i done fucked up now

Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I completely fucked up booking routine airfare

I’m going to Orlando in March for a work event. I’ve never been to Florida, so I’m pretty stoked for a new adventure with alligators and crocodiles and David Caruso dramatically taking off sunglasses. Plus, I get to meet all my co-workers for the first time, so that won’t be stressful at all.

I was left in charge of booking my own flight to Florida because Canadian and passports and all sorts of complications. No problem, I literally book flights in my sleep – this will be simple. Fly in, go to a Waffle House, fly out. Simple!

Naturally, I had to go and make it extra complicated. I made several mistakes, a dozen or so wildly incorrect assumptions, a little of bit of hubris for good measure, and BAM I am stuck with a ticket that cost double what it should have and a whole lot of idiot guilt.

Let’s recap!

  • Find a flight that’ll work
  • Get approval
  • Wait two days to book the flight
  • Press buttons while asleep
  • Congratulations, you’re booked! oh and by the way the price went way up and it’s non refundable lol
  • Shiiiiiiit.
  • Also realize that my flight gives me 46 minutes to make my connection in Minneapolis
  • Call Expedia to sort this out
  • End up paying an additional $165 to increase my layover to 4 hours
  • Be annoyed
  • Sheepishly share flight info with team
  • Bosses freak out at how expensive I am
  • Feel terrible for being expensive
  • Start looking for ways to resolve this
  • Post to Facebook and get super helpful advice from people
  • Start researching
  • Realize I called Expedia 23 hours and 45 minutes from the time I booked my flight, so I should have been entitled to a refund on a 24-hour cancellation policy
  • Find two other important pieces of information saying a) Delta gives you until midnight the following day to get a full refund, regardless of where you purchased the ticket and b) the minimum connection time for an international flight into MSP is 1 hour, meaning I shouldn’t have been able to book a flight with a 46-minute connection time, meaning Expedia screwed up and definitely shouldn’t have charged me $165 to change the flight
  • Feel all Sherlock
  • Get my hair did
  • Submit a refund request directly with Delta
  • Call Expedia to be all “wtf dudes”
  • Get schooled:
    • Expedia’s flight cancellation policy is good until 11:30pm of the day you purchase your ticket, not 24 hours as is often assumed
    • Delta no longer honours the 24+ hour cancellation policy if you purchase the ticket from anywhere except Delta directly
    • I don’t go through customs in MSP, I go through in Vancouver – meaning the 46 minute connection time is perfectly valid, since it’s over the 40-minute MCT for that particular airport. This was a complete surprise to me, because my only frame of reference is the dozens of flights I’ve taken to and from Europe in the last five years – you ALWAYS go through customs when you land, so I assumed it was the same for the US. I haven’t flown into the US on purpose since .. 2007? It’s been a while.
  • I have two options: take the flight as is and enjoy the fine taste of the extra $165 I didn’t need to pay after all
  • Cancel the flight in exchange for a voucher that:
    • Can only be used by me
    • Must be used within 1 year
    • Is only good on Delta
  • I thought I could live with the latter option: I’d just rebook my flight to a more expense-report-friendly flight, and stash the rest to use later!
  • Hahahahaha no
  • If you use the voucher for a flight that is less than the amount of the voucher, you forfeit the remaining balance
  • AND Delta will charge you an extra $200 because using the voucher counts as a flight change
  • In theory, I could make that work .. but I have no idea where I’d go via Delta for that much money, and in the meantime I’d be out the original cost of the flight + the cost of the replacement flight. Either option means I’m losing a ton of money because of my fuck up.

So, this sucks. I feel terrible about it for multiple reasons: that I’m gonna get fired because I’m clearly super bad at Florida and/or at the very least get in trouble and people will be stern at me; because it was such a colossally stupid situation to get myself in; because I pride myself on the details and I fucked them up so laughably badly that I’m kicking myself with pointy boots; because it’s going to cost a ton of money that I didn’t need to spend; etc etc etc. Last night was a bad night. There were tears of frustration and quasi-illogical worry. I AM SAD.

On the plus side, my hair is hella cute.

p1150126

i do not handle failure well

we are not amused

I leave for London in two days. Naturally, I woke up this morning with a painful chest cough. I’ve managed to avoid Ed’s mega-cold and all other seasonal ailments so far, but it seems fate was saving something special for me to launch at the worst possible time. Uncool, germs. Imma fight you.

Lately, I’ve been thirsty a lot and also craving salt. As part of my resolution to Adult Better, I’ve been drinking a lot of water. My heart medication (now there’s a phrase that makes you sound 80 years old) makes me pee 95 times a day, so I drink a lot of water to make sure I don’t get dehydrated. I still drink Diet Coke like it’s going out of style, but when I’m at home (which is 98% of the time because outside is cold and there are wolves) I’ll switch to water around noon and basically don’t stop drinking. That’s good, right? Water is life! Hydration is bliss! I’m a glowing, salad-laughing, yoga-pant-clad everywoman! Except .. well, like most other things in my life, I overdo it. I researched my symptoms, and according to the internet I’m all outta electrolytes (and also have 14 cancers). It all fits – the non-stop water craving, the salt lick I installed in my office, the severe and terrible muscle spasms I’ve experienced, the occasional nausea, etc. I am bad at water. I can’t even do healthy right.

I’m not about to start chugging Gatorade like I’m some sort of sponsored sport-man, so I guess this is one more thing I have to be aware of. I recently spoke to my heart doc to ask if I still had to take a mountain of meds each day (including my most-loathed medication, the Minty Shit Pill), and he wants me to keep on keeping on until at least June. When I get back from my travels, I’ll probably use Medeo to see if I can get some prescription-strength Tang or something, or at least have my kidneys checked to find out why they’re not pulling their weight around here.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to flush this stupid cough/sinus thing out of my system (by drinking tons of water). I am pretty choked about this new development, because I LEAVE IN TWO DAYS. Did I mention that in large enough letters yet? TWO DAYS. I don’t have TIME for this bullshit.

what time is it? NOT SICK TIME

what time is it? NOT SICK TIME

lonely in advance

I’m going to London next week, for two weeks. I’ll be working for half the trip, and exploring the city/revisiting favourites the rest of the time. As you can probably imagine, I am excited. I may already be packed, even. I could leave now!

As excited as I am (don’t let the lack of exclamation points fool you), I am presently allowing myself to wallow in the sads. I figure if I can get the sads out of the way now, when I’m in London I’ll have nothing but happy excited silly times because frankly that is what I do best.

Here’s why the sads: I’m going to be lonely in London. I’ve realized that while I love exploring and seeing things and experiencing Diet Coke in different time zones, it’s a thousand times better to do those things (and more) with someone else. I asked Ed if he would come with me for even part of this trip, and he didn’t want to – rumour has it he wants the alone time so he can have affairs – so I’m going to be all by my lonesome and that is making me sad. I am a selfish creature: I want to have excellent adventures, but I want to have someone to share them with. I have the “someone” part down, but he’s not interested in accompanying me (for a variety of reasons). I reluctantly get it – not everyone is cut out to hop on a plane for 9 hours to go to a repeat destination just because they weren’t kidding when they said they didn’t want to be in North America on inauguration day – but I’m still sad about it.

Clearly I’m just going to have to save more money between trips, and pay someone to be my travel friend.

Okay, off to be sad for a bit. I’ve got a few more days to be sad, and then I will make a list of Things I want to Do while Adventuring.

happy place

happy place

 

the 73 elephants in the room

First, the formalities: Happy New Year, everyone! 2016 was rough, and not all of us made it. I hope 2017 brings you nothing but happiness, love, and no pants!

Okay, hi. I set up several goals-not-resolutions for myself for 2017. Most of these are fairly obvious: travel more, don’t wear pants, continue not going A2M – but I’m also hoping to write more this year. I spent Q4 2016 in a dank haze, and I’m using the new year to throw off the shackles of apathy and get back into the game (the game in this case is more words on the internet). I’m off to a bad start, as I had excellent intentions of writing yesterday .. but by the time we got home from the traditional NYE party in Seattle, I was too tired to do more than be horizontal and weighed down by cats. It was lovely, but warm. 33 pounds of cat is a lot of potato.

This isn’t just a generic “gonna write more, pinky swear” post – I actually have something to get off my (ample, fabulous) chest: internet, I have a problem. I have a problem with collections.

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately (because what else can you do when you are pinned down and also outside there is snow) and thinking about stuff – literally, as in all the stuff in my house. With the exception of the appliances, Ed, and myself, there is not a single one of anything in here: every single thing I own is multiplied far beyond what any one person actually needs. Now, some of this is basically a hobby: it’s fun to collect things and have awesome stuff everywhere you look. Most people have a collection of one or two things they’re really into: model cars, rare import CDs, human teeth, fancy spoons that are not meant to be used for snorting coke, etc. It’s fun! It’s a hobby! It’s a problem!

I do not regret any of my collections. Unfortunately, that’s the problem: I collect collections. If I like something, I have to have it ALL. I have to amass as much as possible of whatever it is that I like. It goes far beyond my Optimus Prime collection or my wall of pop culture figures, too. It’s literally everything, and it can be traced to a specific period in my life when I was really into that thing. Here are just a few of the things I have way too fucking much of because I was super into it and started a collection without being aware of what I was doing:

  • Yarn and Fabric: I went mad for knitting and sewing at two different periods in my life. I have a huge stash of fabric that I’ll probably never use now, because I don’t have anywhere to sew (or the patience, or the skill)
  • Cosmetics: when I decided to start wearing makeup, I binged. There is enough makeup in my bathroom to give an army of makeovers. It’s more than I’ll ever use in my lifetime, especially since my favourites keep evolving (and when I like a product, I stockpile it)
  • Lapel Pins: I like these right now, so I have dozens of them on my wall
  • Technology: I have a stack of tablets and devices on my desk. A literal stack. Why? Why do I have all these?
  • Nintendo DS Games: I used to buy almost every DS game that was released. There’s a large collection of games in a box in the living room.
  • Bags: Not just purses, either: small wallets, makeup bags, clutches – lots of them.
  • Hello Kitty phone charms: I have a lockbox full of these that probably number in the hundreds
  • LEGO: I have hundreds of minifigs, because I liked minifigs for a long time. Even now I still buy them, because I love blind items (and a small part of me really wants to have 17 different LEGO pirates on hand)
  • Wrap Bracelets: I only have two wrists. I probably didn’t need 25 of these.
  • Portable Batteries: I like always having power, so now I have power upon power upon fire hazards.

This is just the stuff I can see in my room; there’s more in the house. I have a lot of dresses. I don’t need to buy every pretty dress I see, but I do. Food? Yep. Remember my chocolate hoarding? That’s part of it. In fact, the food collecting is even more problematic, because it doesn’t get eaten. I’ve got a half dozen bars I brought home from the UK several trips ago in the freezer, just in case there’s a shortbread emergency. YOU NEVER KNOW (right mom?).

It’s kind of eye-opening to realize the extent of my problem. I’m sure it was obvious to others, but I’m kind of slow sometimes. And I hate to admit it, but I take after my mother in this. She doesn’t collect, but she’s a bargain hunter: if something is on sale, she’ll buy 80 of them because it was a good deal. Sometimes it’s handy to have that much toilet paper on hand, but when it starts piling up in the living room and blocking the TV, it’s probably a problem.

So, now that I know I have a problem and being pretty confident that I am not trying to now collect problems, what am I going to do about it?

This isn’t any sort of resolution or anything, because the first step in all of this is simply being aware of what I’m doing. I already know the why, so now we concentrate on stemming the tide. There are some things I can get rid of by donating or recycling. I’m not going to disassemble my collections, but I won’t be adding to them (or starting new ones) if I can help it. I’ll never be any sort of crazy minimalist, but I can at least make things easier to manage for myself (and probably relieve Ed of that 15-year-long headache he has when he thinks about all of the shit I own).

There’s a trendy Japanese method of decluttering that has you hold each item and, if it no longer brings you joy, discarding it. It’s a noble idea, but one that won’t work for me for several reasons:

  • Even if I hold each item for just one second to determine joy, the sheer volume of stuff in my house makes it a 50-year task
  • I’m ridiculous, and almost everything brings me joy
  • I would inevitably start discarding things that should probably be kept. “Property taxes do not bring me joy. Throw it out! I don’t like it when Ed wears pants. Out they go! The stove brings me no joy BE GONE!”

I can do this, though. Perhaps I will collect free space and empty drawers.

grumpy about portals

We have almost every console imaginable in this house. PS2, PS3, PS4. Xbox 180, 360, One. At least 4 Nintendo DSes in varying states of 3D. Two Gameboys. A PSP. There’s a Dreamcast in the closet, and a Sega Genesis in storage. We have a Wii in a box, and I think there’s an NES in a bag somewhere. Basically, lots of consoles. Almost every console. Tremendous consoles. Only two are hooked up, though: the PS4 and the Xbox One. We don’t have 19 TVs, you see. The others are in the bedroom, holding up shelves. We keep them mostly for nostalgia, and because nothing in the fucking universe is backwards compatible.

For each dusty console taking up floor space in the bedroom, there’s a shelf of games to go along with it. Throughout the purging over the years, only the absolute favourite of all games have survived: for example, we’ve only got one Xbox game. Normally I’d just let the console go and reclaim the 15 square feet of floor space, but the game is Jet Set Radio Future and it’s my ultra super favourite so .. we have to keep it. Same with the PS2. And the PS3 games are still great (and most likely not finished), so we have to keep the system.

I woke up wanting to play Portal 2. It’s a cold, rainy, grey Sunday, and I have nowhere I need to be until tomorrow morning at 9. The house is stocked with food, there’s Diet Coke for days, and even though my ice machine is dead (RIP) the freezer has enough to last me a couple hours. A perfect gaming day!

I own Portal 2, but it’s for the PS3. PS3 games can’t be played on any system except the PS3, because Sony is evil. I don’t want to hook up the PS3. It’s big and I don’t know where all the cables are and I don’t want to wait through 14 hours of system updates to play a game offline. The Portal series is super popular, so surely it’s available for download, right? Nah. Doesn’t exist for Playstation outside of the PS3. Super.

Okay, Xbox. Maybe it’s available for the One? Ooh, it is – but I can’t download it on the console itself, I have to use a computer. Sure, that makes zero sense. About as much as my buying a game I already own – twice I think, I just remembered I bought it on Steam a while ago. Download says 360 only. What. Try to load it up – the One comes with a 360 emulator of sorts. Weird, but okay. Finally! Now I’m thinking with portals!

The lack of backwards compatibility is a ridiculous, unfair monopoly. Screw you, Sony.

I should just buy a fucking PC and be done with it.

WAH. First world problems, and all that – I just want to buy a melon.

la indecisión me molesta

Okay, okay.

The Thing: I was accepted into Remote Year for 2017. Remote Year is a program for Digital Nomads, who spend one year traveling the world and working in a large group. It is not a job – that is one of the things you must supply, so a key factor in RY is getting your employer to agree to let you work from wherever you happen to be at the time. You pay a (not insignificant) fee up front, then $2K a month for your travel and accommodations. You are responsible for your own food. People have done the calculations, and it costs each participant an average of $42K USD/$55K CDN for the year. This is a major factor in my decision.

Pros:

  • Epic. Fucking. Adventure.
  • It’s what I wanted – to live abroad for a year
  • Forced to deal with my social demons
  • I could be in a group full of amazing, fun people and make some lifelong friends
  • Seeing several parts of world! Hello, world!

Cons:

  • It’s an extremely long commitment
  • Yes, I can always quit – but they want people to stick it out for the entire year, so there’s a financial penalty to quit
  • It’s not exactly what I wanted – it’s my dream, on someone else’s terms
  • It’s expensive. I’d use up all my savings and break even for the year if I’m lucky – I still have a mortgage and other financial commitments, so it’s not like I’m escaping rent by doing this (as I imagine most other participants are)
  • I’d have to cancel plans for 2017, including a trip to Tokyo, a trip to somewhere else not yet determined, and a UK visit
  • For the amount of money I’d be spending, I could easily afford to it on a smaller scale – in chunks – and be in total control of where, when, why, and how. This would also be a thousandfold easier to get approved through work.
  • I am figuratively too old for this shit. I love me some comforts.
  • I could end up in a group full of gorgeous 20-somethings who party and drink all the time and I’d be the sole fat shy weirdo with unkempt hair and no pants
  • No stability. Sometimes, stability is nice. (only sometimes tho)
  • Living out of one suitcase for an entire year. I can barely do that for a week.
  • I kind of like my husband and cats and don’t really want to be continents away from them for a year
  • Ed doesn’t want me to go (but won’t stop me if decide to go). He’s not actively trying to sway me one way or another (I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha) and has been very positive about it, but I asked him to be completely honest with me and he doesn’t want to be apart for that long. I can’t blame him for that; I’d likely feel the same if the situation was reversed.

The Unknowns

  • Who am I signing up to spend a year with?
  • Will my employer even consider letting me work extremely remotely for an entire year?
  • What will the accommodations be like? Will they be filled with spiders? Is the internet stable? How’s the weather? What’s nearby? Where’s the nearest source of Diet Coke and ice cubes? A thousand questions, repeated each month.
  • The month I spent in London away from home was hard. How would I handle that times 12?
  • How on earth do I handle the mountain of medication I’m on?

Every person who has responded is encouraging me to go, but it’s just making me feel guilty for considering turning the invite down and/or deferring it. So there.

What to do.