I Thought I Would Never Get Home

We were finally going live with our German corporate acquisition in June. The plan was for a colleague and me to fly in to Amsterdam and check out the city for a weekend then spend two weeks in Hamburg for the project cutover then spend another weekend in Prague before coming home. We also were considering an overnight to Copenhagen to visit another colleague on the weekend that fell between the two Hamburg weeks.

How did that work out for me?

Well, Amsterdam was cool.

The details of every event that conspired against us are the stuff of a novel. A long novel. I'll spare you all of those but, to give you an idea, we had three separate medical situations amongst our team members. How does that happen? Seriously, what are the odds that three different people would go down in one implementation?

A few days in to the first week in Hamburg and we called off Copenhagen. At the beginning of the second week, we knew Prague was going to fall by the wayside. Midway through the second week, I knew I had to extend my stay another week. In that third week, I considered extending my stay again but ultimately decided I needed to come home more than it was useful for me to stay since two of our colleagues were coming over from Phoenix to cover that week.

In total, I was in Europe or traveling to and fro for 23 days. That's just too long.

Here are some of the many reasons I knew I was gone too long and worked too many hours:

  • It goes without saying that I would know all of the hotel bar staff. But, I also knew all of the front desk personnel and when they were scheduled to work.
  • I gained a nodding acquaintance with the early morning hotel cleaning crew and the later afternoon cleaning crew at the office. The former actually changed their floor mopping schedule until after we got off the elevator in the morning.
  • Despite wearing my pants three times and my tops at least two times, I had to send out laundry. Twice.
  • There are easily 20 to 30 restaurants within two blocks of the hotel and we were repeating them.
  • I was living off of two time zones that were 9 hours apart. Early to the office, late at the office then back on the computer after getting back to the hotel so I could work real time with my home team became the norm.
  • I stopped wearing jewelry after day 2.
  • I stopped doing my hair beyond curling my bangs after day 4.
  • I stopped wearing makeup after day 6.
  • I had to restock my shampoo and conditioner.
  • Breakfast became a 3 EUR dried fruit and nut snack out of the mini-bar so I could eat something in the car on the way to the office.
  • In the last week, dinner two nights was the two 3 EUR Carlsberg beers in the mini-bar. Seriously, that was all I had.
  • Sleep became the most previous substance on earth. I chose to go to bed whenever I could instead of going out for dinner and/or drinks. That ain't natural.
File this one under "There's no place like home".

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