Friday, November 16, 2007

Trip to Greenville, SC

Earlier this week we went to Greenville, SC. It was a business trip for me and Chris and Mark provided "life support" - relaxed (mostly) atmosphere and good company after stressful times in the office. The main purpose of my trip to the ForeignTranslations office was... well, to meet everyone face to face; to present my research project to the boss; and to help him get the company through operations audit required by one of our potential clients.

We stayed at the Hyatt right in the center of Greenville. The hotel was pretty big and rather nice. More importantly, it was right across the street from my office, so I shuttle back and forth between work and feeding Mark. The first evening in Greenville, after checking into the hotel, I took Mark on a little stroll around the Main St. Greenville has probably the most pleasant Main Street I've ever seen. It has a good mix of restored old buildings and some nice new ones. There are dozens of good food places, small stores, galleries, etc. There are also some businesses and the city government. And they even managed to find space for a great terraced park complete with a waterfall and a one-of-a-kind bridge! The side-walks are wide and lined with trees. Most cafes have outdoor sitting. It's all very relaxing, safe, and inviting. That first night we stopped by the Sticky Fingers, a BBQ place, for dinner. The food was excellent and I totally pigged out.

The next day I dressed in my most professional-looking outfit (the only one of that kind) and went to the office. After a short "meet and great" we had to go through a photo-session - our mug shots are going to be on a new company website. Boy, do I hate these things! Then I had to hurry back to the hotel to feed Mark. And that's when things started going wrong - I got stuck in an elevator! The company office is on the 2nd floor; so I felt silly taking an elevator and instead opted for the stairs. Little did I know, the stairs did not have an exit on the first floor, but only in the basement. Worse yet, the exit door locked right behind me when I stepped into the basement. The only other exit I saw was one to the loading/unloading area in the back of the building. I ignored it for now and instead decided to try a service elevator. I got in, the doors closed, I pushed the 1st floor button - nothing! The damn elevator wasn't moving. Ok, I pushed the "Doors Open" button... Nothing!!! And I had no cell phone on me. I could be sitting there in the stupid service elevator the entire day and nobody would find me! I pushed the alarm button and heard a distant buzzer. But I suppose the service elevator wasn't important enough to be monitored. After a few minutes of shear panic, I started banging on the doors, screaming for help. Nothing!!!! Completely loosing it, I accidentally pushed "Open Doors" button on another panel (there were a total of 4 panels of which 2 didn't work). Finally, the doors opened and I ran out and into the loading/unloading dock. Sure, I had to walk around the building, but it was such a minor inconvenience. Plus I really needed the fresh area.

The rest of the day was just more work. And a business lunch on the top floor of the office building, in the private business club. It was very fancy! I relaxed enough that the elevator story started to seem funny.

In the evening we were supposed to drive to a company dinner at the Romano Macaroni & Grill. So Chris and I and Mark got into the car and... had a flat tire when we were far enough from the hotel, but not at the restaurant yet... So instead of a dinner, we spent 90 minutes waiting for a AAA guy to show up and put a "doughnut" on. Let me tell you - good thing we had some toys and diapers in the car with us.

The next day I had to be at work even earlier to get through an audit. It went very well; better, in fact, than we expected. Afterwards I was free to go and check out of the hotel. But first I fed Mark and we all took a short nap. Then we checked out, loaded the car, and had some lunch at an Asian cafe (yummy; much better than the usual Chinese take-out). And finally we drove home.