Thank you, thank you…

Gratitude is on the mind — and not just because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I just finished reading “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. She spends an entire year focusing on gratitude in her life (her marriage, work, children, money, etc.) It gave me a lot to think about and was especially appropriate for this time of year, the holidays, Thanksgiving, and being at the home stretch of this pregnancy.

I thought I would share a list of things that are especially appropriate right now to me:

  1. My husband: I wrote about him last week so you know all the good stuff, and if you did not read it take a peek at last week’s blogs. Yesterday I randomly said I do not know what I would do without you. His response was: “yes I am not sure what you would do.” So I started listing off all these things that would make my life miserable and he said: “You could just live in a hotel.” Ha. It is so much more than that my better half. So much more.
  2. My health: It is not perfect — but I am making it through each day, and look forward to meeting this little man and taking the tests to find out how I am after delivery. If all goes well, then I look forward to getting back to my running and feeling like myself again.
  3. My future son: I am just so excited that we have made it this far together. Your dad and I are ecstatic and cannot count the days to meet you. That and I would love my body back.
  4. My family and friends: So grateful for each of you. Thank you for being a support to me, a listening ear, and an inspiration. I miss you mom, dad, and Granny Smith.
  5. My team at work: You work hard and play hard, keep it fun, funny, and real. Thank you.

For all of you reading my blog I appreciate you too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family. Cherish each moment.

Toilet Paper, Toilets, and Flushing

Over the past few days, after Chris has done his business in the bathroom he says: “Ah, how I missed nice toilet paper.” Oh how I know what he means. In China no matter where you were: a hotel, business, restaurant the toilet paper was tissue paper-thin. Actually thinner than tissue paper. Which baffles me because then you just need to use more of it. Most of the time it was one-ply instead of two-ply. So is two-ply toilet paper more of an American thing?

We saw a commercial this weekend for Scott toilet paper. Their Natural Tube-Free toilet paper. What a concept. The ad says that every year the US throws away enough toilet paper tubes to fill the Empire State building — twice. You then see an Empire State building made of toilet paper rolls. A good ploy for those that are environmentally savvy enough to care about the tube leftover. I am not saying I do not care, but I have to say this house is more picky about the paper on the roll!

So back to bathrooms in China. They varied. Chris warned me before my trip to always have kleenex with me and hand sanitizer. He was right. On one of the first days we were there, we were on a street that was stationary + pen store after another. My idea of bliss. The problem? No bathrooms, and well when I got to go, I got go. We found an old bookstore (one that had been around awhile, although the book titles were current.) I figured out that the bathroom was up this strange staircase and up I went. I get into the stall and found the toilet was in the floor and start to do my business as quickly as possible, only to look around and realize there was no toilet paper. Crap, I was screwed. There was only one thing I could do. Finish, go downstairs and ask Chris for the kleenex and hand sanitizer. (It also had no sink.)

Let me just say that when there was toilet paper it was thin, but my bathroom experiences were vastly different. My bookstore experience was probably the most primitive. Most other bathrooms where more mainstream. My hotel lobby bathroom was well in another era.

When I first saw this contraption in the bathroom stall I at first thought it was more bidet-like, and realized these were just the flushing options for the toilet. Pulsating, front cleansing, rear cleansing, drying (click the photo to see it larger). Quite the experience. This was for lobby guests only, they did not give hotel guests the option to test out the features in our room. Although I did have a telephone. Not sure these days who would use a telephone in the bathroom, I mean we have iPhones for that.

IMG_1605The last interesting bathroom adventure while in China was in a restaurant bathroom. Each stall had a “water flow sound sensor.” I was especially intrigued by this due to the nature of our conversations at work about bathroom etiquette. When you pushed the button, it made the loudest flushing sounds and would do it again if you pressed the button again. It took me a bit to figure out that the sounds were meant to cover whatever noises you were going to make while using the commode. What is not to like?

The world works in mysterious ways especially pertaining to toilet paper, toilets, and flushing.

A man and his TV…

What is it about a man and his TV? I was traveling this weekend and while running on the treadmill at the hotel I was staying at, I watched a bit of “Love it, or List it.” A Canadian TV show with 2 hosts, a realtor that wants to find that perfect place for the family, or the designer that can make changes to your home and make you want to stay. At the end of the episode the couple decides if they are going to stay in their current upgraded home (Love it) or sell their current home and buy a new one (List it).

While watching “Love it, or List it” over the weekend, there was an episode about a man and his massive TV. The realtor (a man) was in heaven seeing the massive TV. The designer (a woman) did not get why such a large TV was a big deal. So what is it about the man and the big TV? Such a variety of options, sizes, HD, pixels, etc. Yet, most of the women in my life could care less about any of it. So what is it about a man and his TV? Why do they get so over zealous to watch a football game on high definition? Is it because it feels like you are literally at the game, with a crisp, clear picture?

I never saw the end of the show, as I had finished my run and was back to my room for a shower and on to the rest of my day, however somehow I think that TV was allowed to stay. (The wife had remarked in an interview that they always fought about the TV). It is not an argument topic for us, but I think a big TV might always make it on the top ten list of must haves for Chris.

Regardless, I have resorted to chalking a man and his TV in the category of “it I what it is.” What item would you say about a woman? “A woman and her …”

Beds and crisp, clean sheets, ahhh…

I was talking to a friend yesterday over lunch and we discussed a plethora of topics, but one that I kept thinking about later in the day was our shared excitement over having clean sheets. I know what you might be thinking. “Are you seriously going to write about sheets?” Yes, I am. “Why?” Because it is one of the best things ever. “Really??” Yes, really.

Call me a dork, but there are a few little things in life that make me feel relaxed, grounded, and completely at home. One of those things is crawling into a bed with clean, tight sheets at the end of a long week and weekend. There is something fulfilling about it. Kind of like that first day of your stay at a hotel before you have lived in it for a week, except in my opinion my bed is far better than most hotel beds.

Beds. Yes, let me just tell you about my bed snobbery. I am in no way ashamed about it. Think about how many hours you spend in your bed each day. If we each got a good night sleep, we would potentially be in bed for 8 hours a night. That would be 1/3 of our entire day. On weekends you might get even more sleep. It is my opinion that a bed is worth spending good money on in order to find one of good quality. Think about how much money we spend on a car, and I sit in my car for maybe 30 minutes a day, yet I spend more time in my bed. Food for thought?

So back to sheets. If you have a good bed, then you cannot skimp on sheets. The quality also needs to be outstanding. It is what your skin touches all night. They should be soft, appropriate for your body temperature (flannel if you get cold, lighter cotton if you sleep hot), pillows, comforters, they all matter for that perfect night of sleep. Feathers, faux feathers, down, faux down, there are so many options but at the end of the day what is it about your bed that makes you crawl in, decompress, let your body relax, and you fall into a fitful night of sleep?

For me it all starts with the bed, and those clean crisp sheets. Absolute bliss.

Is hotel Wi-Fi just air?

I was watching Modern Family a few weeks ago, and Ed O’Neill said something to the effect of, “Wi-FI: you are just paying for air.” It really got me thinking. We were recently staying in a hotel, and they charged a $9.95 fee per night for Wi-Fi. Which is actually a fairly normal amount of money for a hotel to charge, but why? You are already paying enough to stay in the hotel, plus taxes, why not offer hotel Internet Wi-Fi for free?

Think about it. You get free shampoo, conditioner, soap, water, heat, electricity. Okay well it is not free, it is part of the rate you pay for the room, but because it does not show as a charge on your bill you think of it as free. I would almost prefer my Internet Wi-Fi just be part of my room rate, rather than have to pay for it on top of my daily rate. Why? Well, unless I have to do work, I do whatever I can on my iPhone because I am cheap and do not want to pay the same amount for my hotel Internet for four nights of use with that I would for pay for a whole month of Internet at home.

Hotels must make shit-tons of money off their guests through daily Internet charges. Yet, should they? Internet should now be seen in the same way as electricity. We do not even think about whether turning on the lights will cost us more for our stay. If we did, would some of us sit in the dark? Why do we think differently about Internet? Or, does it all have to do with money and how much hotels can make off their guests?

What do you think?