What a weekend. I'd do it over again. It was good. It basically started on Thursday night...

I spent most of Thursday night stressing out over needing to do 300 things and not having done a thing. Why does home=lazy for me? When I go away, I certainly have much more spunk and ability to do things. Here I just sit around and eat. Thursday night I needed to: clean, do dishes, do laundry, pack, shave my legs, decide what to wear, paint my nails, etc. It just wasn't going to all happen in one night. I knew I had to get up at 6am the next day too, so that didn't help. I ended up settling on doing only 1/2 the dishes, and not painting my nails, and just wearing an outfit I've already worn and not putting any more thought into it. I guess I fell asleep around 2:30am...

I got up at 6:15am and ran around doing another million things (feeding jewelie being the most important as I wouldn't be home again until Sunday..don't freak, I only feed her every other day usually to begin with...) I wake Amy up, and we are out the door around 6:35am. Not bad. Our flight was a 9:10am. We got to the airport, checked our luggage (yup I checked my bags! it was so good too. I like not lugging it all around!) and then got some breakfast at the A&W food place. I had pancakes and bacon. It was pretty good. If I wasn't dog tired, it would have been even better. We finished eating at 8:35am, which was when our plane was scheduled to start boarding. We potty, walk to the gate, and basically get on the plane. The flying hotdog plane with the flaming gay flight attendant with the insane eyebrows. He was nice though. He let us have both pretzels AND peanuts. How cool is that? A fat girl has gotta eat. We spent the flight there listening to RP cds (in synch with eachother which took some work on each song but was fun) and generally happy because we were on vacation and just chilling. We hadn't gone away alone together since February of last year, so it was long overdue. Maybe we can make it a yearly thing. We landed with no troubles, in about 3 hours time. (stupid going against the jetstream) We got our rental car, with some difficulty as I ended up having to rent it because Thrifty is stupid and won't take a check card like Amy has. It was a brand new Dodge Neon, 4 door, dark blue exterior. Had 512 miles on it when we got it. That was pretty cool. I inspected it before we left, and noticed that the temporary tags on it said 3/28/03. Um, it's 4/4/03. I don't want to be pulled over, so I drive the car over to the building and go in and tell them I need plates or something cuz the temp tag is way expired. They were like, umm, oh. Idiots. So, they put tags on the car. They should change their names from thifty to thriftless. Their price went from like 35 bucks to 50, somehow, with additional charges. Not sure I'd use them again, as they were generally a pain in the ass. They charge 18 bucks for gas when you rent (which isn't mentioned on their site). Anywho...

So we drove to the hotel with minimal problems. On the way to the hotel, as we are approaching downtown, we saw this gigantic trowel (which I called a shovel) and cracked up. It was insane. Downtown wasn't much, but it was cute. There were a lot of skywalks connecting area businesses, which come in handy when the weather is as shitty as it was when we were there. Unfortunately, our hotel wasn't connected, so we couldn't avoid the bad weather. We parked in the parking garage across the street from our hotel (Hotel Fort Des Moines) which proved to be a major pain in the ass the first night. Takes a while to get the hang of things in other areas...

We went up to our room and dumped our shit. Then, we decided we should eat lunch and explore Des Moines a little bit. We ended up at a food joint near the Marriott. It looked cool like the one in Boston (copley place). The food was LAME. Oh well, what can you do. Then we went back to the room and decided we wanted to go in the pool and hot tub, but there were boys in it so we waited and then they left so we went in. I actually wore a bathing suit, sort of. I had a shirt on over it, but ended up taking it off to go in the hot tub since I really didn't want to get a shirt soaking wet at the time and nobody else was around. It was nice and relaxing. Oh yeah before the hot tub I did my nails...it's not important, but it's the reason why I didnt go swimming as I couldn't even put my hands in the water lol. We were in there for like 30-60 minutes. Not sure, but it was fun either way. We bypassed the sauna, as we didnt want to die of the heat. We then went back and laid around a little. Then, Linda called and asked if we wanted to go to dinner with her and Mary. Of course we said we'd love to, and made plans to meet them at 630pm at the restaurant next to our hotel, called Raccoon River. We had about 1 hour until we had to start getting ready, so we continued to veg. We were watching Maury Povich. I think the topic was "turn my son back into a boy" (drag queens hehe).  We got ready, and left for dinner just in time. Linda and Mary were getting there just as we were.

Dinner was lovely. I had a burger and garlic mashed potatoes (yum). The restaurant was nice. Good atmosphere. They had pool tables which we never ended up getting to, and I also didn't get to have their apple crisp like I planned. Off we went to the venue.

Des Moines is evil! Just like Georgia. lol. Basically, the problem is, we have the NYC mentality. The mentality that if a place is on 15th Street, you just turn onto 15th street and eventually you'll hit it. This is not the case in Des Moines. Between one way streets, and roads being closed, we were unable to just take 15th. After some troubles, we get to the venue with about 5 minutes to spare (only because RP didnt start on time). We took our seats....

Amy and I were seated happily in the front row, on the aisle, even. Kevin side. The lights dim, and Kevin begins on with House of the Rising Sun. There they are..Kevin, Scott, George and Jeff. Well, wait a minute. Where's the bald one lol. No Elliott! As most of you know, Elliott's wife Debbie is expecting a baby any day now, and apparently Elliott didn't want to leave her, and potentially miss the birth of his child. (which she ended up having on April 9th!  Congrats El and Debbie!) So, the show must go on, but without Elliott. It was, different. You really realize how much the baritone line "fills in the space" as the Groovebarbers would say. I really missed him in there. Poor Kevin looked confused half the time. It has to be hard to sing your part alone, when you are so used to listening and harmonizing with someone who has been by your side for 6 years. They did their usual lineup and then got to the portion where Elliott usually sings a solo...so what did Rockapella do? They did an Elliott song, without Elliott. It was actually really entertaining. They did Let's Get Away...but all they sang was the backups. It was like Karaoke Pella! Believe it or not, the audience knew what to do, and started singing Elliott's part, which greatly amused the Pella. I think they had as much fun with it as we did. Unfortunately, the people behind Amy and I, while they were loud singers, they didn't know the right order of the lyrics, so they were screwing up people around them. However, we showed them, as I think we were the only 2 that knew and sang the scat. lol. It was really funny. I was actually hoping they'd do another Elliott song because it was funny. They didn't though.

The rest of the show went as usual. During 1 song, I think Change in My Life, some audience members held up lighters, which broke some of pella. Kevin found this to be really entertaining, and ended up picking one of the lighter people to be pretty woman for the night. Amy and I had our pretend lighters and matches, but apparently they didn't work as well. ;-) Kevin brought up the PW, and was doing the usual introductions, and she tried leaving a few times. They didn't let her off the hook though, and brought out the Rockapella Stool (chair folding aluminum for those at Yonkers haha) which actually was a stool. ;-) (sorry for those of you that don't get that joke, but I have to write what comes to mind.) She sat down and Kevin was admiring her shell necklace. Well, he lightly poked it, and it fell right off. He then got all nervous, and thought he had broken it, but I think it was only tied on. Everyone got a good laugh, at Kevin's expense, for that, and Jeff said that the necklace was "payment for his services" which made everyone die. (because Kevin had just got done saying how shells used to be used for currency in some country.) Good thing Elliott wasn't there, he really wouldn't have been able to sing because he would be broken. They were all a bit punchy, except George, he seemed unfazed by everything for some reason. The PW got to rub butts with Scott. Man, is she lucky. She was about as skinny as Scott too, so of course she looked decent doing so. During the encores, they did a NEW SONG!! Woooo! It's a cover, with George on lead (humina) of "Papa was a Rolling Stone". Let me just say, it's awesome. Scott arranged it, of course. There's a lot of the Keep on Smilin' heavy breathing type stuff in it. Very good. Erotically blissful, as Amy so eloquently put it. I can't wait to hear it with Elliott. It could very well become one of my favorites. George becomes a totally different person when he takes front and center, it's awesome. The rest of the show went as per usual, ending with Zombie Jamboree. Love those butt sways...

The show ends and Amy and I get to hug Phil. YAY! He asks if we have any Tylenol or Advil, and I gave him some of my Advil. Poor guy has been dealing with sinus pain and stuff. I feel his pain, that's for sure. This crazy weather has been bad for the sinuses. He informed us that there would be a meet and greet of some sort, but he wasn't sure if it would be a mingle or formal or what, depended on how many people stuck around, I think. Eventually, we made our way out to the lobby (and everyone in the auditorium followed us...they must know who to follow lol) and we waited for Pella up there.

I was standing against the back wall of the lobby (well the wall across from the theatre doors, by the exit doors, and Jeff was walking towards me up the aisle of the theatre. Apparently, he had been waving to me for quite some time because when I realized he was near me, he was making weird faces at me, scrunching himself over to get into my sight line, and waving like crazy at me. Ok. Hi Jeff. lol. He then went to the table, and I suppose others followed him. We just hung around doing nothing, waiting for the crowd to die, and eventually they ended up staying out from behind the table, as people were wanting pictures and such. I said hello to Kevin, he gave me a very very lame assed hug. A one armed deal, I think lol. I made fun of him, and he didn't like that. I need to remember to not make fun of him. I'm so used to being able to play with my friends. Anyway, then I said hello to George and he gave me a HUGE hug which totally made up for Kevin's lack of enthusiasm, but well I expected it from him since...well, you know if you are meant to know. ;-)

I didn't spend much time over with Kevin and George, and walked over to where Amy was, which was with Scott. I walk towards Scott and I didn't say anything just opened my arms a bit as a warning that I was goin' in for the kill, and he totally spread his open and hugged me. He's so cute. He's not usually one to hug without question. Amy was talking to him about moving to NYC, and then we started talking about how she was going to live with Louise...and how Louise graduates in 2 weeks, and he asked us how long it took her to graduate, and he actually said "2, 3 years?" Go him for actually remembering about fans! His hair looks good to me now, except he tends to have some sticking straight up. Cowlick or something. It's cute and stupid all at once. Phil came over to us again and Amy hugged him and told him he was a great hugger and he said she was too. Awww. So cute. Phil needs love too! Oh yeah, in the auditorium, we talked to Fred a little, I think at intermission...he is doing well. He said he still has some pain in the area of his incisions, but is doing OK otherwise, so yay that. Then Jeff decided he needed to talk to me, AGAIN. Not sure what he was on that weekend but whatever. He asked me what I thought of them, sans Elliott, and we ended up talking for about 5-10 minutes about whatever. I left him and then he went to leave the M&G and once again needed to wave at me. Ok Jeff. See ya later lol.

After all the M&G fun, we had to say goodbye to Linda and Mary :( as they weren't at our hotel, and Amy and I had plans for after the show (which didn't pan out - you wuss! lol) so we ended up just going back to the hotel and watching some TV before going to bed out of sheer exhaustedness. We actually stayed up til 2am (3am eastern time) which is amazing since we got up at 6:15am EST. Stupid time zones. lol.

Saturday morning we were woken up by Amy's cell phone at freaking 9:30am. I was a bit peeved to be up so freaking early but oh well. It was Jade, finding out how the show was. She forgot we were in the central time zone. I was up from 9am onward basically, since the toilet is louder than all hell, plus if anyone is awake around me my body knows it and wakes up. I'll be good when I have child (if Frederick ever leaves camp that is)...but for now, it sucks. So we ended up getting dressed and going to eat lunch at a Denny's that didn't end up existing, so we ended up at Perkins. It was here that Amy got a call from Louise who was looking at apts in NYC, so basically I sat silent as Amy talked on the phone lol. Finally she was able to get off the phone and eat her meal, and we left to go to Prairie Meadows, a horseracing track and slot machine casino (only slots -- lame). We get there, and realize there are no live horse races. Boooo. It was too cold. So it was all simulcasting. So, we went down to the slots. I lost $20 and Amy lost $25, and then we left. We made our contribution to Iowa's economy lol. I think it was around 2pm or so when we left there and I said, well, where's Pella, Iowa?

So. Amy and I decide to wing it, and drive to Pella Iowa. We knew we had to take 1 road to get there, I wanna say it was Route 163 but I'm not even sure. So, we get to it and just drive. Holy crap, can you say corn fields???? It was seriously almost scary driving there. NO CIVILIZATION. None. Just corn, and cows. The phrase "Hey cow! Moo!!" became our battle cry, and theme for the rest of the weekend.

As we approached the little town o' Pella, there started to be signs on the side of the road, at which Amy and I would freak out and squeal and whatnot, and about 4 miles from the town, we stopped to take a picture of the billboard (one of my only pics that came out, as I was using the right setting then) I'll put my pics on pbase, eventually. So others drive by and see us taking pictures of a sign and probably think we are absolutely insane, but that's ok, cuz, well they must be insane to be living in Iowa, right? hehe.

We just keep following the signs that say Pella. We honestly had NO IDEA where we were going. No directions. Just signs on the road that say Pella - x miles. We got off of the "highway" and immediate saw banners hanging from street lights that said "Pella for all Seasons". I took a pic of the banner but, it didn't come out, like everything else I took lol. We stopped at the Amerihost Inn and Suites and got some brochures (2104 Washington Street Pella, IA 50219) and then made our way down Washington Street. In no time, we were in the heart of the town. It was SO CUTE. If you want to read about Pella, go to http://www.positivelypella.com/ and have a ball. We parked the car, and went walking around this town that seemingly was stuck sometime in the past. The town was full of cute little shops, and even cooler was they sold merchandise that said "Pella" on it like EVERYWHERE. I ended up buying postcards, 2 magnets, and a suncatcher. We went to the Post Office and mailed Post Cards to eachother, which is insane, but hey, they will be postmarked "Pella, Iowa" so how cool is that??? Amy also bought extra postcards, which we filled out for each pella + phil/fred once we were back in NJ.

We went into a clothing shop, and they had all sorts of t-shirts for area sports teams, like, high school and whatnot. Both of us wanted to buy t-shirts, but they would have had to have been made then, and it was close to 5pm, and all stores in the area closed at 5. One t-shirt said "Pella Power" and another was "Pella Cheerleader". All of them were awesome just because the word Pella was on them. We had fun telling different shop workers where we were from. They looked at us in amazement because we were from NJ/NY. Maybe to them, NYC is a mythical place full of freaks lol. Everyone was SUPER nice. It was a nice change of pace from this area. We also went into the Windmill Museum, but didn't want to pay for the tour so we didn't stay long. Cool windmill, though. :-) We stopped at the bakery on the way to our car to get a drink and some cook-ays, and then made our way back to Des Moines (or as the Continental Rep at Newark said, "De Mo") We went back to our hotel and decided to go back to Raccoon River and have else things for dinner. I had the pork chops, which were quite tasty.

After dinner, we decided to go bowling, as we didn't get to go earlier in the trip as planned. We spent about 45 minutes looking for the freaking bowling alley, on 14th street, because apparently there are 80 million 14th Streets in Des Moines, or at least 4 of them. Either way, it's too many 14th Streets. Finally, we figure out where we need to be, and get to the bowling alley. We partake of the 2 hours for 10 bucks per person special, and make our way to the lane. The lane sucked. The approach was sticky. Ugh. I hate sticky approaches, it ruins your entire experience. We bowled 5 games each, the last game I decided it would be fun to bowl with my left hand, and I actually scored a 60, which I didn't think was too bad, considering some people don't score 60 with their dominant hands lol. We leave the alley around 1130pm and make a quick stop at the QT gas/mart thing. I bought some ice cream, and Amy bought gatorade, as her stomach wasn't cooperating with her at that point. We got back to the hotel and Amy pretty much went right to bed, and I proceeded to pack my bags for the next day.

I finish up packing and decide it will be fun to look at all the awesome pics I took that day in Pella, Iowa. Ha. Big mistake. It ended up pissing me off, because I realized I had taken the majority of them on the wrong setting, so they WAY overexposed and can't be used. Sigh. So, live and learn. I won't make that mistake again, I hope. Always check when using an unfamiliar setting, you idiot! :-) I was so pissed, I'm surprised I fell asleep as easily as I did. Wasn't much I could do about it at that point, as Pella was 1 hour each way. Didn't have time to go back for a do-over lol. Hopefully, I'll return someday and take all the pics again.

Our flight home was pretty much normal, except for the man behind me thinking it was better to just bash himself repeatedly into my seat until I realized he wanted more room. I love how I had to give in and be nice, instead of him just sitting still, but I guess that's just me. I didn't want him to be uncomfortable, so instead, I was. I do have to admit though, landing in Newark was quite the culture shock. I can't imagine an actual mid-westerner landing in Newark, and how it must feel. It's just SO different. It's like you step off the plane, and you get handed a 50lb, invisible, stress bag to carry around for your entire stay in the area. I for one, could do without it. lol. There were people everywhere, and tons of cars, and general ick. So not like the midwest. The Des Moines Airport had a total of 12 gates.  12! 

Once arriving in my hometown, we decided to go to TGIFridays because Amy was in the mood for mozzarella sticks. We both also got French Dip. It was decent. We went back to my house, and Amy left for home. Sad when it ends. I was depressed about it ending from about Saturday night, onward. I wish I could stop that from happening. It's just so much fun to not be at work, to be with friends, and just not worrying about stuff. I can't wait for Massachusetts, because it will be another 3 day weekend for me.



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