Hi! Roger here. It's been a very, very busy few days since I've been back so I haven't had too much time to write. Rachel is doing a darn fine job of it anyway so I'm sure I wasn't missed too much.
This post is very long and has next to nothing to do with Charlotte so if you’re looking for CJ related stuff, feel free to skip it.So, I had something of an adventure on the trip back to Virginia. They say all roads lead to Rome. Well, all Airtran flights fly through Atlanta. Or at least most of them. Which is why I was in Atlanta on Sunday night at about 8:00pm waiting to board the plane from Atlanta to Richmond. As they were getting ready to open the doors, the gate agent got on the speaker and asked if there were any passengers who would be willing to give up their seats because they had overbooked the flight. They would give each volunteer two free round-trip tickets to anywhere Airtran flies, hotel accommodations for the night, a meal voucher, and a seat on the next plane out (Monday morning 8:05am; arriving 9:35am).
I quickly checked with both Rachel and Annette (the fearless Romp n’ Roll front desk manager) to see exactly when things got started Monday morning. We had a special free preview class planned at 10:30 and I took a calculated risk that there would be no significant delays and I could get to RNR by 10:30. Just in case I texted around to a couple other employees and got Miss Anna (all hail, Mack-Daddy-Momma Anna!!!) to come by in the morning JUST IN CASE.
Everything seemed in place so I volunteered. They did, indeed, use my seat, and at least three others, so I got to spend the night in the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Atlanta with a big o’ hairy (not really hairy, that would be gross!) king-sized bed and a flat panel tv with the NFL Channel in HD!
I got to see football.
I GOT TO SEE FOOTBALL!
Who cares that it was pre-season with two teams I care nothing about?
I GOT TO SEE FOOTBALL!!!
Here’s my little informational review of the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Atlanta…it ROCKED! Very, very nice. Cool soap in the bathroom, too.
The only not-so-good thing was that the other “Airtran refugees” and I were talking to a guy who was telling us about the horrors of getting through Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport security on a Monday morning and knowing it’s the busiest airport in the world, we had no reason to doubt him. We decided as a group to meet for the shuttle at 5:25am to make sure we had plenty of time to make the flight. It was already coming up on 10:30 by the time we got into the rooms and I was so nervous about being late that I really didn’t sleep much. I set my iPhone alarm twice and called down for a wakeup call at 4:55am.
I tossed and turned all night and finally got out of bed at about 4:30 to get ready. I was getting ready to walk out the door when my 4:55 wake-up call came through.
At least I was there early enough to take the 5:05 shuttle to the airport. It took me all of 5 minutes TOPS to get through security and I was sitting at the gate, enjoying the spoils of my meal voucher by 5:30. One very interesting thing is that while there weren’t many people at the airport when I got there, they were set up for the crush. The zig-zag maze they have for the busy times has got to be 90-100 feet deep. That’s a lot of back and forth. Reminded me of a Disney ride line. Or maybe the “Line Ride” on South Park (TRIVIA!!!)
Anyway, we’re sitting there waiting for the time to pass; I’m reading Inkhart and starting to get really into it but I have to stop every chapter or so (they’re short chapters) and rest my eyes. That lack of sleep fatigued feeling is creeping in and I’m starting to really worry about the day awaiting me at Romp n’ Roll. I basically have no room for error with the timing of the flight, then I work the entire rest of the day with virtually no break until the end of the day at 7:30. Then after that, I had scheduled a rehearsal for the backup singers for the thing I’m doing at Rompy’s Summer Concert Series tomorrow.
I’m thinking to myself, “What have I done? There’s no way I’m going to make it even if I get a short nap on the plane.” I think I called myself a few choice names that I can’t repeat here.
And there was always the nagging fear that I wouldn’t make it to Romp n’ Roll in time.
Now, you have to realize that I hadn’t spoken to Rachel about this yet. I knew she would fuss at me if I told her my plan and if I screwed up and missed the class, I only wanted to get yelled at once when it all hit the fan. I was just trying to be efficient! :-) I also didn’t think Rachel needed the added stress. Especially if everything worked out. See, I was being thoughtful, too!
The gate agent finally started getting everyone ready to board and they announced that they were looking for volunteers to take the later flight as this one was overbooked! HA! The thought DID cross my mind but only for a second. I mean, what kind of hero would I be if I came home with FOUR roundtrip tickets to anywhere Airtran flies? I would definitely have missed the free preview class (with 20 kids registered!) and probably at least one other so my hero stock would have dwindled. I would have lost a lot of Venus/Mars points (More TRIVIA!!!) so it really wasn’t worth it.
Another thing about Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport: it takes FOREVER to taxi out the actual runway. I think it took us a good 25 minutes to get out there, all the while I’m drumming my fingers nervously and my leg is bouncing like the “energetic” woman’s who I sat next to on the way out. I think I said, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go” about a hundred times.
Finally we got up in the air and I was completely planning to lay back and sleep but I was simply too nervous and Inkhart was calling to me. So I read, drank some tea and coffee, and finally took a power nap on the descent into Richmond.
We got in about 7 minutes late and I still had to pick my guitar up from the Airtran baggage office, get the shuttle to the Park-n-Go lot, find the car, pull out all the pertinent cards (AAA, frequent parker, and credit), pay, and drive the 20-25 minutes to RNR.
I got to the baggage office and there was no one there but I could definitely see my baby sitting in there. It was safe so I decided to leave and come back late Monday night and get it.
Then I went to the courtesy phone and called Park-n-Go for the shuttle and they told me it was already at the terminal. From here on out, it was something of a dream the way everything fit together. I walked out, walked right onto the shuttle and within a couple minutes, we were headed to the lot. The only other guy on the shuttle had a problem related to a car that his father left there and the keys which no one seemed to be able to find (this was all discussed on the radio on the way over). This could have been a seriously delay but the shuttle driver had a great head on his shoulders and dropped the son off at the office so he could take me to my car first. It was also very convenient that right next to my car (Rachel’s blue Bug, actually) was a man waiting to be picked up to go to the airport.
I got loaded up and zipped out to the gate to pay. For all the cards, papers, etc…the attendant had to juggle, she got me out in very short order and I was on the road to RNR by 10:07. Good thing I just happened to pack a clean RNR shirt. Not sure what made me do that.
Traffic was light and I stayed calm, not wishing to go too fast and risk a ticket. Barring anything like a flat tire or bad traffic, I felt I was going to just barely make it. On the way, I called Airtran baggage and they told me I could leave the guitar until Tuesday morning which was fine by me!
I walked in the back door of the store at 10:28! Anna was there JUST IN CASE and so was a multitude of children! The class had 20 kids pre-registered and another 13 dropped in unannounced! Don’t forget that includes their grownups and a few grand grownups. YIKES!!! So it was completely nuts and very convenient that Anna was there. I asked her to stay because I knew I would never have been able to effectively teach the class with that many kids.
I stayed awake, it was a great class, as were all the other Monday classes/camp with the exception of when the wild and crazy all-girls 6:30 Rhythm n’ Roll class staged a revolt and everyone abandoned the class 15-minutes early so that they could all go get water. :-) I have little to no control over that class but we have a great time!
Rehearsal went well and I can’t wait until the concert tomorrow. It felt awesome when I realized that everything would work out the way I wanted it to.
I love it when a plan comes together!
p.s. Another great thing about the 2 free round trip tickets is that Charlotte and I can now go the New Mexico in September (if she’s up for it, that is). Aunt B and the NM contingent are walking in a fundraiser for the local cancer treatment center and they’re all wearing “Charlotte” hats. As a bonus, Becky (Aunt B) promised me that if I could get CJ out there for the walk, she would shave her head!!! She promised me and now I think we can make it. Now I’d like to line up a bunch of women in the Farmington, NM/Durango, CO area willing to shave their heads so Aunt “Not-so-Hairy” doesn’t have to do it alone. Everyone put your feelers out and spread the word.