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A little bit of this & that

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I've just finished week 6 of marathon training and I'm 5.4 miles behind where I should be. I skipped an entire weeks and then skipped 3 of the weekly short runs (1 each the past 3 weeks). It's still early enough that missing those runs shouldn't affect my overall training, especially since I still have 24 weeks to go, but I have to start doing better.

So to help push myself in the right direction I've "re-committed" to SP...tracking nutrition, using the Other Goals page, restarted strength training. Ok, my strength training right now is basically just 2 sets of push-ups every morning but I fully intend to join a gym by the end of November. I have flyers for 2 of them that are reasonable close, on the way home from work.

I have to keep reminding myself to trust the training plan. The plan had me scheduled for only 3 miles today, which seemed...pointless?

emoticon Crazy Me says we can run several times that distance right now, why only go for a measly 3 miles?

emoticon Sane Me says the plan is designed to minimize the risk of injury by giving our body a chance to recover while gradually building miles; we have 24 weeks to get there, be patient.

emoticon Patience is not one of our virtues, never has been, is not now and never will be. Besides, we haven't been putting in the long distance miles so we don't need to take it easy. We're behind schedule! Run, baby, run!

emoticon We'll go 4 miles but no further. And from now on we stick to the plan. I'm in charge here, not you!

emoticon Keep tellin' yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

So for week 7 I'm going to get back on schedule.

The nutrition tracking should help me focus as well. I'm not doing anything with the data yet other than watching calories in. At some point I might start fiddling with carbs & protein or whatever...or maybe not. I don't want this process to turn into a chore, which could easily happen if I start getting obsessive about numbers. I'm not looking to be an elite athlete and I won't let training take over my entire life.

Which reminds me of some more differences between France & the US. Food packaging here has nutrition info on it...but it is generally pretty sparse compared to what I'm used to. Calories, carbs, protein, fat & sat. fat, and sodium...and that's usually it. No vitamins & minerals. Makes me crazy because I was tracking those. And the order is different. Labels in the US are pretty much in the same order as SP (at least for the main categories), here the order is Calories, Proteins, Carb & sugars, Fat & Sat. Fat, Fibre, Sodium. Another crazy making difference.

The move itself went OK (except for the thieves at Air France, they are right up there on the list with my phone company), we got our container a few weeks ago and are mostly unpacked. There is still the spare room where I've been putting the stuff my daughter has now decided that maybe she shouldn't have brought (because she couldn't be bothered to sort her possessions before the move!).

More France differences...just about everything is closed on Sundays. So no errand running. Many things take going into a Best Buy or wherever to buy a washer and have it delivered the next day. One week is actually pretty fast, 2 weeks is common.

The washing machines are smaller than in the US. And take absolutely forever to finish a cycle. Or at least that's what it seems like since it is on the ground floor and we can hear it, unlike at home where it was in the basement. But I do think the cycles are longer. The dryer is in the basement. I'm going to have to translate the manual really soon because I can't figure it out. I can't seem to get clothes to dry.

And the dryer has this...water bottle a drawer I have to pull out and empty periodically. Don't know why. But each of the dryers the lady showed me had the same thing going on; she didn't speak English & I don't speak French so I have no clue what this is about. Near as I can figure instead of blasting clothes with heat (like in the US) here the "dryer" sucks the water out instead. Except my clothes are always still various levels of wet when the cycle is done. One more mystery of life.

The biggest mystery is the phone company and how the people here have not revolted and executed every last one of these so-called workers and managers. I utterly loathe my phone company with the passion I have historically reserved for push-ups.

Actually, I think I finally found something I loathe more than push-ups.

2 weeks to get someone out to hook up my phone/internet and get my cell phone. The cell phone delay was because the lady in the phone company store kept insisting my card and bank account were no good b/c the bank routing number the phone co. had on record didn't match what the bank gave of course the bank was wrong. Mind, this was an official paper directly from the bank, which matched my checks and all my account opening documents...but the bank was wrong and didn't know its own routing number?

Yes, the phone company had the correct information and the bank did not know its own routing number. So they won't sell me a phone until the bank corrects its mistake.

Yeah. I couldn't make this up if I tried.

For the house phone I leave work early on a Wednesday to be home for the appointment...and they never show up. They were supposed to arrive at 1, I waited until 5 and had to leave to go back to work...they showed up at 6. And it was MY fault for not being there so they tried to tell the relocation lady who was dealing with them I would have to wait another week or two.

How well do you think that went over?

Friday they were to come back at 2...guess what time they showed up? 2:05! A miracle occurred! Took them an hour but they got the line hooked up...except I still didn't have phone or internet. I called the relocation lady, who called the phone company, who said...yeah, it's hooked up but now we have to activate the 3 business days.

I was about a millisecond from having the grand-daddy of all temper tantrums at that point. My daughter had been stuck at home for most of the 3 weeks, completely phone, no TV, no internet...nothing. Her school wasn't what we were told it would be and she was beyond miserable and she doesn't believe in keeping it to herself. And here they are telling me it will be ANOTHER 5 calendar days and I can't go all FFK on them because I don't speak the language.

It's a good thing for all concerned that there was no physical representative of the phone company in front of me right then; I have no desire to see the inside of a French (or any!) prison. I did thoroughly kill a box the phone company gave me though; it was not nearly as emotionally gratifying as I'd hoped.

The relocation lady must have yelled at them because Saturday afternoon, like magic, my internet turned on. I suppose the phone service did too but I can't figure out how to use the phone so I'm only guessing about that one.

Got the TV service hooked up too. 200 or so channels. I can get native language programming from Japan and China and all sorts of Middle Eastern and African countries...and the only thing in English is the BBC & CNN.

OK, I didn't really expect US programming...but England is exactly how far away? And apparently has no programming?

For myself I don't care, I don't watch TV anyway expect for the odd show...but it's just one more thing to add to the difficulties my daughter's been facing.

I'm surprised she hasn't killed me in my sleep yet.

Anyway, internet life is good for 2 weeks. Then on a Friday afternoon (of course) we come home to find that the internet fairies have taken our signal away...and they don't give it back for 10 more days. I call on Monday (actually a coworker called for me) and had an appointment with a technician made for Tuesday afternoon...who never showed or called. Wednesday we call again, they said oh well, he couldn't make it, they will run some tests. No word from them on Thursday so we call again. Oh, it's a problem with the phone line, not their equipment, so they reported the problem to France Telecom, 4 business days to fix. France Telecom comes out Tuesday morning - on-time yet! - and tells me (I think) that the lines are phone it's the phone company's equipment that's the problem.

I don't care, I just want it fixed!

I think he sensed that because he did whatever he did and I have internet again! But apparently no phone because I don't have the right plug or something, although it doesn't matter anyway since I don't know how to use it.

I'm just waiting for the damn thing to go out again.

In the meantime I ran my first race in France, on October 7. It was an 11km race, which seems kind of odd to me, but I've seen others advertised for 7km, 13 km, etc., so I guess it's normal over here.

I registered for both the HM and full marathon in Paris in 2013. The HM is in March, the full is in April, about 5 weeks later. Registration for the full opened at 11 am on the took my 2 hours of constant page refreshes to get access to the site & get me registration through but I made it as one of the first 8000. Now I have to find some new running clothes to wear, I'm planning to go patriotic. But my bib number will have FANGFACEKITTY on it so I'm not abandoning my roots entirely.

Yesterday's run was in the cold drizzly rain and I took a road I hadn't taken have it turn into a farm access road between the fields and become very muddy in places. And aromatic. I hadn't thought October was the month to spread manure but what do I know about farming?

It was still a really good run, before I knew it I had gone almost 4.5 miles and felt like I could have kept going for a lot farther. I took pictures which I will have to post another time since I can't find the cord to connect my phone, which is my work phone and is a leftover from the 20th century, so the cord is needed.

Yesterday was also my birthday so I bought myself 2 bouquets, lilies & roses. They make the kitchen smell very nice and flowery. Today I put up the curtains in my daughter's room and considered hanging the light. But I will have to consider that some more because it looks like hole drilling will be needed and 1) I don't have my power tools; 2) I'm not too thrilled with the idea of drilling where I know there are electrical cords; 3) I will have to repair any holes I drill in the house to return it to original condition before I leave & I want to keep that to a minimum.

So I will consider how to hang the light without having to drill holes. Then maybe I will also feel ambitious enough to change the direction of the refrigerator door. Or maybe not. After all, I am the Queen of Procrastination.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNER12COM 10/23/2012 9:51AM

    You can totally do the marathon!

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INIT2LIVEIT 10/22/2012 5:23AM

    Oh dear welcome to one-horse towniness. I have been here for 30 years and we still scream on occasion that the customer gets nothing! and it is soooo much better now than it was. As time goes by you will get used to some of it.

Your program sounds so exciting. Good luck with everything and stay strong and healthy!!

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MCJULIEO 10/21/2012 10:56PM

    So glad to hear all the details, and to also hear how triumphant you have been in the face of adversity... (you have, you know- No inside of a French prison for YOU!)

Hang in there! You are doing tres wonderful, n'est pas?

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JUSTLIKEALICE 10/21/2012 9:17PM

    hehee I love the idea of you killing the box the phone company gave you, even if it wasn't as emotionally gratifying as you hoped, at least it burned some calories! Keep up the great work! I'm excited about your marathon training! And listen to sane you!!

Happiest of happy birthdays! Enjoy your time! You deserve it!

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TAMPATINK67 10/21/2012 6:55PM

    Lord give me patience - but hurry!

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GETSTRONGRRR 10/21/2012 6:40PM

    Nothing makes you appreciate home like living away from it for a while....

Keep on track with your marathon training, You're right, it's as much about building up your body to get used to the long distance as it is for the endurance. Those scheduled "short runs" really help you recover from the weekly long them and enjoy them!

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ILOVEMALI 10/21/2012 4:46PM

  Customer service? Who has good customer service anymore?

1) American Eagle

2) QVC

3) Barnes & Noble (our local one, anyway)

Anywhere else?

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September Goal Results

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

1) Maintain my weight at +5 / -14 pounds
Finally back in maintenance range!

3) Do some sort of housecleaning or maintenance daily.
This has become a habit now & I should really move it to the Completed Goals but I like seeing the “thumbs up” each month.

5) Finalize my budget by the end of Jan and stick to it to pay off at least 3 loans by Dec.
Debt # 6 to be paid off in October. I have occasionally used the already paid off cards but have made it a point to pay off the new balances each month so I am not adding more debt. Once I have things settled from the move and the funds being deposited in the right accounts at the right amounts and times and I have my new business travel card I shouldn’t have to use these at all anymore.

9) Other goals as they occur to me.
For September I bought some of the necessities – phone & internet, refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, TV; still need a dining table & chairs & armoire for my daughter and a car. I also found a music store and bought a music stand. I intend to start playing my saxophone again, after nearly 20 years away from it.

10) Have fun and stress less!
The actual move in & getting settled has not been too stressful for me (although I admit to being a millisecond away from having the most awesome temper tantrum ever because of the phone company!) but has been awful for my daughter. Most of my stress has come from trying to keep her from becoming too angry and depressed. But on the other hand she is a fully fledged hormonally charged teenager so my life with her would be stressful no matter what country we are in so I’m counting this as a “thumbs up” month.

12) New Goal – Marathon Training
I found a training plan that I like and started training. It is a 30 week plan so I have plenty of time to work up to the mileage without actively courting injury. Registration for the Paris Marathon opens tomorrow.

2) Become a half fanatic by the end of August
4) Break my dependence on Splenda
6) Ready to test for black belt by end of June:
6a) All techniques approved by May
6b) Ni kyoso suro no kata approved in February; Bassai kata approved in March
6c) Make terminology flashcards by end of February; review weekly until testing
6d) Assist in 4 classes per month (20 total required)
6e) Learn and master sais kata
6f) Keep running so as to maintain ability to run 2 miles in 18 minutes
6g) Be able to do 55 pushups in May; 60 in June
7) Goal revamped – finish mailbox / light switches / outlets / floors / doors / ceiling fans / curtains before I move, timing TBD
11) NEW GOAL - weekly pushup challenge

8) Postponed to 2013 - Run my first marathon by October 21
My priority is black belt testing; I will aim for the Paris marathon in April 2013

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 10/20/2012 12:30PM

    You got this in the bag! Rock it!!


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KALIOPPE 10/19/2012 1:42PM

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving such thoughtful comments on my blog. Your post illustrates well the importance of goal setting and public accountability. Lots to think about. You obviously have been successful in achieving what you want. You look great in your photos btw. Strong and healthy. Way to go! :)


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ILOVEMALI 10/18/2012 11:59AM

  I am SO inspired this morning!!!!!

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MCJULIEO 10/17/2012 10:50AM

    You are SO going to DO THIS! Vive l'marathon!

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BOILHAM 10/17/2012 7:27AM

    Excellent progress on your goals. Ouch, don't remind me about teenage daughters. My gorgeous 3 daughters were all teens at the same time. They're a lot better, now that they're adults.

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CODEMAULER 10/16/2012 11:48AM

    I love reading how quickly you are assimilating to the new surroundings! Way to stay on your goals and continually set the bar higher!

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Mr. Happy & the Grumpys

Monday, September 24, 2012

My cat Gandalf is the happiest cat I've ever seen. He is my rescue, having been a homeless kitten for an unknown period of time. He has thrilled when I finally let him in the house instead of having to stay in the garage and just loves to make new friends. I felt so bad for him last month as I was starting to pack. He seemed to recognize what the activity was and became super clingy and needy; the other cats were just thrilled that they had new boxes to play in. I think that might be how he became homeless, I think maybe his first family was foreclosed upon & evicted and left him behind. It seemed like he remembered and was afraid the same thing would happen again.

Once we arrived he quickly became his normal happy self again and has settled in nicely :

He has claimed the kitty bed as his own and makes the other cats leave when he wants to sleep.

Then we have the Grumpys.

Turtle & Rocky have also pretty much settled in as well, they just have a different way of showing it :

Rocky saying "Get that camera outta my face before I have to smack you!"

Rocky playing on the steps

Turtle saying "If you're not going to turn on the water faucet go away, I have no use for you"

Turtle saying "I warned you, now you're going to find out how sharp my teeth are!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMMERJESSE 10/1/2012 9:50AM

    How cute!

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MCJULIEO 9/27/2012 8:10AM

    So glad that they've settled in.... it's so nice to have your kitties with you...

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SPOOKYTHECAT 9/25/2012 1:41PM

    Such cute kitties!

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INIT2LIVEIT 9/25/2012 4:27AM

    They are all adorable, but Gandalf has a beautiful face. He is precious... lol

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SAFARIBABE 9/24/2012 8:17PM

    ROFLMAO!!!! Cats have such great personalities. I never understand people who think they are just fur factories. LOL Glad to hear that everyone is settling in and that Gandalf realizes he's stuck with you lot. LOL Have a great night!

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MUTEDPROPHET 9/24/2012 2:20PM

    I loved this blog. Please give the kitties hugs and snugs from me. emoticon

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NEPTUNE1939 9/24/2012 2:03PM

    LOL - Thanks for the entertainment. They certainly have personality! Earl

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New Goal

Sunday, September 23, 2012

For September I have added a new goal since as of today the Paris Marathon is a mere 190 days away : Marathon training.

I found a training plan to start. I think it is a Galloway plan, not sure, and I am not doing the run/walk thing. No offense to those who do follow that plan but I know me and know run/walk intervals just don't work that well for me.

Anyway, it is a 30 week plan, which was exactly the timing from the week I started. It has me doing 30 minute runs on Tuesday & Thursday, an "easy walk" on Fridays (whatever that means) and gradually increasing long runs on Sundays. Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays are rest days. I actually started at week 3's distance of 5 miles so I'm just repeating that week until I get to week 4, so I can get used to running regularly again.

I looked at the Hal Higdon plan but rejected it because a) it is much more aggressive, being only 18 weeks; and b) has me running consecutive days which strains my knees and causes me to burn out. I don't want to devote my entire life to training. They have a 36 week plan, which is basically just two 18 week plans stacked together, but even that was pretty aggressive with the consecutive running.

Yes, I know marathon training is a big commitment but it shouldn't be a chore either and I need the down time to do other things. I have the time to build up slowly without deliberately risking injury by running long distances on consecutive days, which I know is not good for me specifically.

The Higdon plan did have a good point, where the daily run mileage added up to the Sunday long run total. I might incorporate that idea into my training plan, at least for now. As the long run miles get higher I will probably not continue (I just can't see doing two 10-13 mile runs on Tue/Thu and then a 20-26 mile on Sunday towards the end of training). But we'll see, plans aren't written in stone.

I know I will make adaptations; on Sep. 30 I am supposed to run 6 miles and only 2.5 on Oct 7. But Oct. 7 is the day of the 10k run I registered for so I will continue running my 5 miles until the race, and then the next week run the scheduled 3 miles, skipping the 2.5 entirely. I'm sure I will have to make other modifications as I go. Today is another 5 mile run, actually a little over 5 miles based on the route I take. And - bonus - No Never Ending Hill of Death on the Sunday runs!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCJULIEO 9/27/2012 7:47PM

    Yay! No Never Ending Hill of Death!

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DOODIE59 9/24/2012 8:48AM

    What a thrill! You're there, and you're DOING it -- enjoy every minute.

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GETSTRONGRRR 9/24/2012 12:22AM

    There's another great book that I used for my first marathon; "The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer"....look it up on Amazon....worked like a champ

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KAREN42BOYS 9/23/2012 11:10AM

    Sounds like you are merging two good plans! To be able to race in France, what a wonderful opportunity!

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IMPROVINGME 9/23/2012 10:14AM

    I have confidence that you'll reach your new goal!

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SAFARIBABE 9/23/2012 6:48AM

    emoticon Good Luck with the training!! When are you coming to the NY Marathon??

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INIT2LIVEIT 9/23/2012 4:08AM

    Good luck and enjoy your training. The Paris marathon will be so beautiful!

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Air France sucks!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

OK, it was totally my fault I left my iPad on the plane when we arrived in Paris. I was stressed and jet lagged and stressed...and I just forgot I had put it in the seat back. My fault.

As soon as I realized what I had done some several hours later in the hotel I tried calling the travel help, it is after hours on a Sunday and no one answers the phone at the after hours number. I leave a message (and 2.5 weeks later no one has returned my call!), and try again in a few hours, get a real person and she gives me an e-mail address for Air France. I shoot them off an e-mail and pass out from the jet lag.

Next day is Monday and I have a lovely automated e-mail from Air France saying they'll look into it, if you don't hear from us in 8 days we couldn't find it.

OK, an automated e-mail? Really? Why am I not feeling comfortable with this?

Monday afternoon, after perusing the Air France website, I send a message to Contact Us asking who to call for items left on the plane. Their response was to send the e-mail I had already sent.

No response by Saturday morning so since I had to go back to the airport to return the rental van I figured I'd stop by Customer Service and try to move things along in person. Finally got to the baggage department after being passed around (and to be fair these people were helpful in telling me what they could and couldn't answer and pointing me in the next right direction). Baggage claim guy says nope, absolutely can't help you, have to send the e-mail. I told him I already did on Sunday, it is now Saturday and there is no response. Baggage guy says sorry, can't help, send the e-mail; no, sorry, there is no phone number for the Left Items warehouse, no sorry, you can't talk to anyone else, you have to send the e-mail only.

And - of course - the requisite 8 days have more then passed and would you believe I never received a response?

I know, hard to believe that anyone is really doing anything to find it when all you get is an automated response telling you don't call us, we'll call you. So I sent them another e-mail...which came back undeliverable. Amazing. Do they have me blocked I wonder? Nope, on Monday this week I sent a brand new one instead of a response and it went through...and returned the same automated lie.

I tried calling the travel agency, thinking they talk to the airlines all the time, they should have a number of someone somewhere I could talk to. Nope, so sorry, you have to send the e-mail.

I've tried calling Air France in Detroit and in Paris...sorry, can't help, send the e-mail. I asked a French colleague to do the same figuring maybe it's b/c I'm an American & don't speak French...sorry, send the e-mail.

I know that no one has even tried using the iPad because it has been offline this entire time. Which tells me it is just sitting somewhere. And no one at Air France is looking for it. Or at least that has to be my assumption because I have absolutely zero response from them.

Take note Air France...automated messages that say if you don't hear from us we didn't find it are NOT A RESPONSE! And do NOT inspire any confidence that anyone is actually doing anything ESPECIALLY when you refuse to actually let customers talk to you.

What are you afraid of that you can't publish a Contact Us phone number? Hiding something like a pack of thieves taking advantage of your customers' forgetfulness?

NOT feeling in a very generous or understanding mood today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEZZIEJAMES 9/19/2012 10:00PM

    Wow. That sucks hardcore. I can't believe there is no contact info. It sounds as if you have exhausted every resource. Could you throw your weight around? Demand a supervisor every time you get someone on a phone. INSANITY.

I really hope you get it back. And soon.


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GETSTRONGRRR 9/19/2012 9:07PM

    Bummer! I'm taking an Air France flight from Charles de Gaulle to Istanbul on Saturday.

try this number 800-237-2747 or 1- 877-247-9247

Comment edited on: 9/19/2012 9:08:38 PM

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SAFARIBABE 9/19/2012 9:05PM

    WOW! That really sucks! At least when I had to deal with the cops they were somewhat empathetic. You can't even get to a real person! Hope it all comes out and you get your iPad back!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 9/19/2012 7:12PM


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DOGSTARDADDY 9/19/2012 4:00PM

    Ugh :(

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EMMANYC 9/19/2012 2:32PM

    Aargh - very frustrating for you. Did you buy it within the last six months or so? It might be covered by insurance associated with a credit card like an Amex. Or it might be covered by travel insurance (including insurance associated with the card you bought the ticket with). And if neither of those options works, you should try checking with Apple to see if they'd give you a refurbished one cheaply. While it's not exactly the same thing, I've had at least two experiences where I damaged an expensive electronic device outside the warranty period and the supplier (Sony in one case, Canon in another), sold me a refurbished device cheaply (e.g., for about 25% of the original).

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NINJA_SMOO 9/19/2012 10:25AM

  Ack, talk about frustrating! I hope they find it / get it back to you soon :(

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-POLEDANCEGIRL- 9/19/2012 9:53AM

    How horrible!! Keep contacting them. Im sending positive vibes :)

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STARLIGHT615 9/19/2012 9:48AM

    Oh I am so sorry!! I would keep sending them emails after emails, if anything try to contact their corporate office but at first dont tell them ur calling about a lost item till u get someone in corporate on the phone! And then Blast them!!!

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RUNNER12COM 9/19/2012 9:40AM

    Oh, that stinks. I hate losing anything, let alone something that has such practical and financial value.

I hope it shows up for you.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 9/19/2012 9:28AM

    So sorry. I intimately know that sick feeling when you leave something in an airport. Happened to me in the Paris airport too.

My watch (did not clasp it properly after going through security and it fell off while sprinting to the next terminal. Did I mention Charles DeGaulle Airport is a nightmare to get through?)

And on the way back, a lovely hat I had bought in Regensburg Germany. It must have gotten caught in the x-ray conveyor and when they pulled my carry on aside to inspect it, I just did not think about it and sprinted off again to catch my next flight.

I cried because both had sentimental value.

You have my sympathies!!!

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GARDENCHRIS 9/19/2012 9:03AM

    so sorry.....hope you have a good outcome! you could try customer service when you get back to the airport. and insist on speaking to someone in charge.

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/19/2012 8:48AM

    Seems like the way of the world these days with automated systems everywhere. Hope it comes back to you. Major loss.

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CODEMAULER 9/19/2012 8:42AM

    I agree - you may need to make a pest of yourself in order to "inspire some action." Good luck and go get 'em, Tiger!!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 9/19/2012 8:29AM

    How very frustrating! Customer service these days is really lacking and I absolutely HATE automated response systems. Where are the real people.... I don't want to talk to a machine.

Stay on it.... I hope you get some kind of hopeful response soon.

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AZMOMXTWO 9/19/2012 7:52AM

  I would keep on them and keep sending e-mails at some point they will have to do sonething i would hope

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