Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Complete Randomness

I'm not a number cruncher. Hate budgets. Hate sticking to a budget. Unfortunately I have yet to discover a money tree so, budgets it is. Same goes with work-I hate budget season-and it is fully upon me. I sat all day yesterday staring at numbers and trying to come up with a traffic and revenue forecast for 2010 that would not have my VP tying me to the tracks ala Wile E. Coyote style and waiting for one of our trains to run me down. Sigh. The economy is in the dumper kiddos and all the number crunching in the world is not going to make my revenue projections look any prettier. I'm dreading my meeting at 1:30 today. (If you don't hear from me again you know I'm sitting tied up on the tracks somewhere just hoping the train crews can stop in time . . .)

I truly cannot tell you where September went. How is it almost October? I don't even have my fall decorations up yet! Aargh! Pure craziness. Jeremy's birthday is this Saturday (the big 3-0 ya'll!) and we still haven't made plans! He already has his present because he ordered it himself. Can you tell we're well past the surprise stage in our marriage? So I can check that "to-do" off my list. But beyond that I've got nothing. Looking back I probably should have offered to throw him a big b-day bash, but it's a little late for that now. Honestly, he probably wouldn't have cared anyway. Turning 30 is no big deal to him. Me-totally dreading it. I'm going to be one of those women that claims I'm 29 to the point of being ridiculous. Emma will be having her own children and I will still slap the person who dares say I'm past my twenties! Ha!

All of my awsome bike injuries have cleared up with the exception of my hip, still wonky and painful. But, I refuse to go back to the doctor. So what if its still swollen and has weird knotty bruises under the skin? I'm fine . . . I'd rather be wonky and in pain than go back to the doc. Severe white coat syndrome for 1 please. And just to prove that I'm completely and totally insane I'm about to buy my own mountain bike so I can try it again! I'm not about to let a silly ol' mountain get the best of me! (Add extremely competitive to my list of attributes) Don't worry-my life insurance is up to date.

I'm hoping that life can return back to a normal pace in October. Maybe then we can settle down and enjoy the fall, and hopefully cooler weather. Only one more business trip for this year, Omaha, Nebraska here I come!, and then I can retire my luggage and repress my hatred of making small talk on airplanes until 2010!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A What Not to Wear Friday

I love love love What Not to Wear. (Clinton totally reminds me of a guy I went to high school with.) So, since I love the show you would think that I would try really hard not to get caught in a what not to wear moment, right? Well, you have all heard me bemoan the clothing pitfalls of working for the railroad. It's very hard to find an outfit that will function for a meeting with high-profile customers and also blend in at a construction site. An outfit like that just. doesn't. exist. period. So, guess what our roadmaster, who has a wicked sense of humor, decides to pull out the other day? This little beauty:

I know, I know. The cropped pants with work boots is horrid enough but then you add in the slime lime safety vest and it's a TOTAL DISASTER!! But, in my defense I was not planning on going out to this construction site that day; I had a few low key customer calls to make and was dressed semi-casual to blend in. It just so happened I was needed onsite for something. Just my luck.

I'm good natured and can take a lot of ribbing, which is a good thing considering our MOW crews love to pick on me. There was total and complete silence when I came into view and the guys got a load of my ensemble. It was actually hilarious because several were in the middle of driving spikes with very large sledge hammers and just stopped mid-swing. Then, came the laughter. For a full 20 minutes I let them get it out of their system, laughed graciously at the cat calls and insistence that cropped pants be made part of their new uniform. I was not aware though that our roadmaster memorialized my little fashion faux pas. I can see this coming back to haunt me for a looooong time.

In happier news though I got to do something that I have always wanted to do-drive the hi-rail truck! Woo hoo! Even if you don't know what I'm talking about you have probably seen one around-it's a vehicle (typically a truck or suv) that has equipment that will allow them to ride on the rails also. It's a weird sensation driving a vehicle on the rail becuase you don't touch the steering wheel, which is a natural inclination anytime you're in a vehicle. One more thing I can check off my to-do list!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Black & Blue . . and Purple and Green Oh My!

This morning I counted no less than 22 bruises on my body. And as much as I normally love the color blue I am not so thrilled with it right now. My horrible misadventures started innocently enough last week . . .
I had a work trip of a lifetime to a little town called Festus, about 50 miles south of St. Louis. Festus is home to one of the best kept secrets in the world, a Union Pacific owned retreat named Selma Farms, and one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I've ever been. This 2500 acre facility is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and is fully staffed 365 days a year. The UP uses this retreat to wine and dine their special customers. It is very exclusive to get an invitation and we are one of the first shortline railroads to get invited. Oh la la! This place was amazing, the "hotel" was an antebellum mansion designed to look like a castle, there was a pool house (and pool), a conference center, a clubhouse, stables, an 18 hole golf course, and a couple of ponds. Not too shabby. I don't want to bore everyone with the history (if you want more info just let me know-it's really neat). Our hosts did an excellent job of mixing business with pleasure and I got to do several firsts while there. Selma Castle:

This is me skeet-shooting. Big first-both shooting at moving targets and shooting a 12 gauge shotgun. (This would lead to bruise number 1 on my right shoulder. 12 gauges pack quite a punch!) But, I've got to tell you, there is something totally bad-ass and sexy about shooting a shotgun.

The next day following our meeting I opted to go horseback riding with a couple others. This would lead to bruise number 2 on my leg and bruise numbers 3-6 on my bottom. I was lucky enough to get the frisky horse who pounded the hell out of my haven't-ridden-a-horse-in-10-years butt. Just about the time we got used to each other the ride was over. We also went to a St. Louis Cardinals game that night at Busch Stadium. Absolutely wonderful venue. This is me and our other marketing guy, Rob. See the arch in the background? The game was a ton of fun, especially considering we got to use the UP's skybox. The folks at UP definitely know how to entertain! And did I mention that every room in Selma Farms was stocked with this? Every. room.

Our last day there we did some golfing on the UP's private golf course. I've decided to take up golfing; I've avoided it in the past because I thought it would be boring. I'm starting to rethink that and may give it a shot if I can convince Jeremy. And we did do some work at this work retreat-promise! Needless to say, I wanted to get home to Emma and Jeremy but I was loathe to leave my new found paradise! Best work trip EVER! I took tons of pictures but can't post them all her so I'll put them on facebook if you're interested.

Now, if you're keeping count of bruises I'm up to six so far. I got the remaining 16+ yesterday in a bike wreck that would make any Youtuber proud. Jeremy has been after me for a long time to go mountain biking with him, so I finally gave in yesterday and got my mom to watch Emma. We went with two other guys from work, and one of them let me use his wife's bike since I didn't have my own. I was doing pretty good, holding my own, and actually enjoying myself until "the incident." Keep in mind I was not familiar with this bike and hadn't actually ridden a bike probably since I was 16, but there I was racing down an incline at about 25 mph when my front wheel simultaneously catches a hole followed by a tree root. Next thing you know I'm flying over the handlebars, then the bike flies over me and I go headfirst into some nasty rocks. I completely trashed the helmet I was wearing, tore up my shoulder and hip pretty bad, and accumulated bruises 7-22+. It was not pretty. Jeremy and the others were ahead and didn't see what happened but as luck would have it I did this in front of around 15 other people. Super. I have to admit though that I'm glad they were there. I was stunned for a while from the blow to my head and couldn't get up for the longest time without feeling dizzy or nauseous. 3 of the guys ran over to help me while someone tried to track Jeremy and the others down. Needless to say that ended my biking for the day. Here are some shots of my helmet, shoulder, and hip (the angles are a little funny b/c I was taking the pics with my camera using my right hand). The majority of my injuries are on the left side.
Yucky right?

I will try mountain biking again, but I'm going to get some practice in before hitting the trail again! And yes, today I'm so sore it's unbelievable. My pride is badly bruised too because I can't even claim that I was doing some awesome jump or stunt when I wiped out- just going down a hill. Ugh! Perhaps golf would be a better bet for my new hobby . . .