Monday, July 29, 2002

The Vacation - Day 8

Going Home

Hurrah! Going home! Not that I was happy to end my vacation, but I was definitely ready to get back to where I understood the weather and how to cope with it. We packed the last of everything up and headed towards checkout. While I sat in the lobby while Andy got the car a group of college guys staggered down the hallway towards the front door. When they hit the bright sunlight everyone of them groaned, giggled, and then wobbled out the door. They were obviously still drunk from whenever their partying stopped. Since it was only about 7 AM I'm guessing they hadn't stopped much earlier. They came back in about 10 minutes so I'm not sure where they had to go. Maybe to the grocery store across the way for more booze. Or some hangover remedy.

Is anyone else queasy?

Not much happened dropping off the car, getting onto the plane, getting into the air.

Coming down in Chicago was a different story. There was turbulence. Quite a bit. There were thunderstorms around Chicago making every thing a little bumpy. Flying out wasn't a picnic either. As the stewardess was bringing the drink cart through I overheard her talking to someone else..."Oh this isn't bad. We were on a really bad flight the other day. We hit a big bump and I screamed." That didn't really inspire my confidence. If turbulence made this woman scream, what would happen if something worse went down??

Ahhhh good old MD humidity

We landed back in good old MD. Yes, it's sticky. Yes, the air quality is about the worst in the nation. But I haven't found anywhere else in the country that I would rather live. Of course I've only seen a small portion of the rest of the country...but nothing compares to home.

In my own bed

Back home, with my own dog, my own kitchen, my own everything. Especially my own bed. It's amazing how used you get to your own pillows lumps and your own mattress's divets.

Vacation was lovely, but it's good to be back.
The Vacation - Day 7

Lounging by the pool

The next morning I was determined to soak up a little sun and not be so fish-belly white. So at about 9:30 I headed out to the main pool at the Flamingo thinking I would have plenty of time to find a good spot and set up camp before the good rays started coming through. Was I ever wrong. The pool was already jam-packed. What chairs weren't already filled were covered by towels and water bottles waiting to be filled. Wow, and I thought I was getting a head start. These people take their tanning seriously.

Eventually I gave up and went back to our little pool on the Hilton side of things. It was still completely in the shade, but at least there were a few chairs left. I grabbed one, positioned for where the sun should hit first when it makes it over the edge of the hotel and start reading away. I got my sun, I got to read, and was happy.

Does anyone else feel queasy?

After I came back in we headed out to get some food. Over to the Flamingo's diner type restaurant. MMMMM greasy. But so tasty. And calories don't count on vacation. I'm hoping lots and lots of them didn't. Finishing up we started looking through the coupon book to see what else we could do for a discount on our last day here. Well...there's a discount on Second City here at the Flamingo that sounds good. OOH and a buy on get one free deal on that IMAX ride at Caesar's! Let's go!

Off to Caesar's we went. And eventually puttered our way to where the ride was, taking care to avoid that information booth in case that woman recognized we got a good deal on a meal with out seeing their timeshare.

We bought our tickets, went through the staircases, ropes etc. and wound up waiting at a door for the next ride to start. Finally we were let in and given these bizarre 3D goggle things. Which everyone in line immediately threw on and started messing with. Next came our "guide" who promptly told us all to take them off. We adjusted them properly and then put them back on for the intro video. And in we went. Sat down in a giant "car", you know the kind where the seats move, but nothing else does? Put on our goggles and we were off.

The thing was incredibly neat, but NOT the best thing to do after a large greasy meal. I felt ill for a good 2 hours afterwards. OOF.

Lions in Vegas?

After Caesar's we drove around and parked at MGM planning to walk through to GameWorks. A Spielberg produced fun thing. When we got there it was a minature version of Dave and Busters. Not thrilling, not original, and not really any good games to play either. We decided to walk over to New York and see what was up there. Nothing very different from the other casinos. Back across the street to MGM.

On the way back through the casino Andy said "Lion habitat? What's that? I bet there's lions in there." I responded with "No, not real lions in the middle of the casino."

I should've known better. After all our hotel had penguins right? There they were in a big glass encased setting, two beautiful sleepy lions gnawing on a giant rubber ball. There were two trainers in there with them, trying to keep them awake and playing to the delight of the crowd.

I don't know how long we stayed, but I could've stayed all day. They were amazing to watch. So playful. So cuddly. So BIG. And you could tell they were both young since they had some of the baby spots left on their stomachs. One funny thing though...they had two balls to play with. A red on and a blue one. Neither cat wanted to play with the blue ball at all. So they "fought" continuously over the red one. It was hysterical to watch.

Second City

After resting and some dinner we walked over to see Second City. Great comedy/improv group. Much fun to watch. Also fun to watch...the people in the crowd. As the waitress was coming around with one table's drinks she tripped on an outstretched foot and down came everything. 4 out of the 5 people at the table were splashed. They all took it well though and I overheard her say "they'll have to send a porter out to clean this up." I also noticed she came back in 20 minutes and had to wipe it up herself with a towel. Not a job I would want.

The comedy was great, very witty. The improv was as always my favorite part.

Walking back after the show we encountered some of the hotel's wildlife. The Flamingo also had these strange black chicken-type birds. This one was walking around and around in the grass. We stood there and watched him long enough until eventually he started circling around and around us. We tried slowly manuevering him back towards the rest of the animals but he was incredibly slow and we were getting tired. We did entertain quite a few other people though. We finally gave up after a while and left him circling aimlessly around the path.

I think it was like a goldfish. Once they get to one side of the bowl they've forgotten where they've been. And continue to circle. And circle. And circle...
The Vacation - Day 6

Epcot? With Gambling?

The next morning we got up and went in search of breakfast. Well I wanted lunch since it was about 11:30. We compromised and went to the buffet at the Flamingo. Before we all split up at the grand Canyon, Andy's grandmother gave us her coupon book that she had gotten at her hotel. It was filled with all sorts of gooides including a $1 off the buffet price for two people. So I got lunch food and Andy got his breakfast and we got a discount overall. On our way to breakfast we had stopped to look at the penguins. Yes penguins. And of course flamingos as well. Actually the sign said it gets too cold in Las Vegas in the winter for the African penguins so their rocks are temperature controlled (i.e. heated).

After breakfast we headed out to explore. Las Vegas is a lot like Epcot Center at Disneyworld. Everything has a theme and you can pick which one you spend your time at. While we were out we hit the Venetian, designed to look like Venice. We'd seen the Learning Channel special on it so we had to check it out. It did look a lot like Venice, but the water in the hotel was definitely prettier than the real thing.

Everything Mama said not to

The other thing about Vegas is that it is the epitome of everything your mother has told you not to do. Gambling, smoking, alcohol is available 24 hours a day, as is breakfast with all those fatty foods. Loose women everywhere. Maybe that's what makes it so fun. It's like sneaking a cookie when your parent's back is turned. A guilty little pleasure. But I don't know how you could live there all the time. How would you ever know what's real?

The pedicure

Included in the fabulous coupon book was a free parafin treatment with the purchase of a manicure or pedicure at Bally's. A pedicure! Just what my porr trail-aching feet wanted. So we hopped on over to Bally's and hunted down the salon. I asked if they could do a pedicure and the girl looked at me and said "Today?" No next week. Yes today. They could put me in at 3:30. Great! Time to go buy tickets for the Blue Man Group at the Luxor and then swing back by and get my piggies done. Hmmmm but it's 2:45 now and the Luxor's at the other end of the strip. The Flamingo is just across the street from Bally's let's go back to the hotel and I'll walk back over.

By the time we got back to the car, driven it to the Flamingo's garage, found a parking was time for me to walk back over. I went out through the casino onto the sidewalk and took this fun little people mover dealy over the street to Bally's. Then hopped on another people mover to get into the casino. Did I mention this place was like Epcot? The time to find my way back through the casino (everything's through the casinos btw) down to the shops and back to the spa. I was early. I didn't have a watch and told them I didn't want to miss my appointment. There was no rush I just didn't want to not get my pedicure. The same chick who asked me "today?" didn't remember me from 20 minutes erlier and didn't look thrilled about my sitting in her salon for 20 minutes. OK OK I'll go play some slots.

I found a Betty Boop slot machine. Oh yes, there were all kinds. A popeye, a tabasco sauce, a family feud, and even Austin Powers versions of slot machines. After losing a buck or so I headed back. I still had 10 minutes, but the crazy lady was on break and the new nice woman let me sit in the chair there. After a few minutes the mancurist came out and led me to a lovely comfortable chair with a hot bubbling foot bath. AHHHHH bliss. For the next hour I had some one pampering, massaging, and painting my feet. It was worth every penny, including the money lost to slot machines while waiting.

Blue Man Group

After I walked back on much lighter feet, we called to see about getting tickets to Blue Man at the Luxor. 7:30 or 10 show. I can do 10, and then we can eat dinner. So we got cleaned up, changed and drove over to the Luxor.

Another cool thing about Vegas is you can wear whatever you want. Even walking through the shops in the middle of the day there were people in elaborate evening wear, and people wearing what looked like old pajamas. We saw a couple of workers leaving for the day half in costume, half in a ratty t-shirt. At first I thought this girl was wearing the most bizarre pants ever until I saw her shirt that said Luxor Staff and realized her pants were purple belly-dancer pants. She probably just threw a shirt on over top of her well... top and was on her way home.

The Luxor is a cool place. It's theme is Egypt, including a giant sphinx outside of the black glass pyramid building. Inside the tiers and tiers stretching to the top were the hotel rooms, and the inside was hollow, filled up with casino. Once we'd picked up our tickets we looked for food. Papyrus! It's an asian restaurant, let's eat there! Since we didn't get to eat Chinese food the other night.

We wandered around the casino looking for the restaurant. Why do they hide the restaurants? Do they not want people to eat? Finally we found it. YUMMMMM.

After dinner we wandered back down to the theatre as the first show was letting out. One girl had a piece of paper covered in blue kiss marks and a blue fingerprint on her left shoulder. Hmmm I guess they liked her. Then we noticed the wads of toilet paper. In the hallways and everywhere. This was going to be a fun show. We got to actual theatre lobby and looked at people drinking these huge blue drinks. The were those giant beer glass things, but blue. One of those might be good. But what's in them? And were they a ripoff? I went over to the bar and asked. Anything fluffy, like a daiquiri or margarita. And they were $12.50. NO WAY was I paying that much for a daiquiri that when put in a real cup was probably about the size of a regular coke.

On with the show. We were let into the theatre and had pretty good seats. About halfway in. Looking around before the show got started I noticed a few things. Like the hundreds of rolls of paper at the back of the theatrem and the long white tubes hooked up to the ceiling. What on earth where those for? Also on stage there were two groups of statues, holding hands, circling tubes of water. Bizarre. And the weird part was they looked like they were in pain, crouching, drooping....

Then the show got started. There were marquees at the front on stage that were flashing messages liek Don't take pictures, no smoking etc. Then the lights dimmed and the marquees started saying things like Please recite the no picture taking oath and then lead us through the oath that we were supposed to read out loud. The it moved into funnier things like John Doe's birthday is today, let's all wish him happy birthday. Ready Go. And it went on like that until finally the guys came out on stage.

The Blue Man Group is incredibly unique. It's a bizarre mixture of music and Sesame Street like acting. Anytime the guys would interact with objects, they would act like it was the first time they had ever seen that thing before. Like the muppets. For example at one point they each had a box of Capn Crunch. And were amazed by the crunchiness. One of the guys poured the box over his head so it stuck in his make-up. A blue head covered in little yellow pellets. The they started cunching in time until it became a beat and then into music. Bizarre and amazing at the same time. Who thinks of that?

Then we come back to figures in pain. They turned on a strobe light and started spinning the statues, fast enough until it tricked your eyes into looking like each figure was standing in place dancing. Really really cool. There was some audience participation, and it's amazing how quickly someone will follow any lead given to them if they have no verbal clues. The woman started following everything they did without and instructions of any kind. Simply out of shear nervousness I think. When in Rome....

Oh and the toilet paper, since I've mentioned it and the tubes. At the end of the show they truned on a blacklight and let the tubes down and spun them around. It was mesmorizing to watch. Then the blue guys came back through the audience, grabbed the paper and starting pulling. The paper being white was also glowing. Soon the entire audience was swimming in a giant sea of paper.

An amazing show. Definitely worth seeing if you have a chance.
The Vacation - Day 5

Driving back to Vegas
After having as much fun in the Grand Canyon as possible in 4 days, we set out back to Vegas. Stopping here and there for gas and munchies. It seemed a lot shorter, maybe because this time I dozed off in the middle. And we definitely didn't go back through that neighborhood.

We went back over Hoover Dam and it was just as impressive the second time. We didn't stop and get because we'd really seen all we wanted to see and there were SO many tourists and SO little parking.


After we got back into Vegas, came the question of how to find our hotel. We knew it was on the strip. We passed a sign for Flamingo Avenue. I joked to Andy that maybe that was it. Finally we saw signs for downtown. Here we go. The strip! It wasn't dark yet so I didn't get the full effect until later. But it was fun just the same. So many different hotels and casinos. Finally we saw the Flamingo. got it...Flamingo Avenue. Ah well next time in Vegas we'll know. Now to find the Hilton part of the Flamingo...AHA! There it is. We checked in and went up to our room. Gorgeous...but non-smoking? The whole room reeked. I hate to fuss about things especially since they just upgraded us to a nicer suite....but I couldn't breathe. Andy called down to the desk. There was one available on the ground floor. Fine by me as long as it didn't smell.

First floor room....incredible. We had a suite with a full kitchen. Yup a stove, full size refrigerator, microwave...everything. Huge bed and a hot tub...IN the bedroom. Man did we ever do this the right way 'round. Hard painful hiking then full class luxury.

Being nice to people

After getting settled in to the room we went and checked out the pool. Nice not too many people. Comfy. Next time to explore. We got cleaned up and went over to Caesar's Palace to check things out. There was a chinese place there that sounded good. We went off in search of it. The inside of the place was amazing. The ceiling was painted like the sky and there were no windows and no clocks. You would have no idea what time of day it was or anything. Which is of course what they want. We wandered from one end of the stores to the other searching for the elusive restaurant. Stopping along the way to buy Andy some new shoes and check out the signs for the IMAX ride.

As we passed the information booth a woman stopped us. "Are you going to be here tomorrow?" Yes...."Come see our timeshare blah blah blah" I tuned out entirely and looked bored out of my skull I'm sure, Andy continued talking to her, being extremely polite. Then...Lie #1 "well we're booked up tomorrow" Lie #2 "we're flying out the day after that" "Do you have a brochure or anything we could take with us? No brochures but she did give him a VIP card to Planet Hollywood and thanked him for his time.

We continued in search of the elusive restaurant and after realizing we were at the wrong end of the casino we found it! Only to discover it was closed Wednesday nights. So back we went to Planet Hollywood to use our VIP card and get our free appetizer. We get to Planet Hollywood and there's about a 20 minute wait. We showed them the VIP card and BOOM we were in and seated! 5 minutes later we were sipping daiquiris and munching on our free chicken strips. It's good to be nice to people. I'll have try it next time.

City Lights

Back out onto the strip, now after dark. All the lights were twinkling and flashing. Even the McDonald's signs were neon and sparkly. Then we noticed these little buggies. Well to be honest I noticed the girl that was driving one was wearing these flipflops with enormous soles. Then I noticed the little dune buggy. You could rent them apparently to drive up and down the strip. And that was about it. You couldn't do anything else with them. You couldn't park them on the street and run in anywhere, because all the parking was in garages on sidestreets. But the funny things was, these girls that were driving the thing were all dolled up, obviously tourists, driving around a little buggy with a huge sticker on it that said "Rent me." In Vegas I wonder how many times people thought the girls were for rent and not the car?
The Vacation - Day 4

How Dry I Am

When I woke up the next morning I ached from head to toe. I was also exceedingly dry. As Andy described it it's like someone snuck into our room while we were sleeping and jammed triscuits up his nose.

The original plan had been to drive out to Sedona and the night before I swore I would stay in bed all day. But after getting up moving around and another long shower I felt better. Neither one of us was sleepy so we met up with folks and headed to breakfast. During breakfast we decided to go with the boys to Sedona and Oak canyon. And here's comes the part when I felt OLD. The waitress came around to take orders and being the only girl there at the moment she turned to me and said "Ok mom what'll you have?" I stared at her as if she had grown a second head and eventually ordered. She looked at me and said "You're not mom are you?" I said NO. She looked around the table again and said "So what are you?" I pointed around the table and said daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, sister-in-law, wife. Why she assumed I was old enough to have a 27 year old son I'm not sure. Maybe it's time for a face lift.

Oak Canyon

After breakfast we piled in the car and headed off toward Oak canyon and someplace I can't remember that was supposed to have a natural water slide. When we got to the place with the water slide, we discovered that due to lack of rain it was closed. After all no sense in sliding on dry rocks. So on we went to Oak Canyon. It was like the Grand Canyon only smaller. And covered in trees. Somehow it was less impressive that way. You couldn't really see the bottom since there were trees and you couldn't see the striations in the rocks. It was still cool, but after having seen the big cool thing, the smaller cool thing just couldn't compare. But we saw a cool squirrel. I haven't mentioned the squirrels here yet. At the Grand Canyon there are these huge ground squirrels. Think groundhog but slightly smaller. Tame as any other squirrels anywhere else there's a tourist attraction. They'll come right up to you. And if you make a noise they think you have food. The squirrel at Oak Canyon was different. It had sharp pointy ears. Like those old paintings of squirrels. He was really cute, and rather striking, and not nearly as tame.

After having been in the car for a while I started stiffening up. New muscles were hurting that didn't hurt at all before. Oof! When did I get so old?

Sedona - Land of crystals and new age thinking

Oh MAN Pom-pom. That's weiwd. The town itself was a lovely place. Nice little shopping nooks nestled here and there. The town is only about 20 years old, so every thing still looked new. The weird part was the "art." A lot of it took real skill, and I know I couldn't have made any of it without a lot of practice. But none of the artists had anything to say. It was art for arts sake. Mall art. Middle-school art class art.

For example the very white looking indian girl lying in the river. Pretty at first glance but as you studied it you noticed how much of it was out of proportion. Her biceps were smaller than her forearms. She had no ribcage. She went straight from stomach to boobs. And her hands were obviously direct drawings of the artist's hands. Manly, large, and distinctly not in keeping with the rest of her. Definitely not worth the $4000. It was all like that. The artist obviously had great skill in drawing. But ...

Drive Thru Potty Break

On our way back we enjoyed a lightning show in the darkness. It was really amazing to watch with no trees or houses to block your view. I dozed off for a little while and when I woke up we were in the drive thru at McDonald's. I really really had to pee, but we were only about 15 minutes away from the hotel....Nah I couldn't wait. So I jumped out the side door and told 'em I'd meet them at the other end. As I sprinted across the parking lot, I suddenly remembered all those muscles. OOOF. I must've been more asleep than I thought. Quick trip in and back out and they were still waiting to get up to the window. As I hopped back into the car a woman in the car behind us got out. Maybe she had to pee too.

Head Hammock

It's amazing the things you do when you're a kid that you forget about isn't it? For instance, it's been a while since I've ridden in the back seat for any length of time. On the drive back to the hotel I rediscovered a talent. If you take the shoulder strap and put it behind your back you can rest your head on the length of material that's still hanging between the car side and the part that's pinned behind your back. It makes a lovely little head hammock to sleep in. Until your neck does that jello thing and you bob out of it. But for the most part it works. I think the last time I did that I was 10.
The Vacation - Day 3

The Great Misunderstanding
You know what? I'm not even going to go into it. I was going to explain in detail the whole comedy of errors of who missed who and who didn't tell who what, but it's just not worth it. It all worked out in the end.

The Hike

On day three we planned to hike the trail down to Indian Gardens or to the point that overlooks the river depending on how tired everyone got. So at about 2 we got together and packed up sandwiches, loads of water and a bunch of trail mix and set off. As we were going down we passed people on their way back up. Some said hello, some asked us about how long it took us to get where we were from the top. Then there were the people that really made you wonder "what were they thinking?" There was an elderly woman coming up with what looked like her daughter and granddaughter. She was wearing wedge thongs. You know flipflops with the thick soles? Further down past the first rest station we passed another girl coming up. She looked about 14-15. She was wearing a tank top, skirt and flip-flops. Yes really a SKIRT and FLIPFLOPS.

As we went down we also passed a good number of guides that filled us in on all the information they knew and each one tried to think of a different way to scare us. "If you haven't already used the toilets your in the first stage of de-hydration." "If you stay in the canyon after dark they can't rescue until morning because there's no way for them to see in the helicopter at night."

Every mile and a half there's a rest station where you can refill on water and use the bathroom. Well the second reststop doesn't have a bathroom but the other 2 do. When we stopped at the first station I had to ermmm use the facilities. Let me tell you they STANK. UGH I don't think I'd ever smelled anything so bad (at least to that point, worse comes later). And at some point during the stop Andy's dad said something about "Death begins in the bowels", which I missed but it came back later.


Another thing I noticed as we walked down were how many different footprints there were of people that had been down and up before me. I just made me think of how many people come to see this place and you don't even really realize it since my footprints wiped out someone else's that had been there before. Just like someone else would wipe out my footprints after I'd gone. Ok maybe it's not as deep and philosophical as I had originally thought, but for some reason that day it really struck me.

Puddles of Pee

Andy's mom had picked up a pair of walkie-talkies when we stopped by the mall that had a range of two-miles between them. The original thought came when we were driving two cars out to the meteor crater. The plan had been for us all to go the Petrified Forest and hit the crater on the way back to the canyon. Once we hit the exit signs for the crater though, those of us in the second car had had enough driving and knew we wanted to stop at the crater first. How to convey this to the first car though? With a lot of light flashing and turn signals, we made it just fine. But imagine if we'd had some way to talk to the folks in the other car....

Thus the purchase, and the little things came in handy since some of our group was much more young and spry they head down at their own pace while us not so nimble folks (Ok I mean me specifically) took it slower. The radios were great to talk between the two sets to find out they were already at the next rest station and we had about 15-20 minutes to go (Andy was sweet and stayed with slow little me the whole way down).

You've all see the donkey trips that go in and out of the canyon right? Well donkeys make messes just as you expect them to. So once in a while we'd hit little pockets of donkey piles. They were pretty smelly. At least I thought they were...until we came to our first patch of donkey pee. That stuff reeked. It made you want to gag. And the worst part was it would come in little bursts, so there weren't piles that you could pass after a few feet. There would be yards you would have to walk to get away from the smell.

Once again the walkie-talkies came in handy. All of a sudden we hear *UGH* from Kit on the other end. *What's the matter?* *Puddles of pee!* What? What could he mean? About 15 minutes later we found out. Every donkey ever to walk the Grand Canyon had decided to stop and take a whiz in the exact same spot. Just around the corner of a switchback. So there were stairs full. And it dribbled down the path in a little stinking waterfall type formation. We could smell it from the path above, but that was nothing to the real thing. WOW, I don't know what they feed those animals but it's potent.

Going Down?

At the second rest station as I mentioned there was no restroom. So a couple of the guys went off the path to "explore the local flora." And after refilling on water and chowing down on some dried fruit we were back off again.

It's amazing how friendly people on the trail were. I guess in that situation you try to look out for others, since it's a good long way to any sort of humanity. Most people we passed just said hello. It reminded me of my orientation at college. They said "Say hello to people on the path. We're a small school so chances are you'll know the person within a week anyway. If you don't say hello people will think you're mean." That's sort of how I felt while we were walking down the path. Say hello to everyone.

One couple we passed though went a little above and beyond. "Hello? You guys going down?" As we passed them we just smiled and said yes. Once we were out of earshot though, Andy's mom turned to us and said "No, we're trying to go up. We're just really bad at it." Laughter peeled throughout the canyon.

Doe a Deer a Female Deer
Once we got to Indian Gardens we stopped, used the facilities, and ate dinner. Turkey and cheese sandwiches, trail mix, salty snacks (chips) and water. It was the best meal I think I've ever eaten. Everything tasted SO good. After we'd eaten and rested the friends we'd met up with (who were coincidently, the photographer from our wedding and his daughter) decided to turn around and head back up the trail. Andy, his dad and brothers decided to head the last mile and a half out to the point. Mom and I decided to stay put. In the nice shade, on the nice benches, with our feet nicely up. We kept one walkie-talkie they kept the other. Just as they were out of sight *a deer. come see*

So we hopped up ran around the corner and wham, there right in front of us was a mule deer. Eating her dinner. Ignoring us completely. They took off and we headed back to the benches. There was a couple also at the site that had been all the way down to Phanton Ranch and the river that morning and were on their way back up. Everything all the guides tell you not to do. They said is was so hot on the floor of the canyon that once they reached the river the sat in it for a couple of hours. They seemed to be in very good spirits though if a bit tired. They mentioned that someone else in their group had had to be airlifted out, and she asked how much it cost to leave in the helicopter. $2800, per person. That's an expensive ride.

While we were resting I discovered a water spigot that felt SO good if you rinsed of your arms and legs. I was really tempted to take my shoes off and put my sore feet in, but then was afraid I'd never want to put them back on again. After about an hour and a half some deer started running around on the hills close to where we were. About 15 minutes later we got a call *Penn should be there soon* As we were waiting a deer came through the site just munching slowly. Walking around. As Penn came around the corner I tried to point to the deer to let him know it was there. Obviously not wanting to yell "HEY LOOK A DEER!" As he came closer the deer just hung out. Poking around not really caring that people were there. If fact it only left when I sneezed. Either scared or not wanting to catch something.

Are we there yet?

Going back up was very different. It was HARD. It HURT. I'm glad I can say I've done it but I won't do it again for a long long long long time. We all reached the first rest station together. Then after that we split back up into two groups. The fast and the weary. They would radio back down to us and let us know where they were and we would let them know where we were. At one point they stopped at a "stone ampitheatre" to rest. After about 15 minutes we got to it. We radio-ed ahead and told where we were. The response *already?* We took frequent rest stops on the way back. I would feel completely rejuvenated after about 5 minutes and felt like we'd been there a really long time. Until we started walking again. Then the break wasn't nearly long enough. The problem was everything hurt but I wasn't really tired. I was wide awake and yet exhausted at the same time. It was an odd sensation.

Death Begins in the Bowels

As we kept walking and getting more and more sore we came to a point where we had to sit down. And some of us to lay down. Andy and his mom both promptly laid down in the dirt and propped their feet up on rocks. His dad and I refused. One I didn't really want to get covered any more in dirt than I already was. And if I laid down I was afraid I'd never get back up. About this point we got another radio from the fast boys *we're at the first rest station* we responded *we're laying in the dirt* the answer *death begins in the bowels*

It was too funny. We were all punchy. Lying in the dirt became hysterical and death starting in the bowels was just too odd a concept not to laugh at.

Pee - Clean - Bed

As we went on we reaced the REAL stone ampitheatre. The one we'd been at looked exactly the same, it was just a mile lower than we'd expected. I groaned internally. That meant we still had a long way to go. We kept on hiking. Remember if you will that from the top where the hotel was to the bottom where we just were is over 3000 vertifcal feet. The top of the canyon is higher than Denver, meaning the air is rather thin. Like I said, this won't be repeated for a long time. After a while we did finally reach the first rest stop. The bathrooms still smelled, but not as bad as donkey pee. And after that we trudged. I got into my habit of reapeating something in my head to keep a rythym, so I wouldn't stop. I used to do this on endurance swims. Repeating songs in my head, or a mantra of 1-2 20 to do, 1-2 19 to do etc. The ants go marching one by one was a personal favorite. Since it could be varied with my pace and also helped me keep track of how many lengths I'd done. You swimmers out there know what I'm tlaking about! Don't look at me like I'm crazy.

Anyway, the mantra repeated for that last mile and a half was Pee-Clean-Bed. All the things I wanted to do. I had to pee, I wanted to shower, I wanted to lie down. Each step I took meant I was that much closer. The trail between the switchbacks kept getting longer and longer. Which was great since it meant we were closer to the top, but since I was in the lead I was looking to find a resting place just around the next switchback which never seemed to come. Finally we couldn't take it any longer and sat down for a break. I couldn't take part one of my mantra any more and went off to "discover local flora". After a few more minutes of resting we started off again only to discover the next switchback about 5 minutes away. The first tunnel came into view about 15 minutes after that. Cheering peeled through the canyon.

As we got close to the top of the trail a guide was coming down. He was looking for a man named Brian who was alone, hurt and possibly de-hydrated. We had passed a guy lying by the side of the trail. Was aksed if he was ok and he said he was fine. We didn't question it since hadn't we just been lying in the dirt? We told the guide we suspected that was Brian and where we'd seen him. I hope he was found and is ok.

At last

We came finally to the first tunnel at which point Mom rallied us all with "Come on guys Grandma walked down and back up this far." The end was in sight. As we got to the top of the trail another deer was sitting there. Munching, hanging out, looking at us all like we were nuts. Maybe we were. Just a few more feet to the room. Having the room close the rim was nicer for more than just the view.

AHHHHH. The shower. The water turned red from the dust all over me. And felt SO good. I shoved Andy off the bed and into the bathroom and fell completely and utterly asleep.
The Vacation - Day 2

Sunrise & Is that Legal?

Being on East coast time still the next morning, I was wide awake at about quarter till 4. Yes in the AM. Some folks had mentioned getting up to see the sun rise at about 5:30 so I figured I had plenty of time to see it. But here's the problem. It was pitch black. I couldn't turn on a light and read for fear of waking Andy. I couldn't turn on the TV for the same reason. I didn't want to lay back down and sleep for fear of sleeping through the whole thing. What to do....I stumbled through the room and discovered that the backlighting on my phone make a terrific flashlight. It's very BLUE. That entertained me for a little while and at about 4:45 I went outside and sat on the wall trying to see any light. As I was waiting, with my pjs and sweater on (yes, it does get cold there. Just in the mornings.) Andy's dad and brother walked by. So we all sat around waiting for it to get lighter and trying to figure out the best place to view the sunrise. They figured the best place to see it was on the point that you can only get to through the gift shop. The gift shop of course being closed at five in the morning, Dad found a place where the wall was low and the ground was high and went for it. Over the edge, through the bushes, over some rocks, and a horrifying tree branch snap later he was out. Penn took an easier and scarier looking route around the walls and windows of the gift shop. I stood up top and took pictures for a minute and then ran back and woke Andy up. "Sweetie wake up or you'll miss the sunrise. And your family is breaking the law." Waking up a little startled Andy came outside and said "Where are they?" He waved, they waved, then he proceeded to climb down pointing out that there was no sign saying you couldn't. The sun was getting close to popping, and I didn't want to miss it, so I went down the hill too. Got some lovely pictures, and it was fun. By the time we were climbing back out though it was already well on it's way to warm outside.

Spider, Snake, Ladybug, Scorpion!

After breakfast we all set out for a fun filled day, starting with an IMAX movie. Secrets of the Canyon. In which we learned that the Grand Canyon is indeed the secret to world peace. Aside from this groundbreaking news, we also learned about the different types of animals that live in the canyon. Behind us somewhere was a 3 year old girl narrating. OOH a spider. A snake. A catepillar. A this point a millipede came on screen. OOOHH what's that? A ladybug. Then what we thought would be the stumper...a scorpion. Except to our utter amazement we heard...Oh a scorpion! You're not supposed to touch those! We all but died.

Sunglasses, duh!

So after leaving the theatre we all got ready to go out to the Meteor Crater. But as I blinked in the bright sunlight I realized I had sunglasses when I came in and now didn;t have them. I tried running back to the door we came out of. Locked. Up to the front. Long line and no ushers. Ticket counter. No one's turned anything in. Hmmm. I turned around and there was Andy holding my sunglasses. They'd starting letting people into the theatre while I was checking at the ticket booth and he got them from the usher. My hero!

The Quest of a Lifetime

The Meteor Crater is a very cool place. Andy's dad has been promising to take him and his brothers since he was little so this was a long awaited event. The thing is immense. It's also in the MIDDLE of the desert and was very very hot. It was 112 degrees that day and we got there about 1:30. Time for a quick bite at the snack bar and a perusal of the gift shop. The last tour of the day started at 2:15 and off we went.

Gabby the Guide

Our guide around the meteor crater was very enthusiastic. She liked the crater. I would even venture to say that she loved the crater. And she knew her schtick and knew it well. We learned all about the crater, conjectures on how it was made. The scorpions that lived just off the edge of the clearly marked path. The movies that were filmed there. The plots of the movies that were filmed there. Did I mention there was no shade and it was about 112?

The Mall

On the way back we decided to split up. Half of us went back towards the canyon with plans to pick up supplies for our hike the next day, the rest went on to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. I was in the group that went back so you'll have to check out Andy's page for description and pictures of the rocks that used to be trees. On the way back to the canyon we stopped at THE mall in Flagstaff to pick up various sundries, including a book for me to devour on the way back home. While I was there it really struck me how much alike things are all over America. I mean sure you've got your regional chains, damned if I could find a Piggly Wiggly any where north of the Mason-Dixon line. But over all stuff is pretty much alike, except for the local weather and scenery. I still haven't figured out whether this is comforting or very very depressing.

Food for me?

When we got back I decided to finish off my first book and dig into my second and wait until Andy got back so we could eat dinner together. At about 8:30 I gave up since my stomach thought it was 11:30 PM anyway. But what to eat? I didn't want to buy the $30 snacks at the gift shop and I didn't want to go to the restaurant and sit alone. Hmmmm. The happy compromise seemed the bar since I knew they served appetizers, but could I get them to go? Would that be gauche? Especially since I didn't want anything alcoholic as well? I thought I'd give it a try and at worst I'd sit at the bar alone eating. When I got there it was pretty much empty and I checked with the bar-tender if I could get the appetizers to go. No problem! Of course the ones I wanted, garlic bread and spinach-artichoke dip involved messy liquids. Hmmmmm. The bar-tender went back into the kitchen and 5 minutes later showed up with two boxes and two large dixie cups with lids. Hurrah! I love this place!
The vacation Day 1

Jamaican Woman

So we get to the airport bright and early only to discover a massive line at the ticket counter. Wrapping all the way around the corner. Whoa. This was my first flight anywhere since September 11th and I knew things would be slower. I just didn't realize they'd be this much slower. As we wound our way around the corner and into the Disneyworld-esque ropes we noticed the woman in line in front of us. She wasn't really paying very close attention to anything. And after about 10 minutes a man and another woman came up to her. After pleasantries and hugs the second woman left leaving the man in line with his suitcase and the original woman. After the man got in line the woman ceased to care about her luggage at all. She paid no attention to it, expecting the man to make sure it followed her towards the ticket counter. A couple of times they were a good 20 feet ahead of her bag, before he came back to pull it forward. Mind boggling. She'd been perfectly capable of pulling it before he got there, and it had wheels so it wasn't hard to move or anything. The funny part...she was picked for a spot security inspection before we boarded the plane. Serves her right for not pulling her own bag if you ask me.

The Puerto Rican Dandies

The other funny folks we saw in line were heading to Puerto Rico. These two men could only be called "dandies." Both were well groomed, well tanned, and rather TOO well dressed. They both had on the most hideous "fashionable" shoes I'd ever seen. Not to mention a cartload of luggage. They must've gone up to NY for one hell of a shopping trip. Each had two big bags, a rolling carry-on a piece, a hanging clothes bag a piece, and assorted plastic shopping bags. And one had, I kid you not, a purse. Not a "Friends" Joey, man-purse kind of thing. A small black, rhinestone studded, handbag. Actually it could have been one of those fanny packs and he was just carrying it over his shoulder. But there was no mistaking the rhinestones. Also, they seemed to keep getting shuttled all over the ticket counter area. I'm not sure if it was where they were going, or the fact that they had SO many bags, or that maybe they didn't speak English (I only ever heard them speak Spanish). But they were entertaining to watch as they got shifted around.

Dallas Fort Worth and the TrAAin

After getting on board our flight, and enjoying our lovely airplane meal (we ordered Kosher so we'd get the good food) we landed for our plane change in Texas. I was tired of sitting, so I suggested we walk to our gate instead of taking the TrAAin, the American Airlines tram. So we took off, and let me say right now that the airport at Dallas is freaking HUGE. After about 6-7 minutes of walking I wished we had taken the TrAAin (and yes we said it like it's spelled, every time we saw a sign) once we got to our gate and saw that only drinks would be served on the flight, Andy hopped in line for McDonalds. While I paced nervously between him and our already boarding flight. We made it, no worries, and we had McDonalds to boot.

Ahhh Las Vegas...Where are the trees?

We landed in Las Vegas after an uneventful flight, and started going through the process of picking up bags rental cars etc. The one thing I kept wondering though, looking out the airport windows was Where are all the trees? Where's the grass? Is there anything green out here? Can you tell I've never been to the desert before? It was astounding to me that there were no large trees of any kind, excluding the occassional palm, and that people enjoyed living here were there weren't green things.

Thrifty Car Rental is Cool

After getting the luggage we went to find our rental car. Upon arriving at the Thrifty counter we saw a sign that said "Blue Chip Members, take bus to lot" Andy and I looked at each other. You mean we don't have to wait in this line? He went up to the counter to double-check and found out sure enough we should head straight out to the bus. COOL! After we got to the Thrifty lot Andy went in and waited at the semi-short line only to find out there was a Blue Chip Counter that he could've walked right up to. COOL again! After a quick check in we got the keys to our car, a bright red Neon. We checked it over for chips and dings, the way you check a dorm room before signing the paper. THOROUGHLY. And we were off!

Go Hampster Go!

For all those curious about what a Dodge Neon drives drives like a hampster powered tin can. But there were plenty of cupholders! Ever notice that all American cars are loaded with cupholders? In any case, it wasn't a bad car but I will personally never buy one.

Dam! That's big! And Art-Deco-y too

After we started out and looked at the directions we realized that driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon would not be the 3 hour drive we'd imagined. But 5 and a half hours instead. Ah well, what else did we have to do. We're on vacation right? We reached the Hoover Dam after winding through a neighborhood, I swear that's the way the signs told us to go. Never mind we didn't go back through the neighborhood when we went back to Vegas. In any case, the dam was huge beyond imagination. I've seen specials about it, seen it in movies etc. But I just had no idea it was so tall. I also didn't realize it's a relatively short distance across. Which as Andy pointed out made sense. Why would they build a dam on the widest part of the river? Plus all the buildings and clocks on the dam were Art Deco, and fun to look at.

Approaching the Canyon

As we got within about 30 miles of the canyon I started looking for it. I don't know what I was expecting, but I thought something that was THAT big, surely could be seen from 30 miles away. No such luck. We also didn't see any of the wildlife the signs demanded that we watch for while driving.

Summer Staff

We made it finally to the Canyon, and drove for what seemed an eternity (after 5 1/2 hours in a car, 10 minutes seems an eternity when you know your hotel is close) to our hotel. We weren't exactly sure where it was but knew it was on the rim. So we followed the signs and got to it hurrah! Andy dropped me off with the bags and went to park. We were staying at Bright Angel Lodge and were meeting up with Andy's folks, brothers and grandparents, who had all checked in the night before. Andy talked to his mom the night before we left and she had told him jokingly that when they had arrived his brother annnouced "Here come the Griswolds" and the girl at the desk didn't really seem to get it. As I approached the desk to check in I noticed that the staff was very...well...young. Checking in the girl started gushing about this and that and filled me in on where to find the "hot Brazilian guys" that were also working at various other lodges. As she chattered, another girl approached and looked at the computer and said "Hey this is the name I check in last night. They said they were the Griswolds."

Each staff member had a name tag with where they were from printed under their name. She was from Australia, and apparently someone had filled her in on who the Griswolds were overnight because she found the whole thing very funny when I checked in. I also asked where she was from in Australia, I couldn't resist since my folks are staying there right now. She was from Brisbane, and when I mentioned my folks were living in Alice Springs she made a face like she'd eaten a lemon and said "OH why why why why???? Hot hot hot hot!!!" this from the girl working at the Grand Canyon during the summer where temperatures each day hit about 110. As I finished checking in the chatty girl asked if I'd like somone to help me with my luggage. I said that's ok my husband will be in in a minute. At which she stared at me for a good 2 minutes, I guess to determine if I was lying. I'm short, so I guess I don't look very old, although a waitress seemed to think so, but that's another day.

Cool room!

We walked around to our cabin and ooohed and ahhhed over the view. We were literally right on the rim. There wasn't much blocking our view from our bed to the great big hole just outside. After cleaning up and semi-unpacking, we met up with the fam, showed off our super cool cabin, took a little walk down the trail and collapsed into bed.
Home again home again

We're back from our trip to the grand Canyon and Vegas. We had a lovely time and I'll be filling in tidbits about our trip as I squeak time in between catching up at work.

Friday, July 19, 2002

Too much stuff

I really do have too much stuff. I go over to my grandmother's once a week and last time I was there I was trying to help her find a shirt. Going through the drawers I didn't realize how many of my old t-shirts and how much swimming "stuff" I'd left behind when I moved out.

I was tempted to pack it all in a bag and get it out of my grandmother's way, until I realized I have 3 closets and an entire room full of stuff that needs to be sorted through, tossed, and reorganized.

Maybe someday I'll get motivated to see what's actually in there and clean it all out. But the task always seems so daunting, and I'm afraid I'll find something that just has to come out and be used and I won't have anywhere to put it.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Ever wonder why....

Change is supposed to be good, but all the best stuff out there has been around "since 1886", or the recipe "hasn't changed since 1792"?

We leave for the Grand Canyon on Saturday, and while I still have stuff to do at work, it's so hard to concentrate knowing in just 48 more hours I'll be on my way. And won't have to work for a week!

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

So now I'm old(er)

Yesterday was my birthday. So I'm a year older. I don't know about wiser.

It was a very nice day. They got me a cake and sang to me at the office. Reasonably well actually. You know when you glom a group of random people together you usually get 8 keys and 10 paces of "Happy Birthday" but they stayed together and blended well. I was impressed.

Then I came home and Andy cooked dinner for me. Grilled chicken topped with a garlic basil butter. YUMM! And then we settled in and watched "The Royal Tennebaums."

This was a weird movie. It was sort of like the book I read a while back In the House of the Spirits. When I saw the previews I thought it would be a little more funny haha, not funny weird. Don't get me wrong they were some funny bits and the actors were terrific actors. I think my favorite was Bill Murray's line " You don't love me any more do you? Well I just want to die." Said with a completely straight face in a very monotone way as he picks up a cookie and changes his mind about eating it.

But Bill Murray always cracks me up. The rest of the movie was strange, a bit dark, and not filled with as many sarcastic and witty remarks as I would've wanted to lighten things up. Not a bad movie over all. But I don't think I need to see it again.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Ok, I confess...

I like old movies. And old musicals. I know they're corny, but I just don't ever seem to get tired of them. I could watch Gigi and Showboat over and over again and still be happy to see them again.

I don't know what it is about them. Maybe because the plots are so simple, there easy to follow and you know everything will work out happily at the end. Maybe it's because there from a more wholesome era when the greatest thing in the world was to have a lot of people dressed in beautiful clothes and stand there and sing.

Who knows...but I still like them.

Friday, July 12, 2002

SQRRR = Screwy

Does anyone else remember this method of learning? It was drilled into my head in 5th and 6th grade. And I hated it. When I read something I like to read it thoroughly the first time. If I don't understand something I'll look it up as I go along.

The SQRRR method, standing for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review has altered my brain. I understand teaching kids how to scan quickly for information and then look at that section in more detail. That's a good concept. But the re-reading, and the re-reading, and the re-reading of this method is what killed me. I understood everything the first time. Why do I need to go through it again and again? So I basically skipped that part and learned how to scan.

This is where the problems have come in later in life. Just this week I've scanned documents looking for key information and have mis-read words.

For example:
Scanning an insurance bill instead of reading that the company does not cover floods and other related "perils", I read and other related "penis." I had to look at that thing for about 3 minutes before I realized what it really said.

Then today, scanning for addresses online I read 1 Finsbury "Cross" instead of One Finsbury "Circus"

This tends to happen to me alot making me wonder if this method hasn't made me somewhat dyslexic. Are there any other victims out there?

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Has the world gone mad?

America West removed a passenger from a flight after the woman questioned the attendants about the pilot's sobriety. The woman was removed because she was considered a security threat.

So let me get this straight...This airline had two pilots that were attempting to fly drunk. The airline fired the two pilots. A few weeks later a woman boards a plane and cracks a joke about a very public situation. The paying passenger is then removed because she is considered a safety risk??????


Monday, July 08, 2002

More in Laura's sleep saga

I've been doing weird things in my sleep again lately. The other night was the first time in a long while that I actually sleepwalked. Andy was up watching TV and the dog was scratching and I apparently got up out of bed, mumbled something and pointed to something in the air between the dog and the TV. Andy asked what the matter was, I shook my head and climbed back in bed and went back to sleep. Very strange.

As always I don't ever remember any of it. Andy usually fills me in the next day. Here's our IM conversation about what happened last night:

Andy: you talked funny last night
Me: I did?
Me: I had a really weird dream
Andy: you were dreaming about "silly little vegetables" that were dancing and singing
Me: must've been thinking about veggie tales or something
Me: too funny
Andy: what dream did you remember?
Me: it was right before I woke up
Me: I was going to swim practice (I used to be on several swim teams for those of you who don't know me)
Me: but the pool wound up being closed
Me: and so the team left but I stuck around and ran into Lee (best friend from High School)
Me: so then he and I started talking and suddenly we were on top of this HUGE rock
Me: looked like Ayers rock
Me: and Marcus was there (Marcus is a co-worker of Andy's)
Andy: ?
Me: and then he and Lee started talking and were ignoring me
Me: so I decided to jump off the rock into the ocean
Me: and conveniently the rock had a diving board attached to it
Me: once I jumped they did too
Me: and we decided to do it again
Me: but the second time I jumped I got that "falling" feeling and woke up
Andy: you weird
I'm so behind

Had a lovely long weekend once I left work on Friday. I should've blogged then...I was really bored, but I got caught up in some intense playing of Diamond Mine instead. That's one addictive game I tell you!

So aside from that we had a very restful weekend. We went to Georgetown on Thursday and picked up my birthday present...a new rug from, you guessed it, Restoration Hardware! It goes beautifully in our living room and it actually looks like a real living room now.

On Friday, I went in to work while Andy got to sleep, lucky dog! But I left early and came home to wait with him on my other birthday present, this one from my Dad. A delivery from you guessed it again Restoration Hardware. Really, they're going to start taking catalog pictures from our house.

The present from my dad was funny actually, he had ordered it from the catalog and was having it sent since my folks are currently living in Alice Springs. When the store called to schedule delivery, I'd already gotten a heads up from my grandmother so it wasn't a total shock. The total shock was when the folks at the warehouse wouldn't tell me what was being sent! I explained the situation when I called them and they said "If it's a surprise birthday present why do you want me to tell you? I'm not telling you now, you shouldn't have told me it was a birthday present." So it stayed a surprise until Friday when the truck showed up.

It turned out to be a lovely little wine rack that we had been eyeing for a while but just hadn't it made it onto the "we must buy this now" list. It made a beautiful addition to our dining room and Saturday we went out and bought some wine to fill it up with, since we only had one bottle. And it wasn't really wine it's more like sherry. It actually made me think of that scene from Wayne's World....A gun rack. What would I do with a gun rack? I don't even own A gun. Let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.

Guess we've got to start drinking more, or having more people over to help us drink some wine, now that we have a place to put it.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Ever Wonder Why....

Chicken is so bland by itself and yet chicken stock adds so much flavor to other dishes?
Stupidity reigns supreme

I was just checking out this site Dumb Laws and laughing. So many old laws that make you wonder how on earth they ever got published in the first place. Like one saying that no more than 8 women can live in a house because that constitutes a brothel? That would mean every female dorm and sorority would be considered....wait a minute....there might be something to that.

So here's the dumb thing I did today. Yesterday I was beating myself up for not sticking my diet and exercise routine and was indulging in a very delicious Dark Chocolate Milky Way bar. Looking at the calories I discovered it had the same amount as a SlimFast shake, 220. So this morning I went to the grocery store, stocked up on SlimFast and saw the little SlimFast nutrition bars. I grabbed two thinking they'd be a good substitute for my Milky Way cravings.

I just finished eating one and looked at the package to see what goodness I'd just put into myself. 220 calories. Now I liked the way they taste, but I could've eaten a friggin' Milky Way!

Monday, July 01, 2002

Job Postings

I love reading job postings. They're always so full of BS. Some you can read and know that really isn't the kind of job anyone in their right mind would want, so they had to give it a nice name. Take this one for example:


Basic Functions: Maintains an effective and expeditious program to ensure timely and complete deliveries of merchandise from vendors. Takes corrective action on delayed items.

1. Does regular follow-up to assure firm delivery dates.
2. Maintains complete records of expediting effort in accordance with prescribed procedures and practices for review by the Director of Inventory Control.
3. Informs the Director of Inventory Control and buyers of changes in delivery and of any problems that might prevent timely delivery of merchandise.
4. Performs such other duties as the Director of Inventory Control may deem necessary.

Knowledge & Skills:
1. Experience in any activity involving expediting.
2. Ability to work well under pressure.
3. Ability to do thorough research.
4. Ability to handle more than one task at a time.
5. Good communication skills.
6. Ability to quickly make informed decisions and to follow through to make sure they are implemented.

So in other words...a Professional Harrasser. I really don't think I'd want the job of being the company nagger. Or would want to work at a company where they actuallly need to hire a special person just to make sure their work gets done.