Trying The GM Diet.

My month in Atlanta was brutal, especially on my physique.  The 3 hour time change made it almost impossible for me to work out.  I know this sounds like a lame excuse, but getting up at 7am pst is about all I can do…  If I wake up any earlier than that, I feel sick to my stomach and have on many occasions, thrown up.

I also felt bloated and uncomfortable the entire time .. I don’t know if it was the weather or what I was eating, which for the most part was the same – oatmeal in the morning, salad for lunch, low carb dinner), but I just didn’t feel good.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I didn’t work out and I drank too much…  which has resulted in a 3 lb gain.  Of course I’m not happy out it, I had 5 lbs to lose before I left for Atlanta a month ago.  So, I’m going to try the GM Diet.  A few friends of mine have done the diet one week a year for years (they do it once a year for cleansing purposes)… and have consistently lost weight and have kept it off.  So I’m going to give it a try.  I’ll blog my progress …   

I’m actually looking forward to it because I do love fruits and veggies..  and I can substitute chicken for the beef days if I want to..  I went shopping today and purchased a bunch of fruits and vegetables… the bill came to $68… which is very low for me.  Normally its close to $100, and that’s because it usually includes alcohol…. And honestly, after all the drinking I did in Atlanta, I’m looking forward to an excuse to NOT drink.  I know, shocker. 

Wish me luck.  I’ll let you know how day 1 goes tomorrow.

Delta and United Suck Too.

I spent a weekend in Utah and was trying to get back to Atlanta …   Everything on my itinerary looked good – I booked a ticket that balanced my personal commitments with my work schedule.  However, Delta and United had different plans for me.

So now I hate both Delta and United.  I get better basic service from the bartenders at the airport bars — eye contact, a simple “I will be with you in a moment” (just a small acknowledgement that you actually SEE me and the other dozen customers waiting for your help).. And given my experience, I may just go back to AirTran.. at least they will fly an airplane in any condition. 

So, my day began with a hug and kiss from my mom, coffee and conversation with my dad, a few hours of work, then a shower.  My dad dropped me off at the SLC airport, and I was happy as a clam. I was in my own little world – remembering what a great trip I just had, bonding with my nieces…  I love them so much, every time I’m in Utah I just wished I had more time…  Ideally I’d love to live there part-time so I could be a greater part of their lives.  Yes, I was in la la land… I get thru security (even with more than 3 oz of toothpaste), and head to my gate.  Below is how the airlines fucked up my mood: 

  1. Arrive at the Delta Gate Counter in SLC – hanging around are two gate agents, a bunch of pilots and flight attendants.  Not a good sign.  I finally reach the desk and ask about switching seats, and the gate agent says “I don’t know anything, but we aren’t dealing with seat changes right now”.  I then remark, “to leave on time, you need to be boarding now, I see the airplane is here and you aren’t boarding, is something wrong?”. Her response the ENTIRE time people are asking her questions – “I can’t say”.  Flight was scheduled to depart at 1:50pm.. which is exactly what the board said until about 2:10, which then it read cancelled.  Instead of standing in line behind 300 passengers, I called Delta to change my flight.. they had nothing available, and put me on a United flight that works its way to ATL thru Chicago.  I stop off to get a glass of wine before heading to another terminal.
  2. Arrive at the United Counter in SLC – one gate agent, a bunch of pilots and flight attendants, and security were standing at the gate.  I got in line, behind the dozen or so other folks waiting to be serviced by the one gate agent who was running around like her head had been cut off.  So I turn the “hard-working” (sarcasm) TSA agents and ask “why are so many of you here?” (I hesitated to ask because I thought the guy was retarded… but I had to, that’s what I do).  They guy said that TSA had decided to “spot check” this gate (what, they don’t even trust themselves??  Talking about TSA just gets me going, a rant on them is coming soon).  There are 5 of them, and they all are overweight and look like high-school drop-outs still living their dreams in too tight uniforms (think Reno 911!), eating cashews next to the gate desk…  There is no gate agent in sight.  The woman finally comes back, starts to help folks, I finally get my turn, ask for a bit of help with seat assignments (as I have none because Delta can’t give me seat assignments on another airlines flights)… She gave me one for the immediate flight, then told me to deal with my ORD to ATL flight in ORD.  I said no, that I had been standing in line, waiting for her to help me, and I wanted a guaranteed seat.  She then started berating me about her “bad day” (sounded more like a bad life.).. something about an ex-boyfriend, a dead cat.. I dont’ know.  I just stared at her and then said (remember I’m not always nice), “You are here to help me, not give me excuses as to why you can’t help me. We all have troubles in our lives…  I won’t even start in on mine.  But I want to get to work so I can get home.  Can you help me with this?”  You know what she said?  In a very heated, high voice she says to me,  “Thanks for being such a nice person (sarcasm oozing from her tone), I’ve got too much to think about/on my mind right now to help you with future travel“… and a few other things.. then she turned around and walked away.  You know, I didn’t feel bad at all.  I got her name, and wouldn’t you know it, she is the Service Director.  Yes, this is the person who is training/setting example for others on how to treat customers…  No wonder “customer service” has all but disappeared in the airline industry.
  3. Arrive at the United Counter in Chicago.  So I do finally make it to Chicago, I get to the gate,and wouldn’t you know it, the flight was delayed.  No reason given, just delayed.  For 2 hours.  I was so exhausted, so tired, and I desperately needed to get into ATL at a decent time as my week was going to be brutal work wise.  United didn’t care – the flight was delayed until 11:30pm (it was originally an 8pm flight).  The gate agent was o.k..  didn’t look at me when I asked for a seat, but did give me a seat with no one next to me (which I specifically asked for). 

I finally arrived in ATL at 1:20am (vs. my original 7:30pm arrival time) got to the  hotel by 2am.. asleep by 2:30, then up at 7:30 …  needless to say I was exhausted.  I never made up for the lost sleep all week…  by the time Thursday (yesterday) came around, I was completely spent. 

Here is the thing.  I get that things happen.. that flights are cancelled, delayed… but when they happen AND  you get consistently horrible customer service, I just lose it.  Its it so unneccessary for rude behavior, especially from someone who is “on the job”..  So, here are a few words of wisdom I’m going to share (for free) to the airline workers of the world: 

  • Focus on the customers.  Airline managers, execs, and the like – your front line staff is the face of your company.  if someone if an asshole, then you are an asshole.  You are guilty by association.
  • Get rid of folks that make you look bad. Just do it .. unions be dammed.  If you don’t, you aren’t going to be successful.
  • Focus on basic common courtesy.  Yes, the same manners your mother taught you, extend these to your customers.
    • Look at people when they talk to you.  Not the computer, but into the eyes of the person standing in front of you.
    • Listen.  That’s right – listen. Listen for how you can help someone (not what you can’t do, what you CAN do).
    • If you are busy but see that someone is waiting, acknowledge their presence and let them know you see them.  For example, “I see you need help, I am busy at the moment but I will get to you as quickly as I can”. See how easy that is?
    • Don’t mock your counter mate or other co-workers in front of the customer.  It’s in bad taste and makes you look bad, and honestly, we don’t care what Shaniqua said/did/wore/etc., we just want to get home/to work, etc.. 

Fellow travelers, feel free to pass on other WOW that you would like to send/share with the airline industry.

O.k.. so now all I’m left with is Jet Blue, Virgin America or my own private plane. My experiences on Jet Blue and Virgin America have been awesome…  I hope they keep up the good work.

Happy To Be Home.

I’m home… slept in my bed for the first time in almost 2 weeks.  I love my bed, my home… I can’t tell you how happy I am to be home.

I spent the month in Atlanta … 4 full weeks, working on a Proof of Concept with a prospect.  I had a great team to work with – my company has the most amazing people (and the best technology).  I truly love my job.  We really rocked it – did a fantastic job, and successfully jumped another hurdle.  Although we have a lot of work to still do to close the deal, we are moving forward.  We are progressing and all signs are pointing us to a successful outcome.  Yeah for us!

On the personal side, my CA dating life was suspended.  I tried to meet up with both MM Guy and Middle Seat Airplane Guy the weekend I was home (8/12-14) but it didn’t work out (largely due to me changing our scheduled meet times). Bummed me out, but that’s the way it worked.  I do have a dinner date with MM Guy tomorrow, Saturday, and as luck would have it, the Executive Chef is available and wants to take me out on Sunday.  I am SO looking forward to a relaxing and pampered weekend.

Speaking of which, I am starting off well in this endeavour to relax and enjoy my weekend.  I’ve not done anything for work today even though I have stuff to do.  My brain just can’t take in anything today. I’m just hanging out at home, watching Sliding Doors, hanging with the cats. I am heading out for a 4pm pedicure, then drinks with CLicious.  I’m sure I’ll be to bed early tonight – I’m still on East coast time.

I’ll be home this weekend and the following week so I’ll get caught up on blog entries.. I have lots of ideas and stories to share, I just haven’t had time to get them all written out.

Have a great Friday everyone.

Quick Update.

I know, you all miss me. I’ve been out-of-pocket because I’m out-of-town. I’m spending most of August in Hotlanta (and not because the guys are hot)…   I’m in ATL for work (shameless plug for the fabulous (exKimpton) Marriott Renaissance Hotel)….   a great opportunity worth $$ if we can close it.   However, there are several observations that I want to share with you:

  1. Unicorns is at home, in CA.. and I miss her every minute of every day that I’m gone.  I want to be making dinner with her, creating jewelry, and catching up on life… talking, drinking wine, enjoying her company.  Bums me out I’m missing out on that (although, we all know Unicorns is just fine without me and out and about entertaining herself)
  2. Life is so crazy right now that simple pleasures make me happy. Case in point: 
    • I’m so happy when I go to the bathroom and the toilet seat is up.  It means I am the first one to go to the bathroom and I’m the first one on the toilet seat.  It makes me smile and happy…  What puts a bigger smile on my face is when I go back to the bathroom, I have to find another stall with the seat up…  I love a good challenge.  😉
    • I heard Barry Manilow on the radio at the restaurant I had lunch at yesterday.. It reminded me of th time I went to his concert with my mom and twin a lot of years ago… big smile.
  3. Looks like I might have 2 dates this weekend – MM guy on Friday, and Middle Seat Airplane guy on Saturday.  Yep, I’m a mover and a shaker…  both of the men are on my roster.. yum!

I should be writing status to my manager… but I did not, I decided to give you’ll an update…  I know, you feeling the love?!!? 

O.k. my sleeping pill is kicking in… good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

AirTran – You Suck. Why I Will Never Fly You Again.

I’m traveling for work a lot these days…  to far away places like Atlanta where only a few airlines fly…. I’ve been flying a discount airline to save my company money – I do enjoy being a good corporate citizen.  However, I have now drawn the line.  Let me share why it’s the end of the line for AirTran.

I have flown them now a total of 10 times (counting the flight that I’m on now).  I have not had one good experience with them, every flight has had trouble.. different trouble, but trouble none the less.  Let me begin.

  1. Their “Rewards program”.  I don’t really think you can call it this.  I still can’t see one single benefit from being a part of this program…. I still cant figure out what use my A+ points are.  They tell me I can use them for upgrades and/or free flights.. hmm… 
    • First off, where do they actually fly to? Lets see, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Orlando…   Certainly not ‘hot spots’ in my book.  Why would I ever want to go to any of these places in my free time?
    • Secondly, lets talk upgrades.  I have enough points for 2.5 upgrades… However, its NEVER been an option for me… I keep asking why… no one can answer me …  I actually don’t think its possible to upgrade on AirTran.
    • Thirdly, do I get better seat choices? No, not with status or points, only with cash… and even then, not so much.  The green colored areas only mean I get “free” wireless … my knees still touch the seat in front of me…
  2. Next up, “Customer Service”.. actually, I should state this more clearly as “Customer Disservice”.  Boy do I have a lot to say about this.  
    • Phone “Customer Service Reps“..uhh huhhh… the name for these folks should be “I don’t give a shit about you but AirTran pays me to answer the phone so whats the problem I won’t help you with today”?  Honestly…  these people don’t know policy from their asshole.  Every single time I call (because I cant get the info from the website or I can’t do what I need to do on the website),they give me wrong information. And while they do it, I can feel their “No Way I’m Helping You” attitude bleed thru the phone.
    • Airport Counter Reps.   The counter reps are the most non-customer focused people I’ve met in the business (and I’ve traveled a lot). Maybe its just SF or Atlanta, but I’ve never seen a more lazy, non-helpful bunch of un-enthusiastic people in my life.  Each one acts as if their life could not get any worse, and if you ask them for anything (like information about changing your flight), they just might slight their throat right in front of you.  I’ve never seen anything like it – and yes, I’ve flown United where the attendants are so disgruntled they speak with nastiness and physically push people around. Delta sucks too. But at least with United and Delta, there is the off-chance that someone says “bye-bye now” and means it.  Case in Point – I get to the airport having done whatever the phone CSR recommended, the Desk Reps say, ” that’s too bad, he (the CSR Phone Rep)  should have been more informed”…. not “lets see how I can help you”, “let me see what I can do”.. you know what she did… she left and took a smoke break.  Yep, thanks for sharing your concern, I’ve got to go drink my Gatorade and have a smoke with Jamal now.    Uh huh.. I bet it works the other way around too.  It’s a special game they have going on… the “lets see who can provide the worst customer service’.  Yeah, not funny.  
    • How they ‘expertly‘ (sense the sarcasm??)  work together:   Case in point – today.  I called the phone “CSR” and he told me that I could either pay for a ticket (I was trying to catch an earlier flight – I could pay a change fee and the fair difference of $400 to be guaranteed a spot) or take my chances and fly standby. I asked If he could put me on the standby list, he said “no, you have to do that at the airport”…  So, I get to the airport, find out I’m 8th on the standby list, but would have been 1st on the list had the “CSR” actually put me on the standby list when I called…  I found this out because no less than 3 desk agents told me the asshole agent on the phone should have put me on the standby list.  Uh huh. I would have been on an earlier flight home, but thanks to the jackass on the phone, I will have spent 5 hours in the Atlanta airport and 5 hours in the air getting home.  Yes, thank you for getting me home safely is NOT on the tip of my tongue right now.
  3. Airport “Security” Personnel.. There is definitely a difference in the security personnel that “protect” the secure the AirTran gates…  I think this team must be special needs.  This is where the failures/fall-outs from the other airline terminals go. Like the misfits in the Santa Clause movie.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  After standing in a non-moving line for 40 minutes, you alert one of them that your flight is departing in 20 minutes.  After some back and forth (because English is NOT their native language), they put you in the “express line”.. which honest to god, is slower than the original line.  And if you say to them, “my flight is now boarding in 10 minutes”, they say “you should have gotten here sooner”… even AFTER they know you’ve been standing in their lines for almost a solid hour!  They are jus the stupidest bunch of people I’ve ever seen…  and they don’t get smarter with more experience…  its the same B.S. every time I fly thru San Francisco Terminal 1 gates for AirTran.
  4. AirTran Customers.  Where do I begin…
    • Am I the only english speaking person on the plane?  Honestly,  I feel like I’m traveling in a 3rd world country.  I’m pretty much the only white person with a regular sized suitcase. I am literally the only person not headed to a home country of Mexico or India.
    • Size and smell of these folks … Gross.   The fattest, stinkiest, and loudest people take AirTran. Case in point – the guy sitting in front of me is talking about having just been to court and “beaten the system”  because he got off on time served… and that his “ex” can “fuck herself”…  He is a tall bald-headed black guy with shorts so baggy I’m afraid if he gets up they will fall down and I will see his ass crack… Yep, real winner.   I should let him know I’m single. 
    • Oh, and for the 10th time in a row I’ve got some person whose body and arms can’t fit in their own seat/between their armrests. And her husband is 30% bigger than her.  You know the kicker?  I asked to go to the bathroom (I’m in a window seat), and they both didn’t move, they wanted me to crawl over them!!!  Yes, that’s right, it would take so much time to get their fat asses out of the seat they would rather have me straddle them to get to the aisle.  I’m grossed out just thinking about it.   I did ask them to get up and they were so perturbed.  They have no idea what a foul mood I’m in …. they better watch themselves is all I have to say.
    • And I just asked the kid behind me to stop kicking and fucking with the tray…I said, in a calm voice, “I just want you to be aware that what you do to the seat in front of you affects the person actually sitting  in that seat.  So when you need to grab and pull on the seat in front of you, realize that you are pushing and shoving person sitting in front of you.  His sister and mom stared at me – and really, shouldn’t the mom tell her kid this?  Manners people!!
  5. AirTan Accommodations… meaning the planes and service on board. 
    • Almost every flight I’ve been on has had something wrong with the seat I was sitting in. The second or third flight the seat I was in was missing the cover….just a foam seat.   The next flight the seat wouldn’t recline (broken button), the following flight had exposed springs on the seat…  
    • Every flight is booked solid (with stinky fat people who have zero airplane manners (or general manners if you ask me) – for example, if the bathroom sign says “occupied” you do NOT need to keep twisting and turning the bathroom handle/knob.  Idiot.
    • What happened to the food?  So the flight is 6 hours, you can’t have more than peanuts on the plane?  No snack boxes?  Gees…   I bring my own snacks now, but lordy, it seems like prisoners have it better than me – at the very least they have food and TV…  
  6. Flight Attendants… now here is a unique group of people.  Maybe it’s because they are based in Atlanta, but most of the flight attendants are black, have crazy names, and are NOT very customer service oriented… They certainly don’t take serving drinks seriously… and watch out if you actually hit the call button.. you may get a verbal beating… I saw a funny female comedian, Angela Johnson, do a skit on black flight attendants, and I think she must have flown on AirTran before… check this out.  All I’m saying is watch out for the Shaniqua, Telananque, and Bon Qui Qui’s.   

So, this blog is my bold and fierce statement that I would rather got to ATL in a Greyhound bus than take another AirTran flight…  Mark my words, I WILL NEVER take another AirTran flight. I don’t care how much less expensive it is. The pain and suffering that I go thru EVERY SINGLE TIME I fly them is not worth it.  It makes work travel worse than it needs to be…. and that is where I draw the line.

So, AirTran, I gave you a shot. Not just once, but 10 times.  You have proven that you are inferior to all other airline in ways that I never thought possible.

UPDATE – I’m just getting ready to post this and my seat mate just adjusted herself… she has squished her fat ass under the arm and it is now touching me!  Why doesn’t she point that thing at her husband??????   Gees.

Fun Travel Day.

I had a whirlwind work trip this week to Atlanta.   I just returned home ….glad to be home, in bed, snuggling with the little furry ladies.  Now that I’m relaxed, I was thinking about my travel day on Thursday and thought I would share my story.  Here is how the day went for me:

  • 04:30am PST – Up and at ’em…. and I’m SO NOT a morning person.
  • 06:00am PST – Get in my car and drive to the airport because the cab never showed up.. when I called them, the dispatcher said they were “all busy”
  • 07:00am PST – Flight departed SFO… headed to ATL, 4.5 hour flight. Slept a bit…. finished my book, worked a tiny bit.
  • 02:45pm EST – Arrived ATL
  • 03:00pm EST – Boarded a train (METRA) towards the hotel
  • 03:35pm EST – Departed the train….unbeknownst to me AT THE WRONG train stop.  
  • 04:00pm EST – arrived at the mall, that is attached to the hotel, A MILE from the train stop.  The entire time I was walking I was swearing up and down, saying my coworkers name in vain (of course it was his fault!)..
  • 04:30pm EST – arrive at the hotel, sweaty and disgusting as it was a “cool” 92 degrees in Hotlanta.  I hop into the shower to clean up and cool down, proceed to work for the next hour and a half.
  • 06:00pm EST – go to the hotel bar and cool down even further with a cold alcoholic beverage – vodka, soda, and ice cubes..  yum!
  • 07:00pm EST – head to drinks and dinner with my coworker.. laughed about my travel day…
  • 11:00pm EST – back at hotel…

9 hours of getting ready to travel, waiting to travel, traveling.  12 hours with the 3 hour time difference.  Throughout the travel experience, I had nothing to eat…  so I was starving by the time dinner time came around.  Had 3 tacos, a margarita at a local taco establishment….. and 2 more vodkas at the St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta… OMG, this place is amazing!  I’m definitely going back to that hotel bar…

A couple of great observations about my day is:

  1. I got paid to travel…  I know, it’s not glamorous travel, but it was still interesting to me. I love to interact with people, watch people, watch people’s interactions with others…  I love to watch the people in this world move about…
  2. All food and drink, while out-of-town, is on someone else’s dime.  Nothing like a free beverage that puts a smile on my face.
  3. I think it’s so interesting how sure I was that I knew exactly where I was going. It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t know…  Looking back on it, of course I didn’t know…   but made me realize that the more I think I know something, the more I really don’t know anything.

And last, and probably the most important… I did ALL of this in my fabulous Olivia Rose Leopard Print Pumps..  Oh baby, do I travel in style or what?!?!?