Well, on the plane again. Although this time it feels like I’m going home for the holidays, which I guess technically I am! I am flying home after spending the last 3 weeks in Herndon, VA. I was teaching the class that I took in Vegas in September.
Due to comments from the class in Vegas we rearranged the curriculum of the class and put in a “deep dive” week at the front, where we demonstrate the software and all that it does. This turned out to be very challenging for Eric and I the 2 newbies on the team, and I’m not sure we did the class justice. Week one turned into a total fiasco and unfortunately set the tone for the entire 3 weeks, although we seemed to pull it back together for the last two weeks. In the end I think the students got their money’s worth, but we will be adjusting the curriculum again before doing it in January.
Of course I took advantage of the location though and went visiting on the weekends. The first weekend happened to be my birthday. The only regret I had that weekend was that in typical style I didn’t plan any sleep-in time. Up and out early Saturday I headed up to my cousin Heidi’s house in Maryland for breakfast.
After a nice visit with Heidi and Larry I moved on to Theresa Marinelli’s house in Cinnaminson, New Jersey for dinner. I worked with Theresa at Gilbane for the last few years until the IBM job. I had never met her husband or 8-year-old triplets (nor her 13-year-old son, but he wasn’t there that day). It was a lot of fun getting to know them and catch up with Theresa, but WOW is there a lot of energy in that house! We played bingo on boards that the kids made and played a game called “time” that I think was a game invented by the grandpa. Of course games being a favorite activity of mine, this could not have made for a better birthday activity.
They had a band concert to head out to, which was just fine because I was heading to Bethlehem, PA for the night. (Sorry, Don…. didn’t realize I was so close until too late.) The next morning I headed on to some square dancing (Rowdy Crew) friends, and we went out for breakfast in PA. They showed me a few local sights and we went for a short hike, snagging a geocache on the way.
I made it back to the hotel with my dinner in hand just as the Broncos were kicking off. So I had dinner in VA. There was a fair amount of driving on the weekend but I talked on the phone to Mike and Mahnoor on the drive to MD, to Nancy on the drive to NJ, to Keith, Monica, and Kelsey on the drive to PA and to Mom and Sara on the drive back to VA. So when Monica said “oh, I didn’t realize you had to spend your birthday weekend alone.” I said, “I wasn’t alone for one minute!”
The night in PA worked out nicely because I needed a night in a Marriott due to a rewards issues, so that is where I stayed. It was SO nice, it made me realize the place I was at in Herndon was really sub-standard. In the course of the two weeks I was there, my TV was broken, my heater didn’t work and they had to move me. There were a number of people complaining about the lukewarm water for showers, and one morning I couldn’t turn it off and had to leave the shower running when I went to work. One of my students (at the same hotel) had their shower head fall off the wall, and another had them re-book her room when she had requested a change, but they did it so fast that when she got back to her room to collect her bags, the new guest was already in the room, physically! That is too many problems in two weeks and so I was glad I moved. Spending as many nights in hotel rooms as I do, I really deserve not to cut corners!
The next weekend I went South. This time I visited another cousin, Beth and her husband, Kevin, in Lynchburg, VA. I arrived around noon and after lunch we went to Jefferson Poplar Forest, a retreat for Thomas Jefferson. It was fascinating. Our guide was engaging. The estate is being restored. … very nice.
We picked up a geocache on the way home and after dinner played a couple games (again… yay!). In the morning I headed back and drove through Shenandoah National Park, and Skyline Road (a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway). Beautiful, even if slow.