Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sweet Suite Sugarland

We made it to the Kentucky Exposition Center. Not as early as I would have liked, but we were there. And since we rented a car, we didn't have to park in the lot with the big rigs and be shuttled over. Well, that was one blessing so far.

The first order of the day was to pick up our concert tickets. Every year, Kenworth sponsors a free concert for the truckers. It's always a country music act and usually always a big name (Alabama, Ronnie Milsap, Jake Owen, Big & Rich, Brooks and Dunn, etc.) Anyone holding a CDL is entitled to two tickets each for the concert. This year, it was
Sugarland, one of my favorites; and one of the reasons my friend Vicki was coming up from Nashville with the kids to meet us for the show. Her son LOVES all things trucking, so he was going to enjoy seeing everything else on display, but Vicki, Mina and I wanted to sing along with Jennifer Nettles and be part of her Everyday America.

We were a little late getting on line for the tickets, but they had plenty available and once I had them in my hot little hands, we entered the convention center floor. Things were looking up.

We spent the whole day at the show, but the entire time I was worried about our hotel rooms. I called once and was assured that our reservations were there and the rooms would be ready when we got there, but I didn't believe the girl I spoke to, so I called back a few hours later. The second girl couldn't even find our reservation. Please tell me I didn't hear her right. No reservation. She put me on hold. A few minutes later she came back on the phone and told me they made a mistake, the reservation was there and in fact, they had upgraded us. How nice, I told her, asking if the rooms would be next to each other. She told me they were and again said they would be ready when we got there. This girl sounded confident and I believed her. Whew - one less thing to worry about. Now it was time for the concert. I'm trying to make this story short here, but it's really impossible, so bear with me.

We enter the arena, hand our tickets to the ticket taker and head up to find our seats. We get to our section and are told by the usher that it has been closed and we have to go downstairs to customer service to get another seating assignment, if anything is even available. Whaaaaaattt???? This can't be happening. But, we all head downstairs and join the long line of others in the same predicament. I send Vicki to the head of the line to try to work some magic, while Ed goes for ice cream and I stand there with the kids. When Vicki gets back, her face tells me she had no luck. So we wait.

A few minutes later, I'm approached by an older man asking if we need tickets. I explained our situation to him, asking him where his seats are located. He turns around and points to the ramp right behind him and says, "Right up there. You wanna go look?" I said, "Sure" and followed him up the ramp. The seats were perfect. Center stage, two tiers up from the floor seats, with a great view of the stage and video monitors. They weren't close, but they were perfectly centered and closer and better than what we had in the first place.

I said, "These seats are great. Are you sure you don't need the tickets?" He explained he got the tickets from a friend and since his party was already seated, he thought he'd find someone to give the extras to. I said, "Well, that's really nice of you. Thank you so much." He said, "Well, to be honest, I chose you because I thought you were beautiful. If only I were forty years younger..."

I said, "Well, I don't know about forty years younger, but I'll tell you what...if you wanna ditch your wife, I'll ditch my boyfriend and we'll enjoy the concert together!" He laughed, took my arm and walked me back down the ramp to where Vicki and the kids were standing. They took the seats and the man and I stood there talking about trucking until Ed came back from the concession stand. I didn't even get his name and the old man could have been blind as a bat, but I'm glad he thought my beauty was worthy of some really good concert tickets. Another blessing. Although, I'm thinking it was the contraband lipgloss the lured him to me.

The concert was great, but the pièce de résistance of the entire trip turned out to be our hotel room. The suite they upgraded us to? It was as big as a house!! A 1200 SF house, but a house nonetheless. It had a huge living room, a dining room with a table that sat six, a kitchen, a bar, king bedroom on one side and double bedroom on the other, clock radios with iPod slots, a little cappuccino machine and get this - a bidet!!! It was on the fifteenth floor with a view of the city and within walking distance of clubs, restaurants, shopping and the Louisville Slugger museum. The place was a palace in our eyes. The kids were thrilled. We were thrilled. It was a perfect way to make up for the missed flight, the first night at another hotel, the running Ed did in the airport and the southern sandwich I was part of.

We were able to enjoy room service for breakfast, Chinese takeout for dinner and even a rousing game of Scrabble with friends we invited in on the second night we were there. This is certainly the way to travel and I'm happy the universe righted itself by fixing what had started out as a weekend on a downhill slope.

Now there was just the little problem of the flight back home...

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