Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Preparing for a cruise with my grandmother and sister

We've always told my co-worker Aresh that he works too hard. He comes in before everyone else, leaves after everyone else, and never claims overtime. We've tried escorting him out of the building to his car so he'll go home, but he just drives back after we leave. The only way we tell he gets any sleep is because he wears different clothing each day. It caught up to him, and he collapsed. They're still not sure what is wrong with him, but he's now at home wearing a portable heart monitor continually transmitting data to his doctor. He won't be allowed to come back to work for several weeks. If he does come back, my team is going to march him back out again. Our workplace gives 100% pay for the first six months someone is off ill, so we won't let him back at least until that long.

The first week of April, I frantically worked and worked to get things done so that I could take some vacation. I did leave to go visit Aresh in the hospital, but came back in to finish work. By Thursday night, I had accomplished a lot, and planned out what I would do every hour until 5 PM Friday - I would just barely get all the urgent things done. Then at 8 PM, Kevin, a program manager, booked my calendar all day Friday, ordering me to do an audit to a standard that I wasn't familiar with; he then booked me to accompany an external auditor the day I came back from vacation, with the expectation that I'd remotely coordinate the external audit preparation by telephone while on vacation. I called Kevin and used some naughty words. Probably career-limiting, but I was just frustrated.

Fortunately, my manager was able to smooth things out, and I was able to leave at 5 PM on Friday as planned. I raced around to buy some vacation clothes, packed, and got a few hours of sleep. At 6 AM I ran to the local shopping mall to get a taxi (I don't have a telephone, so I couldn't call one), and zoomed off to the airport.

Later that day, I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the US. I had reserved a room in a hotel with complimentary airport shuttle service, but it didn't seem to be there. I called the hotel, and was told that the complimentary shuttle service was $30. So, I took a taxi to the hotel, had a frustrating discussion with the staff about the definition of "complimentary", got charged extra fees on top of my pre-paid room, and was told my room was not available until that evening. Fortunately, my grandmother and sister had already arrived from Nova Scotia, and did manage to get a room, so I went up to visit them and left my luggage in their room.

My sister and I took our grandmother down to the lobby of the hotel. There was a little gift shop there, with some brightly-coloured dresses from India for only $16. My grandmother tried some on, and bought two to wear on the cruise. We then walked to a restaurant near the beach, and had pub food while looking at people bike and walk along the promenade. My grandmother and I walked to the beach and dipped our feet into the ocean, and we then went back to the hotel room. She was exhausted, so my sister and I went out and bought some snacks from a convenience store for her, so she wouldn't have to go out to eat. My room was ready by then, so I went to it and went to sleep.

The next morning, we got up and took the complimentary shuttle bus from the hotel to the cruise ship - it was $9 per person, but since there were three of us, they charged us $30. Meh. I e-mailed my travel agent, and made it his problem so I wouldn't have to think about it. We dropped our luggage at the dock, then stood in line in a big warehouse to go through a metal detector and get issued a card (SeaPass) that would serve as ID, charge card, and cabin door key. My sister and grandmother were in luxury cabins, so got to take a shorter line; even so, we all finished getting processed at the same time. I'm glad that I paid for my sister to have a luxury cabin too, as she got to escort my grandmother and help her with the paperwork.

We then walked up a long corridor, were repeatedly given squirts of hand sanitizer, and then finally were admitted into the ship.
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