Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 things I learned on vacation...

I just got back from a 10 day vacation, where we spent time on nearly the entire Eastern Seaboard, spending the bulk of the time down on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  What a blast!  Sun, sand, wild horses, the Big Apple, Dogfish Head Brewery, mini golf and lots of driving.  Despite it being a trip for fun, I actually learned quite a bit.  The following are 5 things I learned on vacation that I wanted to share with all of you.  Here goes...

1.  New York City cops are kind of like Honey Badger, they don't give a shit!  We got ourselves into a EZPass only lane as we rolled into the city, and before we realized it, we couldn't get out of it.  No big deal I thought, we can just give them the toll amount and they will raise the arm for us.  HA!  Nope, big tough police man rails on me for a few minutes and then tells me to go ahead and pull off to the side, he'd be right up to ticket me.  Ticket me?!  I paid the toll, what the heck?!  Yeah, turns out it's a $130 fine for using the wrong lane at a toll booth in NYC!  Note to self, NYC and Maine are kind of different.

2.  Joe Bornstein isn't actually the guy in the ads.  Yeah, I know, I was shocked!  We saw a sign in either Virginia or North Carolina advertising a law firm down there, and much to my confusion, it was the same dude in the photo!  The following is an actual conversation I had with an Operator on their website...

System: You have entered the conversation. Waiting on operator...
System: Operator has entered the conversation.
Sylvia: Hi, I am Sylvia. How may I assist you?
Visitor: Hello Sylvia, completely random question for you today. The guy in the ads, what is his name? I saw him on a sign for a law firm in Virginia or North Carolina, was shocked to find out it wasn't Joe Bornstein. I died a little inside, truth be told.
Sylvia: We may be able to help you. Do you mind explaining the situation?
Visitor: I just did, any thoughts?
Sylvia: I understand.
Visitor: You are automated, aren't you? You really can't help me. Bummer.
Sylvia: I am a real person.
Sylvia: I am part of the live chat support team for the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein firm, and my job is to connect people with the most appropriate attorney for their situation.
Sylvia: If you don't mind leaving your contact details, I will forward it right away and request that you are contacted as soon as possible with the exact details.
Visitor: Right, but can you help me with who the guy in the ads are? That is all I really want to know.
Sylvia: May I ask your contact number and email address?
Visitor: Nevermind, I'll use Suri on my iPhone, she is more helpful.
Sylvia: Are you sure you would not like to leave an email just for future reference?
Visitor: I have no need for your services, other than trying to find out who the guy in the ads are. Seriously, finding out that he wasn't actually Joe Bornstein made me tear up a little, true story.
Sylvia: You can try contacting the office directly at 1-800-225-5563.
Sylvia: The receptionist should be able to assist you.
Visitor: I'll try that, or Suri, she does whatever I ask, and I mean whatever. Do you know what I mean?
Sylvia: I understand.
Visitor: Hey, thanks anyway, Sylvia. You have yourself a fine afternoon, and I'll continue my quest to find out who the mysterious man is. Peace out!
Sylvia: You are welcome.

Despite Sylvia being a real person, she wasn't very helpful, and I had to do my own research.  Turns out his name is Robert Vaughn and he does this very same ad for a variety of personal injury lawyers.  You learn something new every day!

3.  Radio stations that play top 40 music only play 5 or 6 of the most popular songs no matter where you are, not just here in Maine.  All this time I've given my daughter a hard time because 97.9 only plays a half dozen songs repeatedly.  However, all of the comparable stations we found from NY to NC did the same thing.  In fact, I now know every word to the new singles by Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj, Flo Rida, Fun, One Direction and Kelly Clarkson.  Yeah, I know they are popular, but come on, a little variety is a good thing for a radio station, right?

4.  Wild horses are beautiful and majestic.  We did a tour of the Carolina beaches in a couple of Jeeps looking for wild horses, and we saw probably 20 of the estimated 140 that are in that area.  We learned all about the history of how they got here (came over from Spain back in the mid 1500's), and how they tend to travel in packs consisting of usually one stallion and a varying numbers of mares.  We also learned that when a stallion feels threatened or wants to let you know he is in charge, he gets, shall I say, aroused.  You want to talk about awkward!  How do you explain to five kids ranging in age from 5 to 9 why some of the horses appear to have five legs?!  Holy crap! 

5.  Despite having an absolute blast with family and friends (both old and new), and everything else that comes along with a wonderful vacation, there really is not place like home.  Getting away reminds me of how much I really do love living right here in Maine.  There are so many great places in this country to visit, but there is no place I would rather be than here in the Pine Tree State.  Sure, I would love less snow and more sun.  I mean, seriously, we have it all right here.  From my house I can drive less than an hour and get to a beach, a mall, a remote campground, or a mountain for skiing.  Where else is that possible?  Sure, I think of living elsewhere from time to time, but I'm pretty happy right here.

In case I hadn't mentioned this already, I had a wonderful vacation.  It was the first real vacation I have taken since I think I was in high school, and to be able to take it with Nichole and Kerrigan, I couldn't have asked for anything more than that.  I have an amazing little family, and I look forward to many more vacations, and many more stories in the future.  I'm just saying...