Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BlogHer09 - a day late and a dollar short..

Why, yes.. I did go to BlogHer09!

Aman and I bought our tickets to BlogHer09 in Chicago back in February. He had some extra work lined up between then and July that was supposed to be wrapped up and paid up before our departure, so we had no worries.

Not exactly how things unfolded...

Once we realized we would indeed not be getting any checks for the work he's done over the past several months before going (or at least not any checks that were good.. *ahem*), we went ahead and sold his ticket. Luckily, my friend Father Muskrat had recently decided to attend as well and was looking for a ticket to trade up from his Lobbycon pass... and was also looking for a room. We made arrangements with him and he joined our room and exchanged his Lobbycon pass for Aman's weekend pass.

We were scheduled to pick up a rental vehicle to drive the kids down to my parents' in Keokuk and then go along our way to Chicago, because.. you know, we don't have a car. Which we're quite accustomed to now, and don't really mind much at all. We knew that we didn't have the full amount in the bank for the car, but normally rental places don't charge you for it until you return the vehicle.. Not the case this time.

We were unable to secure a vehicle.. and thus, our plans began to unravel. As we grasped desperately at the string and tried to keep things from dissolving completely, we announced on Twitter that I was now selling my ticket.. and perhaps also the Lobbycon pass. We figured, since we could get a van on Friday we'd at least drive over for the parties and the second half of the conference. Better late than never, right?

I sold my ticket to Danielle, the creator of the Celebrity Baby Blog and, in the end, decided to keep my Lobbycon pass so that I could at least catch a little of the conference and take advantage of the vendor access. Not that I did. But whatever.

We picked up the van as early as we could on Friday morning, with the help of Mr. Kelly (thanks, Mr Kelly!), and were on our way to Keokuk. Surprisingly, our trip to Keokuk was uneventful.. aside from having to convince the boys to pee on the side of the road because, HELLO, we're driving in Iowa and there's not that many truck stops or gas stations to be found. There are, however, a LOT of cornfields.. and bean fields.. and gravel for little boys to pee in.

I'm totally going to have to get some Go-Girls when my daughters are out of diapers.

And no, I did not get a Go-Girl at BlogHer. Apparently, I'm just. not. that. cool.

We dumped our kids at my parents' house around lunchtime, snuck out the back door, and grabbed some McDonald's on our way out of town. We were on our way to Chicago! Woohoo!!

I totally made the comment as we crossed the river into Illinois that "At least we'll be driving in Illinois now.. so we'll have more to see than endless cornfields!"


"Oh, look hon... another cornfield." Only Illinois is much flatter, so you don't get to see all the cool farmhouses and barns like you do in Iowa. Bummer.

We stopped in La Salle, which is about halfway between Iowa City and Chicago (and the majority of you are now saying.. 'um... okay. so?') at the Flying J truck stop (and if you're not from the Midwest, you probably have no idea what that is..), where my Vibram 5 Finger shoes were a huge hit. I mean, lady in the bathroom who stopped her husband in the hall and pointed at me and also everyone else in the checkout line hit. I don't even know if they noticed my hair, they were busy looking at my shoes. Heh.

We finally approached Chicago around 7pm. From a distance, it looked a little like Des Moines.. only bigger, taller, and a lot grayer.
Seriously, from that distance, you can see the Des Moines skyline clearly.

We drove around for a while.. you know because we got lost just for fun. And after circling our hotel like 3 times, Aman called them (because I was too chicken. I made him drive in a strange place AND get directions over the phone.. am awesome.) to figure out how the heck we were supposed to get to their front door. And, when we got to the front door? We turned around and drove off to find a parking garage to stow our vehicle in so that we could pay $30/24hrs instead of $52/24hrs. Yeah.

We lugged our luggage (cause that's what you're supposed to do with it.. duh.) up to our hotel room, and I may have peed my pants a little when I looked out the window.
"Okay, we saw Chicago. We can go home now, right?"

Aman sat down and pulled out the laptop, hoping to get online and figure out the who, what, where, and when for the evening.. Only the promised 'free wi-fi' didn't actually exist. It was even more mythical than unicorns.. but not as mythical as The Bloggess.

I love hotel beds.. so squishy and comfy. Forget parties! Let's nap..

So, we decided to hoof it over to the Sheraton across the street and see who we could find and what we could find out.. We ended up having dinner with these fine folks.. and then some.

I stole this from BJ Henry, and yes, Undomestic Diva is groping herself. Brittany and I just turned away and let her have at it..
More less than mythical creatures (Avitable, Backpackingdad, and Redneckmommy).. I totally forgot to have Redneckmommy sign my boob, but she did agree to. I'm totally going to take her up on it next time. Oh, and that's not so much a 'Hey there's a cool chick over there.' point as it is a 'Hey there's another camera pointed at us.' point. So there.

After dinner was the MamaPopRocks! party and it was promised to be magical. It was totally magical. Almost as magical as Joset from Halushki recognizing me at the door and giving me the go ahead without checking her list.. but not as magical as my shoes breaking on the way back to the Sheraton.

First stop? The liquid courage table.
Hello, Templeton Rye guy! Will you be my new best friend??

The party was big, sparkly, loud, and full of people that were made of awesome. I met so many rad bloggers that I've gotten to know over the past year or so that I was quite overwhelmed by the end of the night! Aman and I were quite humbled and honored to have several people come up to US and be excited to meet us! Trust me the feeling was mutual. People like BusyDad, and Palinode, and Schmutzie, and MsBanshee, and Miss Grace, and Angry Julie, and Neil, and.. I could go on and on.

And there was silliness.

Yes, they are on the phone with each other. What? it was loud!
I got licked. AND she let me touch that piece of awesomeness on her back. YES.
I told you.. this table? The place to be.

Also? we were too excited to get our camera under control. Yeah. Parties are not so great for taking awesome pictures.We did manage to get a few decent shots though..
Massacred unicorn rump..
She was kind enough to kiss me before licking me.
The elusive Muskrat dancing with Miss Britt.. seriously, you'd think we'd have seen more of each other since we were rooming together!
Becky, Childsplayx2, and BJHenry.. I promise, this isn't how the rumors started..
Awesome people boogie down.

But, everyone knows, that when the party is 'over' it's really just beginning. Several of us went over to the Chi-Bar in the hotel and shmoozed and boozed some more. It was awesome to hang out with Angry Julie, Lex, EmmieJ, and BJ some more. Totally cool people!
Californians seem to think we're pretty cool.

We made our way back to our room around 2am and crawled into bed, making note of the fact that apparently Muskrats are nocturnal or something.. Thus ending the first day of BlogHer.



Lisa said...

whatever. my trip to chicago was way cooler. seriously. i mean it. i'm not jealous.

Anonymous said...

didn't make it to blogher BUT have driven across Iowa and Illinois to many times to count (went to school in nebraska, drove home to maryland...)

you made me home sick for those crazy open fields and the Flying J truck stops....

course i didn't have to try and get little boys to pee on the side of the road.....

Momo Fali said...

That poor, poor unicorn cake.

Stacey said...

As a rule I'm skipping reading the Blogher posts, but I made an exception for you. You have some good photos.

Father Muskrat said...

This makes me sound wild and crazy. I am neither. More like deranged.

So glad to have met y'all and have your help and hospitality last weekend! Can't wait for part 2.

Only Aman said...

seriously - that was a rad party - and it was such an honor to meet everyone... even if i made an ass out of myself... or called you an ass. I didnt mean it.

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Ha! Great recap... except for the driving through cornfields part. I've done it in IA and IL so many times and it is always horrible. And, for the record, IA is WAY better that IL. :)

That MamaPop party's awesomeness was in direct proportion to the awesome of its guests. For sho. Great meeting you and Aman!

Miss Grace said...

kissed AND licked. THat's how you know I love ya.

Undomestic Diva said...

I swear to god I was NOT groping myself. Just... adjusting. Frickin' BJ Henry - Rumor-starter and Twitpic'er.

Avitable said...

I'm more elusive than Muskrat. I'm like Bigfoot.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I'm soooooo glad you made it! XO

Keely said...

You got recognized and just waved on in? You rockstar!

Al_Pal said...

Awesome! :D

I've been on Amtrak through some of the Indiana & Illinois cornfields...


Cool recap!

Angry Julie Monday said...

Slacker who is finally commenting!!! You guys rock!!!!!!

It was awesome meeting you!!!!!!

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