My apologies to all of my readers for missing all of my posts last week. Honestly, it was a crazy week for me. I work in the marine industry, and given where I’m from, our season is starting to unwind as we gear up for the holidays. This is the first year that I’m considered full time, because last year I was still in school. So with that, I got to go to our big marine dealer conference down in Orlando, Florida! The Good:
1. It has been a very rewarding, educational, and exciting experience. I’ve gotten to meet so many people from within this industry that have years of experience ahead of me. I also got to meet some young professionals like myself who are just starting to break their way through, and are eager to network with others.
2. I got to see my first cable park! For those who don’t know, a cable park is a track on the water with jumps and obstacles for different water sports. Mostly we saw wake boarders, but there were some knee boards as well for the little kids. It was so cool! You just hang on to the handle like you’re behind a boat and you follow the track for as long as you want.
3. I got to take a few classes on better customer experiences, and marketing our brand, which I found particularly rewarding due to my own blogging activity. I found myself ahead of many of the people in my classes due to my experience with all of you!
4. Getting to see Orlando during a “non-busy” time has definitely been beneficial. Usually by April and May it’s completely swamped there and you can barely navigate around all of the tourists. But lucky for us, it really wasn’t that crowded. I even got to go for a run around the block some mornings!
5. I got a promotion! The company that I work for has appointed me their marketing director, in addition to the sales work that I’ve been doing for the past year. It’s a position I’ve worked extremely hard to get to, including 4 years of college. I’m excited to learn about all the new technologies and techniques involved in the marketing world.
I got to go to Howl at the Moon for the first time ever, and it was amazing! Howl at the Moon is a piano bar where they do cover songs from every artist imaginable. They’re so talented, and it’s such a fun experience. I went with some new friends who know the area much better than I did.
1. As I landed in Washington DC to make my connection on Friday the 13th, (how fitting) news of the Paris attacks were on every TV in the airport. It was a scary place to be at that time, because I instantly thought of 9/11. It was hard to get on the plane knowing how scared those people must be, and knowing that when I got off the plane things could be even worse. And they were.
2. With the way that our vacations fell this year, Kyle left for training from the 5th to the 8th, then he came back and left for a hunting trip on the 9th. I flew out on the 13th, and he returned on the 14th. Talk about just missing each other.
3. Given some issues with finding tickets to come home, we planned to drive back. At first it seemed like a great idea, who doesn’t love a road trip?! I’ll tell you who doesn’t love road trips anymore: ME. It took 26 hours to travel up the entire East Coast, and I’m not even going to sugarcoat it, we were miserable. But we stuck it out, and my coworkers and I drove straight through, only stopping for bathroom breaks and snacks.
4. And finally, the worst of all… When we reached Virginia, just short of Richmond, we were about 10 hours into our trip. When you go on any long drive, you have to think to yourself “What could possibly go wrong with our vehicle?” But what happened was beyond anything we could have predicted.
It was 3:30 am and we were going about 80 on I95. There were no cars in sight, and it was just barely sprinkling outside. My coworker Jon, who is much taller than me, was unable to sleep in the front seat so I asked him if he’d like to switch with me. We switched, he laid down, and everything seemed to be smooth sailing.
That’s when we heard a loud pop, and glass started spraying through the back seats. I looked back at my coworker to make sure that he was okay, and he looked back at me with wide eyes asking what had happened. I couldn’t tell at first, until I saw the glass shattering away from a small hole in the passenger side rear window. Something came through one side of the car, and had exited through the other side window.
We immediately got off the highway to assess what had happened, because we were all so confused and in shock. I ran into the gas station to buy us some trash bags and duct tape to cover the windows, knowing that we still had atleast 12 hours to go. I told the attendant that we had our windows blown out by something, and that’s when she asked, with a completely calm expression, “Is it a bullet hole?”
Um, what? I stared at her for a moment in disbelief, but she just blinked back at me, waiting. I told her I wasn’t sure what caused it, and she continued on to tell me that in the past two nights someone had been shooting at cars, and they haven’t been able to catch the person yet. She told me that it was a very bad area, and a lot had been going on lately. So many thoughts went through my head in those moments. I wondered if it could really be true, and if we narrowly missed what could have been so horrible. If my coworker hadn’t been laying down to sleep, or if we had never switched places. Even if it were just a rock, and this woman was pulling my leg, things would have ended very different.
I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to share this on here, especially with everything that happened in Paris. But it really opened my eyes to the sad truth that, yes, there are terrorists in the world. They hurt people, kill people, and turn everything upside down. They’re the many reasons that our men and women are called to action. But we have terrorists in our backyard as well. The world can be an ugly, sad place. And sometimes the only thing that can explain a miracle is that someone is looking down on us.