Saturday, September 18, 2010

Catching Up

Here's a run down of my life the past few days... First, major thanks to my guest bloggers. I love writing. I love my blog. But I was so stressed about the upcoming trip and some work related stuff that I couldn't even begin to come up with quality content for the blog. Having my guest bloggers step up and write for me was truly a weight off my shoulders and I can't thank you all enough. Plus, I really loved sharing you with my readers- each of you did a great job! Ashli gave us a great kick off to our guest posts on Tuesday. I logged a mile on Tuesday before heading to the airport and even did 2 miles at the hotel's fitness center on Wednesday! So I've got 3 miles done on my 500 mile journey. How about you? Thanks to lisleman for a great post on parenting and kids and helping us all figure out if kids change or parents change or what the deal is. Thursday brought smiles with the 4th Frog's tribute to my personal style- you know i like writing my little notes to you guys!! I hope you were inspired by Amy and that you found a way to choose your attitude! Friday was rounded out by Lori- a truly inspirational success story on making positive choices in your life. Her post was so go that she even got my mom to post comments!! I don't even get a comment each day from my mom!! And today... I'm going to try and share the highlights of my quick business trip to the mecca that is the corporate office of 3M in St Paul, MN. Naturally, I used Post-It Notes to jot down the things I didn't want to forget! Let's start with the flight from Indianapolis to St. Paul. My anxiety was pretty high. I never used to be afraid of flying. This was my first time flying in over a year. My stomach was in knots. I considered alcohol before getting on the plane but wanted my head clear. Bless my soul- there was a South Bend Chocolate Company Cafe right by our gate! A nice sized cup of hot choclate- dark liquid chocolate and steamed milk- was the exact soothing I needed!! Especially since I ended up with a seatmate who needed to talk. The entire flight. Which I normally would find annoying. But he truly needed to talk. He drives a truck for a guy who owns some concession stands and goes from State Fair to State Fair (my kinda guy!!). He's from the Indy area but was on his way to New Mexico to pick up where he'd left off... he'd come home because his mom had died. Unexpectedly. So he came home to collect his family and drive to Michigan and bury his mom. And he talked the whole flight about how he wants to be home and not traveling. And about the messed up relationship his kids have with him and his wife. And about holding his months old grandbaby for the first time and refusing to put her down. He talked about how much he and his wife of 22 years love each other. There was a lot of what most would consider dysfunction in his stories... but underneath was a lot of love and a man who was truly just trying to do his best in life for his family. The hotel was pretty fantastic. We stayed at a Sheraton. Fantastic fitness center, small pool and whirlpool area. I haven't felt so safe at a hotel before- only hotel guests and employees had access to the floors. You had to use your key or be escorted by staff to steps in order to get to rooms on upper floors. The room was gorgeous. The bed was huge (although too hard for my taste and the pillows were to squishy to actually support your head). The bathroom was amazing. The breakfast- included in our room rate- was out of this world! Scrambled eggs (or you could order eggs from the kitchen), pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, potatoes, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, fruit to go (apples, oranges), danishes, muffins, and more. Incredible way to start the day! Visiting 3M Center was an amazing and very new experience. I've never seen anything like it in my limited corporate experience. 41 buildings. 417 acres. 11,000 employees just at 3M Center (and that's just 3M employees, not contracted people). They are their own ZIP code and telephone exchange. They have their own power station! They have a nature preserve. At least 1 day care on site (I'm betting more than the one independent building I saw). I only got to go in my training building and then had lunch one day in one other building. But this other building... oh wow!! Amazing cafeteria. Employee store. Dry cleaner pick up/drop off. Hair salon. Gym. Courtyard. Interior 1 mile walking track. They were having a book fair that day. 3M Center has its own Farmer's Market once a week. They get Schwan's delivery every week. 3M truly goes out of its way to make the employees as comfortable as possible right there at work. Get most of your needs met without leaving campus. I would love that! But I'm happy with just visiting all of that, too. There was an incident where an attorney said something that ruffled my feathers. But I'm over it now. Sometimes, you just have to accept that there is a pecking order in life, you know? I had great meals with my travel mates. I was traveling with 2 women that I have worked with for my entire career with this company and with 1 man who used to be in a separate department and is now part of our group but runs his own group alongside ours. Confusing, I know. Anyway, the 4 of us enjoyed some great food, some ok food, some grown up beverages, and lots and lots of laughs! All in all, it really wasn't a bad way to spend a couple of days. I also met a very nice young man who works at 3M Center in Sourcing. He was the only person who really helped our foursome out- he took us for lunch on Tuesday. We had no idea what was where (41 buildings, remember) and we were on our own for lunch. None of us were familiar with the area. No one offered suggestions of where to go. Very frustrating. But this 1 guy came up and said he was going to this little greasy spoon tavern local place and he'd be happy to have us come with him. We did and enjoyed it immensely. We were glad he stepped up to help us out! He was also our "leader" when we navigated the building the next day that had so many amenities. I did learn what it truly feels like to be a guppy in the ocean, though. That place is huge. 3M as a business is huge. And my part in all of it, while important, feels so tiny compared to the entire grand scheme of it all. It's unreal and I'm not sure there are words to really describe all of it- even the tiny sliver I experienced. I am glad to be home. I was so glad to sleep in my bed with my pillows and my husband beside me (and eventually my kids, too). Zach has come down with a mild ear infection but no fever and he's happy as a clam. Teagan had a great week at home and at school. She was helpful with Daddy and kind to her brother. I'm very proud of my kids. Jeff was amazing- he took the kids for dinner with his parents on Tuesday, he took them to church for dinner on Wednesday, and he made them breakfast for dinner on Thursday. He managed making Teagan's lunch, the morning routine, Zach's ear pain Thursday night, school bags, and more. He's my champion. And now we face a busy weekend. Family pictures this morning (for the church directory). Loads of errands and housework to feel caught up with the routine. Church on Sunday. A meeting after church and then rushing off to take Teagan to a friend's birthday party at a way cool gym. Hopefully we find time to just breathe and enjoy each other's company and hugs and kisses and laughs. Photobucket


Bill Lisleman said...

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to guest post. It was a great experience.

3M - I own a few shares. They should give shareholders some free post-it notes. Love post-it notes. Do you get free supplies of them? I gather from following 3M stock a big thing is computer screen stuff.

Your description reminds me of visiting Kodak in Rochester NY years ago. They had there own little city.

It's so easy to get lost in big corporations. Sounds like you are happy there and that's good.

Kristin - The Goat said...

I could have interesting little scrap pieces of paper to write on, but I use post-its. Super Sticky Post-its. Always.

I'm so glad you were able to get away and have your place well maintained while you were gone :)

Kristin - The Goat

Mandi said...

WOW - that's amazing that they have all that. I work for a company with 65 employees (and 5 branches), so all those ammenities sound like a dream to me. Childcare? YES PLEASE! I've suggested a gym, but unfortunately that's not happening.

So glad Hubby stepped up! I want to leave for a week next summer (check out my tag Urban Plunge to see why) and my Hubs is freaking out about it. We'll see if i get to go...

Glad you're back home, safe and sound!