And now I’m SO glad to be home

John and I just spent the last five (six?) days at a resort in Cambridge, Maryland (Eastern Shore) for work.  Poor us, I know.  Our company (the one at which we are still employed) sends everyone to some hotel, somewhere, every summer.  We don’t like to call it a retreat, but that’s really what it is.  It was fun, but not entirely relaxing, if only because you can never fully relax when your boss and her boss AND the owner/president of the company are hanging out with you.

John and I got there Tuesday afternoon, had band rehearsal that evening, and then dinner with the band.  Always a good time.  We went to a seafood place on the water (naturally, being on the bay in MD), and almost every one of us had crab cakes.  Again, naturally.  They were good crab cakes.  We had Wednesday to ourselves until 8pm, so we slept in for the first time in I don’t know how long and found a local diner for breakfast.  We wandered around historic Cambridge for a little bit (not long – it’s not that big), and then went to the pool.  Eventually, we went out to dinner with a few band members and couple other people who had arrived by then (band members had to be there on Tuesday, but the rest of the first session people showed up Wednesday afternoon/evening).  This time we went to an oyster bar, where again, I think most of us had crab cakes.  Wednesday night was our first get-together with everyone there for the first session, so we hung out by the firepit (next to the pool) and melted s’mores.  Thursday was our first full meeting day.  Activities in the morning (lots of icebreakers), lunch, and then in the afternoon, we broke into teams and built (and raced) boats out of cardboard and duct tape.  One person from each team had to get in the boat and row it out to a buoy and back.  In the bay.  River.  Whatever it was.  My team lost.  Our boat sank as soon as our team member climbed in.

Thursday night, we went to a crab-picking/processing factory.  I’m not sure what to call it, actually.  They catch crabs, then people open them up, get the crab meat out, and package it for sale.  We went for dinner.  They had four long tables, with the professionals set up at the end, and they showed everyone how to tear those crabs apart and find the meat.  And eat them.  I ran into my whole-animal thing in the middle of tearing apart my first crab.  I pulled the shell off, pulled the claws and legs off, but then woman said, “Now, cut off the mouth,” and my stomach turned.  I left the crab-picking to everyone else.

Friday was a half-day for the first session, unless you were in the band.  We sat through some presentations in the morning and were done before eleven.  So the band headed over for our last rehearsal and lunch.  Thursday night, after the crab factory, a bunch of us were at the hotel bar when we decided to add a Michael Jackson song to our set as a tribute.  So we trooped over to the band room from the bar and learned “Billie Jean”.  I love the band.  We had so much fun.  Anyway, we played Friday night for the whole company.  It was more of a club setting then a concert (thankfully), and I think we were actually good.  People danced!  Of course, we had a cash bar, which is a step up from previous years.  It was fun for us, and I think it was fun for other people, and I really like to play when someone is out there enjoying it.  And I really like the people in the band.  We had a really good time.

I don’t remember Saturday morning at all right now.  In the afternoon, we played a game (based on “What’s My Line”), and then the guy who owns a local chain of bakeries (CakeLove) gave a presentation.  He was really cool, very personable, and he gave a good speech.  AND (most importantly), he gave us cupcakes.  REALLY good cupcakes.  We had a couple hours free after that (I read by the pool, John napped), and then we had our big corporate dinner.  More crabs and crab cakes, of course, along with steak and chicken and other yummy things.  The owner gave little speeches about the employees who reached their 10th and 15th years with the company this year (each employee gets a polo shirt of a certain color at their 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20-year anniversary, and the owner always talks about each employee when they’re given the new shirt), and when she got to our boss (who reached 15 years this summer), the owner also announced her promotion to executive vice president.  Surprise!  So I’m thinking that despite losing our contract (not that it was her fault, of course), her job is safe.

It was a fun night, and everyone stayed up late.  This morning we had breakfast and then listed to the annual State of the Company address from the owner.  Admittedly, we were all VERY interested in it this year.  She touched on the issues we’re facing and some possible solutions, but only in a very positive, somewhat vague way.

John and I got home a little after two today and have done as little as possible all afternoon.  We hardly checked email at all this week, so I’m putting that off until tomorrow.  I’m very tired, and I want a vacation.  A real one, with no tension and no stress.  No watching what I say or who I say it to.  Office politics are exhausting.  We both feel a little better about our status in the company (pretty confident we’ll be able to stay there), but that’s not certain yet, so we can’t relax about it.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

I finished The Secret of Lost Things a couple of days ago.  I liked the beginning better than the end.  It didn’t turn out to be what I expected.  Okay, but not great.  So I started a Rosamunde Pilcher novel (September), and I’ve decided that her stories are perfect for peaceful vacations, for lazy afternoons, for any weather…I really like it (and I loved Coming Home).  I like the pacing and I like that they’re sort of cozy stories.  Some drama may eventually occur, but it’s not going to be a crime novel or a thriller.  Family drama, maybe.  I need think about this some more.  But I really like it.

I need to wrap up and go to bed.  The dogs are happy to be home, I’m happy to be home, and I just want to rest up and get everything back to normal.