Greetings from the President's Club at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport! (DFW, to those "in the know") I'm sitting here in relative quiet, getting free internet service and charging my laptop due to the good graces and benevolent kindness of my boss. She flies INCREDIBLE amounts of time during the year, and is able to gain access to special little enclaves like this, and she brought me with her this morning. She actually already left to board her flight, so now I'm sitting in here, feeling slightly naughty, knowing I don't BELONG... :)
But anyway, the trip to Dallas went well. Did some running around in WI before heading to MSP. It's a good thing I left plenty early to catch my flight, too. I stopped in Menomonie to meet with our printing company and go over proofs for a project, and when it took a shorter amount of time than expected, I thought "Geez, I'm going to be there WAAAAY to early." But as I was driving towards MSP on I-94, just before the River Falls exit, and just after the New Richmond exit, I encountered a HUGE accident. I can't find anything about it on the MSP news sites, so I'm not sure exactly what happened. But what I can tell you, is that it looked like one of those bales of insulation blew off the truck that was carrying it, hit a couple other trucks, smashed into a passenger truck - flattening the cab - and causing a chain reaction. There were Troopers all over the place, and traffic was backed up for miles on BOTH sides of the highway, due to debris.
When I finally got into the Cities, I headed for Bloomington, stopping at the Mall of America to pick up a rolling laptop case, which I hadn't had time yet to do and needed badly, and then to the airport. Parking was a hassle, but I actually got through security without issue, leaving me with nearly an hour and a half before boarding. I was thinking I was doing okay, until the announcement came over the speakers that our crew was flying in from Chicago Midway, and that they would be delayed. Cue mass groaning on the part of all passengers. Long story short, my 5:16 flight left at closer to 7PM. As my ever-so-caring boss put it, "Welcome to the glamours of business travel!"
Once seated on the plane, things really went from bad to badder. One of the NWA crew members ended up being placed next to me, in a middle seat. And man, he was NOT happy about it. According to him, they oversold the flight, and crew members should never have to sit in middle seats - they should always have aisles, and the booking staff was all a bunch of idiots. And it only got better after we got in the air. Mr. Happypants decided to talk to yours truly. And not about a nice, pleasantly neutral subject. No, he went right into a rampage about reading material, stating that Playboy writes the best articles of any magazine in the US, and that he's always been a subscriber and always will be, and that anybody that disagree with his beliefs on the subject is a complete idiot. I was too shocked for words. And if that wasn't enough, he segued into a total lambasting of his wife, saying she was a terrible mother, and that their son was a worthless loser at 23 because his mother didn't raise him right. At this point, I was contemplating asking for $150/hr to be his therapist. I finally pulled out my laptop out of complete desperation (and before he tipped me over the edge and I had to kill him) and worked until our descent.
Once I collected luggage, transferred to the hotel, got checked in, and keyed into my room, it was close to 10:30PM and I was bushed. But I was too tired to be tired, if you know what I mean. So I went to the (very crappy) gym at the Hyatt Regency DFW and worked out for a little while. I was proud of myself. :) I missed out on my weight lifting class back home, but still managed to get in a healthy workout, which is a goal of mine as I start to travel more for work.
Thursday brought the meeting for which I had traveled to Dallas. It was my first time meeting a lot of my colleagues, since I work remotely, and everyone was really great. I did take a picture out the window of the conference room window, which I'll post when I get back home.
Which reminds me - I **finally** got a digital camera, for those of you who have been astounded at the fact that I still used a regular one up until now. I have a camera function on my digital camcorder, and that's what a lot of my pictures on the blog have been up until this time, but now I'm moving a little further into the digital age. For those of you who are curious, it's a Canon PowerShot 750, and it's cute as all get-out.
Last night we ate at a Saltgrass Steakhouse, which from what I gather from all the Texans at work, is a Texas institution. The food was great (I had a steak, of course) and the atmosphere was fun, too. We had a great waiter named Alex, who we could barely understand, due to his Hispanic accent. He was really funny, though, and kept us entertained throughout.
After a somewhat scary cab ride back to the hotel, I settled in for a movie, since I was so full I could barely even think about going back to the (very crappy) hotel gym. I picked Pan's Labyrinth, which turned out to be a great, but somewhat freaky, choice. It's a Spanish film by Guillarmo del Toro, it won a ton of AA's last year, and it's a great story, but probably not the thing to be watching in a hotel room, late at night, by yourself, before you go to bed. The special effects are awesome, but they're also part of what causes nightmares.
Oh, well, time for the flight to start boarding. I'll post pics later.