Whenever organizations go beyond the confines of a single state operation to a national or even an international level, the necessity for business travel greatly increases for some of the higher up, muckity- mucks that are responsible for the well being of their company. Life is no different here at TharpSter.Org. Aside from our interests in auto parts stores and chinchilla ranches here in Texas, we also have operations of an unnamed sort in Colorado too. Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m one of the aforementioned muckity-mucks.
This last week called for me to make a trip to Colorado for two specific purposes. The primary reason was that a visit to the TharpSter Mom has been long overdue. Whereas she just recently purchased a new house, the second goal of the trip was to aid in putting some of the finishing touches on said house, which will also be considered the newest branch of operations here at TharpSter.Org.
I’d like to report to you at this time that the trip was a success. The heir-unapparents of the TharpSter dynasty got a chance to see a state other than Texas, and at the same time had an impromptu snowball fight at Green Mountain Falls. Whereas most of that fight was spent by my 15 year old son pummeling my 13 year old daughter and the TharpSter Mom’s 12 year old Toyota Camry with snowball after snowball, the true winning moment of the battle involved the boy getting hit by a decisively targeted throw which landed just below his beltline. Yeah, she may throw like a girl (much like our current President), but my daughter knew where to aim in order to stop the onslaught.
Even though the first official business trip of TharpSter.Org was a success, it would be negligent on my part if I didn’t point out a few events and mock them for all they are worth. After all, that’s why I publish a lot of this stuff and why you read it. Right?
Sunday evening, we found ourselves in the second to last row of the plane. In the same general area of the plane, there was one gentleman who was returning home to Colorado from Texas. He was surrounded by a gaggle of college girls from here in Texas. They were en route to their spring break vacation where they would be skiing. Just hours before, in the San Antonio airport, one of the young ladies had seen someone she recognized as one of the guys on the show “Desperate Housewives”. She didn’t know his real name, however she had run him down and managed to get an autograph before the final boarding call. I was ready to lay odds on the fact that she still didn’t know his name, even after the encounter.
Fast forward a few hours, and we are on approach into Denver. The young lady who had obtained the autograph from a perfect stranger had joined her friends in a round of 20 stupid questions to ask the guy from Colorado. Sadly, the pilot had told us to turn off our electronic devices, so I was trapped in listening to the questions. Autograph girl asked the doozy. “So what do they call people from Colorado? Is it ‘Coloradians’?” The popping noises I started hearing at that point were actually the veins in the head of the poor man who was being asked such questions.
“No.” He responded politely. “They’re ‘Coloradans’.”
I couldn’t help but ask a follow up question regarding the same subject matter. “While you were in San Antonio, did you meet any ‘Texians’?”
In my time in Colorado this last week, I didn’t hear of any incidents about rookie skiers running into trees, so I can only assume the poor girl wore a helmet on her vacation.
I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons for going was to help put the finishing touches on the northern branch of TharpSter.Org. In the last month that the TharpSter Mom has occupied these facilities, she’s been going round and round with the individual who was remodeling the kitchen. Missed deadlines, broken promises, and strange stories have been delivered by her realtor, who was involved in the project. Throughout that time, little hints which questioned his competence became painfully obvious to those of us who were using the finished (I use that term loosely) product. Things finally came to a head at the kitchen sink one afternoon when the pressure generated by the garbage disposal pushed the P trap away from the pipe it was attached to, all because a compression ring had not been used in the fitting. A package of two of these bad boys set us back a little less than $2.00. We got it fixed that day, and at the same time, the TharpSter Mom put in a call to the offending party about what had happened. The call resulted in her leaving a voice mail, as I’m guessing he was using the miracle of caller id at the time. I myself would have followed up with an email novella of what had happened and what I expected as a result, however I think Mom made her point pretty clearly on the phone.
Did you know that there is a place in Alaska where you can by flannel pajamas which have a cartoon like moose print on them? Did I mention yet that the TharpSter Mom made a trip to the Alaska a few years ago to see the Iditarod? I probably didn’t. I guess that little tidbit is neither here nor there.
The next morning, the Jack of all trades and master of none appeared at the door ready to fix the problem. Mom had barely gotten up, so I attended to the situation. I proceeded to tell him what the source of the problem was and how it was fixed. As I began to quiz ole ‘Jack’ about his installation of the new garbage disposal and the negligence he displayed by not testing it to make sure there would be not downstream impacts, I was halted by a new arrival to the kitchen.
It was Mom. She had her moose print jammies on. She also had that look on her face that I hadn’t seen in many a year, however I knew it well. Even though I was being very direct and forward with the newest bane of Mom’s existence, I obviously wasn’t ripping him a new one in as painful or expedient of a manner as she envisioned. I guess that’s where Mom and I differ a little. I tend to guide people into the epiphany that they just stepped into a warm, steamy pile of crap instead of telling them point blank. Mom just tells them they tracked something in on the carpet. Consider Jack’s point of view though. First thing in the morning, he got up and went to a client’s house to fix a problem. As a result, he got chewed out by a lady who was so ticked off, she had cast aside any social etiquette and gave him a piece of her mind while wearing moose print pajamas. Granted, such an event didn’t come close to what Lyndon Johnson was known for doing, however anything else which could have happened to Jack during the rest of the day would have failed in comparison.
By the last day of our visit, most of the finishing touches on the northern branch of TharpSter.Org had been completed. With most of the checklist crossed off, we packed up and headed for Pike’s Peak, where we would board the cog train which goes all the way up to the 14,000 foot summit. Sadly, there was snow on the rail that day, so we were only able to achieve about 12,000 feet instead. I won’t go into too much detail about the view or the facts and figures which we were provided, as any of that stuff can be googled.
I do, however, want to call attention to the “comfort station” which we stopped at about halfway along the way of our decent. There was nothing special about it. There was no building there with a gift shop. There was no rest stop like attraction which could serve to allow the tourists to relieve themselves. The only thing there was a couple of portable toilets which were provided by an outside vendor. It’s not every day that you run across a company who will ascend and descend a mountain like Pike’s Peak on a regular basis for the soul purpose of servicing the biological demands of tourists. I certainly offer props to the good people of Super Bowl Portable Restrooms, Inc. for taking on such an ambitious task.
One interesting thing came out of that tour on that particular morning. During the rest stop, the tour guide had spoken to several of us and asked where we were from. When we resumed our descent, he got on the microphone and asked everyone who wasn’t from Texas to raise their hands. Only about 25% of the tourists raised their hands. Who would have ever thought that so many Texians would have been on the cog train at one time?
By the time we got to the bottom of the mountain, I ran across a t-shirt which I really wanted to buy for the small group of people I work with. Across the top, it said “I Like It On Top”. The Cog Train Logo was printed right below it. Sadly, I opted out of the purchase when I realized that such a move could land me in extended discussions with Human Resources. Since my work at TharpSter.Org has yet to match what I make as the Executive Director of Cubicle S4567, I’m not going to push it at this point.
Now that’s not to say I didn’t come back without a souvenir though. When I went to the doctor the next day complaining of sinus congestion, pressure headaches, and clogged ear canals, he felt compelled to write down the fact that I had climbed Pike’s Peak the previous day. It was the most interesting thing he had heard all day. Once I told him I did it by train, and not on foot, he was less impressed. He subsequently prescribed an antibiotic for an ear infection and sent me on my own little way.
As I said before, the trip was a success. The northern branch is in pretty good shape, regardless of the relaxed dress code. The kids return to school in a few days where they can tell stories about the evils of yellow snow. Within a day or so, a group of college girls will return home and fondly remember the time when they got that dude’s autograph in the airport and then met a real nice Coloradian on the plane. In the meantime, I’ll be off for a few more days in hopes of assembling the TharpSter Pool in the backyard. That is, of course, if I can get time off from producing more cock and bull stories to feed to the web.