Monday, September 27, 2010

Road Journal 9/22/2010 - 9/24/2010: Day 2

Here’s my journal from a recent work-related trip to Battle Creek, Michigan, continued from Wednesday.

Wednesday Wrap Up

We wrapped up Wednesday night by watching something on Hulu through my computer via my phone’s internet connection (the hotel internet cried like a little baby when we tried to stream video…thanks for nothing Captain Sucks-At-Internet-Delivery-(and-cries-alot). This of course, was after we rediscovered a hidden surprise in the air conditioner:

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Enhance…

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Those were immediately identified to be cheddar bunnies, left by none other than Thing1 and Thing2 during our previous visit to this hotel, a full month earlier. Nice.

Thursday 9/23

Thursday was pretty boring. After noticing the elevator’s inspection certificate was still expired (I first noticed this a month ago), I hit up Starbucks on my walk to the office.

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I headed up to the office but without a fancy badge, I couldn’t get in. The customer I was meeting had his phone turned off so he was of no use. This is far, far too common. Fortunately, it’s all just security theater because some random guy let me in (thanks random guy!). I got to work at a vacant table and waited for a familiar face to tell me what I was actually supposed to do.

And so that’s how the day went. We talked all sorts of exciting stuff, using absurd acronyms and basically geeked out big time. As an engineer—my chosen profession—it really means something when I say that. There is one place where I draw the line, though: verbification. It’s so frustrating that I will now refuse to offer an example. Sorry!

Before departing for the day, we (the business group) decided to meet up after dinner for shuffle board, which I was told is basically the best thing ever. I had my doubts but agreed; entertaining customers with a few drinks and odd activities is part of my job.

So we went our separate ways for dinner. Rejoined with the family, we set out to get dinner and after a ridiculous amount of decision-making-torment, we arrived at Don Pablo's. I was curtly reminded why we never went out to dinner when I was little: dining out with young kids is pretty much always horrible. Our evening at Don’s (we’re real tight, Don and I) followed our typical dinner pattern perfectly. We used up all our child pacification tricks just before the food arrived. Then the kids almost, but not quite, spilled everything. Finally, we all actually enjoyed our food and just when we started to think things were going pretty good, the check took an eternity to show up. It’s like they had to use an abacus to compute our bill, then carve the results into a stone tablet and cart it over to our table, in triplicate. It’s usually at this point that one of us takes the kids outside while the other waits to sign the slip.

Handy tip: a sure fire way to get the check quickly is to get all your stuff and head for the door.

Then we headed over to the bar I was to meet everyone at: “The Ball Joint”. It was deserted and Sarah made a joke about it being a gay bar. From the outside, it seemed plausible, at least to me who knows pretty much nothing about gay bars. It was then that I started wondering about the family commitments of my customer. Was he married? Kids? He knows I’m married with kids, right? Shit.

Fortunately, I had no need for my standby, “oh you thought…oh… I’m flattered but also married…so…huh. This isn’t awkward at all” (been there before), because it was really just about the expensive beer and shuffle board. A little about shuffle board…

It was actually pretty fun. This was the table top version where you have a very smooth surface upon which you glide a series of pucks from one end to the other of a 22’ table. You alternate and try to get the puck close to the edge without going over (gutters on all sides). You can block and knock each other out, too.

I killed the first game (hooray for beginner’s luck) but was killed the next four games.

A few beers later, we parted ways and I rejoined the family (they picked me up because I’m all Mr. Responsible). We got some ice cream from this place called Culvers. Apparently “Culvers” loosely translates to, “our kid’s cones are actually way, way too big for your kid”:

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That was all good and we headed back to the hotel. As the kids dozed, Sarah filled me in on the morning’s events. The most notable was when housekeeping woke up her and the kids to deliver a new chair. We did need a new chair, but this doesn’t seem like a good reason to breach the sacred seal of the do-not-disturb door hanger. I wonder when they’ll come to deliver the new tile.

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Nice place, eh?