The traveling was OK. Of course, after almost 5 years of traveling with at least one child in tow, flying alone, under any circumstances, feels very easy.
We hit some traffic going into New York City, because a giant steam pipe exploded under Grand Central Station last night and these things kind of stunt Manhattan a bit.
My flight was slightly delayed, but I have a good book (Traveling Mercies by Ann Lamott). I was seated beside a doula on my flight, so we had planty to speak about (and I'm very happy to note that I definitely look pregnant now!).
The train ride into Chicago from the airport was largely uneventful until Tuberculine Tony sat next to me and began coughing every 15 seconds. OK, so I'm not totally certain his name was Tony and I do hope and pray that his coughing was stimulated by something other than tuberculosis...but when you're pregnant and on mass transit, the mind does amazing things. Worse than the coughing was his bag of lunch. It smelled awful.
I survived the train ride as well as the walking up and down a lot of stairs with my 30-lb. suitcase (I should mention that I fit everything I need for the next 10 days into one fairly small suitcase...and I'm very proud).
Arriving at the Hilton was a very strange experience. I was here in December of 2000 for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Convention. My concert band was performing. We were here for 3 days, I think, but I feel as if I was here, in every corner of the lobby and exhibition area, for months. It feels eerily familiar, and the memory of my life in 2000 comes rushing back every time I round a corner.
And I've rounded my share of corners today, because my room isn't ready yet! I tried to check in at 3:12 p.m. but my room is dirty, and they can't just move me because...I'm high maintenance. I'm allergic to down and need hypo-allergenic bedding. I did ask for this in February when I reserved my room (or was it January?), but the nice folks at Hilton check-in gave me a $25 meal credit to be used at any time during my stay.
With at least an hour to spend, I first went looking for the conference registration area. I found it after some wandering, and I now have all my good conference stuff, which I can't wait to sit and read! I'll read everything, cover to cover, because I'm like that. :)
Then I came straight to the technology room, to see my dear friend and (former) co-Leader, Shelly, who is working here. I'm still in denial that she ever left New York, so it's wonderful to be able to see her here. (Right now, I'm basking in the fact that she's right beside me, because once this conference starts cranking up, I doubt I'll be able to find her so easily.)
My feet are tired, but I feel good and excited. I'll run on adrenaline for awhile, for sure.