It was great seeing Chad. I mean really seeing Chad, live and in person, i.e. just a few feet away from me and for an extended period of time. As I write that I realize how strange that sounds, but these are strange times we're living in, no?
In any case, the highlight of the handoff from Chad to me was certainly the chance it afforded us to catch up in person.
Of course, this also allowed me to have the suitcase for Halloween, and while I wanted to take it on a ghoulish, costumed tour of the neighborhood, Halloween was sort of muted this year for our family, so while the boys did make pumpkins:
... and gather (and then thoroughly organize) their loot/candy:
... I failed to get some clever pics of the suitcase in costume or at a haunted mansion.
That said, my office has been mostly empty since we sold our IT division last year and then sent (almost) everyone from our semi-virtual development team to work from home in mid-March. So while I can't say for sure that the office is haunted, I will admit to having heard the occasional unexpected noise or whisper that has drawn me from my office into the hallway with a hesitant "Hello? Is anyone there?", only to be disappointed(?) to find myself alone after all.
It was nice to have the suitcase around the office to fill some of the space and add something unexpected and colorful to the mix.
... and it even made an impromptu appearance at our Monday huddle!
As I pondered how far I might have to travel to hand off the suitcase to the next protocoler, a notification appeared on my screen from Eden Morris:
... and thus a plan was hatched to rendezvous in downtown St. Louis:
... proximal to where we all had hoped to meet this year, i.e. at The Last Hotel!
I was lucky enough to get a preview of the location while plans were still being hatched for PoE earlier this year when Martha Zink came to visit a client in St. Louis and was gracious enough to find time to grab breakfast with me at the Southwest Diner.
Neither of us yet fully realized the portent in the burgeoning news stories about 'the virus', and Martha's excitement about the venue was matched by my excitement at having PoE come to St. Louis (my adopted 'hometown').
Y'all know what happened next.
Thankfully, Eden's message provided me the opportunity to humbly connect the paused Pause with the Suitcase Protocol.
Martha was right – the venue is spectacular.
Eden and I did what any self-respecting (and non-sober) pause-attendee would do – we hung out at the lobby bar, talked about our work, counted our blessings, and shared some personal stories while toasting the occasion:
... breaking some minor rules along the way (which I told Martha I would do) and enjoying the phenomenal hospitality of the crew at The Last Hotel (i.e., Mia, Eric, Carrie & Tyler).
I can hardly wait for the pall of the pandemic to lift so we can reconvene at Last (pun intended)!