Monday, January 10, 2011

Mel goes to "Cold-Lanta"

I know Atlanta is known as "Hot-lanta" but it certainly did not live up to it's name on this trip! I was invited by the Ciena marketing team to join the "All Hands Marketing Meeting" that Ciena hosts annually. The purpose of the trip is for a few select vendors to give a presentation about their company and how they have contributed to Ciena's success and it also gave many Ciena executives the opportunity to give presentations in their area of expertise.

After all of the hospitals, drama and chin busting here at home, I was ready for a breath of fresh air. Don't get me wrong, I never want to be away from my fam, but it was time for Mommy to be an adult for a couple of days :) Fortunately, DeDe was able to come in from Little Rock to help watch the kids while I was gone. They ended up shortening and delaying the conference by a day, so I was only gone for 2 days instead of 3 full days. A special thank you to my Mom for taking the reins on Thursday and helping with the kiddos. YaYa and DeDe - thank you for always being there for me! I can't live without you!

Once DeDe arrived, so did the snow, sleet and ice. School was cancelled and the Atlanta airport was shut down entirely. I honestly didn't think there was any way I would actually make the flight. They were cancelling flights left and right and when I went to bed on Monday night, I knew I wasn't going to go most likely. I went ahead and packed up just in case, but needless to say, I was disappointed. I really was looking forward to connecting with my team members and learning more about Ciena.

Sure enough, I get the call from Cory that we are a go! I was shocked but prepared and very excited! The flight was smooth, but all of us were amazed that they flew in the snowy and icy conditions. In fact, the weather was so bad that the entire Boston group was unable to attend. 30% of the expected attendees were unable to join due to the weather. Crazy!

After we landed we picked up the rental car (it was me and three other men that I work with). We all looked at each other and realized, "Oh NO - we have to drive to the hotel!" The drive was about 15 miles from the airport, but it felt like an hour. There were cars sliding all over the road. The guys joked with the "prayer warrior" (me) so I made sure and sent a few prayers of protection over our car. Fortunately, we made it unscathed.

We stayed at the "W" - Midtown. The hotel was awesome. I was incredibly happy to be there. We had a wonderful dinner at the "City Kitchen" and enjoyed good ole' southern comfort food. The fried chicken was off the chain! The company was great and I had an awesome night. The next day was a non-stop meeting day. I hit the rack super early that night and we worked the next day and made it home safely by Thursday night. DeDe had to leave early to make it back in time to meet up with Andrea and the boys, so I was really happy YaYa was able to step in and help with those last few hours of childcare. Fortunately, everyone did great at home! I was so relieved and came back a better version of myself. It was a great little getaway.
Here are a few horrible cell phone pics:

The weather was delightful
View from my hotel window

My awesome room

The chandelier in the main lobby

The "hidden seating area" - we all came back after dinner and hung here for about an hour and chatted. It was a really cool vibe.
Good times in Hot-cold-lanta! I hope they ask me to come again next time.

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