Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mary and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Meeting

Do you remember the book 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'? If you don't it's basically about this poor little boy who has EVERYTHING go wrong from the minute he, literally, falls out of bed. I did this speech in grade school. That's right, I was part of the Bellarmine Speech League growing up. It was cool to be part of the Speech Team. You had to audition and stuff. I even won a gold ribbon for this one- which means perfect. Not as cool as Julie & Amy's duet speech that got them a trophy but, no really, I AM over that. Anyways, I digress. If you want to learn more about another unique thing to the STL, here's the link: Awesome Things To Do When You Are Under 13 and in Catholic School in STL

So I recently went on a program to New Orleans that pretty much mimicked sweet little Alexander. I should have known when it started with me realizing that I only had 39 minutes in Atlanta to make my connection which was cut down to 18 after having to be de-iced in Des Moines. Twice. When I landed I hauled balls through the airport- not an easy feat in ATL- and was 'that' girl running in heels, yelling across the airport as I see them closing the door. They stopped, I made it, my luggage didn't. Sigh. I go to the hotel, assured my luggage is on the next flight and should be delivered to the hotel in the next 3 hours.

As we have a lot of work to do the day kind of got away until I realized my luggage had been in New Orleans for quite awhile but was still not in my possession. I head down to the front desk, nearly killing myself in the process by falling down the stairs, luckily I was able to grab hold of the bannister and just look like an idiot. They aren't much help so I call  Delta directly to follow up. They can guarantee it will be there by 10. AM. The next day. Hmmm... Luckily we were working with a great DMC who was able to get it to me just in time before we left for dinner. Happy end to a long day, right? Not so much.

As we are leaving for dinner the fire alarm goes off. We don't think much of it because, come on, those things go off ALL THE TIME.  Even as we see smoke we don't think anything of it since laundry room fires are a fairly common occurence, sad but true, and don't ever amount to anything. We don't think much of it until, walking back from dinner, we get a text from that same awesome DMC that says, 'Hey there! We are on top of it and ready to assist when needed!' Um, what?

Long story short, fire was a real fire on the 4th floor. A 4-alarm fire that brought out 98 firefights and the Red Cross. Wouldn't have been too horrible except our meeting space was on the 3rd floor so the water from the sprinklers was now making it rain (and not in the fun PacMan Jones kind of way) in our meeting rooms. So begins the process of trying to move a 200 person meeting to another hotel at 10:00 PM at night. But it gets done thanks to amazing teamwork. That HAS to be the end of it, right?

No, Monday I come down with a cold. I mean the kind of cold that has me tearing through hotel tissues (aka. sandpaper) at an alarming rate. At least I didn't feel bad, just looked like Rudoloph and was reduced to putting chapstick on my nose and I couldn't get away to a Walgreens for anything else!

Luckily, the rest of the week goes fairly okay until departure day when we wake up to massive storms and tornado watches- not great when you are trying to get 200 people out on aeroplanes. Then an 18-wheeler truck comes barreling down the breezeway where my mini-coaches are staged and takes off half the ceiling ONTO one of the busses. Awesome. Luckily I didn't have anyone on that bus at the time and we get it replaced before the next round of people head to the airport.

Finally it's time to go home. So I think. Remember those storms? I was slowly watching my flight get more and more delayed meaning I wasn't going to make my connection in Minneapolis. (PS- I never realized how lucky I was, living in Chicago and always having direct flights. Des Moines? Not so much.) By the time I get to the airport, my coworker and I have already been rebooked for our flights- leaving the next day. NOOOOOO- I want to go home NOWWWWWWW. And that flight the next day has a 25 minute connection in Minneapolis with the next flight not getting us home until after 4 which is the exact time of my make-up appointment to get ready for the Variety Gala. Awesome. We decide that if we are going to get stuck we'd rather be stuck in MN for the night with the gurarntee to get on a 7AM flight so we head to grab a glass of wine (yes, I used a cheat day for this). Miraculously our flight starts moving the other way and we take off on time AND make our connection. I'm thinking that this is it, the curse is over. Ha!

We finally land at DSM, I get my bag and walk to my car, put my stuff in the back and put the fab in to start it. It doesn't start. Dead battery. Awesome, I call Tim and ask him to come get me. Now there is ZERO juice so I can't even get the power lock on the hatch open to get my luggage out. I start to laugh at this point because what else can I do? It's 11 PM at night and my luggage is stuck in the car. I set my phone on the hood, proceed to crawl through to the back seat, pull down the seats and shove my bags out the backseat doors. I then head back to the terminal because it's dark and cold and creepy in the garage. I get to the elevator and reach in my pocket for my phone. Not there. Crap. I quickly realize that it's likely still on the hood of my car. Awesome, so I RUN back to my parking space and retrieve it and then plant myself in a seat in the terminal until Tim gets there. I'm not risking anything else going wrong.

I get home, go to bed and all is right with the world. Until the next morning when my DMC calls because they can't find my client to take him to the airport. Then they call back and say that he told the driver he would just take a taxi. Okay. Except then he calls me and says he can't find the driver. Huh?? After some texts and phone calls it turns out the hotel took someone they 'thought' was my client to the driver who then released him, and not very nicely at that. How rude! Except at that point it was just par for the course and FINALLY the end to my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Meeting.