March 22, 2017

Austin, TX...

I am currently typing this on a tiny tablet in a GINORMOUS hotel room in downtown Austin, Texas - so please forgive any and all typos and formatting issues that may ensue...


Remember that work trip I told you about, WAY back when?  Well, it's now.


Yesterday, I drove to Charlotte to catch a direct flight.  Charlotte's about an hour and a half away from home.  The drive was ok, I've done it before but I was nervous.  I couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time and then I realized...this was the first time I've flown out of Charlotte.  I've flown THROUGH Charlotte, but never had an originating flight from there.  As I pulled into the airport, I became a little overwhelmed.  It also dawned on me...this is the first time I've ever gone completely solo.  Usually, Man-Child is with me or I'm headed directly to people I know.  This time...I'm on my own.  At least until I hit Houston, sometime Friday afternoon.


Usually, when I fly out of our airport, I have someone drop me off and I know exactly where I need to go and what I need to do.  Yesterday, I was a bit at a loss.  I parked in long term parking since I will be gone for a week.  If I'd thought it through a bit more, I might have parked at the closer long term parking.  Lesson learned.


I caught the shuttle to the actual airport and the driver was extremely helpful.  She reminded me THREE times about where she picked me up and where I should be to catch the shuttle back to my car.  Being the forgetful diligent person that I am, I wrote it all down.  I successfully checked in and yet somehow completely botched tagging my bag.  At my airport, they do it for you.  Luckily, the charming guy that checked my bag was able to fix it.  After I apologized one too many times he replied, "If this is the hardest thing that happens to me today then it will be a good day."


With baggage and security behind me, I settled in to wait for my flight.  This time was completely uneventful.  I boarded my flight and settled in for the trip.


I was saddled with a mother and child for seat mates.  To be honest, I really can't complain.  The child was very well behaved, as was the mother.  But after being without a small one in the house for a VERY long time, the constant questions from the child became a bit tiresome.  BUT, she was well behaved.  And seemed to be a very bright and inquisitive little girl, which speaks well of her mother - but again, the sing-song way she responded to the child also got tiresome after awhile - but I'm NOT complaining, because it could have been SO much worse.


The one thing I CAN complain about...the guy across the aisle?  He decided to watch a movie on his phone.  Which was fine.  Except he didn't have headphones.  Now, while the noise level wasn't excessive, I could hear most of the dialogue and background noise - which didn't really become an irritant until the end of the flight.  I felt more sorry for his seat mate who finally gave up trying to read her book and just played solitaire on her computer.  Manners and consideration, people...they mean more today than ever before.


Upon landing, I thought "Ahh, I'm here!"  thinking I could relax.  Hahahaha.  I forgot about the navigating around a strange city.  I found my rental car with only a little difficulty.  I looked at the directions to the hotel and immediately got a tension headache.  Finally, I just typed the address into Google Maps and followed the voice...tell me, HOW did we exist before our current technology??!!


After fighting and cursing through the unrelenting 5:00 pm traffic I ended up at this gorgeous hotel where I settled in and relaxed a bit before heading out to dinner.  I made a beeline for the Mexican restaurant on the corner to enjoy a margarita and what I hoped was some good food.  It wasn't the best but it was good and the margarita was perfect.


Since there was still plenty of daylight, with lots of people around, I decided to walk around the block to see what is around here.  Once I turned the corner, it was quiet and empty.  As I kept walking, I noticed a young man turn the corner ahead and began walking toward me.  I didn't think to much of this until - after he passed me - I had a feeling and turned back to look - sure enough, he was now walking back toward me!  I didn't panic but was concerned enough to pick up my pace AND kept an eye on him until I reached the corner where a restaurant's patio seating was full of people.  He walked quickly past me and off into another block.


At that point, I figured it was time to get to my room and hunker down for the night.  Which I did, until 1:00 am.


At almost exactly 1:00 am the fire alarm began to go off.  Up until this point in my life, I'd always wondered whether I'd sleep through a fire alarm - turns out I won't.  Particularly, this one.  It was crazy loud - which I imagine it has to be to empty a hotel.  How I managed to grab my robe, my purse and my room keys, I'll never know.  It was SO disorienting.  As I staggered out of my room, a young woman came charging out of her room asking what we should do.  I responded by pointing toward the emergency exit.  Just as we hit the door, a policeman came barreling through it.  Presumably to get people out.


It's a strange thing to be milling around outside, in the middle of the night, disoriented and sleepy while in your pajamas with complete strangers.  All of which seemed to have the presence of mind to have grabbed their phones.  The young woman beside me was concerned because her friend was housed several floors above us and she didn't see her in the crowd.  I pointed to her phone and asked if she'd tried to contact her.  We drifted away from each other as she tried to contact her friend.  I'm sure she was probably in another group similar to ours on the other side of the hotel.


We all watched as the fire trucks came and the firemen headed inside.  We noted that one window on the 8th floor had a flashing light and assumed that whatever had triggered the alarm came from that room.


We were in the street for maybe twenty minutes before they gave us the all clear to head back in.  I have to tell you, prior to the alarm, I was out like a light.  But after?  My sleep was fitful at best.


Of course, after such a poor night's sleep, I found myself up WAY before I needed to be this morning - not even taking into account the time difference.  My body was still on East Coast time.  I found an endless supply of coffee and caffeinated myself accordingly and headed over to the Boot Camp/Conference, which was fairly uneventful and would be totally boring for you, so I shall refrain from submitting you to that - you are welcome.

 Now here is where I mention the most important part - I simply CANNOT wear my hair straight here.  It does what it wants, which means today was a frizzy, wild hair kind of day.  Tomorrow, I will acquiesce and let the curls take over.  I should have known.

Now that I've experienced creating a post on the tablet, I can promise, I won't  be doing it again. What a pain!











2 comments:

  1. I think you did great! Informative and funny in all the right places. What an experience, and then that fire alarm on top of it all. Wow! Thanks for making the effort, I actually enjoyed it. :-)

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  2. EESH ! what a trip. We had a fire alarm go off at school and it wasn't a drill. Burnt popcorn not a fan of the story, also not a fan of standing outside with out a jacket while it was sleeting on my lunch break.
    Hope the rest of the trip wasn't so eventful. It is hard typing on phone/tablet but you did really well.

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