Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Club Scrap Retreat, August 4-7

Wow! I can't believe I'm getting requests for this. The nutty thing is that I started to write it back in August, and I made myself stop because it was such a bummer that I couldn't share it with anyone. Now I can't find where I started! And that's terrible, because I had the *best* best time of anyone anywhere in all of Wisconsin, and y'all should get to read about it if anyone could. ;)

So I'll try to drag up my rusty memories and see if I can't pull together some semblance of a report. I am sure I will forget stuff. I didn't take notes during the trip, mostly because I was always busy, and when I wasn't busy, I was asleep. Retreat wore me out!!!!!! It wore me out in 2003, too, but I was *way* more wiped out this year. I'm not sure why -- maybe because I've gained 40 pounds in the last two years? Surely *that's* not it! OK, it might really be.... Anyway, here's my trip report, such as it is.....

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005.
I was scheduled to fly from Nashville to Detroit and then on to Appleton. The Nashville to Detroit part went just as planned, and I was supposed to have about an hour layover in Detroit, just long enough to grab a snack, use the ladies' room, and then board the plane, probably. The first leg of the flight was totally uneventful and didn't scare me. Unlike the plane trip to the 2003 Retreat, I didn't even get locked in the dark in the ladies' room on the airplane. But then... I haven't *used* a restroom on an airplane since that year! ROFL!!!! Once burned, twice shy.

When we landed in Detroit, I found my next gate without incident and then doubled back to the ladies' room. They were totally out of soap in there. That drove me *crazy*. I am sorry, but one needs soap for one's handwashing, y'know? So I walked all the way past my gate to the next ladies' room, where, thank heaven, there was soap. I finally got my hands adequately cleansed. And I would like to tell you that I didn't touch anyone or anything on my way to that one. I mean -- yuck. Public restrooms should have *soap*.

Then I went back to my gate, where I discovered two really important things:
1. This was not my gate any more, and
B. My flight was being delayed by another hour.

Yikes!!!! I knew Tricia was planning to pick me up at the airport, so I whipped out my cell phone and called her. She was actually on her way to the Appleton airport to pick me up right then! Ack!!!! Not a problem; she could take some Retreat attendees to the hotel and then come back to the airport, by which time I *should* be landing. OK, that's a plan! I'm sorry that I was late, but glad that it meant that Tricia got to drive someone to Retreat!!!!!

Then I found a restaurant in which to eat. I don't remember the name of it, but they made things similar to fajitas but not exactly fajitas, and they were way more exotic than the fajitas or burritos or any tortilla-wrapped food one gets in Tennessee. I could only eat about half of it, because I was excited and nervous about flying, but I ate as much as I could and read my book.

(Oh, yeah, I bought the newest Sophie Kinsella book, "The Undomestic Goddess," in the bookstore at the Nashville airport. Shhhhhhh. Don't tell Wesley.)

Finally I boarded my second plane, and as we set out over a Great Lake (never can remember which one, but it's definitely very great), I managed to concentrate enough on my book not to get nervous about flying over water. I'm not a calm flyer, y'know.

We got to Appleton, and honestly, the airport seemed different somehow since 2003. Bigger. Curvier. More confusing. I went to the baggage area to get my suitcase, and before it even came around on the carousel, there was TRICIA!!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! She ran up to me with her arms open wide for a hug, and we hugged and squealed and jumped up and down until my enormous bag came around, at which point we wrestled it off the carousel and trundled off to her SUV waiting just outside.

The trip to Tricia's house was fun and filled with laughter and conversation -- she told me about taking Retreat attendees to the hotel, and I told her about how the ladies' room in the Detroit airport didn't have soap -- we briefly considered going out to get something to eat, but I was still too nervous to eat anything.

At her house, I met Cliff and Emily again, and got settled in the guest room, which is *gorgeous*. We sat on the porch and chatted and drank. Tricia keeps Diet Dr. Pepper on hand for Terri, and I needed to make the switch to diet colas, so I was very relieved and happy to discover that I can handle Diet Dr. Pepper. (Through the course of the Retreat weekend, I am happy to announce that I got *totally* switched over to diet drinks. My really mean doctor will be happy. She's mad at me because of all the weight I've gained since my skinny-chick metabolism quit working.)

Oh, and I need to apologize publicly to Terri because if she goes to Tricia's house and she's out of Diet Dr. Pepper, it's because I drank them. Sorry, Terri. :D But I'm really glad that's your beverage of choice, because it *really* helped me to switch over to diet! I never could get used to Diet Coke. Blech.

Cliff and I caught up on the last couple of years and got acquainted. Cliff is a hoot!!!!! He's so much fun, so outgoing and friendly, and just the best host in the world! He also makes FABULOUS coffee. This is a guy who really knows the importance of coffee. It's not just a matter of getting caffeine into your system. Oh, no. Coffee is a very important thing just in terms of taste and color!

Emily was a little reserved at first, but she showed me her room, which is just a veritable palace of pinkness. I know pink isn't Tricia's favorite color, but she's one of those truly great moms who sublimates her own tastes and gives her child what her *child* wants. That room is a dream come true for a little princess. And Emily is more than a princess; she is incredibly smart and motivated. Throughout the weekend, I was often delighted with the conversations she could hold with adults and her behavior in general. She's completely different from my Emily -- I think she'll be a great lady when she grows up, very kind and generous with a heaping dollop of booksmarts.

In the dark that night, we could see some kind of equipment looming in Tricia's backyard, evidence that there's a seawall being implanted against the canal back there. Later in the trip, I came to appreciate how very cold it gets up there in the winter and the importance of a seawall. But wow, that's a lot of work!

My biggest impression of Wisconsin in August that night? Well, honestly, I wondered if it was all a big joke on the Southern girl, because it was just as hot in Wisconsin as it had been in Tennessee! It wasn't quite as humid, but man, it was *hot*. The house was completely open to let cool night breezes in, and I was in the basement which was much cooler than the upstairs. And I was *glad* to be in the basement!

Somewhere around 11:00, I unpacked and hung up my dress for the Saturday night dinner, and I turned on a little light for a night light so I wouldn't get lost in the middle of the night. I always get lost in strange places. Heck, I get lost at home, but I try not to tell everyone *that*.

In general, my feelings were: Happiness (because I was finally there), trepidation (what would it be like without my sister Amy to hide me from scary new people?), excitement (for all the things I would get to learn that I knew nothing about), and a little tiny tinge of anger (because Terri had scheduled some stinkin' boat rally thingamabob and wouldn't be at *most* of Retreat, dang it!!!!). I was really looking forward to seeing Chris and Dinah and Kay and Jill and everyone from CSHQ -- I was anxious to see Annette again -- and great, huge hope that I wouldn't either scare someone or disappoint anyone. I couldn't wait, couldn't *wait* to see Erikia. I haven't seen her in person since the 2003 Retreat, but there is something about Erikia that just speaks to my soul. She's so delicate and ethereal; it's almost as if she doesn't belong in this big, loud world in which we traffic, but her art always makes me feel a little bit better about humanity in general.

As I laid my head down on a perfect feather pillow -- a pillow which I nearly stole and brought home with me; it wasn't too big and wasn't too small but was *just right*, which is the way everything in Tricia's home is -- the last thing I thought was, "Dang! I never called Amy to tell her I'm here safely!"


At 22/10/05 12:58 PM, Blogger Jane said...

How totally fun to read this. Can't wait to hear more! You always make me feel like I'm right there with you when you tell your stories......hey, I WAS there for a teeny tiny part of it and I got to MEET YOU! Would have loved to have actually been @ retreat and sat next to you and really talk but it was a sheer joy just to say HI!


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