Friday, August 28, 2009

Tamara & Michele's Excellent Adventure

Well, we’re back.  And, thank God Michele went with me.  Apparently, the Garmin was programmed incorrectly (who could have seen that one coming).  Had we followed the directions that the computer kept screaming at us, we’d have unintentionally been Thelma & Louise.  I say that because I’m quite certain that it would have launched us off a bridge & into the Schuylkill River.

We wandered around the Sports complex section of Philadelphia.  Michele saved the day, because she spotted the NovaCare Center.  We finally made it there. 

We were going up the stairs to the building, when Michele suggested I take a picture.  Well, as she said, “After that guy gets out of the way”.  The guy was taking way too much time to get down the stairs, & Michele was getting a little annoyed - & who could blame her.
That’s when it hit me, & I reached out my hand & said, “Mr. McNabb?  My name is Tamara Kells.”  Yup, it was quarterback Donovan McNabb.  I was happy just to have met him, when Michele said “go take a picture with him!!”  So I did, after I stopped shaking.  He was very nice, asked some questions & was more than patient with me.  It was hard for me not to pinch his cute little cheeks.

We made it into the building, when I began to notice some of the Eagles were, in fact, in said building.  Now, had I known that, I would have studied the roster so I could call them by their names.  Instead, we just watched them all go by & smiled & said hello.  Now THAT was surprising – the fact that they were there & I didn’t stop them even if I didn’t know their names.  And, no, I didn’t see Michael Vick. That I know of.  It’s probably a good thing that Big John Runyan wasn’t there.  He’s my favorite Eagle of all time.

Derek came down, & brought out a big ol’ box, filled with Eagles t-shirts.  We pulled the car up, & he loaded it into the trunk.  He was very sweet, told me that what we were doing was really nice, & that if I needed anything else, to let him know (he doesn’t know me very well, does he?).  Bonus, he was really cute.

It was too early to go to the Phillies, so Michele took me to Tony Luke’s.  Apparently, I was supposed to be impressed, but I’d never heard of this place.  This quickly became evident to Michele, who thought I should be admitted to the nearest hospital for crazy people (not that she would have been far from wrong).

Still, good food.  Then, it was on to the Phillies.

We went into the wrong parking lot at first.  A really, really sweet girl helped me by taking me into the building to an office where I was directed to the right place.  At this point, I should note that the gate I went through to go into said office was one way only.  I was on the wrong side of the gate, while Michele & the car were on the other.  Thankfully, she noticed my plight, & opened the door for me.  If not, I’d still be wandering around aimlessly, begging for alms.

We finally get to the right area, but, sadly, the office was a good clip from where we’d parked.  Normally, a light walk wouldn’t have been a problem.  But, noooo.  I’d decided to wear a wedged pair of heels.  My feet were killing me, & I was wobbling all the way there.  I kept glancing at Michele, wondering if she was strong enough to give me a piggy back ride.  I decided against it, since I couldn’t guarantee Alex that I’d get her home safe & sound as it was (due to traffic, the long drive & my driving “skills”).  However, if I delivered her with a sprained or paralyzed spine, I somehow doubt he’d let her accompany me on any future excellent adventures.  I carried on like a trooper (a big, whiney trooper).

We made it into the building & met Scott Palmer.  He took us into the elevator, & the next thing we knew, we were on a behind the scenes tour of the ballpark.  A very, very quick paced tour.  Mr. Palmer, aka Jesse Owens, seemed to think we were prepared for a nice jog.
We went into the clubhouse, & Michele took pictures of all of the guy’s (I don't know what they’re called) locker thingys.  We saw the batting cages, went out onto the ball park, & Michele was able to take a picture with the World Series trophy.  Thankfully, Mr. Palmer took the picture, as I couldn’t take a clear picture of a snail taking a nap.  I think I may have annoyed Mr. Palmer, though, because the first thing that came out of my unedited mouth was, "Gee, this is a lot smaller than a football field".    

Michele was able to keep up the brisk pace.  I (however) was lagging behind, concentrating on not falling off my shoes & breaking my ankle.  And if that wasn’t enough to keep me occupied, I began to have heat flashes.  But a good scout is never unprepared, so I fished a fan out of my purse.  I was able to surreptitiously fan myself until we rounded a corner.  I dropped the fan. 

Michele should really consider trying out for the Phillies.  That girl practically dove to pick it up before our guide could see.  But, ever the spry guy, he turned around & noticed.  Good times.

We FINALLY made it to Palmer’s office for, “the interview”.  He left & brought back some woman, who is their veteran’s affairs representative.  We sat & listened to the stories of what they do for soldiers. And honestly, it’s impressive the work they do behind the scenes.  I have to give them that.  They listed all the good things they do; & all without recognition.  So, kudos to them – seriously.

That was when I decided to ask if they would at least send something over to Rick & his unit.  And they said YES!!! 

They even went one step further.  Mr. Palmer would like Rick’s APO address, & they’ll see to it that his unit receives some type of care package.  My paper wouldn’t even have to pay the postage.  I’ll send that to him (Palmer, aka Jesse Owens) tomorrow, with a reminder that a lot of people’s eyes will be on him.  Hopefully, the kids will get some cool stuff.

So, there you have it, folks, Tamara & Michele’s excellent adventure.  And, again, I can’t thank Michele enough for accompanying me on it.  If not for her excellent navigational skills, I’d probably still be wandering around Philadelphia, the shore, the mountains, or Delaware.

Tomorrow, I’m off to interview Kurt Landes, the GM of the Iron Pigs, Phillies’ minor league team.  This time, I’m wearing flat shoes & I’m tossing the Garmin out the window.  It’s only Allentown, after all.  How lost can I get? 

Wait, never mind.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Too Stupid for my Car

I'm posting Kimberly Hedrick's favourite article. This appeared in T&C about 2 years ago.

I’m Too Stupid For My Car:

My husband, Matt, & I finally bought a new car. A brand new sporty Pontiac Grand Prix. To make a long story short, we’ve never in our married life paid more than $2500 for ANY car. I’ve been driving a 20 year old Chrysler for what seems like forever. I quickly became amazed & confused at the technology in these “new fangled contraptions”. Which, of course, meant I would never in a million years be able to figure it all out. No surprise there, I guess. Compared to this, my old car was the Fred Flintstone buggy in a Jetson world. And, trust me folks, I’m much more comfortable in the stone ages. Allow me to tell you about the many features my car has, how I found out about them, & how badly I use them.

The first thing I found out was that the windshield wipers work – really, really well. How did I find that out, you ask? Well, we were bringing it home from the dealership on a beautiful, sunny day. The kids were in the car with me & Matt followed in his van. We were SOOO ready to look all cool in my sporty new car. And that’s when it happened. I accidentally hit the windshield wipers, & couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to turn them off. All 20 miles to my house, they were going at seemingly warp speed. The kids gradually slid down in their seats so as not to be seen with the crazy lady with the wipers on. I look in the rear view mirror & see Matt laughing so hard I thought he was going to get in an accident. This should have been my first clue that this was going to be WAY tougher than I thought.

My car came with Onstar. I’ve heard of it, but didn’t have a clue what it was or what it did. With that feature, my car has its own phone & number – ITS OWN PHONE NUMBER!! Man, it’s like Kit from Knight Rider with a Neanderthal at the wheel. The buttons for this curious new piece of technology are located discreetly in the rear view mirror (that, I know how to work – the mirror, I mean). There’s the phone button, the Onstar button & the emergency button. Thankfully, the emergency button is spaced farther over & has red markings. Unfortunately, the phone & Onstar buttons are right next to each other. (You’ve got to know where this is going). I love the phone feature, because I don’t have to find my cell phone, which is always at the bottom of my purse. So I use this feature, a lot. However, I seem to always push Onstar instead of the phone button. The operator comes on & says, “Hello, Mrs. Kells, what can I do for you today?” They were so sweet. But after getting it wrong for the hundredth time, this is what I get now: “Mrs. Kells (heavy sigh), did you push the wrong button again??” I was very proud, though, when one day I pushed the Onstar button by mistake. I searched my brain frantically for a reason other than the obvious, I’m an idiot. Ah-hah! I came up with, “Bubba! Did you hit that button? Bad dog! Sorry about that!” Happy with my quick thinking, I hung up - & hit the phone button on accident.

The car has an on board computer, that can tell me how many miles I can drive on the current tank of gas, the weather, if the tire pressure is low, & so on. It actually sends a monthly email to my husband, after giving itself a check up! This feature makes me laugh really hard. If I can't operate two simple buttons on a mirror, what in the world would I do with an entire computer? Besides, if I even tried to touch it, it would probably tell Matt on me.

Another cool little feature is that I can remote start my car up to 500 feet with my key chain. Honestly, at first, I was afraid to use it. I figured that as soon as a car this advanced had the opportunity to get away, I’d be staring at the tail lights. To this day, as I approach, I swear I see the headlights narrow like a child glaring at a spoonful of cough syrup. All the little computers are trying to decide if escape is possible. I wonder if it knows that even if it does manage to flee, Onstar will find it. Take THAT – stupid car!

All in all, all this technology is pretty much wasted on me. Maybe in a few years I’ll have figured out what all the buttons do. Right now, I’m afraid to touch the wrong one for fear I’ll find I have an ejector seat. Imagine my panic when it began to get dark & I couldn’t figure out how to turn the lights on! But, it has a nice, smooth ride, unlike the tank I used to drive. And, the kids & Matt know how things work (even Dakota, the 11 year old boy!). So, until I get used to it, I’ll have to always have one of them in the car with me. Too bad, though, because it has a really cool sound system. Guess it’ll be a while before I can blast Def Leppard. Oh, well. Times are changing, & either you go with it, or get out of the way. I’m looking into turning invisible.

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.