Covering Ground

Friends, it is celebration time! This week, I earned some significant consultant airport cred. Since beginning this job at the end of September, I have cleared the 50,000 miles flown mark! Check out my Vital Stats page to see the exact number.

This week represented one of the crazier ones I’ve had since starting this job, so I figured I’d devote this post to describing a “week in the life.” Here are some of the highlights of my week (Sunday, March 23-Saturday, March 29):

States:

7: Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, New York, North Carolina*, Arizona, Texas*

*Didn’t leave the airport

Time Zones:

3: Central Time, Eastern Time, Pacific Standard Time*

*Arizona doesn’t fall back/spring forward; it’s in the Mountain Standard Time zone. From November until March, Arizona is in the same time as its mountain state friends like Utah and Colorado. From March until November, Arizona is hanging out with California and Washington, who are in Pacific Daylight Time.

Work Life Balance:

In the consulting world, it can be hard to find time for a personal life. This week, I got to see family and a good friend during my travels. My client on Monday was in St. Louis, which is only about three hours from my home town of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. I flew in on Saturday morning and drove up to Bloomington for a visit. I stayed with my mom:

MomnMe

I also got to see my brother and his family. It was a quick trip, but I’m so grateful I got a chance to spend some time with them during an otherwise hectic time.

My client on Friday was in Phoenix, which is only a couple hours from Tucson, where a good friend of mine lives. Once I was done on Friday, I hopped on the Arizona shuttle service to go from Phoenix to Tucson. The shuttle is very convenient, and it was great to be able to see the beautiful scenery in Arizona along the way. I enjoyed a great dinner in downtown Tucson with my friend and a great breakfast the next morning before heading to the airport to get home. Again, it was a very quick trip, but it’s a trip I wouldn’t have made were it not for this job and my client in Phoenix.

The (Mis) Adventures of a Consultant:

When you travel a lot, crazy things happen that are hard to predict. They keep life interesting and make for good stories. Here are a handful of stories from this week:

  • Bathroom break: (This actually happened at the end of last week, but it’s a good story so I’m promoting it to inclusion this week) Beware the bathroom doors on tiny planes! On my flight to St. Louis, I sat in the back of a tiny plane with only one restroom on board. Thirty minutes before we landed, I went into the restroom and locked the door. When I tried to leave, I couldn’t get out! The door was partially jammed at the bottom. I tried for about five minutes to free myself and then I pressed the attendant call button (I guess they put these in the bathrooms for a reason). The flight attendant came with some sort of apparatus and managed to pry the door open. Clearly this wasn’t the first time she’s rescued someone.
  • Presidential crasher: I began my misadventures in true rock star fashion on Monday. My client was a relatively small school about 30 minutes outside of St. Louis. The Alumni Relations and Development Department is housed within Alumni House, which looks a lot like a regular house. I have been there once before, but it was a couple months ago, so I was fuzzy on the details. I walked up to the house and it didn’t quite look right, but I remember walking up to the first house after the street I parked on, so I kept going. I was right in the middle of campus, so if it isn’t Alumni House, I’d know the minute I opened the door. At worst, it was some other campus facility and I could ask for directions. I opened the door and found…a dining room. And pictures on the wall. Uh oh. This wasn’t a campus house. This was a private residence. A curiously open private residence, but someone’s home nonetheless. I immediately walked away and headed towards the next house I saw. Within 30 seconds, an alarm started going off. I told my clients about my accidental trespassing when I got to the actual Alumni House and they informed me it was the President’s house. Good thing he wasn’t home!
  • Things they shouldn’t fry: Once I settled into my hotel in Rochester, New York, it was dinner time. I perused the menu and saw something called a Xango. Here is the description: “deep fried cheesecake served with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.” Is this a New York thing? Can anyone enlighten me? Here’s what it looked like:

Xango

While bananas don’t exactly qualify as a berry, and it was more like a cheese blintze/eggroll fushion, it was delicious. Thank you Rochester for giving me something totally unexpected.

  • Pet adoption center: My Friday client is in the animal welfare world. On our lunch break, we toured a local pet adoption center. There were so many adorable and sweet animals there. My own cats are shelter pets, so this is a cause with which I identify. In case you were wondering (I’m almost sure you weren’t), here are my cats, Data and Lore:

DataLore

  • Too close: Saturday my journey ended and I headed to the Tucson airport. I saw what is now becoming a familiar message: flight delayed. I had a 45 minute layover to transfer planes in Houston, and the delay was 30 minutes. I didn’t like my chances of sprinting through the Houston airport, so I asked the gate agents to reserve me a spot on a later flight. Once I landed, I checked the board – final call for the earlier flight. I booked it and got to the gate as the agent was checking in the (second-to-) last passenger. I looked for my phone to show her my mobile boarding pass, and couldn’t find it in my purse. Panic! Did I drop my phone during my sprint? The gate agent asked for my name and was aggressively ushering me in before the door closed. I knew I had a seat on the later flight, and I definitely didn’t want to leave without my phone. Should I stay or should I go? I emptied the contents of my purse and found my phone. Phew! I loaded everything back in and walked down the jetway. A few minutes later, the gate agent appeared. What had I done wrong this time? I looked down. She was holding my wallet. Gulp. As bad as losing my phone would have been, leaving my wallet in the Houston airport two days before an international trip would have been worse. The next day, I bought a purse with a dedicated phone holder and a full zipper at the top.

Next week: Hong Kong!

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