I had an interesting time down in Atlanta. My flight got in on time Monday evening, but I had no idea how I was going to get to my hotel -- when I called them for a shuttle, they told me the don't send shuttles to the airport. O-kay, my travel agent has screwed me. I ask how I'm supposed to get from the airport to the hotel, and was informed I should take the MARTA public transportation system. The rail portion of it, if I took the right train, would drop me off only a few blocks from the hotel and they'd send a shuttle to pick me up there. So I haul tail over to the rail station in the airport, get my token and run upstairs to the platform, only to discover that the train I was supposed to take was out of service. So I wait for the next train to arrive, and get on that. After sitting still for ten minutes the operator comes onto the PA and informs us that this train is out of service as well! Just great! Eventually I managed to get a train that worked and made my way to my transfer station (I got off once at the wrong station, because the PA was crappy and I thought they'd called my station, but instead had called a station similar in name to the one I was looking for). Once we were about 30 yards from the station I wanted to transfer at, we were delayed because only one track was in operation and we had to let a train pass. Fair enough... until the Southbound train passed, and we still weren't moving. THIS time there's signaling problems on the track ahead, we'll have to wait. Eight minutes pass, the signaling is fixed but we have to wait for another Southbound train to pass. Then we can go, right? Nope, ONE MORE TRAIN has to go past before we can get up to the platform. I manage to get on my transfer and start making way up to my final station. It's around this time that Koz gives me a grin on my cell phone, having evidently gotten the messages left for him on my behalf by enveri, jenwolf and aureth. We chat for a bit, make plans and I finally reach my destination. I pack up the stairs, call the hotel, and request the shuttle. The snarky receptionist on the other end tells me the shuttle just left, why wasn't I there earlier? I didn't bother dealing with her, I just hung up the phone and called back. The second time I got a much more helpful individual who sent the shuttle over for me, and I was whisked to my hotel. I got up to my room and found out I couldn't sleep, so I read for a while and watched most of "The Quick and the Dead," a not-too-terrible, but not-too-terribly-good spaghetti western with some big names in it. Around 1:37 in the morning Eastern time I managed to turn in and sleep for about five hours. I got up the next morning right on time, showed, got into my work attire and staggered down the stairs for breakfast with the team.
The good news is that the audit at the campus went very smoothly and I was back at the hotel by about 3:30 in the afternoon. The bad news was that Koz had to work somewhat late and was caught in traffic, meaning he didn't get home until 7:00 that night. He gave me a ring, let me know he was on his way over to my hotel, and then got off the line. I grabbed another shower while waiting for him (good lord is it humid in Georgia) and around 7:45 he knocked on my door. We chatted for a few minutes, I got a chance to look over some of the originals to the scans I've seen or have copies of, and then we zipped out to a nearby BBQ joint. I had a set of spare ribs, a beer and a lot of pleasant conversation. We talked about a number of things although the main topic was how evil Georgia was to those who suffer from allergies (pollen counts of 1,000+ daily, anyone? Times when it tops 3,000?). We talked about our jobs as well. After we'd eaten our fill we hit the road again, making one stop to get a special gift for aureth. Koz was adamant that we remember to get it, although I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it safely back to Illinois. When we got back to the hotel I invited him in and we killed another three hours chatting about a number of things, mostly related in some way or another to the Furry fandom. Around 11:30 at night he hit the road, I flopped into bed and proceeded to have another lousy night of broken sleep. I awoke at 7:30 in the morning even more exhausted than the previous morning. I packed my bags, stumbled down the stairs, and met up with the team again. Our audit went even faster today, and we were at the airport by 11:45. I managed to skip having to get standby and got a regular ticket on a flight that departed at 2:20 (I had been scheduled by the travel agency to leave at 11:00 AM today, I had that pushed back to 7:30 PM on Tuesday, and now here I was at noon trying to get an earlier flight. Notice the chaos that is my travel experience!). A quick meal was had at a food court in the terminal, and then it was onto the plane we went. I slept most of the flight up, awake only for the last 20 minutes or so.
Once I was back on the ground I made my way homeward, cursing the heat and the construction on 90 that I eventually found a way to bypass -- a "Shortcut" that put me right in the heart of a traffic jam caused by other drivers who had the same bright idea as me. Bleah.
All told the trip was rather uneventful, but I had a kick ass time hanging out with Koz. I have one more trip -- next week I'm going to Southern California (Pomona, Long Beach, West Hills) -- and then all this silliness is done with, leaving me to face all the silliness that takes place at the office. I think... yes, I think I'm ready to take it on. This has been something of a mini vacation for me, and maybe it's actually doing me some good.