[Que the eerie flashback introduction music]
Several years ago, my wife’s tea jumped out of her teacup and dove onto her laptop keyboard. In what would be an expected reaction, she did her best to get the tea out of the laptop. That turned out to be a fatal (for the laptop) mistake. Lenovo laptops, we discovered later, are designed to allow spilled liquid to drain through the case without causing damage. Unless you lift it, turn it, or shake it. I observed the tea-catching-drain-pan when I replaced the motherboard in her laptop a few days later.
Now, back to the present.
Last week, I spent 24 hours in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When I arrived at the Renaissance Hotel, I was surprised to learn that the hotel is built in the old Milwaukee Road train depot. If I had known that when I made my reservations, I would have paid the extra fee to stay in one of the historic rooms. Still, being in the building and observing the artifacts as I ran from meeting to meeting, was enough for this trip. I’m thinking that I will return.
I’m going to let the overweight gallery tell most of this story, but I do want to tell enough to explain the first paragraph. Whenever I’m in a new city, I like to go for a walk in the morning. I like to see the neighborhood, gather some door photos, and I like to sample some local coffee. There’s always coffee at the hotel, but it’s usually “hotel coffee” and barely worth the cost (which is often free).
On exiting the hotel, I turned left. I had turned left the day before on my way to my meeting and I thought I had passed a coffee shop. I hadn’t. So, two blocks back toward the McKnight Foundation (the place we had met) and I turned left again. Left would take me to the river, which you know is good for me, and allow me to walk around a large block to get back to my hotel. To my happy surprise, my turn took me straight into Mill Ruins Park which, according to the good folks at Wikipedia (be nice):
“…stands on the west side of Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. The park interprets the history of flour milling in Minneapolis and shows the ruins of several flour mills that were abandoned.”
Waterfall? Abandoned mill buildings? They go on to mention a stone arch bridge, it’s like this place was built just for me!
Unfortunately, I only had enough time for the briefest of tours. I had to get back to my hotel to join a conference call online. I also had to find some coffee.
Back on the main street, I headed toward my hotel. As I returned to the block the hotel was on, I spied Dunn Brother’s Coffee. Ironically, the coffee shop sits on the property of the Milwaukee Road Terminal and shares a patio with my hotel. If I had turned right instead of left, I would have walked right into it. Then again, I would have missed all that other stuff.
I bought a medium coffee, a piece of coffee cake and returned to my room. As I approached the desk, the cap popped off the coffee. Enough hot coffee spilled on my hand to make me drop the cup – onto the desk where my laptop was running. As I stared at my laptop’s keyboard swimming in a sea of coffee and milk, my first instinct was to rescue it. Then I remembered my wife’s accident.
I let it sit there.
I brought wash cloths and face towels from the bathroom, sopped up as much coffee as I could and carefully moved my laptop onto a towel on the radiator cover. I finished cleaning the desk, rinsing the towels and adding to the housekeeper’s tip, with each pass. I looked at my laptop, and the keyboard was dry-ish. The towel beneath it was brown – the drains were working!
After a few minutes, I gingerly moved the laptop onto a fresh towel on the desk. I tried moving my mouse, and the cursor moved. It was still draining coffee, but it was working.
I went to the lounge to get some coffee before my conference call. In a final bit of irony, the lounge serves Dunn Brother’s coffee.
Please enjoy the photos in the gallery. Some captions are long, but if you click on any photo, you can start a slide show where the whole caption will be available. I’ll share the doors on Thursday to welcome Norm back from vacation.