Monday, May 05, 2014

When we went to check into our hotel for the conference (with me dragging both my suitcase and Steve's, since he went to drop the rental car off), Candace and I found that our hotel was under construction.  Steve had dropped us off by what used to be the front door.  During construction, access to the hotel was limited to through the Valet Parking area, which is on the opposite side of the hotel from where Steve dropped us off.  What that means it that #1, I had to haul two fairly heavy suitcases through a construction zone around the hotel to get in, and then, #2, the lobby of the hotel was now reduced to two people working in the valet's quarters.....with no air conditioning.....with two conferences trying to check in at once.  Talk about crazy!  

Then, once we checked in, we headed to the elevators.  I was on the 14th floor (out of 28 floors).  There were only 4 small elevators working.  Remember, there were two conferences checking in.  The elevators only held 6-7 people without luggage.  It wasn't pretty.  Add insult to injury - my key didn't work in the door, so.......back to the elevators I went, hauling both suitcases, and then to the lobby.  I will admit the staff was great.  They actually reset my key, and then grabbed a master key and came up with me (helping with one of the suitcases) to make sure the key worked.  At least I wouldn't have had to haul the suitcases back down and up to get a new key!  Luckily (for the staff) my second key worked.  The entire stay was like this - slow or full elevators, constant construction (my room smelled like fresh paint - they were painting right next to me, and the bathroom fixtures were put in on my third day there - I hadn't noticed that they were missing, really!)  We tended to use the stair instead of the elevators (remember - I'm on the 14th floor - it almost killed me!!!)

The construction was supposed to be completed long before our conference, but looking at the work, it will still be quite a while before it is done.  It will be a beautiful remodel - eventually!  The hotel staff were great though - not their fault things weren't done.  The manager even threw in a few things for us to make up for everything.  Cardinal held a reception for us - which is normal.  But is usually just down in the conference rooms.  This year, the hotel sent us up to the Pinnacle Room - the top of the hotel, which was a revolving room.  Too cool!  

Here's a few pictures from the top of the world:

This is the state capital building:

The last day of the conference, the material being covered didn't apply to either myself or to Donna, so we took the opportunity to walk down to the Bicentennial Mall Park - which took us past the State Capital. 

They had a map of Tennessee with the rivers, counties, towns, etc. drawn in the concrete.

And a really cool wall and fountain display commemorating the rivers of Tennessee

They also had a wall down the entire park that was a linear presentation of the history of Tennessee, and a WWII memorial:

The view of the mall park from the steps up to the Capital: last picture (I think) from the trip - this is 'my gang' hanging out at the reception (from left to right - Candace, Steve Donna and me).

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