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June 18th, 2010

~Friday~  I was grateful today to have both a job in which I can occasionally work from home and to have a management team that supports that.

I had a whirlwind lunch hour running errands. My first stop was at the post office by my house, at which I wanted to mail two packages. The first one was ready to go, but the second one was an odd-sized frame, which I had wrapped in bubble wrap, but for which I needed a box. I was hoping the post office would have one that would fit, but it didn't.

They had ample staff there, which has never happened the case before—with two people behind the counter working the line and two people on the customer side of the line helping people, and it's a very small post office. I asked one of the two people working on the customer side of the counter if they had a box that would accommodate my frame, and she said no. I said that I was gonna run down to the Family Dollar store nearby to check for a box and she said, "Would you like us to hold your other package while you're gone?" Yay for customer service!

No luck at the Family Dollar for a box that would fit and I returned and retrieved my package that I could mail, I found myself in line behind none other than Temporary Alice! It's always startling to me when I see my buscapade characters out of context—out and about in real life, if you will. I know it's not like the bus isn't real life, but you know what I mean.

She was mailing a package that wasn't properly wrapped and that same helpful worker helped her put tape around it. In front of me in line, she held the package to her chest in such a way that I could see the beginning of her return address: Alice La... I strained to try and see (Yenta!) the rest of her last name, but never could.

When one of the clerks said, "Next in line?" and she was, Alice placed the package on the counter and he said his spiel, "Is there anything fragile, perishable, or hazardous in the box?" to which of course he wanted a simple yes or no, but to which she said, "I'll tell you what's in the box. I ordered some of those Wash & Glows (it wasn't exactly that I don't think, but it was something from some infomercial), and they were supposed to send me two. Well, they sent me eight of them. There's no way I could ever use eight of them. I'm sending the rest back."

If there was an image by an entry to explain the phrase, "Who cares lady?" a picture of this postal clerk's face as soon as she finished saying, "I'll tell you what's in the box..." would have illustrated the concept beautifully.

Next, I ran to the Great Clips by Kohl's at Crossroads where I had a coupon for an $8.99 haircut. I started to stop by the Great Clips at Mission Valley, where I usually go to see if they'd take the coupon even though it specifically stated the address of the Crossroads store on it, but I didn't want to waste the time if they wouldn't take it.

I got Shantel as my stylist and she was an absolute hoot. I got to use my standard haircut-related jokes on a new person, and she was particularly taken with the patent possibilities when she asked me what clippers I wanted used, and I said, "Five on the top, and three on the sides. And over at Mission Valley? They usually use the ones with that only cut out the gray hairs. You got one of those here?"

"I could make a lot of money with one of those," she said laughing.

We had fun, fun, fun during my haircut, including but not limited to, talking about people in the Mission Valley store. She told me that they would have taken my coupon, not only from any other Great Clips but from any of their competitors, too.

Next in the mad rush were stops at Target, Office Max/Copy Max, and AC Moore, all quick run-ins and run-outs to see if they had a box to accommodate my 14"x18"x2" picture frame, none of which did. I'm going to have to take that thing to a UPS store and have them package it and mail it. I made a final stop at the K-Mart near my house, where though I didn't find a box, I did have the pharmacy call in a prescription renewal request for my Nexium, which I'm going to need in a week or so.

At home, while I worked my final few hours, I washed a load of clothes. I ended up asking Joe if it would cramp his style if we left at 3:30 instead of 3:00, as I had a work request come in toward the end of the day that I wanted to take care of.



We had an uneventful trip to the beach, and by 5:30 we were poolside with cocktails. Only one of the other tables by the pool had anyone sitting at them, but this guy came into the pool area and indicating the seat between Joe and I at our table said, "Is anyone sitting here?"

He sat down, opened his laptop, and conversation ensued, mostly as Joe and I asked him questions. At one point, Joe said, "So, you're Kirk?" I looked at Joe in disbelief, as did Kirk?"

""How'd you know that?" I asked Joe.

"'Cause his name's right there," Joe said indicating a sticker on the lid of his laptop, which was now facing Joe.

The short version: He was here for a friend's wedding. They had gone diving earlier in the day—in and around two shipwrecks. The friend was getting married and he was here for his wedding. He was from Michigan. I put my hand up before he could and said, "From here?" pointing at a random spot in the palm of my hand, although he acted like he'd never seen that before. He left as abruptly as he'd shown up.



We went to the Tool Box arriving between 10:00 and 10:30 and we had a decent time. The bartender, named Eddie, was adorable. At one point, he raised his shirt to beat his chest, but I had my back to him and missed it.

Joe bought the first round of drinks, and I bought the second. "That'll be $9.00," he said to me, and my initial thought was, "Wow, that's expensive."

Joe got the next round and when he came back with our drinks he said, "He at first said 'That'll be nine,' and then, 'Oh no, that was a well drink (referring to my bourbon and Diet Coke), so it's seven.'" I told Joe that he'd charged me $9 for our last round, and when I went up to get the next round, I called him on it.

He was apologetic, but said, "I did?" with just a tinge of doubt or defensiveness like he really didn't think he'd done it. However, when he handed me the round, he said, "This one's on me," and only charged me for Joe's beer. I gave him a $2.00 tip the last time, but gave him a $5 one on this round.

A little later into the evening this guy who we'd seen walking around in a white tank top made his way near us, and he started a conversation in which the main point seemed to be to let us know that he had money. "We're getting ready to take a limo ride over to Ibiza to see the show. You guys are welcome to join us."

He went on to brag about owning some residential property on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and when I asked him how often he gets down there to enjoy it, he responded, "Every weekend."

"Every weekend?" I asked incredulously, and followed up with, "When were you there last?" Crickets.

Joe pointed out later, "Uh... it is the weekend and he wasn't down there now was he?" [Click here for a rhetorical audio comment.]

Next, a lady came into the bar selling long-stemmed roses at some rip-off price purportedly for some non-profit and approached him, and he said sort of waiving his hand over the bunch in her hand, "Oh, I'll just take them all. Just tell him to put them on my tab," he said indicating Eddie the bartender.

At that point, Joe and I started backing away from his little crowd, which had formed around him, and which included his partner who just stared never saying a word, as he's probably witness this behavior long enough to decide that the return on his investment is having a place in the epicenter of New Orleans.



We left at some time between 1:00 and 2:00, returning to the hotel to a feeding frenzy of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and some Pringles. Life is good.

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