FB people.  Tell me what you’ve been up to.  Tell me, are you working on the reservation or are they so big they have their own internet company that provides you service?  What can I do to you now?  Even if I had the means to kick your a$$, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, today is Joe’s last day.  He’s the guy I am replacing.  I don’t think I’ve described him in detail here……making a note to do that this weekend, too.  But now I must get ready for work!

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Gina OUT

So, What’s Up with Gina?

Where to begin!  So much has happened in a short amount of time, it’s hard to even have enough recall to post anything here that isn’t dizzying!  But, I will try!

Probably as no surprise to my regular readers, Dupar’s was getting worse and the owner was escalating his questionable behaviors. I can’t really get into the details of it, but I left on 11/20 knowing pretty much I will never be paid again from them.  It went south from there, but I was determined to focus on the positive things that had been scheduled in my life; an important celebration, Thanksgiving, and my trip to England and Scotland with Deana.  I was freaking out on many levels, but kept that at bay at least through the listed items.   (On a good note, BB kind of acknowledges the crap I put up with because he is paying for my insurance through February, which I do appreciate very much!)

About a month before this all happened, Edgar asked if I would be willing to move to Texas. I was agreeable, but said I would not until my lease was up at the end of July. I gave him permission to move earlier with the boys if he needed to (he has been struggling financially due to the CA economy). With the change of my job situation, I contacted my landlord and said I needed to break the lease, that I would be moving to Texas by the end of the year. The day before Thanksgiving, I sent out 5 resumes to Texas companies, just to get my feet wet. For comparison, I had sent over 300 resumes out in CA over the previous 8 weeks, with only 5 calls back and the offers were pathetic. Anyway, before even boarding the plane to London that Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), I had one interview set up. In Scotland, I received a call for another! So I had two interviews scheduled for the week after I returned from my trip.

Long story short, I got the job I wanted in Texas! I have been here in Texas since one day after returning from Scotland and Deana has been frantically packing in my absence. Edgar’s last day of work was 12/15 and he will be leaving after Christmas (which is when I originally had planned on driving out).  I started my new job 12/15 and on the first day went to Oklahoma for an on-site client trip!  I was in Oklahoma for four days, drove back to Dallas on that Friday, then flew to LA early Saturday morning…..only to turn around and drive over the weekend with Deana, Kenny, Zack and Sophia back to Texas. Josh chose to drive out with Edgar. Kirstie is staying in California to finish school and then who knows what will happen.  We are staying for a few months with Deana’s Mom, who has a big house, and hope to settle down once I get my savings back up.

Christmas was a bit different but very pleasant.  And, for the first time in my life, I watched snow falling on Christmas Eve.  The snow remained on the ground for half of the day on Christmas, before the sun withered it away.  Kenny, Zack, and Sophia got a kick out of that for sure!  It was weird being apart from Kirstie and Josh though!

I LOVE my job though!  I am replacing Joe, an 82-year-old brilliant man!  I will have to share some tidbits of Joe soon as he is truly a wonderful man.

Until then, Gina is OUT!

A London Story

So we had many adventures on our trip to London and Edinburgh!  But there is ONE story that I just have to share!

So when we arrived in London, we quickly realized that Deana’s phone (the first rendition of the iPhone, with no 3G capabilities) would not be able to receive a signal.  Mine, which is the 2nd rendition, could.  However, I noticed with some surprise that the local phone service did not update my phone’s time to local time; it was instead displaying California time.  While that seemed pretty darn lame, I am educated enough to do the math in my head – as I used the phone for my alarm clock; I would set the alarm for the California time that corresponded to the London time we wanted to wake up.  I did that several days with no problems!

However, another problem occurred; despite the fact that I brought an outlet converter, my phone did not seem to be charging!  I tried different outlets, different converters, and was worried that my beloved phone was dying.  So, several days into the trip I actually turned the thing off completely to reset it.  I should probably add that Deana had suggested this days before and I poo pooed her idea.  🙂  But, when I turned it back on, the charge showed full and everything was back to normal!  There was loud rejoicing in our hotel room!

In great relief, I set the alarm and tried to go to sleep (something that had pretty much eluded me, even after having bought sleeping pills OTC from the lovely London people!).  As I tossed and turned, and as Deana (who had similar problems falling asleep) did as well, we began to chat.  We did this for a time and then insisted that we better TRY to at least sleep a little.  I think we did, but before we knew it, the alarm went off.  It was the first day we were trying to wake at earlier – we had previously been getting up around 8am.  Since it was our last day, we wanted to get an earlier start.  I jumped up, told Deana to do the same, and we surprisingly got ready pretty quickly despite our limited sleep the night before.  We were moving, shaking, and anxious for the day!

When we were near finished in our prep, we both dismayed at how dark it was.  It got dark very early in the evening as well – around 5pm dusk would move in quickly and it would be pitch black before 6pm.  Looking out the window, I was amazed that at 6:30am, it was still so very dark!  I shrugged and thought “wow, I guess London is much further north than I realized!” and continued to get ready.  That’s when I put my watch on…….the watch that clearly reflected London time…….the watch that clearly showed 12:33 on its face……..

“Um, Deana?”

“Yes?”

“Remember when I reset my phone and the charger thing was fixed?”

“Yeah….” as she looked at me like “what does that have to do with anything?”

“Um, I am thinking maybe when I reset my phone, it also reset the clock on the phone as well……”

“So?”

“Um……I am thinking when I set the alarm for California time so that we would wake up at the right time, it reset so it’s like 12:30 at night……..local time…..”

“WHAT?!?!!?!”

Needless to say, my theory proved to be correct – we had gotten up and TOTALLY gotten ready in the middle of the night!  We basically went back to bed with our clothes on and slept for several hours until it really WAS time to get up!  And, just for the curious, it is NOT pitch black in London at 6:3oam!  🙂

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Scotland and Other News

Hello People!  Sorry that I’ve been AWOL!  It’s been a little hectic with the time changes, life, etc.

So Deana and I made it to Scotland safely!  We got up EARLY to catch the underground to the Victoria Train Station, where we caught an express train to Gatwick Airport.   The flight, when all was said and done, was a pretty short one – just over an hour.  We landed to dark skies in Edinburgh, but we were jazzed to check things out!

The local transport in Edinburgh is, IMHO, not as tourist friendly as London.  No underground, but TONS of busses flying here and there.  It was a bit daunting to figure out how to navigate the system (especially with two way-too-full suitcases), but here is where I share that Scottish people are UBBER friendly!  We took the express bus to downtown Edinburgh and then connected to the local bus that lead us to our hotel (which was a bit off the tourist stomping grounds).  At the time we didn’t realize that there was a freaking bus stop RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR HOTEL, and instead got off two stops before…..walking a bit with our luggage.  We laughed about that once we figured it out.  But we were SO pleased with the Holiday Inn Express, Waterfront!!!!  Felt just like home and had a HUGE room by European standards, a HUGE area for the continental breakfast, and stellar staff that were VERY friendly!  In fact, when we checked in the receptionist was named KIRSTIE!  Isn’t that cool?

Anyway, Edinburgh proved to be amazingly beautiful.  The buildings, the green grass, the expansive views…..and always friendly people who went out of their way to be helpful.  We were able to take a Trike Tour with a good looking man named Gordon, and viewed some of their cathedrals as well as their museum.  The food there was similar to London (not surprisingly), but at least they gave us malt vinegar for our fish and chips!  It was also very COLD!  Oh, in earlier posts I said it had to be below 45 degrees – it was!  Most days were in the low 30’s!  I even was victim to walking on black ice in London!  THAT is another story in itself!  🙂

Anyway, it was cold to be out all day in that weather, but surprisingly we survived.  It helped that we would stop in pubs for meals and such.  But let me tell you, my hair still feels dry and damaged.  LOL  Like I care.

So, heading back stateside, we again needed to leave before the sun rose (which is an interesting idea, since often the cloud cover hid the sun all day!).  We got on the local bus right outside our hotel at about 4:30am and took that to the express bus to the airport.  Once we got there,I freaked at first because our flight was with American Airlines…..but they were nowhere to be found!  Fortunately, Deana is much more level headed in such situations, and she clearly remembered that British Airways are partners with AA, so we were actually flying with them.  But the travels were LONG and a bit HARD.  We first flew to London Heathrow, then connected to a flight to Chicago.  But first we needed to go through security at Heathrow that was an ordeal in itself.  That took about an hour alone!  Once we got to the plane (which was jam full, by the way), we just sat there and flew, you know?  But then in Chicago we needed to go through customs.  By this point we had been traveling about 16 hours!

And I am not ashamed to say, the Chicago Customs people are FREAKING LAME!  First of all, their system seems whacked.  They separated US Citizens from foreign visitors.  I have no problem with that at all.  However, one would think that there would be a system to determine which gates needed employees to screen incoming travelers.  In our case, 75% of the travelers were US Citizens.  However, I would guess that 75% of the staff were working on foreign travelers.  The foreign travelers were processed in about 7 minutes, while us US Citizens took upward of 45 minutes.  We got to the front of the line at about 38 minutes when someone had the great idea to start utilizing the agents that were just standing there, as there were no foreign travelers to process.

THEN, when it finally got to my turn, I get a total jerk!  I have been blessed to have been able to traveled all over the world.  I have had to go through a bit more intimidating immigration processes, such as into Russia.  But overall, the standard questions are, when returning to the United States, are “where are you coming from?”, “how long were you there?”, and “was this business or leisure”.  I have no problem with that.  In fact, truthfully, I have no real problem with ANY question because, in truth, these people are there to protect you and me from scary people entering our country.  But maybe it was this guy’s attitude (which I suspect was related to him being a “little man”), coupled with my 16+ hours already into my trip……..the interaction didn’t go well.

First of all, I was already irritated as I had just spend the last 30+ minutes in line watching these agents do nothing, as the rest of us stood there waiting for someone to process us.  THEN, when I finally got to Mr. Custom-Little-Man, he immediately treated me like a criminal.

MCLM:  Where are you coming from?

Me: Scotland, after a few days in England

MCLM:  Why were you there?

Me:  Vacation

MCLM:  Why did you go there for vacation?

Me:  (suprised)……um, I love London and wanted to see Edinburgh

MCLM:  How many times have you been to London before?

Me:  (getting irritated) this was my second trip

MCLM:  I don’t see another stamp for London

Me:  I changed my last name since I went there the first time……..the stamp is in my old passport

MCLM:  Do you have a job in the United States?

Me:  (Now getting pissed) Do I have to have a job to be allowed in?

MCLM:  No

Me:  (rrrrr) Do I have to answer that question to be allowed in?

MCLM:  Do you have a job?

Me:  Yes

MCLM:  What is your profession?

Me:  Are you serious?!?!!?!!?

MCLM:  Answer the question.

Me: (who, seriously, had wished I could have thought to answer “Exotic Dancer” at this point, but it came to me later) I am an accountant.

MCLM:  Okay, you can go. (this interchange took about 3-4 minutes)

I took my passport, gave him the dirtiest look I could muster, and stormed off.  Of course, Deana did NOT go through a similar experience because, apparently, she didn’t get a little man who needed to prove he was this strong authority or something.

But the fun didn’t stop there.  Because, as it happens, we were required to GET our luggage and ROLL it to put on a belt “for security screening”, before we could connect to our next flight.  I wondered what the point of THAT was, as we didn’t stay, didn’t have to divulge anything…….so why couldn’t the process be done by the airline????  But maybe I am asking too much.

Once we got on our final connecting flight from Chicago to LAX, I was so ready to be home!  I really don’t have much to complain about at this point (shocking, I know!).  We arrived, grabbed our bags, and took off.  At this point we were close to the 24 hour mark of our travels!  All  on my birthday, no less!  One good thing about flying west on your birthday is that the day lasts a very long time!  Whoot!

Okay, that is all I am going to write about now.  More later for sure.

Gina out

London Visit Continues

So we are ending day 3 in London…..oh wait, is it 4?  Hmmmm.  It’s hard to keep track.  We have spent two days of intense site seeing since I last wrote, and unfortunately I don’t have much time left on my internet hour to get into great detail.  However, it’s been a BLAST and I am blessed beyond words!  Just a short list of things we’ve seen:

Kensington Palace

Big Ben

Westminster Abbey (an AMAZING tour that had us both in awe)

The Tower of London

London Eye

Thames

Hampton Court

The Original Hard Rock Cafe (London baby!)

Taken the Underground, a Train, as well as the River Boat

That’s all I can think of right now.  It was raining every day except today, which proved to be a very sunny day.  NOT warm however – in fact it seemed much cooler than the other days!  I would say it didn’t get above 45 degrees.

And as for the American Dollar – I curse you!  I now understand at a very personal level how very weak you are!  Do you know how painful it is to change in $200 and get about £102?  And although it is not Great Britain’s fault my money is so weak, do you know how painful it is to sit down to get a burger, let’s say, and think “Wow, this burger is going to cost me about $18!”  PAINFUL!  But I wouldn’t change this trip for the world!

That’s all I have now……..more later I hope!  We leave for Scotland tomorrow early in the morning – have to catch the underground to a train that will take us to Gatwick Airport, where our flight leaves at 8:45am.  Neither Deana nor I have ever been to Scotland, so we are very excited!  Let’s see if it competes with our current favorite place – LONDON!

Gina OUT