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.

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.

out of cervix

It’s been said that to be successful in life, you must learn something new each day. If this is truly the case, then yesterday I was SUPER SUCCESSFUL at life because I learned not one but several very important things:

  • That thing where people faint at the sight of needles or blood is called a Vasovagal Syncope (which is also the name of my Gogol Bordello cover band)
  • It can also be caused by a traumatic experience
  • .. like getting DONKEY PUNCHED IN THE CERVIX

My Mirena 2.0 officially expired in February. I took my sweet ass-time getting a replacement for it, but everything came to a head yesterday afternoon during the Swappening: the removal of 2.0, and insertion of 3.0.

I was already not looking forward to it, because I remember how much it hurt during the previous Swappening. Still, the very real dangers of unscheduled sperm showers haunted my every step, and I felt it was probably time to put on my big girl pants and just get it done already. After all, it’s been over five years. Surely it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it!

Yeah, no, it was SO MUCH WORSE.

I was given the option to allow a medical student doing her rounds to be present during the swap. I said yes, because it wouldn’t be the first time my vagina would be on display for rotating groups of strangers. They then asked if I minded if she did the first part of the procedure, to which I also said yes – I was half naked, in stirrups, and as compromised as I could get on a random Tuesday afternoon, so why the hell not. This may have been a mistake, as her snazzy white lab coat belied her level of experience: she was pretty green. Greener than I was about to be. Her bedside manner was quasi-soothing, but her actions were jerky which is never an adjective you want used when someone is all up in your business with clamps and industrial lubricant. There were issues locating my cervix, long pauses for explanations, and several comments about the weather as I just sort of laid there with my nethers flapping in the wind.

Then everything went sort of grey and soggy.

Apparently I am triggered by my cervix being manhandled, and I went into a classic vasovagal reaction: my pulse dropped like a hammer, I broke out into a full-body sweat, and things got real tinny and bright for a good long time. My doctor actually stopped the procedure when he noticed sweat pouring from my shins (did you know shins could sweat) and attempted to bring my pulse back up. This apparently was the best possible time for the student doctor to pipe up and say “okay, so I’m gonna take off now, bye”, and she left. Okay then. I’m sorry my troublesome vagina was not interesting enough for you to stay through the entire procedure, but you do you (and half of me).

The medical assistant came in to take her place, and I sort of pathetically asked her to fetch Ed for me (since this was all his fault, what with the penis and all) but he wasn’t in the lobby – he had gone out Harry Pottering. I endured an eternity of being asked to scooch in various directions while barely hovering on this side of consciousness before grabbing my phone (and dropping it on my face) to text Ed to get his ass back in the office. He eventually arrived to crack some jokes while I asked my doctor to just ignore my plummeting blood pressure and shove that thing all up in there already so I could go home and die in the dignity of my own home. The IUD was inserted, I almost fainted several more times, and then I got to listen to a monologue about what to expect with the Mirena and what could go wrong in the next 24 hours when all I desperately wanted was to recover some of my shame and lost fluids and leave this fluorescent hellscape for good.

Then I came home and slept for approximately one million years. I am now awake, full of cramps and baby-preventing hormones, and still feeling quite woozy about the whole thing. If I stop too long to think about it, I start to get really faint and spinny again. I’m told I’ve got another day of this, then things should mellow out in my uterus considerably.

F——, would not vasovagal again.

The IUD

it looks like you are trying to avoid procreation! do you need assistance?

two steps forward

.. and one step back. Look for my debut video with an animated cat.

I’ve been feeling almost pretty good about myself lately: I’ve accidentally gone down a dress size. The items I’ve ordered recently in my usual size have all been strangely voluminous, to which I attributed a thousand other things than the most obvious one: I’ve somehow gotten smaller. The situation came to a head when I ordered a dress that shouldn’t have fit me, but it was the closest size available without going in the opposite direction .. and it actually fit perfectly. Neat! I patted myself on the back (carefully, because both of my shoulders are completely fucked due to repeat dislocation), and went about my day.

Yesterday, I had an appointment to meet a new doctor because my previous one is trapped in a tower somewhere. We briefly discussed my medical history, and he set about writing up a thousand prescription refills for me because I am running hella low on the drugs that keep me alive and upright. He wants to change up my current diabeetus meds, because, “it’ll make you lose weight! it’s so great!”. I mean, I HAD been feeling good about myself for the first time since 1987, but sure. Tell me repeatedly that these new meds are so great because I’ll lose weight. Like, 50 pounds of it. I think I was supposed to be excited to hear this, but dammit – I’m FINALLY in a place where I fully acknowledge my extraness, and these days I rarely break down crying when I look in a mirror. Could I stand to lose 50 pounds? Sure. Do I WANT to? I could take it or leave it. I’m already finding that many of my clothes are fitting strangely due to whatever incidental weight I’ve lost, and if these “so great!” miracle drugs make a portion of me disappear, I’ll have to buy a whole bunch of new clothes. I know that’s a silly argument for not wanting to be the best and thinnest Kimli I could possibly be, but see above re: dammit – am I not allowed to be satisfied with my person as I am?

I’m going to try these miraculous shrinking drugs anyway, for science. I’m apprehensive for additional reasons, though: these are the drugs I was taking the last time I almost died and stuff. That could be interesting, so I’m going to give it a go and see what happens, because what are the chances I’ll go into ketoacidosis TWICE? Except for the whole near-death thing, they actually worked really well (too well) to make me pee all the extra sugar out of my blood. While I’m rather ambivalent about the potential for weight loss I apparently so desperately need, I’d like to get my blood sugar down even further. I’m still trying to make up for a really fucking horrible 2018, which saw my A1C spike to outrageous levels (aka 0.7%), so if this will help, I’ll try it. What’s the worst that could happen?

Don’t answer that.

Being at a hospital when I’m not a complicated medical anomaly is interesting. Ed’s upstairs getting a camera inserted into his nethers (throat) to see what is happening all up in there, so I’m waiting in a cafe and writing all about my woes, working, and ruing this tart I bought that is made of horrible horrible raisins. Also, I scheduled myself for a mammogram for the sheer fun of it, aka my previous doctor told me to go get myself all squished in the tits, but the only way to book an appointment was over the PHONE like some sort of busty neanderthal so I didn’t do it. On my way to the cafe to work, I noticed that the mammograms actually happen in this building (we’re not in the actual hospital, just an outpatient centre) .. so I went to the desk and booked myself in for some squishin’. For science. I hope they’ll let me take pictures.

Sounds like Ed is done with his butt (throat) scope, so I’m going to go collect him and take him home. I am an excellent wife. An excellent, super fat, wife.

living dangerously

Yes, even more than usual.

My Mirena IUD – the only thing between me and an entire flock of verbose, busty children – expired in February. I’ve written before about the very real danger of a lifetime of sperm ingestion catching up with me in one fell swoop (that’s how it works, right) – but I haven’t had the time to Do Anything about it.

It’s not my fault. When my palm flower lit up, I was halfway around the world. Also, my doctor went and gave birth and subsequently closed her practice because her damn controlling baby won’t let her work (that’s how it works, right). So not only did I literally run out of time to get my vaginal wheels aligned, I have nowhere to go to get it done.

I wasn’t entirely foolhardy about my expiring IUD, though. I did some internets, and found that while the Mirena has a uterus-life of 5 years, *technically* it can work for up to 7 years. That’s two more years! I could USE those years!

Naturally, there are capital-C consequences. You see, the scientific term for the Mirena is Fancy Baby Gate, which means in addition to making my womb a hostile environment for baby juices through the sheer toxicity of copper alone, it also has a medicinal element: for the past 5 years it has happily dispensed hormones like Pez, obliterating all negative or icky activity from my lady cave. Like, all of it. Nothing goes on down there but fun, and the party don’t start til I walk in. Do you know the last time I bought feminine protection that wasn’t literal and lethal? Okay, it was less than a year ago – but it wasn’t for me, it was a bulk purchased to donate to WISH. Hell, I’m on my second Mirena. The last time I had to buy myself items for *down there*, I was still going through the stash acquired when I worked at Procter and Gamble a lifetime ago. It’s been a while, okay.

What was my point? Oh right, consequences. Because my little friend (say hello) is end-of-life dead, it’s run out of the good stuff. This means that I am once again having SYMPTOMS. Of a menstrual variety. Things are happening that have not happened in more than a decade, and IT SUCKS.

It’s not just the physical discomfort of shedding my uterine lining for sport: I am having FEELINGS. Big ones, ones that I am wholly unprepared and unwilling to deal with. Everything is making me cry! I am literally writing this on a plane, from an aisle seat, with no one between me and the dude in the window seat, with enough room to actually use my laptop for once, on my way to my favourite city for no reason other than “I wanted to fly somewhere”, and I have CRIED. More than once. I cried at a sad song on my phone. I cried because Ed and I had a Long Boring Talk About our Relationship last night (literal this time, and not just a discussion about the power bill). I cried because I said something uncharacteristically sappy-sweet to Ed when he dropped me off at the airport this afternoon. And the worst of all? The lady across the aisle and a row up from me was watching a shitty Mark Wahlberg family comedy with subtitles on, and IT MADE ME CRY. What the FUCK. This is bullshit!

Until I get this *situation* dealt with, these feelings and symptoms are only going to get worse AND they’re going to happen every 28 days like goddamn clockwork. I am fairly certain I did not agree to this. I want a do-over.

When I get home, I’m going to have to go to the women’s walk-in clinic and throw my vagina across the counter in a desperate plea for help. Worst case scenario, they’ll prescribe me another (surprisingly expensive, even with benefits and the horrors of socialized medicine) Mirena that I will have to arrange to get shoved all up in my business after the other one is unceremoniously yanked out (which fucking HURTS, to the point of thinking “is pregnancy and the resulting 18+ years of parenthood really all THAT bad”). Best case, they’ll agree that I am too fucking old to deal with gas station pregnancy tests and worrying that my mom’ll kill me if I come home knocked up and scoop my goddamn tubes out with a spoon already. I mean, I’ve only been asking for 23 fucking years. What’s another two decades (eat a dick, science) of worrying about an unplanned pregnancy?

Vaginas, am I right? Yeesh.

The preceding post has been about the inner workings of my female anatomy. If you are at all uncomfortable with talk of the female reproductive system and the fluids contained therein, please do not have read this post.

it looks like you are trying to avoid procreation! do you need assistance?

two point two pictures

HELLO

I’M STILL ALIVE

Funny story: I haven’t written in a long time because I had nothing good to say – my life is a never-ending series of whines, rage tears, and vaguebooking. I didn’t want to make a triumphant return to my poor neglected blog only to complain about how awful my ridiculously priviledged life is, so I kept my head down and cried my sad tears and posted dumb little Facebook updates about my unhappiness and then guess what.

I sort of exploded from the stress, and desperately needed an outlet that wasn’t poor Ed talking me off the ledge. Oh, if only I had a safe outlet in which I could vent about my FEELINGS. If only there was a friendly, non-judgemental place where I could air my dirty laundry and extreme dissatisfaction at my lot in life and also throw in the occasional random reference to movies from the 90s. OH IF ONLY.

I never claimed to be as smart as I tell the internet I am

So, here we are. Strap in, everyone. I’m going to cleanse my soul the only way I know how: dumping it out onto the internet for the seagulls to pick through and poop on.

Continue reading

the dope show

I made a list of things I needed to do after we had moved, because I am highly organized and anal retentive. At the top of that list was “transfer prescriptions”. There are a large number of chemicals keeping me alive these days, and seeing as “being alive” is pretty much the only thing I have going on right now, it was imperitive that the spice flow.

I stupidly assumed that because the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, pharmacies themselves must have solid, air-tight procedures when it comes to all things people and medication related. This is .. not true. In the slightest. It was exceedingly difficult to transfer my prescriptions from one store to another (in the same chain, no less), taking multiple online submissions, two phone calls, and three in-person visits to the pharmacy to prove my identity only for the entire thing to be not be done at all correctly. The last straw was an attempt to refill some medication online and being told my birthdate was incorrect. Frustrated to the point of picking up the phone (I really really hate the phone), I called the pharmacy to get my birthdate corrected. Oh, you sweet summer child – your birthdate isn’t wrong, it’s your prescription number. That’s from the old store. You need to download the pharmacy app and manually set your home store to be the new one, and your prescriptions will just show up. Why don’t you know this? Women just don’t get technology.

Great (if condescending) advice, right? And straight from the pharmacy owner’s mouth, so clearly I was in the wrong here. If only I understood how mobile apps work!

Yeah, the pharmacy doesn’t actually HAVE an app. Never had. The steps I was told to take not only cannot be done, but do not exist and have never existed. I don’t know what sort of drugs the pharmacist was sampling, but they made him dream up a process, place it into a non-existant iPhone app, then chastise someone for not knowing about it.

Few things piss me off more than someone I have to trust with my life making careless mistakes. When they make mistakes that are not only beyond careless but in the realm of dystopian fiction, I see fucking red. I’d once chewed out my previous pharmacy for refilling all my medications except one (prior to being able to refill them myself online), because the actual dose was a 2-parter and they missed the second part. They apologized, everything was great, and we had a good relationship until I moved. There was no excuse for the new pharmacy to fuck up like this, so I complained on three official channels: Twitter, email feedback on the website, and a call into corporate.

I got the standard boilerplate apology from all three channels, which whatever. Twitter went one further, and asked if they could pass my information onto the pharmacy owner so he could contact me directly to apologize. Since he was the one I spoke to in the first place, I did not want this and I told them so. They’ve promised to review their processes and that this will not happen to anyone else. That’s all I need.

I’ve now been emailed three times, called three times (once from South Africa), and had a note attached to my last refill request, asking that I speak to the pharmacy owner. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. I already DID speak to the owner, when he called me at 6am to apologize. All I wanted from him was to ensure he and his staff knew the proper procedure, and to not give shitty and 100% incorrect advice to anyone else when to comes to things like this. That’s it. I don’t want grovelling or a refund or a discount or a fucking scholarship opened in my name – just promise me you won’t mislead someone else who may not be able to figure out the depth of your bullshit as quickly as I did (I’ve been using the official app since day one, as it helps me to avoid talking to actual people. I knew there was no “pharmacy app”, and that the “very simple” steps I needed to take did not exist). Luckily when I picked up my last prescription, he wasn’t in the pharmacy. I told the tech who rang me out that I did not want to speak to him and to please remove that note and any other that may exist on my file.

This was before we went to Hong Kong. In that time, he called twice and left voicemail, and emailed me again yesterday afternoon. FUCKING CUT IT OUT. I am under no obligation to talk to you, and I’ve been more than firm about this. If he attempts to contact me again, I’m calling corporate and moving my presciptions to a different store altogether. I don’t want to be stalked, let alone by someone with full access to my medical history. This is not cool.

Hong Kong was great, but also not cool (it hovered at 34C with 87%+ humidity the entire time, dropping down to 29C at night). We’re heading to New York this week for a combination birthday trip, coming home for a biopsy, then heading to Seattle for a birthday party. And I’m in Redmond all next week at the mothership. I am busy.

Here is a picture.

hong kong and kowloon at dusk