Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Road Warrior . . .

It is Tuesday morning and I am sitting at my desk at work.  This is not unusual, of course.  But it occurred to me this morning that I haven’t sat here on Monday morning since July 23 – haven’t sat here on Friday morning since July 20.  Because the last four weekends (and five out of the last six), I have been on the road at shows.  And as much as I love to travel, I am pretty fried.

But I am looking forward to Friday – for two reasons.  Zoe will get to spend the day with me at work for the first time in over a month – I really do enjoy the days when she is here.  And it’s the first night of the high school football season – and the first night of my 33rd season in the press box as the announcer at our local school.  The faces on the field change, and over the years the kids in the student section become the parents (and later the grandparents) in the bleachers below me.  It’s what we do on Friday nights in the fall, and it never gets old.

Enough melodrama for one day.  Last weekend, we were in Collinsville, Illinois.  The Gateway Convention Center is a very nice place to have a show, except for one thing.  I looked on their website and noticed that they don’t have a slogan, so I would like to suggest one for them . . .

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“Gateway Center – Where Cell Phone Signal Goes to Die”

Seriously – this place is built like a bunker.  My cell phone spends so much time searching for signal in this building that it’s on life support by 2:00 p.m.  And the credit card machines can’t find a signal, either.  Other than that, it’s one of the best places we visit every year.

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I often put a picture of our booth on our Facebook page the night before a show, all pristine and unshopped.  But I guess I was in a mood Friday – the picture I posted was taken after I covered everything up with sheets for the night.  Didn’t think about getting an “after” shot until the show had already opened on Saturday.

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I am learning that I love light rail mass transit systems – they make it so much easier for me to get to the ballpark when the local baseball team is in town.  I used it four weeks ago in Minneapolis, and again last weekend in St. Louis.  I realize that very few people drive their 18-foot box truck to games, but for those of us who do, parking can be an issue.  Leaving the truck in a big parking lot and taking the train can’t be beat.  Of course, trying to get a shot of the Gateway Arch with a cell phone camera from a moving train is tough . . .

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There is a train station right next to the third base entrance to Busch Stadium.  The Cardinals were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates, and I tried to figure out a way to root for both teams to lose (it has been a glorious summer to be a Cincinnati Reds’ fan).  They both tried – the only runs scored in the game came on a wild pitch, a passed ball, and a ground ball to second base.  Still, it was a great night to be at the ballpark – and the weather was so “un-St. Louis” (70s with a light breeze).  It’s usually about 100 degrees when we come each year.


I got a souvenir to take home with me – I have been going to games for more than 50 years and this is my first (Ryan got one 12 years ago – and how he got it is a story for another blog post someday).  I got to the stadium early enough to walk all the way around it outside, then all the way around it inside (I love ballparks), and still had time to sit in the outfield bleachers for a while to watch the Pirates take batting practice.  The last ball that was hit went to the warning track, where a Pirate pitcher who was shagging balls caught it and flipped it over his head into the bleachers.  It went directly to a guy sitting four rows behind me – he put his hands out to catch it, muffed it, and one bounce later it was in my hands.  It took me a while to figure out why the ball had a Dodger Stadium logo on it (this is the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium and all balls used there this season have the logo that my thumb is covering) – the Pirates had played the Dodgers the day before and apparently the “game used” baseballs they use for batting practice get mixed up.

But I digress . . . back to the show for a few observations.


Our booth was right across from the concession stand, and I couldn’t resist this shot.  Hot Dogs at 10:00 a.m. – Breakfast of Champions . . .

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I took this picture of the crowd at Sue Rothamel’s demo table about 15 minutes after the show opened (see Jane – I told you), but I could have taken it at any time on Saturday or Sunday.  Sue always draws a crowd, but in Collinsville, Illinois and York, Pennsylvania she has a following like nowhere else.  And I got a kick out of taking a picture behind someone shooting video of what Sue was doing.

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And I got a chance to meet someone who will be teaching in our store in Dayton on Saturday, August 25.  Terry Medaris is an artist from Tucson – as such, what he does with Prismacolor pencils takes on a southwestern theme.  He contacted us about teaching a class in the store while he’s in our half of the country – it will be from 11:00-4:00 on Saturday so click on this link if you’re interested in more information.

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