Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Trip and Katie Update
I am still somewhat annoyed, but my annoyance has been tempered by the fact that Katie is in India and I can't get my hands around her throat. Not that I could anyway (without a step-stool) - she's almost a foot taller than me.

At the end of the last post I was very frustrated and somewhat at a loss of what to do, given that Katie didn't want to pay her deposit but wanted to wait a month until she got back from India and had a chance to 'look over' everything, with an appointment with the travel agent the next morning who was pretty confident that if we left booking for much longer the five of us wouldn't get on the same trip. I was also on my way to our Monday night trip-planning meeting, where Felicity, Rose and Frieda would be, but no Katie.

At the Monday night meeting, I explained to Frieda and Rose about Katie (Felicity already knew ) and repeated what the travel agent had said about the very real possibility that the five of us wouldn't get on the tour together if we waited, and said to them "I have no idea what to do - tell me what to do."

Led mainly by Rose (who was absolutely flabbergasted when I pointed out that we were leaving in four months, and realised that as she's aiming on leaving in January, that it's only two months until she has to leave) the consensus was "Stuff Katie, book the four of us on tomorrow, and at least we're assured of being together." I did come in for a bit of grief from Felicity and Frieda, who said that they can see Katie's point, that nothing happened for ages (BECAUSE WE WERE WAITING FOR THE DATES PEOPLE) and then I was rushing them (BECAUSE KATIE IS GOING TO FREAKING INDIA UNTIL CHRISTMAS).

Rose rang up Katie (who was having a romantic dinner with her boyfriend) as I had flatly refused to (I was too angry to talk to her), and told her that we were going ahead and booking for the rest of us tomorrow, and that it was fine and she could book when she got back from India, but she'd lose the group booking discount of $100, oh, and she may not be on the same tour as us. Rose said that Katie was a bit short with her, but said 'ok'.

At 10 am the next morning I get a message from Katie, reading something like 'Am I sitll able to book with you today and get the group discount and pay my deposit later? Let me know it's urgent." I phoned her up and informed her that yes, I could still book her on the tour today with the rest of us, but she would have to pay her deposit and show her id within five days, and there was only two days until she left for India, so she'd have to do it tomorrow. Frieda had agreed to drop a brochure over at her house for her to read that day, so she could 'look through' everything before paying her deposit.

So I go to the travel agent and book all five of us on the tour. What a relief. Phone Rose and tell her Katie changed her mind at the last minute. She says "HA! I KNEW losing the group discount would get her!" Katie is notoriously tight with money. I text Katie and tell her she can pay her deposit to anyone at the travel agent, not just the lady I booked with.

Thursday I go to work. Katie has gone to India. At work Felicity tells me that Katie didn't pay her deposit after all. She went in on Wednesday to pay it but Maria, our travel agent, wasn't in, so she didn't pay it after all. "But I told her she could pay it with any travel agent," I tell Felicity. "Well, she wanted to ask Maria some questions before she paid, and she was out of the office." "Why didn't she ask another travel agent then?" I say, highly, highly annoyed. "She said she did but they didn't know, and they wouldn't give her Maria's mobile number so she could phone her and ask so she didn't pay."

So, after all that stress, then relief that we were all booked on, Katie didn't pay after all. I find it hard to believe that the other travel agents couldn't answer her questions though. And why the hell didn't she phone me and ask me these all-important questions? There's a good chance I would have known. And I can't imagine there being a question that wasn't covered by the brochure, if she'd read it properly. It is a very comprehensive, easy to read document.

I am so angry I cannot put it into words with Katie. Not just that she stressed me out big time with her refusal to pay, then her last minute change of mind, then her not-paying after all, but the fact that she didn't have the decency to contact me, the one who has gone to so much trouble for her, let me know she didn't pay after all. She must have realised that because she didn't pay, I'd have the travel agent chasing me for the missing deposit. Which is exactly what happened. Maria the travel agent rang my office on Friday and left a message for me to phone her, and when I did on Monday I was told that Katie hadn't paid her deposit. Which, if Katie hadn't told Felicity, who then told me, would have been news to me.

Felicity suggested to Katie, who jumped at the idea, that 'one of us' go in to the travel agent five days before Katie returns from India and book her on the tour again with us, so that when she gets back she can go straight in and ask Maria her questions, then pay. 'One of us' means me, naturally. I told Felicity that there was no way I was doing it. She got pretty annoyed with me, and said 'why not, I thought it's a good idea'. "Because I've done all I can for Katie, and I'm not involving myself anymore. If Katie wants someone to do that than you can. I'll give you the travel agent's details." Felicity was quite put out at this, and muttered something about how she didn't want to go in, and I should, which I just ignored.

And not one of these girls has thanked me for all I have done, besides Rose. Not that I'm after gushing praise, but a little 'gee, thanks Cec for all you've organised,' wouldn't have gone astray. Instead I get criticised.
posted by Cecilia @ 11:52 am   6 comments
Monday, November 20, 2006
A rant, rave and complain post

I am so frustrated.

No, not sexually, any dirty-minded people.

I am frustrated with trip-planning.

It is getting a bit ridiculous. We are leaving in four months. We have no tour booked, no airfares, no accommodation, no definate tour-route plans, no dates.

I like to plan. I am a planner. This is possibly why I am a relatively organised (re: pedantic) person. Why I am doing my PhD, where you must plan 3 years ahead.

We have been waiting on the release of the new tour brochure, which has the dates. Last week after hassling both Topdeck (the tour company) directly and then the travel agent, I got definate dates, prices and then, wah-lah! a brochure. Three brochures, in fact, so we could pass them around and look. According to the travel agent, these tours fill up very quickly, given that it's not like contiki where one leaves pretty much every day. Only four leave a month, and we are going on the most popular tour. So, last Tuesday I made an appointment to meet with the travel agent and book all five of us in on this tour next Tuesday (as it was then. It is now tomorrow). We get an extra $100 discount each, as there's so many of us going.

Last Tuesday night, all of us had to work. We discussed the trip, worked out times to have a trip-planning meeting. I showed Katie and Rose the brochures whilst we were on break. Offered to let them take them home to look at, which they did not do. The tour is however on the Topdeck Tour website, where it has been all year. I told everyone that we had to be organised by next Tuesday, when I have this meeting. Everyone knew that that was why it was imperitive that we have a meeting over the weekend. I have to listen to Katie telling me how much she wants to get everything booked and how stupid she's felt telling people from uni that she's going overseas next year when they ask what she's doing, and when they say "well have you booked yet" she says, "Um, no" and they look all knowing like she's not really going and she feels stupid and pathetic.

Many meeting dates were put forward and then declined. Finally we settled on Sunday at 1pm. Then Katie got a ticket to go to this free concert (free, but you still needed to get a ticket to enter), so the meeting was changed to 5pm Sunday. I tell everyone that to book us on the trip I need a photocopy of their passport or license as id, plus $200 deposit so please bring it with them. 5pm Sunday I arrive at Rose's and discover that it is only the two of us plus Felicity at the meeting. Katie and Frieda can't make it. Frieda has a cold and is too sick to make it(despite the fact she managed to make it out for dinner with us and then out to a pub the night before) and Katie's concert doesn't finish until 8 pm.

Annoyed, but the three of us carry on and just chat away about possible plans and dates and just usual excited stuff like Rose asking: "Can you catch a train to Loch Ness?" and "How did you get across that massive river in Edinburgh?" and Felicity commenting: "Yeah, I've heard of Stonehenge". Felicity decides that as we can't set anything definate without the other two then we need to have a meeting Monday night with them there. Plus I still need photocopies of their licenses and their deposits.

Katie contacts Felicity and says she can't make the meeting as she's going to Launceston with her boyfriend for his birthday (city two hours away) on Monday. I message her and say "I need a copy of your licence plus your deposit before 11am Tuesday, you'll have to find a way to get it to me."

I have no reply.

Today, after driving for 6 hours and wandering around the bush (just because I happened to be doing this for my research, this is in no way connected to our trip), I get a message from Felicity. It says "Hey just spoke to Katie and don't think she's happy giving a deposit before she's had a chance to look over everything. She gets back from India on Dec 14".

Yes, Katie is going to India this weekend. All expenses-paid trip with her parents and brother. She actually doesn't want to go. Honestly, rich people piss me off. She didn't want to go on the cruise around the Phillipines either. It's not like she dosn't get on with her brother, either. He's only a couple of years younger than her and they're quite good friends.

So, despite the fact that we've known we were going to do this particular tour for oh, about five months, despite the fact that Katie has been desperate to book airfares/tour so she doesn't feel stupid in front of her law-degree friends, to the point of saying "well if we don't make dates soon I'm going to book without you," she feels like she can't pay the $200 deposit and book with us tomorrow because she hasn't looked everything over properly.

I am furious.

I spoke to Felicity on the phone after receiving her message and Katie had rung her and said "I'd prefer it that Cecilia is mad with me in the short-term rather than I pay out money and get overseas and not like it and be mad with Cecilia in the long-term". She also said that she didn't want to pay out so much money when she doesn't know what she's getting.

We have planned to do this tour for months. She has known all week that I have the new brochures, she even glanced at them herself, and that we were doing the booking this Tuesday. I am also pissed off that she couldn't call me or message me and let me know herself.

Aren't you being just a teensy bit unreasonable Cecilia? I hear you ask. Well, honestly, I don't think I am. If we wait until after Katie gets back from India, has a chance to 'look over' everything, and then book in to the travel agent and make our tour booking, there is a very real chance that we would have missed out on the date we want to leave on, if not all three of the dates it leaves in the month of May.

I have done everything for the girl. I have gotten brochures, quotes for car hire, hassled Topdeck about when are they finally releasing the brochure so we can book, hassled the travel agent, gotten the best deal possible with her for the tour, and then, with one week's notice, let everyone know that we need to pay the deposit and give me id photocopies for Tuesday. And now, THE F*****G DAY BEFORE Katie feels that she hasn't 'looked everything' over. She could have gotten a brochure off me to 'look over' on the two-hour drive to Launnie with her boyfriend.

I have no idea what to do now. Cancel my appointment tomorrow, I guess. What I really want to do is book the other four of us in and let Katie take her chances for when she gets back from India. The others are more charitable than I am, however, and won't do that. But then, they haven't been the one doing all the organising.
posted by Cecilia @ 4:47 pm   4 comments
Monday, November 06, 2006
The Night of the Maid
Seeing as dancingfairy was wondering what happened the night I went out dressed as a maid, I think I'd better finally oblige and fill her (and anyone else who was wondering) in.

I think I look good in that particular maid's outfit. Bug, what do you think? You just can't go wrong with micronet tights and lace, in my opinion. If only I looked so good in my usual uniform of servitude I might get a few more tips at work. We had a very enjoyable punch/dinner party at Rose's abode. I went easy on the punch given what has happened on previous punch parties. This could have been a mistake as I then had to go 'out' dressed as a maid still in full control of my senses. We went to a nightclub, with only Rose, Zoe, another girl called Heidi and I still in costume. The rest had gotten changed, the wusses. Rose was dressed as a girl guide. However, this girl guide uniform had belonged to her friend pre-puberty and Rose just wore the sleeveless tunic (no shirt underneath), sheer stockings and high heels. Zoe (another friend from work I don't think I've mentioned) was wearing my denim cut-off shorts that I last wore when I was 13 (because that was the last time I could fit into them) and a shirt tied up at the waist - she was a builder. Heidi was a surgeon in scrubs. I made sure I stuck close to at least one of these three so it was obvious I'd been to a costume party, I just hadn't decided to put on a maid's outfit to go out.

Once at the club I downed three tequila shots in quick succession and suddenly I didn't care at all that I was out dressed rather oddly. The feather duster did appear, I am sad to relate. Rose bent over and I dusted her bottom on the dancefloor. I have no idea why. Maybe to entertain the boys watching us.

The reason I haven't posted about this night out is that I was rather miffed after it. My pride took a severe denting. After we'd been at the club a couple of hours this tall, good-looking guy approached me on the dancefloor and asked if he could buy me a drink. I told him no, I was dancing. "Please?" he says again. "No." I replied again. I got occupied saying goodbye to Zoe, and whilst I was doing this potential drink-buyer had cornered Rose and was telling her that I was gorgeous, and did I have a boyfriend? Rose decided that he was nice, and promptly threw me into him. Literally shoved me into him, telling me that he was nice and hot and go and dance! So I did (it was her birthday, after all). And he WAS very nice and tall and appeared to be rather hot. I was wary of wearing the punch and tequila goggles but all the other girls have assured me that he was hot. So we did the whole dance-and-pash thing, which is something I never thought I'd do in plain view of the work girls (damn tequila, and chatted by yelling into each others ears. I actually couldn't hear him say his name so he took out his license and showed me it so I could read his name. And then we were typing messages into our mobile phones and giving it to the other to read (whilst dancing, that is). And he was showering me with compliments, which I was rather wary of. And the feather duster may have appeared, I must admit.

We went to sit down and had a proper chat filled with all the usual stuff, where he assured me he hadn't been attracted by the uniform, but drawn to my face (I was highly suspicious of this), and could tell on the dancefloor that I wasn't just gorgeous but intelligent too (I have no idea why and I think this was just a line, given what I was wearing. Unless wearing cute costumes is a sign of intelligence). And then he asked me out for dinner next week, and wanted me to set a date. I wouldn't set a date (couldn't remember when i was working plus didn't want to see him again in a lengthy dinner situation in case there was nothing to discuss whilst waiting for the food), so he was asking whether I'm free on weekends, or would a weekday be better, etc, and then could he please have my number. So I gave it to him, then said goodbye and that I'd better go back to my friends given that it was Rose's birthday, and he disappeared. I think he left immediately. His friends had already gone home to their girlfriends, he'd told me. The work girls were all very excited on my behalf and said how nice and hot he was.


Men are bastards. Now I know why I didn't bother with them for so long.

But I must say I was rubbing my hands together in glee that I'd 'picked up' (ew what an awful term) and Heidi hadn't. Heidi (friend of Frieda's who seems a bit psychotic in that she has been stalking her ex boyfriend and is now always desperate to 'pick up') had been DESPERATE to 'pick up' that night, as had been Rose. They had been prowling around the club all night. When she didn't succeed after two hours, Heidi wanted to move clubs. And Rose is so much prettier than I am. But they didn't succeed. Whereas I, who wasn't trying and wasn't out for that reason, did. He he he.
posted by Cecilia @ 4:45 pm   5 comments
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