Toronto Trip – Part Three

If you missed part one you can find it here, and if you missed part two you can find it here. There isn’t really a part three, because I ended up sitting next to an account who was in the process of getting their PhD and was coming to PEI to give a presentation as a part of a finance conference and he spent almost the entire flight trying to explain the “social network theory” of building more stable investment portfolios to me. Which, good on him because I’m totally a super-smart astrophysicist and understood everything he said that’s kind of like explaining the theory of relativity to a monkey who speaks sign language.  Seriously, math isn’t my thing.

BUT I did manage to snap this picture as I was walking around trying to fill time before my gate opened:

But I like technology...

But I like technology…

The iPad magazine caught my eye because my iPad is new and I want to make sure I’m using it to it’s full capability I think I just really wanted to buy something.  Clearly though, it was not meant for the likes of my feminine gender.  Probably too complicated.  So I did not buy it.

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I snapped a pic of the women’s section for comparison.  Seriously, not one of those magazines interests me.  I suck at gardening, burn everything I bake, and Cosmo is just the same articles over and over again with different titles.  Spoiler: none of the sex positions are new.  I’ll stick to the ‘men’s’ section, thanks.

Until next time Toronto, it’s been a blast!

 

PS – Stuff, found in the men’s section, is one of my favourite magazines ever. It’s hilarious.

PPS – I totally gave finance accountant guy gum and I think that makes up for me karmically for bumming gum on my first flight.

PPPS – The guy I bummed gum from on the first flight totally avoided eye-contact with me on the descent.  Which was wise.  Because I would have bummed more gum.  For more on this, read part two.

PPPPS – I also had a really loud conversation at my gate with my sister about how much of a hypochondriac she is and became super loud Bluetooth guy from the first flight.  For a super-sleuth picture of him taken by yours truly, check out part one.

PPPPPS – Actually, come to think of it, this trip book-ended quite nicely.

PPPPPPS – Waiting to get off the plane is THE WORST part about traveling.

PPPPPPPS – I’m done now.

PPPPPPPPS – Probably.

I’ve been away making irresponsible decisions

Is it really a ‘Throwback Thursday piece if it happened three days ago?  I say yes.

*******

Sorry for the hiatus – my work sent me away to another province for three days for ‘Professional Development & Recognition’.  I wrote a post for you before I left but then it didn’t seem funny enough so I didn’t publish it and then I got distracted because I procrastinated packing and then went into panic mode.  So the usual.

I had to rent a car and drive through three provinces (it’s not a far as it sounds but still pretty far) and in a city I wasn’t familiar with.  I have PTSD (probably) from a bad car accident a few years ago that I can’t actually remember (I spent three months in the hospital and was in a wheelchair for awhile – that’s another story for another time).  So I was pretty stressed out about the whole thing and therefore a little more flustered than usual but to be honest I’m not great to start with and usually just somehow make things more complicated than they need to be.

So I forgot an important piece of paper for a presentation that I had to give during the conference (way to start out on the wrong foot me) which threw off my morning schedule just a tid.  My first stop along this journey was at the International Airport in Halifax to pick up a couple of colleagues I hadn’t met yet.  I was wound up the night before and stayed up a little too late – from the stress of driving and not having packed at all – so I was pretty tired and drinking a lot of coffee.  When I arrived at the airport I decided to run in to use the bathroom and check the flights to make sure they weren’t delayed.  When I came back out my car was gone.  I think I walked in three circles wondering if I had managed come out the wrong door.  I didn’t.  I somehow didn’t notice the signs posted everywhere stating that unattended vehicles will be towed.  As it turns out?  They take that shit seriously yo.  I was gone maybe 7 minutes.

But I got the car back fairly quickly (before my colleagues even arrived) and it only cost me $17.95 so it turned out alright.  I was thankful it wasn’t much worse than that (can you imagine?  “It’s nice to meet you – I’m sorry, I got our car towed.  Would you like to go splits on getting a cab to the impound lot a million miles away?  I’m kind of broke.  Also, I think we’re going to miss the first session of the conference.”).

Then I stopped along the way to refuel and my corporate card wouldn’t work.  I have no idea why.  When I called about it later the card company actually didn’t know why either – so that one’s totally not on me.  One of the colleagues I picked up ended up using hers.  Shortly after – seriously like 10 minutes later – we got lost.

You know, come to think of it, I think I could’ve really used that ‘Development’ piece of the conference.  I should have paid better attention.

There were deer at this conference.  This is a terrible picture taken through a window and you can totally see the reflection of my lanyard.  This is also the ONLY outdoor picture I took.  At a beautiful location.  So you're welcome. Or I'm sorry.  One of those.

There were deer at this conference. This is a terrible picture taken through a window and you can totally see the reflection of my lanyard. This is also the ONLY outdoor picture I took. At a beautiful location. So you’re welcome. Or I’m sorry. One of those.

SIDE NOTE: This kind of thing happens to me all the time so I really just found it funny.  Also, we did make it to the conference on schedule and I had a blast and learned a lot.  Mainly that newfies know how to party.

They gave us playdough to play with during the sessions to keep our hands busy.  BRILLIANT.

They gave us playdough to play with during the sessions to keep our hands busy. BRILLIANT.

All I did was make flowers during all the sessions.  It was AWESOME.

Seriously, all I did was make flowers during all the sessions. It was AWESOME.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIDE NOTE 2:  I made it through the whole thing without freaking out AT ALL and I’m actually pretty proud of myself.  I didn’t have an anxiety attack once during all that driving, even in heavy traffic.  My presentation went over really well, I was even told I’m a great public speaker and definitely right for the job.  And I made a lot of new work friends.

New York, New York: Part 1

So recently I found myself a tidbit stressed out (I’ll explain that another time) and so, like responsible adults do, I decided to spend all the money I had and take a road trip to New York.

And so it went that two of my girlfriends, one 7 year old child, and little ol’ me pile into a mid-size car to begin a new adventure and hopefully, make memories for a lifetime.  And that we did.  *I should clarify here that the 7 year old was my friends’ son, not just some random kid that decided to tag along and where we were like “great idea!  Can you chip in on gas little dude?”*

Actually, we made many jokes leading up the trip about the “inevitable meltdown” that comes along with traveling with a 7 year old.  Either I have a completely misinformed view of children or this is just one super awesome kid, but We. Were. Wrong.  We dragged that kid all over Manhattan for at least 17 hours a day and he had way less meltdowns then we did.  It might have something to do with the $200.00 worth of toys his mom bought him, but still.

 

Seriously, coolest kid ever.

Seriously, coolest kid ever.

 

Given the fact that I was traveling with two other girls and a small child, I tried to pack light.  Packing light when you’re a girl is hard yo.  With this in mind, I decided that three pairs of shoes was the maximum reasonable amount.  I just had to narrow it down to three pairs.  Putting logic to use, I brought 1 comfortable, walking pair of shoes: ballet flats; 1 rainy-day pair: kitten-heel boots; and 1 hitting-the-town/catching-a-broadway-play/fancy pair of shoes.

I want to stress here that on my way out the door, I stopped and looked at my running shoes* one last time.  I actually stopped and contemplated them, then actively decided not to bring them.  This was a terrible, terrible mistake.

*****

The ballet flats did not hold up against the grueling task of exploring as much of New York as humanly possible in four days.  By day three the shoes had lost all shape and I was considering chopping off my feet they hurt so bad.  I was like “who needs feet?”.  My friend was like “umm… everybody?”

I was resistant to the idea of buying a new pair of running shoes, because I have two pairs at home.  I just didn’t need three.  But I did need a pair that very instant.  Something.  Anything.  My friend and I found a pharmacy to browse for morphine a hacksaw in-soles for the ballet flats.  And by ‘browse’ I mean that I immediately found a chair and she brought me options.

It was at the point I was contemplating $50 in-soles that she finally talked me into just buying a pair of running shoes.  So at the pharmacy I just bought Advil, $7 in-soles, peppermint rub and we headed back out into Times Square to find the Footlocker**.

The map said there was a Footlocker.  The street vendors said yes – it’s right over there while waving their arms vaguely in the air.  We could not find it.  Seriously.  We wandered around Times Square and the accompanying streets for two hours.  We took a subway down 5 blocks, then walked back up. At one point my legs very suddenly went blissfully and disturbingly numb.  Up until that point it had felt a little like fire laced with swords had wrapped itself around my feet and was shooting up my legs and then all at once, like a flame dying, the pain receded back down into my feet.  My immediate stream of consciousness went something like:

“Why are my legs numb?”

“Can I get nerve damage from walking? That doesn’t seem realistic.”

“Nerve damage might not be so bad.  It might actually be kind of a relief at the moment.  At least it doesn’t hurt so bad.  Silver linings!”

“Who am I kidding? I don’t want nerve damage. Fuck.”

“Am I going to fall over?”

“Maybe I should tell someone this is happening.  Get a second opinion.”

“Don’t be so dramatic.  You’re fine. Stop being such a baby and suck it up.”

“But my legs did go numb.  And kind of tingly.  They feel weird.”

“Is there a chair nearby? Maybe I could sit on the sidewalk.”

“Ew gross. That looks sticky.  Don’t sit on the sidewalk.”

“SERIOUSLY, WHY THE FUCK DID MY LEGS GO NUMB?!”

“Maybe I’m dying?”

“Oh right.  I took Advil about 20 minutes ago.  That explains a lot. Whew.

“Hey!  Is that the footlocker?!”

“Of course it isn’t.”

Because it was not to be found, the mythical footlocker designed to fuck with tourists.  It was when I was crushed into a throng of people so thick that I was pretty sure they were holding me up that I decided to throw in the towel and admit defeat.  It was then that a new game plan was needed, and that game plan was finding a bar and getting a stiff drink.

It was Times Square, so we figured there must be a bar within a block and the first one we came across was a TGI Fridays.  It served alcohol and presumably had tables so we immediately went in.  It had the same vibe as the street outside – loud, bright, colorful, chaotic.  They sat us at a table and then no one came to talk to us for 20 minutes.

 

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The street outside – beautiful chaos.

 

I could feel the anxiety start to wrap around me.  I needed quiet, dim, soothing.  I needed it like I have never needed it before.  This TGI Fridays was the opposite of that. People very yelling to one another over too-loud music. Silverware was clanging everywhere.  Then a baby started screaming at the table next to us, and immediately following that the entire fucking staff came out and started singing “Happy happy birthday!” to the table on the other side of us at the top of their lungs and clapping their hands and I. Was. Done.  I briefly considered stabbing the entire restaurant but it’s illegal it seemed like a lot of effort my feet hurt to much they hadn’t brought me any cutlery.  Probably a good call on their part.

There was a restaurant downstairs.  We passed it to get to the TGI Fridays, and we decided it was right there and it had to be better than this so we left to give it a try.  The restaurant was full of empty tables and the bar area was jam-packed with people, which actually looked kind of odd.  The hostess smiled and greeted us and we told her we just wanted to sit at the table and order a drink.  She informed us that in order to sit at a table you had to order dinner but we could certainly order a drink at the bar area.  Suddenly the jam-packed bar made sense.  My heart sunk.  We took a quick walk through the bar area and there was not a single seat to be found.

So we left that restaurant and I had serious concerns that this mission was turning into the goddamned footlocker debacle all over again when, shining just across the street like a beacon of hope, were the words “Irish Pub” on a simple green awning.

I finally got my drink.  We actually passed an open store front window on the way to the Irish Pub with tall leather booths, candles on the table, soothing jazz music, only five other patrons and it was fucking perfect.  I fell into the booth and chalked the whole night up to a win.

 

Us, trying desperately to soothe our feet and laughing hysterically about the whole evening. I also have a shopping bag filled ice on top of my feet.

Us, trying desperately to soothe our feet and laughing hysterically about the whole evening. I also have a shopping bag filled ice on top of my feet. Glorious.

 

If you haven’t been totally stressed-out in New York, you haven’t done New York.

*****

The next day I knew I had to do something.  I had one more day, and obviously just taking it easy wasn’t an option.  And that’s how I came to duct-taping paper towel into my shoes in an attempt to build arch support into them while my friends laughed at me.

And you know what? It fucking worked.

 

 

 

*I have learned my lesson.  Or I like to think I have.  I will NEVER travel without running shoes again.  Like someone will say “Let’s go down to Cuba and lay on the beach for a week” and I’ll be like “Sure!  Just let me grab my running shoes!”

**We did eventually find the Footlocker, and you know what?  Their selection of shoes under $100 was terrible.  I did not end up buying shoes there.