This trip is getting more and more complicated, as they always seem to.

Here’s what I was supposed to do: row tonight, work tomorrow, catch a flight at 10AM Saturday. Sounds simple, right?

Except …. first it turned out that I’d have to catch a train at 4AM, that would get me to the airport a bit after 6AM. There just aren’t that many trains on Saturday morning. The next later train gets me there only an hour and a half before an international flight and I’d have six minutes to change trains in Utrecht while hauling 20 kg of suitcase. Too risky. (Might have done it if it had been direct, but even then they have a tendency on weekend to decide to work on the line and make you go part of the way by bus. ) So OK, I booked an airport hotel for Friday night.

Then it turned out that, according to our company travel office and contradictory to what HR told me, if I turn in my car for the two weeks I’ll be gone, I can get an extra two weeks at the end – for those not following along at home, they’re only renting me a car for 3 months and then I’ll be without one until Ted gets here because I don’t want to buy one until I know all about his job (and if he gets one as part of an expat contract.) So fine, I could turn it in at the airport. But I don’t *want* to drive to the airport, especially not in Friday rush hour traffic, because I’m still having vertigo problems. And I definitely don’t want to drive it back here afterward, when I’ll have been traveling for 15 hours or so. So fine, I can turn it in at work.

Except … then I have to get home from work. So fine, I catch a ride with a colleague. Except I have a meeting until 5:30 with one and possibly two VPs. I hate to ask anyone to stay late on a Friday. My Taiwanese colleague, whose corporate apartment is near mine, said he didn’t mind though. (After all, in Taiwan they’re supposed to stay til 6.)

Then I scouted around and found there’s a thing called the Schiphol travel taxi that takes you door to door. Of course it’s more than the train, but it seemed like a reasonable price. Well. I tried twice to pay with an American credit card and they didn’t seem to want that. So when I got home I tried paying the Dutch way, through my bank account, but the website didn’t seem to be working right. So I called – and as is typical with Dutch “service” numbers, it’s an 0900 number and there’s a charge per minute. It seemed like it was booked OK; she told me I’d have to pay the driver cash, which is no problem and that she’d send a confirmation email, and they’d call me tonight between 6 and 8 with the pickup time.

By this afternoon I’d only gotten a reservation email that said it would be confirmed “when my payment was processed”. So I emailed them, and finally got a confirmation. Tonight while waiting for the call I went back and looked at it – and realized it said they’d pick me up tonight and get me to the airport by 21:00. (My meeting is until 17:30. It’s about an hour and a half to the airport, if traffic isn’t horrible.) So I called back (more per-minute charges), got that straightened out, and then asked when I’d be picked up. She said, “they’ll call you with that information”. I pointed out that it was already 19:40 and the call was supposed to happen before 20:00. She said “oh, can you wait another minute while I ask?” (Cue more charges.) Then she came back and said I’d be picked up at 20:00.

Fuming. I don’t *want* to stay at work until 8PM! I could be at the airport by then. So I guess it’s back to plan A-. Get a ride to town with coworker, grab suitcase from my apartment, walk to train station, catch train. I can catch the 6:47 train and arrive at 8:15 and even get a chance to grab anything I missed, back at my apartment. I still hate imposing on my coworker – but I did loan him a warm scarf and hat last weekend when he went to Switzerland, and another coworker and I brought take-out food when he’d hurt his back. So I think it’s OK. If I can catch the VP I’m meeting with (who is based in Hong Kong and staying in a hotel near my place) I’m tempted to ask him for the ride!

Once I get on the plane (fingers still crossed against ash clouds) then the only remaining complexities are a four-hour layover in Portland (which is actually a fairly nice airport to hang out in, as airports go) and the fact that I get in an hour and a half after Ted. I think he and his parents plan to just find a coffeehouse near the airport (small town) and hang out.