What a week!
I think that sometimes things happen to me JUST so I can blog about it later. For that last three days, I have been in Seattle with two of my co-workers attending an educational conference at the Seattle Convention Center. We spent so much time worrying about just getting over the pass that we forgot to let our creative minds imagine all the OTHER things that could go wrong...
Dianne and Mary picked me up Tuesday evening and we began our adventure to the "other side". We were going to be at the convention for three days so I packed accordingly (anyone who knows me, knows that means one BIG suitcase and at least one little one :). We piled all my stuff into the car and pulled out of the driveway. One of our first indicators that things were going to get interesting was that the little car icon in the dashboard was lit up, and despite our best attempts, we couldn't figure out what was open. We quickly discovered that the headlights were dim at best and the windshield wipers looked like they hadn't been replaced since the school bought the car (probably five years or more...). We headed up the pass in the pouring rain - rain that at times would have made even Seattle jealous. It seemed like each time we made a comment about the rain letting up or the roads being okay, we either were nailed by what could have passed as a firehose or we hydroplaned on the standing water on the freeway. Just as we thought things were calming down, the rearview mirror flew off the windshield and landed in the drivers seat... school cars are NOT safer cars!!
Somehow, three hours later we were approaching Seattle. Since we were lacking directions for our first hotel we decided to wing it and try and find it on our own. After several trips around Virgina Mason Hospital, I called Derek for help with driving directions (After this trip, I understand why it could be valuable to have Mapquest on my phone...) As we were driving around downtown Seattle at night in the pouring rain, the unexpectable happened... the driver's side windshield wiper broke off and FLEW off the car, probably hitting whoever was behind us. Navigating got harder without the windsheild wiper... I did my best to coach Dianne from the passengers side and thankfully, after a few more minutes, we found our hotel and were happy to get out into the pouring rain. We discovered that the remaining part of the windshield wiper had cut a huge gash in our windshield... Needless to say, we were thankful to have arrived. We lugged our suitcases upstairs and sat down to decompress.
Our next mini challenge was our sleeping arrangement... there were three of us and only two beds and a tiny couch. We had an early riser, one who can't stand being touched while she's sleeping, and then me... not only do I talk in my sleep but I do a bit of kung fu while I'm sleeping as well, so whoever is sleeping with me has to be infinetly patient or heavily sedated. As a result, I got put in the back bedroom, Dianne took the other bed, and Mary was the brave soul who took the tiny couch. I sprawled out and slept like a rock :)
The next morning, we got up and headed out to find the Hilton and the Convention Center. Dianne and I managed to get checked into our rooms early, so we all went to stasd our suitcases. We hopped in the elevator and found that it required our room key to function. Dianne was on floor 16, so we put in the key and Mary pushed the button. Somehow, the elevator took us up to floor 17 instead. We were confused, but did the whole process again... and ended up on 17 AGAIN. There was a hotel worker on floor 17 who was giving us funny looks each the door opened and showed our perplexed faces. He didn't speak much English but he tried to help and used his key to help us. Again, we landed on 17... It seemes that the gazillionth time was a charm... After our adventures in the elevator were over we dropped off our stuff and headed out to the convention center.
We signed in at registration and got our handy materials and proceeded to map out our plan of attack for the next few days. The first class we went to on Wednesay was covering Navigation 101, a program that we are trying out at our school this year. Unfortunatley, the class was excatly like the seminar several of us attended in the fall. We were bummed because Navigation 101 was one of the main things we had wanted to get more information on. After lunch I headed to a seminar on bullying in Washington schools which was very informative and for the last session I listened to the Teacher of the Year lecture on how student memoirs were useful in creating student voice. That was my favorite session of the entire conference and I hope to do more with her information. On my way back to the hotel I got to meet Terry Burgeson, the State Superintendent. I was a little starstruck and had to share my good fortune with all my pals via text message... After my super encounter with fame, I realized that I was fully and completly lost. I wandered all over the convention center and the surrounding buildings until I accidently found myself in the basement of our hotel.
After the last session of the day, Mary and I hit the streets in the pouring rain to take in all the shopping Seattle had to offer. I had lots of luck at Nordstrom... a new pair of shoes and the perfect pair of jeans are now residing in my closet. We hit Sephora and wandered through a few others until we found ourselves in P.F. Changs. I introduced Mary to lettuce wraps (I don't know HOW she had lived this long without trying one...) and we enjoyed some drinks and a fantastic dinner. Afterwards, we trudged back through the rain and found our way (miraculously) back to our hotel. I tossed and turned all night and was up by 5am on Thursday.
I turned on the news to find that there was widespead flooding all across western Washington. There were mud slides and avalances on the pass and rivers all around the area were reaching flood stage. I got up and got ready for my first session of the day. I went to a three hour lecture on student motivation and the "Why Try" program. Dianne and I were really impressed with the presenter. After lunch, Dianne and I attended a session on improving reading through goal setting. It was informative and I got some good ideas for what I could change in my literature classes.
That was my last class of the day, so I ventured off into town on my own. I returned some pants at the Gap and went back to Nordstrom to pick up a pair of jeans that I had tailored. Then I wandered all over downtown looking through shops and trying on shoes. I even had a mini makeover at Macy's and found some new products that I really liked at the Benefit counter. I headed back to the hotel and picked up Mary for our second round of shopping. We found some fantastic sales at Old Navy and shopped our way back to the Cheesecake Factory. After some sneaky table wrangling we got a table at the bar. The food was fantastic and the cheesecake was huge! After dinner we ventured back to the hotel so we could be warm in our beds before Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice started. i ate my cheesecake in bed and welcomed Grey's back into my life (I've missed my favorite doctors!!). I went to bed around 11:30 after watching enough of the news to doubt that we'd be getting home any time this week. All the passes were closed and I-5 to Portland was under water.
Today I woke up to the phone ringing and Mary telling me we were going to have to fly home. I jumped out of bed and started packing all my stuff. I jumped in the shower and got ready as quickly as I could, as our flight would leave at 10am and it was just after 7:00. As I was getting ready the phone rang again and Mary informed me that the passes were supposed to open around noon. We decided to try driving and hope that I-90 stayed open long enough to get us home. We got our stuff packed up and ran some last minute errands before heading to the Rock House for lunch. After burgers and sandwiches, we got on the road and headed back up the pass. Surprisingly, the trip was very uneventful... the roads were bare and dry and traffic was light. We got home shortly after 3pm this afternoon and now I'm waiting patiently for Derek to get home from school so I can finally hang out with my hubby!!
The plus... I learned to navigate around downtown Seattle well enough the I could get us out to the most important places (i.e. Nordstrom) and still manage to get us back home in one piece... That was a feat for me!
Oi vey, it's good to be home!!!!