Returning Notes…

Well by the time you read this my recharge is over and I will be back at work.  Just for Friday then get the weekend to finish readjusting.  The week was fun.  Got to spend time with my wife, my kids and some inlaws, enjoy a wedding, a movie, the pool (a LOT) and several meals eating out.  Just some observations about my week in Florida.

To start, our flight was late.  They said something about the pilots running behind.  Well that 5 minutes turned into 30 minutes.  Then the flight was so bumpy we didn’t even get out puny bag of peanuts and lukewarm soda.  Of course since we arrived late we didn’t have a gate slot so we waited another 30 minutes on the tarmac.  Great start.

Traffic is a bitch, just like here in Chicago.  People take left turns from the right lane, speed 20+mph on side streets and just drive like they don’t give a shit.  Thankfully no car chases, although there was one where we couldn’t be sure.  Also nobody parks very well.  Everybody seems to want to park tactical, but has huge issues getting the car into the spot with any type of speed or accuracy.

The other thing I have noticed is that restaurant service is pretty bad. Our very first night here we had some time to kill before we could get into our house so we went to Steak and Shake.  Yeah, I know, not known for their quality service on the BEST of days, but this was the worst.  I wanted a table, but when we got in, ALL the tables were full.  Of empty plates.   So instead we sat at a booth.  It took about 5 minutes for a waiter who looked like he was about to pass out came by and took our drink order.  We gave it and he then apologized in advance for the slow service mentioning that they were short staffed that night.  5 minutes later we got our drinks and he took our order.  While waiting for our food we noticed that we could see into the kitchen area.  On the table in the back there were dishes stacked at least 3 high!  Not only were they short bus help but apparently dishwashers as well.  I looked around for a manager and could see one in the back by the grill looking like she was completely lost.  She was giving no direction at all and the wait staff was just putting out fires as they arose instead of trying to head them off.  I may not be good a a lot of stuff, but crisis management I AM good at.  The manager should have stepped up and said that they were going to stop seating people for the next 10 minutes and then had one of the 3 cooks, herself and one of the wait staff go bus every damn table and then start some dishes.  But instead she just looked defeated by her job, and the staff was trying but foundering.  40 minutes later we got our food, and plastic silverwear.  We sent an email to Steak and Shake corporate last week and have still yet to hear anything back, not even a generic form reply.

The rest of the trip was not quite as bad with restaurant service, but still bad.  One restaurant messed up 2 of the 6 orders.  One forgot to place on of the orders and we were all finished by the time he got his food.  Drink refills were almost non existent.  Even Buffalo Wild Wings took 40 damn minutes to get us wings, a burger and a wrap, when they only had 12 table with people at them. One place told us there would be an hour wait when I saw over 12 empty tables in a side room.  Oh well.

We had a day trip to the beach.  We were going to go to Cocoa Beach but were told by just about everyone that Clearwater Beach would be cleaner.  It seemed like it took forever to get there thanks to the huge amounts of traffic but we finally got there.  If that beach was ‘clean’  I would have hated to see Cocoa Beach.  While the sandy part itself was pretty clean the surf was just loaded with vegetation.  It felt like stuff was grabbing at your feet as you tried to go into the water.  We moved closer to the pier and it got better but still not great.

We also spent a day at Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney.  That place is just one giant shopping mall.  At least when I went there a few years back they had Disney Quest, which was actually more fun than the park was.  But alas DQ was no where to be found.

The house we were renting was pretty good, however issues were there as well.  The first day the doorknob to the back yard came off in Mindy’s hand. The pool needed cleaning.  The rest, however, was pretty good.  We did have a scare about the third day in.  We are lounging by the pool when Mindy comes and yells at me to come inside.  I hate it when she does that without giving me context.  I get to the front and our youngest boy is talking to a guy who is standing out front with what appears to be his whole family.  There is a wife, 2 kids, someone that looks like perhaps a sister and a grandfather.  They asked if they can come in and check out the house, claiming that they were renting it in August and wanted to see if beforehand.  Who the fuck does that! As I get there boy #2 is handling it perfectly saying sorry, you need to go call Clair (the owner). This was apparently the third time he said that and as I pulled up behind him he said sorry and they all left.  Seriously that bugged me, and scared me a little.  We made sure the doors were locked even when we were there and when we left I made sure to hide things like money and the computers.  It helped that we had 3 cards so there was always at least one here.

It SOUNDS like I didn’t have fun, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I really enjoyed the time away and with my family.  A week is about my limit, but I did enjoy myself.  No idea how good or bad the flight home will be but unless it is something really bad, we’ll just say it was ‘eh’. Now I am refreshed and ready to be pissed off some more.

*** Just an update on the flight back.  Our plane arrived, about 25 minutes late, and as it was disgorging it’s passengers a HUGE storm descended upon the airport with lightning aplenty. They actually stopped people from deplaning for over an hour until it calmed down.  So about 2 hours later we were able to board our plane.  Except that NOW we had no flight crew again.  30 minutes after THAT we got a crew, boarded and were on our way.  Of course when we got back there were no gates available so with another 20 minute wait on the tarmac we finally made it to Chicago.  I half expected our bags to be lost or at least the last ones out, but they were actually our fairly early so there is that.  And out limo guy was still there.  I made sure to double his tip.

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