Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trip Planning

The last few days have just seemed crazy. The muscles in my upper back (and now my right shoulder, too) seem to waffle between the extremes of being in full spasm or feeling better. There are days that are nearly pain-free; then there are days that I can hardly move without tears springing to my eyes—this past Wednesday was one of the latter. Friday was my last physical therapy appointment from the month of prescribed sessions and we've scheduled out another 3 weeks of appointments.

So I've been having PT days twice a week, which means I'm going in late to work twice a week, so I've been falling behind on my schedule there, but there are other contributing factors to that, too. Our website developers think they have identified what is causing our database to lose the connection to the server several times a day and have set up a dedicated server just for our work in the database—things are still slow, but at least we're not crashing every hour. I've been working on Brazil content for the past week or so and even though Portuguese sounds similar to Spanish, the spelling is not even close and Portuguese uses a whole different set of diacritical marks. So that's been something of a challenge.

And I've been pulled off my web work to do blueline proofs on several books waiting at the printer. We're partner publishers on this particular set of books, meaning we do not contract the authors or do the developmental editing, or even the copyediting or regular proofing. Once the book files are sent to the printer, the printer creates the printing templates and sends those (bluelines) back to us for one last check and approval.

That's where our editorial department comes in. It rather expensive to make corrections at this stage in the printing process, so we always try to keep changes to a minimum, focusing only on factual inaccuracies and egregious errors (like misspelling the name of an author or public figure). Unfortunately, this set of books have had numerous errors, particularly with the maps. We've had 12 sets of bluelines arrive in the past week, so everyone has had to pitch in. It's has been nice to switch up my work a bit, but it has also put me behind schedule.

So anyhow, I'm supposed to finish Brazil before we leave on a mini-vacation later this week and I haven't even finished the first chapter. What? Oh, I didn't tell you we're going on vacation? Well, yeah. We are. We've decided to go to Chicago for a long weekend and see what there is to see. We'll probably just still to the main attractions, Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and the like, but we're hoping for some good weather—chilly and windy is fine, we're just hoping to miss the rain. But after looking at the extended forecast last night, that's seeming less and less likely.

So yesterday we were out and about. We grabbed lunch, went to Best Buy, and as we were finishing up the grocery shopping, Scoob reminded me that we were leaving later this week and I thought he was crazy. I was positive we were leaving next week, not this week. Turns out I was totally wrong and I've been a bit stressed since then trying to put together an itinerary for the trip.

This is the part of trip planning I do not like. Even though it's not, I always feel like it is left up to me to research flights and hotels and do the booking; read the guidebooks, do the research, figure out what attractions are open when, where they're located, and which ones are grouped together; and then to also figure out where we're eating each meal each day. Scoob's contribution to trip planning has been to look up every Chicago restaurant he's seen on the Travel Channel at the Travel Channel website and list the restaurant name, with the Travel Channel description, and a link to the restaurant website (if they have one) in a Word document.

So yeah, I was already stressed (not to mention it was Day 2) and we fought last night. I hate fighting with him. It just makes me feel like I want to puke then curl up in a corner and never speak to anyone again until I die. It is so hard for me to find the energy to do anything after we fight. Every time we go on a trip I just pray we will finally have a good time and not fight. After last night I'm not very hopeful that this trip will be any different from others—but I will try to remain positive.

In the almost 7 years that we've been together, it has become abundantly obvious that we have very different ways of approaching things and very different ideas of what is logical, not just with travel. Which isn't to say that being different is a bad thing, it just seems like we haven't been able to find the balance that makes our differences work together to strengthen the relationship instead of fighting.

In more upbeat news, the trees in our neighborhood are beginning to change color (I'm hoping we'll be able to catch some fall color in Chicago too, our hotel is near Millennium and Grant Parks). I tried to get pictures of a couple of the more brilliant trees, but the sky was pretty overcast and it was difficult to really get the colors.

And in video game news, Scoob knew I was excited about the new Uncharted 2: Among Thieves games and bought it for me. The first Uncharted game, Drake's Fortune, was one of the few Playstation games that I really, really liked (heck, I played it through at least twice). I liked the graphics, plot, dialogue, and seemless cinematic integration, and the animation of the cinematic cut outs was amazing. Uncharted 2 has been been even better than the original in those respects and the plot is a rollercoaster from the beginning. I'm only a few chapter into the play, but I'm loving it.

So I had better sign off and get going on the rest of my day if I plan to get any game time squeezed in. Scoob's off at Best Buy (again) to get a carrying case for something to take on the trip (because the Best Buy we went to yesterday didn't have it) and we need to find him a jacket for Chicago, especially since it is looking like we'll have rain. He has a heavy ski jacket, but it's too bulky and he doesn't want to take that. I also want to grab some granola bars or something to keep in my purse while we're out and about so that in-between-meals hunger doesn't make either of us have cranky pants while we're supposed to be having fun in Chicago.

Originally I had planned to do some clothes shopping for lightweight layering sweaters before the trip, but that was back when I thought I had another week. Though I did find this Universal Packing List Generator a week or so ago. You punch in the destination, dates, and anticipated temperatures of where you're heading, along with any special equipment or activites you plan to do, and the Generator kicks out a handy checklist for you. The list seemed too detailed when I tested it last week, but honestly, isn't it better to have something to remind you to pack your cell phone, charger, and blue tooth than to just remind you to take your cell phone and any accessories you think you may need?

1 comment:

  1. It is one of the toughest things to try and blend differences so they are strengths and not points of conflict. Maybe winging it more than usual on this vacation? When we went to the beach last, we planned meals and the start of the first day and left everything else up in the air. Not my natural tendency, but it worked. For me, the trick has been changing my focus from fitting in as much as possible so I don't miss anything to relaxing and enjoying myself.