Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scamming a Scammer, Part 9

From John:
Okay Eliza its Good to hear about that so i will like to know the kind of the work you want to do for us is it the printing of checks job or th other so let me know while i await your scanned identity tomorrow.

Also Eliza do you have your own connection at home or you do go to a cyber cafe?Kindly let me know.Because you will need to have a yahoo messenger and you must always be online everytime...Okay so i want you to let me know.

From me, 3 weeks later...
John,

I know you have probably been very concerned about me. Let me tell you why it's been so long. On April 1st, I got your email and took all of my identity to the library. I scanned it, just like you said, and even illegally downloaded yahoo messenger onto their computer. I mean, kids download porn and stuff all the time. It's not like the messenger will do any harm. At least that's what I thought. Little did I know, some brainiac psycho guy decided to play an April fool's joke on everyone. I know you don't know what that is since your Londish. It's basically a day when you try to mess with people and pinch them and stuff. Not like Valentine's. Anyway, someone put a program on the computers at the library that immediately kicks you off if you try downloading anything and THEN the program cancels your account as a big April Fool's PRANK. Well, I wasn't having it. I told the librarian, but apparently she was in on it too. As if this wasn't bad enough, they're still playing along with the joke and it's APRIL 20!!
So now I have no Internet access and I can't even send you the identities that I scanned. We don't have a cyber cafe. I asked Marv (he's the town computer technician/cheese maker). Can I just send you my identity in the mail? I have stamps and envelopes. It's been so long and I'm just ready to start work. Do you have an address I could send everything to?

Sincerely,
Eliza

From John
Okay so how do you want to work for us since you dont have a internet connection well i have discussed this with the Board and we have bought a new Dell Laptop for you and we have arraged for your interenet connection but we are in doubt if this is a good idea and if we are not gonna loose so the company is asking you to pay $450 and you will receive the Laptop and also some other documents that you will need and also get back to us with your full name and address where to send the Laptop to and as soon as we receive the money via western union we will send the laptop to you so let me know if you will send the money so that i can give you the agent information to send the money to.
Thanks and am waiting for your quick response to this effect.
(You hear that? He bought me a laptop for me to buy...)

Justice

I have written to Ms. Beyonce many times asking her to stop singing. Up until this point, she has always had the upper hand and the ultimate argument: Girl could sing. Granted the songs are all terrible, but she sure could sing.
Well, thanks to Howard Stern, I now have the upper hand. Justice is SO sweet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Scamming a Scammer, Part 8

From Me:
John,
I feel like the compassion and kindness are gone. Your emails have become curt and pushy. I just feel like you're bossing me around. In the beginning I really felt like I had a future working with you; maybe even more. Now I'm beginning to think you were just sweet-talking me because you've got some sort of American quota to meet with your company. I want to trust you but it's really hard when you talk to me this way. What happened to us, John?
Eliza
From John:
Eliza is not like that..Okay i want you to know that all i am doing is for you to work with my company and have a taste in our honesty and how we work...Okay eliza let me know if you can do the work bcoz we have lots of clients that are waiting to receive check this week and we have not seen anyone to print the check and i hope you will be the one..Okay

From Me:
John,
I desperately want to taste your honesty. I asked the woman at the library if I could use the library scanner. Her name is Lorraine. And she told me that I have to have my identities WITH me if I want to scan them. Hello? It would have been nice to tell me that to begin with, John. I wasted $1.60 using the bus and then another $4 that I had to give to the bum sleeping in front of the computer to bribe him to sleep in front of the magazines. (Isn't that where he belongs anyway?!) So I had to go all the way back home and get my identities. And then, and only then, did I realize I don't know what identities are. I thought I only had one, but I did see Dr. Phil talking about having more than one identity. He called it "Multiple Personalities." I went up to the grocery store where Lyle works (he's my friend) and asked him if he could help me find my multiple personalities. He said that he could just name them out loud, but I told him I needed to write them down. He is going to come over tonight and help me find them.
I now have a whole folder that I bought from Staples with our conversations all in them. I wanted to get organized NOW so that once I start working for you, I can be the best whatever-it-is I can be. I also bought 2 pencils and a stapler, though I think the stapler was excessive. It was an impulse buy, ya know?
Ok, I'm going to be emailing you tomorrow morning with my identities. Then we can start work!!!
Eliza

Holland: Day Five

Day 5 was rough. I was totally exhausted this morning when I woke up, as were the rest of the zombies. Breakfast was quiet and curt, which was blaring foreshadowing for the rest of the day (though how could any of us know?!).
We piled into the car at 10am and drove to Zansa Schanz, nearly 2 hours away. By the time we got there, we were hungry again. We went to a little restaurant in the town and they clearly sat us in the “noisy American section” by ourselves. Lunch was limited, as always. I had a vegetable and Serrano ham roll. Tostis abound and plenty of glass bottles of water followed. When the plates were clean (and the wait staff breathed a sigh of relief), we headed out to the famous wind mills of Zansa Schanz. We didn’t know until we walked inside that each of the mills cost 3 pounds to enter.
After the first mill, the pigment mill, I was both bored and nerve-wracked from standing 10 feet away from the HUGE windmill blades. We walked down to the other mills, which I skipped and naturally turned out to be amazing and fabulous. I tried to turn inside myself to find some great lesson or insight in the moment of silence I spent outside the mill, but I frankly just got cold and wind-burned.
Next we walked to the cheese store. Cheese store. Got that? A store that sells cheese. It also has cheese samples. Samples of cheese. For free. I gained 5 pounds.
Finally, we went to a wooden shoe museum, watched them make a wooden shoe, and checked out how much it cost to buy wooden shoes. Corey and Caroline had several meltdowns regarding the cost and quantity of the gift shop items. It was very interesting and while I could easily have given in to the “bright colors,” I chose to pass all the way through without dropping a single Euro.
At the end of the day we had to have a family discussion about whether or not to go further north to the fishing village or head back south to closer to home to have dinner. Everyone agreed with Corey that it was time to start heading back; this is when Corey’s outspoken character came in VERY handy. However, the God-forsaken GPS system took us a ridiculous way home so we decided to stop in a town called Europort at a restaurant called De Beer. De Beer was a very colorful and modern looking hotel in an otherwise extremely old part of the country. I soon made eyes at David, indicating something out of place. It wasn’t long before I was able to signal his gaze to scan the horizon of what he would soon discover to be a full restaurant of gay men in pink ascots eating dinner. Here we are, the single most Americanized family in the entire country, eating dinner noisily in an upscale gay restaurant. It was a terrific joke we had to ourselves for most of the meal, which was faaabulous (of course). Outside, David tried to explain to his parents that we were just in a gay bar. His mother INSISTED that they were “well-dressed sailors”. You know how common they are; so common as to require their own hotel dedicated to art and find cuisine. Tomorrow we have a relaxed day in town that I will be enjoying THOROUGHLY.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Holland: Day Four

Let’s talk about Xanax. This drug is my new best friend. I took half of a Xanax my sister-in-law gave me prior to leaving the states. Soon after, the arm I was using to hold my book light slowly caved and hung like the Leaning Tower of Piza. I put on my lovely cushy eye-cover and slept clear through 7:30 this morning. Ahhhh.
Showers and madness resumed today, piling into the car promptly at 9am after a hearty breakfast of, you guessed it, meat, bread, and cheese (not necessarily in that order). We headed off to Alsmeer, a city housing the worlds largest flower auction. This place was unreal. First of all, it took us about a half an hour to find the “tourist” entrance, and in the mean time we found ourselves in the middle of a HUGE and non-stop flower operation. Workers sped past us in go-carts and bicycles and every kind of flower you could think of flew with them. The auctions themselves were amazing and very organized. Hundreds of men and women sat in raised bleachers staring at a conveyor belt of huge carts carrying every kind of flower you could think of. Outside, a mile of warehouse stretched out in every different color. videoThese carts, drawn by electric scooters, were dragged in a veritable ballet of tulips and hydrangea past each other, never crashing or even taking note. It was a long walk and after a time, all the flowers started to blend together in a hypercolor t-shirt sort of way. We shared a croquet and some coffee after Deb needed a little break (on account of the LIFE she’s carrying inside of her).
We left the flower auction and drove into the main town of Alsmeer to have a lovely lunch. I had “Grandma’s Vegetable soup” and a tosti. It was excellent soup; the broth in Europe is so much better than the broth in America. I can’t explain why, other than it’s cleaner. A tosti is pretty much a grilled cheese sandwich. The kids were thrilled because the restaurant had American ketchup. You’ve never seen a pile of ketchup so tall.
Next we went to the Keukenhof in Lisse, a huge piece of land where they have fields and fields of flowers. Keukenhof itself is sort of like a flower museum. Every kind of flower you’ve ever heard of, thought of, created in a picture, or dreamed of growing is there, and several hybrids thereof. Tulips the size of my HEAD people. It’s not natural. There is only so much flower museum I can take. I’m interested in getting flowers, that’s about as far as my interest takes me. So I ooed and ahhed as much as I could until the vomit started hitting the back of my throat and I gently nudged David (apparently at the same time as Deb) to encourage his parents to end the day. Ha. End.
The hour car ride home turned into 2 hours (and longer, considering I had to pee since the 15 minute mark). Traffic is unbelievable some days, and totally clear others. On this day, everyone in Holland was on the road.
Again today, by the time we got to dinner we were all so tired that we hated each other until the beer and lemonade arrived at the table. I had a salad for dinner, followed by everyone else’s frites and chicken. Deb made Corey sit on his hands at the dinner table as a “game” so he would chill out. She once told him he was disqualified for moving his chair. “Corey, this will get you disqualified from this game.” I cracked up.
David and I walked home from dinner, which was very nice. Romantic, even. His voice is almost gone from a small cold, so he has been extra sexy-sounding.
We played Nutso once we got home and let off some steam. Exhausted again, but a good day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Holland: Day Three

Day 3 started at about 1am when the entire family sleeping upstairs woke up simultaneously. The kids woke up thinking it was morning, made their beds, and started playing with their toys. David and I sat and chatted while Sonny made a full-on meat and cheese sandwich. Deb wandered back and forth from the bathroom to the kids’ room. We were all awake for hours. When it was time to get up this morning, the Grumpsters had moved in.
We all piled into the car and drove to an apartment recently purchased by a young guy. This apartment was the very place where Opa Ike and his wife hid during the war. There was a small panel in the back of the closet that came off the wall and behind it was barely enough room for Corey and Caroline to fit inside, let alone two grown people. But fit in it they would, every time GeinDonna would push a button under the handle of the front door, turning off their bedroom light to alert them that the Germans had arrived. It was an eerie and exhilarating experience to see the apartment, complete with huge chunks out of the cement stairs where the Germans had shot.
Next stop was Metti and Frits’ house where we had “lunch” with their sons Artur and Yuri. “Lunch” consisted of a shit-ton of bread, an absurd amount of cheese, herring, herring, and herring. Mmmmm. Yuri took us on a tour of Leiden and boy was it beautiful. We saw buildings that were 3 and 4 hundred years old. Everyone was so lovely and their English was fabulous.
Finally we when to Kinderdijk, a place famous for windmills. We took a small tour of a windmill, which was impressive to the kids. Deb was so hungry by the time we finished that little tour that we decided to eat there in Kinderdijk at the hotel. The appetizers were great, but the main courses were not so great. Strangely tough chicken, soupy stroganoff, and entirely too many potatoes. I have had more potatoes in the past 3 days than I have in 6 months. It’s the country’s only vegetable (I made that up, but it might as well be).
Now home, David has a sore throat, Sonny has a sore back, and I am just sore.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Holland: Day Two

This morning I woke up to David pacing the house. He woke up at 3am and stayed up entertaining himself until 7am when I finally woke up. When I got up he was doing calisthenics in the living room. Needless to say he has not yet adjusted to the time change.

Deb and Sonny made their flight with the kids and got here around 10am. I had such empathy watching them grumpily sleepwalk up the stairs and needless drag their suitcases behind them despite the fact that everyone else in the family offered to carry them. When they finally woke up from a 3-hour nap, they ate cookies for about the length of one episode of Larry King Live.

The owner of the house, Hans, came to pick up his mail today. (Apparently they can’t put it on hold here.) He was very nice and his English was excellent. We chatted for a while about what he did and how he enjoyed being out on his freighter delivering all sorts of things like charcoal and wood. Forty-two degrees out and he’s enjoying the open seas. After he left I felt dumb for only knowing one language.

We finally made it out the door after a long-winded conversation about what the week’s plans would hold. My mother-in-law had mapped it all out and began explaining it to us, as if any of us cared about where we went in Holland as long as it was somewhere. Within moments my brother-in-law and David were making Swedish Chef noises and my sister-in-law was staring me in the eyes the way only a pregnant woman can, mouthing, “STAR-VING. DIN-NER.”

Dinner was at a nice “yacht club” in which the club members actually lived in the yachts parked outside in the freezing Holland rain. I had tilapia, which was quite nice and not nearly as buttery as I’d feared. The frites were plentiful and my sworn enemy. Tonight, the enemy won.

When we got home my sister-in-law used my hair dryer to dry her hair and nearly blew it up plugging it into a European socket and turning it on high. She then blew up the kids’ plug-in fan she brought from the states. The entire upstairs smells like burnt turds wrapped in burnt hair. We all had a nice laugh with that one.

Tomorrow we are up and at ‘em at and out of the house by 9:30am. We’ll see how a day in Holland actually going somewhere compares to house lounging.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holland: Day One

When we landed in Amsterdam, I stood up to get a good look at the woman who had been kicking my seat, stretching out enough to stick her fingers in my hair, and passing her 3-year-old daughter over my head to her husband in another row for the entirety of a 7 hour plane ride. If she weren’t French, I would have glared. However, the French tend to think glaring is a sign of friendship so I chose not to.
The Amsterdam airport is like a high fashion mall. The stores were amazing and the women were all wearing the exact same thing: knee-high boots over jeans/pants and a trench coat with a large scarf. They all looked so stylish and put together that I could only imagine what they thought of the lazy-eyed Americans coming off the plane in the ski jackets and hiking boots. I’m glad I packed ONE nice pair of shoes.
As I sat and waited for David to find his parents (no cell-phone service = finding your ride the old fashioned way), I watched two men cleaning a 20 foot high glass partition with long squeegees and soap. I had never seen two men appear more gleeful yet scientific about cleaning glass. With each stroke of the squeegie, they stopped and seemed to discuss what their next move would be to accomplish clean glass in the most effective and beautiful way. It was a good indication of what was to come.
People in Holland don’t waste time with the niceties of America. When I asked my father-in-law how to say “Excuse me” in Dutch when I’m walking through a crowd, he couldn’t answer me. A native Dutchman himself, he thought and thought and finally decided people in Holland didn’t say excuse me; they just walked towards where they needed to be and respected each other’s time and space enough to get out of the way.
The house rented for the family is beautiful; over 100 years old and filled with fabulous European flair and history. The town here, Sommelsdijk (Sum-mel-stike) is fabulous with it’s long brick roads, quickly darting small cars, pedestrians with reusable bags, and children with the independence of teenagers. No one uses paper towels or napkins (in fact, you can’t even find them in the grocery store without hunting); everyone prefers cloth napkins. The woman at the restaurant we ate at for dinner was so thrilled with the 2 Euro my father-in-law left her for a tip that she ran out an entire box of Speculas (ginger cookies) and put them in his pocket before we made it to the street. And the BIKES. Everyone rides a bikes. I saw a mother riding with one child on the back of her bike and an infant sitting up like a toddler in the front of her bike, all while helping her oldest (maybe 4 years old) navigate his way through the streets on the bike next to her. It was amazing how healthy this culture looked in comparison to the Detroit airport from which I’d just flown.
We immediately began wolfing down meats and cheeses and bread (because these are the three food groups in Holland) and quickly fell asleep. The only way I knew what day it was today was because the “Friday” box was the next one in my vitamin holder to still contain vitamins.
So here I sit in my bed, a twin the rests comfortably about a foot off the ground and feels strangely reminiscent of marshmallow pudding, thinking about how after a single day in Holland, I am already changed for the better.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brugge

I'd like to say that I kept up with my blog for the entirety of my European trip, but alas with a lack of computer access and a house full to the brim with people, it just wasn't a good time.

Today, though, I am in Brugge (pronounced with a "br" and the olympic sport "luge" in English, or "Br-uh-huh" in any other language). A very romantic city in Belgium, full of beer, mussels, and chocolate. I can sit on my window sill 2 stories up and watch the world go by on the cobblestone street beneath me. I can pass on the alarm clock and let the clip-clop of horsefeet wake me up in the morning. I can enjoy a warm Belgium waffle as an afternoon snack (the time of day waffles were meant to be enjoyed according to the owner of this little hotel). The history of the city includes a canal, once a moat, that protected it from destruction during the war. Churches and buildings here date back to the 1400s. In America we can gush over a building built in the twentieth century.
Everyone here has a fancy scarf and a dog. No dog too big or too small to tote around on a leash through the city, even in and out of shops. No one seems to mind that dogs go everywhere with their people. My kind of city.
If there was ever a better time to be in Brugge, I couldn't name it.