Thursday, July 31, 2014

Road Trip Part 5 Picture Edition

Now that you are done hearing about the car drama, here are some fun highlights of our Vegas Road Trip!

Balloon Hats at Margaritaville

 Colin wouldn't wear his soccer ball hat so I did.

 Waiting for our table at Margaritaville

Red Rocks Canyon - 112 degrees that day! Hot Hot Hot!


VooDoo Zipline from the top of the Rio
 We are so BRAVE! 
But too cheap to buy the souvenir pictures of us actually on the zipline.

Tournament of Kings dinner show at the Excalibur

 From the TV show Pawn Stars

And the TV show Tanked

Cirque de Soleil Zarkana

And plenty of cocktails and sushi!

Obviously "What happens in Vegas, doesn't stay in Vegas"!

It is what it is...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Road Trip Part 4

And the rest of the story goes like this.

I head off to the Kia dealership with a confident, positive attitude that things were going to go my way. Let's put that good energy out there into the universe.

I told my story to the service manager emphasizing that even though we were all OK, this has disaster potential written all over it.  He was horrified that this could happen. He immediately said they would refund the service fee.

He told me the employee would be disciplined. Now I'm picturing a 25 year old service tech with a pregnant wife. I don't want anyone fired over this. Mistakes happen. Granted this could be worse but I really don't want anyone to lose their job.

We then discussed the tips I paid out ($50 total) and the time taken out of my vacation. He said he couldn't reimburse me for the tips because I had no receipts. Seriously, do you ask for a receipt when you tip someone? So, no cash back.

Me: Surely there is  something you can do that doesn't involve cash.

He offered to give me my next service free. I already have the maintenance plan so that won't work.

Me: What else, can you do? I ask, giving him the pleasant stare down.

Him: How about a complete detail. Total value is $170.

Me: That sounds reasonable. I'll be in on Friday. And I'll need a loaner car so I don't have to wait around all day.

Him. See you on Friday. Again, I'm really sorry for your trouble. Thank you for being so understanding.

Score! My car is super dirty from the baseball season and the trip to Vegas. A detail will be great, just in time for the muddy cleats of soccer season.

I think he thought I was going to sue them. Which maybe I could have but it's not worth the hassle since it all worked out.

It is what it is...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Road Trip Part 3

According to the Kia dealer in Vegas, the recalled part that I had replaced last week had 2 fuses. The SD dealer put them in the wrong places and shorted out the system! And it also killed the battery. 

WTF! Putting fuses in the wrong places? I could have broken down in the middle of the Mojave Desert! 

 When I talked to the service department in SD they said. "Impossible!"

Me: Here is  the name and number of the Vegas dealership. They are expecting your call. Work it out with them and I will be in to chat with you when I get back. I am expecting to be reimbursed the $100 service fee as well as the $50 in tips I paid out to tow truck and shuttle drivers and some sort of compensation for time and trouble. Work it out with whatever managers you have to but get it done or it will be allover Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp the minute I walk out the door. 

I'm off today to deal with this today.

It is what it is...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Road Trip Part 2

FYI, we are safely back from Vegas...

July 21

I had my van serviced last week in anticipation of the long, hot trip through the Mojave Desert to Fabulous Las Vegas.

Verdict - 4 new tires. Cost $750.  Gotta get them. It is what it is...I was hoping to win big, however, when you only play the penny slots and the budget is only $20, chances are very slim.

Here's where the story takes a big detour. After finally getting the hotel situation under control we all head out to The Strip to have dinner at Margaritaville because Its Always 5 o'clock Somewhere.

There were margaritas - well for me, not for Cadence
and balloon hats!!! (Colin was too embarrassed to wear his so I wore the
soccer ball)

Then a short walk around The Linq.

Problems began when we started to drive back to the hotel. First, the headlights went out. Next the radio, finally all power was lost! I was able to creep along to a semi safe spot in that little triangle where the 15 freeway on ramp connected with Flamingo Road. Stuck. Dead. Scary and dangerous! I called 911. They sent the highway patrol.

In the meantime, Phyllis had her AAA card and I called for a tow. They said almost 2 hours! WHAAAAAAT!!!! This is Vegas! Don't they have a reality show about tow trucks???? They have one about everything else. Tattoos, pawn shops, fish tanks, strippers, high rollers, housewives, etc!

Highway patrol arrives. He encourages me to try and start the van. It starts but I don't want it to conk out on me in 50 feet in a more dangerous spot. I ask copper to stay behind me and I will try to make it to the Rio, which is about a half mile ahead.

Good News - I make it! Barely...
Bad News - I'm dead in the taxi lane.

Call to AAA

Me: I'm changing my location. I have made it to a safe spot at the Rio. I'm in the taxi lane. I have no power. I really need your help. This call is under my MIL's name. I have a AAA account, however I don't have my card with me. My MIL is elderly. I have 4 children with me. Its 100 degrees and I have no power for AC. They can not sit with the vehicle. I will send them home in a cab. Please look up my account and change the call. I have ID but no card. I'm sure you have dealt with this before and can help me. ( if you have AAA you know the card holder must be present and I wasn't about to let Phyllis and kids sit around for 2 hours)

AAA: What's your name?
Me: Mary E. MacNaughton
AAA: We have no one under that name.
Me: Try my phone number or my address.
AAA: Sorry, we can't find it.
Me: Seriously???? 3 grocery stores, 2 drug stores, Starbucks and a multitude of other places I shop know where I am at any given moment! Keep looking!

Finally they are able to look up my card.

AAA: We will change the call to your number.
Me: Thank you. What is the call number in case I need to call you back?
AAA: It will be the same one.
Me: Are you sure? Please text it to me.

I send Phyllis and kids in a cab. I sit and wait in the taxi lane at the Rio telling 1 out of every 4 cabs that go by that yes, I know I'm in the taxi lane but my car is dead and I'm waiting for a tow truck. Mostly they are nice.

1 hour later I call back to check on the progress. Its freakin' hot! I have no power so I can't close the windows and go into the Rio. Plus the tow truck might come and I don't want to miss it.

Me: I'm calling about # 12345
AAA: We canceled that call.
Me: YOU WHAAAATT!!!! I have been waiting over an hour! If I had not called, there would be no truck?????
AAA: You said you moved to a safe location.
Me: I said said that I moved to a SAFER location and I had to send my elderly MIL and 4 kids home. I still need a truck.
AAA: We are really sorry.
Me: I have been waiting 2 hours! Send someone now! I can't believe there are no tow trucks within 5 minutes of me. THIS IS VEGAS!!!!!

20 minutes later Lamont shows up. He hands me an ice cold bottle of water. He thinks its the alternator. Finally we arrive at the Tahiti Vacation Club. Its 12:30 am. I tip Lamont $20, mostly for the water but also for explaining to me that tow trucks can get about $500 for a casino call for  illegal parking. Roadside service is secondary. /

To be continued...

It is what it is...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Road Trip Part 1

Vegas here we come! Packed up the car with kids Cara, Colin, and their friends Cadence and Seth aka Syd and snacks for our 6 hour road trip. We left Monday at 10 am right on schedule.

My mother in law, Phyllis had to use up her timeshare points so she got us a place in Vegas. As always, nothing goes according to plan. It turns out there are 2 Tahiti's in Vegas. Tahiti Village and Tahiti Vacation Club. She "thought" she booked the Village. 2 bedroom suite, lazy river, tiki bar and the biggie WiFi.

 Wrong! We showed up there only to find out we were actually booked at the Vacation Club. Still a nice resort but older. Still the 2 bedroom suite but no tiki bar, lazy river or in room WiFi. And it's not what we had been hyping about all week by showing the kids the Village website.

After Phyllis gets on the phone and does some negotiating, we get 3 days at the Village in addition to the rooms we have at the Vacation Club! Only problem is it's only 1 bedroom and a living room. Definitely not for 6 people.

And did I mention Scott decided to fly in for a Wednesday to Saturday stay and drive back with us? No... Well...he did.  And did I mention its HOT in Vegas - like 111 and he doesn't like the heat?

So we decide that Phyllis will stay with kids at the VC and Scott and I will take 2 nights at the Village. So it's nice and quiet for him and not messy from 4 teenagers. We can use the facilities all will be good.

The WiFi is kind of spotty be continued...

It is what it is...

Sunday, July 20, 2014


The theme for our family Christmas gift exchange this year was Groupon. Cara got a food tour from Paula. Yesterday we went to the lovely island (peninsula, really) of Coronado to taste some of their yummiest delicacies.

Cara waiting to get started.

1st stop was Peohe's for some Crispy Coconut Shrimp.

On to Candela's for cheese and chicken empanadas.

According to Cara, this next stop was the best. We learned all about olive oils and balsamic vinegar at Coronado Taste of Oils. Cara thought it was not going to be good but she loved tasting all of the oils. And there were tons to choose. We picked up some garlic olive oil and a bottle of the violet balsamic. We also got a small scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with amaretto and espresso balsamic. That was very tasty!

Next up was the Fuzziwig's Candy Factory where we enjoyed handmade dark chocolate sea salt caramels. Fuzziwig's was stuffed with every other kind of candy that you can think of!

The last stop was the Bottega Italiana Gelato shop for some caramel gelato. It was super delish. I only wish we could have tried one of the more exotic flavors. 

This was a walking tour so we walked about 2 miles which was nice since we had so much to eat.

I totally recommend it! Thanks Paula!

It is what it is...

Friday, July 18, 2014

And It All Started With A Big Bang

One of our favorite shows is the Big Bang Theory. Its about 4 super smart, socially awkward physicists  and the not so smart but pretty blond waitress that lives next door. They share a love of all things science, math, video games and comic books.

Imagine my surprise when I find myself in the middle of a Big Bang episode as I wait in line right in our neighborhood Vons. Since I didn't catch their names, lets just call these two Leonard and Raj.

Leonard: Raj! Long time, no see! Where have you been, man?
Raj: (in your best tech help Indian accent) Leonard! How are you doing, man? I have been taking a summer course in aerospace technology.
Leonard: You going to game night tonight?
Raj: Yes, I was planning on that. I did not see you at the rocket competition last weekend. Were you there?
Leonard: No, I was at the model train club event. How did you do in the rocket competition?
Raj: Not so well. Our rocket only went 3,000 feet. It was quite disappointing.

At this point, I have to turn around to see these two. You got it...Leonard was tall, thin with nerdy glasses and in need of a haircut. Raj was a short, roundish Indian. Both appeared to be late 20's. What were they buying? Leonard had a package of hot dogs, buns, chicken nuggets and a bottle of some type of craft beer. Raj had greek yogurt, some cucumbers and ice cream. And 3,000 feet seemed to be a good distance to me for a rocket.

Leonard: Too bad. What was the winning distance?
Raj: 25,000 feet.
Leonard: WOW!
Raj: It was quite impressive.

And that was all I heard.

All together now...
-The Earth began to cool, The autotrophs began to drool.
Neanderthals developed tools.
We built a wall, we built the pyramids
Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery and it all started with a Big Bang!

It is what it is...