So, I arrived home on a sunny Sunday afternoon to see signs all over my street saying that for the rest of the week, starting Monday, I could not park there. There was no exact time given so I believed that I could park overnight and just move it when I went to work in the morning. Seems a lot of folks on my street thought the same thing. Round about 6:30am, through my open bedroom window, I heard that sickening sound that every driver knows - the sound of a winch on a tow truck lifting your wheels off the ground. I bolted from my bed and grabbed the car keys I keep on a hook by the door and ran outside. I almost melted with relief when I discovered it was not my vehicle - yet. I quickly hopped into the drivers seat and figured I would just move it quickly and quietly into my parking garage. Turns out everyone and their dog also decided to park there and I could not get into my assigned spot. I had to tour the neighborhood looking for a place to rest my behemouth of a car until I left for work in about 90 minutes. I felt lucky and found a spot just a block and a 1/2 away. I parked and as soon as I swung my legs out and they hit pavement it dawned on me. In my rush I was barefoot and looking down, still in my nightie. My pink satin nighty no less. I had no choice, I had to make a dash for it back to my house. How many people would really be on the street at that time of day? Turns out everyone within a ten mile radius who owns a dog is out at that time of day. I did the only thing I could - I kept my head down and bobbed in and out of the shrubbery as I hastily made my way home. By the time I made it back I had to spend 10 minutes just picking leaves and flower crap off me. Great way to start the week.
Fast forward now to Ottawa. The problem with going east is that your whole day is shot to hell. I left my house on Sunday at 8:30am. After my usual body search and drug testing of my laptop, I got on the plane at 10:am. I arrived at my hotel in downtown Ottawa at 7:30pm (eastern idiot time). The cab driver held my luggage hostage after his machine would not take my credit card. I tried to explain to him that it was the machine and not my card as the reader kept stating "Error - host connection". He said, and I will use direct quotes here "You are wasting my time. Not my machine. You might be deadbeat. I have been using this all day no problem." If you know me at all you will most likely know the type of response I came back with.
After suggesting alternate locations for his machine, some of which would require surgery for removal, the Bellman opened the cab door, understood the issue and said he would pay my fare while I checked in if it still didn't work, if the cabbie would get out of the car and try his machine out in the open one more time. Well, it worked. However, there was further interaction even after he got paid:
Dumbass cabbie - "You are great waste of time. I could have had 3 fares in the amount of time you wasted. You woman too much trouble than you are worth"
Me: "well, aren't you just a bundle of joy. Your mother must be so proud of you."
DAC: " F*** Off
Bellman: " Please leave the area at once. We have recorded your vehicle registration and you are now banned from any pick-ups or drop offs to our hotel."
Bellman: "Please, let me help you and accept my apologies on behalf of the Westin hotel and the country in general."
I raced to my room to change so that I could attend the opening reception to the conference where I was to mix and mingle with all my peeps. I was starving and very late. I made my way to the shortest line, which happened to be the pasta bar. I don't know what it was but it tasted good. My shirt thought so too. 5 minutes into my entrance and I was forced to return to my room to change. yeesh!
Overall the conference was fine and the folks at the hotel treated me very nicely - even when I locked myself out 3 times. Turns out, you cannot put your room card anywhere near your blackberry or it will erase itself. I am a slow learner.
I had some time off so made my way to the parliament buildings (I have a couple of pics for you). They are really very beautiful - even with the protestors and the police presence. After going though the first screening I made my way to the House of Commons to watch some of the action. You must go through a second set of scanning machines and they take your purse and phone away from you. I warned the guard that I had $6 in there and it better be there when I return because one of my coins was a brand new toonie and I was saving that for gum. I got an extra pat down. Not sure if he just liked me or if he thought I was mouthy. Guess I will never know.
I have to say, I was thoroughly disgusted. There were only a few members present along with the Speaker of House. Of those present, one woman was reading a newspaper, 2 were doing crosswords, one was knitting and three were using their handheld devices. People just got up and left as others were speaking. Our tax dollars at work. Managed to enjoy myself anyway.
On the final night of the conference, we were treated to a dress-up affair at the Museum of Natural History (I think that was the name). We hopped on buses and 10 minutes later we pulled up to our venue and hurried inside out of the cold. I was puzzled at first that all the signage was french first instead of the standard english then french. Then I looked out the window and saw the backside of the Parliament buildings. It dawned on me then that I was not in Kansas anymore. I didn't have a visitors visa or my passport with me and yet somehow, I landed in Quebec. It was very surreal. I thought I would never actually be allowed into that province given my rather vocal opinions on separation issues. Ahh well, it was a very nice evening and the museum is really something worth seeing. Just don't wear heels like I did otherwise you will find yourself sitting in the lap of Tecumseh (?) in the middle of an exhibit with everyone laughing.
I made it back to the airport for my flight home. After obtaining my self-service baggage tags, I was directed by an Air Canada employee to the line to drop off my suitcase. There were only 3 people working. I stood there long enough to read 2 full chapters in my book and answer about 6 emails. I finally made it to the front and over to a young woman standing under a sign that says "Baggage Drop Off". I gave her my boarding pass and as I was hefting my bag onto the moving beltway, she shut it down.
AirCanada dumbass: "I am sorry, you need to go to that other line"
ME: " Scuse me? You are baggage drop off yes? I was directed here"
ACDA: "I am just helping out because it is a long line"
ME: "I am well aware of the length of the line to which I was directed to wait so that I might end up at your booth for BAGGAGE DROP OFF"
ACDA: "Please go to the other line. I have other people to assist"
ME: "I need you to assist me. Please take my bag. My plane is boarding in 10 minutes"
ACDA: Silence....as she walked away
In the end, after waiting some more to drop off my bag, I could be seen flying like OJ through the airport to arrive just in time to be amongst the last to board my flight. After all that, you would think that they could leave on time. Personally, I think they were just waiting until the air inside the cabin was nice and ripe before taxing down the runway. As I mentioned earlier, I was seated beside the lovely garlic and farts couple. I spent a lot of time in the aisle and the bathroom for the next 5 1/2 hours.
Which brings me to today. I have a real love/hate relationship with IT as many of you are aware. I have been with this company 1 year now and I am on my third blackberry and second laptop. I spent the majority of my day dealing, in equal parts, with our head office IT department and Rogers - providers of my blackberry service. It is now 5:45 and I gave up. I just simply do not care anymore. I think at one point I was actually crying to Rogers (like they care) as I tried, valiantly I might add, to get this new BB to work. All to no avail. I am BB less this weekend and will probably suffer severe anxiety and depression along with cold sweats and heart palpatations. You will know if I survived the weekend by my next posting.