Notes from my Chicago business trip, where I engaged in more manual labor than the previous year combined:
The trip started inauspiciously, with a 4am wakeup to get around for my 6:55 flight. I found out McDonald's does not serve breakfast until 5am -- a problem since I had to meet my carpool at that time. So at 4:50am, this is what I was told: "We can't serve breakfast for another 8 minutes. Sorry." So, needing food, I wolfed down two cheeseburgers and fries. At 4:55 in the AM. You know, that faint toothpastey aftertaste you have in the morning seems to mesh better with breakfast food. With burger and fries, its just gross.
There's no good way to say this, so I won't beat around the bush: our plane into Chicago almost crashed. The pilot steps on the gas, the plane starts forward, lifts off the ground -- and stalls. Good news is, I got reacquainted with my burger and fries from an hour earlier. Between you and me, they hadn't exactly aged well. I literally said, "What's up, Burger and Fries?" and they replied, "Us!". OK, so I didn't say that. I was too busy thanking God I had cleaned my bathroom before leaving, so at least when my Mom came to my apartment posthumously she wouldn't think I lived in squalor.
The plane had only been about 2 feet off the ground when the electrical system caused it to stall. Southwest cleared us off the jet, got us another one, and 2 hours later, we were headed for Chicago...sans breakfast, which had introduced itself to my lap earlier...
In Chicago, we headed for work. An entire office had to be disassembled and loaded onto semi-trailers to bring back to Omaha (for our new office building -- we bought this stuff from a software company that went fish-at-the-end-of-the-"Faith No More"-video. That is, they went belly up, and after just 4 months. What work, disassembling cube walls, desks, etc -- and carrying them into an elevator, down three floors, around back, to two semi-trailers. Good lord. Before you exclaim, "why not hire a moving crew?", listen up: for this much stuff, any reputable union moving crew would command upwards of $15,000. But it wasn't as though they sent interns and low-totem-pole employees: the VP of Marketing and son of the CEO; VP of the Leasing division; Head web designer (that's me); and head computer tech. Talk about a white collar crew. None of us are used to that kind of intensive labor. It was rude to our muscles. But...
The payoff was going to the southside of Chicago Monday night to watch the Twins beat the White Sox at Comiskey Park, and therein clinch the Central Division title. Threepeat, baby! Three years in a row, and I was there. Whooee! Who's next? Yankees? Come out here and get yo whuppin! Red Sox? Get over here lest I bury my foot in yo ass! A's? You got a behind kickin comin to me! Sit down, all you American League Bitches! (Sorry, I am a huge baseball fan, and one of the world's biggest Twins backers, so allow me to gloat for a minute, will ya?)
After the game, we headed back to our hotel in the suburbs. St.Charles, to be exact. That's where the office we were clearing out was at, so of course, that's where we stayed. Crazy town. We ate at this joint called "Bud's". That had no Budweiser products. Insane.
Their menus were home plate -- literally. A real home plate, with a laminated menu pasted on the top face. Its a fascinating idea, one I'm surprised more sports bars haven't used. Plus, they never get their menus stolen...how do you sneak out something that inflexible (not to mention large and heavy)? You don't. And besides, no one's stolen home plate consistently since Rod Carew in the seventies.
Tuesday we started at 7am, loading all the stuff we had disassembled the first day. We're so bad ass, we finished over 2 hours early. Which leads to the greatest thing I've ever done:
We rented a hotel room for 1 hour so we could shower and clean up before the flight. Checked in at 3, took 10 minute shifts in the bathroom, checked out at 4. Wasteful spending? You bet. The things you can do when you're traveling with a millionaire!
The drama wasn't over.
I forgot that there's a knife in my pocket. A pocket knife. We're headed to the airport, with no bags to check. So I procure an envelope from the hotel during the hour we stayed there, got a stamp, and was set to mail it to myself.
But Midway Airport is Darr-ian. No mailboxes until after you pass thru security. Gahhh! There was a two minute period where I seriously thought about putting the envelope in my bag, and taking my chances. So I did just that. And halfway up the line, a passenger is found with a pocketknife not unlike my own. He is tackled by security and hauled off to jail. Seeing this, I got out of line real quick. The envelope went into the garbage. I avoid being some large man's bitch in jail. Good times.
I'll be going to Target tonight to get a replacement leatherman. With company dollars. You bet.