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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ahh - the high life

I am back from another road trip.  On the upside, none of my teeth fell out.  On the downside, it snowed.

I am such a jet setter.  This trip was to Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta.  I get to go to all the hot spots.  I know I am the envy of all my friends.  I get to stay in crappy hotels and eat crappy food while running from one location to the next with GPS systems that hate me.

I arrived in Calgary all safe and sound but not before I was stopped at security in Vancouver for the obligatory pat down and evil eye.  I managed to make my way to the plane and board with seconds to spare.  After getting through baggage claim with no damage to my brand new suitcase, I made my way to the rental car counter to see what gift they had waiting for me.  I was not disappointed. 

Renting cars has become a bit of a gamble for me.  And since I am such a gambler, I look forward to seeing what surprise will be waiting for me.  There was the electric car that took me 20 minutes to figure out how to start.  There was the SUV with push button start but no one told me where the button was.  There was the car that came with a key chain that retracted the key after you took it from the ignition and no one told me how to get it back out.  I could go on but you get the gist.  I always allow an extra 30 minutes before booking a meeting just to try to get aquainted with my car.

This time was extra special.  I was "upgraded" to a Town & Country van with built- in GPS.   I was handed a fob with a panic button and 5 buttons to push.  I arrived at the designated slot and lifted the door handle to the already unlocked drivers door.  I loaded my luggage and sank into the rather plush drivers seat.  I looked at the fob and looked for a key or a slot to put the fob in.  I couldn't quite figure this out.  The fob had a big red PANIC button on the end so obviously that was not a key.  But, being a rather bright blonde, I figured that it must be an electric start - there were five buttons to push.  I pushed the first one - nothing.  I pushed the second - nothing.  I pushed the third and felt a breeze and heard yelling.  The rental guy appeared at my door to inform me that I had opened both side doors and the rear door and put on my flashers.  Was I ok?

Was I OK?  This was beginning to feel like the Keystone Cops.   I had a car with a mind of its own.  I could open all the doors and turn on the hazard lights but I could not start the darn thing.  Turns out the panic button was the starter and it was to be inserted into what looked like a cigarette lighter.  With relief and complete instructions, I headed out to find my way to the other side of Calgary.  GPS hates me.  It kept telling me to make a U-turn at my earliest convenience.  Seems there is lots of construction in Calgary.

The rest of the day went mostly smooth and I returned to the hotel to relax and have dinner.  I walked next door to a pizza joint.and ordered some chicken wings.  Now, I am no expert but I thought the definition of burnt was the same no matter what your location.  However, it seems in Alberta, blackened salt and pepper wings are defined as "oven baked" with a flash fry.  What I recieved were little chunks of charcoal and it took some 'splaining to the waitress that chicken wings should not disintegrate in my hand and leave bits of charcoal on my face. 

Tuesdays meeting went well and I headed on to my next destination - Red Deer.  After further arguments with the GPS lady, I finally found the right highway north.  I arrived on time and in one piece after setting the Panic alarm only once. 

After a quiet evening in my room watching Dancing with the Stars and hoping a fight would break out and a nasty sequin incident would require an ambulance, I awoke in a very cold room.  I hustled across the room wrapped in my blanket to turn the heat on and took a peak out the window.  To what my wonderous eyes should behold me?  A blizzard!  April 18 and I am in a blizzard.  I was not happy.  I was dressed for spring.  Oy Vey.  This did not bode well for my morning meeting.  I tend to be cranky when I am cold.  This year I have been cold since September.

A race back to the Calgary airport, return the car and head through security after a successful morning.  This time was a bit of a treat.  Not only did I get the pat down but I also got the x-ray scan followed by another pat down.  I am starting to look forward to the human contact. 

Ah well, I am home and looking forward to seeing my wee grandkids.  Xavier is healing well and will be back playing lacross soon.  Lexi turns 5 next weekend and I forgot my son-in-laws birthday.  This has been a good month so far.

I am off on another hot spot trip for big time successful executive women in 2 weeks - Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg.  I can actually hear the jealousy seeping from your pores.

Stay tuned for more fun and games.

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