Becoming a Trilogy

My rental car saga from Chicago is becoming a trilogy. And not a good one. It’s becoming one of those trilogies Hollywood makes because they’ve run out of ideas. I have been working with Hertz since 1/14/23 to close out my failed rental car. You may recall, Hertz had to tow my rental back to O’Hare because it had a bad starter. Yet, here I am over a week later still fighting to get the contract closed.

Yesterday, Hertz customer care assured me that someone would be calling to resolve my case. Well, today Hertz called me about the rental. I answered thinking they were calling to resolve my escalation. You can imagine my surprise when they asked why I hadn’t returned the rental. Consequently, I lost my shit. By this point in the game, Hertz should have more than adequate documentation on this farce of rental experience Honestly, I tried my best to temper my reaction as it wasn’t that representative’s fault Hertz doesn’t have their shot together.

After forcefully explaining Hertz O’Hare has had my rental since 1/14/23, I provided her with confirmation that the tow was received at O’Hare and the roadside assistance case detailing the ordeal. How is it possible that none of this information is on their systems??? I have literally spoken to customer care at Hertz several times a day since before our trip. Candidly, I don’t understand how this went from a weekend rental to becoming a trilogy.

Thankfully, I blocked all charges from Hertz on my credit cards. Otherwise, they’d be charging me daily for a car they think I didn’t return. What an absolute clusterfuck. Hertz’s ubiquitous incompetence at all stages of this experience has been exceedingly frustrating. Here’s hoping this ends as a trilogy because I can’t deal with a whole series of this shit.

In other news, my right shoulder exploded with an angry-looking rash. I figured it was either dermatitis or cellulitis, so I set up a telehealth medicine. Unfortunately, the doctor couldn’t do anything for me via telehealth because of the possibility the rash was caused by a scratch from one of our dogs. Consequently, I headed to urgent care this morning.

The name urgent care is such a misnomer. There is nothing urgent about urgent cares in Florida. I’m a reasonable person, but I have my limits. Clearly, I should have checked in at home and waited until they were ready to see me. Instead, I waited almost two hours in the parking room and waiting room. It’s so frustrating!

I finally saw the doctor, who felt it was likely it was a contact dermatitis reaction. Since, however, I hadn’t made any changes to my routine (i.e. no new soaps, shampoos, cleaners, detergents, or clothes,) he opted to treat me for both. I am relieved that it is not from my dogs, but I’m at an absolute loss as to what caused the reaction. Hopefully, the rash will clear up quickly with the steroid cream and antibiotics.

Today’s accountability tracker:

The Saga Continues

The saga continues as I am still trying to get my rental reservation from Chicago straightened out. Hertz has kindly charged my AmEx daily this week for the same amount. Now if you will recall, Hertz towed my rental back to O’Hare on 1/12/23. Due to my son’s schedule, I opted not to get a replacement vehicle and end the rental that day. When I spoke with roadside assistance, she made it clear that if I wanted a replacement vehicle, I’d need to call back to set it up. Otherwise, Hertz would consider the rental closed. Except apparently, Hertz hasn’t closed out the rental. This is a bit disconcerting given that I have spoken to Hertz customer care several times a day since Saturday.

Customer service has repeatedly assured me that the rental has been closed out. Yet here we are. Consequently, I called AmEx this morning. American Express will block all subsequent charges from Hertz. Hertz would have charged me $359 if I had kept the car. As of this morning, Hertz has charged me $505. To be clear, I rent from Hertz all the time and have never had an issue like this. Usually, the rental experience is seamless. Nevertheless, here I am trying to climb the allegorical mountain that is resolution. Anyway, the saga continues.

As far as sagas go, this rental car one is quite boring. I’d much prefer a saga in the mountains of Utah or Scandinavia. The Mayor and I were talking yesterday about our trips to Utah. We’ve had so much fun exploring the Wasatch mountains and the canyons of the Great Salt Lake Area. Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons will always be two of my favorite places. The hikes we did in both canyons were so refreshing and beautiful. The elevation of the canyons definitely helped cool us down. Unfortunately, the hikes closer to Jake’s base offered little shade and tons of heat. Nevertheless, every hike we’ve taken in Utah has been beautiful. Hopefully, we’ll be able to visit Utah one last time.

Meanwhile, I have been cooking meat since my lunch hour. Our garage fridge/freezer somehow became unplugged and everything in the freezer defrosted. Since we just received a ButcherBox delivery, we have a lot of meat to cook today. Over my break, I sauteed up four pounds of stew meat and got a roast going in the crock pot. As soon as work is over, I’ll be back to cooking all the defrosted meat. Oh, the joy!

Today’s accountability tracker:

Chicago

Chicago is a hell of a town and we had a great time there despite our travel arrangements going cattywampus. We stayed in Schaumburg, which was perfectly situated close to both O’Hare and the rink we were playing at. Also, Schaumburg has everything a traveler could need in close proximity. There’s a great mall, several Dunkins, Portillo’s, Lou Malnati’s, and Giordano’s. Schaumburg is also right off both I-90 and I-290, which makes it super easy to drive downtown. To clarify, when I say it is easy to drive downtown, I only mean that you pretty much just follow the road into the city. As for Chicago traffic and left merges, those are not easy nor are they fun.

Saturday the boys played two games, so it was a hockey day. While the boys rested in between games, some of us parents went and enjoyed a Lou Malnati’s pie. It was my first time trying Lou Malnati’s pizza and while I liked it, I prefer Giordano’s. The boys split their games Saturday. The first game they could have easily won, so it was frustrating to see them walk away with a loss. The Mayor had an awesome day scoring two or three goals in the two games. They won their evening game, which was fabulous. After the second game, we enjoyed a catered Chipotle dinner at the hotel. Admittedly, I love the catered hotel dinners as it is much easier than doing a team dinner in a restaurant. Plus, it’s really easy to eat healthy with a catered Chipotle dinner.

Sunday morning’s game was a doozy. They were up 3-0 after the first period but nearly gave away the game. In the first period, the team looked like total rockstars, while the second and third periods got progressively worse. Tying the third game knocked them out of the semi-finals, which also gave us the rest of Sunday off. Of course, it wouldn’t be a hockey tournament if we didn’t have to wait with bated breath for other games to finish. There was a chance, if the stars had aligned, that they could have made it to the semifinals.

Consequently, my bestie Jen and I headed to Sky Spa/Sauna in Buffalo Grove. It was an awesome facility. The women’s locker room had a dry sauna, steam room, and hot tub. We stuck to the dry sauna with Himalayan sea salt walls. The spa also had an outdoor pool and co-ed saunas. We found, however, the outdoor pool to be too cool and the co-ed saunas to be too much of a sausage fest. Consequently, we stuck to the dry sauna in the women’s locker room. The experience was absolutely heavenly. We both left the spa feeling completely relaxed and pain-free.

After the sauna, I definitely wanted to go to bed, however, our friends were heading to downtown Chicago. I got changed quickly, so the Mayor and I could join our friends for an adventure downtown. The drive into the city was uneventful, at least for me as a passenger, but traffic wasn’t terrible. It was still pretty busy considering it was a Sunday night. Once we made it downtown, we found parking right off Michigan Avenue near Millenium Park. The parking is super easy to access albeit quite expensive. The vistas of Michigan Avenue never get old. It is such a beautiful stretch of road with parks on the Eastside and beautiful buildings on the west side.

To get into Millenium Park, we had to go through metal detectors and have our bags searched. Unfortunately, Chicago’s violent crime problem has spilled over into downtown including random acts of violence. When we lived in Minnesota, we drove down to Chicago quite often to visit Luke’s grandfather and I loved going downtown. The last time we were there, there weren’t metal detectors or police in tactical gear all over the place, so it was sad to see it this time. The Bean is cool and the park is pretty awesome. They could. have ice skated there, but they wanted to skate the Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park instead.

The walk from Millenium Park to Maggie Daley Park reinforced what I already knew about Chicago. It’s windy as hell and it’s a lot colder downtown. I kept checking to make sure my jacket was zipped because the wind was ripping right through it. When we got to the second park, the skating was sold out until 8:00 pm. Consequently, we headed to Giordano’s for dinner. The timing worked out perfectly. By the time, we finished our amazing pizza, it was time to head back to Maggie Daley Park. Unsurprisingly, the walk back to the park was completely miserable courtesy of the mighty Chicago wind.

Maggie Daley Park and the Ribbon were amazing. I highly recommend checking them out if you have the chance. While the boys skated, the parents walked over to the cafe and enjoyed some very hot chocolate. The hot chocolate served in disposable cups, complete with marshmallows, was far better than any rink hot chocolate I’ve tasted. As for the park, its elevation is lower than the street, so the wind wasn’t much of an issue while in the park. Consequently, it was the perfect place to take in the city. We thought the boys would skate for twenty minutes and then get bored with it. Boy, were we wrong. I’m pretty sure they would have skated all night if we let them. Thankfully, we had to. get back to the hotel for a birthday party, so we parents were able to defrost sooner rather than later.

The trip ended with a win in the consolation game and lunch at Portillo’s. To be honest, I’m completely obsessed with their cheese sauce. It’s amazing! Fortunately, we didn’t have an issue getting to the airport. Our hockey family came through for us big time, so special thanks to Lyssa for helping us out. We got to O’Hare almost three hours early as I had read the TSA lines were ridiculous. Apparently, this wasn’t the case in terminal five. There wasn’t anyone waiting. inline when we got to TSA. Once through security, we chilled in Delta’s amazing lounge where the Mayor took full advantage of the shower suites and buffet. We made it home at around 2:00 am exhausted, but happy to have spent a great weekend with friends in Chicago.

Today’s accountability tracker:

Back Home

We got back home early yesterday morning from our fantastic trip to Chicago. I had planned on writing yesterday, but after only three hours of sleep, I thought it would be an exercise in futility. As I crawled out of bed to work yesterday, having slept through all of my alarms, I was lamenting my choice not to take the day off. Fortunately, I had a really productive day at work despite my lack of sleep. My parents, who are in town, also brought me a much-needed Starbucks halfway through the day. They were complete lifesavers. I skipped my workouts yesterday because I was exhausted. It was one of those days that had I worked out, I probably would have made myself sick or injured myself.

I’m still utterly exhausted even though we’ve been back home for a day. Consequently, I’m taking another rest day. Fortunately, I did get to bed relatively early last night even though we had company. My parents and sister-in-law came over for dinner last night. While I was on my PanCan conference call, the Hubby grilled up some yummy hamburgers, brats, and potatoes. The grilled potatoes and onions bathed in butter is one of my favorite dishes that we make. He finished the food promptly at 8:00 pm, which was perfect timing. Goalielocks was also in town to pick up stuff he had forgotten and say hi to the grandparents. We made him put everything in the car immediately, so he wouldn’t forget it again. It was nice having him home even if it was for just one night.

Tonight the Mayor has practice, so we’ll just spend our night relaxing with the dogs. Who am I kidding? The dogs will be creating all sorts of mischief as we try to watch television. I’ll write more about our trip tomorrow when my brain is less foggy. Unfortunately, I’m still sorting out the rental situation. They’ve now charged my AmEx multiple times for a car I didn’t get to use. I’m waiting for them to send me my receipt, so I can see the actual charges. At this point, I think I’ll have to file a dispute with American Express to recoup my money. I’m a bit disappointed that it’s taking so long, but I’m sure the bank holiday isn’t helping expedite the process.

Staying on Theme

Well, my weekend is staying in the theme of a transportation clusterfuck. I went out to get my Dunkin’ coffee this morning, when to my unpleasant surprise the rental didn’t start. In fact, it didn’t even turnover. Fortunately, the hotel engineer had jumper cables and was able to give us a jump. Unfortunately, the car’s battery wasn’t the issue. Given the lack of sound from the engine, we surmised it was a starter or alternator issue. Either way it wasn’t a problem that could be solved in the parking lot.

Thankfully, my friend Lyssa let me use her rental to pick up my already order coffee. While I drove to Dunkin’, I called Hertz’a roadside assistance line. The customer care agent was amazing. She got me setup for a tow, so I wouldn’t have to wait around for the tow truck. After all, I am completely unwilling to miss any of the Mayor’s games while I’m here. Nor was I willing to miss out on the deep dish pizza.

As for a replacement vehicle, I’d have to call back after the game to set that up. Ordinarily, I would have setup another car, but sometimes the universe is sending us messages. Also, we’ve had no issue finding rides to the games. Honestly, the Mayor’s team is filled with incredible families, which has made this situation so much less stressful. Consequently, I’m leaning into the universe’s message and going rental free for the rest of the weekend.

This morning’s troubles were, but a blur after two entertaining games today. I was so grateful that my bestie Jen was able to come and watch both games. It’s such a gift to be able to see her and her kids. Moreover, I love watching the Mayor play. I love watching his scheme and plan with his teammates on the ice. Mostly, I love when he scores a nice goal or sets up his teammates for a nice goal. Tonight he got the game winner after great plays and passes by his teammates.

Today was all about redefining expectations for our transportation this trip, great company and entertaining hockey. Today’s bloganuary post asks what is your preferred mode of transporting. My answer is simple, a rental car that works. As for the rest of this weekend’s transportation, we are fortunate for the generosity of spirt from our hockey family. Hopefully, next trip will stay on theme, but it will be a better less stressful theme.

Clusterfuck

This trip has been a clusterfuck since yesterday when Hertz inadvertently deleted my rental reservation while trying to fix it. After a couple of calls, they got it taken care of and at a much lower rate. The real clusterfuck showed up when Delta emailed me that our flight was delayed and we needed to rebook. Fortunately, I got the email before falling asleep, so I could get situated while there were still flights available.

After several hours, Delta’s customer service agent was able to get us rebooked into O’Hare via JFK. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have a Twitter tantrum directed at Delta. After being canceled, rebooked, canceled, and rebooked at the back of the plane after paying for Comfort+ on the flight, I was beyond livid. Thankfully, an angel named Eloise, a Delta customer service rep, took care of it.

The cluster has continued today. Our boarding passes for the second flight didn’t want to load, so that was fun. I went up to the desk to get printed copies, but the attendant insisted the photos I had of the printed passes would work. Spoiler alert, they didn’t and we were the last folks to board the plane. I wouldn’t have been so annoyed if I hadn’t already asked for the printed passes. Anyway, we eventually got on the bird and are now wheels up to Chicago.

I did notice, however, once I got service again that our Monday flight to Atlanta as cancelled. It looks like they’ve already rebooked us on another flight. The basement of JFK, where our gate was, had absolutely no cell nor Wi-Fi service. There was literally no service in the room. Obviously, everyone was annoyed with the lack of service as it made it mighty difficult to pull up a boarding pass in the APP with no internet.

If there’s anything the last twenty four hours have taught me, it is that my bullshit tolerance clearly has a limit. At the moment, the limit seems to be nil. Perhaps, my tolerance for travel bullshit is lower than my normal life bullshit tolerance. Or perhaps I’m just exhausted and have no desire to be tolerant. I think I probably just need a good nap and maybe a piece of the gigantic Milka Bar I bought in the airport.

Today’s bloganuary prompt asks what one would do with a billion dollars. Given my experience with the clusterfuck that is travel these days, I’d buy a private CBC jet. This way I don’t need to worry about my flight getting cancelled or my mobile boarding pass not working. It would just be so easy. Plus if I had a private jet, it would be much easier to travel with my puppies. Although to be fair, I’m not sure the puppies would love flying. Anakin and Arrow have nervous breakdowns when driving five minutes to the vets office.

And we made it!

Today’s accountability tracker:

Packing

I finally started packing! The Mayor and I are quite excited about our trip to the North. Fortunately, I found my jacket last night out in the garage. In Goalielocks’ haste to clean, he decided (I guess) that my jacket and nice mitten from Stockholm should be donated. I guess I’ll have to go through the donation bags when I get back from Chicago to make sure he’s not getting rid of anything else I need. My clothes have all been washed and the boots have been selected. I decided to not bring winter boots since the weather’s going to be mild. Consequently, I’m bringing the cute boots I took to Scandinavia in 2018.

So in between packing and work, I’ve been trying to update my rental reservation to reflect my gold club membership with Hertz. Their online support told me to try updating it in their app. Spoiler alert, their app does not work. Consequently, I ended up calling customer care. After being on hold for several minutes, the agent canceled my reservation and created a new one (allegedly.). I say allegedly because it is yet to reflect in my account, nor can the online Hertz agent see the new reservation. As Charlie Sheen would say, I’m winning! As this goes to press, I’m waiting to hear back from Hertz as to whether I need to create a new reservation or not. And now I’m back on the phone with Hertz. I’m clearly bumfuzzled.

Today’s bloganuary prompt is what chore do you find most challenging to do? The answer is getting issues like reservations fixed via phone calls. I work on the phone all day. Consequently, I don’t want to spend my spare time on the phone. To me, it’s a bit sinful when a consumer can’t fix their issue online without having to call the company multiple times. It should never take more than one call to fix an issue. Anyway, to punctuate my bad experience today, they can locate the new reservation, but it’s all jacked up. At this point, they’re skating on thin ice. Good news! They’re no longer on thin ice. They fixed my reservation and it’s now going to cost me a third of the original price. And now I’m back to packing.

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Week six Sweat Beginner HIIT full body workout. Ran one and a half miles, and walked two. Day twelve of the Everyday Yoga Shop/Practyce 21-day yoga challenge.
  • Book: Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
  • Blog: done
  • Today’s song: Bring Me to Life by Evanescence

Counting Down the Days

The Mayor and I are counting down the days to Chicago. We leave early Friday for a hockey tournament that starts Saturday. Similar to years past, we’re staying in Schaumburg, which is perfectly located. They scheduled the majority of our games, less a late-night semi-final, in nearby Mount Prospect. Unfortunately, the boys will play their 9:50 pm game in Fox Glen, which is some distance away. Thankfully, it looks like we will have some decent weather, which will make that late-night drive tenable. I did, however, rent an SUV in the event we did see some snow during our visit to the Midwest.

Meanwhile, the Mayor and my hubby got home around 7:30 last night after a long day in Orlando. Four games in two days is a lot for a non-tournament weekend. As an athlete myself, kind of I guess, his conditioning impresses me. Incredibly, his endurance doesn’t fail him even in the last game. He’ll play another game tonight, this time high school, and he won’t miss a beat. More importantly, as a woman in her 40s, he impresses me and inspires envy with his ability o eat endlessly. I watch him eat and gain weight. Moreover, he makes very smart choices with his diet, which isn’t to say he doesn’t indulge from time to time, but he eats pretty healthily for a teenage boy.

One thing I’m planning on, as I’m counting down the days, is not eating healthy in Chicago. I am looking forward to some Giordano’s, Portillos, maybe an Irish coddle, and yes even White Castle. Naturally, I am planning to balance out the indulgence at the table with workouts in the hotel gym and some sauna time. Outside of enjoying Chicago’s great food, I am hoping we have time to explore the hospital. Basically, I’ve been mining sites for some good options for both Friday and Monday. Friday we’ll have most of the day open. Monday could be open depending on how the boys play this weekend.

What is the best gift you have received? I love today’s bloganuary prompt! The answer for me is quite simple. It’s been the opportunity to travel and explore the world with my boys. Over the course of their lives, we have traveled to many places together. In 2002, Jake traveled with us to France for three weeks. He wasn’t even three yet but had the time of his life. Unfortunately, I’d have to find the photo album for that trip as it predates digital photos. Through the hockey years, we’ve taken many trips for tournaments. The best trip I took as a hockey mom was to Peewee Quebec. It is hands down the best hockey tournament around. Moreover, it is an incredible international experience with few rivals. If your child ever has the chance to go to Peewee Quebec, you must go.

Today’s accountability tracker:

  • Workout: Ran a mile, walked two, and completed day 9 of the Every Day Yoga Shop 21 Day yoga challenge. I had to adjust my schedule a bit since the Sweat APP wasn’t playing nice.
  • Book: Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
  • Word of the day: tittynope. There was a tittynope of pizza left after the Mayor got to it first.
  • Blog: done
  • Today’s song: Roam by the B-52s

Utah Bound

We’re wheels up on our way to Utah and I couldn’t be more excited. For the ten months, our oldest was deployed overseas and is finally home!!!!! I can’t tell you how hard it was as a mother to have a kid down range. I can only think of the Military moms and wife’s that came before me when the technology took keep us connected didn’t exist. My heart would have been in my throat daily if I had to wait for a letter via post. Technology, as sucky as it can be, was an absolute god send during his deployment. Anyway, I’m super excited to be spending the next week plus out West with my boys.

Turks and Caicos

Last month I spent six days in the beautiful Turks and Caicos with my beautiful Momcation friends. This trip has been three years in the making and delayed twice due to COVID. We stayed in the most incredible villa, Tip of the Tail Villa, which was absolutely beautiful inside and out. Moreover, the villa comes with a staff including a butler, maids and a professional chef. Needless to say, Chef and Sheldon spoiled us rotten. We ate like queens day in and day out. Every meal was better than the last one. I don’t think I could even pick a favorite if I tried because they were all that good.

Usually on Momcation, we hang out almost exclusively at the house maybe going on one excursion. This time we took several excursions and all were well worth it. Wednesday night we hit up the world famous Da Conch Shack, which has a live junkanoo band that night. Honestly, it lived up to expectations. Our food was super tasty and the atmosphere was phenomenal. Thursday night we went to the world Famous Fish Fry. It was okay, but Da Conch shack was better. Friday night we did a sunset champagne cruise, which was absolutely sublime. We even saw some dolphins. Lastly, saturday morning we went Kayaking in the mangroves, which was incredible. We saw a large amount of baby sea turtles and baby sharks, which were super cute. Our adventures this trip were awesome.

If you’ve never been there before you should definitely consider it as a must-see destination. The beaches and waters of Turks and Caicos are second to none. In fact, the water in Turks and Caicos is on a whole other level. The different shades of blue are breathtakingly beautiful. More than that, the people of Turks and Caicos are super hospitable and welcoming. We didn’t run into one rude person, which after living in South Florida is a nice change.

Things to do when in Turks:

  • Go to Grace Bay and enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. It’s a beautiful spot. You won’t regret spending time here.
  • Visit Da Conch Shack (Wednesday if you want to see the Junkanoo band.) This restaurant is extremely popular, so make you make a reservation a couple of weeks before you trip.
  • Champagne Sunset Sail through Ocean Vibes was absolutely amazing. They have an open bar and plenty of food form local restaurants to keep you well fed as you drink.
  • Kayak tour with Rising Tide Charters. There are several kayak tour operators in the area, but what I loved about Paddle King Jennings and Rising Tide Charters was that our excursion was only us. We had a small intimate group whereas the other tours were quite large. Our guide brought a cooler full of water for us and was eager to share all he knew about the Islands, the mangroves and the animals that inhabit the mangroves.
  • Visit Mudjin Harbor on Middle Caicos. It’s not the easiest place to get to, but if you have the time I highly recommend it. We didn’t visit Middle Caicos this trip, but did visit Mudjin Harbor on our first Momcation in 2018.