January 21st, 2017. I have been in the hospital for the last 7 days. For the first 5 days I have been in a single bed, with a mattress that really needs replacing. I was on lock down. Lock down meaning that I could not get out of that bed and couldn’t even swing my legs over the side without a piercing siren sounding and every nurse on the floor comes running. Let me say here and now that I was not admitted because I was on my death bed. I was admitted because I was dehydrated, constipated, had low blood pressure and dizziness (there are those that say that’s my normal condition, however…) so, since I was not brain dead (the jury is still on that one too,…) and had none of toys with me, I was forced to spend my time thinking. Unlike Nancy, whose mind never stops, mine is on “ off” until something hits the “on” button. That is not to say that even when sitting with a group, I can be staring at something, a painting, a garbage can and although there is a part of my brain that recognizes the garbage can or the painting and knows what they are but there is absolutely no thoughts going on.
Here I am, in bed that I can’t get out of, in a hospital room that is magnificently decorated ( if you can believe that), constipated and with no toys …. And therefor being forced to think. Not a pleasant situation.
By no toys, I mean I had my phone and tablet, but no chargers. And both were only half charged. So added to reasons for being admitted to a hospital, I also had the angst and worry of running out of battery.
My toys include my portable DVD player, with charger, my Charlie Chan series of movies, one of my ledgers, and about six different pens, ( I have to have the right pen for that moment), my phone, my tablet and chargers, some memory sticks, and my book with my passwords in it.
Now, understand I never go anywhere overnight with out my toys. And even if I go somewhere for more than 5 hours I take at least half of them, you never know…..
Nan got up out of her sick bed and brought me one charger. Why not both? that’s another story. Out of desperation I called my friend Michael who has a key to our house and asked him to get my phone charger, he did.
So, I had enough to keep me going for 2 days. Let me mention here they have a type of basic cable here that has none of the shows I watch.
So from day 3 to today I have been forced to spend a considerable time thinking. I’ve fixed the woes of the world, Googled everything I was able to think of, I now have an enormous amount of useless information in my brain, looked over my life, what I’m doing now what I want to do. Had a chance to soul search.
I’m going to find a class on how to use Pinterest and eBay to the fullest. I’m returning to my Charlie Chan chat room, I’m continuing to teach my all my jewelry making classes, Amazon has a buy back department I’m looking into.
There is one thing that after much thought I’ve decided to stop doing. AND THAT IS ….. THIS BLOG!. I’ve been writing something like this – news from normandie – hello world, normandie here, whatever works and more for over 35 years and poetry and short stories for many, many years before that. Obviously, I like to write, I’m still going to write for tripadvisor and other review sites. But, since I’ve been sitting here delving into areas I don’t usually have time for, I finally got out of desperation looking at all the things offered by WordPress. One of them is “stats” and it became blatantly clear that I had severely decreasing readers. As a matter of fact even the people I was sending this to were no longer reading it.
Now, you have to understand that I’m not crushed about this, but, I am certainly not happy either, but as I always say to the new people who come to my jewelry classes and that is “ this may become something you really enjoy, and you’ll come back, or it maybe a one time deal for you ( you enjoy it, but once is enough) and even those of you who come back over and over may stop coming. That’s okay, not everything is for everybody and people likes change. I guess that’s what’s happened here. That’s just the way it is.
I’ve decided to attach a blog I wrote while Nan and I were on vacation some months ago. It’s called “gathered greens” and Nan and I though it was humorous while we were going through it.
As George Burns would say “ say goodnight, Gracie”
And I certainly couldn’t say so long without a quote from Jimmy buffet
“ if a hurricane doesn’t leave you dead. It will make you strong. breathe in…breathe out….MOVE ON!”
Whatever works…this time about…Normandie & the “gathered” greens!
Nan & I are back on the timeshare circuit. What that means is…we are going to the timeshare talks we are invited to.
This is how it works…when you already own a timeshare or have gone to a “timeshare talk” previously, you somehow get on the ‘list’. And once you’re on the list you get calls with various offers if you are willing to sit through a 90 minute talk where they try to sell you a timeshare. We are old hands at this since we have been to maybe 200 of these talks over the last 30 years. Since this is a sales pitch, you are offered various incentives to go. We have gotten, money, sometimes up to $200 , wine, cruise vacations, flights, gas cards, dinners, (when we were in Ixtapa, Mexico many years ago we were low on money, yet we ate in the very best restaurants every night. We would go to a talk, get cash and 2 dinner tickets for the best restaurants and that’s what we lived on for 2 weeks. Actually, it became a game, the people who sign you up for the tour are called OPC’s [outside public consultants, I was one once] they get paid a certain amount of money when they sign you up and you show for the tour. The OPC’S in Ixtapa loved us because we signed up for all the tours and actually showed up. After a few days they knew us so well, that when they saw us walking down a street, they would run after us, saying we got a new tour for you. They loved us and we loved them. Benefits on both sides…we were there for a month!).
Now, in the states it’s usually a little different, you get a phone call and are offered anywhere from a 3 to 5 night stay free at a hotel if you will go on the talk. You always are offered other ‘incentives’. They usually come in a package, a 7 day cruise, ¾ nights at another property, a check or debit card for various amounts up to $100, air flights, $100 in gas cards, $100 dining certificates, and sometimes even a watch or luggage or something. This time we paid $99 for the 3 night package and at the end of the talk got back a check for $50, dining tickets for $100 and a 3 night stay at another property whenever we wanted to take it up to a year in advance. So, in essence, this 4 day vacation in a Best Western Hotel, in a room that was ocean front, had a kitchen and a terrace, and a big pool, cost us $49 which we split, so it was $25 each. Not too shabby…
Now, there is a catch, there is always a catch…. The worse gift offered is the gas tickets, we always try to refuse them and get something else. In order to redeem the gas tickets you have to buy up to $10 worth of gas, take the receipt, and fill out the voucher and send it all in and they send you a check. Only one a month, which you promptly forget about after the first month because it’s too much trouble. The second worst gift are the dining coupons. We hadn’t done a tour in sometime and had totally forgotten about asking for something other than the dining tickets. So here we are with $100 worth of dining tickets…
So, we get back to the hotel with our $50 check, our additional 3 night stay and our infamous dining tickets, which we think we will use one of that evening.
Now, you follow the directions, you get the app from the Play Store, download it, put in your email and set up a password and you’re off and running. You read the fine print where they are boasting that they have 20,000 restaurants to choose from NATIONWIDE! 50 states, 20,000 restaurants, you do the math! What does that give you 1 ½ restaurants a county?
We are in Daytona Beach, where there is a restaurant every other store front. Every big chain is represented, every big time, known restaurant is here as well as every mom and pop place you can think of..
I sign in and pull up the list, for restaurants in Daytona Beach and for 25 miles around. There are about 30 listed. WE HAVE NOT HEARD OF ONE OF THEM, and we’ve been coming here and staying and even come just to eat here for 20 years.
Of the 30 or so listed over, OVER 1/3 are Italian, several serve just breakfast, about 8 frozen yogurt/ice cream shops, a long with 1 donut shop (of unknown origin) and one restaurant that boasts that it has OVER 100 KINDS OF BEEF JERKY! The prices range from one $ to $$$$$.
Our coupons are for $25 each. You pick a restaurant, that’s the joke part, you check the right side of the ad to see up to how much they will accept a coupon for and read how much you have to actually spend in order to use your coupon. Usually you have to spend at least double what your coupon is worth. $25 coupon you must spend at least $50. Okay, not terrible, except that Nan and I almost never spend $50 on food and certainly not on beef jerky…or ice cream, not to mention how many donuts you would have to consume for $50.
So, after considerable thought, we decide on Doc Bales’ Grill. It’s in the Hilton hotel, water view, very formal and $$$$.
Breakfast example: 3 (yes, I said three) pancakes with warm, not just room temperature, but WARM maple syrup and choice of bacon, sausage or ham….. $14!
I was glad it was too late for breakfast until I saw dinner.
Appetizers — fried calamari or 1 crab cake $15.00
Entre’ — 2 – 6 oz bone in pork chops …. $21.00
Salmon — (who cares how it was cooked) $24.00
Sides like french fries or mashed potatoes $4 what can you do to a french fry to make it worth $4…?? Unless it was an entire bushel of potatoes!
BUT OUR VERY FAVORITE AND THE REASON WE DIDN’T GO THERE…..was…..( along with the fact that for the first time in our many travels, we didn’t bring anything we thought would be appropriate to wear there…)
And I quote:
1/4 wedge iceberg lettuce, tomatoes ( and I would say you should say that word correctly… it is not just plain tomato…but TO MAA TOES). that’s grape to Maa toes, red onion, crumbled feta and probably an once and a half of buttermilk ranch….
Now, iceberg lettuce is the cheapest lettuce you can buy, right? An entire head is what? maybe $1.49. Their giving you a whole quarter…. grape tomatoes probably a quart are what $ 2.50 and you can expect how many maybe 4/5, at this price they are no longer plain tomatoes, but the classy TO MAA TOES! Crumbled feta maybe 2 oz and buttermilk ranch…(as far as I know, not even homemade).
I figure, on the high side this entire salad costs, what? About three bucks….
BUT, THE VERY, VERY BEST IS:
AND THIS IS VERBATIM. ..
“GATHERED GREEN SALAD”
CONSISTING OF: ‘gathered garden fresh baby greens’, mandarin oranges, sun dried fruit, goat cheese, toasted almonds and citrus vinaigrette.
All this on a classy 6″ salad plate and alllllll for the extraordinary price of $10.00!!!
All the salads were $10.
So, you have 1 crab cake appitizer, 2 six ounce pork chops (6 oz including the bone), a side of mash potato and NO DRINK (DRINK WATER ..TAP WATER – NO ICE THAT’S PROBABLY MORE). NO DESERT and the bill is already $40…. ordering coffee would probably probably put you in the poor house….
I will never, ever look at a salad the same way again… if the greens aren’t “GATHERED” I AIN’T EVER EATING THEM AGAIN! and the dressings aren’t even homemade….
As I said before…..we did NOT eat there…we saw a sign along the road….”EAT AT JOE’S” which is exactly what we did!