Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Raining. And I'm OK With It.

I've got the windows open and there's a cross breeze blowing past me. I'm loving the sound of the rain and feeling a little bit at peace.

Which is not what I was feeling this morning.

I decided to go in to work today because the number of events that I plan in a calendar year, doubled overnight. And the newsletter needed to be sent off to the printers today. Invitations needed to be formatted. Ads needed to be placed. And the donation processing... well you get the picture. I'm important and busy.

Ha ha. SO not. So not important.
Just busy.
And loving it.

But before I left for the office, I needed to make one phone call to reserve some accomodations in the two cities I'll be visiting next week. The phone call? Was to RBC Rewards, because I am paying for this trip with points.

So, my first call was eventually answered by a real person after I jumped through voice mail hoops. I gave her my info, passed the security check, told her the arrival and departure dates for our first hotel and was put on hold. Where I remained for 20 minutes. Time passed quickly though, as they thoughtfully provide callers with music to listen to through the receiver that is smooshed up against that one ear. And then? After 20 minutes? A click. Then a dial tone.

I started the procedure over again, jumping through hoops and pressing for 1 for the services I require in a language I understand. It took about half and hour, but eventually reservations for our 2 nights in Quebec City were confirmed. From there we moved over to Montreal and randomly chose a hotel in the Old Port area from the website. Do I know how to plan a vacation or what?

This hotel took somewhat longer to secure but by the time 45 minutes had passed, our first three nights in Montreal were booked. Yay, for us. If you're keeping score at home, I have now got lodging covered for five of our seven days away.

I asked Suzanne, for that was her name, if I could use my points to make reservations on Via Rail for tickets from Montreal to Quebec City. Indeed I could, so we opened up that file and made decisions left, right, and centre. When to leave, when to arrive, what seats to sit on ... So. Many. Decisions. I was running out of points, so we used up the last of then, then charged the difference to my Visa.

Can I take a moment to mention something about my Visa? I love it. I put my entire life on that card, and pay it off each month. I just go about leading my normal life, charging absolutely everything to that shiny gold card, and every couple years, I get rewarded by using the points for something fun. I have my card number, including that 3 digit code on the back and my expiration date memorized. I say it as fast as I can recite John 3:16. Impressive, I know.

This past spring, my card was showing the effects of being used every 10 minutes. The signature strip, magnetic strip and special code numbers had all rubbed off. (Worn off?) So it was getting harder and harder to get merchants to accept it. Plus it had a bend to match the contours of my bum because it spends so much time in my back pocket.

I could have asked Visa for a new card, but they'd have to cancel my existing card and issue me one with NEW NUMBERS. I like my 16 numbers. They are pleasing to me. So I waited it out. My old card expired at the end of 08/08, meaning I'd get the new one in August.

And I did. It was shiny and new and crisp and had the new chip technology and I signed it with a flourish and a Sharpie. It was with a measure of pride that I whipped it out to pay for my purchases. No one has asked to see my Driver's License at all this month, because my signature is So Clear.

Anyway, after spending the last of my points, I hung up the phone and saw that the red light was blinking, indicating that someone had left a voice mail message.

I listened.
Then called the toll free number to see what the problem was.

"Hello, I was asked to phone in..."
"Yes, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda ... your Visa card has been copied and it's security has been compromised. Please destroy your card. We'll send you a new one in 4 - 5 working days. It'll be coming by registered mail, so someone will need to be home to sign for it."

Oh Good Gravy.
I can't be without a Visa card for 5 days.
And what if it doesn't make it here before I go away? NO WAY I'm travelling across the country without a charge card.
And, I have to stay home for an entire day to wait for it to arrive?
OH AND WHAT ABOUT ALL THE RESERVATIONS I'D JUST MADE WITH THE POINTS FROM MY LAST CARD? AND WHAT ABOUT THE TRAIN TICKETS? (Yes I am yelling. It's the volume of choice when I'm passionate about something.)
(I'm yelling now. I didn't yell when I was on the phone. Come on, I'm a professional.)

Why oh why is nothing easy?

First no one wanted to come.
No, they really didn't want to come. It was kinda ugly.
Then, Max wasn't allowed to come... he couldn't get time off work.
(He's going to ask One More Time tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Legs crossed. Eyes crossed. Prayers uttered. )
And now this?

I phoned the Rewards Centre again and spoke to someone who was not Suzanne. She said she'd track my account, email Suzanne, and try to get things straightened out for me.

Then Esmerelda from Visa called me back and said that after thinking about it, she decided to overnight my new card to my bank branch and I could pick it up on Wednesday.

Then Suzanne called me back to say she was having troubles processing my reservations. I told her about my Visa being cancelled sometime during our marathon phone call, so she went back and made some adjustments. Clint was home and offered me the use of his Visa card for the balance owing on our train tickets and finally, at 1:30 pm - FOUR hours after I started, I had confirmation again, of 5 nights accomodation and 4 train tickets.

Really, this should not have been such a painful experience.

But it's the evening now.
The rain is falling. The wind is blowing. And I'm on my favorite couch.

This time next week? I'll be at the some random hotel in a city that doesn't speak English with some or all of my sons, smiling with my face and in my heart. Maybe I'll blog about it.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Internet connections
2. A fun job
3. Friends who pray


UPDATE: I just killed another spider. Third one this evening. This last one was the size of a small cat ... It caught my eye when it skootched across the floor to hide out under the couch I am reclining on. It is now flatter than it was a few minutes ago, and is clinging to the bottom of my left flip flop. When you step on spiders, do you squish them with your right or left foot? Just wondering.

1 comment:

ramblin'andie said...

Now that I follow your blog on google reader, I realised I never comment on here anymore.

Your trip sounds amazing. I can't wait to see pictures when you get home. Take good notes, cause that's one of my dream vacations!!