Comes With Sprinkles

Because everything is better with sprinkles

Don’t Fly Sunwing. Ever.

I usually take poor customer service experiences with a grain of salt. Meh. It happens. Things get screwed up. The company does what it can to fix it- or should- and if not, you rant a little angrily and you move on. This mistake? Cost me huge. And this company? Has made  ZERO effort to fix the problem.

Here’s the story.

Back in September (2010), my husband and I won an all-inclusive trip to Mexico. Our rep from Molson, who we won the trip from, set up our reservations at a family resort called Sea Adventure in Cancun. We were a bit hesitant about the resort as this was very clearly a very family oriented resort and we were traveling child-less for the first time since the birth of our daughter two years previous. Whatever, it was a free vacation. We printed our flight information and settled in to wait for our free vacation in February.

On February 12th, the day before our flight was scheduled to leave, we double-checked our flight time, like good little travelers. Our original departure time was at 9:55. When we checked our flight time on the website, it showed 7:40. We arrived at the airport at 4:40am as the website indicated for international flights that you should be there three hours early. The desk was closed. The monitor at the airport showed the flight time as 9:50. What? We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, at 7:00 am, the counter opened. We walked up and asked about the flight time. The girl said, “Yeah, yeah, it’s leaving at 7:40.” We kinda raised our eyebrows and looked at her and went, “And you’re just opening your counter now? The board over there says 9:50. She gave a nervous laugh and said, “hold on, let me look.” She looked at a few things and goes, “Yeah, huh, our website shows 7:40, but it’s actually still 9:55.” We rolled our eyes, but in good humor still, and groaned about being at the airport not just early, but RIDICULOUSLY early, because of the misinformation on the website. We even joked about how lucky we were that the times were posted incorrectly early instead of incorrectly late.

We get all checked in and then we went to our gate. We got called up a few minutes later and were “bumped up” to their special seating. Which, FYI, is not special. It’s about 6″ more leg space (if even that) and uhm… bulkhead seating. That’s it. So… thanks, Sunwing? Whatever. We accept the bump up gratefully and go back and sit down. We’re approached a few minutes later by the girl who checked us in and she asks me if I’m expecting a child. Wow. Thanks. Yup, I’m going to feel REAL confident in my swimsuit in Mexico now! Whoo! I’m chunky, yes, but god. And you know what? Airlines don’t actually have to know if you’re pregnant unless you’re about to burst. When I WAS obviously pregnant I flew to Boise, Idaho without a single comment. Ugh. That’s okay. Again. Brush it off, we’re going to Mexico! For free!

A side note, because this is important, there was NOTHING in our paperwork about provided transportation. Our paperwork gave us our flight times and it gave us our hotel information. When we landed in Cancun, we paid for a cab ($40 US). We went to our resort and checked in. It was kinda awful. The rooms were drab and plain and had no bottled water and no fridge. The pool and the lobby were infested with bratty children. And the vacation company got our room wrong. On our paperwork we were booked for a junior suite, ocean-view. We got a regular room, garden-view. It took three days and three different rooms to get it right.

By the third day and our third room, I’d had enough. I took it to the hotel manager. I brought our paperwork and I was pissed. I asked to be transferred to their sister resort, Temptations, without a cost. He hooked us up and over we transferred. When we checked out at Sea Adventure, the girl at the counter mentioned that we should call our travel company to let them know where we were so that our transportation would know where to pick us up. I said that we didn’t have transportation, that we took a cab and she just nodded and on we went.

Fast forward to Saturday the 19th, the day before we’re scheduled to leave. We figured, again, that we should confirm our flight time. We were told that there would be a Sunwing representative at the counter at 4:30pm and to come by then. My husband went there at 4:45 and nobody was there. He went and played a game of pool and came back at 5:00pm where he came across a guy wearing a Sunwing badge pinned to his shirt and holding the Sunwing flight binder. My husband gave him the number of our flight and our departure date and found the time was slightly off from the original time we showed, but that was not a big surprise to us considering our flight coming in. We had the time of departure as 6:15. The guy points to the binder and shows Derek a departure time of 5:40. He says a shuttle will be picking people up to go to the airport so we should be in the lobby at 2:40pm.

The next day, departure day, we checked out at noon, as required, and we paced. We wandered the resort pretty bored. Our suitcases were packed, we didn’t really have enough time to do anything so we stalled. At 2:30 we went to the lobby. At 2:40 we waited. At 2:55 we started to wonder what the eff was up. My husband went back over to the counter and checked the binder himself as nobody was present at the counter. Clearly marked in the binder was our fight. Leaving at 3:15. In 20 minutes. Apparently, our helpful Sunwing representative had pointed out the flight for the wrong day.

We panicked. We grabbed a cab and FLEW to the airport, arriving at about 3:20pm. We stood in line, tapping our feet and rushed up to the counter. We told the agent our story and he shrugged like, “Too bad. You’re late. Here’s the rep,” pointing at a guy with a big binder near the counter. We approach him, Daniel, and tell him our story again. He shrugs and goes, “We went to Sea Adventure to pick you up. We waited a long time.” Uhm. What?

Apparently, our reservation DID include transportation, but Sunwing didn’t include that somewhat IMPORTANT information anywhere in our itinerary. At this point, I’m sobbing. The guy goes, “Okay, okay, let me call my boss and see what the deal is. We have no more flights into Vancouver tonight.” He calls his boss and they have a rapid conversation in Spanish. He hangs up and dials another number. He calls and talks to someone for a few minutes and then hands the phone to my husband. He has called the guy who was supposed to be at the desk in the hotel lobby the day before. This guy says, “I wasn’t there until 5:30. I never talked to anybody,” and completely DENIES that he ever spoke to my husband. His name was Guido. So the Sunwing manager on the other line with Daniel made his decision. These passengers should be stranded in Cancun. We were on our own to get home.

If you thought I was crying before? I was in hysterics at this point. I had to be at work the next day. My daughter was waiting for us to come and get her. If we wanted to lie about our flight time, wouldn’t we have said we’d had our original flight time? Why would we make up a random time 35 minutes earlier? Part of the reason why the manager made the decision that he did is because our printed itinerary was dated for September of 2010. Well, guess what, buddy. Why would we print a new copy if the info was the same?

$1300 and the last two seats on a Westjet flight a few hours later and we were on our way home.

I want my damn money back. When we got home, we called Flight Centre, the company the Molson rep set up the vacation through. They showed our departing flight as still listed with them as 6:15pm. I thought maybe it was a time zone issue, but we were in a zone two hours from our original spot so that math didn’t line up either.

I called Sunwing and found out that, surprise surprise, they don’t do customer service over the phone. You have to leave them a message and see if you’re lucky enough to get a call back. (I wasn’t.) We went through our Molson rep who contacted them and made ZERO progress. They told him that flights are subject to change and it’s up to the traveler to stay on top of flight times. Except that WE DID. And we were told wrong information by the company and it cost us $1300 in cash.

I want $1300 in cash back. I want half of the vacation value back because someone paid for that flight home that we missed through no fault of our own. I want my cab fare back.

I’m furious that this happened six months ago and that I’m still having to fight to even get someone to listen to me. So LISTEN, Sunwing. This is not how you treat customers. This is not how you get people to repeat travel with you. I can assure you, that unless you kiss some serious ass? I will NEVER fly with you again and I will make sure that nobody I know flies with you either.

So what are you going to do, Sunwing? Balls in your court.

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Everybody Should Read This

Full credit to whatever, etc for this. I’ve copied it word for word from her blog. I did not write any of it myself. (Here’s hoping she’s not mad that I stole it). I think it’s important that everybody see this and rethink what happens too much of the time when a woman tries to report a rape.

A Modern Sexual-Assault Tale

Man:
Hello, I’d like to report a mugging.
Officer:
A mugging, eh? Where did it take place?
Man:
I was walking by 21st and Dundritch Street and a man pulled out a gun and said, “Give me all your money.”
Officer:
And did you?
Man:
Yes, I co-operated.
Officer:
So you willingly gave the man your money without fighting back, calling for help or trying to escape?
Man:
Well, yes, but I was terrified. I thought he was going to kill me!
Officer:
Mmm. But you did co-operate with him. And I’ve been informed that you’re quite a philanthropist, too.
Man:
I give to charity, yes.
Officer:
So you like to give money away. You make a habit of giving money away.
Man:
What does that have to do with this situation?
Officer:
You knowingly walked down Dundritch Street in your suit when everyone knows you like to give away money, and then you didn’t fight back. It sounds like you gave money to someone, but now you’re having after-donation regret. Tell me, do you really want to ruin his life because of your mistake?
Man:
This is ridiculous!
Officer:
This is a rape analogy. This is what women face every single day when they try to bring their rapists to justice.
Man:
Fuck the patriarchy.
Officer:
             Word.
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Hair

My hair has long been a source of consternation for me.

When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate how amazing the thickness of it was. I would instead bitch and moan  about how a simple haircut for me took three hours when a full perm for my younger sister took one. I would gripe about how I couldn’t wear it down without a blow-dryer and a flat-iron and several hours of work taming it.

Pardon the underage drinking in the above photo. Ahem. Focus on the hair. 

That’s a bit more lady-like. But holy cha-cha – look at all that hair!

Through the years, my hair has stopped looking like that. I guess I can’t even say that it happened over years because it happened actually very quickly. One day I had beautiful thick hair that drove me batty with its frizz and its inability to stay in place and then whammo. I got pregnant. It thickened up even more, as is typical in pregnancy and then four-months post-Ana, as is also typical, it fell out. Except it kept falling out. And more and more and more until I couldn’t keep it long anymore because the ends wound up looking so awfully ratty.

Now my hair is just thin and limp and gross. I never wear it down anymore because even after fluffing it up with a blow-dryer, I have zero volume. It still frizzes, but now you can see air between all the frizzed out strands because there isn’t enough hair there anymore. I am crushed. I’ve even been advised against bangs by hairdressers because IT’S TOO THIN. I miss having nice hair. I wish I hadn’t hated it so much when I had it.

Look at that hair. Ew. 

The entire purpose of this post is to mention that a few days ago Nathan tweeted a link to an article about going shampoo-less (I refuse to use the phrase no’poo because I find it annoying and disgusting). I had heard of people doing this before, but always shrugged it off. In my past, my biggest hair problem has been dryness- not grease. Not so much anymore. At this point? I’ll try anything. I’ve tried product after product. I want hair again. Nice, thick, hair. My new project is trying out the no shampoo thing. I’ll wash with baking soda and rinse with apple vinegar so don’t fear, my hair won’t be completely disgustingly dirty. I’ll post pictures every few weeks to update and to see if there’s actually any change. So without further ado?

Day One. 

With no shampoo.

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You Know You’re Tired When…

… you come home from work to realize that you put the carrot sticks away in the freezer.

… you go to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, put the dryer sheet in and then turn on… the washer. Which has no clothes in it.

… you drive right on past where you pick your daughter up from daycare nearly every. single. day.

All things that I’ve done in the last week.

Me thinks I need some sleep.

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Going The Distance

While I have always thought that running is the most awe-inspiring of all the displays of athleticism out there, I have always likened the actual experience of running to sitting in a dentist’s chair having a root canal while two sadistic beauticians wax your legs. In other words? Torturous.

Couch to 5K has turned so much of that around for me. Yesterday this fat girl managed to RUN for 16 minutes, chopped into two eight-minute segments. For those who are used to  being fit this may seem like nothing, but for a girl like me, who cheated when counting laps in high school gym class, it is AMAZING.

My first week went by pretty smoothly. I thought “Yeah, hey, I can do this. No problem! I’m a runner! Woo!”

And then I came into week two. And I was still going alright, but the attitude was more like, “Yeah. Cool. I’m kinda running. Kinda sweating. Kinda ew. But hey! Feels good!” I almost stayed an extra day (or week) on week two, but my awesome friend convinced me that ya know what? We could do this. Let’s keep going. So we did.

Week three. Whooooeeeeeee. Week three was good. More running, for sure. Day one of the third week was fantastic. Day two of week three had me convinced that I was going to keel over dead on the treadmill. Day three of week three? Holy ever-loving god, the only reason that I made it through was that I kept chanting to myself that if I’d done it twice before, that I could do it one more time. No way, no how, was I going to move onto week four.

Guess what? I moved on to week four. Again, I almost died. Again, I was convinced that there was not an ice cream’s shot in a microwave that I was going to do week five. I just might stay on week four the entire remainder of my LIFE. Sensing a theme here?

I moved on. And I DID IT. I ran. I ran five minutes and then walked three. And then I did that TWO MORE TIMES. And I felt SOOOOO good. It felt even better than week four. And then yesterday, I ran eight minutes, I walked five and then I ran another eight and let me tell you, I was grinning my way through that last run. It felt so good. When I thought I couldn’t go anymore, I just started counting. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. Over and over and over again. And I smiled. And I ran. And I did it. I not only did it, but I walked for an extra half and hour and logged just under four miles. FOUR MILES! From a quasi-fat girl!

I’m so amazingly proud of myself and of Miss Meghann, for being right there with me and doing it and hitting it just as hard as I am. I can’t believe that we’re becoming runners. I am so happy for us.

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Yes, I’m Talking About WoW. Shut Up.

I don’t like to think of myself as someone who gets their feelings easy hurt, but that would be a total lie. I’m hyper sensitive to people’s emotions and we all know how tricky it can be to interpret feelings and emotions when everything is in text and there’s no body language to read. If you don’t play World of Warcraft there’s a lot coming up that you may not understand and that’s totally okay, it’s mainly just me ranting about being a pansy and a girl and being really embarrassed about being inept.

So. Every few weeks there’s usually a holiday event that goes on and there’s usually a dungeon boss that you have to down with a group in order to get some type of goody, be it a mount or some awesome gear or just some fun trinket. You have to down the boss to get a holiday achievement and if you get all the achievements you get sparkles and glitter and fireworks. Okay, maybe not, but I think the rewards are pretty fun and I’m a total achievement whore.

Outside of holiday events, I avoid dungeons. I know that I’m not a strong player and that I don’t know how to gear myself and that my skill level is lacking, but I don’t really care. I like running around solo and questing and collecting achievements and I do that just fine thankyouverymuch. The trouble comes when my achievement collecting and dungeons collide. Like they did last week.

This is the first time that I’ve needed to try and down a level 85 (highest level for the WoW virgins) dungeon boss. First time I went in, my group downed him, I looted the goods and went on my merry way. Second group, we wiped. And wiped. And wiped. And somebody made some snarky comment about that being “some level 72 shit.” A few people bailed, a few new people came in, boss got downed and woo-hoo. I suspected that my skill was impacting that we wiped a little bit, but hey man, it’s a 5-person group. It’s not all about me. Rargh. Third group and we wipe. And wipe. And they post the DPS (damage per second) stats and mine are BRUTAL. Like so in the tank that it’s not even funny. So tanking that I literally got booted from the group.

And I, being the wuss that I am, sat in my chair and stared at my computer monitor and tried not to cry. These are people I have never met. Will never meet. Don’t even remember their game names. Don’t even play on the same server as me. But I was humiliated. And now I’m even thinking about quitting the game. Like the pansy that I mentioned I was at the beginning of the post.

It’s frustrating that a game that I really enjoy has so quickly turned into something sour because apparently now I need to, like, STUDY, and like, learn the “proper way to play,” according to a player in the WoW forums.

I posted there a day after this happened about how I knew I wasn’t geared correctly and that I needed help and since then I have gotten help. A few kind souls have helped guide me into how to better gear myself, what kind of a routine I should have with my spell-casting and other various ways I can improve. But let’s face it. I’m still remarkably rattled. I have not been able to bring myself to try to down the holiday boss again. What if I’m still too bad? I don’t think I can handle the snark and being booted again. That fucking sucked. The only dungeons I’ve been able to try are the lower level ones that I’m almost over-leveled for. But at least I know I won’t get booted in them.

Now I have to decide if I’m going to put in the time and the studying to learn how to play better so that I can get back my enjoyment of the game or if its even worth it.

That’s the kind of pathetic that I am. Perfect strangers killing me with text over some stupid fantasy game.

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Blog Maintenance

… or what become a lack of it.

My intentions with blogging this second time around is to get my writing fingers typing again. To say those things that I think about tweeting, but that I can’t contain within a 160 character limit.

I’ll use it to share links and pictures.

I won’t post every day and that’s okay.

If I choose to post a single sentence and call it good, then damnit, it’s good.

Less formality, more comfortable chit-chat.

Let’s see how long we last this time, yeah, can we beat the four-year run I had going last time?

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Vancouver Pride

Just an FYI. Vancouver is NOT the city that riots after losing a sporting event.

Okay. Yeah. It’s happened before. I get that. I really do. But I also know that I’ve lived here for six years and I’ve seen nothing but celebration, fun and kindness. I felt heartbroken watching the insanity this past Wednesday as crowds surged through the streets. I was appalled at the random punches, the glass smashing and the looting. I was embarrassed to be from Vancouver.

I have been watching as Vancouver has been working on remaking itself over the last few days and it has been beautiful to see. The beautiful messages that are scrawled all over the boarded up windows. The people turning themselves in. The realization that hey, a lot of these troublemakers? Not even from here. Thankyouverymuch.

I saw people band together on Facebook and form clean-up crews and guess what? They actually showed up. There were massive amounts of citizens who showed up on Thursday morning to clean up the mess. They brought their own brooms and their smiles and their apologies. We’re sorry, world. This is not our city.

I never thought that I could feel so strongly for a city that I’m not even originally from, but I have found that I am completely in love with Vancouver. I am proud to live here and I am proud that we can pick up the pieces after a night that rocked the city and left most of us stunned and hurt.

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