Thursday, February 24, 2005

Karma or Extortion?

(I know I'm really tired because "extortion" looks like it's spelled completely wrong. Yet Blogger's spellcheck likes it, so who am I to argue?)

Today, oops yesterday, leaving Miami, I spaced on tipping the guy at the curbside baggage check-in. I never do curbside anymore - usually don't even have baggage, but usually because it's crowded and less line-defined than inside (my Virgo soul needs calming just before the hell of flying.) But I stepped out of the cab with my cane and computer bag and wheely-suitcase right in front of the curbside guy, who was free and grabbed my bag to help me. Blah, blah, blah, and at the end he said pointedly, "I am your porter and I'll take care of this for you." To which I numbly nodded and caned away, only stopping just inside the terminal doors to think, "Shit, wasn't I supposed to tip him? Where will my bag end up?"

Turns out the answer was Newark, only two hours after I ended up in Newark. I went to the claim office and, long story short, it's 5 am and I'm still waiting for the van to deliver it. I didn't pull an all-nighter, although that was the original suggestion. (Apparently Continental's hands are tied because there's some kind of regulation that governs who they can use for these "delayed baggage" couriers and how long they in turn have to make delivery.) This was revealed on the phone in my apartment hours later, and after a tense standoff ("I don't have to take your abusive language, miss." "Can I speak to a supervisor?" "We don't pass calls to supervisors here, miss, but that still doesn't give you the right to use abusive language.") I was promised that the driver would make every attempt to get to me last, during the last leg of his/her 8-10 hour "legal window."

It's really fun to set your alarm for 5 am after a long tiring business trip, on the morning of the day that you have to deal with back-to-work shit, a midday doctor's appointment, and an afternoon dreaded meeting to "mend fences" with a bitchy co-worker. After, of course, waking up constantly worried that I missed the phone or the doorbell, so getting very little sleep during the 6 hours I had been allotted.

Today is a day I needed to be strong and positive or I'll probably just lose it at some point.

Thank you, Continental. Thank you, curbside baggage man who got his revenge over a $2 slight. But don't think I'm now going to tip profusely - I will always check my bags inside. They don't take tips inside, they just do their jobs because it's their, I dunno, jobs.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Good Walls Make Good Neighbors

There are a lot of really great things about this hotel - the thickness of the walls isn't one of them. I constantly hear the couple next door to me talking. Last night I heard the theme song for "Sex & the City"on their tv, and remembered that it was on so I switched the channel. (I am so reliant on the "info" button on my digital cable box - I hate tv without it. I need to know what's on, what's next, and more importantly, who is in this and when was it made.) This morning I heard their alarm go off; luckily it was ten minutes after I'd woken up to mine, but it was pretty much as loud.

Tonight I came in from dinner at about 10:00 and the happy couple is, yup, doing the nasty. I don't begrudge them their fun (at least she sounded like she was having fun) but I don't need to hear it.

Plus I have sunburn on my arms.

At the Doral

They gave me a handicapped room. I didn' t realize it at first, but wondered why all of the closets only had rods on the lower half. Then I noticed that there is no tub, but an open shower stall with a folding seat built into the wall. And, no toilet seat lid? What's up with that?

Anyway, it's close to the main building and on the first floor, which is cool.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

At the Spa

I am just 90 minutes post-massage. I'm sorry, did that come out of the blue? I'm in Miami for a work-thing - a conference that eats up my three day weekend, but in return, plops me down in the middle of a first class resort and spa. Yes, there are meetings and breakout sessions and boring spells of standing in our booth making cheery small talk with strangers, but it's also in a really really really nice place. I got here, checked the exhibit hall to make sure the booth had arrived and was set up, opened some boxes (killed my manicure, too - thank god I'm in a spa - but seriously? I can't fathom spending $35 on a manicure here when you can get a great one for $8.50 in Brooklyn), sat outside and had a nice grouper sandwich with fries, had a massage, and now am sitting in my room waiting for co-workers to call to confirm dinner plans. I am really relaxed and feeling fine.

The spa is huge - this stone building up a long fountain-laced walk, with hundreds of "treatments" from massage to facial to body scrub to exercise. They shepherd you into a gender-specific locker/waiting room, and give you a locker key and robe and slippers. There was something very eerie about sitting around in a room of overstuffed chairs with a bunch of other women all in long white robes and green flip-flps. Like we were waiting to be Stepford-ized or something.

The masseuse said he could feel heat still coming off my ankle, which means it's not healed. He was really gentle with it. I feel like I should take a shower before dinner, but I am liking the soft oily feeling of my skin. We'll see how much time I have between when I get the dinner call and when we are meeting.

I hear there is supposed to be snow this weekend in NYC.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Weekend Ends

Sunday mornings are both exhilarating and depressing. That first moment I wake up and realize it's another day off is wonderful. And then throughout the day, every minute brings me closer and closer to returning to work.

Saturday, February 12, 2005


My blog won't be all about my cable modem affair. I promise. I might even do what I originally intended - use this to explore the fiction I'm writing.

Tit for Tat?

I took a vacation day yesterday, just because. Turned out someone else in my office did, too, just as last minute - I wonder if she's interviewing. Sadly, I was not. I wanted to just have a day off, to test my wireless connection in Starbucks, etc. My foot felt better enough to clean the fishtank and mop the kitchen floor, and then I showered and got ready to leave the apartment. Had the boot on (midway prep point between bra and coat) when the phone rang - TWC would be there in 10 minutes. Okay. They told me Saturday, not Friday, so good think I hadn't gone to work, huh?

So the guy replaced the outside wires - said I was going through a splitter with another user, but since there is no record of who that other one is, he just cut them off. I think that's what he said, it was confusing. Anyway, I am not having problems now but, again again again, the true test comes a month from now when I think, wow, I've gone a month without a problem!

Interesting coincidence or side effect - I no longer can access via the linksys wireless connection I was "stealing" from. The signal is still strong, but the speed is minimal and it just doesn't reach any web pages and finally times out. I tried a weaker signal, and that worked (but was slow) and tried both cable modem and dialup, and all worked, so it's not my notebook. I can't really troubleshoot if someone else's wireless network isn't working, but I'm curious if said person was the one sharing my internet connection. Wouldn't it be divine justice if they were stealing my cable all along, considering I've been stealing space on their wireless network?

Well, not divine. I've had three months of TWC hell, and only a week of stolen wireless access.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I am getting a seventh service call from TWC. Yup. The foreman came today and checked everything out, couldn't find out what was wrong, but said that the solution would be to have guys come back and replace all of the cables/wires outside. On Saturday. So I get to spend 8-12 Saturday sitting around again. (Oh, yeah, they came at 11:30 today.)

It's not like it's summer or anything.

It's not like I am super mobile yet.

It's not like I have plans to do anything else.

I'm surprisngly blase about it, considering how hysterical they made me last week. Guess this feels like progress.

Monkey Hear

I am convinced that I could write an entire novel based on the conversations overheard on the street on cell phones. Sometimes the snippets are so fascinating, I just want to follow and hear the rest of the story. Or better yet, just write it down and springboard it into my own character, plot, story.

Once I was sitting in Union Square Park and a guy sat down next to me and started chatting away about the Jayson Blair scandal. This guy was a fellow journalist who was good friends with Howell Raines, who had just resigned. He talked at length about Raines' personal life, about the scandal, about the Times -- the person on the other end of the line must have just listened and nodded because the guy never really paused. It's not unusual to be stuck listening to someone's private phone call, but it was really bizarre because it was very hot news, and here was a member of the press talking publicly, on a beautiful sunny day amidst a crowded row of park benches, about things that sounded off-the-record. And yet I had the sense that if his conversation partner were sitting next to him, he'd be whispering, afraid of who could overhear.

I tried to google him and find out who he was - he'd dropped names of papers he'd worked for and dates, although I can't remember now. I never did identify him.


Again, for the cable guy. Guys, this time, I hope, for that's what I've been promised. (And one just doesn't cut it anymore, baby, I need two.)

I have absolutely no faith that anything they do will work, or that they'll be able to comprehend why there is a major problem when my modem is, right now, working perfectly. Hopefully they've been doing this long enough to recognize the significant lag time between reporting a problem and getting a service call. There is no 911/EMT service for cable modems. (Maybe there should be.)

I think in the future this whole experience will be tied in memory to the boot - yeah, those weeks I had the sprained ankle and trouble getting around, and spent all that time dealing with the cable company. Crippled foot, crippled modem. (I won't bother with the boot/reboot joke... oh, damn, guess I just did.)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hack, hack

So somebody in my building (or within 300 feet - how far is that? two buildings?) has a wireless network that isn't password protected, which means I can steal their internet connection. Pretty cool, but scary - I'm not sure how exactly to make myself not vulnerable to them or anyone else who might be illegally sharing this network. I put up the windows firewall - is that enough? It's my laptop, my travel/writing computer, so contains no personal financial info, and I won't use it to buy anything, etc. but still... imagine if a hacker stole my novel and sold it for megabucks. Ha!

It doesn't work in the front room, just in the back. Maybe it's someone on the street behind me. Hello, there, friend with broadband. Thanks for letting me tag along.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Time flies

It's been a very long very bizarre week, and yet I can't believe I haven't posted here since last Saturday.

  • Foot felt incredibly better by Monday, but progress has stalled. Depressing - I just want to be 100% mobile again. I'm doing the exercises the Dr. gave me but it's a poor substitute for the gym.

  • Cable modem died again. Major trauma - thought I had an escalated foreman-accompanied service call for Friday but the customer service supervisor lied to me. (Since I stupidly didn't write down her name, I haven't been able to get to the bottom of it.) So, yeah, less than 7 hours after the regular technician left, it died again. It's not working now, I'm on dial-up. I supposedly have a foreman service call for next Thursday. I wish I had a better sense of humor about it.

  • Work trauma - looks like our division will be going through a merger. I am new, so potentially vulnerable, but realistically probably not. I think I want to be. The job is shaping up to be so far removed from what it started out as, I wouldn't mind letting it go. I don't think it's wrong to be tired of constant change - yes, flexibility is an asset, but this is getting ridiculous. Financial services sucks.


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