That baby sure does have a lot of hair…

Hey guys! As has been evident by the lack of posts, I have taken some time off from the blog. It’s not that I ran out of stories, because we all know I can get into more trouble in one day, than most people encounter in a year…I just needed some time away from everything that seems to be going on in the world. My heart has been saddened by how people are treating each other. We seem to have turned on each other, instead of lifting each other up in this world. So, I guess I needed a little time to have a “good talking to myself,” and recapture that sense of joy that has always been present in my life. I have decided that for the next few months, I will post either funny or joyful articles – nothing serious. I think we all need a little break from the news here in the U.S. and around the world. So get ready to chuckle along with me…

I was raised on a farm most of my childhood life. We really did not have pets, because we were very aware a special “pet” might just become a meal at some point in time. So, no real pets were in my life until I became an adult.

In my mid-twenties, I decided that I would love to have a little puppy. My choices were extremely limited in that I am highly allergic to almost everything. I had to consider dog breeds that did not shed hair. After much research, the poodle was determined to be a very good choice for me. I did not want to have a big dog, so I again did the necessary research, and decided to get a little toy poodle.

He was jet black, a little ball of fur, and his name was Muffin’s High Prancer, because when he walked, he pranced like a Tennessee Walking Horse. Now, I know that “Muffin” is considered a female name, but that was the name I wanted, and that is what I went with. He didn’t know the difference, and I didn’t care what anyone else thought. So Muffin became a huge part of my life – for 17 years! I never knew you could love a little animal so much. He traveled with me everywhere.

Unlike now, years ago, almost NO hotel would allow an animal on the premises, unless they were a service animal. Therein was the problem when I traveled with Muffin. He was, indeed, said animal…He was not a “barker,” so I was able to sneak him in numerous hotels without anyone knowing. I had gotten very adept at masquerading/camouflaging him to get past the front desk.

On this particular trip, we were making our way home from a seminar. We were tired, had been driving a long time, and decided to stop in Memphis, TN for the night. We chose to stop at one of my favorite hotels, The Hyatt Regency. Now remember, they did NOT allow pets at that time. The front desk was long, against a front wall, and was positioned directly across from the only elevators by which we could get to our room. The hotel was a “high-rise,” so there was no way we could sneak into a window on the ground floor (which we had done on occasion…lol!) So, we were in a quandary as to how we were going to get past the desk employees without them seeing Muffin. We finally decided that I would wrap Muffin in a down-filled, sleeveless vest, where he was not visible, and hold the vest as if I were holding a jacket in my arms.

It was a really good plan. I wrapped Muffin up “just so,” and we began that loooonnnggg walk to the elevators. With each step, I just knew that an employee was going to shout out, “Freeze, baby!! You’ve got a dog!! You’re out of here! Security!!” We made it all the way to the elevators, eased on, and pressed the floor number where our room was located. No one had discovered us and our secret!!

The elevator was walled with mirrors, and as I was standing there looking at the images, I saw movement. I looked closer and discovered that Muffin had found an opening in the sleeveless vest, and had poked his little head through the arm hole. As we both began laughing, we realized that he had been visible to anyone and everyone at the front desk. We had walked right in front of them, with Muffin’s little head up and out, looking at everyone! We could not figure out how on earth they had not seen him. The only conclusion that we could come to, was they thought he was a really hairy baby…

How many times have you tried to “get away” with something in your life? Have you ever done something “not exactly right,” because no one would find out? We convince ourselves that we are “getting away” with something; or “pulling something over” on someone; that what we are doing will not harm someone else. So…what does it matter, if no one gets hurt? Some rules are meant to be challenged; right? Although I meant no harm to the hotel, or other guests, there were rules, and I was intentionally breaking them.

I am highly allergic to animals, especially CATS! So, if I were to happen to stay in a hotel room, where someone else had brought in a cat, without the hotel’s knowledge, and they did not know to “pet clean” the room, I would probably end up in the hospital emergency room. If someone else chose to bypass the “rule,” that decision could certainly harm another person – namely ME! And other than the potential for harm, there should be a certain amount of respect and courtesy for the place of business that you are frequenting, and vice versa…respect and courtesy for the customer. Taking Muffin into the hotel was not done with “malicious intent;” however, negative outcomes could have certainly occurred. And I am sure many of you are thinking…really? You’re concerned over a hotel’s rules? And you just snuck a little puppy dog in? Big deal! But you see, it goes beyond that…it involves character, respect, honesty, and your “philosophy” regarding life decisions.

What have you tried to “get away with?” Was it worth it? Did you get caught? And WHY did you do it? I try to be honest and upright in all that I do, and taking Muffin into the hotel was dishonest – a very small act, but still dishonest. If I had to do it over again, I would not have taken Muffin in. I try to do much better now with my life decisions, and will continue to strive for that elusive “perfection.” Won’t you join me? Just for this week…

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What? You want to pay for that???

A number of years ago, my nephew was getting married, and he and his fiancé had registered at a number of stores for their wedding gifts. As this was a second marriage for both, they did not need “newlywed” items, and were very “specific” as to what they wanted. One of the items they wanted was a microwave. I thought this would be a perfect gift from Aunt Cat…

I made the trip to the local Walmart and found the perfect microwave. Of course, as anyone knows, you cannot go into Walmart and purchase just one item, so I ended up with a buggy full of merchandise. As is my usual habit, when it came to check out, I chose a cashier that “liked to visit” as she rang the items up for sale. (I, myself, like to chat a little as I am spending money…) So, she and I were running our mouths, a mile a minute, as she scanned each item of merchandise. I paid the amount indicated, and then made my way to the exit. Before I could get out the door, my items and receipt were checked by the “greeter” as I left the store. Of course, I was busy talking with her also….

As I was walking to my car, I had a nagging thought that the amount that I had paid just did not seem “right.” It bothered me to the point, that I stopped right in the middle of the parking lot, and pulled out my receipt to “double-check” the total. As I was reviewing the charges, I determined that although the cashier had scanned the microwave, it did not register on the receipt. To my alarm and dismay, I realized that I had unknowingly walked out of Walmart without paying for that microwave. I was beside myself!! Now, there a number of people who would have said, “Wow, their mistake…I just got a free microwave!” However, I could not do that! 

I turned around to go back into the store. I ran into problems with the official Walmart greeter. The conversation went something like this…Greeter: “Honey, did you forget something?” Me: “No, I just need to go back in to pay for this microwave.” Greeter: “What??” Me: “I checked out, but the scanner did not pick up the microwave. I did not discover this till I got outside and I need to go back and pay for it.” Greeter: “You left the store without paying for a microwave??” Me: “Yes, Ma’am. The cashier scanned it, but apparently the scanner did not pick it up. I thought I had paid for it. I just need to go back in to pay for it.” Greeter: “You got to the parking lot without paying for a microwave?” Me: “That’s right! Can I just go back in now?” Greeter, hugging me: “You sure can, honey, and bless your heart!”

The next hurdle was the customer service rep. The conversation went like this…Rep: “Can I help you?” Me: “Yes, Ma’am. I need to pay for this microwave.” Rep: “You want to return the microwave?” Me: “No, Ma’am. I need to pay for it.” Rep: “What do you mean you want to pay for it? Let me see your receipt.” Me: “The receipt will show that the microwave was not paid for.” Rep: “I don’t understand.” Me: “I purchased the microwave, or thought I did, but the scanner obviously did not pick it up. I got out of the store thinking that I had paid for it, but realized that the total amount was wrong once I reached the parking lot. I came back in immediately to pay the correct amount.” Rep: “You got out of the store without paying for the microwave?” Me: “That’s right! I’m not sure how it happened, but there it is!” She looked back and forth from me to the microwave to the receipt, and finally said, “Just go over to the cashier that checked you out, and she will take care of you…and bless your heart!”

I finally arrived at the cashier who had checked me out. She recognized me and our conversation went like this…Cashier: “Is something wrong?” Me: “When you checked me out, the scanner did not pick up the microwave. I did not realize this until I got outside.” Cashier: “What??” Me: “I got out of the store without paying for this microwave. I just need to pay for it.” Cashier: “The door checker did not catch it?” Me: “No, Ma’am. I did not discover it until I got to the parking lot.” Cashier: “And you came back inside to pay for it?” Me: “Yes, Ma’am! Can we please do this now?” Cashier: “We sure can! Thank you so much for coming back in! Not everyone would do that.” Me: “I could do it no other way!” Cashier, shaking her head, with a smile and a hug, “BLESS YOUR HEART!!”

I found the entire incident hilarious, but also sobering. Is honesty so hard to be found nowadays? Is it so hard to believe that someone would “do the right thing?” The staff could not get over the fact that I actually had “gotten away” with unpaid merchandise, and came back into the store to pay for it. I was taught that you pay for what you take…no ifs, ands or buts. I would not have been able to lay down and sleep that night, or look myself in the mirror had I done anything differently. I am far from perfect, but I DO know right from wrong. People think that dishonesty only applies to large items or events…that the “little things” just don’t matter that  much. My Mama used to say “in for a penny, in for a pound.” I got that message and lesson…I won’t be “in for a penny…” Won’t you join me? Just for this week….