Monthly Archives: January 2011

31 days, 31 posts

And it is the last day of January (full disclosure: it’s not the last day yet at the very moment I am writing this, because I am writing this days in advance – I love this schedule feature!)

But this will post on the last day of January. 31 days, 31 posts. If only I kept all of my new year’s resolutions until the end of January. So many haven’t even started yet…are they even considered resolutions if they begin in March? Or September?

In the meantime, on to February!

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Slow Food

About a year ago I discovered an organization called Slow Food.

‘Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.’  — courtesy of slowfood.com

I tried to find a Slow Food group during my last international trip but there was not an organized group in Croatia at that time.

For my upcoming trip to Argentina, I found many Slow Food groups throughout the country. I chose to email just three members based in three different cities (actually one city and two towns) that I will be visiting, including Uruguay.

Not a few hours after I sent the emails, the woman who heads up the organization in Uruguay, told me there were no Slow Food events over the time period, as it is summer vacation. However, she told me that I could come and visit her and her farm and I would be most welcome. She also recommended a local entrepreneur who is part of Slow Food who runs a restaurant in the town we are planning on visiting.

I looked at her location on the map, and for the day trip, we just wouldn’t have time to spend 4 hours each way traveling to visit her. But, what a lovely woman to invite a perfect stranger into her home for a day. And for the local restaurant, she even gave me the website and the owners name. I found out a few days ago that Uruguay leads South America in cheese consumption. The restaurant’s website is not in English so I can only partially translate. But, it has an entire page dedicated to cheese, and there is a ribbon noting an award. I think we’ve got to stop by!


Nodding Off

I found myself in a conundrum on the bus this week. The guy next to me fell asleep AND was in that moment where he made the movement in that deep sleep, to lean to his right. I was on his right.  Um? I don’t know you, you are not going to lay your head on me.

I moved my left arm in a chicken dance kind of movement to try and wake him. It worked.


Challenging Birthday

Today, one of my oldest friends celebrates her birthday. I will never forget that call from her I received after school 25 years ago. When I got on the phone, she was sobbing because the Challenger blew up on her birthday, and she saw it.  I don’t remember any other details of the call and I don’t remember watching the takeoff. (I am sure I did because I was in school that day.) I just remember her call.

Take a moment to remember those who lost their lives 25 years ago today.


Buggery part two – phew!

Success.

Received the report from Risk Management, confirming there were no bed bugs in the room.

As I say, rules are made to be broken. Clearly, their “policy” about not sending the report is a flexible one. Am certain my letter to the CEO helped get me that report. Not as quickly as I would have liked but 8 days is not so bad. 

Power for the people!

Inspection Report


Buggery part 1 – ewww

The players are 1) CEO, 2) GM of the hotel who will be identified as X and 3) Risk Management at Corporate who will be identified as Y.
Mr. CEO,
I checked into the La Quinta Inn Ft. Lauderdale Cypress Creek location on the evening of Thursday, January 13 and checked out on Monday, January 17. I had discovered bites on my arms, neck and legs throughout my stay.
Monday morning: I had asked X, the General Manager, if there had been any reports of bed bugs in the hotel as I was feeling quite itchy and had the bites to prove it.
X assured me that she would report the incident to Risk Management as well as have an independent exterminator come and check our room, number 129. She told me they usually come within the day and I asked her to call me so that I could have the results before entering my own home, as I do know the price of getting rid of bed bugs once they park themselves is very high, both financially and emotionally. I also asked her to tell me either way so I could know for sure. She told me she would, after all, she said and I quote, I am not running a shady operation.
After leaving the hotel, I called a friend of mine who has had a very long career in the hotel industry and she told me they would not get an exterminator in for this situation but they would tell the guest that they did.
My friend told me that they, meaning the hotel staff, would themselves do an initial search and if their naked eyes did not see anything, they would not call in an exterminator.
This worries me on so many levels but she told me to ensure I get the exterminator’s report from the hotel to ensure that they had been called, had been there, and had done a thorough investigation.
Monday @ 3 pm: I called X  for a status of the investigation and she told me that the search had not found anything alive. I apologize if this is not the right wording but regardless, the wording she used concerned me, as she never said that the company did not find anything.
I do recall the word “not alive” but this does not bode well for me, and rightfully so.
Not to mention that the exterminator was there within hours. If that’s the case, that is some great customer service, but how many times do we get same day service?  At this time I asked for a copy of the report (per my friend’s inside the hotel industry information) and X told me that she would ask risk management if that would be fine to do, and if it was, she could send it to me. Alternatively, she told me, risk management would contact me directly.
Tuesday @ 12.30 pm: I received a voicemail from X  telling me that risk management would not allow the report to be sent to me. Now THAT seems shady.

Tuesday @ 3.15 pm: I returned X’s call and left her a voicemail.

Tuesday @ 8.00pm: I tried calling X again, but learned that she had left for the evening.
Wednesday: Had played phone tag with Y in your corporate office all day.
Thursday (today): I have since tried calling her twice this morning, leaving one voicemail.
This has been over 72 hours since I spoke with X at the hotel. I am sick of the lack of answers and phone tag from a national chain. I simply want the document that has the results from the independent exterminator. I do not think this is an off the wall request.
I travel a lot and know the risks of staying in a hotel. It has been luck that I have not had a problem, yet. Quite understandably I am upset with the lack of information I am receiving. I think it is so unprofessional that I cannot even believe I have to write this letter essentially begging for this report.
I have since gone home, and I have washed everything and I pray to G-D that I have not brought bed bugs from your hotel into my home. All I want is to get the report from a reputable exterminator.
I am a marketer by trade and I am aghast that I cannot receive the report. I don’t understand why it is under lock and key, or why this is so difficult to get from your company.
I believe there are two answers: 1 – there is no report, or 2 – the report found some disgusting things. We’ve all seen the news reports on how gross hotel rooms are, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
I’d like you to tell me what I should do next in this situation. I look forward to your response. Hopefully you are as appalled as I am.
Regards,

Oprah’s Bombshell

Oprah has a half-sister. I didn’t catch the whole story but I saw bits and pieces of the story on several morning news shows. Good for her! How many times over the years has she had one of those stories on her own show? And now, she’s one of those stories.

Very nice of Patricia, the long-lost sister, not to send the story to the tabloids before reaching out to Oprah herself. It shows a lot of class. And it seems that by doing so she was in Oprah’s good graces before they even met. She said this which shows a lot of class by both women.

“When I heard this about you, I said regardless, I didn’t know if it was true or not true that you are my sister, I had to meet you because I wanted to meet someone who had that type of character,” Winfrey said. “So thank you.”

Nice story.