Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On the road

I'm writing from the Clarion Inn at the Milwaukee airport. And it's just as sexy as you might imagine. Mismatched, or poorly matched furniture and partially functioning lighting. We're doing focus groups in Milwaukee tonight, having just come up from Chicago this morning. We did groups there last night. I say that I love to travel, but that's someting of a semantic error. I love to be in different places, the actual process of getting there is often just a bit stressful for me. Consider the following: I don't like lines, I don't like waiting, I don't like forms, I don't like the feeling that I might have forgotten something and I don't like being late. So those things mean that air travel can be a little taxing. Now, on the plus side there are some things I really love about travel. I adore falling asleep on planes. I'm good at it. I can fall asleep and remain asleep during takeoff and often during landing. I love looking out the window during flights and trying to use the land forms and roads as a clue about our geographic location. I love looking at mountains and contemplating the vastness of the US.

This trip has been long on the first list and shorter on the second. Aisle seat. View of tonsils of business traveller next to me. Flying over Ohio, not so thrilling.

But all the same it's nice to be out of DC. Travelling for work is a strange thing. My food is paid for, I stay in a room with air conditioning. I go to the gym every morning. I always eat three meals. I dress up. It's a lot like being a real adult. But it's awfully taxing. I return from every focus group to my giant hotel bed with a splitting headache. Something about watching 8 people talk about issues and trying to figure out what they're saying, what they're thinking, how we can use the information to help clients. All of that is oddly taxing. I went to bed last night with a migraine. I couldn't sleep so I stood the shower for 40 minutes trying to relax.

This morning we drove up from Chicago to Milwaukee. The work part of the trip has been great. I've been with my boss and a coworker. I'm learning a lot, and think I'm really contributing. good things, both.

I get back to DC tomorrow, and then leave again on Friday. This time for Wildwood. This time for fun. Paul, Liz and I are bringing a whole mess of friends to New Jersey for the Wildwood Beach Tournament. It's this giant fete on the beach. Silly stuff, and wonderful times. One of the best weekends of my last year was spent there. here's hoping for more of the same. Upon returning from New Jersey (Sunday) I pack my bags again. Because on Monday morning I fly to Denver. Do groups in Denver. Then fly to Fresno. Which today was 110 degrees. Thrillling. Then fly home. So much time on the road. And frankly I have such poor luggage for the task. A hiking backpack and a duffle bag. I look like I'm going to spring break not focus groups. But such is the life of the ill prepared.

The sad thing is that all the time of the road means I have less time to enjoy my new apartment. By which I mean our new apartment. Jess moved in this weekend and we set about fixing the place. We've been painting and carpeting (well, getting carpet, not actually installing) and cleaning and the like for about a month now. Last weekend we got her things into the place, got cable, rearranged the furniture (score 2 points for Aaron's persistence) and bought several metric tons worth of furniture and products from Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond. The end result being a really stellar apartment. It looks so well put together. it's such a treat to look at and live in. Considerably nicer than my current location. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the capable and generous help of Ann, Shamik, Anne and Michelle in schlepping things from Jess' place to our new apartment. Hooray for good friends.

A couple of fun things from the Ikea/BBB trip:

Bar stools. Pretty sweet.

A new Poang chair. Red, reminds me of my grandma, really. I love it. Very cheerful and comfortable. Fitting, I guess.

New towels--though the towels were hard won. We spent what I believe I consider a Geneva convention violating 45 minutes in the towel section of BBB. Now, contrary to sexist stereotypes this was not because Jess was fretting and fussing. Though there was some of that. A good bit of that. The primary reason we spent 45 minutes there is because BBB seems to hate us. We picked out towels we liked, then tried to find another towel to match it. Nope. Sold out. Sold out of this kind of towel throughout the metro area. Picked another towel. Nope, no good. Another. Nope doesn't match the shower curtain. And so on. Eventually we found towels and are now really to be both clean, dry and well coordinated. Good deal.

All in all a productive trip to the stores. We contributed a good deal to whatever growth gets reported in the next economic analysis. Having nice things that match--apparently is pricey. Who knew.

Minor belly-aching aside--life is treating me well these days. I'm in a nice apartment with a great girlfriend and my job is getting better and better. I'm not feeling as good as I'd like, but certainly better than I was this time last month. I can't say I'm done with those feelings. And while the journey to get to feeling good again has been rough, I sure do love the destination. I guess I don't mind travel so much.

No comments: