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Friday, December 08, 2006

Day three/four in Minneapolis, then the flight home

I set up the books on a small table near the registration booths and did end up selling some, then headed to set up for my afternoon talk.

Had a good crowd show up - almost 100 and got good questions and sold more books - yay!

Did I mention the conference already paid my lecture fee? WOW! All I have to submit are my travel expenses. Talk about efficient!

As I mentioned before, Mark Elder from Gaggle.net had a booth at the conference. He graciously allowed me to set my books up on the end of one table to try to sell them after my talk. I also helped him out a bit and we talked a lot. I think he liked the company, LOL.

I took my things back up to my room, changed, went to the gift shop to get some OJ and hit a store that is only open at night (lord knows why). I bought some bath foam there (basically fancy bubble bath). Went back to my room and ordered some quesadillas from room service and watched my favorite show, "Heroes." It was the season finale and WOW - a good one!

Took my cough medicine and hit the sack. At about 3 am, got up to pee, went back to bed and just as I was settling in, there was a loud WHAM on the adjoining room door or wall. I couldn't tell. I jumped out of my skin. It was quiet and I thought I'd imagined it, then WHAM, this time on the adjoining room door. Then sobs, yelling and I picked up the phone and dialed 0. I told the operator they needed to get security up to the 19th floor because I thought someone was getting beat up in the room next door.

My heart was beating so fast as I sat in bed and waited. I could hear women talking, the phone ringing in the next room, but no one answering it. There was a soft knock on my door and I looked through the peephole. Two security guards.

I opened the door and they whispered, asking which room. I pointed next door and they asked if I was sure. I told them I could hear it through the adjoining door. One of the guards was a spitting image of Jesse Jackson, I swear to God. He could have been his twin.

They told me to go back in my room and I ran to the bed. I listened, heard them yell "Open up, hotel security," banging on the door and yelling again. Finally, the door opened up in the next room, words were exchanged, then the door closed.

A knock on my door. The guards again. They asked me if I had someone with me. I told them I was alone. They told me to close and lock up and not come out. One turned and said, "Who's this guy coming down the hall?" The other shooed me back into my room.

I locked up tight, climbed back into bed. I heard some voices, but couldn't hear what was going on. Then the codeine in the cough syrup took effect and I fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up to silence. I tiptoed to the adjoining door to listen. Not a peep. I think they got kicked out of the hotel. I packed my bags, showered, changed, then had a bellhop come up to get my bags and box of books. I asked him if he had heard anything. He said he hadn't, but he'd ask around for me. He checked in my luggage to pick up later, then helped me bring my books to the Gaggle.net booth. Mark was happy to see me and after I set up my books, I told him about my exciting night. He was all agog and couldn't believe it. Then I told him how the drunk guy kept banging on the wrong room on Saturday night and we laughed our butts off.

Sold more books, told people about my lunchtime lecture and helped Mark get more customers. I told him he had to pay me a commission, ha ha.

I hugged him when I left, went to set up for my lunchtime talk, which was called "The Wild, Wild Web: Cyberstalking Happened To Me" (pretty self-explanatory) and again had a good crowd of people show up. And I sold the last of my books - all 21 of them!

I went back to the front desk and the bellhop told me no one had heard anything about the incident. I wish I could find out. Oh well. Took the Super Shuttle to the airport and was really early. They have a nice mall there, so did some last minute gift shopping, then saw my favorite pianist, Stephen Marq was set up with his piano, just like last year.

I stopped by to see if he had his Christmas album and told him I was on his mailing list. He was pleased as punch to hear that. He told me he couldn't sell his CDs direct and I had to go to the bookstore in the mall, so I did. But, they didn't have the Christmas album, so I bought The Year Through which has a song for every month. He has samples on his site - so please take a listen if you can. And he has a special deal going - buy 3 CDs and get one free.

I went back to see him and we talked for quite a while. I gave him one of my cards and told him I'd be ordering the Christmas CD from his site (which I did yesterday).

Called my mom and told her about my latest adventure and she couldn't believe it.

Got on the plane and a young couple sat next to me, the husband in the middle. When we were airborne, the wife kept rocking back and forth, blowing her nose and was very uncomfortable. I thought she had a cold like me. She got up to go to the bathroom, came back and the two of them whispered to each other. Then they both got up, went to the back of the plane and the flight attendant made an announcement asking if there was a medical doctor on board. Uh-oh.

Thank goodness there was a doctor and he went to check her vitals. The husband came back and his eyes were bugging out of his head with worry. I asked what had happened. It turns out his wife (who is only 30) had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had the cancer and her thyroid removed at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis on the previous Friday. She was having pain in her lower abdomen on the left, so she was afraid it was a blood clot or something. So I got him talking, to try to calm him down. They'd been married for three years and live in North Berwick, Maine, a stone's throw from York, where I live.

His wife came back and said her blood pressure was a bit high, but everything else was fine. She burst into tears and I dug through my bag for my travel pack of tissues and gave them to her. They were holding hands so tight the rest of the flight.

When we got off and head to baggage claim, I asked her if she wanted to go to the restroom with me. She did and we talked for a bit. She was very scared. In the bathroom, she told me she couldn't pee on the plane, but did while we were in there and felt a bit better. I told her how when I had my foot surgery, that when I flew my foot would swell up and be painful because of the cabin pressure, so maybe that's what was causing her pain. She was hopeful it was.

We went back to baggage claim and I made them promise to go to York Hospital on the way home if she was still not feeling well. They did. I gave them my card and told them to call me anytime. I hope they are okay.

So the car service guy got me and my bags and he was one of the regular drivers I use. He didn't know about Chris and his dad and I told him and started crying. He was such a sweetheart, gave me a bottle of water and some tissues and we talked the rest of the way.

I had called my mom and told her about the plane excitement and she just told me to hurry up and get home to rest. It's never a dull moment with Jayne Hitchcock. Trust me.

Got home, unpacked, gave my mom a scarf and some chocolates I'd bought her for taking care of the dogs (plus I made her take $40), then went to bed. Guin and Bandit were so happy to see me. Well, Guin was. Bandit is blind, so he couldn't see me literally, ha ha.

The next morning Mom and I drove to Mom2's house to pick her up and drove to Concord to meet my sister, Nancy for lunch. Mom2 ate all her lunch (haddock). I ate most of my lamb stew. We had a good time. When we left, Mom and Mom2 hugged and Mom2 cried. I think my mom is the only friend Mom2 has who is her own age.

I took Mom2 to WalMart (our favorite hangout now, ha ha) and bought a crate for Brigitte and some food and other things she needed. On the drive back to her house, she cried a bit, I cried a bit and she held onto my hand most of the ride and told me how thankful she was that she had me. That made me cry more.

Got her home, put the crate together, and I took Brigitte out. She's having a hard time adjusting to the cold, Alabama dog that she is.

I stopped by Chris' grave for the first time since the funeral. It was a month to the day that he had died. I couldn't stay long. It was hard enough just driving into the cemetery. I stared down at the sods of grass that hadn't yet grown together. Although the gravestone isn't there yet, there is a name marker and a flag and veterans marker. I touched the name marker, burst into tears and drove home.

Took a bubble bath, fed the dogs and went to sleep.

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