Monthly Archives: July 2013

N’awlins

Whew!

I just flew back to Portland after a whirlwind trip to New Orleans for the annual IAVM conference.  It was my 4th VenueConnect and I feel that I finally have found my groove.  People know me, I know people, and I can make it through an entire conference with only 1 nap.

Just 1 nap!  Incredible.

Normally I’m excited about a conference because of the networking and educational opportunities.  This time, however, the location sat at the top of my list.  I 100% adore New Orleans.  It’s hot, muggy, smells a bit swampy (yes, I claim it’s swampy) but it is hands down the friendliest city I’ve visited.  The people there just love music, gulf seafood and hospitality.  Okay, okay, maybe they like an adult beverage or three.  But seriously, friendly is something they excel at.

It takes a while to truly start to see the heart of a city.  One trip there isn’t going to reveal such a treasure.  Two trips, maybe… maybe on the third time.  Maybe.

This time it took 4 visits for me to finally start to feel the vibe of this historical and culturally rich location nestled in the curve of the Mississippi River.  Well, 5 if you count the time I went there when I was 12 (but I don’t).

The first time was in 2008 – just a few years after Katrina.  We stayed in the French Quarter, went to a couple of concerts and I just about died from what I refer to as humidity suffocation.  I don’t think that’s a real thing but let’s roll with it.  It was a lovely trip but stressful.  I was with a lot of people and with a lot of people come a lot of decisions that aren’t up to me.  It was a good intro to New Orleans though.

The 2nd time was for a day before a cruise with my sister.  We dined, saw a few sites and then left.  Just like that.  Trip over.

The 3rd time was also for a cruise but the sweet boy and I went down a few days early.  Again, it was the typical tourist trip in the French Quarter, but something started to settle in me.  I was extremely disappointed to leave the city.  It called after me as we sailed down the river towards the gulf.  The jazz danced through my ears for days.  Memories of kicking back with a bloody mary and oysters stuck with me months after the trip was over.

I started to really love that city.

This last trip solidified it.  I played tour guide for a few coworkers who had either never been or had only been once.  I told them about the places I’ve visited as if they were old friends.  We ventured out to Frenchman to find some good music like it was something I did every Monday night.  I didn’t need a map to find where I needed to go.  I told the stories that define the history of the region as if I was writing a text book.  I also applied hot sauce to everything I consumed as if I was born on the bayou and raised to hunt muskrat.

Yes, I really love that city.

It’s a city of resilience, of love, of good times, of laughter, of sharing, of music and it truly is a good time.

So, what are you waiting for?  Pack those bags and head south!  You know you want to.

Did you come here looking for more info about the conference?  I hope I didn’t disappoint.  I’m sure I’ll blog about the networking and professional stuff later.  This post had to come first, though.  I can’t shake it.

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A disappearance

The water cooler in the office at work was missing this morning.

I was taunted by the row of delicious, refreshing, clean 5 gallon bottles of water.

My Nalgene bottle rested sadly in my hands… empty… full of so much untapped potential…lacking in the one thing I need in the morning besides coffee (don’t tell my doctor I’m drinking caffeine again).

It seems a crime has been committed and no one came forward… well, that is, until I asked someone about it.

Apparently, we were short exactly one water cooler for an event this week and sacrifices had to be made.  Sacrifices indeed.  I suppose room temperature tap water will have to do this morning.  I’m not sure when I became so spoiled that the lack of cool, crisp, water from the cooler left me stumped for at least 3 minutes this morning.

3

long

waterless

minutes!

A racap, if you will

Bad Erin.

BAD!

I know I should be blogging.  Here I am, during this MAJOR transition/growth period/wearing big girl pants part of my life and I have hardly uttered a word.  Well, written a word, I suppose, many a words have verbally been uttered.  I’ve noticed this before.  When I’m very happy and content with things, I don’t have much in the way of personal things to talk about.  I think I even wrote about that as a negative.  We should want to blog about the positive!

And man do I have some positive things to talk about.  Portland is 100% spectacular.  I mean, just look at that picture above.  That was taken a mere 18 minutes from my house.  YES, I said 18 minutes.  That’s not to say the move up here and transition into a new job was a piece of cake, but I feel so good about this change that it’s all too easy to overlook the challenges.  However, I will note the challenges as I hate it when blogs are all peaches and cream and the blogger’s perfect life makes your life seem bland and miserable.  I’ll break this down in to sections to make it easy on the eye.

Today’s post is dedicated to THE MOVE!!!

(insert dramatic music here)

We ordered at 16′ truck due to the price and the fact that the next largest truck would push us way over our covered moving expenses.  We found out last minute that they didn’t have any 16′ trucks and they would give us the larger truck for the 16′ price.  Let me just say THANK GOD for this.  We had to leave a small load of things behind even with the larger truck so I don’t want to think about the stress factor of realizing the 16′ truck was WAY too small the day we loaded it up.  Some things just work out.  However, the larger truck did come with some challenges.  The night before we hit the road, we noticed a low tire on the tow trailer.  I had trouble sleeping that night just thinking about that tire.  Would it be flat the next day?  Would we find a repair shop on Sunday?  Would the whole trip be postponed because of this?  Those thoughts lead to a very sleepless night.  Thankfully, we aired it up in the morning and had no more trouble with it.  Just a low tire, nothing more.  Whew!

On the first day, somewhere in west Kansas, we were stuck on the side of the road in the worst hail storm I’ve ever sat through in my car.  The wind was intense, the rain came down hard, and the hail did the number on my car and my house plants currently stored in the back of the pick up on the tow trailer (not by choice, mind you, but by necessity).  Once that was over and I calmed down enough to drive, the dust storm hit.  Fun times in Kansas, I tell you, fun times.

Day two and three presented us with the mountainous region of the US.  Wyoming and eastern Oregon has their fair share of inclines.  Our moving truck didn’t take kindly to inclines of any sort.  I’m talking 30-35 miles/hour on some of the hills.  I was certain we were never going to reach Portland at the rate we were driving, never!

But we did.  If anything, the challenges encountered along the way simply gave me something to talk about.  One of those “remember the time we had to search the entire city of Portland for one gas station that had diesel gas so we could fill up the moving truck one last time and come to find out that like, only one station has diesel?” situations.  Always good banter for dinner parties and such.

Just be thankful you don’t drive a diesel and live in Portland.

I’m very glad that my sister decided to participate in the move with us.  It gave me someone to talk to on the drive out (I was driving my car, the Sweet Boy had the moving truck), she took pictures when I had my hands on the wheel, she recorded a small portion of the panic attack that occurred in the west Kansas storm of doom, she checked out a handful of local Goodwills with me my first weekend here (and let me tell you folks, they are superb!), and she unpacked my kitchen when I had to work as soon as we moved here.  During one of our chats before she flew home, I mentioned that I’m fairly certain companies only give you JUST enough moving expenses coverage to get you out here on your own.  After finding a truck, packing the truck and taking 3 days to get it out here and move in, you don’t want to turn around and leave.  It’s a guarantee that you’ll stick around for a LONG time just so you don’t have to move again.

Smart, really.

Very, very smart.

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