Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Upgrade! (Lookin' Good Prada!)

Yes we are getting more and more stylish as the days go by... Just check out our new banner! I could just die looking at the caricature 'me' and my boys 'Numero Uno Son' and 'monkeyboy'. J'adore Melissa Kulesa of Kulesa Design. Everything is said in a french accent ( and in french) in my world these days - an ode to our Paris trip, if you will... Tres annoying, mais oui? Lol.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Travails of Travel

There is simply no need attempting to travel these days. None. At. All. The FAA (and cohorts) have squeezed every drop of fun from the whole process with the 3-1-1 rule, the non-priority seating of people with kids, the shoe removal thingy. Everything. It is so bad that even if, by some small miracle, you manage to make it across the ocean to your destination with all your luggage, tots and faculties intact, you are dead tired and cannot leave your hotel room until the day before you are supposed to go home, and then you end up doing the 'drive-by' tour thingy and then head for the airport - ( grumpy, unrested, and thoroughly dissatisfied with your feeble attempt at leisure) - to repeat the same 6-8 hour torture that you went through to get to your 'vacation.' Ha!

My beef today is that the travel agents have joined them. I would think that with the decline in air travel and business for the travel agents, they would be more enthused, more excited over the possibility of their commission. Or maybe just do their job, no? No is right. Here was my experience of recent with our Paris trip bookings. I mean, never mind that we had booked and paid (in full, mind you) for this trip months in advance. A week to the day, I get this EMAIL(because evidently, a phone call would be too much work, you know?)

Hello PP,
C is on vacation this week, and I got a call from the company who is handling your hotel stay in Paris, and they advised me that the R Hotel cannot accommodate your party for the nights that you are booked there.
They did offer an alternative for no extra cost at the V in two rooms there.
Both hotels are on the right bank. The R is in district 1 and the V is in district 2.
They do have another option near the R, called the L,
but that would be a difference of 1442 total for 2 rooms.
Please let me know as soon as possible what you wish to do.
If you have any questions, you can either contact myself or my manager, D. Have a great day

Basically, they had booked my hotel through a third party and were casually informing me that I would have to either stay in a cheaper hotel or pay more for another hotel which could accommodate my party. My 'party' being myself, hubby and 2 kids (7 month and under 3 years old.) Tell me people, should a travel agent not advise (before charging my account) on whether a suite is needed for a certain number of people? To me, this is right up there with letting you know you may need a visa or something. What I loved (read:sarcasm) was the way my regular agent was conveniently not in the office that day, and 2) how they tried to cavalierly make it sound like the problem was mine (and the third party agency's to resolve.) Keep in mind that I had hitherto had no prior contact with said third party agency.

I responded as politely as I could, letting them know they should work it out or refund my money. I got this reply:

I am checking with Travel Bound to see if they will cover the cost of your airline penalties if you indeed cancel. I will know that information shortly.
According to Travel Bound, they cannot accommodate a cot and a crib in their rooms at the R. I understand your frustration with Travel Bound because they should have advised you this at your point of booking in June.
There are other hotel options, but the best one at The L, that is closer to where the V is in district one, is about 1442 more. I was told by Travel Bound they cannot cover the cost difference if you choose this property.

I had an 'are you kidding me?' party all by myself when I got this reply. So another more strongly worded email was sent. This chick must not know I'm an attorney - in fact, bump attorney, try not addled. Cause this was getting to be ridiculous. Here comes the clunker.

Here is an option you may want to consider.
Travel Bound, the tour company who booked your room, told me by law the hotel cannot allow anyone bringing a baby into a room without a cot.
I asked Travel Bound if we took the baby off the reservation, could we have the room, and they said yes.
We could tell Travel Bound and the hotel you are not bringing the baby, and when you check in make sure the baby is not in sight of the front desk.
This is not something we normally recommend, but this is an extreme circumstance, and if you do not mind not having a cot, the best option.
If this makes you uncomfortable, we can look at other hotels that will provide four in a room.
Let me know what you think. Have a good evening!

No she didn't. Yes, she did! In writing! Did this person just ask me to collude with her agency to lie to the hotel and HIDE MY 7 MONTH OLD at check-in? Yes She Did! Where, pray tell, would I hide him? (assuming I was amenable, to her suggested option?) Under my jacket? In my carry on? I think I should have sued them at that point and been well within my rights! I was all set to cancel the trip and sit my butt at home, at least until some modicum of sanity returned to the travel industry, when I got this:

I have great news!
Travel Bound was able to keep you at the R.
They have two connecting rooms for you. It is guaranteed.
You do not have to use the second room, but they have to have it booked for you for no additional fee to you.
They will have the cot in the 2nd room, so you can bring that cot into your room.
At least you will have two bathrooms!!
Let me know if all is well. I think this is the best option. I do have other hotels in the right bank, but this way you can stay where you are.
Have a great day!

Great news, indeed. For her- even though I suspect she has no clue how close she and her agency came to getting the Prada Principal 'smack down.' Now all I have to do is to contend with the other stuff (see first paragraph) - you know, the travails of travel...

exhausted already...pp

Monday, August 18, 2008

Missing: Mojo

I have been going through a hellish couple of weeks at work. Nothing major, just work. Plus deadlines. Add overtime and two young kids and viola!, you have - no blogging. I mean, I barely have time to brush my hair, with my 50 hour work week plus commute, totalling at least 70 hours, and then I have to be wife and mother too? Come on! My face has is not liking this new frenetic pace and neither is my stomach. I have worse acne than my teenage me did and we are talking three to four HUGE Painful zits, that keep reoccurring in the same spots. Hello dark spots. My IBS (irritable bowel syndrome, for those of you lucky enough not to be the know,) is in full throttle. I am bloated, gassy, miserable. Tres sexy, non? My husband, needless to say is thrilled. But I am determined to get my Mojo back. Just as soon as I get my Mojo back... Sigh,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Enter the CopyWriter...

It's been a while. And I have missed you all and missed this. I truly love to write, (even when there is nothing really, to write about) and so I will write even if just the one person reads my blog. Will write for cookies, will write for free.

Enter my latest 'business venture'. I am all about making what you love doing work for you. I love to write and I am good at it - modesty would be counterproductive in this industry, so bear with me- this is why I am starting a 'copy' business. I will write website and advertising copy, come up with slogans, by lines and catchy business names, for a fee. I know a friend who thinks it's a ridiculous idea, but again, when you google it - a number of people are doing it, even under the names I was considering, so maybe not so ridiculous, huh?

I'm not quitting my day job or anything, just doing what I know and more importantly, what I love to do for people, who maybe don't love it as much. Is that so wrong? More on this later..

brimming with biz, pp

Monday, August 4, 2008

All Purses Go to Heaven

Do I love my children more than anyone (or thing) in the world? Yes. Do I love my awesome collection of purses as well? Yes Ma'am. I have always loved pocket books. Big ones, little ones, fat ones, thin ones, patent ones, leather ones, canvas ones, woven ones, All purses go to heaven in my world, except imitation/fake ones, which I simply detest. I just think they cheapen your whole outfit as they are never well made anyway. But I digress.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away when I was a lowly program coordinator in an NGO, I got laid off and decided to invest part of my severance in something that I would always have. Enter my white gorgeous limited edition coach purse. Before the days when every teeny bopper was sporting a coach wristlet, Coach was actually a well respected pocketbook to have. Besides, the leather ones last forever.

So I treasured my bag and cleaned it lovingly with my special leather cleaner after each stint and pacedk it away in its dust bag every time. I used this pocket book for 5 years without incident until - you guessed it - the 'Numero Uno 'monster got a hold of it. "Butterfly" He says, gesturing for me to see his latest work of art. Only one problem, it's ALL OVER MY COACH BAG!!!! In blue ink that I will never get off. Front and back. Oh. I. Have.No.Words. Just, Oh no.
distraught, pp

Friday, August 1, 2008

Girls Rock!

Because I adore girls and completely identify with how important it is to empower those (sometimes fragile) egos, this is todays post - an email from a 'rockin' mom. I just love her site and what it's trying to do, and the Wii fit prize is an awesome incentive to win this contest! Enjoy and have a great weekend...

We are launching a photo essay contest for young girls in America, asking them to submit photos of what it means to be a Tween Girl in America right now. We believe that girls in America cannot be labeled or pigeonholed. They're not just athletes, just pretty, just smart, or just students. They are a tapestry, and we believe that these girls are the best people to tell us who they are. We're giving away a Wii Fit game to the winner. In addition, we will post the top five entries and the accompanying text on our site at www.itchickclothes.com. The contest is open from August 1st to September 30th.
Who are we? We're owners of an online boutique of plus or extended size clothes for tween girls. We're also mothers of daughters. We believe strongly in helping girls find their voice, and we're giving away 10% of our sales in August and September to Girls Inc., a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Today, innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives. More information can be found at www.girlsinc.org.
We're hoping to make our contest and our gift to Girls Inc. as big as possible. Will you consider posting our contest information on your blog to help us get the word out? We think this is a great opportunity for girls to find their voice through art and writing.
Contest details can be found at https://www.itchickclothes.com/index.php/contest.html. We are happy to answer any questions you might have for us. Also, please feel free to forward this email or our contest information to as anyone you think might be interested.

From two moms of daughters, thank you.
Catherine and Emily