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06 June 2006 @ 07:28 am
The Very, Very Late Vegas Trip Post...  
Okay, so it's late.  It's even later considering in just THREE DAYS I'll be picking Tiff up for the Charlotte Trip!  ::shakes head at self::  I'm such a slacker.

Anyway, off to the show.  ;)

May 18th, I had to work my full hours.  But I had arranged them so that I'd be off by 2pm so that I could go home and get ready for the airport and finish the last Countdown Card, etc., etc.  Wouldn't you know that Thursday at 2pm is when A.G., the new nurse-midwife at work who is supposed to be starting on July 1st, comes into the office to meet with my boss, Ellen?  Ellen caught me on the way out the door to introduce me to her and I was all "Yes!  Hi!  So nice to meet you!  Leaving for Vegas!  Gotta go!" and--whoosh--I was out the door.  Did I care that I had just basically dissed the poor woman and given her the impression that I'm an incorrigible gambler all in one fell swooooooooooooooop?  Notsomuch, no.  Actually, you could say that I didn't care one.little.bit.  That would be accurate.  :D

So the time came to get into the car with my mother to get to the airport.  I should have been more nervous and yet I wasn't nervous at all.  I called Tiff on the phone to let her know that I was leaving and that everything was okay and all that.  We were both shellshocked and I hung up with her, smiling and feeling stupid, only to be faced with my mother, the Alarmist.  Why did I let her drive?  Oh for HEAVEN'S SAKE, WHY?

We got to the airport and my mother insisted on coming in with me to see me through security.  Yes, I am 36.  Thank you for noticing. 

I'm convinced that my mother views these trips as possibly the last time she'll ever see me alive.  She has been completely taken in by the Internet is Evil societal scare tactic and is usually convinced that I am on the way to meet the one and only female axe murderer trolling Casey-Novak-centric chat rooms for someone like me.  Feel free to roll your eyes at her at your convenience.

I checked in and checked my suitcase (this will be important later) and my mother stopped at the ATM so she could shove $100 in crisp 20s into my hands before I went through security.  Well, no.  That's not entirely true.  That might give you the impression that if you'd been there, you would have seen a tiny blonde woman pushing money at a tall brunette, the bills all crumpled and falling on the ground.  Not my mother.  She is an Alarmist, remember?  Handing money to someone out in the open makes the recipient of the money an instant target for robbery.  Rather, in a move reserved for CIA agents taking possession of microchips in crowded Eastern European train stations, my mother folded the money into an unrecognizable square and palmed it to me while we were both looking in opposite directions, our faces passive, almost bored-looking.  Out of the side of her mouth she whispered "Don't put it all in the same place.  Put some in your pocket and some somewhere else."

At which point I rolled my eyes and openly unfolded the money, putting $60 in my wallet in my backpack and the other $40 in my pocket with all the subtlety of Lwaxana Troi in heat.

My mother was not amused.  However she didn't say anything and we ended up sitting outside security for another couple of minutes, chatting about the miracle of Airborne--the cold repellent--before I'd finally had enough and decided to go through security.  Which, just in case you're ever traveling through the RDU airport, takes about 7 minutes total.  Needless to say, I had some time to kill once through the gates.  Apparently so did Mother Nature.

While I was shopping for some gum and a keychain in the shape of a NC license plate stamped with CRAZY 4 U on it, Mother Nature was shopping for the perfect location for one of her endless summer squalls.  She found it right over the friggin' airport.  So that while I was on the phone with Tiff again, those of us flying to Atlanta on AirTran flight whatever were all informed that our flight had been delayed.  My nerves started jangling then.  Delayed?  I have a connecting flight to make!  I only have 75 mins of connecting time or some such!  No no no!

Who says there's no public prayer?  Trust me, there's public prayer.  Lots of it.  Didn't help, but there was lots of it.

I was still on the phone with Tiff as the Ordeal of the Delay unfolded and we were talking about certain grocery needs that she had not yet shopped for, namely Boysenberry syrup.  I asked in all earnestness "Do you have honey in the house?" and when Tiff replied in the positive, I replied, "Then we'll be fine."  However, my voice carries.  Extremely well.  And suddenly there were about 40 pairs of eyes either staring directly at me or pointedly not looking at me at all.  I laughed and told Tiff, saying that half of these people were wondering what emergency could possibly require honey while the other half knew exactly what I was going to use the honey for.

I really have no shame at all.  Honestly.  LOL

Eventually we were cleared to get on the plane and all that crap. It took off and I spent the entire trip praying I would make my connecting flight.  When we landed and were pulling up to the gate, I called Tiff on my cell and asked her to look up the connecting flight.  She said it'd been delayed until 9:40pm!  It was 9:25pm according to my cell and I was briefly euphoric!  It would hold!  The plane would hold for me!

Yeah.  No. 

I ran--really RAN, and barefoot because I was in my birks--to the gate only to see that it was empty and the door was closed.  The unfriendly looking woman at the desk didn't even look up as I got to her.

"It's gone."  No point in asking.  I knew the answer.

"Three minutes ago."

"What do I do now?"

"You have to go to customer service, back by Gate 16."  Yeah, that mile I had just run to get to this gate?  Had to go all the way back.

I called Tiff.  Heartbroken.  Google, I did NOT want to make that call.  Ugh.  My stomach sank and I was all turned around, angry and frustrated and surrounded by many, many, many people who were the same.  It didn't make for a good time, trust me.  The Atlanta airport is a fascinating place (which I would find out later) but at that moment it held about 500 or so perfectly normal, perfectly nice people who would have turned homicidal at the drop of a pin.

I ended up in the customer service line for over an hour and during that hour I went from livid to pissed to angry to numb to acceptance.  It was a slow line.  A very slow line.  ::sigh::

By the time I got to my CSR, he wasn't even speaking to any of us.  He just looked at me and I said "Vegas."  He put me on the first non-stop out of the airport (at 9:15am) and then gave me my accommodation for my inconvenience: a pink slip of paper for a discounted hotel room at one of the area hotels.  Excuse me??  You want me to pay for my own hotel room?  I know AirTran is a budget airline but really.  No.  I won't be using the pink slip for a discounted hotel room for what?  Eight hours at the most?  Thank you but no. 

So I stayed in the Atlanta airport overnight.  Without my luggage, because I had checked it.  All I had was my backpack with a change of underwear, two pairs of shoes (but no socks), a bottle of water, my book, a sketchbook, my kids book that I'm working on and all my sketching tools, a hairbrush, gum, my wallet, my cell phone and charger, and $100 in cash.  I also had my navy blue hoodie with me, a life-saving piece of clothing if there ever was one.

For the first hour, I shopped in rapidly closing newsstands.  I got some aspirin in case I ended up with a migraine, some more Airborne, and a lime green ballpoint pen that said Atlanta on the side (thus giving birth to the Erin-buys-Tiff-something-odd-from-every-airport/trip ritual).  Then I staked out a couple of areas in different waiting areas.  C17 was good for watching CNN on a giant flatscreen TV at earsplitting volume and I saw several In Depth Reports on illegal immigration from Mexico.  I also called my parents and told them I was okay and what I was doing.  My mother was actually pretty good.  She was worried but didn't freak out and I told her I'd call her again in the morning to let them know I was still alive.

But seriously, really, where else is safer than the gate area of an airport?  A few of the other passengers had opted for my choice of staying in the airport for the night, the cleaning crew was coming on duty around 11pm just as the gate personnel were leaving, there were lots of construction people because of the re-do in the center of the airport, so they were around...  I had a nearby bathroom and one all-night restaurant (where I did get some dinner and some vile green kiwi lemonade that made me very happy in a Limer way) to tend to most of my needs.  Really, what more could a girl ask for?  Other than to have made her google-forsaken connecting flight but really, she's trying not to obsess.

So I consumed a chicken sub and a drink that was the color of radioactive waste, talked with Tiff on the phone for an hour or so, watched some TV, read some of my book and finally, blessedly, remembered that my hoodie had a hood (yeah, obvious, I know) and I put it on, put my backpack on a row of seats, put my shoes under it, set my cell phone alarm for 7am, pulled the hood over my face, and laid down to go to sleep.

Yes!  I really did sleep.  For two and a half hours!  It was great!

I woke up just before 5am and watched the shift change again, cleaned up in the bathroom (and my starched white shirt had surely weathered the night well, let me tell you!), and waited for the coffee shop to open so I could get a cinnamon latte.  'Twas brilliant.

I was sitting at my gate and continued to sit there through two early morning flights to Chicago before the gate-sitter got nervous and asked me if I was going to Chicago.  "Nope, Vegas!"  She gave me a look but let it go.  That flight wasn't for another 2 hours and 15 minutes but she didn't have time to wonder what was up with the early bird.

Eventually I decided to visit the restroom one more time and as I was returning to my gate, the gate-sitter was at the tail-end of an announcement regarding my flight.  Apparently it had been moved.  From C17 (where I was and had been practically all night) to C4, which seemed like a mile away.  And was tragically named after a type of explosive.  ::heavy sigh::  My backpack was heavy on my back as I trudged down to gate C4 but on the way I saw familiar faces.  People I had stood in line with at the Customer Service desk last night.  They were all scowling.  Still angry.  I was smiling.  Excited and happy.  I felt sorry for them and said a brief prayer for their anger to be assuaged.  No one should have to start out the day in that bad of a mood.

I ended up at the gate, checked in, and happily found a seat under some windows. In short order, I was joined by the Johnsons, a very sweet couple in their late forties who were on their way to their first trip to Vegas. I lived up to the Vegas commercials almost instantly as the couple took my statement that "I work for UNC Hospitals" and immediately assumed I was a nurse. For the rest of our wait and practically through the entire trip I had to avoid giving overt medical advice to Mrs. Johnson, who had apparently been experiencing some rather hilarious back spasms.

I called my parents to let them know that all was a go to Vegas and called Tiff, waking her, to let her know that I was getting onto the plane and that she should pick me up at whatever time I had told her to (I can't seem to recall...10:40am maybe?). They started boarding shortly after I hung up with Tiff and voila! I was now on the most crowded plane I had ever flown upon. I had an aisle seat, which was good, and I drank ginger ale to settle my stomach because at this point I was suffering that exhaustion nausea and also my nerves had started to kick in. Every hour was bringing me closer to Tiffany and every hour was also bringing me closer to a nervous collapse caused by--as fewthistle named it--jackassiness.

Nothing, however, could compare to the feelings I had when I was actually walking through McCarran airport toward baggage claim. My heart was pounding so hard that I could feel it in my eyeballs. I was very near to hyperventilating. I ducked into a women's bathroom and brushed my hair for the hundredth time, checked my starched white shirt and found it still starchy and white, and finally grimaced into the mirror and said to my reflection "Well, so what if it doesn't work out. You'll live, right?" It wasn't very convincing. My reflection gave me a look as if to say "Yeah, whatever."

I reached baggage claim pretty much without experiencing a full-out cardiac incident, which I took as a good thing. I did, however, feel like my head was on a swivel pin, I was looking around baggage claim so much. In fact, I was trying to see the entirety of it in one go, which was not really possible. Didn't stop me from trying, though.

Once I had ascertained that Tiff was not nearby, I opted to call her to let her know where I was. I caught her in her truck still about five minutes away and I told her where to find me (under a purple sign for the Voodoo Lounge) and retrieved my suitcase which had just hit the carousel.

ETA: fewthistle and anyone else who may suffer from stomachs sensitive to sap, STOP READING NOW!!


And then...there she was. And everything went out of my head and heart and all at once I had her in my arms and I did NOT want to let her go. Not for the whole wide world. Being held by her wiped all the exhaustion from my body, completely, and I felt good. Awake. Happy. Good.

We went to her truck and then toward her side of town, deciding to get burgers at In-N-Out because neither of us had had much to eat yet for the day. And the conversation was wonderful. I felt relaxed--for the most part--and hopeful and great. But the longer the ride became, the more the jackassiness crept back in and my confidence began to crack and crumble.

We ate at her adorable dining room table in her terrific apartment and she started to lose cohesion as she'd been up most of the night cleaning her apartment while worrying about me.

She offered me the shower and I told her to lay down to take a nap. She asked me "Where will you be?"

And I said something lame like "Where do you think I'll be?" and I pulled her into my arms and kissed the top of her head and I felt her sigh and relax into me and then--then--I knew everything was going to be okay.

And we did nap, thankyouverymuch. So there. :P

We spent nearly the entire weekend tucked away in her wonderful apartment, watching TV (the finale of SVU, Veronica Mars [got me hooked! :D], Frasier, L&O:CI) and holding hands and such.

I made her dinner on Saturday night because I'd been dying to cook for her for AGES. We went to the grocery store that afternoon and had the best time picking out food (except for one completely incompetent seafood counterperson). That night I made NY Strip steaks marinated in lime and soy, pan-roasted asparagus with a twist of lemon, sauteed mushrooms, and Coconut Curry Shrimp over linguine. It was mighty good, even if I do say so myself. There were TONS of leftovers though, because I am not used to cooking for two. I think I cooked for six!

The next morning I made pancakes flavored with lime-zest and served a warm raspberry/blackberry compote to go over them.

We went out to Star Trek: The Experience that evening and OMG!

The BATHROOMS were TREK! I was in awe. IN FRIGGIN' AWE! It was amazing! It was fantastic! I got to touch the corridors of the Enterprise-D! I got to stand on the BRIDGE!! I got to be in a turbolift that didn't work (what are the odds)! I got to fly in a shuttle and escape rogue Klingons!!

I was flat-out amazed! Just flat-out amazed...

And then we went to eat at Quark's. Yep, our first date was at Quark's. Sue me. I'm a geek. Geeks date, too.

The service was wonderful and we even got to talk to a major who was a female Klingon and she was SO in character that I wanted to give her a tip too. She was fabulous!

We had a really terrific meal at Quark's. You might expect it to be pretty average fare because it's a tourist thing, but it really was wonderful food. We started with the Smorgasborg appetizer, Tiff had the Promenade Pasta (with shrimp, crab and lobster) and I had Seven of Nine's Seafood Collective (shrimp stuffed with crab, roasted veggies, and rice pilaf). And to drink Tiff had a Bolian Sunset, which was very blue but not too tasty, while I had two Borg Queens which were very green and VERY strong. I even shared the second one with Tiff and I was still drunk after it. Tiff assures me that I was an adorable drunk but I am still not convinced. :/

We went home and retired for the evening only to be faced in the morning with the task of getting me to the airport on time. Which we did, no problem, even though we spent probably 40 minutes kissing goodbye in her living room before we left. We also held hands the entire way to the airport until I had to get out of the truck and check in at the airport.

That was the hardest thing I'd had to do in a very, very long time: getting out of her truck. Especially when I saw her wipe away a tear just before she pulled away from the curb. Ugh...I just wanted to hold her again.

But I got on the plane and the next one and I made it home.

Only when I walked into my room, it didn't feel like home anymore.

And I miss her so much...


My State of Mind: excitedexcited
What the Voices in My Head Hear: I Wanna Be In Love--ME
Angelina Ballerina: Diane - Vampgreenovalfruit on June 6th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Aw! You two are just ... like, crazy cute. And I love all the lime and radioactive green everywhere. I heart you guys.

But seriously, photos.
seftiri: Lime Crimeseftiri on June 7th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)
Yeah. You can't go wrong with lime. :D

And we're working on it. We are. :D
Shit: mtmshitashii on June 6th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
Yes! Star Trek: The Experience. Is it still in the Hilton? I went there with my parents when I was about 12 or 13 ish. Something like that. They got a huge taste of my geekdom when I made them pose with two klingons for pictures. Rockage. I still have the program type book that tells the ride like a story book and has neat pictures. Trekkies rock!

And I hate airports. I'm suprised you could sleep, I can't sleep for shit at gates. Even when I'm really really tired. I've stayed overnight at O'hare too many times to count and I can't for the life of me sleep on their couch/chair thing-a-ma-bobs. By the time my flight left I could have driven to my destination. Ick.
seftiri: seven of nineseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
Yep, it's still there in the Hilton. :) It was a fabulous time. I can't wait to go back!

As for airports, I haven't had to stay overnight in a really huge one (yet). I might not be able to sleep in one that ran around the clock. LOL
Shit: mtmshitashii on June 13th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah the Experience is awesome. I keep trying to fanagle my friends in to going back with me but they daren't do something so geeky.

Sleeping in a huge airport is a tad harder. It's much easier to sleep in, say, the South Bend airport which only flies out of two gates. I hope you never have to learn how to sleep in the middle of big airport craziness. Not a skill I"m happy I learned, however useful it is.
Backwards Girl: Mulder and Frohikefight_back83 on June 6th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
What an adventure but I'm so glad things worked out as well, dare I say wonderfully, as they did! Cheers to happiness!
seftiri: AJ Cuteseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Cheers to happiness! :)

Thank you!
Tiffany: to me you are perfectpiekid on June 6th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
She asked me "Where will you be?"

That makes me sound like a total weirdo, instead of a sleep-deprived weirdo. Oh well.

And we did nap, thankyouverymuch. So there.

Eventually. ::VVBG::

I miss you too, honey. I think I'm over my little traveling alone nervousness... I dunno what that was all about.

seftiri: Pie and Kissesseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
You are not a weirdo, of any sort!

And yes, we did nap. Eventually. I didn't hear any complaints from you, though. ;)

NIN!! Tomorrow!!

Tiffany: takes my breath awaypiekid on June 8th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
I didn't hear any complaints from you, though.

This is true. Those definitely weren't complaints that you heard. ::wink wink blush::
seftiri: Like Thisseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oh no. Not complaints at all.


flicka_fan: pic#44521060flicka_fan on June 6th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
That Star Trek thing sounds so fun!!!
seftiri: icon assimilatedseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Oh you have NO idea! :D I recommend it! Go!
dragynfliesdragynflies on June 6th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Awww. That's adorable.

Mel and I "took a nap" when I got there too. So I'm sure there was lots of sleeping going on. ;) So funny too -- there were parts of this I could have written almost word for word. I was there five days the first time, and we spend most of that time cuddled on the couch, not wanting to go mess with the real world.

I'm SO SORRY your flight left! I can't imagine -- if I had missed my flight the first time PLUS the "omg nervous" butterflies, I think I would have thrown up everywhere.

Can't wait to hear about your next visit -- have a great time and hey, take some pics, okay?
seftiri: DN Joyseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah yeah. Working on the pics.

And really I didn't get the whole hyperventilating thing until I was actually in the Vegas airport so I was okay (if a lot perturbed) in Atlanta.

Thanks, cutie! Welcome home from Utah!
froggumzfroggumz on June 6th, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
Can I just bounce around grinning like a fool & saying "awwwwwwwwww" a lot? Bummer about the flight, but it all worked out in the end & that is what matters.

The Borg Queen is my favorite drink of all time. My friends & I keep trying to remember what exactly was in it, but after 2 of those & sharing one of those damn fish bowl drinks we're lucky to remember that day!

Ok, one final awwwwwwwwwwwww!!! Have a fantastic time @ NIN you two!
seftiri: T7 NewlyJoinedseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
The Borg Queen contains Apple pucker, Apple Schnapps, and 90 proof Apple liqueur, served in an oversized martini glass rimmed with apple sugar. In other words, it is five ounces of KNOCK YOU ON YO' ASS! O_o

And we'll have a great time this weekend! I know it!

Trublutrublusvufan on June 7th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
*20 minute 'Awwww...'*

That. Is. Too. Cute. For. Words.


"And we did nap, thankyouverymuch. So there. :P"
Yeah. You napped. Riiiiiight.
seftiri: C/O Yay Winter Smilesseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
I tell the truth! We napped! I just didn't say for how long!!

I learned the art of telling the truth from the Aes Sedai. ;)

Thanks sweetie!

Everything okay with you?
If I'm just bad news, then you're a liar.: Diane - Crazy Sexyhauntedgraysky on June 7th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
Awww...this was just so adorable. I love reading your entries. They make me all happy and squee-ish.

Ahaha. All the lime/-green stuff. <3
seftiri: Lime Crimeseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
Lime green makes me happy! :D

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy them.
celievampcelievamp on June 7th, 2006 08:34 am (UTC)
So pleased for you. Reminded me of how I felt going out to stay with Liz in Florida over Christmas 2004.
seftiri: seven of nineseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)

Don't you two have an anniversary coming up soon? :D

Thanks, hon!

celievampcelievamp on June 9th, 2006 08:29 am (UTC)
Yep, 1st wedding anniversary 25 July.
a_noni_muss on June 7th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
aw...I just got the warm fuzzies. Course it could be the third cup of coffee but I'm pretty sure it's the warm fuzzies too.
seftiri: Benson Cute Smileseftiri on June 8th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
I understand the Warm Fuzzies like a good cup of coffee or three! ;)

rave_review on June 9th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Aww! You guys are so adorable.

Actually, you could say that I didn't care one.little.bit.

Perfectly acceptable! What's the point of politeness in the face of romance?
seftiriseftiri on June 14th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
Perfectly acceptable! What's the point of politeness in the face of romance?

How very true! What is the point indeed!