- Ate raclette.
- Missed my connection in Frankfurt and ended up without luggage in a sad 70's hotel in the suburban German forest.
- Ate schnitzel.
- Came home to with having to deal with my car insurance company.
- Had an interview with a very smart person.
- Had jetlag.
- Watched my beloved car get towed away forever.
I was told to go up to the one-way street where my car was parked. What I saw was my car pushed uphill and sideways into the traffic lane and the front passenger side wheel was bashed in.
Thanks be to whatever higher power made sure that I didn't hear any of it happen. However, a neighbor did hear the commotion while he was eating dinner, saw a lady driving a white Mercedes erratically and wrong way while she was fleeing the scene, and got a partial plate. He called 911 and the woman was found a few blocks away at a 2nd accident site. The neighbor had already been taken to the 2nd accident scene and ID'd the woman before I was called out.
I contacted the insurance company that night and arranged for a rental car and adjuster to come out. Thankfully my flight wasn't leaving until later the next day, so I had time to pick up the rental with LO who needed to drive it while I was gone.
The car adjuster declared the car totaled, which didn't surprise me all that much since the wheel was bent in by inches and the engine compartment was damaged. I told LO the night of the incident that if the axle is bent, that would be that. That fucking woman driver couldn't have totaled my car any more efficiently than she did. My car was low mileage, 8-year-old BMW so the value wasn't that high to begin with anyway. I was planning to keep it for another few years and I just replaced the brakes and rotors days before.
I can't complain about the insurance company settlement, they are paying for the rental until next Friday, gave me the value of the car, plus a "this is a huge PITA sorry" amount, plus partially reimbursed me for the brakes and rotors I replaced no less than 9 days earlier.
However, it's just been a PITA having to deal with the insurance company the past few days I've been home. I still have to find a notary for the limited power of attorney and send off the title to the salvage company. I requested the Accident Report from the police department and it is not ready yet.
My car was towed on Friday morning and I tried not to cry as the workmen next door were asking me what happened. Because LO is working this weekend and it is triple-digit hot, we haven't shopped for a replacement car yet. I'm thinking a used RAV4 since we had one before and I am not buying a new car while living in this neighborhood as we only have street parking.
In other news, the trip to Europe was good. I'm glad I had the opportunity to travel, eat great food, drink beer by the Rhine river, and see something else. I managed to book myself on "Premium Economy" on Lufthansa and the service was amazing. Europe was also quite warm, I should add. The event itself was fine - it was an exhausting few days for me manning the booth. Basel was fine - except for the shitty cab drivers who didn't like taking cards. It also seemed like the Greeks were treated a little colder by people than I was. We booked (I mean I ok'd) a hotel way too far from the center as it was a 30 minute walk and my devs would rather walk than try to figure out the tram system (there was also only one tram an hour that would take us to the center, so that discouraged us.) The Greeks were disappointed there wasn't any Greek food, so we ended up settling on Italian for all nights we were there, but we did have kebabs our last lunch together.
I had two train misadventures going to Basel. First I didn't understand that it was unusual to have a direct train from the Zurich airport to Basel and it would be ok to transfer at Zurich main station. It was only after I ran into a nice guy from San Francisco on the train who was explaining the train system to someone else that I understood.
My other misadventure going to Basel is that my ticket to Basel didn't have a rail company name on it so I was concerned that I'd get kicked off the wrong train. I asked a woman at Zurich station if I had to wait for a certain train and she said no, just go to the track number. So I hopped on a very crowded (and whew...stinky, it was warm that day) French train that was stopping in Basel and then going on to Paris. I ended up sitting in the entranceway near the WC for the hour-long ride - I couldn't carry my bag to the second tier if I tried. No conductor ever came by and I figured I'd just play dumb American anyway.
After the conference, my coworkers and I stayed in Basel for Saturday and we explored the city together. They had a late flight back to Greece and I was staying the night. I moved to a second hotel and the room looked like a dorm room and had no AC - at least there was a fan. It was then I appreciated the 1st business-class hotel a bit more. It was Saturday night and I was so tired that I ended up falling asleep to the patron chatter and groovy saxophone sounds coming from the restaurants below.
On Sunday, Before I left Basel for Zurich, I took an early morning walk and checked if a supermarket I walked by earlier in the week was open but it was not. Later in the day, when I arrived in Zurich found out the supermarket in the train station was open and I was able to get chocolate. I seemed to have amused the checkout clerk with my armful of chocolate bars.
Once I was ready to go to my hotel, I went to the taxi line. I had been having issues with Google maps during the trip (don't even ask how a 10-minute walk from the Basel train station to the 1st hotel took 40 minutes after I got turned around) and I thought my Zurich hotel was farther than it was. So I get into a cab, and I show the driver the address and he goes, "Oh no, I won't go there, it's too close." And he kicked me out. To his (somewhat) credit, it was a 10-minute walk, but the hotel was on a steep hill.
The Zurich hotel had a grumpy check-in clerk, but it was v v nice. It was also billed as a great place for a romantic getaway. O_o I didn't realize that until I entered the room and the bathroom was encased in glass that what was somewhat privacy protected. Oh. (The hotel was also on the same street as a sex shop.) However, I had an amazing Sunday afternoon nap on a wonderful bed in front of an open window to the street.
After I woke up from my nap, my two goals were to walk to Lake Zurich and to get raclette for dinner. I did both. Zurich felt a little rougher than Basel - many tourists and there were some shadier characters on the street - but it was still nice. I managed to slip into an amazing reservations only raclette restaurant for dinner. The two young waitresses took great care of me. (I may have had four plates of raclette.) The only downside was that there was a table of loud Americans there, discussing golf. One of the Americans couldn't even bother to try to dress conservatively and wore some garish t-shirt which indicated he was from North Carolina. Of course.
I had an "Oh shit" moment in the raclette restaurant when my credit cards stopped working and my debit card did not work, so I gave the waitresses my room key (the hotel was next door) and ran to find an ATM. I got out some CHF, came back and gave them a very generous tip.
Monday morning I woke up early and walked to the train station to catch a train to the airport. (I also tried out the in-room Nespresso machine with its thimble-sized coffee capsules. It was great coffee.) I should also mention my room did not have AC and I started out the day...quite warm despite a shower in the glass-enclosed shower.
Arrived at the airport station, figured out how to check-in among the mass of humanity at the check-in and bag drop off lines, got through security (Zurich is one of the better, more organized airports) and waited at the gate. I had a 45-minute layover at Frankfurt.
My flight to Frankfurt was delayed at Zurich, and as it turned out, it was just enough to make me miss my plane home. The pilot said that weather was restricting arrivals at Zurich. My flight was so delayed that we ended up disembarking on the tarmac and getting bussed to the terminal. I asked a Lufthansa rep in the terminal if my plane had left yet and he said, "You have 15 minutes still, go!" So I went through passport controls in a rush and nearly bum-rushed a large student group going back home to Denver. The Lufthansa dude was lying as I found out when I arrived breathless at the gate for my flight back home. "Sorry, your flight already left minutes ago, we couldn't wait" I was told. The Lufthansa rep at the gate told me and an older couple from Philly who also missed the flight - they ironically flew direct from Basel to Frankfurt - to go to the service desk. Just as I got in line at the service desk, I got a notice I was rebooked for the next day so I said goodbye to the older couple and went to baggage claim.
My bag was not at baggage claim so I went to luggage tracing, where a kind woman told me my bag was in a "secure area" but they could not retrieve it. I had a small backpack as a carry on for my trip and don't usually carry clothes with me. The woman gave me the Lufthansa toiletries kit. By this time, it was nearly 2pm and I knew I needed to get a hotel. The luggage tracing woman directed me to the airport Welcome Center, but it was already closing up for the day. I was then directed to the Info Desk, that was staffed by older, practical German women. I could have just used the booking.com app to book a hotel for the night like I was using in Switzerland, but I figured that maybe I'd get a better deal from the Info Desk. Well, ladies and gents, I was wrong. The woman from the Info Desk gave me two options (each had breakfast and a shuttle from the airport) and I picked the one that said Frankfurt City thinking I'd go into the city.
But oh no, I realized my mistake as the shuttle got off the highway a little before the city limits into this sad 70s era conference center set in the forest. I was so not thrilled. I walked into this place with...dread. I had to work anyway and it was 3pm by the time I arrived so I decided to deal with it. the hotel hallways looked like they were last redone the year I was born. My room may have been redecorated last in 1984. I checked the minibar, and there was nothing in it. I worked for a few hours having been told the bar would be open by 17:00. I walk downstairs with my laptop, and... the bar was not open. So I sat in the sad lobby and watched people check-in. There were others without luggage, so I didn't feel as bad. 18:00, 18:30 still no bar, but the restaurant did open.
The restaurant could fit about 200, but it was only me and a German dude with his laptop. It felt overstaffed. I asked for a beer and decided to go full German ordering schnitzel. It was excellent. When I was almost done, then about 100 German tourists invaded the restaurant at once. I gave the waiters my room number and took the remaining schnitzel with me up to my room.
The one nice thing about the Lufthansa toiletries kit is that it came with a t-shirt and some laundry detergent. I should mention I had been sweating all day and my room did not have that great air either. So I put the t-shirt on and washed my shirt and finally pushed open the room window. I went to sleep with the window open looking upon the German forest.
I woke up at 4:55am because my room was about 50 degrees and I learned the hotel was directly under the Frankfurt departure path. I watched the underbellies of the departing planes from my bed at about every 3 minutes.
I tossed and turned for a few hours and then finally got up, dried my shirt with a hairdryer, got ready, and checked out. Only to have the checkout clerk tell me that I missed the airport shuttle I requested at 10am the day before. Whoops. They did recall the shuttle driver and he arrived at 11:00.
The flight home was uneventful, and I sat next to an attractive German guy with questionable tastes in film and documentaries. (Our section of the plane was filled with couples returning from tours and men. I was the only single woman.) He was a little amused I had 3 glasses of wine at the beginning of the flight and asked if I wanted a 4th. Passport control in PHL was an hour-long as it seemed that everyone and their school group were returning back to the US. Then when I went to order my ride home outside the terminal, I had two private taxi guys try to get me in their cars. I asked one how much it would cost (since I live in the suburbs) and he said $90. I told him no.
The other big news this week is that I had an interview with a co-founder at a small startup founded by a few ex-$EvilSoftwareCo employees. Their recruiter found me, but the process has been really slow. I was supposed to talk with their CEO this week, but he was on vacation. Anyway, the co-founder is scary smart, in a past life worked directly with $FamousEvilSoftwareCoCompanyFounder and launched famous software products you would know and asked a lot of great questions. Unfortunately for me, the interview was late in the day and jetlag had just set in. I haven't heard back and Friday was too busy for me for the "thanks for the chat" email. I will send that Sunday night.
The one thing I realized during the interview is that I realize I'm missing something very important in my current position and now I have a good idea of what that is. We'll see what happens with this possible opportunity, but now at least I have a direction.
That is all.
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