Washington & Knoxville
March 31, 2014

We woke this morning to a rainy and cold Washington DC. It was also the day that the family split up. Helen & Chloe headed to visit family in Knoxville and Michael and I stayed in DC. I have another conference (International Congress of Actuaries) which started tonight.

tsa stickerHelen and Chloe took a cab for their flight to Knoxville.  They went early so they could have brunch at the airport. Chloe was so well behaved while going through security she got a TSA sticker.  They now have a system through security that if you are pre-cleared then you don’t have to take off your shoes, take out your laptop etc. Fortunately Helen and Chloe were pre-cleared (we still haven’t figured out why because it is meant to only be open to US citizens) but Helen said it did save significant time and effort. Of course their flight was delayed for about an hour but they did make it safely to Knoxville. Helen picked up a rent-a-car there and drove for the first time in the US (and on the wrong side of the road). They seemed to make it safely to our family.  Chloe did send a message saying ‘Pray for the drivers of Knoxville’!

This morning I had to do a filming of a congratulatory message for one of the American Actuarial societies.  It is there 100th year and they wanted actuarial leaders from all over the world to be filmed to show at their annual Congress.  After I had been powdered up and was prepped, I answered their questions and gave my congratulations. Only one or two double takes.

marriotMichael and I were also moving hotels to the Congress hotel. It is just across the road and was where the filming took place. I decided to try and check-in early. First problem, they said they had no reservation for me. They said it was from last Tuesday and they cancelled it when I didn’t show up. Unfortunately I didn’t have my confirmation with me but I knew that I did have a proper confirmation for the right dates and told them so. They eventually gave me a room and when we came back later with our luggage I showed them the proof and they were apologetic.  Not sure how they messed it up because we had an electronic confirmation. Moving over from the one hotel to the other seemed simple but given it was pelting down with rain it turned out not to be so easy.

Second problem arose when we try to find the in-room safe. Neither Michael nor I could find it. Eventually we called and they said it was in the drawer. We had looked there and it wasn’t. They sent up maintenance to come and sort it out. The maintenance guy opened the drawer and was very surprised to see no safe. He asked whether we had just come in – like we had stolen it. Someone certainly seemed to have taken it though as you could see the holes were it was meant to be mounted. They switched our room so that we could have a safe. Third issue arose when we bought two Pepsi’s from the vending machine and got Diet Pepsi’s. They bought us replacements but gave us cans instead of bottles (about hwashington monumentalf the volume). #notimpressedwithMarriot! Only upside is that it should be a nice view from the room when it clears up.

Michael and I went to watch a movie this afternoon. We watched Sabotage (new Arnie movie). Basically everyone kills everyone. Not much of a plot but entertaining. We bought a small popcorn and Sprite. Their small Sprite was about 750ml. I would hate to think what a large looks like. When we came out of the movie it was snowing outside. This is meant to be spring!

This evening we had the opening function of the Congress that was held at the National Museum of American History (one of the Smithsonian Museums). It is the same museum Helen and kids went to earlier in the week. It was ok but not a great museum. I have seen better. And the dinner was also ok – nothing spectacular. Nice to catch up with numerous people I hadn’t seen in awhile though. Conference proper starts tomorrow. I am not overly excited. I feel like I am already conferenced out.

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