Short Stories


From the archive of my “up & coming” early days in the ad biz…

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Project Toronto Client Gift Delivery:

Before I forget what just transpired in the last 48 hours, let me write it down. I went to Toronto for a client meeting and to hand deliver some client holiday gifts. We decided to brand bottles of Patron with our logo. Awesome gift, but hard to get to international clients to say the least. 10:30pm, arrive at baggage claim. We were feeling pretty good because we got through customs with no issues. As we waited for our bags, Jason (my boss) and I started checking out the lady next to us. We swore that she must have drank herself silly on the airplane. Good gosh, she reeked. As my bedazzled bag paraded down the carousel, we noticed people sniffing the air and looking around. At this point, Jason and I thought everyone was on to lil’ miss-I-drank-too-much. The bag then hit the curve toward us and panic quickly set in. Nope, it wasn’t the lady next to us. IT WAS ME. Oh no! Don’t panic, Jason says. He pulls the bag off and then proceeds to bend down and start sniffing it. He wanted to assess the damage. As I watched him bent over sniffing my bag, it occurred to me that we probably should wait until we make it out of security before we bring any more attention to the bag. He aborted said sniffing and faked the ole I-lost-a-contact routine. Okay, we’re good. We zipped out of the airport and took a car to the hotel. The driver promptly told me that my bag was wet and smelled of alcohol. Yeah, thanks. Within minutes, his entire car smelled like a college dorm room. We got to the hotel and asked about an emergency dry cleaning service. Unfortunately, we missed the last pick up by a measly 20 minutes. There was no way to get my clothes back in time for our 9am meeting. Jason helped lug the bag to my room and dumped the mess in the bathtub. He had to leave after a bout of gag reflexes.

There was only one option for getting new clothes in time for the meeting. It was a designer evening gown store in the hotel that they would have opened early. After much consideration, I opted out of the $2,000 sequence dress idea and decided to hand wash my clothes. I cleaned the bathtub, filled it with shampoo and swished my clothes around like a human washing machine. Then I hung them over the AC unit to dry.

Good as gold! We had our first meeting at 9am with one of clients who was pregnant. We got her a beautiful present from Baby Gap. The box was totally warped and smelled of tequila. As she unwrapped it, it got much worse. Turns out one booty actually had tequila in it. Thank gosh she laughed it off.

In another interesting twist, my boss forget his belt and decided to go with some kind of Quicksilver backpack strap looking thing with his nice pants and shirt. It had a lightening bolt emblem or something on it. We were the most low rent Account Execs you’ve ever seen.

The other meetings went wonderful. My bag did stink up their closet, but after explaining the situation and giving them the other bottles, they were fine with it.

We finally got back to Orlando and….you guessed it…..they lost our luggage. Jason is now sitting at the airport waiting to pick them up from Air Canada. All I can say is, to heck with that bag and alcohol-based holiday gifts. Next year I hope we give Christmas ornaments….

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From the archive of my “up & coming” early days in the ad biz…

 Sunday, November 13, 2005

Another true story in pure Jourdan fashion………….

So I’m house sitting for Tricia this week. Yep, watching the dog for my boss. Gotta make sure that I don’t mess up. Ray, her husband, showed me around and filled me in on all the nuances of the house. “Oh, and be careful with the front door, it locks behind you”. “Got it. Front door locks behind you”. I pull up to the house for the night at a rainy 9 o’clock. Ah….ready to write a good ole conference report on my laptop; brought it home for the first time. In the rain, I bring all of my bags in and slam the car door behind me. Oops, forgot something…make sure you watch that front door, it’ll lock. Okay, got everything ready to settle in. Let’s walk the doggie one more time in the backyard. La la la…..go ahead Eli, do your business. All done, let’s go inside. Click. Click. Oh, no. Click. Click. No biggie, didn’t lock the front door yet. Walk around to the front…….HOLY MOLY: “Oh, and be careful with the front door, it locks behind you”. It’s just me and the dog outside in the rain. Okay, stay calm. Go to the car and call someone. AAAHHHHH, car’s locked too. The cell is in the house anyway. “Eli, stop barking”. What to do, what to do? So I knock on the door of six, yes, six neighbors to no avail. “I know you’re in there, I see your cars people”. Okay, it’s raining, I’m in an unfamiliar neighborhood and everything I own is in the locked house. I try one last house. “Wow”, the neighbor says, “What a story, come on in and use my phone”. The nice gal, about my age, hands me a cold one. “Looks like you could use a beer”. She then hands me the phone. Thank goodness. I press the talk button and punch in 407. Then it hits me. I don’t know anyone’s number. Thanks a lot technology. I let all my “databases” do the remembering. I can’t think of one person that’s memorized except my best-friend. Oh man. She ain’t gonna be happy when she has to drive from Altomnte to downtown, but what are friends for? “I’ll be there in a 1/2 hour, she says. Okay, I’ll just be waiting outside in the rain with the barking dog. The neighbor says I can hang in her house, but her pajamas and tired eyes said another story. I head back to Tricia’s house. To waste time, I start trying to break into every window. The whole house is made of windows, one should be open. Okay, this is Tricia we’re talking about. There isn’t going to be a window open. Man…..sure hope the neighbors don’t call the police since I’ve popped off all the screens. Well….done with the front of the house, I’ll try my luck with the back. “Eli, stop growling at me, I’m just trying to get us out of the rain”. As I’m going through the motions of popping the screens and opening the windows, I start thinking about work tomorrow. How am I going to walk in with the same clothes and sit down to a desk with no computer? Uh….sorry, can’t work today, I locked my laptop in my boss’s house and please pardon the smell, I haven’t showered. I’m at my last possible window. It’s tiny- don’t think I can fit in anyway. I can barely reach it, it’s way up there. Pop goes the screen. OH MY GOSH…..the window budged. Yes, it’s not fully locked. Now I just have to find a way to move the window lock to the left. A stick, yah, a stick could do it. I break off a stick from a big tree in the backyard. SWOOSH…as I pull from the tree, the water on the leaves drenches me. The tears are now swelling up in my eyes. My hair is matted down to my face, the dog is growling at me and now I have to use the bathroom. After 10 minutes of finagling with the stick, I get it open. Now I have an open window about 10 feet off the ground. My head will barely make it through, who knows about my hips. I grab two patio chairs, soaking wet, and stand them on each other. I know I only have one chance to hoist myself as the chairs are surely going to fall. Well folks, I did it. I hoisted myself in. I’m looking down onto the floor and realize I’m gonna have to fall head first onto the hardwood. I don’t even care at this point. I roll about one foot and the leg of a crib stops me. Turns out I broke into the babies room. I felt like a creep. Who breaks into a babies room?

The first thing I do is find the house key and slip it on my necklace. I slept with it around my neck. I let Eli in and ran to the bathroom.

“How’s everything at the house, Jourdan? Are you enjoying the pool and making yourself at home?”

Why yes, Tricia……everything is just fine.

NO ONE EVER ASK ME TO HOUSE SIT OR DOG SIT AGAIN.

Nothing makes a room appear more elegant than using crown moulding. It’s a fantastic way to separate wall color and the ceiling without harsh lines. As new homeowners, Cam and I have met each project with youthful enthusiasm and vigor. Project 13 on the list: INSTALL CROWN MOLDING. Seems simply enough. After everyone told us how hard it was, we opted to take a Home Depot University class (which by the way- if you attend two classes, you get a patch). We take notes. We follow the instructor’s every move. We feel confident. After an office email returns no responses to lend us a miter saw, we opt for purchasing one on our own. Looking back on it, I realize no one owns a miter saw because no one knows how to use the thing. We buy all the materials to do our master bedroom and master bath. A friend convinces us to go with the corner pieces, which negate the need for mitering. We thought they looked great in his room and decide to take his advice. After painting and drying, we’re ready to install. It goes a little something like this:

” I don’t understand. We measured this exactly. Why the heck are we an 1/8″ short?”

” Honey, hold your side up. Hold it straight. ”

” I AM HOLDING IT UP. My arm is falling asleep, just hammer it in already”.

“Well I would, if you didn’t just kick the nails off the ladder”.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I almost fell off the bucket. Why do you get the ladder and I get this flimsy bucket?”

“Where the heck is the tape measure?”

“Umm, it’s in your hand.”

“Turn off this darn music. I can’t concentrate with Bono trying to save the world in the background. It’s not a beautiful day. Hold it straight.”

Okay. Deep breaths. Walk away. Get a drink. Abut five hours later, we nail the last piece in. We take a step back and admire the room. Not too shabby. Actually, it looks pretty darn good. Now that we’ve master that, we’ll actually cut corners for the bathroom. It’s a very small room, can’t be too hard. Once we master that, we can move on to the living room. We go to sleep completely confident. We got cocky. Very cocky.

Sunday, 8am. Bright and early. We lay out the notes from our Home Depot class, consult the manual and get ready to do a practice corner. A few tries and we’ll be ready to go. RRRRRRRWWWWWW. The saw goes down and the first cuts are made. “That should do it. Grab the other piece and make sure they fit properly”. I hold it up at an angle in the corner completely expecting them to slide together with ease. What is this? There seems to be a huge gap. It’s like they don’t even compliment each other to make a corner. Oh well. We learned two ways: coping and butting two 45 angles. Everyone said to forget the latter of the two. RRRRWWWWW. The saw goes down again. Okay, they fit, but only if you put them up-side-down. If we simply do the opposite of what we just did, we should get it this time. RRRRWWWWWW. WHAT IN THE WORLD? WHY WON”T THEY FIT? Bevel right? Bevel left? 45 right? 45 left? Wait, was that 0 and cope? AAAAHHHHHH.

Six hours later and not ONE corner figured out, we finally snapped. At this point, it wasn’t even about the money. It was personal warfare between the miter saw and us. We experienced every human emotion: anger, sadness, laughter from insanity and finally settled on defeat. Now that the sun went down and we we used up 50 ft of painted molding (which, by the way, I painted with precision and took it 4 hours to dry) we gave up. I opted to open the housewarming bottle of wine to numb the pain of failure. I sat in the grass, not worthy of a chair, and drank away the remainder of my evening by myself. That night we went to sleep wallowing in self pity. As I reached REM, in the middle of ‘the-night-before-Monday-slumber’, I was suddenly awakened by a loud noise. RRRRRWWWWW. I roll over to find that I am all alone, in the middle of the night. I tip-toe to the garage to find my white-collar beau at the miter saw. The look of determination says it all. I know better then to say a word. He tells me that it came to him in a dream. His subconscious revealed how to cut the wood. I suddenly become excited. I stand by my man. The two pieces are cut and we anxiously walk over to the corner hoping that they will finally fit together. Left side is nestled in. Up goes the right side. WHAT THE %$^*(&()&*(&)^&*%$&*…….not even close. I shut my eyes and listen to the molding being thrown across the garage, hitting the door. We don’t speak. We walk back to the bedroom and couch- respectively. I doubt either of us actually fell back asleep.

So here we are- we have no molding in the bathroom. We have no molding in the living room. We own a $100 saw, but ruined all the molding. I drank all the housewarming wine and the ding in our garage door now has a dent to forever remind us of our foolish naivety.

Should any of you be considering this “nice little home improvement project”, I invite you to remember this story. Next up- tiling the floor. How hard can it be?

From the archive of my “up & coming” early days in the ad biz…

One of the perks of the biz- heading to the Caribbean for a client meeting. I went a few years back and it was my first time out of the country. I went completely by myself and it was awesome. I always try to write down my experiences so I don’t forget them. Here is an excerpt…..

When I first got there, I was starving. The hotel staff pointed me in the direction of the food. “Behind the mall, walk the street and you will find good eatin” they said. “What mall?”, says I. “You’re lookin at it”. (referring to a 8 shop strip of bargain shopping). A used bra for just $4. Good times. This was great though – a chance for me to see the world. I walked past the mall lookin’ for some good eats. Turns out, many of the restaurants are Frances-Maria cookin for you in her house while she tries to interest you in a broken ceramic cat for $2 American. Good times. I bought some plantains and soggy fries from a vendor and leisurely strolled back to my hotel absorbing the visual pleasures of my surroundings. What is that rustle in the bushes? Whoa it’s a chicken. Hey chicken, you’re kind of cute. Gosh, you’re not scared of people, huh? I’m walking, I’m walking. Hey chicken,  back up. These are my plantains. Hey…hey. Holy moly it’s going to peck at my cankles (calves/ ankles- my legs don’t really distinguish between the two). Here you go chicken, have some soggy fries while I sprint to my hotel unpecked. Bad idea. The chicken has a friend and it wants in on my fries. My eyes are swelling with tears. I don’t remember my self defense class at UCF instructing on methods of handling chicken attacks. Think…think. Clutching to my oily bag of sweet plantains I start running as fast as I can in my stiletto boots. If you run zig zag they can’t catch you, right? No, wait- that’s alligators. “ Ey, get outta here”. Who said that? And then, I see him; my superman coming to save me. It’s an eight-year old with a broom stick. He then educates me with a lesson I will remember for the rest of my life. “ Ey gurl, don’t feed da chickens”. Lesson learned. I later played stick ball with my superman. Another lesson- stand on the RIGHT side of the street if you want to watch the cars coming.