Oh boy, look at that alliteration go! Maybe it was firing more in my head than in the post title. It’s kinda easy when you visit this town, hell I didn’t even talk about the Mississippi being in Minneapolis in Minnesota. So this week started off slow then got more interesting.
Mondays Tuesday were just ‘normal’ work days. Nothing much there. Tuesday night we headed off on a big plane to Minneapolis. I have to admit that I am still struggling with the whole thing of which is the city and which the state. The way that I am using to remember is pronouncing Minnesota with the accent that the local boys use, it’s impossible to write how they say it but the o is a funny sound…when there is the funny sound then that’s the state. I have enjoyed the chance to spend some more time chatting with the boss, with all his recent travel and house moving, and my general keeping busy we haven’t had a whole lot of time to chat.
So on Tuesday night we were surprisingly early to the airport, I guess we parked under cover (can’t have the speed machine getting hail damage), then the TSA line was ridiculously short. So we popped into one of the restaurants and had a spot of early dinner. When an older chap came in and he must have been carrying a bag with branding that Mark recognised. Turns out the bloke was a rigger from Boston, the two old guys reminisced about the old days (I enjoy bothering Mark about his highly advanced years almost as much as he likes giving me guff for being short). At one stage there was a lull, broken by Miss Australia do you know my middle name? Erm, do tell…I don’t recall the name but it was Scottish. Turns out his family was being run out of Scotland some generations back and one side went to Australia and the other to the USA. I hear a lot of ‘that part of my family is in Australia’ style stories, hell I guess Grans side has that story! He now helps start up small businesses.
So we eventually got to the gates and I had the last boarding number. Southwest doesn’t do allocated seating, they do boarding position numbers. So I was waiting about three people longer than Mark, he chose a spot we could share a row and we proceeded to talk shit for the next couple of hours. I stepped off the plane and the air felt heavy! What the heck is this humidity stuff??? And it was very humid for the duration of our trip. Turns out they had an excessive heat warning for hundreds of millions of people, the temperature was in the 90s but with the humidity the ‘real feel’ said something fancy like 110. And with the humidity it really did feel warm and oppressive when we were wandering around for beers a few days later (getting distracted by beers).
I got into the hotel and I chose good! By which I mean the three options I gave to Mark to choose from included one good one 🙂 It really was quite a nice place. A bit annoying because they gave me a room with two queen beds rather than just one bed (me, myself, and I don’t need multiple beds, we sleep together just fine), but it was a nice room. The area wasn’t bad either. I thought University corner therefore it may get a bit rowdy or have some dodgy areas but nope – it was positively quiet. I went for a stroll around the block on Thursday night and there was nothing happening – dead quiet. Its Thursday! You should be out painting the town red! Nope, dead quiet.
Wednesday we had a slower start so I went for a jog. I was DRENCHED by the time I got back, and I’m quite sure that wasn’t all sweat. Again the place was dead but that could have been because the sun had barely peeked over the horizon. I tried a jog again Thursday morning but it was pissing down and there was a decent storm rolling through, so I did a little in-room workout. After my jog I found a spot of breakfast at this cafe…how can you go wrong with a r review like this?
So the purpose of the trip was to spend some time with the designers and construction guys all in a room and identify and vet out some innovations for this Fargo gig. I guess the meeting got derailed when the request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued, 3/4 of the meeting was dedicated to things that were useful for the RFQ, not innovations. That was a bit disappointing, especially given I’d reminded the designers (who ran the meeting) multiple times that this was to be a technical meeting and the Friday would be the RFQ meat day. The most weird thing about the whole meeting thing was that Scott (the head guy on the design side) gave me multiple hello and / or goodbye hugs. I’m not a very huggy person, so that was plain odd for me. Mark had the best response, that I should have asked him if he was going to hug Mark too…I recognise that some people don’t really know how to handshake a woman, or don’t think its appropriate or something, but Pa taught me to shake hands and I do not really like the hug thing *shudder* Oh well, I shouldn’t see him for months now. Oh, there was another amusing ‘I can’t handle girls’ moment… Mark gave the director of one of the AECOM subsidiary companies a call, with me in the room, about the job. I followed up with a summary email. He responded on a reply all with Mark, thanks for the chat and the follow up information… I have to admit that one actually almost feels like discrimination, but as I told Mark when he apologised, if I was frustrated about all the little things like that that people do I’d be a grumpy mofo.
Wednesday night we had dinner with the full group. About forty people (two of them female), an open bar including spirits, and a resulting bill of about $5500. Eeek, thats costly! But it was a good night. I sat with Steve Summy, one of our older chaps that I am working on getting on my side. He had a giggle every time I cursed (this country doesn’t expect any cursing let alone from a girl!). On my right I had a Walsh bloke called Mark. He is from Chicago and was saying that in the first six months of 2016 they had 336 homicides in Chicago. The mayor is all excited that they’re on target for less than 700 homicides in a year! Oh boy – they need to sort that out, thats a LOT of homicides! And thats just the ones they know about and doesn’t include any of the other ways people die. Note to self – avoid Chicago.
Thursday night we went to drinks with the executive team. Jono knew a place around the corner, a British Pub, with lawn bowls. We’ll have to arrange a lawn bowls session one day when its not ridiculously hot. I haven’t seen any lawn bowls here in Denver! Anyways, that drink was a good one too. Mark and I headed off a little earlier than most because he had work to do, moving house and work are eating into his sleep time.
Another half day of meetings later and some more work after lunch, we headed to the airport, only to be told that our plane was delayed. Not because we didn’t have a plane – it was right there – but we didn’t have the air hosties. They were on a plane from Chicago which had been delayed an hour or so, so we were delayed an hour or so. Yay – just what one wants on a Friday evening. I guess I didn’t get to explore the mighty Mississippi and Minneapolis anywhere near as much as I should have, but I was there for work. I may end up there over labor day weekend, will see.
Oh, funny story. Mark and I were chatting while…I guess we were having another beer at another pub…we were talking about he and Keila, and me and boys. And he said something that went along the lines of Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re a simple person, I can see you with a farmer or other simple trade type person. Now I immediately recognised that he was meaning something along the lines of I’m relatively no-frills (full conversation context helps), but I had a great time teasing him and being all offended. Eventually I let him off the hook, the intervening time was hilarious to me.
***52 New Things***
Saturday I took some inspiration from some post I found on facebook, who would have thought there were castles in Colorado? Well there are a few, so I headed to Bishops Castle. Now that is a radical place! The bloke, Jim, has spent the last 47 years building this castle thing. Its rickety, its got zero design, but it stands, and it must see 500 tourists a day in summer, there would have been at least 50 there in the hour I was. It was super cool!
Totally worth the drive, about 380 miles that day, to see the mad castle! The guy is really quite mad…I met him! He’s one of those ‘the government can’t tell me what to do’ types and he puts up all these big signs with details of whatever thing is his bug bear at the time.
On the way there I took a walk around Lake Isabel – beautiful spot, so pretty! And the drive up there, to the castle, then into Canon City was pretty damned good. Great little drive!
I was almost to RNR when I got a call and most of the crew was having some sort of food poisoning issue (I called it Spontaneous Uncontrollable Bi-Directional Bodily Functions when Wade apologised there is no nice way to put this but we’re all shitting and vomiting constantly, I believe my version was ‘nicer’), I stopped by Safeway and got them some Saltines (Saladas) and some chicken soup then beat a hasty retreat; left them in their misery. God knows what those boys ate! I decided it was food because those that weren’t well live there, those that live elsewhere were fine as far as I could tell. One guy spent Fridays 8 miles of rafting vomiting over the side with the boat full of seven tourists, another had to make an emergency stop on Saturday to jump out and relieve himself. I can’t imagine that sort of job while in that state – shitty just doesn’t even begin to sum it up. On the way back I finally turned off before Canon City and drove over the Skyline. It was super cool! One way thankfully, but really…yep…cool…see for yourself 🙂
Sunday I did what I really needed to do…sweet f* all. Yay! I woke up, rolled over and woke up again an hour later. I finished one book, read about a third of another, wrote up this post, did some groceries and cooked (only because I have to), and paid my bills. That was the extent of my day. It was another warm one out there, so I was hiding inside because I can.
Oh, I also found one of these weird plaster babies heads. I thought it was just pure random art, but turns out that its a whole thing across the city – baby heads are popping up everywhere! Super odd.
So next week I have another trip, this time to sunny Fargo. Mark was supposed to go but he’s moving house on Thursday – just the day that he was supposed to be in Fargo. Maybe he’s trying to set me up with some simple farmer out there 😉 So another tiring week ahead of me I suspect.
Oh, and one final thing – a big shout out to this awesome chick who has finally finished on that dreaded Roy Hill gig. The rubbish they put you through, Miss Ally you’re a star! I can’t wait for Halloween in Las Vegas!