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0046 Getting Ready to Go

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Welcome the English as a Second Language Podcast number 46 – Getting Ready to Go.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 46. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

In this episode, we're going to discuss getting ready for work on Monday mornings. Let's get started.

[start of story]

I guess I'm just like everybody else. I could do without Mondays. On the weekend, I can kick back and relax, but I dread going back to work when the weekend is over.

This morning was particularly hectic. On weeknights, I set my alarm for seven a.m. That's what I did last night. But when I woke up this morning and looked at my alarm clock, it was seven thirty! The alarm clock was on the fritz and it didn't go off. Oh no, I was going to be late again.

I washed my face, put on my makeup, got dressed, and ate a small bowl of cereal. I had one foot out the door when I realized I didn't have my keys. I went back into my bedroom and looked on the shelf where I kept them. No luck. Maybe I left them in my purse. I hunted around for them. Finally, I just dumped out everything from my purse onto my bed. I had my wallet, sunglasses, compact, lipstick, eye drops, aspirin, and tissues. But no keys.

I looked around the living room. Maybe they fell behind the couch cushions. I picked up each one and looked. No keys. I went into my closet and checked the pockets of my coat. Still, no keys. By this time, I was pretty frantic, so I tried to calm myself down. I decided to get a drink of water. I opened the refrigerator and what did I see? My keys. They were sitting on the shelf right next to the milk. I must have left them there when I got the milk for my cereal. It served me right for being so absentminded.

Oh, how I hate Monday mornings!

[end of story]

Lucy talked about the problem she had getting to work this morning. She said, “I guess I'm just like everybody else” – I'm the same as everyone else. “I could do without Mondays.” The expression “I could do without” something means I would rather not have something or I would prefer not to have something. In this case, Lucy prefers not to have Mondays because, of course, Monday is the first day of the work week.

She says, “On the weekend, I can kick back and relax.” “To kick back” is an informal phrasal verb meaning the same, really, as to relax – to not do anything very difficult, to be calm, to not have to work. “To kick back” means to enjoy yourself without having to do anything too difficult. Lucy said that she dreaded going back to work when the weekend was over. “To dread” (dread) means to really hate something, to really not want to do something, or to really dislike someone. “I dread talking to my brother-in-law.” That means I don't look forward to it. It's not something I want to do. In fact, I hate doing it. That’s not true, actually. My brother-in-law is a very nice guy.

Lucy continues, saying, “This morning was particularly hectic.” When we say something is “hectic” (hectic), we mean it’s very busy, too busy. When you are so busy that you can't concentrate or think about anything else, that might be described as a “hectic situation.” “This morning,” according to Lucy, “was particularly hectic” – especially hectic.

“On weeknights,” she says, “I set my alarm for seven a.m.” “To set your alarm” means to take your alarm clock and program it or set it for the hour that you want it to ring, that you want it to go off – that you want it to make a noise so that you wake up. “Alarm clocks” are clocks that people use so they can wake up at the right time in the morning. Lucy has an alarm clock that she normally sets for seven a.m., but when she woke up this morning, she says, and looked at her alarm clock, “it was seven thirty.”

Obviously, we have a problem here. The problem is that “the alarm clock was on the fritz.” This expression “to be on the fritz” (fritz) means simply to be broken. It's not as common now as it was a few years ago, but you'll still hear people talking about some piece of machinery or some piece of equipment being “on the fritz.” It's not working. “My computer is on the fritz. I tried to start it and it won't work.” The alarm clock, because it was on the fritz, didn't go off – didn't make any noise, any sound.

Lucy says she got up and washed her face and then put on her makeup. “Makeup” (makeup) is anything that you put, usually, on your face, such as lipstick and other things that women put on their face to make them beautiful, that I don't really know much about. Lucy puts on her makeup, gets dressed, and eats a small bowl of cereal – a common breakfast food that people eat with milk.

She says, “I had one foot out the door when I realized I didn't have my keys.” The expression “to have one foot out the door” means you are already in the act of leaving. You are already leaving wherever it is that you are. That's “to have one foot out the door.” She realized that she didn't have her keys. She went back into her bedroom and looked on the shelf where she normally keeps them. Your “keys” are what you use to open a door.

Lucy can't find her keys so she goes into her bedroom and looks on the shelf. A “shelf” (shelf) is a place where you store things like books in a room. Lucy then says, “No luck.” That means she wasn't able to find them. She didn't have any luck. She continues, “Maybe I left them in my purse.” A “purse” is something that many women carry that contains their, nowadays, cell phone and lipstick and makeup and toothpaste and hammers and animals. Well, at least that's what I think is in a woman's purse. No man actually knows what's inside of a woman's purse, even when they are married to that woman.

Lucy cannot find her keys in her purse. She says, “I hunted around for them.” “To hunt around” is a phrasal verb meaning to look through a certain area to try to find something. She then “dumped out everything” from her purse. “To dump (dump) out” is a phrasal verb meaning to empty – to take everything out of a bag and put it on the table or on the floor. Lucy dumped out everything from her purse onto her bed.

She then sees the inside of her purse. She has her wallet, where she keeps their money; her sunglasses, which she uses to protect her eyes from the bright sun; her compact, lipstick, eye drops, aspirin, and tissues. Didn't I tell you that women keep lots of different things in their purses? I mean look at all the things that Lucy has.

In addition to her wallet and sunglasses, she has something called a “compact” (compact). A “compact” is a small container of powder that women put on their faces as part of their makeup. “Lipstick” is a kind of makeup that goes on your lips. “Eye drops,” of course, would be if you had problems with your eyes. “Aspirin” is for when you have a headache, like after talking to your husband. “Tissues” are used for blowing your nose or for cleaning off parts of your face or body. All of these things are inside of Lucy's purse, but not her keys.

She then looks around the living room. “To look around” means to look in that area, similar to “to hunt around.” She says, “Maybe they fell behind the couch cushions.” A “couch” (couch) is a sofa – a place where three or four people can sit, usually in the main room or living room of a house. “Cushions” are the things that you sit on. Sometimes, keys will fall in behind the cushions in the couch. Lucy picked up each one – each cushion – and looked, but she didn't find her keys. Then she went to her “closet,” a place where she keeps her clothing, and checked the pockets of her coat. “Still,” she says, “no keys.”

“By this time,” she says, “I was pretty frantic.” “To be frantic” (frantic) means to be very worried, to be very nervous about something. She says she tried to calm herself down, to make herself not get so excited. She “decided to get a drink of water” – a glass of water. She opened the refrigerator and what did she see? Of course, her keys. Her keys were in the refrigerator. “They were sitting on the shelf right next to the milk” – they were sitting on the shelf near, or right next to, the milk. “I must have left them there when I got the milk for my cereal,” Lucy says.

Finally, she says, “It served me right for being so absentminded.” The expression “to serve someone right” means that someone deserves something, usually deserves something bad. When you say, “It serves him right” or “It serves her right,” you mean that something bad has happened to them, but it's their own fault. It was only just. It was only fair that that should happen to that person. She says she was “absentminded.” “To be absentminded” means to be forgetful – not to be paying attention to what's going on around you.

Now let's listen to the story, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

I guess I'm just like everybody else. I could do without Mondays. On the weekend, I can kick back and relax, but I dread going back to work when the weekend is over.

This morning was particularly hectic. On weeknights, I set my alarm for seven a.m. That's what I did last night. But when I woke up this morning and looked at my alarm clock, it was seven thirty! The alarm clock was on the fritz and it didn't go off. Oh no, I was going to be late again.

I washed my face, put on my makeup, got dressed, and ate a small bowl of cereal. I had one foot out the door when I realized I didn't have my keys. I went back into my bedroom and looked on the shelf where I kept them. No luck. Maybe I left them in my purse. I hunted around for them. Finally, I just dumped out everything from my purse onto my bed. I had my wallet, sunglasses, compact, lipstick, eye drops, aspirin, and tissues. But no keys.

I looked around the living room. Maybe they fell behind the couch cushions. I picked up each one and looked. No keys. I went into my closet and checked the pockets of my coat. Still, no keys. By this time, I was pretty frantic, so I tried to calm myself down. I decided to get a drink of water. I opened the refrigerator and what did I see? My keys. They were sitting on the shelf right next to the milk. I must have left them there when I got the milk for my cereal. It served me right for being so absentminded.

Oh, how I hate Monday mornings!

[end of story]

Thanks to our awesome scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse, for her awesome scripts, and thanks to you for listening.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to do without – to be able to accept not having something; to be happy with something not being available or existing

* Malika liked her friends, but she could do without the petty arguments they often got into.


to kick back and relax – to sit down and relax; to feel no pressure or anxiety; to be calm because one does not need to do anything

* After a long, tiring day of work, Nicholas wanted to do nothing but kick back and relax for the rest of the evening.


to dread – to not look forward to; to feel anxiety about something that will happen in the future

* The student did not do well on her test, and she dreaded the day when she would find out the grade she got on it.


hectic – busy and chaotic; very stressful because of how unorganized and busy something is

* Things were hectic at Berto’s home during the holidays because he usually has a lot of family members visiting and staying with him.


alarm – an alarm clock; a machine that rings or beeps at a chosen time, usually to wake someone up

* The alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., waking Rochelle up so that she could get ready for work.


on the fritz – broken; not working correctly

* The television was on the fritz and would not show a clear picture.


to go off – to ring, buzz, or make a noise

* The cell phone ringer will go off whenever someone sends a new text message to your phone number.


make-up – cosmetics; powders and paints used on the face to improve appearance

* Eyeshadow was the only make-up Anita usually wore because she wanted to make her eyes more noticeable.


one foot out the door – halfway through the doorway; on one’s way out

* Terrence had one foot out the door when his mother called to him to come back and finish his breakfast.


no luck – unsuccessful; a phrase meaning that what one hoped would happen did not happen

* When asked if he had found someone to take care of his garden, Mr. Schuster answered, “No luck. I still haven’t found anyone for the job.”


purse – handbag; a bag carried in a woman's hand or hanging from her shoulder, which contains items she needs

* Verona always carried a purse over her shoulder that contained her wallet, keys, hairbrush, and small mirror.


to hunt around – to search for; to look around a space for something

* Roland did not know where his cell phone was, but he hunted around his room until he found it.


to dump out – to empty; to remove items from a container by tipping the container and letting the items fall out

* The child dumped out the bag of candy onto the table and counted the number of pieces.


couch cushion – a padded seat on a sofa; a covered square of soft padding on a piece of furniture where three or more people can sit

* The couch was old and the couch cushions were worn, so they were no longer as comfortable as they were before.


frantic – panicked; very worried

* When she heard that her uncle had gotten into a car accident, Takako became frantic until she learned that he was not seriously hurt.


to serve (one) right – to be a fitting or appropriate result; to be a fair result of a situation caused by one's behavior

* After all the teasing Dominic did, it served him right when his sister finally lost her temper and poured a glass of water over his head.


absent-minded – unthinking or unfocused; having one's thoughts distracted so that one is not paying attention to what one is doing

* Melissa was absent-minded as she walked down the busy street, not seeing the people stopped in front her and running into them.

Culture Note
More Money to Fly

When the price of “gasoline” (fuel) goes up, airlines try to find creative ways to make more money. One of the main ways airlines have used in recent years is to unbundle services that were once included in the price of an airline ticket. “To bundle” is to take several or many things and “to fasten” (tie; fix) them together. For example, behind your desk may be a “bunch of” (many) computer and other “cords” (long piece of material that connects a machine to a power source) that need to be bundled together.

It’s not surprising that the airlines have decided to “go this route” (follow this plan). The “profit margin” (difference between how much something costs a company and how much they charge a customer for it) for “add-ons” (things added to the original item or service) is about 80%. Between 2009 and 2011, “revenues” or profits on add-ons went up 96% and some airlines get 10% to 30% of their revenues from add-ons “alone” (by itself).

Here is a list of just a few things that airlines are unbundling from the price of an airline ticket, as of 2011:

- Exit rows: In the past, if you were a “savvy” (knowledgeable) traveler, you know to arrive early at the airport to get a seat in the exit row, where the emergency doors are located. Those seats “tend to” (typically; usually) have more leg room. Now, you have to pay for an exit row seat and the price is different depending on how desirable the location.

- Clean pillow and blanket: If you’re worried about “germs” (the very small things that can cause illness), you can pay for a “sanitized” (specially cleaned) pillow and blanket.

- Meals: If you’re on a longer flight, meals used to be included, but not anymore. Airlines are now offering more options and sometimes better food, but you’ll have to pay.

- Baggage: It used to be that each passenger was allowed one “checked bag” (carried under the airplane, in storage) and one “carry-on” (carried onto the airplane). Now most airlines charge for each checked bag.