It was brutal start for the day. I woke up at 3:30am to meet SAF’s system administrator Joe Aldeguer at the office so we both can check out the network then drive to the airport. After things checked out at the office, we left around 4:45 to arrive at Reagan National by 5am for a 7am flight. Crazy early you say? Well, Joe insisted we get there early because he is quite particular in that way but since the same trait makes him an extraordinary system admin, I’m all good. The most unfortunate soul in all this was Anita, Joe’s wife who dropped us off. That’s devotion for you.
We grabbed breakfast at McDonald’s and settled in our seats. After we finished our breakfast, the rest of the SAF staff taking the same flight showed up and were unsurprised to see their IT staff already waiting. I’ve known most of these folks for more than 10 years so it’s really much like travelling with your family. We all know each other so well that just from a few facial expressions, grunts and groans, we’re able to communicate our morning moods.
We all arrived in Atlanta and proceeded to the gate listed on our boarding passes. Our flight out of DC was 20 minutes late so we needed to walk briskly to our gate in Atlanta. If you ever been to Atlanta Airport, you’ll know it’s like a mini city complete with its own subway system. Like sheep we committed to this information – gate A1. You may think this would be the first gate but it’s actually the most furthest. We arrive at A1 with 35 minutes till departure when Jeanne Ramsay receives a frantic call from Lin Schmale. B26! Nothing was mentioned during the flight but totally our bad because we should have checked the gate info.
Arrival in West Palm Beach was smooth and it was a nice pleasant drive to The Breakers. Truly, The Breakers is just an absolutely spectacular property. No wonder we’ve had our convention here three times in the last 14 years. It’s been memorable for SAF members as well considering more than a few have considered conventions at The Breakers as “the best ever.” Opulence and elegance. Check the pics.
Mondays for staff mean mass unpacking of all the materials we’ll need for the week. For Joe and myself, it means setting up a remote IT infrastructure. This includes two workstations in the staff office, two at registration, two to serve as Internet access points and setting up a wireless network for SAF members toting laptops. Done. Joe and I have been doing this long enough it took a mere two hours. We then had our pre-con meeting with hotel staff and polished off our afternoon stuffing bags for the giveway sponsored by our magazine Floral Management. We also toured the property. I was happy I was able to recall much from my last trip here eight years ago.
Last event for the evening was our Monday staff dinner. It’s always a good tradition considering the amount of work we’ll be doing during the week. We arrived as friends and must leave as friends next Sunday. Finally in my room. Nice. Check the pics. After this post, I must get my rest for a 7am meeting. That’s actually the only opportunity to “sleep in” as every morning meeting after that starts promptly at 5:45am. Goodnight.
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