Part Three: We Finally Arrive
After a restful night’s sleep and a shower in the world’s largest shower, we had a delicious breakfast, bid farewell to our hosts, and then made our way down the mountain for the last leg of our journey.
Driving down narrow, curvy mountain roads is even more harrowing than going up, but at least I was fresh and we slowly, carefully made our way off Wintergreen Mountain. The remaining 2-hour drive was pretty, flat and more to my liking. We were still listening to Hiatt when we pulled into the Omni Hotel where we will be spending the next five days.
For the first time in forever we were given the Perfect Hotel Room. It was on the third floor so we didn’t have to go far; it was close to the elevator; it was next door to the ice machine; and the pool was at the end of the hall. We had HBO but rarely was there anything good on it (I can’t believe you suckers who pay for HBO. ‘Game of Thrones’ can’t be that good). I spent more time watching the AXS channel, which I had never heard of before but wish I had here.
Lar had to rush off to a meeting so Andrew and I took a short walk. Short because it was hot and short because downtown Richmond, VA, is all steep hills. What is the deal with that? Seattle was bad enough. Why can’t we have a conference in a town that is flat? Are there any lawyers in Kansas?
That night was the annual slide show featuring highlights from last year, charity auction and — the important part — free appetizer dinner with open bar. The food was pretty good and fairly substantial but they ran out of the chicken things too early. This was the first of the week’s schmoozing events which, as we all know, I excel at.
The Wife had a full day of class so the son and I slept in (so easy to do in dark hotel rooms.) We eventually got up and went for a walk along the canal. It was nice but at times creepy — I wouldn’t want to walk there after dark. Had lunch at an Irish pub and when we were done discovered that Lar had been eating in the same place. That afternoon we hung out at the indoor pool until it was time for the evening’s festivities.
The evening’s festivities consisted of a formal dinner and dancing at the Hotel John Marshall (look him up, I’ve got too much to cover to give history lessons). It was an elegant place with a large ballroom where we ate, drank and danced. There was an 8-piece band that specialized in r&b classics. They were very good.
The food started out on the fru-fru side but got better. The first dish was something that had a few springs of salad, a large slice of tomato, a slice of cream cheese, and something on top in a hard, crusty shell. I ate everything but the tomato. Andrew would have nothing to do with it. The main course was much better – there was some chicken thing that was tasty and the potatoes were good and the bread and Andrew filled up on pasta so it all worked out. Dessert was a piece of carrot cake which was good but would’ve been infinitely better if I’d had coffee to go with it.
It was an all-around good time except for our waiter, who was more concerned about taking away our glasses (even when we weren’t finished with them), than bringing us our food. I find it very frustrating when I can’t have my coffee with my dessert. I also find it frustrating when the guy didn’t bring Andrew his dessert. It’s extremely frustrating when you see everyone at every other table being served coffee and you’re not. I don’t handle frustration well. But by God, if you put your drink down, he was there to take it away.
Lar only had a half-day of class on Tuesday so the boys slept in and met her for lunch at a nice Italian place and then we went on a tour of the state capitol. We learned many fascinating things about our nation’s history which I have since forgotten. There was an “American Idol” bus parked outside the capitol which annoyed Lar.
It began to lightly rain when we finished the tour so we didn’t get to do much exploring. For the evening’s entertainment we walked to the Penny Lane Pub because Lar has a thing for pubs. We walked a good distance in light rain but had a nice dinner.
Coming Up: Comic Books, Civil War and Hotel Alligators