Thursday, October 10, 2013

Spraguefest #6 - Let it begin

Whew!

The second day of SpragueFest #6 is coming to a close. What a whirlwind, as always. It was so great to pull into the hotel and trudge upstairs to the room and see the door wide open just waiting for me. I called out to my normal roomie, Meg. The door across the hall flies open and out pours Ms. Jana and NanaJeanne. Seeing their smiles just made all my daily cares just wash away. The Hugging Time has begun. This is what I needed right now.

We immediately all gathered in the small couch and living area with a glass and just caught up. Hearing how Jana is enjoying her retirement, or, how she refers to it, her retarded time, and living it up without missing too much about working the grind. Also, hearing about how Meg's daughter is doing with her diving and how amazing she's gotten to the National level. I told them all about my new class and the daily struggle that entails.

By this time the sunlight is fading from the room and we get a text from the head group of Sprague.com that they are stuck behind an accident on 85, so we decide to head out for some pre-dinner food and spirits. We decide on the Prickly Pear right next to the scheduled dinner place. On the way we bump into four other Sprague Avatars coming up to the restaurant. They were going to drop off their fruit in the room and join us. Our giddiness of seeing each other did nothing for our usual restraint of menu ordering as we pile on the cheese dip, taquitos, BBQ chicken nachos and pitcher after pitcher. We totally took advantage of the gorgeous October weather and sat outside so we could keep an eye on the other restaurant in case another Avatar showed up.

It was getting later and colder but the laughter didn't stop. Around 8:30 I spy that familiar smile bebopping around the corner. Jessica Sprague had arrived. She saw us and set a beeline right for our table. Everyone jumped up and the Hugging Time began again. We paid up at the Pear and piled into Dressed, Salad with Style who turned out to be rude and told our friends they could only order something if they took it to go. Wow! Welcome to the Atl. The whole group skips back to the hotel and plunk ourselves out on their patio and just chill. The conversation was flowing so much we had to stop Jess so she could eat her sandwich after driving 8 hours to see us.

11:30 was our bedtime.

The next morning I was still on school time and was wide awake by 7A.M. Meg, however was not. I lay there staring at the ceiling debating whether or not to get up and blog, or pop open my tablet and read The Cuckoo Calling. But if I do that, I don't have the sound off my tablet and it would wake poor Meg up and that girl needs her sleep! Suddenly this tone starts building across the room. Her phone alarm is going off. Yay! I watch her reach for the bedside table then realize her phone isn't there, chuckle over her stumbling across the room to turn off her alarm. And watch her head right back to bed and throw the sheets over her head. She wasn't getting up.

Boo.

But it happened again only 15 mins later. This time she puts her glasses on and I know she is up. I call out a cheery, "Morning" as I rush into the shower. I wanted to get downstairs and see how they had set up the Magnolia room for us to do our Speed-Spraguing. Plus, I needed coffee. I was dressed and ready in no time and came out of the bathroom to check on Meg.

She wasn't ready just yet. I head on down for some breakfast of waffles and blueberries with Britta. Then I checked into our meeting space and see the tables lined up in neat rows.This is not conducive to what I had in mind for Speed-Spraguing - think Speed Dating but with people you already know and love. It all worked out because as soon as we were all assembled you couldn't keep us quiet. We all introduced ourselves for poor Tristina who was the newest member of the Sprague Family. Then we all got caught up with each other's lives. We've been busy little beavers.

Around noon, we all headed out for a brisk little 17 minute walk to The Varsity for a little lunch. It was such a beautiful day and I got to chat some more with my favorite Tori in the whole world. We arrived to find the rest of the bunch already adorned with paper hats and wondering over their Frosted Oranges, or "F.O." Everyone agreed that the onion rings were awesome and this was a great choice for lunch.

We headed back for another walk down to Piedmont Park for our Photo Walk. I was leading this tour, so I was a little nervous. I dragged those poor ladies all over that place. We started at the 14th Street entrance and the Runner's Statue. They forced me to stand up on it for photo ops. Poor Jana thought the homeless man on the side of the base was part of the art and leaned over to take a picture. The look on her face when he moved was priceless.

We toured the circular recreation area and strolled around Lake Clara Meer. We crossed the foot bridge for some fun photos by the gazebo and then headed back to the hotel, very pooped. The hotel provided us with dinner vouchers at Marlowe's, which was our next destination. Had to start with the fried green tomato sliders and Kelly and I swapped out on some chipotle and bbq ribs. I recommend the Georgia Peach Lemonade.

The night was capped off with a little hangout session back in our conference room. Jess surprised us all with some really cool Basic Grey photo albums and plenty of embellishments to fill it up. She thanked us profusely for rearranging our lives to come and visit her. The gratitude was evident as she struggled mightily not to cry. We all hugged on her and thanked her in turn for all she has given us.

It was a great night.
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