I am sitting in my baby sister Mary's apartment in Texas, as she is a her dance class this morning, and decided I would try to write about our California trip again. Hopefully she doesn't have the same internet problems like what I had at work! If I type this all up and then loose it-again-I think I might go crazy!!!
Our trip out to California was with another couple Tim (Kevin's best friend since he was a child) and Anna Toms. We spent the first part of the trip in Long Beach California at the annual Chick-fil-A seminar. (Kevin works in the IT department at CFA Corp. and Tim is the operator at a CFA unit in Buckhead) We had a super early flight out on Sunday morning so Tim & Anna spent the night with us on Saturday since we are closer to the airport-and so we could split the cost of airport parking!!!
We all got up WAY TOO EARLY for a Sunday and headed out to the airport. As we were unloading our bags from the truck at "The Parking Spot" Kevin realized he didn't have his wallet! (Tim and I had been the first ones ready to go, so I had started the truck to warm it up and we had loaded it up with all our bags. For Christmas I had bought a new "catch-all" for Kevin's wallet, keys, etc. that we keep in the living room near the front door-he used to keep it all on his sink counter in the bathroom-so as Kevin was coming out with his laptop bag-and I had already grabbed the keys-he forgot to grab his wallet. I am not making excuses for him-or taking to blame since I had grabbed the keys-just explaining how it happened in the first place.) At this point it was around 7AM and we had to make an 8:30 flight. I really didn't think Kevin had much of a chance to be able to make it all the way home and back to the airport in time to make the flight! As Kevin sped out of the parking lot on his mission Tim, Anna & I rode the little bus over to the airport from the parking lot, & found the place where we could check in. Since there were a TON of CFA people flying out to CA throughout the day to get all the Atlanta based people to LAX we had our own check-in spot at an area of the airport I don't think I had ever been to before. And that is saying a lot! When we lived in the Atlanta area for awhile when I was a child we were always making trips to the airport to pick up missionaries, family, etc. and back in the day you could still take the train out to the gates. This was a huge adventure that we all loved-making it on the train (without cutting it too close, because I was always afraid of getting caught in the doors! Yeah! I believed that voice that rang out "Careful, these doors are closing and will not re-open!" I still am a bit afraid to this day-but I actually saw someone step in too late when I was flying out yesterday, and those doors did reopen-so that is a big relief!) seeing all the different people coming and going (whenever I travel I get somewhat overwhelmed with the large amount of people there are in this beautiful world we live in!) and of course the adventure of driving through Atlanta to get there. I have always loved cities-now I like my space, so I don't know if I could really live in a city full time-but I do love the fast-paced life and hussle and bussle of the city.
Oops-I am getting way off course here-back to the story: Next we all had to get through security and take the train to our gate-Tim was talking to Kevin on his cell phone on and off this whole time to let him know where he would need to go-just incase he made it back in time. As we were boarding the flight (about 8AM) Tim let me know that Kevin had made it to the airport-now the question was whether or not he would be able to check-in, get through security and get to the gate on time to board the flight! Luckily-since we (CFA) did have a special area where we were checking in, they let him cut to the front of the line, and another couple, coming on a later flight, checked his bag in for him-then he used his Delta AmEx Gold card in order to take the shorter security screening line (I didn't even know they had that!) and when I saw him board the flight, we were already seated on the plane, I was soooo relieved! In my mind I had been trying to figure out what we were going to do if he didn't make the flight in time-yet I had also been praying like crazy for the miracle that he would!!! (God must have had angels around him because he drove home, grabbed his wallet and made it back again in under an hour-and that was in the truck mind you, not his Corvette!)
Once we were finaly in LA we were herded onto the buses to our hotels-Kevin and I were staying in the hotel closest to the convention center so that was nice-since the wonderful people in charge of the event always make sure I have a fridge and some food that I can eat in my hotel room, so that I can go back to our room for lunch and dinner to eat. The hotel and convention center where in Long Beach right near the Aquarium. There area was nice-we did a little walking along the boardwalk, but we didn't really do a ton because it was rainy several days (it always rains when we go to California) and quite chilly in the evenings when we had free time. There was a gameroom near us (kinda like a grown up Chuck-E-Cheese with pool tables, bowling and tons of games) that they(CFA) had given us free game cards to. We spent most of our evenings there-first just playing the games-then trying to collect enough tickets to get Kevin something for his ipod he saw in the prize box (which I believe broke the first time he used it-oh well!)
CFA has done a "Fit to Lead" challenge (1mile, 5k or 10k) at seminar for the last 4 or 5 years and I have always wanted to participate in it-but I am not a runner so we never have. This year we actually did sign up because I found out you can just walk it. So Kevin and I, along with another couple-Jonathan and Crystal Purser (who was actually Tim & Kevin's first boss when they worked at a CFA in highschool!), walked the 5k. I really enjoyed the time we spent visiting with them as we walked and had lunch together afterwards. They are a great and Godly couple and I am really thankful to have them in our lives. We really only visit with them once a year, while we are all at seminar, but I know that they were a big influence on Kevin growing up as well and I really appreciate that. We did end up running (for me that means jogging!) the last 1/2 mile or so-in which case Kevin left me in the dust. He is SUPER competitive-which is why he never wanted to run it-he isn't really a runner, but anything he does, he does to the extreme, so would be out there killing himself keeping up with the professionals, which is another reason why we decided to walk it.
Seminar was really great this year. They keep you pretty busy with meetings and things, but there was a variety of really fun entertainment between speakers this year-a comedian (she was pretty funny-and of course "clean" so that was nice), a small music/dance crew-similar to Stomp (so neat), a sand artist (I have never seen anything like it before), and a guitarist (who played very non-traditionally and was simply amazing). Kirk Cameron was there one day for a meet and greet (which I didn't stand in line for) because CFA is really into supporting marriage and family (the whole WinShape ministry they have at Berry College) so they where giving away free dvd's of the Fireproof movie to all the store operators. Anna was actually asked by Dan Cathey (the President of CFA) to sing one morning (the morning that Kirk was there so she got to meet him backstage) and so that was cool. There were around 3500 people there-she said that is the largest crowd she has ever sung in front of and was nervous-but loved every minute of it!!! Another big thing this year was that Tim won Symbol of Success. Which means that his sales/profits beat the year before by a certain percentage. He actually gets a free year lease on a Ford vehicle of his choice and it honored at the seminar. (There were around 50 total who did it this year-which is great considering the economy and all.) We were all so proud of Tim, and I hope this puts him in the running for a new store. He has run a really small mall unit down in Buckhead for the last 5 or 6 years and would really love to have a freestanding unit up in north GA somewhere. On the last evening of seminar we actually attended a special performance from the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in a concert hall nearby. It was really beautiful. We also got the announcement on the last day that seminar will be in Washington DC next year. I am so excited about that-I haven't been there since I was a child!
Well, that pretty much covers the first part of our California trip 2009!