Given who I am and how much doo doo seems to happen around me, I have always tried to live by a simple rule: Never let them (the overseers) see you having too much fun. If you are discovered too happy or having too much fun Karma will come down and strike you with a foot up the ass and wipe that silly grin right off your face. This is a simple fact of my life. This rule has proven itself yet again and I have a sore ass as proof.
As you have read I had a pretty incredible birthday weekend last week. I had almost too much fun and the silly grin stayed on my face for a full 48 hours AFTER I returned home. Because of that, I forgot the rules and paid the price this past week with the trip from hell. It was soooo bad that I was ready to cave - jump out of the plane, quit my job, start dating the drug dealer, dye my hair black and become a Walmart Greeter.
Tuesday, November 29th - started off nicely. I arrived at the airport on time and was energized and ready to go. My cab driver didn't try to take me on the scenic route nor did he give me whiplash with his lead foot driving. I was still smiling as I was frisked at security and they felt up my pant legs. This was ok as I remembered to shave the night before. I settled in for a 95 minute flight to Edmonton. It was uneventful. I was lulled into a false sense of security for the doom to come. I landed and made my way to the car rental counter. "I am sorry Ms. Millar but due to the weather, we have come up short on cars. However, if you don't mind waiting about 60 minutes we are expecting one to be returned that we can give you." Uh Oh. "So, Ms Car Rental lady, reservations are optional? I have a confirmation number right here that says you owe me one car." "Please have a seat Ms. Millar and we will sort this out and just as an FYI, I don't react to sarcasm". Just great, that's all I have in my bag of tricks. While waiting I also checked with the other car rental places in the airport - nada, nothing doing. Approximately 65 minutes later I was told my car was ready - did I want GPS? Of course I did, I had reserved it. Jeez. 90 minutes after landing and 30 minutes late for my meeting, I was on the road. The GPS was great - unless I drove through fog. Suffice to say I managed to attend my meeting and all went well for the next 4 hours. I arrived at my hotel safe and sound. They had a Mr. Mike's for me to settle into for dinner. I ordered a Mike burger. Turns out I wore most of my Mike Burger. I had planned on wearing that suit the next day. Oh well.
Wednesday November 30th - Up at 3:50am as I had to be on the road by 4:30 to be at the airport for boarding at 6:30am. Remember, in actuality it was 2:50am BC time. It had snowed all night and I was 50KM from the airport. Turns out GPS also does not work during a snowfall - even a gentle one such as this one. I got lost twice. That annoying voice made my fingers curl on the steering wheel and the hair on my arms stand up and do the hokey pokey. I was like OJ running through the airport with my shoes in my hand as I arrived with seconds to spare after going through the normal security routine of being felt up by strangers. I was the second to last to board. And then we sat. And we sat and then we sat some more. The pilot came on after about 90 minutes to state that we were still in line for de-icing. After another 35 minutes we were finally pushed back and made our way to the de-icing trucks. I let out a sigh of relief as they began. We were then surprised by the fact that after only about 2 minutes of spraying the trucks drove away. The Pilot then got on the loudspeaker laughing (he was the only one) and saying they had run out of fluid and were going for a fill-up. He assured us we would be on our way in about 45 minutes.
We arrived in Calgary 3 1/2 hours late. I was to stay on the plane to Regina. I waited as patiently as I could as the new folks boarded. Imagine my surprise as we sat and then sat some more before the loudspeaker announced we had a problem. The luggage did not match up to the passengers. Suffice to say it took another 3 hours while they did roll call - twice, reviewed everyone's boarding cards (mine had my gum in it) and unloaded all the bags and put them back on. I turned my blackberry back on so I could cancel my meetings in Regina. Obviously I was not going to make them. The "Air Hostess" (loose translation for this broad) came by and saw me typing furiously and threatened to take it away. I said that since we were still on the runway and through no fault of my own I had to make arrangements for missed appointments. She said too bad, put it away. I ended up locked in the bathroom furiously typing messages. I happened to ask if the hotel I was booked into for that night was close to the airport since I had a 7am flight to Winnipeg in the morning. I was informed that the "hotel" that I had been booked into was a biker bar and people die there. In fact there were 2 murders the week before. Back to the bathroom and more furious typing as I asked the person who books my trips to "GET ME THE HELL OUTTA HERE". I made it to Regina 7 1/2 hours after boarding in Edmonton. I could have driven. Hell, I could have strapped on a pair of skis and made it quicker. My ass was hurting. I made it to the baggage carousel to await my suitcase. I waited and then I waited some more. Sadly, I was not at all surprised to discover it did not make the same trip I did. I just looked at the WestJet lady and shook my head. Her response was to give me $50 (5 X $10) lunch coupons to be used in the airport. Having limited choices I had a Kitkat, Coffeecrisp, clorets, pineapple chunks and water. My booking agent was able to get me on the next flight to Winnipeg rather than spend the night in Regina. By the time I got there it was just after 8pm. I must have looked really bad as even my cabbie said "Are you alright Madam? Do you need a doctor?" Crap. I dragged my sorry butt into the hotel and spent the rest of the evening laying on my stomach.
Thursday December 1st - a clear, crisp rather cold day dawned. Everything went as planned. I made both meetings and they went well. I was very pleased (see above - too happy with a big grin). I made my way to the airport for the flight to Toronto. I had a great seat with lots of leg room. I was pretty happy. My distress started when I noticed that we were about 30 minutes late being pushed from the gate. It rose as we passed the hour mark. The Captain then announced that some warming part on the wing failed the test and so they had sent someone out to find a new part. We waited another hour before another announcement. They found the needed part however it was about 50 minutes away in another hanger off the airport. Almost three hours later we were pushed back from the terminal. As we were headed for the runway we came to a stop. That's about the time I was ready to try to flush myself down the toilet in an effort to get off the effing plane. Turns out all that waiting caused us to ice up and now we had to wait for the de-icer. Suffice to say that I should have pulled up to my hotel in downtown Toronto at about 8pm. Instead I arrived shortly after 1:00am. They had given away my room. Of course they had. However, they would upgrade me to a suite. Finally, some good news! Until I went into the bathroom and noticed someone else's hair in my bathtub and a used emory board on the floor. I called downstairs and told them that while I was not going to move that night I did fully expect to smell nothing but bleach upon my return the next afternoon. I had to be in Mississauga at 8am. I had a car coming at 7:15 and a wake up call for 6:15am. I was exhausted. It must have been around 2am when I finally fell asleep. I awoke to complete disorientation around 5am. I couldn't figure out where I was and why there were people talking in my room. Turns out the putz before me had set the TV to come on automatically at 5am. I made my way downstairs around 5:30am and told the consierge to cancel my wake-up call. "Really, why?" I am afraid the sarcasm kicked in rather quickly. "Really? I am STANDING right in front of you! Do you want time to think about why I don't need a wake up call?"
The rest of my stay in Toronto was somewhat uneventful save for one thing. Friday night was the staff Christmas party. I am guessing they wanted to see how I would react to being lost in a strange city. (and I mean strange literally). I had the wrong address and what should have been a 10 minute cab ride and approximately $12 turned into a 35 minute $31 ride. At one point my very nice cabbie said he would go inside this place and ask directions. "I will keep the car running. Keep the doors locked and you might want to keep your head down and your electronics out of site." Well, you can imagine how safe I felt. Finally arrived and had three glasses of wine and some sort of meat and headed back to my room by midnight.
Saturday December 2nd - I was heading home! Yeah! I wanted my own bed and bath. It was a winner of a day. We were only delayed 40 minutes. It was a win! I got home 6 1/2 hours later and dragged my sorry ass to a cab for the final few metres home. I got home about 7:30pm and collapsed on my bed. My fav. wee man called me and said he and his sisters were looking forward to Sunday. I agreed to be there for 9am. They needed to dress warmly and be ready to go. It was going to be a big day!
Sunday December 3rd - I have been taking the kids to the Santa Claus parade for the last 7 years. I picked the children up at 9:am. They were all set with snowpants, heavy jackets, mitts, toques and boots. We came back to my place and picked up the food we were donating to the food bank and our big blanket and headed for the train. We stopped at the grocery store first so we could pick up some picnic items. Off to the train. Two stops later we were downtown and in line at Tim Horton's for the rest of our picnic items - extra chees sandwich for Rae, ham & cheese for Lexi and a BLT for Xavier and I. We each had our own box of Timbits. Now we were all set. We just had to find the perfect spot to set up for the parade. Xavier found it. He likes to sit on the curb in front of mailboxes and news stands. This way he has something to lean up against and no one from behind can kick him. We ate our picnic lunch and played eyespy while we waited for the big guy to arrive.
Something happened while we waited. This proves I have the most wonderful grandchildren. The food bank folks came buy looking for cash donations. Xavier stood up and took his small bank from his pocket. He had brought his money so we could go to the store but instead and walked right up to the ladies and said "I would like to give you all my money." He had $2.52. I felt my heart swell a bit. The parade started. As they made their way past us, a number of participants would throw candy canes, chocolates, stickers and in a couple of cases, toys, to the children in the crowd. My wee man would scoop them up and make sure that his sisters each had one and then one for himself and then he turned to the children in the crowd behind him who were too far away to get their own, and he would hand out everything else. Rae and Lexi took notice and they too started to ensure the children around them had treats as well. My chest swelled with pride.
The children fell asleep on the way home to their parents home. It had been a full day and they had behaved so well even as we made our way through the crowds of 300,000 to the train ride home.
By the time I returned home that night exhaustion hit me upside the head like a hammer. I had not had enough time to recoup after that trip from hell. It has been most difficult today just trying to stay awake.
Tomorrow I am off on another road trip. This time it is only 2 days and then I think that is it until the new year. However, I have a new rule....NO MORE FLYING EAST AFTER SEPTEMBER 30th.
Well, as you can see I have paid a hefty price for being so happy the weekend before. However, if this is the price for having such a cool birthday, then I am prepared to pay. However, going forward I will be careful to hide my grin.
These two pictures are of the kids at the parade.
Stay tuned....I am sure there is more to come.