Monday, September 29, 2008

Roanoke, Charlotte and Columbia - Oh My.

September meant a lot of travel for work around the Riley home. I spend a weekend in Roanoke, Virginia launching a program in elementary schools with Jared the Subway Guy and his giant pants; another week in North and South Carolina hanging out with Mike Rucker of Carolina Panthers fame; and Noah spent a few afternoons in Sandy at the What a Woman Wants Show.

I'll admit, it's not all bad to get paid to see a new place and shake up the work week a bit. But as we inch closer to flipping the calendar and bidding September adieu, we're looking forward to spending a few more weekends in the same zip code.

A few Virginia highlights:

• At one elementary in Roanoke, we took Jared backstage to prepare for the assembly. When we opened the door to the backstage area, there was – what we could only assume was an obese adult a few screws short of full mental capacity – sitting on a chair with a bag of potato chips and what I thought were little pieces of masking tape on his lips. He didn’t say anything when we opened the door, just turned and stared. For a moment, I panicked thinking we should tell the principal about his creepy individual sitting backstage. Then my fears quickly shifted. Maybe the school was hiding him back here?! (Think: Sloth from the Goonies). I nervously edged around the individual every time I had to go backstage and limited the amount of time I had spend back there with the school crazy. Turns out, he was a teacher who was taking part in the assembly. The obesity? A few couch pillows. And what I thought were pieces of tape were actually soda cracker crumbs. (The quality of this photo is no bueno. But hopefully this gives you the idea.)
• Visiting Virginia Tech’s beautiful campus.

• THIS guy who fashioned his own Subway ensemble of Subway cups, bags, straws and napkins.
(He is not wearing the hat in this one. But believe you me. There was a hat.)

• Enjoying the VT/Furman game from a sweet suite after a killer game of parking lot football with a bunch of 6-year olds. I was, undisputedly, our team’s weak link. I had nothin’ on those first graders.
• Getting off our plane in Atlanta (after sitting on the tarmac for an hour, bleh) with only five minutes until our next flight’s takeoff. Even though we figured it was in vain, Nate, Justin and I hauled booty from terminal A to terminal D – um, hello, tram not working? We missed the flight anyway, but I earned mad props from the guys for setting a land speed record in my heels.

And a few from the Carolinas:
• “Ma’am, we’ve upgraded you to a suite during your stay at no extra charge. Will that work for you?” Um, yes. That’s a bullet I’ll go ahead and take.

The living room.The work area.

The flat screen TV built into the mirror (and the stirring Rock Band news coverage I was watching.)

• Meeting one of the most down-to-earth professional football players on the planet. Utah doesn’t have a professional football team, so I figure I don’t have allegiances elsewhere. I may just be a Carolina Panthers fan.
• Going to church on Sunday with my cousin, Alicia, and her sweet family, and panicking when I thought her little Sophie ate the penny she was playing with. It was actually just clenched in her fist. One of the most impressive “where’s the coin?” tricks ever executed by a 20-month old.

• Dean & Deluca’s. We don’t have ‘em in Utah. Any faithful readers have some in their area? Five of my seven nights in SC/NC were spent in Charlotte, NC with a D&D right down the street. It’s possible I went there for four meals. Was the same girl working the bakery when I got a dessert with every single meal? Yes. Was I ashamed? Not hardly.

• Our last night, we stayed in Asheville and the Holiday Inn left a little to be desired after the suite in Charlotte and the Hilton in Columbia. Not the very least of which was the gosh-awful shampoo and conditioner. Our flight home was at 6:30 a.m., so leave at 5:30 a.m., wake up at 4:30 a.m. As I dried my hair, it was so greasy and matted down – I just couldn’t deal. I finally resorted to kneeling down by the tub and sticking my head under the faucet in a last-ditch attempt to rinse the stuff out. By the time I conceded the point and pulled my hair into a nappy ponytail, I hurried out to the car a few minutes late. I apologized to my CEO and account services director, with whom I was traveling, and whined to them about the sorry excuse for hair care products bestowed upon us by the HI. After our first flight, we waited for our connection in Cincinnati where I re-pulled up the matted mess on my head and complained once again about the conditioner. It was at that point Sam observed he didn’t have conditioner in his room.

"Yeah, Sam. The two bottles. One said 'CLEANSE' the other said 'SMOOTH.' Right?"
"Yes. That would be the lotion."



Ashley said...

How did you make it through a weekend together without divulging these stories?!? I am laughing out loud at the sloth story. I love that you were so uncomfortable that you failed to notice that the tape was actually cracker crumbs. That is pretty creepy even when you know what was actually going on though.

Natalie said...

ew on the lotion! I think I did that once at a hotel! Why must they be so cute with the names?

I love Dean and Deluca's. They were in New York and I loved the cupcakes! On the Today Show there is a D&D right behind the crowd and a lot of people just watch the show from the cafe!

melissa said...

You are one hot lady in that pic of you and the pro-football-man-of-loveliness.

candace said...

oh man! adventures. I'm glad you got that pic with Jared. We have to have some proof to show our posterity that we did "incredible" things while at TSG.

lauren said...

omg i just laughed really hard at that last bit. you were definitely missed btw.

Amy said...

(sorry if this is duplicate, I left a comment, but I don't think it worked)... I loved your trip recap! I would tease you about the lotion incident except I did the same thing on a business trip to Virginia a year or so ago. It's definately a mistake that you learn your lesson from!

Claire said...

Wow, wow. What an awesome and whirlwind trip! And yeah, hard times with the suite upgrade!

There was a D&D Down the street from my dorm for two years... I pretty much got food from there at least once daily, delish!

Whitney said...

oh my goodness your hair is getting so long and it's so pretty!! you look great! i am so happy to see that the panthers player worked out. your outfit in that picture is fantastic. love it. also, how come i never got upgraded? that is freakin awesome! i wish i could have been on the trip with you. and i am so glad everything worked out great. and i am so happy that you are done traveling for a minute! i miss our talks over the cube. i am going to call you back! i was so happy to get your message. the time difference always messes me up but you just wait, i will call you!

Whitney said...

oh and you look better than great, you look adorable! thanks for your nice comments on my blog! it made my month!