From Where I Sit – All Work (and No Shopping) Makes Hazel a Dull Girl

With Roy’s new role as municipal councillor comes the opportunity, indeed the necessity, of attending conferences on governance and his related committee duties. In the past month, he has been to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and twice to Edmonton for stays of three days or more. In each case, I’ve tagged along on our own nickel.

For me the Louisiana trip was pure recreation. I was able to do a lot of touristy things because one of the other companions had rented a car. Wayne’s generosity in acting as chauffeur to me and another wife, Carolyn, has forever earned him a place in my heart. I’ve also got two Kenneth Cole handbags from the Tanger Outlet mall to remind me!

More recently I’ve been accompanying Roy to Edmonton. Each time, I’ve packed my laptop and all the paperwork that I need for the project I’m working on. I consider the arrangement win-win. I get to spend some free time with him instead of turning into a political widow, and I manage to fill my days with time-sensitive work that won’t tolerate extended absences.

I’m getting quite good at packing what I need as compactly as I can. I use a medium-sized wheeled suitcase so I can pack the laptop, keyboard, wireless mouse, support straps for my repetitive stress injuries, project binder, and files. I think the laptop is less of a theft magnet because It’s disguised in this way. Also on board is a pencil case with assorted pens, highlighters, a memory stick, and Post-It flags.

This is my modus operandi: unpack and set up my mini, temporary, portable command centre. It seems that most hotels are now bending over backwards to meet the needs of working guests. The desks are bigger and the chairs are firm. The last two hotels had free Wi-Fi, which makes my heart sing. The miracle of email allows total freedom to work from virtually anywhere, and no one is the wiser. My iPhone is the ultimate tool for keeping track of contact information for everyone I’m dealing with. The adequate desk lamp has an outlet built into the base for plugging in the computer. The last hotel offered free local phone calls; so much friendlier than the buck a call at the current one. That allowed me to contact some of the chefs I’m attempting to invite to our food tasting event.

Having Edmonton as my home base, even temporarily, allows me to do the running around locating sources and getting price quotes that is key to staging a successful event. As efficient as email and voice mail are, sometimes looking at someone eyeball to eyeball is the shortest distance to a successful working relationship.

So even though the 400 stores and services in Edmonton City Centre are just a pedway walk away, for now I’m being a good girl tethered to my computer, working, working, working. Hopefully there’s a shopping break in my future, from where I sit.

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