please offer me an egg in this trying time

I fucked up.

It was decided that the post-Barcelona trip this year would be to Amsterdam. When it came time to book the flights, there was no way for me to get Ed from Vancouver to Barcelona, then Amsterdam, then back to Vancouver without enduring any hellacious 16-hour layovers. I tried different configurations for over a month and even tried using a travel agent, but came up with nothing. To get around this, I booked Ed on two flights, four legs total:

  • Vancouver to Amsterdam, leaving before the conference and returning after vacation (KLM outgoing, Delta return)
  • Amsterdam to Barcelona, leaving several hours after landing in Amsterdam and returning after the conference (KLM outgoing, Iberia return)

The plan was for Ed to rub elbows in Barcelona while I cleaned up cat pee, then I would join him in Amsterdam a week later. His BCN-AMS flight would have landed two hours after my YVR-AMS flight, at which point we would purchase some wooden clogs and find some tulips to tiptoe through.

Unfortunately, germs happened. GMSA cancelled the Mobile World Congress entirely last week. It’s the biggest mobile conference in the world, so thousands of people are scrambling and trying to recoup flight and hotel costs. Luckily, I had purchased insurance for both of Ed’s flights, so everything should be fine!

Narrator: Things were not fine.

I dealt with the inner two legs first, and tried to cancel AMS-BCN. I managed to get a refund for the KLM portion, but the Iberia leg does not allow any changes. I have to go through insurance if I want the rest refunded. Insurance has already told me that a worldwide pandemic is not a valid reason to refund flight costs, so while I can go through the super fun experience of submitting a claim, there’s approximately 0.2% chance of it being successful.

Next up was the YVR-AMS flight. I wanted to change Ed’s outgoing flight from 02/21 to 02/27, but KLM basically laughed at me and told me to get bent: the flight is 100% non-changeable and non-refundable. Adding a dash of fun and complication was the fact that I had purchased an upgrade for Ed, from basic economy to economy plus, which allowed him checked luggage and a much better seat. KLM happily took my money for this, but input the change as a seat change only because technically upgrading the cabin was a change, which was not allowed. They never told me this, just said yep here’s your receipt and your new seat and see you later. Cool.

So, I can’t make any changes to the KLM flight whatsoever. Ed’s return flight from Amsterdam was still fine – I was on the same flight, just on a different ticket entirely – so I booked him a one-way ticket from YVR-AMS, leaving on the 27th with me. Hooray!

Narrator: Things were not hooray.

There’s no reason for Ed to be in Amsterdam/Barcelona a week early, so he missed his original outgoing flight (scheduled for today). Unfortunately, when you miss one flight, the rest of your flights get cancelled – so I got a lovely email late this afternoon saying Ed no longer had a return flight on 03/07.

I called up Expedia, who basically told me we were fucked. Ed called Delta, who said the same thing. They’d be willing to reinstate Ed’s return ticket if we paid the difference for a new ticket, which currently costs $4800.

At this point, we’ve paid for a return flight to Amsterdam (Ed), a second return flight to Amsterdam (me), and a one-way ticket to Amsterdam (Ed) for a total spend of about $5k, which doesn’t include hotels and red-light visits. I’ve been working on this trip since October, throwing myself into planning two days after the Japan trip didn’t happen as a way to distract myself from the overwhelming disappointment of our ruined, non-refundable, insurance-doesn’t-cover-super-typhoons trip.

I feel so stupid. I should have realized that simply not showing up to one flight would render the rest of ticket void, but I’ve been so stressed out trying to unravel this mess that I just .. didn’t. It doesn’t help that my ego is sporting some serious bruises, because I enjoyed almost a full decade of extreme luck when booking trips, only for everything to have been 17 different flavours of bad since our first truncated trip in 2018. I’m also 100% done purchasing travel insurance, because this is the third time my trip has been fucked through no fault of my own but the policy (with Allianz, Aetna, and now AIG) hasn’t covered fuck all.

I was on the phone for two hours this afternoon, and we actually have a resolution: Expedia changed Ed’s one-way YVR-AMS flight to a return trip with the exact flights we want, AND they covered the cost of the change (best case scenario would have been $401). I was willing to pay the extra $400 to make the flight work because we were in too deep to back out now (and I don’t want to) and $400 was easier to swallow than $4800, but I’m so so so glad the supervisor I spoke with (I had to go full Karen and ask for a manager after the first agent wasn’t able to help me) went to bat with corporate for me. I’m exhausted and hate the phone and am thinking about breeding complicated dogs as a hobby instead of travel, but as of right now, things are good and it didn’t cost me thousands more to fix and holy fuck do I ever need this fucking vacation.

I am weepy, but pleased.

double booked

I accidentally booked a brow wax appointment at two different places, right across the street from one another. It would be rude to cancel, so the only appropriate thing to do is to get one brow done at each place. This can’t possibly backfire!

We leave for Amsterdam in 6 days and I am beyond excite. This trip has been complicated since day one – it was supposed to come at the end of the tech conference Ed attends for work, which got cancelled last week due to most of the major vendors pulling out over Wu-Tang fears. Flights had to be cancelled and travel insurance screwed us yet again (third time in 18 months) so we’re out of pocket for a hastily booked one-way flight to AMS, but we’re determined to get there. It was originally a destination for our fall trip in 2018, but we had to cut our trip short because of mister pissy pants (who is STILL pissing his pants all over the floor and Ed says it builds character). We’re going with some excellent friends, which makes for extra excite – I love traveling with people. Adventure is even better when you get to share it.

Plus we’re all official Bad Girls (even Ed and Mike), so you know it’s gonna be fun for all ages.

It feels like it’s been FOREVER since my last travel (which was in November, so that’s basically forever) and my cabin fever (along with the actual fever) has been fierce. I’m gonna tour so many canals, you guys.

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i am 11/12 bad girl.

 

spruce moose

One of the positives of being a misanthropic hermit is that I rarely get sick*. I don’t often mingle with the masses, so I don’t get a lot of colds or illnesses. In fact, over the last few years, I can trace any bouts of crud that laid me out directly to the last interaction I had with the outside and/or was on an airplane. On the other hand, Ed has been sick with at least two colds since the beginning of the year, and we’re barely a week into February. He spent time on a plane and on a boat and goes outside often, which is just teeming with germs, and therefore contracts untold horrors. Me, I wear Kleenex boxes on my feet and collect jars of urine. I’m totally fine.

I’m not completely immune, though. Last Friday evening I was social outside our normal friend circle. Last Friday night I came down with some sort of crud. I’ve spent the last few days bemoaning my existence, experiencing a myriad of disgusting symptoms that I am sure I could have avoided if I just stayed in the safety of my own filth and not in the company of people with unknown intentions. The unknown, man. It’s the worst.

Ever since I started working 100% remote, I’ve definitely noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of sniffles and maladies I get. This is exponentially increased by the lack of small humans anywhere in my life, vicarious or otherwise. Kids have a lot of germs and are usually sticky. It is a good idea to stay away.

Unfortunately, on the rare occasions I get sick, it’s like all the things I managed to avoid by shunning society descends upon me at once, and every ailment turns into a problematic Man Cold. I’m a huge baby when I don’t feel good, and am usually convinced I’m dying and no one in the history of mankind has every been in this much discomfort and I want mom** to make me feel better. Ed does what he can, but there’s not much to be done with a Man Cold. You just turn up the music to drown out the whining and wait for it to pass.

I appear to be on the mend, which is good. I need to go outside soon, and the last thing I need is to be visible Chinese while sick. I want people to avoid me because I am a bad influence with terrible ideas (a delivery service for sex robots you can order like pizza? I’m formulating the business plan as we speak), not because of racism.

*: until my body decides it’s been a long time since I’ve tasted the wonders of applesauce; then I inevitably end up in the hospital with some kind of medical anomaly.

**: any mom. Probably not mine.

shh boomer

The City of Vancouver just sent out this notice:

City seeking diverse voices to respond to Vancouver Plan survey

Help us reach all communities.

The City is actively seeking to hear from diverse voices and ensure all communities across Vancouver are represented through an initial city-wide planning survey. The survey is designed to capture a picture of the current challenges and hopes of those who live, work and play in Vancouver; as well as those who want to do so.

There has been good initial interest in the survey, and we are hearing from renters, home owners, workers and many others.

We’ve heard the majority of responses from English speaking community members over 40, without young children.

To truly be successful in planning Vancouver for the next 30 years, we need to hear from a broader diversity of voices that reflects everyone in Vancouver.

This includes families with young children, young adults; millennials; people from diverse cultural backgrounds; those who have traditionally faced barriers to participating; and those who have lacked opportunities to participate in the past.

To ensure that we hear from these different sectors of our society, City staff have been working to gather input in a number of ways:

What a delightful way to say “shut the fuck up, boomers”! I love it. The city has noticed that angry old white people make the most noise, and they’re taking steps to reach out to everyone BUT them. This is progress. Keep it up, CoV.

 

conjugate and listen

“That’s not nearly enough rice!”

“Yes it is – this is plenty!”

“No way! I’m Chinese, I know rice and this is not enough rice!”

“You aren’t even Chinese though .. ?”

WHAT? I just took a DNA test, turns out, I’m 48% Chinese – it’s not very catchy, but bitch I know my goddamn rice!”

There are late bloomers, and then there’s me – discovered my real name at 14, learned I was smart in my 30s, found out I’ve been wrong about my heritage for my entire life in my 40s. I can’t wait to find out what basic life knowledge I’ll learn when I’m 50 and beyond! Will it be where babies come from? How to file taxes? The inner workings of my gender and sexuality? What a wild ride it will be!

The DNA test I took several years ago continually refines the data, and where my heritage was once attributed to “East Asian”, it has now been specifically (well, as specific as the most populous race in the world can get) narrowed down: I am 48% actual Chinese. I don’t know when I got it into my head that Malaysians were a special subset of people that had completely different genes than those of Chinese, but that is super wrong. Hell, Malaysia itself didn’t really exist as an independent country until 1963, nearly 20 years after my mother was born (into British goddamn Malaysia, so give me my fucking citizenship already). So if that part of my family can’t really claim to be from a country that wasn’t formed until well after they arrived, what ARE they?

Chinese. My family is Chinese, and I swear to dog I had no real inkling of this until like 2 years ago. For a smart human, I am really fucking dumb.

Even more annoying than suddenly discovering you aren’t who you thought you were is that my European heritage dropped down to 47% (28% English, 19% Irish). The remaining 5% of the elf magic that makes me go is a mix of other places in Europe and Asia, and will likely be narrowed down further as more people willingly upload their essence to a random company doing god knows what kind of evil.

I can’t wait.

brb, gotta go make some more rice.

a division of labour

I try not to have any gaping holes in my How to Life database, but there is one area in which I am particularly weak: car stuff.

I don’t know anything about the inner workings of cars. I can make car go, I can get car juice, I know how to check fluids and what to do if they’re low. Beyond that is a vast foggy grey area of I dunno, and although I am somewhat ashamed to admit it, I don’t really WANT to know. I’m not a car person. I’m okay with that. I cannot be everywhere at once, people. I’m in dire need of assistance. (rise up!)

The Minibator was long overdue for service, and Ed decided some months ago that as the car is mine, I am responsible for maintenance and upkeep. This is fair. I get it. On the other hand, this toads the wet sprocket and I am petulantly stomping my foot (which hurts because my bones are all fucked down there): I don’t WANT to be responsible for my car. I’m dumb at car. They’re going to charge me for blinker fluid and a replacement 710 cover and an emergency flux capacitor dilation.

I KNOW that I should woman the fuck up and learn about this stuff so I’m not ignorant about the health and well-being of my car. It’s pathetic and downright insulting to play into the “stupid woman doesn’t know cars” stereotype and want someone else to deal with it on my behalf: willful ignorance is hideous on everyone, no matter the topic. I am not doing myself any favours by not knowing the difference between the air filter and damper valves. Suck it up, buttercup, and earn that “self-rescuing princess” shirt.

Except .. at what age are you finally allowed to say “you know what? I don’t have enough spoons to deal with this”? When can you acknowledge your privilege and let someone else deal with it for you? I know this isn’t an option everyone has, but I do have it – is it so bad to use it?

My counterargument is thus: while I am not a car person, Ed very much is. I recognize that the Mini is mine and I should concern myself with the upkeep, but I also know that there are a thousand other things that I deal with so Ed doesn’t have to: managing the household budget, ensuring all debts are paid (Lannister style), arranging all travel (even for trips I’m not going on), deciding our weekly menu, most of the cooking, laundry, gift-giving, our social calendar, and more. Given all that I manage in our lives on a daily basis, I would like to be able to hand all vehicle maintenance off to Ed and let HIM deal with it. He speaks their language. He has a way better idea of what is an actual concern vs what just sounds super alarming to someone who doesn’t know any better, and if a particular suggested service is really an upsell tactic vs a needed procedure to keep me from careening into fluffy baby ducks if I corner too fast.

The raging feminist in me wants to take my car by the horns (cars have horns, right?) and own the fuck out of it, but the realist in me knows that I have no time for or interest in car .. stuff. In exchange for making our lives run smoothly and be captured for data mining via the cloud-enabled products sprinkled throughout our house, I ask that he be in charge of cat poop and car poop. This seems fair to me, and outside my own qualms about the “you go girl” quotient of my request, I’d be a lot happier about the overall idea of car knowing I was just a particularly adorable onlooker (and as an added bonus, it won’t take 6 months of bugging me to get the oil change scheduled already).

Rising up is good. Rising up and delegating to someone else has to at least count for partial credit, right?

In other news, five years ago today I was in the hospital discovering that my heart was a lazy fucking slacker only working at 20% capacity. I’m much better now, I think! What do get your heart for a 5-year anniversary of still working? Is it chocolate? Please say it’s chocolate.

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$9.00 per day!

guided by voices

This article about people without an inner monologue has come up in several of my social circles today, and it reminded me of something I should probably get checked out: I hear voices. Inside my head. Voices that aren’t mine.

Back to the article for a second. I’ve always had an internal monologue, and it sounds exactly like my blog reads. You’re basically reading my inner thoughts right now. How embarrassing for you!

Like most people, I have a “voice” inside my head that is how I process most information: anything processed by one of the 5 senses (that YOU know about) is narrated by this inner voice thing. It’s not necessarily a voice, but that’s a close word for it. However, I also have a wordless version of this that I assume is my intuition – sometimes I will look at something and immediately know. It’s like my brain makes rapid-fire shortcuts and leaps of logic that, thankfully, are almost always correct. This isn’t any kind of superpower, it’s like .. a heightened ability to troubleshoot rapidly. I assumed everyone’s brain was like this until I was like 35. I literally had to have someone tell me that no, I can do these things because I’m smart. Not THAT smart, obviously, but smart enough to figure out why your printer isn’t working. I am confident I will have a place of honour in the brave new world.

Lately – like, for the last year or so – I’ve been hearing voices. I should probably be alarmed about this, but I’m not – there is no demon dog telling me to kill people, no tiny angels or devils on my shoulder trying to influence me one way or the other. It’s not an intrusive thought, it’s just .. snippets of someone else’s train of thought. It’s like playing with a radio dial and hearing bits and pieces of another station’s content. I’ll be in bed, thinking my thinkie thoughts, when I’ll suddenly “hear” part of a sentence someone else’s voice entirely. The first few times it happened I was pretty weirded out, which I imagine is the normal response to hearing voices in your head. It’s become a common enough occurrence that I just go “huh. there it is again.” and continue on with my own dramatic monologuing.

It’s kind of hard to explain. Imagine you’re sitting on your couch, drinking a cup of tea and thinking about all the things you need to gather before you leave the house for the day. In the midst of these thoughts about the laundry, your keys, the package you need to return, longing for Angelica, missing your wife, you overhear a neighbour outside saying “I can’t wait for these tomatoes to come in!” .. except it’s inside your head. In someone else’s voice. Often, it’s not even a complete statement – it could be “then we went down to” or “if he’s not home by Tuesday” .. just random noise intermingled with your own train of thought. The voice is not familiar, and the thought is not a tangent or offshoot of your own.

So, that’s pretty weird. I shall handle it like I handle most other alarming things in my life: make fun of it, then ignore it completely! Haha I hear voices saying the most mundane shit possible! Who else but Kimli!

Seriously, who else? Is this a normal thing, or should I prepare a tinfoil hat?