Kathy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

I never want to leave home again after the week I just had. Oy. Let's recap, shall we? And, by recap, I mean that even though I'm trying to keep it short there was... Just. So. Much.

Monday

I arrived in Germany at 7:20 in the morning and spent the day in the sales office. My only sleep was maybe an hour in the car on the way from Hamburg to Muenster. I had a Parrot Head conference call scheduled for what was midnight my time. I debated trying to sleep first but decided to tough it out.

I'm the Moderator of the calls. I dialed in a few minutes before midnight and it said my PIN wasn't valid to start the call. I tried again, thinking my sleep deprived brain just mistyped. No success. I then sent a text to the person who sets up the calls. She gave me some other PINs to try. By this time, people were emailing - "Are we still doing this? I'm on the call and it hasn't started."

We finally found a successful PIN and started the call late. I hate that. While on the phone, I forwarded an email to another BOD member. It bounced back from Yahoo with a message:

Error code 475: Suspicious activity was detected on your account.

What the what? I looked up the message and it says that Yahoo thinks you've either sent too many messages in a short period of time or that you sent to too many recipients and suggested using Yahoo Groups instead. Well, I sent 10 messages the entire day and the one with multiple recipients was indeed to a Yahoo Group.

I called shenanigans but decided to see if I was good to go in the morning as I needed to crash.

Tuesday

We had a good day at the office with our colleagues. That was the only good part of the day. As we were winding down in the afternoon, I got on a chat with Yahoo Support as my emails were still bouncing. The rep said it looked like my problem was solved and that she was able to send an email from my account with success. Of course, she sent it TO my account so I'm not sure that was a valid test. Sure enough, when I tried to send an email to someone else, I got hit with the error again. While I was shut down, I was in the middle of working on setting up a bunch of concert announcements. To say this was bad timing was an understatement.

Yahoo was still bad later in the day. I contacted them again in the afternoon and got the same "I was able to send from your account" BS that I challenged. This time, the Rep acknowledged there was still a problem and said the issue had to be escalated to Second Level Support who would only contact me via email. I gave her my gmail address and waited.

We worked until after 6 PM and headed out to meet back at our hotel and go to dinner with our colleagues. I was focused on looking forward, literally, and I missed the bottom step of the stairs.

Like, really missed. Like, I launched myself into the air. It probably didn't help my balance that I had my backpack with my computer thrown over my shoulder but I hit the ground hard and twisted both my ankles.

I scared the crap out of my colleagues and visions of an emergency room visit entered my American buddy, Mike's, head. It wouldn't be the first for a Germany trip, unfortunately.

You know how on cartoons they show stars and birds floating around someone's head when they get hit? Well, I saw spots. I think I was actually in shock, definitely had the wind knocked out of me and had internal visions of broken bones. Fortunately, I was able to get up and rest in a chair which cleared my head and I was able to rotate my ankles and, most importantly, there were no protruding bones. I Tim Conway shuffled my way out the door to the car and my teeth started chattering on the way back to the hotel. I think it was more shock than cold. (And just writing Tim Conway shuffle means that I'm old. Sigh.)

I passed on dinner and Mike had room service send up a bucket of ice. I took a bunch of Ibuprofen and spent the next hour and a half icing my feet and ankles before going to bed at 8:30. I didn't even have the energy to order room service. 

Wednesday

I was able to continue to shuffle and my feet hurt less than the night before so I counted that as a win. We stopped to pick up a snack on the way to the office and Mike brought me a much needed Diet Coke. Which I opened in the car and it immediately overflowed and spilled all over my leg. Not the ideal way to start the day.

The work day was again good. Yahoo was still bad. Once more on Chat with Support with the added complaint that it had been over 24 hours and I hadn't heard from Second Level Support. This time, she sent me a bunch of "don't do this so you can prevent the problem" propaganda, none of which I had done. I asked her how long the hold was and she said 24 hours. I told her it had been going on for several days. Her response was it started 9 hours prior (my test that morning to see if it was working). She would not confirm but I suspect that the 24 hour hold restarted with every failed message. Man, I was unhappy but technology miracles do happen and nearly 48 hours after it all started, I was able to email again.

Thursday

Hey, what do you know, Thursday was pretty good except I still was limping pretty heavily and making Mike walk in baby steps with me. 

Friday

Time to check out of the hotel and head to the airport. I asked if they needed to see my credit card again and the answer was yes. One slight problem. My wallet was MIA. For sure MIA. I went through my very small purse, my backpack, searched my room, Mike searched the car and it was nowhere to be found. What was in it? About $300 in cash, my Driver's License, my medical insurance card, my debit card and one of my credit cards. 

Yes, the credit card was the one I only had for two weeks since the account got hacked as I was trying to book my flights.

Son of a...

The last time I saw my wallet was when I checked into the hotel on Monday night. Mike had been in country for a week with an expense report already started so he'd been picking up the tabs. I had no need to use any of my cards nor the cash. My only purchase was ,90 for a post card that I paid out of my random European change. (They don't take British coins in Germany, BTW, no matter how similar they look to Euro coins)

The hotel let me check out without it with an additional signature and they also checked their lost and found. I suspect that the wallet came out when I pulled my camera out on Thursday in the square by the Dom in Cologne and that I didn't see it fall. It's also possible that it fell out when I was in the office while I was digging for a pen but the office was closed for Good Friday and closed today for Easter Monday.

As we were driving to the airport in Frankfurt, Mike kept coming up with all these happy endings. "I get you're going to find it in your bag when you unpack." "Maybe it's in one of your jeans pockets." When he got to "Did you give it to me for safekeeping?", I just wanted him to stop. Seriously stop. While the thought of punching him in the head didn't actually enter my mind, it was about to. I know he was trying to put a positive spin on it all but it wasn't helping.

We got on our flight from Frankfurt to Chicago without any issues. At the first round of drink service I asked for a Diet Coke and the attendant gave me the can with a glass of ice. I poured some then looked away for a minute. When I looked back, my seat tray was rapidly filling with soda. There was a crack in my glass. Are you kidding me? The flight attendant said he'd never had that happen before and Mike and I had to laugh as it was just my luck. We gave him a summary of my misadventures and he suggested I should be drinking.

He was right. I ordered some red wine. Why I hadn't thought of that on my own, I'll never know.

Safely on the ground in Chicago and I used the washroom before going through customs. I had my passport in my back pocket. You may be able to guess what happened next. Yep, it fell into the toilet. I rescued it as quickly as possible and did my best to wash and dry it but it ended up pretty soggy from the washing part. Really, it was from the washing.

If I worked TSA, I would always wear gloves. This has to happen to more people than me.

At this point it was no longer surprising that things were amiss.

We headed to Chili's to get dinner and I called to cancel my debit card. It's not so easy to do when you don't have the card or your account number. As she was taking me through the security checks all was matching up until she asked for the information on my last deposit. I was able to say it was my paycheck that day but I couldn't give her my amount. The reimbursement for my flight and hotel was included and my "a lot more than usual" guess wasn't good enough. We eventually found a way and I am in no way dogging their process. I'd rather they err on the side of caution.

As I was sitting there drinking my Sam Adams, I tried to focus on the positives:

I didn't lose my passport which would have made getting home a challenge.
I was with a companion who paid for me and would have given me cash if I needed it.
I hadn't tacked on some personal travel at the end of this trip where I would have been screwed without my cards and money.
No one had used my cards.
The $300 I lost was a bummer but its loss wasn't going to prevent me from paying my mortgage.
I needed to update my Driver's License picture anyway.
My injuries were improving (though I did finally see some bruising).

None of that really helped, though. I could feel the emotions ready to fly. I told Mike, "One more thing, no matter how minor, and I think I'm going to burst into tears." I meant it.

Poor guy. He spent the rest of our way home praying that our flight was good and that my luggage made it and that just nothing at all hiccuped along the way. Fortunately, it all went well and I was home with my #terrors by 10:30 Friday night.

I just want to stay home for a while.





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