They gave us a class in training about how teaching adults is going to be a challenge because adults aren't used to learning anymore. I figured, yes, that would be difficult, but they are working in a hotel, they should know technology at least, so it won't be that hard... Well that was until I met Dorothy. Dorothy's on social security so she can't work too much. She does night audit sometimes. She is not comfortable with computers. It is VERY tough training her. But just about as tough as training the lady who has NO common sense whatsoever. Kind of a toss up. Dorothy is one of those older women that shakes a little bit and mumbles to herself in her quiet old lady voice. I was getting the ladies to choose a name in the computer to make a reservation for and getting quite frustrated on how long it was taking them when I heard Dorothy say in her little voice: "Somebody's got my Sponge Bob!" and I just lost it. I almost had to leave the room I couldn't hold in my laughter. Possibly you had to be there? But regardless...people are hilarious...even if they can be frustrating at times.
The amount of times I hear Bransonites say "them people" instead of a simple correct "they" is astounding. I guess these people aren't aware of how ignorant bad grammar makes you sound.
The General Manager here is a doll. He's really wonderful. And, as pointed out by my lead yesterday, he sounds EXACTLY like Bill Clinton. It's quite hilarious. He doesn't look anything like him, and he is charming in his own way, but is in no way sleezy. He just sounds 100% like him.
Today I'm feeling a bit better from my antibiotics but I'm having violent coughing attacks. It's not fun...but at least I can tell I'm on the mend.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
So I finally dragged my butt to urgent care. I spent the last week thinking that I just had a cold and doing the mind over matter trick that Matt taught me: I'm not really sick, I'm not really sick... I spent my amount per diem for food on liquids and was sucking on cough drops until my mouth hurt...ugh. I've spent much on medications trying to figure it out, but I just couldn't shake it. So I went to urgent care today and after about 3 minutes the doctor was sure I had Bronchitis and Strep Throat. Which explains a few things, I guess. I'm just thankful that I actually went! I don't know how much will be covered by the little insurance that I thankfully got a week ago, but hopefully it'll be some! So now I'm on expensive cough syrup and antibiotics which are supposed to start knocking this baby out soon! I can't believe I taught 2 days with this illness! And day 3 is tomorrow. I refuse to take a sick day, which might be foolish at this point, but I only have 5 per year, so I'll use them when I'm home!
This weekend was supposed to be me and Katie taking Branson by storm! But for better or worse, we're here for 2 more weeks, and the GM actually said he might be able to get us a free ticket or two to a show! So there's plenty of time for fun and games...haha. I spent the past two days watching Lost online. I've never watched it before and I've been told I'd get hooked. Well, I'm 13 episodes in, and hooked.
2 huge Branson disappointments manifested themselves in meals on Thursday and Friday. Thursday, we went to Dick Clark's American Bandstand Diner, which by name is so promising of kitsch and glamour. The neon Dick Clark face alone is so impressive. The food was terrible, my burger was actually crunchy. The atmosphere was...well...boring, unfortunately. The only thing that was unique about this diner from a Perkins was that they had reruns of American Bandstand playing around the restaurant. This was somewhat entertaining for sure, just to watch those fashions from 1950-80 and the dancing was pretty hilarious. Second, for dinner on Friday, we decided to go to some seedy looking Italian restaurant called Rocky's. I figured it would be good to try something "local." Not the case. Not only were the salad and bread actually bad (how hard is it?!) but their "world famous" sauce was most likely Prego. It was just sad. I hate when chains have better food than the hole in the wall places. But, I need to keep in mind that it all goes with the territory. Two ladies at the table nearby pronounced Chianti "Chee-yan-ta."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I'm really sick. And I can't really take a sick day or call in sick or anything. This sucks. When will I be able to go to a site without being a crazy pile of germs?! It just makes me miss home even more when I know I could be holding Adina's hair back at the toilet right now. Lol. I wish we could be sickies together...
On the bright side I saw the best mullet ever today.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I have a new baby niece! Her name is Lyra and I can't wait to meet her! It was a really emotional day starting around 12 when Kat called me and told me she missed her birthing partner...it's really really depressing to me that I wasn't there. However, I'm just all the more excited to see this new little one who I'm going to love the crap out of. :-)
In the meantime, I'm getting used to Branson a bit. I went to the Branson Landing again for dinner tonight, to the Texas Land & Cattle. I had high expectations after last night's fantastic dinner...and this was such a disappointment. It was the most disgusting steak I've ever had. The chili however was really good! There's a water and fire show out on the river every night at 8, and we've now missed it twice! However, the fountain goes on for a long time after and it's actually pretty! Stay classy, Branson.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Who would have ever thought that I'd find an amazing authentic Mexican restaurant in the Bible Belt? The Cantina Laredo is just that. Located in the "Historic Downtown" of Branson, far away from Dick Clark's neon face, the Cantina is surrounded by an outdoor mall on the river. No meal can start better than with fresh guacamole made at your table. Then the enchiladas Veracruz were fabulous topped with the best rice I've ever had. I think that Katie and I decided we'll be eating there everynight! Plus, a server was making "Mexican Coffee" (pictured) which you could smell from across the place-delish.
Today went by very fast, thankfully, there was a lot of work to do. Throughout the week of configuration, I think it will be this way. The hotel is crazy. And there's no exercise room which is a travesty to my work-out plans...I might actually have to go for a run...in Branson. The good news is that it's not nearly as bad as what I had heard/was expecting. Everything is super cheesy here, but I'm going to make the most of it. I'm going to Dolly Parton's Dixie Roundup and the Titanic museum. Oh and I'm totally going minigolfing at the place with the big pirate ship. Hells yes. Now, don't all volunteer at once, but who wants to come visit??? :-)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Ok, so it's been 5 minutes and I have to blog about Branson already.
Driving into Branson is a lot like Reno. It's needlessly bright...but all the signs are for things I'm excited for including: go carts, Dick Clark's restaurant, Beatles look alike group, and many more entertaining outlets I'm sure to dabble in. I'm at the Settle Inn (soon to be renamed the Stone Castle Inn) and to describe my room I would say that it is Medieval/Ghetto. The Lady of Shallot is watching over my room. It has a beautiful armoire. There is a dusty table with a mini fridge (complete with faux wood grain). The tv is 13" with 10 channels. I didn't get a themed suite :-(. I really like my Lead, Katie, which is going to help a lot. There are going to be countless pictures and stories by the time I'm done with this town, I'm sure. Gird your loins...
Thank GOD we got let out of training class early on Friday. When we arrived at the airport 3 hours early for flights, I tried checking in and they said my first flight to Chicago was going to be delayed so much that I'd miss my connecting flight home and basically I'd be SOL until Saturday night to go home. I panicked. Bad. The lady found an alternate Chicago flight to which I had to sprint to, all the while shaking. It took me almost that entire first flight to finally calm down. I just could not stand the thought of not going home. So thankfully, after a 3 hour layover in O'Hare, I finally got on my flight to Minneapolis. Of course, in the middle seat. I had a husky guy with chewing tobacco on my left and an old smelly woman on my right. The lady had white cream in her nostrils and felt it imperative to inform me that she's not "foaming at the nose...I have problems with my ears so I put Burt's Bees hand salve in my nose!" To which I pulled a Kristy and said to my self: OMG WTF. It was a terrible flight, but it got me home, which is all that really mattered to me!
Seeing everyone was fantastic. The day of Saturday was very busy trying to get things with my apt done, and trying to see as many people as possible. I saw Adina and Caity in the morning, the whole fam for lunch (in which Cooper informed us how his food is turned to pee, comes out of his penis, and into the toilet. Priceless), and then Jesse and I started loading things up and bringing them to their new homes. I forgot how much junk I had sitting around at home. Jesse and I met up with Lindsay at the 331 for the Spelling Bee she and a couple friends were in. I was SO grateful that the few people who came did. We went to Gasthof's for some crazy polka/cover music and some really entertaining dancing from Matt :-) It was a wonderful day. Although, my apartment STILL wasn't cleaned out of my junk. Good thing my flight wasn't until this afternoon! Jesse and I did a lot of hauling and packing crap into my itsybitsy storage unit. It was sad leaving everything empty...and saying goodbye to a great roomie/friend. The hardest part was saying goodbye to everyone yet again! I think I freaked my cat out (and probably Jesse) by squeezing them way too much. This 5 week stint is definitely going to be a challenge...
I just landed in Springfield, the TINIEST airport ever, on the TINIEST plane ever (yes, I had my own row...cause there was only 1 seat in the row!) and my Lead Installer is on a delayed flight. Thank goodness they have free wifi here...and a constantly looping soundtrack of "happy trails to you..."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I think I've been in Columbia, Maryland long enough to judge it :-) Its location is ideal for corporations and chains, which is probably why that's all that is here. Its close proximity to DC and Baltimore and Annapolis is what makes it cool. I've been driving to work/restaurants for 2 weeks and I still can't figure out where I'm going half the time because everything is a highway that winds around in a circle! Besides Pub Dog, I've only been to chain restaurants here. The one chain restaurant experience that stands out was Carrabba's Italian Grill. I had never heard of it before (we don't get them up North apparently) and so mistook the name for Chupacabra...but the place doesn't serve bigfoots, just lots of fantastic food! Wine Wednesdays have been good! If you get to the one in Columbia, ask for Star, she's fantastic :-) Also, our Outback experience was quite fantastic. Steve the bartender made us his own shot concoction and kept us company during our meal. So maybe I should say, Columbia isn't too great, but the people so far have been fantastic.
I'm looking forward to leaving this place and getting into a groove with this job, but I'm going to miss the friends I've made here too! Hopefully we'll all be together for Phase 2! It's been a long 2 weeks, but now it seems as if the time has flown by. I'm so excited to get home and spend my one day there, as lame as that is, it'll be great to at least have that time! I'm eating the rest of this fantastic fruit basket I got from home while packing and I'm definitely going to catch the new episode of the Office tonight! Be home soon!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Happy St Patty's Day! Not being much Irish myself, I still feel the need to celebrate this wonderful day simply because my favorite color is green. A group of us went to Pub Dog, the only actually local place that we've been able to find here in Columbia, Maryland. The atmosphere was very fun and the service was great! It was full, but not overly packed to the point that it was uncomfortable. I had a delicious Margarita Pizza (of which I definitely ate the entire thing! I have an appetite again!), their Blonde Dog Brew with a little green dye, and to top it off an Irish Car Bomb. I think that if I were to stay in Columbia, knock on wood, I would go to the Pub Dog often-it's my kind of place!
I'm definitely looking forward to coming home in a couple days! Our schedules are always changing; it's apparently the nature of the job. I was looking forward to going to Portland, and then out of the blue I got switched with a co-worker to go to Hawaii! To be honest, I guess I would be excited for either place; both have positives and negatives for me. This jerking around is driving me crazy but I'm trying to learn to go with the flow and take one day at a time.
Oh. And I totally worked out today. That's what's up. :-P
Sunday, March 15, 2009
DC gets a huge thumbs up from me. A bunch of us carpooled to the closest Metro stop and made our way to a very dreary DC on Saturday morning. My big need was to go to the National Gallery of Art. This gallery was HUGE! I started with the East building, with Goldsworthy and Serra, and then worked my way over to the West. I really didn't realize how giant this was. The tunnel connecting the buildings was filled with lights and water. In the West building, there were Vermeers, VanGoghs, Monets, Cassats, Cezannes, Whistlers, and so much more. I was amazed by the amount of Dutch paintings were present, which were all beautiful of course! And there was a special exhibition of Dutch etchings and maps which were fantastic. Also, a Robert Frank exhibit which was so applicable for me at this point. As a photographer, Robert Frank documented life in America through some of the toughest decades. His photography was seen as controversial, but all he did was document life across the country. That was my goal in taking this job, to see different parts of the country and use it for a body of work that will hopefully get me ready/into grad school. It really helped to re-center me...
I need constant reminders to stay on task :-P
The museum took a long time, and I was HUNGRY. After a quick bite at the Ruby Tuesday's by Chinatown, I went to meet up with Megan's mom, Konnie, who happened to be in DC for a conference. It was wonderful to see a friendly face, especially one I hadn't seen in years! By this time it was raining, and the rest of the group was heading to check out the monuments. Not wanting to miss this, I hurried to catch up with them. The Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial were so impressive. The new WWII memorial was gorgeous. It was surreal how many names were on the Vietnam wall. Everything definitely held up to its reputation. By the time we got back to the Metro, we were like sad tired puppies. My one regret, I guess, is that I didn't have many days there! I need to still get to the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Museums (yes, I want to see them all) and the National Archives! Jeez. Too much for one city! Hopefully when I'm here for phase 2 of training I'll get to go again.
I'm sitting alone in my hotel room watching Cars. Yup. Disney movie. Thinking about my little niece and nephew and how excited they would be to watch this and how Cooper would say "Oh! Look at THAT!" I've only been at this "life on the road" business for a week and I've already come to some decisions. I will always love traveling. That's the reason I took this job in the first place. I've gone places on my own before and I don't mind time to myself, but I never really realized how much of a people person I am. Traveling is so much fun regardless, or it should be. When you have someone to share it with, however, it is so so much better. I had always thought of going to grad school somewhere far away, living in a different country, etc. Now, I KNOW that I wouldn't do that unless I'm with someone. I have no attachment to Minnesota whatsoever. I get annoyed with the cold and the heat and I think there are many places that are more beautiful. However, I can really see myself living there for the rest of my life (which I never could before) if my loved ones are there. Home truly is where the heart is. And my heart is always with my family and friends. I miss you guys so much and while I am excited for the opportunities (and paycheck) of this job, most of me can't wait for the normal day to day life of MN with those I love.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
For the evening plans, all of us folk ventured the 20 or so miles to Baltimore. My first thought was: thank God, a city. I could see old buildings and lights! It's a very pretty city at night (can't wait to see it in the day) and although it was pretty cold, we braved it to the Power Plant area. We went to Luckies Tavern at Power Plant Live for dinner/drinks (pictured below). It was an interesting venue, definitely set up for live music but there was none unfortunately. The food was fantastic. I had the best crab cakes I've ever had (I haven't had many, but still, the fish was goood) and a grilled provolone/prosciutto sandwich paired with a Sam Adams. Quite delish, I do say! It wasn't too expensive either. The bad views of Baltimore came as the night went on and we went to Mex and Mosiac. The clubs themselves weren't bad. I'm definitely not a club person, but the music was good and the atmosphere was pretty good as well. The cover charges were obscene for it, however. I understand if you're in a big city for a nice club paying $10 to get in. For Mosiac? Not worth it. At all. The amount of trashily clad women dancing around (on poles, yes) and women apparently with no clothing at all, just some paint (sorry no pictures) was pretty ridiculous. I also saw that the midriff top paired with tight high waisted jeans is back in style in Baltimore. Tsk tsk, ladies. It was an enjoyable night and definitely good to experience the Baltimore nightlife, but I'm excited to see the better less trashy side of the city during the day.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
It's been a couple days. And I am...in process of adjusting. I have met these girls here ---> (Kisha and Kristy) who are fantastic and have really helped me get through. To explain the picture, we were watching America's Next Top Model, and well, posing is what comes natural after that. Good times :-)
After a chat with Leah, the woman who was an installer at the Radisson and who told me about this job, I'm feeling better about it. I know now that things get easier and better. So the plan is to tough it out for a bit. Get my feet wet but not to go swimming. The truth is, that I need the money and am in no position to give up without many paychecks first. Terrible, but true. I figure that if I can make it 3 months, I can make it 3 more. After 6, if I can stomach it, I'll do another 6. After a year, I'll be done. A year long excursion filled with tears and new cities and experiences. The positivity doesn't stick when I start thinking about home...but please, please help me by keeping in touch. And coming to visit :-)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Ok, here we go. Update. I'm currently learning that things aren't as they seem. That all companies are disorganized and dishonest. That all things look better than what they are. With this new job, I was told I would be traveling 90% of the time...but on the average home every couple of weeks for a couple of days. Also, I was told that I'd have health insurance on day one. Now, things are different. I found out that we could be away from home for months at a time, and now the coverage doesn't start until 90 days after. Also, when we're at a site training, we'll be completely alone. I'm trying to take all these things in without completely breaking down and quitting. Reality is, there have been many tears, and not much optimism. I know myself, and I know that this is how I deal with things. I also know that it will get better than what things are right now. But as of now, it's bleak. I'm lonely. And that's the truth.
I'll be home for a day next weekend, but I have my old apartment to clean still and more packing to do, then I'm off to Branson, MO, for a while as the plan goes.
I miss my loved ones. Thank you so much for those who have been putting up with my sobbing phone calls and emailing/facebooking me. I'm going to DC with a couple girls this weekend so I'll update this then. Love and miss!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I have just arrived in Maryland where I will spend the next 11 days training for a new job. I'm excited, but also nervous about this new chapter in life. I had an outrageous bout with the flu the past few days, and no one likes to be away from home when they're sick...I'm thinking any dreadful feelings I'm experiencing are probably from that. I'm already missing my friends, family and kitty so much! The main thought going through my mind is that I hope I make it without breaking down too much.