Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mardi Gras photos and recap

Figured I'd add a few photos since I took tons.  And since today's Ash Wednesday, it's not terribly late! 

Friday morning we flew to Pensacola and rented a car and drove to Mobile.  I intended to (and did) work on the plane, and intended to (but did not) work in the car on the way to Mobile.  For some reason, my laptop battery was dead.  It made no sense, since I routinely work the entire flight to Philadelphia and the battery is fine, and this was a much shorter flight.  Well, as soon as I got to the hotel, I plugged in, but the laptop wouldn't boot up.  I spent FOREVER on the phone with IT.  Pulling the battery out, attempting to run it plugged in with the battery out of the laptop, tearing my hair out.  The IT guy was going to look something up, so I was sitting in the room twiddling my thumbs (my bestie was at lunch with her kids, and hubby had gone to buy snacks and booze).  And then I realized that I was using a Dell power cord.  And I had been in the morning before we flew out, while I was working from home.  Yeah, my work laptop is an HP. 

So that meant, I'd started draining the battery around 6:45 a.m. on Friday when I was working from home before we left for the airport.  At least it explained why it had died after such a short flight.  So then I had to track down options to buy a replacement cord.  Fortunately, I admitted my folly to my husband via text and he said he was on his way to the hotel and had just seen a Radio Shack.  So he went in and bought a universal adapter.  Plugged it in, nada.  Checked the instructions, and my laptop model wasn't among the HP ones listed.  Ugh.  But happily, I decided to try all the adapter plugs and another one was the same size so it also fit into the power cord hole on the laptop, and it worked!  Huzzah!  But by then, I had a ton of work to do in not much time.  Of course I was also starving and the fun was beginning.  Bestie and her family were all hanging out, hubby wanted to go out, and I had to keep working.  100% my fault.  Ugh. 

And please note, this is the second universal adapter I've had to buy in the last 4 months -- I took NO power cord home with me over Christmas, so I had to buy one then too.  Very frustrating.  I think I should label the Dell cord to clarify it does not match my work laptop. 

Anyway, I rushed and rushed and eventually wrapped up a full day of work, and the fun began: 

These are from the Friday night parade.  Highlights were that our whole group was together (us, my bestie and her husband and kids, her parents, her sister and her boyfriend, and another couple that we went to law school with).  The floats and bands were fun of course. 

After the Friday night parade, we went back to my bestie's parents' hotel room where her twins had fun counting their beads and we all got to hang out and eat and talk and drink. 

Eventually, her kids had to go to bed, so we all went back to our hotel.  Which turned into me, my bestie, and another woman we went to law school, and all our spouses, hanging out in the hallway outside her room while her kids slept (or kept coming into the hall to ask for things like extra pillows, glasses of water, etc.).  After an hour or so of that, pretty much all the spouses bailed and went to bed.  The three of us had a bottle of wine, and then somehow transitioned to drinking salted caramel vodka on the rocks. 

Saturday morning I was very hung over.  I have pretty much no recollection of what we talked about, but I know we laughed a lot.  I finally dragged myself out of bed for the Saturday afternoon parades.  There are 2-3 parades in a row, always lots of fun:

After the Saturday afternoon parades, hubby and I went back to our room because I desperately needed to lay down.  After a nap, we got ready and headed back to bestie's parents' hotel.  This is what the scene looked like there.  Lots of people from her dad's order/society stay at the same hotel, so the whole Krewe comes to pick up people, complete with a band, cheerleaders, horses, and a carriage with the Queen of Mardi Gras and Father Time.  People stand in front of their rooms and listen to the music.  Always fun:

The back of the queen and Father Time, I wasn't fast enough with my camera. 

Then finally it was Saturday night, the highlight of the entire weekend.  We watch her dad's society's parade, which is the biggest and best in Mobile.  Her husband now rides on one of the floats as well, and the guy who is married to our law school friend (my husband wasn't so keen on joining, he has a lot of complicated views about the South, race, traditions, etc.).  Anyway, since we know multiple people riding in the parade, we have big signs to hold up when they're coming and they throw all kinds of stuff at us.  It's absolutely one of my favorite moments of the year -- listening to the bands, waiting in anticipation with my bestie and my husband, drink in hand (though I nursed mine all night).  Pure happiness. 

Father Time on his float: 

The theme float, cut off (There's a First Time for Everything). 

After the parade, we get all dressed up and go to the ball.  White tie for the guys, floor length gowns for the women (though sometimes people will do ankle length, and no one seems to care).  The people in the society all come out on the floor and bow to the Queen and Father Time, then process down the dance floor in the auditorium. 

My bestie and our friend from law school, with their husbands in their parade costumes: 

The Queen and Father Time: 

The main stage before the dancing begins: 

After all the men in the society and their wives have done the procession, then everyone else goes down to the main floor.  Each float has a room with a bar and a food spread.  We ate a bit, then spent the rest of the night checking out the food in the other rooms and spending time on the dance floor.  Pretty much until we were too exhausted to move.

The queen's cake: 

I hesitate to post anything about Sunday -- let's just say it was not a good day.  We woke up, had breakfast, hung out with my bestie and her family, packed up and then the day went to heck.  Flight cancelled.  Rebooked.  Considered driving home, but ugh, 9-10 hours in the car didn't seem like a good idea since the next flight was in 5 hours and would get us home first.  For the record, hubby wanted to drive.  He had to be at work early on Monday.  I wanted to fly.  He assented.  We went to watch a movie (Non-Stop, which was quite enjoyable, but slightly less so when you have a boarding pass to get on a plane within the next few hours; I'd recommend seeing it on a day you are NOT flying).  After the movie, we confirmed my fear and husband's prediction -- the evening flight was also cancelled.  So we got in the car, me sucking lemons because I should have listened to him in the first place, we could have already been several hours into the drive.

He drove until about 11 at night, I got behind the wheel with about 175 miles to go to Dallas.  And then we hit the bad weather.  Ice on the roads, very thick in places.  Traffic was moving very slowly, but I'd say I averaged 20 mph for a while. 

And then we came to a stop on the interstate.  A dead stop.  An hour later, we hadn't moved at all.  Hubby woke up and we discussed our options.  I'd watched one car attempt to drive over the grass to the access road and they were still sitting in the ditch (despite the fact 3 passengers in the car had tried pushing it twice).  And I'd watched one car u-turn and drive head-on up the nearby on-ramp going the wrong way.  Eventually, we decided that would be our move.  We were very lucky to be fairly close to it.  I was very afraid we'd be killed -- given the conditions, any car coming at us would likely have been driving very slowly, but I was worried they wouldn't be able to stop and we'd be hit head-on.  I drove slowly and we eventually made it off of the on-ramp and onto a road.  We managed to drive north for a while until we found another east-west road and we took that all the way into Dallas.  Unfortunately, the road conditions weren't good.  I was averaging about 20-30 mph for most of the time.  But it was better than being parked we figured.  Evntually, as we got closer to Dallas, the roads got a lot better and it was smooth sailing, chugging along around 50 mph until we got to a bridge, then I'd slow a lot just to be careful, but 99% ice-free. 

Finally, around 6:15 a.m., we made it to the airport in Dallas to drop off the rental car and pick up our car.  So I'd driven less than 200 miles in over 7 hours.  Our 9-10 hour anticipated drive had taken 15 hours.  And we both had to work on Monday.  100% miserable.  Almost enough to make me swear off winter travel. 

I tried to see it as the price for a fun weekend, but ugh.  As long as I'm still feeling utterly exhausted, it's hard right now...

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