Pool Etiquette

I was going to write a nice post with pictures of yesterday’s tour, but this morning’s time at the hotel pool changed my mind.  I don’t spend much time poolside, but in this hotel it is the only good place to sit outside and read.  All of these things actually happened, albeit not all on this same trip.  So.  The rules obviously start with No Talking on the Damn Phone:

  1. No calling your children.  (“And what are you doing today? Mommy misses you!”)
  2. No bragging to your friends.  (“You should see the sun right now!  It’s gorgeous!”) (This woman actually made three calls in the two hours I was sitting next to her. I got into the pool to get away from her.)
  3. No ordering out for pizza.  (Seriously.  Dude had to call information first, then call the pizza place.)

In fact, the only acceptable reason to talk in a cell phone is an actual emergency.  Even if you need to coordinate your little party, you can bloody well do it in the bar where you will be somewhat less disturbing.

Next we have the “No Bogarting the Chairs” rules.  I arrived at the pool at 7:45 this morning and the pool opens at 8am.  There were two other people sitting and reading while the staff was doing their chemical and whatever checks, but more than half of the deck chairs were already reserved with towels.  Not even stuff.  Just towels.  Many of these people weren’t there by 9am.  So.  Anne’s Law:  Unless you are actually in the pool, there is a 20 minute limit on holding a chair.  More than enough time for running back to your room, going potty, or hitting the sundry store for snacks or magazines.  Or making a phone call.  Seriously, this is why some hotels are charging $50 to hold chairs for people.

  1. You will not reserve your chairs and then head for the breakfast buffet.
  2. You will not reserve a chair for your husband while he goes snorkeling.  For two hours.
  3. You will not reserve chairs for your three friends – in fact – no one is allowed to reserve more than one chair.  For up to 20 minutes.
  4. You will not reserve a chair for a friend that isn’t even awake yet.  We know that you can’t go anywhere else until hangover girl gets up, but that doesn’t mean you should hold a chair for her.

Interestingly, the children seem to be the best behaved in the pool.  They will share chairs, they try not to splash people, they share their toys with the other kids and they leave when they get hungry.  Just one rule for them:

  1. No Marco Polo

Hating on People at Starbucks

First let me say that I walked in the door of not-my-regular-Starbucks and thought I had taken the wrong door and landed in Caribou Coffee.  This would have been a bad thing because I do not like their Hot Chocolate and I know it isn’t just me because Alex found it weird, too.  Actually, Starbucks just renovated in a rather rustic way that made it look like it is running a bit scared.

The place was packed at not-quite-4pm.  Filled with kids.  So I am disliking:

  1. People who think Starbucks is an appropriate place to bring kids for an after-school snack.

Hello, it is after school.  They are already wired and can’t sit still.  And you think Starbucks is a good place for them to go and unwind?

When one pack left, I moved to grab a chair.  A woman (with nothing but a glass of ice water, I might add) literally dragged the chair away from me and put her bag on it while she sat on the couch.  Her coat was on the other side of the couch.  So:

2.  People that hog the seats.

Even after your gentleman friend finally joins you, you do not need a chair, a couch and two end tables.  And please ask the man not to put his feet on the table.

For God’s sake.

So I went to the bar where a guy sat four chairs from the wall with his power cord draped across the other three.  I moved the cord and sat in the spot furthest from him.  He looked ticked.  I checked e-mail and Facebook, then read a chapter of my book before finishing my drink and getting up to leave.  Then I saw:

3.  People that take off their shoes in public.

And not just slid the foot half-out of the shoe.  But left the shoes on the floor while the feet are up on the chair.


My pulse was still high 10 minutes later when I checked in at the doctor’s office.

Lunchtime at Noodles

I went for an early lunch at Noodle’s & Company in Arlington Heights before hitting the book sale at the Arlington Heights Library.  This particular Noodles is always filled with unsupervised children due to the movie theater around the corner.  Thus it is also the place that I learned (the hard way) to make sure the top of the salt shaker is secure before using it on my food.

So I ordered the penne rosa with parm chicken and, as is my habit, I ate the chicken first.  It was perfectly good.  Then I checked the salt shaker, salted the pasta and took a bite.  It didn’t taste right.  Too much cream?  I took a second bite.  Beh.  Then I figured it out:

Someone had replaced the salt with sugar.

I took the bowl back with the salt shaker, explained the problem and asked for a new one, which I was given.  The staff was checking every salt shaker before I left.

Dear Arlington Heights, Illinois:

Your library is awesome.  Your kids suck.

Crisis at the Animal Welfare League

Of all the vile things I can think of, stealing from a charity ranks way up there on the List of Things that Make Me Sick.  But last week, thieves stole the A/C units and parts from the Animal Welfare League‘s building on Wabash in Chicago.  Here is the story:


I set up a project on Crowdrise to try and help them out.  If you can make a small contribution, the site is here.  It features the awesome pic of my puppy, Gibbs.  He was not not adopted from this shelter, but we like to spread the love.  Thanks.

Overheard at Taco Bell

Four teenaged girls – two Hiltonclones and two Kardashianclones. Three order the 88 cent something-or-other and the fourth orders a small drink. Not one of them uses the word “Please” (I am pretty sure a rant is coming on that at a later date).

KClone1: You should totally go out with him.

HClone1: He’s so boorring! He has no personality!

My eyes roll into the back of my head.

HClone2: But he’ll take care of you.

HClone1: I don’t want someone to take care of me! I want someone who’s CRAYZEE!

Thanksgiving Activities

You know, when you don’t have a house full of people, Thanksgiving can get pretty busy.  This was my day:

Woke up at the regular time, dawdled for awhile and headed over to the rescue to lend a hand.  Good thing because an order of bird toys had arrived.  I spent a couple of hours going back and forth between rooms, cleaning cages, hanging new toys, and salvaging parts from old toys (in case they can be re-used).  Karen is my friend because she knew I was out of town when the order was placed, but she picked up some extras of our favorites for me.  Bird toys are really expensive, so one should really not miss an opportunity to pick some up wholesale.

At 10:30 or so, I stopped at Starbucks.  Businesses that are open on the holiday make me really happy.  The strip mall by my house was absolutely packed.  It looked like the Jewel, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Einstein Bagels were all open.  I placed my order and went over to the pick up counter.  The guy asked if I wanted whipped cream on my drinks.  I declined and thanked him for asking.  Then I said, “In case no one has told you today, I really appreciate that you are working on the holiday.”

He paused.  “…Um.  No.. No one has said that to me today.  Thanks.”

That’s really too bad.

I went home, grabbed the newspaper wih the Black Friday ads and went upstairs to plan some strategy.  I found the one for Michael’s, the craft store.  Open from 5pm to 9pm tonight and 30% off your entire purchase.  Right when every one was eating.  And then ready to die from being stuffed.

But wait.  There are only two of us.  We can eat whenever we want. 

I convinced my mother to cook the turkey early.  We were still watching the Lions game when we sat down.  (Note:  Whatever the outcome, that was a good game.  I don’t want to hear any more of this debate about booting the Lions from the Thanksgiving program.)  And had already placed a Christmas order on Amazon.

Then I took a nap.  Ha.

I got to Michael’s a few minutes after five.  There were people, but it wasn’t too bad a crowd.  I still managed to spend nearly an hour wandering around.  I filled a basket with supplies and went to check out.  I started hearing the manager shouting orders to people – mostly about how to manage coupons and how much worse it would be tomorrow.  I also thanked the lady at the register for working on the holiday.  Can I tell you?  Her face lit up. 

About that time I started hearing mothers yelling at children and was ready to leave.

Anne’s Law:  Black Friday is not for amateurs or children.  Leave the kids at home tomorrow.

Walking back to my car, I saw that Steak and Shake was open.  (Yeah, yeah.  Of course Steak and Shake was open.)  I drove through and picked up a couple of peppermint chip milk shakes.  Again, I told the drive through guy that I appreciated his working on the holiday.  Again, it was clear that no one else had said as much to him today.

Moral of the Story:

Seriously, gang.  Tomorrow, when the whole world goes insane, please say something nice to the staff.  They are having a longer, harder day than you are.  And they aren’t being paid enough for it.

Black Friday Strategies

The news is filled with articles, tips and deals regarding Black Friday and I particularly enjoyed this “strategy guide” from the Chicago Tribune.  My favorite part of the piece was listed under “Buddy up”:

“People are going to use carts as battering rams, but they are going to hit gridlock at a certain point,” he said. “It’s almost like the running of the bulls.”

The runner will offload goods to the driver’s cart. Upon completion, the driver takes the cart to wait in the checkout line, while the runner proceeds to the next store without delay. Of course, there are many versions of the buddy system. More elaborate are hunting packs of six or more that coordinate shopping lists and buy at several locations simultaneously. However, more stores are moving to Black Friday ticketing systems. Those first in line are given tickets and their merchandise is set aside.

“It’s taken a little of the competitiveness out of it,” Brim said.

It seems that on one day of the year, Real Life is less civilized than the Internet.