January 20, 2015

One Of Those Days

Go grab a cup of tea or a beer or a glass of wine.  Because my day was ridiculous enough that I want to share it and I want you to *truly* enjoy it.

It started out with a night of bad sleep due to city noise and a very tight bed in the hotel (E was also sleeping poorly so with each toss and turn of one of us, we'd wake the other all night, neither of us getting more than 30 minutes straight after 2 AM or so).  Now, yes, I realize this is nothing compared to the sleep interruptions one experiences from an infant or even a toddler, but I'm spoiled.  Unless work is horrid, I've reached a point in my life where I usually get 8 hours of good sleep.  And I didn't last night.

Groggy, I woke at my normal time and cleared my inbox and went about my day, doing my preferred routine of post-early AM work late AM run and shower before lunch.  My first hard work deadline was a 1:30 call.  I left the hotel room at 12:20 PM in the optimistic hope that I had enough time get to my car, load my luggage, drive to the San Francisco Center Nordstrom and buy my niece her birthday present before taking the call as I drove down the peninsula.  Teenage Birthday Present Aside:  the number of calls and texts and emails to friends with kids her age has been like a completely separate high billable work project this last week.

*Before* I left the hotel room, I made sure to locate my car key because my hands were going to be very full.  Then I loaded up -- the rolling bag that doubles as my virtual office, the back-pack, the giant purse, and the large shopping bag from the Nespresso store containing enough caffeinated capsules to cover my needs for at least the rest of Q1 (oh, I'm officially an addict).

I rolled and carried all of these items to the parking garage, but when I got to my car, my key was not in the normal pocket where I *always* put it in my purse.  It also wasn't in my back pockets, or any other obvious place I could think of.

I took a few deep breaths.  I decided to take the systematic approach.  I unloaded every single thing from my purse into the Nespresso bag, assuming I'd eventually find the key.  Instead, I found:

 -Business cards from every professional introduction I've made since the purse was purchased in fall of 2013 (thanks, Sis!  you always make me buy the best stuff)
-Approximately 30 pens and pencils
-Large wallet
-Small wallet/phone case
-Smallest wallet attached to janitor-like key set
-Receipts.  So many receipts.
-Eyeliners, moisturizers, sunblock, lipliners, gloss, chapstick, eyeshadows, powders, foundation and brushes (A majority of which had only been used once.  Probably while attending a wedding.)
-Approximately 5 bags of nuts/trail mix from plane flights and a couple of packets of random food handed out at races
-Lots of binder clips
-Hairbands and a comb
-Deodorant (I actually stand by this one, I keep deodorant in my purse at all times.  What?)
-Sunglasses, tissues, sewing kit
-Mittens (because, you know, mittens are very important in Northern California)

Well, crap.  As the remaining items in my purse decreased, I was slowly coming to the conclusion that I had likely left my key up in the hotel room when I'd gone to the trouble of taking it out to be sure that I had it ready.

See, I have a bit of a disorder.  I'm not very aware of what's in my hands.  When I get mentally distracted, I regularly pick things up and put them down wherever.  Phones in freezers. Laundry in pantries.  Random items lost to the ages found several years later in completely odd places.

Once, when I lent my car to a friend, he had it detailed and when he returned it, he handed me not one, but *2* gallon ziplock bags full of pens and pencils.  In case you were wondering who stole your pen?  It was me.  But it wasn't on purpose, I swear.

First, I email my client and ask to reschedule the 1:30 call to another time.  It was very clear to me that I wasn't going to get through this ordeal in any time to be calm and together enough to host a conference call.

Then, I checked all the other pockets and compartments of all of the other bags.  Finally, I loaded up all the bags and trudged back to the hotel where I asked for a new key and, of course, found my room in the course of being cleaned by housekeeping.  Gesticulating wildly (no Cantonese), I finally convinced her that I'd lost something.  She emphatically assured me that she hadn't found anything.  But that didn't surprise me.  Because I often end up putting things in my hands in very unexpected places.  She cocked her head to the side as I lied down on the floor and started searching under the desk, the couch, the bed and the bedstand.

Eventually, I asked if I could see the trash.  It took a while, but she finally understood what I wanted.  I started picking through the refuse from the outside of the see-through trash bag and she came over with gloves.  She made a motion to put them on and help me, but had a look of serious relief when I motioned that I would take the gloves and paw through the trash myself.  "You.  Be careful.  Glass."  Yes, Ma'am.

After a few minutes, I became convinced that the key was not in the trash, so I stopped looking and resumed my search of the room, frantically picking up towels, looking under sheets, and going through all the zippered pockets in all of my various bags before re-starting the search of the contents of my purse.


She seemed to sense my frustration and actually removed the trash bag from her cart, put it on the ground, ripped it open so that it was just a plastic sheet on the floor and gave me back the gloves.

That's some serious customer service!

After pawing through the trash of approximately 5 or so other hotel patron's rooms, I confirmed that my key was, in fact, *not* in the trash.

Finally, I opened my phone and called AAA.  I haven't had to use AAA in a long time, but I love them.  They have great travel contracts with many brands that result in better rates that you can get through any other loyalty program, *and* free roadside assistance (even if I did end up sitting on hold for 20 minutes before the final arrangements were done).  They gave me an hour window, *and* they gave me the bad news that to have the locksmith make me a new key would not be free, unfortunately.  It's one thing to slim-jim into a vehicle for free.  But apparently making a key is much more difficult, and close to $200.  Between the lost billable hours and the fee, this unknown placement disorder incident was not going to be cheap.

Resigned, I walked back to the garage and warned the garage attendant that a locksmith would be coming sometime in the next hour.  "Did you call *our* locksmith?"  Ummm.... what?

Apparently, the parking garage has its own locksmith and it's free.  Cool!  I call AAA back and sit on hold for another 20ish minutes to cancel my apt.  Then, I called the building's locksmith.  As I did so, I realize they are probably only free for lockouts much like AAA is free for lockouts and they are probably going to charge me for the key... Sigh.

While I'm waiting on hold I decide to search the detritus of my purse (now mainly in the Nespresso bag) one last time.  Lo and behold -- there was the key.  I have no idea how I missed it when I did a piece by piece transfer from one bag to the next and a second piece by piece search, but I'm not complaining.  I hang up on the building locksmith and drive to the exit station.

But you know what they want at the exit station?  Oh, yeah.  A ticket.  Somewhere in the mess of removing and putting my purse back together I appear to have misplaced that one.  So, I fill out the lost ticket form and pay the penalty.

Finally, I drive to Nordstrom and buy my niece's present.  I am very careful to ensure my car key is in my hand and that the car door/trunk is locked by the remote locking mechanism in my hand.  I go in and the helpful saleswoman who is only 7 years older than my niece guides me on what is cool.  I take my purchases back to my car and I'm not kidding you...


Back into Nordstrom I go, and of course, it's on the purchase counter, just waiting for whomever to pick it up.

Finally home, several hours later than expected, I log into a client-issued computer to start a large project (sometimes I need access to client's corporate networks and they want me on hardware they control).  The computer immediately crashes.  I try to reboot.  It fails.  Thankfully, my key is back in its normal pocket of my purse, so I drive to the client and spend 45 minutes working with their IT department.  They inform me that it looks like either the hard drive or the motherboard failed, so I'll have to come back tomorrow AM.

I did make it home in time to do my last client call of the day at 5:15.  But I was kind of shocked that the conference call server didn't go down or something else didn't go wrong. 

So now, I'm calling the day officially done.  I'm not even going to chance it.


Jen said...

Wow. This is amazing.

bt said...

@Jen -- right? I started laughing about halfway through the day wondering "what next?"

Jen said...

@bt - that's the right attitude to have!

Arvay said...

But no plague of locusts! :)

bt said...

@Arvay -- I can laugh about it now, but I was fearful...

Angela Knotts said...

Oh you poor thing. This reminds me of the day my duffel bag--with phone and all keys in it--got stolen at Kezar Stadium with the spot where my car was parked becoming tow away in just a couple of hours. AAA had to break into my car & tow it away, & I got to spend $500 getting it re-keyed because I searched EVERYWHERE and could not find the spare key. Glad it all worked out eventually (more or less)!

bt said...

@Angela -- Thank you for the empathy. Yes. In the grand scheme, it all worked out fine. But it was a hell of a day. I felt my dad looking down from Heaven (or whatever you call it) and laughing at me, enjoying the comedy.