Sunday, March 26, 2017

Thank you Delta... See you next time Iceland...

As I'm typing this, we would have been in Iceland and probably enjoying the Northern Lights. But instead, I'm typing this from my hotel room in Atlanta, getting ready for my 3rd work week here, and continue to run my busy season marathon that started since January. Since I have no vacation to blog about for awhile, I shall blog about this planned 'vacation' that ended up being cancelled. Here's a chronological recap of what happened:

Thanks to the Delta Amex sign-up bonus and some work travels over the last 2 years, I accumulated a good bit of Delta Skymiles. And when my Skymiles balance hit 6 digits, I can't help but to start looking for good options to use my miles to travel somewhere. Iceland has been on our bucket list and when I found flights for 60K Delta miles + $51.46 taxes per person for a round trip from Nashville to Iceland, I went ahead and booked the flights for March 2017 (still in time for Northern Lights). Considering that Delta's miles aren't the best/easiest to use, 60K to Iceland is actually quite decent.

Right after completing the booking, I realized mistake #1 that I made. I accidentally used the corporate credit card that was stored on Delta's website, instead of my personal Delta Amex. I was 100% sure that I typed in my personal CC's expiry date and CVV number, but somehow the transaction still went through even though the card number didn't match. =.= Lesson learnt, don't store any cc details online! Mistake #2, I could have just cancelled the booking without any fees within 24 hours and rebook the same tickets using the correct cc, but instead, I called Delta asking if they could change the cc details and they said I have to call the Amex to do it. I called Amex to explain the situation, and it took about 4 months and several phone calls before the charges finally got switched to my personal cc. And this brings me to mistake #3, I could have gotten a $50 credit for using my Delta Amex for eligible Delta purchases within 3 months, but since it wrongly charged my corporate card, I didn't get the credit. =(

Mistake #4 happened 1 week after I booked the flights. Delta had a Europe award deal that brought the miles required for the same flight down to only 49K per person. Seriously?!?! The difference of 22K miles is equal to a roundtrip domestic ticket!! =.=

So I decided to call Delta and ask if they could do anything to help. I explained my situation and was lucky to have a super helpful rep that helped redeposit the miles difference!!

After finally sorting out the flight situation, we started planning for the trip. Our plan was to rent a campervan and drive around the entire island in 5 days. I even mapped out our routes and made an itinerary for the entire trip. But fortunately, we hadn't made any reservation for the campervan or accommodations.

Then 2017 came, Delta made some changes to the timing to our departing flight and hubby switched job, so we had to cancel this trip. I called Delta and was assisted by yet another helpful rep, and was able to cancel our flights without any fees (would have costed $150/pax to redeposit the miles). 

Looking back at all the mistakes/changes I had to make while booking our flights, this trip was probably not meant to happen anyway. Even though this trip didn't work out, I should give full credit to Delta's customer reps for being absolutely awesome!! Hope that I'll get to use these miles for another trip with Delta in the near future. =)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Gardening Season is Here!

Weather has been warming up and that means gardening season is here again! We learnt our lesson for being over-ambitious last year. We still haven't depleted all the tomatoes juice and pickles that we canned last Summer, so we decided to tone-down this year and focus mainly on broccoli. I also experimented growing lettuce and spinach indoor, but it hasn't really turned out the way I'd like it to be. Anyway, here's a quick update of our progress so far.

New experiment...planting lettuce entirely indoor using recycled milk jugs. Even though we didn't really get much considering the amount of time we spent planting them, I consider this experiment a success. =) 

Bought quite a lot of bok choy from the Asian grocer for our CNY meal and decided to do another experiment of regrowing bok choy with its base. It didn't take long to regrow but started flowering after 3 weeks. So I got rid of them after cutting all the leaves for a meal. 

Our indoor 'garden' setup. Notice my efficient use of recycled items - egg cartons, egg shells, milk jugs, soy sauce bottle (for watering) and carton boxes. =P

Growth progress as of March 26, 2017. About time to transplant them in the garden.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Busy Season Continues...Part 2

Part 2 of busy season rolled in right after part 1 ended with no break at all. Was booked on another job to travel to Texas and Ohio back to back for one week each. Somehow March has been my 'Travel-To-Texas' month, coz this is the 3rd consecutive year that I've traveled to Texas during March. 2015 was Houston/Austin, 2016 was Dallas/Plano, and 2017 was Tyler/Austin. :P

Feb 26 (Sun) - Mar 3 (Fri): Tyler, Texas

Compared to all the places that I've had the opportunity to travel to for work over the past 2 years, this trip was definitely different in the sense that it wasn't a big city. In fact, both places we went were 'sangkala' small town. The top photo was the Tyler airport, an airport with only 1 boarding gate. :P Stayed in Hampton Inn Lindale, and we were invited to visit the foundry, which explains my 'cute' outfit...hahaha!

Unhealthy vs. healthier meals...not a big fan of salad but that's pretty much the only option to eat more veggie. =.=

Mar 3-5: Weekend in Austin
Instead of traveling home for the super short weekend (basically weekend = Saturday only after excluding traveling time), I decided to travel to Austin instead to visit the buddy. She was my first guest from home when I first moved here, and now I'm her first guest from home since she moved here. =) 

A yummy taste of home thanks to chef Lee. Watercress soup 西洋菜汤,stir-fried portobello mushrooms, scrambled egg with glass noodles 粉丝炒蛋, roasted brussel sprouts, and roasted chicken wings. Yumssss!!! Had too much fun playing mamasak until we set the smoke detector alarm!!

Good company, good food, good conversation, and of course good beer!! Even though it was just a short visit, I'm glad we were able to make this happen despite the busy season!

Mar 5-10 (Sun-Fri): Coshocton, Ohio

This place was even more 'sangkala' than the previous one, the closest airport was more than an hour away, and the closest 'chain' hotel was 25 minutes away. Stayed at Doubletree Newark Ohio and Hampton Inn Newcomerstown.

Not the biggest fan of Hilton points but Hampton Inn's service and amenities are great!

We were glad to find Beuhler's Fresh Foods restaurant and had most our meals there.

My turn to drive the rental car this week. Luckily the roads were pretty deserted.

Just as I thought I won't see any snow this winter, woke up to winter wonderland this morning on my last day in Ohio!

7th Busy Season

It's already March and I'm only updating my first post in 2017, shows how busy this busy season had been for me. =.= As usual, same old routine of eat, work, sleep every busy season. This year's busy season will go on till end of April for me, definitely a long marathon but at least the 1st half is over. Here's a quick update before things get crazy again.

Overtime not to gain weight during busy season? :P

Before and after filing. Spent some time cleaning out our office as we'll be moving out of this room after this busy season. 3 busy seasons in this office flew by just like that!

Homemade 'turkutteh', jajangmyun and teriyaki chicken. :)

Jan 27 (Fri): 'Joined' the family for CNY reunion dinner virtually again this year. 

Decided to cook something different for our own CNY dinner. Pineapple fried rice, seafood tomyum soup, and garlic mushroom bok choy.