Monday, February 26, 2007

Traveling Consultant Perk

Instead of going home this past weekend -- I work in Jacksonville, Florida, during the week -- I decided to stay in the nice and warm state.

After work on Thursday, I drove 180 miles down to Orlando which took me about 3 hours. I would have gotten there half an hour earlier if I had not decided to not follow AAA triptik directions I did it to avoid the toll roads. Wound up paying one anyway

Friday was spent playing in Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom. I got to ride Everest this time in beautiful weather. I saw the new Finding Nemo Muiscal, rode the Dinosaur and Primeval Spin attractions and watch Mickey's Jamming Parade. I enjoyed watching the various birds (flamingos, toucans, and ducks) around the park. I even caught sight of an anteater. No matter how many times I see it, the Tree of Life contains the most beautiful and life-like carvings of animals.

After a good complimentary breakfast Saturday morning, I got back on the road to drive down to Miami. I had to make a pit stop in Tampa to pick up Panthera, fellow DH fan who entertained me on the drive down. 351 miles and 5 1/2 hours later, we arrived at our hotel. I had a slight panic attack when I happen to looked down at the gas gauge. There were three tick marks before the big E and we were in the middle of the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. All it was was a four land highway in a big swamp. Panthera did catch an alligator sunning himself. Thank goodness, we spotted the lovely green sign. When I pulled up to the gas pump, the car gave me a "bing" and the gas light came on *PHEW*.

Objective of Miami was to attend Sherrilyn Kenyon's book signing. My other objective was to also get books signed by Mary Stella. The hotel where the signing was just happen to be across the street from where we were staying. Both authors were surprised to see us, especially me as I live in New Jersey After the book signing, we hung out with Sherri, Mary and two other friends -- lots of laughter.

All good things had to come to an end, Sunday was the long drive back north. After dropping off Panthera back in Tampa, I continued north to Jacksonville -- 493 miles and 8 hours later.

Besides the Animal Kingdom goodies -- alas, my passion for Disney pins has not waned -- and the Walmart books (got Lover Revealed; still unread), the biggest expenditure on this trip was gas. The car wanted to be fed regularly -- $78.76 to drive 1,074 miles. Hotel was free due to my hotel points. Car rental paid by my client. Animal Kingdom ticket was WDW Park Hopper ticket I paid for 3 years ago. Not too bad for a weekend

Tonight, I gotta see if I can read what Sherri wrote in my books Also, gotta decide how I'm going to pack at the end of the week to go home. I hate checking luggage. I may need to leave some of it here and bring it back the following week or else leave anyway as I have to stay over one weekend for the client.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

*wahoo* Yes, I'm happy I don't have to work at home anymore. My year-long sentence is over. I miss the routine that I got into for 8 years.

I get to hop on a plane at the beginning of the week to go to my 40 hours of work in four days...then hop back onto a plane Thursday for home. I get to sleep in a hotel room where a maid tidies it up each day If I'm lucky, breakfast is served free at the hotel. Cross my fingers for free wireless. What's great about this is that the client pays for all my travel expenses. I get to add to my frequent flyer miles. Maybe or maybe not add to my hotel points.

In the wee hours of this Monday, I head down to Jacksonville, Florida. This will give me a sense of whether I want to do a schedule like this until the middle of April. Or do I want to fly in Sunday afternoon so I can unwind and be ready for work the next day? Monday fly, worry about getting up in time and airport hassles. Sunday, less stressful but lose 1/2 day at home.

Depending when I fly, I can get a three-day weekend. Otherwise, it's a 2 1/2 day weekend. I don't always fly home. I've been able to do side trips at the client's expenses as long as it does not cost more than flying me home.

This assignment is ideal as I'm planning a side trip already Sherrilyn Kenyon and Mary Stella will be in Miami on Feb 24 for a book signing. Good time to drag some books down to be signed. I can do Animal Kingdom (Walt Disney World, Orlando) on Friday and then head down to Miami on Saturday. Sunday will be used to drive back up to Jacksonville for work on Monday. I have a pass already for Animal Kingdom and should be able to use hotel points for Friday and Saturday.

Yeah, sounds like a plan. Gotta work it out. *crossing fingers that this comes to fruition*

Oh, and my sister is happy, too. She gets the place to herself again. Though she did ask who was going to make her steak now