Backyard Race Car Track & …Dinosaur Garden? 🚚🦕


Well.  Damn, you Pinterest.  Ha ha.  We made more progress on the Back Yard Race Car Track.  It may now also be a construction zone, gravel pit, monster truck arena, and dinosaur garden.  Molly even asked about building a volcano.  I do have an extra bag of concrete.

#BackyardRaceCarTrack, #DinosaurGarden, & #MonsterTruckArena! #DadStuff

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Check out the latest photos.  We added a gravel pit, some large rocks for edging-work to try to contain the gravel, and dug out the grass so we have a dirt pit.  Not sure if I should plant grass and leave a dirt track, or make it all a dirt pit.  I may try to buy some river rock to make the outside edges look a little neater, and mix some more extra sloppy concrete to smooth it over, and fill in the edges smooth.

I bet it will evolve greatly over time.

I’m anxious to see photos of other projects like this.  Show me what you’ve got in the comments!

 

 

🚧 🚧 🚧 👷 👷‍♀️ 🚚 🦕 🚗 🏁 🧚 🌱 🚧 🚧 🚧

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🚧 🚗🏁 Backyard Race Car Track & Fairy Garden Construction! 🧚🌱🚧


So, on Labor Day this year, we labored.  We finally got around to pouring cement for the Backyard Race Car Track, and we started a Fairy Garden.

I have been sitting on the race car track idea for a while, and wondering what to do landscape-wise around the one small tree in the back.  We recently got some fairy garden furniture stuff as a gift… so we thought that would be a cool second (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th?) backyard play-space.

I had purchased some Quikrete coloring from Amazon a while ago, and some bags of Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix from Home Depot this Saturday knowing that we had a full day to work today.

We had also started the digging a while ago when Ian was over-zealous and wanted to “Dig, Dig Dig!” in the back yard.

Ian is getting serious with this #BackyardRaceCarTrack. #excavator #shenanigans

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

We had an easy enough start, put down some gravel, and mixed two of the three bags of Sand/Topping Mix with the coloring.  I mixed it a little thick, and really what was all the coloring was meant to cover.  The track was only about ‎⅔ of the way complete.  So, I mixed the one other bag we had on hand.  It was a little sloppier and went on really well.  The kids helped in a kid-helping capacity, and Bethany did nearly all of the troweling/finishing work.  Molly told me that she wanted to use the trowel because that’s what “brick builders” use to put the stuff in between bricks.  I have no idea where she learned that.

So.  It was obvious we needed a quick trip back to Home Depot to get some more bags.  Ian & I went on a mission.

Going into @homedepot dirty, so the other customers know we mean business.

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

I asked the little man if we should get 3, or 4.  He was adamant about getting 4.  We also got the cheapest bag of garden soil, and some pebbles.  Sadly, the bottle of coloring didn’t last long, and maddeningly Home Depot didn’t carry it… even with two shelves full of Quikrete products.  I ended up asking if they had anything in the paint department, and they just had a concrete paint or dye to use after the fact.

We got back and Bethany made us a delicious salad for lunch.  We needed to re-fuel for more work out back!  I mixed 2 more bags, with some help:

After that, we did use just one more bag… but that’s OK.  I can use the rest for some driveway patch work now that I have some more recent practice with this stuff.  (A long time ago, I worked for a bit for a general contractor, and would sometimes mix mortar all day for the subcontracted bricklayers.)

For now, that’s about all we can do.  The bag says it needs to set up for five days.  Hopefully we can be patient and the neighborhood wildlife (including my children) stays out of it.  I did grab an odd old brick from out front that had originally been in the back yard, and made a sort of garage out of it.  I plan to get some river rocks or pebbles or something to kind of clean up the edges of the track.  Maybe they will need to go on with concrete, or some of that stuff that comes in a caulking-gun dispenser.  If they’re not stuck down, they will end up all over and most likely destroy my lawn mower.

The other quick family project was to make a fairy garden.  I was hoping to use stuff that we had around in addition to the recently gifted furniture and starter items.

After thinking about a couple of different ideas, we settled on me taking a chainsaw to some large branches and small logs that we had out back, and driving nails partway into the bottom so we could drive them into the ground and they would hopefully hold.  It worked!

I played with the chainsaw, demonstrated the nail technique, then Bethany and the kids did most of the nail-driving… and I think that was mostly Bethany.  Molly helped me place them around the tree in sort of a kidney bean shape, including an old wooden bucket that I think we bought from the estate sale of the previous owner of this house (who coincidentally said she would miss the little tree in the backyard most of all).

Then we pulled up 90% of the grass, and Ian hauled it away in his wheelbarrow.  We put down the bag of cheap garden soil and it was perfect for coverage & fairy garden decoration placement.  We also planted a small succulent plant that my mom had recently given us in a small pot that should be durable outdoors, but may look cool covered in small round stones so it looks like a fairy house.  We’re putting Grandma on craft duty to help make little projects to decorate the space.  I would love to use some of the stuff we have around the yard or house like tiny terracotta pots, or Popsicle sticks, or wire.

Is it a #FairyGarden or a #SquirrelPlayground?

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

It would be nice to plant some small ornamental succulents, moss, or super tiny flowers eventually too.  Luckily (?) Pinterest is an endless rabbit hole when it comes to fairy garden stuff.  Speaking of rabbits, our backyard is overrun with them as well as squirrels, chipmunks, birds, deer, and who knows what else.  Think they’ll leave this stuff alone?

At any rate, playing in the dirt has been proven over-and-over to be good for you.  These spaces offer two additional opportunities for the kids to get into the dirt in the back yard.  It’s great to learn about gardening, ecosystems, using your imagination, and more… all without even realizing that you’re learning.

Check out some photos from the day if you have the time and interest, and let us know what you think in the comments!

 

 

If this is something you’d like to try yourself, check out these Pinterest boards for inspiration:

If it’s something you have tried yourself, please share your stuff in the comments!  I would love to see some other backyard family projects.

Guitarobatics 🎸


I’m on a few super gear-nerdy and G.A.S.-educing groups on Facebook.  To the Awesome Cheap Guitars group, I recently posed this question:

So,what awesome cheap guitar moves have you pulled on stage? I’m a horrible guitar player, but I can wow a crowd with some flash, flair, and goofy-looking guitars. I’m guilty of the checked following…

Dancing E.

Dancing E.

☑ Playing behind the head.
☑ Playing while squatting with guitar in between knees, reaching arm through legs from behind.
☑ Playing while falling/laying down.
☑ Dropping-trou and continuing to play.
☑ Playing on knees bending back until head almost touches the ground.
Sad 80’s dance move with shuffling feet while playing.
☑ Playing on chairs.
☑ Playing on tables.
☐ Playing on the bar.
☑ Walking outside & in another door if possible with a wireless.
☑ Sitting in a seat with a wireless.
☑ Stage-diving.
☑ The Chuck Berry/Angus Young walk.
☑ Switching instruments mid song.
☐ Using a beer bottle as a slide.
☑ Using a mic stand as a slide.
☐ Blowing bubblegum bubbles. (Like Doyle.)
☑ Drinking mid song.
☑ Injuring a band mate by accident. (I chipped the lead-singer/bass player’s tooth.)
☐ Injuring a band mate on purpose.
☑ Improvising a mic stand out of duct tape, a hockey stick, & gatorade bottles. (Hey, we were playing at a dek-hockey rink.)
☐ Playing on someone’s shoulders.
☐ Playing while someone is on your shoulders.
☑ Playing from behind a wooden bear statue with the guitar on the front of the bear.
☐ Putting a lit cigarette under the strings in the headstock.
☐ The amp-hump. (Like Jimi.)
☑ The guitar-as-a-phallic-symbol air-hump. (Like Rex from the Lone Rangers  in Airheads.) 
☐ The guitar toss – Badass edition. (Like Prince – also, check out the falling into the crowd move!!!)
☐ The guitar toss – Oops edition. (Like Prince with the borrowed Epiphone or Krist Novoselic on MTV.)
☐ The guitar toss – Someone else catches & starts playing.
☐ Smoke-bombs. (Like Ace Frehley.)
☐ Set Fire to the guitar. (Like Jimi.)
☐ The windmill. (Like Pete.)
☑ The powerslide.
☑ The failed powerslide.
☐ Swinging from the rafters. (Hard to do while actually playing? This dude did it.)
☐ The “‘round the world” spin.
☐ The failed “round the world” spin.
☑ Yelling out a second story window mid-set for people to come into the bar.
☐ The “nyah-nyah you can’t see me” EVH turn-around.
☐ The flying karate kick.
☑ On the knees.
☐ On top of a piano. (Like Slash.)
☑ Dancing with the crowd.
☑ Duel of the Fates – using another musician’s fretboard as a slide.
 The salute – All in the air.
☑ The Poison-ish choreographed lean.
☑ Lean on a bandmate.
☑ Lean into a bandmate.

I know there are more.  I know photos & videos exist of some of these with me.   I know this post can get goofy. Please, I implore you to share your moves, including videos, animated gifs, and photos in the comments!  This kind of stuff is hilariously entertaining to me.

What’s your favorite to do?  What’s your favorite to watch?  What have you copied?  What have you invented?  What did I miss on this list?  Share your stories and images and favorite stuff from your favorite performers!

Now, for the self-indulgence:

Bob Evans Follow-Up Bob Evans Follow-Up Bob Evans Follow-Up


Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!

Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!

You read about the Bob Evans fallout and follow-up, right?  In the interest of fully full disclosure, we went back, got a free meal, and had a nice normal dining out experience.  It went well.  LeAnn from Bob Evans wrote to check on me, and I thought I’d share the dialogue.

From: “Purdy, Leann D”
To: [Me]
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Subject: RE: Bob Evans – Reference # 720520 / Blog post about Bob Evans

Hi Eric!

 I wanted to follow up with you to see if you had been back, if not I understand.  I do hope that you do at least use your gift certificates to get some of our amazing Wildfire BBQ sauce!

I know you had concerns with what action was taken after your call/email, I can assure you that all of your feedback is used for training purposes, we did forward your comments to the area coach and general manager so that we can ensure that we are providing excellent service.

Have a great day!

Jelly Jelly Jelly!

bef.gif

LeAnn Purdy
Representative, Guest and Consumer Relations

Supporting Bob Evans Restaurants, Bob Evans Food Products & Mimi’s Café Restaurants
3776 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43207
Bob Evans Guest and Consumer Relations: (800) 939-2338
Mimi’s Café Guest Relations: (866) 616-6464
Fax: (614) 492-4971
Bobevans.com

And, my response:

From: [-mE.]
To: “Purdy, Leann D” ; Riggs A.
Cc: [The Wife]
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Subject: Re: Bob Evans – Reference # 720520 / Blog post about Bob Evans

Hello LeAnn,

Thank you very much for the follow up!  We actually did get the opportunity to take advantage of a free meal last Thursday night, at the same Bridgeville location.  It was a wonderful experience.  It wasn’t too busy when we arrived… and we seemed to get there right at a shift change, but the service was smooth nonetheless, and we only had to ask once for jelly!

Asking once for jelly & receiving it struck me as a possible bad omen.  Upon arrival, the first thing we heard as we were seated was the waitress at the table next to us (oddly not our waitress) telling her customers that something had been comped or removed from their bill… and the customer was spouting off about something unintelligible.

We had an excellent waitress then waiter, there was no shouting from the kitchen, the food was prepared well.  Some of the carrots with my turkey dinner were dry/cracked, but you’ll get that anywhere.  I didn’t see a manager on duty or patrolling the dining room, but things were running quite smoothly without their presence.

If you talk to the area coach/general manager/managers/team there again, please pass on our thanks for another great meal that was back to what we would call a normal Bob Evans experience.  I didn’t present my BE gift money until the end of the meal, but it didn’t produce any speed bumps and we still have one left!

Thank you for the gift, and both you & Nate for your time, and sincere follow-up!  (Follow-ups?  Follows-up?)

“Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!” may be a good ad campaign.  “Pizza! Pizza!” worked for Little Caesar’s.

Thanks again,
-Eric

Bob Evans Restaurant on Urbanspoon

McConsistency is Key.


Recently for lunch, I had a reconstituted-onion & cheese sandwich from McDonald’s with a little bit of beef on it.  It was extra special because it was pressed.  It was not like a panini press with grill lines, but more like someone sat on it.  There were also pickles stacked on top of each other, sticking out of the side.  Very artful & creative!

This wasn’t even from the West Liberty location.

I recently had a friend send one of his friends’ McTale-of-woe to me, because I have apparently become some sort of authority on all things wrong with McDonald’s customer service.

The reason I told of my recent adventure in lunch, is that it fits with the tale as told by someone who wishes to remain nameless, blameless, & shameless:

From: Pattyless Sandwich
Date: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM
Subject: The Day McDonald’s Shit All Over My Good Time
To: The Hamburglar

On Sept. 27, 2011 I went through the drive thru at McDonald’s on Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon, PA. I ordered a number 4 (two cheeseburgers), and I asked for no onion. When I got back to my friends house and we started eating I noticed that the sandwich looked really thin but I just figured it was smashed down a little more THAN NECESSARY so I bit in anyway. As I was chewing, I realized something wasn’t right about what was being smashed around in my mouth. I set my sandwich down and removed the top part of the bun to see the following: slice of cheese on the bottom half of the bun, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Yes, that is correct, there was no meat on the sandwich. Luckily I had another sandwich, that in fact had the patty, to eat, but they put onions on it. The only thing I asked them to void. Now I understand work is work and if you have a job to live then that is fantastic, but to be the person to put the burgers together at McDonald’s, I feel like you go through a training day to be shown how to assemble them. Bottom bun, slice of cheese (I’m guessing it is on the bottom so the burger melts it, let’s not get crazy this shit isn’t cooked together), HAMBURGER PATTY, and then your condiments. Who put mine together and thought “hm….this looks right. Nothing is missing, I am a brilliant fucking burger maker extraordinaire.”? It’s not a hamburger from a hamburger joint if there is no meat. To quote a smart fast food chain (rhymes with Shmendy’s), “Where’s the beef!?”

Sincerely,
Pattyless Sandwich

And, there’s even a Facebook photo:

Veggie Burger?

Veggie Burger?

Ridiculous.  At least this didn’t come through my contact form from someone thinking I was McDonald’s.

Friends, I seriously wish I could write to the McGiant on your behalf, but all of my insane yet legitimate complaints have fallen on deaf ears, blind eyes, or typical McCustomer-Service employees.

Check out my track record.  While I feel for you, maybe try their McPennsylvania site?  I can do nothing at this point but perhaps share in your misery, my freinds!

Can I have jelly? Can I have jelly? Can I have jelly?


Bob Evans Restaurant on UrbanspoonI submitted this to Bob Evans’ contact form:

Last night we had a ridiculous visit to what is normally a decent restaurant.

We arrived shortly after 5:00pm, were seated quite quickly, and were alone in our section (the farthest away from the entrance).  The waitress came to us right away, seemed a little frazzled, and brought us drinks.  By this time another table had been seated in our section.  Our order was taken, a Rise & Shine breakfast for me, BBQ chicken for the wife.

We had actually just dined at this location on Friday evening and had discussed how despite otherwise excellent service & great food, generally my wife has to ask 3 times for jelly.  The standard procedure is that when we order and she gets biscuits, she asks for jelly.  When the biscuits come, with honey and butter but no jelly… she again asks for jelly.  When the meal comes, it’s the 3rd time that she asks for jelly… and usually we get jelly with the check.  It’s like you have it under lock & key or there’s only 1 magical jelly carrier.  I actually suggested that perhaps it’s like the movie Beetlejuice.  One must say “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!” to get the title character to appear.  Perhaps one must break the Bob Evans jelly code and ask for jelly three times at once.

No matter how much I wanted her to, she wouldn’t try it last night.  She asked for jelly just one time, and surprisingly, it came with the biscuits.

At this point, the manager walked by and asked if all was OK.  Truthfully, at this point, it was!  We nodded in satisfaction as we said “yes”.

Eventually, shortly before 6:00pm (yes, an hour later) after several other customers had been seated, had ordered, and been served, our waitress apologized for the wait and offered us more biscuits and a free dessert.  We told her the wait wasn’t her fault as she seemed to indicate it was due to a problem in the kitchen.

About the time where I was ready to get up, pay for our drinks, biscuits, jelly, and then leave to go to the nearby Sonic… our food arrived.  I understand that breakfast foods are greasy but my eggs & home fries were sitting in a pool of some oily or buttery liquid, and one of my over-easy yolks was already broken.  The bacon was fantastic.  The potatoes had so much grease on the outside, that when I dipped them into a pool of delicious Heinz ketchup they came out absolutely clean & ketchup free.  I managed to get the yolk out of one of the eggs with the biscuit that had sat there daring me to eat it for an hour.  I left the second egg and most of my potatoes out of disgust for the food and the service.  It had been a particularly trying couple of days and we chose Bob Evans because of the general consistency of the quality & service.  My wife indicated that other than the chicken being slightly over-done, her meal was excellent.  It’s crazy to believe that Bob Evans (the breakfast-food people) messed up such an incredibly simple breakfast.

Bob Evans

Bob Evans

The waitress had indicated some problems in the kitchen without any specifics, but we could hear arguments in & around the kitchen area for our entire visit.  I have no idea why we didn’t just get up & leave after the first 2 tables seated after us had received their food.  Perhaps we were in awe at the chaos.

I declined my free dessert, and my wife decided to get an apple pie to go just because it had been offered as compensation for our wait.  I was too disheartened for dessert, my friends… free or not.  Our waitress offered to refill my iced tea.  I said “no, thanks.”  She came back 10 minutes later & filled my iced tea anyway.  Still no pie.  I just wanted to go.  I was on the verge of just freaking out at the ridiculousness of it all.  We sat for another few minutes as the waitress took care of others around our section, before standing up to just finally go.  My wife just asked for the check as I was exasperated.  The other customers couldn’t wait for 2 minutes while she put a pie in the to-go container, since we had waited over an hour for a simple simple meal?

The waitress had apparently just placed my wife’s apple pie on a plate as we stood to make our escape… my wife said, “Never mind, we just need to get out of here.”  The waitress insisted on sliding the now decimated piece of pie into the Styrofoam box.  We went to pay, and for the first time ever were not asked something to the effect of “how was everything tonight?”  I believe there was small talk about my wife & I coincidentally wearing the same color green.  I think I remained silent for fear of just snapping.  We left a 15% tip, & took home a comment card.  (As a person with a severe allergy to shellfish, I have a small circle of places where I feel safe…  Bob Evans currently has no deathfish on the menu, so we frequent there and I generally tip 20% or more as I’m confident we’ll be returning soon & often.  I have even received excellent communication from your corporate level regarding food allergies & where things are prepared in the kitchen.)

This rant is obviously too long for a comment card.  I may blog it.  I may just leave it in the contact form at the Bob Evans site.  I may print & mail it.

Something was going on last night at Bob Evans in Bridgeville that was not good.  It was a comedy of errors.  The kitchen apparently had trouble producing eggs & home fries in a timely manner, keeping yolks whole, and draining grease/oil/butter from the fried meal.  The waitress was visibly and audibly frazzled as she complained to the customers that she was excessively busy even as most of the section was empty… at dinner time.  Perhaps she was covering two sections?  I’m not sure.  We saw her quite often… just not with our food.  How many others were seated after us & served before us that we couldn’t see?  We heard her arguing with a mysterious voice yelling out from the kitchen.  The manager did not appear to intervene or even suggest that perhaps they not argue so loudly within earshot of the guests… or even to step in, assert her role as a manager and solve the problem.  There was a waiter who appeared to be training a new waitress, happily ignoring all the chaos around them.

We did, however, receive jelly after asking only once.

[Funny note… upon posting this & grabbing a link to UrbanSpoon, I saw an old somewhat bad review that I posted… but we’ve had perfectly reasonable service there since that visit in ’08.]

OK, maybe I am McDonald’s?


Just kidding.  But Harmony and her husband are convinced that I am indeed McDonald’s, and that Harmony is a certified technological genius.  More on that later.

I was convinced by my friends & followers online to write to Mr. Kausky after his suggestion of thanking a soldier for the freedom to choose fast food.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to read “I AM NOT McDONALD’S” and “I’m still not McDonald’s“.

McDonald's on UrbanspoonAt any rate, this is how I chose to respond to the good-natured manager of the Canonsburg McDonald’s:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Scott Kausky
Cc: pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, krebs955@gmail.com, shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com, Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com, McDonaldsCorporation@mcd.com, McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com, kathy.pieroni@us.mcd.com

Hello Mr. Kausky,

Pardon me if I’m misreading the tone of your email, but please calm down.  Have some dip.

My inclusion of you on the original email was because I’ve had pleasant dealings with you & your McDonald’s location in the past.  I’m convinced that you were instrumental in finally getting a response from Ms. Jones the last time I had an issue with the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s location.  I read you as a man of action, with great pride in your company.

Perhaps you would be better off at a Chick-Fil-A?  They seem to treat their employees better, and you’d never work on Sundays.  You may not be so stressed & jumpy.  Ever notice they always say “My Pleasure” instead of “You’re Welcome” when you thank them?  I can’t decide if it’s awesome, or cult-like.  I’m pretty sure that no one at any McDonald’s ever has acted like it was their pleasure to give me a lopsided cheeseburger.  (Seriously, spot-check that stuff.  I haven’t done a formal study yet, but I’m guessing that 75% of the time, the pickles are stacked on one side of the burger, not placed side-by-side in the middle… and that 95% of the time, there is ketchup and/or mustard on the outside of the bun.)  Although, I have never seen an alarm clock with a subliminal cow penis at McDonald’s… even if you have poorly copied the Chick-fil-A sandwich.

I have four email addresses for people representing the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s.  None of them have replied to my original email.  This shows lack of pride.  I’m sure you would be disappointed in their lack of response.  That’s…  pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, & Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com.

I’m a concerned citizen, trying to help the confused yet adamant Harmony get in contact with the correct people.  Amber & Shirley need my help too.  Their complaints are valid, and think about this… out of the entire internet that exists out there… these people have managed to find my blog to submit complaints about what I can call possibly the most incompetent McDonald’s location ever.  It’s not their fault that they can’t tell that I am not McDonald’s.

Harmony has her own issues, as she can’t distinguish between an email address and a website… but that doesn’t change the fact that she was not offered a mango pineapple smoothie, and it took 15 minutes to get her additional sandwich and Rolo McFlurry while ¾ of the crew members where congregating by the drive-thru.  (Hopefully they weren’t conjugating… right?)  A mango pineapple smoothie sounds absolutely disgusting, but if Harmony wanted to be offered one that’s her right.

Speaking of rights, I’m not sure how I provoked the antagonistic patriotism and perceived lack of disrespect for our armed forces and freedom.  I apologize if I have offended you in any way.  Were you watching the History channel, election coverage, or perhaps drinking when you received my email?  (I’m not judging, I would imagine one would have to partake in the occasional sip of spirits in order to cope with the stress of running a McDonald’s on top of receiving emails from crazy people.)  

I am indeed glad that I have the freedom to rant about customer service issues and fast food quality on the internet.  You’re right though, I will indeed thank a soldier the next time I see them.  You’ll have to promise to instruct your fellow McDonald’s managers and employees to thank a soldier next time they see them too.  They need to thank them for the freedom to serve poorly constructed sandwiches, cold french fries, and for opportunities to congregate by the drive-thru while paying customers wait (im?)patiently.  While we’re at it, they should thank them for the freedom to dumb-down the populace by changing words like “through” to “thru” and “Night” to “Nite”.  I’m not positive, but I can only assume such offenses would not go unpunished in the former Soviet Union or current Communist blockades like China, one of the Koreas, or Cuba.  I can imagine one being caned in a Singapore McDonald’s for congregating by the drive-thru, or having ketchup fall on the outside of a bun.

At any rate, I would like to share with you my overall adventures in correspondence with McDonald’s.  I hope to amuse and amaze you in chronological order below:

Just so you don’t feel bad, check this one out:  Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5

I hope you took the time to read all of the comments.  I am not McDonald’s, and I am not alone.  There are more (albeit less electronically vocal) of me out there.  We will not remain silent.  We will continue to consume your poorly assembled meals while grumbling under our breath.  We will contunite to have a mental block when it comes to actual time spent waiting for “fast food” to be prepared & served versus the perceived speed of choosing to dine at such establishments.  We will continue to craft poorly worded and misspelled messages and send them to the wrong people.  We will celebrate the fact that we have the freedom to do all of the above.

So, we have arrived to now.  What’s happening now, is happening now.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride.  Please keep all arms, legs, & other appendages inside the car until it comes to a complete stop.  Thanks for flying W(aL)D Airlines, may the force be with you.  (..and also with you, Amen.)

Your baffled consumer advocate,
-Eric AiXeLsyD
World (and Lunar) Domination

Heh.  I decided to go goofy at the end.  I got his reply, and have decided to leave this poor man alone.  Why?  He actually takes pride in his McDonald’s,  and seems to have a rare killer work ethic:

From: Scott Kausky <skausky33@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Eric
I didn’t send the email you to upset you either.  I represent my McDonalds.  I was just stating the fact that our soldiers give us the freedom to complain.  I’m old fashioned perhaps, if I continued to have issues, I would simply not return.  Thats how I run my store.  We don’t want them to go else where so we do it right and fix the issues that arrive.  The stores that have issues generally might be due to the town they are in.  I appologize if no one responds to your emails.  All I know for sure is come visit in Canonsburg and I’ll make it right for you.  I enjoy my job and serving our customers.  Please dont use my email for any other reason.

With Respect

Scott Kausky

Respect is right.  Misguided patriotic rants aside, Scott Kausky is the man.  I encourage you to support this McDonald’s location.

We still have the little matter of harmony being convinced that I’m McDonald’s.  You can imagine my surprise as this came to my inbox slightly before Scott’s reply above:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

I don’t have much to say about all this McDonald’s stuff, because I work at one currently and everybody else has said it. However, I will say that Harmony is my wife and she has no issues whatsoever. The reason we posted on your blog is because it was on the bottom of our receipt. She is not technologically challenged, and shame on you for assuming what other people’s problems and issues are.

Upon the arrival of this gem in my inbox, I was kind of speechless.  I was also paranoid.  Did they indeed pimp my blog’s address at the bottom of a McDonald’s receipt?  I would have declared this an absolute win for Ella Jones, Sandra Jaeger, and everyone else that doesn’t reply to emails at the West Libery Ave. McDonald’s.  I mean, really, how funny would that be?  Along those same lines… if this is a friend or reader yanking my proverbial crank; Kudos!  You totally got me.

If this is for real, then may God have mercy on your souls, …and mine for teasing you.  Can someone please help me explain this?  I thought I did that with my last blog post/email with the lines..

But, I must say that I’m confused.  You didn’t email anyone, you used the contact form at my website: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Is that what appears at the top of the receipt?

I’m guessing that more than likely it says “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” at the top of your receipt.  I’m not Ella Jones.  You didn’t email me.  You didn’t email Ella Jones.  You did a Google (or Bing) search for the email address, and landed on my page.

McReceipt 09/07/2011

I don't see my email address or blog url on here anywhere. Do you?

Can someone help me simplify that?  Should I even bother at this point?  I’m confused.  Just in case Harmony or her husband find their way back here, I did have to satisfy my curiosity.  I stopped & got two sweet teas tonight, just to get a receipt.  You can seethe full receipt to the left.

It thankfully (and I’ll admit… somewhat disappointingly) does not include my email address or my blog’s web address.

Which one of my theories do you think is the case here?  Do you think they found my blog, & were insulted?  I mean no disrespect.  I’m just trying to help here.  At this point, I’m assuming Shirley and Amber will remain clueless until the end of time.  I have yet to receive a reply from either of them, and doubt I will.  And, I doubt that I’ll ever hear from Ella Jones or Sandra Jaeger.

I also hope that Harmony’s husband doesn’t work at the West Liberty McDonald’s, and that her going online to complain (“complaine”?) about his corporate employer doesn’t cause some sort of marital rift.

Perhaps a visual aid will help demonstrate:

Trust me, I am not McDonald's.

Trust me, I am not McDonald's.

I don’t think I’ll ever convince them.  Think I can get a McDonald’s hat or something?  Maybe a name tag?  Something?  Perhaps I should just start writing back to people pretending that I am indeed McDonald’s.

McDonald's on Urbanspoon To compound & confound even more, this is what happened on my latest adventure into this McDonald’s on a mission to obtain a receipt & ultimately verify that I am not McDonald’s:

I pulled into the parking lot somewhere around 8:30pm and the lot was quite full.  Most of the cars in the lot were at the outer edge, toward the bottom of the lot, and most likely there for Malone’s Too or Señor Frog’s or whatever that bar is called this week… blatantly ignoring the signs to the effect of “McDonald’s Parking Only” or whatever.  I even saw a guy walk out of the bar into his car.  Oh well, that’s not really in their control… or is it?

The drive through lanes were both backed up pretty hard, and I’m sure people were cutting in front of each other unhindered as usual… so I opted to just pull into a parking spot & go inside.  Bad move?  Perhaps.

Once inside, I took my place in line behind a woman and her daughter at the one open/operating register, and a lone dude in front of me.  The woman & daughter were mid-order, and there was something going on about apple pies being dropped (in what I can hopefully assume was the fryer) and only one pie being avaiable.  They were told there would be an approximate 10 minute wait, but that “it goes fast”.  The woman slid to the side as her daughter went to fill their drinks, and I assume find a table.

While this was happening, I saw another McDonald’s employee come up to a register, glance annoyedly at me and the dude in front of me, hit some buttons, then walk away.  I’m sorry.  Do these employees know that to make money, McDonald’s sells what they pass off as food… and that in order to pay her salary they need to sell vast amounts of lopsided hamburgers with ketchup all over the outside of the bun?  I was surprised at how backed up things had become as the drive-through appeared quite frantic & another potential customer came in behind me during a completely non-meal-rush time of day.

Leaving the sole struggling fellow employee at the line register kind of seemed like what I would call a “dick move“.  Alas, the mother moved to the left, and slid her tray containing rapidly cooling french fries along with her.  Up next?  Dude in front of me.

Dude must have also ordered apple pies… as he was told they just dropped.  When he asked what that meant, he was told that it meant there would be a ten minute wait for apple pies.   Was the young lady at the register trying to use a Jedi mind trick to dissuade the man from ordering apple pies?  I’m guessing that she was simply telling a customer that they didn’t want what they ordered.  I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to order one of those nasty mucus-like hot-pockets that are supposed to resemble a pie… but if he was willing to shell out his hopefully hard-earned cash for them, I say give them to the man!  Order begrudgingly placed, and man moves to the left… overcrowding the woman with her lone order of increasingly algid fries.

I was up!  Finally.  I was asked what I wanted to order, I requested two sweet teas.  I was actually told “Oh, thank you for being an easy one” much to the dismay of the dude directly to my left.  He was visibly not amused.  I struggled to internally process what had caused such dismay in the poor girl behind the counter as I was handed my receipt… but I was (and still am) at a loss.

Mission complete.  I had a receipt in my hand.  My name, email address, and blog url are not on the receipt.  Success!  “Just give me my cups” I thought, as the girl walked away.  A kid was leaving his shift… she told him goodbye and proceeded to walk over and talk to the remaining employees about how popular the departing employee was this evening.  It somehow turned into a rant about thinking that someone was going to come through the drive-through window at her.  Perhaps some other unsatisfied customers earlier this evening?

Then one of the other employees told the girl who had taken my order that it was time for her break.  “Break?” she exclaimed, and started to leave.  The one with some semblance of sanity said “but first I need you to take care of all these orders.”

I tried to shift to my left, but apple pie guy was holding his ground as I blatantly invaded his personal space.  Perhaps his movement was hindered by the woman in front of him with ice fries.  The woman behind me was a champion.  She pushed ahead to the register like a metal fan in a mosh pit.  I think her purse touched my bum.  I just want some cups.  The girl who took my order looked at me quizzically.  Perhaps I looked befuddled.  I know where the drink station is.  I know how to get ice.  I know how to work the knob on the iced tea dispenser.  I just need two of those Styrofoam sweet tea cups.  At this point, any cups will do.

Steely in her resolve to go on break, or perhaps obliviously, she took the order of the woman behind me.  Snack wraps.  She broke the code.  No apple pies.  Smart move, purse push lady.  Smart move.  The order was punched in, and she started to yet again walk away.

“C… Can I just have some cups?”  The words were out of my mouth before my brain knew that I was forming them.  I don’t know if I was anxious, or this was my flight response in order to remove myself from the chaos all around me.  The girl who took my order paused, and looked at me.  I’m sure ice fries and pie guy looked at me too, wondering why I should get my hands on some sweet tea before they were handed their precious disgusting pies.  For a split second, I was almost scared.  Had I crossed a line?  Had I invoked the wrath of a McDonald’s employee mere moments late for her break?

Relief.  She grabbed two Styrofoam cups and filled them with ice, then went back to her conversation about the drive through window or something that seemed to annoy her fellow employees.

The girl who had looked at us with disdain earlier while tapping a few buttons on the register reappeared, and asked ice fries what she was waiting for.  Ice fries lady (who’s daughter probably had come to terms by now that she was surely abandoned) said something to the effect of… “I’m waiting for pies, but can I have my sandwiches now, & have someone bring out the pies?”  This was like a record skipping in a TV show.  Several employees stopped and looked at her.  I’m not sure if there was an answer… but I did hear that “the pies would be ten minutes.”  Surely three to five of those ten minutes had already passed, but who was I to argue?

“Hooolllly coooowww!”  I did it again.  The words escaped me before I could contain them.  Damn you, Ernie and the Berts practice, for amping me all up.  By this point, I was looking around for hidden cameras.  Was I on a TV show?  I think I heard pie guy say “I know” but perhaps he feared the wrath of a pie-less future as it was almost imperceptible.

I was handed my iced teas… I’m guessing the tea dispensers over by the pop machines aren’t filled at night?  Makes sense.  Even though there was one of me and I ordered two drinks…  I wasn’t offered a drink carrier.  I wasn’t handed straws or napkins.  I sure as heck wasn’t going to ask for any.

I hastily made my was over to the condiment & drink station, got some straws & napkins, then walked back past the counter to the exit, ice fries, pie guy, and snack wrap lady still there… probably envious of my escape to sweet freedom.

I couldn’t help it.  As I walked by, I muttered a sing-song like “♪♫ Good luuu-uuck… ♪♫” to my fellow McConsumers.  I hope they were amused.

Eu não sou McDonald’s. Ich bin nicht McDonald’s. Io non sono McDonald’s. Jag är inte McDonalds. Je ne suis pas McDonald’s. Jeg er ikke McDonalds. Mimi si McDonald ya. Nem vagyok McDonald’s. Nid wyf yn McDonald’s. Nie jestem McDonalda. Níl mé McDonald’s ar. Non est McDonald’s. Yo no soy McDonald. Δεν είμαι της McDonald’s. Я не Макдональдс. אני לא מקדונלד ‘ס. मैं मैकडॉनल्ड्स नहीं हूँ. 저는 맥도날드 아닙니다. 我不是麦当劳。 私はマクドナルドではない。