I need to preface this by saying that this week is a hard week workwise for me, I'm deeply enmeshed in these semi-annual week-long meetings that not only do I have to plan, organize and manage but that I then must attend. I also plan and attend all pre-and post meeting activities, such as dinners, team builds, etc. It makes for very long days, lots of hard work and a really exhausting schedule.
This isn't made easier by the fact that when we have the post-meeting dinners, we do tend to drink a bit because, let's face it, it's been a really long day. So last night we had our kick-off dinner at a lovely koselig restaurant in Oslo, a place called Engebret Cafe, and the wine and conversation all flowed easily and fast. It was a really good evening after a long long day.
Cut to today.
Guess who had a hangover.
So I go in to work, 4 hours of meeting and then it's time for the team build! Oh yippee!
There were a few things about this whole enterprise I wasn't too keen on.
- I think team builds are cheesy. So having to plan one, when I don't like them, was certainly an exercise in WTF? (Like, one of the proposed activities from the event planner was something called "Funballz". I was definitely NOT going to suggest doing something called 'funballz' with my all male team.)
- The team build I did end up choosing was an outdoorsy thing, something with climbing and ropes, I wasn't too sure of the details, but she said it was fun, and it was out in a muddy field, on a forecast rainy day.
- I don't mind outdoorsy, but doing it in mud, on a rainy day, possibly a cold rainy day, meant that I had to wear woolie long johns and plastic rain pants, which I HATE. If you even know me a little, you will know I am not a plastic sport pants kind of person. I'll go to a gym, I'll ski, whatever but I really have never liked sports clothes. I am just not a sporty clothes kind of girl.
- Did I mention the hangover? And the possibility of hanging upside down? The hurl quotient is very high on that one. Very high indeed.
Ok, so that was where I was at this morning. 4 hour meeting, hungover, plastic pants, outdoorsy/muddy/rainy, possibility of vomit and something involving ropes and heights. (I am not particularly afraid of heights, by the way, thank God.)
A bus picked us up at 1pm and took us to the site. It wasn't too cold, maybe 50F, so that was ok, and it threatened rain but it seemed to be holding off. Good so far. There was a lot of mud. And, it seemed, a lot of very tall poles with wires running between them. Wires and poles and a wooden suspension bridge and....is that a swing? Up there, 35 feet up in the air?
Oh holy hell. I didn't anticipate THIS. THIS is 10 metre high 'activities' involving climbing up a pole and then doing something very pointless, wobbly and unnecessary way high up in the air, all while attached to safety ropes that wrap around your groin, ass and hips. (I was actually pretty glad to not be a guy right about then, because those safety harnesses really emphasize and squeeze the male anatomy just so, in such a way that cannot be comfortable but is kind of fun for the girls to observe, ifyouknowwhatImean.)
The guys were PSYCHED. You would have thought I'd presented them with naked women covered in beer and potato chips or something. They were eager to climb and happy to fall. Me? I was just pretty sure I was gonna hurl.
What followed was two hours of hard climbing, wobbly tight rope walking, balance beams, wooden suspension bridges (with no damned handrails!) and other such uncomfortable things, oh so high up in the air, some of which I did well on, and others not so much. (I didn't make it onto the suspension bridge. I got hung up at the top of the pole and couldn't fathom how to get from HERE to THERE without a lot of botheration and bruising, so I just told the safety guy (aka the guy holding the rope keeping me alive) to let me fall.) I honestly can't remember the last time my heart beat that fast, that I breathed that heavy, that I concentrated that hard.
The last thing on the list was what they called the "Bunny Hop". Not that a bunny would ever be stupid enough to do this, but there you go, the Bunny Hop. I wasn't going to do it. I didn't want to do it. (I did it.) So one by one we climbed up yet another pole, which you then had to stand up on top of (this is much harder than it would seem, getting from the side of the pole to the top of the pole with no hand holds or anything to pull yourself up with, the pole is the circumference of a dinner plate). Once you manage that, after, in my case, a substantial amount of cursing, you then are required to 'bunny hop' from the pole to a circus swing located maybe 5 or 6 feet away but from 35 feet up, standing on a pole, looking across at it and the yawning gap that is down, on an increasingly windy day, looks to be a mile away. This time you are double harnessed with ropes on your back, held below by a very strong guy and the help of a simple yet brilliant system of clips, pulleys and what looks like a log fence that creates friction.
So, top of pole, doing your best Mr Miyagi, He tells you he is going to count to 2 and then you hop. I was all, "Can't I at least have 3?" but in Norway, I guess, they only go to two. And when he says hop, you need to hop because he is catching you with the rope and it takes coordination.
(heart pounding so hard I thought it might escape, legs getting shaky, that damned circus swing zooming farther and farther away....)
"SHIIIIT!" (I hopped. I grabbed the bar, it was wet, my hands slipped off and I was deftly caught by the ropes and left swinging in the air.)
I'll have pictures tomorrow.
I'm still buzzed, I really am. And that hangover? It's GONE.