Ok, I summup: Wednesday and Thursday were totally uneventful. Except for doggie acupuncture where Gaia kind of got anxious again, but didn't totally freak out, and the climbing gym where I tried the pink V4 and landed HARD on my knee instead. Thursday evening I took Gaia up to George's in anticipation of Florida this week and she immediately found the squeaky toys and I was forgotten. All guilt I had about leaving her was erased. George's Golden (Moose) was still a little weary of this 10 year old puppy, but seemed just fine.
Friday I flew to Atlanta, then Jacksonville and then drove to The Villages to stay with Carol, my grandpa's second wife, for the weekend. Carol is great. And a stream-of-conscious kind of person. Lots of chatter, lots of let-me-do-that-for-you-because-maybe-you're-not-capable. There's certainly no chance that you'll run out of things to talk about. The best news was that she's crashing the Potter family reunion next summer. She had me at church with all the old folks Sunday morning... between that and the three instances of gluten over the weekend, I was ready to get out. Made it back up to Jacksonville Sunday evening and got a workout in before the FNG got out of class. I always feel awkward in hotel gyms because I'm not doing an hour on the elliptical or on the treadmill. Let me tell you what kind of sideways glances burpees and swings commanded today. At least with the headphones I don't have to talk to anybody.
Anyway, FNG and I are three drinks and dinner in at the hotel bar, really getting into the good gossip we can't get AT work, and Charlie strolls through. So we both yell CHARLIEEEE!!!! just as the same time the Michigan Tech guys all see him and yell it. Don and I didn't even know the MTU guys were two tables over. Charlie goes "Oh hello! I figured I'd find SOMEONE I knew at the bar!" So we got all caught up. I haven't seen Charlie since he retired in May. I nearly knocked him over when I hugged him - guess he wasn't expecting it. Got to chit chat a bit with Chuck, my prof from MTU too. Monday morning began IMAC - the International Modal Analysis (Super Nerd) Conference. I think the first lecture I sat through was by one of my favorite prof's from Purdue, Doug Adams. His lecture style hasn't changed and FNG (who was totally jealous of my undergrad experience) and I decided that it didn't matter what Doug was talking about, it would be interesting. I went to say hi after the talk, and the really cool part was that he remembered me and was legitimately interested in what I was doing and where I ended up after Purdue. Monday evening FNG & I escaped the social stuff and found a surf & turf place that called a third bottle of wine a "single glass." Jackpot. So a couple of glasses of wine there and we were in good shape. Charlie joined us for the second and even got to talking about when he and Diane first started dating. He might be one of the most adorable people on the planet.
Today feels like it was much further along than only the second day of this conference. Plenty of good information, even lots of good entertaining talks, but these days are long. They start at 8 or 9a and go through until 6p. And it's constant on-your-toes stuff. Either absorbing technical info or schmoozing with vendors or using up the remaining people skills you have with whomever you run into in the hall. FNG and I met with a vendor today and he was half an hour late, and I used up all I had trying to fend these guys off for thirty minutes. It was fine just talking to the couple of technical guys from Belgium, but as soon as the sales guys showed up, it was Hell. Good news is that FNG and I won a CAN OF CINCINNATI CHILI - and a rental credit with one of the Cincy based vendors. In the raffle they called my name, but I had left already. By the time Don had tried to call me back, they moved on - and immediately called his name. Team effort.
Tonight's social gathering was at the local country bar, where the big draw was the mechanical bull. FNG and I intended on making an appearance and getting the F out of there. Turned out that we were both starving and the food was pretty good, so we ate - and the booze was free, so we had a couple of drinks. But then the UMass - Lowell kids declared Mechanical Bull War on every other college rep there, and we took that as a cue to exit. Made out way back to the Over Pour Bar and got some dessert and more wine.
Ok, twist my arm.
I present tomorrow afternoon and still need to get my act together. And somehow there are still two more days before I can go back home. The "sports equipment dynamics" section Thursday afternoon is my carrot. And another trip to the Over Pour Bar, of course.