FLOORING UPDATE

I just happened to share an elevator with the strata council president on Tuesday. I asked him if the strata council received my request to change my floors and he said that they did and as he recalls, they approved it. I told him that no one had told me about this. He asked me who I was dealing with to get the request in. I told him it was our strata property manager.

So here’s why I might have not received notice that my flooring request was approved. I may have inadvertently pissed off the strata property manager. She never acknowledged that I sent in my request for a flooring change. My email just disappeared into the ether. I waited two full days before I sent a follow up. She actually replied to my follow up but her tone was angry from the start. From her reply, she basically told me she never got such a request, meaning she ignored it. I had to remind her that I did send it, even after she implied I didn’t send it properly (I did in fact send all the details).

I think she begrudgingly went back and found my email and then forwarded it to strata. She didn’t tell me how I’d be contacted with a decision nor did she give any estimate on when I’d hear back.

It’s not a surprise that I haven’t heard back from her even the strata council approved my changes. It totally sucks that one person can derail your whole renovation just because they don’t like you.

ANNOUNCEMENT

I’m sure that many of you that are working from home are familiar with virtual private networks or VPN, which is a way for you to connect to your employer’s internal network from home.

I won’t get into the details very much but I will say that last week, I discovered my company’s VPN no longer blocks access to certain pornographic sites. This discovery was done by accident and unfortunately after the fact. Also note that my employer also has the ability to track which sites I visit while on VPN.

That’s all I have to say about that.

SUCCESS

As you may know, I have been trying to reach Disney by phone to change the start date of my Disneyworld passes. Prior to this weekend, I have been on hold with them for about eight hours in total, over the course of about three attempts. Each time, I have not been able to get through to anyone before having to hang up and do other things.

On Saturday, I decided to try again, this time starting around 2:30pm. I knew their customer service line ends each day at 8pm, so I had almost six hours to get through. The only way this was even tolerable was that each time I called I was using my Zoom account. When I changed phone plans about a year ago, I gave up free US long distance calling and Disney’s number is not a toll-free one. If I had been using my own phone to call, I probably would have racked up hundreds of dollars in extra charges. My Zoom account through work allows for long-distance calling to the US.

I also used a headset for the call, so this allowed me to be hands-free the entire time. On Saturday, I had a bunch of housework to do, so I just started the call and did everything I needed to do that day. I did several chores, took breaks to drink and eat, and I even turned the call volume down to watch a few YouTube videos.

Somewhere along the three and a half hour mark of being on hold, the hold music stopped and I heard the familiar sound of a call going through and ringing. Had I finally waited long enough to get through to a real person? The call connected and a person identified themselves and asked me how I was doing and what they could help me with for today. I was kinda speechless for a few seconds.

I kinda stammered out that I needed to change the start dates of my tickets to a date as far into the future as possible. They asked me some verification questions and we managed to move my tickets out one full calendar year. The whole customer service interaction lasted about five minutes and I was done.

I was on hold for probably close to twelve hours total, for something that took five minutes to fix. Interestingly, the customer service person also fixed some sorta bug with my reservations so that it’s now possible for me to change the dates by using the Disney web site now. This means that when I need to change the dates of the tickets again, I won’t need to repeat this tortuous exercise.

What an adventure this has been.

HEATED FLOORS

Most of my apartment is now just bare, rough concrete floors. As the temperatures have dropped, it’s not exactly the best feeling on my bare feet. It is cold to the touch for the most part.

Last night, however, I discovered an odd thing. I was walking near the end of my bed when I realized the floor was much warmer under foot. The concrete here was warm and inviting. I stepped away to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Sure enough, the other parts of the concrete floor in my bedroom were not heated. Where was this coming from?

This was happening near the baseboard heater in my bedroom but the heater was not on. What I can guess is that the person who lives below me had their heat on (their heater is in the same place) and as the heat rises, it was heating their ceiling and then transferring the heat to my concrete floor.

I had no such comfort tonight as that part of my floor remained cold.

DISNEY HOLD MUSIC

I was on hold with Disney on the phone for another two hours today without any success in getting through. I think I need to try a four hour block of time next time. Two hours isn’t enough time.

If there’s one thing, even if it’s very small, that has been positive about this experience is that the hold music really good. Most companies have friendly, non-threatening hold music, usually top-40 or classical but Disney has an amazing catalogue of music to choose from. Now you might think they leverage some of their biggest hits from Disney movies but their selections are more sophisticated than that. Most of their songs are selected from music you might hear from their theme parks. It’s so smart, since while you’re on hold, you’re somewhat experiencing what you’d be listening to if you were at one of their theme park locations.

Some of these songs are now stuck in my head due to repetition. They may not mean anything to you because you haven’t heard them a dozen times now over the last four days or so, but to me, they are very relevant. It took me about thirty minutes of Googling to find out some of these songs. They are now listed below in random order.

COLD

It is what I would describe as cold now in the greater Vancouver area. The last day I felt it was still quite warm was on the weekend before the Thanksgiving one. Evenings now require a jacket for sure, unless you want to feel uncomfortable.

I have closed all my windows down to a sliver, just to let in fresh air. It’s no longer practical to lounge around in a t-shirt, so I’ve started wearing a hoodie inside, as soon as I roll out of bed. I almost thought about turning the heat on in the living room. This is something I did not have the possibility of doing for about three years. Every since I removed the fake electric fireplace, there has been no heat source in my living room. I got a new baseboard heater installed last spring and this is the first cold season where I’ll get to use it. I probably won’t use it too much since I am cheap and electricity costs money.

ON HOLD

Since I am not going to Florida in November, there are some Disney park tickets I need to take care of. Disney doesn’t allow you to get a refund on tickets you purchase, even if you want a refund before the actual start date of the ticket. Your only real option is to push the start date of the ticket as far into the future as possible. The hope is that one day you’ll be ready to use the ticket again. Disney also makes it really difficult to do this. While most of the world has moved to the world of the Internet, Disney requires you to call a phone number to make changes to your tickets. Here’s the interesting thing. Disney will allow you to buy park tickets, make park reservations, and make hotel reservations online, but if you want to make changes, you gotta call this number.

Ok, so yeah, calling a number is more an inconvenience than doing things online but it’s not that bad, right? Whatever call centre Disney has set up for this purpose must have two people on staff. Though the call line is supposedly open from 8am to 11pm EST, I have yet to get through. Each time, a recorded message tells me that call volumes are high and my anticipated wait time is over ten minutes. I think I’ve tried to call them three times now and here is how long I’ve waited before I had to hang up because I had other things to do: two and half hours, two hours, and one and a half hours.

Disney is a multi-billion dollar company, with amusement parks, TV shows, and movies that rake in money by the landfill. As a corporate entity, there is very little that can’t do or have a problem they can’t solve. So if I have been on hold for approaching eight hours in total and I still can’t speak to a Disney representative, that’s not because Disney can’t figure out how to solve this problem, it’s because they don’t really care about helping me trying to change my tickets.

I am going to try to call Disney again this week and hopefully I’ll be able to get through.

FLOORING MEASUREMENTS

Someone from the flooring company came to my apartment today to take measurements and to make a general assessment of the levelness of my concrete. To my surprise, they said it wasn’t too bad in terms of levelness, though it will require some work for sure. My biggest fear was that they would need to flood the entire surface of my living room and bedroom but he didn’t think that would be necessary. He showed me pictures of an apartment nearby that had very uneven subfloors and it required nearly thirty large bags of leveling compound. It was essentially laying down a new concrete floor for the entire apartment.

The next step is to get a real and accurate quote from the flooring company. Then I need to get approval from strata to start the work.

SLIVER

I spent most of my evening trying to remove a sliver from one of fingers. It looks like I somehow embedded a piece of facial hair in my finger. It was prickly enough to embed itself into my skin. There’s not enough of it for two different types of tweezers to remove it. I’m gonna have to leave it for now.