Traveling {ish} With Jennifer

Disclaimer: If you clicked on this blog post because you think I am about to give you some wisdom on traveling that will change your world for the better, turn around and don’t look back. This is not the blog you are looking for. Come back next week when I have written something slightly more inspiring. (who am I kidding, this site is nothing but one creative train wreck after another 😉 )


Historically the husband and I don’t have the best of luck on vacations. Examples include:

  1. September 2013: While on vacation in San Antonio with great friends who drove 1000 miles to spend time with us, Matthew thought it would be cute to canon ball jump into pool 4 feet deep….with his feet tucked underneath his bottom. Yep, he broke his foot and we ended up in the emergency room the next dayIMG_2038
  2. June 2015: While on vacation in Gatlinburg with friends (same friends from example 1) I became ill with a kidney stone and we spent the late night early morning in the ER hooked up to IV medicine.
  3. July 2016: While home in Indiana for my brothers wedding, my mom broke her leg the day before we were to leave home for Texas. Because her condition was so severe, I stayed behind in Indiana with her for an extra week and Matthew drove home by himself. IMG_2039
  4. May 2018: Recently we borrowed a plane (my husband is a pilot) and flew to Denver Colorado to catch a Rockies game. Upon landing we realized our tire had gone flat. It was Memorial Day weekend and all repair shops would be closed until Tuesday, leaving me with a 90$ Uber fare and leaving Matthew stranded in Colorado until the following Tuesday.


Cut to July 1st, 2018, a day of travel that will live in infamy. My husband’s family was gathering in Florida for a family reunion and we decided to make the trip down. What could go wrong? Everything..everything can go wrong. #murphyslaw. The following is a highlighted timeline of some of the shenanigans that took place in just 1 night of travel. (chances are if we told this whole story in its entirety it would sound made up)

Murphy's Law cushion copy2


DON’T GO, GO, DON’T GO:Right off the bat, our first flight of the day went from being delayed, to not delayed to delayed again. We boarded the plane, taxied down the run way got ready to take off only before being told we were going to be held in our spot for 30 minutes for weather. Annoying, but no big deal, we’ve seen home alone and know how to run through an airport to catch a plane.926dc50f3e6bb3af0af6ca048d822849


UNEXPECTED PHONE CALL:Upon landing in Dallas for our connecting flight, I received a call from my mom’s rehab care facility. Mom, who we had actually spent all morning and afternoon with celebrating her 68thbirthday, had suddenly taken ill with stomach pains, chest pains and shortness of breath. They immediately sent her to the ER to care for her. We were shocked to say the least as she was fine all day and now we were faced with trying to get updates from an ER in between catching flights and trying to decide if I should or could come home. (Mom demanded I NOT come home and that she would be fine)


RUN FORREST RUN: Because our first flight was 30 mins late landing, we had to make a mad dash for our second plane, all the while on the phone with nurses and Drs trying to get updates. We made it to our 2ndgate with 3 mins to spare!! We were sweaty, stressed and hungry, but we made it!9f42e05d3a1ba7b011d3287dc7bbcc8d3803a0be_1_375x500

BRAKES ARE OPTIONALNON-NEGOTIONABLE: We began to board the last flight and made it all the way to our seats, but noticed quickly after getting buckled in that nobody else was entering the plane. Minutes later the pilot came over the speaker and said he had good news and bad news. Apparently during the pre-flight check, it was discovered our plane needed new brakes. And that we would need to de-board the plane and wait until it was fixed. While we are grateful this bit of information was found sooner rather than later, the news was still frustrating.


Ill TRADE YOU TRANSLATION SERVICES FOR YOUR AISLE SEAT: I don’t even know where to begin on this one. When we began the initial boarding process for the plane, Matt and I were not able to sit together. Instead we both had the middle seat  (UGH) of the same row on different sides of the aisle (close enough). I got to my seat and my new friends were already there waiting on me. A sweet older couple who I quickly realized spoke zero English. (I want to clarify that this in no way bothered me) When I saw they were married, I attempted to ask them if they would like to sit together versus being the bread on a Jennifer sandwich. After 2 mins of poorly acted out charades, we came to an understanding and they were happy to sit together. Now cut to the pilot explaining the issue with the brakes to everyone. Everyone but my new friends who smiled naively. All at once everyone on the plane stood up, grabbed their stuff and walked out. They freaked out and since my charades training did not include aircraft maintenance, I was of no help. The husband then quickly shoved a phone in my face to where I talked with his son about what was going on so that he could translate back to them. This type of exchange would happen on and off for the. Rest. Of. The. Night.images

ILL CLEAN UP MY OWN MESS I SWEAR:  Shortly after we got off the plane we were given an updated departure time (an hour away) and told that we had a new plane at a gate just a few steps away. After translating to my new grandparents, the developments, we took off as a happy family to our new gate. Upon arriving they told us the plane would be ready soon and that we were just waiting on a cleaning crew. One hour and 5 pages later, a cleaning crew could not be located, and our departure time was pushed back another 45 mins. As you may have guessed the other half of my translator team and I became real acquainted real fast.7eb57f390cefa0be8f79c7d5f3803762--airplane-humor-aviation-humor

I LOST MY NEW ADOPTIVE FAMILY:  It had been almost two hours since we were kicked off that first plane, and the whole lounge was getting anxious. My new grandparents included. When we got word, it would still be another half hour, they motioned to me that they were going for a walk and would be back (I think that’s what they were telling me anyways) 5 mins had passed and as luck would have it, they started boarding. QUICKLY. The desk agent was not messing around. She went from boarding group one to saying groups 2-5 could board all at once. Frantic I looked around. My grandparents were nowhere to be seen and were not likely to understand the messages over the intercom. I took of down the hallway in a run trying to find them. We had come this far, they were not going to miss this plane for a language barrier and a stale bagel. They were nowhere to be found so I headed back to the desk where I thought I could have them paged. (I knew their last name form the luggage tag) Luckily they returned just as I got there. We laughed, we cried we hugged. It was a beautiful moment, no translation needed

My new adoptive family!

I CAN FLY, IM A PILOT: Remember when I said that they started boarding in a hurry and quickly had the first 5 group on board? The attendant suddenly and without comment, stopped calling groups. 10 mins went by and no announcements were made. Next thing we know, the flight crew, PILOTS included, were getting off the plane, luggage in tow. Because of all the shenanigans (I’m choosing this word because this is a family friendly blog. But feel free to insert a stronger word there. I know I did at the time) that had taken place throughout the evening., they had reached the work hour max for the day and would need to be replaced with a fresh crew. They soon announced that  A new crew has been found but they are in another terminal and it would just be another 30 mins. Matthew and I wondered if they drew straws to see who would be assigned to us.


AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER: After what would be my last translation aided exchange with my new grandma and grandpa, we finally boarded the plane. Before we knew it we were wheels up and headed for Florida. We landed 3 ½ hours late without any further issues. I exchanged my final goodbyes with my new family. (we are working on holiday plans) Matthew and I grabbed our bags and were soon in the presence of our family who graciously picked us up at the airport in their van (which has great brakes by the way) at 3 in the morning. I was able to reconnect with my mom and her Drs at the hospital, and while she was admitted and would need to be kept for a few days, is doing much better and is in great hands.


If you have learned anything after reading todays blog post I hope it is that planes do in fact need brakes, we shouldn’t let a silly thing like language separate us, and we can survive what seems like our worst days. Oh, and don’t vacation with Jennifer and Matthew if you prefer the kind of travel that leaves your refreshed and relaxed. Our brand of crazy isn’t for the faint of heart.

Dear Sun, Why do you hate me? A letter of complaint by Jennifer

Dear Sun, center of our solar system and light of our lives:

I know you may not know me, but my name is Jennifer I am from the great state of Texas and I like to find myself in your presence as much as I possibly can. You have been there for me when I have needed you the most. Baseball games, at the beach, you even attended my wedding. You have been a big part of my life for the last 30 years but recently you have seemed to let me down and I am beginning to question your loyalty to me.

I will be the first to admit that you and I haven’t always had the best relationship. I was young and stupid and didn’t respect you. I took advantage of your services and got

The Sun Hates me
Ghost of Sunburns Past

‘burned’ in the process. I had no one to blame but myself. But a few years ago, I finally learned my lesson and trained myself to take proper precautions when we are together. I even learned your summer schedule to help make our relationship work better. Sounds weird I know, but I respect you and I want ‘us’ to work.

I know your work day is long and hard, at the peak of your busy season alone you go to work at 6am and don’t get home until almost 9 pm. Because of this I decided to wake up early and get

Paid re-enactment

some yard work out of the way before your rush hours of 11am-5pm. I did what I’ve always done, waterproof 70 SPF sun block applied thick and rubbed in. At 8 am (I am not a morning person mind you..) I went out to mow. After an hour of sweating I decided to re-apply said sun block because at times you are temperamental and unforgiving.  Everything was going well. I was happy, you were happy, my yard was happy. I thought we should celebrate. I went in, re-applied the sunblock for a 3rdtime and


headed out to the pool so you and I could relax and enjoy each other’s company. This is

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I regret Everything!

where you turned on me. 1 hour. All I asked for was 1 hour of peaceful swimming. Not only am I burnt practically everywhere, but my lip looks like I have a poorly rated plastic surgeon on speed dial. My dogs don’t recognize me and simple activities like walking, standing or going to the restroom have become impossible.

It would be one thing if I threw the rules out the window and went outside unprotected and crazy, but that’s not the case. I did my part, I followed the rules and I still got burned. This is unacceptable and extremely distressing for a loyal, frequent friend to experience such poor service.

I enjoy your presence, I really do. Overall the warmth and vitamin D you provide makes me feel whole and complete. I don’t want to fight. I will be vacationing next week in Florida, and I plan to spend a lot of time with you. I’m prepared to keep up my end of the deal, I hope you will too.


Jennifer Shidler, The Lobster Lady.


Thinking {ish} With Jennifer



A blogger friend of mine tagged me in a ‘getting to know you’ question challenge (I know I know, I have already done my fair share of these, what more could I have left to answer) and insisted I get back to posting sooner rather than later. In an effort to get back into the swing of things I will accommodate her request and bore you with 30 facts about myself. Enjoy.

Full name

Jennifer Lynne Shidler

Something I’m talented at

  1. I like to think I am good at making others feel comfortable and laugh, but mostly I am good at starting a blog, sticking with it for a solid two years and then dropping it like a bag of bricks for almost 3 years. 3 years, Holy Crap!! In that time I’ve adopted another dog. The Cubs have one a World Series. (yep, you read that right) We’ve elected a new President (sigh) and I’ve entered a whole new age bracket on most customer satisfaction surveys. Why hello group ’30-35′ not only are you my age group, but also my minute mile group.3 fears

Snakes, Spiders, losing an iCloud backup

3 things I love

Family, baseball, my 2 dogs

My best friend

My husband Matthew, you see, he brings me milk at night..and I love milk. Maybe Milk is my best friend? Nope, its Matthew, definitely Matthew. I think.

Last song I listened to

Beautiful World- Colin Hay


Humor, Cubs, Beaches (the movie and the sand kind)


Driving slow in the left lane, chewing loud, well fed cats begging for food at 4 am. The kitchen doesn’t open until 6 am my fat fury friends.

What color underwear I’m wearing right now

(this quiz is about to take a turn for the weird for a second and I apologize for that) I am not wearing any…and before you unsubscribe, vomit and throw your computer out the window, I am in a swim suit typing this pool side. So, lets re-focus/re-group and keep our eye on the prize, shall we?

The reason I started blogging

First off, I don’t know if I would call my ‘brand’ of writing “blogging” as it is more of an unorganized virtual diary of chaotic yet funny thoughts, but regardless of what I call it, it all began because the notes app on my phone always seemed to be full of my internal monologue. Little quips or thoughts that would come to me randomly when I was either alone or with people who wouldn’t appreciate my humor. The note section was getting long, so I decided to gather those thoughts in one area where people could come and go as they please.

Something I really want

Right now, a cold glass of unsweet Ice tea (that’s right..unsweet..keep your opinions to yourself. This is a safe zone)..but ask me again in a few hours and I guarantee this answer will be “someone to rub aloe vera all over my body”

My current relationship status

Married for 8 years

Meaning behind my URL

Actually, this is a funny story….. you see, it is my name.

My favorite movie

You’ve Got Mail. All day every day.

My favorite song

Currently: Seagulls (Stop it now)—A bad lip reading of Star Wars. This is the internet I signed up for.

My favorite band

Paul McCartney & Wings

3 Things that upset me

When people argue about politics, Trash talking about sports, when we are out of milk.

3 Things that make me happy

A great Thunderstorm, a great close ballgame that ends my way, fresh gallon of milk in the fridge.

Favorite TV show

Toss-up between Greys Anatomy, Scrubs & Roseanne

My favorite holiday

Baseball Opening Day

My closest High School Friend

Emily. Oh, the stories and the inside jokes!

A confession

While I want to visit every MLB stadium and plan to do so, (only 23 left to go) I enjoy the game more watching it from home or listening to it on the radio while sitting in my hammock.

3 Things that annoy me easily

Chewing loudly/gulping, Trash talking to provoke rage out of someone, repetitive tapping

 My pets

I have two dogs, Wrigley and Lucy and two cats, Rowdy and Mosby

One thing I’ve lied about

I lie to myself every night when I say “tomorrow, I am going to get up early, get the laundry and the dishes done eat a balanced breakfast and a sensible lunch all before I play with my toys in my craft room” one of these days it won’t be a lie. Until then, I will enjoy Lucky Charms at noon.

Something that’s currently worrying me

I just performed a solo of Hotel California from the hammock in the backyard…I thought I was alone, but it now appears that the neighbor children are laughing. Luckily the fence separates us, because I don’t have time for pictures and autographs.

My future goals

Realistically: Learn to play the piano, two new blog posts a week, finish all craft projects before taking on a new one, keeping car clean, bake a coconut cream pie

Un-Realistically: Learn to go to bed before 11pm and wake before 8 am, stop talking to the dogs in baby talk voice, stop biting my nails & wear matching socks

My favorite store

Amazon. The internet is a strange weird place, and Amazon delivers pieces of that strange weird place to my door in two days for free. #prime

My favorite food

It’s a tie between Mashed Potatoes and seafood boils with crab legs, shrimp

My Favorite Quote

“This is gonna be a tough play. Bryant… The Cubs… Win the World Series! Bryant makes the play! It’s over! And the Cubs have finally won it all! 8-7 in 10!” -Joe Buck


Star Wars The Force Awakens by the numbers…(NO SPOILERS…I SWEAR)

Number of times I asked my husband and the kind biker dude on my left the following questions:

Are there going to more subtitles? 1

Seriously? 1

Who’s that?: 10

Is he a good guy?: 9

Is he a bad guy?: 4

Are they related?: 3

Do they know they are related?: 3

Are they dead? 7

Did they Die? 8

Are you sure?: 19

When does Yoda show up?: 12

Is that Earth?: 4

Is that supposed to be our moon?: 2

What do you mean that’s not a moon?: 1

Where is Yoda?: 5

Can I have the popcorn?: 3

Is that why you became a pilot?: 2

Can you do that with a Cessna 172?: 11

Other Notable Statistics

Number of times I cried: 2…once during the trailers…do you know there coming out with another Independence Day?! 

The number of dirty looks I got when I confused the Star Trek Trailer for another Star Wars trailer?: 5

The Number of times I laughed: lost count..that Chewbacca has a way with words I tell ya..

The number of times I jumped from being scared to death by the crazy IMAX Sound effects: 3

The male to female ratio: 100 to 5 

The number of people dressed as their beloved Star Wars Characters?: 0 surprisingly 

The number of dressed up people that I wish I saw?: at least 1

The number of Darth Vader shirts?: 100+

The number of Jar Jar Binks shirts?: 0 poor jar jar

The number of seats remaining in imax theater?: 4 

The number of people who called called in from work to watch the movie?: 30

The number of audience made Chewbacca groans?: I lost count

The number of mouths left wide open at any given time?: 100+

The number of people who stayed after the credits to see if there were any extra scenes afterword’s? I have no idea…I was smart and left Winking smile

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Now I guess I better get to watching Episodes: 2, 3, 6 skipping episode 1 (per my cousin Jeremy’s recommendation)

Memoirs from a Star Wars Virgin:Episode IV A New Hope

I was hoping that it wouldn’t have to come to this, but in an effort to become well versed in all things pop culture and because the 7th installment of this movie franchise will be out in less than a month, a new journey I must begin. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…..:( oh star wars i have managed to avoid your existence for 28 years..that rein has now come to an end.

  • Subtitles already? Should I really be reading this?
  • The words are going by too fast, can we slow it down?
  • Ugh. Never mind, it isn’t going to make a difference anyway.
  • I think I may need to brush up on my roman numerals a bit-IV is 4 right? that cant be right..this is the first one..
  • Darth Vader sounds like the guy that stands behind Helga from Hey Arnold that is always breathing heavy.
  • I need to know which came first, Princess Leia’s hair bun or Little Debbie’s Honey Bun. Either way..someone might have a lawsuit on their hands.
  • Speaking of Leia, did she just put a floppy disc in R2D2? Silly Android, at least my iPhone updates via Wifi.
  • It has taken me a good half hour to figure how this movie series works..I think I might have it. The first 3 are actually the middle 3, the middle 3 are actually the first 3 and the last 3(not released yet) actually are the last 3. Makes perfect sense. Geesh.
  • Matthew asked me if I wanted to watch them in chronological order from beginning to end because it would be easier to follow, and I told him no that I wanted to watch it in the order the world got to watch them. Surely I can get this plot down. I have a feeling I am going to be wrong, very wrong.
  • For a movie made in the 1940’s, the special effects are amazing 😉
  • Matthew just informed me that my last joke wasn’t very funny. Win some, lose some.
  • I really hope CP30 got insurance for R2D2, it is my understanding that the sand and desert wreck havoc on all electronic devices. Androids included.
  • Matthew, reading over my shoulder again, has just informed me that it is C3PO not CP30. This time, not a joke. oh well, I tried.
  • “Luke, I am your fathers, uncle’s, cousins former roommate!”  I really wish we were watching that movie instead.
  • When does Yoda show up?
  • Luke Skywalker’s Aunt Beru dresses like Mr. Furley from Three’s Company.
  • I wonder how easy their missions would have been if they had just used an anDROID phone as opposed to those metal robots..they can download the light-saber app in a matter of seconds, no “force” needed.
  • Matthew just informed me that Yoda is not in this movie. What Tom foolery is this? That is like going to a Beatles concert only to find that Ringo is the only member of the band that showed up.
  • Why does the name of every character or civilization sound like it requires a speech impediment to pronounce?
  • is this movie over yet?
  • C3P0 is like the robot version of Sheldon Cooper
  • So let met get this straight, the guys in the brown jackets and bright red eyes steal the droids, clean and fix them up, sell them to strangers for some type of profit and in the end the people who buy said droids may find them to be locked or loyal to their original owner rendering them useless. Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, anyone one who has ever bought a cellphone from Craigslist ever.
  • I know I keep making a lot of cell phone references, but cell phones I know…the inner workings of a galaxy in another dimension..not so much.
  • Chewbacca would make a great school mascot! “Now coming to the field the Minnesota Chewies!!!”
  • I am pretty sure Darth Vader would be a much happier person if he owned a cat or two, maybe took up knitting.
  • Obi Juan just said “The force can be a strong influence on the weak minded”—so can Twinkies and ho ho’s Obi Juan…so can can Twinkies and ho ho’s.
  • I wish someone would pay Matthew 17,000 dollars to fly to Alderon. For an extra 1000 dollars Mosby and I will dress up as Chewbacca and purr.
  • Note to self, I must carry around a large metal pipe in the event I get trapped in a larger than life trash compactor.
  • After asking several times, the movie is finally over. What have l learned? Yoda was not in this episode, Harrison Ford is finally funny in a movie, if you spell enough characters names wrong (C3PO and Obi-Wan Kenobi) your husband will eventually just leave you alone, and no matter how many times I try, making jokes referencing the similarities between droid robots and android phones will never be funny.


How not to go fishing…

Because you should totally listen to me, I caught 1 fish in 3 hours..and that makes me a pro….

I, Jennifer Lynne Shidler, of mind, body and fisherman’s soul, left Killeen a fishing novice, devoid of all aquatic knowledge, but now, I stand before you today (metaphorically speaking of course, this is the internet) a changed woman. You see my friends, last night I stood above a fish that I had drug out of the gulf, named, screamed at it, made my husband remove it from the hook, and then set him free. I of course, would have never made it that far had it not been for a few key choices I made early on in the night. The following is the fisherman’s quick guide to hearty pier fishing.

1. Dress to impress-Pier 91 in Galveston doubles as a semi-professional runway, plus, no self respecting fish is going to be caught dead (or alive, excuse the pun) on the line do someone dressed like a shabby Shane.

2. Wet wipes are your friends– no matter what the “veteran” fishermen say. Who is the wuss now when your touch Id on your iphone 5s won’t work anymore…

3. Sing Loudly-particularly show tunes. The showery’ the better. Not only do the fish love it, but so do the other people on the pier. If your good enough, they will reward you by showering you with /throwing at you any extra bait they know, to help you keep up with all the extra fish you will have. P.s..don’t forget to be polite..”why thank you sir..I needed the extra fish heads!!”

4. Come with a strategy -to make others bait your own hooks . Mine was “are you kidding me! I’m not touching that…” It worked like a charm, feel free to use it as your own.

5. Be inventive-Simple word games help you kill non-fish catching times. A favorite in Galveston this time of the year is (and if your a frequent reader may already know it..) very similar to duck duck goose…seaweed, seaweed, fish. Or the adult version, seaweed, seaweed, shark, fish.

6. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize-Did you know that 200$ coach purse doubles as a tackle box? I bet the salesperson didn’t tell you that when you bought it.


7. Know your wind direction– this is probably the most obvious piece of advice I can give you, but it bears repeating for any newbies. You can’t properly cast a selfie if the wind is blowing your hair the wrong direction.

8. Location, location, location– Go to your local Red Lobster, and find the little back book on the table that’s says “fresh (ish) Fish, close your eyes, point your finger, pick one and call it a day. 🙂