Right now, I am snug in bed at the wondrously funky Tabard Inn (my grateful thanks to Cathy Hartman for her recommendation!), checking Facebook, Gmail, and uploading part of today's photos to flickr.
This morning, I rode in to Alex's place of work in Plano, and bummed around on the internet until lunchtime. After a quick bite, we hopped over to DFW Airport--that would be my third time so far this year, folks! After a lot of goodbye hugs, I left Alex (gulp) and got my extremely-too-large suitcase checked. Yes, the gal who tends to share a tiny suitcase with her husband is taking a gigantic one for her tiny self. I think this reveals both my lack of time to make apparel decisions, and my slight insecurity about my first ALA attendance--everything I had any thought of wearing, I threw into that suitcase.
I had no trouble at all finding my gate, for once, and thus had a lovely hour and a half to take photos and edit them on my trusty (but battery-power-deficient) laptop. Then, wonder of wonders, I bumped into Doina, another UNT librarian who happened to be on the same flight. We boarded together, and then proceeded to wait on the tarmac twenty minutes behind seven planes.
The turbulence we went through until we got through the now-ubiquitous rainclouds over Dallas was unpleasant--but you can endure half an hour of almost anything.
I worked on my ALA schedule, looked out the window a lot, took completely unnecessary and probably uninteresting photos, and read a completely frivolous book. In fact, I had no intention of reading it, had never heard of it or the author, but found it in the paperback swap section of our library's cafe, and thought I might as well give it a try. It's actually pretty enjoyable thus far: Dreaming of the Bones, by Deborah Crombie. I'm not a huge mystery person, but it's very British and that feels very "summery reading" to me.
When we got to DC, those rainclouds had apparently followed me. Dark grey was the sky, except for a thin band on intense red that reflected gorgeously on the Potomac. And there was good old DCA, right where I left it with its horrifyingly-short runway.
We landed, and I completely scrapped my original plan of eating at the airport in favor of locating my luggage as quickly as possible. I lugged that huge suitcase up to the Metro station, where I found Doina again, and we took to Yellow Line. I happily proceeded to identify myself as an annoying tourist by snapping photos on the metro, and got a happy lump in my throat when I could see the Washington monument through the window.
Doina and I parted where I switched lines, and then I exited at Dupont Circle. This is when I became fully aware that my suitcase was not suited to: 1) airports 2) metro systems 3) escalators, or 4) street-walking. I walked three blocks south before realizing that I was alone, lost, and nearly unable to lug my suitcase any further. Being a huge nerd, I took a photo to document this.
I then went back another block north, called Alex in frustration, and then realized I was where I needed to be, and walked a half block east to my hotel. I also then took several photos of triumph. Because of my extreme nerdiness.
I checked in with a friendly woman I was so happy to see that I could have hugged her, and proceeded up to Room #5. By "proceed," I mean that I banged, pushed, and pulled my ginor-mo suitcase up a flight of stairs more narrow than it is (no, there isn't an elevator). But it's so homey, elegant, funky that I am extremely happy I'm not in a regular hotel. This is more relaxing, as well as cooler.
I went down to the restaurant and discovered that while entrees started in the $20's, their "lite fare" was more than appetizers and was in the more reasonable $ 8-10 range. I ordered a smoked pork quesadilla and water, and it was almost too much food--but gloriously tasty, and a wonderful treat to eat in the parlor with my book during cocktail hour, while a group apparently from Baylor discussed teacher benefits. I charged it to my room--oh, glorious luxury!--and snapped a few more photos of the room itself.
Since then, I've been in bed with the laptop, spreading my online presence and uploading about half of the photos I took today--I plan on getting the rest up tomorrow morning-ish. I read Alex to sleep over the phone--I think that might have been our sixth phone conversation today. (But then, that's not abnormal at home, really.)
I'll have to post more about thoughts and the Tabard and all tomorrow--I'm having lunch with Valerie, and then it's off to make my ALA debut, baby!
Note to self: stop wearing geeky-phrase t-shirts when you're traveling. You get tired of all those strangers staring at your chest, remember?
And to Alex: good night, my love--I miss you sorely.