Archive for August, 2010

And here we go again…

As I have said numerous times, sometimes life feels like a collection of efforts to ensure you are not walked all over.  And so it is again today.  I looked at my credit card statement and discovered we had incurred a $250.00 charge from the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee where we stayed the weekend of August 20 to join my family for Irish Fest and other fun times.  Assuming that the charge was a mistake — as I had prepaid for the room weeks earlier — I called the hotel to tell them so.  Not so, says the Hyatt Regency.  The hotel — and a particular woman named Nancy — insist that Aaron and I were smoking in the room and the $250.00 is a fine for that abhorrent behavior.  Despite all of my pleadings and rantings that no such thing happened and that no such thing was even possible, Nancy told me she “stood by” her accusation and had the pictures to prove it!  Now knowing that it was impossible that she had pictures that would show that we were smoking — since it never happened — I asked her if she would email me the pictures.  She stated that she would not, but that I could subpoena them from her.

Here’s the thing.  Neither Aaron nor I smoked in that room.  It just didn’t happen.  It.  Did.  Not.  Happen.  Could a cigarette butt somehow have found its way into the room on a shoe or something?  I suppose that’s possible, but unlikely.  And even if that’s what happened, there still was no smoking in the room so the $250.00 fine is absurd.  Additionally, how do I know that these pictures — I can only guess that they are pictures of a cigarette — are of my room and were taken immediately upon me checking out?  How does Nancy know that?  The charges were placed on my card on August 24 — two days after we had left Milwaukee.  Why did it take two days? 

So angry.  So angry.  So angry.

So my letter writing campaign has begun again.  Letters to the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee , the Hyatt Corp in Chicago, the Federal Trade Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection have been drafted and are about to be in the mail.  I spent 30 minutes on the telephone with Capital One to start the dispute process.  [I was told it would be difficult because I don’t have any evidence that I was not smoking.  True, of course, but really?]

If this route doesn’t work, I guess I’ll be filing a complaint in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.  Thankfully, I already have several lawyers on hand to assist me.  And, me being one myself shouldn’t hurt. 

So, here we go again.  Whatever happens, I will never stay at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee again and I hope you will not either.  Absurd. 

Addendum:  This article is more than two years old but is spot-on.  And infuriating since I pleaded my innocence and was met with hostility and because the hotel did not inform me of the charge in any way.  I am SO ANGRY.  I will never stay at a Hyatt again. 


A million little things: part one

It seems like every time I turn around I realize how grateful I am for my parents.  Although they can annoy me like no one else on this planet, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them.  Maybe I would be less neurotic and anxious, but I would certainly be less passionate and appreciative of the world around me.  Case in point: my love of Hoosiers.  Thanks Mom & Dad for my introduction and appreciative of all things Hoosiers.

I think that a case can be made that Hoosiers is the best movie ever.  But I’m just going to state that it is one of the best movies ever and I’m forever grateful that it’s been in my life since its inception.  Hoosiers is the ultimate David & Goliath story, of course, but it’s just so much more.  I never turn down a chance to watch it.  What makes it so great?

  • The sound and the score.  The music is beautiful, but it’s really the squeak of the sneakers on the court that always makes me smile and gives me chills.  The sound of the leather ball on the hardwood floors is so important in setting the tone and the pace of the movie.
  • The beauty.  I don’t think Indiana has ever looked as lovely (though Breaking Away may take this honor).  It reminds me of why I love the midwest — no mountains maybe, but the landscape is breathtaking.
  • The acting.  I think Gene Hackman deserves an Oscar every year for his performance.  And Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey can have one, too.
  • The story.  Geez.  Where do I begin?  Yes, it’s about an outsider coming to an insular community that doesn’t want him.  It’s about the underdog succeeding in a way that shouldn’t have been possible.  But it’s really about love and forgiveness and loyalty and morality and discipline and all the things that are good and right and important in this world.  It’s about letting the kid who just mouthed off to you back on the team because he really is sorry.  It’s about not letting the kid who doesn’t listen to you play in the game because he just doesn’t get it.  It’s about second chances because, guess what?  You’re human and you messed up and are the first to admit it.  It’s about forgiving your dad for struggling with himself and embarrassing you in the process.  It’s about seeing — really seeing — who a person is and accepting and loving him for being that person.

I admit it: I am a sucker for a sports movie.  I love sports and I love the metaphors that sports movies make to tell us about life in general.  But Hoosiers is such a world apart from your run-of-the-mill sports story.  It’s pretty much as good as it gets in the film world.  At least I think so.

Late August


Two, it’s football season!  Ya-double-hoo!  And Brett Favre has started it out as the diva that he is and then — whomp! — a nasty sack!  Love it.

Three, is anyone watching Project Runway this season?  If so, let’s chat.

Bad start

This morning I took Gracie out for a walk around the block in this absolutely nasty weather.  I am not usually on the morning walk shift, but Aaron is out of town this week so I’m all dog duty, all the time.  It’s really not a big deal, of course.  Anyway, so as Gracie and I were rounding third, I noticed a dog and its owner were jogging towards us and going in the same direction we were headed.  The dog + owner were still about a half a block away so Grace and I walked a few steps and I checked again.  Obviously, we were not going to be able to make it home before they passed us, so I choked up on the retractable leash, had Gracie stand on the terrace part of the grass — smelling every blade — and waited.  I kept my eye on Grace.  Maybe that was my mistake.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the woman and her dog running and they were just out of arm’s reach.  I think they startled Gracie, so she growled and lunged and the other dog growled and snapped and we (the owners) pulled the dogs away from each other and the woman + dog continued on with their jog.  The whole thing lasted maybe three seconds, though that seems exaggerated.  As the woman + dog are jogging away, the woman continues to glare back at us and I hear her say to her, apparently very intelligent, dog, “Are you ok?”  Then after another couple of steps into their jog, she stops and examines the mouth-area of her dog, apparently looking for the savage bite Gracie inflicted.  I think I said aloud, “Come on!” 

Here’s the thing: I know I am not the best dog owner in the world.  And I know my dog had a life on the streets that I know nothing about.  And I know she can be unpredictible around other dogs.  Usually she’s a-ok, but every once in awhile — and after six and a half years I still can offer no prediction as to when it will happen — she meets a dog who looks at her wrong or something, and she snaps.  I take her to the dog park all the time and it’s never happened.  But sometimes when we’re out for a walk, she snaps at another passing dog.  Maybe even one that’s across the street.  Sometimes, though, she completely ignores another dog that is barking relentlessly at her.  I have no idea what she’s thinking or intuiting or feeling or whatever it is.  Maybe she gets some signal or maybe she’s just in a bad mood or maybe it’s some weird thing about the leash…The point is that I don’t know.  What I do know, though, is that it can happen.  And for that reason, when the woman + dog came running towards us, I did what I could to mitigate the situation.  The woman, however, did not.  She did not slow her run while she approached an unknown dog from behind.  She did not run further into the lawn to give the dogs space.  She did nothing that, in my opinion, she should have done.  And having done nothing, she then blamed me.  Look lady, you ran up on an unprepared, unknown Gracie.  What did you think would happen?  Ugh.

And don’t get me started on the woman on the bus this morning who had a screaming toddler in a stroller.  The screaming toddler was one thing, but the woman ignoring the tot to text for five minutes was quite another.  And then what happened?  I’ll tell you what happened.  Finally — she must have been through with texting — she turned her attention to her toddler (mind you, she had another kid sitting quietly next to her, looking the picture of good behavior) and decided maybe he would stop crying if she took his sandals off.  Now I know I’m not a parent, but this didn’t seem to me like it would quiet the unhappy boy.  I was right.  Screaming continued.  And then a bizarre thing happened.  A man in the back of the bus, presumably annoyed with the noise, decided that he would start mimicking the kid.  So the kid would cry and then the man would scream out in imitation.  It was really a lovely ride into work.

And then, as soon as I get into work and set down the pasta salad I brought for today’s work baby shower I am bombared with a ten-minute tirade about how my office neighbor’s computer doesn’t work properly and all of the permutations the IT folks are trying to get it up to snuff.

All in all, a great start for a Tuesday. 


I used to think of myself as someone who really hated change.  Things are tolerable, why change?  I don’t think I’m really like that anymore.  While I may not embrace change like some, I think I’m pretty open to doing things differently now and then.  Particularly when it makes a lot of sense to change things up and the only thing holding back the change is sentimentality or tradition.  Not that the latter two things aren’t important, but I try not to overvalue them and instead focus more on function and purpose.  Though not always.

But here’s one thing I don’t get: why are websites always changing?  I know I am guilty of that somewhat with my blog — I change the layout from time to time — but I don’t think I’ve done anything that ever creates any confusion.  It seems that facebook makes weird layout changes weekly and I just noticed that wordpress, the host for this blog, has gone on and changed things up and I’m trying to adjust to it.  And don’t get my started on flickr’s latest changes!  The thing is, there are things I’d really like to change about all of those sites and they all pertain to function and making things more intuitive.  But these are not the changes that have been imposed.  No, no.  They just seem to be change for the sake of change.  Something I really have trouble supporting.

But, on the other hand, here’s a change I can really get behind.  It feels like the tide is really turning.  And that is something I support.

And, finally, on a lighter note: a shout out to Terry with oodles of thanks for sharing this. I didn’t think the first ones were all that funny, but as I paged through I had trouble containing my laughter and admit to doing a spit-take or two.

August 2010

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