Thursday, that all came to a head as I headed to Tennessee* for a conference. The workload didn't slow down once I got there... oh, no. I discovered upon my arrival that my boss had just decided to change the entire pricing structure of the coaching plans we were presenting.
Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to bring all the documents on my laptop. I found a kinkos at the hotel, made the required changes on my laptop, printed to PDF, and...
Wait. What do you mean I never installed Adobe Acrobat Writer to my laptop? Sheeeeeeeeeet, mon.
Back up a bit. I found a kinkos at the hotel, made the required changes on my laptop, found a free trial for a generic PDF writer, installed a GNU public-license postscript driver (ghostscript), printed the documents to PDF (my free trial ended just as I printed the last document!), emailed them downstairs to kinkos, had all the boxes of presentation packets delivered to my room, and got the new materials.
Then I stayed up half the night taking out the old pricing sheet and inserting the new ones.
This prevented me from exploring my environs... which, all things considered, is probably for the best.
This is the hotel we stayed at:
OMFG. I saw maybe 10% of this hotel. It is the largest hotel in the world, covering some 57 acres, 9 of which are enclosed gardens. There's a 44-foot waterfall, 10 full-scale restaurants (and a number of other eateries in their food court), a shopping mall, and heaven only knows what else. They give you a map when you check in, and advise you that you will get lost enroute to your room.
So, anyway, after redesigning our entire presentation, I gathered up my transparencies** and went downstairs to the Irish Pub for a well-deserved pint o' Guinness.
Holy shamoley. The people behind the bar were fairly well convinced that their establishment wasn't a Guinness franchise, but they could've fooled me. Perhaps they were mistaken. Everything was Guinness-licensed-- the decorations, the bartenders' attire-- heck, even the chairs had a subtle Guinness harp design built in. It was like looking for hidden Mickeys at Disney.
Regardless of its inspiration, the craic in this place was out of this world.
Last year, when I went to Dublin, I visited a number of bars with mighty craic. Almost every one had several things in common:
- Guinness on tap (of course)
- People from around the world, all laughing and talking like they were best pals
- Live acoustic music-- Simon and Garfunkel, to be exact. I'm not sure why this is.
Well, this bar was like walking into Dublin. Two English chaps (with surprisingly Irish-sounding accents) were playing Simon and Garfinkel, and everybody was dancing and singing along. Three twenty-something men offered to buy me a shot of Jameson's. I'd never had Jamesons, so I thought, "what the hell."
Wow. It was really goooooooooooood! I guess it's an age thing, though-- the twenty-somethings began coughing, got teary-eyed and began to beg for water. They left shortly thereafter. Oh, well.
Tip for those considering trying to pick-up older women in bars: don't order whiskey if you don't know what it is, k? You'll just look silly.
I then got into a rather animated conversation with an Englishman about high-tech drugs, teenage smoking, and his 6-month-old daughter.
And then I went upstairs to bed... and discovered that my toothpaste had mysteriously left my toiletries case.*** So, I called downstairs for a tube, and for a pair of non-down pillows (I'm dreadfully allergic to down). The Gaylord Opryland staff is legendary for their excellent service, so when the gent on the other end of the phone said it would "be right up," I believed him.
Forty minutes later, I called back. The poor lady on the other end of the line assured me that my things were on their way, and would be there in five minutes. I got the odd impression, though, that my request had slipped between the cracks and she was making a mad dash to find someone in housekeeping to bribe.
Fifteen minutes later, a man with an apparently limited grasp of the English language appeared with pillows. Thank you! Where's the toothpaste?
O_O <-- my emoticon impression of the housekeeping guy.
Ten minutes later, the same guy, panting, returned with toothpaste.
To his credit, he didn't pause even one second for a tip.
I was a little tired for the presentation, but none the worse for wear. I didn't actually have to do much, thank goodness. Just introduce my boss, make sure he didn't forget to say anything, and shuffle the transparencies around.
One thing that was kind of odd-- I actually had physical stagefright. I've been acting for over 15 years. I can't remember the last time I had stage fright. Not quite sure what that was all about!
We didn't get the number of clients we'd hoped for, but the clients we did get made the trip worthwhile. We got a couple coaching members and one full-scale consulting client. I truly believe it was providence that we found each other-- she has MS, and really needs and desires exactly what it is that we do. So, hooray, hoorah and all that. :)
My flight back was a nightmare. I was due to return home by 11p. The second leg of my flight got delayed, though. All of us sat and watched as a different flight took off from our gate at the exact time ours was rescheduled to take off. Then we were all sent to an empty gate. The phone kept ringing, ominously, with nobody there to pick it up. Eventually, a US Air employee showed up, to much applause. Until, that is, she told us we had to go to yet another gate. I finally got in around 2a.
Wishing I could have stayed for the weekend. If we hadn't already made plans for next weekend, I probably would have, and have invited Paul and Zack to stay with me.
But other plans got in the way.
Next weekend, the boys and I go to San Fran.
I'll be sure to wear some flowers in my hair :)
* I am so sorry that I didn't get the opportunity to hug myself some zebra. As it was, I was only free from 10:30-11:30 Thursday evening, and even then I was working (if shuffling transparencies and fending off whiskey-laden lads is considered working).
** Yes, transparencies. My boss is OLDSCHOOL. I might do the next conference w/ powerpoint instead, if I can ever be bothered to pick up a copy.
*** It had transported itself onto my bathroom sink where I found it upon my return. It's the only explanation. I'm quite sure I packed it.
******** I had a strange fear that if I closed my eyes in the bathtub, William Shakespeare would come up through the drain and kill me. I knew his name, but I had no idea who he was, so I just naturally assumed he was some sort of bathtub vampire. (Many thanks to gev for the link!).