GMIM #12 Back to reality

Welcome to another installment of Good mourning, it’s Monday! This weekly blog looks to cover various topics in the news, along with personal stories or encounters from the past week at home and work to help you through your first day back at work (unless you don’t work). Hopefully my seven followers like this and share this to make it eight. Enjoy…

Back to reality; back to work

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Vacation is over, Christmas is long gone, and it’s a New Year. Yup, I’m back in the office again plugging away and earning(?) my paycheck. Of course it was single digit temperatures on my commute this morning, so that was a fantastic way to start Monday. But I’m here, and I guess that’s all that matters, or so I’m told.

It’s one of those days you have to hope to blend in, no matter what position you hold. Can’t go from no responsibilities to Mr. Overachiever in a day. No, no, no. My approach is (1) no more than two cups of coffee. That way, people don’t assume you’re still tired or crack office jokes about recovering from vacation. (2) Get chit-chat out of the way first thing and ignore everything afterward. I’m sure to have people saying “HEY! WELCOME BACK! HAVEN’T SEEN YOU SINCE LAST YEAR!” Yeah, go screw. I’ll tell you about my vacation, act like I want to socialize, and then stick my face in my screen for eight to nine hours. Finally (3) Get lunch before work. I already prepared this, as it’s freezing outside. But more importantly, this ties into the last point. I won’t have to go to lunch with anyone or try finding food when all I want to do is sit at my desk in my slippers and pass the hours away.

Zach’s travel guide to driving 18 hours like an idiot

As I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, I recently drove to Chicago from Boston in an 18 hour adventure with my lady. Surprisingly, I didn’t want to kill her or drive off the highway into oncoming traffic. The wedding was great, Chicago is a ton of fun, and we made a pit stop in Niagara Fall, Canada on the way back…sowrrey! Side note suggestion for anyone going to a wedding you have no business attending: be sure to dance with either the bride or groom’s grandma, but if you can’t do that, do so with the flower girl. No old ladies were there, so I tore up the dance floor with the flower girl. We were kind of a big deal.

In my younger days, my family would drive down to the Outer Banks in NC, so I’m familiar to long road trips. But driving an entire day is totally different from sleep in the backseat for the entirety of the trip. After completing my adventure, here is my list of tips and suggestions for anyone stupid or poor enough like me to drive long distances for vacation.

  • SNACKS. Be sure to not only bring plenty, but bring a variety. I made the mistake of having four different versions of chocolate covered fruits/raisins (bad move first off). So it was essentially Doritos and chocolate. Good snacks, but not for 18 hours. You need to treat your in car snacks like a food pyramid. On the bottom, you have your chips, the foundation of any snack time. Right above that is granola bars or other bar shaped snacks. A good switch up from chips and easy to eat while driving. Candy/chocolate slides in next as the sugar rush/dessert of the pyramid, but don’t do raisins like I did. M&M’s will do just fine. Finally in the just top (aka, we feel obligated to have you) is dried fruit and nuts. Dried fruit is actually just as bad for you as candy, but you can convince yourself that you’re fulfilling your nutritional needs. Jarred peanuts not in the shell, especially Planters Honey Roasted, provide a great switch up. To wrap up snacks, just don’t do anything that’ll get your finger too greasy or sticky. Can’t have Cheetos dust on the steering wheel.
  • SANITATION ITEMS. Big thing I wish I had on this trip is moist towelettes. Sounds crazy, but this goes with the sticky fingers from snacks. It drives me insane to have food on my fingers and I am not a post-snack finger licker. Grab a handful from KFC or somewhere and be sure to load up the glove box with plenty of napkins. No need to get tissues; snoogers are easier to excavate with napkins. Finally, bring at least three plastic bags for trash. Can’t sleep in the car with McD’s bags under your feet.
  • COMFORT. If you’re driving by yourself, you might be a psycho. But, you also don’t have an opportunity to sleep or rest. In this case, have your jeans and shoes on the passenger side and wear your sweatpants and slippers (preferably moccasins) on while driving. A hoodie is also suggested, as you can wear it into restaurants and still be comfy. If you have company, you’re in luck. Bring the extra clothes out of the suitcase like before to ensure comfort. If you’re riding shotgun, I cannot emphasize a blanket and pillow enough. It’s not just for comfort, but they help block out the sun or street lights. You’re a chump if you sleep without these on a roadtrip.
  • ENTERTAINMENT. This is tough if you’re driving alone, but not impossible. Prior to leaving, be sure to download many podcasts. If you need to catch up on The Gray Area before I start recording more episodes, you can definitely do that. Radio is ok, but once you start going into other states, it’s a shot in the dark. Pandora is ok, but if you can get SiriusXM, it is a life saver. For those riding shotgun, if you have a Game Boy or whatever they call it now, bring that. Tablets are cool as well, and smart phone games are ok. I can’t read in the car because I get car sick, but if you have a book and want to channel your inner 50-year-old self, then go crazy.
  • PIT-STOPS. Not too much you can do here. If you need to go, you gotta go. Just be aware of the number of miles between them and for the love of God, do not stop at one featuring a White Castle. Again, DO NOT EAT WHITE CASTLE. I learned the hard way. It’s gross.

Have any stories to share? Suggestions? Feedback? Send them to ZacharyAdamGray@gmail.com or Tweet me @ZacharyAdamGray

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