Monday, June 23, 2008

Minneapolis

We could have flown non-stop direct on Northwest but it would have cost more than twice as much as flying American. So American it was. But as with all compromises there were disadvantages. The American flight left at 6 and that meant a pretty early start.

So we decided to spend the night at the farm. The house is being organized and packed by my darling daughter. Every time she cleans something out she puts a little yellow sticky on the door that says "empty." My old room is pretty much as a I left it except that we've put a lot of stuff in there that will eventually go to my house.

The extra room is livable though and my daughter washed the sheets and made a clean bed. She said there were bug remains in the sheets. It's been a while since anyone slept there.

I decided I wanted to exercise so I wanted to get up at 3. We, my son and I, each set our phone alarms just in case. But I didn't really need mine. After my workout I showered and then it was time for Jason to get up and get ready.

We were out the door by 4:45 and at the airport by about 5:15 or so. We left the car at one of the off airport places and they took us over. We had our boarding passes and headed for security. Took my shoes off and my belt and everything out of my pockets. Had to pull my driver's license out of the wallet and show it along with boarding pass first. Then the plastic box and my carry on bag were started into the scanner and I stepped between the uprights of the people checker. Apparently I passed and proceeded to redress.

Then it was on to the gate and a short wait and we were on the plane. Jason sat in the middle seat and he gave me the aisle. Planes have not become more comfortable in 10 years. There were no empty seats.

The flight to Dallas was uneventful and short. We found our next gate and headed to it along with about a million other people. Others of our group were already there and we visited awhile.

Then we boarded that plane and I took the center seat this time. I can't cross my legs in the center or window seat. I can in the aisle seat.

About 2.5 hours later we landed in Minneapolis. I read a lot during the trip. I slept a few minutes but not enough to count for anything. When we left the plane we figured out that 6 of us were at the Westin and the others were at another place.
The Westin is a beautifully restored old bank with a grand banking hall. It reminds me of a much older bank in Oklahoma City that I hope is someday restored in some similar way.

I also like the name tags the Westin employees wear. Underneath the name is a a little message that reads "My passion is " along with some subject like travel or a sport or something. The fellow that checked us in had "volleyball" written on his and we talked about that while he got our room key. Our room was great, too.

We had enough time to put our meager belongings in our room and get back downstairs to meet our associates. Then we all walked over to this place called "The News Room" for lunch.

On the way over I was really interested in the number of people out on the street. The weather was fantastic.

Since we were eventually heading to Target I took this image of their downtown retail store. You can see some of the people on the street and believe me there were many more than this.

Many were gathered at little outside restaurants enjoying lunch outside in the beautiful weather. I was told that this is very unusual for Minneapolis and so when the weather is good people really like to enjoy it.

We had to walk a couple of blocks further I think to get to our "Newsroom" place. It appears also to be an older building that has been restored. As you might imagine it has a "newspaper" theme. It was packed, too. I had the Cobb Salad and it was really good. My impression is that it was a little more expensive than Oklahoma City but maybe not. They have a web site.

After lunch we walked across to the Target building and our contact came and collected us and helped us get through security. Then we were taken way up (maybe 20+ floors) to a conference room.

We're getting a Target store on our farm and this meeting was all about the project. It is unusual for someone like us to be invited to such a meeting but we were invited as a special guest of our developer and the Target manager. So we were both in awe of what was happening about us.

Also I was so impressed with the Target people. Very young and very professional and very well prepared and just makes me proud of these younger people that are coming up now. People that are so pessimistic about our country and its opportunities and our younger generations just need to see some of these folks in action.

There were more women than men I think and there were lots of "P.E.'s" and other initials behind their names.

The meeting explored in great detail all of the aspects of our project. On one wall were all of the civil engineering plans and on another were the architectural elevations. Different members of the team stood and discussed various aspects of the project from drainage to government permits and electrical utility options and a myriad of other details. Our manager led the group and did an incredibly efficient job of it. Everyone was especially well prepared.

It made us feel that we are in especially good hands to trust the transformation of our farm from agricultural land to retail space. Everyone near the farm will be so excited to have this opportunity to shop at a Target.

After the meeting we all met again for dinner at this place in St. Paul called Plazzaluna. It was great and we were exceptionally well fed and watered. I had the Pomodoro & Basilico Gnocchi. These are little potato dumplings but rather small. We were a very large group so we kind of became better acquainted with our immediate fellow diners. We did some sharing. It was quite interesting and the food was exceptional.

Then it was back to the Westin for a very short sleep and a 4:00 a.m. wakeup and a quick ride to the airport. But Dallas was socked in with lightening and rain and storms and so we were delayed. We did a little sliding on the runway but not bad. Then we found out that our flight to Oklahoma City was CANCELED.

So we rented a car and drove back to Oklahoma City.

I found out that I am much too old to be doing this kind of stuff.

It's Friday as I write this and I am one grouchy bear and so tired I hardly know what to do. But it was a great trip.

This is "Bullseye" the Target dog from the commercials. Our contact gave me one to take to Judy.

Pretty cool of her and pretty cool trip.

2 comments:

rilera said...

I'm so glad you were able to experience Minneapolis during our stretch of awesome weather!. Target is considered a very 'hip' place to work because it is so progressive and the workforce is young. That is so cool that they are going to build one on your farm! The Twin Cities really is a great place to visit and to live. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. It does sound like a whirlwind tour.

flintysooner said...

Thanks!

It was a great trip but I am definitely too old to be jetting around the country like that.

We are excited about the Target. I'm going to post some renderings soon.