tuesday I called a shop that I found on the internet and asked them if they had a certain item in stock. they said they'd get back to me. wednesday I emailed them and they said indeed they did. so I took public transportation to a mall where they were supposedly located (accidentally getting off a stop early and getting directions over the freeway)... when I arrived at the mall no one had heard of the shop I was looking for. I would have called them but the only copy of their number was hidden in my cell, which had died on the bus over. Information had no clue and neither did any of the related sorts of shops in the mall. Luckily, I stumbled upon the shop... only to find they the did not in deed have what I had asked after -- but they could order it and have it ready the next evening.
So they ordered it and on my way home I almost lost my wallet and then had to trudge through 30 minutes of absolute torrential rain that sprung from nowhere (well, I suppose the clouds above were at fault, or perhaps the ocean a bit further off... or perhaps a monarch butterfly in wisconsin; who knows?).
when I got home I realized the piece I had ordered may not in fact have been the piece I wanted; I emailed them a frantic letter to which they thankfully replied promptly (within a few hours, which truly did not seem prompt at the time; some large sum of money was tied up in this potential blunder, though I'd just about convinced myself that the other would do just as well) and said that they could change the order and still have it there the next evening. I was still a little worried, but could do nothing until I saw it in my hands the next day.
The next day timing worked out such that I could do the public transit ordeal again without too much extra trouble (and it was a much smoother journey this time, where I found a better bus back than previously, and it didn't rain...) and there I picked up the item; it was quite beautiful, and indeed they had deciphered what I wanted from my email. (I'm being a bit vague, BTW, because the item is a christmas present. I'm sure I'll mention it later.)
so amy and I pack and head to her place and wake up at 6 in the morning to take public transit within a mile of amtrak and walk from their. We're both loaded like pack mules (using our camping backpacks) -- I barely walking with christmas presents [more ONE christmas present than the rest of the bag, really], she more burdened by clothes. But we're both carrying a hell of a lot; we make it to amtrak by 7:20 or so, maybe 7:40... hungry, but we're expecting to get on a train at 8:45, and they said arrive an hour early. at 8:55, sitting out at the cold tracks, we went back in to see the status of our train. Apparently, the inside information was that it was due to arrive around 11ish (though outside the scroller continued to say that it was due at 8:45 and that it was On Time).
This caused much stress and consternation.
So we basically went without food until noon or noonthirtyish, because the train was even later than they originally thought. At eleven, they said it was only 8 miles away, one station away, waiting for approval to leave it. They said that again at eleven thirty.
When the train arrived the coach cars were in the wrong spot and we ran up and down ten cars with our backpacks trying to find where to board. When we did board it was into a "commuter" car really not meant for long journeys. It was a hellish and cramped and SLOW journey (though we found space in another car to lay out and play cards... and we had lunch in the dining car... and we frolicked about a bit) ... due to previous heavy rain the train was only allowed to go 10-15mph through significant portions of the journey. It was a 23 hour journey that would have taken a car 6 or less -- 6am setting out to 3am arriving.
We slept, and then I went with Ed and Dennis (amy's brother and father respectively) to see Iron Monkey at a "dollar theatre" that cost $1.50 [but everything with her parents is paid for, very strange and a little uncomfortable]; we then had Chinese buffet which was by no means quality but on the other hand was wonderfully tasty and filling... and then Ed tromped around from store to store for several hours looking for presents for Amy and Julie (amy's sister).
At Best Buy, we ran into Amy who appropriated me while the other two went home... and we proceeded to continue shopping for Ed (well, amy was still shopping. his was the lead weight in my backpack) but finally we returned home (her parents') and things calmed.
and then I read an awesome book (started it this morning, read it through a fair amount of the driving)
who knows what tomorrow will bring?
I haven't gotten any work done yet but at least I feel a little better. And I answered most of my important email. :) I hope this isn't too much text at once for lj to choke down -- I've been a bit verbose.