Saturday, March 10, 2012

36 hours.

The whirlwind birthday trip is over.  I highly recommend having a crazy birthday that actually makes you feel younger instead of older. This one definitely had that effect.

It had been 16 hours since Jeff came up with this crazy plan. We were running a little late on Saturday morning, but were out the door and heading to the airport by 6:45am.  Much to our surprise, we were too late to check in for the 8:00 flight.  Ridiculous, since we definitely could have made it to the terminal in time.  Jeff was a little anxious, and then I reminded him.... there was nothing to be late for.  We have no plans until 9pm.  No worries.... we could just grab a coffee and hang out until the 9:00 flight.

We made it to Orlando and were picking up our rental car by 11:00.  If felt pretty strange to be getting off a plane with no bags!  Because Jeff used to work on the database systems of some large theme parks, he knew someone in Orlando who could recommend a good lunch. We hung out, at lunch with them, and then they were able to get us in as their guests to Sea World.  There have been a few times that I have been able to walk around various theme parks for free... and it's a wonderful thing.  No pressure, no hurry.  You just get to leisurely take in what you can, and enjoy!  We hit a few shows, saw some cool animals, and hung out until we were ready to head over to Downtown Disney for dinner.

As it turned out, House of Blues had a deal where you could spend $20 per person on either food or merchandise and get into the "pass the line" line for the show.  The chef had changed since the last time we were there, which made me a little nervous since their ribs were so good before.  But, it turned out that the food was amazing.  We ate, wandered around looking for coffee and chocolate, and then jumped into the very long "pass the line" line.  We never saw the regular line, but I bet it was crazy.

It was 8:00.  We stood in line for an hour until doors opened.  We stood waiting for the crappy opening act for an hour.  We stood watching the crappy opening act until 11:00.  Then, we stood waiting for Axl until 12:15.  We had great spots, about 10 feet from the stage.  We had planned ahead... no drinks, empty bladders.  All of these poor souls were fighting to get to the bar or the bathroom, and we stood firm and inched up.  Sweet.

We were in a crowd of mostly 30-50 somethings.  Grumpy wives who didn't want to be there.  Tired men who were, well, acting like tired men.  But, as soon as GnR took stage, no one felt their aching backs anymore.  It was amazing.  Seriously.   And, I saw it up super close in a venue of only 1400.

Axl has a self-made mountain to climb.  He broke up one of the best bands of all time.  He spent 15 years ticking off even his most devoted fans.  He "came back" and made a fool of himself in 2002, in a depressing display that could only be pitied.  It would take an absolute miracle for him to impress the masses now.... and his miracle has come.  This band is amazing.  He is amazing.  He is playing over three hour shows, and with album quality vocals.  No one left there without feeling that they witnessed something awesome.  It was like he was back from the dead.  But, the amazing thing is that the desire that we all have for the band to reunite is, shockingly, gone.  There is no need.  What he has created right now is jaw-dropping.

It would take such a jaw-dropping show to keep us all pumped up until the show ended at 3:20am.  From there, Jeff and I jumped into the car and headed to the airport for a 5:30 flight.  At the terminal, we realized that the flight home wasn't going to be easy.  There were 22 flying stand by and only 5 seats.  Needless to say, we didn't get on.  We crashed out on chairs while were waiting for the 6:30 flight.  No go.  So, we rushed across to another terminal to try for the 7:30.  I got some pretty good sleep underneath the airport chairs in between disappointments.  Honestly, I didn't mind.  At home, I would be picking up the kids... no sleep.  At least I was getting some shut eye on the airport floor.

By 10:30, we realized that we had to make a decision.  The attendants looked ahead and let us know that there was no real shot of getting home until at least 1:30, and then it was iffy.  So, we made the call, got a refund, and rented a car.   At 6:30pm, we pulled into town, in the same clothes that we left home in the morning before.  Picked up the kids, headed home, put everyone to bed, and was up in the morning for a typical Monday.

36 hours of the best. birthday. ever!

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