A Whirlwind Trip

I’m back already (barely).

We missed our flight.

That’s right, three travel agents traveling with six other travel agents, myself and two others scheduled to depart first missed the flight. And I’m not saying we didn’t try.

I ran down the Terminal K concord with my boots unzipped. I ran (well scuffled with my boots unzipped). I heaved my heavy jacket, my ziplock baggie of liquids (didn’t have time to put it back), and my suitcase down O’Hare’s crazy LONG terminals dodging the masses of travelers, gasping for air and looking like a crazy person (which I was am).

I was that desperate. Why? Because earlier in the week I had looked at the flight schedules for later in the day, in case I wanted to explore Chicago and stay a bit longer. Yeah. They were FULL.

So missing a flight? Not good. And we did – by mere minutes.

Timing is everything. Luckily an earlier flight had been delayed. A lot of people moved to a different flight (probably the one we missed!). It was delayed long enough for us to jump right on and get home only an hour later than we would have.

Thank-you American Airlines for not blinking an eyelash and getting a sweaty, disheveled traveler on your next flight. I am still a little crazy-eyed from the whole thing.

I just uploaded my pictures, and you know? Apparently, when it’s cold, I don’t take very many (ha).

But I will give you a few to sum up the highlights.

Airport corridor from the back of a fast-moving golf cart. We got to tour two planes, the Admirals Club, Executive Center, Flagship lounge, and flight tower.
This was plane #2 that we saw. I actually can't remember what the equipment was, all I know....it was nowhere near as cool as 777. You have to fly on one of those in your lifetime..soooo awesome.
AA's traffic tower for runways H & K. We are IN the tower.
A live picture representing all the planes in the air at that moment. It details where they are, their path, speed, and distance. Pretty amazing.
Kimpton Hotel Room at the Hotel Allegro. It had a reflective desk. The hotel was very boutique(y) and art deco. I had a two-room suite in the corner with a jacuzzi tub and a spa kit (complete with leopard print robe). Heaven!
The shiny lamp gave me a great perspective on my living area of the suite with Sally standing by the TV in front of the mirror desk. She and I have worked together and been friends 15 years. She works for the same company as I do and went on the trip as well.
Chicago Theatre off State Street.
The beautiful Methodist Church in downtown Chicago by our hotel. I took it this morning walking to our last hotel tour before we left.

We packed a lot of things into this short trip. The airport tour, and the blue line train to downtown. A great experience for me since my city has zero public transportation (Arlington). We got to see four hotels and hear the story of their original buildings. They were all very quirky. I was impressed with the history of Chicago. I really would have liked to tour more sites (and take more pictures). It was cold, but I think I would have gotten more used to it. This morning I was too “hot” to wear my gloves. See? My blood turning bluer by the minute (ha).

I do have more pictures, and more stories, but I am two-seconds away from jabbering nonsense. An adrenalin-rushed-miss-your-plane-kind-of-day will do that to you.

Plus, I have to work tomorrow.

Did anyone get the day off? Have you ever missed your plane?

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Ready to fly.

Remember about a month ago when I said I was preparing to fly to Chicago and go through the lovely x-ray machines? Remember that?

Well, it didn’t happen. Chicago got its first snow of the year and although my flight from DFW would have been fine (although late). Several other parties were completely canceled and there was not another option until the next day. Which is fine if you are going to Chicago for more than 24hrs, but sadly we were not. Therefore, they rescheduled the group and tomorrow is the BIG day!

This trip is work-related, but not working…….not exactly (?) working….

You see, long ago, in a far away land, travel agents used to go on what they call familiarization trips. A tour company would pay for your air, hotel, meals, transportation, and tours, on trip to wherever they service, to get you familiar with the place and the hotels, tours, and services. They paid for IT ALL. Then you knew what they offered. You knew the set-up and you could send clients that way because of your familiarization. Brilliant, right?

Well, they don’t do that anymore. Not free any way and certainly not for business travel agents. BUT this Chicago trip is as close as it gets.

We will be visiting American Airlines at O’Hare airport. We will be touring a few planes, and the American Executive Center. Then we will get to visit several hotels in downtown Chicago that are part of the Kimpton Brands.

And all set up (for free) to stay in one.

Image by Google

Free air on American Airlines, free hotel room stay, meals, and airport tour. It’s a fam trip! I get to see Chicago (which I’ve never seen) and learn about the products I sell. It’s a win-win. Except, it’s only for a night, and not a whole week. Not to mention bitterly cold, but I will probably get to see snow, and it might be the only snow I see all year.

Soooooooo…… I am excited! I am packed. I am ready to go.

The only bad thing (the worst thing!) is my flight at 525am. LEAVES the airport at 525am. Yeah, 3am is going to come awfully early. But hey, I can sleep on the airplane, riiiiiight?

Be sure to follow my Tweets for all the exciting details. I am going to go all Wil Wheaton when I get there – CHICAGO I AM IN YOU. I just love him.

P!NK all the above

I got a lot of comments, on Facebook,  about how lucky I was to win concert tickets to P!NK last night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Luck? Blessings? Fate? I always like pondering those. Could it be all the above?

First, maybe it was luck? My name was drawn out of a hat of three names. Maybe it was fate? Since I have, a 15 yr old, daughter I could take. Maybe, I was blessed? Spending time with my best friend from Junior High who lives a mile down the road.  I don’t get to see her near as often as I would like. *different circles, busy, busy lives*

Thing is, the way it worked out so perfectly? It could only be, a little of,  all the above.

I won the tickets out of drawing but,  when the American Airlines rep came by to drop them off, she surprisingly,  had two other sets of tickets. The other two names in the hat also got tickets. Everyone wins! *gotta love that*

I had planned on attending with my daughter. We enjoy P!NK. She is not the norm. She speaks her mind,  and there is something to respect about that,  whether you agree with her or not. I knew, back in 1995, when she was competing with Christina, Brittany and Jessica, that SHE was going to be the one still standing long, long after their careers slowed down. I was partly right since Brittany is still extremely famous -albeit notoriously- compared to P!NK; the rebel. *would have never expected THAT back in the day when Brittany was still pure?*

Turns out, the next day, one of  the other co-workers that got the tickets? She has the flu and can’t go. They ask ME if I’d like TWO more tickets to P!NK! Her two tickets were rightnext to my two seats. Uhhh, YES!

My best friend from Junior High,  and her 19yr old daughter agree to join us. I couldn’t be happier about that,  especially, since I was asking them the day of the concert. Off we go to P!NK! We decide to take the train, from just south of the DFW airport,  to Dallas. It’s called the TRE.

I live in Arlington, Texas. Home of the Cowboys new stadium, home of the Texas Rangers baseball team and ballpark, Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor, UTA of Arlington hosting 25,000 students, and MOST importantly the LARGEST city in the United States with NO public transportation. WHAT!?! Yep, that’s right. NONE. I digress.

We trek about 15mins away to a square of land officials deem Fort Worth (actually Fort Worth is 30miles to the west). Don’t ask. I have no idea but it is so. That square mile (*cough*American Airlines headquarters*cough*) is Fort Worth and Fort Worth has public transportation. A BIG two story train called the TRE. Wee!

I have never been on the TRE before. I get queasy on small trains, but I was willing to try it. Avoid driving in Dallas, fighting traffic, and paying to park? Who gets train sick?  Not me! I’ll admit, the first time I do something is usually a fumble. Let’s call it my charm. I confidently do what I think is right and hope for the best.  If it doesn’t turn out right? Well then, I just go with the flow. I don’t stress. It will work it’s way out and HEY I’ll know better next time. *aren’t I fun?*

Purchasing the wrong tickets was one of my falter moments right off the bat. *why dawdle* I got Zone 1, should have been ALL Zone. Yeah, my friends got Zone 1 too. My bad. My second falter was not knowing which side of the track we should wait for the train on (pssst the EASTbound side). Did I mention I am directionally dysfunctional?? Hey,  it would have helped if they had signs, and maps, or something. Thank goodness they didn’t check tickets.

So, the plan was, follow the girls with PINK hair! It worked! We made it in 15mins via train (Sydney said it looked  like the Harry Potter train) no hassle of PARKING. Two minute walk to the arena. Phhhs! We made it look easy. *I am absolutely doing that again*

The Ting Tings played first. Great beats. I realized on the first song that I had that song on my iPhone,  Great DJ, awesome song to run or bike to. The group consisted of two people. Guy playing the drums and the girl singing and playing guitar. That was quite catchy. Punky, cool and fun, perfect openers for P!NK.

P!NK came out somewhere around my cell battery being at 20% left 9ish.  The stage set was fantastic! They had six screens above the stage in all different sizes. The screens constantly played P!NK video, or the stage show happenings live , lights, scenery,  or other pictures; all framed digitally. It was pretty slick. The stage had stairs,  and two slides, lots of dancers, plus a lounge bed type thing. There was a runway out to the middle of the arena. P!NK came out of a trap door, at the end of the runway being raised up, by rope over the whole stage with feathers trailing down from her skirt. Pretty dramatic!

The latest P!NK album, I got last year when it came out. I liked every song. Jason and I had broken up.  I was angry, lost, and confused. Here comes P!NK with an album, just after a break up from her husband (they got back together too). She was mad and  hurt. Her songs were emotional and I related so well. One song was fierce,  SO WHAT, one song was desperate,  Please don’t leave me. Many of the songs cycled, like I did, it really was a release to me to listen to this music. Her music. Her pain. My pain.

Obviously, her music touches a lot of people in that same way. She touches our darkness, our suffering, what we hide and don’t want to show the world but she does. She brings it out in song. No, she is not a Christian artist that so many of my friends listen to. She is different. She taps our vulnerabilities and what we don’t understand sometimes. Something, God puts in all of us, maybe so we can relate more to the broken and the hurt when we need to. That’s how it seemed for me at least.

I was surprised how those feelings, from those hellish two months, bubbled to the surface so quickly. It shocked me a little bit and it took me a while to process.  I was able to let them go,  as I was captured by her performances again, again with each song.  How at ease she was.  How talented. Her voice soared the entire night without fail.  She gave it her all every note. Her smile, absolutely stunning.

She IS a  Rockstar, but like a Rockstar that you could hang with and not feel uncomfortable. That impressed me.

After the concert, I checked Wikipedia to learn more about her. Interesting life, just as I thought. Cinderella story.  Check it out, if you get a chance.

In the end, what a great concert. All the above applied. I was blessed by her voice and energy,  fated to be there with my friends,  and lucky to enjoy it all with the zest of life.