A Long Over-Due Update
I believe I last posted over two weeks ago as I was travelling trans-Pacific on our wedding anniversary. Let me now pass on quick greetings from Eugene, Oregon – home of the University of Oregon and known as Track Town USA as the birthplace of Nike. The mega-trip is on the final push, with tomorrow’s meetings here my last before beginning the long journey home.
The work events on the trip have gone very well, despite the last-minute work that they have required. I also must commend the weather here in the Pacific Northwest – it has been nothing but incredibly pleasant and totally sunny, not a drop of rain, since I’ve been in the region for two weeks now. Another good thing I must mention is the incredibly warm welcome I had upon arrival at San Francisco International. The border guard took my passport, asked me if I had a good trip, and then said “welcome home.” Simple as that – no interrogation, no apparent looking down because I have chosen to live abroad, etc. Wow!
What has gone less well have been logistics – the largest being why my update is quite so long overdue. Last Tuesday night, my computer died. Well, specifically, it was my hard drive – total panic! I was just working and it suddenly turned off and restarted, and I figured I would lose an hour or so of work from some bug that caused the modern equivalent of a blue screen of death. Instead, I got “non-system disk or disk error – replace or strike any key when ready”, and the bios diagnostic quickly showed that the hard drive was as good as not there. So, after some hyperventilating, I ultimately called the manufacturer (HP) and discovered that I was under extended warranty still, and they sent a technician two days later with a replacement hard drive and some DVDs with the software. I have spent the time since then installing stuff and updating over lousy hotel Internet connections to the point where I can at least use the computer to do some work now and on the way home. What a total hassle – so everyone out there, back up important stuff to a flash drive or some other source right now! The verdict is still out on whether I will be able to save the files from the old hard drive, as I am trying to find the right cable to connect it via USB, so we shall see.
The other main issues I’ve had were these: my hotel in Seattle double-charged me for my pre-paid reservation, and it took about two weeks and 10 phone calls to rectify that. Also, the maid in Vancouver, WA broke my beard trimmer, so in Portland I had to locate a transit-accessible Target to buy a replacement, and now I’m stuck with an American plug again after finally getting a UK one! I’m quite curious what the proper protocol is…I notified the front desk, as I was very stressed and pretty annoyed, and they said “well obviously we can’t buy you a new razor.” I wanted to say, “well bloody well why not?” – but refrained. They gave me $15 off something from their restaurant, so maybe that’s enough? I mean, if I accidentally damaged something (that might fall under routine wear and tear) in the room I wouldn’t really expect to have to pay for it, so maybe that is fair, but it still seemed pretty lousy. Oh well: I hate shaving anyway.
So, those are the trials and tribulations from the road here, and I’m very much looking forward to heading home and seeing my wife and kitties by the end of the week. Hope things are well and when I find a driver for my SD card slot on my computer I will post a random collection of pictures from the trip.