Monday, December 03, 2012


Last week had to be the most surreal week of my life to date.
Monday morning started out in the normal Monday way.  I was almost to work when I saw a small car looking like it was going to pull out of a drive.  Nothing too unusual other than the place it was at was empty and there was this thing on the roof of the car.  As I got closer, I saw by dawn’s early light that the word Google was plastered across the side of the car.  Therefore, the thing on the roof had to be the camera setup for a Google Maps car.  I think I geeked out about that the last mile or two to work.

Then, when I was leaving work Monday afternoon (I work 7-4 on Mondays) I saw two people in the field/empty lot across from my building.  They had a backpack and a camera and were taking pictures and pointing up in the sky and looking like they were measuring or something.  (What made this really weird is the girl looked just like Jess who used to work with us from my vantage point, but it wasn’t.)

Tuesday morning we find out that the President of the United States was going to visit a business in Hatfield on Friday.  A few hours later we find out it’s not their manufacturing facility a few miles away, but the office building diagonally across the field from us.  Yep, those two people I saw Monday evening were measuring the field to see if it was big enough for Marine 1 and her sister helicopters.  There was also a Secret Service agent in the building talking to our “security” and EHS guy about what all we’d need to do Friday.

Wednesday was quite exciting (and where the picture at the top came from…).  They did a practice run of the helicopters arriving and departing.  Let me tell you, they are loud and big and noisy (OK, so essentially I said that twice, but it’s true…).  And I was less than a football field away from them when two of them took off.  (See the video… I nearly got knocked on my butt from the prop wash…)

Thursday was almost a normal day, but we had a meeting in the afternoon about what we could and couldn’t do.  We weren’t going to be able to park in front of or on the side of the building, only in the gated lot behind us or in the lot in the park.  All blinds had to be closed and no one was to be outside when the President was arriving or departing. Oh, and by the way, there’ll be two snipers up on the roof.  Yep, on the roof, right above my head.

Friday was the most surreal of them all.  As usual, I got in right around 7:00.  I remembered to park behind the gate and made extra sure I had my badge and parking badge.  There didn’t appear to be anyone parked in the buildings to either side of mine, and there were fire truck support vehicles already arriving.  When I went outside around 9:00, I couldn’t count the number of black SUVs, police cars, fire trucks, support vans, bicycle cops and ambulances that were deployed all around our building and the one next door; across from the building the President was visiting.  You could tell which of the SUVs were armored and there were a few Secret Service agents that were walking around that I would have pegged as such even if they were in plain clothes.
I think the most surreal message I sent Friday was to Gak: snipers have been deployed to the roof.
Despite the “no looking” mandate, with vertical blinds in the offices and a window in the garage door in the shop, we were able to get a half decent look at the arrival and departure.  And of course, we could hear it too.
It did get a little unnerving listening to the snipers walking around on the roof right over my head.  It was also weird talking to people from other parts of the country about their normal issues when I’m working in a secured location and the president was across the street.  My mind couldn’t keep from geeking out from time to time trying to process it.  It’s just not in the realm of normal for us mere citizens.  It really is a different world.

The funniest part was after the President left.  I’d been downstairs to get more water, try and sneak a peak at the departure and run a few other errands downstairs.  I was coming back up the stairs with two other women from the department and nearly ran smack dab into the two snipers as they were about to come down the stairs.  It was a little embarrassing and a bit unnerving almost running into someone so well armed (and well trained).  I’m not sure if it helped or not if the one I almost ran into was kinda cute…  We all laughed and everyone got to where they were supposed to go.

Within 30 minutes of the President leaving you never would have known something had happened, other than the fact that it was a Friday afternoon and there weren’t any cars out front of the businesses.

So, yeah, last week was a bit on the surreal side of things.  The weekend was good.  For the second week in a row we went swimming at the Y on Sunday.  Boo actually started asking about it on Wednesday or Thursday.  Hopefully we’ll be able to keep this up all winter.  It’ll be a nice way to get us all up and out of the house and doing something fun together.  I’ll try and catch up on the other goings on for the last few weeks.  I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging, but it’s been a bit rough from many sides and the thing that suffers most when things get wacky is the blog.

But, I’d best get back to work and be productive.  I’ve lost enough time to the chaos of a Presidential visit, even if it wasn’t to our building.

Peace to all and may you have the surreal happen from time to time.

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