Fail, Fail, Fail

Well, it’s been quite an emotional rollercoaster ride for me the last few days. It actually started at the beginning of the week when I tried to download my tickets for Thursday night’s concert—the tickets I paid for back at the beginning of August.

At first I wasn’t too concerned when there seemed to be a glitch in Ticketmaster’s website. But by Wednesday I had spent many hours and I’d guess close to 100 attempts to get my tickets, with no success. The site said my tickets were ready. The various service personnel I chatted with said they were ready for me to download. I just couldn’t do it. And these particular tickets had to be printed out at home—no sending them to my phone, even if they could (which they couldn’t).

By late Wednesday night my case had been “expedited” but still no tickets. They said to check back in the morning. I told them I would be leaving in the morning, because we had made plans to meet Mercy and Daniel for lunch. When I got up in the morning and tried to download my tickets, I failed again. I got on another chat and explained my situation. I was assured they were working on it. I asked if there was any way we could use my phone. No.

Meanwhile, Walter set up our Zambian flag beside the front door because October 24 is Zambian Independence Day! Usually we have a big Zambian dinner on that day, but not this year.

When 9:00 came (our target time for leaving), I felt I had no choice but to pack up my computer and take it to Mercy’s house in hopes that I’d be able to use her printer to print out the tickets if they ever came. I stayed on the chat with the service person as long as I could, but at 9:30 I told him I had to leave as I was already late. At that moment the tickets arrived in my email inbox.

By then I was in tears and so frustrated. I printed the tickets and we got on the road, but it was some time before I regained any kind of emotional equilibrium. I estimate I spent about 8 hours of my life just trying to get tickets I had already paid for!

And then we got to Mercy and Daniel’s apartment, only to learn that the Russian restaurant we had hoped to go to was closed for lunch. So instead we “had” to go to a German restaurant. I am pretty limited in what I can get in a German restaurant, but I was able to have some roast chicken and cabbage and it was very good.

Soon after lunch Mercy had to go to work, and Walter and I still had several hours to kill. I suggested going to an international grocery store I’d seen in the shopping center next to the apartment complex. I love ethnic shops of any kind. This one was mostly Middle Eastern, which was great because that’s our next region in Geography and I was able to pick up some things for class.

From there we went to World Market, where I made my husband’s day by getting him a chocolate advent calendar for this year. Apparently they sell out quickly, so I’m glad we saw them!

Then it was time for a very slow drive through pouring rain to downtown Dallas. We found the concert venue and parked nearby. It was still over an hour before the doors would open, and the rain was coming down. About six or seven people were already in line. We tried standing in line for a few minutes, but it was cold and wet and windy. We sought shelter across the street until the line began to grow a little, so we recrossed the street and joined it.

The couple behind us had driven about as far as we had, and we conversed with them on and off as we waited. Finally the doors opened and we got inside. Mercy had told me to bring a chair as there was no seating on the main floor, so I had a lightweight folding stool with me. But when we saw tables and chairs up in the balcony, we climbed up there to investigate. Every table we looked at was reserved. But the couple who had been in line behind us had got up the stairs first and found the one “unreserved” table up there, and they called us over to join them, so we had actual seats. Not a super great view, mind you, but something to sit on.

Maybe I should mention that neither of us had ever been to this kind of concert before—held in a bar. We weren’t sure what to expect.

The opening band consisted of two people, one of which I thought was a woman and which Walter thought was a man. (He was right.) Both band members were very very skinny and had massive amounts of waist-length hair which they tossed around at every opportunity. The drummer was also the lead singer. And the guitarist also played a keyboard with his feet. And at one point, an instrument that appeared to be both a bass and a guitar:

?

After their set, there was quite a lull as they re-set for the band we’d come to see—The Hu. We’ve been following them on YouTube since their first video came out, and we have been fans of Mongolian throat singing since we first saw and heard it several years ago.

So anyway, the Hu is doing their first US tour and when I heard about it and confirmed they were coming to Dallas, I got us some tickets to our first ever Mongolian metal concert. The sold-out crowd was such an interesting mix of people, from Asians to young gamers to old folks like us to a middle-aged gentleman wearing a leather vest and a Stetson hat. One person near the front on the very crowded floor waved a big Mongolian flag throughout most of the concert.

We thoroughly enjoyed the music and I love how they use their traditional Mongolian instruments in a new way. When the concert ended, I would have liked to buy some merch but the line was long and we had a long drive ahead of us—with Walter having to go to work at the end of it. So we trudged through the rain back to the car and drove home. We arrived at about 1:30 I think—but then poor Walter had to go clean the daycare center since he doesn’t have anyone to help him anymore. I think he said he didn’t get to bed until almost 4:00 a.m.!

Friday morning I got up as quietly as I could to prepare for my trip because I didn’t want to wake my husband from his well-deserved slumber. Since we had been gone all day Friday, I had barely started packing and I still had to go grocery shopping so the family would have food to eat while I am gone. So I went to Walmart and also topped off the gas tank and at home I finished my packing. By then Walter was up and helped me load the car. Despite working diligently to get ready, I did not leave the house until 11:30. I was so glad I only had to drive to the west side of Nashville.

I left in the rain and the rain stayed with me all day. There were some huge traffic jams in Arkansas, at least one of them due to an accident. I think it was near Texarkana that I turned on my GPS and punched in the address of my hotel. The mileage seemed longer than it should be, but I thought maybe there was a detour due to road construction or something. The big clue that should have alerted me to what I had done was that the estimated arrival time was in Eastern Standard Time, not Central. My parents, like us, are on Central and doesn’t change to Eastern until farther east.

Now I know I have talked before about me and my LSA (Lifetime Stupidity Allowance). On Friday I made yet another massive withdrawal. I brushed off the anomalies on my GPS because I just wanted to get the trip over with. I should have investigated.

It wasn’t until I was on the far side of Memphis at 7:30 p.m. that I stopped to fill up the gas tank and reassess my situation. The GPS said I still had over 300 miles to go. It was nowhere near that far to the west side of Nashville. So I finally checked it out. Turns out when I searched for hotels on the west side of Nashville—and booked one—what I actually got was a hotel on the west side of Knoxville. Yeah. And it was now 90 minutes past the cutoff time for cancelling and getting a refund.

I called and tried to get some grace, but no—I was going to be paying for that room whether I slept in it or not. I had no choice. I drove back out into the darkness and the pouring rain, with my rage to keep me awake and an energy shot as backup. I was so upset with myself.

The weather was nightmarishly bad—windy and mostly torrential rains pouring down. I know I was driving at unsafe speeds, and so was everyone else. I just wanted the trip to end—and the hotel had told me I had to get there before 3:00 a.m.

As I drove, I tried to see a bright side to the situation, and I found one. The horrendous weather I’d experienced during the entirety of my drive had forced me to be very focused on my driving—so focused that I often couldn’t even allow myself to be distracted by music. And you know what that did for me? It kept me wide awake for hour after hour after hour, because I didn’t want to lose my focus for even a moment and end up dead. Normally I would have really struggled with sleepiness in the afternoon and again late at night.

After driving right past my parents’ town, I pulled into the hotel at 2:00 a.m. Eastern time. I sure was glad to get out of that car and into a comfortable bed. And this morning when I got up, I only had 36 miles to drive!

I slept in a little and then drove to Walmart to pick up a few groceries before driving on to my parents’ house. Dad had requested a roast beef dinner so I got that going before coming to my aunt’s house to take a little nap. When I got up, the power was out—and it stayed out for hours. Fortunately the roast was done by the time the power went out, so we still had our dinner, and then spent the afternoon visiting in the very gloomy house. My plans of getting some baking done had to be put on hold, obviously. And my mom had to use her portable oxygen generator.

The power came back on at about 7:30, before my mother’s backup battery got too low, so that was a big relief. I was able to watch a TV show with her before coming back to my aunt’s house.

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