I just spent the last couple of hours catching up on reading all the blogposts I missed in the last week, and feeling like I got in a Time Machine which took an entire week to blast me an entire week into the future. Conferences kind of do that. The biggest downside to the time away was missing myPaul all week, but if that had to happen, at least I had some cool kids to hang with the whole time. No seriously–listen. This is how cool they are:
They reprised my birthday celebrations on my actual birthday (bet that’s never happened before) all by themselves and by surprise. I love surprises–good ones, anyway. This was a good one.
There were 19 or so teens total to party with, but I brought three of them who shall, unless they vociferously object, be henceforth known on this blog as the Sidekick, the Belle and the PunkStar. We took two days to drive down to North Carolina, during which time the girls tried passionately to find all 50-states’ worth of license plates (by the end of the trip, they had found all–including Alaska and Hawaii–but three of them), we visited our nation’s capital, and we stayed with my college friend Psych-Deb. (I wanted to call her Psycho-Deb as a joke, but it’s not really accurate, and . . . she might try to psychoanalyse me.)
We arrived in Charlotte on Sunday night, and I was tired from all that driving, as well as from somehow getting insufficient sleep for approximately the previous four nights, so it’s a good thing the conference didn’t properly start until Monday evening. The problem was that I still felt pretty groggy all that day, so after lunch with the girls, they agreed that they were perfectly capable of entertaining themselves, wholesomely even, while I took a nap.
While I was so snoozing, something like this is what happened:
The hotel was in a big maze of shopping plazas, one of which contained a Sam’s Club. For people in other countries who maybe don’t have wholesale stores, Sam’s Club is a Walmart company to which you need to have a membership, after attaining which, you can buy excessive (read: American) amounts of food and other products, usually relatively inexpensively. The key point for this story is the membership–and the fact that neither the Sidekick, the PunkStar, nor the Belle had one. Nevertheless, they marched across the vast expanse of parking lots between the hotel and Sam’s Club and charmed the Sam’s employees into using a dummy membership card to sell them a custom-printed birthday cake. (I had told them the Peahes story. As you can plainly see.)
They beat out a thunderstorm to the hotel, and then used their (presumably continually wholesome) powers of persuasion to get the hotel restaurant to loan them some forks and plates. Unfortunately, they forgot to ask for a knife.
They also gave me a card full of sweet notes, and bought me a gift certificate to a frozen yoghurt place across the man-made pond from the hotel. This was a great gift on account of the fact that this yoghurt place also serves Boba tea and other things with which I am little familiar, so I could cater to my curiosity without spending my own money. And . . . after all that, there was even cake left to share with all the other kids that night.