Tag Archives: travel

On the road again with a caffeine-scrambled brain

It’s just after midnight, but the conductor on the sleepy train isn’t making any stops in this hotel room anytime soon. I’m wired from too many coffees and too many Red Bulls. Plus, the cramp in my from the death grip I had on my steering wheel as I navigated many German autobahn miles at 100 mph isn’t helping.

And all of this is OK.

I have a stash of beer chilling in the mini-fridge and, for once, I’m staying at a military hotel so there will be coffee brewed in my room to help dust off my sleep deprived eyes in the morning. Normally when I travel, I stay in European hotels where they don’t have coffee available in the room and I have to venture out for coffee.

I now know you have to at least put on pants before you head to the hotel breakfast lounge. Accustomed as I am to drinking coffee in just my boxers at home, this is a no-no at most hotels, European or otherwise.

The next two or three days are bound to be full of adventure, excitement and intrigue that would make absolutely no one envious. It’ll be endless hacking on PowerPoint slide decks and Excel spreadsheets. Someone, at least once, will mention someone else’s slide “methodology” with a sneer. I guarantee it.

I don't have a lot of photo ideas for this blog so go with what you know. Also hey, boobs!

I don’t have a lot of photo ideas for this blog so go with what you know. Also hey, boobs!

But on the bright side, there will be fighting between staff sections and project officers about who didn’t do what, which responsibility belonged to which group,  and, with a bit of luck, an orgy of physical violence culminating in a knife fight between the last two surviving briefers while our commanding general, like a Roman Emperor, decides the loser’s fate.

I personally feel his or her PowerPoint skills should decide that fate, but that’s beside the point.

This will never happen of course — the orgy of violence with the epic last-man standing knife fight, I mean — but hope springs eternal.

Looking over the past few blog entries, scarce as they may be, I see I’m in danger of turning Had A Few Beers into some sort of weird combination of funny-wife stories, bitching about travel stories and drunken rants that somehow survive my hung-over eye the morning after they’re been vomited into a Microsoft Word document.

Which I suppose is as good a direction as I could’ve ever come up with for the blog through. When I started this shit my thought process (if it can be called a “process”) is surmised best as, “I’ll just write a bunch of shit. How hard can this be? If it was hard they wouldn’t call it blogging for fuck’s sake.”

And that’s not entirely incorrect. I don’t know who “they” are, but if they chose the word “blog” to describe whatever the fuck this is, I think we’ve earned the right to question their decision-making processes. Just saying.

So here we, or at least I, am. Four-hundred-and-forty-seven words into this with an intro about an orgy of violence, knife-fighting, frayed nerves, the start of a decent beer buzz and the reluctant departure of caffeine-induced trembles articulated by heart palpitations.

The only thing different I can think to talk about, and talk about I will, is that I’m in an American hotel. Not a American hotel in America, but a hotel run by American’s in Germany for military folks.

I haven’t been in such a hotel since 2012 or so, honestly. It’s sort of refreshing. The door’s made of solid wood and could, I’m sure, withstand a hoard of angry axe-wielding barbarians if it needed too and from a Roman Emperor’s standpoint this is the heart of axe-wielding barbarian territory.

I know it could withstand this because it’s on a spring-closing mechanism and every time I forget that there’s a spring-closing mechanism it slams shut with a boom that jolts every PTSD victim staying here. It already scared the shit of me the first three times it happened.

Also, no old-fashioned metal key here. Nope. Magnetized card entry because ‘Merica. Also, because the reader never reads the card right the first time I swipe it after having a cigarette. Maybe the European old-fashioned key to the room thing isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Because this hotel is American run there are two very delightful things nearby. The first is unheard of in all the European hotel’s I’ve ever stayed in — vending machines! Should I crave a Payday or a Mountain Dew right this very moment friends, I can have that. I just need walk down the hall after panicking a bit because my two-ton door just slammed shut with the force of an early atom bomb detonation.

The other is a warning on the dresser that holds the TV and some box that has a bunch of flashing lights that I swear light up in synch with my heart beats (maybe I do need to try and sleep). The warning says that if I were to overfill the top drawer of this dresser, I’m at risk of tipping the whole thing over.

Actually the sign seems more concerned with the TV then with injury.

Actually the sign seems more concerned with the TV then with injury.

Safety fucking first. I like that. I don’t know what previous travelers have put in these drawers, but rest assured, I will only fill them with cotton, angel wings and warm thoughts. Actually, I feel like I should run some load tests on them. I’ll ask the local gym if I can borrow a set of weights tomorrow night and really find out how much this dresser can handle. You know, in the interest of science and progress.

That’s all I have. That’s all the energy I have for this tonight. It’s sort of fun to write when your brain’s been set to “scramble” sometimes. This might be the worst ending in the world or not, I don’t pretend to know. And at this very moment, I don’t care.

Please send me a working trash can and other fears about going on a business trip

There is a public-information campaign for the U.S. Military that aims to help servicemembers returning from long deployments adjust to living with their loved ones again. The gist of it is, shit may have changed while you were gone, stop being an asshat and deal with it.

In simpler terms, “expect change.”

I’ve, in a previous life, deployed twice in service to my country (as has my wife) and I fully realize that this sort of information is both needed and useful.

Things do change when you’re away for a year or more, and that’s OK.

But — and this “but” is an all-capital-letters BUT — how the fuck does my wife expect me to predict the level of fuckallery that she inflicts upon our house every time I’ve gone on a trip that lasts more than two hours.

I travel a moderate amount for work. I used to travel all the time. There have been six-month periods that I was away on business trips more than I was home. Thankfully that’s slowed down a lot and now I’m only gone a few weeks every two or three months.

Still though, the decisions made while I’m gone for 10 days are baffling, shocking and bizarre to me. I don’t know about your marriage (or domestic union, or shack up, or polygamist cult), but generally in my household decisions that affect both participants are a committee kind of decision. An idea is put forth. If there is opposition, a counter argument is made and, generally, I do whatever the fuck she wants me to do.

I’m not talking about decisions to buy a new tablecloth or replace the towels with a new pattern, (actually our towel collection should really, really be donated to a home for the blind and mentally disturbed. It’s a mishmash of vomit, earth tones and some sort of cloth weaved by a not-very interested person in a refugee camp circa 1820) those kinds of decisions I could give a fuck about because I have a penis.

Kellogg's frosted flakes lipbalm

They’re magically delicious. Now with lip balm!(Photo credit: Valeri-DBF) 

Really, during this most recent trip, my wife replaced a lot of our dinner plates. My interest registered on the “husband gives a fuck” scale at a two. Something scientists in a famous 1978 study defined as, “Is she happy with the decision? If yes, shut the hell up.” She showed me the new plates and I asked myself the following: Will the plate hold food? Yes. Is she happy with the plate? Yes. Therefore the plate is fucking great. If it were not for her I would be eating cold Frosted Flakes out of the box, happy I had remembered to buy Frosted Flakes in the first place.

So, by change, I don’t mean the simple changes that serve to turn the feces-strewn, half-naked-poster-girl-riddled cardboard box the single me would call home, into the comfortable, charming place I now live in because of my wife’s awesomeness.

Oh no, I mean the completely irrational, logic-defying, who-in-their-right-mind-would-consider-this-an-improvement kind of change.

Changes that make no fucking sense whatsoever kind of changes.

Which are my favorite kind of changes.

You probably want examples. I would too, honestly. I mean, a guy can’t just make wild claims about his wife making these kinds of changes and not back it up with a few examples can he?

Lucky for you I have examples*.

We no longer have a trash can.

I don’t mean the little ones you and I all have in the bathroom that collects tissue and cotton swabs. Nor do I mean the ones we all keep in our bedroom collects “Oh that’s fucking GROSS, NO!” I mean missing into the abyss was the central trashcan of the house. Yours is likely in the kitchen as is ours … as WAS ours.

While I was gone the decision was made that all refuge will be place in little

plastic bags awaiting recycling

Clearly these are better than the $80 trash can with the spring loaded lid you had to have last spring. Clearly.(Photo credit: EvelynGiggles)

convenience store bags (of which we have eight million stored) and then when full (and they are always full) they will be removed from the house.

Now look, in addition to being a major contributor to the house’s trash-making capability (beer cans), I am also the authority on taking out the trash because she decreed it so eons ago. That part is fine, it’s not a household chore I mind and really it’s pretty easy. I’ve even been taught to check the liner after the bag is removed and, if dirty, to spray it with cleaning solution and wipe with a paper towel.

I mean I have this shit down.

So how was this decision made? Saying nothing about recycling. How did we go from having a respectable clean receptacle for our trashcan to using 7-Eleven type bags? That’s like deciding not to use the dishwasher when you have a working dishwasher.

Yeah. We’re no longer using the dishwasher.

I’m pretty sure my wife was abused by a dishwasher as a child. I suspect it’s a repressed memory. Nothing else describes her fear and loathing of the dishwasher doing its job. Its been an ongoing battle.

“Honey, just use the dishwasher,” I’d say.

“I like doing them by hand, it’s relaxing,” would be the reply.

Then two weeks later when it becomes more aggravating than relaxing (which in my stunning brilliance I predicted) I get, “Can you help me wash the dishes?”

Yes, honey, yes I can, by loading the dishwasher.

* I could write a book with examples and may still…