Missouri Bugs, Part II, Seriously! (Though, I may have embellished a wee bit here and there)

The cemetery Spider has told on me…

 Today, as I’m leaving a restaurant that serves delicious specialty tacos, I see another Bold Jumping Spider on the side of our truck where the cab and the bed meet. “Hey, here’s another one,” I said, “I’ll get a picture.” And as I did, I saw it’s face, its eyes, its nose; “I have seen this face before, but where?” It was the face of a man, deviously smiling and wearing a really cool pair of sunglasses.IMG_1986

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Suddenly, without warning, it jumped through the air towards me, landing on my hand. I promptly freaked the sh*! out and ass-over-tea-kettled backward. The spider then jumped from my hand back onto the side of the truck and just sat there glaring at me; daring me to again, come close and take another picture. I, with my tail firmly tucked between my legs, raced into the truck and slammed the door, whimpering like a little girl. I was beaten and the damn spider knew it.

I told Lilly to haul-ass and make sure she took a different route home; this (insert expletive here) was making it personal. I looked out at the side mirror (you know objects are larger than they may appear) and saw the little terror crawling on the side of the truck towards the cab. We’re doing 40 mph and yet, still, here he comes; the intrepid hunter.

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Stopping at the handle, he, again, stared at me as if possessing the ability of a Jedi Knight to will those of weak-mind into doing its bidding. I suddenly pulled my hand back towards my lap, which oddly, had begun reaching for the inner door latch. I realized this creature was stalking me, watching and waiting for a chance to freak me out again and claim this truck as its own. The haunting melody of Jaws began echoing in the recesses of my mind. I’m desperate, trapped. I suggested running this side of the truck against a brick wall, building, anything, just scrape it the &%#! off! I’m fighting for my life here. Slowly, it crawls up on to the window’s ledge, watching me through the glass. The face, still smiling. It appeared to be relishing the moment; toying with its human prey.

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I’m lost in awe at the size of brass balls this spider must possess. It would stop, stare and then shake its ass at me; taunting me through the window. Then at the front of the window’s ledge, it sat again, staring. Then its “face” began to shift side to side revealing its hidden incandescent fangs. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat giving a play-by-play of its little dance when Lilly, who is now completely annoyed at the folly, says, “just roll the damn window down and flick it away!” Such a bold move! I was mildly tempted, “it’s not a frickin’ Chihuahua!, I protested. It’s huge, and it might just jump into the cab and then what will we do?” “Idiot,” she replied.

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Facing emasculation, I asked Lilly to pull the truck over in a parking lot. This treacherous little monster must never know where we live or, like its vindictive cemetery cousin, it will spread the word or whatever they do, and this torturous hell will never cease.

It then began to climb up the side of the mirror and when it turned its back, I jumped out of the truck. I found a stick near a bush and bravely stood opposed, staring into one of its “only God knows how many” eyes. I thought my odds of victory were about 54/46 and valiantly lunged forward. The spider, expecting my attack, dodged and squatted as it prepared to leap and deliver its death blow, but I countered quickly and with an unexpected backhand flick and twist, knocked it off the top of the mirror and onto the ground, a single strand of its fine spider’s silk was left blowing gently in the breeze. The spider landed about two feet under the truck; broken and defeated. I tossed my stick towards the bush and raised my hand towards the heavens as I drank to my ancestors from the proverbial well of victory.

But then, to my amazement, the wretched creature arose and began crawling towards me. “What is this dark magic you possess?” I exclaimed. I reached for my stick; it was too far away. This spider was bent on hellish destruction; a killer of men, and as I backed away, it continued to advance towards me. But, like a seasoned chess-master, I sorta-patiently waited and as he was blinded by rage, into my trap, he crawled. I squealed for Lilly to “hit the gas!” The wheels of the truck spun and though he tried to escape, it was too late, and they plowed his plotting, stalking, conniving, evil ass over where he then became one with the tire. I remained vigilant for a minute or two, expecting the monster to rise again, like a phoenix from the ashes, and strike me swiftly from behind. Finally, certain that evil had been truly vanquished, I climbed back into the cab and departed the glorious battlefield; victorious.

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Missouri Bugs…

So, I went to a rural cemetery, wandered around for a bit and then returned to my car. Apparently, I left it unlocked, because he’s on the inside looking back at me through the glass. The car is yours pal, I’m not opening that door!

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The Business of Fun is quite the Funny Business.

A trip to Disney World is an all out assault on your eyes and ears. The place is mindbogglingly busy and none of your senses are spared. It’s loud everywhere, all the time. Your eyes are quickly overwhelmed by the spinning, twirling and flashing of everything that can be spun, twirled or flashed. Even in the restroom, its chaos.

About 3 hours in, a headache ensued and I needed ibuprofen. Now, if I wanted glass slippers or a hat with ears, no problem, but something for a headache; not a pill to be found. I’d have better luck finding Bigfoot hiding in the bushes. I finally found a Disney employee who knew “the secret.”

She said that “certain” stores had ibuprofen secured in a drawer behind the counter, but you had to ask for it. “Is there a special password?” I asked. “No, just start asking different store clerks.” As I staggered into the third store, the clerk immediately “knew” what I wanted. “They come in a 2-pack,” she said, “and they’re expensive,” she warned.

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Desperate times, desperate measures. I coughed up the dough; $2.49 for two pills. She then opened a small cabinet behind the counter and handed them to me. “Yesterday was a big day for this stuff!” she said, smiling.  I scowled at her.  She looked at the door; another sensory-overload victim had just wandered in.

After gobbling up the pills, I started doing the math. I wanted to translate the weight of the two pills into a form that I could use to see how it would compare with other products. OCD and I then went for a long walk crunching numbers. By my calculations: It takes ~101 tablets to equal 31 grams, which, by the way, is also a Troy ounce. ~90 tablets equals a regular ounce (28 grams). Which means that to buy a regular ounce of Advil at Disney World would cost me $112.05 or for a Troy ounce (precious metals are weighed using the Troy ounce) it would be $126.99. (Yes, I was bored and Yes, I had too much time on my hands!)

Anyways, buying two Ibuprofen pills at Disney World works out to ~$112.05 an ounce and ~$126.99 for a Troy ounce or ~$4.01 a gram and ~$4.09 a gram (Troy), respectively.  Who cares, Right? Well, I do and here’s why.

  1.  Wal-Mart: 100 Advil Tabs $7.97. That’s ~.28 cents a gram.
  2.  Excellent Russian Beluga Caviar, $90.00 per ounce or ~$3.21 a gram.
  3.  .999 Pure Silver bars, $15-ish a Troy ounce or ~$.49 cents a gram.
  4. Marijuana, $112.00 an ounce in many large cities, globally or ~$4.00 a gram.
  5. Fresh Burgundy Black Truffles, $44.00 an ounce or ~$1.58 a gram.

For around the same price of Disney’s Ibuprofen, I could buy either: ~1400 Advil pills at Wal-Mart, one ounce of a Fancy Russian Beluga Caviar and still have enough money left to buy a barf bag, 8 bars of  shiny .999 Silver or an ounce of an incredible Burgundy Black fresh-picked Truffle.

Who’s the thinker now! I’ve peeked behind the curtain and I’ve seen Disney’s “real” profit center. Now I’m quite certain that they’re secretly in the Ibuprofen business and that the Mouse-thing, well, is just a rouse to lure you into the park to buy their Advil.

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re not using Points and Miles, you really should be!

Ritz-Carlton, Marana Az. (Tucson)

Booked a room for 3 nights using 70,000 Marriott Points and a free night certificate. This place is a bargain at 35k points per night! The value of the Points and free night certificate is ~$945.

I checked the non-Points value to make sure that using points gives the better value…

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Looks Good. ~$945 in Points to get $1249.74 in value. If you have the Amex Spg Luxury Card, you’re automatically Gold with Marriott. If you travel or spend enough, you can become Platinum. Either way, when you check in, you’re eligible for an Upgrade. I checked in and was upgraded.

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~$945 in Points/free night certificate and now $3833.99 in value! Wow!

How did I earn the points? Spg Luxury card with 75,000 point sign up bonus. $450 year fee. WAIT! You get $300 of that back as a credit to pay a Marriott Hotel charge(s) and $250 of it back for airline incidentals (fly Delta and use it for gift cards to help pay for your flight). You also get a free night certificate and Marriott Gold status. Do the Math!

Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/MICHAmOzEI?xl=cp33

 

 

Do you have what it takes to pursue the Points and Miles challenge? I’m not so sure…

Three years ago, I decided to take the “Hobby” of earning Travel Points and Miles seriously. I immersed myself in learning the “in’s & out’s” and after formulating a mediocre plan, I leapt from the proverbial edge and went all in. Three years, 14+ credit cards and 3,500,000 various points/miles later, I’m exhausted.

There is NO rest in this pursuit. Deals, opportunities, angles and tactics changes hourly. You must read, research and learn the nuances of every credit card, hotel chain, airline and car rental perk, challenge, coupon, offer and status opportunity available for the program that meets your goals. You must also learn about programs outside your sphere as they are often a “back door” to a program that is within your focus ie. booking with Alaska Air for an American Airlines flight when Alaska, who will take American Airlines Miles, requires less to do the same thing, yet you still board an American Airlines plane. It is literally like drinking from a fire hose.

The resources are easily available, but if you want to be at the “top of your game,” you must put in the time and effort. This, plus maintaining websites, blogs and writing books about what you’ve learned and experienced, make for a full day.

The reward? I have the ability to travel anywhere, in any way, for free; like I need more demands on my time. Ironically, the pursuit can become more interesting that the actual reason you started; to see the world in ways that most are unable; the most exotic cities, the best hotels and flights etc.

Having said all that, I do love it so. There is no greater thrill than to obtain top-tier hotel status, fly first class and see the world “simply” by accumulating points and miles. It becomes a type of currency that you earn through hard work, effort and being a step ahead. It can be glorious, but be warned, it is all-consuming and definitely not for the faint of heart. You’ll go to bed thinking about it and you’ll get up thinking about it. If your fortunate though, the bed you’re in will be in a place that is absolutely incredible.

 

The Point of the Highland Thistle

TheSunflowerMuse.com

“The Point of The Highland Thistle”

At the Vernal Equinox, the Scottish Highlands have always yielded before their Dark and Mercurial Sky, who once again is forced to endure Lady Spring’s conspicuous and gaudy arrival.

As She approached, the curmudgeonly Sky, turned and peered into the distance, greeting her only with silence.

Lady Spring, irritated by the tepid reception and the Sky’s obvious lack of deference, gazed disapprovingly upon the Highlands and its dull and dreary pallor.

“The only signs of life are these prickly Scottish thistles that rise from the snow,” she said, as she tugged at her robe, which had become entangled in thistle and was refusing to yield. Frustrated, she took off her robe and tugged as hard as she could, pulling the whole plant from the soil which then caused her to fall backward onto the ground; her robe now completely covered in thistles. “I’ll banish…

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Could you imagine? The most expensive nap ever taken🌻

I love this question: Should I wait to have children until I can afford them? Academically, sure; but most likely, nobody would ever have kids.

Waiting until you can “afford” to travel follows the same path. It’s the land of “I wish I had but now I can’t.”

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Somehow, if we’re careful, we manage to have children and thrive anyway. Following your travel dreams is no different, You just “make it work” or alternatively, you roll the dice and wait until you retire. Good luck with that…

  • No, this isn’t a crime scene, they’re asleep!🙄