The Cranky Ol' Bat

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - RuPaul


Political Correctness Gone Amuck, Or A Sensible Policy?

Children traveling alone on Air New Zealand and Qantas will not be seated next to a man, according to a spokespersons for both airlines.

The policy came to light when a 37 year old father of twins was told that he would have to change seats with a woman when the crew found out he was sitting next to an unaccompanied child. He moved but was angry about it, and now politicians are questioning if it is a violation of human rights and sex discrimination legislation down under.

Apparently the policy makers in question are unaware that there are several women sexual predators that prey on children....but I digress.

Speaking as a chick, anyway.....#1 - why do the airlines assume I want to take over some of the child-watching duties in an unpaid capacity? (I doubt they'd even give me a courtesy alcoholic drink, and with some kids, you need one.) #2 - does that mean I'm going to be forced to sit next to a bratty kid if I'm traveling without the Tsar? #3 - how come the guys get to sit in relative peace and quiet? That's almost worth being branded a possible perv.

I have sat next to kids on planes who were perfectly well behaved. I don't mind a little crying on takeoffs and landings...some kids, especially the little ones, can't "pop" their ears to equalize pressure like an adult can, and it does hurt. (Mom always used a pacifier or a lollipop with me & my brother to help at those times.....and I've rarely seen a kid with either one of those options who cried.)

A howling brat, on the other hand, is intolerable. And I just might not really feel like looking over a book or playing with the teddy bear that the kid next to me is entranced by.

Give me a discount travel voucher and the right to kick the seat if the kid acts up, and they may have a deal, however....

Like I Needed Another Reason to NOT Visit France...

Six of the best known hotels in Paris have been fined 709,000 euros for price fixing over the last few years. The Hotel Crillon is facing the largest fine of nearly 250,000 euros for its part by the French Competition Council.


New Things to be Thankful For....

Yes, I haven't been posting like normal. I have been feeling kind of under the weather lately and wasn't sure why. It's not like I was coming down with a cold or anything. There was no sneezing or coughing, at least, not much coughing. The Tsar was getting concerned about some of the breathing noises I was making while I slept, so I made an appointment to see the doctor. I figured there would be nothing really wrong.

The good news is.....I'm not going to die any time soon.

The bad news asthma has gotten worse. I need daily meds now, which I never have had to take before.

The worse news is....well....

What happened was this: the medical assistant took my blood pressure. The top number was nice and low, but the bottom number was high. The medical assistant looked puzzled, and said she was going to hook me up to the EKG in the office, just to rule out "white coat hypertension", also known as high blood pressure that only occurs in the doctor's office, due to nerves and stress.

The EKG took a quick little sample of my heart rhythms, and then spit out it's analysis in all-caps: ABNORMAL.

That is not something you want to see on any medical test. I know enough medical technology after hanging out with nurses and paramedics to be dangerous, so the next word my eyes alighted on was even more frightening: infarct.

Infarct. As in "heart attack".

That's when my mind started racing into full panic mode. Tears came to my eyes as what I read sank in. Heart attack.

I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm a woman in her the HELL could I have had a heart attack? I just did 45 minutes walking at a brisk pace on the treadmill this morning, for God's sake! my oxygen saturation on the thingy the girl attached to my finger is 98 freakin' percent....son of a bitch....that thing HAS to be broken....I know I'm chubby, but I'm working on it....I would have known if I did have a heart attack....wouldn't I? I am not going to let a single tear fall...I'm not going to cry....

The doctor came in and looked at the results. He looked confused. That is not a comforting thing to see when he's looking at your test results.

He said, "Did you ever have any kind of chest pain?"

Nope. There were a few times that breathing was a bit hard, but I just thought it was asthma. I took my inhaler and felt better.

"Have you ever had a EKG before?"

Once, back when I applied for the Border Patrol. But that's so long ago, I doubt they even have the records.

"Well, if you were, say, in your sixties, who smoked, well, I would say you had a heart attack sometime, a few years ago. But you don't smoke, do you?"

No. Never. I saw what it did to my mother. No way.

"Maybe you had a little one and didn't recognize it. Or maybe it's a problem you've had since birth and never knew about it."

I'm ok, right? I mean, I'm not going to die, right?

"Well, eventually, yeah, but not right now. Don't worry."

Easy for you to say, I thought.

"We'll do a heart ultrasound and see what comes up. It's probably nothing. It's got to be either that you had a little heart attack or a birth defect."

I don't know about you, but neither of those choices seemed real appealing at the moment.

"Look, you are healthy, you exercised today, we'll just do the ultrasound and watch your blood pressure. Relax a little bit."

He wrote out a bunch of prescriptions for asthma and allergy medications, and escorted me to the business office.

After I settled up with the business office, I walked out to the car, strapped myself in with the seat belt....and started to cry.

Somehow I'm going to have to tell the Tsar. Jesus. He freaked out when I told him that I have asthma when we first started dating. How the hell is he going to handle this?

Turns out, he handled it better than I did. He reminded me that the doctor didn't have me immediately admitted to the hospital, didn't call him to tell him the bad news, and told me to come back next month for the ultrasound. The doctor didn't tell me to stop doing anything, like exercising or having the occasional drink. The Tsar also said he wouldn't be surprised if it was a heart attack, after hearing all that the PPD put me through when I wouldn't lie per my commanding officers' orders.

That's when I remembered the one night, that July, when my chest really did hurt. I thought I was going to die, but wrote it off as nerves or a panic attack. After all, didn't that little bastard Campbell just threaten me with everything short of the death penalty if I continued to refuse to be a good little girl and lie like he wanted, hell, nearly ordered me to do?

Shit. Maybe it was a heart attack that night. And I just thought it was a bad asthma attack.....after all, I'm a woman in her thirties, right? Too young for a heart attack....

Maybe not.

I'll find out after the test on the 1st. I'll get the results a few weeks after that, since a cardiologist has to interpret the readings.

This Thanksgiving Day, I'm thankful for the ol' ticker. I guess it's stronger than I gave it credit for...and regardless of what the tests show, I promise to take better care of it than I have been doing. I'm keeping on the exercise program, and will cut out the junk food a bit more.

I'm also thankful for my personal trainer back then, Matt Cottini. His exercise programs, even though I hated them at the time, may have been what kept me going after that summer night if I did have a heart attack. The reserve strength pulled me through.

If this means the end of my scuba diving adventures, I'm thankful for all the diving I got to do before this. Yeah, I guess I could bitch about all the places I might never get to see, but I still dived Mexico, the Bahamas and Hawaii. I went to 139 feet, did a night dive and got my rescue certification. (I even used it once to help a newbie get back to the surface when he had equipment failure with his regulator.) I did enough diving to realize that almost all the really cool stuff is within 60 feet of the surface. I saw a giant pod of dolphins swim overhead, was close enough to a reef shark to touch it, and gazed deeply into a monk seal's eyes.

I'm thankful that, so far, I can still have a beer or glass of wine if I want.

I'm thankful that, if I did have a heart attack, I came through it with no noticeable diminution of what I can do physically. I mean, hell, I went scuba diving about two months after that!

I'm thankful that I didn't have to go to the hospital yesterday, and that my doctor only looked confused, not worried about my results.

I'm thankful I have health insurance, and that it will pay for things like tests a doctor orders without any hassles. It ain't cheap, but I can see why US News ranked it the top insurance program in the nation. It sure beats the hell out of that worthless Cigna crap I had with the City of Phoenix.

I'm thankful that I have a terrific guy who calmed me down when I got all upset over this. He's an angel, I swear. They don't make guys like him down here on Planet Earth.

I'm thankful I'm not working at that hellhole called the Downtown Officers Unit.

I'm thankful the Department finally punished that sorry mope who gave me the most sanctimonious speech about integrity I have ever been forced to silently listen to in my life. (Note: if you are a City of Phoenix police chief, do not loan your City car to your illegal alien "activist" mistress so that she can smuggle people across the border. You might get demoted, and your wife may not be amused. Stick to pepper spraying sleeping homeless men in dumpsters.)

I'm thankful for the Jet Set Mutts, even though I'm probably slightly allergic to them. They're worth taking Allegra for the rest of my lifetime, if I must. Speaking of mutts, I'm glad the Jet Set Brother finally has a pup of his own, now known as Sakura ("cherry blossom" in Japanese...a good choice for a shepherd/akita mix.)

It's sappy, but I'm thankful for being out here on the Space Coast, getting to watch the waves and the birds heading south.

Now, I've got some cooking to do. I've also got some calls to make. I bet you have some people to call up, too. By the way, ain't there a ball game, or some series marathon that you've been dying to watch? Go grab a cold one, grab your sweetie and hold them both tight. Do it for your ticker...

Happy Thanksgiving! Over and out........


Still Here, Just "Swamped" by Florida....

Didn't want you to think I've forgotten to post. I've started the "looking for a real job" thing, plus doing a little bit o' holiday shopping (Christmas, Chanukah and Festivus...probably forgetting one in there).

Anyway, I promise to post this week. Honest. Don't have to do much cooking this Thanksgiving, so it is a guarantee.

There is one happy thing to report.....a new puppy niece, Sake. She's a nearly hundred pound shepherd/akita mix from the AZ Humane Society. Haven't seen a picture of her yet, since she came home yesterday and the Jet Set Brother is a bit busy.

Welcome to the family, Sake!!


Well, Looks Like THAT Idea Might Not Work Out....

I thought I would kill some time until I get my next job by volunteering at the local humane society.

I don't think it's gonna work...but will give it one more shot.

First off, I told them that I am allergic to cats. I love to admire them (from a distance, naturally), but being around them is an ugly scene waiting to happen. So, after telling them this....what do they decide to have me do? clean the kitty boxes.

Thank God I took my Alavert this morning....

Then, after telling them I could only stay for fifteen more minutes (again, didn't want to push it with the allergy meds), this staff member expected me to disinfect a huge pile of animal carriers. I did three large dog ones before I had to leave.

And now I'm here, trying not to scratch my eyes out.

Anyway, I really can't bitch much, since I'm having a better time than an aviation attorney did on Christmas Day 2004. I'm sure the $3110 he won in small claims court vs. Continental will make Christmas 2006 merrier, though.

Stoopid Traveler Tricks, Part 34....

And you thought all the really dumb ones are featured on A&E's Airline....

A man who was arrested 27 years ago for skipping out on his Hyatt Regency hotel bill in Lexington, Kentucky, was arrested again for making a bomb threat against that hotel earlier this month.

James Michael Evans of Milwaukee originally spent nine months in jail back in 1978. He's now facing federal charges for the call he made on 8 November. He claimed that three bombs were set to go off on Veterans' Day. None were found after the police and fire departments searched the place.

He also was arrested in Los Angeles in 1975 for skipping out on a hotel bill, but apparently this later arrest was the one that really chapped his ass.


Burn Your Car! Save the Environment!

Ok, ok, couldn't resist that bit of snark when I took a gander at this headline from Reuters....

And, no, they don't recommend torching the ol' Family Truckster.

I Can't Make This Stuff Up, Guys....

I've been having one of those days for the past, well, four days. Damn full moon!

I can't just veg and watch TV, either. I swear, every time I turn it on, I keep getting one of those damn childbirth programs, or Jerry Springer. Three more hours of this and I'd qualify as a combat midwife.

So, I turned to the Net. Gotta be some good things there, right?

Well...I think I found a truly frightening "wedding package", courtesy of Hotel Chatter. It's about halfway down the page right now. Me & the Tsar have decided to renew our vows every year, but no way in hell would I agree to doing this.

Trust me, boys, don't even think of marrying a woman who thinks this is her dream come true. You will thank me later.

Hotel wedding packages have been including exotic locations, extreme sports, and Elvis for a while, but a giant plush kitty? That is a first. The Daiichi Hanyu Japanese hotel chain has a new Kitty package.

The hotel's standard Hello Kitty package is a stuffed Hello Kitty bell boy. But if you happen to love Hello Kitty as much as (or more than) your fiancee, you can get both (fiancee and Hello) to lead you down the aisle.

Yup, you can order a Hello Kitty theme wedding package at Daiichi, which includes "Hello Kitty" and "Dear Daniel" character escorts for the ceremony, plus more Hello Kitty merch than you can shake a plastic paw at: ring pillows, place cards, bouquets--you name it.

Somehow, I don't think this is going to be part of the merchandise package....(warning, NSFW or little kids)

Or you could just go tradional "Elvis", as couples do in Las Vegas. All depends if you want to include "something feline" or "something royal".

If that wasn't enough to make you cough up a huge can check out the hotel's website to learn more (Japanese only....sorry, kids.)


Hmmm.....What Would You Do?

So, you see this really interesting looking job ad in the paper for flight attendants on a new "private" airline catering to the rich and/or celebrities. Or it's a job providing security for celebrities traveling on cruise ships. You call them and have a quick phone interview. You are then invited to a more in-depth interview out of town....say, like Turks & Caicos.

However, your "new potential employer" wants you to pony up half of the airfare, with the promise that they will reimburse you once you get to this lovely spot. It will be first class all the way once you get there, all on their tab. Supposedly they have been having a bunch of interviewees who just can't seem to get to a little slice o' heaven in the Caribbean, and they take your willingness to do this as proof you are serious.

Should you go wire them the cash via Western Union, like the friendly, very insistent interviewer is requesting that you do immediately?

Click here to see what Snopes has to say about this.


Look For Lots of UN & NGO Types to Arrive in Kabul Soon.....

Now that a five-star hotel is open for business.

Still haven't heard if the Irish pub was still pouring the Guinness or not, though. It opened up about a month after the invasion of Afghanistan.

Travel News Roundup!

Just in case you were still thinking of France in the fall, keep in mind that the following countries advise you to reconsider it:

*the Netherlands
*the Czech Republic
*the United States

True, they mainly say to stay out of the riot-torn areas late at night, but considering there are areas experiencing some kind of civil unrest scattered throughout the country......who's kidding who?

For those of you who were thinking about a lovely cruise along the shark-infested Somali coast, consider that it has lately become a hotspot for piracy. For the first time, an attack against a cruise ship has been recorded. The American liner, Seabourn Spirit, is believed to be the first cruise ship to be attacked off of the Somali coast. A crew member was injured slightly during the bombardment, which lasted over an hour.

And our final update.....

Iraq has resumed flights to Iran, cancelled ever since the war 25 years ago. Flights will connect Baghdad to Tehran starting on 16 November. The Iraqi airliner flew there Sunday with 65 passengers. Iran will not be flying the same route until "security issues" have been resolved.

Now, 'scuse me, but have to go check what will definitely be the "Drink of the Week" around here since the Tsar has come down with a cold. I call it "Heritage Denial Chicken Soup". Maybe more on that later.


Want to Go to Europe, But Are Afraid of the Car Fires?

Skip Paris, and see if you can get lucky with Virgin (Airways, you pervs!)

Click here, and maybe you will be lucky enough to win a trip to London. The winner gets two tickets to London, three nights in a hotel and two 4 day Great British Heritage passes.

Good luck, and send us a postcard if you win!


Not Dead Yet....Just Exploring!

I wish I could say that I was offline due to technical difficulties, but that would be lying. I've been off exploring the "Greater Melbourne Florida" area.

I didn't think I'd say this, but....I think I like it here.

I can actually breathe the air here and not hack late at night. I've been able to exercise at a higher intensity without my inhaler, and even felt like running this morning for the first time in years. (I still can't do it, mainly because my knees still need a bit more rest and I have to find a decent running shoe store to get a new pair before I try.)

Talk about dad moved to Phoenix to help his asthma, and his daughter had to leave Phoenix to help her asthma.

I had also forgotten what the stars looked like late at night and what a cool evening breeze felt like.

The Tsar keeps thinking of all the big city amenities we're missing out on. I remind him that we have the internet, so we can pretty much order anything we can't find here, except maybe decent Mexican food. (Orlando's about 45 minutes away, so it's not like we are that isolated.)

But back home, we didn't have guava, papaya, mango and coconut flavored stuff like here. Or easily accessible key lime pie, decent seafood, and Publix. The Publix down the road from us is pretty cool, I have to admit. And I can't forget the beach. Or should I say, beaches.....having a selection is wonderful!

I always thought that someday I would want to move to Hawaii, but thought eventually I'd go stir crazy out there on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. This place seems to be the best of what I liked about Hawaii (beaches, tropical food, cool breezes, clean air, laid back lifestyle, the opportunity to learn to surf) and the best of being on the mainland (can still get away to somewhere else pretty easy if I need to blow outta town).

Talk to me in six months and we'll see if I'm still entranced by the place. ;)

Right now I just got to find something to do with my sweaters.....I don't think I'll be needing them much.

And, yes, I promise to write more often!