Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bought my tickets...

I'm headed for Munich on July 20th, out of Toronto. It's $200 cheaper than leaving from Buffalo. I'll be on Air France and changing planes in Paris, so it's almost like I'm taking one of Jake's trips. I can do a little research while at CDG. I'm coming back on the 27th by KLM and using my points to stay overnight in Toronto so I don't have that long drive after a long flight.

I don't know how much I'll actually get to see of Munich, since I'll be working pretty steady to get this job done, but just being out of the country will be good. I'm sick of US politics and the idiots who support the idiots in Congress. It's like we haven't progressed past the frontier mentality of the 1820s; read Fanny Trollope's book, "The Domestic Manners of the Americas" and you'll see. It'll let me see what's going on elsewhere.

This was a rough week on the job front. Everything that could go wrong with the shipments coming back from the London Olympia book fair did. Right now, I've got three book dealers pissed off at me because they don't have their books. I think Caladex's reputation's been hurt by this, and not all of it was due to us.

For example, a shipment was sent out via DHL to Minneapolis; we handed it off on Tuesday and it was to fly on Wednesday, once it cleared British Customs. Our London people were told everything was great, it had been okayed, and DHL's Cincinnati hub even began the pre-clearance for it. Then Customs said, "Wait a minute" and asked for more paperwork. We sent it. that was cool. All great and it would still ship on Wednesday...but it looks like the day crew didn't update the system and no one told the night crew, so they saw the Customs request and thought it hadn't been completed and pulled the shipment. That's what it looks like, to me. What made it bad was, they didn't contact us about it till 3pm the next day...when it was too late to get it delivered by Friday, as we'd promised the client.

My mistake was not riding herd on this. And that's something that played into the whole week. My co-worker (who knows a hundred times more than me about logistics) and I would get things set up...but then the airline would bump our shipment and they wouldn't let us know. Or the customs broker would suddenly say, "Oh by the way, I don't have a current Power of Attorney for these people and can't do anything till I do." After having the paperwork all day. Or the wrong forms would filled out or entered incorrectly into the online customs system or a shipment that was supposed to be sent out Tuesday wouldn't be dropped off at the shipping group till Wednesday and we'd get no tracking number. Even just getting proof of delivery from the drivers was a chore.

I'm practically worthless when it comes to this sort of detailed crap; invariably I screw up so I have to go slow to make sure I've done everything right. But that's what it's taking, now, to make certain everything that needs to be done gets done at the proper time and in the proper way -- riding herd on people and bugging on them and reminding them to do their jobs. For the first time in years...and years...I wound up with a nervous stomach and got sick, this morning.

On top of that, I get home and Jake wants to write. Good thing I'm not married or in a relationship; I'd get kicked out on my ass so fast... Another good thing about this trip is, it'll give me a bit of a relative breather.

I hope.

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