The hotel shuttle bus whisked me away from the landing field of hell to the magnificent Grand Sierra Hotel in
I was just so happy to see her because this reaffirmed why i wanted to come to
The next scene had Laurie and I standing in front of our hotel room. I got so excited that I started shaking. She swipes the card and opens the door and I gasped. I gasped at the sheer sophistication that the room was adorned in; the decor, the color, the ambiance lighting. It was all very Wang ─ Vera Wang that is. Music played in the background. Okay, I lied. It was my tinnitus. :) I peeked into the bathroom and it was all marble, mirrors and mood lighting. My eyes got wider as I took one look at the all glass shower stall and immediately thought how novel to have one of them in our suite. Why you ask? That is simple because seeing me naked first thing in the morning is the next best thing to coffee. One look at me in my birthday suit can scare a buzzard off a shit wagon.
Laurie decided to let me rest and relax for a few by joining some other HLAA members for dinner. I had this insatiable desire to wash off the LA smog and stir-fry stench of me but I wanted to stop and take a moment to appreciate the view that my wall-to-wall window had to offer. I watched the sun start to make its glowing descent silhouetting the rolling hills. A snappy little jingle from Fresh Prince of Bel Air popped into my head and this time, it was not my tinnitus.
I pulled up to the house at bout seven or eight,
I yelled to the cabbie 'Yo home, smell ya later!'
I looked at my kingdom,
I was finally there!
To sit on my throne as the prince(ss) of Bel-Air!
I chuckle to myself, I had been up for just about forty hours and I had no plans on slowing down any time soon. How could I? I was so overjoyed that I made it to
And just in the nick of time, Laurie came back to the room just as I finished getting ready. We headed down to Starbucks to get me a
caffeine IV iced latte and wait for the entire Advanced Bionics group to come through. Unbeknownst to us, they were all waiting out in front of Starbucks while Laurie and I sat in this quaint little seating area. After ten minutes of them standing out there, Jennifer inquired about our whereabouts via text and we finally found each other. The first person I saw was Jennifer who was six feet of pure southern joy! Her unbelievable and endearing personality coupled with genuinely beautiful smile was so welcoming in this city of strangers. This was the first time we met in person but it didn't feel that way, it was like welcoming an old friend home. We hit it off fantastically and this was only the first night. :)
Then came, Mike Royer who is another CI user who is downright hysterical and a pretty sensitive and emotional guy. The flood of people just kept coming; Gloria Garner, Tina Childress, Wayne Roorda, Sheila Adams, Debra McClendon and her boyfriend Brian, Judy Wagner, Kim Brownen and her husband Michael and Nanci Linke-Ellis,. I was in contact with just about every single one of these people all through out my cochlear implant research and evaluation. The time that they spent answering any of my questions or concerns is wholeheartedly appreciated and meeting them meant the world to me. I think I mentioned everyone that I met that night but if I have forgotten anyone, please shoot me an email!
We were getting rowdy in Starbucks and Tina had a bright idea to move to a table by the bar! Yeah, my kind of woman! :) I must have told my first flight story a dozen times. By the sixth time, I had the worlds smallest Appletini in my hand and I was starting to find the humor in my story. For the biggest little city in the whole world,
As the night wore on, the group started to thin out and gravitate to their hotel rooms. Mike's bright blue CI cap must have been knocked off somehow because I noticed it was nestled close to the stem of my martini glass. That is when I decided to be mischievous. I snapped a picture of the cap and sent it to Mike’s blackberry via picture message along with a ransom note. My roguish attempt was foiled because the blackberry he has does not accept picture messages. Rats.
Jen and I decided to self-tour the hotel ourselves. With our two legs propelling us every step of the way, we discovered how sleek and elegant this hotel really was until we hit the bowling alley's women bathroom.The pale blue flower power wallpaper, the red pleather loveseat and the bright orange tile with matching grout blasted our sensitive little corneas with a blast from the past. I waited for the disco ball to be lowered from the ceiling and bellbottom jeans to be thrown at our face. We left our elegant feeling in the bathroom of the bowling alley.
It was getting late, it was one o'clock in the morning but we was still running on Eastern Standard Time. That means it was three in the morning for Jen and four for me. We decided to go up to the room. Jennifer let us in the door and she began to tiptoe across the carpet because she did not want to wake Laurie up. I started laughing and that caused her to freeze as if she were a deer caught in headlights. I’m known for stating the obvious and this was no exception since Laurie cannot hear, just like us. I couldn’t help but laugh but Jen was so cute about it! I admit that it took some getting used to because I am always trying to being considerate of others when they are sleeping because I don’t want to wake them up. However, I am like a cow in a china shop and it is inevitable that I will stub my toe on the edge of the bed or my shin will hit an open drawer or my foot will find one of my dog’s squeaky rubber toys. My point is that it takes hard work for me to be that quiet and it is a welcome reprieve when I don’t have to because I am less likely to harm myself in the process.
After we got ready for bed, Jennifer and I gabbed until three o’clock in the morning. We obviously had a lot to talk about :) All of this happened and the convention hasn’t even started yet!
To be continued!!!
Jennifer's Picasa Photo Album
Laurie's Dance with Sound
Sheila's CI Journey
HLAA's 2008 Convention Coverage Blog
My Facebook Photo Album