Home at last

I didn’t really fall off the face of the earth, it just looks that way. Aside from a day trip here and there to our new office in Alexandria, VA, I don’t have any real travel on the calendar until early June (ASCO annual meeting in Chicago). I’m looking forward to getting back to a more normal routine, including postings on Web Worker Daily (only got one post in this week).

Last night my train from Baltimore got in at 6:30 pm, Eric and the girls picked me up, we grabbed dinner and I was asleep before 9 pm. I didn’t even unpack my computer so you know how tired I was! I slept for 11 hours. Today I still feel like I was hit by a truck, but better than yesterday.

It was a wonderful week. Sunday-Wednesday was our “Call-On Congress” training and lobby day and by all measures, it was a success. There were some hairy travel adventures getting there for some. Like this wonderful lady who came in from California and got as far as Detroit, her flight to DC was canceled and she rented a car to take her the rest of the way. From Detroit! Our speaker on Monday did make it with about 10 minutes to spare. He had no idea that I was the one who re-booked his flight at 3 am that morning until we told him. He thought the good folks at US Air were being diligent. Ha!

On Tuesday, we set our advocates loose on Capitol Hill for a total of 81 meetings with their electeds and/or their staff. For me, the best story came from my own mother. I talked her into coming down for the event. I kept talking to her about advocacy, and what we were doing and she was always interested but from the point of view of an observer. I so wanted to share this experience with her, and she ended up being such a power-house advocate. I’m so proud of her. We had some difficulty with meeting scheduling (long story) and my little ‘ole Mom took the charge to get Senator Shumer’s office to schedule a meeting, and she got the job done. Then on Tuesday, they were scheduled to meet with someone in Shumer’s office (most of these meetings are usually with people on the Members’ staff). My Mom spotted Shumer heading towards an elevator and she went right up to him, introduced herself and got a “ride with me” and a chance to make her well-received pitch. How empowering is that?

Tuesday night, we all gathered back at the hotel for a final dinner. The hotel completely botched the food, but it was still a magical night. It was scheduled for 6:30-8:30 pm. We left that room at 11 pm. A lot of laughs. A lot of tears (we invited Rebecca Dague’s husband to join us).

This week, we’re moving our office from a little corner in another nonprofit’s suite in DC to our very own space! We now have 3 fulltime employees (with me working remotely), one part-timer, and two consultants who stop by from time to time. It was more than time to get our own place. The new office is in the “Old Town” section of Alexandria, VA about 5 blocks away from the King Street train station. It’s only about 900 sq. ft. but we’ll have a little conference room, our own kitchen area, storage space, reception desk, private office for Carlea (executive Director) and a work area for 3 desks (including one for me!). Rent is only $100 more per month than we were paying in the District. My job now is to get all the stationery changed, all the legal paperwork changed (including getting sales tax exemption in Virginia) and making sure the network/phone issues are under control.

I need to get us one of those multi-function printers…scan, print, copy…budget of $800 or less…everyone has laptop that will be online via wifi (Verizon DSL modem). So I was thinking the easiest way to get everyone to share the printer was to throw on a wireless print server. Thoughts?

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