Monday, June 30, 2008

Loungin' in Leavenworth

Last weekend, Lennie and I had the opportunity to get some great rest and relaxation time in Leavenworth, Washington. It was exactly what the doctor ordered! We trekked over to this Bavarian village to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Glover and Josie. The weather was a temperate 95 degrees, the skies were blue, and there wasn't a cloud in sight. On Friday night, we arrived around 6:30, checked into our hotel after getting a little lost (in a town with three stoplights, go figure!), and then we went to King Ludwig's restaurant for the "welcome dinner." After a nice stroll through town after dinner (and some Cold Stone ice cream, yum!), we retired poolside at our hotel.

Seems that Lennie's brand-new swim trunks should have gotten a little more scrutiny from us before we purchased them... the had no drawstring and were a little (or a lot) too big. He made it work on Friday night, but not without some "close calls." Needless to say, we purchased him a new pair of swim trunks on Saturday in town! It was kind of funny, now that we reflect back on it. :-)

Saturday brought a lazy schedule -- breakfast at the hotel, lounging by the pool, lunch in town, and strolling through town again. Around 3 or so, we left the hamlet of Leavenworth for the small town of Plain, WA for the wedding (at Mountain Springs Lodge). Plain brings back fond memories of one or two trips to a friend's cabin with some great friends, so it was nice to be back in this small town. The wedding on Saturday afternoon was hot but wonderful, and we had a great time dancing the night away.

On Sunday, we had another lazy morning, with breakfast and then one last walk through the Bavarian village before we got on the road.

There's something really wonderful about going for a long drive on roads that are marked at 70 MPH. I enjoyed driving home, admiring the beautiful area that we live in; lush green hillsides (still kissed on the top with snow), placid lakes, and the breeze swaying the trees. [Sigh.] We live in the best state ever!

Oh, here are some photos of our weekend -- enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Funky Pet Peeves

Over the past few months, I have become keenly aware of some of my quirky pet peeves. (Are all pet peeves somewhat quirky?!) It's made me think, sometimes it's made me angry, sometimes it's really made me step back and try to adjust my frame of mind. I sometimes wonder if all of my pet peeves are "normal," or if some could be classified as kind of weird. Here, help me classify them, won't you?

Gum. I have a total neuroses about gum. I hate it. Really, really, absoultely despise gum. I don't like hearing it being chewed (especially when someone is looking over my shoulder), I don't like hearing it being snapped, popped, or blown into bubbles. And I really hate seeing it outside of someone's mouth in a chewed fashion. In fact, when people pull out their gum at a dining table and stick it on the side of their plate or wrap it in their paper napkins, it's everything I can do to not throw up then and there. I'd classify this as a "weird" pet peeve. How about you?

Timeliness. I have a real thing about being on time, and it's a pet peeve of mine when I am late for an appointment or a meeting. I also feel really slighted when people are late for meetings that they have set with me. If someone says that they are going to be somewhere at a certain time, then I think that it's up to them to go above and beyond to meet that commitment. And if you're going to be more than 10 or 15 minutes late, then I think that it's common courtesy to call and let the person know. I feel like I'm being disrespected (and my time is being under valued) if you don't call to tell me that you're running late or not going to make it. On the flip side, I take it really personally that I'm running late, and work very hard to give people the simple courtesy of being on time or communicating with them. Normal pet peeve? Yes, that's how I would classify it. What do you think?

Toilet seats. I think that we need to all come to an agreement across the nation -- either we need to all put the toilet seats down, or all put 'em up. And we all need to agree on it. This should not be a "men vs. women" thing, rather, we should all be consistent on how we treat the seat in shared bathrooms. Classify this one as a "normal" pet peeve. I think it's an age-old argument, in fact.

Proper English. First and foremost, I'm not perfect on this topic. However, I feel like the advent of "spell check" has made our society lazier and perhaps a little less intelligent than earlier generations. The word "ain't" is never proper English, in my book at least. "Are system" is not down, "our system" is down. The bride did not walk down "the isle," the bride walked down "the aisle." Simple spelling mistakes that I've seen in the past that wouldn't be picked up by a spell check application. I guess that I wish that people would take a moment to step back and read their work -- your words, and what you type, are how people see you in this virtual world. I'm not even sure where to classify this pet peeve...

I think that the reason that these pet peeves have made me step back and examine myself is that I find that I am projecting my pet peeves on others -- and on how I see the world. Perhaps I need to reframe my impressions of others and cut people a little more slack. Who knows?

What do you think? Do you have little pet peeves that get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck? I would love to hear about them!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Child of the 80's

I admit it: I'm a child of the 80s. It seems that lately people have been noticing that I use words from the 80s and 90s vernacular. You know the words: yo, dude, awesome. Some have ribbed me for it, but I have to say, I own it: I'm a child of the 80s, and I'm okay with it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Home On The Range

Yesterday afternoon, Lennie, my Mom, and I went to the driving range to hit some golf balls. It felt really good to be out in the sunshine (what little we've had of it in Seattle lateley!) and to dust off my golf clubs. This was Lennie's first "formal" visit to the driving range, which was fun. I gave him the lowdown on the proper grip for the golf club, and then I left the real teaching to my Mom (resident golf pro, really). It was cool to watch the two of them go through the proper stance and swing, and even better when Lennie's shots were sailing 125 yards straight down the range -- imagine how great he will be when we get him some clubs that fit his height and get him hitting with the drivers!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Laughter, the Best Medicine

Last night, Lennie and two of our friends and I went to the annual Marty Reimer :20 Funny Festival at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. I have not laughed that hard in a long time... at one point, I was laughing so hard that Lennie had to lean over and ask me if I was okay! It was a great night to mellow out with friends while laughing with comedians. I loved it. Laughter really is the best medicine for the end of a long work week! :-)

Oh, and if you're looking for some regularly scheduled laughter, I highly recommend the :20 funnies on 103.7 KMTT "The Mountain" at 7:20 a.m. and 5:20 p.m. They're usually really good!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Weekend Wanderings, Customer Service, and More

We enjoyed a blissfully relaxing weekend, lounging around the house, doing laundry, napping, and generally being mellow. On Saturday night, we trekked up to Everett and Mill Creek for Mindy's birthday bash. It was fun to reconnect with old friends, while meeting new people too. Our annual trip to McCabe's dance club was nice, although the upstairs DJ definitely missed the mark. Oh well, it was still fun.

This weekend brought a mysterious mishap with our laundry, which led to us replacing clothing that was less than a week old. UGH. Needless to say, we had to do some additional shopping this afternoon. I have never seen such crazy customer service in one day in my life. We experienced salespeople who didn't seem to care that we wanted to check-out, let alone had entered the store. When we did finally get someone to check our items out at one women's clothing store, we couldn't get the woman to honor our discount -- despite the fact that we met the terms and conditions on the 25% off coupon. I wasn't in the mood to argue or push the issue too far, but if she had simply said "Gosh, I wish that I could help you with this coupon." instead of "Huh, it won't take it, too bad!" it would have been a different situation.

While out shopping, we decided to stop at a reputable restaurant chain and eat a nice but quick dinner. The waitress was nice enough, but didn't seem to fully understand why I was completely repulsed when we discovered a short hair on Lennie's dinner plate towards the end of the meal... and the hair was not the color of anything that would have come from us. Yuck-o. She was nice enough, but I don't think that we'll be going back any time soon... or ever for that matter.

At the end of our shopping trek, we stopped at Target to pick up a small album and a few other personal hygiene items. Just a quick trip to my favorite store. When we went to check-out, I was horrified as the clerk began commenting on the personal items that we had purchased, including very personal details about his life and our choices from the store. It's a good thing that I can be generally happy-go-lucky, but I can't imagine a worse check-out experience, especially if I embarassed easily. Yikes. Lennie had to return to Target this evening to pick up another album, and he did have a short conversation with the manager about the situation. Hopefully some additional sensitivity training will occur, so that others don't have to experience what we did.

So, my question of the weekend is this: is customer service dead? When did it become acceptable to act like it's an inconvenience to service your customers? Is it ever okay to comment on the personal items that people are purchasing? (Hint: the answer to this one is no in my book). Why do we allow people to give us shoddy service? And what can we do to find the happy medium between "royal" treatment where people are bending over backwards for our service, and the space where you feel like you have to beg to do simple tasks like check out at a store or not have people invade your personal life with inappropriate chitchat at the cash register?

In other (happier) news, we finally finished populating our wedding albums, and the professional photo album is being delivered this week. With over 450 photos, we definitely have the day covered. However, if you're out there in Internet-land reading this, and you have photos of our wedding, please send them. We can't wait to see the photos that you took too.