Friday, April 01, 2005


I arrived in Sydney on Monday afternoon, my work clothes did not...this is the story of the best laid plans gone awry.

Sydney is a VERY large and beautiful city. You may recall they hosted the 2000 Olympics and the ability and ease to get around as well as the overall beauty and safety of this city, I am sure, were all contributing factors to their success.

I jinx myself back on St. Patty's day and can now confirm, it is unlucky to not wear green on March 17th no matter where you are in the world. I (accidentally) did not wear even a pinch of green, and now I am suffering the consequences of my shortsightedness. To my family and Maureen O'Connor I apologize and promise I have learn my lesson about properly honoring the saint day of the leprechaun. You can bet your lucky charms, I won't let this happen again.

I should have known what I was in for. I worked too hard on my self created March 17th project and I crossed too many "t's"...with this commitment, I was destined for a train wreck or should I say project management scope creep. My efforts to be well organized, forward thinking and buttoned up are now, in hindsight, a recipe for more than a wardrobe malfunction but a wardrobe disaster.

On both March 16 and 17 I worked closely with the UPS staff in NZ and all the related companies they are associated with, like FLY AWAY. I needed to ship a box of documents and all my professional clothes as well as shoes to Sydney. They gave me the box, the waybill and I was relentless in confirming process with them. I also had all the staff at the Medina Hotel in early and often on this project and this team had a clear understanding of everyone's role and responsibly. As it turns out UPS can take the box or reservation--they just can't keep it!

On March 28th, I taxied out to my hotel near the Sydney Harbor. I check-in and got to my room expecting to see the box--and as you're guessing, it wasn't here--11 days after the 17th of March.

It's now April 1st in AUS and I'm no fool, but I can share, I still have NO professional clothes. I go to my appointments and think--maybe this is a pilot for a new reality show called, I Dare You to Humiliate Me. Sydney is a cosmopolitan town--it's not causal Friday for work attire here. When I arrived on Monday and did everything but rip the backrooms of the hotel offices apart, I finally accepted that at least for now, my box wasn't' here. I walked as fast as possible to a large department store and was greeted by a worker that said, sorry, we are closing. Of course you are, I responded. I went across the street to the Polo Ralph Lauren store and grabbed a pair of black pants, the price--$989.00. There is no way in the world I am paying a thousand dollars for a pair of black pants. I hung my "I'm not Irish worthy" head and walked back to the hotel. It was now 5 PM and all stores are closed on this Easter Monday.

In my hotel room I got busy and laid out all of my clothes to see what type of outfits I could put together. I came up with two--I can go to my meetings as sporty spice girl or southern casual spice chic. This is as good as it gets. To accessorize, I painted my toenails, made an extra effort in blow-drying my hair and picked out a lipstick to match my toes. Linda Barrow would be proud with my creativity with limited supplies--embarrassed, but definitely proud of the effort. Most people wouldn't have the courage to go to a professional meeting in a major international city dressed like they were off to a picnic or rugby match. But I drive a mini-van, so I am well prepared to stare embarrassment straight in the eye and face it head on. I'll admit, this is really testing me. Each day I come back to my hotel room and still no box. This humiliation game is becoming sport for me now--no way in heck, I'm buying new clothes.

Jill will roll her eyes at this one--but the UPS people never sent package as promised 3 weeks ago because they had a question about the Blue Cross billing number. UGH! Why didn't they just call me? By Wed. of this week, the box had made it to the Sydney airport and by Thursday it was held up in Customs. Fine with me--I am now in a comfortable rotation with my two outfits. Honestly, I am walking into major CEO offices and looking like I am about to ask--which way is the beach? I had to file 6 forms with Customs confirming there are not animals or plants stored in with my clothes and they have not been on a farm in the last 30 days. It's Friday now, and still, no box.

Friday at 3 PM--the box arrived and by its appearance, did a tour of duty in Iraq. My poor clothes had huge red stickers all over them with "quarantine inspection". Did they think I l had placed little Derby in one of the pockets? Oh well--the good news is I've got my goods. I head up to North Australia--Queensland area tomorrow. I am going to go out to the great barrier reef on Sunday. I'm scared to death, but I'm going to do it. I wonder if they'll be willing to put me in a cage and lower me down off the boat. I might just wear one of my business suits out on the reef....that'll be a sure fire way to divert attention away from the killer sharks. Oh, I'm so scared.


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