Well, I am back from BlogHer and I am so freaking tired! But I feel good! There is nothing like being with like-minded people to recharge your battery. I feel energized and ready to get to work - right after I take a nap.
This year the conference was held in Chicago and I had a ton of fun.
I arrived a day early so I could finally spend some time with Nikki at Moms Who Drink and Swear and my BlogHer roomie Robin O'Bryant from Robin's Chicks. I got to ride in the official MWDAS minivan when Nikki picked me up at the airport. Only a few people stared at us while we screamed and hugged for a little too long. Then we picked up Robin and Nikki proceeded to wine and dine us. Well, actually just wined and dined me while Robin watched. See Robin is on a super duper high impact diet (she looks fan-freaking-tastic by the way) and she's half way to her goal. She's in ketosis. (Which I'm not sure what that means except that it can give you really bad breath, so we had a code word that if she had bad breath I would say, "Robin, do you have a piece of gum?" and I'd wag my eyebrows really subtly so no one would know what I was talking about. I'm happy to report she's a good brusher and I never had to do that once.) Anyways, this ketosis thing is serious and if she cheats even ONCE her body will revolt and she will be back to square one. Of course she has absolutely no desire to do that, so instead she huffed everyone's food all week.
Have you ever lived with someone who can't eat or drink anything except protein shakes and chicken broth? It is the guiltiest feeling in the world to shove food down your gullet while your friend sits there with her ice water and swears “I'm fi-aaahhhh-nnnnn, ya'll!” (that's my written impression of Robin's Mississippi accent). That girl was a rock. She has a steel will like none I've ever seen. I, on the other hand, felt I needed to eat for two since Robin wasn't consuming.
Besides rooming together, Robin and I also put together a session on self publishing. We were joined by Lela Davidson. We had a great turnout and I think people learned something. We only had 45 minutes, but with the three of us talking, we could have gone on all day!
It was so cool to meet so many of the bloggers who I read. I got to laugh like a hyena the whole time. I would like to apologize to anyone who I spit drinks, food, and just general spittle upon. I think every meal I ate was a choking hazard, because every single time I found myself laughing so hard I almost died - literally from that chunk stuck in my throat. I also got to reconnect with old friends I made last year. I think one of my favorites is Leslie AKA The Bearded Iris. She is funny online, but in person she is hysterical. Anyone who greets people, "Get over here and hug me, you hooker clown" is good people. Meanwhile, "hooker clown" is totally going into my repertoire now.
The highlight of the weekend was the book signing for I Just Want to Pee Alone. A couple of months ago, we realized there would be 14 contributors at BlogHer and so the ridiculously organized powerhouse that is Kim Bongiorno flew into action. With her help and her constant - oops, I mean timely - reminders we were able to get it done. (Seriously, it probably would not have happened without Kim keeping me on task. Thank you, Kim.) Lucky for us, Kim's in-laws own a restaurant within walking distance of the hotel where we were staying. Guess what the restaurant was called? Yup. Bongiorno's. (Chicago people, if you need some delicious food and you want to meet the most adorable family ever, please go see them and bring your stretchy pants.) We took over their outdoor patio space along the waterfront and had a book signing and reading under the stars! It was bananas. We had a ton of people show up (thank goodness or else we would have looked really stupid sitting there) and it was so cool to meet everyone. If you came Friday night: Thank you, thank you, thank you! It meant so much to all of us.
We had a few people who read their pieces to the crowd. I wasn't going to read, but then I had a funny little story that happened to me and I could tell that. Wanna hear it?
OK, twist my arm. Here we go:
On Thursday morning the conference hadn't started yet and we had some time to kill, so Robin and I headed over to Nordstrom Rack to see if we could find some deals. When we got to the store we split up and started shopping. We'd occasionally text one another to say where we were. Robin would text: "I'm in shoes. Flip flops are a steal. Come over here!" and I'd text back, "Are there any Crocs?" (there were, by the way, but I resisted buying another pair). After a while, I realized I needed to use the facilities, so I texted Robin, "Heading to the bathroom."
She has told me since that when that text came in, she had a feeling of dread creep up on her and she almost texted me a warning, but then changed her mind.
I headed into the Ladies' Room and I saw three stalls. The first one was clearly occupied as I could see a skirt in a pile on the floor and bare feet. I hesitated for a moment wondering if someone was stealing clothes, but at that point, I didn't have time to worry. I've had two kids and as I get older I don't have much time between "Gee, I need to pee" and "Oh crap, I'm going to pee my pants." I was doing the dance, because I was at the pants peeing stage and I really couldn't stop and worry about shoplifters.
I quickly jumped into the second stall with only a second or two to spare and relieved myself. As I sat there contemplating what I could do to achieve world peace, I heard a thunk in the stall next to me and I saw a pair of panties hit the floor. I realized then I wasn't dealing with a shoplifter.
It was immediately clear that the woman beside me had pooped her pants.
Now, I had a dilemma at this point. I was still mid-stream, so there wasn't much I could do immediately, except think about her delicate situation. Just moments before I myself had a near miss and could easily understand how this could happen. I felt bad for her.
Should I acknowledge her problem and offer to help? I could run out and buy her a clean pair of panties. But would she want a stranger to help her? Or would that be more embarrassing? Should I just ignore and pretend I didn't see her soiled undies casually tossed inches from my feet? I was confused.
I was just finishing my business when I decided I would offer to get her some clean underwear. I was getting myself put back together when suddenly the bathroom door banged open and someone ran into the third stall (the one on the other side of me) and began to hurl her guts into the bowl.
Are you kidding me?? One chick shitting her pants and the other barfing her lungs out?
I was done. I was out. I couldn't get involved. A pooper and a puker?? I am not a nice person. I can barely help my kids when they have accidents. I can go and buy a pair of clean panties for someone and toss them over the door, but I can't hold a strangers hair and help hit the mark. I can't offer to help one and leave the other.
No. No. No. I just want to pee alone!
I quickly buttoned my pants and ran out of the bathroom (nope, I didn't even stick around to wash my hands - that's how serious I was about getting away). I practically collided into a Nordstrom Rack employee. "Is everything OK?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "I think someone could use some help in the bathroom."
Sorry, Nordstrom girl, but I've done my part.