Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Kansas City--The Friday Arrivals

On Thursday morning, my flight from San Francisco was delayed on the tarmac for just over 3 hours. But luck was with me when I arrived in Chicago, because my connecting flight had also been delayed. After landing in Chicago, I did a mad-dash to my new gate, called Celti to let her know my new landing time, then collapsed into a chair until we boarded.

Flight was uneventful. I landed close to 9:00 pm (about 2-1/2 hours late), and wandered down toward the baggage claim area. I have never been so excited and nervous getting off an airplane in my life. In honor of my weather-wimpy complaining a couple of weeks ago, Celti ordered up a nice MINUS two degree evening for us (yeah, thanks!). Holy Crap. Yet again I ask, how do people survive in this kind of cold?!

And then, Oh My GOD! I saw Derrick first—he was striking a Spider Man pose for me—then I saw Celti. I had already seen pictures from Thanksgiving, so I knew to expect the blonde hair, and she was exactly how I imagined her! I practically ran down the escalator and we just stood there hugging & hugging until Derrick decided it was *really* time to go.

I keep coming back to this section to say something more about Celti, since I’ve given a run-down on everyone else, but the truth is I didn’t have a first impression that was any different from my expectations, so I just don’t know what to say. She was, and remains, my evil twin. (*Smooch*) In some ways, we are complete 180 degree opposites, and in other ways we are 100% dead-on the same. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between us on any issue. I think for a true FIRST impression, you’ll have to read others’ posts, or you’ll have to go back to my first post about her.

We drove to her darling house in the greatest old neighborhood (which, I learned the next morning, is only a few blocks from a large college campus—which of course means it’s in the “way cool” part of town, I would imagine). As we came sliding into the driveway—no kidding, sliding in on the ice—what do I see? Oh, no, you’re not going to believe me. By this point it’s minus 4. I see her husband and his friend John (aka "Spank Monkey") grilling meat on the BBQ out back. Yeah. In the middle of January in negative weather, they were using the grill.

I must say, the dinner they made was mouthwateringly delicious. Mmmmmmmm.

My impressions of Celti’s family: Her son is a dynamic, handsome, smart, funny little boy. We didn’t get to spend much time together because I got in so late, but from what little I saw of him, he acts like a child who knows he is loved. That was cool. Her husband, aside from being a fantabulous BBQ-er, is also handsome and funny, and from watching them interact it’s clear that he loves her very much. That was also cool. (He must have asked Celti 4 times to show me their wedding photos—so cute!) They have a cat, who I mostly ignored, a dog, who slept on my feet (I love Boston Terriers), and an albino corn snake who I could not stop looking at—the albinism makes him this stunning shade of orange.

In the morning, Celti took her son to daycare (or school?) while I finished getting ready to go. When she came back inside to pick me up, she informed me that, as I had requested, the weather had indeed changed to double digits for me. Right. It was MINUS TEN! Hahahahaha! And you know what? There actually *is* a difference between minus two and minus ten. Who’d a thunk it.

We had an uneventful drive to the Kansas City Airport. A three hour drive that FLEW by ‘cause we were so busy jabbering all the time. Oh—I almost forgot—we stopped just south of the Missouri state line to fill up the gas tank and it started snowing. That was COOL!

Inanna’s plane was supposed to arrive 10 minutes before Regan’s, so we went to terminal B first to pick her up. (It turned out her flight was late and Regan’s was early, so we could have done the pickup backward, but whatever.) Celti had made a sign, but we were each to embarrassed to hold it up. (Silly, I know, but so it goes). Turned out there was no need—we recognized her the INSTANT she got off that airplane.

As everyone else has said, Nanner-Peach is a freaking knock-out! She’s smaller (shorter) than I imagined, but larger than life and so full of dynamic energy! A fabulous rack, and a fabulous sense of self. Later in the weekend, she and I had the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time together (at a fabric store—go figure! Hahahaha), and that was a lot of fun. I should expand on this, but the feelings we discussed are more than I can write about comfortably. She knows I love her.

We ran to Celti’s car and drove back around the airport to get Regan. Her flight was early, so she was waiting for us at the curbside. I held Celti’s “Evil Science Chick” sign in the window—as soon as Regan saw it, she started cracking up! I recognized her immediately, but was totally taken aback at how tall she is. I know she’s only 5’7”, but when you’re expecting 5’4”, that extra 3” (not to mention the additional 2 or 3 from the shoes) is a LOT more height!

As soon as she got in the car, it was an immediate hen party. Jabber, jabber, jabber all the way to the hotel. Well, once we got decent directions to the hotel, that is.

Ok, we all know Regan’s sense of humor is fabulous (she cracked me up with her dry humor all weekend long—especially the "I LOVE CD-R" comment in Jamie's car), but her sense of *self* really exceeded my expectations. She was quieter than I expected—but not in such a way that would make you think she was nervous; more like she was watching & absorbing. Like someone else said, very much the scientist. What stands out most in my mind about Regan is the way she walks—the way she carries herself with almost a regal bearing. She is clearly a woman who knows and is wholly comfortable with herself. I was quite impressed and wish I had more time one-on-one with her. Maybe next time. I hope so. I really hope so.

As we were driving to the hotel, I called Jamie to see where she was on her trek—it turned out, she was almost at the hotel, too! So we agreed to meet there. Once we parked and piled out of the car, we practically rushed into the lobby, anxious whether or not we’d recognize Jamie. Oh my GOD (squeal!)—she was sitting on a sofa looking every bit like her picture. A mop of curls, an impish grin… I ran up to her first & gave her the hugest squeeze. What a doll!

Jamie was pretty much what I expected, though she was cuter and younger-looking than the picture on Jay’s party. She has this insecurity that she shows (like the now infamous map she printed off mapquest & taped together),
but it belies who she really is. She *does* have the most darling little pixie nose, mouth, cheeks, and chin. Not to mention those beautiful, tiny hands. But she’s a tough cookie, folks, and don’t let her “cute” your way out of believing that. Throughout the weekend, she would surprise me with that strength of character. She would say or do something that seemed inconsistent and we’d all look at her with surprise, then laugh when we realized she was totally serious. I love Jamie—she’s one in a million.

I need to get to work now—I’ll write about first impressions of Pup & Katey in the next post. I'll also talk more about what we did together and post more pictures. (Teaser: Nanner Boobies coming up!)

(aside: No news on my job so far; I'm taking that as a good sign! Thanks for all your thoughs & finger-crossings).