This entry won’t be as witty or entertaining as the book used for the title, nor will it be as insightful as Tales From Lake Woebegone, but this is the best I’ve got. So strap in for a summation of the week that was…
Monday was my craziest day. I had already made hotel reservations in Brownwood (which is about 2 1/2 hours away from home to the southwest) for Monday and Tuesday night, but I had to begin my day in Eastland, about two hours west of here. My goal was to do 15 terminal installations that day, even though only 10 are required, but there was also a lot of driving in between stops. Places like Rising Star, Gorman, DeLeon, and May.
Ah, May. What an odd town that was. The woman in Rising Star told me that the stop in May was on the lake, but I never saw any water. Only signs purporting that the little town I was in “claimed” to be at the lake. And it did, indeed, look like a private trailer community or an RV park. I don’t think that I was ever in the town proper, however, because every road I took to that store was unpaved. And little pebbles shooting up from a dirt road echo like impish sons-of-bitches in a big metal cargo van.
I made it to Brownwood around 3:45 with 12 installs done. After performing one more, I headed north of town to find Park Road 15. My GPS unit (Maggie) didn’t know where it was, nor did Google maps. The woman at the convenience store, however, gave me passable directions. Alas, I had forgotten to get gas while in town all in an effort to make George Costanza-like “good time”. With the gauge needle getting precariously closer to ‘E’, and no stops in sight, I eventually turned around to be safe. I got the tank mostly full (apparently, many gas pumps have a $75 limit) and made one more stop. The man there was about to leave, and I offered to come back in the morning. He gratefully accepted, so it was off to the Days Inn. Time to call it a day.
The man at the check-in counter looked a little familiar, but I didn’t think anything of it. He just had “that face” – the type that looks like just about anyone else. The weird thing, though, is that he acted like he knew me. When I walked in, I was greeted with “Hey! What’s going on?” in a real familiar-like tone. Dismissing it as smalltown cheer, I finished the check-in process and he started to tell me of the aminities the hotel had to offer. Then he stopped himself and asked, “But you’ve stayed here before, right?”
Um, no. And weird.
So he gave me my ticket for a free cook-to-order breakfast in the morning (“Used to be a danish and coffee, but competition is steep now”) as well as a coupon for a free drink in the hotel bar (“If they find out you’ve checked in and I didn’t give you this, I’d be in trouble”). Thinking that I may have stumbled into some sort of cult compound, I graciously took the card with no intentions of using it. But then he told me to come back later and he’d give me another. Well, two free beers are better than one.
The room was typical, with a microwave and mini-fridge (which seem to be the norm rather than the exception these days), but the best thing about it was the wireless internet. Ususally, wireless in hotels is pretty slow, but the signal I was getting there was as fast – if not faster – than my home connection. I called Dawn to give her updates, then I wandered out to eat. Chili’s was my destination.
After a week of getting lucky at no-name places in Wichitard Falls, I was not about to press said luck. And, being the symmetrical guy that I am, I ordered fried cheese and cheese fries. A full belly and two beers later, I was back in my room to look for Law and Order runs on the telly.
I also had to call the Operations Manager of the company I am working for for my daily check-in. He surprised me with a question.
“Hey, how far away from McKinney do you live?” Thinking that he wanted me to pick up some stores that way, and since my schedule with them only lasts until mid-October, I told him I was about two hours from there. “Oh, well”, he said. “We have a full-time opening up there and you were the first person to cross my mind.”
Sensing my “in”, I then told him about the move to Austin that Dawn and I have planned that I have yet to divulge on this site to you, my two readers (Ed and Aunt Debbie). I told him that it would be perfect if they still have the contract job available for Lockheed Martin that begins in November down that way. We chatted a little more after that, promising to keep the lines open, and ended the conversation.
Time to think this over. Where to do that?
Well, two coupons were burning a hole in my pocket…