Aug 7, 2006

After my foray into the world of ABC’s General Hospital – a fantasy trip to be sure, the return to my real life (such as it is) has made it impossible thus far, to allow me to share my experiences with you all.  At this point I have to say “damn the torpedoes!” and “let the chips fall where they may” – all sorts of cliches are coming out of the ends of my fingers.  But the gist is; the hell with everyone and everything else – I need to tell my story!! 

Bad things happen in threes – don’t they? 

Crack of dawn on the Thursday morning of my trip, my husband and son were helping me lug my suitcases downstairs.  My son, in his eagerness to help and I’m sure, keep his mommy safe, offered to lock the combination lock on my weekender bag.  I double checked with my husband that we hadn’t gone off our normal pattern and were still using the same combination we’ve used for years (literally anyone could rip us off – we’re so weird like that) and he assured me all was well.   

Since we relocated right after GHFCW last year, I have now considerably cut down on the distance between my home and a major airport.  Last year it was a three hour drive to the airport, meaning 4+ hours to allow for you to check-in, get through security, etc.  This year I am literally 15 minutes away from the airport, so no worries there.  I sailed through check-in and security and made it to the gate for Southwest Airlines with a full-hour to spare.  That’s when I heard my name called over the PA to report to the gate – uh oh. 

Apparently we forgot that not only does the Transportation Safety Administration x-ray all suitcases, but a locked bag is a big old no-no.  They wanted my combination and they wanted it now!  Not a problem, here you go, have fun.  Except it wouldn’t open.  They called again, which resulted in me being paged again.  So now my fellow passengers are wondering what the hell is going on and why they are allowing a potential terrorist to sit among them waiting to board the flight to LA.  TSA says that they can not get the damn lock to work and that if they can’t get it open,  they will cut it off.  So we go through the combination again – this is three numbers people, left to right – not cracking a Vegas style casino safe! 

Still no luck, so I tell them snip it, whatever.  As long as my new Target undies aren’t spewed across the tarmac and we can get off the ground on time, I really could care less – LA awaits!  They end up notifying me as we are boarding that they did have to cut the lock.  This is not an auspicious beginning.  Let’s say this is number one. 

Back on the plane, first leg of the trip takes me to Tampa, FL.  All in all I have two different layovers and a change of planes on this trip.  I could bitch about the inconvenience of it all, but the fact is that this trip was a freebie.  We somehow or another managed to snag enough frequent flyer miles so that my trip cost zippo.  So we arrive in Tampa an hour later and ¾ of the peeps get off.  Can I ask a stupid question?  Who are all these people that I’m flying with in coach for freaks sake, that are so damn important that they have to pop on their cell phones as soon as the wheels hit the runway.  Typical conversation:  “Hey, it’s me.  Yeah I’m still on the plane.  No, no … STILL ON THE PLANE, THE PLANE… STILL ON THE PLANE!  I’ll call you when I get my luggage… MY LUGGAGE.  OK, BYE.”   

On Southwest there isn’t any assigned seating so I moved up to the very front so I can stretch a little and be the first one off when we land in Las Vegas.  Three hours later we are taxiing to a stop and I have to pee so bad my back teeth are floating.  I steal a quick peek at the departure board and see that I have an hour before my plane is scheduled to leave on my quick hop to LA.  Time enough to grab a bite (it’s three hours later at home) visit the powder room and then throw $5 in quarters into the airport slot machines.  Whoops, time to check back in… just in time to hear that my flight has been cancelled.  That’s two. 

Now I start panicking.  Thankfully the lovely Kathy Hardeman is acting as our travel coordinator having landed in LA hours earlier.  I call her and let her know that I’m running late and she’s going to call my carpool buddy Carolyn and pass the word.  After a flurry of phone calls they stick me on a plane leaving an hour later and I’m praying my mangled luggage has made the switch.  Up and down and I’m calling Carolyn to see if she’s still around.  The poor thing has had her own less than stellar airline experience and when she landed, found out that my gate was miles away from hers.  She’s on the shuttle to the hotel.  I’m glad, I would’ve felt terrible if she’d had to share in what was turning into a really horrible travel experience.   

Down in the baggage claim, myself and about 15 others are staring in frustration at the same three pieces of luggage on the belt that have yet to be claimed. That would be #3.  We all head over to the claim area and commence organizing a mob when they make the announcement that the luggage will be arriving on the next flight in that’s due to arrive in 20 minutes.  This is great, this is swell.  I was due to arrive in LA @ 1:35 PM – plenty of time to make the drive to Studio City and rendezvous with my girls before our 5:30 check-in at the First Annual Kick Off Event.  It’s now 3:30 PM, and not only am I stuck waiting for my bags, but I haven’t even begun the hellish drive on the 405 to Studio City …agggghhhhh. 

Thirty minutes later I’m sitting in a Super Shuttle with two other people heading towards the hotel.  No way in hell I’m making the 5:30 deadline, no way.  We pull up to the hotel at 5:20 and I grab my key from the front desk and sprint up the stairs to the room.  Five minutes to shower, 5 to grab some clothes to change into for the party and 5 more to redo my makeup.  Not exactly the scene I had imagined.  

Running past Twain’s on my way to the Lodge I wonder just who will be coming to the Kick Off Event.  Like the luncheon itself, it’s not a command performance.  It’s a Thursday and I’m guessing most everyone is working.  I’ve got my favorites to be sure, not certain if they’ll be taping but it’s all about seeing EVERYONE you see on your screens through the week.  I’m finally feeling like I should, excited to see my friends, excited to see the actors – just plain looking forward to my time away from home. 

The room looks great – Ignacio Serrachio is there with his band and they’re getting ready to rock.  Me and Carolyn and Kathy are taking our turns out at the valet stand, ready willing and able to escort any comers into the room.  Rick Hearst is there – yippee, though I’m not a big fan of frat rat shorts on men that are less than say, 6 ft tall, he’s got my eternal wuuvvv so I can let it go.  

Next John J. York checks in and since I’d already noticed that Carolyn was wearing his face on her right boob (don’t ask) I suggested that he might want to follow the woman with his face on her breast.  He did so with a great deal of enthusiasm.  

One of the coolest and most unexpected big fun things at the Kick Off Party was watching Ignaccio and his band, “Three Feet Under”.  I asked  about the name and he said that since he was the young’un by a lot of years, he keeps the rest of the guys from being 6 feet under.  I like it.  I also liked shooting the shit with Adrian Alvarado (Det. Cruz Rodriguez) who is very friendly and loves to talk.  I think I got the word that he and Ignaccio are cousins, but I’m not certain since by this time I was seriously on auto-pilot.  He did however, graciously pose for me – the guy was on fire!!   

Greg Vaughan stopped in and I got a fabulous look at his… car.  A late model black Range Rover.  His Rep, Debby O’Connor got word of his arrival and whisked him right past me as I stood there trying not to look like a kicked puppy.  Actually, he was wearing his ‘Unibomber’ outfit, complete with mirrored aviators and stocking cap (hey, it was only 99 degrees out!) and really just breezed in and out.  Rick, John, Adrian and Ignaccio were all holding court keeping everyone happy. 

Speaking of cars, I was really wishing I had my camera out at the valet stand when Miz Lindze Letherman arrived with a girlfriend riding shotgun in a 2006 black Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe with blacked out rims.  She definitely wins for best car this weekend. I found this one online, it’s not near as purty as hers, but you get the idea.  I checked with my hubby, and we’re talking somewhere in the ‘hood of $86K.  Sweet. 

After I escorted Lindze and her friend into the party, I decided to hang around a bit enjoying the music and visiting with my friends.  Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson were escorted in, got blinded by flashbulbs ( I mean to tell you that JT had that deer in the headlights look down) then were escorted out.   

They are an extremely cute couple and I couldn’t help wondering if the chemistry I see onscreen is spilling over into real life.  Methinks so because as I was crossing the street on my way back to the hotel, I spied Kimberly in her black hybrid SUV following Jason in his blue Range Rover over to Iroha Sushi on Ventura Blvd.  Jason ran in to place their order while Kim stayed in her car.  About 5 minutes later Jason hopped into his car and off they went. 

Dating in real life?  Level of probability: pretty damn high. 

Smooches Babycakes!


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