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Adventures in Business Travel

21 Sep

I’ve been in Portland, Oregon since Saturday night to “man” a trade show booth on behalf of the client I work on at my agency. There have been some challenges — one of my product banner stands didn’t get shipped, and 80 percent of the product literature for the booth wasn’t shipped, either. The show started on Sunday and there really wasn’t much that could be done, so I didn’t worry myself too much about it.

What a beautiful city! The view as we landed was breathtaking, and I can see Mount St. Helens from my hotel room. Last night I had dinner at a little Italian restaurant in the Pearl District with a college friend who just so happens to live in Portland. We figured out that we hadn’t seen each other since 1994, so it was great to catch up.

Today I’m sitting at a trade show  booth from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. After I’m finished I’m going to explore a little Asian grocery store I discovered across the street from the convention center (a headache is coming on and I needed aspirin). They have some interesting collectibles, so maybe I’ll come home with a few souvenirs.

My body still thinks it’s on Central time, unfortunately, so I’m yawning by 8 p.m. I’m sure I’ll be acclimated by the time I get ready to go home on Wednesday.

Since I won’t get many daylight hours to sightsee, I also want to try and get a few pictures, even if they are only in the vicinity of the convention center. It’s just so beautiful here!

New York Trip Recap — Day One

22 Jun

Over Memorial Day weekend, I made my first visit to New York City with my best friend Roy. I thought I would do some blog posts recapping the trip, with one post covering each day I was there.

I’m sure many of you have been to New York at least once, so I doubt any of this will be new. But isn’t it sometimes fun to see something familiar through another person’s eyes?

I thought so too.

So here we go!

Thursday, May 21

After going to sleep at about 2 a.m., we got up very early (5 a.m.) and took a cab to the airport. The upside is we flew Midwest Airlines, which has a direct flight from Milwaukee to Newark. Can I just say how nice it is to get on a plane and stay there until you reach your final destination???

This is what three hours of sleep looks like.

This is what three hours of sleep looks like.

It pays to travel with a tall person, because I got the window seat, along with the chance to enjoy the beautiful view (when I wasn’t trying to sleep).

The first of many photos that had me wishing for a better camera.

The first of many photos that had me wishing for a better camera.

Finally we reached Newark. I have my first B/C-list celebrity sighting — Seth Meyers from “Saturday Night Live” — while Roy was in the bathroom. I had to do a triple take for it to even register that it was him. Not only is he shorter than I imagined him to be, he looks a lot different without stage makeup on.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture. Like I said, it took me awhile to recognize him.

Did I mention the Newark airport is small? I think it’s smaller than Milwaukee’s (but I could be wrong).

After we saw Seth Meyers and got our luggage, we waited outside for our car that was taking us to Hoboken. It was a beautiful day!

100_1588

The ride to Hoboken was about half an hour. Roy’s friend Jason — one half of the duo that was kind enough to let us stay with them — was at the apartment to greet us. They live in this adorable neighborhood full of row houses, with iron railings and narrow staircases, just like you’d imagine a New York-type neighborhood to look in the movies.

Cute Hoboken neighborhood.

Cute Hoboken neighborhood.

As cute as Chad and Jason’s neighborhood was, it still wasn’t immune to vandalism. Though you have to admit the graffiti is a little more cerebral than what you would normally see.

Don't I know it!

Don't I know it!

We spent the afternoon freshening up, getting supplies so we didn’t eat Chad and Jason out of house and home, and prepared to go into city for my first Broadway Show: Avenue Q.

When Roy’s other friend (and Jason’s roommate) Chad got home from work, we took a bus through the Lincoln Tunnel into the city. Every morning when we drove in I got to see this awesome view from the window.

Riding into the city.

Riding into the city.

We made a stop at Times Square before going to the theater.

Of course we took some pictures.

The first thing that struck me — as I know it does everyone who visits the city for the first time — is the number of people. It’s impossible to not be in someone’s way, or be bumped into dozens of times walking the length of a city block.

Times Square

Times Square

Fortunately we got there around dusk — any darker and the pictures probably wouldn’t have turned out.

Me and Roy

Me and Roy

Broadway show billboards

Broadway show billboards

So many people!

So many people!

After taking in Times Square, we made our way to Broadway. Roy and I went to see “Avenue Q,” and Jason and Chad went to see something called “Next to Normal” (which I think won a Tony award).

I loved, loved, LOVED Avenue Q!

Our show let out five minutes before Chad and Jason’s did, so Roy and I took goofy self-portraits and other snapshots.

Broadway self-portrait

Broadway self-portrait

The Jacobs Theater, home of Avenue Q

The Jacobs Theater, home of Avenue Q

This street is where I had my second (and final) celebrity sighting. When Chad and Jason got out of the show, they said that Neil Patrick Harris, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel were in the theater with them.

Taye Diggs.

Meow.

Just as I was wondering aloud whether, as celebrities, they were able to sneak out a side door after a show to avoid us little people, Neil Patrick Harris and his male companion came walking right out the front of the theater, the entrance to which was probably less than 100 feet away from us across the street.

Squee!

I tried to snap a photo, but it’s so blurry you can’t tell it was him.

You’ll just have to take my word for it.

After a trip to a bakery for some take-home cheesecake and bus ride home, thus concluded my first day in the vicinity of New York.

Day Two: Statue of Liberty! Broadway! More cheesecake!

I’m Back!

28 May

I’m back after another apparently long hiatus. I’m not a busy person, so why I’ve not found the time to post is beyond me.

Here’s my recent life in a nutshell:

  • Started playing softball with my work team again (took a two-year hiatus). The training must be coming in handy because I’m not as sore the day after as I used to be.
  • Went to Hoboken, New Jersey/New York City over the Memorial Day weekend. Will make a longer post and share pictures about that tonight (I hope).
  • For the first time in my employee’s history, they had to lay off workers. We lost four people while I was on vacation.
  • We were able to re-up for another 15 weeks with Weight Watchers at Work (you need a certain number of people for them even to come out). Weigh-in after the vacation is today. I’m not too concerned. I was down a couple pounds this morning, so I probably will have lost about 1 pound come weigh-in at Noon. (We did a LOT of walking, and sporadic eating, so I think that helped.)

So yeah, that’s me.

T-Minus 45 minutes…

16 Nov

…until I head to the airport for what is my sixth (and final) business trip of the year.

For those new to the blog, I work as a PR account executive for a marketing services agency in Brookfield, Wis. The client I work on manufactures pest management products, among other things, and today I am headed to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to attend structural fumigation school (yes, you can laugh).

BEDBUGS

The upside to this, of course, is that today in Milwaukee it is 35 degrees. At this moment in Fort Lauderdale, it’s a magical 69 degrees. I’ll be there until Friday morning, with each day starting at 7:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. my time), so I expect to be nearly comatose by the time I leave on Friday (I don’t sleep well when I’m out of town, especially when I’m in the eastern U.S. time zone). At least I get that hour back when I come home.

I am charged with taking pictures and video, some of which I’ll be sure to post for entertainment and educational purposes. :p

Hope you all have a good week!

Packers @ Bucs, 9/28/08, Here I Come!

14 Jul

I just booked a flight to Tampa to see my friend Marnie; we’re planning to go to the Packer/Buccaneers game and cheer on the new QB for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers (note: buy an A. Rodgers jersey before the game). We’ve wanted to do this ever since she moved to Tampa, and I’m so excited that we’re finally going to do it.

The best part of the trip? My plane ticket cost me $10.

God, I love frequent flyer miles.

Off to watch the Home Run Derby!

Lesson Learned

25 Jun

I had an appointment with my personal trainer last night (the first time I truly worked out in 2 weeks because of traveling for work) and for fun/information I decided to bring my little measurement book with me (I try to have her measure me about once a month).

This is what I gained (or lost, depending on how you look at it) in just two weeks of not working out (in addition to not having as much stamina to complete my workout as I previously did):

Hips: 1 inch
Thigh: 1 inch
Chest: 2.5 inches
Calf: 1/2 inch
Waist: 2 inches

Scary!

I could even tell the difference when I did my abs and cardio. I think I have a hernia that flares up from time to time, particularly when I am doing ab work. Initially my trainer was “tricking” my abs into working out by doing nontraditional abdominal exercises. In the last several weeks we’ve been able to do actual crunches without any problems.

But not last night.

As we were finishing the last set of crunches, I felt that familiar fist twisting inside my abdomen, and immediately told her we needed to stop (I’d like to deal with this with exercise instead of a doctor and potential surgery). Obviously the regular workouts were helping this condition, so we’ve decided to go back to “fooling” my abs on Thursday and wait until it calms down a bit before we do actual crunches.

So basically, the lesson I’ve learned is: don’t stop working out for two weeks! I’ve done this before, but was never measuring myself, so I was never truly aware of what that amount of time off would do to my body. Now that I know, I’ll never do that again. Even if it’s just the two times a week with my trainer, I was seeing a huge benefit not on the scale, but with the tape measure.

I really do feel that I can use traveling as an excuse for why I haven’t worked out. Each day I was “working” from about 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. or later (I consider dinner with the client — while fun, because she’s really awesome — to be work), and I certainly was not going to work out that late at night and get all keyed up before bed. The only day on my trip when I was able to work out was this past Thursday, because the work portion of the day ended early (about 4 p.m.) and I was (thankfully) on my own the rest of the evening. So I went down to the hotel gym and walked/ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes.

The Final Countdown

19 Jun

The hours are winding down to the final time in June that I get on a plane to come home, and it can’t come too soon. My suitcase is (sloppily) packed,

except for my toiletries, for two reasons: I need them tomorrow, and I hate to disturb the lovely way in which the cleaning staff laid them out for me.

My hair is freshly washed,

and I watched a cross-dresser confess to murder in H-D on “CSI.”

I also took a shot at taking a couple more pictures: one of the funky lamp, and one of the cobalt blue bottle of “Le Bleu Premium Ultra Pure Water.”

I’m now going to comb out my hair and shut this party down. Night night!

Third State in Nine Days

18 Jun

I’m now in Charlotte, N.C., on the final leg of my weeklong work trip. My flight got in about 20 minutes late, but I managed to get some great shots from the sky before the sun went down.

This time I am at the Charlotte Marriott Executive Park, for another of the client seminars I worked last week in St. Louis. Internet access is $9.95 a day, which is not cool, and unfortunately something I can’t do without if I want to be connected to my office in any meaningful way. I know I’m not paying for it, but I’m offended on behalf of my client, who is paying for it.

On the upside, the room is very cool.

With a kick-ass LG TV.

Along with a very funky lamp,

as well as spiritual reading for both Catholics and Mormons.

I am so tired. Our meetings started earlier and earlier each morning, and as on most business trips, I’ve gotten more and more tired as the week has gone on. I am now going to listen to the end of the Brewer game online, and take my tired ass to bed.

Another Day, Another Hotel Room

15 Jun

Tonight I and four of my fellow co-workers checked into the Wingate Hotel in Indianapolis, Ind. We are meeting with our client this week to plan tactics for 2009 (one thing I love about this client is that we start planning for the next year in June of the current year — at previous agencies I’ve worked for, we are sometimes working into June without that current year’s plan being approved — not a good way to work).

We stay at this hotel every time we come to Indy, so I know what to expect.

A nice room with comfortable beds,

Toilet paper in the bathroom with a fun origami design,

and a nice little bar area with water and granola bars.

It wasn’t ideal that we had to leave on Sunday/Father’s Day (we drove from Milwaukee to Indy, too expensive to fly, and we bill the client, so we try and be as frugal as possible), but on the upside, we get to sleep in, as we don’t start meeting until 10:30 tomorrow, so yay!

What I did not expect, however, was for my clothes to be as wrinkled as they were. I rolled them up the way they tell business travelers to (maybe I should have rolled multiple things together, that may have been my mistake), but I am still going to have to iron tomorrow morning. Grr…

On Wednesday I fly out of Indy for the second leg of my trip, to Charlotte, N.C. for a client event. I don’t get home until Friday at around 10:30 a.m.

My friend Beth came for a visit from Green Bay this weekend. I took her to dinner at Maxie’s Southern Comfort, and then we went to see “The Happening.” I urge all of you to run in the opposite direction of this film. It was terrible. At one point in the film my friend Beth leaned over to me and said, “These actors [Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo] are terrible!” I told her that I’ve seen all three of these actors in other movies, and that they can in fact act. My theory was that the writing was awful. The dialogue was stilted and unnatural, some of the scenes were just weird, and I felt M. Night Shyamalan was being weird simply for the sake of being weird; it had no purpose, no focus. We both were very disappointed, because the previews looked good. During the movie, however, we saw a preview for the new X-Files movie, and that in fact does look good, and I am looking forward to seeing it.

Wish me a week that goes by quickly, so I can get back home to my kitty and to signing the lease for my new apartment.

Home for a moment

13 Jun

My plane got into Milwaukee about 45 minutes late today because of the weather, most likely both here and in St. Louis. The plane was a commuter jet — a “puddle jumper” — and we had to walk out onto the tarmac to board it. About 10 seconds after I got outside, the wind picked up and it started to rain. We ended up having to sit on the runway for about five minutes until the storm passed. Thankfully the flight home was smooth and there were no problems.

Something odd did happen to me on the plane, however. An older woman was sitting next to me, and the perfume she was wearing — or her own body scent — suddenly reminded me so much of my mother, I almost started to cry (for those just joining us, my Mom died in May 2007 of complications from gall bladder cancer at the age of 56). I have this intense fear of death, and lately the anxiety has been heightened; whenever I fly, I say the Our Father and Hail Mary as the plane starts to move, and I don’t stop until we’ve left the ground and gotten up in the air safely. The plane was really jumping around in the turbulence and I could feel myself getting nervous, and it was about that time that the scent hit me, and it almost instantly made me feel more calm. The spiritual side of me would like to think that was my mom’s way of saying she was watching out for me.

I was very happy to see my kitty, and I think she was happy to see me. She was very talkative. 🙂 It’s a beautiful night, and I have the windows open because I don’t think there’s going to be any more rain today.

Tomorrow my friend Beth is coming from Green Bay for an overnight girls’ visit. We’re going to go out to dinner and have a few drinks. Then Sunday I’m briefly visiting my Dad for Father’s Day, because I have to pack — again — to go to Indianapolis for work. Then on Wednesday I fly out of Indianapolis to Charlotte, N.C. for a client event, then back home on Friday morning. Thankfully this is the bulk of my work traveling (or leisure, for that matter) for the year. When I was younger the first couple of business trips I took were exciting (Fort Lauderdale for a Harley-Davidson fashion show was my favorite — I got to supervise the male models’ dressing area ::squeal!::), but now they are a bit of a grind, and I’m always glad to be home.