I can't for the life of me get a good night's sleep in hotels. I'm not sure if it's the unfamiliar surroundings or if it's because my sweetie isn't next to me. I think it's probably a 20%/80% ratio, and after 25 years you grow accustomed to a warm and snuggly wife.
At any rate, sleep is a precious commodity, and I average about 4-5 hours a night. I watch bad movies on TBS (8 minutes of movie, 5 minutes of commercials, lather, rinse, repeat) until I can't keep my eyes open.
My road warrior/sales rep friends tell me you get used to it after a while. I'm not so sure I want to find out.
Anyway...Day Two was chock full of appointments. After a wonderful breakfast with Kelly Stone from REI, I saw Tonya, Leigh, and Sarah at Stonewear Designs, giving Stonewear a very high babe ratio. Lovely women, all of them, and their clothing is awesome. I have very little fashion sense for men's clothing, and even less for women's clothing, so I have to trust them, and I do.
Got to meet Andrea Ferrino, the founder of Ferrino, an Italian mountaineering gear manufacturer, and we got to speak a little Italian, which made Tonya drool. We could have been discussing the changing of a light bulb and Tonya would swoon.
Andrea: Allora, Dario, ho voluto sempre discutere con te i processi di cambiare le lampadine dopo si sono esaurite. Si cambiano nello stesso modo negli Stati Uniti? Io non sono assolutamente sicuro.
Me: E' facile, caro amico. Bisogna trovare una nuova lampadina e svitarla, mettendo la esaurita nel cestino, e rivitarne la nuova. E' semplice anche qui in Wisconsin!
At this point Tonya, despite her recent marriage, would lose control of her inhibitions and shower us with kisses. Be careful, Italian is powerful stuff.
Saw a dozen other miscellaneous lines, getting the executive summary so when the buyers come back I'll have at least a cursory knowledge of what the heck they're talking about. I gathered approximately 15 pounds of catalogs and flyers. I'm investigating Nordic skiing as a supplement to our winter business, and I have a lot to learn. Which is cool.
Also got to see my sweet daughter. Being in school just an hour south of Salt Lake has its advantages, and one is the ability to borrow a roommate's car and pop up to walk the show floor and try on some highly fashionable coats. This one from Canada Goose was especially fabulous.
We then visited all Whitney's adopted aunts and uncles, people she's known since she was a kid, picking up water bottles and other fun schwag. She is a schwag magnet, that girl.
After visiting with Icebreaker (those folks are so dialed it's scary), we walked around to a few parties. Unfortunately we missed the helium karaoke at Mountain Hardware. But we did have reservations at the Cedars of Lebanon again. It's a tradition. I love that place.
C.O.L. has really good non-tea teas, like a cinnamon and clove tea, a straight mint tea, etc. Janice here loved the cinnamon concoction so much she stated "I want to jump in my cup." She downed a few gallons of this stuff, and I imagine she'll smell like a pot pourri for a few days after this infusion.
The food is fantastic, and we can feed a pretty good-sized group for not a lot of money, which I think we did, but I'll never know since Brad surreptitiously grabbed the check and it was paid and gone fore I ever reached for the wallet. Thanks, Brad. That was uncalled for and as is usual with Brad, very kind.
Then the Belly Dancer showed up.
You must know that most Belly Dancers scare me, much in the way that clowns do. It's an unnatural thing to shake your sequined-covered booty in the face of modest midwesterners. Belly dancing did not originate in Wisconsin. We would never allow ourselves such a shameless exhibition of wiggling. And yet, here we were.
Since I have been here before, I sat as far away as was possible from the place I knew a b.d. would appear. When she did, I was ready with the camera.
This is Brian about to have a stroke. Despite the look of pleasure on his face, he was dying a slow, midwestern death by embarrassment.
Since Bryan didn't have any singles, Janice gave him one and he tucked it (without making eye contact, naturally) into her waistband. She stopped twitching long enough for him to do it, thankfully, or he would have turned a shade of red not seen except in a Pantone book.
Then we went home, I to pack and the rest to prepare for another show day, as I was taking off in the morning.
Walking back to the Plaza, a disheveled homeless man shouted out to us, "If you love someone, you shouldn't try to change them, you should love them for who they are. Am I right or wrong?"
We affirmed that he was, on the whole, correct in his position.
A few minutes later, he caught up with us and asked me if I could help him with some food. "I'm starving, man." He hadn't eaten all day. He was not drunk, and since it was Utah, he was unlikely to find any alcohol anyway that night. I only had twenties (cash machines don't give out small bills), so I gave him a twenty and said, "You're a sage, dude."
"What's a sage?" he asked.
"A smart person, a wise person."
"I dunno about that, I didn't even know what sage meant." We all laughed.
"Smart enough. Have a good dinner."
"God bless you, man" he said.
"He already has."
The gentleman went into JB's Big Boy. I don't think he starved that night.