Heading back home -- 11/15/01

Okay, so here I am again, typing an entry while in an airport -- this time at gate B27 at Pittsburgh International, waiting for USAirways flight 1106 to Providence. I've already had a big lunch -- too big, truth be told -- and since I seem to complain with some frequency that I lack sufficient free time to update this website as often as I would like, it would seem to make perfect sense to make productive use of this unavoidable downtime.

I'm actually feeling quite tired -- what I'd really like right now is a nice nap. I have mentioned in the past that I sometimes have difficulty getting a good night's sleep when I am on the road... having difficulty falling asleep or (even worse sometimes) waking up in the middle of the night after just an hour or two of sleep and then being unable to return to sleep. Fortunately, I did not have any problems like that this time, although Sully, the other instructor I've been working with this week, complained to me that he wasn't able to get a decent night's sleep this week, a problem that he tells me that he also frequently suffers when on the road. I woke up once or twice each night but then returned to sleep fairly easily. Despite that, I still didn't get enough sleep -- not exactly a new thing, as I tend not to get enough sleep at home either --essentially, just a problem of going to sleep too late and having to get up too early.

The Hilton in Pittsburgh has a good fitness center -- although I only made use of it twice during the four days I've been here. I've been getting up shortly before six in the morning -- except for yesterday. On Monday morning I got in a short run on a treadmill and then did a bit of stretching and working out with handweights before going to work. Sully and I had been here in October to attend an existing training class given by an instructor from the branch of our company that specializes in doing training plus some additional presentations on that same software system given by one of our technical gurus -- our mission was to take all of that material and turn it into an enhanced course for our branch of the company, for internal and/or private classes, not for public open enrollment purposes -- Sully had done a "first cut" rewrite of the first two days of the class -- I'm supposed to work on enhancing the rest of the course, primarily technical stuff dealing with java , XML, XSL, WML, and a few other letters of the alphabet *grin* -- but due to teaching a different class during the time since attending the class and due to the need to bring myself up to speed in certain areas (Sully's been working with the product for some time now and helped to write parts of the existing standard course) I had barely had time to review the existing presentations and lab exercises. Sully did all of the presentations on Monday and Tuesday while I took notes on how long each sectin took, what kinds of questions the students asked, etc. -- after Sully's final presentation on Tuesday, the rest of the course was mine. Monday night I had dinner with Emily but Tuesday night I was reviewing the material I would be presenting on Wednesday and adding some additional "screens" to the presentations -- finally about half past ten o'clock I decided to give up for the night and go to bed, reading for a while in bed and finally falling asleep somewhere between eleven-thirty and midnight -- then getting up about quarter to four to work on my presentation some more.

Wednesday was a long day -- I stumbled around my hotel room and attempted to make a pot of coffee (I love that way a coffee pot is a standard accessory in hotel rooms these days) only to discover that I only had decaffinated coffee -- this called for a a quick request for a pack of the real stuff -- then work on my presentations -- leave the hotel at eight a.m. for the walk to work -- start my first lecture around nine a.m. -- after lunch some of the students were asking if I could also give the remaining presentations that afternoon so that those who were zipping through the exercises quickly might be able to leave that night instead of today and, after determining that the class as a whole was in favor of that, I agreed and did my Thursday morning presentations on Wednesday afternoon -- of course, with some students attempting to finish all of their lab work on Wednesday, I ended up staying to supervise until almost eight o'clock at night -- that does make for a rather long day. When I got back to the hotel I got on the phone and got my Friday morning flight changed to this afternoon and told the hotel I would be checking out a day early.

I had a bunch of email to go through (mostly work-related, although I did check out two or three online journals) so I did a bit of that, went down to the Pub for dinner (buffalo chicken sandwich, french fries and a Guinness) then back up to the room for more work email, some memo writing, etc., and then to bed around eleven, reading a novel until almost midnight, then sleep until 5:45 a.m. (waking up twice for a few minutes) Wow, what excitement!! -- doesn't this narrative of a typical day on the road inspire you to wish you could lead a life as filled with such glamor and excitement? So... this morning I managed to get down to the fitness center for another treadmill run and a a brief session using weights, then shower, back everything, and off to work a bit past eight, spending the morning with those students who were still working on labs.

If my flight is on time I expect to be home aound seven o'clock tonigh. Now that I'm going to be home a day early, I have to decide what I am going to do on Friday. I would like to get to my office because I have some paperwork and administrivia to take care off, expense account stuff, etc. but I also would like to take a vacation day because next week and the week after I'd like to join in some remote technical seminars (download graphics files to PC, then dial in via phone on a conference call to listen to the discussion and ask questions) that are going to be held on days I had scheduled for vacation days and I really need to use up my vacation time because I can't carry it over to next year.

And here I am back home... my flight left on time, landed on time, I got my suitcase, caught the shuttle van to Thrifty Car Rental (I use them for long-term parking), got into my car and arrived home a few minures before seven p.m. It's nine-thirty now and I've tossed my laundry into the washer while I wait for Sean to get off the phone so I can dial in and post this to Geocities. (My laptop uses token-ring for network connectivity at work; what I should do is get an ethernet card for it so I could hook up to our home network so my laptop could share in our broadband access.)

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