Sunday, June 6, 2010

Florida Chick Forever

Well folks, this is it.  In about 2 hours my flight will take off and I'll no longer be a Florida Chick.  I've thought long and hard about this, because as little as I update, I still like to think that my blog keeps me in touch with friends around the country...but it's hard to find a new name.  I've gone through "Confessions of a Great Lakes Girl," and "Confessions of a Midwest Mama," but despite all of my trash talking about Florida, I just can't get past being the original Florida Chick. 

It's late, and my bags are packed, but I thought I'd take just a moment to share with you a few last things that I actually like South Florida, so here they are;

1.  Honking drivers.  True, it's always annoying when someone honks the horn at you when the light has only been green for .01 seconds; however, it is nice when you can lay on the horn when someone else is the one causing the traffic back-up and no one thinks twice about it.  It's the one time in life when you can be mean to someone and get away with it.

2. Ridiculously long red lights.  This is probably why people honk their horns when the light turns green in the first place, but to be honest, as a non-texting driver, it is kind of nice to be able to carry on a 5 minute text conversation while waiting for the light to change.

3. Rude customer service.  Yes, it might take 15 minutes to order coffee at the McDonald's drive through, but really, there is no where else you can tell someone off about their bad service and have them turn a blind eye because they are so used to it...and when it's the drive through, you know they can't spit in your food because you're already holding the bag.

4. Terrible health care.  By the time you've sent all of your insurance documentation to the doctor's office, been cleared by the INS, the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security, it still takes about an hour and a half in the waiting room to see a doctor that you've made an appointment with the week before.  The upside is that by the time all of this has happened, your flu symptoms have passed and you can skip the appointment altogether, saving a $25.00 copay to spend on something more fun.

5. Cockroaches.  Actually, there is no upside.

And that my friends is what Florida is all about.  Well, that and friends, family, flip flops and tank tops.  Beaches, pool parties, and really expensive real estate.  Great football, mediocre baseball, Presidente beer, and great seafood.  The truth is, I'm really a Florida Chick at heart.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Mid-west.  I love knowing my neighbors, low crime rates, and lazy traffic.  I love barbeques, and small-town parades.  But a part of me will always be a flip flop kind of girl.  I haven't yet bought a pair of close-toed shoes...and I'm going to put that off as long as possible.  I'll wear sundresses and tank tops all summer, and enjoy the fall when the leaves start to turn...I know that home is definitely where the heart is...and yes, that is up north...but a heart carries with it all of the love that it has been given, and so much of that has come from Florida - land of Gators, Hurricanes, and yes, even cockroaches.  Florida, you've been wonderful, and therefore, despite my travels or my destinations, I will always remain a Florida Chick.

With lots of love, from,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shear Genius...ish

I've been watching a little too much Shear Genius on Bravo, so much in fact that when I made an appointment for a haircut at a place I had never been before, I automatically envisioned a cool chrome studio salon complete with cherry leather barber chairs.  My vision was complete when I found out that Gino would be doing my hair.  How cool is the name Gino?!  I could just visualize a true hair artist with tattoos up and down his arms, tight jeans, and a boyfriend at home. To top it all off, my haircut, thanks to a gift card was going to be free, believe me, there is not much that I appreciate more in life than a beauty treatment that's free.

I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I couldn't find the salon and the receptionist who I had to call for more clear directions tole me in her thick brooklyn-smoker accent, "it's across from the to the Kwik Stop."  Next to the Kwik Stop?  Who puts a salon next to the Kwik Stop?  However, I found the Kwik Stop...and the salon...and was quickly buzzed in through the intercom...apparently the salon had to put up security measures so frequenters of the Kwik Stop couldn't just wander in.  Eileen, with her Brooklyn crackle was very nice and directed me to a seat next to a pile of magazines to wait for Gino.  I was slightly surprised to see a hair magazine with Debra Messing circa Will and Grace years along with Juliana Margulies circa ER years on the cover...until I realized that the most updated magazine in the building was from 2002, hmmm....

Still none of this fazed me...until Gino walked in.  He was about sixty with a thick Italian accent, a floral print shirt, balding head, thick glasses, and a gold chain.  He definitely did not have cool tattoos...or a boyfriend at home...and he was ready to cut my hair.  Now most of you might think that I, being a true Dominican would make an excuse to forgo the haircut.  See Dominican's are notorious for being picky about their beauty treatments.  Most of my aunts (and don't get me started on my mom) get a weekly blow-dry, monthly cut and color, facial, mani-pedi, eyebrows, and additional necessary waxing whenever needed.  However, also being a true Dutch girl (yes, by marriage...but that counts too) I wasn't about to pass up on a free, I followed Gino, potbelly, gold-chains, and all into the salon chair.

Ok, so Gino, despite his appearance, was a true hair genius.  I mean he did go on and on about how great it was to cut hair in the 70s when the big Farrah Fawcett waves, and dainty Dorothy Hamill bob were popular, but overall, he laughed frequently, shared details with me about his wife and 5 kids, and even did a great scissor technique that he learned in New York back when the shag-cut was at the height of fashion.  Overall it was a great experience, Eileen only had to shoo away one Kwik Stop customer who was hanging around the front door, and I actually found a People magazine from 2007 back by the shampoo sink.  Most of all, I left feeling great...I mean really, where else can you get a haircut and beef jerky all in the same parking lot...and the good news? I still have a $12.00 credit on my spafinder card...maybe next week I'll get my eyebrows done...

Lots of love from a very stylish Florida Chick

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Report Card of Biblical Proportions

When I was Kindergarten we had naptime, and play-in-the-house time, and letter people you can imagine my surprise when on his report card this year Carson came home with actual grades.  Ok, so Kindergarten teachers aren't as callous as to give As and Bs, but they do give Es and Ss - Excellents and Satisfactories.  Apparently, however, they also give Ns...for "not acceptable" or "not cool" or "not as good as the other students"...because that's what Carson came home with last week, an N, in Bible.

I realize that school today is more structured and deliberate than when I was in Kindergarten.  Coloring and puzzles are secondary to the actual reading and writing that is done in the classroom.  Spelling tests have taken the place of letter people, and math problems are actually taught using written numbers...not just red, blue and yellow plastic teddy bears.  Unfortunately, the rigors of Kindergarten assume that parents are available to help their children to succeed in today's classroom, and unfortunately Carson was born into a family that finds the intricacies of The Bachelor more important than the intricacies of Kindergarten studies...he has found this to be devastating.

Carson came home last week distraught about the N that he got in Bible...apparently he hasn't been learning his weekly Bible verse.  I have to say that at first I thought it was fairly funny that he got an N on his report card, until I realized how upset he actually was. Unlike Chris and I who view Kindergarten grades as slightly humorous, Carson was devastated that his perfect GPA was ruined by my inability to tear myself away from reality TV to help him with his homework.  In a moment of weakness, I gave him a huge hug and let him know that the big black N on his report card was actually my fault, not his and that I would try to do better in the future.  I didn't think much about it until later when he was talking to Chris about school.  "Dad," he said, "I got an N in Bible, but it's OK, it's mom's fault." 

I suppose that's the truth of it though, as mom's we tend to carry the weight of our children's its an N in Bible, tomorrow it'll be the missed homerun opportunity because I was yelling too loud or the girl that broke up with him because I was stalking her on Facebook...and in the future, well I suppose that's what therapist are for...

Love from a an "N" level Florida Chick

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Steal...Especially if you Don't Need To!

Yesterday Chris's Blackberry was stolen.  He stopped at the gas station at the corner near his work and left it on the counter.  By the time he pulled out of the gas station, realized he had left it, turned around and came back, someone had already taken it.  My first thought, infinitely optimistic as I am, was whether he might have actually left it somewhere else, or could it have been accidentally pushed behind a roll of Lotto tickets on the counter - unfortunately not, the gas station clerk checked the video camera, and sure enough the guy in line behind Chris was caught on tape picking it up, looking at it for a minute and then slipping it into his pocket...seriously?  Who does this?

It's somewhat violating to know that something of yours has been taken, and it was interesting to note how differently our family took the news.  Kaitlyn's first reaction was to note that this would never have happened in Michigan.  I had to agree, but admitted that it's possible that in Michigan her dad might not be heading to work in the morning either.  I suppose it's a little give and take, get things stolen but have a job, worth it?  Still not sure.

Carson, only the other hand was wondering if we would be able to see the store video on the news.  Down here in SoFla, gas station and convenience store videos are on the news almost nightly due to the high number of shootings and robberies.  He was convinced that the black and white video of the convenience store shooting on channel 10 news this morning was the same one that would show his dad's phone being stolen...fortunately not. 

My biggest issue was just the inconvenience of Chris not having a phone...until I realized exactly what was on there.  Not only were there names and phone numbers, but it occured to me that there are some very distinct photos from the Victoria's Secret dressing room that I sent to Chris when I was in Chicago...hmmm, it seemed like a good idea at the time, now, not so much - suddenly, it's not just the phone that I hope doesn't end up on Craig's List...

Anyway, it would be nice to think that maybe the person who took it was someone who was really down on their luck and really needed a phone, someone who needed to urgently call a family member to pay their last respects, or call in a pledge to a local phone-a-thon benefitting a really good cause.  Of course, it's kind of hard to assume the best in people when they take your stuff without even a second thought, and also because the video tape happened to catch the theif as he drove off without a care in the his Mercedes-Benz.

Lots of love from the Florida Chick

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All the Single Ladies...(All the Single Ladies)

As much as a fan as I am of Beyonce, I'm not sure that she thought through the whole 'Single Ladies' song all that well.  Ok, maybe I'm a bit jaded after almost 13 years of marriage...but after watching The Bachelor last night, I'm thinking "no wonder he didn't put a ring on it."

I haven't really watched the Bachelor since Trista chose Ryan over Charlie and instead have slummed it slightly with The Bachelor's less classy cousin "Rock of Love."   The thing about Rock of Love is that from the beginning you know what to expect...lots of fake blonde hair (and other...stuff), lots of trash talk, lots of booze, and some tattoos and pole dances thrown in for fun.  So you can imagine my surprise when within the first 5 minutes of meeting this season's "good guy" bachelor, one of the contestants says, "you can land your plane on my landing strip anytime."  Ummm...anyone else a little uncomfortable?

Even better than that was the woman who brought the bachelor a sweet little airplane...that was a treasured toy of her son's...who just happens to want to be a pilot...and who apparently can't wait for him to come home with his mom to be his new daddy...yes, she said that...I think she's also the same girl that dressed up as a flight attendant...but it could have been someone else.

But really, the highlight of the night for me was when the girl told the Bachelor to lay on the floor (which he did) and put his legs up (which he did) and then proceeded to put her belly on his feet and play airplane...yes, the game you play with your toddler.  I'm not sure what was more disturbing, the fact that she suggested airplane or the fact that the bachelor went along with it. Food for thought...if you have to play airplane with your potential boyfriend in order to attract him, you're possibly not ready for a serious relationship...but that's just me and my jaded point of view. 

The good news is, if for some reason The Bachelor doesn't work out for these girls, I'm sure Rock of Love will eventually have another season in which they can land their airplane wherever they would like on Brett Michaels...and if that doesn't pan out, there's another new option...Conveyor Belt of Love...because every woman wants their future husband to slide past them like this week's groceries.  In the end, I must say that the one thing reality dating T.V. has done for me is made me grateful for my marriage...the one place where I don't have to try to win my husband's love by playing airplane...or dressing up like a flight attendant...unless I want to...hmmm...

With lots of love from a bachelor-scarred Florida Chick.

Monday, January 4, 2010

You Have Now Reached Customer Service Hell. Welcome.

I'm completely convinced that somewhere just south of the Palm Beach/Broward County line there is a sign that reads "You have now reached customer service hell. Welcome."  Seriously, aside from the beaches and the crime, it's the one thing that South Florida is best known for.  It's fairly common to have a fast food worker that won't make eye contact with you, and forget telling anyone that they made a mistake on the order.  I have been glared at multiple times like it was my fault there were only four nuggets in the six piece meal.

Unfortunately, it's not just fast food chains that suffer from bad surface, after this weekend at Aventura Mall, I wanted to call the store manager and go ballistic about the completely rude salesperson at Express...and then I realized, she was the manager.  Of course.  You have to realize that Aventura is not just a mall.  It's like the gourmet restaurant of malls.  You won't find a Claires or a Charlotte Russe, but you will find a Betsey Johnson that sells one-of-a-kind $700 sundresses, a Michael Kors, a Bloomingdales, and a Macy's.  There is a Gamestop now that I think about it, but it's at the same end as JC Penney and PacSun...the cheap end of the mall.

So this weekend I went shopping at Express with my mom.  To me express is like Starbucks, a little pricey but totally worth it, and I could spend hours just basking in its aroma.  And since it was after Christmas, I had lots of giftcards to use (thank you friends and family) which is annoying since apparently no one wanted to sell me anything.  Seriously, the girl manning the dressing room was completely annoyed when I asked her if I could try some clothes on.  She barely looked at me before unlocking the door and walking away...she didn't even tell me her name!  And then when I needed a new size (smaller - yay!) and hung my jeans over the door in the universal sign of 'hi I need a new size,' I ended up waiting so long that I had to send Kaitlyn around the store searching for what I needed.

To top it all off, as we were checking out the girl in charge of directing people to the right cashier (seriously, wouldn't it be more helpful to get behind a register yourself?) yelled at my mom.  Here's a transcript:

Girl: This is the line for purchases, you have a return
Mom: Ok?
Girl: (shouting) Esta es la linea para...
Mom: I speak English, you don't need to yell at me in Spanish
Girl: Well, I told you three times where to go
Mom: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you correctly
Girl: I'm sorry you didn't hear me...but I told you THREE times. (Seriously...who's this rude??)

Ok, so there's a little bit of bitterness in me because on top of all this, I am embarrassed to admit that at the beginning of December I applied at Express as holiday help.  I had to apply online - apparently that's how they do it these days, and I had to take this online personality test and answer questions like "with 5 being strongly agree and 1 being strongly disagree answer the following question: I am a much harder worker than anyone else that I know."  Seriously, how do I know?  But apparently if you answer 3 for every single question, you don't get the job - which is embarrassing because now that I've seen who works there, I'm wondering how badly I had to fail the personality test in order to not get the job...seriously...I have a college degree...what's wrong with these people!!  I suppose it's all for the best, I didn't really want to work over the holiday anyway...but the discount would've been nice...

Lots of love (with very little to no bitterness) from the Florida Chick

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Freezing my arse off

I'm convinced that 50 degrees in South Florida is worse than 50 degrees anywhere else in the world (ok, it's probably worse in a few places) but seriously 50 in Michigan is almost balmy, it's possibly sweater weather, but you can actually get away with wearing shorts if it's sunny. Down here in SoFla, 50 degrees is the temperature in which people pull out their parkas and down comforters, you will see scarves, mittens, and in a few cases a ski mask (but that could also be someone just holding up the corner liquor store.)

I suppose the difference has something do with preparation. See down here in the south, we are prepared year round for 80 and 90 degree weather. We have stockpiles of tank tops, flip flops and Corona. When the weather dips, we panic. We pull out anything remotely close to warm weather clothing including boots and hats and tend to wear them all at the same time. Unfortunately for me, when I moved from Michigan I assumed that all of my cold weather experiences were behind me, the best I can do is a hoodie...a thin one.

South Florida houses are also unprepared for these dips in temperature. We have no heat in our house, which generally seems economical, but right now just seems really annoying. We also have no carpet, and due to the flood two weeks ago, we no longer have any rugs either, meaning that our entire house is laid with 50 degree terrazzo floors - think walking on cold cement. I did have a pair of slippers, but they too went the way of the dumpster after the flood, so I have resorted to wearing a pair of borrowed boots around the house in order to keep my feet from getting frostbite.

Ok, so I know you northerners are rolling your eyes and will probably write to tell me about your 7 degree weather, but really, let's face it, you knew it was coming, it always does. On the bright side, for all of you who get completely irritated when I boast about the wonderful weather is down here while you are suffering your first snow storm, feel free to laugh, knowing that since our bed only has a duvet cover (no comforter inside of it - why? it just makes us sweat) tonight Chris and I will be fighting over the Chicago Bears throw blanket and might just possibly resort to stealing Kaitlyn's snuggie in order to stay warm.

With warmth and love from the Florida Chick