Not To Be Trusted With Knives

And now the conclusion of our harrowing tale of trying to fly on US Airways.  When we last left the story, our heroine and hero had spent SEVEN hours waiting in the San Jose del Cabos airport, been flown to Tuscon to walk through Immigration/Customs only to find out their luggage had been lost, then flown to Phoenix where they were put up in a hotel and given coupons for a horrible, horrible breakfast.

So.  Comparatively speaking, our flight from Phoenix to Vancouver was not nearly as bad, but still involved the following screw ups:

  • The pilot went to the wrong gate. Seriously. We were originally supposed to be at Gate B28 and then they announced that it was changed to Gate A23, so everyone started to walk over to the new gate. But then the person on the PA system said, “Wait. The pilot appears to have gone to Gate B23 instead of A23, so we’ll just have your flight to Vancouver board there.”  The fact that the pilot can’t even go to the correct gate does not give me confidence in the competence of this airline.  Not that I had much confidence left in them at this point.
  • Yet another maintenance “issue.” We were delayed an hour at the gate because, apparently, the maintenance people didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly.  The pilot announced, in a very annoyed tone of voice, “Maintenance has to come on the plane to straighten out some paperwork.  The TSA is really picky about having paperwork filled out correctly.” Oh yeah, those darn safety people wanting you take the safety seriously, how dare they?  I also find it rather suspect that it took them an hour to “straighten out the paperwork.” An hour? Really? Again, this did not fill me with confidence.
  • They didn’t have anyone at the lost baggage desk at YVR. They had lost baggage there – plenty of it.  Just sitting out in the open where anyone could have walked away with it.  We waited for 20 minutes for someone to show up.  We called their support line and the person we got on the phone tried calling someone to figure out why no one was at the desk, and then claimed that they couldn’t make any outgoing calls when we suggested that they get the airport to page the missing lost baggage person (you may recall from earlier in this sentence, they had already made an outgoing call).
  • They left forms with people’s confidential information on it sitting right out on the desk for anyone to see. Seriously. I saw six forms with people’s names, home addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, flight information, signatures and the approximate value of the contents of their lost luggage1. Eventually, someone showed up at the American Airlines desk next to the US Airways one and, after repeatedly telling us “I don’t work for US Airways. I don’t know what the other airlines do,” looked behind the counter and found our luggage, which apparently had been put on an earlier flight to Vancouver than us.  The person from American Airlines refused to put the forms with people’s confidential information out of sight, despite the fact that I asked her to do so very nicely three times, again with the “I don’t know what the other airlines do” line. Like, seriously, would it have been that hard to take the forms and put them under the desk?  At that point, I gave up on the whole thing and we left the airport, finally home in our beloved Vancouver.

So, to recap, here is a list of all the ways that US Airways screwed up on one trip:

  • FOUR planes with “maintenance issues,” including two that were unfit to fly altogether
  • a total of ELEVEN hours of delay2 (not counting the two hours delay waiting to leave Vancouver, which was due to weather (i.e., the need to wait for the de-icer), which is not their fault; and also not counting an overnight stay in Phoenix, which was their fault3)
  • They lost our luggage
  • They don’t have a person at their lost luggage desk
  • When luggage does eventually arrive at its final destination, they leave it out in the open where anyone could steal it
  • They left several people’s confidential information out in the open, also available for stealing

Additional things that suck about US Airways:

  • They charge you if you have ANY checked bags.
  • They charge you for a can of pop or a bottle of water on the plane.
  • They don’t have any food at all on their plane. Not even the over-priced crappy sandwiches or bags of chips that other airlines carry.

In conclusion, I will never, ever fly US Airways again and you shouldn’t either.  I feel lucky to have arrived home alive after that trip, quite frankly.

1In fairness, this desk was also for a few other airlines and there were forms from people who flew on Air Transat & Continental sitting on the desk as well. So whoever had been at that desk for all those airlines totally sucks. And I bet it was a US Airways employee.
2One hour of them fixing our plane in Phoenix, waiting to go to Cabos; seven hours waiting for our plane in Cabos as they had to replace two non-functional planes in a row; about a two hour detour to Tucson because our flight was so late that we couldn’t clear Immigration in Phoenix; one hour of them “straightening up the paperwork” waiting to leave Phoenix to get to Vancouver; plus having to stay overnight in Phoenix
3Ironically, the only flight segment of our entire journey that didn’t have a delay was our originally scheduled Phoenix to Vancouver flight, which we missed because we were still in Cabos. It left Phoenix right on time.

{December 29, 2008}   OMGIhateUSAirways!

So. I’m in friggin’ Phoenix.

After waiting for SEVEN hours in the San Jose del Cabo airport, we *finally* got a flight to Phoenix. Most people on the flight had bailed by this point, with only 17 passengers remaining to take the flight. This was an Airbus A320 plane, which seats 179 passangers, and it had been full. Until we had to wait SEVEN hours.

By this point,we were kind of starving. Because, of course, everything in the airport had closed down. And we asked the flight attendant what there was on the plane that we could buy and she said, “Oh, we don’t carry any food.” (US Airways, by the way, sucks.) Um, what? No food on the plane? I remember from the flight down to Cabos that you have to pay for your lousy can of pop (did I mention that US Airways sucks?), but you can’t even buy food on their plane? wtf? Then we asked what kind of mechanical problems they had that had delayed us for SEVEN hours and the flight attendants said, “Which one?” Apparently there were two non-functional planes (the first one wouldn’t pressurize, the second had some door locking problem) before they got this third, functional plane. So, counting the mechanical problem on the way from Phoenix to Cabos (which caused a few hours delay), that’s THREE major maintenance issues in one trip. Somehow,this does not give me confidence in their ability to maintain their planes.

The next ridiculous thing to happen was that they announced that we had to fly to Tucson to clear customs before we could go to Phoenix. Wait, what? Apparently, our flight was so late that the Phoenix customs people had all gone home. So we had to go to Tucson (which has 24 hour customs), get off the plane with all our luggage, clear customs, go back through security, get back on the plane and fly to Phoenix. No, really. And then we get to Tuscon and find that they have lost our luggage. Lost. Our. Luggage. They had SEVEN hours to get our luggage on that plane. SEVEN! (Did I mention that US Airways is the suckiest airline ever? Did I?) I have never, in my entire life, had my luggage lost. I was starting to think that lost luggage was just a myth. But no, US Airways lost our luggage. Way to go, US Airways!

Once we got to Phoenix, they put us up in a hotel (14 of the 17 people from our flight were on the shuttle to the hotel) and gave us little coupons for their horrible hotel breakfast buffet. And I’m not even making this up, the coupon said it was for an airline “distressed” passenger breakfast.

OK, I’ll have to continue this story later, as I need to go board my plane. Keep your fingers crossed for us to actually make it home before 2009!

{December 28, 2008}   Mi Navidad Mexicana

My Christmas vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico went a little something like this:

10:45 a.m. Wake up1.
10:55 a.m. Arrive at breakfast buffet restaurant.  Acquire coffee, refried beans, papaya and pineapple. Big decision of the day #1: French toast, omelette or fried eggs.
11:30 a.m. Grab beach towels. Apply sunscreen. Order non-stop delivery of Coca-Cola Light2 with a slice of lime from poolside server.
11:35a.m. Lay in sun. Alternate between reading, chatting with people and swimming. Reapply sunscreen as needed.
2:00 p.m. Have lunch, where lunch = french fries, onion rings, nachos with fresh guac and salsa.  And Coca-Cola Light.
2:30 p.m. Tod’s naptime. Big decision of the day #2: Decide between having a nap, reading, or going for a walk on the beach.
5:00 p.m. Nap (if not already napping)
6:30 p.m. Shower.  Dress up pretty.
8:00 p.m. Big decision of the day #3: where to have dinner.
10:30 p.m. Go to the disco, possibly followed by hot tub.
2:00 a.m. Order sandwiches from room service.
2:45 a.m. Re-order sandwich because they put bacon on my vegetarian sandwich.
3:15 a.m. Sleep.

Repeat for six days.

Seriously, I could get used to a life like that.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Los Cabos is gorgeous. Gorgeous!
  • The people we met were very friendly. Friendly!
  • Being a Vancouverite, I’m not used to sunshine, especially not in December.  Los Cabos was sunshine-y almost the entire time.
  • In Los Cabos, I didn’t have to think about work at all.
  • Standing on the beach, listening to the waves break3 and feeling myself sink into the sand as the waves rolled in and then back out.
  • 3 a.m. room service sandwiches. So. Tasty.

Lowlights of the trip:

  • Apparently, I’m the first vegetarian to ever set foot in Mexico.  To the point that on Christmas Eve, I was told that they couldn’t make me anything for dinner. After talking with one of the guest services peeps (who said, “Oh, would you like them to make you something special?” to which I replied, “No4, I just want something vegetarian!”) they agreed to make me… a salad. Because, you know, us freaks only ever eat salad. And who wouldn’t want a salad for Christmas dinner? In the end, I  managed to convince them to give me both the salad and a turkey dinner, hold the turkey.
  • Sitting in the San Jose del Cabos airport writing this blog posting. Our flight was supposed to have left 5:30 p.m. and it’s now, as I type this, 8:30 p.m.  The plane we were supposed to be on hadn’t even left Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. And apparently they can’t get us any other plane. And so now we are scheduled to leave here at 9:20 p.m. Which is going to make it rather difficult to make our 8:59 p.m. connection from Phoenix to Vancouver. So. Looks like I’ll be staying either in Phoenix (given that the 8:59 p.m. is the last Phoenix to Vancouver flight of the day) or here in Cabos5 (if this stupid plane decides never to arrive).

Books Read on This Trip:

  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (start to finish)6
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (about one-third of the book)
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (about half a page)
  • Research Design by Creswell (the chapters I hadn’t yet read) and Conducting & Reading Research in Health & Human Performance by Baumgartner & Hensley (bits and pieces – since I’ve been stuck in this airport)

Things I Learned On My Trip:

  • Spray on sunscreen, which starts out invisible, turns green. The towel you lay on while wearing said sunscreen will look like it has grass stains on it.
  • Coffee whitener is highly flammable7.
  • Broken bones don’t hurt until you move them8.
  • Los Cabos airport appears to be a tent.

1Important, as they stop serving breakfast at 11 a.m.
2Which is what they call Diet Coke in Mexico. I didn’t see diet Pepsi anywhere.
3Of course, being a Vancouverite, I can easily get to the ocean. This was a reminder that I should make a point of doing so more often.
4Seriously. I’m not asking for the moon here. I’m like, “just give me the veggies from the turkey dinner, hold the turkey!”
5Kicking myself for joking in my last blog posting about deciding to stay in Mexico. Staying sounded nice, but not if it means staying in the airport!
6Thanks to Sarah & Dave, who gave this to me for Christmas.
7Didn’t actually have the opportunity to see this in action, but we were assured that it is true.
8Didn’t learn this firsthand, but one of the people we were hanging out with broken his toe playing beach volleyball. I was sure it was just dislocated, given that it didn’t hurt and bones have lots of nerves in them. But when the doctor showed up, he said it was broken (as he was able to move the joints normally, meaning the joints couldn’t be dislocated) and that it didn’t hurt because it wasn’t moving.

{December 19, 2008}   ‘Tis the season…

…to receive.  I mean to give. And receive.

OK, I have to admit that I’m a bit of a child when it comes to getting presents.  I can’t help it – I love ripping open wrapping paper to see what someone’s given me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely selfish. I love buying presents for other people (especially when I find just the most perfect thing that I know they will love!). But if we didn’t like getting presents, wouldn’t there be no joy for the giver of the gift?  OK, enough with the rationalization. On with the prezzies.

Kalev and I exchanged gifts earlier this week, since I’m going to be gone to Mexico soon.  In addition to the last installment of Y: The Last Man, all the prior installments of which he’s given me previously and the story of which I’m just dying to find out how it ends, he got me a Quatchi hoodie:

IMG_4422 by you.

As you know, Quatchi is my favourite of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic mascots.  Inexplicably, they don’t make adult-sized clothing with Olympic mascots on them1, so Kalev had to get me a child-sized hoodie:

IMG_4425 by you.

Good thing I’m child-sized, because this totally fits me. And it’s cosy and warm!

I think the best thing about the hoodie is that inside the hood is lined with pictures of all the mascots playing winter sports:

IMG_4426 by you.

Look, there they are playing hockey!  And Quatchi is the goalie!

IMG_4429 by you.

In other present-related news, I also received this package in the mail from my parents:

IMG_4431 by you.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Luongo card is from my dad.

I know of two other packages that are winging their way towards me, but which I’ll just have to wait until I get back to open, as I leave on Monday first thing in the morning.

And then there’s the best gift of all… a trip to Mexico!

In conclusion, I’m spoiled.

1Adults can too like Quatchi!

{May 18, 2008}  

Wrote this last night, but then the crappy hotel wifi wigged out, so I couldn’t post it. So here it is now:

Hey y’all.

Just wanted to let ya know that I have not, in fact, died. I’ve just been in Kelowna. As you may recall, my hockey team qualified for provincials in Kelowna. So, ya, that’s where I am. And, despite the fact that our team name is the “Blazing Blades,” we are listed on the schedule as the “Blazing Bisons.” ‘Cuz that makes sense.

Why do we always go to places with 30+ degree weather to play hockey? ‘Cuz that’s the way we roll.

I’d love to tell you the scores of our games so far but you know what they say, “What happens in Kelowna, stays in Kelowna.” (I’m sure someone says that.) Suffice it to say, we’ve come in second in both our games.

Other highlights of the trip so far include:

  • a $10 block of 3 -year-old cheese
  • a very long cucumber
  • conversations about gay porn

{April 7, 2008}   Hockey in Sin City

Just got in from Vegas. Typed up the following on the plane, posting it and now going to fall into my bed:

Typing this out on my Palm Treo 1on the plane home from my hockey tournament in Vegas. Yup, that’s where I disappeared to. Figured the blogosphere could survive a few days without me. Also, wasn’t organized enough to be ready to leave on Thursday with enough time to write a blog posting before I left. Hope no one was *too* worried about me.

We were about a half an hour late leaving Vegas because, according to the captain, they “didn’t expect all this sports equipment and now the centre of gravity is off, so we need to fix it.” At first they said they were going to move the luggage around2, but then they decided to load an extra 1000 lbs of fuel into the auxillary tank to balance out the plane3. They said that was easier than moving luggage4 and passengers around. Also, the flight attendant is drunk5.

I’d love to tell you about the hockey tournament itself, but you know the rule: hockey scores that happen in Vegas, stay in Vegas. Let’s just say we had a perfect record in our 3 games. On a totally unrelated topic, if you would like to win hockey games, I don’t recommend passing a 40 around the dressing room immediately before the game, especially if half your team didn’t go to bed the night before. Likewise, sitting in a parking lot drinking in the desert sun for 5 hours between games, also not a good strategy. I’m just sayin’.

OK, my thumbs are getting sore from typing this out on my tiny Treo keyboard and I’m missing out on some prime napping time here, so I’ll have to regale you with further tales of a hockey team in Sin City tomorrow when I’m home.

1Note to self: buy full-sized keyboard that attaches to Treo for typing anything longer than 140 characters.
2Um, didn’t they see the 10 hockey bags *before* they loaded the luggage? Did it not occur to them that perhaps they should have loaded them on in balanced fashion *when* they were loading them onto the plane?
3Because, you know, who doesn’t love flying around with an extra 1000 lbs of highly flammable and explosive jet fuel?
4Not sure how they would move passengers around when the plane is full. What are they going to say “Skinny passengers to the right, fat people to the left”?
5We don’t know for sure that she’s drunk, but she sounds like she is. I’m pretty sure she just told us that the cabin air had been pasteurized.

{February 18, 2008}   Hockey Update

Last night was my fourth last hockey game of the regular season. With a record of 19-2, and the second place team at 13-7, we’ve clinched first place. Which means we get to play the 6th, 4th and 5th place teams, in that order, for the playoffs. Assuming we win those, we play in the playoff final game, the winner of which gets to go to provincials in Kelowna on the May long weekend. So, in the space of three months, if we win the playoffs, I’ll get three hockey-filled weekends!1

  • March 14-16 – League Playoffs
  • April 4-6 – Vegas Tournament
  • May long weekend – Provincials in Kelowna (if we make it)

And at some point during that three months, the spring season starts. If we have enough players who want to play, we’ll be putting together a team. If not, there’s a chance to join up with a team in Maple Ridge for the summer, but I’m really hoping we have enough to play in Coquitlam, because it’s back enough driving to the Coq once a week, and I’m not sure I want to drive all the way to the Ridge!

In other exciting hockey news, we are getting team jackets! With our logo & jersey numbers! How sweet are we going to look when we show up to our Vegas Tournament and (hopefully) provincials in team jackets! Props to AW Fireguard, our team sponsor, who not only paid for our jerseys, but is also paying for half the cost of our jackets. Thanks, AW Fireguard!

In tangentially-related-to-hockey news2, the word on the street is that boys like when girls wear their hair in pigtails. So I thought I’d post a photo of my hockey braids. I usually put my hair up in braids because it keeps my hair out of my way when I’m playing. Plus it keeps my hair from being a total rats’ nest, which is what would happen if I went with non-braided pigtails. Also, it’s kind of cute. I don’t know at what point one goes from being cute in braids to oh-my-god-that-old-lady-is-trying-way-too-hard-to-look-young in braids, but I think I still have a few braid years left in me.

1Kalev, you can keep your anti-hockey comments to yourself =P
2In exciting non-hockey news, I just discovered that I can put the SD card from my camera directly into my laptop. And all this time I’d been using a card reader to plug my SD card into my laptop!

{October 9, 2007}   Limpy

So apparently you really are supposed to train for a half marathon.

Yes, once upon a time, I registered to run the half at the Royal Victoria Marathon under the mistaken assumptions that:

(a) registering and (b) announcing to the blogosphere that I have registered should be sufficient motivation to get me up off my butt and back into running.

Note to self: the above assumptions are incorrect. Two weddings (and all the associated events), a softball league, wisdom teeth extraction and my general delinquency this summer all combined to give me sufficient excuses to not train adequately. And by “adequately” I mean “at all.” But I registered, dammit, and I was going to run come hell or high water.

Another incorrect assumption was my belief that carrying one’s CareCard with them during events in which they have the potential to become injured will protect them from injury. As it turns out, carrying one’s CareCard only prevents injuries of the severity that require use of said CareCard. Injuries that don’t quite require medical attention are fair game.

Also, when someone says something like “If you injure a foot, Beth, make sure it’s the left one. I’ve injured my right foot, so if you injure your left, we can drive Lauren’s car together – you on the gas and me on the clutch – if Lauren happens to injure herself” is just tempting fate.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First things first. I should tell you about how we were 15 minutes late starting the race. There were 6 of us staying at my old roommie1 Dani’s new place in Victoria. Another lesson learned on this trip: 30 minutes is not nearly enough time to get 6 people up, dressed, fed and out the door for a race. But the time we arrived, the start line looked like this:


Just a few volunteers standing around. The thousands of people running the half marathon – long gone.

Figuring “thank goodness for chip time!” we took a quick photo and headed out:

Jo, Dani, Sheila, me, Lauren & Tim.

Well, Dani and I headed out. Tim went in search of the bag check to leave his jacket before he started, Jo and Sheila, who were going to run the 8K2 rather than the half marathon went in search of its start line and Lauren, who ran the full marathon which didn’t start for another 45 minutes, went with J & S. We ran 3 km before we caught up with the slowest of the half marathon walkers, that’s how far behind we were. And we were reported by the cops… as we ran past one of the cops stationed along the route to control traffic we heard him say into his walkie-talkie “10-4, I’ve got two runners coming along here.” I said to Dani, “They are onto us! Quick, run!” Hee hee.. running humour.

Around about the time we caught up with the walkers, I told Dani to go on ahead of me. I’m not nearly as fast as her and knew if I continued to try to keep up with her, it would spell trouble, so she went off on her way and I continued to run at my slower pace. The route was very pretty, going through Beacon Hill and then out at a road along the water. My body started to realized that I was really, truly going to make it keep running and, for a while, seemed OK with this decision. Then a pain showed up in my left foot, but it decided to try out my right foot to see if it preferred that location, and next transferred itself to both my knees simultaneously, followed by my lower back. A slight headache showed up, but I’m pretty sure that was because they had very poorly spaced water stations and I was getting a bit dehydrated. I grabbed two cups of water at the next water station, and then found there there was another water station very soon after. Weird. Finally, the pain decided it liked my left foot best out of all the places it had tried out and took up permanent residence there. At first I figured it would go away as it had before and kept running. When it firmly stood its ground, I decided that perhaps a 2 minute walk (instead of my usual 1 min walk for every 10 minutes of running) would help. It did not. Finally, around about the 15 km mark I asked myself, “Is it worth continuing to run on this foot that is clearly unhappy about being run on and risking a more serious injury that could put you out of hockey?” Once I phrased it that way, I knew what I had to do. I had to walk, or rather limp, the last 6 km of the race. After all, any form of exercise that isn’t hockey is just off-ice conditioning, in my opinion. And so I limped. And limped. And limped. I limped so much that my right hip and ankle started to hurt from overcompensation. And yet I continued to limp. Because really, what else are you going to do? I certainly wasn’t injured enough to stop at the medical stop (although I did think about it) and I had to get to the finish line, where my friends would be waiting for me.

As I continued on my way, I started to resent the volunteers who were positive, cheering on the runners and walkers with a “good job!” When I ran the Vancouver half, I found these cheers to be really motivating, but as I limped along, berating myself for not having trained more, all I could think is “You people are so insincere! I’m not doing a good job! I’m doing a terrible job!!” A few volunteers along the way did seem to notice my limp and the grimace that I’m sure was on my face and gave me a sympathetic smile and that was muchly appreciated.

In the end, I hobbled over the finish line, got my medal and, surprisingly, found my friends who had finished a half hour before me. And that was the end of the race I never should have run!

My plan now, as I sit here icing my feet4, is to take a small break from running. I may do the occasional run if the mood strikes me once my feet are healed, but winter is time to focus on hockey and skiing. Come the new year, I’ll start thinking about the Scotiabank half marathon, which happens in June. But I’m going to train for it. No really, I’ve learned my lesson!

1Firefox’s spellcheck tells me that “roommie” is not a word, but suggests that I actually mean “commie” here.
2I say “were going to” because they didn’t, in the end, get to run. As it turns out, the start line for the 8K (which started at the same time as the half) was already taken down by this point.
4I’m icing my left foot, which was the main injury, and my right ankle, which feels strained from having limped on it for 6 km, as well as everywhere else I’ve had to walk since then. My feet are the thermostat to my body however, so making them cold is making the rest of me cold too, despite being in my warm bed with two blankets and a warm laptop on top of me!

4 intrepid young women.



Drive 230 km.

To buy 7 pairs of shoes.

50 points to the first person who correctly identifies which 2 of these are mine.

1for a recounting of what happens in Seattle when I don’t avoid the 151, see here.

{April 14, 2007}  

In my continuing efforts to disparage all things Calgarian*, I would like to point out one of their many grammatical errors:

I would love to stay and chat, but there is playoff hockey to go and watch! Don’t wait up!

*I would also like to point out that the Blogger spellchecker’s suggestion for Calgarian was “Vulgarian.”

{April 10, 2007}   The Badlands

Yesterday, we went to the Badlands. They were wickedly cool. They also have the richest museum EVER!

Here is a picture of the Albertasaurus:

Like most Albertans, it’s a carnivore and kind of an a-hole.

This one is of another dinosaur, I think it’s called a Vancouversaurus.

It’s a tree hugger.

{April 9, 2007}   Weekend in the Mountains

Since every Calgarian that we have asked, “hey, what’s good to do around here?” has told us (a) “you should come here during Stampede in July!”, or (b) “um, leave Calgary”, we decided to take them up on option (b) and spent the last two days in the mountains. We visited a number of places, including Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise in Alberta and Field & Golden in BC.

This is the view outside the hostel we slept at last night, in Field, BC:

And this was a stop sign we saw in Golden, BC:

So, yesterday I was supposed to have a teleconference for work*. After re-confirming 16 times that Pacific Time is one hour behind Mountain Time, not after it**, and sorting out the whole issue that Justin doesn’t actually have a landline (i.e., borrowing his cell phone instead and being very apologetic for using up all his minutes), I skipped out at the end of lunch just before 4 pm*** (the scheduled time of the call), leaving Sarah, Dave and Justin in the restaurant to go sit in Justin’s car with the cell phone to make my call. There was only one slight problem with this plan – the car was gone. Apparently we had parked at ~3 pm on a street where there is no parking between 3:30-6:30 pm. We’d parked at a meter and none of us had noticed the sign informing us of this salient fact. So I go running back up the street to tell S, D & J that the car is gone and that I would be across the street in the coffee shop doing my teleconference. I managed to call into the conference line and, fortunately, despite calling in at 4:02 pm, no one else was yet there****. When the first person logs in, she informs me that the cell phone is totally breaking up and that I should really get on a landline. I inform her that the person I’m staying with doesn’t have one, but I could go outside to the pay phone. Yes, outside in the -10 degree weather for what could potentially be an hour long conference call. So outside I go, forced to abandon the $2 coffee I’d just bought so that I could stay in the coffee shop*****. However, by the time I got outside and across the road, we discovered that half the people on the call didn’t, for various reasons, have the materials I’d couriered to them before I left, so we need to re-schedule the meeting for next week. Of course, I was secretly glad for this, because I really didn’t relish the idea of staying outside on a payphone for an hour in the freakin’ snow (!), although it does mean that I’ll have to do some emailing to re-arrange the meeting. But at least I will be able to call in from the comfort of my own office, where it is warm and toasty and I have a view of the beautiful mountains and there is no snow******. By the time I got off the call, Justin had confirmed that his car had, in fact, been towed and he and Dave were going to make the trek to the impound lot, while Sarah and I would trek back to Justin’s apartment. I, without my touque, which I had left in the now impounded car, was not terribly happy about this development. However, we made it back, and Justin got his car out of impound******* and then all was right with the world. And later on in the night, at a bar on the Red Mile, we watched the Flames lose to the San Jose Sharks and all was even more right with the world. Except for the lack of hot boys in this city. Every second girl you see in this city looks like a model, every guy appears to be 5 ft 1 or shorter. I did see one hot boy at The Mynt******** last night, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t from here.

Also, check out Dave’s blog to learn “More Things You Didn’t Know About Calgary

*Yes, I’m working on my vacation. I’m *that* dedicated. Wait, I’m taking vacation one month into my new job… OK, maybe not so dedicated after all.

**On the plane ride her, I switched my watch back an hour instead of forward an hour and couldn’t figure out why it was so dark at 7:30 p.m. when we were landing.

***Yes, we have lunch at 3 pm. So?

****Since I was the one coordinating the meeting, I didn’t want to be late.

*****As I’d left my travel mug in the now towed car, I’d got my coffee in a to-stay mug and didn’t think they’d appreciate if I took it out of the shop.

******in my office. There will probably still be snow on the mountains.

********Not to be mistaken for Gay Mynt Belfast, starring Titti von Tramp. Because I’m pretty sure that’s illegal here in Cal-gary.

Start of our second full day in Calgary. Yes, we start our day at 11:35 am – do you have a problem with that? Actually, we’ve been up for a little while, feeding our Facebook addictions* and drinking tea and eating brekkie.

Oh ya, so Calgary has totally turned me into an environment-destroying monster. Yesterday when Dave and Justin went out to get us coffee, I forgot to give them my travel mug, so I used my first paper cup of the Roll Up the Rim to Win season**. And today I used the oven (as in the real, full-sized oven) to toast my English muffin. Before you know it I will be driving a stretch SUV.

As for the title of this post, I think you can guess what this means. It’s not called Cowtown for nothing, folks. But it’s OK, we went to Safeway and bought a bunch o’ food. Here’s a pic of the fridge when we’d been to the liquor store, but not yet the grocery store. See if you can spot the food in this fridge***:

Also, be sure to check out Dave‘s list of “things you didn’t know about Cowtown” – I’m sure you will find it insightful and informative. Especially the stuff about the boot stores.

*Except Justin, who thinks that all this computer stuff is anti-social and why aren’t we all just using messenger pigeons for communication and listening to records?

**For the record, I Rolled Up the Rim to Not Win.

***It’s sort of like “Where’s Waldo”.

{April 4, 2007}   Cowtown

We our now in Calgary! I’m typing this on stolen wireless – there are about 15 unsecured wireless networks that I can detected in the friend’s place where we are staying! Go “default”!

When Sarah and I got to the airport, we were both pretty hungry, but the Timmy Ho’s before you pass security didn’t appear to make sandwiches, so we figured we’d go to the Timmy Ho’s that we know is past security instead. Which turned out to not be open. It was like 6 pm. ‘cuz no one goes to the airport after 6 pm, right? Our dinner instead: half a bag of jalapeno chips and a king-sized peanut butter cup each. I’m pretty sure that fits nicely into the food guide, right?

Our flight was uneventful, except for the fact that once we got here, our plane had to sit on the tarmac for about 20 minutes because our ground crew was de-icing some other plane. And we both really, really had to pee, but we were supposed to “remained seated with your seat belt fastened.” Sarah finally gave up waiting and went to the bathroom on the plane… and that’s when the plane finally drove the 2 ft to the gate.

When we finally got off the plane, we discovered (a) Dave‘s plane was delayed, so he wouldn’t be there for another an hour and a half, (b) they have temperatures in the minus here and (c) you don’t actually have to pay for parking at the airport. Apparently there are lots of things you don’t have to pay for in Calgary… parking at the airport, taking transit within the downtown core, cable TV. They have so much freaking money in this province, they don’t know what to do with it. They do not, however, appear to have any vegetables here.

et cetera