I made a burrito and forgot to shave

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My job as a pilot is made much easier by checklists and routines. I do the same thing - the same way - every time. Checklists are written in a way that is intended to flow logically as we set up the cockpit for each phase of flight. It’s the times when something upsets that flow - that checklist items are missed. You’re midway through a taxi checklist and a radio call breaks the cadence of the “challenge and response” and it’s easier (and safer) to start over rather then stumble back into it. My life has become a series of checklists. I’m not sure if I was made for aviation or if a career in aviation has made me the way I am. When I’m on a trip, each day I do the same thing - the same way - every time. My evening ritual in the hotel has been modified slowly over the years to become the most efficient it can be. I check into my room and immediately strip the garnish bedspread off the bed and lay out my clothes for the next morning. Regardless of how long I have in the hotel, I ready for the next day by setting two alarms on my phone, one on the hotel clock and phone for a wake-up call. Each of these alarms are set for 1 min apart beginning 45 minutes before we are to meet for the van. I write the city name and tomorrows day of the week on the hotel key envelope and put it next to the alarm clock. The rest of the night, like a Roomba vacuuming robot, I mindlessly walk through a series of preprogrammed routines. Hopefully, this involves some Seinfeld. The same precision takes place during the morning events. Nothing gets skipped, nothing gets forgotten. Until there’s a change to the routine. A shower that won’t get hot or a broken coffee maker. I recently introduced a lunch box to the program. I’ve become a lunch box guy. I pack 4 days worth of  food on ice and make meals-to-go in my room for a picnic at 30000 feet... without the blanket or ants. It’s not as much about saving money as it about getting so freaking sick and tired of Sbarro pizza and Wok-n-Roll fried stuff with soy sauce. With the introduction of the lunch box, I’m all out of whack. Yesterday, although I made some excellent burrito’s out of Trader Joe’s Chickenless Chicken Strips...  I forgot to shave. Having to get ice from the ice machine for my lunch box threw off my whole program! While showering, I debated when to work ice retrieval into the equation. Should I do it before or after I put on my tie? This internal argument must have carried on into the “it’s now time to shave” portion of the ceremony and I overlooked it while I debated maybe just getting ice on the way out the door with all my luggage. Years ago, I left the keys to my car in the cockpit of the airplane I just gave to another crew and realized this as I watched them taxi towards the runway. Naturally, this happened because I just bought a new suitcase and hadn’t decided yet which pocket to store my keys. I had it down to a science with my old suitcase but had yet to find a convenient spot for them in the new one. I opted to keep them in my pants pocket until resolving this crisis but then they kept stabbing my thigh so I set them in the cup holder. Off to STL they went without me. Tonight, I may use a spreadsheet to map out a new routine for tomorrow mornings ice gathering mission. But doing so, I’ll probably forget to brush my teeth before bed.

Something I haven't heard in sometime. "First Available?"

Something I haven't heard in sometime. "First Available?"

I was asked this last night when looking for a table in Milwaukee. I haven't heard that in years! It took a second to register what she was asking... and then I couldn't remember what the alternative answer was. "Um... no. Last available? Er... Whichever is first - as long as it's not smoking. Well... unless it's going to be a really long wait. What is the divider between the two availables? If it's that half wall, I'll take smoking if I'm within a tables width of the divider. Where are the vents? Are they smoking near the bathroom?

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Dutch appliances puzzle us

So after a few weeks I think we've finally figured out how to use the appliances on the houseboat. We downloaded a few manuals, asked around a bit but ultimately it was trial and error that came through. The clothes do finally come out smelling clean but still incredibly wet and while we still haven't figured out the dryer, this may be the reason it takes a few cycles to dry. As you can see, most of the numbers seem to correspond with times but it's the sequence in which you push buttons that hasn't come easy. Most of the panel buttons give you an 'ERR' if pushed at the wrong time. And two "start" buttons? For a few tries, I thought CENTRIFUGEN was a spin cycle, but - still wet.

Since Snelfoto signs hang near 1 hour photo booths, Snelwas naturally means quick wash. Granted - all this would be easy with Babelfish (yes - from HGTTG), but I prefer to speculate while on vacation. I've been on a digital diet.

 

And look at the DRYER!.  Dryer

There is a display that isn't photo'd that gives a series of icons to correspond with the letters. A few shaded water drops versus a few unshaded water drops? Several shaded suns rather than a few unshaded ones? And you don't have the option for a bit of both.

"I'd like three dark water drops next to a solid white sun?"

We've come up with "A" a few times seems to do the trick.

Interesting feature - you have to drain the water pan every couple of cycles. Rather than spit the water out into drainage - it collects in a pan under the machine. Pure spent water from a days activities!

My childhood "Boy named Sue" moment

This is a girls shirt!

In grade school we wore navy blue pants and white dress shirts. The boys had triangular collars while the girls wore the rounded ones that little Catholic school girls wear. There was an unfortunate era when my sister and I wore the same size shirt even though we were two years apart. And, of course, there was that day. One of the days that sticks with you forever and came back to me the other day when i was trying on used sweaters at an outdoor market in Amsterdam.

"This is a girls sweater." I said to Susan.

"Oh no it's not. It looks good on you." She answered.

"Irrelevant how it looks, the buttons are on the wrong side."

Back to grade school. The unlucky day must have been around 5th grade and it was made clear to me by my teacher that I was wearing a girls shirt. She asked, of course, in front of the class. "Are you wearing your sisters clothes?"

The class turned and errupted in laughter.

"Stork-dorks wearing a girls shirt!"

So my question is this, was it I who was half asleep while dressing watching Woody Woodpecker or was it my father who was half asleep while he ironed our shirts that morning. Where were the parental checks and balances to sound the buzzer for these things? Was this just a "boy named sue" moment in which my father tested me on how I would handle the rigors of manhood? The only thing it has taught me is to pay extra notice as to which side the buttons are and what shape the collar is.

I was a Nintendo Fanboy at Five AM

I got to Walmart at 4:30 am armed with a large coffee and my hacked PSP ready to play an hour and a half of ExciteBike on a nintendo emulator until the store opened. The Wii was to go on sale at 6am and I was number 11 in line. Rumor had it there were at least 20 to go around and only one purchase per person. I was feeling pretty good except for the fact that it was too cold to play my psp and soon my coffee would be gone with nothing to keep me warm but the glow of the Coke machine I was leaning against. By the time the store opened, there were more than sixty in line. A few in line were there to buy ‘x-mas gifts’ but upon further questioning we all learned the game was for them. All the crowd was over twenty except for one kid that was with his mom. There was a mix of guys and girls in the line and not all the girls were there with their boyfriends/husbands. I was wearing a nintendo hat. I was there for myself!

The mission started the night before at 9:30pm. The Wii was to go on sale at midnight and after some searching online I found the nearest 24hour Walmart to be 30 miles away in Aberdeen, MD. I told Susan, “I’m going to Walmart, with or without you.” She said I had to drive. Off we go.

Ipod - Check.

PSP- Check.

Cellphone - Check.

Digital Camera - Check.

The line was already sixty deep when we got there. As I surveyed the situation I listened to the rumors circulating through the line.

“I hear they only have 30 Wii’s.” One said. “The cops are on there way, apparently this line will be considered null and void. The real line starts at ten.” Came from a little deaper in the pack. “Someone got shot in line for the Playstation 3! I think it was at a Walmart.” Near the back. More cop rumors were floating around and I did see some commotion bubbling at the front of the line. Although I felt pretty certain I wouldn’t be getting a Wii from this store, I was interested to see what was going to happen. It was a few minutes before ten and if this line was to be dispersed by the authorities I wanted a good view - from a distance. I told Susan things could get ugly.

The cops did come but not to disperse the line as suggested. The guys in the first twenty spots had been there for days and had self labeled stickers on their shirts identifying there place in history. Number one had a cleverly labeled note, “ONE”. Some guys had come in and started their own line with their own labels at the entrance to another door and the cops were called by the first pack to sort things out. Not the excitement I was hoping for but I did get to hear a fanboy say “those guys are cutting in line” to a Maryland State Trooper. I was hoping for a “no cuts, no butts, no coconuts”.

We left Wii-less.

Plan B was to hit the Walmart down the street from the house that opened at 6am. Back at the home I set my alarm and laid out my clothes and gear. I was out the door four and half hours later and in line!

Approaching the crowd of only ten I asked “Is this the line for the new elmo doll?”

He who had been waiting the longest (number one) had the strongest opinion of the joke. “F#@K OFF and go tickle this!” Soon he relaxed when we talked about Zelda and I gave him a piece of gum.

With less than half and hour to zero hour the manager came out and told us how it would go down. Although there were over sixty in line he told us up front there was only twenty units for sale. He counted the pack, (me at 11!) and told those over number twenty to leave unless they wanted to stay and shop for something else. Number one told them to stay and buy some pantyhose and toiletries.

The back of the pack slowly dispersed and a girl in front of me started feeling guilty that she would get one but a few moms in the back wouldn’t. Her friend, much like General Patton but in a zelda stocking cap, gave her support.

“You’ve earned this! We’ve earned this! We’ve waited! We haven’t slept! We’ve got a right to play Zelda from now until we have to pee or not pee - maybe poo! Don’t leave me now! Never leave a man behind! Never leave a woman behind in a line at Walmart with a bunch of nerds! Now get your money ready and lets buy us a Nintendo!”

Number one feeling guilty himself stopped to rethink his position as number one. Maybe the moms deserved a Wii more than him? “Hey lady, do you want my spot?”

“Of course!” She said turning back from her walk to the car.

“Two thousand dollars! And you gotta buy me some toiletries and a Tickle Me Elmo!” He yelled back and laughed until the manager walked back and suggested he keep quiet.

A few minutes to go. The manager told us this would be done real orderly. He’d let two in at a time and the consoles would be on sale at the front of the store. One per person and if you wanted any games or accessories you’d have to go to your car and leave the Wii there and come back. None of us felt this would be a good idea agreed we’d come back later for games.

I played the bundled sports pack until noon and went back for Zelda. For the few minutes I was there the phone rang non-stop in the electronics section. “We have no Wii’s and don’t know when there will be more” the clerk would answer without listening to the question. She told me she was ‘telapathetic or what ever you call it’ and then asked me if I could believe there was a bunch of ‘wierdo’s’ outside all night waiting for this thing?

I said, “What a bunch of nerds. Can you get me a Wii ‘Zelda’ from the counter?”