Translation Services Are Growing In Importance

I can remember in High School, I decided to take Spanish as my foreign language. Back then, we could only choose between French and Spanish. My high school counselor advised me to take Spanish, saying that the experts projected that more people from Hispanic countries were going to be settling into the area, and that I would actually find myself using Spanish in real life on a daily basis, whereas chances of me using French on a daily basis were less likely.

I can remember for a time, after graduating High School, working at Levitz Furniture in Merrifield (yes, the one that got hit by a tornado on April 1, 1973.) I was one of the “Front Office Girls” and one of our duties was to call customers when their special order had arrived, and arrange for the customer to either come and pick up their order, or to arrange for a delivery date. There were quite a few times that some of my co-workers were making those phone calls while I was waiting on customers at the counter, and they would end up asking me to come provide my translation services to the customer that they had on the telephone.

I was quite pleased to be able to remember enough of my High School Spanish to be able to talk with those customers to let them know that their order had arrived. Unfortunately, my Spanish language skills got very rusty when I lived in New England for twenty-nine years! I regret not keeping up with the language. I’ve tried several times to find some affordable courses in the area that would help me to refresh my skills. There have been many times since we moved back here from New England that I wished I could speak Spanish more fluently! I think that the demand for translation services in this area are going to continue to grow!

The Man And His Horse Standing Vigil

Forrest and Zeke 9-11-15 on Lee Hwy
Forrest and Zeke 9-11-15 on Lee Hwy

Yesterday, on my way into Warrenton to go to the laundromat (yes, my washing machine is broken, thanks Obama!) I was pleasantly surprised to see Forrest Whorton and his horse Zeke standing vigil in recognition of the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, in the median strip on Lee Highway. I was so lucky to be able to stop for a couple of minutes and take some pictures of him. I have seen him in the past, standing vigil, during other patriotic occassions, but never had the chance to stop and take photos.

This time, I not only managed to stop and take photos, I had the opportunity to talk with him, shake his hand, and thank him for what he was doing, and has done. I introduced myself, and asked him for his name. He told me his name, and his horse’s name. I patted Zeke for a couple of minutes, and a very nice lady that happened by offered to take some photos of us together, which was very nice. I won’t share any of those photos here, but I am sharing one of the photos that I took.

The Lights Were On But Nobody Was There

WalMart checkout lanes
WalMart checkout lanes

One Saturday, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I needed to go grocery shopping. I managed to get someone to drive me to the local Wal-Mart to pick up what I needed. When it was time to go through the check-out lines, I noticed that the lights were on at every register, which is supposed to mean that the customer can use any register to check-out. So I found a lane where there were no customers waiting in line, and unloaded my very full cart onto the conveyor belt. I noticed that there was no cashier standing at the register, but that has happened before, and within a few moments of my arriving at the counter someone has always magically appeared. My assumptions were that the cashier had simply been speaking with another employee nearby.

After unloading my cart, I saw the cashier had not yet arrived, so I started to look around to see where the cashier could be. At that time I noticed that there were a LOT of cash registers with their lights on, with no employee standing nearby! That started to make me wonder what was going on. After waiting about five minutes, I decided to turn on the switch that is on the post beside the cash register that makes the lights flash, to get the attention of management that someone at that register needs help.

After about another five minutes, the front-end supervisor responded to the flashing light, and demanded of me “where is the cashier?” I responded “That’s what I’d like to know – I have been waiting for ten minutes and no one has shown up. The light is on, showing the register is open, but there is nobody here at the register, and I would like to check-out!”

A nearby cashier heard me talking to the front-end supervisor, and she called out “I can take you here at my register!”

I replied “no thank you, I have already unloaded my cart and am not interested in loading it back up again and then unloading it at another register! This register is supposed to be open, and I came here in good faith to check-out. I want to be checked-out here!”

The front-end supervisor frowned for a moment, and then explained “we have all of the lights on to fool corporate headquarters into thinking all the registers are open, but we are short-handed so there are a lot of registers that are unmanned right now.”

I replied “that’s a shame, and I feel badly for you, but if that is the case you should have a sign here on the conveyor belt indicating that the register is closed and to please choose another lane. I want to be checked out here.”

The front-end supervisor nodded her head, and then said she would ring up my order. She did a fine job, up until it was time to give me my change. I had paid cash, and she gave me less change than what I was supposed to get. Fortunately for me I caught that error and called it to her attention before she closed her cash drawer, so she corrected it. Interestingly enough, that was the fourth time that week that I had gone into a local business and paid cash for my purchase and was short-changed by the cashier.

I found myself wondering if the cashiers were trying to take advantage of the customers that pay cash, and short-changing them on purpose, thinking that during this busy holiday season the customers would not bother to count their change. One of the instances was at a restaurant, where a tip was appropriate. The service was bad, but I normally tip anyway. I normally tip 20%, but because I was short-changed, (by several dollars, not just loose change) the waitress got a much smaller tip (15%) than I was planning to give her! I figured that the money she had short-changed me more than made up the difference.

Where did it go?

Today, on the way home from an appointment in Washington DC, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and drive past some of the homes I lived in as a kid. We drove past the house where my father and step-mother lived for a long time, on Ross Drive, in Vienna VA. Imagine my surprise when this is what I saw where the house from my teen-aged years were spent!

113 Ross Dr Vienna VA 11-18-14
113 Ross Dr SW Vienna VA 11-18-14

The cozy ranch of my memories is being replaced by a McMansion! The listing for the new house for sale can be found here.

So much for a photograph of me standing in front of the place I remember spending my junior and senior years in high school!

Tip of the hat to Yosemite Sam

One of my dear sisters and I had a good chat yesterday. She told me something I hadn’t known about her before – she loves Yosemite Sam! I knew she loved Popeye, had no idea about Yosemite Sam! I guess it really is possible to love two men at once!

I mentioned that it had been a very long time since I had seen any Yosemite Sam clips, and that I might not even recognize his voice if I heard it! How embarrassing is that? We grew up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, and Yosemite Sam was frequently the featured nemesis of the clip! So, in the spirit of refreshing my memory, and paying homage to our childhood, I have looked him up on YouTube and found lots of entries with Yosemite Sam. Most of the ones I saw were poor quality, very grainy, and involved Sam getting the short end of the stick with his encounters with Bugs Bunny. Actually made me feel sorry for the poor guy!

I eventually found this video, which I felt was a better quality and allowed the viewer to see Sam in a better setting, where he is just being Sam, without that bothersome rabbit getting the best of him! I decided to include this post and video on my blog, as a tribute to the quirky little guy, and an affectionate nod to my family! I hope you enjoy it!