Tag Archives: Houston

Houston, We Have a Problem

I’m still in Houston but thought I would drop in a minute so that when I get home Monday night I can pretend this whole trip never happened and go back to blogging about normal neurosis.

Why?

Because the day before I left I thought I was getting a cold, but it turned out to be some version of the flu. This whole trip I’ve been dealing with a migraine, runny nose, cough that rivals an emphysemic geriatric and feeling as if I’ve been body-slammed by an elephant. Add in airline travel, long days and general crap and fun times are abounding!

Although Uncle June tried to claim it, I’ve been curling up in this robe in the moments between work and the chills.

Although Uncle June tried to claim it, I’ve been curling up in this robe in the moments between work and the chills.

Anyway, my whining is over. Probably.

As an apology I will share a few insights and pictures, simply because I don’t have the mental capacity to actually do anything more than that and I’m doped up on DayQuil.

Dr. June to the rescue!

Dr. June to the rescue!

If the fate of the world depended on me figuring out how to collapse the ironing board in my hotel room, we would all be doomed. No matter how I flip it around and hit it with random things—nothing.

However, when life hands you lemons, stick them in your shirt to make it look like you actually have boobs. Or just use the ironing board as a table for some of your junk, which is exactly what I’ve been doing.

Even though I bring my hotel flip-flops, I will still request extra towels to use as “yellow brick road” of sorts from the shower to my socks in the other room.

One of the fashion shows.

One of the fashion shows.

After stuffing 350 sponsor goody bags with products at the House of Blues for the event we put on for 800 people, one might just become delirious and try on leftover fishnets, Smurf hats and blinking glow-in-the-dark glasses.

HighestHeel

Or glow-in-the-dark shoes, perhaps?

There is nothing scarier than dragging your sick ass into the bathroom in the middle of the night and coming face to face with yourself in the magnifying mirror.

I’m pretty sure a majority of travel days are spent waiting for the automated sink/soap/paper towel dispensers to work.

I pretty much look like this, except I don't wear a dress.

I pretty much look like this, except I don’t wear a dress.

Despite looking like death, a lot of people walking around the show recognize me from my picture each month in the magazine. Hearing them tell me they enjoy the publication I put together each month is always satisfying.

At least I think that’s what they said. Again, maybe it was a hallucination.

On a positive note, I took a few minutes to sit on a park bench outside the convention center and no one threw money at me under the assumption that I was a homeless person. I consider that a win!

icerink

An outdoor skating rink in Texas? Sure, why not?

Anyway, this post is lame and I’m sure you’re thinking, “But that looks like fun!” At this point I will remind you that I missed the fun because I was sick and just want my own bed, shower and food.

Crap. I guess I wasn’t done whining quite yet.

At any rate, the next time I post I’ll be home and I promise something better than this. Probably. For now, another picture of the world’s happiest animal, as promised.

How can you not smile?

My furry little peace offering.

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Humor me. What’s been your worst traveling experience?

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On the Road Again

It’s that time of year again.

Uncle June is traveling, my friends.

In case you’re new here, my OCD and general outlook on living prohibit me from enjoying traveling for work. However, it’s a necessary evil that happens every year towards the end of January when I go down to Houston.

It starts with a 6am flight Thursday (3am alarm) and ends Monday night. We put on a party Friday night for 900 people in the industry, 300 people Saturday night and I work the trade show the whole weekend. There are many 14-16 hour days.

Because I’m me, the majority of those 14-16 hours each day are spent stressing about finding vegan food (the one place nearby is closed on the weekends) and avoiding the flu epidemic.

Side note: I’m going to see if I can make the “professional chest bump” a thing instead of a handshake.

Many people say, “It sounds likes fun!” or “At least you’re not stuck at home!” These people are crazy. It’s a work trip, not a vacation, and I prefer to be stuck at home. 

junesombrero

Last year he found himself in a little sombrero. Ole!

Why?

Thank you for asking:

1. Travel is not comfortable, and I don’t just mean for vegans with OCD. Something about shoving long legs into an airplane seat, sleeping in a bed with lumpy pillows and trying to avoid touching anything that probably served as the origination for the Ebola virus just doesn’t make it’s way into travel brochures.

2. Travel is also painstakingly long and stressful. You’re on someone else’s schedule and waste days just getting from one place to another, and that’s not counting the time spent when you get where you’re trying to go.

3. When you’re on the road, you can’t get other stuff done—especially with the crappy hotel Internet you have to pay $15/day for. When you get home, you have to rush to do laundry, restock the fridge and get caught up on everything else work-wise that had to be delayed because you were traveling for work.

junedorthy2

And then I found Uncle June in Dorothy’s cleavage.

But all of that aside, I’m grateful to have a job and know I’ll be home soon enough.* I won’t be chained to my computer every second though, so you’ll have to survive without my constant tweets and updates.

Stay strong!

I’m always in observation mode, which means I’ll milk at least one or two posts out of this mid- and post-trip (depending on crappy hotel Internet, of course.) If nothing good happens I’ll just use this space to tell you nothing good happened, feed my feelings and then distract you with pictures of the happiest animal in the world or a post I wrote that includes an open letter to my sock.

buzzfeedanimal

It’s really a win either way.  

*This statement sponsored by that voice in my head reminding me I need to keep my job and pay my mortgage. Carry on.

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A Houston Hello

Hello from Houston!

Hey y'all!

I’m still here until Monday, but I thought I should check in and let you know that I’m alive. To be honest, I was hoping to have some witty recap, but other than being called a heathen traveler by some church group on the street and witnessing what we assumed to be a drug bust on our walk, things have been kind of lame.

After working 15-hour days, I’m too exhausted to get back on my computer. This whole trip has been weird and boring, and unless something amazing happens tomorrow, it will continue to be lame.

He did enjoy the "mini tumbler" booth at the show. Perfect for his "mini" drinking habit!

I have a few fun ideas and observations for future blog posts, but nothing I feel like actually writing while I’m here. I’m liking this disconnected thing…and tired.

But with that said, I thought I would just share a few pictures of what both Uncle June and I have been up to. Since I’m not at home on Live Writer, I can’t do little picture captions or anything, so you just give you a few of the images.

There was our big party Friday night that involved 800 people at the House of Blues, one kick-ass band back for the fourth year, an open bar, dancing, a tired editor who still can’t hear due the music and a photo booth that will most likely be a valuable source of blackmail in the coming months.

Not the best shot from the balcony, but you get the idea.

Day 1 of the show involved many of the usual suspects, which means shoes.

Just one pair of hundreds.

They zip up the back. Abby likes.

All kinds of balloon decor, including a balloon dress fashion show.

Now that's a cupcake, eh?

This dress is made completely out of uninflated balloons.

There were costumes…

Birds with anger issues.

Colorful clowns.

Now how did Uncle June get in there? Evidently there's no place like clevage...

And people pretending to wear costumes.

Yes, she's painted with glow paint and not really wearing a costume, so to speak.

They're not covered with enough paint, and no, Uncle June is not hiding anywhere on that woman.

He's pretending to be a statue, but if someone were to hypothetically poke him with a feather, he would blink and twitch.

And there was the actual Batmobile from the movie.

No food, drink or editors carrying a gnome were allowed in the actual vehicle.

So those were basically the first three days in Houston. It’s just been a lot of work, which interests no one–most of all me–so I’ll spare you any more pictures at this point.

But I have been reminded that:

  • No one needs a lit magnifying vanity mirror in their hotel bathroom, especially at 6am after four hours of sleep.
  • I will never be able to figure out the air conditioning or heat in my hotel room, and that yelling at the thermostat and poking the buttons extra hard doesn’t help.
  • It’s important not to mistake the free bottles of lotion for the shampoo/conditioner or vice versa, but also important to remember to stuff them in your bag so they get replenished every day.
  • Even if it’s not fun and it’s not something I’ll ever, ever volunteer to do, I can travel and do my job well without the earth spinning off it’s axis…so far.

We'll be back home before I know it.

And then you’ll all be stuck with me again.

So make me feel included. Have I missed anything while I’ve been gone?

The Layover

I’m just going to come out and say it: I hate traveling so, so much. The only way I would like it is if my layover involved Anthony Bourdain.

bourdain-the-layover-poster2

Especially the Amsterdam episode.

However, I have to do it for work three or four times a year, and because I kind of need to stay employed, I kind of have to travel those three or four times a year.

I bring this up because it’s time to make our yearly trek to Houston, which for me starts with a 6am flight Thursday (3am alarm) and ends Monday night. We put on a party Friday night for 800 people in the industry, 300 people Saturday night and I work the trade show the whole weekend, meaning there are many 14-16 hour days.

That’s not (really) the issue.

The issue is that not only do I pack my luggage for these trips, but I also pack enough emotional baggage to weigh down a 747. I joke about things, but traveling is not something that’s emotionally or physically healthy for me.

I end up trying to negotiate some sort of sanity between my raging OCD, health issues and actual numerous professional duties while trying to find any vegetarian food in a hog-happy city with limited time and resources. When I get home, it takes at least a couple weeks to physically recover, which is one of the unspoken “fun” things associated with being underweight and OCD.

“Sign me up!” – said no one ever.

Anyway, I’m not telling you this to complain—you all have your own crap to deal with and I’ll make the most of my time while I’m gone—but rather to let you know this is one reason my blog has been a bit off lately. My head’s been kind of all over the place.

I’m also telling you this to prepare you for five days of me not being chained to my computer every second, since I’m sure at least two of you would have noticed. I don’t have the Internet on my phone—I’m old school—so computer time will be when I can get it.

But  don’t think you can forget about me and move on to some other bright and shiny blog that’s younger and more attractive with bigger boobs.

I’ll still be checking in, and of course there is my inevitable return when I vaguely recap my adventure as to protect the innocent—and my job—and give you my unique perspective on traveling with issues.

And Uncle June.

This is an old picture of him on a plane last year. I don’t know why, but I can’t put a border on this image. C’est la vie. 

Plus, if I accidentally booked my flight home for a month later than I need, get food poisoning or dragged onto the stage to dance in front of 800 people, accosted by a topless woman painted to look like a peacock or given the opportunity to get my picture taken with a former Playboy playmate/Girl Next Door, that will make for some good blog content.

And for the record, all  of those things have happened, so there’s definite potential.

Stay tuned!

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Where was the last place you traveled? Do you have any weird stories or travel mishaps you can share with the class?

HQBTN Part 2

I’ll do a more “deep thinking” e-mail when I have time, but for now, you’re getting Houston Quickie By The Numbers Part 2.

2: Parties that our company successfully put on at the House of Blues and Minute Maid Park

It was baseball themed. I wore a jersey over my dressy clothes. Win-win.

This is actually from last year, as I don't have new ones back yet. Same place, same idea.

100: Times I said to myself, “You are such a white girl” while busting my moves on the dance floor.

6: Cups of hot water I have asked for from the hotel Starbucks for my hot tea. It’s free, but I tip. While I do have my own cups in my room, I like the cups.

4: Single-serve Justin’s Nut Butter packets I brought with me as part of my backup plan.

0: Single-serve Justin’s Nut Butter packets I have used.

This is just a tiny sample.

50: Pairs of shoes that I drool over every single year at the booth of one of our advertisers.

I don't know where I would wear it, but I don't care. I would wear it around the house.

3: Years running that this is still my favorite one. It’s called “Mardi Gras.” Party on.

2: Times I ate at YAO Restaurant, a place about half a mile from the hotel. I wish time had allowed me to go back every single time.

Why? Because it was one of the only places I could get a huge bowl of brown rice and steamed veggies.

2: Times I ordered the same thing, as it was a lovely break from all the other options.

Baby corn is underrated.

4: Larabars that I brought with me as part of my backup plan.

0: Larabars that I ate.

1: Castle.

Elvis meets Caveman.

Dozens: Of people walking around in fun costumes.

Dozens plus profanity: Times I tried to flip this picture normal, but for some reason was unable to. I wouldn’t have included it, but after spending so much time messing with it, I had to include it on principle.

4: Fashion shows attended to show off all these costumes.

Bridget Marquardt. I love her.

1: Original “Girl Next Door” that I got my picture taken with and autographed picture of.

1: Delicious sandwich I had for dinner Sunday night–finally a good sandwich after a couple failed attempts and empty promises.

It doesn't look good, but that's just my fault. It was thick toasted wheat bread, avocado, provolone, sprouts, roasted red peppers and pesto aioli.

7: Attempts to try and take a picture of the damn thing with “romantic” restaurant lighting and my lack of photography skills. Fail. I just want to eat the damn thing, not give it a glamor shot.

Different from my avocado sandwich monstrosities, but in a very good way.

Maybe 1 or 2: Times I actually had the urge to hop on the computer and read blogs, check websites, etc. Sorry, but I enjoyed the break and change of scenery. A lot.

-8: The temperature back home when I got up this morning and checked the computer.

0: Minutes I will complain about it until I get my own bed, own shower and own food (then I might start back up–no promises.)

Probably 3: Days it will take for me to get caught up on work, laundry and home stuff without feeling manic and off kilter.

So, that’s just a quick recap, as I had a couple minutes before diving back into some more work. We will return to your irregularly scheduled ramblings next week from Michigan.

What have I missed with you in the last few days? Fill me in…

Houston quickie by the numbers

So far my trip has been rather work-related in preparation for the first party event tonight, but I thought I would drop in and let you know I haven’t been swept off my feet by some elderly oil baron with one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel–or a hot cowboy–so there’s not much to report.

However, a few numbers and random rambles.

3:  As in, I woke up at 3am Thursday for our 6am flight.

3: Hours in the air, but I lucked out and was not stuck next to a screaming child or a chit-chatty adult with morning breath. Bonus.

I would make sure my oxygen mask was in place before assisting Uncle June.

2: Hard-boiled eggs eaten on the plane as part of my breakfast. They were apparently suspicious material, as they prompted a bag check and funny looks when pulled out with prunes, Larabars, almond butter and cereal. Are these not normal carry-on items?

40: Degrees. In Houston. This was not on my daily manic weather check of the weather and I am not impressed. While I’m coming from single-digit Michigan, I am still cold.

1,009: People from Texas that have told me I must have brought the cold weather with me. If my fingers weren’t frozen, I would selectively choose one to flip to them.

2: Salads eaten at the closest place for anything green–a “mall” food court (there are about 10 stores.) Delicious option, but they’re not open on the weekends, so this lunch option will not exist going forward. If my fingers weren’t frozen, I would selectively choose one to flip to mall management.

I like green things.

450: Sponsor bags stuffed yesterday in a back room of the House of Blues for our event tonight.

750: People expected to be at our event tonight (I will post about this later, but it’s the same thing as last year.)

1: Lackluster cheesy mushroom sandwich on wheat from Potbelly’s. Lame.

I had high hopes...meh.

300: Kids at the Children’s Museum last night when I had to go take pictures for my other publication. However, I actually enjoyed seeing how much fun they were having. I might or might not have created a Styrofoam cup creature…

1: Picture of Uncle June at Minute Maid ballpark, as that’s where our second event is tomorrow. I love baseball. I miss baseball. It needs to hurry up.

Buy him some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

40: Degrees. Did I mention this, along with the fact that this event is semi-outside tomorrow night? Again, if my fingers weren’t frozen…

2: Cab drivers that I think were either blind or driving with a chronic case of road rage and a blatant disregard for lights, lanes and laws.

1: Ironing board in the hotel room that I can’t figure out how to collapse, no matter how I flip it around and hit it with random things. It’s become a nice stand for my junk–making the most of it.

3: Towels used as a “yellow brick road” of sorts from the shower to my suitcase, as I forgot my hotel shower flip-flops.

10+: Unsuccessful attempts at figuring out how to jack up the heat in my room (so far.) Like the ironing board, I seem incapable of mastering this device. There’s still time to conquer this one.

4,000+: Times I’ve mentioned I’m cold. I know I’m annoying, but I’m also cold.

That’s about it so far!

I miss my vegetables and such, but I can rationalize that it’s just a few days of limited options and discomfort–physical and mental. Tonight should be fun and it’s the kick-off for the rest of a very busy weekend, so updates to follow.

So, sorry I’m not commenting–I’m sure my insightful wit is greatly, greatly missed–but there’s not much time for that. Plus, my fingers are frozen, so it makes it hard to type. Try to get along without me.

And now it’s time to get ready and put on my professional game face–and possibly some heels.