Monday, September 20, 2010

The Ups and Downs

Let me fill you in on some of the ups and downs I had last week while I was in Alabama for training.

I will start with an "up" story!

Every time I have to go to Bama for work, the absolute worst part (outside of leaving my family and flying) is finding clothes to wear. Now, I have clothes. I have nice clothes that I wear here in Texas. Not sure they are office casual, but maybe. I also have nice clothes that I have worn to work events before. However, I so rarely work in the office that I hate to wear the same thing twice. I mean, I only have to work like 10 days a year with other people so surely I can come up with 10 different things, combos of new and old to make a new outfit.

PROBLEM: I don't love to shop, especially for clothes. Those three way mirrors are just my worst enemy. But I did and was able to come up with a few new pieces. I had a couple of good bottom choices, a couple of cute top choices, a couple of dresses, just a hodge podge. I bought a couple of pair of new shoes to go with one outfit or another. Then I scrambled around to find the most critical piece of the work wear - SPANX! Can I say right now that I love SPANX! They can be a little tricky to get into sometimes, but they work wonders under just about anything!

In my shopping frenzy I was just helter skelter thinking I would take back whatever I ended up not using. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to pare down my choices before I had to leave for my trip. Ended up just throwing it all in a giant suitcase and decided to take it to Bama and try to figure it out there. Suitcase weighed in at 41 pounds at the airport. That is one heavy bag for just one girl for five nights.

I get to Alabama and have a nice dinner and visit with my Mom and Dad. When we got settled at their house I said "I have got to figure out what I am going to wear this week. I will try on a few things and you let me know what looks best."

I went back to my room and threw on the first thing. You would have thought I was Christy Brinkley the way they went on and on. "Oh, you look stunning. That color is fantastic on you." So, I thought the first outfit was a winner and went back to try on something else. Guess what....all winners. What I finally figured out was that it wasn't the clothes at all. They love me. They think I am all that and a bag of chips. I could have come out in a paper bag and they would have thought it was the most creative bag dress ever designed.

With that said, they did admit to liking some outfits more than others and those were pretty much the ones I liked too.

I brought waaayyyy too much, but it was sure a confidence booster to walk down the hallway five or six times and have their sweet compliments pour all over me. It was good.

Now, let's talk about a "down" moment.

I got stuck in an elevator!!! I have a little anxiety just typing that sentence. Maybe it was only for about 45 seconds or so, but I was stuck and it was frightening.

At work, we have these 3 in 1 badges. That means you have one badge that performs three functions. It is your ID badge, your door opener badge, and your computer key card to access the SAIC proprietary systems. At home, my badge is constantly in my laptop. I never take it out. I don't need to open doors here or verify my employment at my own house.

During the training, we would step outside to enjoy the weather during our breaks and I got used to scanning my badge to get the door to open. I wore my badge constantly for four days, taking it off in the evening to put in my computer and access my email.

On the fourth day of training we got out a little early. I went with the rest of the folks up to the fourth floor to try to catch up on all the work we had missed during the week. I took off my badge and put it in my computer to access my email. Well, wouldn't you know that one of the first emails I see is from a very good friend who happens to be working on the third floor. She heard I was in the building and wanted to say hi! I would love to see her too, so I get up and head down the hallway to the elevators. I am alone - all by myself - no one else is using the elevator at this very moment.

I step on and hit "3". Nothing happens. Oh, I must not have hit it hard enough. Do it again. Still nothing. I hit "Door Open" - nothing. What the heck? Then I see the digital message that says "Panel Locked". Oh crap. I am supposed to scan my badge to be able to make this elevator move. My badge is in my computer. A little anxiety hits my stomach. I take a deep breath and quickly contemplate screaming for help, prying open the doors, calling for help on the phone, popping out a ceiling tile and crawling out of the elevator up through the shaft to the roof of the building and the waiting helicopter to freedeom. Then I flash back to reality and realize that I watch too many movies. So I do the next best thing and push all the buttons. Hoping that if someone on another floor is waiting for an elevator it will go to them. It starts moving. Thank you baby Jesus!!!! Delivers me promptly to the lobby where I stagger out of the elevator breathless with relief. The drama of my minute trapped in the elevator is babbled incoherently to the sweet Ms. Annie who mans the front desk. She shakes her head and says "Honey, don't ever panic, we can get you out. The real lesson here is that you are supposed to have your badge on you at all times and not leave it unattended in your computer."

Yes ma'am. You can bet your sweet bottom I won't get trapped in an elevator again. Badge on me at all times. Sweet Ms. Annie scans her badge and sends me back up to the fourth floor where I share my story again and again to anyone who will listen. After I would tell it in my wildly enthusiastic way people would say, "Oh my goodness, how long were you trapped." About 45 seconds but it seemed like a lifetime. Eyes rolled, heads shake, not much sympathy offered.

Ups and Downs were the order of business for the week. I have lots more stories to share, but real life is calling! Check back so I can wow you with my farm animal story. Ever herded geese with a trash can lid? Good times.

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