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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Water People

One day in mid-July I noticed that our water tasted disgusting. To me, it felt like I was drinking moth balls. My friend Jacquie was visiting and I think she was grateful that I noticed it too. Otherwise, she would have had to sneak off to buy some bottled water and then stash it in the guest room.

I was sure it was our filter. "We just changed it!" Frank said. "Well, change it again!" I insisted. He did. Still moth balls. And I'm talking about the water from the filtered dispenser on the fridge, not just the water from the sink. But can I tell you about the water from the sink? It's so bad that it STINKS! Even brushing your teeth is icky. (Now I've moved on to the water from the bathroom sink, just in case you visualized me brushing my teeth in the kitchen as I did when I re-read that last sentence).

And it's not just our house. It's restaurants too. I actually almost ordered EVIAN, y'all. But then Jacquie talked me into trying a bunch of lemons. That worked and was way cheaper.

So come to find out there's something going on in the northern Dallas suburbs with algae in the water. It's a summertime thang so we should be back to our just regularly-odd tasting water by fall.

In the meantime, I had to buy those heavy, 2.5 gallon water dispensers. "I'm so happy you did that!" Jacquie said. (I was totally right that she was plotting to get her own stash.) Frank, however, said, "So now we're water people?" (Glad I didn't tell him about my potential Evian purchase.)

I mean, it's not like I was talking about getting one of those coolers with the little triangle cups.

Those were funny times, by the way, when we used to have those things and the water delivery guy came to your house. Bet that business is slow. In the northern Dallas suburbs, though, they might be getting more requests.

"Yes, we HAVE to be water people now, Frank! I cannot drink that stuff. I can barely brush my teeth with it," I told him.  I do actually still brush my teeth with it because I'm not going to keep a gallon water jug in my bathroom like we're at a Mexican resort.

So anyway, being water people is such a pain. Did you know these water dispensers don't just work automatically? You have to puncture a hole in the top, twist and break the seal and let it all spill out before you can lift the 200 pound container into your fridge?

And while we're gulping down the paid-for water, Leo insists on sticking with moth balls. He says the store-bought water is too cold. I think he's just loyal. We may be water people, but he is the algae kid.

Brothers + Best Friends + Lollipops

We had a great time visiting our dear friends in Atlanta last week. Unfortunately, I lost our camera (second time in a year) so I just have these two adorable pics that Claire sent me. But they are perfect for sharing what Leo told me yesterday: 

"I love Gus more than you. I love you so much but I love Gus the most. I love him more than lollipops. I love him more than ice cream." 

I'm sure John feels the same way about Tyler. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stepping Out

Of course he would wait until AUGUST to walk!

Our camera ran out of room before this one finished but trust me, there were several (well maybe two) more steps! 

Here, he is assisted by Daddy but you can just tell he's got it down! 

I don't think this is going to be his main mode of transportation just yet; he's such a speedy crawler that it really is more efficient. But as far as his baby book goes, we're counting today, August 10th, his 14 month birthday, as the day he took his first steps! 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

TSA's Target Market Leak

When I was working at an ad agency on a food account, we had a term we used internally to describe our target market for the sweet goods/convenience store products: "Bubba" was a 18-35 year old male who worked a blue collar job and drove a truck. He stopped in at convenience stores on his lunch break and, luckily for us, grabbed cupcakes or donuts to go with his equally unhealthy lunch. He also frequented NASCAR events. While working with the race track on our sponsorship for a NASCAR event, I learned that other marketing people knew Bubba too. "Oh, sure. I know Bubba!" said the lady who handled advertisers for the track. "We owe everything we have to Bubba!" 

Of course, when we made signage for this event or in the convenience stores, we didn't say things like, "Bubba Special: Buy 1 get 1 free!" or "Bubbas Welcome!" We didn't call Bubba Bubba to his FACE. It's an INTERNAL marketing term. You don't talk about your target market TO your target market. 

The marketing department at the Transportation Security Administration, however, doesn't seem to get this. They came up with what looks like an internal marketing plan, a training program really, and made external signage for it. Have you ever seen these at your airport? 

While traveling this week I read this sign in disbelief. And in fact, it's even changed a little. The top one now includes "people traveling with more than 3 oz. of liquids." So let's say you are new to traveling. Are you going to see this sign and go, "Oh, I better get in the lane with families, groups, people who need assistance and people who have more than the approved amount of liquids--The LONGEST line! Yes, since I'm new, I think I'd like to spend a lot more time in the security line. That sounds awesome."

Or how about this? "I'm a dopey Casual Traveler. I've got my baseball cap on like that guy. I sort of know what I'm doing but I have too many carry-ons. I better go in the kind of long line. Doop-dee-doo, here I go."

The Expert Traveler is like the teacher's pet. Look how smug she looks in that picture. "I'm the Expert Traveler. I'm like the female George Clooney in Up in the Air. Except I'm not as good looking. But I only carry a brief case and of course, I know to take out my lap top before going through the screener."

I just don't see what good it is to show people these categories. I mean, I've never been to an airport that  enforces the lines. You can go in whatever line you want. And are we supposed to categorize ourselves? If that's the case, wouldn't you see a bunch of Casuals and Newbies in the Expert line? I mean, everyone just wants to get out quicker.

I think these labels may have been helpful for TSA workers. If they could quickly identify a passenger, they could know how to handle them. Dopey baseball cap: "Sir, let's make sure this extra carry on is going to fit." Family with stroller: "Do you have any liquids for the children?" Expert/smug looking business person: "Go right on through, ma'am."

But as it stands now, I'm pretty sure they just took an internal marketing plan and leaked it to the outside world, making us all feel like nothing more than a bunch of Bubbas, minus the trucks and donuts.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Simciks take Sandbridge

Here are some pics from our third trip to Virginia Beach with the Simcik side of the family. We stayed in a house with Granny Jo, Popsy, David, Laura, Ellie and Charlie. Leo and Ellie successfully slept in the same room (but not in the same bed as the second  picture implies)! Our house was called "Nittany Li-on the Beach." We were in the middle of two other family-filled houses, for a total of 37 Nana-descendents and out-laws. A good time was had by all! 

Cousins huggin' on our first night: 

Oh, I guess Ellie and Leo have already fallen asleep. Night night!

Moms getting a well-deserved beer break

Leo and Ellie had so much fun with their sand/water adventures

David holding Frank holding Leo. Uncle Rob (not pictured) even tried to get under David! Those crazy Simciks! Ellie and I are just watching from the boogie board, singing, "Girls just wanna have fun."

If you can't find the water volleyball, a four-year-old will do

These two know just what to do for the camera

Cute cousins. (I'm kind of obsessed with dressing mine alike!)

Brothers at Baja, the bar across from our house!

Enjoying the free babysitting!

It's just not a Simcik beach vacation without a giant container of cheese balls (or two)!

Gus loved the muddy part of the sand...
...and the water...

...and the dry sand too!

Gus rolled around like a pig in the mud!

Leo was so brave in the water! Here he is with Frank, riding the waves. 

Nana with her first-born's family (minus Julie, Doug and Franklin)

Nana getting introduced to Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Burying Frank in the sand

Ready for a boogie board ride with Popsy

Ellie in a cousin sandwich. (Like their matching outfits?)

Leo and Ellie on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach

Posing on the boardwalk after the big seafood buffet

Charlie and Gus in their matching PJs. Yes, Charlie IS playing with a vacuum cord!

Charlie and Gus getting hosed down after enjoying Nana's spaghetti