18 March 2009

Where Do I Start?

I really am not quite sure where to start this... There's been so much going on lately. The last time I wrote I was in Grapevine, TX for Commodities Classic... I had a great week but it was tiring - as trade shows and meetings of that caliber are. I got home on Saturday - went to the wildest birthday party I have ever witnessed - and then left at 5 o'clock the next morning for a week long trip to Washington, D.C. for my Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program. Now that trip was AMAZING. You can read more about that rip by clicking HERE

We arrived back in Chicago around 3 o'clock that day... When I turned my phone on - I had a message regarding an opportunity to travel to Germany with Bayer CropScience and extension personnel from around the United States... After the decision was made that I could go - the real challenges began.

*Side Note* When I was accepted to the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program last August I had a very silly (at the time) conversation with my mom... It went something like this:

MOM - "Meghan - you better get your passport now so you have it "just in case".

MEGHAN - "Nah, I have two years.. I'm not planning any big trips any time soon."

MOM - "But, Meghan.... You never know."

MEGHAN - "Okay. I'll think about it."

Guess what... I didn't get my passport. Whoops.

So last Thursday I had a meeting in the 'burbs. I figured... Ahh... I'll make an appointment at the Kluczynski Building... It'll take a few hours and I'll head to my meeting... I arrived at the Kluczynski Building at 10am... 5 hours later... Mission accomplished. I was told my passport would be processed on Friday and shipped no later than Monday - in my hands by Tuesday. I was urged to call the Travel Agency's 800 number to monitor the progress of my passport... I did... and I also have the FedEx Tracking number memorized because I have put it so many times over the last five days. So anyway.. back to my story... I call the passport number on Friday - wait on hold FOREVER - and they tell me it hasn't even been looked at yet and to call back later that day... So I did - still nothing.

Monday came and I was still in the same bind. They had at least started the process. A friend of mine (Tom B) suggested that I call my Congressman's office. So I start at the office in Washington, D.C. I spoke to two interns in Congressman Schock's office. Neither one of them could get my story correct let alone understand what I was referring to with problems obtaining my expedited passport. My favorite line "So, um, like you lost your passport while you were here in Washington last week.". *sigh* No... So - I called the Peoria office, District 18 headquarters... And they are my new favorite people in the world. Tiffany from Representative Schock's Peoria office is truly was a Godsend. She got to the bottom of the passport issue and it was processed on Monday and printed on Tuesday and should be here by 10:30 this morning. At least that's what the FedEx website said. Not only did she call once.. She called to follow up again and again. And everytime she followed up - she let me know what was going on with the passport. She definitely went above and beyond what she had to do and I most certainly appreiciate it.

I truly feel sorry for the people at the 800 number - I think I was calling three to four times a day. So Sorry! But the issue is resolved and the passport is in Bartonville waiting to be brought to me at the station. Woohoo!

This morning - on my way into work.. I stopped by the gas station to get a Diet Coke... I stop at the same place every morning... Same time.. Same routine. This morning I left and was headed to the McCluggage Bridge and in the middle of the road was a pack or herd or whatever you want to call it of seven or eight deer. I decided to go "dowling" or "deer-bowling". I took out three - in one swipe. Luckily - I'm fine... My car is fine. The deer kind of rolled up gave me a little wink and a smile and ran off. Apparently they think "no harm, no foul". I was a little pissed... But that's okay. I"m sure I'll survive.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to blog from Germany fairly easily. That way I can keep you abreast as to what's happening.

And hopefully - Things will relax a little bit today.. I am not sure if I can take much more of this!