16 March 2013

The VCTM Conference 2013

This past weekend I went on a business trip. Wait, what? A teacher who has a business trip? That's crazy talk! Well, maybe it is, but I've never claimed to be entirely sane. I went with four other colleagues to the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics' annual conference in Virginia Beach. You may begin laughing now, though that's not the joke. That's the serious part, I really did go to a math conference. The conference itself was interesting, but I have a feeling you're more interested in my accomodations than the actual math sessions I attended.
There were a lot of important calls to be made on this, my
first business trip.
This was the first time in my life (I'm 27) that I've had a hotel room all to myself. I've shared hotel rooms/hostels with strangers, friends, family members, parakeets, street vendors, knife salesmen, marching bands, and hackey sack players, but never had the opportunity to have a room entirely to myself. This comes with advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage is that there is no one to take your picture, so be prepared for a lot of selfies. I was tempted to invite one of my colleagues to take some pictures for me, but as you can see most of the pictures are of me in a robe and I wasn't sure I would be sending the right message by asking them to come into my room and take photos of me in a robe. One advantage to your own place is that you can DO WHATEVER YOU WANT (limited only by a legal and moral code, of course). So what did I do? I lived like a king. First, I bought a crown. Then I put on the Westin robe, got a diamond encrusted cane, and walked around my room commanding my make-believe peons to bring me things like fizzy water and pears. Isn't that what everyone does when the get a hotel room all to themselves the first time?
Awesome bathrobe.
But don't think it was all play! As you can see from the picture there were lots of phone calls to make and tons of note-taking to do. My first important phone call was to the concierge to learn how late the pool was going to be open. The second call was to the kitchen to see if they had any pears or fizzy water (turns out make-believe food only works in Hook). My third, fourth, fifth, and sixth important calls were to the parking attendant to make sure my car was still there. By the sixth call he seemed a little perturbed so I laid off the phone a bit. As for the note-taking, well, there was a lot of prep work that needed to be done before the conference. Who knew that being in charge of a hotel room could be such a magnificent responsibility? In the past it's always been my mother or the knife salesman that handled everything so I could just relax, but this was not the case flying solo. Some questions I had to give deep thought to included:

  1. Do I want new towels? The Westin had a very complex system of  towel washing, where you had to leave the towels on the ground if you wanted them replaced. Who on Earth came up with that idea? The thing that perplexed me most was, where on the ground? I ended up throwing them all out the window, and they were most certainly not replaced the next day.
  2. Do I want to use both shower heads or just one? The Westin has a (supposedly) patented dual shower head where one is always on, and the second has a switch to turn it on or off. I would have been fine if there was no explanation, but then they threw in this bit about conserving water and preserving renewable resources and before I knew it I was feeling guilty taking a shower. Flummoxed as to what I should do to stay clean while still being considerate of Mother Earth, I opted for a waterless shower. This was especially applicable since all my towels were on the pavement 9 floors below me. I lathered myself with antibacterial disinfectant, washed my face with a Chlorox wetnap, then spent an hour applying lotion so that my skin wouldn't dry out. When I finally went to bed I didn't feel much cleaner.
  3. What to watch? The Westin had so many channels it was crazy. There were sports game, infomercials, movies, and sitcoms all at my fingertips. Do most people get more than 4 channels? I have no idea. When I'm faced with so many choices I usually ask myself, "What would Jesus do in this situation?" This maxim has saved me from a lot of trouble, except for the time I brought wine to a Mormon wedding instead of water, and the time I mistook the Temple Recommend desk for a money changing table and flipped it upside down in a fit of anger. But other than that it's been a great philosophy to live by. I ended up watching a carpenter channel.
  4. How many pillows do I want? My Mom once told me some pillows are for sleeping on, and some are for decoration. I remember that part, but I have no idea how to tell which is which. They all looked white and fluffy to me. I bit into one to make sure it wasn't a marshmallow, and sure enough it wasn't. To solve this problem I came up with an ingenious solution. I invited my co-worker over for a pillow fight, and told her she got all the decorative pillows to use, and I'd take the rest. Is that not a brilliant way to learn the difference without having to admit you can't tell a pillow apart from a marshmallow or what? I was pleased with myself. When I called her she asked why she could hear wood being cut in the background and asked if I was destroying the furniture. It's like she had no trust in me or something.
  5. The final question on my mind regarding my responsibilities with the estate was, "How do I want to wake up in the morning?" At home I have an alarm clock, but I left it at home. At The Westin I could use a wake-up call, but I feel like my most recent doctor's appointment where I was diagnosed with a cat allergy was enough of a wake-up call to last me through the year. Should I use my cell phone alarm clock? I'm always skeptical at using biological instruments (i.e.- a cell phone) as a time keeping device. I could open the blinds and let the sun wake me up old school, but then I remembered there were at least two set of blinds/drapes on the windows and I wasn't smart enough to open even one of them, nevermind two. In the end I decided the only logical thing to do was to buy a rooster. There weren't many rooster shops open at 11:00pm in Virginia Beach, so I settled for buying an alarm clock that made a rooster noise. It worked great.

Watching the carpenter successfully measure
once and cut twice.
In case you haven't noticed yet, I spent a lot of time in that bathrobe. Is there anything better than a nice bathrobe? Maybe a large Hawai'ian pizza, but the bathrobes are definitely a close second.
Asleep at last. I don't remember taking
this picture, but when I woke up in the
morning it was on my phone...
I'm the kind of guy who liked to take FULL advantage of what's been given him. As such, I made sure to use the hotel gym and the hotel pool, even though I had forgotten my swimming trunks (I'll let you think that one through).
Somehow I survived this momentous occasion. My mother was so proud of me when she learned all the things I accomplished, and a little disheartened that I couldn't tell the difference between decorative pillows and sleeping pillows. Perhaps I should have asked the parking attendant...


Emily said...

I love the selfies and I love the bathrobe:)

Anonymous said...

Love the post and love the photos. Way to appreciate the finer things in life!