Nancy Barber (nlbarber) wrote,
Nancy Barber

Sunbelt Expo, day 1

Here I am in Moultrie, Ga. for the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo, with an exhibit on "what USGS does in Georgia", a few general fact sheets and publications, and about 50 Earth Science Week teacher packets to hand out. This being my home town, I'm staying with my father for the week--it was going to be last weekend plus this week until Agatha's sudden blindness scuppered that plan. The reduced visit time plus my current stress level have reduced my ambitions for things to do for my father, but I have at least managed to stock his freezer with several servings of two different home-cooked dishes, as alternatives to frozen meals. I also helped a little as he indexed a folder on his computer full of family history files, which I think is the sort of task that's at the top of his personal "things I'd like some help on" list.

But back to Sunbelt: my supervisor made a couple of attempts to find someone who could come with me this year, but failed--perhaps the email he sent titled "looking for a sucker" had something to do with it. If I need a break, I have to move the items that are likely to walk off (the good mug that holds give-away pencils, any personal items) under the table, flip down the "Teachers, ask for an Earth Science Week packet" sign, and just leave the booth. I hate doing that, as the whole point is to have a USGS person there to talk to people. But I've got to have the break times, so that's just the way it is. I'm also not even trying to use my laptop in the display, as that's another item to have to worry about when I have to leave the booth.

As the week wears on I suspect those breaks will lengthen to maintain my sanity. And my feet--I sit sometimes, but I do end up standing a lot, talking to people or replenishing the table contents. I need to find one of those super-cushy mats to stand on, and add it to my Sunbelt kit--I recall that my grandmother had one in front of her sink for dish-washing duties, but I have no idea where to buy one. Must go google...

The excitement, sort of, for today was a conversation with U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston. He represents the 1st District, which covers most of Georgia's coastal area. Kingston was being escorted around Sunbelt in a group of VIPs which included the head of the Farm Service Agency, and the FSA booth was across from mine. Normally I'd have just watched the show--the photographer lining up the FSA booth workers, the FSA head, and the Congressman; the various people grabbing the opportunity to bend the ear of the politician; the agency head carefully looking interested and informed as she chatted with the peons--but the VIP group's escort is a long-time acquaintance of mine who insisted on introducing me to Kingston. I said hello, told him I worked primarily on national water use issues but was based in Georgia, and he then asked if USGS hadn't been the lead on some amphibian studies. Yes, we had been (though I know next to nothing about said studies), so we chatted about the importance of amphibians for a while. <g> Water use, as it happens, is rather critical to the Congressman's constituency, but he didn't choose to go there for a discussion. I will spare you my father's comment when I told him I'd met Kingston, as my Democratic, environmentalist parent is on the opposite end of many spectrums from Kingston...

I will soon take an Advil for my aching feet and legs, and head to bed. The show opens again tomorrow at 8:30.
Tags: sunbelt, work

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