Another KeyTech breakfast. I sit with Richard Lamb of the American Water Works Association. With him is a woman whose badge says simply “Brooke Lamb, Denver CO.” So I ask her if she’s here as a spouse, at a spouse rate, being that I also have brought my spouse. And she is. But I hadn’t seen anything about spouses and spouse rates. She says it was two-hundred bucks, but maybe not worth it. And she’s probably right, for me and Dawn anyway, since Dawn’s had such a grand time wandering Savannah by herself.
Then it’s off to the application extender swap meet. Rob Kaighn is there, along with Ike Irozuru of the Young Presidents Organization. There’s lots of code examples. Also piping up from time to time is Bruce Edwards from TMAR, who’s kind of a surfer dude. That makes me think he’s probably from Silicon Valley. Like he’s a California surfer dude.
Then finally it’s the closing session, with a pep talk from John Graham of ASAE. And, what we’ve all been waiting for, the announcement of the up-to-now-closely-kept-secret location of next year’s TAUG. We found out last year when they starting throwing little foam tchotchke peaches with “TAUG” and the date and location. Peaches as in Georgia. So now we see them getting ready to throw little red chile peppers at us. So it must be southwest, even though we were in Tucson AZ last year. Or maybe New Orleans, more famous for jazz maybe, but a spicy cooking kind of place. But still. I guess Albuquerque or Santa Fe.
And they throw them at us, and they say
Save the Date for TAUG 2007
April 22-25, 2007
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I scoop up two, one for me and one for Dawn. Later, when I give Dawn hers, she expresses far less enthusiasm than I had hoped. She didn’t go to Tucson with me, and has no interest in Albuquerque either.
I skip out to spend the afternoon with Dawn. I check out of the Westin and then get them to stow the bags for a few hours, then I ride the ferry over to the mainland. Dawn meets me and we start walking south. We walk up Abercorn, then detour through Colonial Park Cemetary. Then we make it back to Abercorn to eat lunch at Clary’s Cafe, what’s become a favorite place for Dawn. It’s featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, where That Guy character actor Geoffrey Lewis as Luther Driggers is at the lunch counter with all the flies tied to him and flying around him. Dawn gets egg salad and I have a club sandwich.
We then walk further south, further into the neighborhoods of Victorian homes. Some are beautiful grande dames, while some are in need of a whole lot of restoration. Dawn says that a lot of them are student housing for Savannah College of Art & Design, or SCAD as it’s abbreviated around town everywhere. We walk around Forsyth Park, then head back to the historic district. We stop at a used bookstore, so I can look the next Horatio Hornblower book, since I’m in danger of finishing Lieutenant Hornblower and want the next one as soon as possible. They actually and surprisingly have a mass-market paperback edition of Lord Hornblower, but I’m looking for Hornblower and the Hotspur, so we leave empty handed.
We make it in time for the three o’clock tour of the Wayne-Gordon house, where Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, was born. The house was built in 1821. JGL aka Daisy was born there in 1860. It’s been restored to c. 1886, about the time she was married to the bounder William Mackay Low. Our tour guide is a rather sour but knowledgeable young woman. I ask about the old crank telephone in the hall downstairs, if it was there in 1886. Seems like maybe phone would have been a little later. She’s not happy with the question. Later, for revenge, she yells at me for stepping into the family parlor while she’s still talking about the formal parlor.
In the back yard there’s a rather small formal garden, with two quite huge and unbelievably ugly plants. They look like octopus. Or Audrey II.
We make our way out, then back to the ferry, to get to the Westin, grab our luggage, and catch the shuttle to the aiport. Lots of people waiting for shuttles, cabs, rental cars, etc. It’s kind of a disorganized mess. A couple of Low Country Executive Transportation shuttles arrive, and it takes a while to figure out which one we’re supposed to be taking. Finally gets all sorted out.
And Libah Grossman joins us on the shuttle. And we determine that she’s on our flight to Atlanta as well, where she’ll connect to KC instead of DC. She’s in the same row on the plane even. We chat on the ride to the airport, our driver not nearly as fast as Eric was getting us to the hotel.
At the airport we discover that our flight has been delayed. We go grab an early dinner at the only non-fast-food restaurant in the airport, a Phillips Seafood place. I’ve heard of the Phillips name, knowing it to be some sort of famous name in Maryland blue crab. I read a story recently in the Washington City Paper about them, about how all the blue crabs are gone, about how it’s all crabs from Vietnam now. I order a crab cake anyway. Dawn gets steamed veggies. It’s all pretty awful. But at least there’s beer.
We go through security and settle in for the long wait at the gate. Libah’s there already and we talk a while. She gives me a copy of a CD she’s recorded, the CD being a benefit for African AIDS orphans.
When they finally call for boarding, they call for first class and mileage club people first, then they start with the back of the plane. Rows 20 to 29 or something. We’re in row 15. But then they skip us and call rows 1 to 9. Then they call us last, rows 11 to 19. What’s up with that, calling the middle of the plane last?
It’s a short flight to Atlanta, where we say our goodbyes to Libah. Then we make our way to our gate for the DC flight. It’s down at the end of the terminal where there’s everything ripped up, walls and ceilings, under construction. And there’s gratingly loud PA announcements, for other terminals, as well as the usual security warnings. We lie on the floor in the hallway for a while until the flight before ours leaves and there’s room to sit at the gate. I put in my earplugs as well as the industrial strength ear muffs that I got for the workshop. Cuts out a whole lot of noise. It’s almost like being under water.
Finally they call our flight, and we get on quickly since we’re sitting right next to the jetway door. It’s late and we’re exhausted. We get to Dulles, then get a bus to long-term parking, then find the car. I’m dangerously sleepy on the drive home. Dawn talks to me, making up conversation, to keep me awake, but I fall asleep once anyway, on Eighth Street, just south of the turn onto Independence. I awake pretty much immediately, with a jolt and a start, and so Dawn gasps and asks what’s wrong, not realizing that I conked out for a sec. We make it the last few blocks without incident, getting home and to bed just before two in the morning.