02-08-07: holy toledo

Flew into Minnesota from Philly on Monday with a layover at Chicago O'Hare. My gate in Chicago had some minor technical difficulties which made for some fun fellow-traveler comraderie. Landed in Minneapolis/St. Paul and waited around for Jurriaan's flight to get in from Atlanta, but instead of it being 15 minutes behind mine, it was delayed 90 minutes. Jurriaan (my cow-orker) arrived and then learned his luggage was lost with zero indication as to where it was. He stayed behind at the airport to hack out the baggage stuff, and I took a $55 cab ride to the hotel. I'm at the Kelly Best Western in Plymouth, MN.

Jurriaan tells me that this is probably the crappiest hotel he's stayed in. Maybe my standards are too low (which I have a hard time believing), but IMHO it's a perfectly serviceable hotel, a stone's throw from our client. It's got two indoor pools, a jacuzzi, a workout room (admittedly meh) and a continental breakfast. So, yeah, it's no Hotel Triton, but it's good enough for me, for here. I'd rather take a "meh" hotel that's close to my client than suffer a long commute for swank.

Tuesday was the first day of class. It snowed about 2" Monday night, so the morning commute was really difficult for the students and we got started almost an hour late. I noticed that they don't plow the roads here. In DE/NJ, if there is even a threat of a flake, they salt the roads, go nuts with the plows and put a layer of sand on everything. Here, there's 2" on the street and people don't seem to care. Thankfully the snow kept the temperatures "warm." Anyhoo, whenever Jurriaan and I were driving anywhere, we'd take every opportunity to do donuts. He's a really great guy-- a lot of fun, easy to talk to, and a good teacher. We click really well.

While I was waiting for class to begin, I hung out in the building's atrium because I liked the way the snow looked on the glass ceiling.

I'm constantly giggling to myself over the accents up here. I hear echoes of ButlerJon in almost everyone (although his accent isn't too thick, really), which is fun. I also noticed that everyone here is so "white." Think of the stereotypical white Ned Flanders kind of guy, and that's kinda the standard-issue human here. Even the non-white folks are white. Yesterday morning I heard a black woman sincerely utter an exasperated "Holy Toledo!" and I damn near peed myself. I am still chuckling over this.

The classroom has lots of tasty catered snax being constantly brought in, and since I am just observing the class, I have nothing else better to do than to take notes and chow down. This is bad. As of 2:33pm on Monday, I had eaten a cinnamon roll, a bagel with cream cheese, a turkey cucumber wrap, a protein bar and an oatmeal raisin cookie. I even drank a Pepsi, which is just simply something I never do. Why do I do this to myself? I'm gonna be a lardass again in no time flat if I keep this up.

Anyway, the reason I was flown to Minneapolis was so I could watch Jurriaan teach this class, which includes a pretty rules-intensive game which spans two days. Alas, Jurriaan's luggage got lost, so we have no game to play with the class. The class doesn't know the difference, but the whole point of me coming to Minnesota was to let me watch the game, and now I'm not getting that chance. Oh well. Rumor has it I'm flying to the Quint mothership in Miami next week so I can watch the game played there and get some kind of orientation.

Sometimes I worry that I'm not smart enough to be a trainer. Or, more specifically, I don't think quickly enough on my feet. I know the material well enough, but I just know that if someone asked me the same questions they're asking Jurriaan today, I'd have no choice but to put my finger up my nose. Maybe I just need to do it a few times.

In other news, my new lappy is sweeeeet and has a nice wide screen which I'm hoping it's not too big for airplanes. Nothing sucks more than resting your lappy on the airplane's tray table, and then having the guy in front of you lean back. If your laptop lid is anywhere near the tray table latch, your laptop will be wedged/crushed when the guy leans his seat back. I must be careful.

I am totally in love with the Bic Cristal Gel pens in medium.

OH! DUDE! So we went to dinner last night at this OUTSTANDING tapas place called Solera.

We ate:

  • Grilled lamb tenderloin with honey aioli and harissa (unfathomably good)
  • Nevat (goat cheese) with toasted pistachios and rosemary honey
  • Assortment of Spanish salami and cured meats (hhuhuhhuhuh, "Spanish Salami")
  • Chorizo stuffed dates with smoked bacon
  • Pineapple lemon basil cake with a pineapple basil reduction that I swear I could have bathed in (pineapple basil! WOW!)
  • and then a tapas dessert thing with stuff and other stuff and some tasty stuff. (Note for Steve We: It didn't hurt that our waiter was hot, either.)

    Jurriaan and I got to talk a lot over dinner; I'm so thankful that he's gonna be my unofficial mentor of sorts. We are very similar in world view, which is handy. We also have a similar history, having done long-distance relationships in the past (both in San Fran, coincidentally), and now we're both finally seeing someone rocktastic in our own neighborhood. I asked him all about the logistics of being on the road so much and having your significant other at home, and how he and Leah (his GF) handle it. In a nutshell, he said that yeah, it sucks, but you just learn to make the most of the time you have together, and just be thankful that Quint pays the cell phone bill each month. :-) Granted, Jurriaan is a full-time trainer and is guaranteed to be on the road pretty much all week. My situation might be different... dunno yet.

    I forget how we got on the topic, but Jurriaan made mention that until he moved to the U.S. from Holland four years ago, he'd never met anyone else with his last name (Horowitz) before. I said, "No way, really? I know a few Horowitzes (Horowitzim?)." He said, "Yeah, well, don't forget where I'm from, Jill. There just aren't any Jews around anymore. They either moved away because they were unwelcome, or they were killed in the holocaust." That completely blew me away, and it's still resonating.

    Anyhoo, he's a good dude and I'm glad he was here to make my transition into Quint-land easier.

    Tonight (Wednesday) we got taken out to dinner by the client-- we went to PF Chang's. I always liked PF Chang's, though I was saddened to learn tonight that their food is pre-made, like every other stupid chain in the world. (I asked for something without shrimp and they "couldn't do anything about it because it's all pre-prepared that way.") I always thought PF Chang's was kinda foofy, but I guess not. But so what... their lettuce wraps are plenty tasty. And I can't expect to get fancy-pants tapas every night.... wouldn't that be awesome if I could? :-)

    OK, this is way too long. I'm really beat, so I'm hitting the hay.

    I fly home tomorrow afternoon and I should be back in my apartment by 8:00pm or so. I'm seeing Urinetown on Friday night, and then I'm spending the weekend getting my life organized thanks to . Not sure when I fly to Miami, but I'm sure I'll keep y'all posted.