while i was at it i also watered the common bed in front. while watering renee's plot, i admired some pretty flowers she had growing. it took me a while to figure out that wasn't her plot: her garden is more of an opened mess, a combination of haphazardly growing cherry tomatoes, some basil, and a lot of weeds. only afterwards did i water my own garden. it probably wasn't that necessary, since the garden is so lush at this point, any amount of moisture automatically gets captured. i also did some light weeding and collected a few tomatoes. there was nobody else there, the temperature today so hot and humid none of the other gardeners would venture out except me.
coming home to take a shower, my mother called me and said there was something wrong with their october tickets to taiwan, that cheapoair sent her an urgent e-mail more than two weeks ago that japan airline had changed their flights and was waiting for confirmation, but she was only now seeing the message. she thought i could take care of it from home, but they might need confirmation from them, so i went down to the cafe around 11:45am. i traveled by motorcycle as it was too hot for bicycling.
i then spent 4+ hours on the phone with both cheapoair and japan airline (JAL), trying to fix the problem. their original itinerary was boston-new york-tokyo-taipei. the new itinerary was boston-dallas-tokyo-taipei. not only was it longer, but the tokyo was especially confounding, as it arrives in narita but leaves from haneda, a completely different airport that requires taking a 60-80 paid minute shuttle ride to get to and with only a 4 hour layover to check their luggage and then go through customs again. my parents would be gone for a whole month, but their schedule was flexible enough that they'd be willing to leave a day or two earlier.
i started with cheapoair. i was calling around noontime, which i knew was peak calling time, and was expecting to be put on hold. i waited over 20 minutes before i got in touch with an agent. i could hear from the accent and background noises that this was an indian call center. after explaining the situation, my agent put me on hold while she checked for available flights. i was put on hold for another 15-20 minutes, before she came and told me of an itinerary that left a day early that was their exact flight. i eagerly agreed to the change while she contacted JAL. i waited another 30 minutes before she came back. she said although that flight exists, there weren't any seats in the same class so JAL wasn't willing to upgrade for free. she did tell me that JAL gave us the choice of cancelling the flight entirely and giving us a full refund. that was the final option, one we were hoping not to take as it'd require finding a new flight, which would no doubt be more expensive. i told my agent if she could check for another day, but before she put me on hold again, i told her if it'd be better if i called JAL directly. she said that was a good idea, gave me the confirmation number and telephone number, but warned me that there was a 20 minute wait.
i called JAL and waited for nearly 20 minutes before i hung up. for some reason the connection through the iphone was terrible, full of intermittent clicks and weird noises. i switched to the cafe VoIP phone, which was much better, but that meant having to wait all over again. it was another 35 minutes before i finally got an agent. while she checked for available flights, she put me on hold a few times, each time about a 20-30 minute wait. it was phone hell like i've never experienced it before. i hear stories of people being put on hold for hours, and i'm experienced a little bit of it dealing with comcast over the years, but never like this. at first my JAL agent said there was nothing i could do directly, since cheapoair is the booking agent, and they'd be the one to reissue the flight ticket. dejected, i was about to hang up before i asked if she could check for potential itinerary changes, that way i can go back to cheapoair with a possible chance that they could then reissue. finally my agent got back to me with a new itinerary: boston-chicago-tokyo-taipei. it was the same amount of time but an extra hour added since the flight leaves boston at 8am instead of 9am. i copied down all the flight info and then called back cheapoair.
i'd spent at least another hour and a half on the phone with cheapoair. by that point i had to switch phones again as the cordless i was using was running out of batteries, but i didn't need to hang up, just switch to a different cordless. i got a different agent, who seemed to be a little more up on his game. after taking down the new itinerary info, he contacted JAL to check for availability. once we passed that hurdle, he contacted his supervisor to authorize the change. i was on hold for nearly an hour, although he did come back around the midway point just to inform me he was still waiting himself. finally everything went through, he talked with my mother for authorization, sent her a new itinerary e-mail which we replied to for confirmation, and at 4:15 we were finally finished. the call ended with a one question survey, was i pleased with the agent's service. even though i was not happy with what just happened, i knew it wasn't the agent's fault, so i chose yes.
by then i was pretty much drained. i hadn't eaten all day, and when my mother offered me some food, i wasn't in the mood to eat while i was still in hold waiting for somebody to pick up. my father said if it was him he would've hung up a long time ago, taken the refund and looked elsewhere. my aunt was at the cafe but had left by the time i finished. i knew she wanted to ask me to fix her mi fit band 2 but i just didn't have the time (besides, i didn't have the account info). i went with my mother to my sister's place, where she showed us the fire ant infestation. while my sister was outside tending her garden, we went inside her house and found hailey lounging on the couch with the AC on. my mother took some sausages from the toaster oven and packaged them up for me.
after returning home, i quickly ate the two sausages. i did a load of laundry before i left the house earlier. the damp clothes was still in the washer, starting to stink a little before i transferred them to the dryer. i might've gone to market basket today, but it was already too late, and i have enough food in the house to last me until the weekend.
i checked USPS tracking, my broken MBP arrived at L2 computer repairs in new york city today. so much for the insurance, the package didn't get lost nor was it destroyed.
when evening came around i made some ramen for dinner while watching an anthony bourdain show on pluto tv. at one point there was a brief torrential downpour, which caught me off guard as i didn't cover up the bike, but the occasional rain is good for cleaning off the dust.
GC finally came home around 9pm. he said they ended up not playing any badminton at the harvard indoor gym as all the courts were used up, and badminton had the lowest priority behind all the other racket games. it was for the best, since the courts aren't air conditioned like they are at alabama. depressed, they instead went out to dinner. one of the guys had a car and he was in the mood for some noodles. GC - who hardly knows anything about boston - was able to recommend wang's chinese cuisine in magoun square because i took him there back in late june. even though the weather was hot, they all had the lamb broth, which is traditionally a winter food. i told him the next time they had a craving for noodles to try MDM noodles in brighton (my last visit was may 2017).