Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Dear Holzhauer Auto and Motorsports Group:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Best?

When Gideon was visiting me, he found a 2014 Dodge Charger he liked at your establishment. (What is it with my kids and muscle cars? Just teenage boys, I guess.)

We took a drive to Nashville, Illinois, and purchased the car on the spot.

Gideon save up $2,000 for the down payment.

We were assured that you had inspected the car and all was well. We purchased a warranty to be on the safe side.

We drove back to St. Louis, and arranged for Gideon and Eddie to come up this weekend to drive it back to Georgia.

Worst?

I took the car for safety and emission inspections to get it registered.

I bet you know what is coming.

It failed the safety inspection because it needed a new catalytic converter, engine mounts, an engine leak fixed, etc.

I think you knew this. That’s why we got such a good deal.

And your warranty doesn’t cover any of that. Of course. (So what good is it? I’d love to know.)

More than $6,500 later, the car is finally road worthy.

Happy about the car. Not happy about the 12-hour drive ahead.

Sigh.

It was worth it to see Gideon so happy, but I’ll be contacting you tomorrow for a discussion.

Talk to you later!
Beth

*Thanks, Rihanna!

Dear Bob Cassilly,

My guy, WHAT were you smoking when you created City Museum? Whatever it was, it was some good stuff. City Museum is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life — in person or in movies/on TV. Not even “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” comes close to this crazy place.

When I moved to St. Louis, people kept telling me I needed to visit. However, I don’t like museums. (It’s true. I’m sorry. But I don’t think you do either.) Finally, my friend Kate said that it is not a museum in any traditional sense of the word. She tried to describe it, then basically gave up.

“You have to see it,” she said. “It’s … sensory overload.”

So I went. And she’s right.

City Museum is like a museum in the way that I am like Beyoncé: barely any resemblance in form or function.

It is a building that houses artifacts — artifacts presented in chaos. It’s a 10-story fever dream.

I’ve now been four times.

Why?

You created notable features such as:

• An actual school bus cantilevered on the top floor over the street

• A Ferris wheel on top of the building

• A 10-story slide

• A five-story slide (that has not been open any of the four times I’ve been)

• A cave system

• The world’s largest (maybe) pair of underpants

• Two airplanes

I can’t even begin to summarize what is there. And every time I go, I discover something new.

Dominic and Gideon were in town, and I said we were going. They, like me, are not into museums. I said, “Hold that thought.”

Neither of them could believe what you created. Dominic lamented that, at 6’2″, he is too big for some of the tunnels.

“I wish we had come here when I was a kid.”

I fully agree. This could have entertained them for HOURS, and they would have slept well. (Every parent knows a day that wears out the kids is a good day.)

Here is just a sample of what we got into at your creation.

A seagull disgorges Dominic.
Gideon finds a tunnel under the first floor. No, thank you.
Dominic goes where I won’t.
This is the entrance to a slide. Seriously.
The caged bird yells, “Take my picture!”
My hips don’t lie, nor do they fit in this opening.
Dominic makes it to the top of one of two castles.

Speaking of the castles:

I’m sorry, TWO WHAT NOW?

There were a few moments where I worried about their safety and mine. I was right to worry. From the actual City Museum website:

The do-it-yourself, trying-anything nature of the museum led, not surprisingly, to injuries and, also not surprisingly, to dozens of personal injury suits. Mr. Cassilly’s response was to post telephone numbers of lawyers at the door.

The kids and I developed the habit of them going first into some cave/tunnel/hole to do reconnaissance then reporting back about the viability for me.

This tunnel was not for me.
But this one was ok.

Yes, I used my own children as canaries in a coal mine.

I make no apologies. They were willing participants. And had a fabulous time.

I’m sorry you died an untimely death — a death that turns out not to have been a bulldozer accident. L’esclandre!

And I love that people who love City Museum can also live there.

It’s not for me (not enough windows or, you know, standard amenities), but I recognize the appeal.

So thanks, Bob, for never growing up. For creating a place so outlandish there is no equal.

Your fan,
Beth

Dear Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center,

I attended my annual research conference in you this week. I am NOT a fan, and I will not be back (unless I have absolutely no choice).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Your staff is not prepared for guests. The line was 10 deep for check-in, and you had one person actually working. Three other employees — one of whom looked like a manager — were at the other end of the counter chatting. Do their eyes work? Couldn’t they see the line?
  2. Your building is not prepared for guests. There are six elevators “servicing” floors 40-70. Only two appeared to be working. A gang of fellow conferencers and I waited 10 minutes Thursday night for an elevator to take us down.
  3. Your events staff is not prepared for guests. Two thousand people attended the last in-person AEJMC conference (Toronto, 2019). That is standard for this conference. Yet nothing was set up to handle this influx of people. Your staff selected large rooms for small events (e.g., the University of South Carolina alumni breakfast featured three tables for eight in a cavernous room) and wee rooms for major events. For example, the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism group awards ceremony and reception was in the tiniest conference room I’ve ever seen. No tables. For an event that featured food and drinks. Group leaders who got to the event early drug in tables and chairs for the 50 or so attendees. Way to go, Marriott!
  4. Your technology support is not prepared for guests. This conference is primarily for journalism/mass communications professors. You know: People who communicate. They have devices that need to be charged. Outlets were few and far between.
This is the ONLY OUTLET in the room!

The various other problems fellow attendees and I experienced had to do with The Renaissance Center in general. It is, generously, an atrium-focused maze of wasted space.

Circulation Ring = CIRCLES OF HELL
Trust me: You can’t get there from here
No, you don’t really want to sit and meet/eat/work do you?

There is a shocking lack of open restaurants. Again, conference of 2,000+ people (and AEJMC was one of at least three going on at once). Hotel with 70 floors of rooms. Yet, it was hard to find a place to eat. Literally (see maze above) and because so many were closed. Note: There was a VERY bougie seafood restaurant open, but who wants to pay $75 for shrimp?

Desperation signage
Starbucks: closed
Another Starbucks: closed
Food court: mostly closed
Oh look! The open Burger King that I thought was only the stuff of legend.

Then there is the location. You are on the Detroit River. So a riverwalk with shops and restaurants would make sense. Apparently, it only makes sense to me. I would not say the United States side has ample commerce. The Canada side (Windsor) looks promising.

The Renaissance Center provides a great view of our northern neighbor.

But once again, you can’t get there from here if you don’t have a car.

I realize that the pandemic took a toll on the hospitality industry. That said, people are traveling again. Conferences are back in person. Do better, or you won’t have guests to piss off anymore.

Sincerely,
Bonvoy Member on Floor 47

Dear Kate,

Thanks for telling me about the World Naked Bike Ride.

I would never have known about it. That’s what neighbors are for, I guess.

I had no idea that hundreds of naked people would be riding along the street that is perpendicular to mine: tits and bits mere steps from my front door.

Naturally, we pulled out the chairs to watch the procession.

I had a moment of concern as I had Gideon, 16, with me. But I’m not prudish, and he has access to PLENTY through his phone.

Here they come!

I needn’t have been worried at all. It was not, IN ANY WAY, a sexualized, deviant event.

In fact, the ride might have put all of us off sex for a very long time. 😉😂

There they go.

Good for all the riders for promoting body positivity and the reduction of our carbon footprint.

And thanks, neighbor, for making sure I know about crucial local events. This one was (as you well know) right up my alley.

See you Tuesday for game night!
Beth

Dear Bio Family,

You’ve only known me a short while, but you KNOW me.

Do I want to go?

Does my Senator (Josh Hawley) run from chaos he helped create?

Yes. The answer is yes.

As some readers may remember, I went to this event in Atlanta. Alone. (I’m the “weird” one.)

But yesterday, it was a family affair.

Mom, sister, niece, nephew

Perhaps I’m jaded, but I felt like the offerings were not as varied as the prior event and were more expensive.

Here are some fresh things I saw but did not buy (because expensive).

A gumball machine filled with cow eyes
A creative use for vintage photos
Part of a giraffe
Fun (and horrifying) night lights
The worst item anyone could dream up for me: a clown doll. IT (the character and the doll) haunts me still.
Mothman (To be fair, he wasn’t for sale. Actually, he might have been. I don’t know.)
Whatever scene this is

But I did buy two things. Very cheap. Necessary, I felt.

A snakeskin pendant and a chicken foot. Everyone needs a preserved chicken foot. (Yes, everyone. 😄)

So thanks, Fam, for showing me once again that DNA is remarkable.

Love,
Beth

Dear Gladys,

I need to report that I got a lemon of a cat.

I love Leo, I do. And that is the only reason I can justify the THOUSANDS of dollars needed to fix him.

First, it was an ingrown dewclaw. The person you hired did not do it correctly.

What the vet removed.

Then he suddenly had a lump on his back end.

Plus another swollen toe.

Seriously, lady: Who did this surgery? He/she should never be able to do it again.

The lump: A sarcoma that needed to be removed immediately.

A day/night in the hospital plus nearly $3K later, and he’s home looking like a football (according to my mom).

But he’s alive. And has all four limbs. (There was some concern from the vet that he’d have to lop off the leg to get all of the mass.)

I’m sure you didn’t realize he would go through any of this. (Except maybe the dewclaw surgery. You knew the antibiotics weren’t working.)

Anyway, he’ll be fine in 10-14 days. Not sure when my bank account will recover if the pet insurance claim is denied.

Send thoughts and prayers*,
Leo Richardson’s new mom

* ‘Cause those ALWAYS work.

COVID, Day 7 (Maybe? Could be Day 4 depending on when I displayed symptoms from ‘Rona and not the booster.)

Captain’s Log

I’m feeling fine, but still testing positive.

I’ve managed not to drink away my sorrows every day, but isolation is difficult for an extrovert.

I’m not an indoor cat.

And even my indoor cat has gone loopy.

His tongue is stuck.
He went to sleep with his mouth open.

I’m SO BORED.

I’m sick of TV. I’m tired of social media. I’ve had enough of lonely walks around the neighborhood.

I’ve even cleaned out the freezer.

That’s how bad it is.

But I’ve eaten well. That’s positive. Haven’t lost taste or smell.

I’ve been FaceTiming people because I need human contact. (Petra knows. She got a surprise.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll test negative, and I can rejoin society. Carefully, of course.

The good news is that I don’t appear to have infected anyone else.

Small victories.

Sigh.

Dear Coronavirus:

Why are you still here? I hate you so much. I’ve managed to avoid you for more than two years (safety first!), but you finally got me.

How? I don’t know. You tell me!

Having an incubation period of 2-14 days makes tracking source difficult.

All I know is that I got my second booster Friday. By Sunday, I had a sore throat. I took two tests from two different companies. Both negative.

See? Negative.

On Monday, I felt like crap: headache, body pain. I was already scheduled to go to a new doctor to establish care.

Me: I got the second booster Friday and feel terrible today.
Her: That’s the booster. I wouldn’t have recommended you get the second one so soon.
Me: They recommended after six months.
Her: Yeah, but you don’t have comorbidities.
Me: Right.

The cough started Tuesday.

The runny nose started yesterday.

I decided to take another test.

Uh oh.

And then another from a different brand.

I was furious and mortified.

I spent my weekend living my best life as the infection vector I apparently am: garden tour and antiques fair with neighbors, dinner with a colleague, handyman direction on wall patches, “Stranger Things” with my sister, card games with neighbors.

So I had to issue various and sundry mea culpas.

It’s possible I was exposed to you on my flight home from Savannah: Two hours on the runway (weather delay), an hour at the gate (more fuel), an hour in the air. I was one of only three people wearing a mask (because, of course, you no longer exist 🙄).

I don’t know.

I do know that I had another busy week/weekend planned, including lunch for about 15 family members at my place. But now, thanks to you, I will spend the next 5-10 days on my own with just Leo Richardson to keep me company.

Leo, who also is not feeling well.

Leo, the cat who (likely) got COVID.

Gee, I wonder how he could have caught COVID. (Note: I am not kissing the cat. He was sleeping on my shoulder, and I turned my head for the pic.)

So thanks SO MUCH for your continued presence in all of our lives.

(Sarcasm is my love language.)

Your new BFF,
Typhoid Mary
‘Rona Beth

*Manic Street Preachers’ ninth studio album. Worth a listen.

Dear UPS,

You SUCK. Truly and completely.

Scenario:

Gideon left his glasses at a friend’s house. Friend and friend’s mom sent them back via UPS. They never arrived. Tracking number came up as “invalid” on phone searches. A computer search turned it up in Alpharetta. Where? I don’t know. This is all the information I had:

Left at the front desk WHERE in Alpharetta? Friend and mom shipped from Brookhaven to Gideon in Savannah! (Note: Brookhaven is 20 miles away from Alpharetta, and both are more than 270 miles from Savannah.)

So I filed a claim.

A month went by with no answer.

I emailed you.

This is what you said:

Shan K., I can ASSURE you it was not delivered to the address.

I wrote back. (I TRIED to call, but was hung up on TWICE.)

Then Ana Z got involved.

  1. The delivery address was correct. I confirmed that with friend and friend’s mom and THE ACTUAL RECEIPT.
  2. They sent it from Brookhaven. The package ended up in Alpharetta.
  3. There are EIGHT UPS stores in Alpharetta.

I called ALL EIGHT stores looking for a Richard who was working there in March. The LAST store I called was the only one with a Richard. He happened to be working when I called.

Oh, yeah. It’s right here.

He confirmed that the address was correct. And then CHARGED me to have it resent.

Why? Because the package was sent originally from a different store. UPS stores are franchises. So Alpharetta is not responsible for Brookhaven.

So to recap:

  1. The first driver was lazy as hell. (Mailing address was accurate.)
  2. The claims process is a joke. (No updates/information.)
  3. Your customer service is beyond laughable. (Didn’t actually do anything and gave conflicting information.)
  4. I’m out $11.68 and time out of my life to deal with this hassle. (Evidence of your sucktitude.)
I paid the ransom money, and it arrived Friday.

YOU should have tracked down this package for me. I should not have had to call EIGHT stores to find one with an employee named Richard. And I want my $11.68 back.

Never again, UPS.

Sincerely,
A Former Customer

*Sorry, Stevie.

Dear Leo,

I’m so glad you came into my life. You bring me so much joy.

Your personality is distinct. You are nosy, noisy and aggressively cuddly.

Who are you? Gladys Kravitz?

And weird. You are SO weird.

To look at, for one.

Look at this alien foot!
Your back = brain surface
Where are your whiskers?!

But also, the way you sleep is unlike any other cat I’ve ever known.

Who sleeps like that?
Cats don’t sleep on their backs!

And you always have to have your paws on my face.

Or be ON me somehow.

You look annoyed even when you are sleeping peacefully.

Here you look annoyed, but you have a right to be: I’m harassing you with a gift from Charlotte and Nate.

I love it when your tongue gets stuck.

I know you hate this collar, but it’s better than the cone of shame. I can’t have you licking your surgically enhanced paw.*

Despite the fact that you are a bizarre creature (or probably BECAUSE of it), I’m so happy to share my life with you.

Love,
Your human

*Leo came to me declawed. The person who did it needs a refresher course as he/she left part of his dewclaw. It got infected. He’s had surgery and is fine now.