Saturday, June 4, 2011

Laugh Or Go Postal

Have you ever had one of those surreal days where so many things go wrong you either have to laugh or “go postal”? Today was one of those days and at the risk of turning this into a manic rant or epic whine I decided to share some of the events with you.
                My day starts in a Holiday Inn Express in Kamloops. I’m on my way to work at a trade show for the weekend (everyone’s dream job) and rather than hop on a two hour flight I’ve decided to drive the 1100 km through Canada’s breath-taking Rocky Mountains. I love this drive. The mountains are so awe inspiring and remind me how incredible God is. My car, the Impala, loves the drive because the steep inclines, sweeping curves and strategically placed passing lanes are perfect for its six cylinder, 3.8 L engine. It purrs along contentedly like our new four month old kitten, hugging every turn as tightly as a newly married couple. It’s such a pleasure to drive!
But back to the morning...since I drove for nine hours yesterday and have only four hours to go today I decide to sleep in. I set the alarm for 7:30 a.m., planning to be on the road by 9:00. There are two things wrong with this plan...
1) it’s June and the sun rises at 4:52 a.m. in Kamloops - the hotel doesn’t have blackout blinds
2) I entered a time zone that is an hour behind my home.
You see where I’m going with this? That’s right my body is programmed to wake up to light outside the window which at home happens around 6:30 a.m. except 6:30 a.m. is now 5:30. I stubbornly pull a pillow over my face and try to sleep but faced with a choice of suffocation by pillow or waking up, I choose the latter. After launching a guerilla attack on the free continental breakfast (an orange, scrambled eggs, pancakes, cinnamon bun and a tea) I roll outside to the car. The drive is uneventful; I listen to an audio book and marvel at the sight of never ending lush green forests clinging to the side of jagged mountain peaks.
Typically I work out at Curves three times per week and have learned when I travel I MUST head straight to Curves when I get into town. Once I my butt takes root in the hotel room I’m not leaving. The GPS guides me through the unfamiliar city to the address for’s not there. Crap! I do a search on the GPS and it helpfully tells me there’s one two km away.  I naively follow the directions from the GPS to the new Curves. OK, this is getting a little old now. I pull out my Blackberry (isn’t technology great), open the web browser and find another address with a phone number.  Let’s not be stupid about this. I call the number, but my cell phone provider (who shall remain nameless) tells me, “We’re sorry all circuits are busy, please try again later.” Perfect! I dial again, and again, and again and listen to the same message again, and again and...again. I give up and punch the address into the GPS, only five km away...fine! Off I go and you guessed Curves. By now I’ve wasted 45 minutes of my afternoon, and I think it’s going on 2:30 local time. I say “I think” because the day before my Blackberry automatically adjusted its time for the time zone but for some reason known only to the Blackberry software it bounced back to my original time zone this morning, which completely disorients me. I give up on the Curves workout and find lunch instead. Out of spite I order a greasy burger with sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo. Take that hips, thighs and waist! Better than ordering a potentially e-coli infested salad!
                I head to the conference hotel. It’s an old hotel on the corner of the Trans Canada highway in Abbotsford (can you say LOUD traffic). I stagger into the lobby, fighting to get my suitcase and computer bag through the non-automatic doors and check in. The clerk hands me my room key – I’m on the second floor. I glance around the elevator! I don’t travel light...never have, never will. I wrestle my expansion suitcase, computer bag containing two laptops and a bunch of paperwork, book bag containing a small library (just in case I have some spare time), grocery bag containing bottles of water and snacks and my purse (the smallest thing in the group) up the two flights of stairs to the second floor and down the hall to my room. A large sliding patio door faces the busy highway, perfect...noisy traffic all night, but that’s OK I travel with earplugs.  I walk over to the door to see if there's perhaps a sunny spot on the narrow balcony where I might bask with my book. The door opens easily...too easily. It won’t lock. OK, I’m on the second floor, doubtful that anyone is going to “Spiderman” up the building in the middle of the night and break into my unlatched door. Then I realize there’s an adjoining room sharing the same balcony. This is too much! There’s no way I’ll sleep knowing someone could coming blundering through my unlatched balcony door in the middle of the night. I walk down to the lobby, explain the situation to the front desk clerk and soon I’m wrestling all my worldly travelling belongings down the hall to another room.
                OK, time for a run on the treadmill. I know I say that as though it’s something I do often. Actually it’s something that I just decided to start this week. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had a sudden desire to start running (maybe it’s a way of learning discipline and perseverance). Whatever the case, I went for my first run (or feeble attempt) on Wednesday, the day before I chose to sit in a car and drive for nine hours. I was so stiff by the time I got out of that car on Thursday evening I thought I’d have to call 911 to come and lift me out in a permanently seated position. But I’m determined to keep going so I optimistically head for the fitness room. There are two treadmills, a TV and a stepper.  “Out of Order” signs hang mournfully from one treadmill and the stepper. The one working treadmill has a dire warning printed across it stating, “DO NOT USE THE INCLINE BUTTON”. No chance of that! I start the hunt for the television remote, lose the battle, turn it on manually, crank up the volume and start to jog on the treadmill.  I’m ramping up for a second ten minute stint of running when suddenly everything goes black! Lights go out, TV shuts off and the treadmill shuts down abruptly, sending me lurching forward like a drunk falling off a curb. I flail madly for an instance before clutching the bar in front of me. I stand there in disbelief. Seriously! Back to the front desk. The clerk tries resetting one circuit breaker to no avail, and then gets on the phone to Maintenance. It turns out the circuit breaker is located in the guest room outside the fitness room (don’t ask me why, I decided I didn’t want to know). She knocks on the door, it opens and she asks if she can come inside to look at the circuit breaker. A women’s voice says her husband is in the shower and  it’s not a good time. That’s it, I can’t take anymore!
It’s now 9:00 pm, I’ve had my run (outside), every muscle aches and I’m sure I’ll be walking like a 95-year-old tomorrow, if I’m walking at all. I’ve been obsessively saving this as I type because the way the day has gone my computer might decide to crash just to end the day on a high note!
                I know we all have days like this. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool and not lose it totally, but if you think about it, it’s really kind of funny. Next time you’re frustrated try seeing the humour in the situation. Anybody out there want to share some funny or frustrating travel experiences? Click on “comments” below.


dianehenders said...

I feel your pain! I've already whined enough about my bad hotel karma ( and travelling blues (, so all I'll say is that:
a) it must be hereditary; and
b) you've got it much worse than I do. Sorry.

Glad you can laugh - good luck with the rest of the trip. :-)

Carol Henders said...

Thanks Diane, yes we've travelled together and I know all about what happens when we get together on a road trip...not pretty!

Carol Henders said...

A quick update on the Curves's now Saturday morning, I found a Curves that did exist in Abbotsford. You know I had to ask, "How long has the other Curves been closed?" The girl working replied, "Oh they just closed last Saturday." That's right, I missed them by just one week!