Saturday, September 10, 2011

Soggy Virginia

I spent last week in Virginia for training for my new job. Headquarters is in Virginia, very near Washington-Dulles Airport. I was up at 4:30 AM on Tuesday so I could make my 7:30 AM flight. We landed around 9 AM in rain. Joy. I picked up my rental car (special thanks to my father for reminding me to take my GPS!), checked into the hotel where my room was blessedly already ready, and headed to the office. After picking up my badge, I was shown to my temporary seat for the week. I couldn't believe I found myself sitting in a cubical for the first time since 2004!

It was weird to be wearing (limited) makeup and dressy work clothes and shoes every day. And clearly my dress shoes were not made for rain, ugh! I also realized what a blessing it is to have my whole kitchen at my disposal for lunch every day when I work from home! (Of course, if I'd been in an office at home, I would have at least been able to bring leftovers.)

The hotel was nice enough. Comfy bed, okay pillows, and the most excellent black out curtains I have ever had in a hotel room. They extended well beyond the window on all sides by several inches, including top and bottom. I couldn't tell if it was night or day, even with all the lights out in the room. It was great! The bathroom was pretty spiffy, too. (Hey, what was I going to do on a rainy night in a hotel room by myself with no internet (had to pay extra, and I didn't want to cough up the $10 a day) besides take pictures? Well, and watch lots of TNT and USA.)

That last photo is of the wallpaper in the bathroom. It doesn't really show in the picture, but it was sort of metallic bronze-ish, and the pillow effect was very convincing from the doorway. I never did get a decent photo of the shower, but it was one of those glass walk-in deals with a traditional shower head, an overhead "rain" type shower head, and a bench!

It continued to rain and rain (and rain and rain!) the whole time I was there. Even the locals thought it was excessive. I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner Wednesday evening, but it was raining so badly that we put it off until Thursday. I hadn't seen her in 6 years, and we both desperately wanted to make this work! It did rain less during the day Thursday, but it started up again quite hard between 3 and 4 PM. By the time I got on the road right at 6PM, traffic was a nightmare. One road was washed out, but it was a very small road running through a residential area. I thought surely the major highway would be okay, though, even if it was a little slower. Yeah, right.

My friend called me from the restaurant to let me know that she had arrived around 7:15. In those 75 minutes, I had traveled a grand total of 5 miles (8 km), and I still had 20+ to go. I hadn't even made it to the interstate yet, and the restaurant closed at 9. No way I was going to make it, so we cancelled, and I decided to head back to the hotel. It took another 30 minutes to go less than one additional mile (1.6 km). Why so slow? The major highway was washed out and they were funneling 4 lanes of traffic onto the shoulder and onto a mall service road! Once I made it to the interstate from the mall parking lot, I was going against traffic, and it only took about 15 minutes to go the last 10 miles (16 km). So, 16 miles in 2 hours, and I was right back where I started *and* still hungry. Not a great night. :-\ I got dinner at the hotel "lounge" (way over priced), then just packed and went to bed.

Friday was all kinds of fun (note dripping sarcasm). It was *still* raining, I (supposedly) had a noon flight, and it was Friday, September 9, which means there were "credible terroristic threats" being made in the Washington DC area. Please, I just want to go home! I left the office around 10 AM, and everything went remarkably smoothly, including the rental car return and getting through security. I saw the sun for the first time in 6 days when I landed in Atlanta (it had also rained the 2 days before I left).

The training itself went well. Everyone was very nice, and I took a ton of notes. I was also assigned my first project, but there isn't a lot I can do on it until my orders (that someone else writes) come back approved, which usually takes 10-ish days. I sure hope I still remember what to do by then!

Currently feeling: wet

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