This is the second diary in a series. The first can be found here

Back at the hotel, we checked in (thanks, Melissa in Houston, for making the initial reservation for us) and received our keys and a warm, gooey, delicious chocolate chip cookie. We met Cheryl (from Arizona), and Marcia Moody (and probably some other people–see my blanket apololgy at the beginning of part 1) in the lobby. Made sure to take a picture of Cheryl for our daughter, so that she could see who it was that had helped her with her Flat Stanley project for school. By the time we finished chatting and genereally dallying about at the hotel, we were a good 20 minutes late for the blogger’s caucus.
I have to admit, I remember nothing about that particular caucus. I know that I saw some familiar faces there, and Demetrius met these people for the first time. After the caucus, Thom K came up to Demetrius and thanked him for the graphic Demetrius had done for him by request early in the campaign. That was actually one of the very first graphic requests Demetrius had gotten nearly two years ago when he started volunteering his services in that arena.

But during the caucus, I checked my Sidekick and saw that I had an email from my mom about what she and my dad had done with the kids throughout the dy. It was good to hear how the kids were doing, but the email ended on a note that made my heart sink. Stevie, the cat my daughter had gotten as a kitten nearly two years ago (featured here as a “Kitten for Dean”) had not been seen since morning. Mom noted that my daughter had been holding it together pretty well, but would break down and cry from time to time. Ugh. My mind raced. The last time something like this had happened with a cat in our family, he had indeed slipped out the door unseen. Thankfully, he had also been found, in good shape, several days later, but we sure didn’t want to go down that road again.

I started to second guess the decision to bring Stevie to Chicago rather than leaving him at home with my other cat, but he had come with us on every trip since we got him, including the three weeks our daughter stayed with her grandparents last year. I was very very worried and preoccupied. So, as far as what was discussed in the caucus I attended…not a clue.

After the caucus, I talked with Alta Price from Iowa for a while. After that, Quintus, Oscar, and Deaniac in Georgia, and this other guy whose name I did not recognize, started to make plans for dinner. I had looked up the address to a P.F. Chang’s that seemed like it wasn’t too far away, but was having a hard time making heads or tails of the directions that came up on Mapquest. So many of the streets in Austin are one-way, the directions end up sounding kind of weird. But this man whose name I did not recognize took a look at the address and directions and said, “Oh, that’s in the Warehouse District!” He then went on to say that when he travels for work, he always spends the first day just driving around the main arteries and getting to know the area.

And then he said, “Oh, by the way, I’m mprov on the blog.”

Ohhhh! Light of recognition start to come on, as we once again adjust to the fact that this stranger we had been talking to was in fact someone we already knew from the blog.

So, we all went for a pleasant evening of dinner and conversation at P.F. Chang’s. Demetrius found a nice vegetarian curry on the menu, which he decided needed just one thing to make it complete–meat. The waitress said she could accomodate that request, so that’s what he ordered. At the end of the meal, out of habit, Demetrius asked to have the leftovers wrapped up, only to realize as we got up to leave that we were staying in a hotel and had no place to refrigerate or heat up leftovers.

We all walked back to our cars, and Deaniac showed us some of the posters he had made for anti-Bush rallies, and then said he had to get back to his dog at the hotel. Seeing an opportunity here, Demetrius asked, “Would your dog like some Chinese food?” Dave/Deaniac said maybe, and took the doggie bag. I never did find out if Dave actually gave the food to his dog, and, if so, did he regret it? My own dog has a special feature I call “collie tummy” which is my polite way of saying that if I give him anything exotic to eat, I’m going to be regretting it for the next few days.

Well, we said our good nights and headed back to the hotel and up to our room to chill for a bit…both literally and figuratively. I was quite relieved to see a new email from my mom, announcing that the cat, Stevie, had rematerialized. And there was much rejoicing. (This was documented in a photo that my brother sent, showing our daughter’s happy reunion with her cat.)

With the weight of that worry lifted, I suggested that we head down to the lobby to see who else was here. Since people were starting to head back from the evening at Threadgills, it was an opportunity to connect with some more people. We saw, in no particular order (and if I forget you, just give a shout out, okay?) TigerMom in NM, Agatha, SylvieNYC, Deann (and Aimee, I think) from OKC, Mataliandy…dang, we managed to miss getting pictures of this as well. Pictures would have helped a lot with remembering who all was there.

I do know that Oscar came down from his room to hang out with everyone, in spite of the fact that he was even more sleep deprived than we were, having hopped in a plane after being at work all night. And Charlie Grapski was hanging out in the lobby with us, admitting that he really should be preparing his presentation for the next day, but continuing to hang out with us nonetheless. Man, do I ever know how that goes.

Eventually it was time to head upstairs and start paying back some of that sleep deficit. And we did, in fact, sleep very well that night. Thanks to comfortable beds, sheer exhaustion, and heavy dark curtains (and not thinking to set an alarm) I didn’t wake up until 20 minutes before breakfast was scheduled to start.

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