Every year, the Michigan Transition Services Association has a 2-day conference, and this year, I was able to go. That’s right, folks, I am on an honest-to-gosh business trip–my first one ever! I definitely feel like I’m moving up in the world.
If you don’t live in Michigan, then you don’t know that it has lots of cute, touristy towns that make you feel like you’re a family back in the 1950’s, on vacation. This conference is in one such town, Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “little Bavaria.” Everything here is “old fashioned” German, and the town is perpetually decorated for Christmas. Tomorrow, we’re going to take Jelly Bean to Bronner’s, which is an insanely large Christmas store.
All the rooms that weren’t ridiculously lavish (and expensive) at the hotel where the conference is being held, were already booked, so I got us a reasonably priced room at the Springhill. This morning, when I left, I knew which direction I needed to go, and that the conference was at the Bavarian Inn, which is the hotel with the indoor waterpark. I didn’t know my way around town, since I haven’t been here since I was the Bean’s age, but I knew we weren’t far from the conference. So I departed.
And that is where today’s adventure begins.
After a couple of blocks, I passed the Bavarian Inn restaurant. There definitely was not a hotel there, and the parking lot was rather empty, so there was certainly no conference going on. So I continued down the road. The buildings were becoming further spread-out, the right lane ended, and I was approaching a sign that read, “Auf Wiedersehen.” That’s not good.
Then, on my left, I saw a large, cutsie German building, with lots of Christmas decorations, and a very obvious waterpark inside. Hurray!
Hurriedly, I grabbed my iPad and walked inside. No sign of any conference. So I asked the girls at the front desk, if the transition conference was being held there. They said it was not, then asked where it was held. When I answered they said, no, this is Zehnder’s hotel, the other hotel/waterpark’s arch rival. The hotel I was looking for was behind the restaurant, and down the road. I thanked them and made my way back to the car.
Before I go on, there are a few things you need to know. First, I was driving the Saturn, which has manual locks and windows (and transmission, much to my delight). Second, since we were in the “big city,” Rob had locked all of the doors, except mine. And third, I’m not in the habit of locking doors or taking my keys out of the ignition, when I park.
It was the perfect storm.
Still hurrying, I pulled the handle on the driver’s side door. Locked. In my rush, I must have locked the door, but forgotten to grab the keys. Shoot.
I walked back inside, and asked if there was anyone I could call, to get the door of my car open. I already felt bad, because I was giving the hotel no business (although it was an adorable little kid paradise–we will have to make a trip there sometime!), and asking favors of them. I expected to get the number of a towing company or something similar.
Instead, the receptionist calls maintenance on her radio. He says he’ll be there in 15 minutes. When he isn’t there 20 minutes later, the girl calls again, then says she’ll drive me to the conference in the hotel’s van, and that I can call her when it is over, and she’ll pick me up. Then, we can deal with the keys.
I took her up on the offer, arriving just in time to enjoy some egg casserole and coffee, right before the keynotes speaker. I made sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up lots of fudge, for the staff of the rival hotel to have in their break room.
I enjoyed the conference, got a ride back to the hotel, gave them the fudge, and was able to get back into my car, without having to call a towing company.
Overall, it was a most excellent day.
The Germans should be better recognized for their hospitality…