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Okay, so clearly I'm not ready to move on.

When we got back from Europe this past weekend, I had hoped to spend this week blogging. It’s been ages since I’ve really been able to sit down and write, so I was looking forward to recounting all my tales of adventure (and a few of woe, because, hey, you know me) to you guys. Unfortunately, it looks like all of that is going to have to wait, because right now I have the unexpected task of finding a new place to live and moving out.

Rand and I have lived in a condo (one we rent from a private owner) for the last two years. Though “live” isn’t really the right word, since we’re hardly ever here. Rand and I joke that it’s more “the place where we keep all our stuff.” Our landlord seems a bit AWOL, too. In two years, I’ve met him once (Rand has never met him). He wasn’t even the person to show us our place. Instead, it was a lovely real estate agent whom he described as “a good friend”; the agent later told me she barely knew the guy. He never replied to my emails when anything broke (we had to fix a lot of things ourselves, because after  weeks of emailing him, calling the phone numbers I had for him, and receiving no reply, I got fed up.)

We heard from our landlord once – when it was time to renew our lease last year. I politely told him that, as we had discussed when we moved in, we’d like to move to a month-to-month lease. When we first moved in, he had promised me it would be totally fine with him. Of course, it wasn’t in writing, and a man’s word isn’t worth more than he is. So when he resolutely refused to keep his promise, I was upset, but I realized I had no legal recourse. He explained that he wanted long-term renters, and that we needed to sign up for another year, or move out immediately.

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Photo by the fantastic @sallysimpleton, who I really need to visit now that I'm home.

Misery, thy name is Air France.

Rand and I are home after a long trip to Europe, a trip made even longer and more difficult by the good people of Air France. They must have an extreme fondness for us – as they did everything possible to try and keep us the country, and when they couldn’t prevent us from leaving, they kept our suitcase as a souvenir. Forgive me if I have trouble writing this post, but this Dick Move is still fresh, like a crisp baguette still warm from the oven (also, apparently I am hungry, and thinking about French things isn’t helping).

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? We booked our tickets with Air France months ago – sometime in January. It was our first time flying with the airline, and we hadn’t really heard anything (good or bad) about it. Our flight to Europe was without incident, and the plane was a newer one. We were in the Premium Voyageur section, and while not quite as nice as BA’s World Traveler Plus, it was still pretty darn comfy. It was on our return flight that things started to break down. We were going to be flying from London to Paris, and from Paris on to Seattle.

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The backspace key is now removable.

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I’d like to take a few moments to remember, with extreme fondness, Rand’s dear departed laptop.

It traveled with us across the globe. It never made weird sounds, it was quick to start up, and had a battery life that was unusually long. It was lightweight and kept my lap warm on cold winter nights when I sat on the couch browsing the internet.

It was a good laptop, and it left us too soon.

It met its end last Friday, at the hands of a TSA agent in San Diego airport. They were sending everyone through the back-scatter machines, and Rand and I opted out, as we usually do. TSA kept us waiting longer than usual for our pat-downs. A line formed behind us of other opt-outs, but they soon decided to simply go through the back-scatter machines – a TSA tactic that I’m familiar with. Inconvenience anyone who expresses dissent to the point that they’ll fall back into line. It worked with basically everyone except Rand and me.

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I’ve been alluding to the experience of which I’m about to tell you for a while now. And I’d put it off for the last few weeks, because, frankly, I was waiting for it to become funny. After all, nearly everything awful and travel-related becomes hilarious after enough time, right? Like when my friend’s luggage was lost and she ended up wearing her 15-year-old daughter’s purple skinny jeans around town. When she finally caved and bought a replacement pair of trousers, her luggage miraculously appeared.

That’s funny.

My nightmare of a hotel stay in Ashland has not reached that point just yet (I am convinced that if I wait until it becomes funny, we will be long dead). However, my blood pressure has finally returned to normal, nearly two weeks later. I am no longer waking up in a cold sweat, no longer frantically feeling the need to pack up my bag every ten minutes and change rooms. I’ve stopped removing dog hairs from my clothing – though long after they were gone, I continued to do so, continued scratching my skin, my brain unable to accept that I was not, in fact, covered in pet dander.

Yes, two weeks after our anniversary trip to the Plaza Inn and Suites at Ashland Creek, I have nearly recovered from the experience. And with a calm and clear head, I would like to tell you about it.

And why you should not, under any circumstances, stay there. (Unless, of course, you are a masochist. In that case, go for it, because THIS PLACE WILL MAKE YOU UTTERLY MISERABLE.) (more…)

Dear Seattle Center;

Okay, I admit it: I’m officially worried about you. This post was going to be another Dick Move!, but when I started to consider things a little more, I switched gears from “blinded by rage” to “concerned about your well-being.”

Seriously, we need to talk.

Have you completely given up?

Because it’s starting to feel like it. When I visited back in the spring with Desiree, I had hoped that the things I witnessed (cranky personnel, jacked-up prices, and a general air of pure hate for mankind) were simply a phase you were going through. I mean, you have gone through phases. Remember this? Or the time you thought you should go back to your original color? Sigh. But we got through that together, didn’t we?

I figured, the next time I see Seattle Center, it will be cheerful and upbeat and back to its old tricks. But that wasn’t the case.

I once again had out-of-town visitors (including Katie and my poor, easily-corrupted cousin) and since none of them had ever visited the Space Needle, it seemed like an obvious excursion. Why? Because people LOVE you, Space Needle. And for some reason, you think that it gives you license to suck.

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"Artist's" interpretation of Steven Slater exiting the plane.

"Artist's" interpretation of Steven Slater exiting the plane.

Upon hearing about the Jet Blue fiasco of this week, I instantly began frothing at the mouth, as I usually do when travel-related Dick Moves! happen, and I have fodder for my blog.

I’ve since wiped away the foam from my chin, but have maintained a healthy state of righteous indignation.

Dick Move, Jet Blue Passenger.

Yup, that’s right, I said passenger (Didn’t expect that, did you? Yeah, my blog is full of surprises. Unless you read the titles of posts.)

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Forgive me for getting straight to the point on this one. But here’s my shouldn’t-be-at-all-shocking-but-nevertheless-is revelation: First Class is not a right. It is a privilege.

Even if you’ve paid full price for the ticket (which most people haven’t), you are still incredibly fortunate to be able to sit in first class. You are able to board first, deplane last, sit in a nice big seat, and eat fancy snacks. It is fantastic. But it is not a right.

The only right you have, whether you’re sitting in coach, business, or first class, is to be treated like a decent, worthwhile human being. This is, of course, provided you behave like one. This also includes treating other people like decent, worthwhile human beings.

And yes, that means flight crew as well. They are not fancily-dressed waitstaff. They are the folks who will save your ass should anything go wrong.

And if you are fortunate enough to sit in first class?  That goes double, because once again, you are PRIVILEGED to have that seat. You cannot act like a drunken buffoonish idiot.

Are you listening, douchebag seated in 1D?

Because holy cats, you absolutely suck. I hope the irony of committing a Dick Move! while sitting in a section called “first class” is not lost on you.

Let’s recap our trip, shall we? I promise, I’ll be brief. It was, after all, only a 3-hour flight, though sitting in your vicinity made it feel DECADES LONGER.

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My friend Desiree came in to town from Florida a few weeks ago, and among the many activities we packed into the few short days she was here, we planned a trip to the Seattle Space Needle. Our friend Jamie was also with us, and since she has an annual pass to the Space Needle, she was able to get us reduced tickets (and you know whether it’s the amount of fat in milk or ticket prices, I love things that are reduced). When she purchased her annual pass, she was also told that one of the perks of being a pass-holder is that you get 25% off at the Space Needle gift store. Again, discounts = awesome.

We had a lovely time at the top of the Space Needle with Desiree. If you’re visiting Seattle, I strongly suggest you go …

I am starting to perfect the one-handed self-portrait.

I am starting to perfect the one-handed self-portrait.

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