Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Busiest Week

The last week of September was quite possibly the busiest week I've ever had. I put well over 1,000 miles on the Civic in the course of visiting three states. It all started off Monday morning, when I received a call from a client wanting to schedule the site walk for a new tower north of Duluth, MN. I left work around noon and ran home to grab a change of clothes. I stopped at an existing tower site on the way up for photos. Here's a shot of the Civic atop a hill overlooking the farm buildings on the property.Following this I made my way up to Superior, where I spent the night. I attempted to email back pictures from the site I visited, but yet again the hotel WiFi was not up to the task. I was up early the next morning to make my way through Duluth to the proposed tower site. Coming over the Blatnik Bridge from Superior to Duluth, I saw three separate boats in the harbor. I've always had a thing for Great Lakes shipping. It took me about 45 minutes to get to the tower site, and I ended up being about 15 minutes early. The property owner happened to be home, and he came out to see what I was doing in his driveway. He had a dog that was the size of a pony. Once we got back in the woods I quickly determined that there would be no tower going in at that location - there were wetlands on the property, and of course the owner wanted the tower there. So this was yet another semi-wasted trip, though not as bad as some.

I raced back home to try and rest up, for I was heading down to Chicago the next day for a two day WiMAX convention. I made the mistake of waiting until Tuesday night to book the hotel, and ended up paying a lot for a Courtyard Marriott by Midway. Not a terrible drive to the McCormick Center, but for what I was paying I would have expected more. The convention itself was slightly boring. WiMAX doesn't really pertain to what I do at the moment. I cruised the expo floor and tried to grab as much free swag as I could. In this regard I failed, since I always feel too ashamed to just grab something without talking to the salesperson at the booth. And since I was in so far over my head (I don't know much about WiMAX, even after this convention) I didn't exactly feel comfortable getting into a conversation and revealing my ignorance. But I did take a few pictures the second day. Here's a shot of the expo floor.The real highlight of the Chicago trip had nothing to do with mobile broadband internet. I met up with two acquaintances for dinner in downtown Chicago. I had called up my friend Alex when I found out that I would be down, but both he and his girlfriend were out of town. However, he suggested that I call up Luke and Fran, two of his friends that I've met around ten times in the last four years. So I called Luke up and he and Fran agreed to meet me at Mike Ditka's on Chestnut. After paying $21 to park the Civic, I met up with them outside the restaurant. I'd never been, but I was impressed. We had a few drinks at the bar while waiting to be seated, and I caught up with the goings-on in their lives. Luke is an electrical engineer who also works for a small company named Callpod. His company is coming out with a new Bluetooth earpiece, which he's done a good deal of work on. Personally I find it a bit more fascinating that towers, but I did go to school for electrical engineering for two years, so I can relate to his excitement on designing a new product.

Thursday I returned to the convention and sat through several more boring presentations. I did take an hour-long break where I did a quick post about the second Lutsen site trip. I left Chicago later in the afternoon, and spent a good hour crawling along the Kennedy while listening to the Cubs game on the radio. I can't stand it when I don't make any one of the three sets of lights along Hwy 12 on my commute (soon to be four, with the lights going in at the Hwy 19 intersection - not too happy about that). I can't imagine going through that every day. I made it back in time to hit up J.T. Whitney's with E Eugene for Big Beers. But the week wasn't over, not for another three days.

Friday I came to the office for the second time all week. I had a pile of mail and a lot of emails that I hadn't answered using my laptop or BlackBerry. But I was only putting in my time, really. I left at noon and headed on down to Dayton. I was meeting up with my father, and we then made our way down to Evansville to get in a round of golf with my old college roommate Nick. My father went in for rotator cuff surgery in October, so this was to be the last round of golf for the year. It was a simply beautiful day, and despite the fact that neither of us played all that well, it was a great time. Here's a picture of Nick crossing the bridge on the ninth hole.The next morning I woke up early so that I could drop off the Civic for an oil change. My father picked me up and we worked for a few hours on various things before heading back up to Madison around noon. I had managed to get two tickets to the Wisconsin-Michigan State football game! My father and I drove up near campus and parked on Monroe Street. We walked down to Lucky's, one of the bars lining Regent Street and stopped in to grab a beer and a brat. As we were making our way though the crowd in the outdoor beer garden (fenced-off parking lot) I ran into Nick's younger brother, who's enrolled at UW. After a few beers there, we made our way up toward Camp Randall. We were in the stands in time to catch the end of the UW Band's pre-game show. Here are a couple of pictures:
The game was close. Looking back on it now (after two Badger losses) we were lucky to pull away with the win. However, at the time I couldn't understand how the Badgers seemed unable to stop the Spartan running game. I get a little worked up watching sports, especially if things aren't going my team's way. The game went down to the wire, but the Badgers pulled it out. Very few things feel as rewarding as having your team win the game after you've been standing and shouting for the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. After the game we stopped off for one more beer while waiting for the traffic to clear up. I suppose we should have waited a bit longer, since it took a good thirty minutes to get off Monroe Street. We went to Picasso's for a delicious Gorgonzola and ribeye steak pizza, and then my father dropped me off to pick up my car. I had to call it a night, because I had a busy day ahead of me.

Sunday morning I woke up around 7:30 and drove over to my friend Logan's house. We were heading over to Milwaukee to play in the Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation (PCCCF) Golf Tournament at Ironwood Golf Course in Sussex, west of Milwaukee. Logan's wife Beverly was sick, and Logan's friend managed to injure his shoulder raking leaves, so it was the two of us. I played somewhat inconsistently: I had three pars and one birdie, but I also had a couple of holes that I scored 8's and even one 10! We finished up at a very fast pace, so we had a bit of a wait for everyone else to finish up and dinner to be served. I didn't win either of the flag prizes I had qualified for - longest putt and longest drive in the fairway. However, there was a Calloway scoring system drawing. I don't know exactly how, but I won first place - a $40 pro shop gift certificate. And Logan won second! Here's a picture of the clubhouse as we were coming in on the 18th hole, I believe:After dinner we made our way back to Madison, stopping for a bit at Logan's injured friend's place to rub in how fun the day had been. I believe I made it back to my apartment by 11:00 PM, which was a bit late - I was heading up to Shawano the next morning. But that's a whole different week...


Blogger PrincessGreen17 said...

Whew! That was a long post, I hope I can remember everything I wanted to comment about...
1) Do you know what kind of dog it was?
2) That convention looks a lot like the ones my dad always takes us to for his annual conferences. I was always shy about taking loot at first but you get bolder the longer you're there! I guess it's a little different when you're a kid though...
3) Look at all that RED! It looks great. I guess people listen when the coach gives orders.

4:06 PM  

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