Thursday, August 14, 2014

Another suitcase in another hotel

Points for recognizing the Evita reference (however lose a reference it was, lol).  Last week was another work trip, this time to Chattanooga, TN.  We don't have a location there, so we stayed in a hotel with a conference center.  I hadn't been to Tennessee since I was little (I've been twice, I think. Once to meet my great-grandmother when I was maybe 5, and again a few years later for her funeral) so it was nice to go back. 

I decided that instead of flying this time, I'd drive to Elizabethtown, KY and pick up the two invoicers who work there and then we'd continue on to Chattanooga together.  I rented a car in town and drove the 2.5 hours to "E-town".  The drive down was fairly uneventful, aside from one nasty stretch of construction where the pavement made my car make a noise.  I didn't realize what it was and thought maybe I had a flat!  That wasn't too much fun!  Neither was the nasty cold I brought with me. I sounded funny, my ears wouldn't stop popping and over the course of the week I probably went through 500 tissues.

Ford Fusion--not a bad ride.


Welcome to Kentucky!
I picked up Nova and Mari Lynn and let Nova take over driving.  I was happy to relinquish that duty, as I really don't enjoy driving in unfamiliar areas.  We had lunch at IHop and the drive passed quickly.

Dinos!  Wish my boys were here!
Pretty landscape
We got into Chattanooga and checked into our rooms. Nova and I had adjoining rooms that shared the crummy feature of an air conditioner that failed to keep our rooms cool.  Seriously, the entire trip my thermostat never read lower than 70 degrees and that was in the middle of the night.  They sent an engineer up and he just said the unit was blowing at 65 degrees so it was running fine.  Whatever.  After we got settled, we went down to the bar and grill and had dinner and drinks and hung out with other coworkers as they arrived.  After dinner, Nova and Amberly (from Missouri) and I took a shuttle downtown in search of ice cream.  We wandered for hours trying to find a place with milkshakes for Amberly.  Finally we found an amazing little shop where they mix your favorite toppings with vanilla or chocolate. I had chocolate ice cream with M&Ms and marshmallows.  It was DIVINE and worth the walk, even when we got back to the shuttle stop and realized it was right next door to Ben and Jerry's!
Thank you sir, may I have another?
The next day, I woke up early (4:45 am) and couldn't sleep, so I worked on my laptop for awhile.  After breakfast we started the conference with our group, the Invoicing Associates.  It went well, but I was a little distracted part of the morning, because I'd gotten a call from my mom saying that Tyler had cried most of the morning about going to school.  You guys, I had no idea it would be such an adjustment for all of us!  I sent an email to his teacher to check in and did my best to focus.  Luckily, she emailed me back and said he'd cried when he arrived, but had been much better since then, so that made me feel better.

After the meetings, we were joined by some of the Business Team, who would be joining us for meetings on Wednesday and the group caught a couple of shuttles into town to a great little brewery.  I had sangria and a Bacon Cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and it was really great.  When we got back to the hotel and I had a quick Skype session with the family before going back down to the bar to hang out with some of the group.  Then Nova and I hung out for a bit before bed.

My Invoicing Sista, Nova

Wednesday was our joint meeting day, so we met in a larger room after skyping and breakfast.  I presented two topics by myself and another with a partner and I felt like it went pretty well.  We wrapped up around 3pm and rushed upstairs to change for our "TeamBuilding" event.  We went to the Tennessee Aquarium, which is really nice and boy, did I wish the kids were there. Tyler would have loved seeing it and AJ would have lost his mind over all the "FISHIES!", he's sort of obsessed with them right now.  If he even hears someone say they are going to Walmart, he starts yelling about fishies!

Outside the Aquarium


Great view of the Tennessee River

See the boat by the bridge?  We took a ride on that later!

Piggyback Turtles!

A whole family?  Or are they the TMNTs?

This guy was FREAKY, swimming with his mouth open. He's a Paddlefish

Pet the Stingrays!

Bad pic of the butterfly garden

Nova kissing up


Some MAJOR crab action
After the aquarium we walked down to the river and took a ride on the Southern Belle.  We ate dinner on board and mingled a little bit.  As we approached the dam at the end of the river (no pics, my phone was almost dead), they waited until the very last moment possible to turn the boat, shutting of the engine and basically spinning it out until we faced the way we came, it was wild.  Once we'd turned, the breeze kicked up and it was really nice.  We had a great conversation with one of the sales reps from North Carolina too.  Once we got back to the hotel, I packed most of my stuff and Nova and I hung out before bed.  At this point the only way I could be cool enough to sleep was with a wet washcloth over my face.

The Southern Belle
 The next morning, I actually slept to my alarm (5:30 am) and I really didn't want to get up.  My alarm is the same as my text message sound, so when it went off I actually said, "Please be a text...ugh not a text." I drug myself out of bed and Nova and I stumbled downstairs.  She smokes, so we went outside first and then our keycards wouldn't work to let us back in the backdoor.  We had to walk all the way around the hotel and go in the front.  We stopped at the desk to tell them that either BOTH of our cards weren't working, or their card swiper wasn't.  They reprogrammed both keys to my door (not sure why) and we stopped at the Starbucks for coffee and headed back upstairs.
Had to snap a pic of the chandelier for my mom

When we got there, my stupid door wouldn't open.  Both lights were flashing and when we went BACK down to the desk, they said the batteries were probably dead.  *facepalm*.  They gave us a new card for Nova's door and we were able to get back in, finally.  We finished packing and got dressed and I skyped with Adam and the kids and then we headed out.  The drive back to Etown was fine, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (and I got a few souvenirs at their shop) and Pizza Hut for a quick lunch and then I dropped them off back at their office and headed for HOME!

Unfortunately, there is a lot of construction in Southern Indiana right now, so the drive home was not as uneventful as I would have liked.  By then I just wanted to GO HOME, so dead-stop traffic was not fun.  I'd got a few miles and then there'd be more construction.  This went on for quite awhile and put me about 45 minutes later than I'd thought.
One of my least favorite views.
 Finally I did get back to the car rental and Adam was waiting for me and I could go home and see my BABIES!

And added bonus, Nova and I did a clothing swap and she has AWESOME taste!  New clothes for free!

Over the weekend, we made our yearly trip to the State Fair, tired as I was!  It was fun, a little rainy at times, and somehow we ran out of time (and energy) and I didn't get to sample all of my favorite foods this time.  I toyed with the idea of going back, but really didn't have the funds for it.  Ah well, next year.

Tyler in his little poncho!

AJ riding in style

My boys!

Checking out the campsite

Every picture I took of them (about 5) was blurry!

It was Purdue day!  Checking out the Boilermaker Train!

With Daddy on the slide!
WHEW!  I'm tired just remembering all that!  It was a great, very busy week!  Tyler's doing much better at school, getting more excited about things and more confident.  I think he's even made his first little friend, a little girl who's been helping him across the "shake shake" bridge on the playground!  Thursday is school picture day and I can't wait to see his sweet smile!  Next week is back to school night and he's excited to show us around and talk more about what he's been doing.  He's already doing better with a pencil and working on letters and writing his name.  We read every night and he's recognizing more and more words!  And last nights homework was about volumes and he had a great time in the bath, pouring water to and from different containers!  :)  So proud!

AJ's doing well too, starting to talk more, though it's very hard sometimes to know what he's saying. We have our evaluation with the speech therapist next week that I'm keeping since it's already on the calendar.  We'll see what they say.  Right now, he YELLS everything!  Not mad, but just yelling each word like he thinks he won't be heard otherwise!  He's such a character!

1 comment:

S.I.F. said...

Looks like such a fun time!