Can I just say how much I love Bloomington airport! It's really a shame that I can't fly from there EVERYTIME I go out of town. Last Sunday I left for Atlanta. My flight left at 6pm and with a small airport, everyone knows you don't have to be there till about an hour ahead. I was talking to my mom before I left and she kept telling me I should get going. I'm like mom, it's only 20 minutes to the airport! I'll be fine! I had Kate working on a project for me that ended up being WAY more involved than I expected(more to come about this project in further paragraphs)! I grabbed what she had done and went out the door. I have to admit, I was a little nervous at how close I cut it. I got in the car and had like 5 miles till empty so I had to spend a few minutes to get some gas. My twenty minute drive to the airport consisted of lots of speeding and me thinking that I could break record times across town! I parked at 5:20pm(my flight leaving at 6pm keep in mind). I got all my bags and started dragging them very quickly towards the door! Then I saw the dreaded "shuttle" heading my way!
Now I love this about Bloomington airport! They have parking lot "shuttles" that come around to pick you up. Now it's a nice gesture and if I'd had more time, I would have loved to have given the girl something to seeing that driving around that 10x10 parking lot must get very boring, but by the time I loaded all my luggage into the minivan I could have been to the door. I tried not to make eye contact but she had already spotted me and headed down the row. I slowed down from my shin burning speed walk that I had going on to let her know that I was fine and appreciated the offer of the ride to the door, however I'd just walk it. I did give in one time to the shuttle bus and allowed them to drive me the whole 100 feet to the door. I had to laugh when he asked me what airline I was flying. Now if you know Bloomington airport, there's ONE door. I was taken a little off guard but politely said American. I then chuckled to myself and thought, now if I had said United wouldn't you have still dropped me off at the ONE door of the airport?! :-)
So anyway, I got to the counter and the guy at the counter quickly reminded me that I needed to hussle to the gate seeing that my plane was already on the ground. I figured I was safe since going through security and past the only other 9 gates only takes about 1 minute and a half but I obliged and apologized for pushing it so close. What was funny is when I got to the gate, and we were ready to board, the man that took my ticket was the same one that checked me in downstairs 10 minutes earlier. He was probably also the one that put my suitcase on the plane. At Bloomington, everyone wears a lot of hats! :-)
So I made it to Atlanta and made my way down to baggage claim. Atlanta airport has to be the most messed up airport I've ever been a part of. It's like one long hallway that never ends and you hop a tram to take you down to baggage claim or other terminals. Well the sign said baggage claim straight ahead and the tram said concourses A-E. Little did I know that baggage claim was considered a concourse. So I start walking thinking that baggage claim was past the trams. After the third tram and the signs pointing to baggage claim straight ahead I began to get suspicious. When I started the sign said 3000 ft/900 meters or something like that. I thought that seemed odd that they'd lay it out in feet how far to baggage claim, but kept walking. When it took about ten minutes from 3000ft to 2000 ft, I starting thinking something was wrong, but every tram I passed never said anything about baggage claim. It just kept saying baggage claim straight ahead. To make a long story short, if I had gotten on the tram and taken it all the way to the end of the "concourses" I would have been at baggage claim. Instead I walked the ENTIRE way which felt like miles especially when Atlanta airport decided to turn off their air conditioning and blast the humidity down the "hallway" to baggage claim. But on the bright side, after I made the 20+ minute walk down there my bags were already circling on the carousel! :-)
So back to this dreaded project! Well we had 13 new reps that started before Atlanta. From Wednesday through Friday, we were doing new rep training. I was in charge of teaching them about lender packets. In any given state we have anywhere from five lenders to 15 lenders. Each lender has their own sign up packet that can be as little as two pages and as many as 25. I decided I was going to make a binder for each new rep with a sign up packet for every lender that was in their state and make notes to show them tips they would need to know for that lender as well as highlight each place the dealer needed to sign. That way they woud have a guide when they went to sign a new dealer. Well I forgot how slow my computer printed so I walked out the door on Sunday with only two lenders worth of packages and had Kate working on more to send to me. All day Tuesday and Wednesday during our sessions, I was printing paperwork, filling in paperwork, highlighting paperwork and getting a hand cramp! Kate sent me another huge stack of packages on Tuesday and I made copies of packages at the conference facility we were at and still didn't have them complete until about 5 mintues before I presented on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm. When I got up to present, I found out that we had thirteen new states and actually 18 new reps. No one informed me that Florida and Missouri each had three reps. I was just given thirteen states represented. In addition to that I had made booklets for two states that weren't even there! Not sure how that happened! Anyway, the presentation itself was a huge success and everyone was appreciative for the binder with the sample packets, and my hand was thankful that it would not be writing for any length of time any time soon! :-)
The rest of the week went off without a hitch. We went to dinner Wednesday night at ate out on the patio. There was a guy singing live music and asked us for requests. When I asked if he'd do Alison Krause, he asked if I'd come sing with him. So surprisingly enough I got up there and sang with him! My co-workers were shocked and then made me sing two more. It was a ton of fun and the guy gave me his card and told me if I was ever in the area again to give him a call because he wanted me to sing with him again. He said usually when people sing with him, he cringes as soon as they open their mouth, so I'm assuming I did alright since I got offered a job if I'm back in town! :-) My co-workers threatened to post the video of it they took to U-tube so you may seen me on the web someday! :-)
Friday finally came and I was so glad to be heading home. It was a great week but a very long week with long days and little sleep. Atlanta airport was nuts to say the least and there was this nazi of a woman with airport personnel that was not wanting to let us into the food court area. Like the yellow belt strap looking fence she had created was going to do much to keep us out. She was insistent that we go around the corner which took you to the exact location but just made you walk 50 feet further. I talked reason with her that I was not trying to go through security but just wanting to eat some lunch. She finally let me through and then Susan who was right behind me made the mistake of saying I'm trying to get across the terminal rather than using my line of, I want to eat! She directs her around the corner. I looked at the woman now that I was safely on the other side of the seat belt fence and said what are you doing?! She's with me. Were just going to the food court. She threw her hands in the air and mumbled as she turned away and said something to the effect that she didn't know that and that my friend would meet me around the corner! Seriously, do we have to make everything so difficult these days? :-)
Being at the airport with people who never fly about drives me crazy, ESPECIALLY going through security. I have the whole process down to a science. While standing in line, I start taking off my belt and jacket before I even get there. Then in 30 seconds or less I have my laptop out in it's own bin(if you stack anything on top of it you get yelled at), shoes off in another bin, with my belt and jacket that I have stripped off while in line and anything else that could possibly set off the metal detector as I go through. Before security can ask me I let them know that my laptop is off, there are no liquids in my bag and hand them my boarding pass with my ID rightside up. Now that is the way you're supposed to go through security! You know you're doomed when you get stuck behind someone that is reading the signs or as the lady in front of me goes though with a necklace on that automatically sends off the metal detector. Rookie!! :-) Then she has to come back through, take off her jacket that she should have already had off and in a bin, take off the necklace and put the necklace inside her pocket of her jacket. You'd think that would be a simple task, but for some reason she did everything but that. I finally looked at the woman on the other side of the metal detector mouthing can I go ahead and go through. Her apathetic blank stare was apparently a no and I stood there another two minutes in my bare feet on the airport floor while the woman was told over and over "no don't put your boarding pass in your pocket, keet it out" "just put your necklace in your jacket pocket"!
Once I had gotten re-dressed, I headed down to the gate. I had a book that I was trying to finish so I picked out a spot in front of the window and tried to make some progress with my book(yes, I know. Two books in three weeks. I'm not sure what's wrong with me!) As I saw the little girl in lying down in front of the window, I thought to myself this could be a bad spot to sit because she will probably be loud and make it hard for me to concentrate, but she was laying down and seemed pretty docile. Yeah, that lasted a whole 30 seconds. She was intrigued by the planes outside and thought that if she talked, I mean yelled into the corner of the window and the wall that they would be able to hear her. Her grandma who she was traveling with was trying to keep her quiet but she was the most defiant little girl I've seen in a while and kept talking back to her grandmother. She had a little pink leash in her hand and at one point I about got hit when she decided to start whipping it around the room trying to hit the window in front of her. Then she decided she wanted to start talking to me. First rule of travel, don't make eye contact with ANYONE, especially on a plane, otherwise you're doomed the rest of the trip possibly listening or talking to someone the whole trip. Well this tactics apparently doesn't work on children. She sits down right beside me and wants to know if I'm going to Bloomington. I thought, oh great, there goes my reading time! Thankfully she quickly got distracted by a little boy that walked up and she was off chatting with him about how he should come play in her playroom sometime because it was really cool! I was relieved but I don't think the little boy's mother was! :-)
The rest of my trip was pretty mild. I did however get really tired while reading so I decided to sleep a little bit. I apparently had bit down on my tongue the whole time I was sleeping because I woke up with my teeth hurting and about ten minutes worth of a numb tongue. I must have been clamping down pretty hard! I'm just glad I woke up when I did! I might have had a shorter tongue by the time we got to Bloomington! :-)