Truly, I did not swallow any dental instruments, but :

  • I worked for months and months (on and off) planning little “Welcome to Utah” gifts. I poured Utah honey into thirty-five smaller jars from the big jugs (because it was less expensive than letting THEM do it – and they promised me it wouldn’t introduce bad, wicked bacteria), I distributed Redmond RealSalt into thirty-five small shakers, I obtained two varieties of “Salt Water Taffy” that made in Utah. I typed up the nutritional and background information. I obtained attractive twine (yes, some twine is more aesthetically pleasing than other varieties) and tissue paper AND Chinese food take-out containers in which to put the “Welcome to Utah” gifts. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the course notes and such (done on Engineer time – which means the ABSOLUTELY LAST MINUTE POSSIBLE – I think ALL the course notes were printed by the THIRD day of the FOUR DAY COURSE) prevented me from actually putting the tags and the jute ribbon and the names and all on my “Welcome” gifts. Therefore, I “Welcomed” a handful of people to Utah as they LEFT the State and/or Country and still need to mail the packages to some others who had earlier departure dates. Had my Mom not rescued me (and the people and what I will be nice and call the “languorous” Kinkoes – they seem to work hard, but it is at a pace so UNBELIEVEABLY SLOW that I think any group of simians – take your pick – could have far exceeded their speed without a single opposable thumb amongst them) everything would have gone all to HELL and there would have been NO course notes and NO “Welcome gifts.” Nor would there have been thirty-seven copies of the seventy-four introductory pages (TWO introductory pages) that had ALREADY been copied and were ready to insert. Mind you, it wasn’t her fault – my Dad just stacked them on top of the other pages that needed to be copied. She was beginning to think that the introduction was a WEE bit long-winded – 2,738 copies makes a tall stack, after all.
  • Oh yes – another lesson. I reiterate – it’s IMPERATIVE to check if the overflow lodging has air conditioning, ESPECIALLY if it’s unseasonably warm – even in the mountains. One might find themselves sitting at the very expensive “boutique” lodge dealing with all the late check-ins (which was MOST of the check-ins – wait – ENGINEER TIME. If I had a freakin’ nickel for every time someone said “I meant to be here earlier…) and have the most pleasant surprise of a guest walking back from the over-flow accommodations next door saying, “It’s 86 degrees over there. Is there air conditioning?” I wanted to say, “Of COURSE – I would be a BLITHERING IDIOT not to have confirmed such a thing.” So I confirmed it right that minutes. Alas, no air conditioning. This is when I got VERY creative on an extremely large sleep deficit. So and so and so and so were NOT taking the first half of the course, so Dr. A and Dr. B could have those rooms for several days and I could put several graduate students (and it WAS ladies first) in another room for the same reason. Soon my well-organized rooming list (which I’d worked on for months) looked was obliterated with red ink and all my sinister, well-laid plans to put big oil people in the same suite as the bio-fuel conservation people were shot to hell (it was to be SCIENCE to see what would happen – I figured either WWIII – wait, too late – forgive me my Republican friends – WWIII.5 or World Peace and an end to the energy crisis). But that wasn’t the lesson I was going to mention. I was going to say that the ONE person you inadvertently assume is a MAN is going to be a WOMAN. And they are going to be the one flying all the way from NORWAY. I checked every name that could have gone either way (gender-wise) – even if I had a fairly good inkling – EXCEPT the “guy from Norway.” Why didn’t I check? WHY? I don’t know. Is it the presumption of my Scandahoovian bloodlines? Well, in this case, being a descendant of King Frostti Snarlsson (sp?) of Kvenland did me no good whatsoever. In fact, I think it made me subconsciously a Norwegian KNOW-IT-ALL. The name does appear masculine, if you say it in a stupid American accent. When someone from NORWAY says it, it is so strikingly feminine and lovely and only someone who wanted a son with profound gender-confusion would use the name for a BOY. So, at about 1:30 a.m., after I’ve called back to Utah Valley and said, I’m just waiting for the “guy from Norway” – I feel like I should wait for the “GUY FROM NORWAY,” a lovely blonde woman will walk up to the front desk. I don’t remember who I guessed she was, but as soon as she spoke, I KNEW what I’d done. I believe my eyes, as big as saucers, gave away my little faux pas. If they did not, then whatever blustering stream of consciousness I launched at Dr. Skagseth no doubt did (at the end of the week she sweetly said, “I hope I didn’t scare you too much”). Bless her. I stared at her, I stared at the rooming list – I was thinking I CANNOT PUT THE WOMAN WHO CAME ALL THE WAY FROM NORWAY INTO A SUITE WITH A STRANGE MAN – granted, everyone had separate bedrooms and bathrooms and such, but STILL – she’d had horrible taxi difficulties, fourteen or so hours in the air, and evidently an unsightly wreck on the highway (it almost sounded pretty when she said it, but still…) – I could NOT PUT HER IN A SUITE WITH A STRANGE MAN. Luckily, I had an epiphany. We’d had co-workers from Canada cancel and then UNCANCEL and I’d added a participant in the meantime (trying to recoup the income), so I told them they’d HAVE to share a suite – at least they knew each other – and they didn’t arrive until the next day. So I did my five hundredth room switch of the night and put Lovely Ms. Norway in with Lovely Ms. Chinese-Canada.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you why it might be wise to carry a variety of award certificates (suitable for framing, naturally) and random gift certificates in your purse. Let me take that back – I’ll tell you why I need to carry award certificates and random gift certificates in MY purse. And all y’all – those who mocked me for my capacious “Healthy Back Bag” – I curse its untimely death and I curse YOU (a little).