Saturday, February 21, 2009

Texas

As with most of my recent blogs, I am sitting on a plane. I am leaving Dallas heading back to Chicago. In 8 nights I have spent one in Chicago.

Texas was great for business. The vendor team down here is really on their game. I was thoroughly impressed. Everyone who knows me, and reads this blog, knows I am not easily impressed.

The first night we went to dinner at Cool River Cafe with some attorneys. The steak was good, the scotch was good and the company was too. I spent most of the night chatting with a born and bred Texan. He explained that not everyone is a George W Bush. He says he is conservative (compared to IL or OR) but liberal for Texas. He demands the right to own a gun, he also demands a womans right to choose. He is opposed to the death penalty for the same reason I am (the state was created by man and man is flawed, so how can the state ever be 100% sure they have the right guy. I would rather keep 1,000 murders in prison than kill 1 innocent man).

I am traveling with the claims guy (peer), the loss control/safety person (reports to me) and an HR person. I know what to expect from my people. Some other folks have different ideas of what is appropriate for work travel. I always wear at least business casual clothes, and I expect my people to do the same. One should never wear anything too revealing. Just isn't right.

This HR person also had dinner with us each night. Both nights she ordered the surf and turf. She also complained about the food. She was our guest and she ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, plus expensive bottled water. If she were gracious she wouldn't have been so dramatic... She would have been more cost conscious... But no, she hated everything.

When I am on the road and I am paying I will order anything I want, but only something I would pay for myself. If my boss denies my expenses I won't be upset. I am not trying to take advantage of my company.

The first night after dinner we decided to go back to the hotel and have a few beers. The folks from the law firm we were with didn't want to go out because they had to give a presentation the next day. Jim and I decide we WANT to go out. We ask an attorney we were with go find is some strip clubs. This task isn't too hard....hell, we were in Texas! The attorney prints a 2 page list of strip clubs for us.

Once I receive the list I decide to ask the 65 year old broad behind the reception desk for recommendations. She circles one "bar". She laughs and says "let's go boys". She decided to drive is to the titty bar. This establishment was called "The Lodge.". It looked like an abercombie and fitch store. It had antler chandeliers, cute boys behind the bar and big titted sluts walking around. The best part: the ATM had a $17.95 service charge.... WTF?

While sitting down a "girl" decided to give me a lap dance. I was not into it. I guess that means I am gay... According to the people I was with... She was rubbing herself all over by slacks. My biggest concern, asking my drycleaner to be sure she gets the glitter, the vanilla perfume and the stench of forgotten dreams off my pants.

We pay for this "treat" and decide to get out of that joint. I ask my new friend about "other" clubs. She directs us to a place called Zippers. Evidently this is where the boys dance.

We cab it over to the club. Not exactly what I was thinking. It was just like any bar on Halsted. The guys were shirtless, the service was bad and the place was packed.

We were there about 20 minutes the had to get to the hotel. Speaking of the hotel, when I checked in I was greeted with a nice hello and a surprise that my room had been upgraded. What a shock. I never get room upgrades... Which is fine by me, I don't spend much time in the room anyway. My travel profile says that I want a high room, with a king bed and extra towels. My "upgraded" room was a Zero Floor room. I don't know what that is. Evidently it is a smaller room, with two queen beds and it is in the basement. When I said I wasn't interested in the upgrade she laughed and said that was the only room left. Ugh. Courtyard Marriotts are not my friend.

We also spent an hour at the 6th Floor Museum, at the Texas School Book Depository. I thought this was great. We stood on the grassy knoll, which is very small, by the way. It is interesting that so many people were supposed to be ganging out there shooting at Kennedy (for you conspiracy buffs).

All in all the trip to Dallas wasn't all that bad. I met some great people, had face time with some of our operations folks that I talk to buy never see, and now I can cross a city off of my list of places never to go back.

So far this year I have flown 12,481 miles. I am in Chicago for 3 weeks straight now, then off to San Diego.

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