Monday, Baton Rouge
We just finished prepping for tomorrow’s training and I’m ready for bed. I call my husband to say a brief hello and goodnight, then fall asleep listening to barges moving down the Mississippi River outside my hotel window. I’ll have to remember to stay in this hotel the next time we’re in Baton Rouge.
Tuesday, Baton Rouge
Wonder if the snooze button works. It does. Shower. Get dressed. Pack. Check email. Breakfast – eggs and toast. (Room service breakfast is overpriced, but I usually order it anyway because I don’t function well without a reasonably nutritious start to the day and don’t have time to find a restaurant that serves breakfast). Check out.
The hotel van driver offers to take us to the training site—easier than a cab. We load suitcases, training supplies (shipped from Boston), and bags of additional materials (purchased locally the night before) into the van and give the driver the address. Even this early, the humidity is intense. I wonder if the hurricane heading for Galveston will affect our flight home tonight.
Arrive at training site. Don’t see anyone we know, but the doors are unlocked, so we let ourselves in. I’ve been here before – a large church – and like the space, a large community room with great light and plenty of room. We befriend the maintenance staff, who didn’t expect us but graciously help us set up tables and chairs.
Breakfast arrives after some confusion (North Street or North Boulevard? First Presbyterian or First Methodist?) and a few cell phone conversations with the delivery person. Participants begin to arrive. I realize that I haven’t been into the actual training space in awhile, and I’m nervous (like guests arriving at your house when you haven’t finished cleaning or your hair is still in a towel).
A few minor technology glitches…solved thanks to the help of the friendly pastor.
The day officially begins. We start with a short ice breaker. A woman in the second row says aloud, “Oh no, you’re not going to ask us to act out what kind of animal we’d like to be, right?” I assure her that we have never made anyone act out animal characters…not yet anyway.
We begin talking about the day’s topic: Self-care, burnout, compassion fatigue. This training is really fun – interesting discussions and lots of activities that range from playful to introspective. We’ve worked many of the participants before and it’s great to have a little reunion.
The day goes more or less as planned.
The training ends. Talk with a few participants, then clean up. Shut down equipment, wrap up wires, rearrange chairs, throw away papers and cups. Realize that we never called a cab. We call. Phew! Pack extra materials into our suitcases and head to the airport.
Arrive at airport. Get boarding pass and head to security. Shoes off, laptop out, liquids and gels in their appropriately sized plastic baggies. My suitcase bumps down the conveyer towards the x-ray machine. I watch the TSA official examine it on her little screen.
“We’re going to need to open this up and take a look.” she says.
“Okay. It’s probably the computer speakers,” I say (did I mention that we played music at this training?)
“No, that’s not what I saw,” says the TSA lady.
“Oh, it’s the pipecleaners, then.”
“PIPE CLEANERS,” I enunciate. We give them out at our trainings to give people something to do with their hands.
“No that’s not what I saw.”
“Oh.” I can’t figure out what else I could possibly have in my bag, but the situation is starting to attract the interest of another TSA screener, who watches her colleague riffle through my bag.
“Crayons. She has boxes of crayons.” The TSA lady says to her colleague.
“Oh yeah,” I say, smiling. The TSA lady looks at me oddly.
Baggage screening drama aside, we get on our flight.
Layover in Memphis. We realize that we’ve hardly eaten since breakfast. The pickings are slim in our terminal. I settle on spaghetti and meatballs, and a candy bar. Is it that you can’t eat healthy when you travel, or is it that it’s just a good excuse to buy candy bars? I think it’s a little of both.
I finish my book after about an hour (The Princess Bride – if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s terrific.), debate taking a nap, and instead pull out my laptop to do a little work and play a lot of FreeCell. (If you’ve never played, don’t start. It’s addicting.)
Our plane lands, it’s good to be home and back in my preferred time zone (“EST”). My body is stiff and I stretch a bit as we wait to deplane. Takes forever. I try to remember what food is in my fridge at home. A banana would be great. Finally, we deplane. I’m tired, but just a short cab ride and I’ll be back home, sleeping in my own bed by midnight.