Hours of travel: 17.5
Hours of sleep: 2.5
Time zones visited: 4
Crappy seats on planes: 3
After my long-ass, red-eye trip home from Seattle that finally ended at 9:30 this morning, I was starting to stink up the place worse than the Reds' bullpen. But now I'm home, showered, and ready for action. Special thanks to Jonny for posting my stop-gap entries in my absence. I'll give you the high points of my trip.
Sunday, May 8 (Mother's Day)
There was no time for a leisurely brunch and a bouquet of flowers. I was up at 4 to get out the door by 5 to get to the airport by 6 to catch my 7 a.m. flight to Denver. From Denver I picked up a connection to Seattle to get me into town just in time to appear with the “panel of experts,” on which I fill the role of “the geek” (imagine that). I sat at the front of a room for an hour and answered a few questions about the software I use to write my online newsletter and thereby justified my trip. Good work if you can get it.
I was too tired to try to see any of the city on Sunday, so I headed back to my hotel right after the session and crashed for a couple of hours to the sounds of ESPN. I woke up sometime in the first inning of the Reds game and struggled to stay awake to see them lose to the Dodgers in unspectacular fashion. I guess my threat of jabs from 2000 miles away didn't carry much weight with the guys.
One interesting thing did happen on Sunday: on the Denver-Seattle leg of my flight, I found (and pilfered) a copy of Rockies: Official Scorecard Magazine of the Colorado Rockies that was inexplicably in all of the seatback pockets on the airplane. It was fascinating to read the PR of a team that has even less to work with than the Reds. Specifically, I learned that the Rockies' rookie catcher, JD Closser, is from a little town in Indiana no further than 10 miles from where I am sitting right this moment. Wild to think that I've almost certainly unwittingly passed by him or his family at our towns' collective cultural center: the local Wal*Mart.
Monday, May 9
After an exhausting day of trying to figure out which sessions would be good based on the titles and getting free pens from the scores of translation companies advertising in the vendor expo room, I headed out to see some of the city. I called Jon before I left, and he told me that the Reds were up 5-0. Cool, I thought.
I walked a lot and saw a lot and ended the evening at the only sports bar in the world NOT to play ESPN on any of the televisions: the Fox Sports Grill. I got there late and when I noticed the game on the ticker of one of the televisions, I was surprised to see that the Reds game is tied at 5 in the bottom of the ninth. I asked the bartender to put the game on, and the first image I saw was Danny Graves throwing something in the dugout. I knew that something hadn't gone well.
It took two 20-oz beers to get through the remaining four innings to see the Reds finally give it up. I was disappointed, but I was even more concerned about my wobbliness as I walked backed to my hotel room. I noted that I should average fewer than 10 oz of beer per inning in the future.
Tuesday, May 10
After going to these conferences a few years in a row, the sessions start to sound the same, so you try to find ways to mix up what you attend. On Tuesday, I attended a session based solely on the fact that one of the presenters' names was Freel. It turned out to be as good a way to choose a session as any.
I called home after the sessions were done to talk to Jon. The game had already started, and our conversation went something like this:
“There's good news and bad news in the game,” Jon tells me.
“What's that?” I respond.
“The good news is that Aurilia got injured and can't play,” he tells me.
“Jon, that's not good news,” I say, chastisingly.
“Yes, it is,” he responds, undaunted.
“Well, maybe it is,” I tell him, “but it's not nice to say so. What's the bad news?”
“Claussen was pitching well but he took a ball in the arm and twisted his ankle,” he went on. You can tell that we have the sort of deep marital bond that allows us to start off conversations with the really important baseball happenings and let petty things, like the well-being of our child, wait.
It's important that I get off the phone because the game is already in the fourth, and I need to get over to the Fox Sports Grill. I got there earlier in the game and I managed my beer consumption much better, so I had even more than the win to feel good about as I walked back to my hotel after the game.
Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12
Wednesday's game was at 9:35 a.m. Seattle time and not televised, so I was pretty much stuck missing it. After the day's sessions I was at the airport by 4 p.m. to start my craptastic trip home when I heard from Jon on the phone that the Reds had lost. I wasn't surprised: losing is pretty much what they do.
Except to amuse myself with thoughts of fake stories I could write, I didn't really think about the Reds much during the trip until I was boarding the plane to take me on the overnight trip from Salt Lake City to Atlanta. One of the flight attendants noticed my Reds sweatshirt and announced, “the Reds? They lost today.”
“Yes, I know,” I muttered as I dragged my suitcases back to my seat on the very crowded plane. I can't begin to imagine what kind of positive reaction the flight attendant thought he was going to get from me with a comment like that at 12 midnight when I already came from a place where it was 11 p.m. going to a place where it was 2 a.m. en route to a place where it was 1 a.m. I couldn't even figure out what damn time it was; I sure as heck wasn't going to come up with some pithy comment about my team losing.
From Atlanta it was finally on to Indianapolis where my hubby and son picked me up to drive through an hour and a half of rush hour traffic to get back to our house. At home, they had awaiting me the most fantastic baseball-related Mother's Day present ever, and I'll just have to get a photo up as soon as we have it hung on the wall.
Diligent me, of course, then got on the computer and wrote up a summary of my trip. After it was all done, an exhausted fat-fingering of apple+a as apple+q sent it out spinning into the abyss. On the brink, I decided it was time to take a nap and get a fresh perspective. The re-write is probably better anyway.
But now tonight's pre-game is just an hour and a half away. I'm too tired to come up with anything pithy to say except: Go Reds!