Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Our fridge launches, Fran is second, and going to Japan

Today was one of those days in which many things must have happened but I am darned if I can remember what they were. Most of my thoughts have been intruding reminders about the trip to Japan, which would be more useful if I wasn’t housebound. Linda is off on an all day conference tomorrow and is probably glad to be away from the phone calls from me: “Did you remember to pick up xxxxxx?”

The news of yesterday was that our fridge started making noises that I have heard watching NASA launches as “fire ignition booster rocket” My GOD! Can that thing make noise. This is where actually having a Butch in the family might be useful, as we turned it off and then after a while of various prayers and offerings turned it back on. It seemed to hum but we noticed that it wasn’t freezing anymore. This morning at 5:40 it went back into “Launch mode.” So Linda shut it off for a few hours.

She came home because FRAN, the manager refuses to talk to me, or come up to our apartment anymore (oh, what a horrid tragedy, how will I survive?). Linda filled out a “service request form” and then Fran, refusing to SEE Linda, talked with her on the phone and got a repairman to come TODAY because the other alternative was him coming tomorrow when I was home. Fran said she wouldn’t send in the repairman if I was home alone (I don’t actually EAT people, that’s just what they say on on-line forums). Anyway, the repair guy said that Fran was a piece of work but she wasn’t the worst manager in the city (second worst, ya gotta try harder Fran!). Apparently, the worst was a woman same age who was SURE a tenant was smoking on their balcony and she ran full out, fell down and split her head and broke her arm. Did she stop? No, with blood pouring from her head and her broken arm, staggered up and kept going to break down the door and get the PROOF of the person smoking on the balcony of a non-smoking building. He met her later with the arm in cast and a bandaged head. Okay, I admit it, that beats far.

Anyway, our fan is frozen (no irony here) and our fridge, “Not worth repairing” and while Linda wanted to talk to Fran about it Fran would only talk to the repair guy. So anyway, it seems we are getting a new fridge sometime (expect random phone calls?), and that either Fran has been told to stay away from me or honestly believes I suck the blood of children, or both.

I want to make a final appeal to people if you haven’t send me an email to to do so and you get a nice postcard from Japan (FREE!), as we are doing the stickers this weekend. And here to let you know the first part of the trip details (please don’t come over and rob me!):

April 1: Arrive in Tokyo, take the train directly to Nikko
April 2: Get up to watch the shrine maidens due the sword dance, likely have Linda ‘think’ she is recording it but has just pushed the ‘check light’ button instead while all I see are a bunch of Japanese asses and backs blocking me from the stage viewing. Break down in tears. Then catch the Bullet Train number 20 to Kakunandate. See the landscape and mountains of northern Honshu from the train. Arrive in time for pictures of cherry blossoms at sunset (anticipate rain and more crying).
April 3: See the cherry blossoms and the Samurai houses and then take the Bullet Train back down to Tokyo where we stay for two days. Linda and maybe I are taking a night tour of Tokyo on the river.
April 4: I HAVE the tickets to the Ghibli Museum where I will probably die from anime excitement. Only 300 tickets a day are available. In the afternoon/evening we are going to B-lily, the Yaoi theme café, woo hoo!
April 5: Shopping, culture, who knows? We are still deciding this week, but I am likely to go to Otome Row (Maiden’s Row) where women buy Yaoi and Yuri manga, figurines and all things geek. We also want to do a big department store and see if we can get the gift buying for relatives done AND have THEM do the shipping.

Well, that’s all for tonight. We still have a LOT of planning to do, particularly in the shopping department. As Tokyo is our shopping and “low” tourism site while the rest of the trip (except Beppu) is all about “high” culture. We both have computer flash sticks and Linda said she will post what I have written if I am too tired/ill to leave the room in evening or if there is only a computer in the lobby to access. So we plan to post for the whole trip if we can.

The reason I put all the crying in is because I get these very BLUE times when I go on journeys and then all the anticipation (much like a child) is ruined by rain or is closed or I am too tired or ill and I get GLUM. Like, stick out my lower lip and cry glum. This is usually when Linda finds me and there is a slightly incoherent ramble which will likely be something about how “This was SUPPOSED to be great but I didn’t RESEARCH enough and things are going wrong and now you are thousands of dollars in debt and everyone is unhappy and I don’t know what to do and I am going to go now and solve it all by wheeling into the SEA!” Drama Queen much?

The problem is that things DO go wrong and when you are tired and hauling ALL your stuff every day, things like a missed nap and no food for a while can make things which aren’t that important seem REALLY important. And then I will convince myself that because I am not feeling happy, that I have ruined the trip. So, we know that and we will put me to bed with drugs and then about two hours of TLC and some beer and I’m usually, “well, maybe the WHOLE trip isn’t ruined.” Because, let’s face it, we have planned all these things we want to do and things NEVER go exactly as you plan and instead you are on a 6 hour train trip next to a family that farts continuously. Or who get drunk and start belching while I am trying to soaking in “the amazing and ancient heritage” of Japan which I paid and saved and worked months to get over here. And my health will fail. And I will burst into tears at least once. This is what trips are like. But then I will also be happy, overwhelmingly happy. And I will watch Linda going over the pictures at night like a person counting their gold and I will know that it was right to take this trip. And we will ship painted umbrellas to nieces and buy kimonos (summer ones) and traditional sandals, and maybe some original pottery and ship it all home. We will check into a LOVE HOTEL in Tokyo for an hour JUST to take pictures (how tragic is that a statement about our sex life!). We will wheel through the thousands gates of Kyoto and watch the geisha’s on their Geta clacking to work in the twilight.
I think the most important part of every trip is that the up and down, the wonderful and the horrid: Linda and I experience it together. And later on some program about world heritage sites I say, “Hey, that’s where you got food poisoning.” Or she says, “That’s were you had a tantrum and around the corner I got you a beer and calmed you down” (Linda is a big believer that a slightly tipsy Beth is an easily controlled Beth).

And I hope this time, we can share it all with you too.


Perpetual Beginner said...

Cherry blossums and a bullet train on my birthday - most excellent! Enjoy them for me.

Fran sounds like a better apartment manager than my last boss was a boss. Keep in mind that when they fired my last boss, Roy freaking Shaw, CEO (this is the CEO of the Wall Street Journal), flew in personally to watch him clean out his desk.

I can't say what he did to get fired - but I can say that he nearly broke the HR manager's nose about six months before (slamming a door in her face), and they did not fire him for that. So damning with faint praise and all that.

Marla said...

I am so excited for you two. I hope you have a wonderful time! I e-mailed my address. Sending post cards is a fantastic idea, very nice of you.

Veralidaine said...

Second-worst landlady? She must be so proud.

Maybe you can talk the fridge into launching at Fran and solve two problems at once.

cheryl g. said...

Helpful advise from your butch big sis... While you wait for the new fridge you can use the old one like an ice chest. Put a bag(s) of ice in the fridge and freezer sections and it will keep things cold enough to avoid food poisoning. It probably won't be cold enough to keep the gel packs frozen.

Sounds like Linda knows how to handle your glum moods very well. Just drink the beer like a good girl... there are sober children in India...

Lene Andersen said...

Have you considered plugging in periods of time for "planned spontaneity", a sort of Plan B for when things go kablooey and to circumvent the wheeling off into the sea?

(and I don't want to share the story about how I came up with that concept, for fear of embarassing myself)

I am drooling and jealous. But if the choice is between posting reports and having fun, may I humbly suggest abandoning the blog? We'll be here when you get back. Japan needs all of your attention (so we can vampirically suck out all your impressions and live vicariously when you come back.

yes, I'm havi9ng a weird day - why do you ask?

Elizabeth McClung said...

Perpetual Beginner: Yeah, the two icons of Japan, the ancient beauty and modern tech - that's your birthday. Hmmm, about your last boss, is there any chance he is now a building apartment manager?

Marla: Well, if you are like me, I like the email, but I like the snail mail too - or rather something OTHER than a bill coming in the door.

Veralidaine: Yes, second worst, at least according to the repair guys (the moving people have her ranked pretty high too)

We would (attack by fridge, that's different!), except she now refuses to see us face to face, so no coming into the apartment.

Cheryl: Yeah, there are sober children everywhere I have to catch up for. haha. The ice packs are a good idea, if it conks out over the long weekend (as it doesn't appear he is coming back with new fridge today) we will do that.

Lene: Um, we have days where things are flexible, most days are like that but nothing really where we can go and have a nothing day - except a couple "go shopping" days and one day in Beppu to go to the Hot springs (like in a traditional Japanese bathhouse just like the anime!). It is a good concept and if we get sick or something I guess we will have to try and find a way around things - it is just with hotels books, we are a little locked in to at least some movement by train on several days.

I think I will be blogging at night, while I am "sitting still and resting" to maximize the time I can go out, so while I probably won't reply to comments as much, I will try to give an update as oft as possible.

FridaWrites said...

Just spend more time enjoying yourself than blogging. I hope this trip rocks!

Anonymous said...

Hey....I am a co-worker of Neil's. Anyway, I have been blog-stalking you for a little while.
Fran sounds like she could work at my building. The people who own my apparment avoid their office for the first 5 days of every month so that I incur late charges...I know they avoid it as, when I go there 4 times a day for a week, the laws of probablility must be on my side!
Anyway, Happy long weekend

Raccoon said...

Here's a scary thought -- did you make certain that the toilets, particularly where you are staying, are Western-style?

I just saw an article about China, at the Olympic stadiums that they're building, are only going to have enough Western-style for the VIPs. All the regular tourists are going to be using squat toilets...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Frida: me too, I hope this WILL be the trip of dreams.

Anon: well, if it cheers up you and Neil at all, the first day of spring here was 5-7 degrees with freezing wind. yeah, were do they find all these people - is there some agency that goes, "You seem to hate people, why not be an apartment manager!" Have a good weekend!

Raccoon: it is on the list for the "email confirmations" this week with each hotel (1) Twin beds, 2) on quiet side, 3) Barrier Free and 4) pillows to elevate torso for breathing and 5) toilet to sit on).

My concern is that for instance at a few of the world heritage sites and other places we are visiting, I am not sure if there is a toilet AT ALL that is wheelchair accessible (since several of the sites are not wheelchair accessible themselves).

Dawn Allenbach said...

Why on Earth would you want to blog from Japan, you silly woman? You should either be out enjoying Japan or in resting so that you can later go out and enjoy Japan. You then blog when you get home from notes you made.

*shakes head*

It would seem so obvious . . . .