Friends For Life

29 Jul

Just had a guest call to cancel their reservation for tonight; through her sobs, she said that her brother-in-law had been electrocuted.  It was obvious from her voice cracking that they were close. 

You never know when something is going to happen and shake up your entire world.  Seize every opportunity to be with the people you love.  Tell them you appreciate them, because your life can inexorably change in an instant.  Don’t hold grudges. 

If you are a friend of mine that I haven’t seen or talked to in awhile, don’t think that I’ve forgotten the times we had and don’t think that I don’t value your friendship.  Friends for life, even if we don’t get to see each other much.


“The Nanny State”

7 Jul

My hotel offers complimentary shuttle service within the city limits.  If a guest asks for a ride somewhere, the responsibility usually falls to the Front Desk department but there are others in the hotel who sometimes have to fill that role (Maintenance, Banquets etc.)

Two years ago, the Minnesota Department of Transportation decided that they must oversee the physical capability of people driving shuttles.  This meant that anyone who was employed to drive other people around had to have a MnDot sponsored physical examination.  I had mine done at Fairview here in Red Wing.

During my physical, the doctor told me my BMI (Body Mass Index I think?) was just barely under the threshold of where they require a sleep apnea test.  Now I’m not slender but anyone I tell this story to laughs.  I passed the physical but many did not. 

Several co-workers were disqualified from doing shuttles by MnDot which inhibited us Tuesday from doing our jobs picking someone up from the marina.  Because no one here was apparently trustworthy enough to drive 5 blocks and back.

One co-worker was told he would pass if he could lose 3 pounds.  Three.  Damn.  Pounds.  I’m sure that made him perfectly safe to drive, whereas before he was not. 

Now I’m sure this is all an attempt at keeping people safe but at what point are you an unsafe driver and what business is it of the government’s?  Doesn’t this type of thing typically fall on, you know, the business that hired the employee?  If I get into an accident tomorrow and people get hurt, the St. James Hotel, not John Q. Taxpayer, is going to be in financially liable.  So why do the taxpayers of Minnesota pay for me to have a physical to make sure I am capable of not having a heart attack while I have other people in the van with me?  Do we honestly believe that they can prevent accidents from happening by giving me a physical?

Is this just a case of big government for the sake of having a big government?  Are they that bored at MnDot?   

I tried to research how much money was sunk into this program, but government websites are obviously shut down right now. 

But wait!  How will “the people” feel safe in our shuttle?  THERE’S NO GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE IT’S SAFE!  Can someone please administer a piss test and tell me to turn my head and cough?

If anyone can find the figures on this initiative, please post in the comments.

July 4th!

30 Jun

I am very much looking forward to this “weekend” (have to come back home early Sunday; duty calls (haha, doody!)!).

I’ll be heading north to the family cabin tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) to golf, fish, tube the river and drink some booze with my family (Parents, Uncles & Aunts and Gramma).  My family and I are really lucky that my beloved late Grandpa, Steve Van Heuklom, decided to purchase a forty, clear a road one mile long into the woods, clear an area for a yard and build a cabin on the land, all the way back in 1977-78 (not to mention my Dad & Uncles & Gramma who were there to help with hard work and finances).  I only wish I had their foresight; it’s been a blessing.

Now, onto the most important thing:  my golf game.  It’s important.  Everyone cares about this.

We are planning to play Hayward National on Friday morning at 10am and I am brimming with excitement.  This course is a true test.   Several of our family members have had double digit scores on a single hole; these are good golfers, mind you, but the course is set up to kick you in the balls for hitting one bad shot.  It seems unfair at times, but I really enjoy the challenge.

I’ve always made it my personal mission to break 80 on this course.  I’ve come close (I believe 81 is my best there), but I always slip up on a few holes on the back nine.  I generally shoot 72-79 on your typical Wisconsin/Minnesota course but this course is different.  Each hole on the front nine is lined with tall, skinny, pruned pine trees.  Any shot too far left or right and go directly to jail, do not collect Go! and add onetwothree strokes to your scorecard.  I will probably not use my driver on the front nine.

The back nine is less tree-lined, yet more difficult.  The signature of the back nine is narrow fairways lined with swamp.  I again may not hit my driver, which may set me up for more success, as my driver has been very loose but my irons have been generally been going straight.  Uncle Jim, Uncle Dave, Dad and I will brave the heat and hopefully knock down some flags Friday.

Then, Saturday, we will likely inflate our tubes and float down the mighty Namekagon River.  It’s a beautiful time: and, the more booze, the more beautiful it gets!  It appears that it’s going to be hot, which is great for tubing.  Of course, the water may be a bit cold considering the immense amount of snow and rain we had this winter and fall.

I think one of the downfalls of American culture is extreme urbanization and, as an effect, the lack of knowledge of nature and “the outdoors”.  Some see an experience of camping like visiting an alien planet and quickly are off-put.  My wife (aka the most beautiful woman in the world) came from one of the most urbanized areas in the world, yet she has learned to appreciate the outdooors.

I would appreciate your responses in the comments section from anyone who would like to share their plans for the weekend of the 4th.  I hope for your sake that it does not involve work, as it often does for me.


Cat People.. ASSEMBLE!

30 Jun

Short post, looking for some comments here:  I would like to tell you how weird I am about cats.  I have nicknames for them.  I sing to them.  My song for Chloe is sung to the tune of “Karma Chameleon” by Kulture Klub and goes by the running title of “Chloe Chameleon”.  My song for Peach is, strangely, sung to the same tune, but is entitled “Peach-y Chameleon”.  I guess I just really love that song.

Is there anything really strange that you do for your cats that you don’t tell people?

One of those People

26 Jun

Just had nice little run-in with some of “those” people.  A man walked by the desk looking for his car; he’d forgotten where he’d parked.  I offered to help him find it and he told me he parked on the lowest level of the parking ramp.  So I directed him to the elevator and told him to take it down to “C” level. 

A fellow employee just happened to be nearby after I left him and she told me that she’d already taken this gentleman down to C level and his car was not there.  So I quickly jumped on the elevator and found him wandering around on C level.  I informed him that he must’ve parked on A level and that I would help him find his car.

He then goes on a rant about how he and wife were just at church and she was taking some time to converse with some other perishioners and he hadn’t wanted to wait around for that.  In fact, his words were “My wife is blabbing bah bah bah bah all day long and I didn’t want to wait around for that!  You know how women are!”  I of course laughed at his “funny joke” about women.

So I get him back to the elevator, I hit the button and we wait.  When the doors open up, the man’s wife and another woman come out to the man’s surprise.  They apparently were now done wasting this man’s time and were ready to go.  He starts raving about how long they had taken and how he was not game for this ever again.  The wife and other woman started walking out into the C level largely ignoring the man and I try to tell them that their vehicle is not on this level.  By this point, the elevator has been called away and we have to wait for it again.

As we wait, the man barks loudly at his wife and the other woman about their blabbing after church.  The other woman argues with him, mostly non-sensically, while his wife looks completely mystified.  The man says his wife better get a ride next time because he will never do this again.  All the while, I’m standing there trying to not look completely uncomfortable witnessing this.  As we finally get on the elevator and their arguing has ceased, the wife says “I don’t even know what’s happening right now” (!).  I am at a complete loss as to how to respond because, quite frankly, I really had no idea what was happening either.

We finally get to A level and they spot their car.  They thank me as they go on their way.  Little did they know, their little saga would now be on the internet thanks to the friendly Guest Service Rep that helped them today.

Welcome to the Thing In Which I Write

26 Jun

Thank you very much for taking a peek into my blog/world.  I feel very strongly that the internet community is hindered by the absence of my opinions (you might have to get used to my particular brand of sarcasm).  Therefore, I will post items about my work, my golf game, the sports world, government and bunk philosophy.  I assure you almost all of it will be mailed-in.

A little about me:  I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world and have a 6 year old step-son who makes me laugh.  I work at the front desk of the Historic St. James Hotel in Red Wing, Minnesota and play as much golf as I can.  I was an English major at Winona State University where I met some of the best friends booze can bring together.  I enjoy good movies (Pulp Fiction) and don’t enjoy bad ones (The Wedding Planner) unless they are epically and purposely bad (Evil Dead II). 

The truly beautiful thing about working at the St. James is people.  First, the service staff here is so unique.  As my former boss Cheryl said of the staff here, “it’s like a little town”.  Many of those employed here have been here for a long time and are duly schooled in the unique art of customer service.  Going out of their way is simply “what needs to be done”.  This morning, I had a guest stop at the desk (and this happens on a weekly basis) just to say “you guys are so awesome”.  

The people who stay at the hotel can be so fun.  As I’m sure you’ve heard, there can be trying times of dealing with difficult guests.  Those are stories for another time/blog post.  I choose to focus my attention on guests that are in this life to enjoy themselves and treat people with respect.  I have a list (in my head) of six or so guests that stay semi-annually and we always greet each other by name.  I had a guest that stayed here during my wedding weekend that share my anniversary.  They remembered, and wished me a happy 1 year anniversary.  I got a card (with money!) from another guest for my wedding.

Please if you are ever in the Red Wing area and have not seen the St. James, stop in and tour. 

I will be posting again soon but just wanted to get a few sentiments posted while they were still fresh in my mind.