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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

[travelogue] Screaming Hella Busy

Greetings! I write to you today from Madison, Wisconsin!

But first, what's happened since Auburn, Indiana, my many (*cough*) readers want to know.

First of all, Auburn went fine. A lot of potential work then came in so the India and Philippines trip was placed on hold while I worked my butt off for two months. Postponing the big trip was one of the weirdly hard decisions I had to make, and I did it with a heavy heart. Meghna's siblings were married without me there (somehow they made it), and Vikas went on to India and recently started up with a new company. Imagine my sad and happy face all at once - happy for him, sad for me. At least I have a friend for life in India, and I'll visit once I get there.

Then, the morning of my flight to Minnesota in March I started up a rapid fever, some intense shivering even under a mountain of blankets (I am always warm, so this was disconcerting) and had to cancel my flight and my attendance from the workshop. Yep, you guessed it, I got the flu -- from someone on the airplane back from Auburn. I suffered for a week - it was that ass-kicking flu that went around this year. It was debilitating.

Things got better, and I had a quick trip to Iowa City in May. This was pre-Noah's arrival with the boat, although I commented to dad how high the river looked. There was still a lot of meltwater from the spring, and I guess it didn't clear out fast enough. Flying in to Wisconsin today I could the massive flooding.

After Iowa City, no travel until last week. I had a super-fast "It's Saturday morning can you go to Phoenix on Monday" trip request, which I did. Spent two days in Phoenix, Arizona. It was hot. I didn't go beyond a 4-block radius and it was a kind of tense meeting. The kind my friend Margaret would say was fraught with opportunities. It all turned out ok... the kind of meetings you learn from.

This trip to Wisconsin, however, had the feeling of being "a trip", hence the blog entries and subsequent emails for the RSS feed challenged.

Today I got to use the perks of being an American Airlines Advantage Gold member. I've been noticing the last few times that I've traveled that I've always been in Group 1 to board. I also realized that Group 1 means you get to go to the quick line at security. Ah, benefits. However, I wasn't exempt from security's rigorous examination of all my carry-on crap. I don't mind taking off the shoes, but for some reason putting my belt back on in front of a bunch of strangers is a little intimate. I feel like I just did something ilicit that turned out to not be fun at all.

There was a little confusion about gates but I figured it out, flew out on a very quiet and calm flight to Madison, Wisconsin. The pilot was very interested in telling us what we were flying over. He pointed out Mustang, OK, interestingly, where one of my newest online buddies, Div, allegedly lives in royal puppy-filled splendor. We also passed over Wichita, KS, where one of my longest RL buddies, Naomi lives. Shout out to Naomi & Div! For the Horde!!!

Upon landing in Madison, hopefully not at all like the premise of disaster, was a small private plane, slightly listing to one side in the grass of the runway. About 10 emergency vehicles surrounded it. After making my way through the terminal, I got to meet our sales minion, Mark, whom I've heard on the phone but never seen in person. Very cool to put a face with the voice. Our company is so spread out sometimes. It makes the homecomings and meetings very pleasant.

Why in Madison? We're meeting with a client who is improving publishing processes and technology, and if you've been reading along at all (I know at least a couple outside of friends and family who have, now) you know this is where I come in. No, there's not a super-hero costume. There might be theme music.

Mark and I met with our client for an awesome dinner at the Cloud 9 Grille. I'm not supposed to talk about details around clients, but lets just say the entire experience was heavenly. Salmon, steak, and rice.... mmmm. Tried a local beer, Spotted Cow, which I moooed over. I reached my serene place very quickly... stars in alignment, all that.

It's when you relax a little sometimes you realize how busy things have been, and I realize I like the travel part -- yes, me, who 3 years ago would rather have driven to Wisconsin than fly. Props to Tom for the maiden voyage to Florida for the space shuttle who in large part got me over my fear of flying. The ensuing 100,000 miles over 2 years helped a little. But, my wandering point is that meeting new clients, helping solve problems, and focusing on one thing instead of 40 are the nice aspects of travel and of my job. It helps to have willing, participating clients.

Before I lapse into marketing euphoria and start shouting buzzwords down the La Quinta halls (by the way, above and beyond the nicest La Quinta I've stayed in - makes the one in Austin look like a hovel), I'll depart. My final props are to my budy Wayne, who gave me a ton of good information on places to go in his former haunting areas here in Madison. Friday night, after wrap up I may wander.

I've got two days here, and I return home to Big D way too early on Saturday (6:30am flight).

Upcoming trips? Anne-Sophie and Florent (co-workers) will be coming from Paris to visit our Dallas office in late July. Unfortunately the Euro to USD ratio is not supportive of me traveling over there. Aside from that, no other trips currently planned... but it's not Saturday yet.


1 comment:

Roxy said...

Glad you have been suitably inspired to begin updating again. All it takes is a little spotted cow...