Baton Rouge was a city we really wanted to like, and there are so many things about Baton Rouge we DO like. While we were there, however, every single day, we experienced a little bit of bad JuJu, a little bit of strangeness. By the grace of God, it was ameliorated by the goodness and kindness of others, but it was just strange.
First, I have to tell you I am not a huge fan of shopping, but every now and then when I find the right thing, I know it and I buy it. When I found Trader Joe’s, I knew just what to buy, quality products we love. Then, I headed out to Macy’s, a store we do not have in Pensacola.
The Mall is huge, but it was early in the morning, I got a great parking spot, and although I had ended up far from Macy’s, I enjoyed the stroll. This is the first thing I saw, and it delighted my heart.
What is not to love about this menagerie of zoo animals for little children to ride through the mall? Children HATE mall shopping, but this is a game changer :-)
I actually didn’t find anything I loved at Macy’s, but I did find two very classic T-shirts I knew I could use, nicely made, so I went to buy them and the cashier asked if I wanted to use my Macy’s card. I said “sure” but it turns out because I hadn’t used it in a while, I had to re-instate it, and when you do that, you get 20% off all day and the next day, plus a WOW card that gives you more discounts, plus another 20% off when they bill you. Holy mole, sign me up! But even though I looked, I really didn’t see anything else I wanted.
Back at the hotel, I told AdventureMan about this hot deal and talked him into going back to Macy’s with me. He looked, but he also didn’t find anything he liked, and then I found the children’s section, ummmm, errrrr . . . .. grandchildren’s section, and there were all kinds of things I liked a lot, and Christmas is coming, so lets get a little dollar-cost-averaging going. (AdvntureMan is rolling his eyes.)
When I went to pay, the patient salesgirl rang everything up, and then had to call some number because my total was high, and then asked me to show my driver’s license. I knew I had it, because I had it earlier when I re-instated my card. So I dug. It wasn’t there. I dug some more, I looked and looked, but no card. I was so embarrassed. The patient clerk held all the grandchildren clothes while I went downstairs where I had shown my card earlier, and sure enough, there it was. Thank God! What if we hadn’t gone back to the Mall? Months go by where I never show that card, and months from now I wouldn’t have known where to find it. I felt like my guardian angel was sitting on my shoulder. And it still felt like strangeness.
When I went back upstairs to the cashier, I showed the drivers license, and she called the security number again, and he asked me all kinds of questions, places I lived years ago, what cars are associated with my accounts, it was totally strange, and AdventureMan is looking bullish, steam coming out of his nostrils, stamping and huffing and puffing (he is hungry). Finally, he tells the cashier I am OK, and she rings me up, very apologetic. I told her it is just the times we live in, and honestly, I want security to be tough on people who might pretend to be me, so it was just a minor inconvenience. But just another little piece of Baton Rouge strangeness, little things that could eat away at happiness and well being if you let them . . . .
Sometimes there is no one to blame, not even a way to blame yourself and things just go off track. We had such an experience coming to Baton Rouge, a sweet drive on a beautiful day.
We had called the day before to tell them we would not be arriving that day, but we had already paid for the room and we asked them to hold it, that we would arrive the next day. After five hours on the road, we were eager for a chance to settle in and relax before AdventureMan headed off to his afternoon sessions.
The room wasn’t ready. The room we had paid for, and expected to be held, was not held. We were on the “wait list”, the snippy, disrespectful girl at the executive desk told AdventureMan as I circled the crowded parking lot, desperately seeking a spot. I curse you, big ass trucks who park over the line! I curse you, arrogant drivers who take two spaces when you park!
AdventureMan calls me; you do not want a call from AdventureMan when things haven’t gone his way and he cannot make his will dominate the situation. We decide the best strategy is to go to lunch.
(see entry for Ninfa’s Mexican restaurant)
After lunch, we try again, softly talking with the desk clerk, Scott, who is helpful. He takes pity on us, and finds us a room which is ready, and accommodates us. He soothes us. AdventureMan heads off for his garden talk and I head off on a reconnaissance mission – I have seen there is a huge mall nearby with a Macy’s. I find it, and some other wonderful places for the next day’s adventures, and then, on my way home, I get another call from AdventureMan.
He is fuming. I hadn’t answered his call because I was driving, no matter, he kept calling and texting “call me!” until I could find a red light and call him.
He heard loud chords of a band starting up. Very loud. He went to the band and casually asked them how long they would be playing, and was told from six to ten. He went to the desk and asked for a room change, and was told the hotel was full. (He also mentioned that he was SO glad to have been helped earlier, as there was a huge line waiting for rooms at 4.)
“We need to change hotels!” he started and told me the whole story.
“I’m almost there!” I responded, but it took me another ten minutes to find a parking place.
By the time I got to the room, he had calmed down – a little – and had found a wonderful place to go for dinner. We heard a few chords – actually not bad – and headed out for a wonderful dinner at Al Basha’s, and it was a total mood changer :-)
When we got back, the band was blasting, and we are one of the nearest rooms to the band, and the hotel is full of people around our age, but the truth is, the band was pretty good, and we had some shows we like on cable, and they really did quit at ten, well before we turned out the lights.
When things go not-quite-right – and that happens to everyone – I just sigh and say “every monkey gets his turn in the barrel;” I guess it’s sort of karmic, but bad things happen, they happen to everyone. This was not earth-shaking bad, just annoying, not going smoothly bad. We will never stay in this hotel again, even if the conference is held here again; there are lovely hotels nearby in Baton Rouge.
This from yesterday’s Arab Times Kuwait:
‘Kuwait In Fight With Drugs, Money-Wash’UN Briefed On Efforts
NEW YORK, Oct 10, (KUNA): A Kuwaiti diplomat has briefed a United Nations commission about the State of Kuwait efforts to combat money laundering and other illegal financial activities as well as menace of narcotics. Ibrahim Faisal Al-Da’ee, the third secretary serving with the permanent Kuwaiti mission at the UN, in an address to the UN Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs Committee (SOCHUM), underscored necessity of taking effective action against crime and boosting coordination at the international and regional levels in this respect. As to combating “corrupt financial activities and funding from illegitimate resources,” the third diplomat noted that the State of Kuwait issued lawinto- decree number 23 in 2012, setting up the public authority for combating corruption and issuing special rules for financial assets’ disclosure, as well as the Ministerial Resolution No. 37 (2013), containing executive regulations for combating money laundering and terrorism funding.
On basis of the above mentioned, diplomat Al-Da’ee continued, the national commission for combating money laundering and terrorism was established. Moreover, the Central Bank of Kuwait issued a number of decisions aimed at clamping down on money laundering, in tandem with Kuwait’s endorsement of the UN convention for combating corruption. Regarding the drugs, Kuwait urges for taking necessary precautions to resolve this international problem by means such as encouraging planting of legitimate crops and improving living conditions in rural regions. Also in this respect, he pointed out, Kuwait had signed international conventions concerning such issues. According to Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior, number of drug-related crimes, during 2010-2013, dropped 6.4 percent, drug dealing cases 7.2 percent and narcotics-linked deaths 30 percent. He concluded his address to the international commission, stressing on respect for human and basic rights, through action against crimes, urging for collective global efforts against narcotics.
So . . . now we have legislation and a decree. Does Kuwait have the resources and/or the will to go after those who are funneling the funds to ISIS? Legislations and decrees are great, but even greater is following through; it gives a government credibility.
It is so depressing.
AdventureMan is gritting his teeth. We are in despair.
We received our mail-in ballots yesterday and are filling them out.
It almost begins to seem as if political life discourages normal, thoughtful people committed to SERVING the public, and attracts those who love public acclaim and private gain.
My third year in Pensacola, I got a huge shock. My water/sewage bill jumped, jumped horribly. I knew we had used a lot of water in October and November of the previous year, because we had installed some new landscaping in October which needed watering in, but I had no idea why EVERY month my bill was so high.
Then the fourth year, the bill came and it was so low, I called and said “I think there has been a mistake.” I didn’t want to be getting a huge bill the next month to rectify the mistake. The wonderful customer service woman asked me if I didn’t know about “averaging.” No. I’m new. I don’t know about averaging, and I have never heard anyone talk about it.
She explained that in November, December and January, they average water use and then use it to estimate the sewage bill for the entire year, since they can’t separate water used for watering lawns and water used that goes into sewage. Most people, she explained, turn off their outside water around November. Evidently, horrified by my huge bills resulting from watering in the landscaping, I had been extremely careful in the last year, and was greatly blessed with much smaller water bills.
As it turns out, it’s not just new people who don’t know about “averaging.” There are a lot of people who have lived here their entire lives who don’t know about it either. Last year, aware of averaging, I watched for the announcement, which wasn’t really an announcement. In the ECUA newsletter, buried deep in one of the columns, was a mention that averaging would begin in November, depending on your billing, on or around the middle of November.
You can call ECUA Customer Service (850-476-0480) and find out close to when your meter is checked in November – for you, that is when averaging starts. Averaging runs November – December – January and measures how much water you use and uses that to compute your sewerage amount. If you are careful about your water use in those three months, you will lower your water bill for the entire year.
Big article in AOL news about Dan Gilbert going to Silicon Valley to pitch moving their offices to Detroit because it’s way cool.
While I appreciate his loyalty to Detroit, the things he is pitching all apply to Pensacola – AND. And in Pensacola you don’t have harsh winters. And in Pensacola you are minutes from one of the most beautiful sugar-white sand beaches, uncrowded, in the world. And Pensacola is family oriented. And Pensacola has affordable housing. And Pensacola has a way-cool culture, with parades, symphony, ballet, opera, theatre and restaurants, and world class National Naval Aviation Museum. And people spend thousands of dollars to come visit Pensacola when they could be living the dream – in Pensacola.
Dan Gilbert is a powerful man – in Detroit. Now he wants to convince Silicon Valley to move to America’s Motor City where they’ll have wide open offices, inexpensive living, and access to amazing talent.
Gilbert, the chairman of Rock Ventures and the owner of Quicken Loans, owns 60 buildings in downtown Detroit that house 12,000 employees. He is also an active backer in startups and has been inviting small companies to come bloom in Detroit over the past half-decade.
Why should you move to Detroit?
“The perception doesn’t do it justice. You have a huge talent pool,” said Gilbert. “And the people are way cooler.”
Gilbert believes that the Midwest work ethic isn’t a myth. He said that, despite the rumors to the contrary, the city has an innovative city government and, thanks to his extensive purchases in Detroit, there is space to spare for new startups. He is also working hard to reduce blight around the city, ensuring that city doesn’t look like it does in the popular “desolation porn” that characterizes the city.
The result is a smaller, more compact city that allows smaller companies to gain a foothold in the tech economy.
The city is, arguably, entering a period of renaissance. Thanks to Quicken Loans and Gilbert’s work in the city, most of the blight has been converted to cheap office space. While it does still seem like a wasteland to the average graduate, we saw a city reborn when we visited in 2012 and things are improving immensely.
In short, he said, Detroit is all about opportunity.
“We have great bones,” said Gilbert.
Detroit has good bones? Pensacola has office space, room to grow, a population of workers that can be trained to fill high tech jobs, several colleges, a university, and low stress living. It’s such an easy sell.