Tuesday I was back to work and feeling about 50% better. I made it through the day, got home, cooked some dinner, and packed one bag ahead of time. One thing I don't miss about Cherokee; dogs are smart and he knew if I was packing my bags, I was going away on a trip, and he was unhappy. I learned to pack at the last minute so Cherokee wouldn't be upset for days. No such worry about cats, Zeke barely noticed.
Wednesday I went shopping right after work for trip supplies and a new duffel. I liked the bag I got on the cheap. I headed over to RCIA afterwards, then home to finish packing.
Thursday I had arranged to swap shifts with Ed, so I was at work at 0700, getting up early is tough, but leaving work earlier than expected is easy. I left work, drove straight home, packed the car and was tidying up waiting for Maggie when the strangest sight occurred:
We hit the road about 1745, picked up Jillian, and made it to Des Moines about 2030ish. The welcome dance was fun. For the second time I sang Route 66 with 4th Street swing, although with how bad my voice was from laryngitis, it was probably the worst public performance I will ever do. After the dance we went out to eat at Friday's, the usual thing for the Des Moines swing crowd. We followed Rae and Larry back to their place and bedded, er, air mattressed down for the night. I do not have any new found love of air mattresses, the sleeping conditions were not ideal, although Maggie and I fared better than Jillian, her mattress deflated.
Friday we were up early, met the other guest at the house, Hurley, lounged around until everyone was ready, then Verity, Amanda, Jillian, Maggie, Hurley, and I went out to eat at Village Inn. I was hungry, so was everyone else too, six plates, six members of the clean plate club. We then headed over to the local Target because 'someone' forgot his swimsuit after reminding everyone else to bring one. I found something else at the Target to replace my broken one.
We finally headed downtown to the motel, it was mostly uneventful although Verity went straight when she should have turned, so it was a little bit of issue getting her back into the parking garage. We went straight from the parking garage to the hotel to the pool. There were five of us that swam for about 45 minutes. I tried a lame attempt at a nap after the pool, but with six people in the room, it didn't work out so well.
I tried to round up a group for dinner (this is foreshadowing), but only got four to come with me Maggie, Jillian, Adam, and Dianna, we went and ate at Court Avenue Brewing (the same place we went last year). I tried a beer that I'm still calling 'interesting', I don't really even know how I felt about it. We headed up to the dance, danced until around midnight, then went back to the hotel. No late night for Friday night, I was just too tired.
Saturday morning I was up and there for the first class ... er, wait, the classes started an hour earlier, oops. The first class I took was the most interesting, it was a class on dancing to live music at different tempos, intensities, and volumes all with a live band playing. It was quite the experience. At lunch we went over to Panera, I felt bad for the restaurant, one minute a usual Saturday crowd, then suddenly 70 swing dancers show up.
In the afternoon I went to classes, chatted with people, and we got a bit of good news, Maggie asked Rae about the pin up calendar, and Rae asked her to be at the studio at 1230 on Sunday. Schedules were immediately rearranged, and we said we'd be there. After classes, we hung out back in the room, and after much consternation, headed to Zombie Burger for dinner with a group of about four. It was way too crowded. We ended up at a little Lebanese place with a table for four, er five, please ... wait, the phone is ringing, make that seven, um eight, okay, so it ended up eleven. I may or may not have said something about herding cats, okay, I probably did.
We headed over to the dance, which went a little long, too long for us to be enthused about going to late night. I think next year I'm definitely going to save a few bucks and get the dance only pass, then I can be awake all night for the dances. We got back to the hotel and slept.
I woke up early so I could go to Mass at Saint Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, it was the most diverse crowd I've ever seen at (any) church. The second reading was in Aramaic, I know so little about the language, I had to just listen. It was an interesting experience. I knew what was being said, because the English was right there in front of me in the Missal, but I could only really understand the nonverbals. I walked back to the hotel after Mass in a beautiful snowfall.
We had already got packed up and we were ready to go, we checked out, Jillian went to class, while Maggie I headed over to the studio where Maggie was going to have her pictures taken for the Heartland Pinup Calendar. We got a chance to talk to Pam (the Miss Heartland winner) and her boyfriend, Dan. They are from the Milwaukee area and really nice people. Maggie was pretty nervous at first, but as she warmed up, she enjoyed it more and more. She was positively beaming when the photographer, Karl, reviewed all the pictures with her. We headed from there back to the Temple for Performing Arts, and arrived in time to take one afternoon class, well I took the class anyways.
After the class was over, we headed over to try Zombie Burger one more time, seriously, the owner needs to franchise the place. We arrived at just the right time. I grabbed three seats along the wall, Maggie got our food, and we sat and talked while about 30 dancers came and went through the restaurant, seriously. I even met a dancer from Woodstock, IL (the town I went to high school in) named Mallory, and we talked for quite a while.
We piled back into the cars and drove back to the dance. Since we were the first to arrive, I hijacked the sound system for the second time this weekend, this time with the help of one of the volunteers, Jeff. We danced to goofy stuff, like the Elmo parody of LMFAO's "I'm sexy and I know it". We danced until about 2030, and then headed home arriving back in Omaha about 2315.
Here are my favorite photos from the weekend.
Ben is smiling while dancing!
Darn those female Cardinal fans, they are so cute.
I have a feeling the Jose just said something really witty.
Probably my best picture of the weekend.
The Heartland Hepcat is creepy.
If the other picture is my best, this one is my favorite.
With the camera sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
I love the color of Amanda's dress.
Verity and Hurley were winners!
Somehow, I hear Aretha singing "You'd better think..."
It is entirely possible that Adam took the term 'Zombie Burger' too literally.
Yes, I took a lot more pictures, and even with a worn out camera some of them are decent enough. You can see them here. I really could live my life working four days a week and going to dance events every weekend. It's awesome.
Next week: On call and worn out!