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Alceste la vie

Monday, June 24th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

I stumbled onto the phrase “Alceste, Party Pooper,” this weekend and laughed so hard (it’s funnier when said in real life, and not because saying ‘poop’ is always funny, though not NOT because saying ‘poop’ is always funny. Poop. HAHAHAHAHAAHA *hangs head*)

SOOOOOOOO, it’s Alceste’s birthday month! And he *actually* celebrated it like four times! Well, sorta.

His birthday was last Friday, so on Saturday we went out to the Chip Shop in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill. It’s a British styled pub-ish place. All the screens were showing boring grass hockey and the walls were covered with union jacks and articles about the Beatles doing things. He got there first, so when I arrived, I enthusiastically said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALCESTE!”

And then I told the waiter: It’s his birthday, so do whatever really embarrassing thing the British people do on people’s birthdays!
Waiter: They’re British. They don’t do anything.
Alceste: And it’s not my birthday.

RUDE HATE-FILLED BRITS.

Dawn 2 joined us after escaping from the pit of a toddler fire trap and we all had fish, chips and ales of sorts. There was no cake. (AND THIS IS WHY ALL YOUR COLONIES LEAVE YOU!)

After British birthday, they made me walk four hundred miles with them to their concert at the Jay-Z center and I headed home to plan the beach party phase of Alceste birthday.

As you know, the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary (her official moniker for so long as she lives on the beach) invited us to come for a visit to her new place. Thus, Alceste beach party weekend was born.

However, on Wednesday, I got e-mails from Kearns AND ALCESTE saying they couldn’t make it! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Alceste birthday with no Alceste is gonna be a bummer! I mean, it would happen, but it’d be a bummer.

Luckily, everything fell into place and Friday night I pulled up beside Alceste’s car at the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary’s house.

“You have to move your car to the other side, Dawn,” Mary says standing in the doorway, “that’s not the parking space for black guests.”

Balls.

So, I parked around back by the servant’s entrance and we all hopped into Alceste’s car to head to our dinner at a pan asian noodle bar at Caesar’s.

“Happy Birthday, Alceste!” I said waving and then told the waitress that it was his birthday and she should do… I wanted to say “whatever Asian thing they do for people’s birthdays,” but that sounded #races, so I ended my sentence there.

“It’s not my birthday,” Alceste then added.

RUDE.

At dinner, I had one of those funny epiphanies. I had been to this place before, but I could not for the life of me remember what I had ordered. I stared at the menu, flipped through the pages, looked at the specials and tried to figure it out. I couldn’t. Finally, I just decided to order something I’d like. I read all the dishes and picked one. When it arrived, the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary, said “Oh, that’s what you had last time.”

Who’s got two thumbs and knows what she likes even though she can’t remember what things are called? THIS GUY.

The great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary treated us all to dinner, but, alas, once again there was no cake. (AND THIS IS WHY AMERICA IS *NEVER* PAYING BACK THAT CHINESE DEBT.)

We headed back to Mary’s house and I grabbed the prime spot in front of the TV. Mary gave Dawn 2 and Alceste a tour of her house, I made sure all her channels were working. They were.

Now, since I don’t want everyone all hogging my space at the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary’s beach house, I am NOT going to tell you anything about what a gorgeous morning we woke up to.

Dawn 2 made some awesome coffee after I clinked an empty mug and whined about how empty and devoid of coffee it was. (HAHAHAH Do you remember those old “Goofus and Gallant” cartoons? Dawn 2 and I could star in the updates. Dawn shows up to a friend’s new house empty-handed and drinks their wine. Dawn 2 shows up at a friend’s house with two bottles of wine. Dawn cries until *somebody* *somewhere* brings her coffee. Dawn 2 makes coffee for everyone! Dawn sees real maple syrup and scrunches up her face in disgust. Dawn 2 offers to bring bottles down next time for Mary to store her cherry liqueur. Dawn kidnaps and hides Dawn 2 in a basement far far away so she will stop making her look so bad.)

Dawn 2 put on her running gear and said “vamos a la playa,” before heading out to jog on the beach and I was totally like “OMIGOSH!! THAT’S ONE OF THE SENTENCES I KNOW!!!” So I decided to go to the beach too just so I could also yell out “VOY A LA PLAYA,” before I left!

The shores were littered with a handful of families. I played chicken with the waves until the foam gobbled up my feet to the ankles. It was too cold to swim, but I played wave tag and danced around on the sand to Nicki Minaj for about an hour before heading back. As I walked toward the house, I saw Alceste talking to a man in front of Mary’s house. I assumed it was some guy Alceste played poker with at the casino or something.

My feet and legs were covered with sand and saltwater, so I sat on the porch and took off my sandals. I caught snippets of the conversation happening between Alceste and the man, but didn’t participate. After a few minutes, the man said “by the way, I’m Doug” (or some “sounds like Doug-ish” name) and then Alceste said his name and they shook hands.

Huh. What’s this. Alceste didn’t even KNOW this dude??

The guy leaves and I’m all “Uh…what was that?”

Alceste explains that the guy saw him and asked if he was the new owner and when Alceste said no, it belonged to his friend, they just started talking.

O_O

“So…you don’t know that guy…he doesn’t have any of your stuff and you’re not in need of medical assistance…I’m confused…who are you? where’s Alceste???!”

Dawn 2 concurred.

“He doesn’t talk to any of OUR neighbors!”

“Just WAIT till I tell the internet how friendly you are!” I said.

(ALCESTE IS SOOOOOO FRIENDLY, INTERNET!!!!!! Also, it’s his birthday!)

Mary showed me where the hose for black guests was and I washed off my shoes and feet while her other neighbor’s dogs tried to eat my face.

Mary then MADE us all breakfast! We had blueberries and bacon and french toast. I’m not a french toast person, but there was bread and it was toasted and it surrendered immediately when my fork applied pressure, so I assume all was as french toast is supposed to be.

After an awesome breakfast and day at the beach, the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary drove us to the casino for pokering to be pokered. We all sat at the same table because they started a new game for us.

I’ll spare you most of the details of the pokering, but I do want to relate one funny tale.

We’re sitting there, the Mets game is on the TV right above our table, the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary is two seats to my left, Alceste is at the far end and I’m watching the game. The Mets are getting DEEEE-SSTRROOYYYED. It’s like 7-1. I sigh.

“Well, if they just score seven more runs, we’re right back in this!”

The WHOLE table, including the dealer, laughs at me.

RUDE… speaking of which.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALCESTE”

“Oh, it’s your birthday,” the guy to Alceste’s right, asks.

“No.” he replies.

The Mets end up scoring FIVE runs in that inning and are only down 7-5. I look at my hand: KK (Pocket kings are the second best starting hand in no limit hold ’em!) Sigh. (That’s called foreshadowing.)

I’m in the cutoff seat and *Alceste* opens the betting by raising to ten dollars, the guy next to him calls (a young kid who had been splashing around his tiny short stack all-in for the last hour with silly Ace highs,) the lady next to me called and I thought about what to do.
I figured Alceste had a really good hand and would call any preflop raise from me, AND I figured the stupid short stack kid would shove all-in if I raised preflop and Alceste called…which if Alceste had pocket aces (the best starting hand in no limit hold ’em) would mean vaffles for Dawn. And not the delicious kind with artificial syrup.

So… I just call. The flop is TEN high. Alceste IMMEDIATELY bets out $25. I stare at him and worry he had raised preflop to $10 with pocket tens. Before I could even really complete my thought, the young kid SHOVES ALL-IN. I see now that his silly shoving had turned into a decent stack, Alceste’s face contorts with shock!

It folds to me and I think and think and think. I basically put the stupid kid on AT and decide that Alceste’s shocked face means he doesn’t have a set, so my pocket kings are good. I shove all-in too — I actually had more money than I thought I did, but I think I would have still done it. Alceste asks for a count, sighs, says “I know I have him beat, but I don’t know what she has” and then folds. The kid flashes Alceste his cards, and Alceste gives a face like “Ah, you had me.” I panic and now know I need a king. It doesn’t come. The kid turns over AA. I show my KK so everyone can feel sorry for me.

The Mets score a run to get within one.

I feel slightly better, I *GUESS,* but I decide the whole debacle is Alceste’s fault and shake my fist at him. (He would ask later why was it his fault and I said “BECAUSE YOUR FACE!” He accepted that as valid. And then I said Happy Birthday and he said it wasn’t his birthday.)

At, 8:30, after Dawn 2 returned from shopping, we went to dinner at the buffet and waited in line for HOURS. I was SOOOOO HUNGRY.

I said “I’m soooooo hungry!”

The great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary, said “Poor Dawn. You ran kings into aces, the Mets lost and now Harrah’s is starving you to death.

“Thanks for the recap, MARY!” Stoopid Mary.

ERRR…I mean… the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary.

After dinner, we walked through the casino floor to get to the garage, and I realized I hadn’t been in a casino in more than a year. I looked at the felt covered table games and giggled. “Always bet the bonus! Bonus money is the sweetest money!” Just as @thisisnotapril taught me.

We got back to the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary’s house in time for the end of the Blackhawks’ game. Dawn 2 gave Mary a present she bought for her at the outlet mall.

“Dawn 2 is the best Dawn in the world,” Mary declared.

We then decided to go out for a walk on the beach. Alceste didn’t want to go because he didn’t want to get sand all over his sneakers, so we peer pressured him. I swear someone actually said “the beach isn’t too sandy.”

O_o Whatever, it worked!

Dawn 2 grabbed a flashlight. Dawn grabbed a sports bottle filled with wine for herself.

“Dawn is the WORST Dawn in all the world!”

I would have said “races,” but I was in the middle of polishing off her wine, so my mouth was full.

The beach at night was strangely beautiful. You don’t often see real life in black and white. But there we were, standing on the dark shore, bathed in moonlight, on an eerie colorless landscape.

Dawn 2 and Alceste were hugging (awww, how ridiculously adorable are THEY), Mary was trying to jack a lifeboat and I was sipping water bottle wine when the beach patrol cruiser rolled by.

“Uh oh.”

“It’s okay, we’re standing below sea level. There are no laws down here!”

“Woo! Cock fight!”

I watch too much Simpsons.

As we walked back, I noticed paw prints in the sand.

I screamed.

“Oh, it’s not an animal print… is a claw footed child.”

I screamed again.

“Looks like a bear,” said the great, wise, all-powerful, beautiful smart Mary, laughing.

“WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING??? THERE’S A POLAR BEAR COMING FOR US!” What? You haven’t seen Lost? Beaches are where Polar Bears come from!

We got back to the house and watched a documentary about the OJ Simpson car chase… where Alceste hilariously pointed out that the LAPD stood ready to “kill OJ before he could commit suicide.” Alceste got a work e-mail at midnight, so he and Dawn 2 had to leave super early the next morning.

“HA! WHO’S THE BEST DAWN NOW??”

“Still her.”

Balls.

We headed to Harrah’s and played poker until dinner. I entertained myself by trolling Phillies fans as the Mets walloped doubles and home runs en route to a 8-0 shutout. I swear, one guy was going to punch my face as I audibly said “bye bye” and waved when David Wright homered to make it a 7-0 lead. Tee hee. I’m awful.

At dinner, Mary said she was going to make us cupcakes, but when Alceste sent the e-mail saying he wasn’t coming, she decided not to.

WWHHHAAATTTTT??? DDAAAAMMMNNNNNEEEDDDD AALLLCCEEESSSTTTEEE!!! First he causes my stacking with his face, NOW THIS! There was fist shaking.

After dinner, I headed back to Brooklyn. It was a great weekend. Um.

I mean bad weekend. Bad.

Right. Look, if there is a point to this story, it’s that there was no french toast or beaches or pokers. And there are man eating polar bears. You people stay away from my…er… Mary’s beach house.

If there is a point.

Also…

Happy Birthday, Alceste!

Have a great weekend

Friday, June 21st, 2013 by Dawn Summers


The proof is in the fire, you touch before it moves away, yeahhh
But you must always know how long to stay and when to go

And there ain’t no talkin to this man, he’s been tryin to tell me so
It took a while to understand, the beauty of just letting go
Cause it would take an acrobat, and I already tried all that
I’m gonna let him fly

From Brooklyn to the BEACH!

Monday, June 10th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

Mary, of used to live a couple of miles away, but vanished in the middle of last fall Mary, donates her company’s expertise to designing the artwork and programs for an annual film festival.

In return, the festival gives her company a few all access passes to the event. Last year, I stowed away in the trunk as “company intern.” This year, no one was free to go, except Mary, of used to live a couple of miles away, but, OHHH, *NOW* lives a couple of miles away from Atlantic City Mary, so I got promoted to employee!

I was packing for the weekend, which takes place on the sandy shores of Long Beach Island — when I started to hear reports of a hurricane moving up the coast from Florida.

Uhh. Hmm. Does that affect me, I thought to myself as I flung my bathing suit and shorts into my Mets duffel bag.

The next morning, I turned on the news at 4 AM and literally every single day’s weather square was an angry storm cloud face with lightning bolts electrocuting black women in dark blue BMWs.

Huh. Okay, but that’s *Brooklyn* weather. *I* won’t be in Brooklyn. I’ll be on an island! SO THERE!

Just for laughs, I typed in the zip code for the “resort” at which we were staying. “FLOOD ADVISORY WARNING. STAY OFF THE ROADS” Each day’s square was a picture of animal heads peering out of ark windows.

I emailed Mary to find out if the festival was canceled. It wasn’t.

I texted the director to see if it was going to be postponed. It wasn’t.

“IT’S FINE, DAWN! Get down here!” Okay. Well, I guess…

I told Mary I would be there by 4:00, in time for us to make the 4:30 cruise. O_o Sometimes I wonder why I publish these stories so that everyone knows just exactly how dumb I am? Anyhoo…

So… I’m driving *to a beach* during a torrential downpour in order to catch a boat for an afternoon booze cruise…

Suddenly, it occurs to me that I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when the car hydroplanes off the highway! Do I turn into it? Do I turn away from it?? My wipers are furiously swishing back and forth. I am going like 30 miles an hour down the parkway. Cars are cutting me off, drivers are giving me nasty looks. I am clearly going to die.

I contemplate turning back, but now I’m about 30 miles away and the weather is atrocious. I figure that I’m probably driving through the eye, which means, if I turn back, I’ll be in the eye the whole way home. Nope, best to go through. I finally get to Long Beach Island and the roads are FLOODED. There is a police SUV on the side of the road, the still water is more than halfway up HIS tires.

Now I’m imagining the hilarious phone call with my insurance company after my car gets washed away:

“Hello, how may we help you?”

“Yes, my car was washed away in a flood.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Summers… but our records don’t indicate that you are in a flood zone.”

“Well, I was on an island off the coast of New Jersey at the time.”

“Oh no. How long had you been on that island when the storm suddenly hit?”

“Um…well… see… actually, what happened was, I drove to the beach during the storm and arrived at the island as it was flooding.”

*Dialtone*

Anyway, I finally get to the resort. I can’t see anything. I’m terrified that if I turn the car off, it will never start again and I’m worried if I open the door, fish will swim in from outside. I pull up alongside another car. The figure inside has reddish hair, and I surmise that it’s Mary in her fancy new car. I look at the clock “crap, it’s after 4! She’s probably mad that she’s been waiting for me out in her car for fifteen minutes! But I can’t imagine this cruise is still on!”

I get out my car and run to her car and get in.

Thankfully, she had also just gotten there AND was also wondering why in the hell, she had driven to the beach during a hurricane.

Now, the “resort”… in the previous years, the festival had rented out these beach houses. They weren’t fancy, but they were close to the beach and they were fine. However, they were leveled after hurricane Sandy, so the festival relocated to a Catholic retreat location about 10 miles away on the Bay. It was run by nuns. So, there we are, sitting in a convent parking lot on a dark and stormy…afternoon (SO CLOSE to the hitting the bad writing trifecta there!) and wondering what to do. There wasn’t a check-in desk or any indication of where we were staying.

“I think it’s that house back there on the left.”

I shit you not.

I was still wearing my work clothes, complete with my chintzy little dress shoes.

“I have rainboots, I’ll go check it out.”

O_O

“Um… Yes…I have DEFINITELY seen this movie. So, now we split up…”

She laughed.

I KNOW she was thinking “thank God, Dawn is the black one!” #RACES

She gets out the car and heads over to the house. I dialed one of the organizers (because if I don’t have service, then I DEFINITELY know we’re going to die.) Apparently, the booze cruise is going to happen as scheduled, it’s just not going to leave the dock.

Mary comes back and says the house is locked…except for the basement, but she decided not to go down there. #Valid

“The ax killer was probably SO mad when you left!”

There was another house behind us. I pointed at it.

“Maybe that’s the house… it could be on the left, if you’re looking at it from here.”

She shrugged and we decided to drive over to it.

THE DOOR OPENED!

THANK GOD.

I grabbed my stuff and plopped it on the floor. There were two rows of beds on each side. Have you ever seen movies about orphanages? Yeah, that.

We found some bedrooms in the back each with two twin beds. We decided to claim one. I took off my jacket and hung it on the bedroom doorknob. Mary called her contact at the festival. I changed into shorts and sandals. I looked out the window and shook my head. But it didn’t matter, all I packed were shorts and sandals, so shorts and sandals it would be.

As I half listened to Mary talk to her contact and half berated myself for all the bad decisions I’d made *JUST THAT DAY ALONE* I deduced that we were NOT in the right house.

“No, there are no snacks here” Mary said.

“…but that one was locked…”

“No…there’s no second floor here…”

AWW FUUCCKK. WE BROKE INTO A CONVENT HOUSE!!

DDUUUUDDDEEEE. IN FLORIDA YOU *SO* GET SHOT FOR THAT!!!!

I half listened as the woman gave us directions to a different house and hurriedly shoved all my clothes and shoes back into my duffel bags.

Mary took the address down and we high tailed it out of the house.

“OH MY GOD! OOPS. SORRY! OH MY WORD!! JESUS! OOPS. SORRY! Umm… JESUS!!”

Mary is laughing. “Let’s just go to the cruise now and we’ll figure out the housing on the boat.”

“Okay, do you think I’ll need money or ID or anything?”

“Nah.”

I patted my pockets and decided to bring my license just in case. I do look so very very young. It wasn’t in there. Oh, yeah, it’s in my jacket.

My jacket that is STILL hanging on the bedroom door of the house I broke into!

Awesome.

So, I break into the convent AGAIN to retrieve my jacket with my ID and cash and return to the car.

“…and this is why Dawn can’t get nowhere as a criminal.”

Mary laughs.

“Yeah, I am NOT taking you with me on any heists!”

The cruise was pretty packed. Mary drove, so I drank and drank and drank and drank.

Mary said hi to people she knew. They in turn introduced us to people we didn’t. This creepy guy was all “Hi, I’m Creepy guy.”

“I’m Mary, this is Dawn.”

“Where are you from?”

“Well, I just moved from BROOKLYN TO THE BEACH!” She says emphatically and then did a dance.

“I’m just from Brooklyn.”

“Oh me too, where?”

“Near the park.”

“Where?”

Uh…

“Ocean.”

“Where on Ocean??”

Mmm…ummm…I think I hear my mom calling me!

I continued drinking, I know this, because there was a woman walking around and I *INTRODUCED* myself to her! LIKE VOLUNTARILY!

Mary was all: O_O

“I’m Dawn and this is Mary!”

And the girl, whose name was something like “Hanna” said “nice to meet you. It’s too bad we can’t actually go out though.”

And then Mary said “well, there was a big accident recently. A boat capsized and the crew drowned.”

“That’s awful,” Hanna said.

“Mary is such a downer!” I said

Hanna laughed. “Were you like a goth kid?”

Mary said yes.

“Pfft. You don’t even have any skull jewelery on you! Goth! HAH!”

Of course, Mary totes had on a skull ring. So’s my face.

We chatted some more with Hanna. I continued to drink and though I have no idea what we were talking about, Mary asked “aren’t your friend’s kids that age?”

And I scoffed and said “I have all new friends now,” adding an arm flourish that emptied the remaining contents of my glass all over her.

“Well, now I see why,” Hanna said without missing a beat.

They did eventually take the boat out and when we returned I went to dinner with Mary.

Afterwards, we finally got legally situated in a house and watched the end of the Boston hockey game. Mary said her mom watched baseball with her even though her mom doesn’t really understand the game.

“Meh. It’s baseball… what’s there to understand? Although, I guess I do text Alceste anytime I can’t figure out what happened…like with pass balls.”

“What’s a pass ball?”

“Uhh…crap…um…I DON’T KNOW! And I can’t ask him again! I’ve already asked him twice!”

“I’ve never heard of it…”

“It’s probably a flukey thing that only happens to awful teams like the Mets.”

It is.

#Cry

The next day, the weather was slightly less “Doomsday adjacent.”


We went to the organizer’s house and while I saw syrup and a griddle, I did not see pancakes. I was sad. Mary and I sat on the patio and she ate a yogurt while I willed pancakes into existence with my mind. About half an hour later, a scent wafted through the sliding doors… SUCCESS!!

We went for a walk on the beach and then drove up to the fancy state lighthouse.

I heard a voice echo from the top.

“We made it!”

Mary said “Oh, you can go up!”

“Yeah, but from the sounds of it, you have to walk.”

“I know. It’s a lighthouse. There’s no elevator!”

Oh. Um… we ran into another guy we knew and the two of them were going to climb it, so… never to be one who resists peer pressure…I climbed it too.

My legs nearly fell off.

We went to some fancy sponsor’s cocktail party after that and then dinner. On the way to dinner, my Monkees playlist was on, and Mary was ACTUALLY singing along! I do not think Mary has EVER sang along to my car’s music EVER. IN TEN YEARS! NEVER.

We got to a burger place and they were playing “I wanna hold your hand” So we were both singing that and she goes “HA! You’re singing the Beatles!” And I was like “Oh yeah… see? I don’t get why they are so revered. This song is sooo cheesy!”

“Well, I grew up with it. So it has nice memories for me.”

“How’d you go from Beatles hand holding music to Alceste’s murder rape metal music?!”

She laughed “It’s not rape music!”

“Pfft, at the end of all Alceste songs someone is either murdered or raped.” #truestory

“You should tweet that!”

“Okay, but first, I’ve got to troll @juliusgoat about the Beatles suckingness.”

We saw a couple of movies at the festival and then went to the after party.

I was trying to follow the Blackhawks game on my phone, but just when I thought it was over, the stupid Kings tied it and my battery died four minutes into overtime. I borrowed Mary’s phone to continue listening until I killed her battery too. Now, I was bored and phone less. But they advertised “strong men bending steel,” which…listen… I am there to see some strong men bending steel.

A guy walked in with a huge box. I whispered to Mary “a mortician is here.”

“What do you mean mortician”?

“Dude…he’s old with a pale face, gray hair and he’s wearing an ill fitting dark black suit. MORTICIAN…well, or magician…”

He was a magician.

He picked Mary to be his assistant.

I yelled out “saw her in half!”

He didn’t. He did steal her watch though.

I was very impressed. As she put her watch back on, I sighed “man, if I could do that, I wouldn’t be a magician, I’d just steal watches all the time!”

“Yeah, but you’d probably leave your driver’s license behind.”

#RUUUDDDDDEEEE

The pub kept putting out trays of soft pretzels, but we kept missing them. Finally, I saw someone walking away with one and made a beeline for the tray. There were TWO left. So… I picked them up. As I walked toward Mary, this guy stabs me in shoulder with serving tongs. I thought he was trying to get my attention to say hi, so I waved back. But then I realized …oh, I guess he was about to use the tongs to take a pretzel, when I took the last two. THEN I GOT MAD! HOW ARE YOU STABBING A STRANGER WITH TONGS OVER BREAD, HOMIE??!!

I wished I had realized what he was doing right away, because I TOTES would have licked both pretzels right in his face!

By now, I’m super bored and ready to leave, but I drove and didn’t want to make Mary leave before steel was bended.

(The next day, she was like “If I had driven my own car, I would have left! O_O)

Finally, the strong men came out. The first guy bent a horseshoe.

“Pfft. *I* could bend a horseshoe!”

No, I couldn’t.

Then a guy snapped a wrench in half.

“Who *hasn’t* snapped a wrench in half?”

No one. Can’t be done.

They bent pipes and rods and folded nails into shapes. It was pretty cool.

The next day would have been a perfect beach day, but I didn’t want to sand my car all up, so I just headed home…

From the BEACH TO BROOKLYN!

Orlando adventure in three parts

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

Part I

Part II

Part III

The happiest place on heaven and earth: Part Two (AKA THE RIVETING CONCLUSION)

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

I woke up bright and early for my timeshare presentation. I’d read on the intertubes that they were *only* allowed two hours, so I wanted to get started as soon as possible, finish up the Holyland… Experience as soon as possible and head out to Universal Studios for Harry Potter living AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

I took my mother to the presentation. (Backstory: twas my mother who insisted I buy a BMW after taking the test drive. Twas my mother who insisted I buy my apartment the first time we went to see it. Twas my mother who has four George Foreman grills and owns every QVC appliance ever hawked on a televised broadcast. My mother has a purchasing problem.) I had explained to her that under no circumstances was I buying a timeshare. That she was not to buy a timeshare. There would be NO timeshare buying. We went over this when I invited her. We went over this at the airport. We went over this the night before. We went over this as I bought coffee that morning.

“No, I got it. I don’t have any money!”

Mmmm

“Okay, and I don’t have any money either, right? Nobody has any money. No money having we? Yes? Nobody is buying any timeshares.”

“Got it.”

GREAT!

Our “tour guide” was thirty minutes late. The guy at the desk assured me that were taking that into account, and would be included in the time allotted for my presentation. Cool. Only 90 more minutes AND no one has even tried to sell me anything!

Finally, this woman comes — she looks South Asian, but doesn’t have an accent or anything, she introduces herself as Seetha.

“Where are you ladies from?”

“New York”/ “Panama” we say simultaneously.

My mother is so weird.

“Panama? Who is from Panama?”

“My mother.”

“Oh, is this your mother?”

O_o

“Yes.”

“I thought you ladies were from Jamaica. You look Jamaican!”

O_o

“Nope.”

She walks us around the property for a bit and we come to a patio with a view of the pool and she sits us down, offers us coffee and begins. She tells her whole story. How she has two sons, and her dad died six months ago (it was so sad, he worked his whole life and he planned to retire at 70, then he got cancer and died at 68. He NEVER even got to take a vacation. SPEAKING OF VACATION…)

*eyeroll*

She then asked me how much I spend a year on vacations.

“Nothing. I go to casinos where I’m comped.”

“Okay, but if you had to pay for those vacations, how much would they be?”

*Shrugs*

“Well, let’s say $5000.”

“Okay.”

“Well, Dawn, and Dawn’s mom, that’s $5000 that you’re JUST THROWING AWAY! You never see that money again. Does that make any sense?”

“Well, it doesn’t cost me anything. So…”

“Right, but wouldn’t it make more sense to put that $5000 towards something. Something YOU OWN?”

I bit my tongue and checked my cellphone clock… she has 72 more minutes then I’ll be drinking Butter beer at the Three Broomsticks.

“Sure.”

She goes on and on about the various properties and how my $5000 could be used to buy “a second home. That I could leave to my children… do you have children?”

“Nope.”

“Well, someday.”

“Can I deduct the cost of this property on my taxes?”

She gets very serious and says “I am not a lawyer or an accountant. You would have to talk about that with your own financial advisers. This is a very reputable company and I don’t want to defraud you. Tax laws vary from state to state. So I do not know.”

(I giggled at the lawsuit that must have spawned that particular disclaimer speech.)

“Can I sell it, if I don’t want it anymore?”

“Sure. And you can rent it out if you don’t use it! You can leave it to your children in your will…”

I nod. Man, 30 minutes in and she’s given me an imaginary $5000 AND children! This place is MAGIC!

We then take a tour of an actual two bedroom unit. She now has 20 minutes left.

“So, what do you think all this would cost?”

“I don’t know.”

“Guess!”

19 minutes left.

“$5000?”

“Well, that’s the BEAUTY of this program. It costs whatever you can afford.”

Turns out, instead of buying property, I could buy *points* which could be exchanged to use their property WHENEVER I WANTED (depending on availability.) If you don’t use those points, they roll over for one year, but then you lose them. So, for say $15,000 I could buy 450,000 points and use them for a one week one bedroom in “where do you want to go?” and have X points left over for renting out a two bedroom in Vegas for a couple of days! Imagine the flexibility, Dawn!”

“So… I’m prepaying for hotels?”

“NO! Not hotels! Hotels are where you THROW MONEY AWAY! THIS IS AN INVESTMENT!”

“An investment in points? That I don’t get tax deductions for?”

She now has 12 minutes left and I am nearly home free. She knows I’m not buying, I know I’m not buying, we are about to be out of each other’s lives…

“Could you use the points for cruises? I want to go on a cruise!”

“Sure, Dawn’s Mom, OF COURSE. In addition to properties, we have partnerships with…”

*head desk*

She shows my mom a package for 308,000 points (or something) for $12,000 with a $5,000 down payment and $300 per month payments.

“Of course, you can just put the whole thing on a credit card with zero interest if you want, instead of using our financing.”

“We’ll think about it.”

“Well, here’s the thing. If you purchase this today, I will give you 612,000 points FOR THE same price! And put you on the VIP roster for three years! But if you decline, then you lose those promotions even if you change your mind later and decide you want it.”

“Decline.”

DECLINE DECLINE DECLINE.

“How about you mom?”

I AM GOING TO STAB YOU IN THE FACE, SEETHA.

“I’d have to think about it, too.”

Whew.

So, she sends in her “manager” who is there to fill out a “customer service quality control form.” They are now 10 minutes OVER the two hours.

But whatever, the form is short and I’ll be outta there in no time.

“So how was Seetha? Was she professional and respectful?”

You mean, after she said “We looked Jamaican”? “Uh huh. yes.”

“And did she show you the unit?”

“Uh huh yes.”

“But you didn’t like it?”

“It was fine.”

“And I hear mom likes cruises…”

*Spidey sense tingling*

“Uh huh…”

“Well, how about this…”

HE then goes into a WHOLE spiel about how you can *rent* the points. “Just try out the program for two years. If you don’t like it, you can walk away WITH NO commitment! For only $2,300, you get everything Seetha offered, without the strings! Just for $500 down and $200 a month. And as a bonus, the company will throw in a two week Alaskan cruise for you and mom!”

“Yes, we’ll take it!”

*HEAD.DESK*

“But I don’t want a monthly bill, I just want to pay the whole two thousand dollars now, because I am old and will probably die soon.”

Did I mention that my mom is weird?

Now, I don’t know if she planned this, and if she did, I suppose it was kind of genius, but still, NOW it’s thirty minutes over the two hours and I was supposed to be wrapping up the HolyLand by now!

“Sure, we can take the payment in one transaction.”

“Well, I have to get it out my retirement fund. Obviously, I can’t do that on a Saturday.”

“No problem, I can charge the $500 today and you can pay the rest on your own time whenever you can get the money.”

“No, I just want to pay everything off one time. Can I just pay for this package when I get home.”

“Sure, but to hold the package, I need a deposit…can your daughter…”

“No, I don’t want her to have any bills. *I* want to pay this off at once.”

They were at a standstill.

I tried not to laugh. Though, I wasn’t quite sure if my mother was being serious or intentionally difficult. In the end, they couldn’t hold the package open without the money and she wasn’t giving them any money. So we got the promised $100 American Express gift card and were on our merry way.

It was about 2 o’clock when we finished the Holyland and I didn’t want to waste $200 for half day at Universal Studios, so I asked my mom what she wanted to do next.

“Isn’t this where the space shuttles are?”

A quick “something search” informed me that Kennedy Space Center was about forty minutes away.

Kennedy was cool! We went on a simulated shuttle launch (though there was a creepy “and this is the second when the Challenger exploded, so hold on to your hats ha ha” moment. And the “Angry Birds” exhibit sorta pissed me off. I MEAN HONESTLY! They had a carnie giving kids the plush birds to throw at spinning targets to see how many they could hit. This has to do with space exploration….how exactly?

We got there too late to take the bus out the Area 51 or whatever to see the launchpads (here is where my nemesis @astinto will say he went out to the launchpads TWICE and they were THEEE BEST part!) but they sold us a half price ticket and we stayed at the park till closing. I became obsessed with the Hubble Telescope after watching the IMAX movie about the last repair. (Mostly obsessed with it falling out of the sky and squashing me to death.) I loved the spiral walkway with pictures of all the shuttle missions and then how they turn bronze once the shuttle blows up. Also, dude, how didn’t more shuttles blow up?! They’re designed to be propelled into space by explosions!! Crazysauce. I laughed thinking about how everyone was all into space, then, after landing on the moon four times, we were like “meh…. been there, done that. I want my MTV!”

On the drive back from Kennedy, I made our objective for the next day clear: WE. ARE. GOING. TO. THE. MAGIC. KINGDOM.

We are getting there when the doors open. We are STAYING there till the doors close. We are DOING/SEEING EVERYTHING THERE IS TO DO THERE.

So, the next morning, we got up at 6 AM, had breakfast at the Waffle House and then headed out to the Magic Kingdom.

Of course, I got lost. Like SUPER lost. I ended up in some loading dock where the security guard was like “You’re following that GEE PEE ESS, aintcha?”

ARRRGGHHHH.

We didn’t get there when it opened and the parking lot was already dang half full!

We took a trolley thing to the main gate. I was totes like “I don’t know how I will ever find that car again (it was a rental WITHOUT a remote beep beep key) but I DON’T CARE! (Actually, I kept repeating Simba 18 Heroes Lot! HA! I still remember! Suck it, old age!)

We bought our tickets and this nice lady gave me a map of the park and suggested some things to do.

Her: Blah blah blah blah blah
Me: Where’s Space Mountain?

THEN we took a ferry to the Magic Kingdom. THEN we took a train to Tomorrow Land!

I thought my mom was just gonna stand around, taking pictures of me on the rides, BUT SHE ACTUALLY WENT ON EVERYTHING!

Space Mountain was pretty damn terrifying, but SPLASH mountain was WAY WAY WAY more awesome!! I screamed SOOOOOOO much! It’s a super well designed ride. And once I figured out the “express ticket” system, we managed to go on everything and NEVER wait for the high demand rides. MAGIC KINGDOM WAS AWESOME!!

They have this movie theather that’s not only 3D, but FOUR D and bubbles/water come out of the screen. There was a sudden downpour in the middle of our trip, so everyone packed into the Hall of Presidents.

AND THAT WAS AWESOME TOO! (Based on all my prior knowledge, gleaned from watching episodes about Itchy and Scratchyland on the Simpsons, I thought this would be cheesy animatronic Abraham Lincolns dancing around. But NO!) They had ALL the Presidents!! Including Barack Obama! And they gave speeches and they showed a movie about America!!! I was all U-S-A! U-S-A! And ready to conquer something in the name of the homeland. (I took a picture of one of my favoritest presidents:
)

The food was pretty abysmal. Anything that seemed edible required reservations, which we didn’t have, so we ended up eating gross ass hotdogs…blech and popcorn.

I was wearing my Rangers t-shirt:

(okay, you can’t really see it, but trust me.)

So we went into the haunted house, which was sooo lame, I didn’t even scream ONCE, and, ask Mary, I am easily frightened. I take that back, I screamed EXACTLY once, when this happened:

We’ve gone through the falling elevator part and are waiting for the moving chairs part. I’m standing in line with my mom waiting in the dark, when I feel a hand on my shoulder. A voice says “BOO!”

I SCREAM.

A dude, I guess he works the ride, steps out of the darkness, points at my shirt and repeats “BOO THE RANGERS. GO BOSTON.”

My mom is laughing and laughing. I shake my fist.

Afterwards, she goes “the best part of that ride wasn’t even a part of the ride!”

I shake my fist again.

We went on all the rides, I think after Splash Mountain, my favorite was the Buzz Lightyear one. My mom and I did the race car things. She was all afraid to get in the car by herself till she saw a five-year-old hop in the one in front of her. One of our rides was “suspended due to lightning” in the area. But then reopened like ten minutes later. O_o

By nightfall, we had only missed one ride: Peter Pan.

We took a break to watch the parades.

And then fireworks over the castle.

And I saw Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse and Belle and The Little Mermaid and I danced with Chip N Dale and Pluto (who my mom KEPT calling Goofy! SO EMBARRASSING! ) It was super late and I had to be back at work first thing the next morning, so I almost left, but then decided, nah, gotta finish. So we went back to the Peter Pan ride! And didn’t leave the Magic Kingdom till like 1 AM.

Of course, I got lost getting back to the hotel SOOO basically, we got back, packed and headed to the airport to catch our 6 AM flight.

All in all, it was an awesome weekend, I got to see space shuttles and Jesii, see a TomorrowLand where there is a TV and microwave oven in every home, and nobody bought any timeshare points!

During the flight back, now surer than EVER that my mom’s story about Disneyworld was utter BS, I cleared my throat and said “soo, you’re saying we did that when I was four and I didn’t like it? You still sticking to that story?”

“Umm… thinking back, maybe it wasn’t Disney world. Maybe it somewhere else.”

YAH! SOMEWHERE ELSE LIKE YOUR IMAGINATION!!!!!

Wait till I TELL DIANA ROSS ABOUT THIS!

:

The happiest place on heaven and earth

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by Dawn Summers

Once, in what seems now like a lifetime ago, someone told me that I was trying to give myself the childhood I never had. If I recall correctly, it wasn’t intended as a flattering assessment; but who knows if I recall correctly, I am old and feeble minded. However, on this particular occasion, that description of my Orlando trip is as apt as any I could provide on this rainy Monday morning.

I know nothing about Orlando.

Frankly, the entirety of Florida frightens me, but Disney World?

Disney World was the holy grail of young Dawn Summers’ aspirations. There was getting adopted by Diana Ross, then go to Disney World. There was marrying Michael Jackson, then go to Disney World. There was crime fighting with the A-team and then… yadayada Disney World.

And it wasn’t just the ubiquitous television commercials, though I suppose they had their affect. When I was 7 or 8, we took a camp field trip to Coney Island. After intense soul searching and displaying unspeakable bravery, I managed to go on the Cyclone — the amusement park’s signature deathtrap. I was SO proud of myself.

“I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!”

“The Cyclone is nothing compared to Space Mountain. That’s a real roller coaster. Have you ever been to Space Mountain, Dawn?” asks this really annoying girl in my unit. I can picture her stupid face, but I can’t remember her stupid name.

“Nah.”

“Yeah, I went to Disneyworld last year for Christmas. Space Mountain was really scary! Much better than the Cyclone.”

*Glares*

“Disneyworld is for babies.” I replied. “Did you take pictures with Mickey Mouse?” I walked away before she could answer. Because frankly, a picture with Mickey Mouse WOULD. BE. AWESOME!!!

*cries*

When my mom picked me up from the babysitter’s house, I had a singular focus: “Can we go to Disney World? I have to go on Space Mountain…um…for school?”

I don’t remember what my mother answered, but I do know that for the next year, whenever anyone anywhere asked me what I wanted, the answer was “go to Disney World.”

Finally, my mother relented and said “if you get all Excellents on your report card, we’ll go.”

Pfft. Easy. So I got ALL Excellents on my fifth grade report card, dropped it triumphantly on the kitchen table and was all “Soooo… Disneyworld, here I come!”

AND THEN THIS WOMAN SAYS “We already went to Disney World.”

What the what?

She then proceeds to explain about how she and my godmother and godsister already went to Disney World and it was too crowded and I didn’t like it.

O_o

Um…when was this?

“I dunno, a few years ago. Or more. You were young, like four.”

Again: O_o

“And, yet you’ve never mentioned this. And I don’t remember this AT. ALL.”

“You were young.”

Have I mentioned: O_o

Anyway, so apparently, I wasn’t going to Disney World. So, we went to Coney Island. I got to ride the Cyclone. I wrote all this down in my letter to Diana Ross explaining that my adoption needed to be sped the hell up!

Grrrr.

So, now you can understand how vulnerable I was to a voice on the phone promising me Disney World FOR FREE! Er… I mean Orlando.

As I made all the arrangments for the Orlando trip, I discovered that Disney World was many many parks. And they all cost A BILLION DOLLARS. Sadly, I discovered that Captain EO and Space Mountain were not in the same one either. #Cry

And the Harry Potter park was not in Disney World AT ALL. #DoubleCry

I chose Space Mountain. Because FUCK THAT STUPID FACE GIRL, AMIRITE?

But since I was going with my senior citizen mother, I figured I should also do something she would like. Do you know what my mother likes? Jesus.

So it was, that my first day in Orlando involved going to the Holyland… Experience.

I encourage you to google “Holyland Experience.” Hopefully, you will come across some of the awesome reviews I read

“It was like being in Israel”!

“Our leader looked like a Jew, but he seemed to have good command of Jesus, so I wasn’t too turned off.”

I am a very good daughter.

We got to the Holyland… experience and the guy at the intake desk, who was wearing a gold toga, explained that if we hurried we could make it for the “Greatest Story Ever Told” show and then tour the grounds afterward. My mother didn’t want to rush, so she bought us a two day pass. (I gathered they didn’t sell very many of these because the intake guy was like “really? for both of you?)

I too, was thinking “really? for both of us?”

We did hurry to make the show though, because there was only one scheduled — always at five pm, and I had plans to be at the Harry Potter… experience at 5 pm the next day.

We arrived at the theater and it was HUGE. AND FULL. Recording was not allowed in the theater. This set off alarm bells. I don’t trust anything anyone doesn’t want me to show the internets. We took seats in the second row.

The show began with actors walking through the aisles selling traditional Middle Eastern fare. Then cut to young Joseph and Mary hanging out before “the guys” sweep him away for his bachelor party. Mary wanders around the makeshift market for a while until the arch angel appears before her and tells her about God’s plans for her uterus.
She’s all “me? But I’m just a humble virgin girl.” (Direct quote) They show the holy spirit doing its business (lights and effects) and then a pregnant Mary is walking with Joseph to the stable. They have actors in animal suits walking around simulating “stable.” They then show Mary singing songs to the baby Jesus and then fast forward to John the Baptist telling everyone to get baptized AND THEN THE BIG REVEAL: Adult Jesus descends from the ceiling and asks John to baptize him. (THE AUDIENCE GOES NUTS! Applause and “yes, Jesuses” reverberate through the auditorium.

John is all “no, you are the King of Kings, you should baptize me!” And Jesus is all “no, no you baptize ME” And then adult Jesus gets into A REAL fountain that they’ve rigged to the rafters and emerges from the water, spraying the audience with water as he flings his long, wet mane back into place… like the white lady with the braids in that movie the perfect ten.

(Audience members raise their arms as the water flicks down on them. You can tell the repeat attendees because they have taken prime dousing seats! I did not get wet.)

Now adult Jesus walks through the audience performing miracles. (Like for real real. I guess the VIP members write their ailments on paper before the show and Jesus picks certain ones out because he’s walking through saying “Sarah Martin from MT Holyoke? Rise and be healed of your ulceritis!” “John Mackly from Miami, RISE and walk to me (at which point, the health aide helps this dude out of his wheelchair and he takes a few halting steps toward Jesus.” The crowd gasps and then applauds. I desperately try not to laugh. Although, by this point, I’m closer to horrified than amusement.)

Then comes the betrayal and people are booing Judas — OH but TWIST! The play decides to make the devil a real character. (Like there’s a dude dressed all in black with a goatee. He has harpies and black smoke with him. TIS HE who moves Judas to betray Jesus and pushes Pontius to convict. THE DEVIL WAS THERE! (This will be important to remember for later.) So they crucify Jesus (stage COVERED in blood, whipping, hammering THE WHOLE DEAL, SUCK IT MEL GIBSON!)

Then, there’s a break in the action when the centurion who did the nailing, is all repentant like and he has a whole monologue and then repudiates his previous beliefs and accepts Jesus into his heart and then he invites the audience to stand and repeat the “acceptance of Jesus” prayer with him. And people stand.

I do not stand. Or repeat the Jesus acceptance prayer. THEN, the Centurion leaves and the stage is NOW set up like Thunderdome and Jesus is back, but he’s ALL in white and he’s there TO FIGHT THE DEVIL AND THE HARPIES! LIKE GLADIATOR STYLE! SO JESUS AND THE DEVIL FIGHT! AND IT’S AWESOME! Jesus falls to the floor and the Devil goes to do that flying jump elbow to the throat off the ropes move, but Jesus rolls away and the Devil hits the floor. Then Jesus takes the devil in the headlock and the arch angel Gabriel counts down from ten! AND THEEEEE WINNNER IISSSSSS “JEEESSSSUUSSSS” And the bell rings and Jesus comes back to life and then he ascends to heaven and you see the thief who was crucified next to him and Jesus rides up on a unicorn. (I AM NOT EVEN MAKING THIS UP! Believe me, I WISH I HAD THOUGHT OF ANY OF THIS!!)

So then Jesus gives his big speech about the Book of Life and he writes in the names of his friends (like Mary the prostitute (that’s what he says) and “the centurion” (again this is what he says) and then he turns to the audience and says “will I write your name next?”

And people start standing and saying “yes lord, yes lord!”

So then Jesus calls those who wish to be written into the book to come to him on stage. My mother is all whispering “gooo” and motioning with her hands to me and I’m all “ARE YOU NUTS, WOMAN?” But with my eyes.

Then they let us out and we walked around the grounds. Mind you, we had tickets TO RETURN AGAIN THE NEXT DAY!!!!!

There were many displays featuring the Holy Family manger scene.

And Jesus doing stuff scenes.

They recreate the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest, including a roll-a-way boulder:

The next day, we made it back to “have communion with Jesus.” You walk into the supper setting and Jesus appears (wearing a headset) and narrates the last supper while the audience partakes of the life and the blood. (No pictures were allowed.)

Afterwards, people knelt before him and he laid his hands on them. Interestingly, it was a totes different Jesus than the one from the Greatest Story Ever Told. None of these Jesuses were black. After whispering this observation and announcing that I was going to ask that question, my mother took me out of the last supper, forcibly by the hand. RAY-CES.

“WHAT DO WE WANT? BLACK JESUS! WHEN DO WE WANT HIM? NOW!”

My mother went around to see more “artifacts of Jesus,” I went to buy an ice cream cone. As all women did in the olden days.

OH AND THERE WAS AN ARK. And an entire mini Jerusalem, which was proclaimed to be “accurate in every detail and to scale.” So… you know, crossing “go to Jerusalem” right off the bucket list.

All of this hobnobbing with Jesus lasted way into the afternoon and I decided Harry Potter would be too crowded at that point on a Saturday. (We had gotten a late start for our return to the Holyland…Experience because that morning I had my timeshare presentation, the subject of PART TWO!)

Stay tuned for our thrilling conclusion!

The cure for what ails you

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

I make terrible decisions.

I really do, this is not up for debate. However, in some thirty plus years of not only making terrible decisions, but KNOWING I make terrible decisions, there has been one comforting thought: Whatever you choose will be wrong. So just choose.

And I do.

Thus it was that, about a year ago, I got a phone call. Unemployed, bored and somewhat cabin feverish, I answered.

(Terrible decision number one, answering a call from an unrecognized number in the middle of the day.)

I listened for a while. Something about a reward for being something or another. I thought it was Harrah’s, since I was a diamond cardholder at the time.

Just say no thank you and hang up whispered the monster in my head.

I got half way through head monster’s plan of action, when the voice on the other end of the phone interrupted me.

“No, this won’t cost you anything! It’s completely free. Is there anyplace you’ve always wanted to go?”

“Ireland.”

“In America?”

He began listing places and said “New Orleans.”

“Actually, I was thinking I wanted to go to New Orleans.”

“Great. I can offer you four days and three nights in New Orleans for free.”

I SAID HANG UP head monster growled.

Shh, head monster, I’m GOING TO NEW ORLEANS *FOR FREE!*

So, I readily agree to take my free New Orleans trip, say goodbye to my salesman — who informs me to stay on the line while he transfers me to my “relationship specialist” to finalize the details for my free New Orleans trip.

“Cool, thanks!”

After speaking with my relationship specialist for a few moments, he informs me that due to New York State laws, they cannot actually offer me the New Orleans trip. The Attorney General has restricted the destinations to the following eight places. He starts to list these places.

SERIOUSLY. YOU. IN PAJAMAS AT FOUR PM. HANG UP THE PHONE!!!

Shhh…

“Did you say Orlando,” my mouth monster asks.

“Yes,” my relationship specialist replies.

“Is that where Disney World is?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, I’ll do that one.”

“Great, I’ll just need a credit card number…”

(If you’ve ever watched the Simpsons, this is the scene where Homer’s brain promptly floats away.)

My relationship specialist explains that they have to ensure that people come, and I’ll also be getting a $100 american express card for coming down. And a number of $100 hotel vouchers good for my stay anywhere. I was not to worry, everything would end up being free, just right now it would cost me $109. But I was not to worry, he was insistent on that. `

With my pesky brain monster now off drinking wine somewhere, I complied.

Some more stuff happens here, including my getting transferred to something called the fraud compliance department where I had to verbally confirm that I understood that this was a sales presentation and that the salesmen had not promised me anything that I was not getting.

“Um… well, he said I could go to New Orleans, but now I’m going to Orlando instead.”

“Oh, yes. We see that. We apologize. That’s your state’s consumer protection law at work. However, to make up for the mixup, how about I offer you a four day, three night stay at our Myrtle Beach property for just $90 more.”

Now, had my pesky brain monster still been in the room, I might have said “what is the New York AG’s office trying to protect me from?” or “I thought this was free?”

Instead, I said:
“Okay.”

Less than a week later, I received a packet of information about my “free” trips. However, the day after receiving the “free” trips phone call, I had gotten hired for another job starting immediately. All the free time that would be spent traveling to Orlando, vanished in that instant.

Fast forward ten months, I discovered that packet while going through documents in preparation for refinancing my mortgage (its own disaster tale for another day) and I noticed that the trips were only good for a year!

WHAT THE WHAT? I looked for the company’s refund policy, I believe “LOL” is their official stance.

UGH.

I quickly called and set up a reservation for May to go to Orlando. I decided to bring my mother. (Again, bad decisions make I.) The trip was all set. Then I looked into setting up the Myrtle Beach trip. Well, it turns out that unless I purchase a unit during my Orlando trip (which I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY WOULD NOT DO! NU UH. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. RIGHT? RIGHTH?), I had to wait SIX months before going on the Myrtle Beach trip.

Double UGH. STOOPID BRAIN MONSTER!! HOW DID YOU LET ME GET INTO THIS MESS?

Not to mention to damn New York Attorney General’s office being COMPLETELY ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL and not protecting its consumers from these telephonic predators!!

I’m going to write a letter to the President.

Since this post is already tl;dr, I’ll save the Orlando story for monday! Also, hopefully I would have uploaded the pictures from my camera by then!

I’m gonna try something…

Friday, May 24th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

I was JUST talking about being obsessed with Billy Joel and NOW the NYT magazine has a billion page feature on him in this weekend’s issue.

I’m also obsessed with winning a multi-million dollar lottery drawing.

Also, it’s SO weird how after winning his fourth Superbowl with the Patriots, Tom Brady divorced, moved to Brooklyn and joined the Jewish Community Center Scrabble club.

*waits*

Not only do I think I could have written this email…

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

I feel like I *HAVE* written this email. AND I STAND BY IT!

Why was it included in an article about batshit crazy e-mails people send??? HMPH.

I think it’s just that people who are not awesome at fantasy football are just jealous of us who are.

*whistles*

Smelly

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 by Dawn Summers

I can’t stop laughing.

I don’t know why I thought the best way to help me stop laughing would be to write a post about why I can’t stop laughing, but I was totally wrong and now I’m just laughing harder.

There’s this woman who ALWAYS brings smelly food into the coding room. Nobody really wants to take more than 30 minutes fro lunch, so everyone eats at their desk. Thus, the name “smelly food lady” was born. I used to sit next to her, so I’d get it the worst, but the company moved us to a new room and now she sits behind me — not much better, but eh.

My coding team consists of smelly food lady, the black church ladies, the prom queen, meth lady, the bros, me and absentee Bob. These names are probably more familiar to the people who follow me on twitter, but they are all pretty self explanatory.

Anyway, I’m sitting there, coding away like the diligent worker that I am, or beating Fisch at Ruzzle, one or the other, when a waft of disgusting pungent air reaches into my nostrils and strangles me from the inside. I turn around, and sure enough smelly food lady is eating some smelly ass food. Today is the worst it’s been in a long time. I am choking. But I don’t say anything because I’m the quiet judgmental type.

A minute later, one of the church ladies goes “LAWDAMERCY. What is that?”

The prom queen goes “smells like GAR-BAGE. Is this lid on?” She emphasizes the syllables in the word garbage so forcefully that I snort in my attempt to stifle my laughter.

She honestly has NO idea it’s smelly food lady’s food. I suspect the church ladies DO know, because one of them grabs a can of lysol and starts spraying in our general direction.

At this point, I start laughing. Softly, but still.

Smelly food lady can’t pretend not to hear any longer. She stands up and says “well, I guess I will take my food to the break room.”

I laugh SO HARD now.

And I can’t stop.

Prom queen turns bright red. “Oh, is that your FOOD? I thought it was GAR-BAGE” she says quite sincerely, but from her perfectly coiffed personage to haggardly looking smelly food lady, it just played out like a scene from Mean Girls. Smelly food lady bolts from the room fleeing the sound of my laughter and the snap of the Lysol can cap.

“I didn’t know it was food!” prom queen protests to laughter which has now spread from me to almost everyone.

“Just stop saying “GAR-BAGE,” I offer through my laughter.

“But I thought it was GAR-BAGE” she repeats.

I laugh more.

The church ladies exchange neck snaps and mmhmms.

“I had to spray.”

“Mmhmm,” the other responds.

My laughter subsides.

Smelly food lady returns.

“Did you spray the Lysol over here? I had an apple out. Did it get on my apple?”

Her face is bright with indignation.

I start to laugh again.

Prom queen makes her garbage base apology again. The one church lady says they only sprayed the garbage. The other church lady makes a face that says that is not true.

I continue to laugh and think I have GOT to tell someone this story.

Meth lady returns from lunch and starts to unwrap her brown bag.

One of the bros says, “Here we go again.”

I laugh even harder and open a web browser.