Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wild Wednesday - Be There or Be Square

[Left: The Power of Love authors at the Get Together]

You all know that I just got back from Lori Foster and Dianne Castell's Reader-Author Get Together. It was fantastic. Amazing. And just darn wonderful. I got to meet several readers, industry professionals and authors I had not yet met face-to-face as well as seeing even more again. I got a lot of writing done and turned my book in the day after I got back. Neat, huh?

But I'm on back to back deadlines through the end of the year. Yikes! It's all worth it though, right?
Let me tell you my taxi story and a little about the gathering before I tell you where in the cyber world you need to be today. :)

The Taxi Story

Do I need to preface this for the uninitiated? My family always, always, always has "adventures" on our travels. Apparently traveling without the rest of them did not in any way impact this truth. So, here's the story.

First, I arrived at Cincinnatti Airport pretty much intact. I mean as intact as I get when I'm traveling sans gorgeous hubby and the teenagers. :) So, I get down to baggage claim just in time for my suitcase to come around on the carousel. Perfect timing. (But man, have you been in the Cinci Airport? Nothing and I mean NOTHING is close. LOL) I go outside and look for the taxi stand. I find a line and taxis and it looks promising, but just to be sure I ask if this isn't the queue for taxis of a couple of businessmen and both tell me they believe it is. The fact that they get into taxis shortly after and take off into the not quite sunset looks even more promising. But when my turn in line comes and I wave down the taxi, a woman behind me informs me that is her taxi. I step back, willing to wait, but a little confused. Until a friendly gentleman from Australia (and yes, he was a lovely hunk - very good hero material) informs me that he thinks you have to get a number inside. Now, to say he thinks when he knows was just being nice. ;-) Because he had one of those lovely tickets with numbers on them.

I went back inside and procured my own golden ticket. Well, it was white, but it felt golden. Then, I went back outside to wait for *my* cab with *my* number on it. :) He came shortly thereafter and got me loaded into his nicely cool car. I do love my AC. The car shimmied a bit as we left the airport, but I chalked that up to balding tires and prayed a bit.

As soon as we got out of the airport, off when the AC and down went the windows. Maybe it's because a humid 90 degrees isn't overly hot for Oregon summer weather (where I'm from), or because I'm a friendly sort of person who doesn't like to scream at taxi drivers for not having their AC on, but I didn't complain. I did confirm he knew which Mariott to take me to since there are so many in Cinci. He said, "Yes, yes," with a lovely smile and what I thought at first was an Indian accent. So far, so good.

But a moment later he's talking in a very agitated manner to dispatch. Now, it sounds like he's speaking Arabic (and I did find out I was right on that). I assume he's checking my destination. But a few minutes later (as we are driving in the far right lane) a car passes us and the passenger is yelling something out her window and pointing to the back of the taxi, she's gesturing with her hands but she doesn't speak sign like M2B and I had no clue what she was going on about. The taxi drive kept turning to smile reassuringly at me and said it would be fine. His "cousin" taxi would be by to pick me up.

"Huh?" I'd noticed the smell of burnt rubber, but put it down to exhaust fumes coming in through the open window. Um...Apparently not.

We pull off the freeway and into a Kroger parking lot. The driver drags me out of the car so I can see what the problem is (his English wasn't too hot). There is smoke billowing out of the back tire well. The brakes had failed, or something - but it certainly explained the shimmies on the way out of the airport and as the driver pulled to a stop at the light and then into Kroger's parking lot.

He assured me his "brother" taxi driver would be there soon to pick me up. (Not sure what caused the upgrade from cousin to brother, but later decided it was just the man's grasp of English.) You could just tell the drive was expecting a hissy fit. Me? All I could do was laugh and try to explain that this kind of stuff happens to my family routinely. His relief was delivered with the brightest smile I've seen in a long time and he offered to buy me a drink from Krogers. I tried to demur, but he really wanted to and I was thirsty, so I agreed to water. He came back with my favorite - Dasani, AND my favorite flavor of Sobe. Now, wasn't that nice?

The other taxi did show up and when my driver went to open the back door for me to get in...it was broken. My fellow passenger (had to share at this point) had to slide over to sit by the broken door, so I could be let in via the one that worked. That door was opened and I was presented with a backseat clearly not attached firmly to the car because it had tilted with the other passenger's weight and I could see it's undersprings. *They* looked in pretty good condition though and I got in the car - balancing the seat nicely. I buckled up and was thrilled to discover at this point that this driver did not turn his AC off for the freeway driving.

We had a wonderful discussion and I discovered my fellow passenger was an interpreter (Chinese) and my taxi driver was Arabic and going to school to become a computer engineer while all his brothers had become doctors like their mother. He gave me his card and told me he would be picking me up to take me back to the airport on Monday morning. Oh, joy. He *was* lovely, but that seat was a bit worrying.

However, when I tried to call his cell phone on Monday morning about 5:45 a.m. to verify my ride, he didn't answer. I called the taxi company instead and was informed in no uncertain terms that Jakob was *not* my driver, but there would be someone waiting for me at 6:45 a.m. as promised. Fine. I would get to meet someone new and pick there brain - everything is fodder for a story, you know?

So, what should happen at 6:20 when I climbed naked and dripping from my shower? My cell phone rang. It was my taxi driver and he was waiting out front. 25 minutes early - he wanted to make sure we had plenty of time for traffic. I told him I wasn't ready - he assured me I could take my time. I went downstairs ten minutes later with wet hair and no make-up. Not a great loss, I'm sure. He was another window down guy, so I had my hair blow-dried by the wind - and what do you know? It worked, leaving my hair with just the right amount of curl and really silky. Who would have known?

We had another lovely chat - this gentleman was from North Africa. I made my flight with plenty of time and all was right with my world. And I had another funny travel story to laugh over! :)
The Get Together

[Left: Joni, Kelley Nyrae & me] As for the get together? I spent the whole weekend in awe of Lori and Dianne's generosity and organizational powers! The volunteers were incredible and I was in total alt to finally meet Lady B, Stacy, JudyF & Laurie D. I also got to meet Kelley Nyrae and Anne Rainey in person! How cool is that? Lady B gives the most sincere hugs of anyone I know besides my sister Diane. Stacy is gorgeous and just as nice in person as online. Well, they all are - really, truly!

[Right: Kelley Nyrae, Me & Anne Rainey] I bought a couple of books by authors I'd never read before and am excited to try them out. I sighed lots and lots and lots of books and want to thank EVERYONE who stopped by my table - you made me feel like a million dollars and reminded why I write. I got to spend some special time with Phyllis and made a new friend, Kerin from TwoLips Reviews. Both are total kindred spirits.

And GUESS WHAT???!!! My cousin Lucinda flew down from D.C. to attend. Her family met her there (from different points of origin) and I got to meet her husband for the first time. He's a doll and an ex Marine who was in intelligence. Can anyone say a wetdream of research? Oh, crud, that's sounds bad, doesn't it? LOL Her daughter is about the same age as DQ and just as lovely, if a little more shy. ::g::

So, all in all, it was a fantabulous weekend and I'm thrilled I went and can't wait to go again...in three years (DQ and Noob graduate high school the next two and the weekend of the get together is always too close to graduations to attend when I've got important parties to host, etc.).

If you want to hear more about the Get Together...this is where you need to be today:

Michelle Buonfiglio, who was at the Get Together, is having a reunion at her site, Romance: B(U)y the Book at Lifetime.com. It's a chance to share in the fun if you weren't there and relive a little of it, if you were. :)

Here are the DEETS:
Wednesday, June 18th
Starting around 6am Central Time
Win free books!

Lori Foster is going to randomly choose one commenter from all those who post to win a 6 pack of romances, mailed directly from Michelle.

NB: Visitors need to register at LifetimeTV.com to be able to comment. In Lori F's words: This isn't a sales tool, but is a way of allowing comments, and disallowing offensive commenters. :)

18 comments:

Lori Foster said...

Lucy!!! Until reading your blog I hadn't heard a word about your taxi adventure! LOL.
I'm sooooo sorry. Seriously.
But hey, I'm glad it didn't ruin your weekend. We were so thrilled to have THE Lucy Monroe with us.
:-) Readers were even more thrilled!

Big hugs, and thank you!

Lori

Judy F said...

Hey Lucy sorry to hear about your adventure in the taxi. Yikes.
I was so glad to finally met you, you were so sweet and patient with us. LOL

Hope you can make it back again.

Hugs

Judy F

Lucy Monroe said...

LOL Lori...my mom has always said to cultivate laughter or you'd end up crying. She was talking about raising kids and it so works, but I find it is equally effective in other parts of life. :) And it's so much fun.

JudyF...Sweetie, you know me and adventures, I live for them and you all were WONDERFUL!!!

Brandy said...

Wow! You weren't kidding. Travel adventures do follow you! *G*

Kelley Nyrae said...

Sorry about you cab!

I really enjoyed spending time with you, Lucy. You're so sweet!

Lucy Monroe said...

LOL Brandy...I surely do, but it appears to be a family trait because it always happens when we travel together too. ;-)

Kelley...I really enjoyed getting to see you again too. *You* are the sweet one, giving me a place to sit when I was seatless. ;-)

Amy said...

Oh my goodness Lucy. It sounds like you had quite the adventure with the cab rides, I am glad you have such a great sence of humor

It sounds like you had a wonderful time on your trip

Jane said...

Getting there is half the fun.

flchen1 said...

Wow, what an amazing time you have traveling, Lucy! I think God grants you these because you take the opportunities so graciously to enjoy the adventure and to meet people! And what terrific stories these make! :)

Tee said...

Lucy it was wonderful to finally meet you in person. Thank you for saving me while I was at the elevator. (There was a strange person waiting and when Lucy got off the elevator he did not get on, so she was kind enough to raise her eyebrows and invited me for a chat with her. I would have ran down the stairs before standing there with him.) I am sorry I did not have time to chat Sunday morning but was running behind for breakfast.

Cryna said...

Lucy - sounds like you had a new adventure with the taxi.....and a wonderful time at the get together.

So glad it all turned out well for you.

JT Schultz said...

I am so sorry about your taxi adventure, but have to confess, I did laugh **grin**

I am so glad you had a good time at the Get Together. Maybe I will make it next year and of course bring my mom with me.

lidia said...

Lucy,

Very sorry to hear about your taxi experience! On the other hand, it wouldn't be a "trip with Lucy in it" if there wasn't some adventure!!! I always chuckle when I read about your experiences in hotel rooms, now the taxi, etc...

Leah said...

Hi Lucy! Loved the taxi story and I must say you handled it far better than I would have.

It was so great finally getting to meet you in person after reading and selling your books for so long. You are just as sweet in person as you are online.

Hope you are able to attend many more of these events!

Big hugs!
Bookstore Deb
(don't let the Leah name fool you)

limecello said...

Oh my goodness, Lucy- good for you for being a trooper, and that's too bad your travels always end up so... um, interesting?
Glad you had a great time though!

Lucy Monroe said...

::VBG:: Yep, that's me...adventure prone. I like your hypothesis for why though, limecello. :)

It was GREAT meeting you Tee and Deb. That is one weekend I will definitely repeat - but not for two more years while kids graduate highschool - the same weekend. Sigh...

Hugs to you all!!!

Stacy~ said...

Lucy, meeting you was one of the best things about the event this year. I've been wanting to meet you for YEARS, and it was such a delight.

You are just adorable, so sweet and kind and funny. And just full of energy. You just radiate happiness, and I think we all felt it. It was wonderful. Thank you for taking so much of your time to chat. You really made it a special weekend :)

Laurie D. said...

Hey Lucy!

One of the things I looked forward to most about this year's event was finally getting to meet you! I could have spent an entire day chatting with you, but you were the belle of the ball, surrounded by your royal subjects all weekend! I can't wait for you to return to Ohio!!

Big hugs,
Laurie