Lights, camera…

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Here’s some of them. Thank goodness none came loose! And that I didn’t consider that possibility until after the fact!

Although I was, on the whole, very satisfied with this trip, it wasn’t without its slight hiccups, starting with arriving at the airport around 9:30 at night and having NO driver waiting to pick us up. Also, culture shock: stepping out of the airport and being enveloped by second-hand smoke. It was unavoidable, with still smoldering cigarettes in ash trays every several feet. I’ve taken for granted CA’s smoking laws. And me being pregnant. But aside from that, my colleague got on her phone and found our driver who arrived about 20 minutes later while the airport kept thinning out more and more, leaving us the last poor schleps waiting to be picked up. At least the temperature was fine.

When our driver arrived and opened the back of the van, I rolled my suitcase up and hefted it into the trunk, not seeing him make an immediate move to do so. Then my co-author rolled hers up to his feet and stepped back to let him take care of it. I was like, “Oh, I guess that’s what experienced travelers do–let the driver do the heavy lifting. I’m a total newbie.” I was hoping there’d be a man with a cap and uniform of some sort waiting in the terminal holding a sign with my last name on it–How cool would that be?! I would’ve totally gotten a picture with him, but no. Maybe next time. šŸ™‚

We were driven to our guest house, which had several rooms, each posted with a reserved sign as to what esteemed guests would be staying there and when. I, of course, went around and read them all. One of the names was the host of my very first radio show when my first book came out in 2013. I would’ve liked to have met her, but she was arriving the day after we were leaving. Also, I’m not so casual about all this as to think it wasn’t amazing to see my name on a reserved room sign.

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One of the cameras and two of the several film guys. Another camera was on the other side, facing me on the couch. When I spoke, I could see it moving out of the corner of my eye. I tried not to think about how it could be zooming in on me. (Even typing that made me shudder! Ha!)

One of my greatest concerns about this trip was that I would get zero sleep. My D.C. experience taught me that I don’t sleep well when I travel, especially when something big is coming the next day. Before my talk at that conference, I got three hours of sleep, so that’s what I was praying for here. I managed to get more like four! I was so pleased. The potential lack of sleep would also mean major eye bags–no bueno for television! But since I woke at 4:40 and didn’t have to be on set until 9, the bags had plenty of time to stow themselves. What a relief!

Another worry was getting coffee without being scolded in the cafeteria for drinking it while pregnant. My husband gave me a ready-made answer for that. “Just say, ‘It’s either this or I fall asleep on set. Which do you think would be better?'” Love that man, but as it turned out, there was coffee in the guest house. I could drink my watered-down contraband caffeine in private with no scoffers. I say watered-down because I don’t drink coffee often and make it far less, so I was truly winging it. Regardless, it got the job done. Either that small boost, or the adrenaline, got me through it all without crashing.

The cafeteria was a darling little room run by a short, older African-American woman with crayon red hair, several missing front teeth, and a no-nonsense attitude. I was immediately in love. Also, she, of all people, was the most on top of things when it came to guest services at this place. SHE was the one who knew our schedule backwards and forwards and was able to tell us precisely when and where we’d be picked up to be driven back to the airport. This information wasn’t otherwise provided to us, until we thought to ask her! Gotta love the lunch lady!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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56 responses »

  1. So I’m going to sit here impatiently waiting for part two. Strange that the only person who had their head on straight was the cafeteria lady, she sounds like my kind of person šŸ˜Š Please tell me that you found the opportunity to use that line your husband gave you about the coffee, lol

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  2. Ugh to the second-hand smoke. It’s bad enough to smell it without being pregnant. Must’ve been horrible for you. As for the caffeine, I always had a little bit each day too. I was chief resident when pregnant with my first, and I needed that little something each morning. Sometimes we mothers are expected to give up so much!

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  3. I’m always shocked when traveling, to come across smoke in public places any more. The things we get used to. My coworkers were reminiscing the other day about how they used to smoke at their desks! Before my time! Looking forward to part two.

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    • Haha! The lunch lady took her job seriously. She was possibly the most organized person there, as she’d need to be to on top of who all was visiting and when, and how much food to prepare. She also checked us in when we arrived to be sure we’d gotten fed.

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  4. Wow, I am impressed with your whirlwind trip. Not sure I could do that. My Mommy always told me that pregnant lady gets what pregnant lady wants – thou shalt not question, just fetch. Guess that’s a bit old school these days.

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    • There was a magnificent cake for dessert after lunch–lunch! It was under a round glass case and was almost too good-looking to eat, but we cut into that bad boy anyway. It was delicious! I wish we’d been there for dinner. I can only imagine what scrumptiousness that lady whipped up. Oh, and I got eat grits at breakfast. šŸ™‚

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  5. I totally understand about the coffee. I drink two cups every morning. I’ve tried to give it up before but don’t usually make it more than a couple weeks.

    And ughhh to the second-hand smoke…so annoying. It’s really bad here too and I can’t get used to it….and I’m still shocked when I walk into and enclosed area (like an elevator) and find that someone has been smoking inside. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

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  6. Wow, what a trip–can’t wait for part two! And the lunch lady–what a treasure! Sometimes it’s the people you least expect that are the most valuable! And cake. There has to be cake, I mean, if you’re gonna only get four hours of sleep (love the stowing of eye bags line–brilliant!), and if people might give you grief for drinking coffee of all things, then yes, there’d better be some cake, or at least chocolate šŸ˜€

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    • There was a gorgeous cake after lunch, the kind you hate to cut into b/c it looks too good under it’s circular glass case, yet cut into it you must. And it was delicious. The woman was a genius. I wish we’d been there for dinner. I can only imagine how great that meal would’ve been. The scrambled eggs for breakfast were the best eggs I’ve tasted in my life. And I had a bit of grits because you know you’ve got to when in the south. They weren’t bad either. Yes, least expected from her. And thanks for liking the eye bags line. You must be a fellow writer. šŸ˜‰

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  7. What a great story, so far. I know what you mean about how odd it is to smell cigarette smoke anymore. Kind of a flash from the past. Love the idea of “contraband caffeine.” You are a wild one, my dear.

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    • I’m glad to hear that this no smoking thing is more than just a CA thing, since so many from other states are commenting on how they too would be annoyed by the smoke. Good to know OH is among the smoke banners.

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  8. I totally would have snuck the coffee for you, and that driver … the majority of driver’s I’ve met during my travels practically rip my bags from my hands when we get to the van, and all I have going for me is being a little shorter than average. I can’t believe he wouldn’t jump in to help a pregnant woman. Unless you have somehow managed not to look like you’ve swallowed a beach ball by now in which case I don’t know that we’d still get along if we were to meet in real life.

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  9. Your adventures are taking me into an unknown world, and I am enjoying every word. As always, i enjoy your openness and honesty. I like the way you freely admit it was cool to see your name on the door and you wish it had been held up on a sign in the airport, because I would have felt the same way.

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  10. Ahhh the smoke…it’s everywhere here too! My son even makes comments about all the smokers…aww la la land California how I miss you so! My mother drank two pots of coffee while pregnant with me…it beats hitting the bottle!

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