Monday, February 7, 2011

The Concrete Jungle

Toastmasters Induction Day - the theme was Spring - I had 3 jobs and a Table Topic. So as you can see I was busy today. At least at the TM meeting. Otherwise, all I really did was pick up my last paycheque.

The day didn't start out very well though. First of all, I didn't sleep at all last night. Well that's not entirely true. Well then again, yes it is. See, I did sleep. But it was in the morning after I took my morning pills. For about two hours. Then I had to be at Toastmasters. I couldn't really miss today, since it was my Induction Day - along with a fellow new member, Jeremy.

Jeremy also jumped right in and signed up to give his IceBreaker Speech today as well. I feel a bit bad that I didn't do mine even though I was asked. This is because I've been in Toastmasters before and Jeremy is just new so if he can jump right in then why the hell can't I. Well I guess that's just me. I also imagine it is better to make sure I'm fully prepared. This time around I want to do better than my first go round.

Anyway, the day continued to be bad after the sleep thing because, in order to get that two or so hours of sleep so that I would be at least functional at the meeting, I had to take a cab. That wouldn't be such a big deal as it is only an occasional thing now but after all, I'm not working anymore so it wasn't something I really wanted to do. Oh well. That was the least of it. The cab driver has a brand new GPS that he wants to screw around with. So when we get downtown and he seems to be going in the wrong direction (further west) at the last second just before going up the hill I stop him.

I get him to go up a hill that I think will get us close. It turns out that had I been right about the location of the building (based on the directions I was given at the previous meeting after all) it was exactly the right hill by chance. The one that goes up to the Chateau LaCombe and The Edmonton Journal building. So the building I was looking for was supposed to be just behind (to the South of) the Chateau LaCombe. So since there was no place to park on the hill, I had the driver drop me off in the Chateau LaCombe parking lot.

I then walk down the steep, curving hill that thankfully wasn't too icy. I find then that there is no front entrance, just two parking garage entrances. I walk back up the hill and the only thing I see is what appears to be an office or appartment building and not another hotel like I am looking for. So I walk back down the hill to see if I missed a side path to walk around to the front entrance. Nope.

I end up walking into the second entrance of the parkade and walking around the curving parkade for about a level. The first level had a card locked door so no luck there. So curving around the parkade I reach the second level. Finally a door that I could get in. It however, takes me to an area that has several doors that are numbered but seem to be hotel maintenance rooms only. The door to the hotel area is still a card lock door. So I decide the only thing left to do and hope for is that if I walk up the remainder of the seven total levels to the first main floor maybe it won't be key lock.

After all, how do new guests without the card get in. Luckily, at the top I am able to get in. But still, aargh. Seven levels through a damn parkade itself and it's stairwell. Turns out I was given faulty information. The main entrance is not actually behind the other hotel (the Chateau LaCombe), it's the parkade that is. The main entrance is off to the west side of the Chateau. It's on the top of the hill and off a couple of blocks as the river valley is wont to have strange ways. Perhaps if I had trusted the GPS I would have been taken to the front entrance.

Then when I get into the main entrance, there are several people in line at the dual check in/check out area. Even though I expected to be quite early I am only about fifteen minutes early at this point. I had to use the front desk as we weren't given the floor or room information at the previous meeting. While I was waiting, my luck changed though. Another Toastmaster walked in. He too needed to find out where to go

Since I was already in line, he waited by the elevators until I got the information. When we got up to the floor we were supposed to be on, I was glad he was there. It turns out that the hotel has hallways like a mouse maze. He found the way to the room. I'm sure I would have eventually but I would probably have gotten even more annoyed. Also, when we got there, we were only five minutes early.

I ended up with three jobs as I mentioned at the start. My assigned duty was to do an invocation. I chose to do it as a quotation which I was previously told was an acceptable alternative. I actually found the quote on the internet site Brainy Quotes
It was by the actor, comedian and all-around zany guy Robin Williams. The theme of the meeting was Spring of all things. The quote was short and sweet (and quite funny, not surprisingly considering the source).

It went like this... Spring is nature's way of saying "Let's Party!". LOL. I couldn't figure out why they picked spring as a theme though. At the meeting it was explained early on however that it was in relation to Groundhog's Day being a portend to spring. Still that is a minimum of six weeks away. Sheesh. A better theme might have been Groundhogs Day itself. Well I guess the Educational Vice President was being optimistic.

The second job I got was timer. I knew probably be doing this. The Ed. V.P. told me when he confirmed my main role that he didn't yet have a timer and if he couldn't find one would I do it. My final job was a big surprise. After the meeting had already started, a member who was sitting next to me that was doing the Speaker Evaluation (of Jeremy no less) asked me to evaluate his evaluation for his Leadership manual project.

I was surprised he picked me since I was just being inducted today as mentioned but I guess he remembered me saying that I had previously been a long term Toastmaster. I must say I enjoyed getting to do an evaluation and especially so early on. I will say it was a little bit of a challenge, though not as difficult as I thought it would be, to do the evaluation while trying to time Jeremy's speech. I slipped up a couple of times very minorly in timing the Table Topics due to trying to eat lunch but the evaluation and timing of the speech went without a hitch.

My Table Topic went ok. this time. It was definitely an easier topic this time than the last (first) time I got one since started at the Kossowan club. It had to do with the icy conditions. A lot easier than the previous one dealing with the possibility of an impending oil crisis. Lunch was simple. Hot dogs and hamburgers. There was also a macaroni salad but that didn't appeal to me. I would have preferred a potato salad. One nice thing was they didn't just serve coffee and tea but also had juice and pop to choose from.

After the meeting I made the trip over to Xentel to pick up my final cheque that I should have picked up Friday. That was rather uneventful. A few of the staff noticed me and said hi. One asked if I had found a job yet. I told him I hadn't even really started to look. My friend Debbie wasn't there though. The person who asked me about a new job, who is also close to Debbie, told me that she was off sick. She has had something for quite awhile that she hasn't been able to shake. I'm glad I never picked it up.

Well as you can see, the day started badly but in the end turned out ok. After all, it ended with me getting money. LOL. So my time in the concrete jungle of the parkade was a case of all's well that ends well.


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