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.

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i do not handle failure well

going green

I am trying to be logical about this. It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I’ve known for months it wasn’t going to happen. I’m super busy, and have a whole lot of things I need to take care of during this time. I just got back from London, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

But GODDAMNIT am I ever bursting with envy that we are not in Barcelona right now with half of the people we know and love.

I know that I am ridiculously lucky to do all the travel I do, and I’m super happy I got to spend two weeks in London in January. We just got back from a weekend in Victoria (which doesn’t count), I’m going to Orlando in a few weeks (this doesn’t really count either, it’s for work), and we leave for Japan in 37 days (in a row). Doing Barcelona again was always a long shot, and this year it didn’t happen .. but many of our friends are there and I’m seeing their posts and I am greenish with envy. Facebook’s helpful new “hey look at these memories” feature is not helping, because I was in Spain this time last year. Also complicating my endless jealousy is Steph’s pictures of London – I know I was just there, but I ALWAYS WANT TO BE THERE.

I grew up a practical sort of dreamer. I spent a lot of time inside my own head dreaming about amazing things (mostly robots), but there was never any sort of longing for what others had that I didn’t. I endured my mother moaning and whining about all the things she would do when she “hit the big one”, and it always seemed incredibly distasteful and a huge waste of time. I don’t spend time thinking what I would do with a lottery windfall, because the odds of that happening are so infinitesimally small. Plus, it just seems .. rude, like you’re not satisfied with the life you have and can only be happy when presented with MORE. I know that’s my broken childhood talking, but it still stands: I’ve never wasted time on jealousy for what others had/have that I don’t. If I want it badly enough, I can make it happen.

That’s all fine and good, until I discovered the one thing that makes me ache with longing: BEING SOMEWHERE ELSE. I am jealous of people who are SOMEWHERE ELSE. It is a weird and uncomfortable feeling complicated by the knowledge that I am frequently SOMEWHERE ELSE myself, and should focus on my own trips instead of being wistful about others. The logic isn’t really helping though; it’s just making me petulant and cabin fevery. Which is dumb. I best check myself, lest I wreck myself.

Victoria was half dutiful and half super fun. Our hotel room had ants. I am still hella torn on whether I want to move back to the island. I sometimes wish I had a more traditional relationship with my mother, who is apparently Catholic now. I got to spend some time in front of some crashing waves, and I could have happily stayed there all day edging ever closer to the water. Once again, we swore we’d ride our motorcycle/scooter to Victoria some time this summer. We found a new favourite breakfast joint, took my mother out for dinner twice, and met her Gentleman Friend. We drove past my old house and I creepily took pictures of it. It brought up a lot of weird conflicting feelings.

I am hungry.

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mrw i think about SOMEWHERE ELSE

in and out again

As is tradition, when you return from one trip you must immediately book the next. We’re going back to Ireland! More on that later, though – here’s all about London.

I had a great time, even though I was sick and had to work and was very cold and had many internet issues. Still, London. All of those things are minor annoyances when you’re in your favourite place in the world.

That being said, next time I think “hey I should go somewhere in January”, please remind me that most people would go someplace WARM, as opposed to some place colder than the place they left. London was surprisingly frosty, and in my delirium (I was so sick) I kinda forgot to bring a coat. I don’t wear a coat in Vancouver (mostly because I do not go outside), so I should be fiiiiiiine in London. And I wasn’t, at all! The first day I went outside (still sick), I had on 5 layers of cardigans (because that’s all I brought) and I froze my vagina right off. It was cold. Luckily, I had internet and money, so I bought a coat and arranged for it to be delivered the next day. It wasn’t the warmest thing I’d ever put on, but it did the trick and I spent the rest of my time in London delightfully warm-ish and also plaid.

The last time I did London solo, I was gone for over three weeks and found that to be too long a time to spend inside my own head. This time I was gone for just two weeks, and it was perfect – I missed Ed and the cats and general human contact, but I wasn’t despondent in my lonely despair. This is good information to have, because now I know I can be all “lol bored going to Germany now bye” yet retain the majority of my sanity.

So, what’d I do in my two weeks of me time?

  • Wandered Brick Lane for hours, taking pictures of graffiti and finding my favourite piece again to test my location memory
  • Visited Spitalfields Market
  • Watched the sunset from Sky Garden
  • Attended the Women’s March on London
  • Took a canal boat from Little Venice to Camden Lock, wandered the market, drank SO MUCH orange juice
  • Did nothing (was sick)
  • Went to the V&A (three times)
  • Visited the Saatchi Gallery
  • Explored the area around my flat, which included squares Sloane and Duke of York
  • Saw many Sloane Rangers (hah!)
  • Went to the Natural History Museum and spent a lot of time in the earthquake simulator as practice for Japan
  • Met up with Jen of Oxford and had Lobster Rolls!
  • Bought every damn pair of leggings from Primark – sorry, everyone else
  • Went to the waterfront by the Tower of London and took several thousand photos of Tower Bridge all lit up at night
  • The V&A is open late on Friday nights; discovered it turns into a bizarre nightclub with live acts and fancy people going WOOOOOOO
  • Got locked in the V&A courtyard and had to literally scratch at the door to be let back in (aka stand and wave at people until someone made eye contact, then played charades until they realized I was trapped) – luckily, that courtyard is one of my favourite places on the planet (albeit much more so when it’s warm and I’m not locked outside) so I didn’t mind all THAT much
  • Discovered that eating grilled pieces of halloumi cheese with a spicy-fruity sauce is fucking amazing and that’s all I’m going to eat from here on in
  • Had many adventures with the Travelling T-Rex
  • Portobello Market! Love this place. Wandered. Did not buy boots, but did buy pearls. I am so fance.
  • ASTRONAUTALIS SHOW WOOOOOO I’d been wanting to see Astronautalis in London for some time and it just so happened that he was playing London while I was there so I went to the show and remembered to stand on stage right and it was so awesome and YAY
  • Chinese New Year! Went to Chinatown and watched dragons and crowds and got totally soaked in the rain.
  • Seven Dials. Accidentally bought four boots.
  • Covent Garden! London Transport Museum is awesome! Also, Shake Shack. So good. Missed Ed.
  • Finally visited Tate Britain!
  • Waterfront, this time by the London Eye. Took many photos of Big Ben, the parliament buildings, and the Eye.
  • Science Museum! No cosmonauts this time, though. Still cool.
  • Ate fish and chips (but only once, on my last night there)
  • Had an amazing fucking time
  • Finally shook off my terrible flu/cold thing
  • Rekindled my need to live in London for a while

.. I did a lot of things. I walked a terrific amount, so much so that my watch and ring were both very proud of me. Had some fun shopping, which caused issues bringing stuff back even though I tried really very hard to be good. Honestly, I didn’t want to come home: I wanted home to come to me. I missed Ed and the cats and having hot water and water pressure and loads of internet, but dammit .. I want to be in London. Especially now that Vancouver is fucking covered in frozen white bullshit. Yes, the UK gets winter too, but some things are easier to manage when you’re where you need to be.

Half of my pictures can be viewed here. The other half will be uploaded shortly, but I experimented with not hauling a camera around with me and looking like a tourist, but using my phone instead. I have some extremely good iPhone lenses that extend the abilities of the already-amazing iPhone 7 Plus camera, and it was nice to be able to wander around with fewer things to carry. I don’t think I’m going to repeat this in Japan because I’m going to want to capture every damn thing ever, but for a place I know very well, it was nice to have options.

It was a really good trip, yo.

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i love this place.

out tonight (meow)

Tonight I am going Out. It doesn’t really matter where, and it likely isn’t what you’re picturing – but I will be Outside and it will be dark and cold and probably pretty awesome because I’m in London, and almost everything is awesome here.

I’ve been working remotely (err, even more remotely) this week, which basically means I’ve been keeping some pretty strange hours. I’ll usually wake up in the morning, work for a couple hours, go out for a bunch of exploring and museuming, then come back and work in the evening so I can get some hours in while the NA peeps are around. It’s not a bad arrangement, but I am really looking forward to closing my laptop as soon as my 8am meeting is done and heading to the waterfront so I can gaze lovingly at some fancy structures while dodging Aggressive Shrek and tourists with poor (selfie) stick control.

Since I decided I was going out tonight, I’ve had Out Tonight stuck in my head. I do want to hit the street, but I will refrain from wailing at the moon like a cat in heat because who does that (certainly not this Canadian with severe social anxiety – plz do not look at me unless I am on stage with my boobs out, thx). Other things I will probably not do even though my body’s talking to me, it says “time for danger”:

  • Commit a crime
  • Be the cause of a fight
  • Put on a tight skirt
  • Flirt with a stranger
  • Go some place sick
  • Refer to myself as “chick”; dance in the flames
  • Prowl
  • Be a night owl
  • Take your hand, we’re gonna howl

In retrospect, I have less in common with an HIV-positive Hispanic-American club dancer and drug addict than I thought.

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brick lane street art by @lorazombie

some things are bigger than your fear

I woke up this morning in pretty rough shape*, but I forced myself outside for one (historic, epic, vast) reason. I don’t think the marches outside of Washington DC had been planned when I booked my trip, but that’s the glorious thing about so many people coming together in solidarity – it’s global. Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of women and men marched around the world today to demand women’s rights and protest against Trump and all he stands for, and it was a powerful thing to see. I’ve been on the verge of awed tears all day long (which is kind of exhausting, to be honest), and I wish that I could have been more evolved in the event .. but there are limits to what you can expect from yourself when you’re a) still sick but powering through as best you can, b) terrified of crowds, and c) traveling from afar with no room in your bag for poster board. I’m happy that I made it out, though.

*: I forget to eat when I’m on my own. Forgetting to eat when you’re sick (or, you know, ever) is a bad idea. I promise to be better to myself from here on out. Myself is pretty neat. Myself deserves at least a whole meal per day.

Pictures from today coming soon! In the meantime, enjoy this brilliant drawing by Shing Yin Kor:

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role model. (art by shing yin kor)

the comforts of home

I’m here and in one piece! I have internet access! I’m trapped in my flat!

The flight to London was uneventful and kind of dull, but I did manage to sleep a little. My ride was waiting for me when I finally made it through customs, and I was in my room by 5pm local time. Hooray!

The room is beyond tiny, but it’s perfect for my stay. I haven’t had a chance to explore the area yet (beyond the Sainsbury’s down the road), and while I’m relatively well-rested and ready to explore, I can’t leave my room because my hair is wet.

When I booked this trip, I was kind of in a rush and didn’t do all the research I normally do. If I had, I would have realized that the place I’m staying is missing two things: free wifi, and a hair dryer.

The place charges £10 a day for wi-fi. I’m already paying $10 a day to use my Rogers plan while in the UK, so I wasn’t about to pay an extra £140 to have computer internet during my stay. However, I do have to work next week, so I need internet access. Unable to sleep three nights ago, I googled upon these guys and for £61 (£30 of which is a refundable deposit), I get 6GB of wi-fi for my stay. I arranged to have it delivered this morning, and it just arrived. Problem 1: solved!

The second problem is why I’m currently writing from my room instead of being outside: there’s no hair dryer in the room. My hair takes 3-4 hours to dry on its own (more if it’s at all humid), and it’s freezing outside. I can’t leave my room until my hair is completely dry, which may happen just before dark at this rate. The front desk has promised me that housekeeping can lend me a hair dryer, but they haven’t shown up yet – so here I sit, damply. I want to go outside. I’m hungry. It’s gorgeous and sunny and I have things to do. My hair is stupid.

As I was typing that last sentence, housekeeping showed up with a hairdryer! Problem 2: solved! k, I gotta dry my head and go outside. BYE!

new york things

I survived New York, broken foot and all!

I wasn’t able to update while we were gone because a) there was no free wifi at the hotel and I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay $70 for an essential service and b) too busy Doing Things to stop and write about them. We’re home now, so it’s time to play catch up.

Excluding travel time, we had four full days in New York to do whatever we wanted. I had a small but significant list of things I wanted to do, and we got through most of it – we’d have done more, but we were pretty seriously hampered by my broken bones. That being said, I was surprisingly mobile in that stupid boot, and it even came in handy several times.

In no particular order, here are the things we did:

  • Hung out in Times Square (which is really more of a rhombus) like gaping tourists, and quickly tired of dodging selfie sticks and people asking if we liked comedy
  • Went up the Empire State Building and took ten thousand pictures of a rainy New York at night
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the VIP experience at the ESB – seriously, we were fawned over. It was hilarious and expensive but I’m so glad I sprung for the no-lines pass.
  • Went to Rockerfeller Center and looked at it; ditto Radio City Music Hall
  • Snuck into the Metropolitan Museum of Art – we had stopped in to pee and look in the shops (museum shops are my favourite), and Ed found a back entrance into Egypt so we wandered around and saw awesome things. Normally I would feel bad about this, but the Met has a suggested donation of $25 per adult. You can pay less if you like, even if that isn’t acknowledged anywhere. And I spent more than that in the shop anyway, so it’s not like we saw art for free. It was just .. discounted.
  • Enjoyed street meat! I had the BEST HOT DOG EVER outside the Met.
  • Walked through Central Park multiple times! Our hotel was on the Upper West Side, just three blocks from the park. It was really nice out for park walkin’, and we hunted down a few statues I wanted to see. It’s very beautiful in there, and I named all the turtles I met. That is likely the reason our walks took a long time (as opposed to my slow hobbling), as there were a lot of turtles.
  • In addition to being close to the park, our hotel was also two blocks from a Shake Shack. Many shakes were shacked.
  • We walked half of Brooklyn Bridge and it was awesome
  • All the bus tours! Correctly guessing that I wouldn’t be able to walk as much as I normally do on vacation, I purchased 3-day bus tours for us. We did almost every tour (some more than once), including the boat cruise which was AMAZING. Neither of us had any idea how close it got to the Statue of Liberty and that it went under the Brooklyn Bridge, so we super enjoyed the cruise. The staff were fantastic, too – seeing that we were at the tail end of a full boatload and not wanting to have to stand at the railing with hundreds of others, they let Ed and I get on at the very start of the next sailing so we could snag railside seats at the front of the boat.
  • Someone suggested that we do the NBC Studio Tour, but we don’t really watch TV or have any kind of yearning for NBC programming. Instead, we paid to go to the top of Rockerfeller Center and marvel at the daytime views.
  • Due to my great distrust of stopovers in Toronto, we both traveled carry-on only. It was trying at times, and due to the lack of free space I decided not to visit the Nintendo Store. That will be saved for next time.
  • Many delicious meals with surprisingly sensible portion sizes, except for one meal that simply did not end (there were so many shrimp my stomach hurts just thinking about it)
  • The one yucky weather day was the day we decided to do the Empire State Building at 11pm, and it is cold as all heck when you are 86 floors above the city. I bought what I THOUGHT were leggings at Macy’s to protect my frosty box, but they turned out to be stupid pants instead. I wore one pair that evening, but returned them the next day. No pants for me, America. Nice try.
  • Took the night tour through Brooklyn, as narrated by a crazy man
  • Very briefly visited MoMA – they closed at 5:30 and we arrived after 4:30, so instead of paying $50USD to see art for an hour we looked at what wasn’t behind Art Guards and put it at the top of the list for next time
  • Ditto the Guggenheim – on my own I could spend days in museums, but they’re not Ed’s cup of tea (especially when they come with a giant price tag: we love you, London). Plus, they’re doing mega construction in the Guggenheim so half the place was closed off. Will go next time.

Observations about New York:

  • I don’t think I could live there
  • It’s nice to know a place exists that is more expensive than London
  • I would definitely visit again
  • I enjoyed the city and like it a lot, but I don’t like like it
  • So that’s good to know – I really do love London, and am not fickle
  • American Airlines blows
  • I took a lot of pictures
  • Feel free to browse through them
  • I’ll inevitably post some when I run out of things to say
  • I am glad to be home