Tag Archives: Advice

Growing Up

I find myself in a not-so-unique position. I refuse to grow up. Oh, I go to work. I pay the bills. I live the humdrum grind of everyday life. But inside of me… inside of me is a child that refuses to die. This is the kid that grew up loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is the kid that was so polite that he’d hold the door open at the post office so long that his mom would have to yell at him to get to the car. This is the kid that found joy in the little things: Shorts, cowboy boots, and a massive metal tow truck toy were all I needed.

That kid, that’s the one that hides for awhile when things are going tough, but pops back out to remind me not to grow up. I was thinking about the gifts I received this Christmas, and I realized – the kid’s still kicking. I can take joy out of the smallest of things. It always makes me smile when Loki, our cat, will always come lay on my chest any time I lie down on the bed. It’s something small and yet it can make my day. Hell, the cat starts purring before he even gets to the bed… it’s like the rodent likes me. *I know cats aren’t rodents… I hate cats though. I am and always have been a dog person. (Though Loki is a good rodent. As is Arthur, the cat we semi-adopted from a friend. But I still hate cats.)* 😛

I enjoy the gift of giving, whether it’s my time, my things, or my self. There is no more rewarding feeling than being able to feel satisfied and fulfilled with the little things in life. Of course, I may be a brat about the giving. Take this Christmas for instance… I was strolling around Hastings Entertainment Store for a gift for my girlfriend with my little nephew. My nephew LOVES Spongebob. Adores the annoying little yellow guy. Well, we’re walking around and he sees this 3 pack of Spongebob themed games: 2 card games with the sponge on it, Spongebob Bingo, and Patrick/Spongebob checkers. It was love at first sight. He wanted it SOOOO badly, and this was the last one in town. Being the joker I am, I pick it up, and this kid is like a cat with a laser pointer – he’s following it anywhere it goes. I asked him, I said “Kobe, you like Spongebob, don’t you?” To which he replied, “Oh yes Uncle Mikey, oh yes I do.” The kid is all innocence and niceness at this near juncture to Christmas (though he’s usually a good kid anyway, just more so around the holidays). I then drew him out and said “Well, I think I’ll get this for my niece in California, she loves Spongebob too.” You’d think I’d deflated the kid, literally. When he gets sad, he gets sad with his WHOLE body. He slumped and tried to put on a good face (poor kid!), so I “let” him carry it all around the store. He’d think I wasn’t looking and he’d look at it so admiringly. Long story short, he totes it all around the store and then I have him carry out the bag with the gifts in it, where he keeps on stealing covetous glances to the wonderful Spongebob prize.

Come Christmas day, we went over to my mom’s house to share the presents and when he comes to our 3 presents (we had wrapped each game box as it’s own gift), he dug right in. Upon revealing the first package, he lit up and in ignorant bliss exclaimed “SPONGEBOB BINGO! Uncle Mikey, this is just like the one you got for your niece in California.” Everyone hid smiles and kind of chuckled (since everyone but Kobe knew of the gag). Come to box #2 and he yells “WOW! SPONGEBOB CARD GAMES! Uncle Mikey, this is just like the one you got for your niece in California.” By this time everyone else was having a hard time not bursting out laughing. He opens box 3 and sure enough “WOW! SPONGEBOB CHECKERS!!! Uncle Mikey, this is just like the one you got for your niece in California.”

I said to him “Kobe, Uncle Mikey MAAAAYYYY have been fibbing to you when he said they were for his niece in California.” At this point everyone bursts out laughing, having contained it too long. The kid goes from the biggest smile to a disbelieving glare as he realized I “got his goat”… then he laughed and asked if I’d play Spongebob Checkers with him. We did. He had his revenge… the kid is cutthroat at checkers. While my mom spent a lot more on his gifts than I did, I was able to give him a gift he really enjoyed in a way that gave everybody a chuckle.

All that to say… That’s the kid in me. He enjoys being able to laugh and play jokes that don’t require somebody to get hurt. It’s the kid in me showing he’s still kicking. The kid in me keeps pushing me to write my story. HE wants it to be told. HE doesn’t want it to die. The kid in me, HE doesn’t accept lame excuses.

“I’m too tired to work on this.”

“Well, go to bed earlier.”

“But I can’t go to bed earlier, I’ve got X to do.”

“Then do X later.”

“But I have Y to do then.”

“Well, do Y then X. Or X then Y. Write some on your book now.”

“If I work on it, will you shut up and go away?”

“Yes.”

*Work on it for a bit, then play some Skylanders.”

“Why don’t you go work on your book.”

“AAAARRRRRGGHHH! Leave me alone!!!”***

You know… the same kind of thing when a kid learns the most fantastic and annoying word in the English language: “Why?”

***Please note, this is just a dramatization. I do not actually suffer from multiple personality disorder. I argue with myself quite often, but I call this “thinking”.***

Any way, as I sit here, I realize that to truly grow up, you have to hold on to the child within yourself as you create the new you. We are constantly changing and evolving as people. Whether it’s something as mundane as a favorite (or least favorite) food changing or as drastic philosophical and moral alignment shifts, we need to find a way to hold on to what we were and incorporate it into what we are. I truly believe this will make for a more complete and well rounded adult.

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A Few Hotel Hints

For my first post, I’m going to give you some “behind-the-counter” tips on booking a hotel. Many people in my generation (and a surprising amount from earlier generations) don’t have the first clue on booking a hotel. Many people find themselves in a situation where they realize they need a place to stay all of a sudden, and shortly afterwards they are fighting medieval sized rodents and making alliances with the roaches to hold what territory they have in the room.

1) The idea of “SuperSavingsBookings.com.net.url.whatever” saving you a ton of money by sticking it to the hotel and getting you the best price possibly available is no more than a clever ploy. Speaking from personal experience, many times that I’ve seen guests coming into our hotel with third-party booking site reservations, they end up paying more than our most basic discount would have netted them. Not only do you end up paying more than you would have, you’re also paying a commission fee to the site for booking the room for you. Where we would have made (let’s just pull a number here and say an even $100) from offering you a discount, we end up only making say $80 and you end up paying even more. This leads right in to my next point.

2) ALWAYS book directly through the hotel, if at all possible! Did all-caps and an exclamation point not convince you enough? ALWAYS. Let’s say you are using “SuperSavingsBookings.com.net.url.whatever” and they quote you a price of $110 as the best deal ever. Well, if you do a little more research and find the local number to the hotel (not some 800-number because that likely leads to an outsourced reservation line) then take the time to call the hotel and say “Hey SSB.all-that-jazz quoted me the price of $110, can you make me a better deal.” I can tell you right now, that 99 times out of 100, the hotel will make that better deal. The reason: You save more money, which leaves you happy. The hotel makes more money than they would have had you booked through the third-party site. Everybody’s happy. Except for the 1 out of 100. The next point will describe how you can avoid being the 1/100.

3) Be friendly with the hotel representative that you are talking to and you’re more likely to get unexpected perks, whether this is a discounted rate, a complimentary upgrade, a free breakfast voucher, or it could be nothing at all. Just like anyone who deals with a large amount of people in any given day, the extra nice/friendly people make our day. If you are friendly to us, then we are MUCH more inclined to go out of our way for you. The inverse of that applies as well. Let’s take the previous example of calling for a negotiated rate. If you call with a ridiculously low number, we know you’re making it up, because we are familiar with what our third-party booking rates are. If you try to scam us, not only are you not getting a better rate, you may get unfavorable room assignments. (I don’t do this personally, but I know quite a few hoteliers who would). Also, don’t call in with a sense of entitlement: “I know you get a worse price than I’m offering to pay you, so go ahead and give me a discounted rate and we’ll both be happy.” I did personally have this happen to me, and unfortunately there was nothing I could do about the rate. “The computer would not allow me to change the rate any lower than $XXX.XX.” Which is true… we would have to personally override that. Long story short, you go out of your way and be friendly to your hotel staff, and they will go out of their way to take care of you.

4) The house keepers are not the only staff at the hotel. They work hard and appreciate your tips. If you’re staying at the same hotel a few times a year, tip the front desk clerk and you’ll be guaranteed to get the best possible room he/she can give you. Does your hotel offer breakfast or a happy hour? Take time to give $2-3 to your server, personally and not just on the table, and you’ll be certain to receive preferential treatment any time you come through. Here’s the thing: Tips are not expected by most of the staff, but they are awesome to receive. A concierge person or house keepers may expect a tip, but the rest of the staff are always pleasantly surprised by any kind of tip and that will reflect in the service you receive.

More wisdom will be following, but listen to these words. This is (un)common sense that may seem obvious to one such as myself but is fairly uncommon knowledge “in the real world.” If you go a little out of your way to show you appreciate the hotel staff, they WILL reciprocate.

~Grand Landing

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