Business Trip #1, Wrap-up

The short version: Driving from Toledo to Columbus was snowy / windy / rainy (in that order). The class was moderately helpful to my job, and was more of a foundation for what I’ll be learning in later classes. The highlight of the trip, however, was visiting with friends every evening.

The more detailed version follows…

I left work 45 minutes early on Tuesday, to theoretically get a head start on my drive. It took so long for me to get home in the shitty snowstorm that I pretty much came out even, as time goes. Got the rest of my shit together and headed out as Aaron left for work — he agreed to follow me as far as he could, until our respective routes diverged. (The roads were so bad that he ended up clocking in late, as did many people at his work.)

The highways weren’t nearly as bad as the surface streets, though, and I managed to drive 50mph most of the way. Just over halfway there, the snow turned into rain, which de-stressed me considerably. Arrived at the Hampton Inn Dublin around 8:50pm, which means that the usual 2½ hour drive actually took 3¼ hours, all told.

Hotel review, the short version: comfy king size bed all to myself, loveseat / hide-a-bed, coffee table, very spacious (especially for just me). Downsides: underwhelming business center (one PC in the lobby), no on-site fitness center (instead, complimentary access to a gym five miles down the road), no attached restaurant or lounge, relatively small window (especially for a corner room), and no refrigerator.

My days were pretty standard for training: get up just before 8am, drive 15 minutes to the training site (in a nearby business park), start class at 9am, lunch from noon to 1pm, then class until 5pm. Theoretically. In actuality, class never went past about 3:30pm any of the three days I was there. A lot of the class was just doing exercises in the training manual, while having an instructor there to answer questions. Her Powerpoint slides and her manner of presentation were both very helpful, though, considering that I’d tried to absorb this same information just by reading the book in the past, with no luck. I feel fairly confident with the class materials now; this should serve as a good basic foundation for the stuff I’ll be learning in Chicago next week. I hope.

The fun part: meeting up with my friends for dinner EVERY NIGHT. I’m glad I didn’t book anyone for Tuesday night, because they would have gotten totally shafted. Wednesday night was Donna’s night: we swung past Meijer to buy me a Tracfone card (which didn’t work at the time — I got my phone issues straightened out the next day), then we ate dinner at the Asian Star Chinese Buffet, then we hung out at Tuttle Crossing and bought stuff from Lane Bryant and Hot Topic. Thursday was for Eric: we ate dinner at Baja Fresh, walked around Whole Foods, followed a couple of screaming fire trucks, and ended up sitting and talking in the hotel lobby for a half hour. Friday, on the way home, I stopped to see Beth: we drove into downtown Delaware and walked around an antique store, then ate at the Brown Jug (after we found that the Irish pub had a 45 minute wait), then went back to the place where she and Jay were staying, and talked for a while before I headed home.

If not for my friends, this would have been a total wash. No gym, limited internet, limited cable, nothing walkable — that would have made for a seriously boring trip. Getting to be social really made the trip worthwhile, though, especially since I hadn’t seen Donna at all for almost five years, hadn’t gotten any real quality time with Eric (not counting his wedding reception) for about four years, and hadn’t hung out with Beth for a couple of years.

It’s good to be reminded that I do have friends whom I miss, and who seem to miss me. ^_^