I am blogging-challenged…

Apparently, as great of an idea as this was to keep track of the journey, I haven’t been doing a very good job of it.  I have loads of photos I want to share, and great stories to tell…. I just hope I remember them by the time I get blogging about them.  I decided that I should carry on just the same from right now.

The original plan was for me to return home on October 3rd but it is looking like I will be staying until October 10th now.  More details to follow.

Also, I just had a fantastic evening.  A good meal (that wasn’t room service!), a nice conversation or two with family at home, a nice conversation connecting up with some Salvation Army officers down here, and then an in person visit with my friend who is staying down here.  So very cool. :)

And now, it is time to sleep… perchance to dream… and hopefully not about the software I’m helping to test.  :P  Photos soon I hope…. and stories too… I really want to share!!

Giving Up

Well, I tried to post photos on here, but tonight it is not working.  I not only have my Texan Space Cow photo to share, but also I took some shots of the buildings downtown with damage.  But alas they are not online yet.

Beyond that – how was my day?  It was long.  It started early and did not end early.  But it was OK.  Lots to learn and figure out, challenges to work through and around, etc. but that sounds about par for the course.  Two more sleeps to my new hotel.  Definitely looking forward to that.

Had a pretty unique supper meal – had some appetizers, including a chicken tortilla tomato soup, or something like that.  But my main course was the culinary highlight of the trip thus far.  It was maybe not something I would order again, but it was definitely worth trying and very enjoyable: parmesan-encrusted chicken, with spinach alfredo tortellini and a tomato mozzarella salad on the side.  And the best part was that it was a normal portion size… or rather a Donna portion size.  So I ate it all and enjoyed it.  Yay!!!

Other than my supper meal, I am blanking on anything else interesting to say about Wednesday.  So, onward to sleep.  (Yay!)  Hopefully I will have more luck with the photos tomorrow.

Toilets in Texas

Fortunately I have not needed toilets in Texas to puke yet… (nice way to start a post!) but I have become quite familiar with the inner workings of my hotel room toilet since it does not work properly.  Thanks to various power outages and water issues back home over the years, I am quite equipped to handle the situation until somebody fixes it.  (Not exactly high on their repair priority list with all the damage this place has sustained.)  So, filling the tank manually with a garbage bin is where it’s at!  Wuhhoo!

Saw my first Texan palm trees today.  I think it was in the high 80s/low 90s today, not that I was outside very much.  I wish I could be, it’s such great weather.  (That’s 30s for all the Celsius fans!)  Also saw lots of damage and cleanup… blown out windows in the downtown area, etc.  Interesting.

The commute in from our way out hotel was crazy and heavy, although I’m sure the 401 back home is still far worse.  I’m just glad I don’t have to do it daily anywhere.  Things at the client are quite comfortable.  The people seem nice.  I just hope that I can be of use.  I didn’t feel really brilliant today.  Still there is talk of me possibly staying on longer than the planned dates, depending what happens.  Crazy.  I don’t think I feel ready for any of this.  Definitely an experience to see all that I don’t know, yet again.

Was very glad for some of the Joyce Meyer talks on the TV (I heard some more this morning while ironing in a mad dash to get out) as they came in handy for me this morning.  I’m trying to be much more mindful of myself, even when those around me aren’t necessarily.  It’s amazing how many times I catch myself doing the very same things that I drive me mad.

Lunch was very nice… I had a chicken salad sandwich that had pineapple and pecans in it.  Maybe not everybody’s thing, but I’ve always enjoyed that combo.  So I was glad I picked that boxed lunch from the table.  Hopefully they always provide lunch… If not, I’m gonna have to get really creative really fast.

So far that’s my biggest concern… not being able to eat.  I am ALWAYS eating and snacking so this is weird.   have eaten less in the last 24-48 hours than I care to say.  Plus I am dead tired and a bit stressed, so that isn’t a great combination either.

I turned down the offer to go out for the business supper… I just couldn’t do it tonight.  I have so much else to do, plus I really really need rest.  I can’t afford the time, and since they didn’t need me, I gracefully (I hope!) bowed out.  Hopefully I won’t need to turn them down every time.  I’m sure that won’t look good.  But I gotta take care of this bod plus be able to get work done when needed.  I’m hoping that isn’t going to be necessary every night.  :S

So, I just ordered room service… well not really, I ordered delivery.  Hopefully it will be good, and hopefully I can snack on enough food to keep me going in the meantime.  It could be as long as an hour wait before they get here.  I hope it is hot – I can’t really do anything much with it if it isn’t.

I have company now… the maintenance guy is here to look at the toilet.  He has already come and gone, but he left his stuff here and said he’d be back in a moment.  Here’s hoping that I won’t be doing the manual fill for much longer! :)

Well, I should grab a granola bar and get working.  Hopefully the food will greet the end of the worst batch of work I need to do.  Then I can relax.  Early morning… 8AM (yuck).  Hopefully that means an early end to the day.  But I’m not going to count on it.  Here’s hoping I get some good rest… I need it.  Big time.

Live From Houston!

I’m down in Houston, Texas for a few weeks on business. It’s already worth writing about.

I flew out with some fellow business trippers from Pearson International Airport (Toronto, ON) complete with a stretch limo ride from my door to the terminal. Things were pretty straightforward at the airport. No delays at security. The most interesting thing there was that my customs official had “GILLIGAN” on his name tag. It took everything within me to stay serious and not even crack a smile. :)

Toronto to Houston is a 3 to 3-1/2 hour flight, but our flight only had 16 passengers so that made things go a little more smoothly and quickly. A very uneventful flight — the way I like them! We headed down to claim our baggage only to be greeted by the Texan Space Cow (official name, unknown) which I took a photo of. I will have to put it here when I upload.

Texan Space Cow

Other unusual things at the Houston Airport (George Bush Intercontinental) included the disposal areas in the restrooms for hypodermic needles, the “don’t be a victim/don’t talk to strangers” signs, and the idea that the rental car people really didn’t know where to circle our hotel on the map.

Once we got our vehicle (a very nice Suburban LT) we were on our way to the hotel. Should only have been a 15-20 minute drive. Was more like 1 to 1-1/2 hours since we definitely got lost, turned around, whatever. We were doing well following signs (which I am usually quite impressive at) but then I believe our great disadvantage was not our funny maps, or our bad directions from the rental car guy, but the missing signs here and there (usually at key places) as a result of Hurricane Ike. So our grand tour of Houston (in the dark, remember) took us through many neighbourhoods… many without power… many with damage.

On a lighter note, we found a coin laundry chain called the Washeteria. We saw a Burger King convenience store. (And just to complete the circle, we also saw a “Super Market Fast Food” store.)

The hotel we are staying in just re-opened today. In fact, it was a very good thing it did since the hotel we had our reservations with found they were unable to reopen in time. The people at the desk said that only part of the hotel is open, due to the damage sustained. That’s the story all over this city.

I’m having trouble connecting up with Salvation Army contacts here… and I’m hearing of more and more people say that they are coming down to help with the relief effort. The Army is definitely at work here. Who knows if I’ll be able to connect with any one or any corps at this point. But it’s early days here for me.

So in the morning I will be up and out for the first day on-site. Kind of scary. It’s a big company and my first time doing anything like this, but it’s good. I’ll be here with the others until Friday. Then I move hotels and stay for another week. At least. But one day at a time. Let’s meet the clients first, shall we?

Already I like TV here… maybe just because it was really late getting in to the hotel, but lots of Christian programming. Heard a super Joyce Meyer talk while I was unpacking some things.

Anyway, I had better get some rest. It is officially after 1am here now, so I am officially exhausted and looking forward to sleeeeep. :)