okay, this is going to be a fairly quick rundown as I am ready to put the trip in my professional development file and forget about getting on any airplanes ever again....or at least next year when we have ALA in Chicago. KT and I may drive...it was that unpleasant.
Tuesday, March 25th
Our flight didn't leave until 10:40am but KT's husband had to drop her off and get the kids to school on time so I went early too so we could plan and scheme about our trip and she wouldn't have to sit there all that time with out my brilliant company...on second thought, maybe she wanted the time to herself, but I neglected to think about asking and it's over now. If you wanted quiet time KT, I apologize for being the airport chatterbox :( Anyway, we finally boarded the plane, went through the standard spiel, taxied 18 million miles out to the runway in the next county where the pilot proceded to shut down the plane because it was windy in Chicago (where we were changing planes) and they were having an airtraffic flow control problem. We sat for ~45 min then were on our way. I SO could have used a walk or something to relieve the sitting. Chicago was fine, no probems. We got to Minnesota, I with visions of The Great White North in my head as we'd certainly seen some of that from the plane, but instead I got Northern Spring. Nice, but it totally negated the purchase of my giant coat which I then had to haul around nearly everywhere. KT and I took the rail line to the Mall of America. It's a really big mall. Moving on...
Wednesday, March 26th
We actually got up early and exercised! I did lose a little over a half a pound while we were up there. Shut up, I'll take it. We walked the roughly 2 miles back to our hotel from the convention center instead of taking the shuttle or a taxi. I felt vindicated enough to have a nice dinner at the restaurant that night, Bellanotte. I had a spinach lasagna that was beyond compare. KT and I made an early night of it (see 2 mile hike above) but others in our group had dug into their own wallets to go to the area theater to see Jersey Boys. My own wallet was not supporting such an endeavor. Instead, KT and I attended the FOLUSA (Friends of Libraries of the USA) Chocolate and Champange Author Reception. Yummy! We were at a table with a bunch of reps from the sponsoring organization. They were not drinking the champange, but KT and I were :)
Thursday, March 27th
We went to a big "what's new" breakfast presentation provided by a big database vendor. KT and I then parted ways to pursue our interests in the conference receptions. I was turned away from the session on doing reference in the age of Google because the room was full. I attempted to get into 3 other sessions that were on three different floors in opposite corners of the convention center and they were all full as well. In disgust, I headed for the grand opening of the exhibits. Not like museum exhibits, this is a vasts exhibition hall filled with booths manned by greedy (many nice, though) vendors eager for your business and money. Lots of free stuff though that I can use for my new book group this summer. We went to a luncheon where Arthur and Pauline Frommer of travel book fame were the speakers. It was much more interesting than I would have imagined. Now, on to the tattoo that wasn't to be. During the luncheon, I get a call from the tattoo artist asking if I can come by early to drop off my artwork. I said no problem, I'd do my best. My best turned out to be 10 minutes early. KT went with me as she likes to observe. I was in the midst of filling out all the paperwork when a scroungy looking young man slouches in.
The girl processing my paperwork says, "K---- is really pissed at you."
He replies, "What is she mad at me for?"
girl-"She's not going to be able to make her eye doctor appointment because you scheduled her til 5." The girl rolls a shoulder in my direction.
young man-"That wasn't me!" (it SO was, I recognized his voice, but you really don't want to piss anyone off in the tattoo parlor you are about to patronize)
girl-"Well, whatever, maybe it wasn't you, but D---- said he was right there when you did it." (D----was the person I corresponded with via email about setting up an appointment in the first place)
I finished my paperwork and sat down. 25-30 MINUTES LATER scroungy boy sheepishly motions me over to say that K---- isn't going to be able to do my tattoo, he's really sorry, doesn't know what's happened, could I come back in at 7pm. I said no, that I came from ALABAMA for a business conference, I had meetings for the rest of the night, all day Friday and was leaving on Saturday. Long story short, he called us a cab (which I really felt they should have paid for), K---- gave me a list of other tattoo shops in the area (like I had time to do that!) and we left and went back to the convention center to here a ReAlLy crappy reader's advisory session...okay, not the whole session, only 2/3 of it. Disappointment, people.
Friday, March 28th
Went to several pretty good sessions, one on genre book groups (which I liked so much that I've decided that is how I will run mine come May) and the other on nonfiction reader's advisory (I picked up a few new tricks to work into my routine). The rest of the day passed in a little bit of a blur. We had another author luncheon before we hit what KT called "the conference wall". We decided to just go back to the hotel where we could organize all our free stuff to take to the UPS store for shipping. On the way back from that we bought tickets for a movie (Shutter, which I watched alot of through barely parted fingers) a little later. After the movie, we decided to have a drink in the hotel bar. We each got a Cosmopolitan martini, I offered KT a $10 and she said no, she had a $20 and she'd get it. Two martinis came to a total of $27.50....at least they were strong :) I had a nice buzz going by the time it was time to go to dinner. It was the weirdest dinner ever. First we had this little spoonful of beets and some sort of salmon with teeny green sprouty things on top. It was kinda gross but then we had salad so I got over it. The waiter then brought something else that he said was a green tea lavender explosion (or something close to that). It looked like water with an ice cube in it, but hey, I'm game so I slugged it back. The ice cube was some sort of gelatinous pouch with liquid in it. It was very much like an eyeball bursting in my mouth and I nearly spit it back out. Our boss' gag reflex kicked in when her eyeball burst and she nearly sprayed me with it....fun times in pretentious restuarants. The dinner more than made up for it though :) KT and I went back to our room and watched the horror movie I'd brought from home, The Changling. EXCELLENT! I'm using it in my Horror Movie Marathon this year.
Saturday, March 29th
What can I say about this day. Another couple of flights, another couple of near mishaps. KT and I decided to take the railline back to the airport. It wasn't really THAT much longer a ride than sitting in a cab, plus it was $1.50 instead of $40. Hey, we were being frugal! We had another extended boarding process, we really did taxi 19 million miles into the next county, except this time the pilot actually turned around and went back to the airport. There was a "maintenance issue" with some portion of the plane's electronics. (You would have thought they'd taken care of that while 2/3 of the fleet was grounded in Chicago!) So we sat for about 25-30 minutes while everyone who had a connecting flight in Dallas got more and more antsy. We landed in Dallas at 2:10 (our flight was scheduled to leave at 2:25) and of course our gate was on the other side of the airport. We didn't run, but it was only one gear down from it. They were closing up shop but let us board when KT and I arrived huffing like steam engines. It was a relatively smooth flight from that point but neither of us gave thought to the fact that there was not a little baggage handler matching us step for jogging step on the tarmac so we should not have been surprised when we got back to Birmingham at 4pm but our luggage did not.
Everything turned out all right though as the airline delivered my suitcase right to my door Sunday afternoon and everything was intact and nothing was missing. I've already talked about Sunday so thank you for sitting through this and I'm officially considered ya'll caught up. Normal programming will resume tomorrow as if MN never happened.