Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Delay . . .

This post has been delayed for a week by the threat of snow . . . by actual snow . . . by fatigue from blowing snow . . . and by general procrastination.  Read on . . .

I have been home from the Grapevine, Texas show for a week – but for a few days while I was there, I wondered if I would be stranded there.  The entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex was at Defcon 5 the whole time we were there.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We go to Grapevine twice a year, so I have to look for a new angle to keep these posts fresh and exciting (yeah, right).  The January show is our first of the year, and it’s amazing how quickly we get out of “show shape” – even though it has only been seven weeks since our last show.

Thankfully, Jane, Ann, and Suzanne are seasoned setup professionals – I honestly believe we could just send the booth down and they could set it up, run it all weekend, tear it down, and send it back very nicely without us.


We took a break during setup for lunch.  We have tried several fast food joints near the Grapevine Convention Center – last time we did Chick-Fil-A and enjoyed it, so we decided to try it again. Suzanne was told to remember to bring along hot sauce for Karen and ketchup for the french fries (I guess we ran short last time).


She did not disappoint . . .

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Still, it took us a long time to set up.  This was the view between 3:30 and 4:00 on Friday afternoon – and we had been at it since 8:30.  By contrast, at the same time last July we were long gone.  We’ll do better next time – it really does take a show or two to get back in shape.  For months, I had planned to see my high school friends on Friday evening, but we knew that there was one event that might trump our dinner together . . .


And this was the trump – Becki and Bill’s first grandchild, Katherine Ann Neff.  She was born in Houston on Thursday evening, so Becki and Bill spent the weekend in Houston and texted me pictures.  I’m very happy for them – and we’ll get together in July.

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By the time the show started, we were ready to rock and drew a crowd early.  Sue Rothamel’s friend Crystal Copperstone was sitting at the USArtQuest demo table (Crystal is usually Sue’s “Girl Friday” – this time Suzanne took that spot), and I took the shot at left about five minutes after the show opened.  Meanwhile, Ann and Jane were busy demoing Tweety Jill items and the new Grand Calibur and Vagabond machines.


Meanwhile, it was family reunion time for Karen – she was raised near Abilene, and still has a lot of family in the area.  She was expecting (right to left) her cousin Dawn, Dawn’s daughter Bailey (who was three years old the first time we came to Grapevine!), and her aunt Pearl.  But the appearance by her Uncle Dennis and his wife was a surprise.


By mid-afternoon, it was time for a break.  It’s hard to find a quiet spot to relax in a small convention center.  And I promised Suzanne and Jessica that I wouldn’t say anything about the door next to where they were sitting being the entrance to the men’s restroom.  So I won’t . . .


Meanwhile, I was putting my new Christmas toy to good use watching the first round of the NFL playoffs between customers.  I have three little TVs in various desks at home and work, but since the switch from analog to digital, they are merely paperweights.  I have tried without success to find a replacement that got decent reception.  With Ryan at Best Buy, I thought it would be easy.  Finally found one that works – at Radio Shack, of all places . . .

All day Saturday, the main topic of conversation was the weather.  There was a big storm coming up from the Gulf of Mexico that was going to drown South Texas with rain, and start with snow over North Texas before blanketing the south.  Delta cancelled hundreds of flights in advance of the storm, and I spent Saturday evening checking to make sure Crystal and Karen could get out of town after the show ended on Sunday.


This is what I woke up to on Sunday morning.  That lead edge of the storm at the lower left was right over Dallas/Fort Worth – the weather weasels still didn’t know if anything would happen there.  But they were pretty confident that my usual route home (Texarkana, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville) was going to be lousy, especially the Texas/Arkansas leg of the route, where they have no idea how to deal with any kind of frozen precipitation.


Still, a few hardy souls ventured out to see us . . .

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I kept looking outside for evidence of the white death.  It was mostly raining, but finally changed over to a little wet snow about noon.


And some finally stuck to the back of the truck and coated the grass by early afternoon.  But by the time we started to tear down the booth, it had melted and it was raining again.


But I still had to find a route home.  I watched the radar on my phone all day (and learned that I could save screen shots for use on the blog later).  The little guy at left shows my location, and all of that blue and pink shows danger ahead on my usual route.  There seemed to be less to worry about if I went north to Oklahoma City and then headed east along I-44 through Tulsa and on toward St. Louis.  And it made more sense than staying put – DFW was worried that the roads would freeze (and the overpasses are 30-40 feet off the ground so they are particularly dangerous) and the whole area would be paralyzed until late Monday or Tuesday.  So off I went – it really wasn’t so bad Sunday evening, but I woke up Monday morning and it was pouring snow.  Checked my trusty radar again and saw that another storm had just caught me on its way east.  So back on the road again . . .


And once I drove out of it, it chased me all the way home . . .


Where it caught me again overnight (we got 4” of snow on Tuesday).  Note to y’all in the South – that vehicle in the distance is a snowplow.  And it has this handy-dandy gadget on the back that spreads salt on the road.  Amazing what it will do to snow . . .

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This is the untreated parking lot at the mail center.  Notice that black ribbon of asphalt?  After this trip, I have a greater appreciation for our road crews . . .


  1. I love the little blurb about the snowplow! Us northerners know how to deal with snow. I'm headed out to shovel... again!

  2. Hey now, we Southerners aren't as backward as you might think. At least those of us in TN. I drive great in the snow but we don't get enough of it to justify buying as many plows and stuff as you guys have up north. Plus, we frequently get sleet and ice instead of snow.

    Still, I never make fun of someone who says they're scared to drive in the snow. I figure they're better off at home and out of my way!!!!! LOLOL

    Kisses to Zoe!