Okay, to start this last segment, we have to get back on the plane and up in the air again.
We're high in the sky and I have to pull the shade since it's so sunny.
John is suddenly more animated than usual.
"Oh, boy! Here comes the cart!"
Yes, the beverage wagon the poor flight attendants have to ram down the aisle inch by inch.
John was craning his neck, hanging over in the narrow aisleway. Looking, looking.
"I think we get … yes! Cookies!"
Ah, the childlike wonderment of a grown man getting excited over cookies. Prepackaged airline cookies.
John, you can have mine.
"No! I wouldn't think of it! These cookies are great!"
No, really … they obviously mean something special to you. You're welcome to mine.
"But just think about it for a minute. If you don't want them, bring them home to James as a gift. I've done that for years — my girls just love it."
At this point, he was trying to shove some in my purse.
"Trust me. They make great gifts!"
I can't begin to imagine what it looks like under John's tree on Christmas morn.
"Oh, Daddy. thanks! I love my shower cap! Oh, and Mommy got a shoe-shine-kit-in-a-bottle! You're the best!"
To make matters worse, John struck up a conversation with the flight attendant. He wanted to know about additional inventory.
She admitted to stashing some cheese crackers and promised to bring some back later.
Once off the plane, we and our stash of snacks headed over to the convention center.
First stop was to search for my presentation room, since IAAPA had asked me to speak about communications.
Up on the third floor, a bit more lost than we'd have ever admitted to each other, I let out a tiny scream.
Coming toward us was a lady on stilts.
Really, really high stilts.
We were on this kind of balcony thing and she was way far away from the edge, but it still made me woozy.
The stilted lady was in a Mardi Gras outfit.
And we were the only other people around.
Although she was fairly far away from us, it only took a few steps for her to be, well, in our faces.
Her knees, anyway.
She asked us if we were going to an awards event that evening.
I was about to thank her for the invitation and explain we already had plans, but John jumped in, "Well, why don't you tell me more about the event?"
That's the big difference between the two of us. I say "no thanks" and move on; he likes to talk for half an hour and make sure an exchange of business cards takes place.
I guess they call that networking.
I wandered away, calling behind me, "John I'm going to look over here for the room…"
Wait! They have beads! What color do you want?
He was suddenly ecstatic again. Free beads. All sorts of pretty colors.
"No thanks," I said, forcing a weak smile.
When John caught up with me, I detected a slight hint of admiration in his voice.
Wow. It's sort of impressive that you can be this grouchy a thousand miles from home.
Later on, I caught up with Matt in the vast convention hall. He was shopping for scooters, on behalf of Vanessa. I tried to stay out of range, but a second sales guy approached me, pitching a new style of strollers.
When he found out I wasn't there to buy, he quipped: "Well, maybe Matt can buy some and then you can write a news release about it."
Happily, soon after we ran into Will and Mrs. Koch.
He'd done it again. Stopped by looking for Mr. Bigfoot, but to no avail.
"They told me to come back tomorrow. They say he works all night and sleeps all day, so he doesn't show up until late afternoon."
Will was stoked.
When I asked him this week if he'd ever found Sasquatch's creator, Will's face fell.
"No, and I stopped by their booth three times."
Ah well, there's always next year.