Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lake Powell

Lake Powell...sunburns, red sand castles, laughter, wakeboarding (with a few tears), pictures, cliff jumping, lizards, sand crabs, snakes, mud fights, random underwear washing up on the sand, shredded flat boat trailer tires, ice cream sucking fish, Camp Three-Beach and campfire. It was a great trip with minimal bumps and tire changes.

Here are a few pics (OK, maybe more than a few):

Such concentration

I am supposed to inform you that Jessica was not posing...she really was just checking to see if there was sand on her bum. I just happened to catch it on film,

No, they are not in pain. It was a brisk early morning dip.

The view from our campsite.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nashville Nightmare

Throughout my entire life, my family has always joked that we are living proof of Murphy's Law. I do not remember a vacation where something didn't go wrong. Sometimes there were only small problems, whereas other times, it was disastrous. There was never a time, however, where we didn't have a blast and make memories.

I am just going to have to chalk up this last trip to Nashville, TN to that same Smith curse. It started out badly and went straight to worse. I think that I lost my driver's license somewhere in the Portland Airport and didn't realize this until it was too late to do anything about it. Luckily, I had my passport and so could still get on the airplane. In the meantime, I had my mother call the car rental agency and attempt to figure out whether I would still be able to rent a car if I had my information and driver's license number faxed directly to the company. It wasn't until I arrived at the airport that I found out that they don't care if you misplace your information. No amount of faxing or emailing or even personal calls to the police dept. will help you out...and subsequently sweet talking.

So, I figure, alright, I can handle this. I weigh my options and do a quick cost analysis and end up using a shuttle. I'm still waiting for my credit card to be reloaded after booking all kinds of hotels and whatnot on it, so I go to use my debit card to pay for the shuttle. It is after it declines a couple of times that we realize my debit card expired the day before. Doh! I had plenty of money, but no access to it. Luckily, Todd had handed me one of his credit cards before we parted.

Once I got to the hotel, I asked the hotel clerk if there was any sort of public transportation that I could use to get to the Sam's Club where I was doing a road show. Apparently, there was one small "trolley" that nobody could find information about, nor was their any info online. No taxis were available and I hadn't been able to get a hold of a manager at the Sam's to verify a time to set up my demo. So, I swallowed my pride and asked the night clerk for a ride when he got off work. Unfortunately, he forgot about me the next morning. There was, however, a guest who had just checked out who was willing to give me and my large pelican case a ride.

I spent my entire weekend either walking a couple hours in the morning or catching rides from random Sam's cashiers/sample people. I gained an intimate knowledge of 3 miles around my hotel, thanks to some bad directions, and I gained a stalker, who later apologized for being stalkerish. I also found out, after some products I had sold were returned, that one of my coworkers was demo-ing at the Costco not even a mile from where I was. Of course, Costco sells our products for cheaper and so I lost quite a few sales to him. And to top it all off, my TV at the hotel wouldn't work. I found it sadly hilarious that Todd seemed not to stress about any of my dilemmas until he found out about my TV. His response? "Could ANYTHING else go wrong?" So after an unproductive weekend of leaving to walk to work at 6am in order to work 14 hour days and hitching rides, I am extremely ecstatic to be home.

I do have to say a quick thanks to Bob and Sam, who were driving to Florida to pick up Sam's grandparents and take them home to Kentucky, Mik and Kelsey, who both work at Sam's and are dating each other and took pity on me several times, Raven, whose husband has been stationed in Kuwait for the past year (the only time she has seen him was when he took 2 weeks leave for them to get married) and Matt, who is recently engaged and saving for the wedding of his fiance's dreams. I am very thankful for these new friends who helped me out and shared their lives with me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Portland, OR

My first official trip to sell ladders was to Portland, OR. I really enjoyed being there and I learned a lot. There are a lot of great people who live there, and I made quite a few new friends while working. It was also fun to see some friends who moved there a few years ago and their new home.

Here are a few things that I learned while in Portland:

1. When buying cases of beer, you must purchase either 1 or 3. I don't know why, but I was positioned across from the alcohol section and watched as people loaded their carts up with beer.
2. On that note, $300 for a ladder is a lot of money, however, $300 for wine isn't. I'm a little confused by this considering that the ladder has a lifetime warranty and the wine...well, a moment on the lips and all that.
3. Apparently, there are a lot of people who eat fish. This is a phenomenon not seen in Utah and definitely not appreciated by me. I mean seriously, why choose fish when you can have a good steak or something?
4. Rain gutters have to be cleaned out regularly. Of course, you have to have foliage for this to be a necessity.
5. Babies love to be in backpacks. Now, I have seen this before, just not in such high numbers. It seemed like every baby I saw was in a backpack on a parent's back.
6. The whole athletic clothing in the morning while running errands after your run isn't just for mornings when you are in Oregon. You can wear your workout clothes all day long. I often felt quite overdressed in my polo and khakis.
7. Lemon pudding cake is my favorite dessert ever. Previous to this, I had always thought it was my mom's pie. I must have been misinformed.
8. If you make friends with the sample ladies they will give you as many samples as you want. This is really good when it is steak and cheesecake day...I don't want to talk about it...
9. Days Inns do not have complimentary conditioner. Their target market must be men with short hair, because women understand how important hair conditioner is.
10. I have also had it reaffirmed that people outside of Utah find my sense of humor charming. In Utah, people stare at me blankly when I am trying to be funny. Elsewhere, they think I am freaking hilarious. I would move to a different state, but being in Utah keeps me humble.

I also found a new Italian restaurant that I love, visited the Portland Temple (pics will be up later), and realized that, yes, I can do this whole being a salesman thing. In fact, I quite enjoy it. Now off to Nashville, TN.