Most people who know me are aware of the fact that I don't like to try new things. I don't like the hassle involved in learning something different and I don't like how easily frustrated I get when things don't go according to plan...or according to the way I think things should go.
S, the boys, and I are going North to S's family reunion/party at the end of the month. His family has a reunion every year and this year his mom has combined it with her husband's retirement from the Army. He's an airframe tech and will be moving on to another job in the private sector now that his Army time is done. For the life of me I can't remember what his new job will be. Anyway, S's mom has seven brothers and sisters, all of which have children and even grandchildren so as you can imagine, the family is quite large. I have never been to one of these reunions, but I do remember wishing my family had them. Now, here I am, in a family that has them every year. Luckily the majority of his family lives in the...er...city? town? Ok, I checked, it's a city, but a small one :)
Now, I know there are people out there who like to stay with family while traveling. And you know what? I'm not one of them. S's mom has offered to have us stay with her but really, no. T & J will be staying with her while S and I stay in a hotel. Ah, the hotel. The New Thing I had to learn.
I collect Air Miles and rarely use them so S thought it would be good to redeem them for the hotel room and save us some money. Good plan. I checked the Internet and the city we are going to has a hotel that accepts travel certificates from Air Miles. I called AM yesterday and had to go through their process of setting up a PIN. Hrmph. After listening to the electronic voice informing me of how important the PIN is and that I use it every time, I heard the message that said "we will get to your call in 22 minutes". Uh. Huh. After holding for 25 minutes I hung up. And tried again later that day. The message I got (after using my trusty PIN to accelerate the process) was that many people were making travel arrangements so if I was traveling within 15 days, please hold, if not, call tomorrow. I'm traveling in 18 days. I called tomorrow, which is now today.
It wasn't as long of a wait before getting to a representative. I used my PIN again, maybe that helped? I told him that I'd like to book a hotel and gave him the dates and location. He checked and that location doesn't do automatic reservations with Air Miles. So I asked the rep if I had to make the reservation with the hotel and then call back to get a gift card or something to pay for it. He said I would have to book the hotel using their reservation system and then I could get a Travel Certificate from Air Miles to use to pay for the room. Uhhhh, ok. I asked how long the Travel Cert will take to get to me, he could guarantee delivery by 22 July if I ordered it today. We will be leaving on 24 July, so ok.
I went online and prepared to book the room. I can even get a discount because I'm a CAA member, cool :) But the reservation online takes a credit card and I don't want to pay by credit card. Not sure if the card is used to just secure the room or pay for the room, I thought I'd call the hotel directly. The person I spoke to was efficient (probably used to dealing with irritated travelers) and got me a room with a TV and outside access...for more than the Internet price. Ok, fine. It's not like I'm paying for it or anything, it's free. I did confirm that they do take Air Miles Travel Certificates as payment, because that would suck monkey balls if they didn't. They do, yay :)
Next I need to get the certificate from Air Miles. I went online to see if that would be easier than trying to phone them...to discover their site is down. Grrrumph. So I called them. Again. Their phone system must have been having similar troubles because after typing my 11-digit number all I got was dead air. So I held. I was (eventually) routed to their menu...but not before listening to the message about how important it is to use the PIN when I call. I. couldn't. enter. my. PIN. as. their. phone. system. didn't. ask. for. it. The rep tried to help me, really she did, but their system was down and she was unable to process the certificates. Maybe if I tried online later? she asked. Well, if I don't throw my computer across the room I'll be sure to do that. I did make sure to ask if they have an expidited delivery of the certificates instead of having to wait a probable two weeks and they do...for $20 I can get it in five business days. So at least I can make sure I have the certificates before I leave for my vacation. That is...if I ever get to complete the process with Air Miles.