International Quilt Market in Houston, Day One

Notes from Thursday 10/26

I met Rita, a local store owner, at the airport Thursday morning for our trip to Houston Quilt Market. We were two of approximately 10,000 people expected to congregate upon Houston for the Fall Quilt Market trade show. We saw a few familiar faces on our flight, which is normally the case as we make this trip each year. I say familiar, because I think I’ve seen them, I don’t always remember their names, but I can usually place them with a company. For instance, I saw the guy from Kreinik iron-on threads – that’s Mrs K’s fusible threads and such. He decorated my cell phone for me a year and a half ago with a purple outlined heart, filled with clear beads. Everyone’s in the same boat, or plane in this case, so we nod, smile and perhaps wave or say ‘hello’.

Our flight was delayed and our anticipated late arrival to Houston messed-up the pre-planned car pooling schedule from the airport to the hotels in Houston . We were part of a company family of 30 or so people arriving, hoteling, and leaving together. We thought we messed-up all the plans, only to find out that we were the second and third members to arrive. Everyone was late! Houston had high winds and some rain, so many flights were delayed by flying around the storm area, and some flights landed en route while they waiting for the all-clear to start flying again after the storms.

Some flights, such as Carolyn’s, were grounded in their departure cities due to bad weather. Carolyn was flying out of Denver and during the start of the big snowfall there on Thursday morning. She was just an hour and a half late in arriving to Houston – which wouldn’t have been any big deal, except we were car pooling and had scheduled our favorite car service – Mr. Jay Foo. Well, Mr. Foo waited for me, then we waited for Carolyn. I’ve known Mr. Foo for years. We crossed paths on one of my first trips to Houston and we call him every year for our rides to/from the airport because he charges a flat fee that’s about the same as two fares on a shuttle. We caught-up with each other while waiting for Carolyn. Finally, we went into the baggage claim area to wait and had a chance to catch-up with everyone we knew. Mr. Foo knows everyone! He is quite the fixture in Houston . So, Carolyn finally arrived and off we went.

We usually are stuck in a downtown area for these trade shows, with no cars or convenience stores nearby. It’s like being stranded in a service district and you have to rely on your instincts to find comfort and necessities. Getting coffee usually entails walking several city blocks even if you can find it in the convention center.

Mr. Foo stops at the grocery (another reason we like him) so we can run in and stock up on food/water/etc for the room. This is really nice when we have a fridge in our hotel room. No fridge this time, but we still picked-up some necessities. Carolyn called our friend (name-witheld-to-protect-the-innocent) to see if she needed anything while we were at the store and she says ‘Yes, Nice n Easy root touch-up – Joan knows my color.’ Oh sure, put the pressure on me to pick the right hair color for someone else. And just applying it to the roots, well, I’d better be right. The wrong color could look bad. Could you pick someone else hair color for them when they aren’t standing there next to the box? We really expected to get such things as a case or two of bottled water, crackers, candy, and such. Nope, just hair color please. Carolyn and I collaborated and picked one. I didn’t hear any more about it so I don’t know if we got it right. Sorry (name-witheld-to-protect-the-innocent), your secret is out! Many of us color our hair, but I don’t know anyone who does it in a hotel room when they are not fleeing from the police in a movie. You have my respect for your confidence in hair color maintenance while on the go.

On the way to our hotel, we stopped at a light in downtown Houston and Mr. Foo pointed to this big, white, ominous-looking building and said ‘That’s Enron’. It was kind of spooky. The lights were off which made it look even more ominous. Knowing what’s behind the company name, it was eerie to see the headquarters for the company.

After all of the delays, I was really quite late, and tired, when I arrived at the Crowne Plaza hotel downtown. Lanette, my roomy, was two or three hours late, due to the weather as well. I spent the evening having dinner, planning my day for Friday, and I took it easy for a while. The Crowne Plaza had some goodies available to help ensure a good night’s sleep. There was an eye cover/mask, lavender aromatherapy linen spray, and a relaxation CD for the player on the nightstand. Those were all very nice, but I would have traded them for my own comfy bed in a heartbeat. I like my space-foam mattress, Lanette has a Sleep Number bed, so these beds felt like planks of wood to us. Sleeping on the CD might have done more good than listening to it.

Tomorrow, we go to the show.

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