Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Best. Compliment. Ever.

I'm not sure what changed this year or what I'm doing different, but since January my Monday night Spin class has been packed. I teach at a very small club that hosts about 14 total bikes. In the past, I'd usually have a group of about 8 followers that would show up consistently every Monday night.

Now, a sign up sheet is required and I'm actually forced to turn people away because bikes are taken. A patron got angry with me last night when I told her, "sorry, full."

"What do you mean it's full? It's early! It's quarter of! How early do you expect me to be here?"

If I could waive my magic wand and magically produce a new bike, I would. But I can't. The bikes we do have are spoken for. All I could do was shrug my shoulders and say, "Sorry. Try again next week." I saw her speaking with the gym manager shortly after I turned her away. Maybe she thought he could magically produce another bike.

One of my new loyal followers is a woman that started back in January. She had never taken a Spin class before, and she was just beginning her "healthy lifestyle" journey. I warned her, like I warn all of my newbies, that the class is challenging. It's loud, and intense, and I work you hard for the entire hour. I told her not to get discouraged, that if she couldn't keep up to just sit in the seat and continue to pedal. The most important thing is to maintain proper form so that she doesn't injure herself, and to just keep moving. Keep moving.

As I expected, she couldn't keep up, and remained in the seat for 80% of the class. 7 out of 10 newbies don't return. I think they allow the mindset of "I can't do this" get the best of them, instead of thinking, "I will work my way to completing this entire class." I always congratulate my newbies at the end of class, and let them know the fact that they completed the class is an accomplishment. I recommend to attend other classes - that way they find an instructor and a class that best suites their needs and personalities. My way of teaching isn't for everyone and I understand that. Sometimes they come back, ready for the challenge. Most I never see again.

I honestly didn't think this newbie would be back.

I was wrong.

This newbie has been in class every Monday since she joined in January. Each week she got stronger and went from participating in about 20% of the class to completing every task I ask of her. Each week she hops off her bike and says, "Great class! Thank you!"

Last night she approached me and exclaimed, "What a great class! Great music!" I thanked her for the compliment, and one again encouraged her. I told her how strong she has become in the last few months and that she should be proud of all of her hard work.

That's when I received the best compliment ever:

"I couldn't have done this if it wasn't for your class. You make the class. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you."

Wow. I've been called lots of things in my life, but I can't recall anyone telling me that I inspire them.

Despite all this rain today, I'm feeling warm and gushy on the inside.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Raving Mad

I recently took my vehicle to the dealership (where I purchased the vehicle) for some service. Some background on this dealership: I've purchased a total of two vehicles from this particular establishment and have always felt that the entire staff treated me fairly and with respect.

So I sit down with the Service Associate to discuss what I need done on this particular morning:

Oil change.
Inspection sticker.
Thank you.
That's all.

I was then swept over to the reception area to have a seat and wait. Wait. WAIT......I usually don't mind waiting so much since they offer really good magazines to occupy my time. Not to mention I firmly believe in taking one's time and doing things correctly. So wait I must....

After about 30 minutes, Mr. Service Associate calls me over to his little cubicle area, and slides a piece of paper across the table with items needed and dollar amounts listed.

Mmkay. Let's do this dance.

So Mr. Service Associate says, "Ms. Anastasia, we've come across some issues er, uh, that we've uncovered, and they need to be addressed. Brakes, blah, blah, blah; Fluids growing polyps, blippity bloo; Belts cracking, yadda, yadda, yadda."

And then the bomb, "With taxes and fees, you need about $1300 worth of work."

Yup, that's right, One - Three - Zero - Zero.

And then. AND THEN - "Your vehicle is UNSAFE TO DRIVE, and we CANNOT pass this vehicle for inspection until you fix the brakes. Since you need such EXTENSIVE work, we can offer a rental car, and WAIVE the fee."

I could feel the tears start to crawl up my tear ducts on their journey to my eyes. Unsafe? Thirteen hundred dollars? No inspection sticker? As I imagined myself careening to my death on a four lane highway because my brakes decided to sh*t the bed, a light bulb went off that forced the tears back to their origin.

Ahem. "Would you mind explaining this to my fiance?"

God love Brian. If Brian can't fix something, he'll figure out how to. If he can't figure it out, he most likely knows someone who can.

So Brian and Mr. Service Associate engage in a brief (and I mean brief) conversation on my cell phone, and then the phone gets passed back to me:

Brian: "So you're telling me they won't give you a sticker unless you fix the brakes?"
Me: Correct.
Brian: *Pause* "Ok. Get the belts done, get the oil change, and get the hell out of there."
Me: "Ok. But, they said my car is unsafe to drive."
Brian: "I promise you your car is fine. I PROMISE. Just get that stuff done, and call me when you leave."

So I tell Mr. Service Associate what I want done. He then shoots me a look that suggested he was thinking Suit yourself. Don't come crying to me when your dead on the side of the road.

After an additional period of waiting...and waiting...Mr. Service ASSociate calls my name to retrieve my paperwork and my keys.

"Uh, Ms. Anastasia your inspection was completed today: the technician had completed the inspection prior to NOTICING your brakes, so that was indeed done today. We have attached a list of the recommended services that you should have done with your vehicle."

This is when I knew they were trying to take me for a ride.

The following day Brian offered to take my car with him to work so that he and his coworker (who happens to be a trained mechanic) could change out my brakes. Upon removal of the front tire, Brian's coworker exclaims: "Whoa. The brakes are fine. They were REALLY trying to screw you over."

Not only is nothing wrong with my car or its brakes, the service ASS tried to scare me into thinking my safety was at risk. He lied about not being able to pass the car for inspection, and left me with a worried unsure feeling about whether or not my car was operational.

Brian plans to contact the service manager and read him the riot act. Now, I usually do NOT allow Brian to handle matters of customer service since a) Brian tends to be loud in general so when he is mad he is LOUD...bordering on obnoxious b) when he is loud he tends to be scarily intimidating (which, if you know him he really isn't) and c) he tends to get his hands and arms in on the action (which are big and long) which adds to the scariness. Throw in some expletives and it's going to be quite the show. Normally I wouldn't wish a "Brian Rant" on anyone, but since they are such big liars, and succeeded in scaring the crap out of me, I give him absolute permission to be "that guy" that flips out and makes a scene.

Brian is going to ruin someones day today, and I am completely fine with that.

Normally, I'm all for quiet, grown up negotiations that do not involve yelling or name calling. Although I am angry about them trying to swindle that money out of me, it is a recession, and everyone is trying to feed their families so I can, on some level, understand. That doesn't mean I agree with it or like it or want it happening to me or anyone else, but I understand trying to make more money.

What I am SO NOT OK with is that they tried to scare me. They knew that since I was a woman who may or may not have children riding in that car that the word "unsafe" would drive me to slap down my credit card without batting a single mascarasized eye. And THAT is not cool. They've left me no choice but to unleash the wrath that is crazy confrontational Brian.

And of course I will write a scathing letter because writing scathing letters is fun.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hairy Stuff

Which do you prefer?


Or Brunette?

In the mood for a change, and can't decide which way to lean....

Your thoughts?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shoppity Shop Shop

Daylight Savings Time signifies that Spring is right around the corner. In honor of Spring's arrival, I figured the most appropriate way to celebrate was to do some online shopping for a few wardrobe staples.

I started with a basic pair of weekend or casual Friday khakis from Ms. Liz Claiborne:

Then I found this little purple number - a cardigan from Three Dots - that could pass for weekend attire, or work wear:

New jeans are always a good idea, especially when they're on sale!

And to tie it all together, a fun pair of metallic flats:

All of these items were found at Zappos. What is great is that they offer FREE SHIPPING both ways. So if something doesn't fit, I send it back. For free!

That gets me really excited!

Have a wonderful Friday, and a great weekend. I'm off to find a fire extinguisher because my credit card is on fire!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comfort vs. Fashion: Where To Draw The Line?

As the years pass by and I unavoidably continue to age (GASP!) I am finding that I am sometimes forgoing fashion for comfort.

Case in point: My house consists of hardwood floors throughout. Great for when Simon relieves himself, or Ebenezer vomits up breakfast - horrible for walking around on or standing for long periods of time. I've noticed over the months that my back aches when I stand to0 long and the arches of my feet start to burn. I've also read that not wearing the proper support on your feet and walking/standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time, over time, will lead to varicose veins.


I've always been a huge slipper advocate, however, the standard slipper just wasn't cutting it. I do not believe in wearing outdoor shoes around the house, (another pet peeve of mine - no shoes in the house!) but I was finding that navigating through the house felt so much better when I had my running sneaks on.

So I thought to myself, "Self, the internet is FOR SURE a place to find a house slipper that provides the support of a sneaker." Off I went to type in searches of "comfort support slipper." What I found were options suitable for senior citizens, diabetics, and those suffering from plantar fasciitis (whatever that is, it doesn't sound fun).

Some of my options:

1) The "Slip-On" Slipper

This style isn't that bad. It's just so generic, and dull, and looks like it should be paired with a shower cap, hair rollers, and a strip of hair bleach across my upper lip....not like I ever bleach my upper lip or anything....

2) The "Ortho-Heel" Slipper

Any shoe/slipper that has the word "Ortho" in it's title should also come with an age recommendation, somewhat like board games do. This slipper should boast, "Recommended for ages 65 and up."

3) The "Vera" Slipper

Don't let this little number fool you. Giving a slipper a pornstar name, does not make it sexy or stylish. The only thing remotely seductive or sultry about "The Vera" is that it is metallic. And. That. Is. About. It.

I had to keep in mind that any pair I were to purchase would be met with snickers and jokes from Brian. I had to keep looking. I had to find a pair that was comfortable, and inconspicuous, and warm. And that's when I came across these:

These are the FitFlop Women's Ultra Lounge Slipper, and they are FREAKING amazing. I bought them in gray so they wouldn't be so obvious on my feet. This "ultra lounge" slipper boasts the ability to "boost overall leg and calf muscle activity" What? A workout in a slipper? You don't say! Sign me up for working out WHILST doing dishes! Fabulous!

These little wonders fit like a sneaker, but are warm and cozy. I find myself taking them off because subconsciously it feels like I'm wearing my shoes around the house. When I modeled these for Brian, I was met with, "Eh, those aren't so bad. They look comfortable."

And comfortable they are. And if I'm not mistaken, I THINK I've seen the little teeny boppers wearing something similar to these with jeans.

So have I managed to find comfort without aging myself? Did I do a good job in walking the fine line between house wear and absolute embarrassment to my tootsies?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weekend In Review

I only have one picture of Mia because she is a Diva. Divas will only be photographed when they feel like - and Mia never feels like it....

So instead you get lots of Ebenezer and Simon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Honest Scrap

I've been severely neglecting my blog. We have managed to get Simon on a pretty tight schedule. Up at 5:30 am. Back in his crate at 8:30 pm. This doesn't give me much time for laundry and cleaning and time spent with the kitties. I'm working on getting my schedule, well, back on a schedule. I will start up blogging again with 10 interesting facts about myself. Thank you to Mrs. D for bestowing upon me this most distinguished honor!

I am to list 10 interesting things about myself, and then pass the award along...So here goes.....

1) I am absolutely crazy for Law & Order Special Victims Unit. For those of you not familiar with this show, it's basically Law & Order - with some sort of crazy sex crime twist. Child pornography, incest, rape - you name it, they cover it. I especially love when the USA Network runs an entire Sunday SVU marathon. It's especially great when I have multiple loads of laundry to fold or nails to paint or magazines to read. SVU is one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday.

2) Speaking of television - I LOVES me some Maury Povich. Yup, that's right. I. LOVE. IT.
"In the case of baby Waneesha; Tyrone....you are NOT the father." And that's when some portly woman from the south (no offense to southerners) goes running off the stage with her big 'ole boobies bouncing every which way, leaving Tyrone to jump up and down thanking Baby Jesus that Waneesha isn't his 19th child.

"Ohhhhh my gooooodness.....whyyyyyyy....noooooooo." That's when Maury begins his piss poor attempt at consoling poor Waneesha's mother.

"We've tested 5 men. We'll help you find the father. You just take care of that baby." If you watch Maury closely, you can see the disgust in his face. You can actually hear is inner monologue:

"For the love of GOD woman, keep them legs closed. GEESH - 5 dudes. My goodness. I can't believe this is my career."

Yup. Love it.

3) I hate it when people yawn, and don't cover their mouths. My seventh grade teacher REQUIRED that when we yawn, we had to cover our mouths. I can remember her saying "I don't want to look out into the class, and see your mouths open. I do not want to look down your throats." Now it bugs the sh*t out of me when someone in close range begins to yawn, and doesn't cover up. I don't want to see the punching bag at the back of your throat. I don't want to see threads of spit joining your upper teeth with your lower teeth. Please. Cover. Your. Mouth.

4) Since we are on the subject of covers - my BFF from college and former roommate, Ashley, required that both toilet seats be down when not in use. I didn't understand the logic behind this at first. I didn't really see what the big deal was. But then she explained it to me - the cover is there for a reason.

AHHHHHHHHHH, good point. To this DAY I can't stand looking into a bowl. Go in the bathroom, lift the seat, do your business, put the seat down, THEN FLUSH. I'm not sure if you know this, but when you flush with the lid up, everything within a 6 foot diameter gets coated with tiny aerosolized particles from the ole commode.

Where do you keep your toothbrush?

5) The reason I know that little fun fact is because my Undergraduate degree is in Microbiology. Most people don't know that I once worked in a laboratory playing with petri dishes and E. coli.
It's hard to believe that I actually know and understand DNA replication, genetics, viruses vs. bacteria, immunology, and my favorite - genetics of prokaryotic microbes. Say what? On most days, I wouldn't be able to find my way out of a paper bag....but I could explain how vaccinations work in preventing infections. Or why antibiotics work on bacteria and not on viruses. Or why you might want to stay away from baby carrots.......

6) I drool. Profusely. When I sleep.
I think it's getting worse as I get older...

7) I have zero desire to be a Mom. I love babies, and I love my friend's babies. I love to kiss them, and cuddle them, and snuggle them, and make funny little gurgly noises, and to call them funny little corny names.....but I have no desire to actually push one through my vag, and then raise one. Kids are wonderful....I just don't know if I'm cut out to have them.

8) I have this insatiable desire to sell all of my earthly possessions, and relocate to the Caribbean.

9) I can read and write Greek, but can't speak or understand a lick of it.

10) When I was ten, I convinced the neighborhood kids that I was married to Michael Jackson, and that he was living in my apartment with me, my mother, and my baby sister. I don't know which is worse - the fact that I was telling such brazen lies, or the fact that the neighborhood kids actually believed me.....

I pass this honor on to:

A little bit of this
Auburn Kat
She's Got Chutzpah
These Little Moments
This Is How It's Supposed To Be
Together They Come

Hmmmm, that's only 6. Oh well, I'm special - I can get away with breaking the rules a bit....

Have a great day!