Friday, March 7, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Business travel seemed so glamorous when I first started my career. I was excited to see new places and meet new people. It is usually far from glamorous. I have certainly had some fun business trips and have been to some fun places, but there is no place like home!

This week I had a business trip that turned out to be one mishap after another. It all started on Tuesday. I was leaving for Orlando on Tuesday afternoon and discovered on Monday night, while packing for said trip, that I didn't have an adequate pair of shoes for that certain pair of brown pants that I just had to take. Not a problem. I could run out to the shoe store during my lunch hour on Tuesday since my flight wasn't until later in the afternoon. Tuesday morning was filled with meetings and by the time I left for lunch my mind was in about 10 different places. Apparently my mind was so distracted that I didn't notice my speed! Yes, I was pulled over for speeding on the way to the shoe store! The whole speeding ticket thing is a story all of it's own, but for now I'll just say that sometimes a friendly, positive attitude, can make even a bad situation end with a smile. Anyway, I did get a ticket. I still had to get shoes. I hurried (without speeding) to the shoe store and picked out the perfect pair of brown shoes.

Back at the office I packed up my work things including my laptop computer. It was important to take my laptop so I could do some work as well as possibly blog while I was in Orlando. Seven of us were going to a conference and a few of us had to stay at another hotel due to the conference hotel selling out. I have to admit that I am somewhat of a hotel snob. I don't need a really expensive hotel but I am picky. I like clean, comfortable and safe. As soon as I walked in the lobby I was a bit suspicious about this hotel, which actually is a "resort". That sounded nice when I read "resort" on the itinerary. They put me in building 6. The lady at registration showed me a map of the property and explained how to get to building 6. I was a bit worried by the map. I was lugging around a heavy suitcase plus the laptop (which is heavier than it looks). I walked down a paved path lined with palm trees passing by a couple of beautiful swimming pools. The grounds were beautiful. I continued walking and walking and walking some more. Building 6 is at the very end of the property.

When I finally arrived at building six, I discovered my room was on the second level. There were no elevators. Before tackling the stairs I had to take a little rest. After a minute or two I was ready to conquer the stairs. I lugged my heavy suitcase and heavy laptop up the stairs. By the way, I was wearing one of the highest pair of heels I own. By the time I reached the top of the stairs I was exhausted. I looked for my room number but the sign with an arrow pointing straight ahead lead me nowhere. I discovered this only after walking up and down the same hallway several times. I figured out the arrow was pointing in the wrong direction. When I finally reached my room, I grabbed the back of a chair to steady myself as I tried to unload my arms and the chair was sticky. Not a good sign. The room faced the parking lot and it immediately didn't feel safe. I would use the word motel for this building rather than hotel. The room was very old and given the sticky chair it didn't appear very clean. I was tired, my feet hurt and I just wanted a clean, comfortable, safe room.

I called the front desk and they agreed to move me into their "tower" rooms which were more like a hotel. But, the only tower room they had left was a smoking room. I decided the smoking room would be better than the sticky chair room. I lugged my very heavy suitcase and laptop back across the property. My feet were killing me. I opened the door to my new room and was almost knocked out by the smell. It stunk! Not like smoke, but like men's cologne that had been sprayed to mask the smell of smoke. Ick and double ick! Again, I totally admit that I am a bit particular when it comes to hotels, but this was icky!

I was not a happy camper in this hotel, but I figured I just would have to make the best of it. I called my coworkers who were staying in the conference hotel and they said it was wonderful. Instead of sulking, I decided I would pull out the handy laptop I had dragged half way across the country and check my email. The laptop didn't work. I plugged in the power cord and pressed the power button and nothing! I had used this laptop earlier in the day and it was fine, but now it was totally powerless. Ugh!

We all met up for dinner that night at the conference hotel, and I had a bad case of hotel envy! Once back at our lovely hotel, one of my coworkers discovered her toilet had overflowed. Her bathroom was a mess! And when she tried to call the front desk her phone didn't work. She called me on my cell phone to ask me to call the front desk about her toilet. On a positive note, this hotel did have good pillows. We stayed in the icky hotel for two nights, and for the last night we were finally able to get into the conference hotel. As grateful as I was to be in the nice hotel, I had to lug my heavy luggage and the broken laptop to the new hotel (via taxi of course). I'm not sure why, but I seemed to have only packed high heels for this conference. Why oh why didn't I pack a pair of tennis shoes? By the end of the conference my feet were swollen, blistered and throbbing with pain (but I did look good in my shoes, especially the new ones!).

I enjoyed the conference. I enjoyed the group of people that joined me on this trip. I enjoyed the Florida weather (except we got caught in pouring rain one night). But by Friday morning, I was ready to come home. Despite the fact I was leaving 70 something temperatures and going to 20 something temperatures with snow, I was ready to go home. At the airport we went through one of the longest security lines I have ever seen. Again, why didn't I bring tennis shoes? My feet were killing me! Once through security and at the gate we were greeted with the news of a flight delay! Due to weather the flight was delayed. And then delayed again. I just wanted to go back to Kansas. I tried clicking my high heels together three times, but it didn't seem to help. Finally, an hour and a half later we were headed home.

All went well on the flight home and it appeared that the end of the trip was mishap free. That is until I got home, pulled my suitcase from out of my trunk and realized I no longer had the broken laptop! I sat it down at the baggage claim and must have forgotten to pick it up. I called the airport and the airport police now had my laptop. They were calling in police dogs to sniff it! Good grief! So today, I am headed back to the airport to retrieve the broken laptop, assuming the dogs didn't sniff anything!

Next year this same conference will be held in New Orleans. I hope I get to go again, I truly do enjoy this conference. But, I will pack a pair of tennis shoes, make reservations early enough to be in the conference hotel and I think I will just forgo the laptop. No matter where I travel, the words of Dorothy ring true...."there's no place like home"!


Dave Van said...

That's funny right there, I don't care who you are that's funny!

Larry the Cable Guy

Jennifer said...

I heard you had some travel 'issues'. My first thought was maybe it'll make good material for your blog. I was right! :)

Glad you're back.

Nancy said...

Oh what fond and funny memories abound from our "man on the street" marketing surveys. I'd also forgotten about your "hotel" issues but lots of good memories came flooding back and thanks for sharing.

Maybe you should get you a pair of those new heels that the heel folds up or snaps off for "long days".