One day a few years ago an area lottery pot had reached record numbers and everyone was frantically buying tickets to win kajillions. One woman in my office was heading out to purchase tickets for herself and all of her friends at lunchtime and the subject of "What would you do if you won the lottery" came up. We discussed this with the fervor of a serious threat that may one day happen to each of us and decided that we would not be the kind of people who would up and quit our jobs immediately then but a boat to sail around the world, only to sink it because we knew nothing about boats. We would be Down to Earth Lottery Winners. We believe in the mission of the association and so we would still work. We'd simply hire others to do our jobs for us.

This is the last day of my conference. Or rather, the conference ended yesterday and today is clean up, pack up and go home day. The bags under my eyes now have bags and all day yesterday people kept cornering me, looking deep into my eyes, and saying "You look tired." Thanks... you look skanky, now we're even.

I spent the first four days never leaving the hotel and the last three nights being driven around in the back seat of some local person's car while he/she showed me the sights, sounds and local flavor of several of the closest towns because I made the mistake of telling someone that I seldom get to leave the hotel during the conference so it doesn't really matter to me what city we're in. "See that? That's the place where I used to live - it's been torn down now." "There's where the drugstore I used to shop at was - it's a Starbucks now." "That's where my first job was - it's a vacant lot now." "That over there is the power and electric company..." What is it with Midwesterners and their car tours of the city? I'm pretty sure you won't be finding that stuff in the Convention and Visitors' Bureau information. I suppose it was worth it though for the first good barbecue I've had since I got here.

At any rate, it's over and done with for another year and I'm glad. Most of the conference attendees have gone from the hotel and I am now left alone to begin picking up the pieces of my usually-not-very-fragile-ego after seven days of criticism, snide comments and left-handed compliments. As every conference ends, I always come away from it wondering why I continue to subject myself to the physical demands and mental abuse of having a job where one of the responsibilities is putting on a conference for 1500 people each year. And then I remember... oh yeah, my family has that pesky habit of eating and I'm not qualified to do anything better.

Ten jobs I would rather do than mine if money was not a concern:

Dog walker

Ice cream truck driver
Demonstrating a
Theramin at a conference
Milk delivery person (done by 8:00 am and you don't have to talk to anyone)
Working in a cheese factory
Running a printing press in a publishing company
Mall Santa
Writing crossword puzzle clues
Professional house sitter