Monday, January 09, 2017
Lets just say it has been a crazy end of the year. From the unpredictable election (though some of us saw it clear as day from start to finish) no one gives hairdressers or a Gemini much credit. Which sometimes is a good thing when you want to fly under the radar. We have a gift for being able to look at most things and come to a conclusion and see the outcome before the majority wonders what it is they are even looking at. But this I will save for another posting. So to continue with the end of the year hell that was a world wind of holidays, charity events, family drama and two weeks of me saying "I can't remember the last time I got the flu". I along with many others are so glad to say bye bye 2016 don't let the door hit you on the way out. I'm not a reflective kinda person when it comes to "was it a good year or a good riddance kinda year"? But today when I finally put Christmas away, which consisted of five items! Tallied up my book for 2016 to see I made $5,000. less then the year before, and started to clean some things around the house before Regina comes tomorrow. Cause that's what we all do. Clean before the cleaning girl/guy comes. There was this ah ha moment. For many years I could never get into celebrating the ending of one year and the start of another. I mean I still have rent to pay I still have my family drama to deal with. So how can a simple date change make a difference? Well, maybe I will have to rethink that. Last year was about loss of money, business, loved ones, and a lot of if it can go wrong or be delayed it did. But after I got the mail I started thinking, maybe the energy is shifting for the better? So far my parents got a refund check from the mortgage company. Paper work to the Veterans for help with my Dad's benefits is on track and today I got a refund check from Uncle Sam for something I did't even know about. Well at least I know where the money will come from when I go to the dentist tomorrow for my cleaning. Not putting any eggs into the basket mind you but I did take it out and dust it off. Another thing Regina doesn't clean. I will gladly look upon 2017 with an optimist attitude. Along with the decision to get a new haircut. Change is in the air.
Sunday, January 01, 2017
So today is the start of the new year (2017) I figured I would list the date because it has been years since I have blogged anything. Nothing to say, too much to say. So I went dark. But I have been thinking the last few weeks I should revisit blogging. It was always a way for me to get my voice heard and at times count the blessings along with question the obserity of my life and or the situation I find myself in. Now mind you I will tell my tails to all my friends along with clients and think would this have made a good blog posting? Where is the humor where is the can you believe that encounter or the really? The you want to go there with me after being told something so ridiculous and expecting I would believe it. Now that I have turned 60 I have taken the rains of being the voice of reality to those who don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of yet feel entitled. To the unsuspecting individuals that let their stupidity show when it falls from their mouths. Oh who am I kidding. I have been doing that for years and a lot of times throughout this blog. So this is me. The self proclaimed voice of my reason, the upholder of the mirror, the two by four to what were you thinking? As I type this a list of people, observations and truths comes to mind. Get ready for a whole lot of living in delusion on the banks of denial. R-
Saturday, May 21, 2011
As long as I can remember my Mom has always been a great dresser. Every outfit complete with matching jewelry, shoes and coordinating handbag. Even when she has worked in more casual office environments, she still looked impeccable. When she retired at age 78 she bid the dry cleaner a fond fair-well and embraced a more simpler style. But lately she seems to have taken comfort to a new level. With her style, placed at times in the back of the closet. Case in point. I take my Mom once a week or so to see my friend Susan Mitchell for acupuncture. As I get close to my parents apartment I phone to let my Mom know to meet me downstairs curbside. One morning as she approached the car I couldn't help noticing how off her outfit looked. A black and white horizontal thinly stripped tee shirt with beige capri slacks, thick white socks and bulky white sneakers. As she sat into the seat, I started to examine the unrecognizable fabric and scalloped edges of the neck line and sleeve. Not sure if it was inside out or the designer was too cheap to add more fabric. "What are you wearing"? I asked her. "I just bought it at K-Mart the other day. $5.99. Do you like it"? "Since when do you shop K-Mart and no, I hate it. And where are your boobs? Why are they sitting on your stomach? Aren't you wearing a bra"? "Of course I am" she shot back. As she started to explain why she was wearing a less then perfect fitting bra and her even less the perfect tee shirt, I was backing the car into a parking spot. "Your going to make me change aren't you"? "You bet I am". As we got off the elevator my Dad was standing on the landing where he had watched me park the car, his voice rising from the distance. "What's wrong now". "Look at the way she's dressed I said. She looks like an optical elution as she walks". "Oh please, you should have seen what she wore last night". As we walked inside my Mom, Dad and I were all talking at the same time explaining each ones position to no one in particular. Standing behind my Mom, I reached into the shirt and yanked up her bra straps hoisting her breasts up to a more expectable location. "This is were they are suppose to be not at your waist!" "I'm not going to put on a push up bra!!!" "No one said anything about a push up bra, just put one on that fits. And don't even get me started on your paints socks and sneakers". Within minutes my Mom came out of the bedroom looking wonderful. She handed me the receipt for the tee shirt and as proud as can be said "look, I paid only $4.99." "Your digging your self in deeper Mom, better quit while your a head". As we walked to the car she ever so cutely mentioned Macy's was having a sale. That afternoon we arrived back to my parents with about $150.00's worth of new clothes. She's a smart one my Mom. At least she paid for lunch!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I'm sorry, but what is it with stainless steal appliances? What makes them so great? Do they work better, harder then say, black? White? Or any other color for that matter? And it seems it's not just me that goodness. I've asked friends the same question. We are sick of whiney people crying about appliances not being stainless. Think I'm crazy? Watch any show on HGTV. Any show that deals with buying or redoing a house. Come on people. What are you sheep? And then there are the realtors on the shows that say "my buyers expect stainless steal". That's the best I think? Telling home owners they have to design their house for someone that will be buying it in the future. So I should live in a place I paid for, and spent money on, to look nice for someone else's taste? Excuse me? Lets talk about stainless steal appliances shall we? First off they can look cold. If the feeling of the kitchen isn't modern or contemporary, then they can stand out like a sore thumb which can make the kitchen seem like it's dated. Which makes you realize the rest of the kitchen needs to be redone. Finger prints. I can't tell you how hard it is to keep stainless clean. The look is getting old. Finally. Ten plus years already people. Remember olive or harvest gold? They were all the color rage once too. Most of John Q public has no imagination. I'm not saying never use appliances that aren't stainless. There are times I see kitchens that stainless is the only look that will work. Like in a restaurant for example. But can we start to please think outside the box once and a while? I have one thing to say to all of you "I want/it isn't stainless steal", FOCUS. (fu%k off cause your stupid) people. And don't even get me started on granite counter tops...... R-
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Headache. Plain and simple. That's what I have. Sometimes I can't think of a thing to blog about which is why you might not read anything from me for a while. Then there are things that happen, like today that just work me to my last nerve. Hence, the headache. Where to start? Of course my first idea was to talk about one of the few things I said I would never do. OK, big mistake..... Cause I should know better. I broke that rule. Did it anyway. Add this to my list of "I would never..." Took that back. Or should I tell you about how easy our lives are made everyday by automated computer menus. I can just see your eyes rolling now. T-Mobile has got to be my favorite of them all. I cringe and hold my breath each time I dial 611. But yesterday was my cookie moment. (That's when the universe hands you something good) The computer was down. So all that annoying voice said was, "just one moment while I connect you to a representative". What joy as I was quickly greeted by a real live warm person. And believe me they are great I have to say. Over all the 12 years I have been with T-Mobile never once have I not been happy with that part of the company service. Even their web site, seems to work well for me. Until I tried to change my phone. I was told to go on line since I get a better discount. Which is what they must tell everyone. Phone choices are few since I have WiFi service. That should make it easier to pick a phone. And I really like Samsung phones. They are like a work horse. In the last three days the site and computer voice have taken me more places then I could ever want to go. Betting they are cut from the same cloth . Phones one day offer me options I need then the next day they are gone. Taken away in the middle of the night. Changing prices, jumping off pages. Even the representatives were a bit confused. They understood my frustration since they to would say, "wait what happen to" or "why isn't this showing up"? In the end at least I did manage to get the phone. Not the one I finally decided on but the first choice I selected when this started. But how does all this annoying waste of time searching the web site and almost yelling at a computer make my life easier? That's what we were told years ago when people lost jobs to automation. Oh and the kicker, it's more cost effective so we are passing the saving on to you the consumer. Another can of worms. I will admit yes, sometimes I would prefer the computer voice whisking me through basic information instead of pushing countless buttons to only get disconnected at the end. Unfortunately being in a customer service business for 33 years plus has spoiled me to wanting something more. Now, your still wondering what the thing is I swore I would never do. Ready? Multi level marketing!!!!!!!!!! Talk about a customer care issues. This I think better saved until the next entry since an ugly side of multi level showed itself to me and that drama is still being played out. So I will wait until I can put the final nail in that coffin before I explain. Thank goodness I bought the economy size bottle of aspirin. One final note about the easy life we now have, I can't get the blog published. Computer issues with blogger. Wait, this is too sweet, as I started to try and save this now my comcast service is down as well. Go figure. All that automation must stick together. But isn't that T-Mobiles moto? R-
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I'm dog sitting once again for my friend Jesse's cocker spaniels. They really do have such personalities. Maxie is the older of the two. More independent. While Junior is always looking for attention. It's funny to watch the inter action between them. One minute like brother and sister, the next like an old married couple madly in love. For some reason tonight it's Maxie's turn to be all over me. And Junior is giving her space to do it. I'm betting it has something to do with the pig ears I gave them as a treat. By far they are Maxie's favorite. In fact anything that is considered food is Maxie's favorite. Now the pig ears have a little side effect. It makes them fart. A lot. Tonight Maxie is happy to hang with me and Junior on the bed. Chewing away on her treat. She is content to lay at my side, farting. With her butt in my face. No matter how I move she is right back there. What I can't stop laughing at is when she passes wind it sometimes is a bit loud. And quite fragrant. This is so frustrating to her since she can't figure out where the noise is coming from. Junior on the other hand is smart enough to have figured it out and keeps jumping off the bed for some fresh air. I keep reaching for the air freshener. She looks at me like I'm the guilty one. I see why people love their pets so much. They really do give you unconditional love, even when they think you've passed wind and are trying to blame it on them. They'll turn around and lick your face as if to say, it's OK, I still love you! I love you too Maxie. R-
Sunday, August 17, 2008
That's what it's been so far. 48 days that I asked for a "drama free" summer. My Birthday wish that is. I know, you shouldn't tell the wish you make right? But see, I wanted to put it out there. It was more of a "don't even think about not granting my request." (Like that double negative)? Kind of a line in the sand if you will. OK, I know it was a bold and silly request. But lets face it, the last few years have been busy with crap. You know the drama that finds us in our day to day lives. Friends that bring you their "stuff." Problems that you have because some computer at a say, bank, might bother you with. Well that's over. Yo. Fifth Third bank. Yes, you. I got that taken care of. Got a nice new Audi (not financed through you). Everything I wasn't looking for but I love it. Still can't get use to the size though. And I do still miss my porsche from time to time. But let me tell you it felt so good to walk into the bank and tell them "I hope I never see you all again!" They laughed and knew how I meant it! Banker's Insurance. That mess with the fire I had. Over. They said "Uncle" And everyone told me the insurance company doesn't care or even know who I am. Proved that statement wrong. Remember, never mess with a hairdresser. Never. We hold power through our clients. These two things alone ended a week or two after my Birthday wish. Landed a gig at a local barber shop on Sundays. Fun for a while. But not much cash. Now I took a job at a salon in Coral Springs on Sundays. 40 minute drive but could turn out very good. My friend Mindy got me to go and check it out. She owns Life Publications. Through her magazines has started a campaign to get me business. This is my second Sunday. Hope it's better then last week!!! Sometimes it's good to be "drama free" Seems to be working out just fine for me. Not sure what the rest of the summer will bring but you can bet I will be able to handle it just fine. Now what your step, I wouldn't want you to fall over that line. R-
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Two years today. Wow. The memory of the fire is still with me. I can remember that day so clearly. Getting up and going to work on the photo shoot from hell. I was fighting with the photographer most of the day. And over what, how we wanted to do the best job we could on a guy that was paying us to shoot his comp card? He had no business modeling. We knew that. But we always try our best to make them look good. At the end of the shoot I sat there thinking, "aspirins, lots of aspirins..." Then the phone call from Regina telling me my house was on fire. The knot in my stomach building as I rode home with the photographer. I still get that feeling in my stomach when I see a fire truck. Two years. I look around my new house and finely feel safe. Thankful I had a place to move into from my landlords. Wasn't much left to take, so I thought at the time. I love this little house. It's suits me. I even have started going through my closets thinking, boy, I have too many things. I've already given some clothes away. Which is funny in and of it's self since the fire left me with no clothes at all! You can always replace things. And our memories stay with us. The good, bad, and the in between ones. So today is an anniversary. One that has given me strength. And a new perspective on holding onto "stuff" that I really don't need. Maybe it's a good time for a little spring cleaning? R-
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Driving back from breakfast this morning with friends, it hit me. I live a mile from the beach. Yet I only seem to go there when I'm working on a shoot. When asked why I never go, my response, "I only go to the beach if I get paid." Silly I know. Yet thinking about how I wound up meeting my friends this morning and where, could in fact lead to a paying job! Living in a tourist town, the locals shy away from the areas most populated by "snow birds" until the beginning of summer. Yet this morning I had breakfast at a beach side cafe. Early of course. After leaving the cafe, we walked towards our cars, stopping in the stores that lined the area. The beach shops that sold all those must have gifts to give to everyone that says, "I was thinking of you and brought you back this." What it really means is, you have no taste at all and think a tacky trinket will say you care. Of course there are the tee shirts we love to read, think for a sec that we may buy and then a friend slaps us up side the head asking what are you not thinking? This happened to my friend Joyce and I while shopping in Santa Fa. She asked me what I thought of of a fringe hand bag she was holding. I reminded her while it was fun, could she see herself walking the streets of Manhattan with it? The bag dropped so fast you thought it was a bomb! While chatting with one of the store owner about the clothing she carried, I told her I knew the designer and had worked for him shooting some of his collections. She then replied they knew each other and the other label that the store carried was her families. As we started to leave, I handed her my business card. She gladly took it and said she would give it to her husband as they are getting ready to shoot there new line. How funny to go to the beach to find a job. I decided to drive home along the beach instead of the main streets. Wanting to see what I am missing from my town that draws so many tourists each year. While it was a nice ride, I couldn't help but see it's lost some of it's charm. "Where the boys are" just doesn't seem to fit anymore. Condo after condo line A1A. Construction sites are everywhere. With fancy names of new places to live, most new projects lay empty. But the snow birds come, year after year. Maybe it's time I stopped taking it for granted. After all, I to had come to Ft Lauderdale to vacation back in the day. Now I'm proud to say "I'm not a tourist, I live here."
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Funny how your confidence dwindles as you struggle trying to do something again and again in hopes of getting it right. It was that way years ago trying to apply mascara. I would get to that final step then hand the mascara wand to the client or model, telling her it was better and quicker if she applied it. It worked like a charm until one client took so long, and kept saying she never wore mascara that I thought, "she's worse then I am". I grabbed the wand and applied that mascara like no one had before! My next struggle with makeup came when I would have to apply false eye lashes. I can't tell you the number of times I would try and try, but they never stuck. OK, they stuck, but almost always lifted in one spot or another. And the frustration I would feel, was sometimes overwhelming. But I always got through it. A few weeks ago I did the hair and makeup for the Ball Room Dance Championships in Miami. This was my second year doing them. Now this time I had my friend Virginia Alexander to help me out. Aside from being great at everything she touches, she is the bomb, when it comes to makeup and lashes! She however was only working with me the second day. But I figured, I had new glue, new lashes, all the tricks I could collect from other makeup artists, and a few of my own. I was ready. Now these women had been doing these shows for quite some time so if I got into trouble, I knew I would ask them to help. Then there was Page. What a sweet quite soul. With one eye. A big blue fake eye. No real lid and no lash line to follow. As I worked to get the lids to look somewhat the same, I kept thinking, "where in the hell am I going to glue that strip of lashes to"? As she offered to hold down the lid, I glued and waved the lash (it works better if you let the glue dry a bit first) praying for some help. I stood my ground and held my breath, I glued that strip right onto her lid. As I stood back I saw it standing erect. Straight upwards toward her brow. I let out a deep sigh and started again. And again. Only to realize I had the lash on my finger and glue on her eye ball. Now what, do I wipe it, leave it? Hey, I knew it was going to dry clear but then what if she got her lid stuck? As I took a Q-tip I quickly swiped the glue and with one last attempt, got the lashes just right. That next day I thought, I have to learn this eye lash thing. I am going to get this if it kills me. And Virginia was my teacher. My savior, my hero. Ever see a doll with one eye that just doesn't shut? The eye that the lashes are pointing to the sky? That's what Page looked like when Virginia got done. Your thinking, but didn't it look that way when Rick did it? The difference was Virginia got the lash strip stuck in the woman's eye brow. Yep. Then I heard Virginia say "Rick, does this look right to you"? Picture it, one eye with lashes pointing to you, the other to the sky. I thought if I laugh now it's all over. And trust me, I was holding back big time. What happened next still amazes me. In one quick movement I removed the lash from the brow and repositioned it correctly. That was the moment I realized no more lifting lashes. No more telling them "I'm going to apply individual ones instead". I have finally gotten the hang of applying false lashes. That's because I learned the glue goes on the underside instead of the top of the lash strip! Thank you Page. Thank you virginia.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
About a year ago when I was talking to a friend of mine about my Dad, he said, "what do you expect? He's an only child just like you". Can we say light bulb? Talk about O C S. (only child syndrome) it hit me. My Dad and I were just a like. Boy, 50 years to figure that out! But since my friend pointed it out, I have to say I catch my Dad every time. And I think it's funny. This past weekend he entered a chili contest. His first one. He grumbled weeks before saying he can't believe he agreed to it. Now, my Dad belongs to the American Legion. Which is where the contest was being held. He also owns the lunch concession there. So since it was for the "honor" of his post, he said yes. Now my Dad has been a chef for years. Meat and potato kinda stuff. So cooking comes easy to him. He told me once, "if your going to be a ditch digger, then be the best one you can". I have tried to follow that philosophy with everything I do. So I understand why he wanted his chili to be great. Now, I'm not a chili expert. In fact, not one of my favorite foods by far. But since he was asking everyone he could about an award wining recipe, I started to think. What would make his stand out and what you to keep coming back to taste it? Hot. That's all I know everyone says it should be. OK. Now I'm not one to do anything that is the norm. Why should my suggestion be any different? "Try pad thai sauce I said". "What's that"? he asked. As I explained to him about oh, 8 or 9 times the what and why, he still didn't get it. I went to the fridge and gave him the jar I had. "Hear, experiment" did he? He says so but I'm betting not. Now my Mom thought it a great idea. Different. She understood that all too well. See she is also a great cook. And she has no problem adding or changing ingredients. The morning of the contest my Dad came over with his award wining chili. He and my Mom had some things to do before he had to present it. And it still needed to be heated. "taste it, tell me what you think" were his last words as my parents walked out the door. As it warmed, I did just that. Not bad I thought. Really good. But not award wining special. That hot kick was there, but not from the pad thai sauce. Too bad my parents still had it. I would have been tempted to add some! (That would have been my O C S) My Dad was less then pleased when I told him I liked it but didn't think it was going to win any awards! O C S in full gear, he defended it to the max. For a guy who didn't want to enter and swore he was not going to do so again next year, he sure was passionate! OK, maybe I should have been kinder? But he asked. So what happen? Well, he didn't win. Came in 6th. Not too bad for his first attempt at making chili. Of course he was not happy. "I thought you didn't care" I said? "6th is really good for never having made chili and entering a contest before". Though he didn't say it, you could see the disappointment all over his face. I bet next year he will use the pad thai sauce, you watch!!! R-
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Don't you just love how much energy it takes to blame someone else? Yet instead of saying yes, I made a mistake or even "I'm sorry, lets see how we can make this right"? The issue gets tossed right back to the other party. Which is great I guess since they aren't around to defend them selves. So the person that was put out, in this case my Mom, suffers. I took my Mom to a doctor's appointment yesterday. It was her cardiologist. She told me she didn't need a referral to see him. She checked with her regular doctor's office and they said no. After all she was going to him already so I didn't understand. She explained that every time she goes to different doctors, she needs to get a referral from her primary. I don't get this and never will. To me it's all crap. The time it takes, the miss information given, all is designed to drive you nuts. Yet when my Mom arrived, she was denied the visit cause... no referral. When my Mom finally calmed down, she rebooked and we left. Now my Mom's two doctors are within walking distance from each other. So off we went to get her referral. I couldn't wait to accompany her for this little task. See, my Mom yells first and asks questions later. And I was going to get a front row seat. Now just to add to this, my Dad had been to the same doctor only two days before with my Mom. The office was suppose to call in a prescription for him. They didn't. That's another story. When my Mom asked again about the referral, since she was going to see the cardiologist two days later again she was told don't need one. Let me just say, world war three. In spades. It was wonderful. And their answer to my Mom, the other doctors office, was responsible to call to let my Mom know she now needed the referral. Pass that buck. As we walked out of the office I couldn't believe it, my Mother received an applause from the waiting room! My Mother the star. I called the other office to let them know. Liked they cared. Now what makes this more interesting is my Mom does this kind of work for a living. So she knows very well what is required from the insurance companies. When she went for her heart surgery she had to redo the paper word as they listed the codes wrong. Can you imagine? You go Mom. Give um hell! R-
Thursday, June 21, 2007
OK, so it's been months since I wrote. It isn't that I had nothing to say really, just too much shit at once! Could tell you my bells palsey cleared up in record time. No thanks to the na sayers of acupuncture. All I want to say on that one is thankx for your opinion but you know the rest! Food network called. Worked for them two days. Had the incredible luck to be the exclusive hairdresser to Nigella Lawson. One of my fav's. Insc. drama from the fire. Don't ask. Too ridiculous to even repeat. IRS told me I owed them more money. Like they were going to say I paid too much! Too bad they forgot to post my check after they deposited it. Fools. Of course some drama with friends is always good for blogging. Not to mention my computer issues and the big one, AO fu%king L. Can you believe it takes over an hour to go through the mail? And I have high speed cable and an empty lab top! They are so messed up that I found half of the emails the support team wrote back to me in my spam folder. Now that's funny don't you think? Oh it has been busy. Now yesterday I turned 51. It was rather a good day. made no plans, no big promises to myself. Took it as it came. Now today is a different story. After all, I'm writing again. Not too sure what I want to do after breakfast since I have the day off! Typical. Worked on the B day and takes the next day off! First things first, finish dumping AOL and figure out what my comcast account is! Won't take this long to write again. The Summer has started and the rest of my Birthday is is full swing. Didn't I tell you? I figure milk your B Day for all the cash and prizes! This way you can enjoy it for as long as you like! It's yours/mine after all! R-
Monday, February 12, 2007
Wonder why when your a kid, things that are meant to go in your mouth, down your throat and wind up in your stomach are much more funnier when you can make them come out your nose? Silly isn't it? And if you could raise one eyebrow, then have it dance by itself, man, how cool would that be? Oh sometimes we see adults doing these things on TV or college guys, after way to much beer and not enough maturity. Now at fifty I find myself having to explain why I'm doing them. Of course then I must listen to and answer questions, then get more questions when all I want to do is say, cause I can. But that isn't the case. Last week I discovered I now have a new way to entertain. Of course me being me, I add a bit more schtick here and my wit there. Like when I follow up with, "I love that I can wear my hair the other way now", Or "I'm just trying to confuse my eyeglasses. See how smooth and wrinkle free this side is? Just like botox"! I've been telling people if it were only closer to October, I feel like Lon Chainy or was it Boris Carloff? Of course then I need to explain who they were and well, by that point I.m tired but have totally steered them away from the real culprit, Bells palsy. My few friends that have seen me tell me it's getting better. OK. Since I can't shut one eye and the other is over tired, maybe it is? Asking for suggestions from my friends and clients who are authorities in this area have been a great help. Yes, I do feel an improvement. For one thing, I didn't panic. I have been following the advice given me and taken acupuncture treatments almost daily. Just hope that all this pulling on my right eye lid to shut it from time to time doesn't leave me asking "when can you fit me in for an eye lift"? Funny how we wish for things and are surprised when and if they do show up? You should hear me whistle now! R-
Monday, January 01, 2007
Just returned from Marco Island where I went to a friend's wedding. South of Naples, on the west coast of Florida what was once a place for a quiet retreat for the retired set, now seems packed with what you may thing are their grand kids. Naples and Marco have some of the most expensive real-estate in the country. And if your in search of country clubs and golf courses, then it may take months to view all of them. It's been a while since I ventured over to the west coast. Since my parent's no longer live there I haven't taken the drive. When I tell people that the road from Ft Lauderdale to Naples was once called Alligator Alley, and it was just two lanes, they look at me and think, did someone run in front of the car with a lantern to light your way? Hard to believe when you take that drive now. I'm sure just as in every other small town trying to preserve the quaintness, yet cash in on the tourist dollar, they would rather you just send money instead of actually going there. But if you must go, then the Hilton Hotel, where I stayed on Marco Island has found a way to squeeze even more out of you. More and more hotels are charging for parking these days, yes. But I have to say I was taken back when I saw the extra $16 charge for it on my bill. Arriving, I was told it would be $8 a day. Checked in, came back out, drove to the bride, and then returned just before midnight the same day. So, I'm thinking, every time I leave it's $8's? While checking in I was asked if I wanted to pay another $9 a day to use the pool and all the facilities by a gentleman with an accent I never heard before. Hearing him say something about larger bath towels, I quickly cut him off fearing they to were extra. That evening as I explored the room I noticed two robes hanging and wondered if I would be charged for trying one on? Which was too small by the way. Then thinking if maid service was included or extra? I was happy yet disturbed to hear her banging on my door to service the room so early the next morning. One time OK, but two times in five minutes not OK. While I showered I thought I could hear her wearing down the carpet in the hallway. As I gathered my things I debated if I should take the remaining body wash I had been provided? Was I getting charged for that as well? But then figured they might just fill it and use it over again so I tossed it into my bag. With my head held high passing through the side door to my car I thought if you can't afford the price, don't go. And if you can't go, send money instead. R-