Bartlett - Tennessee - home of the HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE crosses hehe...

My trip began on Friday, August 27th. I decided to take the day off from work, even though I really didnít need to as my flight into Memphis was leaving Newark at 6:35pm. I used Friday to get ready and leisurely make my way to the airport. After a sad goodbye with Jewelie, I picked up my stuff and made my way to the car. I got to the airport in the normal amount of time, and was headed towards the economy parking lots, in hopes that it would be full like it was last time I traveled on a Friday night, and that Iíd be upgraded to the cooler monorailed lot for the same price as the ecomony lot. I get towards the gate, and I see a worker standing outside of the gates. YES!!! I got the little green ticket and was on my way to the P1/P3 lot for the same rate as the far away bus lot. So happy! I got to the airport way early, like 4:15pm, so I took my time and got to the terminal. I didnít check my bags as I just had a backpack and a rolling suitcase and I knew theyíd take the rolling case anyway as Iíd be on a hotdog plane. (aka ERG-535 or something like that Ė 1 row of single seats, and then a row of coupled seats, tiny plane.) I got to my gate and figured Iíd look for somewhere to have dinner, since Iíd not really eaten yet that day, and wasnít sure if Iíd get anything on the plane. I remembered there was a food court in the other wing of my terminal, so I hiked over there and had a steak sandwich (even though I was unable to bite into it with my temporary veneer, that part of my weekend sucked). Had dinner and walked back to the gate. I got to the gate probably around 5:45pm, but then they changed the flight time to 6:55pm, saying our crew was there, but the plane was not. So, we had to wait. I always end up waiting when I get to the airport mega early. I guess thatís murphyís law. Whenever I run late, the plane leaves on time, if not sooner lol. So anyway, I waited patiently for boarding and eventually we were off. My plane wasnít full, at all, so I was able to move across my row and into a set of 2 seats. That rocked. I spread out the whole way and just read my book. I must have read for like 2 hours straight, it was insane. (Confessions of a Shopaholic Ė read it, itís good. Iím on Shopholic goes to Manhattan or something like that now). My flight was smooth sailing and I got to Memphis at about 9pm. Memphis Airport is so old and dated compared to the airports up here. Itís funny. Tiny too compared to what Iím used to. Iíd been there once before, so it wasnít a completely new experience. Because Iíd been there, I knew to walk to the courtesy phone, to call the rental car place to get a shuttle to the off site building where the cars are. Took the shuttle like 15 minutes for some reason, but oh well. I got there, got a Maroon Dodge Neon, and was on my way. I got to the hotel in like 15 minutes, it rocked. I had NO issues at all. I even saw the HUGE crosses at the exit (I believe exit 5) before the hotel exit. There were insane and lit up. I checked into the hotel and managed to get the room next to Susan and Boge. Yay! People are here already! I got to my room and immediately called over. Boge answered and I told him I was next door and I knocked on the wall, and then they all knocked on the wall (they being Coleen, Brendaly, Mo, Krik, Susan and Boge) and then I said I was unpacking and to come over. I didnít realize there was anyone but Boge and Susan there, so I was surprised when I had 1 million people at my door haha. It was cool though. Everyone filed in and I continued to unpack. We watched the Olympics, and Coleen was saying we needed to cheer for Botswana. We made all sorts of inappropriate comments about what some of the athletes were wearing or doing, and it was fun. Speaking of inappropriate, Mo showed me the keychain her coworkers gave her. She tossed it to me and I caught the bulk of the keychain in my palm, then I realized the keychain was a pair of balls (as in, balls and penis balls) and I then immediately switched hands and made like my other hand was contaminated by the balls. It was funny. After a while people were getting tired so they went to their respective rooms and we agreed to go out to lunch together the next day and then possibly shopping.

I woke up early for no apparent reason on Saturday morning so I showered and then went to gather others. I think we finally all left to go to lunch around noon. We had: Abby (Susan & Boges neice), Angel (Susanís younger sister/Abbyís mom), Susan, Boge, Mo, Krik, Brendaly, Coleen and me. We ended up going to a Ruby Tuesday, which was conveniently in the mall that some of us wanted to go to in the afternoon. Wooo! So, we had a nice meal where a million funny things happened, one of which being Krik blowing a lemon seed into Moís hair, another being me throwing straw papers at the other end of the table incessantly, all of us pushing any and all extra food on Brendaly (she was none too amused) and Coleen and I ordering the exact same thing. After food, Abby, Angel, Susan and Boge left to go to Graceland. The rest of us stayed back at the mall. Coleen and I went off to hopefully get our eyebrows waxed and nails manicured. Mo, Krik and Brendaly went shopping at JCPenney and some other places. Coleen and I found a nails place, but they wanted like, 30 bucks for a pedicure alone, so we decided to look elsewhere. We went to another salon and they did brow waxing so we got that done and over with. After that we still had time to kill so I took her to Torrid to show her stuff (even though sheís not a plus size) and then we went to Sears I think where she tried on a few shirts. We then met up with the rest of the girls to go back to the hotel. It was severely thunderstorming as we were in the mall, even lost power a few times, but on the way back it wasnít raining anymore thankfully. They dropped us off at my car and Coleen and I drove next door (literally didnít have to leave the parking lot of the hotel) to get our nails done. Prices there were much better. I got a manicure and Coleen got a manicure and pedicure. The men that worked there were all flirting with us and asking us why we were there and whatnot. Then, once again, the heavens opened and it was POURING (which was why we drove in the first place Ė just in case). We tried to wait the rain out but it just wasnít stopping, so we ran to the car and drove to McDs for a snack and then back to the hotel. As we pulled in front of the hotel, thereís a guy running towards the shops we were just at. Well, what do you know, itís Jeff Thacher! Haha. He was running over to Quiznos. We decided we needed to eat our snack down at the tables in the lobby, since they were there, and well, weíd see Jeff come back haha. He came in when we were about Ĺ way done. He came in, saw us, and went ďHey girls!Ē and came over to us and chatted. I mentioned to Jeff that we got our nails done for them and he said ďYeah well we are doing a whole new show for you. Top that!Ē Of course I couldnít top that so I shut up lol. He said he had to get upstairs because they were leaving at 6, so we said bye bye and finished our snack. Once Jeff was out of the lobby, Coleen was all ďHe patted my head!! He patted my head!!Ē it was so cute. We eventually made our way up to the rooms to get ready.

I didnít take that long to get ready. I decided I was gonna wear my hair up that night, since I usually wear it down and I was looking for a different look with my different outfit. I had these black pinstriped pants from Torrid (hot pink and white pin stripes that were slit up the back to the back of the knee) and a hot pink tank top and a black jacket. I looked pretty decent for me lol. Feeliní good, I decided to go see how the others were doing. As I got to the door, Coleen was still getting ready, but Mo, Krik, Brendaly and Linda were done. Yay Linda is here! I hadnít seen her until that moment as she got there while we were at the mall. We decided that we needed to go wander the hotel, or surf the net on the PC near the lobby. It was around 550pm or so. We didnít go down just to peep some Pella, I promise! (hehe). In a little bit of time, Jeff came down (I think he was first). Then, George and John came. Geo of course recognized us and said hello but John didnít know us from a hole in the wall so he just smiled and probably thought ďoh shit, fansĒ to himself hehe. Next was Scott all by himself. His hair was all wispy and looked just dried. Then Kevin came down and I pretended to whip him with my belt that I had removed. Yeah, Iím insane. So yay, all 5 pella. We loitered some more and Boge and crew ended up coming in. We went upstairs with them and then most of us left for the venue.

Since there were too many of us for 1 car, I volunteered to drive Linda to the venue. I had directions in my car (which I had assumed would suffice Ė hahaha) so we left. Mo and crew pulled out way ahead of us so we didnít get the chance to follow them. We got lost. Well, not LOST, but we couldnít figure out which direction was correct. We always knew what road we were on, and where we were trying to be. It seems the maps I had werenít right, somehow, and neither was the map I got from the venue website. I have no freakiní clue. So after about 10 minutes of confusion, I pulled into a BP gas station and asked for directions. Some nice man told me he knew where it was, and brought me outside to give me details. His knowledge now in my brain, we left and got to the venue in no time. Yay!

The lobby was full of people as the doors hadnít yet opened. I really wasnít excited at all for the show. It was almost like I was doing it because itís what you do on a Rockatrip. I was afraid to see what the new incarnation would be like. I was afraid that Iíd hate not seeing Elliott up there. I know, I had the same apprehension when Barry left, but Elliott felt different for me for some reason. Anyway, in the lobby I met up with some other fans. Laurie, Connie, Mickie, Laura from Louisiana, and Iím sure others that Iím leaving out on accident. The doors opened and we went in. I ended up sitting with Linda, somehow, and the show began.

Ok, this isnít House! Whereís House! Oh no, what have I gotten myself into!! But wait a minute. This sounds fun. Hmm, what are they doing? Why wonít they stand still? Why are they in a different order? What the f*ck is going on!! Yeah, so I spent the entire first song trying to figure out what I was in for. It sounded kinda jazzy, kinda R&Bish, and kinda Rockapellaish. It was good. There were 5 stools on stage, and a little table/stage thing that Jeff ended up standing on. Oh my, this is so, different. My mind is all over the place. Iím surveying John. Heís short like Elliott. Heís bald like Elliott, heís even left handed like Elliott, but heís nothing like Elliott in tone or voice or manner or anything. Heís dressed decently, and looks really at home on stage with them. Well ok, maybe things will be fine. Even the songs that I thought were going as per usual, theyíd change up the choreography. They added neat choreography to Moments of You, and holy crap, Use Me. They do this insane knee slapping/clapping thing. Itís impossible to describe other than ďwhat the hell are they doing???Ē My mouth just stayed gaped open at that point. Wow, these guys are throwing zingers at me with every turn, and for some reason, I canít stop smiling. Their energy is infectious. Itís like the group has been revived, yet again. I have loved every incarnation of Rockapella that Iíve been witness to, and this one is no different. Yes, I will miss, and do miss, those that have moved on from the ranks, but I donít intend on giving up on it until I no longer like the music/have fun at shows. I love being able to see my friends, see different parts of the country, and Iím very happy that now I still have a reason to travel. There was no ďpretty womanĒ that night, they ended up doing ďainít too proud to begĒ instead, complete with a girl on stage. John is now the picker, ladies, so I suppose anyone is fair game again, which is cool hehe. Amongst the list of new songs we were treated to was: Ainít to Proud to beg, Stand by me (not new, but john on lead), Tonight (new Scott original!!), Rock the boat (john on lead again), and a different arrangement of Up On The Roof (with weird words too, no idea why). The show, overall, was probably up there as one of the best Iíve ever seen. The energy was high, the audience was loviní it, and the boyz seemed pretty at ease considering they were trying to sell their new line up to the fans. Eventually, the show ended and we had a meet and greet. Johnís parents were there (bless their hearts lol) but they looked a bit taken aback by all the fans and their curiousity about their son. I hope they get used to itÖ

After the show, we all decided to invade IHOP not far from the hotel. It was fun. Letís see if I can name all the people present: Mo, Krik, Scott, Ryan, Brendaly, Coleen, Linda, Susan, Boge, Susans sister Lee Ann and her husband, not sure of his name, I wanna say Chris, Laurie, Connie and Johnathan. I think I got everyone in there. I hope I did, if I didnít, let me know hehe. Angel and Abby were there for a brief time, but Abby was too tired, so Angel ended up going back to the hotel with her. We ate and laughed and had fun, as usual. After eating, we got back to the hotel around 130am and went to bed. I was so wound up from the show that I couldnít sleep til a lot later and didnít even have a book to read as I finished the book Friday night while reading in bed. Eventually, I slept, but I was sad, because it was all winding down. I hate goodbyes.

The next day Linda called my room while I was in the shower (I found out later) so I didnít get to say goodbye to her. Mo, Krik, Brendaly and Coleen all left early in the morning, so I didnít get to say goodbye to them either. I hung out with the Susan and Boge crew and went to Bahama Breeze for lunch. We had lunch and then since I had time to kill still, I talked Susan and Boge into going to the mall so I could make Susan try things on at Lane Bryant. I eventually broke through to her and got her to try something on which she ended up buying! Score! Unfortunately, I lost track of time and ended up leaving the mall 30 minutes later than I anticipated, at 4pm, with my flight taking off at 5:40pm. Oooooops.

I drove back to Memphis (got there in like 15 minutes with no issues) and was looking for a place to get gas. Finally found one down the street a few minutes from the rental car place, filled up, and came back. I checked the car back in, and got on the shuttle. There were 4 of us in total on the bus, and I ended up talking to some Indian guy that was in the back. He mentioned his flight left at 5:30pm, and I said ďI feel your pain, mine is at 5:40pm.Ē Since we still had to get to the airport, check in, get through security, and to our gates, we were nervous (it was about 4:45 or so). I got dropped off at one door, and the Indian dude didnít get off at that stop so I said goodbye and went in to get my eticket. I got my ticket, after changing my seat assignment to the 2 seater in the bulkhead row, SCORE, and then started to walk towards terminal C, as thatís where my gate was. While walking, I ran into the same guy again. He told me terminal C security was really backed up and that I should just go to B, so I got in line with him. We talked some more in line, and then he was on the phone. Then some airport worker came through the line and asked us if we had firearms in our bags, or if we think any firearms have been put in the bags. Um, even if we did do you really think if we were the terrorist sort that weíd admit to it? Ok, whatever. So finally, after about 20 minutes in that line, they opened a second line and I was the 1st to be scanned. I finished before the guy, so I hesitated as I didnít know what our etiquette was at this point, since we had established at he was at gate C12, and I at C14. So, I kinda stalled and then he yelled ďIím coming!!Ē so I waited. He met up with me, and we walked to our gates together. It was really cute. He was on his way home to California. We both got to our gates and boarded our planes immediately. See, when I had no time to kill, the plane was on time. My plane was gonna get into Newark at 830, but then we were rerouted due to some bad weather, so we got in at our scheduled time of 9:18pm. After getting to my car, paying for the lot, and driving home, it was about 11:00pm. Sad, home. I was happy to see Jewelie though.

And thatís the closing of yet another trip. Lots of friends, lots of laughs, lots of fun, no complaints. I canít wait for them to return to that area, I will totally go back. Hereís to hoping they go there yearly, and we all make it a yearly thing (plus some people that werenít there this year, hopefully). Thanks to everyone for an awesome time.

Oh and for Mo. IímÖnotÖtouchingÖyou. :-)


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